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  1. Just an un-educated guess, perhaps, IMHO but I will look again "if and when" we are ready and decided to book a cruise in the near future ... quite possibly NCL is burying other misc. & administrative fees, indirect costs & overheads fees into that category of surcharges, i.e. Covid-19 recovery fees for all that extra PPE measures onboard, etc. Afterall, disposable & consumable supplies for generalized infection controls measures carry a cost ... and, it is being passed along to someone. Slightly off-topic, we've dine in restaurants lately that chose to impose a Covid-19 surcharge here in the NY area, as permitted ... not to mention, the suggested tipping scale has been bumped up and rounded up, for one's convenience, at 18%, 20% and 25% plus a custom write-up amount. I am sure FDR's team doesn't need to read this to get more ideas on imposing it. Or, just chalk it off as the inflationary trend in general ... be prepared for shocking high dining menu prices, not at your local Red Lobster chains ... rather, it's the Applebees and alike, LOL.
  2. FYI - "Clear-19" Rapid Testing services for NY area ... 24 Hours next day PCR results for $175 p/p per test or Rush 2 Hours PCR results, emailed from point-of-swap for $389 p/p per test ($50 off using the code "Rush50" as shown on the online portal). CPT code, results & info provided to submit to one's own insurance plan for coverage and reimbursement, as appropriate. https://www.clear19rapidtesting.com/travel I knew as others in our extended family circles connected to the global airline sector have mentioned this as a service to those that must travel for urgent & emergency reasons on ultra short notice to go abroad. This is NOT an endorsement of the above and not affiliated or connected with them whatsoever. There are other established labs that claimed & offer 24, 48 and results that meet the 72 hours protocol needed for int'l air travel, etc. - with the ever changing & evolving guidelines and restrictions. But ... ouch, these services are pricey but to each his/her own ... enough to cover a night's lodging (or more) for our land-based travel at the junior suite level or higher with the extra club amenities. There are options and alternatives ... no need to reevaluate again on risk mitigations, upcoming changes are not - IMHO - going to ease up anytime soon.
  3. Be mindful that many of the popular NYC hotels, including the ones near the piers (Brooklyn & midtown) as well as the ones in/around the Times Square theater districts, have been contracted and used by the City of NY to house the homeless population (and as shelters for those that tested positive for C-19 virus) - and, while some left & the hotels returned to the traveling "public" ... not others & they aren't going anytime soon, with legal challenges & cases being in the courts. Some of that could and are expected to change in the coming months, i.e. eviction moratorium under a lame duck city mayoral administration and the ongoing feud with the governor, as to who's calling the shots & able to issue executive orders. Beware of your hotel's surroundings, both day & evenings/late night if returning - travel smartly and be careful of crime & personal safety underground when taking the subways ... the mass transit system is used by milions on a daily basis as more are expected to gradually return to offices & place of work. Bedbugs remained to be an issue, as the little bugs don't care whether it's a 2 stars or 4 and 5 stars property. Feel free to use this link to check against the list, as reported - lots of red zones or hot spots marked in the midtown west / Manhattan, as in Times Square & in walking distance of MCT - Pier 88/90/92 https://bedbugregistry.com/hotel/chains/ P.S. If you find a hotel at a location and price that you like in the metro NY area, for the dates you are looking ahead for - as long as it has a good & flexible cancellation policy, book it & lock in the deal & discount ... but check back with those discount/online sites for changes in prices and maybe, better deals as it get closer. We can all probably see and get a better feel by this Fall as things continue to evolve.
