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Everything posted by msears101

  1. I have made up mind (back in January) that for 2021, I will travel on my own and not rely on third parties, which is a continuation of what I did in 2020. Air lines are the only one that I am beholden to, and their rules have been consistent. I love Windstar, but I will not cruise with them or anyone until this all settles down.
  2. A friendly suggestion that you might want to consider. Get a test as soon as you can, and make sure it would be accepted by them. It took us a few tries to find a place that had the right paperwork that said the right things. Not all CVS, Walgreens, etc do the same test at all locations. The tests are not fun, but it is worth it.
  3. I have a few thoughts. I am not sure it is about profit, at least not solely about profit. In my opinion, Windstar has previously taken a different model from the major cruise lines in that the major cruise line cruises are not profitable until the end of the cruise. They make money from all the up charges. Windstar has historically not charged you guests for extras. No cost for specialty restaurants (they could charge). Free soda. Reasonably priced drinks, so much so that many can't justify the drink package. They even got rid of the casino for a FREE coffee bar. I believe in the past windstar had upfront pricing (at least for the way I cruise). My bill at the end of a windstar cruise is always palatable and expected. Other cruise lines, not so much. I still believe that Windstar is going for "super safe". Letting passengers off the boat (to do anything) and mingle among a largely unvaccinated population would be against the "super safe". They are small cruise line and have the ability to have a very small niche and succeed at it.
  4. Gov Abbott signed an executive order, not a law, but a rule. I am not aware of a court challenge to the executive order. My question was to the OP, whose cruise is out of Nassau, BS. I did not hear that RCL dropped the vaccine requirement for any place other than TX and FL.
  5. Has RCCL dropped the vaccination requirement for cruises out of NAS? I thought they were only dropping it for cruises that start in FL and TX to comply with local state law?
  6. PLEASE READ The thread is a simple question. Will you cancel your future reservation IF RCCL has no vaccine mandate. Stick to that please. It is a useful subject. The personal attacks and "science" fighting is out of control. This thread is going to just get ripped down. Onto facts about the issue. A LOT of the SCIENCE IS NOT COMPLETE. What the mainstream media is reporting is misleading and sometimes just WRONG. If you want to share, discuss and debate the SCIENCE go to PEER REVIEWED articles from reputable scientific journals NOT CNN, MSNBC, FOX, WSJ, NY POST, NY Times, and the rest of them. Try places like Nature, Science, JAMA, or New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Genetics, Journal of Biology. The latest info (on its way to publication) is often put on what is called "bio archives" (you need to be careful and be sure you can read and understand the information to see if it is flawed, but if you want the latest raw data look there. Please have civility and respect for all people, and please use the sample of places listed above to get your facts. Good day to you all.
  7. I second that. Chase's travel cards are excellent, although the claims are made through a third party, I have found the process relatively painless. I have used the "insurance" at least three time that I can think of. My advice is read the fine print before you need it. We are generally consider ourselves self insured, and usually have lots of backup plans and are just prepared to take care of most things ourselves. Be prepared is my motto.
  8. I have said this before. I think Covid is going to create niche markets for the cruise lines. Seems like Windstar is going super safe. Some cruise lines will cater to groups of people and the "rules" they think should be in place. Royal just announce they are also dropping the vaccine mandate in FL and TX. I do not like how much flux there is in policy, guidance, and rules. It is whack-a-mole.
  9. I do not have first hand knowledge, but I say something is fishy. Here is their list of members : https://cruising.org/en/cruise-lines Plenty of those cruise lines have announced they are offering get off the ship and do your own thing.
  10. I would say it is still a mess. Security flowed well just because passenger volume was down. A local I talked to up in Grand Case said that they are seeking Bids for Phase 2. The rumor was Phase 2 would start in the fall. Progress is slow.
