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Everything posted by Dobby36

  1. We did a Santiago to Buenos Aires cruise last year and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Especially if you have business class, these flights are doable from CA. We flew San Diego to Atlanta, then overnight on delta to Buenos Aires. No complaints, arrived in the AM a bit groggy, but since there is minimal time difference, not much jet lag. On the way back we did American through DFW, as was suggested above. The AA lounge in Santiago was under construction so they used an empty restaurant as a makeshift lounge. It was hot and crowded, but the self-serve bar helped make it tolerable 😉 DFW arrival in the AM was aided by a nice shower in the Flagship AA lounge, and we were home feeling refreshed in northern CA by lunchtime. I’d share your hesitancy transferring in Panama City, Mexico City, etc a but otherwise: go for it!
  2. I have an old felony from years ago, which was expunged (will not show up on a regular background check, but still results in global entry application denial) after I completed probation and restitution. I’ve traveled to Canada 3 times since then, and only found out about the potential for issues between the second and third time. I did a good bit of research with the help of a friend of mine who does immigration law. The best we could tell is that there is a sort of random sampling of folks who enter who get screened for criminal convictions, and that it isn’t a procedure done to 100% of entrants to Canada. Good news is that means it would be rarer to be denied entry. Bad news is one successful entry does not necessarily guarantee entry on another occasion. Additionally, once an initial denial/hold occurs, there is an opportunity to complete the rehabilitation exemption application that @PhD-iva was referring to. It’s essentially the same paperwork, but you’ll need to pay the filing fee in that moment, and have your conviction info (case numbers, disposition, exact dates, etc) readily available. So have your friend bring these and payment means, as a last case resort.
  3. The Tokyo Station Hotel is local to Imperial Palace, (obviously the central train station also) and lots of other sights. It’s not modern, more of an old luxury or traditional Japanese feel, but we very much enjoyed.
  4. Hi @Lonedaddy (or others!) wondering if you know the letter of the “buckets” that would be pulled from for regent air seats? I have expertflyer and know how to search for “J” seats and find seat maps, set alerts etc. I’m calling regent air later this week to discuss options to deviate on an October-Nov trip on Voyager, outbound to Istanbul, return from BCN to SFO(likely). I’m amassing a short list of preferred routings based on google flights info but wondering if I can refine even further to the universe of possibilities by leveraging expertflyer. Happy to do the legwork, just unsure what to look for. Thanks
  5. Hi there, will try to help. I think we keep choosing this area on the Oosterdam and other ships mainly for its proximity to the crow’s nest. Love to shuffle such a short way for a morning espresso drink. It’s also nice to go quickly outside at the opposite end of the hall. Even with a balcony, sometimes I find myself wanting to step out for a 360 view or a better feel for the weather and this area is above the lido, usually not busy and views in either direction. Occasionally joggers in the AM but nothing disruptive. depending on if the retreat is open, above you there can be AM noise when they arrange the deck chairs there. But again, never really bothered us. The people going to crows nest from elsewhere on the ship just go down the passage into crows nest from elevators or stairs and rarely make noise that extends to the short deck 10 hallways, in our experience. as far as downsides, the VB balconies are less deep than other balconies on lower floors. But there will still be chairs and a small table. Fine for 2 people I say. Also, you’re obviously about as far as you could get from the main dining room. So if you eat there every meal, it could be bothersome to return to cabin over and over-but again, for us easy access to coffee in the AM and a nightcap in the PM at crows nest is a real win. It’s also nice if your traveling partner is up different hours than you are so there is a place to be out of their way without going far. as for what’s in front of 10002, I think you are referring to this yellow area? It is a staircase up to the retreat above. On all our sailings it is not heavily used, but if you were doing a México or Caribbean shirt cruise with a ton of families up there I suppose it could be annoying. best of luck!
  6. We went around the horn in march of last year on Oosterdam. We were on deck 10 very forward VB cabin, much against the warnings of the future cruise rep onboard who booked us during our prior cruise. She and others warned it would be very bouncy up high. I can’t speak for aft, but for our trip, all was manageable - some swells but most people/activities went along as normal, despite some warnings in the daily program and announcements.
  7. You mentioned flying in “early morning”. Depending on your departure you may have hours before you can board or drop bags. If your luggage amount and mobility allows, insider taking a taxi/uber to Seaport Village and walking around for a bit before heading to board. There aren’t many breakfast spots cohere except Malibu Farm restaurant, but it’s a ni e walk along the waterfront if you need to kill some time…
  8. The Tokyo Station Hotel is convenient to (most things as it’s above the central rail station) the Imperial Palace and walkable to the lovely Tsukiji market. It was old world Japanese charm, but with the modern needed amenities. Incredible breakfast as well.
  9. We got off there for a few hours and walked around. Went into a few shops and a grocery store for some local snacks and candy to bring home to the kiddos. Also spent an hour or two at the casino. All of these were within sight of the ship and we felt safe, even into the dusk hours. There was a stream of (mostly older white folks from HAL) passengers doing the same walk a block or two and no one seemed to have any issue. We got the same warnings about jewelry and taking precautions, and that was all that was needed!
  10. We did something similar. Got off the ship and dropped off bags at Ritz Carlton. Still expensive. But cheaper than Bay Sands, and only a short walk over the bridge from all the excitement of their casino and the Gardens by The Bay. They held our luggage for us and the bellhop helped arrange a car to take us to a hawker market and shopping area in Chinatown (we asked for that in general, but he chose the location and conveyed to driver) very easy and when we returned in a few hours with a full tummy and some shopping done, our room was ready and we napped. The Ritz is priced competitively for the luxury hotels in the area and we had the most incredible breakfast buffet there in the AM. Very memorable end to a great cruise.
  11. I would try roulette. You could bet on red or black. Or odd even, etc. they will take a $5USD at the table or you can room charge with your keycard. That seems like a simple way to double your $…or lose it 😉
  12. Most bars also have a few flavored vodka, usually Grey Goose and Absolut.
  13. We are not on this cruise, but did our honeymoon on the Millenium in Japan a couple months ago. We ended up with a great group of LGBT folks from the meetups, even spent a few nice sea day lunches together and some excursions. one word of advice: if you don’t see the meetup (ours was daily 730 in martini bar) on the printed program or app, go check at guest services. They have a “commmunity events” board there where AA meeting, religious services etc are listed. We kinda made a stink to the cruise director that no one was coming because they didn’t put it in the app and hardly no one would notice that board downstairs. On the third day they put it in the app and all sorts of fun folks showed up (some who we’d already met in casino or elsewhere) and it was a blast all around! enjoy the heck out of it -we wanna go back ASAP!
  14. My fav was the Thai Beef Salad and the Lobster and shrimp dumplings. I think we all had multiple starters and don’t recall a charge, but perhaps this has changed since 2023. The cocktails were all interesting and worth a try. They can also modify the drinks easily if you prefer the mixers with a different spirit, for instance. Or less sweet, etc by adjusting the juice. I found the desserts to be the least impressive of the courses, but overall LOVE Tamarind!
  15. I may have mis-worded the sentence. I know the TSA Precheck fee is good for a longer period, the annual fee I was trying to reference was a credit card annual fee, for a card that includes a credit to cover TSAPrecheck fee.
  16. The calculation of “worth it” could also include the fact that many credit cards (usually premium or travel ones) offer a statement credit to reimburse the cost associated with global entry or TSA Precheck applications. Check if yours does, if not perhaps this added value would offset the annual fee. Some, (IIRC) like the United Explorer card waive the annual fee for the first year, so you could sign up, use the benefits and cancel the card if you don’t find the ongoing annual perks to be worth $99 in years 2,3,etc…
  17. Just to add one more data point: I usually book onboard and I have (at least once, but I believe twice) added Club Orange at that time onboard to include the upgraded room selection. The last time was when there was a husband and wife future cruise consultant couple (FCCC?!) and it was the wife who helped me and did it, she was lovely.
  18. We used it in Chan may Vietnam and Singapore, but it was downloaded in Singapore. Incredibly slick! You have the option to pay in cash if you’d like, when hailing a ride. You can also order food, pay for food at hawker markets or to street vendors and at booths where you just say “grab?” And they will show you a QR code to scan and show you the # of dollars/funds for your purchase. Highly recommend. Functionality gets limited once outside WiFi, unless you use cellular service. But we found this no issue.
  19. Dobby36

