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Everything posted by lx200gps

  1. Unfortunately, the LAX-It site is still in operation as of two weeks ago. The Uber driver bringing us back to LAX from San Pedro told us it's not going away and is actually being expanded, so it may very well be permanent. As to the taxi stands at the terminals, yes they are there. We used the one at the far end of T7 last October. Unfortunately, the stands do not have a line of taxis waiting for passengers, there is a sign that lists a phone number to call to have a taxi come and pick you up. When we arrived at the stand there were already a half-dozen people waiting ahead of us, who told us they had called the number but the dispatcher didn't know anything about that taxi stand. We finally did have a taxi pick us up, after a 30 minute wait. Next time, we'll just suck it up and take the green bus to the LAX-It lot. If you want to spend the $$$s, the Black Ubers are allowed to pick up at the terminals, as are limo services.
  2. Walking from the port to the Expo site would be arduous for sure, and the big Jacques Cartier bridge would be a huge challenge and a long walk. Taxi or Uber would be the fastest way to get to the island. Keep in mind that many areas on the two Expo islands are pretty "remote" and getting a taxi back to the ship could be challenging, calling an Uber would be easier. There would almost certainly be plenty of taxis waiting for fares at the Casino on Ile Notre Dame, and also at the La Ronde amusement park on Ile St Helene in season when it's open. If you are particularly mobile, the subway would be a 10 minute walk from the ship to the Champ De Mars subway station, then 2 or three stops with a transfer to the Parc Jean Drapeau station on Ile St Helene. The subway station is right next to the Biosphere
  3. Good point. Sadly, this is a known issue at FLL as well as at Port Everglades, and is discussed frequently here on CC. Some taxi drivers are known to not turn on the meter then charge a flat rate. We fly in and out of Fort Lauderdale regularly, but it has only happened to us once. The charge when we arrived at FLL from the ship was about what the charge would have been PRE-TIP on a meter, so I just handed him the exact cash and didn't give him a tip. The solution, of course, is to confirm before getting in to the cab that he must use the meter, and don't get in if he refuses. Aside from that known problem, taxis between FLL and the port are easy, plentiful, and cheap.
  4. There are only two decent hotels in San Pedro, it's a bit of a wasteland. The aforementioned Crowne Plaza is by far the closest, a short walk to the piers, or they have a shuttle. The other one is the Hilton Doubletree in the marina south of the cruise port, also a nice hotel but farther out. If those are not available or are too $$$, look at nearby Long Beach for a lot more hotel options. Also, if it's high season, the whole SP/LB area can be expensive, so consider an intermediate area like Torrance. We always stay there now, hotels are almost always much cheaper than near the port. Transportation from LAX is problematic, as there is almost no taxi or Uber service from the terminals. Google "LAX-It" to see how it's done. The only Ubers allowed to pick up at the terminals at LAX are the very expensive Uber Blacks. There are two very well hidden taxi stands still at the terminals, one near T3 and one near T7, but based on our experience, I wouldn't try them. Either take the bus to the LAX-It lot and taxi/Uber from there, or possibly limo services are allowed to pick up at the terminals, though I can't confirm.
  5. I've always noticed that as well. Trouble is, by the time I drill down and find EXACTLY the Mini-Suite we want, the price has magically exploded and is far more expensive than the low-priced Minis (or Balconies or Insides) quoted. Those low-priced Minis that are "close" in price to an inside are guarantees in the lowest possible fare/cabin class, usually in a less than ideal location. Count is among those who absolutely must know our exact cabin location before booking.
  6. Welcome to Cruise Critic Eileen. Could you provide a specific link to that web site? I've searched the Play Store and used a simple Google search on my browser and I can't find any reference to "Cruise Guide". Hopefully it's not an Apple-only app. Thanks ;o)
  7. Ya gotta feel for these poor kids, thrown in like that to present material they have little or no knowledge of or experience with, often, as you say, having to present technical material to folks who know far more about it than they do.
