Wade the Gringo

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

AFP: Gels, liquids may be allowed back onto planes by 2012

AFP: Gels, liquids may be allowed back onto planes by 2012
Gels, liquids may be allowed back onto planes by 2012
By Michel Viatteau (AFP) – 1 day ago

MONTREAL — Airline passengers may once again be allowed to board flights with creams, gels and liquids that were banned over security concerns, the International Civil Aviation Organization said Monday.

"In the next two years (the ban) will end," ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin told AFP ahead of the UN organization's 37th general assembly, which kicks off in Montreal on Tuesday.

New equipment capable of detecting explosives in water bottles, makeup kits or toothpaste tubes, for example, would be installed at most airport security checkpoints by 2012, he explained.

The unprecedented security measure took effect in 2006 after British police foiled a transatlantic plot to detonate liquid explosives aboard airliners flying to Canada and the United States.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



We just returned (barely) from the worst cruise ever on the Carnival Legglorictorumph. From the moment we arrived at the pier, we knew we were in for trouble. We waited to get off the bus from the airport when we noticed one of the porters opening our suitcase and rifling through it, I ran out to see what he was doing and was shocked when he told me that he “knew” that we weren’t going to give him an adequate tip so he was going to take something of equal value. I then threatened to report him to the cruise line when he said that if I did, I would never see any of my luggage ever again.

When we entered the terminal the lines were huge and most of the people smelled funny. It took over four hours to get through the scanners and another six to get our sign and sail cards. We were also subjected to cavity searches and warned that if they found any alcohol in our suitcases that we would do hard time. By the time we were finally finished, the ship was pulling away from the pier so I had to throw my wife and mother-in-law across the gap and just made the jump myself while carrying three carry-on bags, a wheelchair and an oxygen tank. No one helped us at all, except for one cleaning lady who helped me to my feet and gave me a quick hug. About five minutes later I found that my wallet was missing!

The food was horrible, I’ve tasted better at the Russian gulag I spent three years in the 1980’s! The shrimp cocktail was still moving when I tried to eat it and a melting chocolate cake at the next table to us exploded, killing three people. 528 and a half people butted in front of us at the buffet line and all the items were gone except for the tuna surprise when we finally got to the stations.

The first night of the cruise, the captain got lost and instead of arriving at St. Thomas, the BOAT pulled into San Francisco! We were told that this would be a minor setback and we would be back on route quickly, but no one was allowed to get off at the port due to an outbreak of scurvy in California.

The cabin we selected was too small and every night the toilet and sink would back-up and overflow and leave three feet of water in the room. The door to the balcony didn’t open, but that was a good thing because the railing and the deck were both missing after the second night.

When we woke up on the fourth morning, we noticed that the ship had sunk and no one bothered to let us know. Thank God for the oxygen tank we brought! I called down to the pursers desk to find out what was being done to remedy this new catastrophe and was told that the crew were busily chewing all the gum they could find to make a huge wad to patch up the holes. We were then commanded to get in the lifeboats and help with the raising of the ship. We were each given 200 drink straws, told to put them together end-to-end and direct them to the holes in the hull. We then had to blow air back into the ship and bring it back up from the deeps. This meant that we would not be able to make our shore excursion (which would have sucked anyway). All this time, the crew we sitting around in inner-tubes drinking frozen cocktails laughing at the passengers.

When we finally reached the next port, we were all told that we all had to get off the ship and find our own way home and that Carnival appreciated our business but there would be no refunds, no on-board credits and no assistance in paying for our flights home.

This kind of thing would never happen on RCCL/NCL/Princess etc.

The crew sucked, the ship sucked, the food sucked, the passengers sucked, the entertainment sucked, and all you people that like Carnival suck too!

I will never cruise with THIS cruise line again. Be warned everything I said is true!

.... oh wait I forgot the caveat...

I have taken 16,294 cruises with other cruise lines and never have I had a single problem ever, until I sailed Carnival!

See, I knew I could write an awesome cruise review!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are We Justified In Expecting Every Cruise To Be a Luxury Vacation?
The vast majority of people who go on cruises fill out their guest comment cards at the end of their cruise sending the cruise lines a message that they believe they received good or excellent value from their cruise vacation.
So, why is it then that we also see such a large number of posts and Blogs on the Internet complaining, and saying the opposite? Has the cruise community, including past passengers, as well as writers whose job it is to cover the industry, lost touch with the reality of what one can reasonably expect from their cruises?

