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About sb44

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Clearwater, FL
  • Interests
    Cruising, fishing, boating.
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  1. We tip all of our guides and drivers. Amount varies by type and length of tour but most of our tours are private and tip around 10%. In Caribbean we tip in US Dollars which is preferred. Even on French and Dutch islands the guides prefer USD. In Europe we always tip in Euros. In the UK we tip in Pounds. Tipping has changed over the years and is now expected in Europe and UK. Generally 20% in the US, Caribbean and 10% overseas where somewhat of a living wage is paid in the service industry. Cabin stewards $50 -$70 a week. Other crew based on relationships. We have some who take care of us every year on cruises, know what we eat, drink, etc. If we can afford a cruise we can be generous with people who are away from home for 9 months. They are working for money, not because they enjoy leaving their countries and their families for 3/4 of each year.
  2. That's been our concern as well as the politics of supporting a country that might possibly be committing genocide. Time will tell and 2021 is far enough off to just sit and wait. I agree with Ridethetide, a cancellation after plane fares are booked, hotels reserved, etc. is more chaos than we need. We loved our visit to Kusadashi on the Surf this summer and hope that things somehow work out on that part of the world.
  3. Castries very busy and very touristy. Suggest you do a ship's tour if they are of any interest to you or hire a cab or look at booking a tour from another source to get out of the city. The island is beautiful, volcano and botanical gardens lovely. Good zip lining if you're into that. Keep in mind it is very mountainous so distances are deceiving. Jost is White Bay for sure, a bathing suit, and Gertrudes. St Barts wandering in town or for a special day, take a cab to Nikki Beach, eat and enjoy seeing how the other half lives. Expensive but fun. Virgin Gorda, if you don't feel like the strenuous part of The Baths, the driver that takes you to the beach BBQ spot will take you to The Top of the Baths for $4.00 pp. Nice restaurant, bar and shops. The spot for the beach party is not our favorite but some people love it. Great itinerary. We just did a similar one.
  4. Thanks for the feedback and happy to hear you enjoyed your time with Vincent. We thought he was great!
  5. Spent the day at Gertrudes two weeks ago. It's always the highlight day of our cruise. Love Gertrude and Olga!
  6. Alaska does require more ship excursions simply because the guides get booked up by the cruise companies and they have a short season to make their income for the year. We did mostly WS excursions and they were excellent. We went 1st season, 2nd sailing, and did the pre cruise tour. There are pluses and minuses for doing your own. Yes, you can do it cheaper but may not learn as much as you can from professional guide. I'm glad we did their land tour other than there were some annoying aspects. In either case, it's a great trip!
  7. You are correct that everyone takes the same old school busses into the park. How you get to the bus access point is either bus (tour bus if it's Windstar) or private car.
  8. We arrived in port 7 a.m. and first passengers were off by 8. Passports available day before. Just let them know you have early flight. Lots of cabs at the terminal. Airport is crowded cruise day. TSA precheck fast, 5 minutes, regular lines slow, like a half hour or so to get through.
  9. We were also on board and thought the captain did a superb job in communicating the facts as he received them. He also reported on the condition of the crew member regularly and did his best to keep the situation calm. The day became more like a sea day with activities put together on the spur of the moment including a great cooking demo on top deck. We were on several years ago when tendering to Culebrita became an issue and went to St. Thomas. Had a lovely day and did not feel like we missed out at all. So booked passengers will have to decide whether it's lemons or lemonade. My feeling is anyone coming from winter freeze will go for the lemonade!
  10. We've been told by onboard cruise consultants that corporate is working on a perks program for loyal cruisers such as ourselves and our friends but nothing has moved forward with this. The "Yacht Club" discount of 5% applies to everyone who has sailed with you, whether once or 50 times. We would like to see a program that counts cruise nights and provides things like complimentary WiFi, spa credits, excursions, beverage credits, etc. Other lines do this and the promises with no delivery is a bit perplexing.
  11. Capt Alan has been gone for several years. The last I heard he was with British line TUI along with several other old Windstar captains.
  12. Yes, we had lots of opportunities for photos. Best ones were outside our hotel room in Denali. We had a mother moose and 2 babies outside our windows for a couple of hours. Marvelous videos and photos. And on the cruise we had eagles flying all around the ship. Really, we were part of the outdoors continuously. Just an awesome trip.
  13. The tour didn't really have any free time which was the one thing that we all would have liked. I looked at the current description for next year and it really doesn't give any more details than those we had. To go hiking in Denali I think, not sure, that you need a permit. It's pretty rugged and weather is unpredictable. It was snowed in the day after we were there in June. The park busses go pretty far in from the entrance and we did see hikers but you already have to be deep in the park to do this. It's quite different than the other national parks in the lower 48. As for flightseeing, there was no opportunity but we did visit the flight company that services base camp for climbers talked to one of their pilots and the woman who runs the place who was also a climber so we really learned so much. We did lots of flight seeing of glaciers etc. when we got on the ship and loved it all. Expensive but so worth it. Our plan is to go back and do our own land tour from Fairbanks north but that takes planning as it's sparsely populated and we are working with someone who specializes in making sure we don't get lost! LOL. Denali didn't show herself when we were in the park but did the night and morning that we stayed at the Talkeenta Inn. Anyhow, it was the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy!
  14. Meaning Amphora, Candles Stella. Verandah during breakfast and lunch certainly jeans and shorts. I think bbq night shorts are fine. My husband doesn't own jeans so no issue here but they have become more acceptable as people have become more casual but some people complain that they are not what WS bills as country club casual. But anymore, we see it all! Jeans at the theater in London made us realize it's a different world! Then there are those who think pajama bottoms are proper attire for flying!
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