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American Empress 9/22/2019 Sailing

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Just completed the flight itinerary ordeal with United.  The direct flight from RIC is very handy for going west but the airlines never fail to amaze my in finding ways to take all the pleasure out of air travel.  Beware the new "Basic Economy" category.  How much more basic can they get?  Thought they were going to give us SRO tickets.  Fortunately, they still let us sit down and flights are brief.  Glad we tacked on the extra day at the Historic Davenport Hotel.  Looking forward to the stay and the exploration of Spokane.  Never been there before.

 

NJhoo,

Sorry you are not on this cruise.  Assume you are a UVA alum or fan?  We would have much to discuss after the Nat. Championships!  Go Hoos! 

 

Happy Travels!

Bop (not a typo.  named by #1 granddaughter)

 

More Later

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Bop. Thankfully we were able to book non-stop flights from Phx to Spokane and from Portland to Phx. It’s only about 3 hours total each way but still better than making a stop and extending the day to 5 or more hours of travel. 

 

The extra day going will be nice to have and we may even do the Spokane tour provided by the cruise line. 

 

Take care, 

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On 8/28/2018 at 7:17 AM, njhoo said:

 

One warning though, if you stay at the Davenport in Spokane, either pre or post, the hotel slaps a $10 plus tax “Destination Charge” on your bill as you to check out. Waiting to hear back from AQ corporate why. The local AQ reps were no assistance in the matter.

 

Will try to answer any questions y’all have. 

 

Was this ever resolved?  Just curious. Don't like these "surprises." Not a big deal but annoying at best.  

 

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Bop, sorry that I didn’t catch the darn spellcheck.  My oldest daughter is a UVa grad as well as her husband.  We spent most of our lives in North Jersey and retired here 11 years ago.  As a UVa fan, hung in for the 2019 men’s BB all season, especially after their dismal performance in the 2018 tournament.  But I suspect with all the defections to the NBA next year won’t be a repeat.  Our youngest went to UConn in the early 2000s during their men’s and women’s dynasty.

 

 I never got a response from corporate, but there was a $10 credit on our card from the Davenport.

 

 While y’all are cruising the Pacific Northwest we’ll be in Italy for two weeks.  We like to get around.  

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Njhoo - I know your response was to Bop - but was curious where you were going in Italy?  Venice was my all time favorite vacation spot with St Petersburg Russia being my 2nd favorite.  We took the train from Venice down to Rome and did the Med cruise to Barcelona and back.  Great time.  

 

If for some reason you need a tour guide in Rome, Florence, The Amalfi Coast - I would highly recommend Fabrizio and All Around Italy tours.  Has exceptional ratings on Trip Adv and has many good reviews here on Cruise Critic. Very friendly - and VERY reasonably priced too.  

 

Anyway - I certainly hope you have a great time in Italy - we sure did !

 

Take care,

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Buck1949, we’re going on a Tauck tour to include the Amalfi coast, Florence, Rome and Venice.  Our favorite was Australia/New Zealand, tied for second is the Baltics and South Africa.  

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Haven't heard that name for a while . Fabrizio is a great guide. He took us to his cousin's restaurant at Casta Gandolfo. We still talk about the great meal and Fabrizio. Small world!

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16 hours ago, njhoo said:

 

 

 I never got a response from corporate, but there was a $10 credit on our card from the Davenport.

 

 While y’all are cruising the Pacific Northwest we’ll be in Italy for two weeks.  We like to get around.  

 

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16 hours ago, njhoo said:

Bop, sorry that I didn’t catch the darn spellcheck.  My oldest daughter is a UVa grad as well as her husband.  We spent most of our lives in North Jersey and retired here 11 years ago.  As a UVa fan, hung in for the 2019 men’s BB all season, especially after their dismal performance in the 2018 tournament.  But I suspect with all the defections to the NBA next year won’t be a repeat.  Our youngest went to UConn in the early 2000s during their men’s and women’s dynasty.

 

 I never got a response from corporate, but there was a $10 credit on our card from the Davenport.

 

 While y’all are cruising the Pacific Northwest we’ll be in Italy for two weeks.  We like to get around.  

 

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Just now, Bop said:

NJHOO,

Glad to hear AQSC settled your mystery charge.  Maybe they have some ex Comcast management?  

