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About MarkBearSF

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    San Francisco, CA
  • Interests
    Broadway, Cruising
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Cunard, HAL, AMA
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    TA crossings & Europe

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  1. MarkBearSF

    QM Grills Access from Stairway C?

    Yeah, that looks like what we'll do. Probably elevate to Deck 5 or so and then walk down to D and then continue up to Deck 7. It would've made it so much easier if there was an entrance to the Grills Lounge on either end. Oh well, if that's the only thing I have to gripe about, I am a VERY lucky man!
  2. MarkBearSF

    Unable to send a message.

    How would you recommend I contact the forum host to ask that one of my posts be removed? (A roll call start that was evidently originally for the GLBT Roll Calls board wound up replacing a regular Roll Call last month in the system upgrade - and evidently caused some hurt feelings by the originator of the "real" roll call. I would like my "misfiled" one deleted, but would rather not draw attention to the issue on a public board - as it appears that feelings were hurt already..
  3. I get this alert "You are only allowed to send 0 messages per day. Please try again later." whenever I try to send a message. (with only an OK button ...and it's NOT OK) This has persisted on multiple browsers and times and I have been unable to message. (Certainly since the upgrade, but I can't be too sure beyond that as it's a function I use seldom) Suggestions on things to check? Thanks
  4. MarkBearSF

    Best way to get to Newark following QM2 cruise?

    That's basically to protect them from passengers who add extra stops mid-route or who make the driver wait extraordinarily long. (And the "state congestion tax" I think is something that has been discussed for midtown but isn't a factor yet, so they're likely protecting themselves for future bookings) The only time we've paid extra was when we ordered a scheduled pickup at Red Hook and we were delayed more than usual in the customs line. We asked the driver to wait. (After which I was scolded for using a phone in the customs area) He did. And we were fairly charged. For hotel pickups, they usually arrive about 5-10 minutes early (no charge). ...AND be sure to pick up the code for first-timer discount. (Both companies - typically about $10)
  5. MarkBearSF

    Best way to get to Newark following QM2 cruise?

    Folkfan13 - For over 20 years, we've done an annual trip to NY and often combine it with cruises - so that's a lot of trips between airports, hotels, and piers through the years. Again, I recommend Dial7 (or Carmel) for transportation from EWR (Newark) and your Manhattan hotel. In this case, I recommend pre-booking. They will track your flight and give you a number to call. When you've collected your bags, give them a call and they'll tell you what car to look for, which will arrive in minutes. (You can also pay extra to have them meet you in the terminal) www.dial7.com www.carmellimo.com
  6. MarkBearSF

    QM Grills Access from Stairway C?

    I just booked our first Princess Grill cabins for a 2020 crossing on the QM2. We enjoy meeting friends in the Chart Room for pre-dinner cocktails and I'm curious if there's access to the Grills Lounge or the restaurants from the C elevators at dinner. On our last crossing, we enjoyed an alternative dining dinner at the Kings Court and heard the Maitre d' direct people headed to the buffet to use the B stairs rather than walking through and disturbing the seated diners. Is there access to the grills from C - or must we navigate to the D elevators to get there? (My husband has some difficulty walking and dealing with stairs, so using the 3L corridor isn't great).
  7. MarkBearSF

    Best way to get to Newark following QM2 cruise?

    I always recommend a car service. The leading two are Dial7 (dial7.com, 212-777-7777) and Carmel (carmellimo.com, 212-666-6666) Both also have apps. We always use Dial7 for transportation between piers, airports, and hotels in NY. Very professional and reliable. Because of uncertainty with delays clearing customs, it's usually best to call when ready, rather than reserve in advance, although that can be done. You can check the cost on their site/app. And yes, Cunard does offer an shuttle bus. For two people, it's significantly more expensive - however, the those booking the shuttle are amongst the first off board (if that's a factor) and it's convenient. Book it while aboard.
  8. MarkBearSF

    QM2 review from first timers

    Thank you so much for your review. We've done crossings on the past three years (roundtrip the last two) and just booked yet another for 2020. One concern - I would assume you registered for self--debarkation when you joined the queue from the Grand Plaza in your suggestion, as crowds waiting to cut into the planned disembarkation process would clog and quickly make it difficult to navigate the lobby and ultimately a problem for all to disembark the ship. Omitting mention of the crucial step of registering makes this a bit unclear (FYI, to newcomers - Although they are a perk of QG accommodations, priority disembarkation tags are freely available on request at the Tour Office if you have an early flight. Self-disembarkation is available to all without explanation)
  9. MarkBearSF

    Transatlantic advice on flights/hotels

    As a matter of fact, in 2002, I wound up in one of those elevator rooms at the Hilton (smaller, but fine) and a few years later an elevator room at a Holiday Inn Express on 28th (kept awake by the elevator dinging each floor next to by head) - both compliments of Priceline. I've had great deals and not-so-great ones. I feel certain that they get the worst rooms in the category available at the time. I often recommend Priceline and Hotwire to those familiar with the area and flexible. (especially with some of the blind booking help sites which post recent successful bids and hotels.) But if I'm not doing blind bidding, after looking at comparison sites like booking.com, I check with the hotel directly before committing.
  10. MarkBearSF

    Jan 3, '19 Transatlantic - boarding where in NY?

    You are correct. I went by an independent site used by crew members. ..Although last year, there was a QM2 call that was incorrectly listed as Manhattan on the Port Authority website (simple typo) but was correct on their pdf. And we all agree that it'll be Red Hook. Happy Holidays!
  11. MarkBearSF

    Jan 3, '19 Transatlantic - boarding where in NY?

    According to the Port of NY schedule, it should be in Red Hook. Unless there is one of the largest Princess ships in port, that's where she anchors - and the only other ship on the schedule for July 3 is a NCL ship - in Manhattan, as usual. Because of her length, it's highly unusual for her to dock in Manhattan unless absolutely necessary so overwhelming evidence points to Red Hook.
  12. MarkBearSF

    Transatlantic advice on flights/hotels

    Exactly. There are many strategies - but one thing I always do is, after finding the deal on booking.com or other comparison site of my choice, is to check with the hotel directly. This may not work with bidding/blind sites like priceline.com or hotwire. But for ones like booking.com, trivago, orbitz and the like - you'll usually get at least the same price, and often with a perk like WiFi by booking with the hotel directly. ...and you're right. The Cunard hotel packages are borderline extortionate. Enjoy NY!
  13. Thank you for your clarification on the Privy Council. However, given their actions thus far, I can't imagine that they would not appeal, how dire their chances. Fingers crossed for Cunard to offer same sex marriage soon.
  14. UPDATE - The court has again rejected efforts to make same sex marriage illegal and has denied an stay to delay the decision, so it's legal again at this time. However, the government can appeal to (and ask for a stay from) a higher court, the Privy Council. http://www.royalgazette.com/court/article/20181123/government-loses-same-sex-battle -Mark
  15. MarkBearSF

    New York hotels

    It depends what you want to do. Ink48 is right near the pier, whereas the other two are more central midtown. The Michalangelo, in particular is likely closest to sights you want to see. (Broadway/Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Ave, Central Park...) Of course they're all close enough to whatever you're interested in and getting around Manhattan is easy.