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Spanky My

Wet Landing Question

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We have several wet landings on our upcoming cruise. My question is how many folks generally are in a zodiac during a wet landing at a time ?

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Posted (edited)

I think it was 8 passengers max on our Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruise.

Edited by new_cruiser

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Tree gat sounds about right. And in terms of “wet” we’ve had some shallow landings where they take you about up in shore and you barely get wet. In at least one place in French Polynesia we were wet up to our knees. Some can be rocky. Invest in water socks. Worth every penny. 

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What is a wet landing? We're booked on the Alaska/Asia cruise next August, will we have one?

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54 minutes ago, patty1955 said:

What is a wet landing? We're booked on the Alaska/Asia cruise next August, will we have one?

Likely not. 
 

there are three types of landing. You’re moored at the dock and just walk off the ship. You’re anchored and take a ship’s tender into the dock for a dry landing. You’re taken to shore on a zodiac and you jump off and make your way to shore. There are always people to help. We’ve had these in Costa Rica and French Polynesia. From a zodiac, you usually sit on the side facing in, you spin your legs off and then scoot off. 

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3 minutes ago, milepig said:

Likely not. 
 

there are three types of landing. You’re moored at the dock and just walk off the ship. You’re anchored and take a ship’s tender into the dock for a dry landing. You’re taken to shore on a zodiac and you jump off and make your way to shore. There are always people to help. We’ve had these in Costa Rica and French Polynesia. From a zodiac, you usually sit on the side facing in, you spin your legs off and then scoot off. 

Thank you. That sounds like a lot of fun but maybe not so much in Alaska.

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As far as I know, in Alaska the zodiacs are only used for the sound tours where you exit and return to the ship with no landing. Correct?

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A wet landing is when the "port" is a beach. In many ports, you are docked (i.e. you walk off the ship down steps or a ramp to land) or tendered to a pier (a boat takes you from the ship to a pier. 

 

There aren't any Windstar wet landings in Alaska and I wouldn't expect any on the Asia part of an Alaska Asia itinerary. The Panama Canal / Costa Rica itineraries have wet landings. The overview page for the itineraries indicates that they have wet landings:

 

  • "This cruise utilizes wet landings to get you up-close to natural wonders. Zodiacs, rugged inflatable boats, deliver you directly from the ship to the beach, where you will disembark directly in the water. More information on Wet  Landings can be found HERE"

I'd expect other Windstar itineraries with wet landings to have a similar notice. 

 

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5 minutes ago, milepig said:

As far as I know, in Alaska the zodiacs are only used for the sound tours where you exit and return to the ship with no landing. Correct?

 

That and to get to kayaks for kayak tours so that the kayaking distances are kept reasonable. On the kayak tours, you transfer from the ship to the zodiac just as you do for the zodiac tours. Then you transfer from the zodiac to the kayak mid-water - the kayak is held tightly to the side of the zodiac so you can swing your legs over the side of the zodiac into the kayak and then slide into the seat. There is plenty of help doing the transfer. After kayaking, you go from the kayak to the zodiac and ride the zodiac back to the ship.

 

Windstar provides waterproof pants and gloves for the zodiac and kayak tours. 

 

Windstar doesn't do wet landings in Alaska. There are some small ship lines in Alaska, that do wet landings  (e.g. Uncruise, Alaska Dream, Linblad) but they provide waterproof boots so one can do it without getting soaked by the very cold water. 

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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.

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Thanks to all for your responses. If they only take 8 people at a time is going to take quite a while to get off the ship. If you have independent tours scheduled like we do it maybe a concern.

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20 minutes ago, Spanky My said:

Thanks to all for your responses. If they only take 8 people at a time is going to take quite a while to get off the ship. If you have independent tours scheduled like we do it maybe a concern.

 

Talk to reception or the tour desk when on board. Be clear "we're being met onshore at xxx time. Will this be an issue?

 

Obviously, the first priority for WS is to get people on ship and onto their tours - and the language in various places is clear about this.

 

But, if they know you need off they're do their best. Also, it is fairly common that there will be time to do one zodiac round before the tours begin to leave. If they know, they'll save room for you then.

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On Wind Star Adventures in Panama and Costa Rica, we didn't have a long wait to get off the ship. They run at least two zodiacs and we were moored close enough that it was a pretty short turn around time.  The exception was the beach BBQ day in Isla Parida - the itinerary says 7 AM to 6 PM which reflects the time the ship is anchored, but the first passenger tender was much later after they had transferred all the chairs, food, etc to the island. In that case, its a small island and one isn't likely to have an independent tour set up there, but it might be similar if there are other itineraries with a beach BBQ wet landing day.

