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new_cruiser

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About new_cruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sacramento, California
  • Interests
    Small ship cruising and small group tours.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Windstar

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  1. You do like to dictate what subjects are appropriate to discuss here, don't you? I checked the facts I posted on the CDC website. No one else had pointed out that there are differences between vaccines for the two diseases that might cause one to decide to get one and skip the other.
  2. The original question in this thread was about lines that collect and hold the passports. In that case, they don't have to search for them. They just have to pull them from where the purser has them stored. It should be a matter of moments and there shouldn't be any impediment to them being able to land the passports.
  3. Right. On Windstar, they normally hold passports, but for going ashore in Japan, everyone had to collect their passports from Guest Services. Once we had visited our last Japan port, they collected them again.
  4. It isn't an all or nothing decision. If you don't want to spend the money on both of them, it would make sense to get the Hep A vaccine even if you decide not to get the Typhoid vaccine. The Hep A vaccine last for life once you take the two or three required shots. Also, it is highly effective - close to 100% effectiveness. It is recommended for travel just about anywhere. Or even for eating out in the US, there have been outbreaks in the US due to transmission in a restaurant. So get it now and you are covered long term. Consider getting the combo Hep A and Hep B vaccine so you are covered for both of them. In contrast, protection from typhoid vaccination is relatively short. If you get the shot (inactive typhoid), it is good for 2 years. Oral (live vaccine) is good for 5 years. It also isn't as effective - 50 to 80%. So it gives some protection but you still should be careful about what you eat.
  5. Other lines to consider are Windstar and Star Clippers. These are small ship lines - the ships carry between 140 and 310 passengers). Windstar is premium, Star Clippers is a bit harder to characterize but close in quality. On all the Star Clippers ships and 2 of the Windstar ships, there will never be a wait for an elevator. (Okay, that's because there are no elevators 🙂 - you need to be fit enough to handle stairs on these ships. There are only 4-5 passenger decks so I find it fine.) The 4 larger Windstar ships have elevators - a lot of the passengers still use the stairs so there usually isn't much of a wait for them. These ships have plenty of uncrowded deck space, excellent food, well-traveled fellow passengers. They are missing a couple of things you mentioned. 3 of the Windstar ships have balconies, but other than a couple of very expensive suites, they are French Balconies (sliding door to an approximately 1-foot deep balcony). The other ships have no balconies, but with the deck so close by and uncrowded, I don't miss having a balcony. And they don't have a thermal spa. IIRC the Windstar "Star" ships have a sauna. For these lines as with some of the others mentioned, you might have to up your budget or shop for a sale. Windstar posts a 7-for-7 special almost every Thursday - 7 cruises on sale for 7 days. This week, there is one 7-night that is well under your budget figure and one that is slightly over. There is a 14-night Star Collector that is $2199; with port taxes $2729 so just over $200 per person per night (Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Caribbean). I'd be tempted by that one except we just did the Panama Canal on one of their other ships - it's wonderful going through the canal on a small ship. About once per quarter, they run a bigger sale. Star Collector is their term for when they package 2 (or occasionally more) b2b cruises into a single fare. Those usually have a discount from the individual cruise fares and they include free laundry. Star Clipper often has specials. Sometimes these are free air, free pre-cruise hotel or both. Sometimes it's a price discount.
  6. I disagree about Buenos Aires. Some parts of the city are worrying. Before I retired, I would go to week-long international meetings of a group several times a year. Most were in North America, Asia and Europe (moving around to areas most of our attendees come from spread the burden of travel), but we also had one in Buenos Aires. There was a board for attendees to share info about the location and experiences while there to help each other out. There were a number of reports of problems - more than we had in other cities including Chicago, Yokohama and Paris. Most were the scam where someone squirts a victim's back on the street with something that looks like bird dropping and a confederate rushes up to help clean it off so that the distracted victim's wallet can be lifted, but there was also one incident where a person was held up at gun point in a park near the meeting venue. I still walked from my hotel to the meeting venue (at least during daylight), but I was careful to be alert to my surroundings and I avoided going near the park. It is in many ways a very nice city. We had some really good meals there including an unassuming restaurant that we stumbled upon when the one we intended to visit turned out to be closed. But my experience was that crime was higher than most places we visit. Perhaps there was less distance between some nice areas and some dodgy ones than in some other cities. I would visit there as a tourist, but would exercise more caution than usual.
