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Posts posted by milepig

  1. This is a bit of speculation, but:


    IIRC we left ship later than 5pm, and there were a number of trips made in both directions.


    Also, this is a tender port, so the tenders will still be running from shore, I would think that WS would take you to the Motu by that tender - the BBQ is casual, so while you may be tired from your day ashore you wouldn't stand out. There are full restroom facilities if you want to clean up a little.


    BYW be sure to take your camera - the views of the ship from the Moto are unbelievable, and we had the most amazing sunset I've ever seen. Not to mention the entertainment itself.

  2. WS always had a “classics” section on the menu and you can mix and match. Live a little but if the specials don’t appeal look toward the classics. You’ll be fine. WS chow, even James Beard is good but middle of the road. Hardly challenging. 

  3. Be aware that there may not be an ATM in your hotel so get some cash at the airport if you'll need some right away. There are ATMs all over Papeete, but the IC did not have one, and I had to have them convert a small amount for our taxi into town, etc. It was only a small amount so I didn't sweat the bad conversion rate, but I hate walking around with zero cash.

  4. 5 hours ago, OctoberKat said:

    Not taking the books as baggage.


    Yes, I know the ship's library is "official" but I've never had anyone complain about the books I leave in the ship library, or in airports or in any other place. My goal is spread the book love. Just a personal quirk that makes me happy.

    So sorry to have wasted your time spent reading my suggestions that I spent a considerable amount of time on. Only trying to help. Just think of the WS employee who has to toss your worthless books to return the library to the state it is meant to be in. 


    Have a a great trip and, by the way, you’re welcome. 

  5. After I typed this I realized that FedEx and other major shippers will generally clear their packages through customs, but we do get a shipment pulled aside once in a while So, unlikely to happen but it could.


    Thinking about this more - you have multiple points to deal with if you take the books as baggage:


    At the departure airport - many airports have carts outside the dropoff point, but you'd need to load them on. If not, a Sky Cap can help for a tip. You'll need to get them on the scale at baggage check and then you're good to go until arrive.


    At the arrival airport - there will be carts in the baggage area. Some airlines have staff there and they would likely help get your bags onto a cart, or someone else waiting would likely be kind enough to help. They you need to wheel them through customs and to the curb for your pickup. There the cabbie or whatever you're using will help. At the Hotel the doormen will help get them to your room.


    To the ship - again, the hotel will help with your departure, but in my experience you could be without help at the port. I've not been through Vancouver, so can't speak as to whether or not they have porters from the curb to the WS checkin desk. Once you drop them there, the next time you'll see them is in your cabin.

  6. WS uses a port agent in each port and they may accept packages so they may be able to WS or your TA will be able to tell you. 


    Two other issues. Assuming your shipping from the US, the unaccompanied box will be subject to clearance through customs and this could be delayed or even stopped until customs are paid. Unlikely but possible. My office clears stuff through customs and it’s a pain involving using a broker. 


    The other thing I don’t understand is the “leave them in the ship’s library.” This isn’t a take one leave one sort of place but an actual

    collection serviced by a company under contract. The staff may very well remove items that don’t belong there. Just another caution. I don’t think it’s not heavily managed since last time we were on board one of the triplets most of the books were still stamped Seabourn. 

  7. 2 hours ago, CruiseOrLand said:

    It's a slight minus that you have to sign paper checks even if there is no payment required.


    You mean the chits you sign when purchasing drinks on board? With the plan you do that the first day or so and then they go away.

  8. 32 minutes ago, ridethetide said:

    The scenery is never redundant in Alaska.  It changes from minute to minute.  And it is always awe-inspiring. You will not be "repeating the same thing the next day".  I would sign up for each of the Expedition Team excursions and book them in advance of the cruise.  We had sold-out excursions on our cruise last July.


    Thanks. This is June 2020 and only a couple excursions are posted, not to mention that I’m busily paying off the balance on our August back to back this month. I’ll watch and then book them all when the excursions come on line. 

  9. 14 minutes ago, sb44 said:

    Your itinerary is different than ours. I took a look and personally I would do Tracy Arm and College Fjord, two spectacular glaciers, if budget wise you only want to do two. Also do a flight seeing somewhere along the way. Almost passed on this as we did in New Zealand but so glad we did. It's an entire other perspective. If they offer Taku Lodge by all means do that one. A fabulous day! We are really anxious to go back. Doing 20 days on the Surf this summer and Tall Ships in 2020 but need to get AK back in the schedule again.


    Thanks again. We'll be doing a flyover as part of our pre-cruise trip to Denali.


    For us the money isn't the main issue, but more not wanting to repeat more or less the same experience four times - board the zodiak, see some ice and glaciers, maybe some wildlife, and then repeat the same thing the next day. If it's all varied that's fine.


