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About babysteps

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Finger Lakes area, NY, USA
  • Interests
    food, wine, streamlining

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  1. @Pet You could get polo shirts for the group with a "decanter man" embroidered logo 🙂 @ropomo, you have unlocked the secret of the current wine market - drink what *you* like. We don't all have the same preferences, so who cares as long as you enjoy (well, enjoy responsibly, right?)! That said, unless we go to live-aboard status as an alternative to assisted living, I don't see my spouse choosing to seek out a lot of boxed wine anytime soon. But there are some iconoclast winemakers experimenting with boxes and/or cans these days, it's always fun to try.
  2. Is the travel business analogous to the real estate business? In real estate, the contract is technically with the agency (aka brokerage), the contract also specifies the agent, and you (or funds from closing) pay the agency, then the agency pays the agent. If travel is similar, that could explain why it is a list of agencies - because O's contract is with the agency, not the agent... Of course, this doesn't make it any easier for consumers to find the right agent 🙂
  3. A lot may depend on the length of your cruise and your personal preferences for logistics. $175 and being that close to the pier for a round-trip NYC cruise would win in my book (but not in everyone's book) over parking at EWR and Ubering back & forth. When we lived in CT we would do one-way car rentals to get to the NYC area airports and back, this could work for a cruise as well. If you are gone for more than 10 days or so, the cost of at- or near-to- pier parking could quickly outstrip the cost of a rental or parking at EWR & Uber'ing back & forth. Depending on distance, you could even look at Uber'ing or a car service all the way from your home to the pier and back (I assume this would cost more than at least some of the other options, but door-to-door service could be a luxury that is worth it to you). FYI, the parking at the pier is only accessible on days of embarkation & debarkation according to the Port Authority's website when I checked a few months ago. So if you want an overnight pre- or post-cruise, parking at the pier may not work (that's why we didn't park there in December when we flew EWR-MIA for an MIA-NYC cruise).
  4. deleted (just learned how to multi-quote all over again lol)
  5. I have on occasion carried my Waves plate to a pool lounger to eat there. On Riviera and Marina you could always carry your plate upstairs to the outdoor tables & chairs on the board room side of deck 14 (some are partly covered, but if it's important to not be covered I think you can make that work). If you have a balcony, room service would also give you the option of lunch out doors. On the R ships, am I remembering that there are tables between Waves bar and the pool? If so, that would give you an open-sun lunch option (you would still be carrying your plate yourself). If mid-afternoon aft outdoor dining is critically important, booking an aft cabin might be the only option on O...
  6. What Pinotlover said 🙂 One more hint-if you "know what you like", wine wise, ask ahead about which wines will be featured. The wine tastings (afternoons, with small plates) typically are made up of wines that are on the wine list (bottles, not just by-the-glass) and centered around a theme (Italian, or old world vs. new world, etc). Someone on the beverage team should be able to get you a specific list. You don't have to be surprised. On the other hand, if you are in the "discovering what I like" phase of wine, it's a great opportunity to try some additional wines and compare notes with the folks around you. Even if (er, when) there are wines that you find not to your taste, this adds to your knowledge base, and you can pick up some key words to use (that describe what qualities you didn't like) the next time you are faced with a list where nothing is familiar to you. For the La Reserve dinners, all wines are listed in the menus, and all have been rated highly by Wine Spectator. Easy to research ahead of time if you don't like surprises and/or know exactly what you like (or, what you like to pay for lol).
  7. The menus are displayed in La Reserve, easy to review. Also I would suggest that you check with the dining reservation desk, it is possible that the menu could be (slightly) adjusted to meet your dietary restrictions - that is, don't just assume that the printed menu can't be changed until after consulting at dining reservations. I also suggest checking in with the dining reservations desk on day one to make sure that your dining restrictions have been logged in (or at least, I always feel better when I do this lol).
  8. Our experience boarding Marina in Lima on Mar 15, 2019 - we took a pre-booked car service to the port (Taxidatum, I would highly recommend them). There were 2 full-sized shuttle buses waiting when we arrived at about 11:45 (which was slightly earlier than we were aiming). The first bus filled up (luggage hold to capacity, more like 20-30 people on the full-sized bus), we boarded the second bus. There were plenty of port workers there (slightly bossy but helpful). By the time our bus left, another one had pulled in behind us. We talked to one couple who had taken a taxi from their hotel to the port gate, and the taxi took them to a part of Callao near the port but not anywhere near the gate - they made it okay, but it took extra time and effort. Once we reached the ship, we didn't have to handle our checked luggage. We exited the bus, filled out our health questionnaire and handed it in on the dock under a tent, then boarded and checked in (hand over passport, collect world card, give credit card for incidentals) in the Marina lounge. There were a couple of vendors with souvenirs on the dock at the ship as well. The bus had a high first step from the ground, there were folks on hand to help but be prepared if you have mobility issues (was easier at port gate as there was a curb there).
