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GTJ

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  • Location
    Flushing, Queens (New York City)
  • Interests
    Buses, railroads, public transportation
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Relais Nordik
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Canada

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  1. Am I correct that you're looking at round-trip excursions from Skagway to Fraser and return, one-way by railroad and the other way by motorcoach? The railroad itself is only now preparing its 2022 excursions. It seems that for 2022 it is offering motorcoach connections at Fraser only for through passage between Skagway and Whitehorse, and not for round-trip excursions from Skagway (it is offering such excursions to Carvross, but that is 8 hours return). Perhaps the railroad will add such excursions, but at least for now it would appear that such excursions are only being offered by separate tour companies. My understanding is that most tour companies schedule the motorcoach trip for two hours between Skagway and the train arrival or departure time at Fraser, with actual driving being about one hour, plus time as needed for immigration and customs. So that leaves some time for quick photo stops here or there, but likely not anything substantial (especially when traveling by motorcoach from Skagway to Fraser, and with the need to make the connection on-time, less time pressure on if traveling by motorcoach from Fraser to Skagway, as there is no connection to be met). But the details will vary depending on the tour company's choice of charter bus service to be provided.
  2. My understanding is that rental car companies will not allow their vehicles to be driven on gravel roads like the Dalton Highway. Neither I nor my wife have licenses to operate motor vehicles, so if we were to go we would need to be on the bus. I have long had the Dalton Highway tour to the Arctic on my bucket list, but have yet to do it. When I was last in Fairbanks it had been the furthest north I traveled (by railroad), and I returned south the next day. It is certainly an adventurous trip, but if I had a few days in Fairbanks before having to move on, I would take a look at going to Deadhorse. But not something for everyone! I note that tour offered by Alaska Aurora Adventures is only 10 hours in duration, as compared to the 16-hour tour offered by the Northern Alaska Tour Company. Obviously, it cannot offer the same extent of activity and sightseeing a tour that is six hours shorter. But it does allow for a later departure time. Indeed, I see that the company offers Fairbanks pick-ups as late as 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., meaning that these trips will not return to Fairbanks until midnight. To the Arctic Circle the road is paved, so one could drive a rental vehicle if licensed.
  3. I have not heard if any of the vessels have actually been sold. As for ending the sale and Blount resuming service at some future date, an optimist might say, "So you're telling me there's a chance," notwithstanding it being one chance in a million. I am not hopeful of that chance.
  4. For some time I have been familiar with Dalton Highway Express, though I have not traveled with the company personally. It operates regularly-scheduled service between Fairbanks and Deadhorse, leaving Fairbanks on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and returning from Deadhorse (near Prudoe Bay) the following day, from June 4, 2022, through August 31, 2022. Like many things in Alaska, fares are expensive: $500 round-trip (lower fares to and from intermediate points). The challenge is if you want to make it all the way and wade in the Arctic Ocean. Deadhorse Camp offers a 2-hour tour and shuttle from Deadhorse to the ocean and back, but its regular daily tour times are at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Since the Dalton Highway Express is scheduled to arrive in Deadhorse at 10:00 p.m., and leave the next morning at 8:00 a.m., you would probably need to make special arrangements to get to and from the ocean during the ten hours you would have in Deadhorse. (There is continuous 24-hour daylight in Deadhorse until the sun finally sets on July 29, 2022, and thereafter until August 15, 2022, there would be continuous daylight or twilight each day, so going on a tour in the "middle of night" would be just fine.)
  5. I reside near LaGuardia Airport and the hotels that advertise themselves as being "at" LaGuardia Airport. It is likely that taxi or taxi-like service would be less expensive and more responsive than the Princess-arranged bus service. If you really want to go by bus, then do so with our public transportation system, and pay $2.75 per person (that's what we do regularly), but $39 per person, even on an express bus, is, in my opinion, a rip-off. If direct transportation is desired, and there's more than one person traveling, then go by taxi or taxi-like service.