  4. Use this link to find your Fi account details & upgrade pricing as existing customer, should be the same as ours (discounts & offers are higher for "new" accounts, as always) - your old "Moto G6" in working order (scratches & minor dents and normal wear/tear are okay, as long as the screen isn't chipped or cracked - keep your Moto Turbo charger & USB-C cable as they are 100% compatible for use), still get a $15 trade-in value, deducted once you shipped in & upon satisfactory (that'll cover your sales tax). Google Fi will send you a free, postage prepaid box to pack & ship your trade-in device for a credit against your credit card used for the transaction, easy & simple. Or, you can keep it as a spare/backup ... giveaway to a neighbor or friend, donate to a non-profit charity / domestic violence help agency, etc. The Moto Power 21 is currently priced at $149 for u/g pricing and the Moto Ace 5G is slightly higher at $199, with 6.6" and 6.7" Max Vision HD+ display (it is very sharp compared to the Moto G6) and takes very good & with its 48MP camera ... battery is 5,000 mAH good for 2 days+ for the "Power" and 3 days+ on the "Ace 5G" (which is a little more future proof as global travelers & cruising, as other countries are ahead with their networks, which Fi fortunately get on without being throttled) at $50 more. These are very good prices for a fully unlocked smartphone as you probably well know. https://fi.google.com/about/promo-terms/?p=2021-july20-motorola-one The hardware & performance of the 2021 Moto Power is actually not as good/fast as the 2020 Power, which Fi no longer offer, but we're really impressed with the extended standby & use time - DW no longer need to put hers on an overnight charger like the G6, even with moderate to heavy use on cellular data (WiFi is "easier" on draining the battery). *** In contrast, my pocket-sized & slim iPhone SE 2020 has a 1800+ mAH battery, which should last a day but for travel and extra reserve power, I added - at my own expense - an integrated battery case rated at 3,200 mAH+ or better, nearly tripling the total standby/use time. While on trips & tours abroad all day, there is no way to plug in a car charger & those available USB ports aren't always working nor reliable/secure enough for me to connect for a boost - the old way was a standalone USB power brick/portable battery. Good luck & I think you will like either one after the upgrade and find it will serve you well for a while, for what I consider a very nominal upcharge to trade for.
  5. This has become one of my favorite & must always pack and carry on trips - whether by car/road and future cruises - it is compact, light and easy to "connect" to those wall outlets - made by GE, less than $3 each by getting a 3-pack, taxes & shipped free (Prime members) on Amazon. Use one of these together with an Euro adapter found on most cruise ships - you should be able to use the typical dual voltage, auto-sensing 110/220 power adapter/charger or power needs. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZK623KN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Almost all small electronics, chargers, laptops, mobile devices, tablets & chromebooks, etc. come with a dual-voltage power plug - just make sure that it is UL or equivalent rated and approved ... while connected, those "gadgets" should run cool or no more than "warm" to one's hand touch - and, should never be left unattended while away from the stateroom for fire & electrical safety reasons.
  6. Since you are a Fi subscriber/user with a Moto G6 - data coverage is good in 140 countries and being familiar with how to use Google Maps, both live & offline - I recommend downloading the regional/local map for places that you plan to visit ahead (I believe the updated/current maps are valid for at least 30 to 60 days of use) whether it's for walking or driving. To avoid unnecessary data charges, set it to Airplane mode & then re-enable WiFi, should your device get free access to VPN secured WiFi coverage in places. BTW, off-topics: you should consider upgrading & replacing your Moto G6 to a newer model, like the inexpensive 2021 Moto Power thru Google Fi channel for the account, with its larger battery that's good for 2 to 3 days of typical use, extra mSD card storage capacity and just better features, functions & current Android security patches ... the Moto G6 is on Pie/Android 9 and has reached end of life support by Motorola. DW was briefly on the Moto Power 2020, which is even better but no longer available thru Fi, and only paid $50+tax for it during one of the sales promo. Otherwise, Moto's newest 5G models thru Fi are also nicely priced for an upgrade and worthwhile ... DW already switched to Samsung's Galaxy S21 5G, one of the flagship with excellent 3 lens camera & took advantage of the trade-in discount. My primary smartphone is a Pixel 3a XL with great camera, nice hardware & wonderful software so I am biased using Android OS, current using an eSim card with the physical card slot free for a 2nd. sim (prepaid or Google Fi data only) as it is running Android 11, waiting for this Fall's upgrade to Android 12. We do use iPad & iPad Air 2 unlocked, plus my current backup is an iPhone SE 2020 (with an extended & integrated battery pack-case) - also eSim enabled so that when traveling abroad, I have 2 dual-sim, dual-standby mobile devices to access cellular, data & WiFi as needed. Enjoy your upcoming cruise & stay healthy !
