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mking8288

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About mking8288

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    "Big Apple" NY
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    NCL, CCL, RCL
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    Bermuda/Caribbean
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  1. Arecibo Car Service is a neighborhood-based, brick & mortar local service operating 24/7 on 5th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn - other BCT cruisers has been using them just fine, especially from the Red Hook pier as they are nearby. If you pre-book them ahead for a pickup near your LGA hotel, should be fine - it's not your first tier TLC-licensed car service - perhaps half a click behind Dial 7 and Carmel with a citywide & regional presence and dispatch bases. We have "corporate" accounts with 2 other Sunset Park based car services, Mega & Bell for short rides within Brooklyn area for "business" runs on a voucher system ... although I don't recommend them as they don't "like" to send a car out to Queens/LGA empty to pickup for a one-way only back to Red Hook. I am surprised that the hotel doesn't have their favorite local car service nearby, but Arecibo drivers would definitely know their way around the area & shortcut to Pier 12 ... w/o using Waze or GPS navigation. Compare those confirmed price quotes for car services, including Carmel & Dial 7 as they do not impose surge/congestion pricing, unlike & depending ... As always, YMMV.
  2. The newer Breakaway/+ class ships (BA, GA & Escape) do not have any closet light for its Inside cabins, nor (unless they're hidden & we missed them) OV or Balcony cabins - unlike the Dawn/Jewel/Gem's. As for Escape's Inside cabin, the closet itself has about 4 open shelves, relatively narrow (see photo below) - best way to use them is with small or medium-sized packing cubes, to keep items organized ... make use of the "limited" hanging space. You can put one or two 22" or 25" suitcase flat on the floor inside the small closet, 2 medium sized packing cube can lay on top. Slide your rollerboards & spinners under the beds, plenty of space & use packing cubes to organize and store clothing. The small bedside night stands has 2 open shelves, use it to store rolled up underwear/shorts/socks (our slim/small packing cubes fit perfectly w/o items spilling out all over & kept it neat/clean). Under the desk/dresser table, there are 2 small storage shelves in odd shapes) - open the swing-out doors to get to it. Bathroom has open shelves and you can keep extra shoes on the lower ones. Be careful & mind your mind if you decided to get an I/S with the 3rd. upper pullman bed as storage, easy to bang your head into it while getting to/from your side of the main bed. Two of us pack lightly to travel & cruise, plenty of storage space for us for a week+ ... Enjoy your cruise !
  3. OP, the Escape has been trending on early arrival (this past Sunday, docked at 2:30 am & began Express/Self-Assist by 7:30 am) for the last several Bermuda runs and should be good for a smooth disembarkation in the morning, unless ... Just one (1) ship at the MCT, nobody else docking there on that Sunday. Talk to the onboard coordinator for Special Needs early on (forgot her name, she also does Special Events & responsible for clearing the ship ... hence, good idea to check the Roll Call to see if there is a Meet & Greet/Mingle organized, attend & get to know names/faces, etc.) ... she is usually near the gangways on that morning oversee the vessel clearing & disembarkation. Get luggage tags in the best color for early walkoff, as guests with special events begin to be taken to/off the gangway around the same time as Latitude Platinum/+ and those with NCL Airport transfers/tours, once the self assist are off the gangway & on the pier. The Escape team has gotten their disembarkation routines down to a science, using both Fwd & Aft gangways (Aft are sometimes used for those in wheelchairs & crew members assigned will be pushing them) ... the bottleneck is the one & only elevator inside the terminal, nearest to AFT. One of you should stay with the dad & the rest can take 1 of the 2 "down" escalators into the luggage, and meet there & find your luggage, sorted by color codes. Timing-wise, expect to start heading for the gangway by 8:30 from wherever your meeting/waiting location is going to be ... but, get there early enough to sit & wait. Deck 6 and Deck 7 is going to be crowded with folks, many of them eager to rush off the ship - elevators will be jammed full. If you need to go AFT to FWD, avoid cutting thru 6 or 7, use Deck 8 or Deck 5 with its wide & straight corridors. Generally, it takes at least 45 to 60 minutes for the express crowds to be off the ship, from 7:30 to 8:30 am would be my best guess - then, it should be your turn & expect 20 to 30 minutes for the slow trip down to the luggage hall. Once there, someone watch the children while another go find a porter - sometimes, there is a line to queue up for the next available porter with the big cart. Wheelchair person will stay with you and follow the porter, as they have an express/exclusive lane down the middle ... saving you easily 20 to 30 minutes vs. the regular lines. Once you get past the CBP secured area & head for the 12th Avenue street level exit for ground transportation or parking, you can use your Uber App to book/request your rides - do NOT, I repeat do NOT accept rides from anyone claiming to be an authorized "Uber" dispatcher with their vehicles nearby ... ignore them & keep walking. If everything is smoothly flowing, you should be ready to be picked up by 9:15 to 9:30 am for that 30+ minutes ride out to EWR. Tell the porter that you are using Uber to the airport, and he will know what is the best pickup spot allowed that day - sometimes, it can be downstairs next to where the buses are, not always upstairs with the taxi stand; or, across the street on the north side of 12th Avenue with the "official" yellow taxi stand & a dispatcher on duty. Pix #2 below - show the street level bus parking & vehicle pickup/dropoff area at Pier 88, there're at least 3 Uber/Lyft vehicles there & porter dropping off luggage.
