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Zanzibar948

NEVER AGAIN! Windstar Administration is impossible

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Despite offering wonderful cruises, it is a nightmare trying to deal with Windstar administration - and has been since our first booking 3 years ago. Their booking system was so fraught with errors that my husband swore he would never book with Windstar again....but here we are again on our 4th cruise, and unfortunately we have found it is still riddled with faults.     It is impossible to get a reply from Windstar via email - we live in Australia so phoning them, as our travel agent suggested, is impractical.

 

 The other reason we have lost faith in Windstar is their lack of research when they add new ports/new cruises to their collection. From our experiences, when they try new ports they encounter logistic issues to the detriment of the passengers.

 

Wind Spirit - Tahiti, March 2016      On this occasion their system could not set up our account which meant we were unable to book shore excursions, despite Windstar repeatedly notifying us they had fixed the IT problem.

 

Star Legend - Athens to Dubai, October 2017     This was Windstar's first cruise through Arabia for 3 years. Many logistical problems arose due to poorly organised and incorrectly advertised tours. We know these were out of the control of the Destination Manger who did a superb job dealing with them, even so we felt we had paid an expensive fare to be guinea pigs on a trial cruise. At a passenger forum the endless glitches were recorded to enable Windstar to refine the shore experiences on their future cruises. No compensation was offered by Windstar for being on their learning curve!   One port was so uninteresting the DM said "We're never coming here again!"  For this reason we decided we would never feel confident cruising with Windstar on its first voyage to new ports.

 

Wind Star - Panama and Costa Rica, 2 March 2019     When we booked this cruise we didn't realise the current program of Panama cruises included newly added ports. This concept has proved yet again to be a disaster for Windstar, and more so for its passengers as they have had to cancel one of the highlight ports - the Pearl Islands. On 29 January, Windstar wrote: "While we pride ourselves on finding new and small ports ..... we have made the decision to cancel our call there." Obviously they don't do their homework carefully enough to discern if a port is interesting and practical.

We chose this particular cruise ESPECIALLY FOR THIS NOW CANCELLED PORT, and although extremely unhappy, I totally understand Windstar's reason for the cancellation. Despite my stating this, they sent a very patronising response with repeated references to their T&Cs re itinerary changes, and totally evaded the issue of the expanded shore excursion program which they said they had set up:   

"As a result of our additional time in Balboa, we have expanded our shore excursion program"    

The ongoing problem now is that for the last 3 weeks, both our Travel Consultant and us, have sent endless emails asking Windstar to provide details regarding the new excursions. Like ourselves, most passengers will have flown into Panama City to join the cruise, so will have have no need for any more time there! So we need to see what Windstar has to offer. And we need to know NOW, as we are starting our trip in 2 weeks. WINDSTAR REFUSE TO SEND THESE DETAILS. THEY HAVE NOT ONCE REPLIED TO MY EMAILS. THEY ARE SO ARROGANT THEY WILL ONLY RESPOND WHEN MY TRAVEL COUNSELOR WRITES, and mostly they also ignore him.    

I am both annoyed, frustrated and most of all, disappointed in Windstar's total lack of custom service. Recent Wind Star reviews on Cruise Critic list several complaints regarding itinerary changes and other matters. It looks like Windstar is losing the plot! 
 

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It’s not arrogance; if you’ve booked using a travel agent, any cruise line will speak only with the agent, not directly to you.  It’s not clear to me why your TA can’t phone them; that’s their job.  Itinerary changes are frustrating, but they happen with all cruise lines.

 

There are nine excursions for Balboa (all with tour details) listed for your cruise on Windstar’s webpage.  This seems like a lot.  If you don’t see what you like, have you considered booking private tours?  I rarely book excursions through Windstar.

Edited by 6rugrats

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I agree with 6rugrats. If I was working with a TA who told ME to call a provider that’s the last time I’d use them.  That is their job, not mine. Not only that, they have a special line with better agents. 

 

You do do seem to have had run of bad luck, but all of us have had flavors of what you describe. Ports can change and we’ve missed at least one that we partially booked an itin for. We sat right outside Porto for an entire day fogged in. We almost lost money big time on a shore trip when a stop in Japan changed, but the operator refunded our money. 

 

I’m not defending Seattle, they’re hopelessly inept or overworked or both. I’ve often wondered if they’re someone seen as sales more than service and they’re somehow paid for the irons they book rather than helping post-purchase. Even when WS sent a text and emails to call them about a cancelled itin, my TA was already on it. I knew that if I also got involved it would only mess things up, so I sat back and let him deal with it. 

Edited by milepig

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Are you or your TA unable to log in to your booking under "Already Booked" to view the details of the shore excursions?

 

We've sailed with many different lines and had itinerary changes announced even upon boarding the ship and DURING the sailing itself. We just learned to roll with it if something changes. I know its disappointing, but if you have your heart absolutely set on a certain port/town/country, just fly there; even that isn't guaranteed.