  7. We just came back yesterday from a 5 days road trip to Newport, RI and greater Boston, MA area - the hotel pool in both were closed, whereas the fitness center were open. I assumed that you've called and/or email the hotel directly (not the 800 # or central reservations) to confirm the hours & that the pool for guest use are open. Boston's historic Chinatown on Beach Street is more lively than a few years ago with a new wave of more upscale & fusion restaurants that cater to the changing demographics. Ditto on some of the retail stores and food places not surviving the pandemic, and others with modified/shortened or reduced hours - check & reconfirm those on your bucket list, call ahead. Enjoy your visit.
  8. NCL would generate a steadier stream of revenue for their enhanced products on this private island if they can overcome the obstacles for assuring a successful tendering stop, nearly each and every time one of their ships in the fleet has a scheduled call there for the day ... like Harvest Caye. Let's just hope that this year's hurricane season is going to be kind on NCL's renewed investment on the island ... and the poor, lonely "skeletal" and small NCL crew members that live, work & stay on the island (year-round ??) to maintain it.
  9. Is your Play Store up-to-date and running API level 27 or higher on Oreo, Pie or higher with the latest OEM Security patches ?? I have a Xiaomi global dual sim, rooted & running ASOP "Q" non-stock rom and the newest "Norwegian" app installed and ran just fine. No issues with stock "Red Valet Cake" on DW's Samsung Galaxy S21 5G or my Pixel 3aXL and I could sideload onto Fire HD 10 as a bypass ... Ditto on iOS 14.6 supported hardware. Check your list of installed apps to see if it is still there or not, and for any error messages, etc. from the Play Store page ... power cycle/restart your Android and try to install it again. Post the specific basic of your smartphone, if you like.
  10. Old timers (gosh, how we find ourselves using this term) that missed the Le Bistro dining experience then should be able to identify what this was (image is a bit fuzzy from whatever digital camera I used back in 2009) ... one of my favorite. I can still get it nowadays but just not the same. FWIW, I voted "no change" but I have trouble feeling "a large improvement in NCL's overall product" vs the OSH and even earlier days.
  11. Am I surprised or shocked about "their" response, not at all. Other countries, especially those in the Asia Pacific regions and Southeast Asia, take drastic measures upon news and reporting of travelers testing positive, until proven & re-tested otherwise. The current outbreak in the Philippines is nothing compared to that of Indonesia, but next door to Singapore at Malaysia - it is pretty serious & dynamic, with the focus shifting away from India and the summer Olympic in Japan going ahead without spectators. Countries with adjacent border boundaries have locked down and shut their borders again recently. Google the latest numbers & decide on how one choose to interpret the data. Here's the latest on Genting Dream - half of the passengers had been permitted to disembark early ... the entire crew remaining on board (no "shore leaves" for being off-duty ...) It was felt that these CTN short cruises for restricted guests from the region only are the safest way to manage the re-starting of cruising. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/more-than-half-on-dream-cruises-ship-with-covid-19-patient-have-disembarked-some-told-to
  12. Just looked, again, at the BA sailing for mid October, 7 nights RT out of NYC - with the Latitude Insider's promo back again (3x points total per night for a balcony). #Cough #Cough - woohoo, OMG ... a price drop of $30 for 2 ($15 per person) vs. when I last checked a month ago. Now, that's a possibility but given the inflated base price late in the hurricane season (we've gotten quite a few close calls on fast moving Nor-Easters in recent years ... and, there's basically no alternate ports to navigate to shelter) - not exactly a bargain nor deal-maker. But, I think DW is a bit more open to consider, seriously, a last minute booking if the "price is right" if I can work up the numbers to her likings, with shareholder's OBC and using 2 CN certificates - as it get closer to/past the final payment & penality deadline next month (mid August) while eyeballing the evolving "delta" trends around the globe. Otherwise, going to stick to our quick & mini regional getaway where we can get a 500 to 600 sf studio suite and/or a full size 1 bedroom suite for little to no efforts ... but, prices are rising there too. Got my "insurance bet" booking a nice resort for Fall foliage getaway, just pack, load the luggage & extras and drive - despite higher gasoline prices, but.