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We were recently on the Legend in Mexico and Costa Rica and had a number of wet landings with the Zodiacs. They had no ore than 10 passengers on any trip, but they have 4 Zodiacs that were running all of the time. It really didn't take long to make the trip.

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Thanks Cometman for the update ! We will be on the Pride Panama/Cost Rica trip soon and we  will assume they have the same amount of zodiacs.We were concerned it may take quite a while to get off the ship as we have non windstar tours scheduled at set times.

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On 10/6/2019 at 7:44 PM, new_cruiser said:

Windstar doesn't do wet landings in Alaska. There are some small ship lines in Alaska, that do wet landings  (e.g. Uncruise, Alaska Dream, Linblad) but they provide waterproof boots so one can do it without getting soaked by the very cold water. 

 

It's usually worse for the expedition team.

EX121613B_Lisa_Kelley_Zodiacs_in_Ice_at_Port_Lockroy_12-16-2013.jpg

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On 10/29/2019 at 2:11 PM, Spanky My said:

Thanks Cometman for the update ! We will be on the Pride Panama/Cost Rica trip soon and we  will assume they have the same amount of zodiacs.We were concerned it may take quite a while to get off the ship as we have non windstar tours scheduled at set times.

At least Windstar ships don't carry a vast number of passengers. You will need to get to the lounge for transport early (not just half-an-hour before) for each of your private tours. It is true that the first Zodiacs tend to be for passengers on the very early tour departures. You can easily coordinate with the tour director aboard, and find out what special conditions apply (there will often be special conditions, like a change of mooring, an immigration delay, high swells, or something, at any given port. That's cruising!)

 

I strongly recommend that you bring your cocktail (or order one there ... ) to the Lounge for every day's Port Talk. Sure, there are boring aspects, but it is ESSENTIAL to learn everything there is to know about Windstar's particular plans in a port where you want to get off quickly. If you stay on deck to enjoy chatting with your new friends, you will be in the dark when you go to breakfast the next day. You may not even know if they extended the breakfast hours for some reason.

 

I encourage you to read the most recent Panama Canal reviews on the review section of this website.

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Spanky My: I just read our travel documents for Panama-Costa Rica. There is a picture of the Zodiac filled with people. There is a warning that you will get wet and to protect cameras, etc.They also have pictures of water shoes and basically say you must have them due to the nature of the possible landing site.

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3 hours ago, O2B@Cagain said:

Spanky My: I just read our travel documents for Panama-Costa Rica. There is a picture of the Zodiac filled with people. There is a warning that you will get wet and to protect cameras, etc.They also have pictures of water shoes and basically say you must have them due to the nature of the possible landing site.

"Will get wet" is a little strong. Of course your feet get wet in the process of landing but the rest of you might get wet. If the water is very rough or the zodiacs go at high speed you might get wet from the splashes. On our Panama-Costa Rica trip, the waves weren't high and the distance was short so the Zodiacs didn't go at a splashy high speed. My top and shorts didn't get wet. 

 

We wore water shoes, but plenty of other passengers went barefoot. The landing areas were sandy or very small pebbles, not rocky. Best is a closed water shoe or barefoot. The water shoes I brought were sandals - sometimes a lot of large sand / small pebbles washed into the sandals which isn't very comfortable.

 

On the zodiacs in Alaska, it was often raining and we also sometimes had water splashing into the boat. Of course there we were wearing water-proof pants (which Windstar provides) and waterproof jackets/shells. 

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3 hours ago, O2B@Cagain said:

Spanky My: I just read our travel documents for Panama-Costa Rica. There is a picture of the Zodiac filled with people. There is a warning that you will get wet and to protect cameras, etc.They also have pictures of water shoes and basically say you must have them due to the nature of the possible landing site.

A dry bag is a small investment that has uses beyond wet landings.

 

There were benches wherever we went to put on socks and shoes, and the cruise line provided towels.  All part of the adventure.

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I can add that at the Beach Barbecue in Costa Rica, I think they had a two-step unit in the water to assist those with the most difficulty in getting off. In general, the wet landings are at beaches that don't have a scary slope to them, so the water isn't that deep.

In the case of the Puerto Jimenez / Orchid Garden excursion, it turns out that the zodiac ride is a plus for the dolphin sightings and other marine life opportunities you may have on the way to the shore. This was more water-activity than we were promised on the excursion, so it was a pleasant surprise.

I felt that the wet landings were well-disclosed in advance and not unreasonable for a small-ship cruise line-the product we desired. I don't even like walking on the wet part of a beach when I'm ashore, but my excursion was not spoiled by the wet landings. We carry microfiber tiny towels to dry our feet, which clip to the outside of our daybags.

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