  8. Amateur astronomer here. AFAIK, these star gazing sessions involve a junior member of the entertainment staff, armed with a freeware cell phone astronomy app like Stellarium and maybe a green laser pointer, using the app to show major visible objects and pointing them out with the laser. Even if the bridge crew does dim the lights, there is often little to see due to local observing conditions (cloud, fog, haze etc.). The crew member doing the event probably has little to no knowledge of astronomy and so is not likely to be very informative. Also, the results would be heavily dependent on the ship's location, as some routes would result in worse conditions than others. A TransAtlantic under good "seeing" conditions could be a killer, while, say, a California Coastal might not, the light domes of LA and San Francisco killing any visibility to the east for a hundred miles. Also, keep in mind that aside from the sun. moon, and planets, most deep sky objects will be underwhelming to the naked eye. E.g. the Orion Nebula is one of the "brightest" deep sky winter objects and yet is still barely visible as a fuzzy patch except under the clearest skies. TL:DR, do it yourself with a free or very inexpensive astronomy app on your phone. Fire up the app, point it at the sky and it will tell you all about the object in question. In the amateur astronomy community, Stellarium (freeware) is a good bet, but the gold standard, used by most of us, is one of the variants of SkySafari (inexpensive payware)
  9. That's exactly the same web site we were discussing earlier in this thread ;o) It does give the needed information, though it only allows searching a couple of months out
  10. There is also a Montreal subway station on Ile St Helene as well, near the big amusement park La Ronde. From the Old Port, where the cruise ships dock, it would be a relatively short walk to the nearest subway station and then a short ride, with a line transfer, to get to Ile St Helene and Parc Jean Drapeau. If you are in Montreal for a day or two, taking the the Metro would be a very easy way to get around, to downtown, Old Montreal etc. if you didn't want to bother with taxis or Ubers.
  11. It would be a very long and not very practical walk to get to the old Expo sites from the Old Port, a taxi or Uber would certainly be easier. There are two bridges on and off the islands, neither of which is particularly pedestrian friendly though people do walk or bike onto the islands. Keep in mind also that the old Expo site is actually two islands, Ile St Helene and Ile Notre Dame, so things are very spread out. The Parc is on Ile St Helene along with the Biodome and the amusement park La Ronde while Ile Notre Dame is where the huge Casino is located, along with the Formula One race track. Google Maps and Street View will show you a lot of details about what remains of the old original Expo 76 site.
  12. Absolutely, It makes one wonder about the fundamental business case that Princess used/uses to plan the Sanctuary on these ships. At $40/day/pp for a single lounger, given the size of these areas, how much of a money-maker are they? Even though folks always say the "Sanctuary was empty when I was there, the reality is that most, if not all loungers on the warm weather trips, are sold even if they are not actively being sat in. So do the Sanctuaries actually generate enough revenue to be "wortwhile" to a business like Princess? And if they are, why not re-arrange them a lot better, keeping some of the niceties/decorations but adding more seats to accommodate the demand and increase their revenue.
  13. We were on the Discovery a week ago, and had the Sanctuary booked for two days (Mazatlan day and the second sea day). We were actually the very first to arrive upstairs for booking but even so, found that the B2Bers had grabbed all the best loungers in the shade before us, so only full sun loungers remained. When we told the Sanctuary Maitre'd who was at the front counter booking us in that we greatly preferred shade, he did something we had never seen before (and we've been in a lot of Sanctuaries over the years ;o). He had the staff physically move two of the full sun loungers into the shade for us and hand-drew the new locations on his booking sheet for the two days. When we arrived for our first day, our two loungers were in "shade" (or what passes for it in the Sanctuary) and we also noticed a gaping hole of the lounger setup in the sunny area, so they didn't have extra loungers, they moved them for us and lost two full sun positions. If you know the Sanctuary layout on these newer ships, there is a LOT of wasted space with floor decorations, useless uncomfortable sofas that few ever use etc., so they moved some huge floor-standing flower pots and put our loungers right at the very front, next to the hot tub. The only downside to that was when people used the hot tub, which fortunately wasn't that often, when they turned on the jets it sounded like we were inside a giant washing machine. TL:DR, the Sanctuary management seems to be aware that many folks want shade even though the Sanctuary design isn't conducive to it, and they have creative ways to oblige customers.
