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mking8288

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About mking8288

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    "Big Apple" NY
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    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, CCL, RCL
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    Bermuda/Caribbean
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  1. On a weekday morning, coming across SIE into Brooklyn is good if you can do HOV-3 like a commuter, if not - can be agonizing slow until you make it across into Bay Ridge, where HOV continue on the left/movable barrier lane until 10 am to the Hugh Carey Tunnel into Lower Manhattan (once you get on, there is no exit for Hamilton Ave if I'm not mistaken). If there is a major unplanned incident on the VZB somewhere on the HOV designated segment, you will not be happy. Just in case this Plan B become Plan A: once in Brooklyn, you'll need to move & keep right, avoid the HOV continuation, and take the 3rd. Avenue exit at the Gowanus (I-278) to leave the elevated highway & stay downstairs at street level, with timed traffic lights to Red Hook for about 2 or 3 miles ... which is after the 6th Avenue & Ft. Hamilton Pkwy exits. Otherwise, you will hit bumper-to-bumper gridlocked traffic "upstairs" with the Prospect Expy merge heading over the top of Red Hook Creek just before the Red Hook exit to the pier. Waze is a must on this route, just not sure how good it is with the HOV stuff. Being weekday mornings, unless you get out of the Holland Tunnel after 10 am, the Hugh Carey Tunnel will still be running its HOV mode for Manhattan inbound traffic, including commuter buses from SI (yike, I know) - with 1 lane out to Brooklyn. If things are running fine, the tunnel is probably quicker - you aren't really going to run into local traffic for the financial districts. **** On a sidenote, the conversion to cashless toll for all NYC bridge/tunnel crossings has NOT really improve the smooth flow of traffic at peak traffic time. Otherwise, you might actually want to steer for the Manhattan Bridge, via Worth Street or Baxter Street (Little Italty/Chinatown) instead of the Brooklyn Bridge - either route should work with your navigator/co-pilot & Waze guidance, and use city streets along the Waterfront, as the BQE can be a horror show for that short 2 to 3 exits for Red Hook. It sounded like you are somewhat familiar with getting around NYC on weekdays - Waze is very good in/around NYC and get real-time traffic feeds from NYC DOT, I score its guidance at 9.5 out of 10 in the area and continue to improve. Now nicely integrated with Android Auto, it's been a "saver" - occassionally, I will pick the 2nd. route that I'm comfortable & familiar with instead, as long as the ETA are within 5 to 15 minutes apart on a typical long drive.
  2. Looking at her schedule for this October/November, the Escape is doing 5 days Bermuda run and also, a 4 day Bermuda round-trip out of NY ... going to be running on all engines at top speed to do that distance to sail and dock, regardless of tide & river currents on the Hudson. Gem has been routinely coming in in the pre-dawn hours lately, nothing unusual about it (aside from the occassional onboard medical emergencies, short of a medevac ... passengers had been unloaded via boats once it get into NY's harbor, typically off the VZ Bridge by FD, PD or USCG patrol vessels.) Maybe, the Escape got a nice boost with tailwind. It's not that pax can leave the ship early - porters are not available until/after 7 a.m. regardless, after CBP is ready along with other authorities upon clearing the ship for passengers & crew to disembark. Casino & duty-free shops shutting down late night, earlier ahead of scheduled arrival. Once she's docked, perhaps, extended maintenance over a longer duration can be done below deck. This is a good question to ask the ship's officers at their next M&G gathering or "ask the officers" onboard session.
  3. @FreestyleNovice IMO, it probably won't work unless you can access that with a web browser and run it in "bridge mode" - to click & cycle thru settings and the sign-on screen. I looked at the "specs" and did not see support for using it as bridge. Some of the TP-Link travel router (i.e. N300) supports multiple modes, including bridge mode over a wireless signal source, and re-broadcast it (prefer to use a differetn SSiD with WPA-2) Edimax Br-6258n is a matchbook sized nano travel router that's USB powered and works over an Ethernet or wireless connection (model has been discontinued, using this for a few years) - use with hotel WiFi networks, as hard-wired Ethernet are hard to find these days. It works better than an older TP-Link N70x travel router. It's difficult to configure these on a tablet, iPad or smartphone/iPhone alone, with a browser & mouse/keyboard to optimize the settings.
