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Everything posted by Zacharius

  1. Even if you want to go as "far" as St. John from St. Thomas, I always vote for going on your own.
  2. You might be waiting a while. Tourism between North America and Europe, especially in the summer, shows no signs of slowing down. Additionally, business ties are continuing to ramp back up. Demand is there, and prices are matching.
  3. Don't forget Southampton itself. KLM does fly there via Amsterdam, and KLM is a Delta partner, so it's very possible to get routed (say) USA - AMS - Southampton. KLM offers flights in to British cities that a lot of other major airlines don't...places like Southampton, Cardiff, Leeds, Teeside, Bristol, and more. I only say that for people who may be looking to fly to the UK (for cruises or not) and don't always want to go straight in to London. A rather simple connection via AMS can dump you in to smaller, easier British airports that could be a great place to start (or end) a vacation. Or business for that matter...my colleague and I split some work in Bristol, and she (as a Delta frequent flier) pretty much always goes via AMS straight in to Bristol. Myself, as an AA frequent flier, just goes in to Heathrow and takes ground transit from there. Often times, it ends up being a wash time wise.
  4. You missed out on a really enjoyable downtown because of that person (or people). Bummer. I've never had a problem in downtown Seattle. Granted, it's been a solid seven weeks since I've stayed in downtown Seattle...
  5. One thing to consider when booking groups - it can sometimes be cheaper to break the group up in to smaller groups, and it's worth checking that out for future trips. An example of why (with hypothetical numbers and such): There are 3 tickets available in Fare Bucket A, and 10 seats tickets in the more expensive Fare Bucket B. If you're pricing six together, it's going to bypass the Fare Bucket A (because there are only three tickets available) and book all six in to the higher Fare Bucket B. If you split is up three and three, it would book three of you in to Fare Bucket A, and the other three in Fare Bucket B, resulting in a lower grand total. This isn't going to happen every time, but it's worth pricing out. The risk is that something happens during travel and three get re-booked on one route, and three on another route, because you're technically separate groups...but most flights do make it, and the risk still may be worth it depending on the savings.
  6. Maybe I've had unusually good experiences on my five or so visits to Chops...but I have always found my steaks fairly good. I get the opportunity to visit a LOT of really high end steakhouses around the world for business dinners/meetings, which are of course much, much better than Chops, but that's my way of say that I am no stranger to phenomenal steaks but have always enjoyed by Chops steaks. Of course, being on vacation tends to skew tastes a bit (most things seem to taste a bit better on vacation).
  7. I guess it kind of depends where in California. Even in So Cal (where it appears OP is from), there's a big difference between LA, San Diego, and...Calexico
  8. Just a caveat to be careful with something like this. Very careful. If you're booking separate tickets, you are not protected. Example - you want to fly Denver to London, but it's cheaper to fly Chicago to London. No problem, let me just book a separate, cheaper ticket on, say, Southwest or Frontier from Denver to Chicago, and then United/BA/AA from Chicago to London. Well, you're now on two separate origin/destination tickets - Denver to Chicago, and Chicago to London. Southwest/Frontier is only responsible to get you from Denver to Chicago; United/BA/AA is only responsible to get you from Chicago to London. If your DEN-CHI (be it MDW or ORD) is delayed, and you miss the ORD-LHR flight, you're in trouble and will probably have to buy a new, last-minute ticket to get yourself to London...and and subsequent flights on that registration are likely to be cancelled as you're now a no-show. So, if you do decide to book positioning flights, be smart and book BIG layovers (preferably overnight), and make sure it's really worth it (factoring in things like hotels, meals, ground transportation if needed (such as between Midway and O'Hare in my example), cost of your time, etc. etc.)
  9. Another vote for downtown. Although I am a Hilton loyalist, I absolutely love the Hyatt Regency Seattle Downtown (on Howell St.) and usually stay there if I am staying downtown (versus suburbs).
  10. That's becoming increasingly common in the US, especially with smaller local shops in urban areas.
  11. Definitely, please, for your own good, avoid the ATMs on the ship when at all possible. Most ports will have ATMs with lower fees...and even better if you can get just a bit away from the port to get the cash from a non-port ATM.
  12. This storm appears to be particularly tricky. It speeds up, it slows down, it goes one way and then goes another, and then slows down again. I'm sure people at the various cruise lines are keeping an eye on it and throwing out contingencies, but with this one, it may all be fairly last minute. Nobody on here is going to have any real insight at this point, that might be the only guarantee
  13. I fill in occasionally at a brewery near my house in the US (on the rare occasions I'm not traveling for work)...it's just kind of my fun thing to do a couple times a month, and a way to get some free beer Anyways, I will preface this by saying that our owner pays us a pretty good base pay of $12 to $16/hour (most of us fall at $14), and then tips on top of that (split evenly on a per hour basis for the tips made that day). I usually end up making about $35/hour on a Friday or Saturday, and maybe $27-$30/hour on a week day. I'm honestly shocked at how much I get paid just to pour beer/wine and make some cocktails. I also have a buddy who works as a sever at a very high-end steakhouse chain (I won't name it, but it rhymes with Smakital Trill) and he easily clears $100k/year in a pretty affordable mid-sized midwestern city.
  14. I have kind of a funny story about this. I lived in China for two years and still go back regularly for work, but I am a black guy who is a dual US/Namibian citizen and speaks English with a midwest American accent. My spoken Mandarin is good, but not great. Anyways, I was in Hangzhou, ended up at a karaoke bar, and overheard people (who didn't know I understood them) questioning why I was there since most everything was in Mandarin. So of course I went up on stage, belted out a pretty damn good Mandarin cover of "Friday" by Rebecca Black (because it was Friday, and I was drunk), looked a them, and dropped the mic. We spent the rest of the night together bar hopping.
  15. It's rare, but I have heard of them. More often than that are airlines whose super discounted fares earn some miles but not 100% miles (such as AA, who specifically note cruise lines as the origin of some fares that result in reduced miles).
  16. There may be cases in which the fare they book you on doesn't earn points (or doesn't earn the full amount of points). To be fair, that can also be the case with certain fares on the airlines themselves. But I have never used Air2Sea so I don't have experience personally.
  17. I've never done self parking at LAX, but my friends in LA who do often use the garage(s) inside the terminal loop...they feel it's worth the extra money. If you book ahead for the cheaper parking (that requires a shuttle), they sometimes throw you a deal to upgrade to the terminal parking. Yes, it depends on the airline AND the fare. And you often won't know the real fare ahead of time, if at all. Many of the fares Air2Sea uses are specially negotiated, so even on the same airline and same route, two people may have very different experiences.
  18. I have to make this decision pretty frequently because I do a lot of work up in the Palmdale area and need to decide if I want to connect through ONT (easier drive down, quieter, easier, rental cars right there) or go nonstop through LAX (crazier, busier, rental cars halfway to Pasadena, but better hotel choices if I need to spend the night). I also do BUR sometimes, of course, but there's no point in you going there so I'll leave it out of the discussion. If my destination requires a stop no matter where I come out of, I'll usually choose ONT over LAX. If it's a case of LAX being nonstop and ONT being one-stop, I'll usually (but not always) choose LAX. A lot of times it just depends on my mood when I am booking. In your case, I would probably do LAX.
  19. Have you considered LAX? A little extra time up front (on the road) can result in a myriad of nonstop options that could save time in the long run versus the necessary connection coming out of ONT.
  20. I really dislike this idea myself. As someone who spends their life and career bouncing around the world, I can assure you that the $2 bill is very much unknown outside of the US (and even inside the US by a shockingly high number of people). It can be exceedingly difficult to convert $2 bills outside of the US.
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