4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Celebrating 40th. Had a great time - super cruise. Very well taken care of every step of the way. Had about 100 guests on board (max is 148). Very easy to meet folks - lot of really nice people. This size vessel was terrific for us. We ... Read More
Celebrating 40th. Had a great time - super cruise. Very well taken care of every step of the way. Had about 100 guests on board (max is 148). Very easy to meet folks - lot of really nice people. This size vessel was terrific for us. We will use WindStar again - maybe different location although French Polynesia is magical. Some specific thoughts: ATM in towns - very easy to use - have option of directions in French or English. Only problem - when I asked for 15,000 French Polynesian Francs (about $170 or so) I got one 10,000 (about $110) franc bill and one 5,000 (about $55) franc bill - no smaller bills. Not easy to use in local vendor markets. Beverage package on board. We didn't use it (had used it on a previous cruise) and it worked out well for us. Beer on board started at about $8 (after tax and service charge added in) for Hinano (local beer) or Stella (I think) and went slightly up from there. Mixed drinks and wine started at $9.50 or $10. I had three tropical rum drinks - two were way too sweet/syrupy and one tasted like pure alcohol - but the beer was good. Sails - if you are looking for a "sailing" voyage, this is not it. Sails are just for show (IMO) - they may add a knot or two to speed, or save some fuel, but they are really there just to look at - and they do present a very romantic, attractive look for the vessel. Entertainment in lounge before and after dinner. Roxanne and Reb - duo - covered a lot a popular, fun songs. Really enjoyable. Really nice voices. Some dancing by guests. Ask Roxanne (from Quebec ?) to do the Edith Piaff song on their playlist - I thought she did a phenomenal job - and I didn't even understand the words as I don't speak French. Reb does great James Taylor. Took shore excursions most days. "Full island tour with Belvedere lookout" in Moorea and "Sacred sites and Cultural Walk" in Huahine were both super, primarily because of the quality of the guides - funny, knowledgeable, very personable. On both of these, particularly Huahine, you might consider bug spray as you spend some time near or in lots of vegetation (if there is a mosquito/other bug flying around, it will find me, but I got no bites). US Customs Global Entry Program. Wow. On returning to the U.S., we landed at LAX Saturday morning with a zillion other people coming in from China, Japan, Australia, who knows. At Immigration we walked directly up to one of about 8 to 10 empty kiosks (bypassing several hundred people standing in lines), scanned our passports, fingerprints, took a photo, and got a ticket, presented it to the Immigration Officer (all in about two minutes), and went on through to Customs. We then got our bags and went to a Global Entry line for Customs that had one person in front of us. We waited about a minute, maybe less, walked up to the Customs agent, and we were through. It was amazing. Highly recommend the Global Entry Program. Final thought - probably the best vacation my wife and I have ever had - due primarily to the location, the cruise line, and being with my wife. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Just came off the Windspirit. My 3rd windstar cruise. It was an amazing week, but I will offer one caveat. The cruise is designed to allow you to snorkel or scuba in some of the most beautiful waters. If however you are not into water ... Read More
Just came off the Windspirit. My 3rd windstar cruise. It was an amazing week, but I will offer one caveat. The cruise is designed to allow you to snorkel or scuba in some of the most beautiful waters. If however you are not into water sports it may not be the right destination. The ship is amazing but unlike many other destinations, this is not a "sight seeing" or "all day excursions" trips. We did many, but most were over by 1 pm. That left us with most of the day to entertain ourselves. Unlike the big ships, there is just not a lot to on board and the ports of call are limited in things to do. We started the trip with 2 days at the moorea hilton. That was great, but after 2 days, there was not much else to do there. Then, your first stop on the cruise is a day at moorea. Again, unless you enjoy water activities, not much to do. I would not do horseback riding. That was very disappointing The only other negative I could say is that the seas were rough and we had a tough time sleeping due to the rough sea....but I can't blame the cruise line for that To write all the positives would take me days to finish. The trip is as fun, elegant, romantic and relaxing as could be. The staff could not do a thing more for us. Every single waiter bartender , server, cabin attendant we met knew are name, favorite drink, where we were from etc. it was so enjoyable After dinner we would enjoy drinks at the pool bar and then end up in the lounge. The duo there, "souljorn" provided great nightly music fun and two nights of trivia games. The last night we got to dance while the boat pitched and yawed. Gave dancing a whole new meaning The cabins are small but amazingly functional. Food was plentiful, tasty and we managed to eat healthy... We did the alcohol package and what a great idea. My glass was never empty and the quality served was top notch Also would suggest the laundry package for a $100 you get great laundry service After a few days, we had made many new friends, and left with lots of email addresses to plan our next vacation with new friends we made So to recap A great trip, great value and just fun But...if you are not a scuba or snorkeling person, you may get bored...consider the same cruise line, but more of a sight seeing trip like Greece and Turkey The staff was amazing and I can't wait to plan my next cruise with them Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
