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Shore Excursions-Updated on WS Website


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24 minutes ago, susiesan said:

If you can fly into a country before a cruise and go and do whatever you want, what's the point of having to stay in your cruise bubble while ashore on an excursion? You have already been ashore before the cruise sails. This policy is especially ridiculous for a one country cruise like from Papeete where the entire cruise is within French Polynesia.

 

Have you already forgotten what occurred with Diamond Princess? The reason for the excursion bubbles is to minimize the chances of you bringing COVID-19 back aboard the ship through a sloppily run excursion, thereby preventing the quarantine of an entire ship. It's only a money grab in the sense that Windstar (and virtually every other cruise line) is trying to avoid the expense and bad publicity created by an entire ship being quarantined.

 

It's unfortunate, it's inconvenient, and it's detrimental to the small excursion operators, but it's quite simple to understand.

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Anyone flying to a cruise embarkation city and staying on land before the cruise could bring covid onto the ship. The only way to prevent anyone on a cruise ship run excursion from possibly picking up covid while in port would be to have to stay on the bus the whole time. Once you leave the bus, go to a museum, restaurant, or even a rest room you could potentially pick up the rona virus and bring it back onto the ship.

It has nothing to do with how an excursion is run, sloppy or not whatever sloppy means. These bubble ship run excursions will just give the frightened people a false sense of security. 

 

What happened with the passenger on the Diamond Princess who brought the virus onboard has no bearing at all on the current conditions. He didn't bring it onboard from an excursion, he boarded the ship in Honk Kong, his home, and he was already infected, no one knew anything about it at the time.

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2 minutes ago, susiesan said:

Anyone flying to a cruise embarkation city and staying on land before the cruise could bring covid onto the ship. The only way to prevent anyone on a cruise ship run excursion from possibly picking up covid while in port would be to have to stay on the bus the whole time. Once you leave the bus, go to a museum, restaurant, or even a rest room you could potentially pick up the rona virus and bring it back onto the ship.

It has nothing to do with how an excursion is run, sloppy or not whatever sloppy means. These bubble ship run excursions will just give the frightened people a false sense of security. 

Sometimes I wonder if you are just being obstinate for the sake of being obstinate, or if you actually believe the things you say.

 

The passengers are already being required to be vaccinated. In most cases, they are also being subjected to testing 72 hours before they fly in. The vetting of shore excursions is meant to assure that the excursions do not involve undue contact with with local population (a potential point of infection), that proper sanitization procedures are conducted by the tour operator, including the enforcement of masking  (a potential point of infection), and that passengers are not permitted to wander on their own  (a potential point of infection). There is only one point to these measures, and that's to minimize the odds of a passenger infection that could spiral out of control. The cruise line cannot control every possible variable, but they can limit their exposure to risk as much as possible without shutting down completely.

 

You've already declared a number of times that you will not sail with Windstar if they so much as require that you wear a mask. Indeed, you've said you won't even FLY if the airline requires a mask, so why do you continue to haunt these boards? Find a cruise line that will let you cruise maskless and unvaccinated, and which will not limit shore excursions, if such a cruise line even exists anymore.

 

This is not a personal attack, but your attitude just confounds me.

 

 

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I have no cruises planned until August 2022, a Baltic with NCL. If masks, bubble excursions, and all the other restrictions become permanent then I won't be cruising ever again. I will stick to land trips only, have a 16 day safari in Namibia coming up in June and am planning a road trip in Colorado for September.  I never said I wouldn't fly with a mask, I said I wouldn't cruise with a mask. BTW, I am fully vaccinated, which is why I am resuming my normal life as much as I can. As much as I enjoy cruising with Windstar, I am not that desperate to cruise with restrictions, I'll wait until Windstar is back to normal. And if they never are, then I am done with cruising for vacation travel. I've taken over 50 so I think I've had a good run.

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Posted (edited)

The good news is the last sentence in susisan’s last post.

It seems that, with one exception, people on CC understand the value of the cautionary measures that Windstar is taking. Not what we might want but necessary. She said

 

No cruises for me on any line until these bubble excursion requirements are gone”

Edited by Barrycat
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For the passengers it is one cruise. For the crew it is cruise after cruise after cruise. The ships need to protect their operations and mitigate the chances of infections coming in and causing breakthrough infections in their staff. The chances for infection on any one cruise may feel small but for a season of cruises the risk increases. I am sure the cruise line has run scenarios and determined what is the best way to proceed for everyone's safety.

