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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. He doesn't mention Star Clippers which frequently has sailings with no solo supplement.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. You do like to dictate what subjects are appropriate to discuss here, don't you? I checked the facts I posted on the CDC website. No one else had pointed out that there are differences between vaccines for the two diseases that might cause one to decide to get one and skip the other.
  14. The original question in this thread was about lines that collect and hold the passports. In that case, they don't have to search for them. They just have to pull them from where the purser has them stored. It should be a matter of moments and there shouldn't be any impediment to them being able to land the passports.
  15. Right. On Windstar, they normally hold passports, but for going ashore in Japan, everyone had to collect their passports from Guest Services. Once we had visited our last Japan port, they collected them again.
  16. It isn't an all or nothing decision. If you don't want to spend the money on both of them, it would make sense to get the Hep A vaccine even if you decide not to get the Typhoid vaccine. The Hep A vaccine last for life once you take the two or three required shots. Also, it is highly effective - close to 100% effectiveness. It is recommended for travel just about anywhere. Or even for eating out in the US, there have been outbreaks in the US due to transmission in a restaurant. So get it now and you are covered long term. Consider getting the combo Hep A and Hep B vaccine so you are covered for both of them. In contrast, protection from typhoid vaccination is relatively short. If you get the shot (inactive typhoid), it is good for 2 years. Oral (live vaccine) is good for 5 years. It also isn't as effective - 50 to 80%. So it gives some protection but you still should be careful about what you eat.
  17. Other lines to consider are Windstar and Star Clippers. These are small ship lines - the ships carry between 140 and 310 passengers). Windstar is premium, Star Clippers is a bit harder to characterize but close in quality. On all the Star Clippers ships and 2 of the Windstar ships, there will never be a wait for an elevator. (Okay, that's because there are no elevators 🙂 - you need to be fit enough to handle stairs on these ships. There are only 4-5 passenger decks so I find it fine.) The 4 larger Windstar ships have elevators - a lot of the passengers still use the stairs so there usually isn't much of a wait for them. These ships have plenty of uncrowded deck space, excellent food, well-traveled fellow passengers. They are missing a couple of things you mentioned. 3 of the Windstar ships have balconies, but other than a couple of very expensive suites, they are French Balconies (sliding door to an approximately 1-foot deep balcony). The other ships have no balconies, but with the deck so close by and uncrowded, I don't miss having a balcony. And they don't have a thermal spa. IIRC the Windstar "Star" ships have a sauna. For these lines as with some of the others mentioned, you might have to up your budget or shop for a sale. Windstar posts a 7-for-7 special almost every Thursday - 7 cruises on sale for 7 days. This week, there is one 7-night that is well under your budget figure and one that is slightly over. There is a 14-night Star Collector that is $2199; with port taxes $2729 so just over $200 per person per night (Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Caribbean). I'd be tempted by that one except we just did the Panama Canal on one of their other ships - it's wonderful going through the canal on a small ship. About once per quarter, they run a bigger sale. Star Collector is their term for when they package 2 (or occasionally more) b2b cruises into a single fare. Those usually have a discount from the individual cruise fares and they include free laundry. Star Clipper often has specials. Sometimes these are free air, free pre-cruise hotel or both. Sometimes it's a price discount.
  18. I disagree about Buenos Aires. Some parts of the city are worrying. Before I retired, I would go to week-long international meetings of a group several times a year. Most were in North America, Asia and Europe (moving around to areas most of our attendees come from spread the burden of travel), but we also had one in Buenos Aires. There was a board for attendees to share info about the location and experiences while there to help each other out. There were a number of reports of problems - more than we had in other cities including Chicago, Yokohama and Paris. Most were the scam where someone squirts a victim's back on the street with something that looks like bird dropping and a confederate rushes up to help clean it off so that the distracted victim's wallet can be lifted, but there was also one incident where a person was held up at gun point in a park near the meeting venue. I still walked from my hotel to the meeting venue (at least during daylight), but I was careful to be alert to my surroundings and I avoided going near the park. It is in many ways a very nice city. We had some really good meals there including an unassuming restaurant that we stumbled upon when the one we intended to visit turned out to be closed. But my experience was that crime was higher than most places we visit. Perhaps there was less distance between some nice areas and some dodgy ones than in some other cities. I would visit there as a tourist, but would exercise more caution than usual.
