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 I am booked on the Star Breeze on 6/26. As I went in today to book excursion I noticed that the ones I wanted had all had their prices raised. 
 
Here's some examples:
 
1. Virgin Gorda: Highlights & Bath Tour (Moderate)
4 hours - Approximate Tour Departure 8:30 AM • $75.00
 
Yesterday it was $55. 
 
2. Virgin Gorda: Escape To Anegada (Moderate-Strenuous)

4 hours, 30 mins - Approximate Tour Departure 8:30 AM • $199.00  now $279.00

 

So we have to take WindStar excursions in order to get off the ship. Nothing like a captive audience!

 

So if you are booked on a WindStar cruise, book your excursions now before they raise the prices on you. 

 

 

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Interesting....We are likely going to book a December trip which also stops at Virgin Gorda.  Both of the excursions you have above are available for our trip then.  And both still show the original prices.  I wonder if it's a supply and demand issue ...with your trip coming up in June, people are starting to think "book excursions" and spots are filling up.

 

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I would urge everyone to book the excursions you want as soon as you book the cruise. You can always cancel later. Some of the price increases were significant. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the information.  I've never seen a price increase on excursions; it seems unreasonable to raise the price because spots are filling up.  I have a cruise booked for Sept, and have decided to wait a bit, hopeful the requirement to book only Windstar excursions will be lifted.  I'm not a fan of most of them.

Edited by 6rugrats
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I've seen excursion prices raised over the years, generally $20 to $50 pp as the cruise date nears.  Unless it's a place without  lot of private tour options we generally do our own thing which works for us. The new policy of only doing ship excursions will likely keep us from going on our Greece and Turkey booking this year. We have a friend who teaches tourism at university in Turkey and have looked forward to having him as our guide. The Greek Islands we've been to before and the tours cover things we've already done. I hope the policy changes before we have to book airfare.

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4 hours ago, 6rugrats said:

have decided to wait a bit, hopeful the requirement to book only Windstar excursions will be lifted.  I'm not a fan of most of them.

Doesn't hurt to book early as tours are refundable/changeable 2-4 days prior to the excursion. You don't want to get stuck with nothing to do. I hope the policy does change though before your cruise!

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We were getting concerned about the availability of lower capacity excursions for our European cruise this September. As Petoonya points out, cancelled excursions are fully refundable so it’s only a matter of committing the money this far in advance.

Interestingly out of the eighteen excursions we considered, sixteen maintained the same price we noted months ago. The two exceptions were Tuk Tuk excursions in Portugal and Spain. Three months ago the price was $109, today it’s $349. A possible mistake but I doubt it since the change occurred on two different dates in two different countries. On Trip Advisor you can book the same three hour Tuk Tuk tour for $94.

We have taken a number of Tuk Tuk rides in Asia and India and probably have not spent a total of even $109 for all of them so we will pass on this one.. We are booking 11 or 12 excursions in case Windstar decides to take advantage of their captive audience and raise prices and we will hope that the policy will be relaxed prior to sailing.

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On 5/6/2021 at 5:13 PM, Windsailer said:
 I am booked on the Star Breeze on 6/26. As I went in today to book excursion I noticed that the ones I wanted had all had their prices raised. 
 
Here's some examples:
 
1. Virgin Gorda: Highlights & Bath Tour (Moderate)
4 hours - Approximate Tour Departure 8:30 AM • $75.00
 
Yesterday it was $55. 
 
2. Virgin Gorda: Escape To Anegada (Moderate-Strenuous)

4 hours, 30 mins - Approximate Tour Departure 8:30 AM • $199.00  now $279.00

 

So we have to take WindStar excursions in order to get off the ship. Nothing like a captive audience!

 

So if you are booked on a WindStar cruise, book your excursions now before they raise the prices on you. 

 

 

My July 24th sailing of the VG highlights & Baths just went up as well. Now $75 luckily paid $55

 

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Why is Windstar requiring people to take ship only excursions in Europe this year 2021 but Oceania is not? 

Is it to make extra money? I have the same question about Tahiti. If you can go to Tahiti now on your own and do whatever you want, why is Windstar making people take ship only excursions to go ashore? Neither of these cruises fall under the purveyance of the US CDC requirements since they don't sail in American waters.

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I am perplexed about this as well. Hopefully as time goes on they will cancel that regulation. I know more people that would cancel than not. If they are serious about everyone and crew being fully vaccinated this policy makes no sense. I am scheduled for Italy/Malta 9/28, I am waiting it out if the policy does not change I will cancel not sure that will be the only reason, I am nervous about how Italy is opening. Wait, See and Hope, can not wait to get going again. Happy Sailing. 

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16 hours ago, susiesan said:

Why is Windstar requiring people to take ship only excursions in Europe this year 2021 but Oceania is not? 

