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Everything posted by new_cruiser

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. I think it was 8 passengers max on our Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruise.
  9. 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.
  10. It's not required (at least not federally required). California and, as far as I've heard, other states leave the option to get the old license or upgrade to a RealId. Often the fee is higher for RealId and you need to bring in additional documentation. When I went to get it, there were lots of people in line planning on applying for RealId who found they hadn't brought everything needed so they had the choice of getting the old license or coming back later with the right stuff. Not nice to find out after being in line for over an hour. They had someone screening the people in line before they got to the counter and of the dozen or so I overheard, we were the only ones who had everything needed. The DMV has a checklist on-line for what you need. Be sure to review it to make sure you have everything before going to apply for RealID.
  11. Our 14-day b2b cruise includes 3 port stops in St. Lucia - one day in Castries moving that evening to Pigeon Island for the next day (that is probably the day that they will hold a beach BBQ with the water toys at the beach). The third stop is some days later at Soufriere. We are in Soufriere from 8 AM to 4 PM. All of what I've found here for Soufriere is based on the time constraints of getting their from Castries. I'm looking for suggestions of what to do with a longer day at Soufriere. Can we pick up a rental car somewhere in town? Tet Paul Nature Trail looks interesting - would it be good? How hard a trail is it? I also see Diamond Botanical Gardens. Other suggestions? We are pretty broad in our interests; we like gardens, nature and wildlife, culture and history, some snorkeling but not into hanging out at the beach for hours. Not much into shopping, though sometimes crafts and local markets are worth a look.
  12. The last two sentences are the same that I posted from the website on August 27 (#21 in this thread) so no change in the past month unless they had inconsistent info somewhere else on their website. What changed was the the intro, particularly "emphasis weighted heavily on the casual" is new. Maybe they put that in so they can point it out to people who complain that others have dressed too casually?
  13. You need to check the specifics of your policy. Work related issues may not be a covered reason for cancellation so insurance might not come into it unless you bought "cancel for any reason coverage." I looked at covered reasons for a couple of policies that we have used before. In one of the policies, the only work related reason covered was involuntary termination. The other policy does cover being required to work but there are a lot of caveats - including: presenting a notarized statement signed by an officer of the employer, the company has to have at least 25 full-time employees, the traveler isn't owner or co-owner of the company. In both cases, a covered reason can apply to either you or your traveling companion so if you are covered you could both cancel and be covered. Also, your traveling companion cancels for a covered reason and you still go, than additional charges for going from double to single occupancy are covered. Again, that is from a sample of two policies.
  14. I haven't seen any "super luxury" lines mentioned above. Those called luxury would be lines such as Regent, Seabourne, Sea Dream, Crystal. Azamara, Oceania, Windstar are usually classed as premium or something just below the all-inclusive luxury lines. On the Windstar sail ships, the regular rooms are 188 sq feet - large enough to have a table with two seats in addition to the bed, bath, closets etc. We find them comfortable The Windstar motor yachts are all suite - other than a few larger suites, they are 277 sq feet so they have a sitting area with a couch and two arm chairs, walk-in closet, large (for a ship) bathroom.
  15. Generally the amount of port time vs cruising time on a Panama Canal cruise is similar to on Caribbean Cruises. Most of the big ship ones go from East Coast, US to West Coast, US or do a partial transit round trip from a US port. Like Caribbean cruises from the continental US ports, there will be a number of sea days in addition to the transit. If you want more port time, look for cruises starting from within the Caribbean or small ship Panama Canal cruises that start and end closer to the canal. They typically have one sea day and the port stops are generally most of the day because the ship only has to cover short distances. The Windstar ships doing Panama Canal and Costa Rica usually go between Colon, Panama (near the Caribbean entrance to the canal) and Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica. The canal transit is one day so that day is scenic cruising. It was quite interesting. There is one sea day. The other days all have port stops - generally from early morning to 5 or 6 PM. We did the 10-day itinerary and that stays overnight in the port for Panama City (Fuerte Amador). One port is a beach BBQ day with the water toys from the ship brought to the beach; there is also some hiking available to see more of the flora and fauna. The other port days, there are a variety of ways to spend the day - several are near nature preserves / parks. I especially enjoyed the hike in Manuel Antonia National Park where we saw a lot of the wildlife. There are coffee and chocolate farms to visit, kayak or boat trips, culture and history, botanic gardens. I don't know what their UK pricing is like nor do I know how much of your 6k gbp would go to airfare. Looking at their US site, their lowest 14-day Caribbean fare is just under $3k per person. The Star Clippers cruise I took was out of Thailand. They have a lot of sailings in South East Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore).