  19. 😊 Windstar posts 7-for-7 specials putting 7 cruises on sale for a week almost every Thursday. They also have sales covering more cruises at least once a quarter. Sometimes they have really good prices especially when bookings for a date are low. I booked our 14-day Captivating Caribbean cruise when it was on a sale last January. The price now is a lot higher than what we booked at and the price shows now sign of dropping. They have a price assurance policy that lets one take advantage of price drops up to 90 days before sailing so when I see a price I'm happy with, I book it. Sometimes it drops lower and I get a fare reduction (or extra OBC to compensate). Sometimes it doesn't.
  20. By the way, most of the stops other than Penang, Malaysia were uninhabited islands that were part of marine national parks so no medical care on them - just an island with a beach and sometimes a ranger. So while the passages may have been less than 12 hours, the only medical care at all but one of the stops was what was on the ship. https://www.starclippers.com/us-dom/search.html?view=itenary&crid=SC091119&ship=Star Clipper If there was a severe medical emergency, perhaps the ship could have diverted to somewhere on Phuket or a fast boat (maybe whatever serves as a Coast Guard there) could have picked up the passenger. Even when there is a doctor on a small ship, medical facilities on board are limited. For example, on a Windstar cruise I was on, another passenger hurt her ankle the day we were at a small island for our beach BBQ day. The next "port" (wet landing via zodiacs on a beach of a small town so not really any port facilities) we visited, the small town didn't have any X-ray machines ns so she stayed on board. (Actually, I happened to chat with a local to ask directions. She mentioned she was a doctor and i asked about X-rays. She said that if they need one, they sometimes use the one at a dentist or at a vet so there are X-ray machines, just not human general medical ones.) The next port had an X-ray machine. Turned out to be a displaced fracture and she needed surgery to set it. That's life if you prefer to get off the beaten track. Sometimes you are far from modern facilities.
  21. No - we had a stop in Malaysia. There are other itineraries such as Singapore to Thailand.
  22. On Star Clipper (140 passengers double occupancy, 70+ passengers on my sailing) in Thailand, we only had a nurse. He was one of the waiters in the restaurant and doubled as the nurse. They didn't say what his level of nursing qualification was. From my interaction with him (cleaning and re-bandaging an arm injured during an excursion the penultimate day of my cruise), I doubt that he was RN level or higher. I have read that they have a doctor when doing a crossing - something with multiple consecutive sea days.
  23. There are exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule for prescription medications. I've traveled with cough syrup under that exception (cough hanging on and causing difficulty sleeping after the cold that caused it is over). https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2014/09/05/tsa-travel-tips-traveling-medication I've seen other articles that suggest that ice packs needed to keep the medication cold would also be allowed under this exception even if they aren't totally hard, but haven't seen anything definitive on the TSA website. They page above has a number to call to ask questions so if in doubt, try that.
  24. There are a number of small cruise ships with a "water sports platform" or "marina" that opens from the back of the ship for access to playing in the sea when anchored. All the Windstar ships have them and Royal Clipper has one (the smaller Star Clippers ships don't but they take water toys to the beach on beach days. They have water toys such as kayaks, paddle boards, small sail boats, inflatable platform/raft. On tropical cruises, they often have a beach BBQ day where they take the water toys to the beach to use them there. They have to be anchored somewhere where the sea is very calm to use them - e.g. a sheltered bay and the local port authorities have to allow it. Our upcoming 14-day on Wind Surf has two port stops where they plan to deploy the platform. I've seen a picture of a small luxury ship where there is a platform coming out from the side of the ship - a rectangle with a rectangular hole in it like a pool but I think that was a concept drawing of a ship they were planning to build, not something currently deployed and I don't remember which line it was.
  25. Since the deposit is fully refundable & you can transfer the on-board reservation to another cruise, could you have booked something on board & then transferred it if the cruise you wanted was added to the schedule?
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