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Silversea is also doing well by its customers.  Barbara Muckermann, their Chief Marketing Officer, is doing a Q&A on Cruise Critic – and said this:  "Hopefully, by September we may not need verified shore excursions, but we will of course abide by the regulations outlined by the UK authorities. If indeed we need to offer verified shore excursions on this future voyage, they will be included in the fare."

 

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Thanks for the update on Celebrity  susisan  it good to know that passengers who are concerned with their health and safety, like us, will continue to gravitate to Windstar. 

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I see that everyone has different opinions on the shore excursion topic. Most agree that having the option of "on your own" sightseeing in each of port of call is preferable to the requirement that we purchase ship sanctioned excursions. I agree that this requirement might be driven by each island that we visit. If the island has a high COVID infection rate they might require the cruise line to insist that its passengers take a ship shore excursion. 

 

Eventually in a few months I think most cruse lines will drop the requirement. Celebrity is one of a few cruise lines that has done so.

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2 hours ago, sail2day said:

 

 

Eventually in a few months I think most cruse lines will drop the requirement. Celebrity is one of a few cruise lines that has done so.

All of the NCLH brands have dropped the ship excursion only requirement, NCL, Oceania and Regent.

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48 minutes ago, susiesan said:

All of the NCLH brands have dropped the ship excursion only requirement, NCL, Oceania and Regent.

All cruise lines will eventually drop the requirement. Windstar might end up being one of the few outliers.

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I think that booked passengers need to address the issue with the cruise line. If it is a requirement of the country that is different. 

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One possibility is that some cruise lines will create niche for themselves.  It seems that Windstar at the moment has some of the most cautious and safe protocol.  Mask, No self guided tours, testing prior to boarding, everyone is being vaccinated.  I think the market will support that and Windstar for now has some of the safest protocols and if they can attract the passengers, it could be the new Windstar. 

 

I think the rules per port, will be changable for the next year or so.  Your best bet is a single country cruise.   I for one do not like uncertainty, and I have sworn off cruising for the time being.  I'd rather be in control. 

 

 

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I'm booked on the August 26, 2021 7 Day Dreams of Tahiti. When I called to make my final payment the agent I spoke with reiterated the Mandatory Excursions Only policy. I booked my shore excursions for this cruise 5 weeks ago and was curious to see if the prices had gone up. Having just checked, I see that not one of them is available now--all sold out. As others have said, I would book your shore excursions NOW knowing that you can always cancel them later if the policy changes.

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4 hours ago, TakingFlight said:

I'm booked on the August 26, 2021 7 Day Dreams of Tahiti. When I called to make my final payment the agent I spoke with reiterated the Mandatory Excursions Only policy. I booked my shore excursions for this cruise 5 weeks ago and was curious to see if the prices had gone up. Having just checked, I see that not one of them is available now--all sold out. As others have said, I would book your shore excursions NOW knowing that you can always cancel them later if the policy changes.

Agree, and have all my ports covered in advance. Windstar can choose to keep it's policy despite what a country says or what other lines are doing. I wish you the best in Tahiti. My absolute favorite experiences of all time were had on private excursions in FP. I hope they give you something amazing. 

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59 minutes ago, FLbeachbaby said:

Agree, and have all my ports covered in advance. Windstar can choose to keep it's policy despite what a country says or what other lines are doing. I wish you the best in Tahiti. My absolute favorite experiences of all time were had on private excursions in FP. I hope they give you something amazing. 

Thank you for your kind words, FLbeachbaby. My first experience in FP was on a chartered sailboat with good friends 25 years ago. I don’t think I can top that experience. I wasn’t looking to return to Tahiti but then Windstar dropped their price by half last year and I had to jump on it. I am ready to appreciate the new and different experience of being on the Spirit and I know we will enjoy whatever this trip has to offer. So much better than being stuck at home for the last year and a half!

