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Carolfay

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Everything posted by Carolfay

  1. The all-inclusive package was right for me, as I like my cocktails and my wine with dinner and didn't want to be signing chits every time I wanted a drink. The Windstar per-drink cost seemed pretty high, anyway. I made good use of the Wi-Fi to communicate with the spouse at home, I was glad to have the gratuities dispensed with beforehand, and it was dandy to have access to laundry service. On Seabourn (my preferred cruise line), I like having the drinks and gratuities included in the fare. Yes, it looks like a steep price for the Windstar package, but they're at least allowing passengers to make the choice. For me, "You can pay 'em now, or you can pay 'em later." And by the way, this thread really does need a different heading . . .
  2. The corny joke many of the guides tell goes as follows: Tourist to young man: "Does it always rain here in Bergen?" Young man to tourist: "I don't know. I'm only 16."
  3. I was on board, and we did arrive in Reykjavik one day earlier than scheduled. We had the day for sightseeing and tours, slept aboard, and disembarked as scheduled the following morning - so they did in fact feed and shelter us for the agreed number of nights.
  4. If you're on board Windstar, where most of the staff and crew are Indonesian and Filipino, you might try asking if you can have what they're having. During my recent Star Pride cruise, our chef explained that there's a separate kitchen on board and a chef dedicated to preparing the crew meals. As he put it, "They don't want to eat what you're eating." Interesting . . .
  5. I'm not particularly put off by Windstar (although the fact that one of the dining room chandeliers fell into the center of a table during dinner one night had me wondering about their maintenance). Maybe it's more accurate to say I'm going to be leery of cruising in general. My next international trip will likely be land based.
  6. I was also on this cruise and, yes, I was deeply disappointed about the missed ports. We weren't disembarked a day early; we arrived in Reykjavik a day early but stayed on board that day and disembarked on schedule. To my mind, the upside of all this was that we got two more days in Iceland than originally anticipated, including a stop in Grundarfjordur and the opportunity to see the dramatic Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Our detour around the north side of Iceland also resulted in all us becoming "blue noses" once we crossed into the Arctic Circle. (I've got my certificate to prove it.) We'd already experienced very rocky seas before the itinerary was altered, and I wouldn't have wanted to sail into a severe storm. I guess it's a "glass half full" or "glass half empty" choice, as far as passengers' attitudes. I haven't felt the need to apply for any compensation. That said, I admit to mixed feelings about choosing Windstar again. The recent reports about Norwegian Cruise Lines' debacle seem to underscore that the North Sea can be wildly unpredictable.
  7. I second the recommendation for Cafe Loki. Our lunch here was delightful, even topped off with rye bread ice cream (yes, really). The view of the church is one you'll remember.
  8. I was aboard Windstar's Star Pride from August 18 to 28, with a "Lands of the Midnight Sun" itinerary. My prior experience with the Pride was in 2013, when she was still being operated by Seabourn. I had an enjoyable time on board, the only real negative being rough weather in the North Sea and several occasions of heavy swells. My impression of the ship is that she's showing her age, with plenty of nicks and dings and scratches both in the suites and in the public areas, so next year's facelift is certainly needed. I was overall happy with the facilities and maintenance, and the flaws appeared to me to be mostly cosmetic. I believe we had our full capacity of just over 200 guests. That's just about the perfect size of passenger list for me, but adding space for another 100 people won't be a deal-breaker. I was particularly impressed by the service on board. Staff and crew had a genuine eager-to-please attitude, and I felt well looked after. Seabourn will probably remain my first choice for future cruises, but I'll certainly continue to consider Windstar's offerings.
  9. True. When our captain gave us all the bad news, he brought his navigator into the main lounge with him -- and he also noted that there had been consultations with Windstar's main office in Seattle. He also provided website information so that passengers could look for themselves at the storm forecast and other weather data.
  10. Good point. Our Icelandic guides also pointed out the turning leaves as we drove around and noted that the sheep appeared to be moving down from higher elevations.
  11. Windstar took good care of us, but the weather couldn't be defeated. I'm wondering now if I waited too late in the season for this itinerary. We Pride passengers did get two additional days in Iceland for touring, one at Grundarfjordur in the west, and one more in Reykjavik, so that allowed us to see some spectacular terrain.
  12. A very enjoyable travelogue, Fishin'. I'm recently returned from the identical itinerary, on the Star Pride. Your photos replicated much of what I saw in Norway and Iceland -- but I'm envious of you, because rough seas prevented us from calling at the Shetland, Orkney and Faroe islands. We went directly to Iceland from Alesund, to the disappointment of most passengers. I'm happy that you folks were more fortunate with weather conditions. I perhaps should have booked my cruise earlier in the season.