Wind Spirit Cruise in Tahiti - week of June 20th We are a snorkeling couple in our early sixties, with 35 cruises under our belts (or because of overindulging on cruise food, maybe I should say over our belts), including seven on ... Read More
Wind Spirit Cruise in Tahiti - week of June 20th We are a snorkeling couple in our early sixties, with 35 cruises under our belts (or because of overindulging on cruise food, maybe I should say over our belts), including seven on Windstar, all but one of those being on Wind Spirit in the Caribbean. We took a late night flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles on Wednesday night. We stayed at a nearby airport hotel, which promptly picked us up with their shuttle that night, and took us back to LAX the next morning. The car traffic trying to get to the departing flights level was unreal. Later a woman we were talking to told us our hotel was in a dangerous neighborhood (which explained the modest room rate) but since we only slept there, we were oblivious to all that. When we got to the airport, there was an awful ruckus of noise coming from a hundred or so airport workers who were on strike. They continually blew ear-piercing whistles along with their chanting. We got to the Air Tahiti Nui counter four hours before our flight and there was already a line of people waiting. Air Tahiti Nui opened their counter an hour later. We got our boarding passes and started the trek to the assigned gate. It turned out our gate was only a gate to get on a bus, which took us to another gate where the plane was actually located. The eight hour flight to Papeete was long but uneventful, and the plane looked to be only half full. It was a wide-body Airbus, so every few hours we got up and walked around a bit. Two meals were served, neither very memorable. After we landed late on Thursday night, picked up our luggage, and went through customs, Windstar staff met us. They took us in a bus to the Meridien Hotel, where we got our room assignment. When we got to our room it took us several minutes to figure out how to turn on the lights. We finally realized you had to put the room key in a slot behind the front door light switch. We thought they could have told us that when we checked in. The next morning (Friday) we had a nice breakfast and saw how beautiful the hotel and its location were. Then we got back on the bus to get to the ship. After checking aboard in the lounge and getting our room keys/boarding passes, we got to our cabin, and headed upstairs to have some lunch. The lobby and dining room on the Wind Spirit have been redone and are beautiful. They have not refurbished the cabins yet, but I believe that will be done soon. There's still a small library on board as well as a signature gift shop. The library has a couple of Internet terminals. I would not advise anyone to purchase the Internet package, because the speeds at sea are so slow. (If you must get on the Internet, most of the islands have at least one cafe that has Internet access.) The library also has a collection of movies on DVD which you can watch on TV in your cabin. The only one we borrowed was "Hitchcock," which was pretty good. There a several channels on the cabin TV, one of which kept showing the different movie versions of "Mutiny on the Bounty." Every evening on the yacht (which is how Windstar wants us to refer to their ships) a duo named Souljorn performed in the lounge, followed by a short talk by Steve, the destination manager, on the port and activities coming up the next day, which was then followed by dinner. Steve said the weather during our week's cruise was the best since they started sailing this itinerary in Tahiti in May. Dinner is open seating. Some nights we got to join other people, but most nights we were seated at a table for two. Every meal on the ship was excellent, as were the waitstaff, especially Kris and Jati. My only complaint was that at lunch and dinner, sometimes there was quite a wait to get your water glass refilled. Breakfast and lunch are buffets, but you can also order a few dishes from a menu on the table. The first port was Moorea, a beautiful island. We did the stingray and snorkel safari. For those people in our group who had never experienced a stingray encounter before (like the well-known one off Grand Cayman), there was quite a bit of trepidation and some screaming from a few of the ladies. Because the tour guides feed the stingrays, the rays are quite accommodating to being held, stroked, and picked up. There were also some black tip reef sharks swimming around, which were also fed, and thus quite safe. After this, we went to an area nearby for some nice snorkeling. It was pointed out to us that the latest remake of "Mutiny on the Bounty" - the one starring Mel Gibson," was largely filmed on Moorea. When we were