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Everything posted by slidergirl

  1. Unfortunate. But, when a hotel can be guaranteed guests with a massive contract from a cruise line, well, the hotel may not worry too much about renovations. They know they have a "captive" audience. For the 'non-smoking' room issue - that happens everywhere. At my current hotel, we are non-smoking in rooms, out on the patios and balconies, and in our indoor and outdoor public areas. We tell everyone that when they check in and we point it out on the registration card they sign. Yet, when I walk the courtyard at night, I find a couple of cigarette butts and the occasional cigar butt on the ground. It's not difficult to smell smoke in a room once a guest has left, regardless of if it is tobacco or weed. We have to take that room off market for a full day - do a deep clean, bring in the ozinators and air purifiers for a day. We will charge the last guest a $250 cleaning fee. But, some hotels don't care. If you have your rooms filled by a cruise line, their ROI may be enough to not worry about the rest of the time. Westmark hotels as a chain aren't the best thought of, kind of like maybe a step up from your Motel 6 (although I've stayed in some nice renovated 6s before). Honestly, if I were you, I'd not buy the hotel package from HAL the next time and find your own hotels. You'll probably save some money in the process.
  2. And, from Aquahound: There was recently a thread like this on another board, and there are some posters who actually called people names who request tables for 2. They called them anti-social, accused them of being of the smart-phone generation therefore unable to talk to others, etc. It was bizarre. All because some people had a different dining preference than them. To answer the OP, heck no it's not rude. Personally, after a whole day of being social whether its in ports, by the pool, in the lounges, etc, I prefer to spend dinner time with just my wife. If others think that's rude or weird, to heck with them. Thank you! My story of why I dine solo is not an exaggeration. I got those "brave" comments each night the first time I tried a larger table for a cruise, my first step out after a horrible divorce. I decided I'd just rather dine solo after that. I don't feel that I've missed out on anything by doing so. I spend all evening at the hotel exchanging banter with my guests. To do the same on my vacations would be like a "busman's holiday" to me. Not having to chatter for even a few hours a day is a welcome respite for me. I'm not anti-social, I'm an old woman that is the only one who isn't wedded to their smart-phone at work, not mentally defective... I just enjoy my peace and quiet on vacation. I don't begrudge anyone who enjoys large tables and engaging in conversation on vacation, so please don't begrudge those of use who enjoy the quiet alone or an intimate time with SOs. If everyone wanted to do the same thing, the World would be a most boring place.
  3. I also bought EF bath towels and linens from Garnet Hill. I get the catalogs, too, but I'm always checking the website. I never know what I'm going to find on sale. Since I've lost about 25 lbs since October (due to my meds for what's ailing me, and add in the lack of appetite I've gotten from the meds), I have had to go buying again to find things that will fit me. Since I've got to buy new stuff, it has to definitely be multi-purpose because I just can't afford to buy "work" clothes "everyday" clothes and "vacation" clothes. I have a wonderful EF pleated knit dress - I have to find an excellent tailor to see if it can be altered at all, if not, I might put it up here for someone.
  4. I had mentioned I bought a Woolx V-neck T-shirt and was waiting to try it out. Well, it was GREAT. I wore it to work the other day. Our Front Desk is always warm (under those nasty can lights and no air circulation due to the setup of the Front Desk), and by 9pm we are sweating bullets. Worse in the Summer. I wore the Woolx under my linen jacket - I didn't feel like I was sweating and at the end of the night, it didn't stink. Last night, I wore the same jacket with a J Jill cotton tank top - I was fanning myself and I WAS sweating. So, first try with the Woolx was a good one. If this one turns to work out with longer use, I will probably go back to that website an buy a long sleeve version. 100% wool. Can be used as the primary shirt or, as it gets cooler, a layering piece or even a base layer. Always looking for new options that I can multipurpose. Clo - I bet the "itty bitty bag" is a standard 22" carry on.
  5. Yes, Bear Ears is one of the monuments the current regime decided to decimate, despite the joint agreement of the Native American tribes in the area and the government to preserve as much sacred area as they originally did. Now, the current regime has split it into two much, much smaller pieces and has started to process to allow extractive mining and fracking in the area, destroying beautiful landscape and lands considered sacred to the local tribes. All because someone didn't like that the previous administration created the monument with massive input from the Native Americans and outdoor enthusiasts. Kind of like deciding to open up new ports to massive cruise ships to dump it's guests for a few hours and make money. Damn to saving and preserving pristine areas for future generations...