    In your experience, do these tend to fill up with pre-bookings, or is it possible to plan as we go once we're onboard - we do have some shipboard credit to use up.

  10. 12 minutes ago, sb44 said:

    We did 3 zodiacs, Kenai, Tracy Arm, and Misty Fjords. Yes they are expensive but breathtaking.  If I had to drop one it would be Misty simply because the other two were glaciers with ice floating by and would not want to have missed either.  As for Zodiac or Kayak,  it depends on physical ability. The kayaks obviously take more physically and we both have issues that would make it not so much fun. If we didn't,  absolutely we would have loved to give it a try but don't feel like we missed any part of the experience by being in a zodiac. To the contrary, there is an expedition guide running the boat and their narrative and ability to answer questions and point things out made these our very favorite excursions in a list of wonderful AK excursions. 


    Thanks - very helpful.


    Our four are:


    College Fjord


    Hubbard Glaciar

    Port Adolphus

    (these are two days in a row)


    Tracy Arm



  11. 2 minutes ago, minidonuts85 said:


    You are correct and poor wording on my part. In either case, all wines by the glass are not included in the Captains package as the article claims.


    Right you are. 

  12. 32 minutes ago, minidonuts85 said:

    Here's the link for it on the WS site. We got an email about it before our December cruise on the Surf but it had to be purchased in advance. We passed since we couldn't use our OBC but it looks like they're allowing it to be purchased on board now.


    I find the article interesting because I understood the newly revised Captains Exclusive Beverage Package does not inlclude ALL wines by the glass as the article states but rather a selection of wines designated under the plan. 




    The Captain’s package has never included all wines. Just those under a certain price point. 


    I’d missed the part about laundry and tips. That brings it closer to being a value, but without Internet a la carte is still a better option. 

  13. Not a good deal for us since we don't get the internet package and rely on land-based service for connecting to the world.


    I find their use of "All Inclusive" to be not quite descriptive - as other things, like excursions, that ARE included by some cruise lines are not on WS.

  14. We have four of these days. Only one is yet showing up under excursions, priced at $185


    racy Arm & Endicott Arm, Windstar Signature Expedition – Tracy Arm Zodiac Tour (Easy-Moderate)

    1 hour, 15 mins - Approximate Tour Departure 8:15 AM • $185.00


    Four of those for two people can really add up.


  15. 1 minute ago, milepig said:



    Just to be clear  - those T-Mobile plans do NOT cover cruise ships - here's what they saw about Windstar in particular:

    All T-Mobile Plans

    T-Mobile ONE and Simple Choice Plan Customers get these rates automatically.

    Not on one of these plans? Activate these rates by adding the World Class service to each line through My T-Mobile.


    (Sorry - I'm in bold column mode and can't seem to escape...)

    I would be very suprised if a local SIM card did either.


    Just follow the advice given in this great message - go into airline mode and turn on data if you have the shipboard internet plan. Otherwise just turn the phone off when not on or near shore.

    No Data

    Sending $0.50/txt Receiving Deducted from your domestic texting plan’s allotment.




    Sorry - that entire reply looks like dog's dinner.


    That chart is what the say about Cruise Ship access, but the header didn't come through.


    All the T-Mobile plans do NOT cover Onwaves service, which is what Windstar uses. The charges for T-Mobile are Texts - $0.50 (that's not too bad) but the killer is Data, which is charged at $5.99 a minute.  If you're surfing looking for things to do the next day, checking your post-cruise reservations, etc. you can easily spend many minutes doing that. Windstar is getting a little better about telling people about this, but the first time we experienced it people all over the ship were running around in circles screaming "I just got a text from T-Mobile that I've run up $1,000 in roaming charges." As I said, if concerned, T-Mobile can (or was able to) block access to Onwaves from your device just to be super safe.

  16. 54 minutes ago, msears101 said:



    Most T-mobile plans include international roaming at no charge with the option to buy a faster pass.  Sprint is another US carrier that has a similar plan.  I have used both. ATT and Verizon offer it for a per day charge around $10/day.  Note you need may need to enable international roaming before you leave the states.  Make sure to read all the fine print and make sure understand it and agree with it.


    The other option is to buy a local SIM card.  This is great for Europe and when you are travelling to a single country.  Most airports have someone selling SIM cards.  You pop it in your phone and you get local number which is great for making local calls to restaurants, hotels, taxis, etc.


    54 minutes ago, msears101 said:



    Just to be clear  - those T-Mobile plans do NOT cover cruise ships - here's what they saw about Windstar in particular:

    All T-Mobile Plans

    T-Mobile ONE and Simple Choice Plan Customers get these rates automatically.

    Not on one of these plans? Activate these rates by adding the World Class service to each line through My T-Mobile.


