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    Northern Virginia
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    Watches, Pens, Travel
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  1. Did you look at the link that was posted? Dogfish 90 and Rogue 7 Hop, Chimay Red and Blue, Delirium Tremens. Plus an entire specialty list of mostly very high end and high ABV Belgians. There are some more pedestrian beers, but it’s a heck of a beer list. And beer definitely has a best by, so there’s a decent investment in getting it right if that’s representative of what’s onboard.
  2. I distinctly remember a thread a few years back where someone was turned away from the Captain's Club event for wearing open toed strapless heels with I think a sun dress. Which generated several pages of discussion of what is a sandal and what is a flip flop...
  3. Not Macallan, but this thread sent me to the basement. And a word of warning! The cork fell apart on this one, but I got it out clean… They don’t make this any more. Pretty much like I remember. Just surprised with the cork! Those little two prong cork pullers are wonderful!
  4. I got curious today and did a little research. With some surprising (to me) results. There are a number of Michelin 3-Star restaurants in New York. There's an interesting divergence in some ways on dress code. Per Se apparently still requires men to wear a jacket. Le Bernardin has now dropped its jacket requirement (more on that in a minute). 11 Madison Park apparently never had a dress code. Dinner for two at Per Se or 11 Madison Park, not including drinks but with tips, will set you back about $1000; Le Bernardin will run around $450 for dinner and tip, plus drinks. There are other 3-stars in NYC, but those were the easy ones to look up. Part of the dress code change directly deals with "loaner jackets" during the pandemic. Most of your high end restaurants keep a stash of jackets for "gentlemen" who show up without a jacket. But there's a whole sanitary issue involved over the last couple of years. So many of them have dropped the jacket requirement. What's interesting, according to a Robb Report article I found, was that most men still show up wearing jackets. There seems to be a general feeling that the food and ambience of the restaurant calls for a jacket. I honestly was a little surprised, but we are talking NYC, and all three of those are in Manhattan. I've only been to Le Bernardin, and always wore (and will wear) a jacket, and the general ambiance conveys a formality. I suspect a misbehaving party would be politely moved on; if they were filthy rich enough, they'd be convinced that a private room was better for them... I will be honest that I've never felt that way on a cruise ship. Maybe early on in the Pinnacle Grill on HAL, but at that point I'd never dined at a Michelin starred restaurant. It could just be me, and on Celebrity we've sailed in Aqua and in a Sky Suite, so I don't know the MDR ambiance, but on Holland and Royal, I never got the concept of the MDR staff parading around waving napkins on "formal night"... (And, for the record, I'd wear a suit or jacket if called for. We don't wear shorts or flip flops to dinner on a ship, or anywhere other than a truly casual restaurant.)
  5. I think that's the problem when someone asks this sort of question. It's like asking about a Mondavi tasting. A lot of it depends on your previous experience and interest. But if your experience level is no more than medium, then these type events are probably worth the time. And they can be fun regardless. But if it's a wine tasting onboard, for instance, I can pretty much guarantee I'll go insane and head straight for the nearest bar with a good Pinot Noir (oops, the good ones are only by the bottle...)! Oh, and 18 year old Glenmorangie is really nice on a Monday evening...
  6. Obviously you're not getting a distillery rep or even a distributor's rep doing the tastings. Hopefully you get someone with some taste for whisky. The size and honestly interest/experience of the group will effect your tasting, but those are pretty much out of your control on a ship. It sounds like Bo had a smallish group that was into whisky; I'm pretty sure my group was larger, and some had never really done a whisky tasting. I think they did all the usual tricks (coffee beans, chocolate, etc.) to get people to look for aroma and flavor notes. So they did try. If you were going to a serious whisky tasting on land, odds are that everyone (or 90%+) in attendance would be a serious whisky fan. And you'd steer your tasting in that direction. And you can do that even if you're doing a single distillery, like Macallan, or a conglomerate like Diageo. But the ship is largely all things to all people, and the product is the product they normally carry. I don't remember what it cost, and I did enjoy it, but if there are 3-5 whiskies, you're paying $35-40 for the event, and 3 of the whiskies are available in your premium package, then you're counting on the event itself being worth the cost. And I think there's some variability in the event. If you're into whisky, but don't have a lot of experience with Macallan, it could still be nice as it's something of a vertical tasting with small enough pours that you can still taste the last whisky. Which you really couldn't do with an ounce of each at the bar!
  7. We've had this discussion before, Bo. My experience (now three years removed 🤕) on Equinox was the opposite of yours. I think we had three, I believe they were all NAS whiskies, and the tasting leader was not well informed. And I've become OK with NAS whisky, as long as the distiller has picked good barrels for the mix.
  8. That is crazy. May make some sense without essentially everyone on a package. But as good as X is at separating you from your money, I can’t believe they’d muck this one up!
  9. You’re actually going from Honolulu (a US port) to Seattle (a US port), so no, it’s not legal under the PVSA. Honolulu to Vancouver is fine. Vancouver to Seattle is fine. But putting them together becomes Honolulu to Seattle, which isn’t allowed. You’re not breaking travel at all in Vancouver? The only bill that has a real chance is limited to Alaska cruises, and I have no idea if it will address the type of cruise you’re describing. There were several other bills introduced earlier this year that have apparently all failed in committee. Bill introduced does not equal bill about to pass.
