12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
There are so many positive things to say about this cruise. At the risk of repeating previous reviews, the ship is good-looking, in good shape, and well-run; the staff is superlative (all knew our names by the second day); the food was ... Read More
There are so many positive things to say about this cruise. At the risk of repeating previous reviews, the ship is good-looking, in good shape, and well-run; the staff is superlative (all knew our names by the second day); the food was perfectly good, if not occasionally very good; the itinerary is great; with only one exception, we were hooked up with excellent excursion guides/operators (the one exception was an "anthropologist" who was uncomfortably overly-opinionated about everything); and the Windstar-provided events (deck BBQ, Polynesian dinner+entertainment on a private motu) are awesome. I would give this cruise a solid 5 stars except that I found the afternoons to be underprogrammed. I really wish Windstar would organize more afternoon excursions and activities; instead, almost all excursions take place in the morning, and afternoons were often dead time. E.g., on both Raiatea and Huahine, which have only tiny, dusty towns, we found it difficult to find things to do and ended up just wandering around. And the watersports platform would close as early as 3pm, and the last tender was as early as 4:30pm, with nothing to do until dinner at 7:00pm. I know a lot of people like to hang out at the bar and mingle, but we're more activity-oriented. I suggest you do your research beforehand, particularly for the smaller islands, and plan something in advance instead of thinking you can just walk on the island and find something to do. A few more tips. Candles: definitely book your complimentary dinner on the back deck. The food was excellent. Internet access: instead of using the ship's, we purchased a mobile hotspot (linked to the local Tahitian cell provider) on the Air Tahiti flight over for approx $80. A little confusing to set up at first, but it worked perfectly well. It comes with 1GB data, which is enough for reading email and light web browsing for a week. Signal strength was generally decent (from an outside deck, not from our cabin). Transfers: we did our own. A taxi from the airport into downtown Papeete is about $25-30. The Tiare Tahiti Hotel is very basic (no frills, but clean and functional) and well-located. The day before: it's inevitable that you find yourself in Tahiti for a day before the cruise. What to do? We booked a half-day excursion, which was just OK. That's not the tour operator's fault, there just isn't that much really interesting in Papeete or the surrounding area; that is, we tried to make the best of it, but it still felt like forced fun. (Perhaps it would be better to book a full-day tour that goes into the interior of the island? I don't know.) The day after: same problem, you get off the ship by 9am, and our return flight was not until midnight. Windstar said we could just leave our bags on the dock until 11:30am or 12:00pm at the latest, which we did, and that allowed us to wander aimlessly around Papeete for the morning. For the afternoon we got a pool day pass at the Intercontinental. It wasn't really worth the money. My review of that can be found on the Papeete forum on TripAdvisor. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We really enjoyed our WindSpirt Cruise. The staff and crew was 5 star all the way. The only thing I would caution about is that there are no elevators. The sleeping decks are on decks 1 and 2. Breakfast is on deck 4 and is only ... Read More
We really enjoyed our WindSpirt Cruise. The staff and crew was 5 star all the way. The only thing I would caution about is that there are no elevators. The sleeping decks are on decks 1 and 2. Breakfast is on deck 4 and is only accessible via outdoor stairs. Everything else in the way of eating, lounge, shopping, casino, and reception is on the deck 3. I only caution those who have difficulty walking or breathing issues. It appeared that most travelers were anywhere from late 40’s to early 50’s and mid 60’s. There were some older and a few younger I, unfortunately, had a shin encounter with coral while on a snorkeling excursion halfway through the cruise. However, the ships doctor took excellent care of my injury, which required the equivalent of 3 stitches, using surgical glue. She had me come in to see her everyday to redress the injury, put me on a weeks worth of antibiotics, and sent me home with enough supplies to tend my injury until I could see my personal physician. All at no cost! The only negative issue we had was with the reservation. We booked our cruise (2 cabins) almost a year ahead and picked out cabins on the first deck in the middle, which we we advised had the least amount of motion and noise. We also received email confirmation by WindStar of our reservation and the cabins we requested. However, about 1.5 months before the cruise our travel agent received word that “due to WindStar converting to a new computer system in the spring” our cabins were double booked and they had to reassign us to other cabins. The new cabins were smack in the area we did not want to be. Because WindStar downgraded us they did reimburse us for the cost differential. They also gave us a shipboard credit of $250 pp. That was all well and good, but they refused to honor our original booking. I still wonder why they inconvenienced us and not the guests who booked after us. Seemed very strange and very poor customer service. For this reason I cannot give WindStar 5 stars. Sorry. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was our first cruise and we chose it because of the small ship size, good food reviews and itinerary. Being able to visit multiple islands was a great way to experience this part of the world. You can embark from 1pm and all aboard ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we chose it because of the small ship size, good food reviews and itinerary. Being able to visit multiple islands was a great way to experience this part of the world. You can embark from 1pm and all aboard is 10pm. We checked in at 3pm and then got off at 6pm to pick up a few supplies in Papeete. Getting on and off the ship is very easy, once on the cruise the longest we waited for a tender was 10 minutes. I was slightly disappointed by some of the food onboard as the good reviews didn't match my experience. Veranda restaurant needs improvement as the breakfast and lunch options were bland. Every morning I ordered poached eggs which I only received twice - other times I received soft boiled eggs or fried over easy eggs instead! Produce in general needs improvement. Amphora restaurant is very good with good service, nice ambiance and lots of great options on the menu which changed daily. The deck barbecue and motu picnics were all excellent. Candles restaurant on the deck was very nice under the stars with a good menu and good service. The jet ski excursion in Bora Bora was a highlight but I wouldn't bother with the stingray and snorkel tour again as we were moored by 3 other tours and there really was nothing interesting to see where we stopped to snorkel. Bloody Mary's is within walking distance of the jet ski tour and a bus back cost 500 xpf per person. I enjoyed the coral drift tour in Ta'ha. I loved the beach at Huahine which is a short walk from the port. It was interesting to learn about the history of Raiatea from one of the local storytellers.. Service is excellent and all staff know your name by the time you wake up in Moorea. Sail away was lovely. Disembarking occurs between 8am and 8.30am at the end of the cruise and was straightforward Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise firstly for the destination, then for the small number of passengers & finally because the ship was different with its sails. The ship & staff were excellent & although the cabins are a little dated they ... Read More
We chose this cruise firstly for the destination, then for the small number of passengers & finally because the ship was different with its sails. The ship & staff were excellent & although the cabins are a little dated they were very clean & comfortable. We could not fault the selections for breakfast & lunch but found the evening meals were sometimes not quite up to the high standard anticipated. "Candles", on the back deck was a standout as was the other night there. The suckling pig & some of the salads were excellent. The meals on the private islands were good but it is difficult to maintain the standard of hot food without electricity. The local entertainers provided on 2 occasions were excellent. We found that all of the islands visited were very much the same with little in the way of shopping or souvenires & unless you are into diving or snorkelling the excursions are somewhat uninteresting, & very expensive if you book through the ship. Embarkation, bisembarkation were smooth & shore transfers to the islands were well handled. Overall very relaxing, pleasant & recommended. I cannot understand why cruise lines charge gratuities on a daily basis. If it is an important part of the crew renumeration, as they point out, then please add it to the fare. Pay your staff what they are worth. And the staff on Wind Spirit were definitly worthy of being looked after. I will continue to complain about this practice & hope that it will be discontinued sometime in the future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
I had always wanted to visit the Panama Canal since I was born there while my father served in the US Navy. The Windstar cruise fit our needs very nicely. Our pickup from the Panama City airport was exactly on time - and our short stay at ... Read More
I had always wanted to visit the Panama Canal since I was born there while my father served in the US Navy. The Windstar cruise fit our needs very nicely. Our pickup from the Panama City airport was exactly on time - and our short stay at the Bristol was excellent. I wish we could have had more time to explore this fascinating city. The bus ride to the port was informative as a young man described what we were seeing along the way with a short description of Panama's colorful history. This vessel is very nice and well-maintained and operated by some of the best staff available. The food is excellent and plentiful while the service is tops. All the staff are very motivated and carefully concerned with your comfort and safety. The range of activities selected at the various stops is very good and carefully selected with quality guides and equipment as needed. If I had one complaint, it is the WiFi service offered. I paid an add'l $50 for 3 hours service and it was slow and intermittent with an awkward log-on/log-off procedure. This is becoming more important now since people want to check and send e-mails regularly. My other minor gripe is the AmphorA dining room - low-ceilinged and noisy, covered by a dress code mandating long pants in a tropical climate. The outdoor dining (Candles) was lots more fun with the same great food. Overall a great cruise with an excellent company in a beautiful region. Thanks Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Second cruise on Windstar. The positives are the sleek semi-sailing yachts, the small number of passengers and the attention from the service staff. The not-so-positives on this cruise were the "weak" ports we visited and the ... Read More