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22 hours ago, Petoonya said:

@Barrycat

The tour operator and another in BB said that WS has them on hold. WS says it's too early to line things up. Interesting.

I see no reason to expect that WS would rush through a service to vet various providers for services that would be in direct competition with their own [overpriced] excursions.

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18 minutes ago, milepig said:

I see no reason to expect that WS would rush through a service to vet various providers for services that would be in direct competition with their own [overpriced] excursions.

My thinking is that they may need to add excursion capacity, now that passengers are locked into Windstar excursions. On the other hand, Windstar is a smaller ship, so the contractors may already have excess capacity, and even if they don't, it would likely be more cost effective for them to expand than to add a completely new operator.

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I never book cruise excursions, so this is a difficult one for me, but I understand it.  I did book a cruise for late September and am hoping this requirement may be relaxed.  If not, I am so happy to be traveling again, I'll just make the best of it.

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8 hours ago, 6rugrats said:

I never book cruise excursions, so this is a difficult one for me, but I understand it.  I did book a cruise for late September and am hoping this requirement may be relaxed.  If not, I am so happy to be traveling again, I'll just make the best of it.

I don’t understand it. Everyone on board, pax and crew, will be vaccinated. What’s the issue?

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, milepig said:

I don’t understand it. Everyone on board, pax and crew, will be vaccinated. What’s the issue?

Well, two things:
 

1) Vaccines, while quite effective, are not 100%, and a single case of Covid on board would be a public relations nightmare.
 

2) The citizens of the countries we are interacting with may not be vaccinated and there's a risk of transmission to THEM, even if we're all vaccinated. They don't want a cruise ship to be blamed for bringing Covid to a port.

 

The odds of something going sour are quite small, but the risk to the industry, in both financial and PR terms, are quite high if something DOES go wrong. Nobody wants to be a Diamond Princess-sized scapegoat.

Edited by Zukini
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4 hours ago, Zukini said:

Well, two things:
 

1) Vaccines, while quite effective, are not 100%, and a single case of Covid on board would be a public relations nightmare.
 

2) The citizens of the countries we are interacting with may not be vaccinated and there's a risk of transmission to THEM, even if we're all vaccinated. They don't want a cruise ship to be blamed for bringing Covid to a port.

 

The odds of something going sour are quite small, but the risk to the industry, in both financial and PR terms, are quite high if something DOES go wrong. Nobody wants to be a Diamond Princess-sized scapegoat.

OK. So, is there some magical anti-Covid pixie dust that that they’ll spray on the busses?  And what happens at a stop, every single WS tour I’ve been on has involved many stops where you get off the bus and mingle with other tourists and locals touring attractions, going to museum gift shops, etc. will we be prisoners on the buses for hours, or will armored vehicles be in front of and behind the buses to clear the area to ensure that we don’t mingle with the locals! Sounds like a lovely time!    

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@milepigI was envisioning the "bubble" we'd be in as more the staff monitoring our masking and social distancing, disinfecting seats & handrails in buses etc. Not keeping us prisoners in buses at all. I figure we'll be able to "mingle" but the same way we would mingle at a grocery store today- carefully and with lots of gentle reminders from staff. All efforts to mitigate the risk to locals and ourselves.

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Maybe milepig should just stay home for awhile. I have more confidence in Windstar’s ability to, along with the other cruise lines with the same requirements, make the excursion experience worthwhile, not ideal but worthwhile. We have been on very few Windstar cruises when constant complainers among other passengers were a bit of a bummer. Those that want will accept only the Windstar experience of pre COVID should just make other plans for awhile until that time returns, whenever that may be.

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, milepig said:

OK. So, is there some magical anti-Covid pixie dust that that they’ll spray on the busses?  And what happens at a stop, every single WS tour I’ve been on has involved many stops where you get off the bus and mingle with other tourists and locals touring attractions, going to museum gift shops, etc. will we be prisoners on the buses for hours, or will armored vehicles be in front of and behind the buses to clear the area to ensure that we don’t mingle with the locals! Sounds like a lovely time!    

