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About billyjeff

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. If someone asked me why I have two carry ons I would politely tell them that I only have one. The other is for my friend Harvey* who is sitting in that seat. *For younger people, Harvey is the 6'3" invisible rabbit from the play Harvey and the 1950 James Stewart movie.
  2. One thing I do when flying coach is to get myself mentally ready for a long flight. We always arrange a long layover for connecting flights where we relax in a club lounge. I visualize the flight as if I am driving 8 or 9 hours, except when I drive I can't read, so I make myself believe it is more comfortable to sit in a plane seat than car seat. Not true, but I get myself to believe. I drink water, have dinner, pop an ambien, read until I fall asleep - if I do. When we arrive, we check in and sightsee until we are really sleepy and then get a long night sleep. If I don't sleep on the plane, I do get a nap in the early afternoon, then go to dinner and then get a really good night's sleep. Not perfect, but seems to work for me.
  3. Let me add a suggestion. Try doing the formal night the first time. If you don't feel comfortable, then you don't have to repeat it. However, what you might think about - go dancing after dinner or show. It is never crowded and it makes for a very nice romantic ending to a great evening. I enjoy very much the formal evenings and putting on the tux with a martini, "shaken - not stirred" at the pre-dinner parties. I think you would find that it makes for a really fun and nice evening and is not nearly as stuffy as one might think. Crystal guests are really the same, whether dressed formally or casually.
  4. I really like the Starlite Club on the Symphony. As Judith said, it is great place to sit and talk and I really like the layout for the parties where one can gather around the bar. My wife LOVES the Starlite Club because in evening it is easy to just walk by when the band is playing and sit down -- and then we dance. Previously when it was closed off, we just never went in and thus did not dance. On the negative side, the noise from people walking but and mingling around the photo display can be a little disconcerting when a lecture is going on.
  5. I am very happy with the present situation. :) I for one would not go to a "roll call" thread on any other location. The Crystal Board is great just the way it is. We get all the information we need - and then some :).
  6. Why I like Southwest has very little to do with price -- it has everything to do with how they treat their customers. One case in point, we were connecting in Baltimore for our evening flight to Louisville. There were storms in the east and midwest. Our plane to Louisville was flying in from Chicago. Naturally there were delays in Chicago. Southwest was right on top of it. They informed passengers of the delays, the reason for the delays, told us where the incoming plane was, gave us the status of that flight. Most importantly, Southwest told us that the plane would fly to Louisville that evening. Did not know when or what time we would arrive. But everyone knew then not to worry. Did not have to think about a hotel, another flight. So there was no anxiety and no angry passengers. Southwest informed us when the plane left Chicago and kept us apprised on its status. And we did fly to Louisville - it was late but we got there. That is why I fly Southwest whenever I can, whether I am paying for it or whether it is a business trip.
  7. Given a choice of a comparable price, I'll take Southwest any day -- and I love the open seating, especially now with assigned numbers-- much easier to avoid an undesirable seating neighbor. The only problem is that you cannot reserve right now beyond October 30. So we don;t know what the flight schedule will be when we leave until June 23 when the October 31 and beyond reservation period begins. Right now Delta has some great prices and schedules- so it may be worth pulling the trigger even though it is not Southwest.
  8. The Canada - New England cruise we did a few years ago was certainly one of our favorites - especially if you hit the colors the right time (someone more familiar with the area can best advise on that). One thing you can be well assured of -- your mother will be treated like a Queen by Crystal. And if you choose that cruise, I would have your TA advise Crystal that it is indeed a "homecoming" for her.
  9. [quote name='BEAV']If the rebating is being handled privately in the form of a check from the TA to the client, then how is Crystal even privy to such an arrangement? I'm assuming in this situation the client's credit card is being charged the full applicable fare by Crystal? If correct, then all the more reason Crystal would be "out of the loop" as to what occurs privately between TA and client? Or am I misunderstanding something here?? :confused: With regard to rebating/discounting within the entire cruise industry, I know many lines (not just Crystal) have established a public policy not to allow this in an effort to level the playing field. But what happens privately between TA and client is pretty much out of a cruise line's control, right?[/QUOTE] Beav -- it normally would be a private matter I would guess and Crystal would not know about it. But now we have a poster listing the back to back cruises and CP category, Crystal will surely know the identity of the agent. It would be interesting to see what, if anything, Crystal did. If I were the agent and giving a private rebate, I surely would not want it spread on a message board, particularly if it is against Crystal policy.
  10. Keith - I agree with you. When we were in Athens before the Olympics. it was one of our worst trips -- we stayed in the Intercontinental (which was very nice but we had to rely on the shuttle). But I really did not like it at all. Then last summer, it was a 180 degrees. We were in Athens three days and two nights and just loved it. The hotel was great, people extraordinarily friendly, and we enjoyed walking Plaka and the city. The city was cleaner and it was just fun. And we may well end our cruise next year in Athens and if so, I will look forward to staying a couple of days. One of the interesting aspects of our cruise was we disembarked in London where I saw the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum. The Brits say the marbles were "sold" to them and they kept them because Greece had no place to protect or display them properly. The New Acropolis Museum has a special place for them now. When I looked at them I just thought to myself they should be in Athens. mimitto4 -- I would definitely put on your itinerary the New Acropolis Museum. When we were there last summer, it was not yet open but the first floor was open for a couple of hours so people could see what it is like. It is built over an archeological dig with huge glass panels in the floor to walk over the dig and look down. I think it is now open and we cannot wait to go back and see the whole museum.
  11. "Best" really is in the eye of the beholder. I certainly do not automatically book the #1 on TripAdvisor but it certainly is a good start, especially when there are numerous consistent reviews. I have saved a bunch of money by finding hotels I would not have otherwise thought about. For example, we found a really great botique hotel in Lisbon for 200 euros a night - 150 if pre-paid nonrefundable as opposed to 490 euros for the Four Seasons Ritz. I am beyond the days when I want or need a luxury high priced hotel with services I do not want or need, like a spa, etc. I now prefer a nice boutique hotel with friendly and accommodating service and nice rooms. Often these rooms are much larger and nicer than one gets in the 5 stars. So at the end of the day, it is simply what one prefers - no right or wrong answer.
  12. As for Athens, we stayed at the AVA - also #1 on Trip Advisor and with good reason. Not only is it very reasonable, but as my wife put it when we stayed there last year - it is the most comfortable hotel she has ever stayed in. It is not a luxury hotel, but the rooms are clean, comfortable and large. The hospitality at the front desk is just fabulous. They are so nice. And the location in Plaka is perfect. Great little restaurants in walking distance. We had been to Athens two other times and did not really enjoy it. Last year we stayed in the AVA for two nights and loved Athens. We had a group of 14 and everyone raved about it.
  13. billyjeff


    I found a great price on Cheapoair, but in checking into it, I discovered that I could not get a seat assignment until the gate. That alone did it for me -- NO WAY. I had visions of the plane being overbooked and we would be the first to go or else we would be sitting in the middle seats for several hours.
  14. Can some of you who understand pricing explain the rationale for charging substantially more for a one way over a round trip. I have never understood the reasoning.
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