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Everything posted by Zacharius

  1. I don't tip too much beyond what is already charged as a tip, such as the 18%. I do tip the porters (something like $5 for two bags), and I do tip my room steward extra IF they have been particularly good (but my last cruise I didn't tip any extra, because he simply didn't do anything beyond basic room cleaning to deserve it). Don't feel like you need to tip someone just because you feel obligated...if they earned extra above what I am already providing them, I'll certainly do it, but I won't do it "just because".
  2. So a couple of things: 1) Are you quoting prices per person, or for your family of 4? Of course, $1700pp for MSP-SJU is ridiculous...$425pp during spring break seems very fair. This is a very important distinction. That being said, if it is $1700pp, I still don't know what to tell you because of my second point, which is... 2) In the case of Delta, the tickets have been out for quite some time now...since approximately April. So, odds are the lowest fare buckets are now gone for a peak season like spring break to the Caribbean. I would say the odds of it coming down are very, very small. They're unlikely to release lower fare buckets due to demand, and a sale for a high travel period like that is something that has about a 5% chance of happening. (Not a real statistic, just stressing it's very unlikely) The biggest "issue" is that the US economy is super strong right now, and there is an extremely high market for both vacation and business travel. That is all tied up with a relatively static number of seats for sale, which results in high fares.
  3. It may even be trickier than that. The people manning the cruiseline airfare desks are not expert travel agents...they're basically glorified salespeople. They may have access to if a fare is upgradeable with a simple "Yes' or "No" note on that fare type. Maybe. But even if they do, they may just say "Yes" without telling, or even knowing, that while the fare is technically ungradeable, it is only upgradeable to a certain group of people. Definitely one of the risks of booking your air travel through people who aren't air travel experts.
  4. I believe this may depend on the fare. Not all fares are "upgradeable" so you may want to make sure you get one. On some airlines, upgrades are limited to those with certain status, too. So it's not always as simple as "I have miles, upgrade me". And of course, most are space available and those with status may have the ability to upgrade long before those without status.
  5. Not a stupid question, but no I am not aware of any way.
  6. I do a lot of work with the military, and one of the interesting things I hear when I speak with higher ups at bases is how much they're having to change what they do with military spouses these days...because so many of the older stuff they did was guided towards women only, and there's an increasing number of military spouses who are men. I hear it from multiple bases, and multiple branches. Doesn't change your post at all, but I found it interesting and thought I'd share as the demographics of military (and those who stay home) change quickly.
  7. Oh man...hilarious picture but that sounds truly awful to me. My wife and I do anything and everything possible to travel (cruise or otherwise) when there is the least chance of any kids/families. February and early May are perfect North America vacation times because of that ?
  8. I have to completely disagree with you on this. I like Chops...I have always been pleasantly surprised with how good my steak is. But, I get to Capital Grille at least 6x yearly and Chops is definitely not the quality of steak as Capital Grille, nor is the cooking temp as consistent.
  9. Almost never. Admittedly, we've only done a few cruises on Royal Caribbean, but I've always been underwhelmed by the MDR - food and atmosphere alike. We'll either pay extra for a specialty restaurant, or just chill in the buffet. Occasionally will do room service on our balcony, but that's rare and usually just breakfast.
  10. Not sure where exactly you are, but would you consider driving to DCA or IAD for a lower fare and/or more nonstops?
  11. I fly 125,000 BIS miles a year, and book flights for others totaling close to 500,000 miles a year. So, I look at flights just about every day...sometimes months out, sometimes just a few days (or day) out. I've been doing this for about 13 years. I have never, ever been able to find a reliable trend, and that's even more the case for something like a vacation destination during a spring break period. The only certainty there is that it won't be cheap, even more so now than later (for reasons I'll explain below). You could wait until 30, 60, 90, 120 days out...but it may not do a darn thing. Can you afford it now? More importantly, can you afford it if you wait a few months and it goes up by hundreds? What if that one nonstop (which is, technically, different than "direct") fills up, or any remotely low fare bucket sells out...are you willing to connect somewhere, or would you rather get the exact flight you want? The US economy is very strong now, meaning there's a lot of demand for vacations AND business travel, and of course higher demand = higher prices due to a mostly fixed number of seats and aircraft.