  6. Also look at the US Grant. A classic old hotel. Near Gaslamp. Another more "hip" hotel is the Andaz, up the street a little more from the US Grant. I'm trying to think a little outside the box for you, rather than the same old cruise favorites and big chains.
  7. Also, look at the Garnet Hill website - they sell EF and have it on sale from time to time.
  8. Hmm. SkinnyDip, done Free Dive. Freestyle done Free Dive. Could be a possibility. Anyone done their brown rice "burger"? I'm not a red meat person, so anything else done Free Dive would satisfy. I just get a little tired of the portobello option.
  9. Good way of describing it. I lost my husband of 30 years through divorce (he left Christmas weekend to go with his mistress). I had also traveled for business, but traveling solo for vacations was a new experience. I looked at it as my "Eat, Pray, Love" transition (definitely did the Eat and the Pray, no Love yet). I found that I loved traveling solo. Going solo on a cruise is a good first step - you are in a kind of cocoon where you can dictate when and where you want to do things as much as you want. I branched out after that first cruise to where I have now traveled to Hawaii, France, Italy (multiple times), Mexico on my own. I've stepped out with a small group of women and have done Kenya, Egypt, Jordan. I've done things that the now-ex would have never wanted to do. The freedom and independence is liberating. Go for it!
  10. I'll go a different direction than the hotels next to the cruise terminal. Look at the Kimpton Solamar (NOT the Palomar). It's in the Gaslamp district. 3 miles from the airport, 3 miles from the Zoo. 1.5 miles from the cruise terminal. Tons of good restaurants within walking distance. It's a hip, upscale hotel, definitely not a cookie-cutter chain. Kimpton hotels try to find buildings with good "bones" and turn them into hotels. I've stayed at a bunch of them and have loved them all. I've stayed at one that was an old bank building and one that is on the upper floors of an office complex. You said you like nice hotels and aren't concerned with price. A sample shows around $300/night. If you sign up for IHG, you'll get free wifi.
  11. The checkpoint positions have nothing to do with the airlines - it is the domain of the French version of TSA and CBP. Don't dump on them "because they're French" - I've been at several US airports where I've had to wait a long time in the lines upon re-entry. JFK and ATL are also notorious for not having enough lines open for the crowd. Also, remember that the US doesn't have exit control - you just show your passport to either the counter agent or gate agent. Other countries do have exit control along with security check.
  12. My current work pants are from Betabrand. Check the website. I have the Dress Yoga Pants straight style in black, charcoal and tan. I have the Travel pant too in black. These are a nice slim fit for me, not skinny. If I were to take something other than my jeans, I'd be taking the Travel Pant and maybe one of the others. My current jean is the Athleta Sculptek jean: light and easy for traveling.
  13. As many or as few as you want. And, it depends on what cubes you use for what purpose. To see a video of how to pack a 22" carryon bag with cubes, google is your friend - you'll find good videos on how to pack with cubes. With my slightly larger than 22" roller, when I take it, I usually have 1 large cube, 1 folder, 2 medium cubes, and 2 slim cubes. I have a mix of types, from Eagle Creek Specter bags to some from eBags that I got when I bought a MotherLode for my niece.
  14. You just did "normal" security at BCN, you also had to do exit passport control at CDG to start your "outside of Schengen" flight, different things, Yes, I've been there when trying to get through the lines at the Skyteam terminal to catch a flight home from the M pier. Yes, even with "priority" due to flying in the front, it took a while. To me, it's not that CDG is ridiculously slow, it is a HUGE hub for Skyteam and that takes time. Whatever the connecting airport is, I always leave 3 hours for connections when I'm doing international. If I happen to blow through Immigration & Customs quickly, I will just find the nearest lounge that I have access to and relax.
  15. I had 2 nights in Wadi Musa. Spent about 8 hours inside Petra and I didn't see all I wanted to see. The second day, I got to explore Wadi Rum. Drive among the sand dunes, see some petroglyphs, found a Bedouin with his camel taking a break and talking on his cell phone (!), lunch in a Bedouin camp. Wadi Rum is closer to Aqaba - if you want to play "Lawrence of Arabia", this is a good place to play. Petra is a hard excursion to do with just part of a day from a ship - it would be just a "checklist" trip.