Second cruise on Windstar. The positives are the sleek semi-sailing yachts, the small number of passengers and the attention from the service staff. The not-so-positives on this cruise were the "weak" ports we visited and the shore excursions. Monamvasia is ok, Gythian was nondescript , Taormina was very touristy, as well as Capri, Lipari should have been skipped. Our first cruise with Windstar included the Greek Islands and Turkey and had much better port stops and shore excursions. Calling this cruise an Amalfi Coast cruise is a stretch. Cabin was comfortable and had adequate room considering size of boat. Minimal noise. Food is slightly above average and that commentary would probably be related to what your dining experience is. I would certainly not call it extravagant . With a small passenger group and considering the expense of this type of cruise, you expect an assortment of attitudes. I found it interesting that a "peck" order developed on this cruise that was orchestrated by a Texas "big shot." Also found no one really went out of their way to be friendly with us. I would recommend you look for other Windstar itineraries before considering this one. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We just got back from a Windstar cruise from Barcelona to Rome. The ports were amazing - Mahon, St Tropez, Monte Carlo, portofino and Livorno (OK). The ship was OK too, not quite as nice as we expected - we saw wear and looked a bit dated. ... Read More
We just got back from a Windstar cruise from Barcelona to Rome. The ports were amazing - Mahon, St Tropez, Monte Carlo, portofino and Livorno (OK). The ship was OK too, not quite as nice as we expected - we saw wear and looked a bit dated. Everything was clean, tidy and nice, but just wasn't as luxurious as we expected. The food was the biggest dissapointment. Breakfast and Lunch were good, but dinner was awful. We really tried to have good attitudes about it because we wanted to love this cruise, but time after time our food was over cooked and/or side dishes were cold. We sent food back regularly. The only good dinner we had was the night they held a BBQ on deck. One evening I ordered surf and turf, the lobster was hard as a rock and the drawn butter had solidified (obviously left on the plate for a long time). I requested a new plate and they brought me another lobster cooked hard as a rock with two more things of butter that had also solidified. Not sure where these supposed awards for their food came from... I also took a yoga class which was a waste of money - I heard the teacher was also the manicure/pedicurist (which was accompanied by another bad story). The ship also offers a water sports deck which is great idea during some ports. We used the kayak and layed out on the water mat. This was definitely a plus of the ship. The only thing was that they also got us excited about using the wakeboard and water skiis and in the end their little boat was broken and we never got to take advantage of this. The liquor selection was really basic - don't expect to find something as simple as Maker's Mark. Its Jim Beam, Jack Daniels etc... The wine selection was OK too, but lacking creativity. All California. Overall, we had a good vacation. The service was very good, the cabins were nice, the ship size is wonderful and overall it was a really nice vacation... just disappointed that this cruise had the potential to be great and kept missing the mark. Not sure if the recent changeover has something to do with it... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2006
Having cruised a number of times before (10+) and having cruised on Wind Star previously (two times), we approach this review with a non-biased and (hopefully) open mind. We made our reservations through Cruises of Distinction which ... Read More
Having cruised a number of times before (10+) and having cruised on Wind Star previously (two times), we approach this review with a non-biased and (hopefully) open mind. We made our reservations through Cruises of Distinction which doesn't really have an interactive web site, but, rather, relies on telephone service. They are great to work with and have rates that match or beat any we could find on the internet. We were with two other couples, one of whom was on our Wind Star cruise in Tahiti and the other who had never cruised on Wind Star previously. We all flew into St. Thomas one day ahead of the cruise and stayed at The Green Iguana. The cruise departed from Crown Bay March 11, 2006, and took us to St. John, St. Martin, St. Barths, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda. Our embarkation at 3:00 pm on Saturday was typical Wind Star ... smooth, personal and enjoyable (the Captain was even there to greet us). All the cabins on the Wind Star and Wind Spirit, save the owner's cabin, are identical in layout and appointments. We were pleasantly surprised at the changes that have been made since our last Wind Star cruise ... flat screen T.V., comfortable beds, DVD/CD players, and even iPod docking stations (you can check out a pre-programmed iPod at the