  13. I was quite satisfied with my room's cleanliness and general layout. Plenty of closet space, a nice-sized seating area, roomy bathroom - though I didn't need a tub and would have preferred a shower enclosure. My steward did a very good job keeping things tidy and supplied. Food was well prepared, and there were plenty of choices. I had two meals in Candles, and they were very nice - though both times, we were indoors in the Veranda, as it was too wet and chilly to dine on deck. For entertainment, we had two guy-and-gal duos, and they provided pleasant, familiar tunes in the lounges. A guitarist came onboard when we were at a Norwegian port, but I was otherwise occupied and didn't hear him perform.
  14. Yes, I was aboard the Pride - and yes, we did miss all three ports. Disappointing, but we'd already had some pretty big swells on our first sea day, and many passengers were sick puppies. We went straight from Alesund to Iceland, with two full sea days. The upside was that we skirted the north coast of Iceland and crossed a bit of the Arctic Circle, so we are now all "blue noses." I think most of us felt the Windstar did the prudent thing, but it was an "ouch" to miss all three of those island ports.
  15. I had Room 137, Spanky, on the lowest passenger deck and pretty far aft. I was happy with the location. I think the ship was full or nearly so. Weather was chilly or cool most of the time, and we had lots of rainy days, so using the water platform probably wasn't an option. I didn't even see much use of the pools/hot tubs. I bought the all-inclusive package, so my drinks were included; I don't know about individual drink prices or gratuities. We had several days that were challenging because of rough seas and big swells, and I think they were dispensing plenty of Dramamine from the reception desk. I've learned that the North Sea and Norwegian Sea can be challenging at any time of the year.
  16. I've just returned from 10 days on the Star Pride and had a very enjoyable time. Rough seas and a disturbing storm forecast forced cancellation of three of our ports (Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and Faroe Islands), but most of us on board appeared to feel that the prudent decision was made. As for the ship itself, there are plenty of scratches, chips and dings visible. Overall, the Pride looks as if she could use a facelift; presumably, when the "stretch" takes place next year, some of these other issues will be addressed. My impression was that things were clean and well maintained, and I wasn't bothered by what seemed primarily to be cosmetic matters. The crew and staff were uniformly outstanding: a "can do" attitude, warm smiles and good service. Since we had some unforeseen time at sea, the entertainment started to get a little thin, but I ate well, met an interesting mix of people and saw some great scenery. I'd be happy to respond to any questions, though I'm not a veteran cruiser and can't offer expert opinions.
  17. I'm just back from 10 days on the Windstar Star Pride, on a "lands of the midnight sun" itinerary. Three of our ports (Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and Faroe Islands) were canceled due to rough seas and a disturbing storm forecast. A major disappointment, of course, but most of us on board felt Windstar was making the prudent decision. Those of us who'd booked excursions through the ship got full refunds. Several, however, had made independent plans and had serious worries about whether they'd recoup anything. It's worth keeping in mind that nothing is certain in cruise itineraries, and the captain gets the final decision.
  18. I'll be aboard, too, and will be happy to share my experiences on the Pride. I last sailed on her in 2013, before the transition from Seabourn to Windstar.
  19. No rock-climbing wall? No Andrew Lloyd-Webber knock-off show? No casino? Sounds perfect to me.
  20. I'll be looking for that waving hand on the Breeze as it departs Lerwick. Thanks for the background on the Pride. I was last on the Pride in June 2013, during what I think was its last season as a Seabourn ship. I'm looking forward to seeing and sailing on her again, now that she's part of the Windstar fleet. My only previous Windstar experience was in 2011, when I traveled on the Wind Surf between Barcelona and Lisbon - most enjoyable journey.
  21. Just pulled the trigger on the Star Pride cruise departing Copenhagen on August 18. Thanks for the comments, folks.
  22. Thanks for the encouraging response. I agree - it's the crew who can make or break the experience.
  23. I'm considering "midnight sun" itineraries offered on Star Breeze and Star Pride. I'd appreciate any thoughts from recent sailors about the condition/maintenance of these two ships. I realize they're about the same age, but the reviews I've read make it tricky to figure out if one ship is in markedly better shape than the other. I did a Baltic cruise on the Pride when she was still being operated by Seabourn, so I'm familiar with the ships' layout. It sounds as if both ships are scheduled to be "stretched" in the near future to add additional suites. Thanks in advance for any advice/opinions.
  24. This will be my third solo cruise with Seabourn. On the first two, I received an invitation to a hosted table every day. The card was generally delivered to my room the evening before, and the invitation usually identified who the host would be (one of the officers, entertainers, etc.). RSVP was requested, so I'd just phone the desk to let them know if I was accepting or passing on the invitation each time. Happy sailing!
  25. I cruise as a solo and attend most of the hosted dinners to which I'm invited. Some of my most delightful dinners have been those hosted by the ship's entertainers, whether they're the regular cast or guest performers. I admire the commitment and stamina it takes to make a career as a cruise ship entertainer - and they often have some wonderful stories to share.
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