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Windstar Will Require Vaccine


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I just got this from my TA and note that final payment is now due 60 days prior to your sailing date.  Good news indeed.

 

March 30, 2021

 

Dear Travel Advisor partner,


We hope you are as excited as we are to send your clients off to sail again after a year plus without cruising while hunkering down at home waiting for the pandemic to let up. During this pause in operations, we’ve been busy researching and collaborating with experts for guidance on creating a safer environment on board, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cruise Lines International Association and through our partnership with the Senior Medical Director at the UC Health Infection Control and Prevention Department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

 

With the knowledge and science available to us today, until further notice we have made the decision to require a current COVID-19 vaccine for all guests sailing aboard Windstar’s yachts . As you can imagine, we came to this decision after much thought and expert consultation, as well as after surveying our own guests. The vast majority of our guests are in favor of requiring a vaccine to cruise. In looking at the science behind the virus and how it spreads, we see consistent recommendations for mask wearing, social distancing, testing, enhanced cleaning, safer HVAC systems, and now that they are available, vaccinations. We are not alone in our thinking. We’ve seen many countries, other cruise lines and airlines require vaccines. A vaccine is the ultimate (though still not perfect) layer of safety for all of us. Combined with our Beyond Ordinary Care protocols, we believe requiring vaccinations of guests and crew is the right thing to do to create a healthier and safer environment on board. This Windstar standard is subject to change as CDC guidelines change. Windstar will periodically review this and all other COVID-19 policies for updates as the pandemic evolves.

 

At the cruise terminal prior to embarkation, guests will be required to provide proof of a completed vaccine course (one or two shots depending on the brand) finished at least 14 days prior to their embarkation date. For example, if they are boarding on July 17, then they should have their second shot (or first if it’s the Johnson & Johnson single shot) by July 3 at the latest. Our first sailing date is June 19th, nearly three months away. Recent news reports about increased vaccine availability in the United States and abroad give us confidence that guests who wish to sail with us will have time to be vaccinated before travel. To provide you with more confidence, we have moved the final payment date from 120 days to 60 days prior to cruise departure.

 

Additionally, proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before embarkation will be required and Windstar will test guests again at the pier prior to boarding. There also may be country and airline specific requirements for testing prior to travel. Guests should monitor these requirements as well so they may make appropriate arrangements for this pre-travel / pre-arrival testing.

 

Much thought and planning went into this decision. We realize not everyone can or will receive the vaccine for differing reasons. If this is the case for your clients, please know that we sympathize with their feelings of disappointment, perhaps tinged with frustration. We are sorry and will miss seeing your clients on board while the pandemic continues.

 

If your clients are unable to meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, we will gladly provide them a refund for cancellations that occur greater than 60 days prior to sailing, and a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) will be issued for cancellations occurring within 60 days before sailing. They may contact Windstar guest services to request a refund. Windstar will process the refund to the original form(s) of payment at 100% of the amount paid to Windstar Cruises. Please note Windstar does not reimburse third party (non-Windstar) travel expenses or fees.

 

In preparation to return to sailing, we continue to review and update our health and safety practices including enhanced sanitation protocols, health screenings, pre-embarkation testing for guests and crew, additional medical staff on board, flexible indoor and outdoor dining, and crew training. Our Beyond Ordinary Care program is a multi-layered strategy with key hospital-grade elements: HEPA filters and UV-C germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect circulated air, plus electrostatic sprayers to sanitize all surfaces throughout our yachts. Learn more about these measures here.


We are excited to get back on the water and deliver that extraordinary experience you expect from us. Our first sailing dates are as follows:

  • June 19, 2021: Star Breeze in the Caribbean and Wind Star in Mediterranean
  • July 15, 2021: Wind Spirit in Tahiti
  • August 8, 2021: Wind Surf in the Mediterranean
  • September 4, 2021: Star Legend in the Northern Europe
  • November 3, 2021: Star Pride in the Caribbean

Please be advised that we anticipate longer hold times due to high call volumes. We appreciate your patience.


It’s important to encourage your clients to check back for updates to policies and procedures before they travel to embark on their Windstar cruise. Pay special attention to these items:

  • COVID-19 vaccine requirements
  • Testing policies including a timeline to present a negative COVID-19 test and type of tests accepted
  • Mask wearing rules
  • Shore excursion policies

The health and well-being of our guests, crew, land-based employees and people in the communities we visit is always a top priority. We have taken extraordinary measures in an effort to safely operate our yachts for our guests and crewmembers and will continue to do so once we resume operations.

