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new_cruiser

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About new_cruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sacramento, California
  • Interests
    Small ship cruising and small group tours.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Windstar

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498 profile views
  1. It seemed odd to me too, but it was a pretty big deal and I don't think they would have done it if they didn't have to. It may have only applied to the fish, meats, dairy, eggs - not sure if it applied to staples like flour. They had lobster a lot in Amphora during the crossing because they had a lot of that. And it seems like it must be different at least for Canada to the US because the ship is doing that for every Alaska cruise and the New England/Canada itins. I did see a mention of a rule about stuff needing to be from US on a thread about what's involved in the US CDC ship inspections.
  2. When on Star Legend for the Pacific crossing followed by the first Alaska cruise, I asked about skipping the lifeboat drill for the turnaround in Seward. The answer I got was that it wasn't mandatory, but that the captain prefers that everyone attend even in the middle of a b2b cruise. I decided that I'd comply with that. In that case, there was also a special circumstance due to US food rules. The ship had to get rid of all the non-US food they were carrying from Asia and restock with US provisions. Therefore there was no lunch on board, instead they gave a $50 per person credit to those continuing aboard to cover our lunches ashore in Seward. So, if you wanted to eat, you had to go ashore.
  3. It's early for a Sept 2020 cruise. It's likely that many haven't booked yet. We got around 5 responding for our spring 2017 Spanish Serenade. That would have represented around 10 travelers as most were one person from a couple. Still below critical mass for getting enough interest to meet Spain Day minimum number. Some of the Windstar itineraries repeat - e.g.Panama Canal/Costa Rica (most 7 days plus some 10-11 day with 2 or 3 extra ports); Alaska, Spanish Serenade (plus some other patients between Lisbon & Barcelona).
  4. I don't think it is any particular dislike of roll calls compared to passengers on other cruise lines. It is a matter of scale. Say that on average 2% of cruisers post on Cruise critic and participate in roll calls. On a 2000 passenger ship, that would be 40 people on the roll call. On a 200 passenger ship such as Breeze, that would be 4 people. With that small number, it becomes less likely to be useful to those who participate to fine others to share excursions or other activities so there is less reason to participate so that might drop the percentage participating. Also, someone needs to start a roll call - some people will participate on a roll call thread but don't start them. For the 2000 passenger ship, it's pretty likely that one of the passengers will start a roll call. On Windstar, maybe none of the 4ish people feels motivated to start the roll call. If you want one for your sailing, you can start the roll call thread.
  5. Perhaps the cruise might be in a different time zone than the agent (e.g. start of a Europe cruise for someone from North America) so the passenger is awake but the TA isn't. However, even when we book through a TA, Windstar has our email address. They directly sent us a Know Before You Go email before our Panama Canal cruise. We haven't had a last minute change, but if there was, I'd expect them to send it to our email address as well as the TA's.
  6. This page lists various kinds of early documents that can be used to support a birth certificate that was issued more than 1 year after birth. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/citizenship-evidence.html It seems unwise to count on the validity of the passport received given the letters.
  7. I went on my first Star Clippers cruise on Star Clipper in April. Most of my cruising has been on Windstar. I'd been wanting to try Star Clippers for a while and the no solo supplement offer sealed the deal as my husband doesn't like to travel as often as I do. Most of the crew was great. The captain was knowledgeable and an interesting speaker. My room steward and the wait staff were attentive and did their jobs well - couldn't ask for better. I enjoyed the mast climb and a chance to steer the ship. The crew gave great support for the climb making me comfortable even though I'm not great with heights. On the less positive side, I wasn't crazy about the cruise director. I felt that she didn't communicate clearly enough on some things like when the sign-ups for shore excursions would close. Others remarked on that as well. She was also hard to find at times. I enjoyed the decor of the ship - it's nice to feel that you are on a ship rather than a floating hotel. There are a few downsides to the ship that I noticed. The cabins don't have a thermostat. You can control the room temperature somewhat by adjusting a knob on the vent to increase or reduce the opening but the vent is in the ceiling. My room was initially too cold. I asked the room steward about how to do the adjustment so he adjusted it but I think he closed it all the way and the room got to warm. I'm short and had to stand on the bed to adjust it. Fortunately, the second adjustment resulted in a good temperature. Like some of the Windstar ships, the Star Clippers ships don't have elevators. Some of the stairs on the Star Clipper ships are steeper (higher rise per stair tread) than the Windstar stairs. I was okay with that, but I think that some who are okay with some stairs might find Wind Star okay and Star Clipper stairs too steep. In some cabins, one side of the bed is against the wall. Traveling solo, that was fine, but if I was traveling with my husband, that would be inconvenient. Overall, at this point, I prefer Windstar but found Star Clipper enjoyable. For similar itinerary and price, I'd chose Windstar, but if Star Clipper had a significantly better price or a unique itinerary, I'd go on Star Clipper again. I hope they iron out the Flying Clipper contract issue soon. Windstar fares are extremely expensive in the Mediterranean making Star Clipper very attractive there. On the other hand, for the Caribbean, at least for double occupancy, Windstar fares are significantly cheaper than Star Clipper.
  8. I think I asked about that before so if you search the website, you may find the post (though the search function doesn't seem to work perfectly for posts from the old forum). The post was probably around 2017. The answer was that some really preferred the layout of those rooms because you don't have to walk past the bed to get from the sitting area to the closet and bathroom. I decided that I prefer the regular layout like some others. Also, because they are very far forward, they may have more motion than more midship rooms.