Is it to make extra money? I have the same question about Tahiti. If you can go to Tahiti now on your own and do whatever you want, why is Windstar making people take ship only excursions to go ashore? Neither of these cruises fall under the purveyance of the US CDC requirements since they don't sail in American waters.

Susie,

I understood that Oceania WAS requiring ships only excursions.

The reason that people visiting Tahiti on land excursions can freely move about is that they are not bringing the virus onto a cruise ship- all of which have not been sailing due to incidents like Diamond Princess.They can bring it back to their hotel and leave then cruise lines out of it.

 

Cruise lines are taking extreme precautions because they would like to sail and not completely shut down again ,all because a cruiser picked up the virus while shopping independently in Barcelona. Keeping passengers confined to a Windstar group lessens that possibility by keeping cruisers in the bubble. We don't really know how effective the vaccine is.. I applaud the cruise lines for trying to lessen the chances of COVID coming on board, even though I was upset about it at first.

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If everyone on the ship is vaccinated then it doesn't matter. No one will get covid. We do know how effective the vaccine is. From the CDC:

Randomized clinical trials of vaccines that have received an EUA in the United States showed efficacy of 94%–95% in preventing COVID-19–associated illness

 

 Once people leave the ship to join a ship excursion they are out of the "ship bubble". Anyone going ashore could potentially be exposed to the virus to bring it back on ship, doesn't matter who they are with. What happens if you are with your bubble group and you use a public restroom? The only way to 100% prevent the virus from getting on the ship from a port is to not let anyone off at all.

 

And no, Oceania is not requiring ship excursions.

 

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Based on the efficacy data, there will be 5-6 people per hundred for whom the vaccine has not been effective.The J&J vaccine does not have as high of an efficacy. Even at the most effective rates of Pfizer and Moderna, on a ship carrying 300 passengers and crew there will be 15-18 people at risk. The tough thing is not knowing who they are. It could be you, the captain, the chief engineer....For now, let's do our best to keep everyone safe. As more ships go out and more data comes in, I am certain rules and requirements will be adjusted.

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1 hour ago, susiesan said:

 

And no, Oceania is not requiring ship excursions.

 

Just called my Oceania TA and she said yes indeed Oceania is ship's only excursions. I'd be very surprised of she was wrong but you never know.

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20 minutes ago, Petoonya said:

Just called my Oceania TA and she said yes indeed Oceania is ship's only excursions. I'd be very surprised of she was wrong but you never know.

That's not what regulars on the Oceania boards are saying., in fact just the opposite. Lots of false information out there.

And if O is also requiring ship only excursions, then that is one more good reason that I cancelled the Aug. 29, 2021 Marina Baltic cruise.

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You are right. Independent tours allowed on Oceania, yet that can change at any time per Oceania.

 

I still get it that WS is saying ship's only, and would much rather see them sail than than be shut down after they're started up. The risk isn't worth it.

 

 

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The latest info from my Oceania roll call thread is that only ship excursions will be allowed on Oceania cruises from US ports.  That doesn't mean that Oceania has changed their policy when not under the CDC's thumb.  But of course if you're not cruising on Oceania then it doesn't matter...

 

 

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On 5/9/2021 at 5:22 PM, FLbeachbaby said:

My July 24th sailing of the VG highlights & Baths just went up as well. Now $75 luckily paid $55

 

We are booked on the July 3rd Star Breeze sailing out of St. Maarten. Waiting to book the excursions until next week. Not sure what port has the beach barbecue. That would impact my purchase. 

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9 hours ago, Petoonya said:

Susie,

.... Keeping passengers confined to a Windstar group lessens that possibility by keeping cruisers in the bubble. We don't really know how effective the vaccine is.. ...

 

Since some of the Windstar excursions include time to wander around a market or town on your own, they don't maintain a "bubble." Some descriptions of excursions where that time is at the end of the excursion someplace near where the ship is docked even say that you can go back to the ship after the wandering time with the excursion group or make your own way back. 

 

Then a bunch of excursions are to hire a car, driver and guide to a private excursion based on your own agenda (which could include things such as museum visits, eat in restaurants, explore town). How does that maintain a bubble?

 

I think the idea that you can have a meaningful range of excursions that maintain a bubble for Windstar passengers is faulty. It is just false security. 

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8 hours ago, MNgardens said:

Based on the efficacy data, there will be 5-6 people per hundred for whom the vaccine has not been effective.The J&J vaccine does not have as high of an efficacy. Even at the most effective rates of Pfizer and Moderna, on a ship carrying 300 passengers and crew there will be 15-18 people at risk. The tough thing is not knowing who they are. It could be you, the captain, the chief engineer....For now, let's do our best to keep everyone safe. As more ships go out and more data comes in, I am certain rules and requirements will be adjusted.