desk). We immediately noticed that our itinerary had changed somewhat so that our arrival and departure times on some of the islands was shortened considerably. Many of the excursions originally offered had been eliminated with no explanation given so this meant that we would be "on our own" more than anticipated if we didn't choose to participate in the one or two excursions offered. We arrived in St. John on Sunday which wasn't conducive to shopping as most stores are closed; however, we had opted for a bus tour and snorkeling so that didn't bother us. Our tour guide was interesting enough, but he felt he had to stop at every rock and tree to explain something or another ... to the point where the passengers revolted when he tried to cut our snorkeling short with "just one more stop". We managed to get in about an hour's worth of snorkeling at Trunk Bay which was very nice but I'm not sure I'd put it on the "world's top 10 beach list" touted by National Geographic. It's a National Park so it's well maintained and has a concession stand, nice restrooms and a great shower area (even though the water was cold). Our St. Maarten tour was actually quite nice. The bus took us around the entire island and our guide gave us insight into the pros and cons of living on both the French side (St. Martin) and Dutch side (St. Maarten) of the island (I think I'd take the French side). On St. Barths, my husband and I opted for the "Independent Explorer" which gave us a car and a map and sent us on our way. St. Barths has a number of steep, windy roads and many interesting beaches. We didn't spend the entire five hours driving and swimming (the water was a little rough that day), but we did enjoy seeing the island. (However, for the price, I wouldn't do it again.) Having spent time on Tortola during a previous trip, we weren't thrilled with the prospect of driving around yet again. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find we were anchoring at the West End, just off Sopers Hole. We strolled through the charming shops (not many of them) and enjoyed a few Painkillers at Pusser's. Had anchored off Jost Van Dyke on a previous small ship sailing but never made in on shore. Found out that I hadn't missed a thing! Foxy's was the "highlight", and that isn't saying much. We had also previously visited (and stayed on) Virgin Gorda but we took the tour/snorkeling trip with the rest of our friends anyway ... and fell in love with Virgin Gorda all over again. The Baths were magnificent (calm waters so we were able to swim and snorkel) and the area around the Baths had been cleaned up considerably. We have always found the food on our Wind Star cruises to be far better than any of the other cruises we've taken. The wait room staff was friendly and very attentive (and, yes, we were in Daddy's area). We did bring our own wine and were quite thankful since we found that the prices on the wine list had increased significantly since our last Wind Star cruise (Note: we paid a $10 corkage fee for each bottle). Our cabin was fine; however, this was the first time I had booked a cabin on the "B" deck and I probably won't do it again. We encountered some pretty severe weather one night and the splashing of the waves against the hull was quite loud. (Not to mention our friends who were in the cabin next to us were a bit unnerved by the fact you could look out your porthole and actually be "under" water at times.) Now for the few cons ... and I am writing a letter to Wind Star. - We were disappointed in the docking time changes and the elimination of most of the tours. - The drinks were a bit overpriced. $5.00 for a can of coke was "over the top". - The meager excursions were overpriced and, for the most part, boring. It would be better if they just offered buses to take you to and from popular snorkeling areas. - The much-touted "swim platform" at the back of the ship is rarely ever lowered due to "weather" conditions. In fact, on all three of our trips on these ships, it was only lowered once during each cruise. - We were never really under sail until the last day when a substitute Captain came on board while our regular Captain attended a meeting offshore. Being under sail on a Wind Star is a wonderful experience and, I'm convinced, our substitute Captain was less "leery" of turning off the engines and letting this magnificent ship "do her thing". - The disembarkation was horrid. During our Tahitian cruise, we were able to eat a leisurely breakfast and disembark at around 10:00 am. This cruise we were told to have our bags ready by 6:00 am and present ourselves to the customs officials by 6:15 am. Even though our bags were ready to go the night before, this meant getting up by 5:00 am to get ready to go. Breakfast was rushed and there was no service to speak of. We had to chase down servers to get coffee and, except for a few exceptions, there wasn't a smile or "good morning" to be had. - But, to top it off, we found out, by talking to several passengers standing around waiting for taxis, that there had been an outbreak of an intestinal virus on board that left a number of passengers ill and one cabin "quarantined". Luckily, none of our party became ill but, had we known there was a threat, you can be sure that we would have been more diligent in taking our Airborne and vitamins. Will we take another Wind Star cruise? Probably, but there are many other ships to try and other places to see. 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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