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    Northern New Jersey
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    Theater, Dance, Museums
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    Any island

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. I seem to recall a sign in the exercise room asking for efforts to be quiet at odd hours. Regarding POSH, we found that many sailing days are out of sight of land, so that view direction isn't very important. And it's hard to predict which side of an anchorage or pierage will a)be used b)have a better view. We've been in 315 and it was fine. Our worst noise problem there was a clueless (or deaf) neighbor who slammed the door every time they went in and out.
  5. Colon is not attractive and has nothing to do if you arrive early. The Bristol isn’t in that interesting an area but at least it is very safe and you can walk around. We stayed independently at the Bristol, taxied to the old town in the morning, and used Windstar’s bus transfer. It ended up being free because of Windstar ship delays. See my review for the gory details, https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=649163
  6. We didn’t take the land tour you describe because close reading of the flyer suggested too much time trapped at the hotel and not enough time in the forest. It’s a personal interest, but we chose instead to hire an (end of cruise) driver to take us from the port to the Lankester Garden orchid collection, and then to a hotel on the airport side of San Jose. We were surprised that the hotel (Hilton property, nothing to do with Windstar) near the airport had no airport shuttle, but rather a partner, on-site, pay, car service. Note that the Puerto Caldera port is quite far from anywhere.
  7. I agree that Balboa is out of the way, but it’s not far from Panama City, which has plenty to do on a first visit. The questions are transit time and cost. Will they run a shuttle? What is the car service cost quote?
  8. I agree that the itinerary has more to do with it than the ship's propulsion means. We had an absolutely superb Polynesian Dance "club" (perhaps comparable to a serious and talented American "Irish Dance" club ... ) give an evening demonstration in Tahiti (sail ship). I was worried about the non-professional nature and wide range of ages of the performers, but it was excellent and memorable. They conveyed their passion for their culture. On an Asian cruise (motor vessel), we had a satisfactory Geisha-style (I don't mean professional Geishas) performance program one day. We also had a young shore troupe do a daytime cultural performance in the Lounge. I think you also mean, "what is there to do on a sea day?" Those days have more scheduled events, maybe one every 2 hours. Some of them are trivial (like Margarita making), some are substantive (like a galley tour), a very few cost money (like a wine tasting.) You should be aware that "lack of night life" is a common ... er ... not complaint, but, observation on this newsboard. That is fine with me. In fact, the singing duos are quite "satisfactory", but I don't care for a synthesized rhythm accompaniment, if you know what I'm talking about. I have often noticed an AA meeting quietly posted. Regarding night life: I might add that if you sit with others at dinner, it is very difficult to finish eating before 9-9:30. That's an observation not a whine! Please be quiet returning to your room after nightclubbing.
  9. It's important to distinguish between starting that 30-45 minute countdown with a)Docking or Anchoring or b)Departure of the first group. You also have to consider which ports are Tender ports and which are Docked ports. I know you're not on the boat today, but it's useful to pay ATTENTION to the handouts for the Windstar excursions because their "Meeting Times" give you clue about who may be given priority to depart, if there is choke-point situation. I would also GO to the Port Talks, because then you will LEARN if they expect immigration problems or port congestion. I would especially pay attention to long-drive excursions (say, to Granada ... ?) that may need a fast departure. It is difficult to give a definitive answer. I would ask your provider if they have serviced Windstar guests in that port, before. Sorry not to be more definitive, but that's the way it is.
  10. In 2015, our Windstar Canary Islands/Morocco cruise left from Santa Apolonia Cruise Terminal Lisbon-Blue Subway or long walk. But it is important, with ANY cruise line, to check this again before you leave for a cruise that with a self-transfer. It's just not "engraved in stone." There are too many variables.
  11. I would say that wanting to use OBC's is a reasonable strategic decision. But relying on one VAT policy or another is actually riskier than hoping they will continue to prioritize "selling" beverage packages upon boarding over "enforcing an advance-purchase" requirement. I see a problem (as a consumer ... ) with the difference between an OBC credit for an actual expenditure (say, a cancelled excursion, or an inconvenience-remission of a charge-like our Panama City transfer when maintenance delayed boarding until 5PM ... ), with an incentive "credit" awarded with a certain cabin level. The first is "our own money", while the second is an "internal marketing expense" for Windstar. The degree of displeasure we feel for having to use-up the dollars for both cases should not be identical. Opinion.
  12. cruising Omi, I just want to note that the term "Yacht" is not really right for the Windstar ships. Definitely "Small Ship cruising", but there are other lines with well under 100 guests on every boat, and that gets closer to the idea of "Yacht". We were on a non-luxury ship (in Croatia) with only about 32 cabins, and it was a remarkable experience. (That company went out of business in the Great Recession.) But I get "college travel" brochures all the time for really small, luxury ships. You got good advice in the observation that rough seas are out of your control. Even at the Windstar size, we've had three or four really rough nights. You really need to ask your regular doctor to say what he thinks is the most appropriate pill. When we went to the Galapagos (100-guest ship) we each asked for an extra Scopalamine patch to try in advance, and I'm glad we did. We both had "bad trips" and would not consider using them on a boat, under any conditions.
  13. This product is promoted and sold in the big lounge where you submit your passport and get your room key/id card. No problem to order any level of beverage package after boarding.
  14. The Windstar pools will seem microscopic to you. Don’t count on a “swimming” experience.
  15. I haven't been on a huge ship, so my reply is maybe not as useful to you. We use Windstar for itineraries that are more convenient by ship, like Islands of the West Med, Tahiti, Athens to Istanbul, and so on. We wouldn't do Barcelona to Lisbon or the French Riviera. Of course there are small ports, but ports exist (like Dubrovnik) where all ships are required to use the main cruise port, which is not always convenient to town. I remember that we had a small pier in Venice, but that was some years ago. Things may have been tightened up by now in Venice. I don't have the information to promise fewer tender ports - Places like Capri and Belize City require the use of their tender boats, BTW. You might want to read some random Mediterranean reviews on this website. Some posters agree that the Windstar ships are attractive, but they miss having a host of activities on board, especially a busy night life. It can be very quiet after dinner on Windstar, and I like it that way. There are fewer "restaurants" on the ship, but I'm happy with the main Amphora dining room. It is very easy to get a deuce to yourselves if that's what you want. We've been on some very small group excursions, but I don't remember many being cancelled because of insufficient registrations. Note that the term "near luxury" is often used on this newsboard. Setting aside the plans to renovate all the ships, some people would prefer a higher level of apparent luxury, or fewer a la carte charges. I would like fiercer air conditioning. Previous replies about good staff and efforts to remember you and your preferences are correct.
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