  14. That website is pretty badly written for sure. IIRC, there is a small "Query" button somewhere on the page that opens up a search box that lets you input other criteria and search other time periods.
  15. TONS of discussions here on that very subject. The Hyatt Place wins hands down. We've stayed there many times. Check Valuetrips.com for scarily good pricing depending on the dates you want. Note that the 17th St strip can be very expensive at certain times of the year depending on exactly when you want to stay.
  16. Not sure if we're talking about the same Montreal airport? As at two weeks ago, when we last passed through security, there were numerous scanners in use at the transborder/US area, including one dedicated to NEXUS users, as well as a preferred security line for those with premium credit cards. Yes, there can be long lines at peak times, but not because there is one scanner is use. If there are crowds waiting to go through security, they open up more stations.
  17. We've been staying around Port Everglades pre-cruise for years, and have three main areas we stay in, depending on time of year. The 17th St strip is by far the easiest and closest to the port, but in high season, the prices can be eye-wateringly expensive. When 17th is out of range, our next option would be Dania Beach, but that too can be expensive at certain times as well, though not as bad as the 17th St area. A third option, only occasionally discussed here on CC, is Plantation. It's farther out than the other two, which probably explains why hotel prices aren't nearly as variable as the other two areas. At peak times, we've found that Plantation hotels can literally be half the price of the closer hotels. Plantation has more than enough hotels and restaurants to choose from, and is close to the massive Sawgrass mall. The only real downside, more than offset by the lower or more stable hotel prices, is its distance from the airport and PE, requiring a longer taxi/Uber ride.
  18. That was pretty much it on the Discovery last week. MSNBC, CNBC, Fox and BBC World, the two Prime channels, a National Geographic channel, the bridge cam and a few sports channels.
  19. We did this just last week while on the Discovery, booked with the on-board Future Cruise rep a single trip I had been researching. She was great to deal with, absolutely NO up/hard selling of any type. We even spent time reminiscing about our mutual favourite ship, the Royal, on which she had spent three years serving, so she knew Princess wel. She booked exactly the cabin we requested, confirmed that our usual TA would immediately get the booking transferred to her (which was confirmed the day we got home). Pricing was identical to what I had received off the Princess website, so no deal there. Because we booked it on-board, and purchased two pairs of FCDs, one was immediately applied to this new booking and the other one sits in our account to be applied in a few months when we book our mid-2025 trip. We also received the $50/pp OBC for the mini-suite booking. Great experience, no issues whatsoever.
  20. Well worth it, if for no other reason than peace of mind. We had delays and connection issues on our AC flights last week from LAX to YUL through YYZ. Had Tiles in each of our three checked bags. As soon as we landed in YYZ, I fired up my phone and saw that all three bags were also in Toronto with us, and when we landed in Montreal, same story, I instantly saw that the three bags had followed us safe and sound.
  21. The point I was trying to make was that the cost of implementing such a system, even in a seasonal port like Boston, would probably be offset by a possibly larger savings in manpower by not needing as many agents on hand to physically interview each and every passenger. And I assume that the reason why they are moving to FR in the first place, anywhere, is that it's better, more accurate, etc, than physically interviewing people, so why wouldn't they want to implement it in as many places as possible?
  22. No, they did not allow anyone upstairs to the usual lounge areas. Everyone was kept downstairs in the main area until boarding started. Those who were nearest the boarding "doorway", i.e. those who arrived earliest and knew to sit near the door boarded first etc. As to "Who cares about the setup stuff?", we do, and probably a lot of other Elites etc, who enjoy the small touch of having the coffee, tea and munchies available while waiting to board.
  23. When we boarded the Sky in PE for one of our trips last year there were also no lounges/special waiting areas set up at all. We all just sat in the lower level arrival hall in T2 according to when we arrived for check-in, and boarding started for everyone around 10:30. At the time I just assumed that because they had the ship ready for boarding particularly early, they dispensed with the extra work of setting up the lounges, the catering etc.
  24. Absolutely correct. I was merely commenting on post #12 above where the poster thought nothing of opening those fire doors even if they were closed.
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