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H Zanzibar,

 

We're also booked on this cruise (our first with Windstar) and, like you, we're very disappointed not to be gong to the Pearl Islands. And, like you, we haven't been impressed by the communications from Windstar. With all other cruises we have been on we have had clear joining instructions - where to go, time of embarkation, what documentation we need, luggage labels etc. We leave in less than 2 weeks for this cruse and we have nothing!! We're not impressed that the Pearl slands have been replaced by another day in Balboa and not a different port. I really hope this all improves!!

 

By the way, how are you getting from Puerto Calida back to the airport? We're investigating a transfer and would be up for sharing as most companies seem to use minibuses even if there are only 2 of you.

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1 hour ago, Mocamps said:

H Zanzibar,

 

We're also booked on this cruise (our first with Windstar) and, like you, we're very disappointed not to be gong to the Pearl Islands. And, like you, we haven't been impressed by the communications from Windstar. With all other cruises we have been on we have had clear joining instructions - where to go, time of embarkation, what documentation we need, luggage labels etc. We leave in less than 2 weeks for this cruse and we have nothing!! We're not impressed that the Pearl slands have been replaced by another day in Balboa and not a different port. I really hope this all improves!!

 

By the way, how are you getting from Puerto Calida back to the airport? We're investigating a transfer and would be up for sharing as most companies seem to use minibuses even if there are only 2 of you.

 

This has been discussed on this forum many times. You don’t get luggage labels and such so don’t stand by the mailbox waiting for them. The only documentation you need is your passport.  Exact departure information is right there on your booking paperwork which would have been emailed to you when you booked. There would have been two documents, one financial and the other detailed non-financial. This is where to look. This is also detailed in a thread. It’s in a big box in the middle if the first page. I you didn’t receive those your TA messed up. 

 

And, yes, you can book excursions online yourself. 

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I understand that we don't get luggage labels and that we SHOULD get the basic departure information with our booking confirmation. But the fact is that we DIDN'T and, according to my TA, Windstar haven't sent it! She has apparently been back in touch with them to try to obtain it. But with all other cruse companies that I've used, those who no longer send out the packs by post (and I did LOVE getting those packs in the post!!) at least have them available to download on the website. This doesn't seem to be the case here - unless I'm missing something? So we now leave in just over a week and I still don't know for certain which port in Colon I need to get to and what time embarkation starts.  I do have an idea, thanks to people on this forum, but no definite instructions. Zanzibar - can you help with this info as you'll be on the same cruise?

 

I do see the info about the expensive shore excursions!! But I just want basic stuff!!

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If you are just a week away, you and your TA should have received two emails; one with the itinerary and one that's a payment invoice

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No....just the payment invoice which I received after I paid in full. The other one is what my TA is trying to chase up

Edited by Mocamps

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On 2/16/2019 at 11:28 PM, 6rugrats said:

It’s not arrogance; if you’ve booked using a travel agent, any cruise line will speak only with the agent, not directly to you.  It’s not clear to me why your TA can’t phone them; that’s their job.  Itinerary changes are frustrating, but they happen with all cruise lines.

 

There are nine excursions for Balboa (all with tour details) listed for your cruise on Windstar’s webpage.  This seems like a lot.  If you don’t see what you like, have you considered booking private tours?  I rarely book excursions through Windstar.

 

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Correction:   You must be looking at a public page for Balboa excursions.     After we booked a tour in Balboa, there have been  NO other excursions for Balboa available to us on our My Windstar account.  A few days ago they FINALLY listed 3 new excursions - all food based, and all for the evening of our original port day.

Windstar have not provided any tours on March 5, the extra unscheduled day in Balboa.  

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On 2/17/2019 at 7:26 AM, sportsfather said:

My suggestions is to go someplace else don't like Windstar vote with your check book. I'm a big fan and just finished my third trip. Next year I will take my wife to China. It sounds like your need your hand held from start to finish. Sorry you use the forum for your personal issues. Sounds like your Windstars competition. 

 

Just go away. Never had and issue. Your looking for something. Upgrade,discount, discount on your drink package. 

 

 

 

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As for your snide and cynical remarks, I certainly do not need my hand held - I am a very experience traveller, on cruises, tours and independently.   Yes, I am using this forum for my personal experience with Windstar.  That's its purpose - and Cruise Critic told me to load my comments on the Message Board exactly in this format.    And all I am asking is for satisfactory communication from Windstar.   NO FREEBIES!

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On 2/17/2019 at 8:07 AM, minidonuts85 said:

Are you or your TA unable to log in to your booking under "Already Booked" to view the details of the shore excursions?

 

We've sailed with many different lines and had itinerary changes announced even upon boarding the ship and DURING the sailing itself. We just learned to roll with it if something changes. I know its disappointing, but if you have your heart absolutely set on a certain port/town/country, just fly there; even that isn't guaranteed.