  9. In fairness, I should also say that my TA is more than just a "monkey in the middle". A good TA can have more influence than an individual customer because of the amount of business the TA handles. They can also allow for handling things more efficiently. I'd booked a cruise directly with Windstar just as they were switching to a new booking system (the Windstar person who handled it said it was the first she had booked on the new system). A few days later, I saw that the room assignment had changed - apparently due to problems in coordinating the new and old reservations. I wasn't able to get any satisfaction from Windstar about it. I transferred the booking to my TA who got Windstar to give us some OBC to make up for the mistake. When there is a fare drop under the price assurance policy, I just send a quick email to my TA. Usually by the next day, I get an email back letting me know the price has been adjusted. That takes less time for me than calling Windstar.
  10. When I looked at the prices, they weren't bad - less than at a typical hotel. Usually, we get the laundry service like Redtravel. When we did Spanish Serenade, it was a really good deal since we spent 4 days before in Lisbon and 3 days after in Barcelona so it was great to get everything washed from the pre-sail stay and leave with clean clothes for the after-sail part of our trip. On Star Collectors, laundry service is included. Sometimes they have a deal where they will do a bag of laundry for a fixed price. IIRC, they offered that for $25 on one of my cruises, but I had the laundry package so didn't pay much attention. @Redtravel, they haven't been consistent about including it on non-Star Collector cruises that were 14-nights or longer. for 2018, I originally booked the 13-night Japan to Alaska cruise and 14-night Alaska cruise as separate cruises and, when I asked they said laundry wouldn't be included for either one. They added a Star Collector covering the two cruises but I'd booked the two component cruises each was on 7-for-7 with a total price less than the Star Collector. Fortunately, the Star Collector eventually went on sale for an even better fare and I was able to switch to that.)
  11. Here's what Windstar's website says under packing advice: "The tone for dinner and evening aboard is one of "casual elegance." Imaginative, yet relaxed. Stylish, yet comfortable. Just as you would dress on your own private yacht. For ladies, sundresses, slacks, and informal cocktail dresses are appropriate. For men, we suggest slacks and collared shirts or polos. There are no formal nights, no costume parties, no requirements for suits and ties. However, if your cruise takes you to Monte Carlo, please note that casinos require men to wear both a jacket and tie. Our only restriction is that shorts, jeans, flip-flops, hats, and t-shirts not be worn in AmphorA, Stella Bistro, or public rooms during the evening. Country Club Casual is acceptable for Candles." I though someone above said that the on-line policy now said no jeans for Candles. Either I misread or it has already changed back. Here in California and in the electronics industry where I worked, nice jeans are seen pretty much everywhere that other kinds of slacks are worn. I don't understand why of all fabrics, jeans are particularly viewed by many as less dressy than khaki's or cargo pants, but I usually try to comply. On my 14-day Alaska sailing, I did end up wearing black jeans in Amphora one night due to a planning error on laundry and nothing was said about it. In principle, I'd rather have jeans treated the same as other pants, but in practice, it usually doesn't bother me much because for hot weather cruises, I usually pack lighter weight pants anyway and I don't find it a hardship to pack other types of slacks even for cold weather cruises. What bothers me more is that the cruise director's introductory talk on my last few cruises, they also included "trainers" in the list of things not to be worn for dinner in Amphora. The published policy on the website doesn't say that. I'm only willing to bring so many pairs of shoes in my suitcase and if I've worn my hiking boots on shore for most of the day, I often want to switch to my athletic shoes for the evening. Fortunately, they don't enforce that. I asked the cruise director on my last sailing and she said she was just reading what they told her to say. The on-board policy shouldn't be more strict than what they post on-line because people can't prepare for it. If they switch the on-line policy to no trainers, we might have to find another cruise line. My husband has difficult to fit feet and pretty much only wears them.
  12. He doesn't mention Star Clippers which frequently has sailings with no solo supplement.
  13. You can go ahead and try. Someone else posted earlier that they had tried and Windstar didn't consider the OBC offer to be covered by the price adjustment policy. If fares drop, you can get fare adjustment more than once. On my last two cruises, the fare went down 2 or 3 times during the time covered by the price assurance policy and they lowered the fare each time. (Note, under the policy they can lower the fare, compensate with OBC or an upgrade.) For my 2020 cruise, the fare has only gone up so I haven't had a chance to try it this time. I use a TA mainly because my TA gives me OBC.
  14. I recall seeing a thread here about Windstar switching to no shorts in Candles some years ago; this may be something that goes in cycles. The night we were in Candles on our recent Panama Canal / Costa Rica on Wind Star, people seemed to dress pretty much the same as they did for Amphora.
  15. Wheezedr made the same points that I did in the post to which you objected. I.e.; that Hep A exposure can happen anywhere and has a vaccine that is long lasting and highly (near 100%) effective while Typhoid vaccine coverage is short duration and not as effective so the decision to get Hep A is clear cut decision (unless one has a strong medical reason not to such as allergy to the vaccine components) while whether to get Typhoid vaccine is more of a question. Also, I pointed out that there is a choice of two Typhoid vaccines and the differences between them. I'm not a doctor, but I am an engineer well trained and experienced in evaluating data. BTW, for a recent cruise visiting a country where the CDC recommends Typhoid vaccine, my husband decided not to get it. I decided to get the oral Typhoid vaccine because in the 5 years it covers I expect to do some additional land travel to countries where it is recommended. I probably wouldn't have gotten it just for the cruise.
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