  16. They are ships that have the option of using sails. The sails are pretty but the ships get most of their drive from motors. On the sailings I've been on, there has often been one night when the winds were favorable so that we went by sail alone. They don't "heel" over to any significant extent. Star Clippers have sailing ships that use their sails more often from what I've heard, though the one Star Clippers cruise I've been on, the motor was used almost all of the time - the winds didn't happen to be favorable that trip. I didn't mention them because their Caribbean prices tend to be higher than Windstar (though the opposite is true for Mediterranean sailings). The Star Clippers ships may have more rock and roll than the Windstar ships, though on the cruise I took, we had very calm seas and I didn't notice any difference. Their ships don't have elevators and I noticed that some of their stairs were steeper than the ones on Windstar.
  17. Actually, there is usually the larger sail ship, Wind Surf, and one of the motor yachts in the Carribbean and one of the smaller sail ships, Wind Star, and one of the motor yachts doing Panama Canal and Costa Rica for most of the season. We love being on the smaller ships. Windstar's two small sail ships carry around 140 passengers. Wind Surf and the 3 motor yachts carry around 300 (that has been ~200 for the motor yachts, but they are going to have a section added in upcoming dry docks that increase them to 300). They can visit small ports that can't handle the big ships. We are booked on a 14-day next January that will have 3 stops on St. Lucia. One is at Soufriere so we will be right at the Pitons instead of an hour away. Other examples are a couple of stops at small islands in the Grenadines. Last January we did one of the Panama Canal / Costa Rica sailings. Note: Wind Star and Wind Spirit (it's twin which cruises in Tahiti and South Pacific) don't have elevators so you need to be comfortable with stairs. The other ships all have elevators though most people take the stairs most of the time. Small ports will often be tender ports. Sometimes, like on the Panama Canal / Costa Rica itineraries, the "port" is a wet landing on a beach - zodiacs tender you to the beach where you step off into the shallow water.
  18. Wow - six months! Have you decided between oral and injection for typhoid. When I've taken it, I've chosen the oral because it lasts for 5 years. The shot is only 2 years. You should still be careful about where you eat. Typhoid vaccine is only moderately effective (estimates from 50 to 80% effectiveness).
  19. To celebrate retiring, I went solo on a 28-day cruise - a b2b that included crossing from Japan to Alaska followed by a 14-day Alaska cruise. I loved it - it was a great way to unwind after more than 40 years working. My husband had no interest in doing a crossing or such a long trip so I went solo. It was my first solo cruise though I'd done solo land vacations. The trip included 9 consecutive days at sea. If you have any questions about the solo experience, try the solo board here. (Link in post #6.)
  20. It's been a long time since I've sailed on Wind Surf - what is the policy for Stella Bistro?
  21. If you read carefully, the CDC recommendation for Typhus vaccination is not as strong as that for HEP A: Hepatitis A CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Barbados, regardless of where you are eating or staying. Typhoid You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Barbados. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater. The text above is an example from the CDC Barbados web page: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/cruise_ship/barbados?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001 For Hep A, it says: "regardless of where you are eating or staying". For Typhoid, the recommendation is more targeted to those going where food sanitation might not be as well controlled: e.g. smaller cities and rural areas; or for adventurous eaters. On the CDC website about the vaccine, it doesn't mention any need for boosters. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hep-a.html For adults, it only mentions getting the vaccine if you have not had it previously. I've not seen a recommendation for getting a booster anywhere. There have been Hep A outbreaks in the US, some where restaurants were the source. Since you only need to get the two shot vaccine series once (or 3 shot series if you do the combined Hep A / Hep B vaccine), it makes sense for an unvaccinated adult such as the OP's husband to go ahead and get the vaccine.
  22. Initial sign up will be limited to one night so that everyone gets the best opportunity to pick their night. One night at Candles suits us but I expect on a warm weather 10-night it should be pretty easy to get a second night.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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).
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