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lilli

Considering Windstar for Panama canal cruise

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My husband and I are interested in a Panama Canal cruise.  We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Disney and Celebrity but never Windstar.  We like the smaller ships and don't really care about the shows, and "bells and whistles" so thinking Windstar would be a great option.

Planning for January or February 2020 and it looks like we could choose either windstar or star pride--appreciate any thoughts on pros and cons for which ship for the panama canal and costa rica.

Appreciate any helpful advice!

Thanks!

 

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Our first Windstar Cruise was on Wind Star through the Panama Canal over Christmas 2014 and we fell in love. One of my favorite memories going through the canal was being able to walk from bow to stern and back again to watch all the parts of going through the locks. It wasn’t crowded and you could see everything. I was so happy we were on a small ship. It was truly a wonderful experience. We love Windstar and have cruised on the Wind Surf many times since that first cruise through the canal. The officers and crew are wonderful, the food is good, the accomadations comfortable and one of our favorite things is the fact that most of their cruises are port intensive which is what we like. And the sails are pretty cool to watch unfurl too!

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I would choose the WindStar. Being under sail is just so unique. The sail unfurling is very dramatic. I have done both the sailing and motor yachts and would always choose the sails first. The motor yachts are great too so you really can’t go wrong!  Hope you enjoy!

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We did the Canal transit on the Wind Spirit in 2014, her last transit before sailing off to Tahiti.  The sailing ships have better outdoor spaces and are perfect for this itinerary.  I love the motor yachts, too, for their amazing suites.

L1010434.jpeg

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Thanks for all the replies!  Love the picture too!

We like the idea of the sailing ship too--It seems like the cabins are all pretty much the same--and I saw a thread about different cabins and their noise level, etc but it didn't seem to have much rhyme or reason as far as deck and location.  

Any suggestions?

Also as far as booking--are there certain times that windstar does "sales" or big promotions?  Right now it looks like $2699 per person give or take $100

any opinions on which direction to sail? east to west or west to east?

and when is the sports platform utilized? 

Thanks again!

 

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We like both the sail ships and the motor yachts. We chose Wind Star for Panama and Costa Rica Jan 2019.

 

One reason is that we preferred the longer 10-day itinerary. It looks like they are only doing that next season in November 2019 so not a factor for Jan or Feb 2020. I also think that the Wind Star outside deck space is a bit nicer for a warm weather itinerary. 

 

They say that they will improve the motor yacht deck space in the lengthening and renovation. For Star Pride that won't have been done yet in Feb 2020. 

 

On the other hand, Star Breeze has much large cabins and the cabins have large windows or a french balcony while Wind Star cabins have only portholes. For the Alaska voyage, it was really to have room service dinner a couple of nights and enjoy the scenery going by while dining. And Star Breeze has elevators. So if you need to limit stair usage, Star Breeze would be the way to go. 

 

Windstar has a price assurance policy that allows you to take advantage of price drops that occur at least 90 days before your cruise. So generally it is best to go ahead and book if you are comfortable with the current price and then get your price adjusted if the price drops. 

 

They usually do a big sale once every quarter where they have sale prices on most cruises. When they aren't doing that, they have a 7-for-7 special where there are 7 cruises on sale for 7 days. So, once I've booked, I check the prices once a week to see if my cruise is on sale. The cruise we did in spring 2017 never had a price drop - the ship booked full without one. My ocean crossing and Alaska cruise price went down 3 times and I had it repriced both times. We originally booked our upcoming Panama and Costa Rica cruise in April when they were running a special that gave OBC on most cruises. In July, I had it repriced as it was on 7 for 7 special for about $800 less per person (but we lose the $250 cruise credit that went with the higher price). Then toward the end of August, it went down another ~$200 per person and we had it repriced again.

 

It went on sale at an even lower price recently but since it is less than 90 days, we are outside the price assurance policy (and the category we booked in says "Call for Availability" so presumably there is little or no cabin selection in that category.

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2 hours ago, lilli said:

We like the idea of the sailing ship too--It seems like the cabins are all pretty much the same--and I saw a thread about different cabins and their noise level, etc but it didn't seem to have much rhyme or reason as far as deck and location.  

Any suggestions?

 

If you are referring to the stickied thread with lists of noisy and quite cabins, I think some of the remarks may reflect noise conditions that occurred on a particular cruise and even differences in noise sensitivity of some of the commenters. 

 

There is a recent more general thread on choosing A deck vs B deck.

There is nothing like the situation on some of the big ships where one might have a cabin right under or over a loud show venue or club. You don't have to worry about early morning noise from Amphora as the Veranda is used for breakfast. I prefer to get something midship or a bit toward aft for less motion if the sea gets rough. When our knees were younger, I preferred B deck for slightly more stability and lower price. This trip, we are going with A deck to have one less flight of stairs to the open decks, restaurants and lounge.

 

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Thanks for the detail newcruiser—great info and I will check out that other post on a or b deck. 

Have you used the sports deck platform? 

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I haven't. My prior cruise on Wind Star was in the Mediterranean and either it didn't get deployed or we were busy on land and didn't use it. (That cruise was a while ago so I don't remember which it was.) I expect I'll be able to comment on it better after this cruise as Adventures in Panama and Costa Rica should provide a lot more opportunity to use it.

 

My Star Legend cruises, we were either docked or it was too cold (Alaska) or both. We used the marina area for loading zodiacs and tenders in Alaska, but the sports deck wasn't deployed. 

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We booked the 7 day cruise in April on the Star Breeze on a ‘one week sale’ plus our alumni 5% discount for $1718 each plus taxes etc. We have just been upgraded from a cabin on the lowest deck to a (french) balcony cabingmon deck six. It is our fourth Windstar cruise and first ever substantial upgrade to very happy. The current price is $1699 so has not reduced very much since then.

 

We have just been offered an ‘all inclusive package’ of prepaid gratuities, Internet, laundry and premium drinks package (which we would usually get) at a discount too, which seems good value if you usually get all these things.

 

we have also sailed on the Windstar twice, and Star Legend, and loved both. Will try and post a review after we return.

Edited by Karen13

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