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new_cruiser

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About new_cruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sacramento, California
  • Interests
    Small ship cruising and small group tours.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Windstar

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  1. Their regular solo supplement is about 75% of the cruise fare - at least that's what I found when choosing my crossing & Alaska cruise. I did watch for specials (checking 7 for 7 every week & sale weeks). My initial booking was during 7-for-7s. There were later 7-for-7s with lower prices so I got the fare reduced twice and ended up about 30% lower than where I started. So while there aren't reduced solo supplements, you can look for a special to get a lower price. I'm trying Star Clipper (sailing in 3 days out of Phuket) because they had a no solo supplement deal on a bunch of cruises. I hope I like it so it will widen my small ship options. Their base fares in Europe tend to be lower than Windstar, but in the Caribbean they tend to be higher.
  2. I'm so used to not needing paper to travel - I forgot to pack the paper docs I got from Star Clippers. When I realized that, my husband scanned and emaiied them to me. I have the PDF on my phone. If I need it to board, I could try to get the ships copy printed at the hotel in Thailand. I'm staying at my son's house tonight but his printer is having issues. Is it necessary? If so, con I just print the one page that says cruise ticket ship's copy? I don't have the bag tags either - but I hope they will have one at the pier. I'm traveling with just carry on.
  3. My journey for my first Star Clippers cruise has begun. I'm on the train to SFO where I'll fly out of to Phuket tommorow morning. Then I'll have some first hand comparison experience.
  4. The only thing I know of is the beach bag.
  5. I've watched Windstar specials for well over a year and so far haven't seen any waivers or even reductions of the single supplement.
  6. I did all 3 kayak expeditions on my cruise. It was the first Alaska cruise and due to the May ice conditions and calving seals, we went up Endicott Arm rather than Tracy Arm so we were kayaking at Dawes Glacier rather than Sawyer. They take you on zodiacs to a spot where you transfer to the kayaks so you start out reasonably close to the glacier. In both Kenai Fjords and Endicott Arm, we kayaked about as close to the glacier as one safely can. (Too close and the waves from calving can flip a kayak so that limits how close.) You do paddle through the floating ice which is quite an experience. I'd rate them as about equal in getting close to active ice, peacefulness and majesty. There was calving in both cases. How much calving occurs is going to be somewhat random. Wildlife spotting will probably vary by season and luck as well. In May there were brown bears grazing in the grass on the bank at Kenai Fjords as well as seals in the water or on the floating ice. Also, there was a mountain goat on the ledges to the right of the glacier. We paddled by an island where there were raucous gulls and an eagle swooped in and got a chick. In Endicott Arm, we saw porpoises in amongst the ice and various birds. We didn't spot any land mammals at Endicott. There were some larger blocks of floating ice that we paddled by in Endicott Arm. I sort of preferred Kenai Fjords because of the wildlife spotting we had, but as I mentioned, that depends on season and chance. Misty Fjords doesn't have glaciers so it's a different experience. We got pretty close to a brown bear on the bank. As it was spring, there were a lot of birds doing their mating song thing. The most exciting part was that there was a humpback swimming in the fjord near us. I was happy that I'd done all three.
  7. new_cruiser

    Hotel in Phuket

    I'd appreciate suggestions of a hotel to stay in for a couple of pre-cruise days in Phuket. I'm open to either something in an interesting part of the city or in a beach area.
  8. I should have already taken care of this but life got busy. I'd appreciate suggestions of a hotel to stay in for a couple of pre-cruise days in Phuket. I'm open to either something in an interesting part of the city or in a beach area.
  9. It may vary by state. In California, the form for getting the form of certificate one would need for travel requires a notarized statement that you are an authorized person. I don't know if they would accept one where the applicant said they were applying for their own certificate but the notarized first name didn't match the name on the certificate. But perhaps that could be gotten around by having the spouse or child apply instead. I was born in New York so out of curiosity, I checked that. There, a child or a spouse would require a court order to get a birth certificate. Only the person or their parent can get one without a court order. And they require ID with the application so a name mismatch might be a problem. Going through VitalCheck might work.
  10. I'm pretty sure that if you miss one question it just gives you some additional questions. I've had similar checks ask a question I that I couldn't remember (and couldn't look up) and I still got through the questions. You would probably fail the verification if you missed a bunch of questions but you can get away with missing one.
  11. There are also cities where crowding on the HOHOs wastes a lot of time. In Barcelona, there was typically a line to board and it was long enough that one might not be able to get on until the second or third bus came by. And we were there in May so that was during shoulder season - hate to think what the HOHO boarding waits might be at peak season there.
  12. The morning train is a charter done by mainstream cruise lines. Not only is there no way to book it independently, but also it would only run on days when a big ship is in port and Seward usually has only one passenger ship in port at a time.
  13. The balcony is a Juliet (aka French) balcony. It is slightly over 1 foot deep. It doesn't have any significant square footage. The OV and Balcony cabins are the same size.
  14. I was solo on a trans-Pacific from Tokyo to Seward last year leaving during Golden Week. I was a bit concerned, but a bit of research said that it is a big time for people to leaving urban areas to get out to the natural and country areas so I went ahead with the cruise and made plans for the trip focusing on Tokyo for my pre-cruise stay. My arrival in Tokyo coincided with the start of Golden Week. There was no problem getting hotel reservations for Tokyo, museums and other tourist attractions were open as normal and not crowded. If anything, Tokyo is less busy than usual at that time. Our first port (in Northern Japan) was on the last day of Golden Week and it didn't cause any issues there either. The timing would be bad if you wanted to do a pre-cruise stay in the more rural areas (the places a Japanese person goes for a spring get-away) but fine if you are mainly interested in Tokyo. Kind of like you might want to avoid a spring break trip to Florida, but a visit to New York City at that time would be fine.
  15. Repellent with picardin is just as effective and it's more pleasant to use. It's non-greasy and has almost no smell (to humans) so they don't have to add strong fragrances to cover it up. I agree with most of your other points. I did get the polio booster in my 50s for a 3-week trip in China. Probably overkill, but it's a one time thing. I did oral typhoid before my Panama & Costa Rica cruise but that was more because of other trips I have coming up (land and cruise in Thailand & land in Costa Rica). My husband didn't get it since he was only going on the cruise.
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