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Everything posted by new_cruiser

  1. Depends on the store policy. If it was from Best Buy and within refund and exchange period, you can go to the store and get the difference under their price match guarantee policy. So if it was within the time when the TV was returnable, I would expect them to comply with their policy, just as I would expect Windstar to comply with their policy. Windstar policy is to make adjustments (fare reduction, upgrade or OBC) if their is a price drop up to 90 days in advance. When there is a drop less than 90 days before the cruise, I wouldn't expect a price adjustment.
  2. Windstar has a 90-day price assurance policy. I think that's pretty reasonable. Those who book last minute have to take the categories and cabin locations that are left. Prices might go up instead of dropping so waiting to book last minute only works when you are willing to take or leave the cruise depending on whether price goes up or down and leave other arrangements to the last minute too. Our Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise last January had a last minute price drop too. We had already gotten fare reductions for a couple of price drops that occurred more than 90-days in advance. I didn't feel bad about not getting the last price reduction.
  3. "Will get wet" is a little strong. Of course your feet get wet in the process of landing but the rest of you might get wet. If the water is very rough or the zodiacs go at high speed you might get wet from the splashes. On our Panama-Costa Rica trip, the waves weren't high and the distance was short so the Zodiacs didn't go at a splashy high speed. My top and shorts didn't get wet. We wore water shoes, but plenty of other passengers went barefoot. The landing areas were sandy or very small pebbles, not rocky. Best is a closed water shoe or barefoot. The water shoes I brought were sandals - sometimes a lot of large sand / small pebbles washed into the sandals which isn't very comfortable. On the zodiacs in Alaska, it was often raining and we also sometimes had water splashing into the boat. Of course there we were wearing water-proof pants (which Windstar provides) and waterproof jackets/shells.
  4. Last year at some point my browser would only pull up the UK site even though I'm in the US and I noticed it doesn't have a specials page.
  5. I was on Star Clipper round trip out of Phuket - Southern Phuket Island. They have the no-solo-supplement on that and other Phuket itineraries now too. It seems like there are almost always no solo supplement offers on the specials page.
  6. I was on Star Clipper last April on one of the sailings with no solo supplement. It's not part of their regular pricing structure - it was a special that only applied to certain dates. Definitely the same price as the per person rate for two in a room at the time that I booked. There were a lot of solo passengers on the cruise.
  7. They do have some really tempting last minute deals right now. We did Panama and Costa Rica last year and are already booked for 14 days in January, but I'm tempted by one of the November San Juan itineraries.
  8. The best stop for spotting wildlife was Manuel Antonio Park. I did the Windstar tour. We split into two groups of around a dozen each with a guide. The guides were great at spotting wildlife. From Peurto Jimenez, you can go to Matapalo for a hike with a lot of bird spotting. We even saw a pair of Macaws mating. Isla Parida is the beach BBQ day. There is a short hike available there where you may spot some birds, but it's mostly a beach day.
  9. I also bring a small Euro plug adapter so that we can use both the Euro and US outlets. Electronics devices use a power supply to change line voltage (110 or 220 volts) to the lower voltage (e.g. 5 volts) to supply electronics. It's not a big deal to make a modern power supply efficiently work from both voltage ranges so almost all electronics (e.g. USB power outlets, laptop chargers, camera chargers, etc.) adjust automatically. Things that produce heat take more power and don't use a power supply. A typical hair dryer has wire coils with high resistance that change electrical energy to heat so it can't automatically adapt to using twice the power. A dual voltage hair dryer has two wire coils. In 110 volt mode, the power is applied to one coil for the low setting and two both coils in series for the high setting. When you move the switch to 220 volt mode, the switch changes the connections so the two coils are in series so each coil still has 110 volt drop across it and you only have the high heat setting.
  10. People should cover their mouths, but sneezing and coughing aren't necessarily due to having something catching. I have mild allergies (hay fever) and they sometimes cause sneezing. Sometimes when I've had a cold, coughing can persist long after the cold is gone because the air passages get sensitive and it takes a while to go away. Strong scents can bring on sneezing and sometimes even coughing for me - in elevators one may be trapped with those scents.