  4. Live webcam showing the Norwegian Escape and Celebrity Summit are currently at Dockyard. Even if the Gem was late sailing home from BDA, still has time to catch up by "speeding" and/or if they ride on a good, strong tailwind like the Escape this past weekend. Gem's webcam showing blue skies and calm sea, great for sailing.
  5. mking8288

    Is Hong Kong safe?

    Flyerstalk's headline - in the "news" this morning, quoting a # of frequent HK travelers on their forum (CC's counterpart) - as FYI, including link to a thread to keep up. https://www.flyertalk.com/articles/wait-is-now-actually-a-good-time-to-visit-hong-kong.html Airfares are crazy low to/from HKG in the near term, same for hotel rates at your 4 stars+ properties - if you are/planning to go in the late Fall or 2020 for a cruise, doing a stopover and/or staying there pre- and post- cruise, rebook & reprice those prices to lock in savings and most definitely, insure your trip against unexpected changes. More non-violent protests, gathering and sit-ins planned & held this week, major ones or the larger scale starting again this Friday thru Sunday, and a "big" one next weekend ... very noisy and vocal, passionate (including some counter-ones that support the local police & calls for restoring law and order) events with crowds, that are at times appearing to be disruptive. Foreigner visitors as in "laowei" are treated just fine, just do NOT wear anything black while there - seriously, colorful shirts with graphics or clothing in bright shades will do, except for safety orange or yellow. While there, if you unexpectedly run into these incidents, keep walking and/or turn around & go around, head for the opposite direction for safety. Police do not fire tear gas without ample verbal warnings and upon raising bilingual signs to disperse against the crowd. Safe travel and happy cruising !
  6. Not sure whether there's anyting being the "usual" minimum, with so many variables in play. But, the lowest or minimum bid that I've seen (based on over 10 different bookings among different ships) for non-peak/holiday sailings appeared to be $25 p/p for OV from Inside and $50 for Balcony from Inside. These, definitely, are in the poor range, barely moving the needle on the meter scale. As always, YMMV.
  7. Clarification - toll on the SI route is only applicable/charge when leaving Brooklyn to SI for NJ, not when coming in from NJ/PA via the Goethals Bridge (or, further using the Outerbridge Crossing). Toll is charged for the NJ to NY crossing, whether it is the Holland/Lincoln Tunnel or Goethals/Outerbridge. (We're on the GB recently - traffic was light as it is summer & late morning, with 3 wide lanes each direction & a breakdown lane for emergencies) - and, being compliant with HOV-3 rules, move nicely along the entire way. Approaching the VZ Bridge, re-check Waze and plan ahead to keep right, either the upper or lower (we preferred) level of the bridge, and do NOT get back or stay on the HOV lane as until 10 a.m. - there is no exit all the way to the Hugh Carey Tunnel (checked with SI-commuters that do that daily) ... designed to speed the flow of commuters into Lower Manhattan. Take the 6th Avenue (if traffic is being backed up) or next exit at 3rd. Avenue, heading toward Manhattan (and Red Hook) to exit the elevated (Gowanus) highway for local street, follow 3rd Avenue - it runs parallel under the highway, toward the Gowanus Canal to Red Hook (Fourth Avenue is another alternative but has more traffic lights & heavy with commercial + local bus traffic.) Waze is your friend here - and, "Red Lights Camera" alert for this area, there are several of them on 3rd. Avenue. Beware of unexpected road/lane closure on the highway upon the completion of the morning rush hour, especially in Brooklyn, known to begin closing the left or right lane as the morning begin to ease.
