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Del Rio

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About Me

  • Location
    California Central Coast
  • Interests
    house concert presenter & volunteer for local NPR station..."day job" for 20+ years in travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Windstar, Holland America, American Cruise Line, Avalon Waterways, Lindblad, Regent, Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    South Pacific

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  1. We last sailed Windstar in Tahiti in January 2020 (just under the COVID wire). This was my third trip to Huahine (last over 20 years ago) but first for my wife. We did go on the Safari Expedition and really enjoyed it. We did not go for the stops, as much as we went because it was the best tour for a sense of the relaxed, low key nature of this island. I wanted to share with my wife why this is the most likely spot in the whole world to lower my blood pressure. Our guide and the nature of the overall excursion delivered what I expected. Side note: We also stopped at a vanilla plantation, where we got the best vanilla we have found in a long time. Our second choice would have been Sacred Sites and Legendary Places. Hope this helps.
  2. If you do this with the test kit, in your room, how does the test sample get evaluated in the app? My phone or tablet is connected to the internet, but it doesn't have a suction tube to send a sample to the lab.
  3. Consider "Tours By Locals" An outstanding group of independent tour guides, as part of a very hands-on operation out of BC, Canada. You can often find exactly what you are looking for, and sometimes you can find a guide offering something similar to your ideal preference, who will be able to converse with you by email to customize what you want. The details are really a one-on-one discussion, with the guide you have chosen. I have used them in Italy, Portugal and Japan. Try them for Greece. Their link is https://www.toursbylocals.com.
  4. The information Mimi A has posted is available to Travel Agents who have authorized access to the Windstar reservation system. BUT Cruise Critic does not want these forum pages to become tools for TAs to troll for your business. I do not know if Mimi A is a travel agent, but she has been very helpful to many of us here. Please do not jeopardize her membership in Cruise Critic. The level of detail many are asking about here, is available from Windstar directly and a good travel agent. Find a good TA and use them kindly, unless you prefer to book directly with Windstar.
  5. minidonuts85 & Nearpost345 have offers up some very encouraging information. Thank you to you both. While I am not a lawyer, I have worked with "terms and conditions" related to transportation, travel and hospitality for over 35 years. And I must start with the statement "this is only one person's unconfirmed opinion", mine! Windstar has every intention of getting their crews 100% vaccinated. If they don't, the risk to their row of dominoes is far too great. BUT if they turn this into a public promise (in writing), it only takes one misstep to destroy their reputation (and future existence). They know they are dealing with hundreds of crew members from far and wide. Working for Windstar might be the best opportunity for these crew members to get vaccinated, considering many of them are from countries currently without an adequate vaccine supply. Windstar is telling us they are "doing their best". It is in their interest to do it perfectly. But getting caught in a possible broken promise, outside of their direct control, is a bigger risk than they need to take. I am very satisfied with the way Windstar has handled this. There is no purveyor of a cruise experience higher on my list than Windstar.
  6. In the My Windstar page, (within the Windstar website) you can read or download a copy of the "Setting Sail" brochure (you do not need to be a registered/reserved patron to gain access to this page). It lists the daily automatic gratuity as $14.50. The $23.35 seems to include the automatic gratuity, and likely bar service gratuities...together. I guess listing this amount just lets Windstar make the "all-in package" look like a better value. I have attached the current pdf of the "Setting Sail" brochure. The gratuity information is on page 13. Settiing Sail (3-4-21).pdf
  7. With smaller ships the availability can often change faster. The ideal cabin you saw last night, is gone this morning. And smaller cruise lines, like Windstar, would prefer you keep an active conversation going with your TA or an inside customer service rep. In most cases TA can see these numbers as fast as an inside rep. can. If your TA cannot (or will not) tell you what's available, it may be time for a new TA.
  8. We have now been on the Star Pride and Star Legend (and Wind Spirit). We truly prefer having the living room area on the window/balcony side (have done both). Since wife tends to sleep in later than I do, I can pull the divider curtain and enjoy the world outside (plus day's news), while she continues to sleep. Having the seating area near the window is also pleasant when friends (old and new) drop by to visit sometimes before heading off to dinner. For some, this type of seating with a view is what the Yacht Club is all about. And I agree, but not until I have delivered wife's coffee; which usually means 30-45 minutes later. However, by that point I have usually been to the Yacht Club at least twice before she is up, for refills. This flip of the bed and seating mostly started with the river cruise lines. I suspect it will not be that popular on Windstar motor yachts, even though it also common on the Windstar sailing vessels, with more portholes and fewer large window, or french balonies. Hint for early "coffee runner" husbands: Cabins near the forward elevator and stairs (near 418, 518 or 614 area), give you an express route to the Yacht Club.
  9. We had the pleasure of sailing on Wind Spirit in Tahiti, January 2020 (just under the wire). My 3rd visit to French Polynesia, but a first for my bride (of 14 years). While this was our 4th Windstar sailing, it was our first where we actually arrived with nothing planned. We really were working toward "island bums". Huahine is one of my favorite "just get to know the locals" places anywhere. 25 years ago I stayed there for a week in a pension and loved it. We selected the most relaxed just "meet some locals" excursion available. The Safari Expedition (a Windstar excursion), which mostly visited small places (including a pearl farm and a small vanilla drying house) traveled with only 8 people per truck. I felt like it was something simple to share with my wife and she loved it. Our guide was a middle aged lifelong local, and she was 100% "local girl". We would have put up with her just driving and talking all day. This excursion may not be for folks looking to be dazzled each day, but we really enjoyed this day of feeling local.
  10. The announcement I saw, on Friday evening, says the move is scheduled for June 2022, not this summer. There are likely a score of fairly good reasons to make this move. But here, to my way of thinking, is the most encouraging aspect of this move. For Xantera to make this decision is a clear indication that Windstar is prepared to survive the challenges of the past year and keep doing what they do best. Many folks have said they were worried about Windstar continuing post-COVID, based on the expense of operating a small fleet. I have personally felt very positive about the strength of Windstar, Xantera, and the Anschutz family's interest in all their travel holdings. An operation considering a sale or consolidation with another cruise line, would not be announcing a major move 15 months in advance. I believe Windstar will continue to deliver what we expect. My only current regret is that my next Windstar sailing is likely not until January, 2022.
  11. Del Rio