  13. Just check out the latest port schedule for Cozumel for your specific date to see how many ships are scheduled to be there - we're on the Escape calling on Cozumel in 2019 with all the piers full and had to tender in. It was a fairly efficient operation with both the forward and aft in use to un/load tenders at the same time ... transfer itself was about 10 minutes, boarding and disembarking took longer.
  14. The steps should be the same for iPhones as they've been for our assorted Android devices, pre-pandemic as "I" do not know for sure whether NCL's satellite partner has done anything difference or made upgrade/changes to the onboard system, server and logon/logoff sequence, etc. The key steps are to switch off the "radios" including WiFi by putting the device into airplane mode first, then, turn back on WiFi only and connect to the ship's signal (SSiD) which remained on while docked and/or tendering at non-US ports (as explained by others too) and make sure cellular is off, especially for "roaming" purposes (i.e. VZW or AT&T signals to no longer be on their "home" signals). To access and use those free 100, 250 or whatever xxx airtime minutes, one must setup an onboard account, and log-in or log-out each and every time to start & stop the meter counts - or else, those MB data allowance and minutes will run down very quickly. It is (was) fine to stay connected to the ship's WiFi signal onboard as the NCL "app" will function and display information, such as charges posted to the stateroom, allow for making dining reservations and looking up deck plans, activities & events for the day, etc. at no charge. Those do not use up or deplete airtime minutes as it is using inTRAnet data and not inTERnet data. Assuming that NCL will follow Royal's eMuster protocol, the smartphone could become one of the devices used for all stateroom guests to register, participate and get acknowledged for attending & completing the mandatory safety drills - whew, that's going to be a huge relief to not stand shoulder-to-shoulder in that atrium lobby or theater for that 15-20 minutes of presentation about "what to do ... when you hear the ..." and then, the dismissal and return to sailaway activities.
  15. Good point - as a matter of fact, Google Fi gets absolutely no service whatsoever as it is considered a hybrid MNVO (think "prepaid plans" at sea) whereas I used to get "free" SMS/text messaging at sea while on T-Mo, even when roaming/data is turned off - including "headers" for CC posts/forums that I follow (i.e. roll calls). - no voice call or data access via ship's towers, whether at sea, near a port/shore or while docked. As a matter of fact, NCL leave their WiFi signals on at all times these days - while anchoring at GSC - it seemed they beamed the signals via microwave relays (medical center where I used to work set them up over 15 years ago with various off-site facilities nearby (line-of-sight). Whether one is on ship's paid/not free/unlimited Wifi or actually using relayed cellular signals via satellite, must be careful about and knowing how to set up our own preferred smartphones, iPhones and iPads with cellular access - otherwise, NCL will get their chances to "ding" our wallets and/or onboard account for more charges. A friend of ours was happy to get their 250 free minutes on one of the NCL sailings not too long ago and forgot to stop the "meter" counters by logging off, and was out of data by mid evening on Day 1 ... ending up spending $$ to buy more data. My workaround has been with a dual-sim global smartphone and Google Voice so that calls are forwarded and I can check transcribed VM as needed - nowadays, I am having fun configuring our newer Samsung, Pixel and iPhone (SE 2020 - it's a cute one) using eSim, turning them into dual sim devices, mixing up on how to be frugal & smart on what & how we spend our cruise dollars - should/will to try them out soon on NCL (nothing booked yet ... watching the trends & return to sailings around the world.)
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