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About new_cruiser

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sacramento, California
  • Interests
    Small ship cruising and small group tours.
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  1. I wouldn't mind wearing a mask. I've even gotten comfortable with wearing a mask while exercising now that COVID has dropped enough in our area to allow opening gyms at 10% of capacity. However, I don't think I'd be willing to go on a cruise when mask wearing is necessary because I don't see how dining would be safe in that case. You have to take off your mask to eat. Even with lowered capacity in dining rooms, you are still in a room with a bunch of people not wearing masks. Plus, one of the pleasures of cruising is sharing a table with others for conversation during diner. You wouldn't be 6 feet apart from them so it doesn't seem like you'll be able to share dinner tables with other cruisers or you would be increasing your risk of infection too much. There have been COVID clusters traced to people dining at the same restaurant with a spreader, even people seated at tables not that close to the source. Improved air filtration on the ships may help, but I don't think it would be enough when you are sharing the dining room unmasked. I've got a similar issue with flying. It would be one thing to take a one to two hour flight because I can get by that long without eating or drinking but an overseas flight means taking off your mask in the plane for meals. I'd be hesitant to take a cruise where I could only leave the ship on a ship excursion. While we do take some Windstar excursions, exploring on our own or with independent excursions tailored to our interests is important to me. It might be okay if it was a cruise close by or a very attractively priced ocean crossing where I'm going mostly to enjoy relaxing on the ship, but not if I'm flying someplace like Tahiti to experience the place.
  2. The All in package includes gratuities (the hotel gratuities everyone pays plus the gratuities charged on the beverage package). That's $53.10 + $23.35 = $76.45. Still slightly cheaper than the All-In. ($53.10 rather than $59 because tier 4 gets a 10% discount on the package.)
  3. We decided to cancel our January reservation for Tahiti rather than make final payment. It seems like there is a good chance the cruise would be cancelled. If it isn't, I don't feel like we want to be on the first cruises after things start back up and I don't want to make final payment when I don't know what the restrictions might be (e.g. whether one will be able to explore the islands independently or only allowed to take Windstar excursions). I notice that the 7-for-7 deals have consistently been for cruises in April and later. I've wondered if that's because either: A) the earlier cruises are already discounted so much that they aren't going to discount them further, B) people aren't likely to book the earlier cruises at any price right no so there is no point in discounting them or C) the are likely enough to get cancelled that they aren't trying hard to sell them. It used to be that closer in cruises were common on the 7-for-7. We are booked on the May 1 Israel and Egypt cruise out of Athens - I'm hoping that that is far enough out that it will be able to go but I'm starting to wonder. Also, we booked an October 2021 sailing out of San Diego from last week's 7-for-7. At least that's comparatively inexpensive and just a short flight to get to. It would even be possible to drive there if we don't want to fly but I'm not terribly worried about a 1 hour flight where one can be masked the whole time. Maybe there will even be a vaccine one could get by October.
  4. Windstar's FAQ on the loyalty program has answers to many questions including which categories count for getting 1.5 or 2 points per night: https://www.windstarcruises.com/yacht-club/faqs/
  5. My husband got his letter, but I'm still waiting for mine. We each filled out a form to cover the cruises they missed and his letter includes credit for the cruises he reported.