  6. For substantial cruises, ACL is about it for the time being. There had been another line, Blount Small Ship Adventures, but its operations were suspended with the pandemic, and it is unclear if that line will be coming back or not. Seastreak operates occasional trips along the Hudson River to West Point, similar to the former Hudson Day Line cruises, usually in connection with events, but it is a rather short "cruise" and maybe not the extent to which you're expecting. Recently Hornblower Cruises & Events acquired American Queen Voyages, and the subsidiary operations of Victory Cruise Lines. These inland and small vessel operating companies would certainly be of the character to operate along the Hudson River, though they do not do so presently. But keep your eyes open as to their future plans. (Pearl Seas Cruises is similarly situated, but a much smaller operation and one that seems more focused on serving the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes with its single vessel, and probably not the Hudson River and Erie Canal.) Hope this information is helpful.
  7. I was passing through Rhode Island several years ago, on my way back from Québec. Having a maritime yearning, I traveled on the Interstate Navigation ferry that was then operating once-daily from Providence to Block Island, connecting there with the Viking Fleet ferry that operates once-daily from Block Island to Montauk (allowing a few hours to visit the island . . . and getting sun-burned in the process!). Then the Hampton Jitney from Montauk back to my home in Flushing. In short, Providence is "close," but it is usually a place enroute to or from someplace else! Perhaps while passing through on a future journey I will have time to visit. (Alas, Interstate Navigation gave up its route to and from Providence, and now only operates to and from Point Judith, so it will have to be some other route!)
  8. Mr. Cudahy has been a prolific transportation writer, mostly well-researched books on rail transportation, but a notable few on maritime history. In looking at the Steamship Historical Society of America website I do not immediately see any archives. I tend to learn a lot from timetables or brochures--for they show a company's routes and otherwise imply a lot of their histories and their competitors--and I have found a few, but many, of such documents posted online.
  9. I will try to take a look. I see some listings at Ebay . . . . At present I am writing on local history, and one of the sources I have consulted is a "definitive" book on one line, The Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach Railroad. The company operated an integrated service from East New York to Canarsie via railroad, connecting with steamboats to Rockaway Beach. The book does a very job in describing the rail history, but comparatively little about the company's steamboat history (which operated from 1866 through 1905). Similarly, in reviewing contemporaneous newspaper reports about the Great South Bay Ferry Company, there's a fair amount of reporting about the company's rail service in Freeport (N.Y.), but less about the connecting steamboats to Point Lookout in Long Beach (which operated from 1901 through 1921). A few years ago Brian J. Cudahy (formerly with the Federal Transit Administration) authored the books Over & Back: The History of Ferryboats in New York Harbor and Around Manhattan Island and other Maritime Tales of New York; and Sarah Bird Write authored Ferries of America: A Guide to Adventurous Travel, all of which I have in my library. But substantially fewer books than the number covering railroad history.
  10. It sounds like Vancouver might have been planning for the past rather than for the future. In my profession--working within the bus industry--vehicle lengths increased a few years later from the once-standard 40-foot motorcoach to the present standard of 45-feet. A few bus terminals then became obsolete (though not as seriously as Canada Place). Arguably it was foreseeable, as standard bus lengths were 35-feet before the 40-foot length became standard. True, sometimes it is hard to predict what the future will bring, but if Canada Place was too constrained at the time it opened, then it sounds like there was a real planning problem. I will have to take a look. I have a few ferry books, but none on oceanliners. Protecting American industry can be a hot-button issue, balanced by the desire of consumers for competition (i.e., lower prices and better service). Not an easy issue to resolve. In the past I flew to and from Mirabel airport in Montréal, so despised by all that it was eventually abandoned and all the carriers returned to Dorval!
  11. You are very much on point that each of us have our own financial limitations, even though the premium might not be extreme. We traveled to Bermuda in 2019 via Celebrity Cruises, 7-nights (with 4 days in Bermuda) for $846 per person. By having budgeted responsibly for a few years we were able to afford that amount, but we would not have been able to afford the higher Oceania fares. We don't drink, don't use internet enroute, and neither of us were are fazed by using public transportation service, so the Oceania extras would not have been critical for us. We would like to be able to afford the "premium" lines--it is the great intimacy of a smaller vessel that I find most appealing--and even though the premium is not huge, for the time being we cannot. For those who can, it may be a worthwhile and reasonable expenditure. For us, however, it is choice between an inexpensive cruise and no cruise at all.