    BA business

    if you are considering a specific aircraft type on an airline, you can often search YouTube for reviews by entering the aircraft type and airline in the search function. Be aware of the date they’ve been recorded, and that some planes have multiple configurations, but it’s at least somewhere to start. Occasionally the reviewers will have helpful tips or drawbacks of various portions of the cabin. (And primarily the business class cabin! Much less interest in economy trip reports, I imagine…)
  20. Celebrity is offering tours to the bridge as part of their behind the scenes tours. Or at least they were on Millenium a couple months ago. The captain spoke to us there and encouraged taking pictures. IMG_4080.heic IMG_4081.heic
  21. I was on a cruise to those countries in march 2023, and nothing beyond a covid vaccination certificate was required (or suggested!) and I’m not sure it was the countries that even cared about covid, I think it was hollland America. If they were needed, the line should tell you with plenty of notice
  22. I did a BA to Santiago trip last year, early March. The above post aligns with our experience in the Falklands, etc. but I would also stress how important it is to have LIGHT clothing for both ends of the trip. Our experience was Buenos Aires (low 90s) and Montevideo were much hotter than Santiago (80ish) but both warranted short sleeves and shorts in the daytime if you wanted to do much walking or anything outdoors at all. We realized we packed much more options for the middle of the trip than for the start and end!
  23. I also am booked on this trip, did so in Dec directly with Regent. Found out here on CC a week later about the changes. Mixed bag for me, as I am happy with more sea days and have no strong desire to do Athens or some of the other ports over. But I agree with the “bait and switch” claims of others, and think those booked have every right to make these claims and be angry! This isn’t a case of “operational reasons” as we cruisers are all accustomed to. It isn’t adding or dropping one port, or minor time changes. Take a look my screeenshots to see at what it originally said online when we booked in Dec 9th, versus the update we got last week: Dropping more than half a dozen ports!
  24. @LHARTWICK they very much do still provide paper maps at the entrance in a big display box, and the show times and closures etc are most up to date there. Although apparently it isn’t the best for navigation, @negn ! we are locals and annual members so we walk to the zoo from our home. In holiday times they also have light displays and winter themed shows. another tip - Alberts Treetop Restaurant is the nicest (only sit down) restaurant in the zoo and it takes reservations. It’s pricey, but good -and not much more expensive than the othergrab and go or cafeteria options around the zoo. That said, they all are not bad for “amusement park” type food and there is more to be found than the usual fried fare and gimmicky stuff. Also, many kiosks and restaurants serve local craft beers, wines and mixed drinks if that is of interest… enjoy!
  25. Currently, I think the Seattle route from ATL is the only one Alaska flies, but they are starting a San Diego to ATL flight in May. I wouldn’t let their light presence at the airport deter you from trying them, especially in first class. For a flight this long, they will have a full meal service and an experience on par with Deltas. I fly with them regularly, and would be comfortable with this, especially since Seattle is a major hub for them, enabling them to more quickly recover in the case of any irregular operations.
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