our impulse travel purchase

the itinerary of Baltic Delights, our Windstar cruise

This was an impulse purchase. Here's the story of how it came to be...

Act I — an intriguing itinerary

The dream of this trip began last August (11 months ago) when a travel blogger I follow wrote about Tallinn. In his words,
Europe in general has so many charming “old towns,” though Tallinn has the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. Period. The old town is large and adorable.
Tallinn sounded so interesting. Searching Virtuoso.com, I looked for itineraries including Tallinn and found what is shown above — a Baltic cruise on Windstar, a boutique luxury cruise line. A lot of these places are on my bucket list — Copenhagen, Tallinn, and especially St. Petersburg, Russia where the cruise will dock for two full days.

The prices were reasonable for a 10-day luxury cruise, but I was hoping for travel agent rates — I've been spoiled; there were none to be had. So this cruise went on the back burner, and I forgot completely about it, until...

Act II — a compelling cruise fare appeared

Last Monday, just eight days ago, Windstar sent out an email blast with agent familiarization fares. By a stroke of luck, there was an agent's rate for the very sailing we had been looking at. I applied for the rate, but everything depended on finding...

Act III — reasonable air

When it's just one month before departure, the least expensive business class air fares buckets have usually sold out. Note: I'm not going to fly from San Francisco to Europe if I can't lie down flat and get some decent sleep on the way over. Bottom line — there's lie-flat business for about $6500 per passenger round-trip, but at that price, the trip was a no-go.

So I began searching. Could I accomplish some travel agent magic on my own behalf? Yes!!! I eventually discovered a consolidator rate to Copenhagen and back from Paris (not Stockholm) for about $2350 per passenger, round trip. I spent some Amex points for the inexpensive flight from STO to CDG ... and ended up with four bonus nights in Paris!

Act IV — so the cruise is on

Let it be known, I'm not a cruiser — at least not to this point — but Claire and I have grown more and more excited about our Windstar adventure as we've started planning our days. There are many sources for shore excursions — Windstar itself but also independent vendors like Shore Trips and Viator. We've looked into all of them, read the tour descriptions, and have become more and more...

Act V — ... excited to go!

We're actually surprised at the degree of excitement we have for this trip. After all, we travel so much. We even have an epic trip to Australia at the end of September ... but we're giddy with anticipation for this Windstar cruise.

Sometimes making an impulse travel purchase is the very thing to do. By the way, Windstar just published an Independence One Week Sale with prices as low as $1599 ... get in touch if you'd like to make your own impulsive travel purchase! 

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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