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milepig

Alaska- one year out - all excursions booked!!

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We’re booked in June 2020 just under a year out. I was looking for something else when I stumbled into the shore excursions tab. There was only one scraggly one there. Thinking they just weren’t posted yet (although I’d seen them before) I called WS and the agent said they were all FULL. A YEAR out. 

 

Ive got a call in to my TA so see what’s up but I think we’ll cancel and demand a full refund. The agent said we could waitlist on board, but I’m not going to embark on a many thousand dollar bucket list trip and then find ourselves stuck on board for 12 days while everyone else is out on zodiacs. Kayaks etc. I’m just glad I hadn’t prepaid any other parts of the trip yet. 

 

My best guess is that they have a large tour group that booked them all?  

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1 hour ago, milepig said:

We’re booked in June 2020 just under a year out. I was looking for something else when I stumbled into the shore excursions tab. There was only one scraggly one there. Thinking they just weren’t posted yet (although I’d seen them before) I called WS and the agent said they were all FULL. A YEAR out. 

 

Ive got a call in to my TA so see what’s up but I think we’ll cancel and demand a full refund. The agent said we could waitlist on board, but I’m not going to embark on a many thousand dollar bucket list trip and then find ourselves stuck on board for 12 days while everyone else is out on zodiacs. Kayaks etc. I’m just glad I hadn’t prepaid any other parts of the trip yet. 

 

My best guess is that they have a large tour group that booked them all?  

That is bizarre!  Yes, it could be a group booking.

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6 hours ago, milepig said:

We’re booked in June 2020 just under a year out. I was looking for something else when I stumbled into the shore excursions tab. There was only one scraggly one there. Thinking they just weren’t posted yet (although I’d seen them before) I called WS and the agent said they were all FULL. A YEAR out. 

 

Ive got a call in to my TA so see what’s up but I think we’ll cancel and demand a full refund. The agent said we could waitlist on board, but I’m not going to embark on a many thousand dollar bucket list trip and then find ourselves stuck on board for 12 days while everyone else is out on zodiacs. Kayaks etc. I’m just glad I hadn’t prepaid any other parts of the trip yet. 

 

My best guess is that they have a large tour group that booked them all?  

Awwww. Hate to see you cancel a bucket list cruise- unless it is a large group and that turns you off....

Why not just check out the best of the best independent tours for each port on Tripadvisor? You'll probably get superior tours as well as better price.

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6 hours ago, Petoonya said:

Awwww. Hate to see you cancel a bucket list cruise- unless it is a large group and that turns you off....

Why not just check out the best of the best independent tours for each port on Tripadvisor? You'll probably get superior tours as well as better price.

 

The problem, as I understand it, is that in many of the days there is no port. You cruise around a bay, get out on zodiacs it kayaks and paddle around. Really hard to tell, since absent the port specific excursion list there’s no way to tell what we’re missing. I’m not sure they even tender to shore on all those stops?

 

Am I not correct?

 

this is one of the lengthened ships and I’m now wondering if WS didn’t increase the excursion capacity. I wouldn’t be suspended, as end to end planning has never been their forte. But still. A year out and full??

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Can someone detail what this means:

 

1:00 PM
7:00 PM
 
Does this mean that the ship is cruising and there is no shore access?  This is my concern. 4 of our days are "cruising" and with all the tours off the ship gone, that's a lot of days of nothingness, unless there is also shore access. Add another "at sea" day, and we're at half the trip.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, milepig said:

Can someone detail what this means:

 

1:00 PM
7:00 PM
 
Does this mean that the ship is cruising and there is no shore access?  This is my concern. 4 of our days are "cruising" and with all the tours off the ship gone, that's a lot of days of nothingness, unless there is also shore access. Add another "at sea" day, and we're at half the trip.

Scenic cruising is beautiful.  It is just that, moving very slowly through the straits and passages. The excursion guides were on deck quite often pointing out animals and birds but it's easy to spot them with binoculars or naked eye. Gorgeous days. There are also points of interest along the way and the loud speakers come on with narration.  There are no shore excursions on cruising days. This was the trip of a lifetime for us and several people we met on our land excursion are doing it again this year. It is a different vibe and different activity level than Europe or the islands.  

Edited by sb44
typo

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, milepig said:

Can someone detail what this means:

 

1:00 PM
7:00 PM
 
Does this mean that the ship is cruising and there is no shore access?  This is my concern. 4 of our days are "cruising" and with all the tours off the ship gone, that's a lot of days of nothingness, unless there is also shore access. Add another "at sea" day, and we're at half the trip.

As SB44 says scenic cruising of Hubbard Glacier is one of the most glorious experiences of a lifetime. Much of Alaska is scenic cruising. Sure hope your agent can give you more info about booking shore excursions. If it is a group I'd expect more excursions to be added. What other ports does this cruise visit? I'm guessing Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka at least. But don't be put off by the "scenic cruising" aspect as it shows you part of what Alaska is all about.