  8. Don't recall any reports of the Red Hook pier running of parking spots for passengers - parking info/link below and @ $25 per 24 hours, it's a relative bargain in NY, taxes & surcharges included, no extra fees for SUV/pickup/vans, etc. https://www.nycruise.com/brooklyn-terminal/parking/
  9. On a weekday morning, coming across SIE into Brooklyn is good if you can do HOV-3 like a commuter, if not - can be agonizing slow until you make it across into Bay Ridge, where HOV continue on the left/movable barrier lane until 10 am to the Hugh Carey Tunnel into Lower Manhattan (once you get on, there is no exit for Hamilton Ave if I'm not mistaken). If there is a major unplanned incident on the VZB somewhere on the HOV designated segment, you will not be happy. Just in case this Plan B become Plan A: once in Brooklyn, you'll need to move & keep right, avoid the HOV continuation, and take the 3rd. Avenue exit at the Gowanus (I-278) to leave the elevated highway & stay downstairs at street level, with timed traffic lights to Red Hook for about 2 or 3 miles ... which is after the 6th Avenue & Ft. Hamilton Pkwy exits. Otherwise, you will hit bumper-to-bumper gridlocked traffic "upstairs" with the Prospect Expy merge heading over the top of Red Hook Creek just before the Red Hook exit to the pier. Waze is a must on this route, just not sure how good it is with the HOV stuff. Being weekday mornings, unless you get out of the Holland Tunnel after 10 am, the Hugh Carey Tunnel will still be running its HOV mode for Manhattan inbound traffic, including commuter buses from SI (yike, I know) - with 1 lane out to Brooklyn. If things are running fine, the tunnel is probably quicker - you aren't really going to run into local traffic for the financial districts. **** On a sidenote, the conversion to cashless toll for all NYC bridge/tunnel crossings has NOT really improve the smooth flow of traffic at peak traffic time. Otherwise, you might actually want to steer for the Manhattan Bridge, via Worth Street or Baxter Street (Little Italty/Chinatown) instead of the Brooklyn Bridge - either route should work with your navigator/co-pilot & Waze guidance, and use city streets along the Waterfront, as the BQE can be a horror show for that short 2 to 3 exits for Red Hook. It sounded like you are somewhat familiar with getting around NYC on weekdays - Waze is very good in/around NYC and get real-time traffic feeds from NYC DOT, I score its guidance at 9.5 out of 10 in the area and continue to improve. Now nicely integrated with Android Auto, it's been a "saver" - occassionally, I will pick the 2nd. route that I'm comfortable & familiar with instead, as long as the ETA are within 5 to 15 minutes apart on a typical long drive.
  10. Looking at her schedule for this October/November, the Escape is doing 5 days Bermuda run and also, a 4 day Bermuda round-trip out of NY ... going to be running on all engines at top speed to do that distance to sail and dock, regardless of tide & river currents on the Hudson. Gem has been routinely coming in in the pre-dawn hours lately, nothing unusual about it (aside from the occassional onboard medical emergencies, short of a medevac ... passengers had been unloaded via boats once it get into NY's harbor, typically off the VZ Bridge by FD, PD or USCG patrol vessels.) Maybe, the Escape got a nice boost with tailwind. It's not that pax can leave the ship early - porters are not available until/after 7 a.m. regardless, after CBP is ready along with other authorities upon clearing the ship for passengers & crew to disembark. Casino & duty-free shops shutting down late night, earlier ahead of scheduled arrival. Once she's docked, perhaps, extended maintenance over a longer duration can be done below deck. This is a good question to ask the ship's officers at their next M&G gathering or "ask the officers" onboard session.