    (Sorry - I'm in bold column mode and can't seem to escape...)

    I would be very suprised if a local SIM card did either.


    Just follow the advice given in this great message - go into airline mode and turn on data if you have the shipboard internet plan. Otherwise just turn the phone off when not on or near shore.

    No Data

    Sending $0.50/txt Receiving Deducted from your domestic texting plan’s allotment.



  17. There are a bunch of posts including several from me but Cruisecritic search isn’t great. Just google cruisecritic onwaves or on waves as two words and they should come up. 


    Unless you buy the internet package you need to set your phone on airplane mode when not in port.  As far as I know Onwaves isn’t part of any carrier’s package. It’s listed as not covered on the T-mob site somewhere. Use your phone when in port or close to shore and you’ll be fine. You can ask your carrier to block Onwaves if you’re concerned. 


    If you buy the WiFi on board you can turn your phone to data only. If yuo have phone over internet calls and texts will still come through. 

  18. 1 hour ago, sb44 said:

    We did the inaugural season with a longer itinerary last June. One stop was Prince Rupert for about a half day. We did a seaplane excursion which was great. We were there on a Sunday and nothing was open so I would definitely do a ship excursion.  The days that we just cruised were great. It is breathtakingly beautiful. The zodiacs are a must do and the excursion crew also are experts in the wildlife and geology of AK with daily lectures. They made themselves available day and night. Ketchikan was full of big ships but we had a great day there. Private excursions are hard to come by and just as expensive as the Windstar ones. It's a short season and guides commit to the ships for their living. We normally do not take the ship's excursions but did with one exception on this cruise. Loved each one and felt that we got our money's worth. Absolutely do a land tour before or after. The state is mind blowing and the beauty immense. We did the Windstar land tour but there are others. You can also rent a car and go on your own. Its is easy to get around with good roads and no traffic congestion. We will go back and spend a couple of weeks driving but if you only have a short time do a tour. 


    Thanks. We’ll do Denali before on our own with a rental car (cheaper than I expected) and stay probably 3 night. 


    We have 4 “cruising in a bay” days. How would you divide those up? 

  19. 1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

    Didn't even know there would be mid-cabin curtains – and chose the new design anyway for all the reasons listed above as Pros.  DW gets up early and orders room service – she felt this would make it easier when the delivery comes and while she is getting dressed (clothes are near the bathroom).


    We also prefer that the new cabins have a large shower rather than a bathtub.  Would prefer more counter space rather than two large trough sinks – but maybe we'll just use one of the sinks to store stuff that can get wet (like shampoo and other things in bottles).


    I just assumed there would still be curtains but don’t know that for fact. We don’t tend to do room service unless we are both up for an early excursion. If one is up they just go up to the yacht club for coffee and then we meet up from breakfast. 

  20. Sorry for the total Alaska nube question, but our itin has four days that say ""cruising around..." I assume this means that the ship indeed "cruises" around the area. I do note that some of them also have excursions that pick you up right from the ship. Do you indeed just sort of cruise around the area - is there narration on board?

  21. 19 hours ago, Kate-AHF said:

    Oh my.... that is SO up our alley!  Bookmarked, and notation on the spreadsheet already done.  Many thanks! 


    One good turn deserves another... so in case you will be stopping in Barcelona sometime in the future, I will share the best wine & tapas tour in the area: https://www.wineventuresbarcelona.com/ 


    If you can work it in DO IT. The trip on the ferry across the the Asian side was fascinating, completely different feeling. In addition, the bakery they stop at early in the tour is amazing we bought stuff and made the rest of the ship jealous! for a first short trip I'd do one of the central  Mosques,  the cistern (which is on the way and doesn't take long) and if you possibly have time the archeological museum which is also right there - they have a great terrace for lunch.

  22. In my experience, when WS changes ports it's usually been an alternation that's fairly close to the original, and the WS tours just start from the new port. Of the above, Marseilles to Sanary sur Mer is about an hour, the others just over half an hour. We did this in Majorca and also in Italy, and we completely missed Porto and a stop in Japan. In those cases, any WS excursions are refunded and sometimes they'll take off the port charge since you didn't go there!


    When we stopped in Milos instead of Santorini WS quickly arranged some alternative tours and publicized them. Milos turned out to be a fabulous stop.


    If you're touring on your own, it's really on you to make plans, which is one reason I make sure I have a phone with me. Some operators will refund your money, in some cases their policy is clear upfront about that. For short distance differences they may pick you up at the new port. It just depends.

  23. 53 minutes ago, VetteCity said:

    June 2019 or June 2020?


    We are doing a Windstar Vancouver to Seward June 2019. I haven't received that email.


    oops - this is June 19 2020. If this works, here's the new and old schedule:



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