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princeton123211

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About princeton123211

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Philadelphia
  • Interests
    Travelling, fine dining
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Seabourn, Cunard
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Bermuda

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  1. princeton123211

    11 Day NCL

    Glad to hear that-- from what we saw it will be the first major hotel to open up there, although the shopping plaza adjacent was mostly open when we drove through last week. Back on the mainland now. Leaving is a lot easier procedurally than going there-- no hoops to jump through with testing or checking in with folks. The airport at OGG sprung to life compared to our arrival on the 17th. The Starbucks and one of the shops in the central atrium were now open and had been closed when we arrived. They even have Sammy's bar open (which I found weird that they were not using the outdoor space but rather seating inside). My takeaway to anyone who cares is that, if you know a particular island well from previous visits, you'll find the things you enjoy doing but you'll have to dig a bit to find them. I would think though that it would be a lousy first experience and impression for someone who hasn't been before. Im sure that will change when/if things continue to open up in the short/medium term.
  2. Happy to help-- I've spent more time in Boston hotels for work than I'd like to admit. The Battery Wharf, assuming the new management company has kept it up which I would, always felt like a Ritz Carlton/Four Seasons lite-- physical furnishing and rooms as nice as those 5 star places, just didn't have all the bells and whistles. But it was also less expensive. I think you'll enjoy it and its an easy place to walk from to the North End, Faneuil Hall, etc. Right on the water next to the Coast Guard Station. Boston has an interesting hotel scene-- nice mix of old and new.
  3. Battery Wharf Hotel is the former Fairmont Battery Wharf and is a very nice place-- much more modern than its former cousin across town, the Fairmont Copley Plaza. When built it was very much a 4.5 star hotel and at least physically will be of a higher quality than the Hyatt Regency. Battery Wharf has large rooms with large bathrooms that have separate tubs and showers. I have not stayed there since they are no longer managed by Fairmont but that would be my choice of the two you mentioned. I stay loyal to Fairmont though in Boston and usually will stay at the Copley Plaza which I think has a great atmosphere.
  4. princeton123211

    11 Day NCL

    It is getting worse. We spoke with some people and thankfully most of the 65 or so that have gotten it have not been seriously ill so far but they are air lifting a few to Honolulu who need more intensive treatment. Lanai is not a place I would ever be comfortable getting ill no matter what, let alone Covid. Most of the sick were locals and it stemmed from family gathering or gatherings-- I couldn't tell exactly but thats whats being said here. The two FS resorts, while with sparse guests, have not been majorly impacted and continue to operate. We had considered jumping over for a night or two but put a stop to those plans once the spike happened. I had heard Nov 20th for the Four Seasons Wailea. The Grand Wailea looks to be ready to open but the Fairmont looks to be under fairly large renovation still with large barriers at the entrance. Hotel Wailea up in the hills is open now and so is their restaurant to the public. The shopping area in Wailea is open in a very limited way-- sort of like what Whalers Village in Kaanapali is right now. The most baffling thing is that the ABC Store is closed but Louis Vuitton is open-- makes no sense whatsoever.
  5. princeton123211

    11 Day NCL

    We came in the first wave-- to see a bunch of family on Maui that we haven't seen since March and have been here since the 17th. The Covid testing 72 hours to departure was fine (we used who Hawaiian Airlines partnered with but there are other options). You get a QR code for each flight you have (ie separate QR code if you are connecting to Maui from Honolulu). It wasn't terribly well organized but you can tell they are trying. I have to imagine the testing regime we went through would be impossible to implement for a 2000-3000 passenger cruise ship unless there were massive improvements in technology and turn around times. Very little is open compared to previous visits, although a few new things keep popping up every day. Restaurants on the beach in Kaanapali are slowly coming back-- but only 2-3 are open when there used to be a ton. 2-3 resorts on Kaanapali are open in limited ways with the Sheraton, Westin, and Kaanapali Beach Hotel closed. Wailea appears to be pretty shut down still with none of their big resorts operating. The Montage in Kapalua opened, and was very quiet when we went to dinner there, but the Ritz in Kapalua remains closed. There is constant talk of shutting down the island again should things spike. We have a unique perspective in that we are visitors but obviously are family are local-- and the locals aren't super thrilled about everyone piling back. They are already seeing a major spike in Lanai and the rumor is that island will shut down for a bit again.
  6. princeton123211