  4. With the high latency and limited, shared satellite bandwidth - as noted, even if you can - it will NOT be very usable, if at all except maybe for web browsing & checking email. Most iPhones are not jailbroken these days and basically not doable, same for stock Android roms - unless yours is BL unlocked, rooted & running a custom rom, which essentially do a bridging of the WiFi signal (without getting all technical) - most Android devices cannot do it. I have laptops & notebook PC that can do it with the specific modem capable of supporting WiFi functions, built-in bridging - results are good with a fast signal but not very usable over typical "basic" hotel WiFi connection speed (similar to ship's satellite WiFi). There are a small # of nano travel routers that can do it ... but not for the average user to do this. That is, assuming the Cisco hardware/server doesn't sense & "detect" efforts to re-cast their signal and block this type of "workaround". Feel free to try it, just don't count on it, at your convenience.
  5. @Joanne G. - we had been able to request it on the Gem, Escape & Breakaway in earlier cruises ... should not be a problem. One of the consideration when it's time to fill out those "Vacation Hero" cards for crews that earned them, treasured just as much as giving them a cash tip directly, as one of the RS said " it is nice to get an extra 4 to 6 hours as time-off, just to sleep in and/or to be able to go ashore at some of the ports". This is what that 1-cup looked like (photo from the Escape) ... same ones used for the fleet, I believe, good for a small cup. P.S. speaking of the Dawn again, you probably want to bring a 110 volt power tap (not those with surge protector) as it has only one 110v wall outlet, one 220v Euro outlet and one 220v UK outlet (adapter plugs for those for dual-voltage devices/chargers) There are no USB outlets bedside or elsewhere ...
  6. We're on the Dawn this May, first sailing out of NYC - after a 2 days repo from Miami - just crews onboard when it arrived very early in the pre-dawn hours. No passengers to disembark so it was definitely smooth. We've learned subsequently that the crew worked to do maintenance, cleaning & replaced wear & tear items that they normally cannot do on a typica 10 hours turnaround day. As noted above, cabins were ready for us when we early boarded about 11 a.m. - dropped off our carry-on bags, put away our passports & leisurely made our way to the MDR for sit-down lunch. They still have to run thru their checklists, possible inspections (Coast Guard, Public Health, etc.) and load provisionings, etc. The crews were apparently rested, relaxed and cheerful, etc. and even the pier was not hectic. As a matter of fact, things ran very smoothly inside the terminal including check-in. Those that're in Haven (full suite & higher) obviously got very early escorted-boarding, ahead of us.
  7. Latest summer travel alert on what to expect going to/from LGA, starting this week - FWIW https://www.businessinsider.com/laguardia-lga-summer-meltdown-delays-cancellations-traffic-security-weather-2019-8 https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/transit/2019/08/10/laguardia-airport-grand-central-parkway-traffic-pattern-changes-delays-getting-to-airport-expected# U.S. Tennis Open, an annual event is coming to Queens ahead of Labor Day thru early September - traffic in nearby areas, if & when the NY Mets are at home at CitiField ... will, likely, make matters worst - especially during travel time. Plan accordingly & allow extra travel time. The free MTA App, in iOS and Android, provides real-time bus/subway/train & route info, ETA to your bus stop as you wait and other advisories, etc. to supplement official updates from LGA Airport https://www.laguardiaairport.com/to-from-airport/by-taxi Waze/Google Maps - recommended for real time GPS & integrated traffic routing, even if you are using a taxi, car service or Uber/Lyft, etc. to fact-check tolls & "best" or "fastest" way getting from A to B, etc.
  8. NCL uses 1 out of 14 MDR menus each day, with some items being offered as everyday choices, and other daily menus rotated based on provisioning - a few items are repeated and available more than once on a typical 7 nights cruise. The MDR lunch menu does not changed - it is the same every day, except on extended 10+ days cruises, where 1 or 2 chef's specials/choices are usually offered on sea days (as MDR typically closed on port days). French onion soup is on the MDR menu, escargot is sometimes offered (when available) and you will also find shrimps, just not shrimp (baby) cocktail as a starter item ... but, you'll find Cajun shrimp salad w. Caesar dressing. The (1-cup brew) coffee maker can be requested (subject to availablilty) via your Room Steward if staying with an Inside or Oceanview stateroom - along with coffee/creamer/sugar setup, complimentary. Ice/bucket no longer provided, except for balconies & higher, unless requested onboard via RS. Sauna/ steam room are not complimentary unless you are in a spa balcony but passes can be purchased (in limited #'s) ... I stand corrected on this as we don't pay attention to it. There are no adults only pool. For a quiet oasis, look for the "secret" public lounge (iCafe before) on Deck 9, midship behind the Mid elevators - to read, relax, listen to music or perhaps live "events" taking place below - looking down toward the atrium lobby (can also access via spiral staircases on Deck 8, where O'Sheehan's (24/7 comfort food) is located (formerly, the Blue Lagoon, which you might recall ...)