  10. I think you can do any of those, depending on your personal sense of formality, and the lady's preferences... If she's going with a long gown, do the tux. If she's doing something short(er) and fun, do the festive sport coat. And if she's somewhere in between, do the suit. I'd key off her (but today actually was my 30th anniversary...). I think any of the above is fine. I probably wouldn't go excessively "business"; it's New Year's and if you're wearing a suit, make it fun. That's just me and my $0.02 opinion! Quick Edit: If you have a well cut, well fitted suit, and a so-so tux, like most people who wear suits and not tuxes, wear the suit!
  11. Do you have a business case for itinerary 2? And did you mean Itinerary 2 in your third paragraph? Because I suspect itinerary 1 IS more financially beneficial as more people will likely take it. What size ship and how many passengers to make route 2 profitable (using your "rules", let's forget most of the current legal requirements, but some of them do impact the business case)? "We all know" is a major assumption without data. And, BTW, that cruise isn't really prohibited by the PVSA. It's closed loop and you didn't transport passengers between two US ports. It doesn't happen for all the other messy reasons in other parts of US law and code. Those messy reasons should generate a significant amount of tax revenue for the US and the various states, but would the cost increase enough that occupancy drops? And if there was really demand, most of those messy reasons could be eliminated by a 4 hour stop in Freeport, for instance. That's a business case question, not a legal question. And well done business cases frequently prove the obvious incorrect. American Cruise Lines does essentially littoral cruises on the East Coast. They have a business model for that sector. They would actually be the obvious company to extend their business into other US port to US port cruise travel. There would be issues with acquiring coastwise qualified vessels, but as @chengkp75 has said, those probably aren't insurmountable by qualifying non-US built vessels for the route (which would require legislative relief); their ships are US flagged and I'd assume they'd continue that business model. If there was a good business case to offer those routes. Unless they're as incompetent as CLIA was in their 2020 lobbying, I'd assume they'd be pursuing that relief. Little pieces are probably doable, and it's their business space to lose. But I don't see any evidence of anyone else wanting it. Maybe you do. The forest here is return on investment to stakeholders by publicly held corporations, not the desire of some cruisers to cruise what could well be a non-profitable route.
  12. We ate their 2-3 times while staying on Lex. I think we waddled out every time! Great family style food on individual plates, but there were two of us! And DW is just not that big... I've become a big fan of South Indian food. Anju Sharma is influenced more by Northern India (Delhi), but the interpretation was always pretty amazing. Back on the list when we get a chance.
  13. We won't be there long enough in October, but I've got to get it back on the list. Amma was just really nice. But forget portion control! You need a family of 8 to really enjoy the food! 😃
  14. TLDR: Hard to assess harm until you know what's actually going to pass. I don't know that any harm would occur, with appropriate regulation. I have no dog in this fight, and really no firm preferences on the outcome. But your question isn't really about the PVSA, which is an amazingly limited scope law, if you actually read it. It only addresses transportation of passengers from one US port to another. The language actually explicitly prohibits transportation by way of ANY foreign port, but that's been revised by administrative rulings and one court ruling. Most of what gets quoted as PVSA in the cruising community is actually Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) implementing regulations, and many of them actually implement immigration, customs, and tax laws. Harm: Hard to say. Go with the recreational drug model and regulate it rather than prohibit it. As chengkp75 has stated, there are complications, specifically international agreements and maritime law. I suspect those aren't easy to change, but probably can be done. Spent a lot of time working with NATO, and a lot of processes are the equivalent of paint drying. What would the US have to give up to make those changes? It won't be zero sum. For the cruiser: The PVSA is not the rate limiting step. Without an international stop, under current immigration law (not the PVSA), the crew can't perform work within the United States. That can be changed, but it may not be easy. The alternative is a US crew, subject to US labor laws, US minimum wage, etc. Or a change to immigration law, or a ruling that the cruise is international regardless, which is essentially what the Alaska legislation did. I've seen all kinds of estimates, but expect cruise fares to increase dramatically if the cruise line has to employ US citizens. I can't imagine a path to grant work visas to the crew; other than senior officers. That's the real issue with "cruises to nowhere", which if you read the CBP information papers, comply with the PVSA, but have immigration issues. And it's why closed loop cruises make an international stop. If you allowed non-coastwise qualified vessels to transport passengers, my bet is the cruises would still make an international stop for customs, tax, and immigration purposes. But not a distant foreign stop. They'd probably be happy to from Seattle to Alaska by way of the easiest Canadian port, but they wouldn't skip Canada. Maybe that's a win. Again, the rulings that allow the distant foreign stop are pretty bureaucratic, but essentially determined that the cruises in question did not have transportation of passengers as their primary intent. The cruise was the purpose, not the movement of passengers. I've not seen any effort to extend that legal theory that originates in 1910 with court rulings in 1940 to modern cruising. IMHO, the PVSA is the bright shiny object preventing a serious review of all laws and regulations in this space. The Alaska legislation bypassed most of the sticky issues by simply declaring the cruises "international" (I think they actually used foreign, which probably isn't the correct term). Murkowski's legislation already suggests she thinks that's a bridge too far for a permanent change. I'm all in favor of a holistic review. I'm pretty confident there's a way to maintain the safety and inspections that concern a Merchant Marine, while differentiating "travel as recreation" from "travel as transportation". But I've lived in the NCR too long to think that's simple or trivial. And I will now go back to something truly important. A wee dram of Glenmorangie... (And to my Bostonian friend, yeah, I've already had a dram, and didn't feel like editing. It's too long! I get it.)
  15. Agree. 2nd Avenu used to be very nice at one time. There were a lot of nice neighborhood restaurants. Different than Restaurant Row. There was a really nice Indian place, Amma, on 51st between 2nd and 3rd. Looks like it's still there. When we used to stay in that area, it was fun to just walk 2nd and see what looked interesting.
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