  12. It wasn't even a fighter, it was a Dassault Falcon 50 business jet. Some military's also use it for transport, but not the United States. EDIT: I misread the article that the video was this incident. I'll blame it on jet lag...
  13. I never have either, but on my last cruise it was pretty clear many people were not having a nice cruise day...my wife included. Rain, rough seas, and I was the only person out of 4,000 in the pool (and only about 25 people on the pool deck as a whole). This was for multiple hours. Overheard lots of people saying they were sick and sounded like a lot of people didn't like that particular sea day.
  14. Of course you're never going to know exactly what's going to happen months in advance. But looking at trends from years worth of data is about as good as you can get.
  15. What I always do is google "Weather in (Nassau, Paris, Walla Walla, ...) in December" and the first result is usually a calendar with average weather for that month, day-by-day. Gives a great idea of what is likely to happen.
  16. Might I offer one alternative that we do - don't stay near the port. We like to fly in the day before, rent a car at the airport, have the ability to stay and go anywhere in the metro area that day (and eat anywhere) with said rental car, then drop it at the port the next morning. Even with the (usually cheap) one day rental car + gas, we often come out ahead by having access to often cheaper hotels and restaurants away from the port area. Just something to look in to and budget, especially if you already think you may be using Uber/Lyft/Taxi in any capacity whilst there. We've done Alamo and they have a free shuttle that allows you to drop the car at port and head to the ship.
  17. Definitely a priority of time versus money. LaGuardia is a mess right now...a true mess. You couldn't pay me to fly out of it. I have a friend that lives what is usually 15 minutes from LGA, and she's currently avoiding it at all cost in lieu of JFK or even EWR. And good on you to factor in ALL expenses, not just flight related, when making the decision...too many people ignore that.
  18. I agree, I wouldn't fly Rouge for the same price. But that's kinda the trick they've pulled...are there any routes where Rouge and "regular" operate together so that you can compare? I think a new domestic routes, but I can't think of many/any outside of Canada.
  19. The way they tried to market it and the way they tried to operate it are two different things. If they had come out and said "hey, we have this new airline...basically, we're going to charge you the same and give you less", it would have been dead from the start. But by marketing it as an alternative to (a) "regular" Air Canada, and (b) other Canadian airlines, it had (and still has) legs. But the internal purpose was always the same - to lower costs for Air Canada, not the passenger. That's what I was getting at. And I still stand behind my statement that "low cost carrier" can have two meanings - the obvious (lower ticket costs for the traveler), and the not so obvious (lower costs for the airline...with our without a lower cost to the passenger). The latter is Air Canada Rouge.
  20. I would take it to be safe. If something happens and you miss the boat or need to get home or to another country, the passport is really critical. Passport cards are meaningless there.
  21. It would really depend where you are going. Some places require (or recommend) you have a full passport, whereas others a card is fine. If you're just doing something like the Caribbean, the card is probably fine. If you're doing somewhere more far flung like Asia, I would do a passport.
  22. I think you're looking at it from the wrong angle. From day one, Air Canada Rouge was meant to be a lower cost option...for Air Canada. It was a way to lower their CASM to compete against other airlines...put more seats in the same plane, and you end up with a lower cost per available seat mile. Sure, you may have to add a flight attendant or two, but in reality that's not a huge expense. It's a bit like Southwest being a "low cost carrier"...the low cost was always the operating cost, not necessarily the ticket cost to the passenger.
  23. To me, six months seems reasonable. I still haven't found much evidence of the "90 day" rule. I find a fare that seems good to me, and I don't look back (unless the fare can be changed without big fees). To be aware that, at six months out, schedules themselves may still change...but I've had a schedule change at one month out, so you never really know. While there are certainly trends, I would hold off on saying things like "Tuesday flights are always cheapest" or "Sundays are highest". Different markets, different times of year, and different demands can very much change this. The peak day/highest fare day for one destination may be the lowest day/fare for another (One example would be Saturday's to somewhere like Cancun being peak, but Saturday's to a business destination may be low, even if it's the same exact date).
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