  11. That's not precisely true. At least some cruise lines have volume incentives for TAs that sell a lot of their cruises. It may be commission incentives or perks that they can pass on to clients. I deal with a TA I found on line through a site where you put in a request for a specific cruise & TAs can respond with their offer. We usually cruise on small ship lines & I don't know of any local TAs that do much of that business. I haven't had any problems in a foreign port that I needed TA help with, but I have had pre-cruise issues and the TA has been extremely responsive resolving them. E.g. the cruise line messed up our cabin assignment and the TA got that corrected (not back to the original but to one in the area we wanted). They also got the cruise line to compensate us with the laundry package. Also they've been responsive about getting us price drops. FWIW, the agency we are dealing with is brick & mortar somewhere, not one of the huge ones, but they belong to some consortium because one cruise some of the OBC came from the consortium. I guess that's a way smaller agencies can band together to get volume deals from the cruise lines.
  12. We have Kaiser Senior Advantage too. The 90-day mail order supply that they send for pills that I take once per day is 100 pills (I guess to allow you to be imperfect and sometimes drop a pill on the floor and discard it). Plus they allow refill a bit earlier than 90 days so it's never been a problem to have enough extra for a trip.
  13. That may be how they get the info for sending the summons for jury duty, but you have to be a citizen to be qualified to serve on a federal jury: https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/jury-service/juror-qualifications The same is true for California juries - I don't know about other states. https://www.courts.ca.gov/juryservice.htm When you get the a California jury duty summons, there is a form to send back if you don't qualify, have a reason that excuses you from service or need a change of dates. One of the reasons for not qualifying is not being a citizen. I agree that being a citizen doesn't mean you are a good or even a safe person. The ID just provides a (hopefully) hard to falsify way to verify that you are the person you say you are. After that, other measures such as checking against no-fly lists to see if the person with that identity is known to be a risk.
  14. I used to prefer Deck 1 on the sailing ships because it's fine saw no reason to pay more to be on Deck 2, but now that my knees are a bit older, I like the convenience of being on Deck 2. It's nice being one deck closer to dining and the open deck especially at the end of the day. While in theory there will be less motion on Deck 1 than Deck 2, it isn't enough of a difference to be noticeable to me.
  15. It isn't just juries. There are defendants and witnesses -people who may be compelled to be at the courthouse because they are involved in the case but might not have Real ID. At least anyone summoned for a jury should be a citizen and therefore at least able to get a real ID. Defendants and witnesses may not be citizens or legal residents and therefore not able to get a Real ID and they might not have a suitable ID from another country. Not sure how that's going to be handled.
  16. When they run you through alternative screening, that probably will include looking up your DMV record so once they've done that, they will know whether the missing license/ID was a Real-ID license/ID. However, thinking about Day 1 of the requirement - there will be people who flew out-of-state in Sept 2020 so they are out-of-state wanting to fly home on or after Oct 2020. Not sure how that will be handled. Do they have to take the train/bus to get home? My son lost his DL while away at college in another state so we checked and there is no way to even get a replacement license without showing up in person at the DMV. (He either found it and, if he hadn't, could have used his passport.) I hope that most students attending college out of state will realize that they need to get a real-ID license before they leave for school in Fall 2020 if they want to fly home.
  17. Apparently we don't know that yet. The news report I just read said she didn't have ID or a boarding pass when she was on the plane. We don't know if she had an ID and a boarding pass (or alternative) when she was screened. There are some alternatives to a boarding pass that can get you through TSA. E.g. you are standby on a flight so instead of a boarding pass you have something similar that says you are standby. I've had that when a canceled flight meant that I had to stay overnight someplace and try to get on another flight standby the next day. Parents (or other adults) escorting an "unescorted minor" to the gate so they can start their trip or picking up an unescorted minor at the gate. And of course all the airport workers who don't have boarding passes get in without one. I'm surprised that the person got on the plane without a boarding pass. I've boarded a lot of flights, dozens per year, and usually the gate staff is pretty good - you can't walk by them without scanning a boarding pass. I guess anything can happen once.
  18. I've never gone through them personally, but from what others have experienced, the alternative procedures are very time consuming. There has to be some way for a person to board if, for example, they are away from home and their wallet gets stolen so they have no ID, but in that case, the person can realize that they need to show up to the airport early for an extended procedure. If someone showed up without a RealID or passport because they didn't know that the old type of driver's license wasn't going to cut it anymore, they probably wouldn't have enough time to make their flight with the alternative process. From people who have been through it, I've heard it can take like an hour (off in a side interview room, not in the regular line). It can involve the kind of questions where some service supplies facts about you and you have to supply the answers (similar to verifying who you are for some kinds of on-line services). Basically, they go through alternative ways of verifying that you are who you say you are. It isn't something that any one with any sense would do just for the heck of it. Edited to add, I don't know if they'd even allow the alternative procedure to be used for someone who didn't bring the right ID because they hadn't gotten the right kind of license. That's not the same as the hardship reason of being away from home and having a lost/stolen ID.
