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"Vetted" shore excursions


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It's probably been answered somewhere in the last several days but can't find it. Here's the statement from WS:

"All shore excursions will be vetted by our expert team to ensure best practices in health and safety protocols are followed".

Could that possibly mean independent operator shorex, or are they speaking only of their own?

 

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Whomever they decide to hire for the ships excursions that we would have to take to go ashore will be “vetted” to meet their requirements. Most operators are in essence “independent” but in this case hired by the cruise line. 

Edited by minidonuts85
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3 hours ago, Petoonya said:

It's probably been answered somewhere in the last several days but can't find it. Here's the statement from WS:

"All shore excursions will be vetted by our expert team to ensure best practices in health and safety protocols are followed".

Could that possibly mean independent operator shorex, or are they speaking only of their own?

 

The full statement on the Windstar "Health and Safety" page goes on to say:

 

"For the near term as required by the Cruise Lines International Association, guests will need to book a Windstar shore excursion to go ashore."
 

The operator I was corresponding with is trying to get "vetted", but is also afraid that even if they do, Windstar will take a big cut and/or add a substantial surcharge in order to allow them to be booked through the ship.

 

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Here's the full text of the statement. It's on Windstar's Health & Safety page.

All shore excursions will be vetted by our expert team to ensure best practices in health and safety protocols are followed. Shore excursions will operate at a reduced capacity and masks will be worn when according to local regulations and when unable to social distance. For the near term as required by the Cruise Lines International Association, guests will need to book a Windstar shore excursion to go ashore. Changes in shore excursions offered may occur due to evolving regulations and conditions in a destination. Tenders, motor coaches and smaller boats will operate at 50 percent capacity and be cleaned between each use. Staggered departures in port will aid in social distancing.

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Windstar states in its passenger contract the shore excursions are “not Windstar services”. This means that excursions are provided by local contractors and not by Windstar cruises. This is reinforced by the fact that any liability claims are with the provider and not with Windstar itself. This means that all excursions are “vetted” which gives me little comfort that in enforcing the “vetted excursions only” policy we will all of a sudden be offered bargains similar to when we were able to book on our own.

One obvious and I think typical  example. On St Maartin Windstar offers a 3 1/2 hour sail on an America’s Cup boat for $169. That same company offers the same sail on the same boat for $90 BUT... if you are arriving on a Windstar ship, the America’s Cup boat operator will not let you book directly, I tried. How you get around letting them know you are a Windstar passenger is a subject for another post. My guess is that Windstar isn’t even paying the operator the brochure $90 fare, but even if they are, a $79 markup on a $90 charge is substantial.

Yes Windstar may find it necessary to expand their approved excursion offerings by contracting with new local tour operators but I would assume that the price that a tour was offered prior to Windstar’s “vetting” would be substantially increased to include a hefty Windstar profit.  
Obviously  Windstar must make a profit to survive and I think that the new approved excursion only policy will be a profit generator for the company. Hopefully the result of the policy will be something that doesn’t discourage us fro going on excursions or worse, going on a cruise.

 

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2 hours ago, Zukini said:

The operator I was corresponding with is trying to get "vetted", but is also afraid that even if they do, Windstar will take a big cut and/or add a substantial surcharge in order to allow them to be booked through the ship.

 

 

 

Zukini,

Betting the vendor you refer to is H2O Bora Bora as we talked about doing that along with you for last years cruise. I'm so glad to hear that they are the ones trying to be vetted. They had a child less than 6 months ago. Can just see that WS will need to take a chunk of their profits, but then again their prices were so reasonable for BB, than I'm happy to pay more for them. There would be terrible competition to book them.

We all have small favorite vendors we've used before wherever in the world, and hard to think of them hurting or in a bind negotiating with the cruise lines.

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I realize how crucial it is for WS to maintain protocol and applaud them for instituting it, but the shorex outlook looks dim.

 

Despite it all would love to get on a damn WS ship.