You asked what I thought was an honest question. It turns out that you were just being facetious. I'll keep your snarky attitude in mind and refrain from responding to any further posts from you.

 

No, no anti-Covid pixie dust. Just assurances that vetted tour operators are following masking and sanitation protocols (and, who knows, perhaps have been vaccinated as well), and that interactions with locals are conducted safely, if at all. That's the point of the "bubble". While I've certainly taken tours where the busses were accompanied by armored vehicles, I doubt you're talking about caravans from Alexandria to Giza.

 

Ridiculous posts like your response don't even deserve a reasonable answer. If you're so upset about restrictions, you really should wait until more normalcy returns before booking your next cruise. This isn't just Windstar. Most, if not all, cruise lines will undoubtedly institute similar protocols.

Edited by Zukini
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I do not want to be misunderstood.  To be clear I am not pushing people to be vaccinated, and I am absolutely not discouraging people from getting vaccinated. I believe MOST people should get the vaccine. I know plenty of people in both camps and it is their choice.

 

I am bit confused that some people want everyone to vaccinated, but want to get off an go out on their own in port in places that will NOT be vaccinated.  Most of the world is much further behind that the USA in covid vaccinations.  It seems odd to want both things.  If you want ultimate safety - the "bubble" has worked.   If Windstar is going for uber safety, the bubble works.  I do agree with Milepig, the bubble gets pin holes at a minimum everytime you leave the ship even on their tours.

 

Regarding vaccine proof, I have reached out to Windstar and I have asked them how they will fully verify that passengers are vaccinated.  I have not had a response (almost 2 weeks). The CDC vaccine record is NOT proof.  It is downloadable from many government websites.  The CDC vaccine record is not signed (like a traditional vaccine passport would be).  The CDC vaccine record has no legal standing as proof.  If you care that all passengers are vaccinated, I encourage all of you to contact Windstar and make sure they will VERIFY and not just look at a piece of paper that can be printed at home. Some of the major cruise line have said they will only check it at the port, and only require the CDC "vaccine record" with absolutely NO time to verify it.  It you care about that, that would be useless.

 

On top of that - Multiple states have, and more states are planning on (US only) preventing vaccine passports from being used in their state.  Florida is the state that will have the most impact (not for Windstar, until they move their HQ there), but for the major cruise lines a major impact.   On top of that White house said there will NOT be a Federal vaccine passport which makes it complicated.    

 

Hope you all are well.

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On the subject of Vaccine " passport", I do believe IATA is coming out with an IOS APP in the middle of April , from what I have   read and believe me I am reading,  I am so excited to travel again, the airlines will require this type of APP  . I am also reading from  European newspapers, online, and magazines  etc, that the EU and countries within will have requirements to enter one must be vaccinated, and Canada as well. I also have read extensively that the EU this summer will open their countries to EU only. which makes me concerned for WS this fall in the Med. ( second time trying to get to Malta ) I think that American businesses will be in the driver's seat in the US concerning proof of vaccine.  It is a tragedy that this proof of vaccine has become a political statement in the US  when here in the US we have become pretty good at distributing the vaccine certainly better than the EU and Canada. Proof of vaccine is an excellent policy, it will save lives, open businesses again and keeps people safer. I hope WS continues to keep this policy. All a cruise line needs is one case upon reopening, big risk.  I am of the opinion that it is safer to hire your own  guide,  be in a car of 4-5 people with windows open than go in a bus with many. I do  not want to travel with other people on tours. I do want to walk around in the air to discover, I will wear a mask. My wish, everyone would realize how important taking this vaccine is, we would all want proof of being vaccinated and people would want to take responsibility of staying safe themselves so that others could be safe as well. I also wish we could all get back to cruising safely sooner than later. Happy Sailing

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@StrenzI agree with most of what you say.   You have mentioned IATA Vaccine passport in the past.  For now the IATA limiting it only to airline and gov't (and immigration officials).  If you have a link contrary to that, I would love for you to share it. If the IATA opens it up - it could be a solution depending on how that data is verified and whether all the states will cooperate. Also I find it curious that no US airlines have participated in the IATA Vaccine passport trial.

 

In NY we have the Excelsior passport.  That my pique your interest. 

