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Ski Mom 2

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About Ski Mom 2

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Minnesota and the Florida Panhandle
  • Interests
    Traveling, shopping, reading, drinking wine!
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  1. So in September 2018 we cruised on a back2back2back on Wind Surf. Some friends of ours stayed in this suite back before it was renovated. It was nice and had lots of room. The bathtub was huge but they just threw all their extra luggage and stuff in it and didn’t use it. It only had one bathroom. I mention the bathroom because we were visited by the upgrade fairy and given a suite which was basically two rooms made into one big room. The best part of the suite was the fact that it had TWO bathrooms. For 25 days it saved my marriage! After the upgrade of Wind Surf they took away many of these suites but did keep some. I would take one of these in a heartbeat over the Officers Suite you are talking about.
  2. Yes, both guests must purchase the beverage package.
  3. Windstar Cruises Pauses Ship Operations Worldwide Due to Coronavirus Pandemic SEATTLE, WA, March 12, 2020 – Small ship cruise operator Windstar Cruises announced today that the company will temporarily suspend operations worldwide for cruises embarking March 14 through April 30, 2020 due to the unpredictable environment surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. “After much thought, we believe we are making the most responsible decision we can during this coronavirus pandemic,” said Christopher Prelog, chief operating officer of Windstar Cruises. “This worldwide pause in the operation of our fleet of small ships is an effort to curb the spread of the virus and keep our guests, crew and the communities we visit, safe and healthy. We look forward to resuming operations again on May 1 with a return to offering our 180 degrees from ordinary vacation experience.” Windstar will temporarily suspend operations of all sailings embarking on March 14 through April 30, 2020. Cruises will begin operating again according to schedule on May 1, 2020. Windstar Cruises regrets the cancellation of travelers’ vacations. Guests on cancelled cruises will receive the choice of a Future Cruise Credit valued at 125% of all monies paid to Windstar Cruises or a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking. Guests will have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their Future Cruise Credit. Windstar Cruises will protect Travel Advisor commissions on the affected bookings. Windstar’s reservations team is reviewing all affected bookings and will send a letter outlining details to guests and travel advisors with canceled cruises. The reservations team appreciates the patience and understanding of guests and travel advisors as they work through this process. The staff, executives, officers and crew at Windstar Cruises look forward to hosting travelers again this spring aboard its fleet of six small yachts carrying 148 to 342 guests in scenic and cultural destinations around the world. Media Contact: Sarah Scoltock, Windstar Cruises / sarah.scoltock@windstarcruises.com Sally Spaulding, Percepture Public Relations /sspaulding@percepture.com René A. Mack, Percepture Public Relations / rmack@percepture.com About Windstar Cruises Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of six boutique small ships and motor sailing yachts carrying 148-342 guests. Small ship cruises sail throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, Asia, Alaska and British Columbia, Canada and New England, Tahiti and the South Pacific, Mexico and U.S. Coastal, and newly launched Australia and New Zealand cruises. Windstar has recently launched the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative to transform three Star Class ships with new suites, restaurants, and a world- class spa and fitness center. The award-winning line is known for immersive experiences, destination authenticity, port-intensive itineraries, exceptional service, and an innovative culinary program as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation. Windstar Cruises is a part of Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning, globally diversified travel company offering once in a lifetime experiences in some of the most beautiful and iconic places on earth. To learn more about authentic small ship cruising with Windstar, visit www.windstarcruises.com.
  4. We used We Hate Tourism Tours for two different tours while staying in Lisbon prior to our Mediterranean cruise. They were awesome! We did the one to Sintra in a small van and enjoyed it. Our favorite was lunch with the locals where we met our guide and had a lovely lunch with him (and no other tourists!). We high,y recommended them!
  5. We have just returned from a Wind Surf Cruise where we had 2 stops in Mayreau and we’re so lucky to have met Dennis at Dennis Hideaway. On our first stop, after our beach bbq, we wandered over to Dennis Hideaway for a beer and a rum punch. What we got was so much more...we found a new friend. We hung out and learned about his life, his loves, his business and his love for his island. The fish stew he served to his friend looked so delicious my DH asked him if he would make it for him on our next visit and he agreed. We got back on board but knew we would see him again in just a few short days. (We were on a back2back Cruise) A few days later we were back for our second beach bbq through our cruise but we already knew we’d be skipping the bbq and heading to Dennis Hideaway for our lunch. Our table was set and waiting for us when we arrived and the rum punch started to flow (and he makes a killer rum punch!). My DH had the fish stew that he continues to rave about. I’m not a fish girl so he made me some yummy chicken and chips. Ronice was there that day to help him out and she was delightful. We met the local priest and enjoyed learning about his life on the island. Our time sped by and after we paid our bill Dennis bought us one more round of beer. And before we knew it, the last tender was waiting for us and we said our goodbyes and ran. (We were the last two on the last tender but they knew we were coming 😉) Anyway, we had a wonderful time, the food was great, the rum punch strong and the company one of the best! Go see Dennis if you’re in Mayreau!