 

In Juneau a couple years ago we did Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching humpbacks with Alaska Tales. Wonderful. Sadly seeing the glacier 25 years ago (even then it was starting to retreat) and now is devastating. The retreat was unbelievable- really makes you want to do something more for our kids and the environment. It was a great day for whale watching- this was on Oceania and I think we saw much more than those booking same tour onboard. Hope you don't give up on this cruise. You may regret 😞

Edited by Petoonya

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17 minutes ago, Petoonya said:

As SB44 says scenic cruising of Hubbard Glacier is one of the most glorious experiences of a lifetime. Much of Alaska is scenic cruising. Sure hope your agent can give you more info about booking shore excursions. If it is a group I'd expect more excursions to be added. What other ports does this cruise visit? I'm guessing Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka at least. But don't be put off by the "scenic cruising" aspect as it shows you part of what Alaska is all about.

 

In Juneau a couple years ago we did Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching humpbacks with Alaska Tales. Wonderful. Sadly seeing the glacier 25 years ago (even then it was starting to retreat) and now is devastating. The retreat was unbelievable- really makes you want to do something more for our kids and the environment. It was a great day for whale watching- this was on Oceania and I think we saw much more than those booking same tour onboard. Hope you don't give up on this cruise. You may regret 😞

 

Thanks all.

 

Actually, none of the ports you list above except Juneau. (and Hubbard glacier, mentioned by SB44

 

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Posted (edited)

Milepig,  what's your itinerary? Several stops on ours there were lots of options besides the WS ones in case they don't open more excursions which I find hard to believe. We did some very expensive flight seeing and you may or may not be comfortable in the small planes. If you like them there are plenty available. Icy Straight we did a private whale watching that was great;small boat. Lots of people did the zip line which was of no interest to us. We do not get sea sick so non issue on the private boat. The larger ports like Ketchikan lots to do. Wrangell we wandered, ate local, met locals. Sitka had loads of cabs, we found a driver and toured with him. The little native Island had nothing but a native dance group so we just wandered and went back to the ship 

 The zodiacs were the highlight for us and a flight to Taku lodge. Your TA should be able to find out if it's booked to a large group.

Edited by sb44
typo

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12 minutes ago, milepig said:

Ketchikan and Sitka were on the original itin, but scrubbed due to "port congestion."

I'm unfamiliar with the ports you mention other than Sitka and Icy Straight Point. But have cruised College Fjord, Tracy Arm and Hubbard. I'd really hanker for this itinerary.

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Just now, sb44 said:

Milepig,  what's your itinerary? Several stops on ours there were lots of options besides the WS ones in case they don't open more excursions which I find hard to believe. We did some very expensive flight seeing and you may or may not be comfortable in the small planes. If you like them there are plenty available. Icy Straight we did a private whale watching that was great;small boat. Lots of people did the zip line which was of no interest to us. We do not get sea sick so non issue on the private boat. The larger ports like Ketchikan lots to do. Wrangell and Hoonah we wandered, ate local, met locals. Sitka had loads of cabs, we found a driver and toured with him. The little native Island had nothing but a native dance group so we just wandered and went back to the ship 

 The zodiacs were the highlight for us and a flight to Taku lodge. Your TA should be able to find out if it's booked to a large group.

 

Thanks.I think our postings crossed.  The itinerary is posted above, of the ports you list we are not going to Ketchikan or Sitka or Hoonah.

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15 minutes ago, milepig said:

 

Thanks.I think our postings crossed.  The itinerary is posted above, of the ports you list we are not going to Ketchikan or Sitka or Hoonah.

Hoonah is Icy Strait Point, which is on the itinerary you provided.  We had an amazing whale watch in Icy Strait that included bubble feeding right next to our boat.

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Actually Hoonah is the town where Icy Straight is located.  It's a hike from the place where the ship docks but there are shuttle buses. It's just a tiny little town that we got to see because of our whale watching tour. Their boat was in a marina in Hoonah. Ketchikan is a very commercial large ship port where Walmart runs shuttles to their store which we thought was hysterical.  We did a fishing excursion there and the fish was cooked for us in a restaurant but other than that,  it's Nassau north! You're not missing much! Prince Rupert we did a flight over the rivers, mountains,  etc. It was a gorgeous aerial view. 

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19 minutes ago, ridethetide said:

Hoonah is Icy Strait Point, which is on the itinerary you provided.  We had an amazing whale watch in Icy Strait that included bubble feeding right next to our boat.

 

Thanks for the clarification. I'd missed that one.