  19. Enjoy your trip! For the benefit of other readers or other trips, a week or two before travel is rather late to start considering what vaccines to get. There is usually some delay between vaccination and effective protection. For example, the CDC website says the typhoid immunization should be taken two weeks to before travel. If using the oral vaccine, it needs a week after the last dose and the doses are spread over 7 days so it is also 2 weeks from when you start. Some vaccines take longer like 30 days. According to the CDC website, it isn't but there is another vaccine, Vaxchora, that is approved. https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/vaccines.html Both Vaxchora and Dukoral are apparently give short term protection. CDC says Vaxchora reduces the chance of severe diarrhea by 90% at 1 week after dropping to 80% protection at 3 months after.
  20. On Wind Star Adventures in Panama and Costa Rica, we didn't have a long wait to get off the ship. They run at least two zodiacs and we were moored close enough that it was a pretty short turn around time. The exception was the beach BBQ day in Isla Parida - the itinerary says 7 AM to 6 PM which reflects the time the ship is anchored, but the first passenger tender was much later after they had transferred all the chairs, food, etc to the island. In that case, its a small island and one isn't likely to have an independent tour set up there, but it might be similar if there are other itineraries with a beach BBQ wet landing day.
  21. I've never heard of any vaccine for general "stomach issues resulting in diarrhea." Typhoid is one kind of infection that can cause diarrhea and has a vaccine, but there is no vaccine for other potential food borne bugs like e-coli and salmonella. I have had Typhoid vaccine for land trips in countries where it is recommended by CDC. When I've taken it, I've taken the oral version for the same reason as Sanger - it lasts 5 years rather than 2 for the shot so has more chance to cover multiple trips. You still have to be careful to eat in places that look like they have good hygiene, avoid raw foods and untreated water, etc because Typhoid isn't the only risk. Just like you have to do what you can to avoid mosquito bites where that applies even if taking anti-malarial drugs because mosquitoes can carry other things like Dengue fever. Also, you need to be aware about what you eat because Typhoid vaccine is only moderately effective (estimated 50 to 80%). I probably wouldn't take Typhoid vaccine for a cruise where most food and drink will be consumed on the ship. If your doctor has some reason why you should be particularly taking it, if you plan to eat a lot of street food or if you will be doing a stay on land in addition to the cruise, you might want to get it.
  22. That and to get to kayaks for kayak tours so that the kayaking distances are kept reasonable. On the kayak tours, you transfer from the ship to the zodiac just as you do for the zodiac tours. Then you transfer from the zodiac to the kayak mid-water - the kayak is held tightly to the side of the zodiac so you can swing your legs over the side of the zodiac into the kayak and then slide into the seat. There is plenty of help doing the transfer. After kayaking, you go from the kayak to the zodiac and ride the zodiac back to the ship. Windstar provides waterproof pants and gloves for the zodiac and kayak tours. Windstar doesn't do wet landings in Alaska. There are some small ship lines in Alaska, that do wet landings (e.g. Uncruise, Alaska Dream, Linblad) but they provide waterproof boots so one can do it without getting soaked by the very cold water.
  23. A wet landing is when the "port" is a beach. In many ports, you are docked (i.e. you walk off the ship down steps or a ramp to land) or tendered to a pier (a boat takes you from the ship to a pier. There aren't any Windstar wet landings in Alaska and I wouldn't expect any on the Asia part of an Alaska Asia itinerary. The Panama Canal / Costa Rica itineraries have wet landings. The overview page for the itineraries indicates that they have wet landings: "This cruise utilizes wet landings to get you up-close to natural wonders. Zodiacs, rugged inflatable boats, deliver you directly from the ship to the beach, where you will disembark directly in the water. More information on Wet Landings can be found HERE" I'd expect other Windstar itineraries with wet landings to have a similar notice.
  24. I think it was 8 passengers max on our Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruise.
  25. If siblings having an emergency is the concern, then she would need to get a passport to cover the sibling in Europe and that would cover for both. A RealId would only work for the one in California.
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