  6. On our recent Wind Surf Cruise we stopped in Soufriere where we literally stumbled upon Orlando’s and had the most wonderful lunch! At some point prior to the cruise I had read about Orlando but it got lost in the back of my mind until we were walking down the street in Soufriere and low and behold there was a sign and his restaurant. What a delightful discovery! We had a lovely lunch with fresh, simple ingredients. Chef Orlando was there and we talked about cooking, running a business, family and more. We are so lucky to have wandered in and are happy to pass along this recommendation for a most satisfying lunch or dinner! Here’s my DH and Orlando in front of his restaurant.
  7. Wow that's great! And you will love the Bridgetown to Aruba sailing. That was the second of our back2back in January and we really enjoyed the ports on that portion of our cruise.
  8. Thanks to all your replies so far! We are planners, especially for something that will be as complicated as coordinating a cruise, where to go and stay while on land (for up to 3 weeks), visiting my Italian cousins, etc. I realize the pricing for September 2021 is the same as 2020 and I also see that this May is lower in price. I like that the deposit is only $50 per person and that we can cancel/change our minds up to 120 days out. Since I'm about 99% positive we want to do this cruise I'm leaning heavily to booking it now. I just wish I could remember what kind of other promotions WS does throughout the year to know if this is a good one or not. 😉
  9. This is fantastic news; I’m so happy for you! We will definitely chat 😉
  10. I'm turning the big 6-0 in 2021 and we are thinking about doing the CLASSIC ITALY & DALMATIAN COAST cruise in September 2021 in addition to traveling around Italy and visiting my Italian cousins. What do folks think about the current Pick Your Perk promotion? We have our 5% alumni discount plus an additional 5% since we are within the 60 days of just coming off our Caribbean cruise. Deposits are only $50 per person which seems like a no brainer but I'm still trying to decide if this will be the best price/promo, especially since it's a year and a half away. I do realize I can re-book if the price lowers but if I had to do that, would I lose the extra 5% from the 60 day out piece? Thanks for your input!
  11. How nice to see these on this board! Thanks. I will say on our back2back in January the menu at Stella actually had a few changes from the first week to the second week we were on. Nothing drastic just a few changes with appetizers and mains.
  12. Jus to follow up... We took our ships tour (Wind Surf) to the Rainforest Adventures. We were the first group there (a total of 5 of us) and got on the course right away. It was very peaceful. They have beautiful gardens you walk through before arriving at the beginning g if the course. The guides were excellent in helping everyone out; we had one with no zip line experience and they made her feel very comfortable. The best part of the entire adventure was our group was the only group out. As we were finishing up many other groups started showing up and the peacefulness of the jungle changed. A few notes: They have several stops where they have water provided for you. There are several rope bridges to navigate but they aren’t as hard as some rope bridges we did in Costa Rica. They have small narrow boards you actually walk on vs walking on rope. The lengths you zip are not as long as the ones we have done in the past. They have lockers to rent to keep your stuff in (you give them a down payment and you get it back). They do have a small area to get food and drinks afterwards that had lots of hummingbirds around. Tipping our guides was a way to show our appreciation for all their hard work. We enjoyed our morning and recommend this zip line, especially to anyone that hasn’t experienced on before.
  13. Yes we walked from the ship to the hotel. Well actually we walked to the other one and took the shuttle to the ocean suites one. We were suppose to have a prearranged taxi driver meet us for a tour of the island but customs took over two hours to process all of our passports to allow us off the ship so we missed that tour. There really is no beach at the ocean suites. The pool is nice and has lots of surrounding sand area and they have big rocks to form a small body of ocean water but really no beach. Their private island has more of a lagoon and the beach is part of the lagoon so no crazy ocean waves. Here we are with the flamingos looking out over the lagoon towards the rocks where the ocean is on the other side. Hope this helps!
