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About kochleffel

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    Cool Cruiser

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  1. I was among those critical of crowds and delay (with Budget). The issue is that people disembarking and wanting to pick up cars fill up the rental office, while the agency needs those who will be embarking to return their cars so that they can clean and service them. If several ships are embarking on the same day there can also be delays with shuttles to the cruise terminal. Nevertheless, under the same circumstances I would rent again. I was arriving at SFB early on the day before my embarkation and wanted the use of the car during the day and evening.
  2. The best value for wine at dinner on NCL is always to order a bottle and have them tag and store the unfinished portion for you. It doesn't take all that long for a server to retrieve it, even if you were in another dining room or restaurant at the time. For example, the Louis Jadot pinor noir, from Burgundy, is better than the Estancia, and a bottle is a lot expensive than five separate glasses. The only negative I've found to this is that, having initially chosen a wine to complement the main course, I tend to choose the next night's main course to complement the wine.
  3. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/919786-REG/olympus_v315040bu000_m_zuiko_digital_ed_75_300mm.html Although a 14-150mm lens (Tamron or the pricier one from Olympus) is more versatile, the 14-42 mm kit lens often supplied with the Mark III has one very appealing feature: a "pancake" form factor that retracts to a length of about an inch. For me, that makes it possible to put the camera into a coat pocket with the lens attached.
  4. My experience in February was that turning in a car before taking the rental company's shuttle to the terminal is difficult enough, and picking one up would be very difficult indeed, if several ships are embarking/disembarking on the same day, and worse if any of them is very large. The problem is that the rental office fills up with people who have just disembarked and are ready to pick up the cars that they reserved, but the rental agency needs people who are embarking to turn in their cars, which have to be checked, cleaned, washed, and gassed up. After seeing this when returning a car, I canceled my reservation for my disembarkation rental and used Uber instead. I was going to SFB, not MCO, so the shared-van shuttles weren't practical. For two people going from/to MCO, the shared-van shuttles make sense. The rental agencies operate shuttles to/from the cruise terminals, but there can be a wait.
  5. You call when you are in line to leave the ship. The typical meeting place is across 12th Avenue in the next block north. There's a taxi stand directly across 12th, so they can't pick you up there, and the side that the cruise terminal is on is congested with arriving passengers.
  6. A new 9-18 mm lens (18-36 mm in 35-speak) was calling to me, and I needed pictures of a contemplation labyrinth on the grounds of a church nearby for a class I'm teaching. The labyrinth, although modeled on the famous one in Chartres cathedral, is just small stepping stones set into the lawn.
  7. "Duty free" in the shop means that no customs duty has been paid so far. It doesn't guarantee that your home country won't charge any. It seems to me that the personal exemption in the U.S. is usually $800 and I think families can pool their personal exemptions.
  8. I've never eaten beef steak of any sort in Le Bistro. While I have been very satisfied with the steaks in Cagney's, the best dining experience of all on NCL was lamb chops in Cagney's.
  9. I've just booked my third cruise on the Epic. I like the Epic well enough to book again, but not so much that I would search out Epic cruises. Nevertheless, three out of my four NCL bookings have been on the Epic, because the Epic was assigned to the itinerary I wanted at the time I wanted to travel. First: western Mediterranean from Rome, 2018. Chosen because of the travel dates that fit my job, and the availability of studio cabins. Then: eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral, last month. I looked specifically for Port Canaveral because it's easier to fly from here to Orlando/Sanford than to Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Next: southern Caribbean from San Juan, 2021. The only southern Caribbean itineraries on NCL at that time. So it appears that NCL is anticipating my travel desires, before I even know about them myself, and assigning the Epic to those itineraries.
  10. I don't see why not. The only thing would be that, if she were already in her cabin, she would have to come out to the end of the studio corridor to let you in.
  11. Agree. I have visited Peggy's Cove, but it was when I was in Nova Scotia for a week, had a car, and was relatively nearby. Don't take fright, rncruiser. That's Celsius.
  12. I've cruised three times in the past year with another cruise line and never saw anything cleared from the table until everyone at the table was finished. These cruises were on a line that is not known for elegant service. On one occasion, it caused a problem. We were a large group, one person ordered two appetizers, and one ordered two main courses. Except for the plate from the first person's appetizer or the second person's main, nothing was cleared until everyone finished the course. The problem was that some had show reservations and needed to finish faster than those with the multiple orders. On that line, waiters are supposed to ask about show reservations. It's possible that ours did, but one person answered--incorrectly--for the entire group. Dessert orders hadn't been taken when I left (after more than two hours at the table) for a show, because the passenger with the second main course was just finishing it then.
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