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About Randyk47

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    San Antonio, TX
  • Interests
    Cruising, photography, and computers.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Silversea
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere the ship goes!
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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501 profile views
  1. We’ve never had a problem in four visits to get a taxi or a limo service right to the cruise terminal.
  2. That is the confusing nature of the ongoing renewals and new enrollments. A few are breezing through with no issue or hassle some get caught in the long haul. Seems to be the same for NEXUS and GE. As I said earlier there are all sorts of theories and could-it-be scenarios but no fixed set of conditions that seem to indicate which route an approval will take. My recommendation stands, apply for renewal as soon as you are one year from expiration and therefore eligible to renew.
  3. You apply for your renewal on line through the Trusted Traveler Program. https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/ If you are within in a year of expiration I’d go ahead and apply for renewal soon. They are warning the waiting time for renewal will continue to get longer and are saying now to expect up to five months. After you renew you may or may not have to go for another interview. We’re going to our original airport but could go to any GE enrollment office.
  4. If you travel Internationally then I’d recommend GE. GE, which includes TSA PreCheck as an additional benefit, is only $15 more than just PreCheck. Over the four years we’ve had GE we’ve used it six times. Our first reentry with GE was Philadelphia International and our plane arrived with four other incoming international flights. There were several hundred people in the regular Immigration and Customs lines and maybe two dozen in the GE line. We were through in 10 or fewer minutes. That one trip allow was worth the extra $15 and we’ve had five more reentries since then.
  5. I think the first time I ever tried, at least remember trying, escargot was on the Ryndam in 1995. It was “old school escargot”, they were wonderful, and I was hooked. While I can get them at one or two local restaurants I really look forward to escargot when I cruise. I think at one time escargot was more readily available but as memory serves me it’s now usually gala/formal nights if it’s available at all. Mrs K is not a fan so it’s something that isn’t fixed at home.
  6. Unfortunately there are some people who don’t have distinct fingerprints. I’m close to being in that boat and make sure I hydrate my hands with lotion before I have my fingerprints taken or have to use a GE kiosk. I think I read they are experimenting with facial recognition software and technology but I have no idea if and when they might use that with GE. Supposedly they are presently trying facial recognition at Orlando International Airport (MCO) Immigration and Customs and it bypasses the need for fingerprints.
  7. Unfortunately the long delay seems to be the norm right now. A small percentage are applying for new GE enrollment or renewal and are getting it in less than a week. The majority get stuck in long haul which right now is running four months. Over on a frequent flyer forum there are literally hundreds of posts trying make sense of the delay but there doesn’t seem to be a set of conditions that fit. Some in the long haul have a lot of International travel some not at all. Some like my wife have an advanced government clearance and under fairly constant watch and still get stuck. The big apparent issue is GE is now five years old and all the original enrollees are trying to renew and the system is swamped.
  8. Finally!!! After being in the “Pending Review” black hole for our GE renewal for 149 days we got Conditional Approval this morning. We were hoping to go straight to Approved but getting Conditional Approval means we will have to go to an interview. Luckily I was able to schedule two back-to-back interviews for November 8 at San Antonio International Airport (SAT). SAT is only 9 miles from our house so a pretty simple short trip. I don’t expect any problems with the interviews and don’t make anything of the fact we didn’t get direct Approval. I suppose if there are any questions they might be about our visits to Egypt, Jordan, Oman, and the UAE in 2017. Easy to explain as those were stops as part of a cruise and typically CBP has not been too concerned about that. Anyhow, be warned. Initial GE applications and renewals can take months. Yes, a few lucky folks are getting conditional or full approvals in days but it seems the majority are falling into the long five month plus wait.
  9. That’s how we handle it. Our out of pocket cash tips have actually gone done over the years. Two factors in that. One, with the basic demise of the Crow’s Nest as a viable night entertainment venue we spend virtually no time in what was once our favorite bar. And of course, separate from the HSC, there is a 15% gratuity added on each drink. Two, we started going with anytime dining and now rarely have the same waiters and don’t establish a connection to the dining room waitstaff like we did with fixed dining.
  10. Last wine pairing dinner we had was on the Wind in 2012. Haven’t checked or thought much about it since.
  11. My first pleasure cruise was a 4-day cruise on the Carnival Fantasy in 1993. I had been bugging my then wife to try cruising but she was afraid of getting seasick. That “try it you’ll like it” cruise cost around $600 in one of the few veranda cabins on the Fantasy. That led to our first, and for the ex our last, cruise on Holland America in 1995 on what was then the pretty new now departed Ryndam. We were in a Deluxe Suite, now called a Neptune Suite, for a 10-day Caribbean cruise. Cost was around $6,000.
  12. Our first Silversea cruise was a 14-day cruise in 804. I don’t remember any noise. Our cruise partners and friends were in 802 and I don’t remember them mentioning any issues. What we did notice was the bridge staff were extremely careful about hallway noise and moved very quickly and quietly in the short hallway. Both were booked for our upcoming January cruise on the Wind or we would have booked them again.
  13. Since Virgin Cruises has announced the first captain of the Scarlet Lady is Captain Wendy Williams I’m guessing Captain Carsjens will be her relief captain.
  14. Mrs K gave up the high heels on ships a number of years ago. With the long silky skirt and a couple of fancy tops she packs for formal nights no need to pack the high heels. As for Silversea suggesting no high heels that’s a pretty standard suggestion across most cruise lines.
  15. Well it’s not exactly like Silversea has the big bands but they usually have a 4-5 piece band in Dolce Vita that plays a pretty good selection of music. Typically the band responses pretty nicely to guest requests but obviously some are better than others. Can’t speak to the dance floor in Dolce Vita on the Muse but considering the size of Silversea ships in general they aren’t huge but normally sufficient.
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