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About new_cruiser

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    Sacramento, California
  • Interests
    Small ship cruising and small group tours.
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  1. I did trans-Pacific on Star Legend; a Northern crossing from Japan to Alaska b2b with the first Alaska cruise. The crossing was very relaxing. It took 9 days (8 on the calendar because of the dateline). We stopped several times to watch whales and an albatross The sky was overcast the whole way, but the sea was surprisingly calm - not doldrums calm, but smoother than the 2m we had near Japan. The only rough day was the start of the Alaska trip crossing the gulf from Seward to the Inside Passage. I'd happily do the longer more Southern crossing in either Spirit or Breeze.
  2. We received the updated financial statement from Windstar today confirming the new price. Note: our original booking was done on board. Repricing means we lose the Welcome Home 5% discount and the small amount of OBC and bottle of wine for booking on board. Since the savings the first time we repriced was more than that, we were went for repricing. When the price drop is small, it might not be worth losing perks that applied to the earlier price. We still get the 5% Yacht Club discount.
  3. If your cruise is at least 90 days in the future, you usually can. See their Price Assurance Policy: https://www.windstarcruises.com/terms-conditions/#:~:text=WINDSTAR FARE PRICE ASSURANCE POLICY,Windstar at least 90 days They have the option to compensate you one of several ways (fare reduction, OBC, etc.) but I've always gotten fare reductions. Note, their process refares you buy canceling & rebooking you. One time, they messed up & changed our cabin so check the cabin number on the confirmation. There is a $50 cancelation fee but they make up for it by adding $50 OBC.
  4. It is definitely worth checking the sale out. The price reduction varies greatly from cruise to cruise. Our 1 May 2021 Greece, Israel and Egypt cruise has a large price reduction - about $3000 lower (~27% less) for the two of us than our current price which was from a 7-for-7 sale. The 7-for-7 price was around $2K less than our original booking. Admittedly, this was a very expensive itinerary so they had room to work with it. On the other hand, the 27 Oct 2020 sailing of the same cruise doesn't look like it has been reduced much. The WoW price for it is slightly higher than the 7-for-7 price we had for 1 May before the current sale. I haven't been watching that one so I don't know how much of a reduction it is from the pre-sale price. My 6 Nov 2020 sailing is about $200 pp more than the price on the 7-for-7 that a booked a couple of weeks ago. Our 21 Jan 2021 Tahiti cruise is pretty much at the same price that we booked at (which wasn't a sale price but was lower than it's price in January).
  5. You might also look at Star Clippers if you are open to a different kind of ship experience. They have small ships (170 to 227 passenger capacity). Whenever I've looked, they have had at least 4 sailings per region with no solo supplement. They currently have over 40. I've cruised solo on a sailing with no solo supplement. It's a very friendly ship. There were a lot of other solo's and the couples were friendly to solo travelers too. No balconies (almost all of the cabins have portholes) but it's a small ship so you are never far from the deck. Windstar has started having some sailings with no solo supplement. Unfortunately, they don't indicate them on their website. You have to call or get a TA to find out which they are. I think that currently all the remaining 2020 sailings have no solo supplement.
  6. I wish there was an easy way too. So far, they don't indicate it on their website. The only ways I've found are calling Windstar or asking my agent (who calls Windstar). I've heard that currently all 2020 sailings are no solo supplement and that was true for the one I booked. Edited to add: The 3 January Tahiti sailings I looked at all have a solo supplement.
  7. You can see from this order form that the Captain's Exclusive plan includes the minibar: https://windstarcruises-media.s3.amazonaws.com/media/plan_your_voyage/2019_gift_order_form.pdf They used to require that both in a cabin have to buy the beverage package but when they released the new beverage plans (it might have been a couple of updates ago) they changed it to allow one person buying the package. But that's all academic to us - we don't drink enough to make the packages worthwhile. On a land vacation, I rarely have more than two drinks a day and often just one or zero. At sea, if anything, I drink less than that because while I'm rarely seasick, something about motion makes me not want alcohol.
  8. Have you figured out what you are doing about flights? That's the hard part about this. Risk booking non-refundable early to get a good price or wait until the uncertainty is less? I did notice that United has some flights priced reasonably with "no change fees". I'm going to have to read the fine print to see what that covers, like whether it can be shifted from November 2020 to cover flights for the spring 2021 cruise. I might book with miles.
  9. I've also booked the 6 November 2020 Star Breeze sailing though just Athens - Rome. We'd looked at it last January but the price then was more than we wanted to spend on top of the other cruises we'd booked (a January 2021 Tahiti and 1 May Greece, Israel & Egypt). Decided to book last week when when it was on 7-for-7. My husband is okay with me going but not ready to go himself. I don't think he finds the itinerary as compelling - he isn't as interested in travel as I am and he is also a bit older than me (early 70s vs late 60s). There is no solo supplement on the 6 November cruise. I also figure it is about 50/50 chance of the November cruise. Windstar might cancel, Greece/EU might make entry from the US too hard depending on how COVID is playing out, or I might decide the risk is too high. At the price, I might as well make the reservation in case the travel is possible and reasonably sensible. Even the May cruise I think has some risk of not happening. I'd worry more about the death star aspect on a larger or more crowded ship. As the time frame for self-isolation stretches out, I feel like I'm playing off the risk of higher vulnerability due to age (and possibly blood type) against not knowing how many more years I'll have left where it is easy to travel.
  10. I was surprised they are making this decision so far out. It doesn't seem any more likely that Asia will be closed to cruising than the Americas in that time frame. Perhaps it is more that they feel their customers will prefer staying closer at home and avoiding long flights (and Asia) or when traveling farther going to a nature/resort destination rather than dense urban areas as things open back up. Their Asia itineraries also involve a wide diversity of ports - all pretty new to Windstar as they haven't been doing Asia for long. Perhaps it is hard for them to do the advance work for Asia under the current conditions. There also might be some passengers who would do Tahiti on a motor yacht (rooms are larger and have large windows or french balconies; elevators) and haven't done it up to now because Wind Spirit is the only choice. Windstar has been doing Panama Canal with both Wind Star and one of the motor yachts. It will also give them more capacity for people who had to cancel a Tahiti trips in 2019 and want to re-book later. Possibly also some charter companies might prefer a motor yacht and pick up all or part of a sailing.
  11. My next cruise is in November so I'm waiting. It's in Europe so there will have to be flights. Unless I come across a spectacularly low price, I'll wait until a few months out to book. I may book it with miles which are refundable. I may wait even longer like just a month out depending how the virus situation is going.
  12. I booked an S1 - I like to be able to sit buy the window watching the view. Also, if one gets room service instead of going to one of the restaurants, it's nice to be able to eat next to the window. It's not a major thing, but I also like that it is slightly darker by the bed if the sun is up earlier than I want to be. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the old style is costs a bit less ($100 pp for the 7 day I just booked). If one prefers the Star layout, that's not probably not enough reason to switch, but if on the fence, it might tip the balance. Some might prefer the Star Suites because they are totally new. I'm not sure how much refurbishment was done to the old suites other than the bathrooms being replaced (though we were fine the suites pre-dry-dock).
  13. Wow! that's 37 days. The prices are sure good now. I just booked but only for the first 7 days - Athens - Rome. I started a roll call for that segment. I hope things clear up enough that that cruise is able to go. My husband isn't ready to plan traveling again then, but there is no solo supplement and he's fine with me going.
  14. That's not been my experience. I've been on sold out Windstar cruises several of times. The cruises stayed on the schedule and said Call for Availability.
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