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TouchstoneFeste

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Everything posted by TouchstoneFeste

  1. Might not want it advertised publicly that their house will be empty for the next week or so.
  2. :) It's always worth asking @exlondoner, but no, it doesn't make any difference. My guess is, as @bluemarble has hinted, that there is something going on behind the "State" (of the Union) field. Maybe the checklist is full of invalid entries, maybe the code that does the validation just fails.
  3. At least since early 2022. We had to phone in to get ours completed for a May 2022 trip. Given how many people it seems to have affected, with the resulting staff time to update the fields, it would certainly have been more cost effective to fix the IT problem.
  4. We'll be travelling on Bougainville and I wanted to ask about room selection. Are the rooms with a connecting door susceptible to noise from the adjoining cabin?
  5. Well now we've derailed into "what is good service?" and I should be adult enough to just leave it alone ... but I'm not :) Minimum wage for food service workers in the US is $2 per hour, FYI. On Cunard I've only ever eaten in the Grills (only one trip under my belt), but we had constant attention from our waiter and his assistant, and regular visits by the sommelier and the maitre d'. This is what I meant by "Cunard standards". Not that Ol' Betty Lou at the diner doesn't do a good job, just that she's overworked and maybe has a busboy to help fill the water glasses.
  6. Well said, @D&N. And of course those of us from the US routinely tip 20% for most services. Compared with what we leave for tips in New York and London (sometimes at restaurants and hotels where the service is not up to Cunard's standards), that makes the auto-gratuities a bargain. It leaves room in our "tipping budget" for additional amounts for special service.
  7. Yes, that should be covered. We had the standard "drinks package" last year (the one that's often included in the fare for US customer), and I regularly had espressos in Sir Samuel's.
  8. Whenever I mention I'm experiencing an earworm my wife always (and I mean always) says, "Just sing Amazing Grace to the tune of Gilligan's Island" as if this is somehow better. I've learned to stop mentioning it.
  9. How about "I refuse to tip any crewmember who won't enforce the dress code!"
  10. The first picture appears to be an old school espresso machine as you will find in good coffee shops everywhere - you put freshly ground coffee into the little receptable and force pressurized water through it. The second one, based on the cups appearing next to it, looks like it might be one of those self-serve machines that uses coffee "syrups" (or sometimes non-freshly ground coffee) to make a variety of coffee drinks to order. I haven't seen any in coffee shops in the US, but you may be right about Starbucks. I have seen them in roadside "truck stops" in Italy. (They don't seem to have made much progress in US truck stops, which typically serve percolated coffee in urns.) As you say, the coffee from the second machine is sometimes acceptable, but not as good as the results from the real espresso machine. A year ago, Sir Samuel's was still using a real espresso machine.
  11. Oh, no. I wasn't addressing that issue at all. Just support for my own argument.
  12. It would be really lovely if crews were paid properly. Also if there were no wars, and all children were given free kittens. That's not the world we live in, however. Like the staff in a US restaurant, cruise ship crews are dependent on tips for a significant percentage of their income. You won't change that by removing the auto-gratuities from your bill. Perhaps you could change it by declining to book passage with those lines that have auto-gratuities and informing management of that fact. In the US, people seem finally to be catching on to the fact that if you can't afford to tip the restaurant staff, you can't afford to patronize that restaurant. The same should apply to cruise ships. To do otherwise seems ... well, I won't say it. For @Victoria2 :) https://lifewellcruised.com/cruise-tipping-guidelines/ https://thepointsguy.com/guide/cruise-ship-tipping/ https://cruisemaven.com/cruise-ship-gratuities/ https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/onboard-service-gratuity-expense Note that the last of these references is Royal Caribbean's statement on the issue. I've made my case, and will now bow out of the discussion.
  13. Aren't the auto-gratuities also shared among the laundry folk, garbage luggers, and others who aren't customer-facing?
  14. You're right, our "round trip" was less than double. Cleveland to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was $124 for a large bag. I think the original posters would be doing a Southampton to Southampton cruise, though, since they're doing Spain before and Italy after. Wow. Hey, @sundaypeople5, you could, you know, hire me to drag your bags around ...
  15. Yep, one way. Still worth it for us.
  16. "Expensive" is in the eye of the beholder, though. It cost us $275 to ship a large case from Southampton to Ohio last year. That's not nothing, but it's not more than a couple nights at nice restaurants. For us, it was definitely worth it - we weren't lugging around clothing we couldn't use ashore, and we had the clothes we really wanted onboard. Not to diminish your advice or that of others on the forum - if you can pack lighter and do laundry onboard, do so; but shipping is an alternative.
  17. We've looked at that a few times, so I'd be interested in your comments after your visit.
  18. Certainly paying for malware would be worse that picking up the free kind! :) Seriously (allowing for autocorrect issues) your options make sense as well.
  19. We used the service (outbound and return) last spring and will use it again for an upcoming voyage. When you click through the Cunard White Star service, it will take you to a special Cunard page at Luggage Forward. I booked our luggage shipment directly with LF. I don't think there was a penalty in price or service options for doing so, but (at the time, at least) Cunard specified that only clothing items could be shipped; Luggage Forward will actually ship anything that's TSA/airline compliant. This might have contributed to the only problem we encountered with the service (see below). We had to specify what bags we would ship at the time of booking ("large red suitcase", etc.). You mention a garment bag (and LF will ship sports equipment and bicycles, so this wouldn't be a problem), but I'd recommended a normal suitcase, since your piece may be sitting at a depot for a while. You'll want to contact Luggage Forward (either way) about 3-4 weeks in advance. For standard 5-business-day service (one week of real time) we booked a morning pickup 7 days before embarkation; we left the bags in a secure outdoor location and they disappeared when we weren't looking :) You can also arrange a drop-off at a LF location, I believe. The standard insurance appeared to be pretty good, but we opted to boost it (for a modest cost) to cover some expensive items. They notified us of pickups and deliveries, and the online tracking system indicated that the bags in both directions were delivered well ahead of schedule. Our one problem: LF specified that ONLY their tag be applied, not the Cunard tags. Well, both of our bags arrived on board just fine, but one was delivered to the wrong room ("Hello, neighbor") and the other arrived only after we sicced our room steward on it. I suspect this was due to the bags not having the standard Cunard tags on them, so this is something I'll wrangle with LF about, next time. Since you'll be travelling before your transatlantic, you'll need to arrange the timing carefully, and you may want to take measures to ensure the bags waiting in Southampton are actually moved onto the ship. Luggage tracking tags?
  20. For sure, you can get a cab ... you just won't spot one drifting by very often.
  21. I don't think people have responded directly to one of your questions, so here goes. The hotels Cunard uses all look like at least a 10 minute walk from Penn Station, but you'd need to get through the theater district and Times Square, so the timing would depend heavily on what day and time you're arriving. (For what it's worth, given their locations a cab ride probably wouldn't be significantly quicker.) On the other hand, you would certainly not be the only person dragging a few suitcases through Times Square, regardless of the day or time. Overall, they're not a particularly desirable location unless you plan activities in midtown.
  22. The Jane is a fun, quirky hotel, but be aware that the area is not well served by taxis.
  23. You should also think through how much luggage you'll be wrangling. The subways are not particularly friendly for luggage. Personally, I'd be inclined to just bite the bullet and take a cab.
  24. I see that the Coronation of King Charles will take place on May 6 with celebrations over the weekend and a special Bank Holiday. Should be interesting for those of us arriving (that would be me and my wife) or departing Southampton that weekend. Glad we already have a hotel booked in London.
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