The industry has certainly changed. Some say it has evolved; others say it has regressed. But, more and more it seems the case that cruisers are expecting every cruise, at every price point, should supply a luxury vacation.

On land there’s few who would expect a breakfast at an International House Pancakes to be the equal of the hottest new “breakfast boutique” in town, that charges twice the price. No one would expect a KIA to offer an equal ride and driving experience of a Mercedes, or even a Ford. No one would expect to buy clothing at Sears, to be as finely tailored, or have the long term wear ability of clothing purchased at Hugo Boss. It’s not that most of us don’t happily buy the lower costs and services. But we seem to do so with a better understanding of the resultant differences that come with the lower costs than we do when we purchase a cruise.

Far too many people think they can interchange the words cruise vacation and luxury vacation. We really do need to have a better understanding of justifiable expectations between a $49/day cruise; a $150/day cruise; a $250/day cruise, or a $500 – $1000/day cruise.

No doubt advertising and the image of cruising leads people to expect more than the resulting reality. But that is the case with many land based products as well. Yet it seems people are more willing to go through the thought process of sorting through those misconceptions to a better grasp of the reality than they are when addressing the topic of cruises.

For example, I frankly don’t “get it” when I see people complain comparing food on a cruise ship to food at, say Denny’s, when all too often they’ve paid the equivalent of Denny’s-like prices. Simply put; there’s nothing wrong with Denny’s food, particularly if that’s what you’re paying for.

For most people it’s probably easy to understand the differences one might expect between a $100/day cruise and a $500/day “luxury” cruise. But, to avoid disappointment we truly need to do a better job of understanding the “expectation differences” between the less drastic price level variances, as they can be (and fairly should be) quite significant.

On most cruises, even the inexpensive ones, one can expect to be treated “royally”, but depending on how much you pay, it’s difficult to expect that in all circumstances you’ll live like royalty (with accommodations and surroundings), or dine like royalty.

When spending $500, $600, or even $1000 for a cruise I’m telling you honestly you cannot expect a “luxury cruise experience”. Though I have no hesitancy at all in saying you can expect a fun time, and full value for your money from your cruise experience.

With a cruise (as with many things) expect to get what you paid for, and more often than not you’ll disembark as a happy cruiser

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Storm Karl hits Mexico; hurricane duo roils Atlantic - Yahoo! News

Storm Karl hits Mexico; hurricane duo roils Atlantic - Yahoo! News
Igor is not expected to make landfall for days, but forecasters say storm swells will reach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by early Wednesday and move from there to Bermuda.

Dangerous surf was also affecting the Leeward islands, and should affect some of the Bahamas Wednesday.

At 0900 GMT Wednesday, Igor's eye was located some 570 miles (915 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward islands and it was heading west-northwestward at nine miles (15 kilometers) per hour, US experts said.

The National Hurricane Center said Karl could bring coastal flooding and up to eight inches of rain to Mexico and parts of Belize and northern Guatemala.

"A storm surge is expected to produce some coastal flooding near and to the north of where the center makes landfall," the center said. "The surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves.

"Karl is expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to five inches over the Yucatan peninsula, Belize and northern Guatemala, with isolated maximum amounts of eight inches," the center added.

Almost one million people were affected by flooding this month alone, which left 25 dead. The rains, which began in July, are set to worsen as the rainy season continues to almost the end of the year.

More than one third of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz has been hit by flooding which affected some 500,000 people, according to governor Fidel Herrera.

The recent frenetic storm activity comes after prediction from forecasters that the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season would be one of the worst on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) predicted 14 to 23 named storms, including eight to 14 hurricanes, three to seven of which were likely to be "major" storms, with winds of at least 111 mph.

This is compared to an average six-month season of 11 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, two of them major.

NOAA said the period since 1995 has been one of unusually high storm activity with eight of the last 15 seasons ranking in the top ten for the most named storms.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tropical Storm: Storm-Centered Satellite Image : Weather Underground

Tropical Storm: Storm-Centered Satellite Image : Weather Underground

Image Updated: 5:40 PM GMT on September 14, 2010
Invest 92

This area of disturbed weather has the potential for tropical development.