  11. @FreestyleNovice IMO, it probably won't work unless you can access that with a web browser and run it in "bridge mode" - to click & cycle thru settings and the sign-on screen. I looked at the "specs" and did not see support for using it as bridge. Some of the TP-Link travel router (i.e. N300) supports multiple modes, including bridge mode over a wireless signal source, and re-broadcast it (prefer to use a differetn SSiD with WPA-2) Edimax Br-6258n is a matchbook sized nano travel router that's USB powered and works over an Ethernet or wireless connection (model has been discontinued, using this for a few years) - use with hotel WiFi networks, as hard-wired Ethernet are hard to find these days. It works better than an older TP-Link N70x travel router. It's difficult to configure these on a tablet, iPad or smartphone/iPhone alone, with a browser & mouse/keyboard to optimize the settings.
  12. With the high latency and limited, shared satellite bandwidth - as noted, even if you can - it will NOT be very usable, if at all except maybe for web browsing & checking email. Most iPhones are not jailbroken these days and basically not doable, same for stock Android roms - unless yours is BL unlocked, rooted & running a custom rom, which essentially do a bridging of the WiFi signal (without getting all technical) - most Android devices cannot do it. I have laptops & notebook PC that can do it with the specific modem capable of supporting WiFi functions, built-in bridging - results are good with a fast signal but not very usable over typical "basic" hotel WiFi connection speed (similar to ship's satellite WiFi). There are a small # of nano travel routers that can do it ... but not for the average user to do this. That is, assuming the Cisco hardware/server doesn't sense & "detect" efforts to re-cast their signal and block this type of "workaround". Feel free to try it, just don't count on it, at your convenience.
  13. @Joanne G. - we had been able to request it on the Gem, Escape & Breakaway in earlier cruises ... should not be a problem. One of the consideration when it's time to fill out those "Vacation Hero" cards for crews that earned them, treasured just as much as giving them a cash tip directly, as one of the RS said " it is nice to get an extra 4 to 6 hours as time-off, just to sleep in and/or to be able to go ashore at some of the ports". This is what that 1-cup looked like (photo from the Escape) ... same ones used for the fleet, I believe, good for a small cup. P.S. speaking of the Dawn again, you probably want to bring a 110 volt power tap (not those with surge protector) as it has only one 110v wall outlet, one 220v Euro outlet and one 220v UK outlet (adapter plugs for those for dual-voltage devices/chargers) There are no USB outlets bedside or elsewhere ...
  14. We're on the Dawn this May, first sailing out of NYC - after a 2 days repo from Miami - just crews onboard when it arrived very early in the pre-dawn hours. No passengers to disembark so it was definitely smooth. We've learned subsequently that the crew worked to do maintenance, cleaning & replaced wear & tear items that they normally cannot do on a typica 10 hours turnaround day. As noted above, cabins were ready for us when we early boarded about 11 a.m. - dropped off our carry-on bags, put away our passports & leisurely made our way to the MDR for sit-down lunch. They still have to run thru their checklists, possible inspections (Coast Guard, Public Health, etc.) and load provisionings, etc. The crews were apparently rested, relaxed and cheerful, etc. and even the pier was not hectic. As a matter of fact, things ran very smoothly inside the terminal including check-in. Those that're in Haven (full suite & higher) obviously got very early escorted-boarding, ahead of us.
  15. Latest summer travel alert on what to expect going to/from LGA, starting this week - FWIW https://www.businessinsider.com/laguardia-lga-summer-meltdown-delays-cancellations-traffic-security-weather-2019-8 https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/transit/2019/08/10/laguardia-airport-grand-central-parkway-traffic-pattern-changes-delays-getting-to-airport-expected# U.S. Tennis Open, an annual event is coming to Queens ahead of Labor Day thru early September - traffic in nearby areas, if & when the NY Mets are at home at CitiField ... will, likely, make matters worst - especially during travel time. Plan accordingly & allow extra travel time. The free MTA App, in iOS and Android, provides real-time bus/subway/train & route info, ETA to your bus stop as you wait and other advisories, etc. to supplement official updates from LGA Airport https://www.laguardiaairport.com/to-from-airport/by-taxi Waze/Google Maps - recommended for real time GPS & integrated traffic routing, even if you are using a taxi, car service or Uber/Lyft, etc. to fact-check tolls & "best" or "fastest" way getting from A to B, etc.
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