departing, we sailed past a very picturesque view of its mountains, and then when we returned to our cabin to get ready for dinner, I turned on the TV, and that very minute, the same view of Moorea came on during the movie. That evening we were one of three couples invited to have dinner at the captain's table. One of the women at the table said she had been on 27 Windstar cruises! Captain Griffiths was very good company, very down to earth, and witty. We had a great time. Second port was Tahaa. We did the drift snorkel, but because the water levels were low, they was no drifting involved. You had to propel yourself with your fins. The coral gardens were beautiful, as were the fish. We snorkeled through the coral gardens twice. The tour guides, especially Vai, were very friendly, and also took us to a spot where we got our first look at the distant peaks of Bora Bora. She had earlier showed us how to squeeze together leaves from a local bush to produce a soapy liquid that was a perfect defogger for our snorkel masks. Later that afternoon, Wind Star had set up lunch and water sports on a nearby motu. Motus are the many islets that are part of the barrier reefs encircling many of the Tahitian islands. After we left port, we had a nice sail up the coast, and witnessed a beautiful sunset (but no green flash). Third stop was Raiatea. This was the only island where our yacht actually docked. On the other islands we took tender boats to the shore. We did the pearl farm excursion. They take you by van to an area of the lagoon where one of the pearl farms is located, and then by boat to the small workshop and boutique on stilts in the middle of the lagoon. The lady who explained the whole black pearl making process was named Summer, and was very nice. One of her technicians showed us the surgical process of implanting the genetic material and seed into the oysters. It takes two years for the pearl to grow, and they can sometimes use the same oyster up to four times, producing a bigger pearl each time, although fourth generation very large pearls are unusual. We bought a nice pearl necklace there and then did a little snorkeling in the lagoon. The water had gotten somewhat choppy, but we got a cool look at the strings of cultured oysters hanging down underwater in the lagoon. In the evening, Wind Spirit had an ondeck, outdoor barbeque around the "pool." It included suckling pig, shrimp, lobster tails, lamb, and lots of decadent desserts. The only downer was that after we had sat down at a table, had our water glasses filled, and unfolded our napkins and took out our silverware, while we were standing in line to get our food, some other passengers decided to take our table away. We thought that was pretty low (certainly not what I expected from passengers on a Wind Star cruise) but we eventually found another place to sit. Let me add that everyone else on the cruise was very polite and friendly. The fourth day was the first of two in Bora Bora. It deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The lush green island with two towering volcanic peaks is also surrounded by a barrier reef with many motus, and the different shades of blue and turquoise water in the shallow lagoon are amazing. The first day we chose to do the 4x4 off-road adventure. There were six of us plus Mario, the driver and guide, who was a joy. The vehicle was a modified Land Rover. We sat in the back on benches on both sides. Part of the tour was on the paved road around Bora Bora, but three times Mario took us on extremely bumpy (and sometimes muddy) trails up the mountains. The first stop included a couple of the big guns the USA installed during World War Two. The second stop overlooking the shallow lagoon, with its different shades of blue water, was breathtaking. Just like a scene on a postcard. The third and last trip up the mountain, the vehicle broke down. Mario backed down the trail, told us to wait a few minutes, and then drove up with another vehicle! On the way back to our tender, We also made quick stops at a beautiful beach, and the famous "Bloody Mary's" bar and restaurant. That afternoon Wind Spirit gave its guests the opportunity to circle around the yacht (in a Zodiac) while its sails were up so we could get pictures of the ship in its glory. We had to wait an extra 30 minutes because so many people wanted to do this, and the boat only held about 12 people at a time. But It was well worth the wait for the unique views of the yacht with the sails up. Late that evening we noticed three small boats, each containing one man, circling around quite close to our first floor porthole. It was kind of creepy. We came to the conclusion they were local fisherman taking advantage of the ship's lights on the water, which probably were attracting the fish or squid they were fishing for. I know it was French Polynesia, but as far as ship security goes, we were surprised in this day and age that the boats were permitted to come so close to our ship. The second day in Bora Bora we did their stingray/black tip reef shark encounter, followed snorkeling in the coral gardens. The snorkeling was great, and the corals were beautiful. In the afternoon we went back into town to buy some postcards, and then I finally gave in and visited an Internet cafe after being off the grid for seven days. A short walk from the pier to your left is a little shopping mall that contains Cafe Aloha which gives you