  11. Correct, MedjetAssist for anyone interested. There are also discounts for AARP and MDVIP.
  12. You might want to look into medijet. They have updated their policy. If you are admitted to the hospital for covid-19, you will be flown home to the USA. They have done this EVEN after the January required test to return to the USA. There are a few competitors that also offer versions of this. We have not stopped travelling during the pandemic. Medijet is what gave us the confidence to continue to travel. Before vaccines were available, we ensured that if we caught it and it got serious, we would be cared for in the USA, which what we would want.
  13. It is 120 to go to SXM, and 72 to leave SXM. PCR to go to SXM, pretty much anything to leave. I have never found a test not approved by the CDC. You can even buy a test in the USA (pack of 5 PER PERSON) and do a video conference (SKYPE) and do it in your hotel/cruise ship/airbnb.
  14. It is relatively painless to get into and out of SXM. I have been twice in the pandemic. It is one of my favorite places. It has sentimental value. It was the first vacation with my wife. It is all pretty straightforward. It is one of the easier place to get to. I think only Mexico is easier at the moment. Their instructions are very clear. I have had to test three times coming back into the USA. it is nerve racking. Behave yourself and limit your exposure as much as you can. There are people who test positive even after being vaccinated. If you have had covid, it might be better to get the proof you have had it and be cleared by a doctor.
  15. All cruise lines *Should* be publishing their protocol (and sticking to it for people who plan on it) and revise it on a set schedule, so people can plan. I am a little concerned about how things are going. I am not saying I disagree with the NEW CDC rules that are coming out rapidly, but they are doing "180s" from what they said a week prior. It does not give me a warm and fuzzy that the decisions are being made in a thoughtful way, logical, science driven way.
  16. Quick Antidote. This is just one example. My In-laws live in London. They are in their mid 70s. He went into a Tesco express late in the evening . He was the only one in the shop. He caught Covid-19. It is a contagious bugger. He did self check out. He bathed in hand sanitizer. It was their only time outside the house for the previous. Two days later he was sick. Two days later she was sick. Both had covid tests and confirmed it. An empty shop that does not refresh it air, will still spread from previous occupants. There has been research (I can dig up if you like) that shows flowing air inside or a cross breeze drastically limits exposure inside. Outside it is very difficult to transmit. BTW inlaws are 100% fine. No issues with covid. So this highlights one of my concerns with the WS management. They "appear" to do the safe thing, by closing off the shop, but the reality it is for show (or possibly more likely to pick it up) than just wandering around an open market on your own. Last week I was on my way back to the US and was getting tested, and the place I was getting tested temporarily ran out of tests, so about 50 people queued up inside in a narrow hallway for about 30 mins. After 3 mins in there, I just waited outside until the line died down. Being trapped in stagnant air vaccinated or not, you run a risk of picking up the bugger, and when the bugger could prevent me from getting home, I take that very seriously. Quarantined in a foreign country, does not sound like fun to me.
  17. One possibility is that some cruise lines will create niche for themselves. It seems that Windstar at the moment has some of the most cautious and safe protocol. Mask, No self guided tours, testing prior to boarding, everyone is being vaccinated. I think the market will support that and Windstar for now has some of the safest protocols and if they can attract the passengers, it could be the new Windstar. I think the rules per port, will be changable for the next year or so. Your best bet is a single country cruise. I for one do not like uncertainty, and I have sworn off cruising for the time being. I'd rather be in control.
  18. You are right. It could be many things. It could be they are having a hard time finding tour operators. Windstar might be having a hard time finding more tour operators (because more people will be one tours). Tour operators, might be asking for more money to compensate them for the extra protocols they have to follow based on local gov't rules or windstar rules. For example social distancing costs more. I think it is a fair question to ask windstar, why have the price jumped up?
  19. Last time I had that issue, I bought stuff in the gift shops, and had "extra clothing" for various activities. Some of it has lasted a long time. Either way you are buying "over priced" things. We have a credit with windstar, but we will likely let it expire. I expect rules to change multiple times and do not want to get caught with rules, I do not like. I am currently going through my airline credits, and have a plan to get them spent down by the end of the year.