  14. We stayed at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in their Ocean Suites. They have two locations that are almost next to each other. Ocean Suites has small views of the ocean and is located "on the ocean" versus the other that is more in the "downtown" area. That being said, we stayed there for a couple of reasons: 1. It was one of the few places I could find that didn't have a 3-7 night minimum; 2. I wanted to be "on the beach" but that's pretty hard in Aruba if you're not at a place that wants 7 nights; 3. I had a Marriott discount to make the room somewhat affordable. What I didn't know was that location is mostly a timeshare place. There are only a few rooms that they rent out as a hotel room. Most people have been coming for "their timeshare week" for years and years. So the ocean view was pretty hard to come by. The food was only so-so which meant we went out to dinner elsewhere both nights we were there (which was a good thing). The best part of the hotel was Renaissance Island. It is their private island that only guests can get too (although they sell a handful of day passes every morning I guess). It is a 15 minute boat ride over to the island. We splurged and I rented us a cabana on Flamingo Island for the day. It was wonderful and well worth the money. We loved our day on the island. Here I am enjoying our hammock over the water 🙂 Places we ate dinner (all within walking distance) were: Pinchos (walk to the right when you exit the hotel and it's the second restaurant you come to). West Deck is the first and it has some good recommendations but since we didn't have a reservation they wanted to stick us at a bad table so we kept walking to Pinchos. Without reservations there we were able to sit at the bar for drinks and food. The bartenders were friendly as well as the other folks sitting at the bar. Italy In The World Wine Restaurant (walk straight out the exit of the hotel across the street). Fantastic place with only 10 tables. You need a reservation or maybe go later to get in. All homemade and cooked to order food and the wine was incredible. The owner came there from Italy over 20 years ago and he brought over about 7-8 bottles of wine for us to look at and to choose from. The prosciutto, mozzarella bruschetta appetizer was to die for! And the rest of the food was very good. The Dutch Pancake House (right next door in the shopping center) was great for breakfast. Get there early to get a seat.
  15. We were on both cruises with Strenz (it was so fun getting to know her!) and I have to agree with her, the second cruise was our favorite of the two. Here's what we did: Soufrierre was an easy walking town and we visited a nice waterfront bar for a beer and to relax with a bit of wifi. Then we stumbled upon Orlando's Restaurant and had the most wonderful lunch with the chef! Wind Surf was suppose to have a tour cooking with Orlando but they canceled at the last minute. (Not good Windstar!) We didn't realize there was a tour but just got lucky on our walk that we passed his place. Simply ingredients cooked in the most delightful way. There was only one other couple and so we had plenty of time to chat with Orlando and his staff and really connected. I can't recommend his restaurant enough. Mayreau was our beach picnic on both cruises. The beach is beautiful and it was fun just to float on the water but beware of the strong sun that will go right through the water! We had another wonderful experience with Dennis from Dennis Hideaway right at the pier. The first picnic we stopped for a rum punch and got to talking to Dennis. When we had to leave we told him we would be back in just a few days (for the second beach picnic) and he said he would cook lunch for us. After lounging in the water for a bit on the second picnic, we wandered over to see Dennis and he was all ready for us, our table was set and out came the delicious fish soup for my husband and chicken for me. More rum punches, a few beers and GREAT conversation followed. Dennis has a great story and we enjoyed sharing our life experiences with him too. All too soon, we realized the last tender was ready to go and we were the last two people to get back to the ship. It was a great day! On Tobago we took the tour to the waterfall. Unfortunately there was a large cruise ship in at another port and the waterfall was mobbed. Luckily our tour gal walked fast and got us to the waterfall first and my husband was able to get into the pool before the mob. There isn't anything really to see at the port although we did have a beer at one of the bars (but no wifi). This was probably our least favorite port although the locals were lovely. We picked this cruise because of the ABC islands. Bonaire was probably our favorite. We took the glass bottom boat tour (I'm not a snorkeler) and afterwards we walked around the cute shops. This was a late night since it was the on deck BBQ and we took advantage by going out to dinner in Bonaire with another couple we met on board. We had a fabulous dinner and were so happy we skipped the BBQ and took advantage of being in Bonaire for dinner. Curacao was nice too and we did a walking tour through the ship and then wandered on our own and had lunch. There were several shops with local art that we visited including a museum of art that was fascinating. We stayed in Aruba for 2 nights following our cruise since this was really the island I've wanted to see. I didn't realize Aruba is mostly timeshares which was a bit odd but we met some nice people and had some yummy dinners. It was pretty windy there but it helped with the heat.
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