Internet access with your purchase of food or drink. In the evening a catamaran took us to Motu Tapu for the special Windstar ahima'a (like a luau in Hawaii). After they removed the pig from the underground earth oven, there was a buffet of traditional Tahitian foods, which were all good. The food included the roasted pig, poisson cru, taro, grilled tuna, and other dishes. The only complaint was nobody ever came around to pour water in any of our glasses. After dinner a team of young people put on a Tahitian show with traditional dancing and then fire dancing, which was pretty spectacular. Don't miss it! Last port was Huahine. This was the only day that we had some off and on rain showers. We did the motu picnic excursion and had a blast. First was some snorkeling off the boat, then over to a motu for some more snorkeling on its other side. Then the crew made us a delicious lunch. One of the young ladies split open a coconut, shredded the inside to get all the meat, then squeezed the meat to make coconut milk, which was used on raw pieces of tuna that along with vegetables comprised the main dish. There was also rice, some beef stew, and bread, and coconut-coated bananas for dessert. Our tables were set up with their legs in the water, and we sat on our chairs in the water while we enjoyed a delicious lunch. A young man of the crew serenaded us on his ukulele, and we cleaned off our dishes in the water, to the hundreds of juvenile fish happy to eat the crumbs. On the way back, the young lady guide showed us several ways to fold and wear the traditional Tahitian Pareo. Finally on Friday we woke up to heavy rain as docked back in Tahiti (about 6:00 a.m.). If it had to rain during our cruise, coming at the very end was OK. Our Air Tahiti flight back to LAX was scheduled for 11:05 p.m., so we had plenty of time to kill. We disembarked the ship, and did their 3-hour Tahiti east side excursion, followed by spending most of the day back at our day room at the Meridien Hotel, before transferring back to the airport in the evening. Our flight to LAX was on time, with two more forgettable meals. Then we had to drag our luggage outside from the international terminal to the Delta terminal. The only hiccup was after using the self-service kiosk to print our boarding passes, there was an incredibly long line to drop off our luggage. It took about 30 minutes. Finally our flight home from LAX took off on time and we made it home. Even though the Tahiti east side excursion was all in the rain, we found it very interesting. Our guide and driver for the tour was named Cookie, and the first stop was the James Hall home. Hall was the author of "Mutiny on the Bounty," and the home was turned into a museum of his interesting life and his books. Our guide was a very nice lady named Vivian. After educating us about his life and work, we were served pineapple upside down cake and lemonade which were both very good. Then off to Point Venus and the lighthouse for a short stop because of the rain. There was also a handicrafts market at the lighthouse. All of the ship's crew were friendly and efficient, including the cabin stewards. Ours was named Ceppy. Starting the second night of the cruise, we would get back from dinner to find a new towel animal on the bed next to our two chocolates. It seemed that most of the passengers were from California or Arizona, a few from Canada, a few from Colorado, one couple we met was from Thailand, and another from Brazil. Shopping for souvenirs, other than black pearls, was very limited on the islands, and many items were quite expensive. All in all a great cruise, great food, beautiful islands, and friendly Tahitians.   Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
We‘re just back from the Windstar Panama Canal to Costa Roca cruise on the Wind Spirit. This was our third and probably last cruise with Windstar. First the good news. The on board staff is wonderful; friendly, hardworking and ... Read More
We‘re just back from the Windstar Panama Canal to Costa Roca cruise on the Wind Spirit. This was our third and probably last cruise with Windstar. First the good news. The on board staff is wonderful; friendly, hardworking and professional. They do a great job given the deep cuts put in place by the new owners. The kitchen staff works wonders with the poor quality supplies they are provided. But even they can’t make up for the lack of quality food or the minimal quantity of pricier ingredients. Compared to our previous Windstar cruises, the lunch buffet was bare bones. No seafood salads or other interesting items. Instead we had lots of pasta’s and stewed/braised meats, the better to tenderize lower quality cuts. The afternoon teas were simply embarrassing. Dinners were usually better but the seafood was dreadful. One does not expect frozen fish as an entrée when visiting ports filled with local fisherman delivering wonderful fish daily. It is clear that Xanterra is cutting corners which has impacting bookings. Our cruise was only 78% occupied (125 passengers). At the Yacht Club (frequent cruiser) reception I discretely chatted with several other Windstar regulars who noticed the decline and wanted to share notes on other lines for future cruises. The staff at the corporate booking office worked to minimums and couldn’t care less about our past loyalty. Xanterra specializes in extracting maximum revenue from a captive audience. As operators of facilities within US National Parks, they serve visitors who rarely come back for repeat visits. So their modus operandi is maximum prices with minimal value. We sailed on the Seabourn Odyssey last year and the difference between the Odyssey and Wind Spirit is dramatic even though the Windstar line costs about the same. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
