Sunday, October 21, 2007

Windjammer woes

Earlier this month, our newspaper, The Miami Herald, reported that Windjammer Barefoot Cruises had cancelled its Oct. 14 and Oct. 21 sailings. You might remember that the cruise company had financial difficulties last summer and stranded passengers in the Caribbean.

An e-mail from reader Al LeBel says that he's booked on a Windjammer cruise in November but can't get through to the company to find out if his sailing is on.

We're following up and will post an update in this blog as soon as we get one. (It will be Monday at least.)

Meanwhile, two thoughts:

- Don't confuse Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, which operates in the Caribbean, and the Windjammer Cruises of Maine, which are individually owned historic sailing ships that operate off the Maine coast. I took one of their trips this fall, and while it wasn't a glam experience -- cabins are tiny, and the head is down the hall -- it was fun and relaxing, bringing together enjoyable people, lovely views and WAY too much good food.

- When you're making a significant downpayment or prepaying a trip, consider travel insurance. But...and this is the fine print carefully. Not all policies cover financial default. Some travel suppliers aren't covered at all. And the circumstances under which you are covered can be severly limited.

My advice: Don't buy insurance from the same company who is selling your travel. Go to a qualified travel insurance company. A great source is Insure My Trip, which sells policies by more than a dozen insurers. Along with online service, Insure My Trip has a live phone staff that can help you find the policy that best suits your needs. (Yes, I've used them, and no, I don't get any discounts.)


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