Au/NZ and Italy are our favorite destinations.  We traveled there in 2004 and still hear from our Aborigine guide from time to time.  He takes an Aborigine show to Disney World and  travels the world as an ambassador for Australia.  He took us on a remarkable tour of the Blue Mountains.  We would like to return and complete a circumnavigation to the continent.

We are looking forward to the Lewis and Clark cruise.  We have done several european river cruises aboard Amawaterways.  Best food and service ever!  Hoping for a similar experience.

Take care, go Hoos!  Maybe Jay Huff will put on 25 lbs before next season.

Jim

 

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12 hours ago, Bop said:

Haven't heard that name for a while . Fabrizio is a great guide. He took us to his cousin's restaurant at Casta Gandolfo. We still talk about the great meal and Fabrizio. Small world!

 

Wow!! You are right a small world.  We still keep in touch with Fabrizio and have recommended him to many people traveling to Italy.  His tours left us feeling like old friends as he treated us like someone he had known for years.  

 

Fabrizio is so honest - that after our 1st day of touring we paid him (group of 6) for that tour as we would not hook up with him again for 3 days.  When we did meet him he immediately began (almost) chewing us out - saying we paid him way too much money.  We explained that we did not and he repeatedly said that we paid way over our agreed amount.  We finally explained that we gave him a very nice tip as we felt his tour was worth every penny of the money.  He reluctantly accepted the money.  Of course we managed to give him a nice tip after our additional tours with him.  He was just that good.  In fact probably the best tour and ‘guide’ we have ever used.  

 

He bought lemon cello and snacks for all of us while we toured Amalfi, and set us up at the Restaurante Constantia  over looking the water for one of the biggest and best meals we had in all of Italy. 

 

Due to some flying issues I have - I’m not sure I will make it back to Italy again - but would want to use his services again in a heartbeat if i did.  

 

And BTW...... He is engaged to to be married, and he is going to be a papa in the near future also. 

 

Take care,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey Buck,

It took some doing but I found a pic of Fabrizio in front of his cousin's trattoria "Lo Spuntino" at Castel Gandolfo RM Italy.  Have more pictures but will take a while to retrieve.

 

Bop aka JimDSCF0236.thumb.JPG.01b4e201d61bfe77537f8b013a0324dc.JPG

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Bop said:

Hey Buck,

It took some doing but I found a pic of Fabrizio in front of his cousin's trattoria "Lo Spuntino" at Castel Gandolfo RM Italy.  Have more pictures but will take a while to retrieve.

 

Bop aka JimDSCF0236.thumb.JPG.01b4e201d61bfe77537f8b013a0324dc.JPG

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yep - looks just like him - maybe just a little younger in this photo than when we met him in 2014. 

 

This is where he took us for lunch along the Amalfi Coast.  (And no that is not a painting in the background - grin)

 

Great guy !

 

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Edited by Buck1949

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Fabulous vista!  We loved the Amalfi coast.  Really scary driving experience!  Great views!  Good looking folks and pizza

Bop

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This photo was taken 9/23/05

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On 6/12/2019 at 1:51 PM, Bop said:

Fabulous vista!  We loved the Amalfi coast.  Really scary driving experience!  Great views!  Good looking folks and pizza

Bop

 

We loved most of Italy when we were there.  And in all honesty probably my least favorite was Rome.  Outstanding sites to see but crowded - especially at the Vatican, Colosseum, around the Fountain etc.  We loved the Pantheon, Venice, Pompeii, and of course the Amalfi Coast - but in the expert driving hands of Fabrizio. 

 

Funny over on the Arizona cruisers thread,  it used to be heavily used.  Was nothing to have   25 to 50 or more postings daily -( there are over 2800 postings this year alone so far )  BUT after the last revamp of the Cruise Critic application it seemed that a large group of the regulars gave up and moved to Social media I think.  I have noticed our Caribbean cruise coming up in February has more activity over on Social media than here.   That is too bad but I think there are more people there and it is a lot more user friendly than this is anymore.  

 

Anyway, I still rely on CC and Trip Advisor to ask and get recommendations about tours, locations, etc.  and while you have to weigh the accuracy of the Information it has been a great help to us in making decisions in the past. 

 

BTW in the photo of us having lunch the lady in the bottom left corner is my wife Linda.  The couple in the top left and center were traveling with us and their 2 sons and are from Massachusetts. We met them on a previous cruise in 2012. 

