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  1. Though I generally prefer to explore ports independently, I regularly use tours in Asian ports. For the typical American guest, the linguistic and cultural challenges traveling in Asia are rather greater than those in the Caribbean, in the British Isles, in Europe, in Australia/New Zealand, etc. In these areas I often research the ports in advance and hire a taxi (occasionally with another couple from the ship), specifying (based on my research and the agreement of my companions) the places to be visited. Thus, the included tours may make more sense in some parts o
  2. I have thought a bit about this matter, and see the apparent inconsistency about an opt out for excursions but not for alcohol. In the end, I do not see in practice how SS could offer and enforce a no-alcohol option. Included drinks have many advantages for the great majority of (imbibing) guests: not having to produce a card for each drink, not dealing over dinner with new-found friends about who is paying for the wine, etc. The Shore Concierge desk will deal with all excursion bookings (including for "free" excursions) and the computer can easily show whether one has opted
  3. There are no free excursions, just as there is no free lunch. One *does* have to pay for the excursions (whether one takes them or not!). As proposed, the payment is included in the base fare. Only some excursions will be among those included. Presumably these will be the half-day, without meals, etc. The premium excursions will have a charge (as is currently the case with all excursions). Your reference to wheelchairs is interesting: I know a couple of Silversea guests with well over 500 nights (perhaps closer to 1000). They are getting up in years (but are quite mobile),
  4. It looks as if the Grand Cruise South America in 2023 will have Moon in Rio for three nights during Carnival. Neat! 🙂
  5. Welcome to the Silversea board on Cruise Critic. Thanks for contributing. I might add another downside of free excursions: possible frustration among some guests. With "free"/included tours, a guest might as well sign up for one in every port. There's no penalty for not showing up. (Or is there going to be some enforcement mechanism?) So, say there's a tour of the market leaving at 8:30 and a cathedral tour leaving at 9:00. We really wanted the cathedral tour, but it was full during rebooking. So we prebooked the market tour. It turns o
  6. But this would not be so different from the current arrangement when flights are included in the base fare but guests can opt out of the flights and receive a credit. In those cases the Silversea receipt says "cruise only" on the line for "Gateway" (which would have been the originating airport for flights.) BTW: I do not think that these inclusions of tours/flights cover already booked itineraries. I think they become effective spring 2022.
  7. I think you are correct both about Regent (no opt out provision) and the expedition cruises. But the entire point of the expedition cruises is the expedition experience, the exploration of remote and/or difficult-to-reach destinations. I doubt one sees many walkers or canes or wheelchairs on expedition cruises. They are hardly rare sights on Silversea "classic" cruises.
  8. If this were clearly announced as a temporary, COVID related provision, I would be sympathetic. But this policy will be in effect into 2023. One can assume/hope that COVID will be well under control by then. Silversea has a loyal following of elderly (and not so elderly) guests who have been-there-done-that and are happy to stay onboard in port, enjoying the amenities of a nearly-empty ship. Will there be fare reduction (as with waiving included air on many cruises now) for people who want to opt out of the all-inclusive version of Silversea? Perhaps this could be a perk extend
  9. Count out another former Regent guest who moved all travel to Silversea and Crystal when Regent began these unwanted inclusions (and greatly increased their single supplements). For well-travelled people who have done the standard tours in many ports, this will be a huge turn-off. It is for me.
  10. My memory is that someone hosts a gathering of solos nearly every evening — not only on embarkation night. A number of the solos gathered there adjourn as a group to the restaurant.
  11. There are not many. But Silversea has for some time had seven night cruises departing from San Juan, which is very much part of the US.
  12. I wonder if this is a ship going to Singapore to do cruises to nowhere for SIN residents only.
  13. The Wind has a special place in my heart as well. It was my first SS ship during a cruise in late 90s. My nagging feeling is even more dire than yours. I fear that the ship may be sold and removed from the fleet. And I do not see such a move (if it comes to pass) as some broader "signal of Silversea and RCCL’s view of the future." I think it may simply be an understandable business decision. The ship will require real investment to convert it into a Cloud-like excursion ship. It will benefit from a thorough dry-dock/refit even if it remains a conventional cruise ship. The e
  14. You make a strong case for the use of TAs I have of course used them over the years. I have had good TAs and not-so-good TAs. Unfortunately, I have had too many incidents where well-meaning TAs screwed something up. They are not always available when you need them. They take vacations, fam trips, etc. And colleagues say I have to wait for TA's return. Several years ago, my TA assured me that a certain suite was available for a four-segment B2B. I told her to book it and gave her credit card info. The TA waited a couple of days to make the booking/deposit. By t
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