  7. 😊 Windstar posts 7-for-7 specials putting 7 cruises on sale for a week almost every Thursday. They also have sales covering more cruises at least once a quarter. Sometimes they have really good prices especially when bookings for a date are low. I booked our 14-day Captivating Caribbean cruise when it was on a sale last January. The price now is a lot higher than what we booked at and the price shows now sign of dropping. They have a price assurance policy that lets one take advantage of price drops up to 90 days before sailing so when I see a price I'm happy with, I book it. Sometimes it drops lower and I get a fare reduction (or extra OBC to compensate). Sometimes it doesn't.
  8. By the way, most of the stops other than Penang, Malaysia were uninhabited islands that were part of marine national parks so no medical care on them - just an island with a beach and sometimes a ranger. So while the passages may have been less than 12 hours, the only medical care at all but one of the stops was what was on the ship. https://www.starclippers.com/us-dom/search.html?view=itenary&crid=SC091119&ship=Star Clipper If there was a severe medical emergency, perhaps the ship could have diverted to somewhere on Phuket or a fast boat (maybe whatever serves as a Coast Guard there) could have picked up the passenger. Even when there is a doctor on a small ship, medical facilities on board are limited. For example, on a Windstar cruise I was on, another passenger hurt her ankle the day we were at a small island for our beach BBQ day. The next "port" (wet landing via zodiacs on a beach of a small town so not really any port facilities) we visited, the small town didn't have any X-ray machines ns so she stayed on board. (Actually, I happened to chat with a local to ask directions. She mentioned she was a doctor and i asked about X-rays. She said that if they need one, they sometimes use the one at a dentist or at a vet so there are X-ray machines, just not human general medical ones.) The next port had an X-ray machine. Turned out to be a displaced fracture and she needed surgery to set it. That's life if you prefer to get off the beaten track. Sometimes you are far from modern facilities.
  9. No - we had a stop in Malaysia. There are other itineraries such as Singapore to Thailand.
  10. On Star Clipper (140 passengers double occupancy, 70+ passengers on my sailing) in Thailand, we only had a nurse. He was one of the waiters in the restaurant and doubled as the nurse. They didn't say what his level of nursing qualification was. From my interaction with him (cleaning and re-bandaging an arm injured during an excursion the penultimate day of my cruise), I doubt that he was RN level or higher. I have read that they have a doctor when doing a crossing - something with multiple consecutive sea days.
  11. There are exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule for prescription medications. I've traveled with cough syrup under that exception (cough hanging on and causing difficulty sleeping after the cold that caused it is over). https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2014/09/05/tsa-travel-tips-traveling-medication I've seen other articles that suggest that ice packs needed to keep the medication cold would also be allowed under this exception even if they aren't totally hard, but haven't seen anything definitive on the TSA website. They page above has a number to call to ask questions so if in doubt, try that.
  12. There are a number of small cruise ships with a "water sports platform" or "marina" that opens from the back of the ship for access to playing in the sea when anchored. All the Windstar ships have them and Royal Clipper has one (the smaller Star Clippers ships don't but they take water toys to the beach on beach days. They have water toys such as kayaks, paddle boards, small sail boats, inflatable platform/raft. On tropical cruises, they often have a beach BBQ day where they take the water toys to the beach to use them there. They have to be anchored somewhere where the sea is very calm to use them - e.g. a sheltered bay and the local port authorities have to allow it. Our upcoming 14-day on Wind Surf has two port stops where they plan to deploy the platform. I've seen a picture of a small luxury ship where there is a platform coming out from the side of the ship - a rectangle with a rectangular hole in it like a pool but I think that was a concept drawing of a ship they were planning to build, not something currently deployed and I don't remember which line it was.
  13. Since the deposit is fully refundable & you can transfer the on-board reservation to another cruise, could you have booked something on board & then transferred it if the cruise you wanted was added to the schedule?
  14. Star Clippers two smaller ships have 170 passenger capacity - more than the Wind Star & Wind Spirit. Royal Clipper is 227. They do have no single supplement specials on some of their cruises - the one I took had around 70 passengers - a lot of us taking advantage of the no solo supplement. I like sailing on Wind Surf so expanding to 300 passengers doesn't make the ships too large for me. I like some of the improvements. Getting new, more efficient, faster engines is good and the fitness center can use the improvement. My main concern is for cold weather cruises especially ones with scenic cruising. Will there be enough inside viewing space. The Yacht Club can already get crowded when it's cold & people want to watch the scenery from inside. Also inside Veranda seating.
  15. Maybe only on the larger ships? They had announced last year that they were going to start doing it, but there wasn't on on our Wind Star sailing this January. We got the Welcome Home discount (5%) by booking a cruise shortly after we returned from the January cruise.
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