  20. I have tried to reach out to windstar regarding this and a few other things. I have received no answer. PCR tests (all of them) look for specific genetic material. rt-PCR (Reverse transcription - not REAL TIME as the media states) amplifies the sample looking for even the smallest of small traces of the virus. Good you say, no so fast. People who have had covid can test positive from rt-PCR and their body continues to expel bits of the virus or dead virus for up to 6 months. This is why some places say a proof that you were positive is allowed instead of a negative test. It is also true (but do not take it out context) that a positive rt-PCR means the virus was on your sample, not that you were infected. That said, it is the BEST test for detecting the virus early and to prevent testing. My wife uses this in her lab AND occasionally contamination occurs, which is why negatively controls are always used in her experiments (to prevent false positives). Antigen test are less sensitive and early on are less likely to find the virus early. It is far less likely to give a false positive. If you have PCR questions, I can ask my wife. She refuses to watch any news or read articles about it, because they are all very misleading or just plain wrong. I think windstar needs to publish a full protocol that is transparent including how they plan test, quarantine and to validate vaccines of passengers (the CDC card is not valid proof it is beyond easy to fake). Windstar's passengers deserve the facts, because they are highly educated people who like to make informed decisions. Getting vaccinated will not make you test positive from the vaccine. (But testing positive after having it and recovering is still a small potential issue) On another note, several resort chains have started free covid test to return back to the USA AND free 14 days of quarantine (which I imagine is not very fun) if you test positive. It is an interesting tack in the world we live in.
  21. I have used the All-in package. It depends on what you need and are going to consume. The last time I did it was in French Polynesia and I had done 8 days on land before the sailing, and was spending time after the sailing on FP, so I was going to use the Laundry package, which really helped tip the scales for us. We did have some issues with the drink package portion as they had moved items OFF the approved list AND had run out things, and did not have stock, but they did their best to accommodate us.
  22. It will be interesting to see if Windstar continues its plans to move away from US ports. The CDC has clear guidelines, with one of them being 95% of passengers vaccinated and 98% crew vaccinated for nearly immediate cruising. No waiting period, and no test sailing. The CDC's letter is interesting. It is worth a read. @sb44 , the letter turns the tables a bit on Gov. Desantis. He is now creating the "extra hurdle" for cruising to resume with his no vaccine passport order. It is his rule that could shut it down.
  23. You have first hand knowledge. I have family down there trying to leave to leave Florida, but can't find work in another state to be able to leave. When I post here - I am almost always NOT supporting ideas, but trying to share a full picture. Gov. Desantis' actions regarding vaccine passports and the lawsuit to start Cruising will shape what happens for the cruise Industry (for good or bad - I will let you and the historians decide how good or bad it is) I almost never share my personal opinion. My opinion pretty much is inconsequential and worth less than 2 cents.
  24. I am worried, that there will be permanent damage to the US cruise industry. Besides the CDC setting a high bar, the cruise lines (most except carnival) have said Vaccine proof is required, but Governor of FL (and TX) has said he will not let that happen. I am not sure how that will impact Windstar moving to MIami. Operating in the state, will mean they will have to follow FL state law. For now the foreign Caribbean ports can't handle a full passenger load from an airport perspective, but that could change. People might just decide is nicer to start in Nassau than stop there.
  25. Few quick notes. I just went to look at this, because i have read more than a dozen peer reviewed papers that have been published that say the opposite. Note 1 - The WMO's paper and data has not been peer reviewed. I was not able to find the paper. I will have my wife look for it. She has access nearly all papers even when they are not public. Note 2 - Read the paper's yourself with a "critical" filter and make sure they are not making any big leaps. I suggest reading Carl Sagan's (very famous astrophysicist) Bologna detector. Do not trust someone else's interpretation of the data or paper. I found the executive summary published on WMO's web page interesting, but it did not overturn the previous assertions that a breezy, sunny, humid, 85 degree is a VERY safe environment from covid point of view.
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