 

Anyway glad that it won’t be too long before this river cruise - and hoping if we like it that we may do more along the Mississippi etc. 

 

Take care, 

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Hey Buck,

 

We went to Rome a few times and avoided the crowds by design.  We booked with "Driver in Rome" with a driver  whose name I can't recall right now.  He took us to all the local frequented eateries and a night tour of the Vatican square.  Absolutely breathtaking and presented Rome in an entirely different light.  On a previous visit to Rome we took  Rick Steves' recommendation and stayed at the Aberdeen Hotel.  He was there when we arrived!

Love Roma, avoid the tourista!  See Tuscany and the hill towns.

 

Jim

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Only been to Rome the one time, glad we went but not really interested in going back there.  We had talked at one time of wanting to spend about a month at a Tuscany Villa...but doubt that will ever happen.  

 

Well It has happened....just got notice that both our American Airlines flights to Spokane and from Portland have changed.  Not big changes, but a few minutes difference on both, with changed flight numbers.  For some reason they moved our seats on the return Portland flight, but at least in the same section.  Seems like that happens on nearly every flight we book any more.   Oh well.  

 

We we are getting anxious to do this cruise and experience our 1st river cruise in the US.  Won’t be too long now..

 

Take Care, 

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Yes, the airlines seem to want to punish us. The take all the pleasure out of flying and treat us like "red-headed step children . "

Not much we can do about it.

Jim

 

 

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Quick question.....

Does Am. Queen provide cruise doc’s and luggage tags online to be printed?  Any idea how long before the cruise they are available if so?   I’m not near a computer to check online and trying to do anything from my phone is a pain. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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Buck,

Sorry but I don't know the AQSC pre-cruise routine.  I bet there is some information on line but I tend to rely on my TA and/or the cruise line for this info.  Even better, surely someone on CC can fill us in.  I am also expecting some pre-cruise information forms.  I understand the registration process is quick and simple.  Luggage tags are also good.

 

 Anybody know what we can expect?

 

Bop

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I was on a September 2018 cruise and I think we received all the paperwork at the check in at the Davenport before the cruise. I think I did have a copy of our booking confirmation, but they’ll have your names there.

    One piece of advice. We  requested the 5:30 dinner seating. It was a little early for us, we eat around 7:00, but it worked out fine and gave us a chance to take a glass of wine to the upstairs terrace to watch the sunset. You should make your request before you go.

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Posted (edited)

Hey Leafeater,

Your photo on board the Empress has put me in the mood for a cruise.  Through the years I have always enjoyed rising early and spending some alone time on deck.  I have taken some memorable pictures in early morning.  

 

Anyhow,

Thanks for the response re: cruise docs and such.  I guess we'll find out about luggage tags in due time.  We are arriving at the Davenport two days early so we can iron out any issues we may encounter.

 

We booked our cruise as early diners so we should be OK with free time, shows etc.  Have learned to avoid late dining service as we often run into delays and end up missing the shows and eating way too late for our old digestive systems to catch up.  Good advice!

 

Happy cruising and calm seas (and rivers),

 

Jim

 

PS Just got an add from the Logo Store.  Wanted to sell me luggage tags: Buy two, get two free!

 

Makes you realize somebody is reading our posts!

Jimm

 

Edited by Bop
Add info to post.

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57 minutes ago, LEAFEATER said:

I was on a September 2018 cruise and I think we received all the paperwork at the check in at the Davenport before the cruise. I think I did have a copy of our booking confirmation, but they’ll have your names there.

    One piece of advice. We  requested the 5:30 dinner seating. It was a little early for us, we eat around 7:00, but it worked out fine and gave us a chance to take a glass of wine to the upstairs terrace to watch the sunset. You should make your request before you go.

 

 

Thanks for the document info LEAFEATER !! And the dinner suggestion !

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My husband and I are early risers. Our room was perfectly situated a few doors down from the River Grill where we chose to eat breakfast and lunch because the weather was spectacular and we could eat outside. In the morning we got their fresh brewed coffee by 6 AM, nice and strong , and we watched the sunrise with a few other regular early birds.

   We never went to an evening show, choosing instead the spectacular star show on the top deck..... the first time I’ve seen The Milky Way in 50 years. I envy you your trip. We have done 2 Viking river cruises and were  worried we’d be disappointed , but we thoroughly enjoyed the trip

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