Our cruise was the Trans-Pacific Cruise along with the inaugural cruise of Tahiti after 12 years being absent. The crossing was extraordinary. We left Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica and 4196 nautical miles later and 18 days we arrived in ... Read More
Our cruise was the Trans-Pacific Cruise along with the inaugural cruise of Tahiti after 12 years being absent. The crossing was extraordinary. We left Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica and 4196 nautical miles later and 18 days we arrived in Papeete, Tahiti. Leaving the continent for a crossing is always exciting. There were 70 of us, mostly people who have completed other crossings with Windstar Cruises. On our first day out we saw a bird on a turtle, a freightor on the horizon and a whale, then for two weeks we saw only the ocean and amazing sunsets. Vast, warm, beautiful tail winds and calm waters. We crossed the equator with King Neptune and his Queen, a fun celebration shared by crew and passengers. The first land we saw was after 14 days and that was the Islands of Disappointment. Because we made such good time the last two days the Wind Spirit was under sail only. The peace, the gentle bow gracefully riding the waves and the warm breezes made for a spectacular sail. On the 18th day we woke up to Tahiti on the horizon and after each passing hour Tahiti became larger and clearer all without a motor. It was thrilling. We arrived at the dock in Papeete with traditional dancers and musicians welcoming us. The day the Tahiti cruise was to begin the President of Tahiti came on board and there was a very nice welcoming ceremony. Captain Pedro Pinto and his crew did an amazing job.The service was outstanding as it always is .Chef Darin was inventive and the food was delicious considering that he had no fresh provisions for 18 days. This great crossing was a terrific introduction to the cruise ahead. The cruise was the first time Windstar had sailed the Polynesia waters in 12 years. Of the 70 people on the crossing 35 of us stayed on and for the inaugural cruise it was a full ship of 148. Boarding is always easy and welcoming on the Windstar. We sailed away with a beautiful sunset. We anchored in Cook's Bay Moorea, it was georgeous. We took a ship's tour with Michael Poole watching the spinner dolphins, we watched these dolphins dance on the water it was unbelievable. Highly recommend this tour we learned so much. The next day we anchored off Tahaa where Windstar rented a motu ( little Islands in the lagoon) where we had the beach barbecue. The lagoons are shallow, you walk in the water and swim with beautiful fish in the coral gardens. It was a glorious day. The sail to Raiatea was a highlight for we sailed around the lagoon and we saw the sunset on the horizon with the peaks of Bora Bora in the back ground. Visually exquisite. Here we docked and had our deck barbecue and a demonstration of lei making and tying the pareu. It was great, colorful, there was music it was a wonderful demo. For the next two days were anchored off Bora Bora. We took the ship's tour of swimming with the sting rays, black fin sharks and snorkeling in the lagoon. Wonderful and thrilling again. I was so happy about the safety procedures to make it a safe, exciting and stressless, experience. The sting rays were gentle, friendly and graceful. The sharks completely ignored us which was very funny and the fish were as colorful as a fauvism painting. The Windstar rented another motu here where we experienced a traditional Tahitian barbecue with a performance by fire dancers. Beautiful evening after a day of clouds and on and off showers. Our last island was Huahine, we took a tour of the Sacred Sites where the royalty of the ancient times lived. I had seen the ancient sites of Easter Island and Hawaii so now I completed the Polynesian Triangle. It was a tour for people who love history. Paul was an excellent teacher. This was a busy, generous cruise with lots to do, experience and see. Service impeccable as usual. Food wonderful. The sail aways with the music of 1492 enhanced the majestic scenery that surrounded us. Despite the fact that this was Windstar's first cruise back everything was flawless. Steve, the cruise director, gave out great information. This ended our 14th cruise with Windstsr and we are already reserved for 2015. Tahiti was thrilled Windstar returned and I am sure the passengers were thrilled as well. Great Job Windstar! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
First Windstar cruise. We boarded the ship in Colon and were greeted by the Captain and First Officer on the gangway. The easiest embarkation ever! The ship is great, very easy to get around. A small library with a ok amount of books, a ... Read More