    Vaccine

    Along with our county health department running three large shot clinics, a couple of our local chain pharmacies are also doing daily (by appointment) shot clinics. Got shot 1 (Maderna vaccine), two weeks ago at CVS. Only a sore arm for about a day. I did not notice any implanted probes, but I now hear the weekly CVS radio ad in my head, every night as I fall asleep.
  12. According to the latest deck plan (the one I attached yesterday) 532 seems to also be available, configured as twin beds. I suggest having your TA verify this with Windstar on Monday. Because there are so few of the new additional cabins setup that way, I would not wait too long to decide.
  13. LewiLewi, the overall deck plan for all three Star Class yachts are nearly identical. I have a copy of the latest post-stretch deck plan, which I have attached here. This is a rather public copy of the Star Class deck plan. I am surprised your TA did not have one on file to give you. It is easy to download by TAs from the Windstar trade site. Related to what you are looking for in a cabin: Most of the newly added cabins have the beds near the window or balcony. And because of the location of the bed, most of those cannot be separated into twins. 533 is one of very few, which can. 553, 628 and 629 are also designed to make into twin beds. Hope this helps! Star Class Deck Plan (2-5-21).pdf
  14. The deck plan documents have been updated many time over the past 8-10 months (a hell of a year to extend and reconfigure three yachts). The one I have attached here shows an October 2020 doc date in the lower right corner. I have not found anything more current than this. The file name here is nothing official. It is just how I have it file on my computer. Hope this helps sort our some of your questions and concerns. Star Class (all 3) Deck Plan (extended).pdf
  15. We have been on Star class ship many times over the past 5 years (both in S1or 2 and BS) We are likely to stick with the design with the bed near the bathroom. Wife is the later sleeper on cruises, but I enjoy being at the window or balcony with my coffee and "morning news". This gives her a darkened bedroom and me a "daybreak" window seat. Yes, I could just go to the Yacht Club (and often have) but like to start the day in a quieter place. I love the conversation at the Yacht Club (I often start too much of it) but waiting for my wife always seems to feel best. The bathroom is not hard to find either way.
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