Playboy model panics and tries to open door to NJ-bound plane mid-air - NYPOST.com

Playboy model panics and tries to open door to NJ-bound plane mid-air - NYPOST.com
A buxom Playboy centerfold tried to bust out -- midair -- from a jet yesterday amid a bad case of high anxiety.
Sexy 21-year-old model Tiffany Livingston was aboard JetBlue Flight 522 from Orlando, Fla., to Newark when she bolted from her seat and tried to open the door of the plane, a law-enforcement official said.
"She said she's gone through this before, but never this bad, and didn't have . . . her medication," one source said.
Livingston was detained and placed in federal custody, with charges pending, last night.
Last year, Livingston, a 5-foot-6 brunette from Merrimac, RI, was featured as the centerfold for the debut edition of VIP, the Singapore version of Playboy, in which she was described as "not just another pretty face.
"Tiffany boasts the immaculate poise of a mature model wrapped with a bubbly demeanor," the profile said.
Her agent did not return a call seeking comment.
Read more: http://newyorkpost.com/p/news/national/playboy_gal_stirs_in_flight_fright_cejyXEPzU3AIOy1K5PgnsN#ixzz0zVyECF68

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Belize 1998 $2 coin RARE battle of St.George - eBay (item 200515223265 end time Sep-09-10 10:43:18 PDT)

Belize 1998 $2 coin RARE battle of St.George - eBay (item 200515223265 end time Sep-09-10 10:43:18 PDT)

This Belize 1998 coin commemorates the battle of St. Georges Caye It is a very rare coin. It was minted only in 1998, the 200 year anniversary of the battle.The battle of George's Caye in 1778 secured the island from the Spaniards. The Baymen and their African counterparts banded together to form a formidable defense that allowed them to defeat the Spanish/Mexican occupation.

Cruise Ship Hits Unmapped Rock off Canada, Passengers Evacuated - AOL Travel News

The Canadian coast guard ferried passengers and crew off the Clipper Adventurer after the expedition cruise ship ran aground on an unmapped rock in the Canadian Arctic.
Adventure Canada, which operates the ship, says the incident occurred off Nunavut, as the ship was en-route from Port Epworth to the small town of Kugluktuk, in the Arctic Ocean."At the time, the seas were calm, sunny conditions and good visibility with no wind or swell," the company says in a statement.Matthew Swan, owner of Adventure Canada, tells CNN, the Clipper Adventurer was steaming along "and very abruptly the ship stopped and we found our self perched on a rock."Crew tried to dislodge the vessel at high tide. When that failed the coast guard came in with the icebreaker, Amundsen.The cruise ship had 128 passengers and 69 crew members onboard. Those evacuated were taken to Kugluktuk. No one was injured in the incident.Adventure Canada says everyone was "safe and in good spirits," adding that passengers continued to "enjoy programming and hospitality," before disembarking the ship, which was listing slightly. They were flown home via Edmonton.Passengers who arrived in Kugluktuk to join the ship, meanwhile, were met with news their cruise was a no go.Among them were authors Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson. Atwood tells CNN she plans to rebook the cruise for next year.The cruises are popular with those looking to see whales and other wildlife.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Russians urged to smoke, drink more

Russians urged to smoke, drink more
Moscow - Smoke and drink more, Russia's finance minister Alexei Kudrin urged citizens on Wednesday, explaining that higher consumption would help lift tax revenues for spending on social services."If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help solve social problems such as boosting demographics, developing other social services and upholding birth rates," Kudrin said, quoted by the Interfax news agency."People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state," he said, offering unconventional advice as the Russian government announced plans
to raise excise duty on alcohol and cigarettes.Alcohol and cigarette consumption are already extremely high in Russia, where 65 percent of men smoke and the average Russian consumes 18 litres of alcoholic beverages per year, mainly vodka, according to official statistics.Russian duties on cigarettes are among the lowest in Europe, with most brands priced at around 40 rubles (one euro, 1.30 dollars) per pack and unfiltered cigarettes selling for much less.The finance ministry in June announced plans to more than double excise duty on cigarettes over the next three years from 250 roubles per 1000 filtered cigarettes to 590 roubles in 2013.The move is likely to be unpopular in the nicotine-addicted nation where a cigarette shortage in the late 1980s and early 1990s incited protests and led then-president Mikhail Gorbachev to appeal for emergency outside shipments.The state recently imposed a new minimum legal price for vodka, implemented a zero tolerance ban on drink-driving and banned night-time sales of alcohol to curb abuse blamed for the deaths of thousands of Russians every year.Alcohol abuse kills around 500 000 Russians annually and greatly impacts male life expectancy, which is lower than in such developing countries as Bangladesh and Honduras, according to official figures. - Sapa-AFP

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