  16. Oh my. As I read your third sentence, visions of "Dirty Dancing" and "Viva Las Vegas" took over my brain...I also thought "Showgirls", but that is a little too sleazy for HAL... But, Postmodern Jukebox regularly plays in Las Vegas, so I guess they would qualify in my mind as "Las Vegas Lite." HAL really isn't the cruise line you want if you need entertainment like "the old days." I don't need all that much - I never liked the production shows, don't care for magicians or comedians anywhere (land or sea), I don't dance. Give me a little music of almost any type, performed well, and I'm good.
  17. I have to really think about it - my brain is saying "no, use the money for what you need" but my heart is saying "do it, you will probably not get back." $640 round trip, sitting in the middle, blowing my frequent guest miles to stay a night here and there, only pay for food and local transportation....
  18. St. Pietro Station is on the opposite of St. Peter's Square from where the Hoho busses make their stop. I only did a HoHo once, when I wasn't feeling well but wanted to be outside. If I remember, the one I took (the red one) had their stop a couple of blocks down (East) Via della Concilliazione. The train station is to the South , about a 15 minute walk to St. Peter's Square.
  19. Best idea if you need your SPF 8 or 15 sunscreen... Just don't put your tanning oil (does anyone really still use it?) in a GoToob. I put some of my Argan Oil in one to take to Kenya with me - the Toob actually absorbed the oil!!!
  20. My pleasure. Delta is having a fare sale right now. I'm trying to rationalize if a Basic Economy fare (aka - sitting in a middle seat because you can't reserve a seat) is worth a few days in Rome... I may take it up and hit it up this Fall.
  21. I had to teach my Filipino Front Desk Agents what that little phrase meant 😉 Best line I've ever heard a guest say when referring the the helpfulness of a former Front Desk Manager: (in a proper Southern accent) "he's as useful as teats on a bull." I've got that one catalogued in my brain, hoping to use that one sometime!!!
  22. Is your ship porting in Aqaba or Eliat? If Eliat, you have to allow time for the border crossing. It's a 2 hour drive from Aqaba to Wadi Musa. To walk down to Treasury is about a mile. Just walking down and up, there's an hour. So, you've got 5 hours of transport via vehicle and foot round trip and you haven't walked further than The Treasury. There is so much more to be seen, so plan carefully. I doubt you'll have time to hike up to the Monestery. You might have time to walk a little bit further down to see maybe maybe some of the ruins of various temples and churches. Pick up a little souvenir from the son of the New Zealand woman who married a Beduin. He has some nice silver pieces.
  23. don't go to the Peninsula. Take your friends up to Orange St. Sure, no tourist shops or restaurants, but a nice beach. Or, take them down to Crystal Cove - a glimpse of what the area USED to be before it became The OC. Hmm. Utah. We're hotter here so far this year than usual. Drive up to Park City to the Tanger Outlets and visit the Columbia outlet to see if there's something that piques your fancy. My travel long sleeve shirts are all from Ex-Officio. Bought some and wore them on my Egypt/Jordan trip back in 2009 - worked great in those 109 degree temps while exploring the Valley of the Kings! And, they are all still going strong. My others are some very lightweight T-shirts from The North Face and Prana - tissue burnout type. I just bought a Woolx T-shirt to see how it works - supposedly "no stink" and wearable or days. I've got a camping trip coming up, so I'm going to test it out.
  24. Definitely nothing within walking distance. Even the "closest" hotels aren't walking distance. You could always get an Uber down to Ron Jon or the closest CVS/Walgreens (there were at least 3 on the street between Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Amazon.com has quite a few travel size sunscreens. If you are going from Florida south, an SPF 30 is not really a "high spf." You still get tan and you are better protected from damaging sun.
  25. OK. Armando al Pantheon. Reservations are a MUST. you can go to their website, look at their menu, make a res... It is a block to the right of the Pantheon (if you are facing the Pantheon). Also, head up to the rooftop bar at the Grand Hotel della Minerve, behind the Pantheon. Then, in front of and to the right, there is a wonderful store that sells yummy pastries and makes good sandwiches. Then, up the Piazza to the right, find Tazzo d' Oro Coffee. My place for my espresso in the morning and the absolute favorite granita caffe con panna (coffee granita with whip cream). Figure out what you want, go to the cashier and pay for it, take your receipt to the counter, put it down, wait for one of the baristas to serve you.
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