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When WS Cruises stated back to Tahiti in 2014 we crossed the Pacific on the Spirit and took the first cruise. One word, fabulous. For the first time we took only WS excursions and they were fabulous. The history, culture, the dolphins, swimming and snorkeling great. Perhaps the only one Bora Bora was not great because it is such a tourist mecca, going to a famous restaurant with a gift shop is not my cup of tea. Plus we thought that Bora Bora was far more beautiful from the sea than actually being on it. We were actually so grateful that we were on a small sailing ship because the  reflections of the sails and  rainbows over the  ship and islands in the lagoon was nothing but awe  inspiring. I think if we had been on a bigger ship or simply in a resort we would have missed so much and I would have been  aggravated because the lagoon is  extraordinarily beautiful. WS does it right there. The lagoon cries for the sails.  This is a place where I would not have minded ship only excursions,  in retrospect and  because first  hand knowledge they were excellent.    If you can go, go, if the WS crosses the Pacific again, go. 

Could not have been better. Happy Sailing

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18 hours ago, TakingFlight said:

I'm booked on the August 26, 2021 7 Day Dreams of Tahiti. When I called to make my final payment the agent I spoke with reiterated the Mandatory Excursions Only policy. I booked my shore excursions for this cruise 5 weeks ago and was curious to see if the prices had gone up. Having just checked, I see that not one of them is available now--all sold out. As others have said, I would book your shore excursions NOW knowing that you can always cancel them later if the policy changes.

How can you see that they are sold out when you've already booked excursions? When I buy excursions on My Windstar, the excursions I bought and any that overlap them in time disappear from the available excursions.

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1 hour ago, new_cruiser said:

How can you see that they are sold out when you've already booked excursions? When I buy excursions on My Windstar, the excursions I bought and any that overlap them in time disappear from the available excursions.

It’s been awhile but I think that My Windstar will show me all excursions that are available to book. I’m open to correction if that is not other’s experience.

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4 hours ago, TakingFlight said:

It’s been awhile but I think that My Windstar will show me all excursions that are available to book. I’m open to correction if that is not other’s experience.

That's not my experience. 

For our Fall cruise, there was one Windstar excursion that I knew we wanted take even before we booked the cruise - an overnight trip from Port Said to Cairo and the pyramids. So, as soon as the booking was live on My Windstar, I purchased that excursion and then went back to the purchase shore excursions page to start browsing what was available for the other ports. All the Port Said excursions were gone from the listing - they would all have conflicted with the one we already bought.

 

Last week I went to purchase the other excursions for the cruise in case the Windstar policy doesn't change. Since it is an 18-day cruise, I selected the excursions for about half the ports than reviewed the list and made the purchase as it seemed easier to review it carefully in segments. When I went back to the purchase shore excursions page to choose the next set, all the ports for which I'd already purchased excursions were gone. All the excursions for 5 ports didn't sell out in the few minutes between purchasing excursions and going back to review the page.

 

Usually I've only purchased shore excursions for one or two ports in advance and I recall the same behavior. We do our own thing or independent excursions in a lot of ports. 

 

Furthermore, there is an excursion that I tried to purchase but the purchase wouldn't go through. I called Windstar and the agent said that it is wait-listed. The excursion still shows up on the purchase shore excursions page so apparently being sold out doesn't necessarily make it disappear.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/20/2021 at 9:31 AM, sail2day said:

All cruise lines will eventually drop the requirement. Windstar might end up being one of the few outliers.

I sincerely hope that Windstar does drop the requirement. Even though I've purchased Windstar excursions in case they don't drop the policy and we still decide to take the cruise, I'm also considering cancelling the cruise if they don't drop or loosen the policy. I don't think that the policy provides meaningful protection against the virus yet it significantly restricts passengers.

 

There are 5 port days (out of 15) where we aren't able/willing to book an excursion: 

Limassol has only one excursion and it is currently wait-list

2nd day in Haifa only has the private car/van excursions and

Ashdod (Jerusalem) has no excursions that interest us - they either go to places we've been too before and aren't interested in revisiting or go to sites that don't interest us. 