First Windstar cruise. We boarded the ship in Colon and were greeted by the Captain and First Officer on the gangway. The easiest embarkation ever! The ship is great, very easy to get around. A small library with a ok amount of books, a pretty good collection of dvd's to borrow and 2 PC's. The wifi where we traveled to was not very good, so it was nice to not check wifi for a few days at a time but this might not be possible for some people. The ship does offer a wifi package but I understood it was really slow. Most ports we went to you could get wifi on your phone (slow). There was a very nice lounge where every evening they would have appetizers and Steve, the destination manager , would talk about the next day's port. There is a small shop with not many necessities but t-shirts, no men's large of the most popular Windstar T. We did not visit the Salon/Spa. The restaurant was very nice, a lot of tables for 2 or 4. We sat at the same table every night and had the same waiter, Jati , who was wonderful.The main deck had a very small pool and a nice deck area with a lot of lounge chairs, some with umbrellas. Coffee was available there from 6 am on. In the left hand corner of the pool deck they had a smoking area, Only one time did the smoke from there drift over to where I was sitting on a chaise lounge. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda on the main deck. There were outside and inside seating. The outside tables had umbrellas.These meals are buffets but there are ala carte menus also everyday. I am a vegetarian and everyday someone would show me the menu and offer to make something else if I did not like the V choice. The food was good to very good.. We did eat at Candles , out on the pool deck, one evening which was lovely. We do not drink so I can not comment on the alcohol or prices. The soft drinks were all included. My luggage was lost by United prior to boarding so I was given the laundry service for gratis. There were 133 passengers and a crew of 98. We had several wet landings , which involved using the ships Zodiac's. The crew was very professional and I always felt safe. We did not use the Marina. Our cabin was small, but the storage space was great. I loved the bathroom, again the storage space was great and the shower worked very well. My DH did use the gym, He did not care for it very much said the space felt very tight, had only portholes and was very hot when he was there. There is a very small casino which we did not visit. A very nice husband and wife duo, One Night Stand, preformed in the lounge every evening.The ship had an open bridge policy, except when entering a port etc and we did a galley tour. Every crew member we met was a professional who truly seemed to enjoy their work. We will sail on Windstar again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
Our Windstar Panama Canal to Costa Rica cruise on the Wind Spirit was our third and probably last cruise with Windstar. First the good news. The on board staff is wonderful; friendly, hardworking and professional. They do a great job given ... Read More
Our Windstar Panama Canal to Costa Rica cruise on the Wind Spirit was our third and probably last cruise with Windstar. First the good news. The on board staff is wonderful; friendly, hardworking and professional. They do a great job given the deep cuts put in place by the new owners. The kitchen staff works wonders with the poor quality supplies they are provided. But even they can’t make up for the lack of quality food or the minimal quantity of pricier ingredients. Compared to our previous Windstar cruises, the lunch buffet was bare bones. No seafood salads or other interesting items. Instead we had lots of pasta’s and stewed/braised meats, the better to tenderize lower quality cuts. The afternoon teas were simply embarrassing. Dinners were usually better but the seafood was dreadful. One does not expect frozen fish as an entrée when visiting ports filled with local fisherman delivering wonderful freshly caught fish daily. It is clear that Xanterra is cutting corners which has impacting bookings. Our cruise was only 78% occupied (125 passengers). At the Yacht Club (frequent cruiser) reception I discretely chatted with several other Windstar regulars who noticed the decline and wanted to share notes on other lines for future cruises. The staff at the corporate booking office worked to minimums and couldn’t care less about our past loyalty. Xanterra specializes in extracting maximum revenue from a captive audience. As operators of facilities within US National Parks, they serve visitors who rarely come back for repeat visits. So their modus operandi is maximum prices with minimal value. We sailed on the Seabourn Odyssey last year and the difference between the Odyssey and Wind Spirit is dramatic even though the Windstar line costs about the same. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
The line doesn't boast much on its sailing prowess but this one set some records; twenty hours continuous sail only power and over 90% sails deployed time! Sailed the northwesterly route from Colon through the Panama Canal up the west ... Read More
The line doesn't boast much on its sailing prowess but this one set some records; twenty hours continuous sail only power and over 90% sails deployed time! Sailed the northwesterly route from Colon through the Panama Canal up the west coast of Costa Rica to Puerto Caldera. Great itinerary. If you want to see wildlife this one is it. Crocodiles, herons, monkeys, snakes, macaws, tucans, sloth, coati, birds and butterflies. Staff is superb! They know your name after a day or so, and my wife wanted to take some of them home with her. The evening sail offs were not to be missed. And the ability to go up on the bridge for a chat is a feature unique to Windstar. The concept of a small boat may be a turnoff for some but it's the best way to meet new friends and see places off the beaten track of the larger lines. Will be back again   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