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I just returned from a 12-day itinerary on the Star Legend from Seward to Vancouver.  It was the second year we did an Alaskan Star Legend cruise, and this one was even better than last year's.  The three kayaking excursions I did with the Expedition Team contributed enormously to my overall enjoyment of the cruise.  We were actually thinking about going back again next year to do this new itinerary. However, if there are no kayaking excursions available in 2020, we will not consider this.  I will ask my TA to look into this.  It appears this itinerary is offered twice in 2020.

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You can book independent tours. There are many tour guides available online. They are often less expensive and have smaller groups. I would question Windstar if there is a big group booked on your cruise. That may be why the tours are full. If a big group is on the ship, you might want to rebook another sailing. I love Windstar. However, on one cruise there was a large group. Not my favorite cruise. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Redtravel said:

You can book independent tours. There are many tour guides available online. They are often less expensive and have smaller groups. I would question Windstar if there is a big group booked on your cruise. That may be why the tours are full. If a big group is on the ship, you might want to rebook another sailing. I love Windstar. However, on one cruise there was a large group. Not my favorite cruise. 

 

On the cruising days I don’t think independent excursions are an option? Do they pick you up when the ship is underway?

 

I still have no satisfactory answer from WS about where all the excursions went, and suspect a big group is the issue. 

Edited by milepig

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12 hours ago, milepig said:

 

On the cruising days I don’t think independent excursions are an option? Do they pick you up when the ship is underway?

 

I still have no satisfactory answer from WS about where all the excursions went, and suspect a big group is the issue. 

Independent excursions are not an option on cruising days.

One of the Expedition Team members told me last week that the excursions are still being developed for the new itinerary. Are you certain that they are booked?  Maybe they have not yet been posted.   

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16 hours ago, Redtravel said:

You can book independent tours. There are many tour guides available online. They are often less expensive and have smaller groups. I would question Windstar if there is a big group booked on your cruise. That may be why the tours are full. If a big group is on the ship, you might want to rebook another sailing. I love Windstar. However, on one cruise there was a large group. Not my favorite cruise. 

Windstar will not inform you if a group has booked so there is no way to know until you embark.  Independent tours cannot be booked for cruising days.

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53 minutes ago, ridethetide said:

Independent excursions are not an option on cruising days.

One of the Expedition Team members told me last week that the excursions are still being developed for the new itinerary. Are you certain that they are booked?  Maybe they have not yet been posted.   

 

The cruising days haven’t changed and all but one have no options listed. They also told me that they “may” add yours for some of the non-cruise days. Meanwhile I’m looking for options. 

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Windstar should tell you if there is a large group booked on a specific sailing. If not, you can find out on the web. Do a google search with dates and name of the ship. I always do it. Charter groups that are selling tours or a big block of cruise cabins often have a flyer or brochure detailing the trip. Windstar and many other cruise lines sell out to affinity groups and land tour companies.  When I was on the Star Legend along with 80+ Tauck tour group, we were not shut out of excursions. Tauck had their own private tours. They did not mix on the ship tours. 

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On 7/1/2019 at 3:22 PM, milepig said:

We’re booked in June 2020 just under a year out. I was looking for something else when I stumbled into the shore excursions tab. There was only one scraggly one there. Thinking they just weren’t posted yet (although I’d seen them before) I called WS and the agent said they were all FULL. A YEAR out.

 

Milepig just as an alternative....I'm also an Oceania enthusiast. I'm doing a 14 day Seattle-Seattle on Regatta next June.

 

Ketchikan

Icy Point Straight

Cruise Hubbard Glacier

Cruise Glaciers of College Fjord

Seward

Kodiak

Juneau

Sitka

Wrangell

Inside passage

Victoria

 

The excursions are wide open. Regatta is a 650 passenger ship and has some nice prices for this sailing. We'll be doing Regatta just a month before PPT-HNL-LAX.  Just a thought.

Nancy

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4 hours ago, Petoonya said:

 

Milepig just as an alternative....I'm also an Oceania enthusiast. I'm doing a 14 day Seattle-Seattle on Regatta next June.

 

Ketchikan

Icy Point Straight

Cruise Hubbard Glacier

Cruise Glaciers of College Fjord

Seward

Kodiak

Juneau

Sitka

Wrangell

Inside passage

Victoria

 

The excursions are wide open. Regatta is a 650 passenger ship and has some nice prices for this sailing. We'll be doing Regatta just a month before PPT-HNL-LAX.  Just a thought.

Nancy

 

Temping, but I’d lose my deposit. 

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8 minutes ago, milepig said:

 

Temping, but I’d lose my deposit. 

I'm confused. I thought there was just a $50pp cancellation fee up to 121 days prior to sailing. You'd lose your deposit?

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2 minutes ago, Petoonya said:

I'm confused. I thought there was just a $50pp cancellation fee up to 121 days prior to sailing. You'd lose your deposit?

 

You may be a right. I’ve never actually canceled. 

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