  9. I just realized that most of the places on our most recent cruise are not on this list, so here goes (all Mar/Apr 2019 on Marina). Some of these may so obviously *not* need shuttles that they aren't on the current list. Lima - shuttle to Marriott at Larcomar (Miraflores neighborhood) Salaverry Peru - shuttle to Trujillo (near the main historic square-several miles away); separate shuttle to port gate only. Tour operators gather at bus drop off in Trujillo to pitch you on excursions (private excursions more easily picked up at the port) Manta Ecuador - shuttle to main square (nearby, longish but do-able walk if you wished); same shuttle would drop you at port gate if requested Esmeraldas Ecuador - shuttle to nearby Playa de las Palmas (recently upgraded waterfront walk, market area, etc) - not sure if the shuttle sometimes goes further, we were there Friday of election weekend and were warned traffic would be awful. Also, we docked although our itinerary said we would tender. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica - no shuttle, excursion offerings by the local taxi cooperative right on the pier, as well as some shops in the terminal; you could walk into town on your own if you wished Santo Tomas, Guatemala - no shuttle, excursion offerings by local operatives with desks in the terminal (which also had shops); you could walk into town on your own if you wished Roatan - Oceania docks in Coxen Hole, no shuttle, extensive cruise port shops, restaurants and tour operators Harvest Caye, Belize - the ferry to the mainland was *not* operating for independent travelers the day we were there. Miami - our cruise was here for the day (*not* as an embarkation/debarkation day), there was a shuttle to Bayside Marketplace New York (Manhattan cruise terminal) - no shuttle
  10. Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - the tender dock is at the foot of one of the streets in the small downtown, no shuttle necessary. There is a paid shuttle option in Port Stanley to go to the nearby (10 minute ish??) bluffside walk with plenty of penguins to watch, no reservation necessary. This info from when we were there (4 or 5 yrs ago). Sorry we didn't get off at Puerto Chacabuco, and we missed Punta Del Este for weather.
  11. On our Mar/Apr 2019 Riviera cruise 18 days Lima to NYC, we had signed up for the Dom dinner before the cruise, it was scheduled for something like day 4 of the cruise. It was cancelled for low sign-ups, but an additional Dom dinner was announced for later in the cruise and was held, with 8 participants.
  12. In the cruise brochures I believe. Definitely in the "next" specific mailing. Photo makes the wood not noticeable, and the carpet very gray on the gray-blue scale, with very angular (as in, ouch I hit my shin) looking. But my perceptions might be skewed lol.
  13. I can understand where you are coming from - in the pictures, post-Next Martini's reminds me of a movie-complex lobby with annoyingly busy carpet lol. But in person it is actually quite nice, the carpet isn't nearly so bold, and there is still plenty of buffed-up-&-still-there woodwork. In the pictures, the furniture looks a bit angular and not so comfy; in person it is much more inviting imo. It is much more 'transitional' in style vs. 'traditional', but I did not expect to hear jets taking off 😉 Will be interested in your comments when you get to see it in person - I know you will not mince words, and that is a virtue in my book! (I need an emoji here that designates, "I really mean this, and in a kind way - I *am* looking forward to your eye witness acount")
  14. Dom isn't my favorite champagne either, but it is quite good. Onboard we especially enjoyed the 2004 rose (insert accent on the "e" lol - this keyboard doesn't make that easy). Cristal isn't bad either, but you do pay a premium for the pretty bottle (see also: Louis XIII). Actually I like Tattinger or Krug better than either, but any champagne in a storm 🙂 Not to mention Deutz Cuvee Louise and Pol Roger Winston Churchill...so many great choices, and don't forget the "growers" champagnes either. But I digress...the chance for several vintage champagnes with amazing food cooked before your eyes at sea - who can complain??
  15. DH was thinking the exact same thing, but in-person on Insignia was much better than he was fearing. Yes it is different, and ymmv, but it might not be nearly as bad as you think. Of course, you can always retreat to the library, whose look remains the same. Martinis and the GDR chandelier both look much better in person (vs the promo pictures), but that's just one opinion lol.
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