  12. In thinking about it some more, what I observed was almost certainly would have been Norwegian Cruise Line, not Royal Caribbean International. We were in Bermuda for four days via Celebrity Cruises from Bayonne, and it being part of the Royal Caribbean Group, there would not have been a "competing" Royal Caribbean International vessel at the same time. You sparked my memory into recalling that it was Norwegian Cruise Line that was operating a competing service out of Manhattan, so it must have been that line's small vessel that I saw ferrying its passengers to St. George's. The important point, though, is that none of these carriers are operating their megavessels into St. George's.
  13. From a competitive perspective, the American flag vessels are dwarfed, and a good argument can be made as to the tail wagging the dog. Yet, if you look at the statutory provision granting an exception for Puerto Rico, the competitiveness of an American flag vessel has no relevance as to the continuation of an exemption for foreign flag vessels: "On a showing . . . , by the vessel owner or charterer, that a United States passenger vessel qualified to engage in the coastwise trade is offering or advertising passenger service between a port in Puerto Rico and another port in the United States pursuant to a certificate, the Secretary shall notify the owner or operator of each vessel transporting passengers under subsection (b) [allowing foreign flag vessels to provide such service to and from Puerto Rico] to terminate that transportation within 270 days after the Secretary’s notification." 46 U.S.C. § 55104(c)(1). Under the foregoing statutory provision, a small motorboat could displace a fleet of megavessels. It may well be that the 1886 statute is archaic and no longer relevant in the twenty-first century. But the unions and the small vessel owners may oppose repeal if it will hurt them at all. Still, that opposition might not hold much weight these days, especially when compared to the power they wielded in 1886. A parallel question for thought and consideration: Should British Airways be permitted to transport passengers between New York and Los Angeles? It is essentially the same issue . . . .
  14. In looking at 2022 schedules, all I see calling at St. George's are Regent Seven Seas, Oceania, Seabourn, Windstar, and Silversea, all part of that upper echelon. Yet, Royal Caribbean International has a page on its website, urging potential passengers to "cruise to St. George island, Bermuda." If my memory from a 2019 visit remains accurate, Royal Caribbean operated, or arranged for, a smaller vessel to ferry its passengers from King's Wharf to St. George's, but would that really count? Is it the same as Holland America Line tendering its passengers into St. George's from an off-shore anchorage? In any cases, the 2022 schedule affirms that the masses are relegated to King's Wharf, and only the smaller, more intimate, and expensive, lines can call elsewhere in Bermuda!
  15. A fascinating history--and I don't think maritime history is generally documented as well as land and air transport. (I am presently writing a local history, and as to one integrated railway-steamship company, much more material is available on the route of the railway, and relatively little as to the routes of the steamships.) There was, of course, a large shift, generally stretching from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, when steamship companies were transitioning from the operation of ocean liners going from place-to-place to the operation of cruise liners going on excursions (around the same time that the railroads were abandoning all their trains, leaving only a relatively inconsequential Via Rail and Rocky Mountaineer excursions). I have not found many good books documenting that transition, and how the cruise lines came to flourish and supplant the ocean liners. It sounds like Vancouver made at least two mistakes. First, at the time it was building Canada Place it did not predict the greater size of vessels that would soon be going into service. Five slips is a good size, but to now have effective lost two slips is not good. Second, taking the position that the vessel operators were captive and had no choice but to respond to the city led to the Seattle flight. Where I reside, in New York City, the municipality often takes the same approach with businesses, and as a result many businesses flee to the other side of the Hudson River and set up shop in Jersey City. Is Vancouver now doing anything to get those cruise vessels back? In another (roll call) forum, I asked a question of others, from outside the New York area, who would be joining us on an 11-night cruise out of Bayonne, New Jersey, to the Caribbean, why they elected to leave from New Jersey instead of Florida. In my mind was the same type of reasoning you stated: "They get less time in [the Caribbean] and spend days in the [Atlantic] Ocean." Not many responses, but mostly in the nature of visiting, or cruising together with, friends and family in the northeast. Not enough responses to judge whether the passengers know any difference . . . is it really the case that a good understanding geography is missing from so many passengers?
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