 

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On 2/17/2019 at 8:26 AM, Mocamps said:

H Zanzibar,

 

We're also booked on this cruise (our first with Windstar) and, like you, we're very disappointed not to be gong to the Pearl Islands. And, like you, we haven't been impressed by the communications from Windstar. With all other cruises we have been on we have had clear joining instructions - where to go, time of embarkation, what documentation we need, luggage labels etc. We leave in less than 2 weeks for this cruse and we have nothing!! We're not impressed that the Pearl slands have been replaced by another day in Balboa and not a different port. I really hope this all improves!!

 

By the way, how are you getting from Puerto Calida back to the airport? We're investigating a transfer and would be up for sharing as most companies seem to use minibuses even if there are only 2 of you.

 

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Yes, this seems to be Windstar's way.   There will be 148 max passengers so it works smoothly, but like you, on our first Windstar cruise we were concerned.   

Although, as milepig says, this has been discussed on a forum, passengers should be adequately informed by the cruise company, and not need to hunt down this information.    Another example of Windstar Seattle's poor communication.

Great idea about transfer from Puerto Caldera, but we are spending another week in Costa Rica!! Thanks anyway.

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13 hours ago, Mocamps said:

I understand that we don't get luggage labels and that we SHOULD get the basic departure information with our booking confirmation. But the fact is that we DIDN'T and, according to my TA, Windstar haven't sent it! She has apparently been back in touch with them to try to obtain it. But with all other cruse companies that I've used, those who no longer send out the packs by post (and I did LOVE getting those packs in the post!!) at least have them available to download on the website. This doesn't seem to be the case here - unless I'm missing something? So we now leave in just over a week and I still don't know for certain which port in Colon I need to get to and what time embarkation starts.  I do have an idea, thanks to people on this forum, but no definite instructions. Zanzibar - can you help with this info as you'll be on the same cruise?

 

I do see the info about the expensive shore excursions!! But I just want basic stuff!!

 

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Hi Mocamps, 

Nearly everything is electronic nowadays!  We have received 3️copies of our detailed itinerary.  

   -  On January 5, Windstar Cruises Reservations emailed under the subject:

"Bon Voyage! Here are your travel documents for your upcoming Windstar Cruises trip"

This is a 6 page document, titled Detailed Itinerary Confirmation.   It includes detailed information about our booking, our booking number, cabin number, our account listing excursions booked, and T&Cs.       

   -  On January 6 our TA emailed our final cruise documents.  An exact copy of the above.

 

   -  On January 30,  Windstar Info emailed, under the subject:   

Windstar Cruises - Know Before You Go - Adventures in Panama & Costa Rica - Wind Star 03/02/2019 Sailing.

 This included heaps of useful information:   Final Checklist, Packing Checklist, Clothing, Miscellaneous, info re wet landings.

 

   -  On January 31, Windstar Cruises Reservations emailed, under the subject:  

Windstar Cruises Reservation -  (our booking number) - (our name)

This is a 3 page document with mostly the same Detailed Itinerary Confirmation as above.  

 

The Detailed Itinerary Confirmation shows:   

"PORT OF EMBARKATION as COLON 2000 HOME PORT TERMINAL

Embarkation begins at 1:00 pm.   All aboard will take place one hour before scheduled departure."

Departure from Colon is at 6:00 pm.

 

You will need your booking number in order to log on to your My Windstar account.

You might find these links helpful.......

Colon 2000 Home Port Terminal:    
For facilities at the terminal:
"Construction detracts but bargains galore at supermarket"   Visited November 2018

If you'd like to meet up on the cruise, we're in 125.   Zanzibar

 

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You can quote someone and post your answer in the same reply.

Edited by 6rugrats

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Hi Zanzibar,

 

Thank you for all that info - way more than we've had from Windstar!!  We've only had the initial confirmation and the notification of the changed itinerary.

 

At least we now know where to go and at what time! Hopefully the rest will be fairly straightforward!!

 

See you onboard. We're in 136.

 

Morag

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Go to the Windstar website.

Click on My Windstar

Enter your confirmation number and your last name

All of your cruise information is available there.

 

I have never booked a Windstar cruise through a travel agent, always directly with Windstar. I have never in 12 cruises had any issues.

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2 hours ago, Cometman said:

Go to the Windstar website.

Click on My Windstar

Enter your confirmation number and your last name

All of your cruise information is available there.

 

I have never booked a Windstar cruise through a travel agent, always directly with Windstar. I have never in 12 cruises had any issues.

 

I'm afraid not!! I've filled in all my passenger information but it's still not there!!.....just the same outline itinerary that I already have.

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11 hours ago, 6rugrats said:

You can quote someone and post your answer in the same reply.

Gotcha!  

And change font too!! 

My first time on Cruise Critic!  

Thanks.    

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5 hours ago, Cometman said:

Go to the Windstar website.

Click on My Windstar

Enter your confirmation number and your last name

All of your cruise information is available there.

 

I have never booked a Windstar cruise through a travel agent, always directly with Windstar. I have never in 12 cruises had any issues.

 

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1 hour ago, Zanzibar948 said:

Gotcha!  

And change font too!! 

My first time on Cruise Critic!  

Thanks.    

 

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