Athens (turn-around day in the middle of our Cruise Collector) only has excursions for departing passengers with drop off at airport or hotel.

Messina - no excursions listed 

 

The Windstar agent did say that there may be some more excursions added as the cruise gets closer but at least at this point, Windstar has some ports with little or no excursions to choose from on this cruise. 

Edited by new_cruiser
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36 minutes ago, new_cruiser said:

 

 

When I went back to the purchase shore excursions page to choose the next set, all the ports for which I'd already purchased excursions were gone. All the excursions for 5 ports didn't sell out in the few minutes between purchasing excursions and going back to review the page.

 

I remembered that I'd printed a list of the available shore excursions for our Tahiti trip back in April. I compared the list to what is available to me to purchase today. I purchased an excursion for Bora Bora for 8/31. I had 6 to choose from. Today there is one I could select and this one excursion conflicts with the excursion I already purchased. Seems weird, guess I won't know till I get on the ship if the excursions are truly sold out.

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Well here's an interesting one...I noticed one of my excursions was listed for less than I paid. I was "encouraged" to book early since we could only take their trips. WS says the price listed online (that I sent a screen shot of) was a mistake and would not give me a credit. I guess I could call and cancel my excursion then re-book ?? Seems like a waste of my time...Gosh I hope the Captain has a map because the shoreside team is just in la la land. And I mean this from multiple inquiries about various things. 

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One of the main excursions we want to take for our Tahiti cruise next may (Coral Gardens Drift Snorkel at Taha'a) is already sold out a year in advance except for 1 slot. We've been put on a waitlist. I sure hope they add some capacity.

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Posted (edited)

@Zukini

You sure got my attention with that one! So I checked for the two dates we'll be on Motu Mahaea for the Coral Gardens tour for  Aug 4,2022 Twice the Tahiti and scary. I booked each date but when ready to pay the page went blank- returned to the itinerary and both dates had disappeared. Will call WS tomorrow and see what gives as I know several other people here are on the same cruise or part of it.

Thanks for sharing the info.

We loved the WS tour and prefer it to others who give the same tour.  But if you'd like a few names of other providers happy to share them.

***Well, update. Got email confirmation that we are booked on both dates now- which is fine as it's worth it.

 

Edited by Petoonya
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I finally "caved in" and purchased the shore excursions for my Caribbean cruise. Let's see if Windstar drops the requirement before July 3rd. This is a revenue maker for the cruise line so I don't think things will change any time soon.

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I asked about the beach barbecue and I was told that it was up to the Capitan but it's usually on the longest day/overnight in port. I thinking it will be in Virgin Gorda. 

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35 minutes ago, adomatic said:

I asked about the beach barbecue and I was told that it was up to the Capitan but it's usually on the longest day/overnight in port. I thinking it will be in Virgin Gorda. 

Thanks for the info!

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2 hours ago, adomatic said:

I asked about the beach barbecue and I was told that it was up to the Capitan but it's usually on the longest day/overnight in port. I thinking it will be in Virgin Gorda. 

I think the person who gave you that answer may have been confused. It's the deck barbecue that's usually on the longest day/overnight in port. That's because it is nice to be anchored in the evening during the deck bbq though they may sometimes do it while sailing. The beach bbq has to be at a port where there is a beach near the ship that works for it so it's based more on whether the local facilities work for it. 

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1 hour ago, new_cruiser said:

I think the person who gave you that answer may have been confused. It's the deck barbecue that's usually on the longest day/overnight in port. That's because it is nice to be anchored in the evening during the deck bbq though they may sometimes do it while sailing. The beach bbq has to be at a port where there is a beach near the ship that works for it so it's based more on whether the local facilities work for it. 

I thought so and I said that to the representative, but they weren't getting it. I guess I'll find out onboard. I booked excursions for all but 2 days so unless it's the first day, I can cancel. The beach BBQ is a great day. 

 

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