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CruiseOrLand

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About CruiseOrLand

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Northern New Jersey
  • Interests
    Theater, Dance, Museums
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Windstar
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Any island

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  1. Adding to my previous post, because of other comments made: It sounds less responsive to your OP, but I want to mention that a huge number of people on our Windstar Tahiti cruise had off-ship plans, most often for a world-class (?) dinner ashore. Now, once it's dark, you're not missing anything by having a dinner you could never have anywhere else! My observation was about daytime activities. I think we didn't consider dinner ashore because it would have made a longer day than we wanted. (I don't recall a special ship meal on our Bora Bora night, over ten years ago.)
  2. The snorkeling was so astonishing on Bora Bora (with the Windstar excursion, at that) that I think focusing on a "land" (if overwater) fat-cat luxury experience is a poor use of time. I am making the assumption that walk-in snorkeling by the resort you select would be (as it has been everywhere I've snorkeled) is mediocre compared with boat-journey snorkeling. It might help if you reflected on the two most "luxurious" hotel rooms you've ever had, and think about whether you got something lasting from the experience.
  3. In general, I don't approve of tipping in US dollars. But in the Caribbean, this is not as hard on the recipient as it would be in Europe. They'll lose a lot of your dollars in getting them exchanged. There are several islands (and even countries) where USD are the main tourism currency. I personally don't refer to the cost of the excursion that much. I think about the "experience" I just had, and the quality of the guide, and whether the bus driver did things that deserve a separate, smaller tip for him. Sometimes I don't tip at all, which I can see during the exit from the bus is the practice of a lot of the visitors. In general, I always tip. Sad to say, I once tipped only to find out that the Windstar tour had dropped us off at the wrong entrance to the marina with the tenders. (Parts had been closed for a fish-kill cleanup.) We had to blunder around and walk a distance. So I made sure to tell the Excursion Manager about the poor service.
  4. I enjoyed that blog post, but if you take the ship’s excursion, MAP is likely to be mostly boardwalks. The guide’s spotting scope or personal binoculars were essential for most wildlife sightings. Because of monkeys, you can’t bring much food in your pack to MAP. Sealed snack bars in pouches were allowed. The ship excursion was willing to drop you at the downtown corniche on the way back to the ship. The ship developed an annoying roll at anchor in the afternoon, which the captain said was common there. Moving the anchor doesn’t help.
  5. Denali is a long trip because it is remote. It is a treasured National Park because it is remote! Since I haven't been there myself, it would be helpful to have the word "bus" clarified. From people I know who have been there, I would believe that if you take any bus, including WIndstar's (as opposed to, say, a train) to Denali, you have to get off your big bus and get onto a Parks Service yellow school bus (?) for INSIDE the park. Is that CORRECT? Thank you.
  6. Then let’s think of 90 days as Windstar’s “exchange period.” Most retail stores (a rough business these days) don’t allow price reduction capture for 90 days anyway. The OP’s dissatisfaction is not appropriate. The rules were fully disclosed. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
  7. I can add that at the Beach Barbecue in Costa Rica, I think they had a two-step unit in the water to assist those with the most difficulty in getting off. In general, the wet landings are at beaches that don't have a scary slope to them, so the water isn't that deep. In the case of the Puerto Jimenez / Orchid Garden excursion, it turns out that the zodiac ride is a plus for the dolphin sightings and other marine life opportunities you may have on the way to the shore. This was more water-activity than we were promised on the excursion, so it was a pleasant surprise. I felt that the wet landings were well-disclosed in advance and not unreasonable for a small-ship cruise line-the product we desired. I don't even like walking on the wet part of a beach when I'm ashore, but my excursion was not spoiled by the wet landings. We carry microfiber tiny towels to dry our feet, which clip to the outside of our daybags.
  8. Misty, is that pre or post-renovation? I don’t keep track of the dates for a ship I’m not about to book.
  9. The old setup was three prong, but only a single one. I brought a cube tap. Any renovation work would certainly be three-prong. I also used the Shuco (Euro ...) outlets for my Apple products, with plug-adaptors, but at 220 volts.
  10. At least Windstar ships don't carry a vast number of passengers. You will need to get to the lounge for transport early (not just half-an-hour before) for each of your private tours. It is true that the first Zodiacs tend to be for passengers on the very early tour departures. You can easily coordinate with the tour director aboard, and find out what special conditions apply (there will often be special conditions, like a change of mooring, an immigration delay, high swells, or something, at any given port. That's cruising!) I strongly recommend that you bring your cocktail (or order one there ... ) to the Lounge for every day's Port Talk. Sure, there are boring aspects, but it is ESSENTIAL to learn everything there is to know about Windstar's particular plans in a port where you want to get off quickly. If you stay on deck to enjoy chatting with your new friends, you will be in the dark when you go to breakfast the next day. You may not even know if they extended the breakfast hours for some reason. I encourage you to read the most recent Panama Canal reviews on the review section of this website.
  11. Our Windstar motor yacht shared the 1000' old locks with a similar sized National Geographic ship behind us, and a float of three 37' (?) sailboats tied aside each other, in front of us. Interestingly, one of the electric locomotives assigned to tow us through one of the locks broke down, and we were told later that our captain told the lock management, in effect, "Hell no, we're not waiting for a substitute engine. I can keep this ship from touching the locks without it." And we proceeded. I think it was the winch part of the tug-engine that broke down, because an immobile tug would have blocked the operating tugs on the the same, single, set of rails that they run on.
  12. It's already the case that (to judge from this newsboard alone, but I mean from the mailings and emails that I get) that a huge number of cabins go for 1/2 or less of the original retail price. We have to see how discounting shakes out. I don't see 7,999 LIST price for 10 days and multiple Asian and African countries to be vastly out of line with past list prices a year out. To paraphrase a no-longer respected film director and comedian, "Why did God create [old-line Protestant ethnic slur]?". Answer:"Somebody has to pay retail!"
  13. Well, since mixed cocktails in NYC are typically $12 and way, way up (if much stronger), I find a la carte Windstar beverage a bargain. I paid $22 for a Nobu Sidecar the other evening.
  14. I generally agree with most responses here, but the OP did say they disembarked one day early. I don’t remember if that is in the Terms and Conditions, but I think it calls for a credit on a future cruise, if not a refund. The amount should be related to the actual payment made for the cruise, divided by the number of days or nights.
  15. The wet landings in Panama/Costa Rica did tend to be beach sand and were much easier than sharp and mossy rock exits we did in (not Windstar) the Galapagos. On Windstar, I noticed concern on the faces of older (?) cruisers just boarding the Zodiacs at the ship, with moderate to high wave action. Since I have some balance problems at 68, I could understand that. Hip and knee flexibility is an issue as well. You are wearing a life vest during the transfer. One or two wet landings turned out to be dry after all. Local mooring and port conditions.
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