We spent the night in the Marriott Panama City but booked ourselves instead of through Windstar and saved over $100 each doing it independently. Very nice hotel in a great location with pool and helpful staff. First impressions of the ... Read More
We spent the night in the Marriott Panama City but booked ourselves instead of through Windstar and saved over $100 each doing it independently. Very nice hotel in a great location with pool and helpful staff. First impressions of the Windspirit was ‘great’ which was unfortunately rather muted after the 1.5 hour coach ride to Colon from Panama City having to listen to the tour guide drone on for most of the journey. Disembarking the coach and finding our way to the Windspirit was also very shambolic with no direction, signage nor Windstar representative but we all found our way in the end to the refreshing air conditioning of the ships main reception. Registration in the lounge was a little amateur but we got through it and were then directed to our cabin. Warmth and hospitality of the ship staff are one of the biggest plus points of the voyage with staff soon learning your name. Our cabin on deck one amidships was very comfortable but showing a little wear despite the recent refurbishment that took place. Our cabin steward was very helpful, friendly and made our stay very enjoyable. Depending on what muster point you are allocated for your lifeboat there is a clear difference in the quality of staff and the amount of information you receive from them. One hopes there will never be an incident. Without going into too much detail the other passengers on the ship were very friendly and nice people and we made friends with several. The entertainment was everything you would expect, and we wanted, from a small ship i.e. just a piano player which was very good. We didn’t take up the drink package as not value for money! We do like two or three cocktails/wine in the evening but it just did not work out financially as a good deal. We did, however, take up the laundry package which was great and well worth it. The food was lovely! We really enjoyed Candles on the pool deck although you do need to pre-book. The main restaurant AmphorA was very nice too with great service. My partner and I both need to go on a diet after all the great food which was always available. Windstar promote their ships as ‘private yachts’ and that is how it really felt. You wouldn’t have noticed 148 passengers on board. We went through the Panama Canal which was scenic but once you’ve done one lock that’s about it, but it depends on your individual interests. Christmas day was spent on Isla de Coiba in the Pacific. What a paradise and fantastic day on the beach, bbq and first real day on a beach in the sun. I would recommend you do detailed research on the ports prior to the trip and plan your own outings. Most companies will pick you up at the dock as part of the package if you wanted to do some zip line for example and they most definitely will be cheaper than booking through the ship. There may have been faults with either the ship, trips out, staff etc but we would most heartily recommend Windstar and are already looking at sailing with them again. This is the next best thing to having your own yacht so enjoy!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
Only 1 day off the ship and I have already booked my next trip on Windstar vacation. I am typically not fond of cruises--which often feel more like cattle calls. That is SO not true with Windstar! It definitely feels like you are on a ... Read More
Only 1 day off the ship and I have already booked my next trip on Windstar vacation. I am typically not fond of cruises--which often feel more like cattle calls. That is SO not true with Windstar! It definitely feels like you are on a private yacht with nearly a 1:1 passenger to staff ratio. We never had to wait to eat, sit on a lounge chair by the pool, or to get on or off the ship. They were very accommodating in every way. We did a Christmas cruise of the Panama Canal and Costa Rica and it exceeded our highest expectations. We went with our three children (20, 18, 15) and were thrilled that there were many other families on board. They had more fun than we did--which we did not expect because we prepared them for few families on board. We all made lifelong friends and have already made plans for future visits with them. The food is unbelievable and so is the staff. Our day on the private island and all time spent off the back with the water sports were amazing. Zip lining is Costa Rica was fun. We were a little disappointed that we didn't see as much wildlife as we thought we might, but that could have been time of year/day. We booked an excursion outside of the ship and with Quepos Canyoning and that was the highlight of our excursions. The cabins are spacious and completely stocked. We got the drink plan, which really made the cruise all-inclusive. Read Less
Wind Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 2.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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