 

Our mission has always been to create exceptional private yacht-style cruises so that our guests may experience and gain a personal understanding of the world. We appreciate your patience as we navigate these new measures so that we can get back to what we do best – cruising and exploring.

 

We wish you and your family good health. We look forward to welcoming your clients on their Windstar cruise for a 180 degrees from ordinary experience. 

 

Very truly yours,

Christopher Prelog

Christopher Prelog

President

WINDSTAR CRUISES

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We are booked for 3 thrips and have our Vaccine and for us we applaud this decision.   We were considering canceling these trips and will now proceed with keeping the bookings and wait and see if they actually sail.  I don’t yet find much information about the Medical Safety side of Windstars rollout but probably just overlooking it.  

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Yes, the vaccine is no problem, but the covid test within 72 hrs. will be a little more difficult. Not impossible, but tricky.  We like to fly in early to recover from jet-lag and check out the port city for a few days prior to embarcation. So we'd need to get the test in a foreign city. Perhaps the hotel concierge could assist. 😊

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I'm thinking I'm going to have the same problem. I'm fully vaccinated...so no problem there. I'm on the 7/17 sailing of the Star Breeze and flying into St. Martin 3 days early. So, I have to be tested before I fly in, then will have to find a place where I can get a rapid PCR test in St. Martin so the results will be back before sailing. Then get tested again at the port. And then......has Windstar announced how they are handling testing onboard for those of us that are flying home the day of disembarkation? So looks like 4 tests in about 10 days!😂

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The website states that there will be optional PCR tests available for purchase for those guests who would like the convenience of being tested before flying home.

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3 minutes ago, clubrudee said:

So looks like 4 tests in about 10 days!😂

That's exactly our situation for French Polynesia. We'll need rapid PCR testing in Papeete or Moorea before boarding the ship. I wonder how they'll handle that. Keeping with a positive frame of mind, perhaps after summer the infection numbers will be so low among vaccinated people that some of the testing requirements will be suspended. One can only hope!

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Ditto. We are flying into St. Maarten one day early for the 7/17 Star Breeze cruise.  Vaccine no problem. PCR would have to be done on Wednesday. Walgreens results are 24 to 72 hours to get results.That’s cutting it close.  Celebrity extended the PCR test to 120 hours (5 days) before for their St Maarten cruises which give you some wiggle room. So, PCR 72 hours before embarkation, and a rapid antigen test 48 hours before arriving in St Maarten(St Maarten requirement). In Fort Lauderdale we can get a PCR back in 12 to 24 hours at the lab dr., but its $179 per person. Missing the old way of cruising. 

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Thanks for the info on the onboard testing!! For anyone that might need testing in St. Martin. ....I'm staying at the Sonesta Ocean Point in Maho Bay, their website refered me to the Mullet Bay Clinic in Maho Village and they offer PCR testing with a 24 hour turn around time. Hopefully I won't need them for my January sailng on Wind Surf!

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Any one flying into St Maarten will also have to have an antigen test 48 hours prior to arrival.

Sight is  www.stmaartenehas.com.  

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We have another problem. We are flying to Lisbon for our transatlantic across to Miami and Caribbean Islands. If we have our PCR test done before flying to Lisbon, how long will it take to be processed at the Lisbon airport prior to boarding the ship? We have a flight coming into Lisbon the day of the cruise; we really don’t want to deal with hotel overnights and additional requirements. This is becoming more and more of a problem.

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3 hours ago, SailingSteve77 said:

I just got this from my TA and note that final payment is now due 60 days prior to your sailing date.  Good news indeed.

 

March 30, 2021

 

Dear Travel Advisor partner,


We hope you are as excited as we are to send your clients off to sail again after a year plus without cruising while hunkering down at home waiting for the pandemic to let up. During this pause in operations, we’ve been busy researching and collaborating with experts for guidance on creating a safer environment on board, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cruise Lines International Association and through our partnership with the Senior Medical Director at the UC Health Infection Control and Prevention Department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

 

With the knowledge and science available to us today, until further notice we have made the decision to require a current COVID-19 vaccine for all guests sailing aboard Windstar’s yachts . As you can imagine, we came to this decision after much thought and expert consultation, as well as after surveying our own guests. The vast majority of our guests are in favor of requiring a vaccine to cruise. In looking at the science behind the virus and how it spreads, we see consistent recommendations for mask wearing, social distancing, testing, enhanced cleaning, safer HVAC systems, and now that they are available, vaccinations. We are not alone in our thinking. We’ve seen many countries, other cruise lines and airlines require vaccines. A vaccine is the ultimate (though still not perfect) layer of safety for all of us. Combined with our Beyond Ordinary Care protocols, we believe requiring vaccinations of guests and crew is the right thing to do to create a healthier and safer environment on board. This Windstar standard is subject to change as CDC guidelines change. Windstar will periodically review this and all other COVID-19 policies for updates as the pandemic evolves.