  9. Odds of finding an affordable apartment ("serviced flats") adequately sized to house & sleep 9 adults in Manhattan (midtown/Times Square and/or downtown/Lower Manhattan - Financial Districts) are next to nil and none, legally and in compliance with life/fire safety codes with "easy" access to public transportation. You will find a fully furnished townhouse or multi-family home in eastern Queens, suitable for 9 but it isn't going to be a bargain - even it if comply with housing & building, fire codes, etc. especially when you factor in extra travel costs AND time - getting to your ship at CL for embarkation will likely need 2 minivan or a full size van, depending on luggage counts. You will spend at least 1 hour each way to get into midtown Manhattan via subway - not fun, trust me, especially during peak travel time. Depending on what airport you are using to come into NY/NJ - the costs will add up quickly. IMO, it is just not worth the legal (housing & building codes/fire safety regulations) risks and headache involved - refer to questions by 138east in post #7 above - she will come up with some proposed options upon getting the details from you. Let me reiterate that these short-term rentals within NYC are illegal and unregulated - would you be willing to risk a vacate order posted and nowhere to stay upon returning after a long day in the "city" with your belongings possibly curbside.
  10. The carbon footprint for those color toner used & printed paper stock ... more eco-friendly than plastic straws, I trust. They are either recycling them and or burning them as onboard trash, right ?
  11. Short answer, not really - I've checked the MCT schedule for 10/6 and the Norwegian Escape will be docking that morning, doing their turnaround. It's going to be busy at the port and everyone looking for their ground transfer, taxi, car service or Uber/Lyft to ... wherever. Plus, you will have luggage storage consideration - unless you pack & travel lightly & plan to explore places nearby ?? What do you have in mind ? Besides, with the ongoing airport major redevelopment & long-term construction work and interior service road networks being rebuilt & changed, I would allow mucho, plenty, plenty of extra time to make it from the airport exit TO your airline's terminal. The gridlock conditions at the airport, not getting there itself, had flared up again last week & in the news again (Google it) as airport authority pledged to come up with remedies ... Check to see whether CCL offer a drive-by/thru NYC tours for disembarkation with dropoff at the airports - LGA terminals now offer free WiFi and both airside & landside have good choice of food/concession stands & shops.
  12. Have you check out the indoor outlet option nearby at "The Mills At Jersey Gardens" with free shuttle services to/from EWR Int'l Airport. Depending on where you are staying, it's a quick NJ Transit bus ride away from Times Square in midtown Manhattan, NYC, via the nearby Port Authority Bus Terminal. Link is here - https://www.simon.com/mall/the-mills-at-jersey-gardens/travel-here
  13. Hmmm, on a related thread/post - someone else uploaded a screenshot of their Tappenyaki price for Feb. 9, 2020 as being "just" $39 p/p including 20% gratuities ?? A quick calc - the upcharge would be $32.50 p/p with a 20% surcharge, adding up to $39 per paying guest. Not clear which ship that is for - prices being lowered for 2020 ?? What the heck ! Locally here, 15 minutes from us, we can do Hibachi for under $35 or less p/p with choices for surf & turf (real cold-water lobster tail) or premium beef, jumbo prawns (not "shrimps"), scallops, chicken, and/or salmon fillet ... mix-n-match. No wonder that Joy failed big time in China as they just couldn't fill their Teppanyaki slots.
  14. First, congrats to graphicguy. (Hi, DuckTollerFans ... Henry, again - nice to read that you are lurking, that "addiction" is infectious, incurable but easily "treated" ) Well, all "in" meaning that, except maybe for a spa pass, all that OBC piled up will translate (me think) into getting more CruiseNext certificates for future "interventions" LOL. If there is an active Roll Call, you can possibly offer to host an exclusive Haven Tour, by appointments only for serious CC'er thinking of & never seen the upper Mega/+ decks. Are you taking advantage of "free/reduced" NCL Air ?
  15. No, that is the "current" farewell song and NCL is still doing that across the fleet. See this YT video link - what some of us missed is the older one with the "Home away from home, the Norwegian Way" themed one (based on "We are the World") Lookup this on YT - PISZxXJmj20 (embedding is not allowed) or "Chris Cobb Olsen Norwegian Dawn farewell song" from 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlSZxXJmj20
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