 

I share your concern about the Med cruises.  I think it is unlikely they will happen or may happen only in one country like Italy and only be open to Italian residents.  I was  on the Turkey to Greece Windstar Cruise right after the "coupe attempt" in Turkey. I am not afraid up much, and I still went.  It ended up being an Athens to Athens cruise, but the cruise was filled at the last minute by mostly Greek nationals, which was OK by me, I received lots of insider tips.  Windstar usually does the right thing.  I have faith they will get it right pretty quickly if not initially.  

 

Windows unrolled, and fresh moving open air, especially humid air when it is sunny is VERY unfriendly environment for the virus to replicate. An air conditioned bus does sound like a petri dish. Also speaking of what the corona virus does not like there is a study out of Glasgow, that found, the Rhinovirus apparently prevents covid from replicating.  If you know vaccine history - Smallpox vaccine came from the fact that people who had cowpox were immune to smallpox.  This also might be very promising in keeping people safe. That is one to keep an eye on.

 

This whole pandemic situation will change things.  I think what will end up happening is still being unwound.  There are lots of moving parts.

 

I am not for or against vaccine passports. It does not change what I will do (or have already done). I am against a policy that is easily manipulated or faked without real verification simply as a PR move.  If WS wants to make a rule for safety, ok.  Truly verify it. Enforce it. Do not make it so easily to fake. The CDC vaccine record card is basically the honor system. 

 

All the best and happy sailing.

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@msears101,  Thank you for your lovely response. Thanks for the science. 

my only comment is it seems to me, with no scientific backing at all,  it seems like hot weather suppresses a virus  ie. the flu in the summer and Florida where, not that the numbers were great, but better than the cold NE. Here on Cape Cod where safety appeared paramount universally but we had tough numbers. Gratefully,  tough beginning roll out, but our vaccination rate is the best in MA. I am not afraid but with my traveling so precious to me there are things I want to see and do that a mandate of only a WS excursion will not meet my interests especially in the Med.  I adore food markets, and to wander, I love old churches because usually I know what art is in them, I can see myself getting aggravated passing one by and knowing what is within. I go to museums to find a painting to fall in love with and then linger, I love talking to people even if I can not speak the language ( luckily I am almost trilingual in speaking ) I love the little things about traveling. I love being on the sea therefore WS. I guess it will be a wait and see for me. 

It is frustrating. Plan one 9/29 Rome/Malta, not sure it will go or go without the excursion mandate, plan two we will go to Quebec ( province ), a place we adore, plan 3 I know we will not go.... all three ???? Bah Humbug. 

My hope that I think will work but fingers crossed is Christmas 12/18 with my sisters and our spouses, of whom we have not seem in 2 years. Caribbean do not care about the excursions as long as there us a way to get to the beach. I have suggested to them to have a shuttle to a beach for each stop. A bit of money in their pocket. Yes, Happy Sailing in the future to us all, my wish us people would behave, follow the science and get vaccinated so we can all start living our dreams. Best to you. Susanne 

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1 hour ago, Strenz said:

@msears101,  Thank you for your lovely response. Thanks for the science. 

my only comment is it seems to me, with no scientific backing at all,  it seems like hot weather suppresses a virus  ie. the flu in the summer and Florida where, not that the numbers were great, but better than the cold NE.

The hot weather argument doesn't look like it may be valid. This WaPo article says that transmission dynamics are chiefly affected by human behavior, demographics and lately by variants. Interesting info.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/03/17/warmer-weather-covid-pandemic/

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I'm thinking that hot weather helps mainly because people stay outside more then.  So a cruise in the Caribbean might be a little safer than a northern Transatlantic route, but not much because of the MDR, shows, shops, etc.

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2 hours ago, Petoonya said:

The hot weather argument doesn't look like it may be valid. This WaPo article says that transmission dynamics are chiefly affected by human behavior, demographics and lately by variants. Interesting info.

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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2 hours ago, msears101 said:

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.

You've got me wondering now. But I also wonder how COVID then was so devastating in warm breezy climates like Tahiti and Samoa. I also found this study that supports no weather effect on rate of transmission funded by Bill and Melinda Gates with numerous citations. I'm not scientific enough to read the study- only the conclusion again that weather doesn't affect rate of transmission.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720358010

But you say tomato, I say to-mah-to. 😁

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