95% effectiveness doesn't mean that 95% of participants got COVID. It mean that the vaccinated group got 5% of the cases that the unvaccinated group got. E.g. if 300 unvaccinated people would have had 20 people who got COVID, than a vaccinated group would have had about 5% of 20 get COVID - that's about 1 person. And the vaccinated group wouldn't have severe cases - for example they wouldn't end up in the hospital because the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe cases and death. 

 

The effectiveness may be somewhat lower now - it is possible that the better numbers for Pfizer and Moderna compared to Moderna are because the trials for the first two happened before the more infectious variants started circulating and Pfizer trials include the effect of the variants. But in any case they all provide pretty strong protection against getting infected and even stronger against severe disease.

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Here is an example of a Windstar tour description:

 

Trapani, Walking Tour with Sicilian Coffee Break (Moderate)

3 hours - Approximate Tour Departure 8:30 AM

 

Trapani is an attractive old port town, rediscovering its charms after years of neglect. Halfway between Europe and Tunis, it was a rich trading center throughout the early Middle Ages, then, flourished again in the 19th and early 20th centuries as a stronghold of the tuna-canning industry. After that, it went into decline, and became a salty old port. Then, it was selected to host the 2004 America’s Cup and received a massive injection of cash – buildings were restored, streets in the historic center pedestrianized – giving the town and its people a new confidence. These days Trapani is a thoroughly pleasant place to hang out for a couple of days. You will join your guide for a pleasant walking visit of the historical center of Trapani, with its many churches and palazzos with their ornate façades and elaborate interior, perfect examples of the Baroque style. At the end of the guided visit, enjoy a typical Sicilian coffee break including one cannolo and one coffee or one cappuccino, followed by 45 minute free time. At the conclusion of your tour you can leisurely walk back to the pier with your guide or continue to spend time in town returning to the ship on your own.

 

Sounds lovely and I wouldn't want Windstar to change it but how is that a bubble? Also, if I can take a Windstar tour to do that, how come I can't spend time in town on my own without taking a Windstar tour.

 

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On 5/9/2021 at 5:22 PM, FLbeachbaby said:

My July 24th sailing of the VG highlights & Baths just went up as well. Now $75 luckily paid $55

 

Getting back to the intent of the post, a few other excursions have gone up in price now. Also the Baths tour has dropped off the list so either full or unavailable. There is no one who really knows about excursions when calling as I get the same 3 agents who just refer me back to the website. Since it is currently the only opportunity to leave the vessel during my stay I'm keeping a paid excursion in each port until something changes. We never do this but if it is to be I'll go with the flow. Regarding the "bubble", if they dump me off at the beach for 4 hours @$79 pp my bubble will be freely floating about....

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8 hours ago, FLbeachbaby said:

 Regarding the "bubble", if they dump me off at the beach for 4 hours @$79 pp my bubble will be freely floating about....

Has Windstar seen this new information from the CDC regarding shore excursions?

https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/covid19-operations-manual-cso.html

 

Fully Vaccinated Travelers

  • Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that—if they are fully vaccinated—they may engage in self-guided or independent exploration during port stops, if they wear a mask while indoors. The cruise ship operator is additionally advised that foreign jurisdictions may have their own requirements.

There is no longer any reason to mandate ship only excursions since everyone onboard is vaccinated.

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Fully Vaccinated Travelers

  • Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that—if they are fully vaccinated—they may engage in self-guided or independent exploration during port stops, if they wear a mask while indoors. The cruise ship operator is additionally advised that foreign jurisdictions may have their own requirements.

There are 2 critical points.

1. Windstar's discretion.  They may still decide that they don't want people doing non-ship excursions.  Though I agree that their excursions that include "free time in port" really defy their bubble logic.

2. Local (foreign) jurisdictions. If local authorities have rules on types of excursions, those must be followed. 

 

Could there be situations where an itinerary is a mix of "do whatever you want" and "only limited/restricted bubble excursions allowed"? If this is the case, could it be easier for Windstar to say "must take our excursions...period" to avoid the "If I could wander around Port X, why can't I wander around Port Y" arguments? 

 

(The same guidelines also start a loosening of mask rules.)

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On 5/12/2021 at 11:56 AM, susiesan said:

Has Windstar seen this new information from the CDC regarding shore excursions?

https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/covid19-operations-manual-cso.html

 

Fully Vaccinated Travelers

  • Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that—if they are fully vaccinated—they may engage in self-guided or independent exploration during port stops, if they wear a mask while indoors. The cruise ship operator is additionally advised that foreign jurisdictions may have their own requirements.

There is no longer any reason to mandate ship only excursions since everyone onboard is vaccinated.

Just a reminder that the CDC has no authority over WS in either direction except when they operate in the US. They are not a US carrier. 
 

in this case all my digits are crossed that they follow these new guidelines. 

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