 

At the cruise terminal prior to embarkation, guests will be required to provide proof of a completed vaccine course (one or two shots depending on the brand) finished at least 14 days prior to their embarkation date. For example, if they are boarding on July 17, then they should have their second shot (or first if it’s the Johnson & Johnson single shot) by July 3 at the latest. Our first sailing date is June 19th, nearly three months away. Recent news reports about increased vaccine availability in the United States and abroad give us confidence that guests who wish to sail with us will have time to be vaccinated before travel. To provide you with more confidence, we have moved the final payment date from 120 days to 60 days prior to cruise departure.

 

Additionally, proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before embarkation will be required and Windstar will test guests again at the pier prior to boarding. There also may be country and airline specific requirements for testing prior to travel. Guests should monitor these requirements as well so they may make appropriate arrangements for this pre-travel / pre-arrival testing.

 

Much thought and planning went into this decision. We realize not everyone can or will receive the vaccine for differing reasons. If this is the case for your clients, please know that we sympathize with their feelings of disappointment, perhaps tinged with frustration. We are sorry and will miss seeing your clients on board while the pandemic continues.

 

If your clients are unable to meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, we will gladly provide them a refund for cancellations that occur greater than 60 days prior to sailing, and a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) will be issued for cancellations occurring within 60 days before sailing. They may contact Windstar guest services to request a refund. Windstar will process the refund to the original form(s) of payment at 100% of the amount paid to Windstar Cruises. Please note Windstar does not reimburse third party (non-Windstar) travel expenses or fees.

 

In preparation to return to sailing, we continue to review and update our health and safety practices including enhanced sanitation protocols, health screenings, pre-embarkation testing for guests and crew, additional medical staff on board, flexible indoor and outdoor dining, and crew training. Our Beyond Ordinary Care program is a multi-layered strategy with key hospital-grade elements: HEPA filters and UV-C germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect circulated air, plus electrostatic sprayers to sanitize all surfaces throughout our yachts. Learn more about these measures here.


We are excited to get back on the water and deliver that extraordinary experience you expect from us. Our first sailing dates are as follows:

  • June 19, 2021: Star Breeze in the Caribbean and Wind Star in Mediterranean
  • July 15, 2021: Wind Spirit in Tahiti
  • August 8, 2021: Wind Surf in the Mediterranean
  • September 4, 2021: Star Legend in the Northern Europe
  • November 3, 2021: Star Pride in the Caribbean

Please be advised that we anticipate longer hold times due to high call volumes. We appreciate your patience.


It’s important to encourage your clients to check back for updates to policies and procedures before they travel to embark on their Windstar cruise. Pay special attention to these items:

  • COVID-19 vaccine requirements
  • Testing policies including a timeline to present a negative COVID-19 test and type of tests accepted
  • Mask wearing rules
  • Shore excursion policies

The health and well-being of our guests, crew, land-based employees and people in the communities we visit is always a top priority. We have taken extraordinary measures in an effort to safely operate our yachts for our guests and crewmembers and will continue to do so once we resume operations.

 

Our mission has always been to create exceptional private yacht-style cruises so that our guests may experience and gain a personal understanding of the world. We appreciate your patience as we navigate these new measures so that we can get back to what we do best – cruising and exploring.

 

We wish you and your family good health. We look forward to welcoming your clients on their Windstar cruise for a 180 degrees from ordinary experience. 

 

Very truly yours,

Christopher Prelog

Christopher Prelog

President

WINDSTAR CRUISES

What about the crew? Will vaccinations and testing be required of them as well?

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, LewiLewi said:

What about the crew? Will vaccinations and testing be required of them as well?

No idea LewiLewi, but I'm guessing that Windstar Cruises will be taking care of their staff.  Just like most other cruise lines.

Edited by SailingSteve77
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2 hours ago, TakingFlight said:

That's exactly our situation for French Polynesia. We'll need rapid PCR testing in Papeete or Moorea before boarding the ship. I wonder how they'll handle that. Keeping with a positive frame of mind, perhaps after summer the infection numbers will be so low among vaccinated people that some of the testing requirements will be suspended. One can only hope!