    11 Day NCL

    As others have said-- this is a much better option. I took a look at the cruise tour you mentioned and it is VERY heavy on Oahu which frankly isn't the most picturesque island. I think if you did a 7 day stand alone cruise to get an overview and then spent a few days in Maui on the beach and then flew back to Honolulu for a night or two to cover Pearl Harbor and other tourist spots on Oahu you would be a lot happier. Even if you stayed mainly on Oahu and copied most of the activities they offer you could do it for less and have more personal time to yourself than doing it through NCL's tour.
  7. Echoing this-- keep in mind that an Uber from the pier to Pearl Harbor I believe was less than $20 the last time we did it and only took about 15 minutes. Well worth a very modest extra few dollars for the time you save.
  8. We use Uber all the time when in Honolulu. Very available and very easy-- a lot of the Uber driver's we've found are spouses of armed service members based there. We've also found that UberX tends to be of a much higher quality car in Honolulu than a lot of the taxis we've seen.
  9. While The Pan Pacific has (or had if it went away-- I haven't been back recently to know) a policy for non guests, which makes it a great option, most nice hotels will store bags for non guests if you come in for lunch, coffee, a drink, etc. I wouldn't recommend just waltzing into a hotel and expect to drop your bags without purchasing anything, but any 4-5 star hotel in the city would be willing to store them if you were making even a small purchase with them.
  10. The other thing to keep in mind is that large blocks of cabins are sometimes sold wholesale during the shoulder season through different travel agencies and, whether they are US or UK or somewhere else based agencies, can dramatically change the makeup of the ship on any given trip. My experience with these winter transatlantics is that its usually a fairly even makeup of UK and US. But we've also had occasions on the first night wondering "where did all these Germans come from?"
  11. Early in her career QM2 actually did a cruise from the west coast of the United States called "Royal Hawaiian Liner". It was back in 2006 and was round trip from Los Angeles with stops in Maui, Honolulu, and the Big Island. I don't believe anything has been repeated like that since. If Queen Elizabeth ever goes back to Alaska its certainly possible that there could be some repo cruises that would stop in Hawaii.
  12. And that really is the essence and main selling point of a winter crossing-- "Look how comfortable I am and how much fun I'm having in literally one of the most inhospitable places on Earth!" I'm totally with you there-- nothing is better than a nice cold martini, sitting in your tux, as QM2 plows through 35 ft swells at the same speed a normal cruise ship tops out at. Ok, maybe one thing better-- doing the exact same thing on the old QE2...
  13. The daily menus are pretty close for both-- where Princess Grill is different is that there is an additional a la carte menu. This includes a lot of tableside preparation items like dover sole, chateaubriand, beef wellington, etc. You can also request special tableside desserts such as crepes suzette, bananas foster, etc.
  14. I feel like, outside of the cabins themselves, there is a bigger jump in experience from BC to PG than from PG to QG. If there isn't much of a price difference from BC to PG than I think its sort of a no brainer with the additional facilities that you have with the lounge, terrace, etc. Additionally, Cunard is giving away drinks packages left and right currently for Grills bookings so that could be a huge value getting that gratis vs having to pay for it in BC if its available on the sailing you are looking at. Obviously the cabins are going to be the major draw in QG, along with some enhanced off menu ordering and caviar if thats your thing.
  15. It's covered specifically by the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 and more broadly by the Jones Act, otherwise known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920-- specifically cabotage. The only vessels that can sail directly between Seattle and Alaska without making a stop in a foreign port would be those that are registered and built in the US. Virtually all cruise ships are registered under foreign flags of convenience and foreign built, so need to make a quick stop in Victoria or Vancouver on these types of itineraries to comply with the law. Since those are not available, it makes Alaska cruising, leaving from Seattle, not viable until Canada opens up its borders to cruise ships which most likely won't be any time soon. Failure to do so results in a fine of about $700 per passenger. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_Vessel_Services_Act_of_1886 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Marine_Act_of_1920#Cabotage
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