 

 

 

 

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I would hope that Windstar would realize they have to increase their overall capacity of available excursions "seats" in each port if all passengers now have to book through the ship. They would have a lot of disappointed passengers if some are shut out of shore excursions because of limited capacity and they didn't book early. Thus, they need to find more excursion suppliers. The cards are not all in their hands, so to speak. Each port has a limited amount of excursion "seats", and Windstar or any other cruise line is going to have to find a way to make them available to their passengers at a fair price to everybody. I think there is hope for the smaller providers to be vetted. The question is then how to identify them in the offerings and get them booked first! Just my hopeful thoughts.

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WS needs to have the policy " no vaccine " no go because then people would be safe to choose a WS excursion, their own excursion or wander about on their own. It is far more dangers to have a group of people "tested" this virus spreads so quickly,  and go off on a closed bus than two people hiring their own guide and go off in a car where windows can be open etc. I am sure these guides will have had the shots especially if they are from organizations such as " Tours by Locals". If you are hiring a guide/driver ask that question shot or not.  As for Europe I am sure they want to get their tourism safe and off and running and I think the shots are the way. Europe and Canada have a lot stricter standards than the US does. I am impatient get the vaccine and let's go. Happy Sailing.

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My guess is that in order to get the ports open again, the cruise lines are offering these sponsored excursions. If this is what it takes to actually get them cruising again, I’m all for it. I’ve never taken a Windstar shore excursion, but would jump at the chance right now. 
 

That’s a good point about increasing the number of excursions and operators. Certainly all of the other cruise lines are doing the same thing, so hopefully many of the independents will at least get a renewal of some of their income.

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FYI this am, cruise lines mandating vaccines: Saga, Royal Carib, Crystal, American Hornblower, American Steam Boat Company, Norwegian, Regent,2 Carnival and Holland America are thinking about it, 2 other I think American River Cruises whose names I forgot. I hope soon WS will add its name to the list. Happy Sailing

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Some very good news.

Just got emails from 2 small tour providers in Bora Bora saying that they are being vetted by WS. They are hoping that commission will not be taken from their current pricing. Both are very reasonable and I'd pay whatever extra WS would add on to their pricing if that's the way it works out. Hopefully the same is happening in Europe. Exciting possibilities.

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I have enjoyed many WS excursions. They do great excursions.  I also like to do my own thing.  As I get older and a bit slower, I hesitate to do group tours.  In many ports, I hire a private guide for just the 2 of us or 4 if traveling with friends.  That way we can decide where to go, how much time to spend at a place, and have full attention of a guide.  It costs more than WS group tours. However, WS private cars are extremely expensive.  If WS insists that we must book their tours, our WS cruising could be done. I would miss them. We are not booking any future cruises using cash until ships sail again. We are still in the fcc booking and rebooking loop on other cruise lines.  It’s starting to get frustrating with some lines.  After the pandemic,  probably will sail on lines that treated potential guests well.  Hope that WS sails safely soon. Miss it.

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Asked the tour providers I'm enchanted with in Bora Bora how they got on WS list to be vetted. They said all they did is call WS and ask to be vetted. WS is supposed to get back this week. If you have a tour provider that you've used before or are eager to use wherever in the world, ask them to call WS for the same.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I wrote to a few tour operators that I like in Bora Bora and Moorea and encouraged them to contact WS to be vetted. Here is a reply I received from Mermaid Private Boat Tours in Moorea:

 

"I have reached out to Windstar and they have let me know that they indeed changed their policy because they want their cruise ship passengers to stay in a ‘Windstar bubble’ . Right now I’m waiting on their response to see what it takes to be accepted as one of their partners. 
Fingers crossed that I will get their reply soon and we will still be able to take you out! I will keep you posted once I know more."
 
Understandable that WS wants to keep passengers in a "bubble", but sure hope that they allow the small tour operators to float along.
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  • 1 month later...

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