We are also going to Tahiti. The hotel Windstar uses, Tahiti Pearl, says it will arrange for onsite testing and the Tahiti airport arranges for testing as well. As we get closer to sailing, and hopefully numbers go down with fewer people needing testing, I think testing will become easier and faster to get. But as you said, by then we may not need it. I'll hope with you!

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Posted (edited)

The rapid PCR test will be the most difficult.  The logistics of whether to get it right before the flight and get the results when you land?  Or perhaps get one in Papete.  We have a day or two before the cruise in Papete.  We may have to get multiple tests.

 

However this is all good news.  It sounds like cruises will start up.

Edited by NMTraveller
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I will not get on a cruise ship until the testing requirements go away. There are too many places for screw ups to happen. What if you don't get your results back in time and it is too late to cancel? What if you get a false positive and have to find other places to get tested until you get a negative result?

 

I don't mind the vaccine requirement, have had it, but all this testing is too much and is adding considerable expense to what is already a pricy vacation.

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Well, I just requested my money back, cancelling my Vouchers.  Did you all read their website for COVID updates ?  Not only Vaccine & COVID test... but also Mask wearing inside and outdoors on the ship, AND you will not leave the ship while in port UNLESS you book a WindStar excursion.  You will be a prisoner behind that mask.

For me - a huge No thank you.   

Milepig posted earlier - Belt and suspenders.   I think Windstar actually goes way beyond that.

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Received an email from Windstar just now in regards to my concern about the 72 hour window for a negative pcr. Email stated the 72 hours is being heavily discussed by Windstar management. Must still be in flux. 

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I have spoken and written to WS. They are in flux as is the world. We are in a " who knows". I am  vaccinated, I will be tested but masks inside and out when the entire ship has been vaccinated and tested a bit over the top. 

Given my eye issues masks are miserable but gave worn  them neurotically and faithfully but on a small ship with tests and vaccines I would have to ponder this. I should not worry but so very anxious to start sailing and traveling again. I hope it all changes. I do think we need to let WS know how we feel. Sadly excursions are a deal breaker for me. Happy Sailing. 

 

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Thank you Windstar for making the decision to require vaccinations to travel on their ships. Knowing that the crew and all passengers will be protected form Covid will go a long way to making passengers more comfortable. The logistics in testing prior to boarding are difficult at best, and I am hopeful that as time goes on, it will be clearer to all. We are boarding the Pride on December 28, and decided to fly to San Juan the same day, because of multiple testing....if we arrived a few days ahead. However, getting tested the day after Christmas has me concerned. Oh well....hopefully as time passes, we will be enjoying the best sailaways again....and again....and again! 

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I applaud this decision from Windstar. However, it is amazing how many hateful comments there are on Facebook about the decision. With both of us being vaccinated, I feel comfortable taking our cruise in July on the Star Breeze. 

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Westport, I am not on FB but that is so sad that WS is receiving hateful messages for doing the right thing, for caring about the passengers  and crew's welfare. Well, I hope they never come on one of the beautiful ships, they do not deserve it. Not bragging, just a fact, 212 days, 26 cruises since 1999, we have found 99.9% of the fellow passengers and 100% of the crew to be civil, kind, friendly, caring, interesting, quiet, polite,  simply put nice.  For that reason and because we adore the ships we simply can not jump to another  company. Let's hope we can leave this pandemic behind in the very near future and start sailing again. Boy, do we miss it. Happy Sailing

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28 minutes ago, Strenz said:

Westport, I am not on FB but that is so sad that WS is receiving hateful messages for doing the right thing, for caring about the passengers  and crew's welfare. Well, I hope they never come on one of the beautiful ships, they do not deserve it. Not bragging, just a fact, 212 days, 26 cruises since 1999, we have found 99.9% of the fellow passengers and 100% of the crew to be civil, kind, friendly, caring, interesting, quiet, polite,  simply put nice.  For that reason and because we adore the ships we simply can not jump to another  company. Let's hope we can leave this pandemic behind in the very near future and start sailing again. Boy, do we miss it. Happy Sailing

We are sailing out of St Maarten in July and will jump through hoops to be on a ship. My guess is that the negative comments are not from Windstar cruisers as companies have global accounts where anyone can comment. It just took me by surprise, as Windstar and other lines are doing everything in their power to restart and keep us safe. 

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Westport, Wish you a great sail with WS, safe and fun. We are scheduled 9/29 Rome/Malta given the state of my beloved Europe ( used to live there and my passion for Italy) I do not think it will happen, but fingers crossed, and 12/18 Caribbean on the Surf which I think has a good chance of. happening reunion with sisters. Anxious to travel again, vaccinated and ready to go. Happy Sailing to us all. 

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