  6. I'm still waiting for my letter. My husband's arrived last Thursday. He's level 3. I've taken a couple of cruises without him so, by my calculation, I should be level 4. I hope they go by the higher level in the stateroom. I'll appreciate free wifi. I generally am not willing to pay for it, but like having it. I think they have improved the WiFi at least on the ships that have had a recent re-fit (which covers Wind Surf as well as the motor yachts, not sure about Wind Star and Wind Spirit). I bought it for the first and only time on the third segment of our Windsurf cruise last January. We'd originally booked a 14-day Star Collector and added on another 17 days last minute when the price dropped. The first 9 days of that had several sea days and I still had arrangements to finalize for some of the ports so I sprung for it. It worked well for me - none of the reliability issues that I'd heard others complain about in the past. Free laundry will be nice. We sometimes get it free because of taking Star Collector's, but sometimes we do shorter cruises and then we buy the laundry. 10% off the beverage package does nothing for us. I'm a 0 to 2 drinks a day person so even a 10% off, it costs way more than we spend on alcohol. Plus, we like having the full wine selection and getting a bottle to have across a couple of nights. We do take some shore excursions so 15% off that is welcome. We are scheduled for the Israel and Egypt cruise in the spring and are considering taking the overnight excursion in Egypt (assuming a cruise is even possible then).
  7. There is potential harm in getting it early. The immunity produced by flu vaccine is fairly short term. If you get it early, protection can be waning before the flu season ends. That's why my provider (Kaiser) waits to late September to start flu vaccination.
  8. The form I filled out to be considered for trials asked questions about what my exposure was. E.g. questions about how many people outside your home you interact with, how many people are in your household, similar questions about the exposure of the other people in your household. I expect that they will be likely to chose the people who's current jobs/habits/activities already give them more exposure. Since we are able to be very socially distanced, I doubt that I'll be chosen. I don't expect that they will tell people in the trial to change what they are doing to get more exposure. Since some will get the placebo, it wouldn't be responsible to put them at risk. While antibody tests provide some indication of immunity, they don't tell the whole story so the trials require people that have some exposure. I would participate in a trial given the opportunity and I will get a vaccine as soon as one is available.
  9. He's not accusing cola of having a role in spreading COVID. His point is that soda consumption contributes to obesity and obesity makes COVID more dangerous - seems a reasonable concern. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/08/23/coca-cola-bottled-poison-mexico-finds-covid-19-villain-soda/5607741002/
  10. All medically necessary medications should go in your carry-on. That includes liquid medications. TSA rules allow that. I've taken prescription cough medicine in my carry-on. If larger than 100 ml, you are supposed to take it out of your carry-on and show it to the TSA agent. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/medications-liquid
  11. Final payment due date is generally three months (really 90 days) before, not two.
  12. Yes Puerto Rico would fall under that too. I just forgot to check the schedule for that. Probably US Virgin Islands too. They changed final payment for my cruise to 45 days out just a few days before the 90 day mark. Perhaps it was because it is a Med cruise and the EU isn't currently allowing US residents in. I expect that they are doing it cruise by cruise based on the uncertainty 100ish days before rather than as a global policy that they have to stick to even if the situation improves.
  13. And their fall New England/Canada cruises and an occasional departure out of Miami or California, but they don't have any US sailings until April 2021 so the CDC changing when in fall 2020 cruising can restart doesn't affect any Windstar cruises.
  14. Last I heard, the CLIA hadn't extended their recommendation. US water cruising would be difficult to resume due to the state of COVID in the US. Some ports such as Miami and Galveston are hot spots. There is no requirement for the CDC rules for US waters to apply to cruising in all the rest of the world, but other factors make an extension of no sail likely. If the US doesn't get COVID more under control, it will be hard for the lines that normally have a large percentage of US passengers to resume. I'm booked on Star Breeze in November, but who knows if Europe will lift it's travel ban for US residents by then. I notice that all the cruises on this week's 7-for-7 are August 2021 or later. IIRC, it's unusual for all or even most of the 7-for-7 sailings to be a year or more out. It is like either they've reduced the prices on earlier cruises so much that there is no point in putting them on the weekly sale or it's not worth trying to attract people to earlier cruises which may get cancelled anyway.
  15. My TA just notified me that the final payment date for my November Star Breeze cruise has been moved to 45 days before departure. I don't know how generally Windstar is doing this. 90 days would have been this week so maybe they are doing it as 90 days approaches based on the uncertainty. This cruise is out of Athens so there is a big question about whether US residents can enter the EU then.
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