9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We booked the Windsurf to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The food was amazing and the service extraordinary, better than anything we’ve experienced on our other cruises. There were some snags along the way with the ports, but Windstar ... Read More
We booked the Windsurf to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The food was amazing and the service extraordinary, better than anything we’ve experienced on our other cruises. There were some snags along the way with the ports, but Windstar went out of their way to try to please us because of these. Would definitely book a Windstar cruise again, but due to the lack of balconies on the Windsurf ship, would choose a yacht with balcony next time. Although there were always seats and privacy available on deck, we really missed being able to sit out on a private balcony in the wee hours of the morning, early afternoons after visiting ports and watching the stars in the late evening. We did notice a sewer and occasional smoke odor by our cabin (Deck 1, #155, front). Think it would have been better to have chosen a front cabin on a higher deck. We met wonderful people on this cruise and due to the small amount of people onboard (about 220 passengers; 196 employees), we ran across each other frequently. We decided to fly in from Tampa to Miami to do our Global Entry interview (more about that later) and then connect to St. Martin. Grabbed a taxi ($25 due to late arrival time). The driver asked if we’d mind if he stopped in a local grocery store enroute. He was in there for about 10 minutes with some “quirky” people hanging outside the store which made me a bit uneasy. All turned out well and the driver gave us a brief “tour” as we headed to the hotel. Arrived at the Royal Pasanggahran Guest House on Front Street in Phillipsburg around 10:40pm. We were dismayed at the outside of the hotel from the Front St. entrance, but were pleasantly surprised at the inside of the hotel, entrance from beach and our fabulous room in the new section that was more like a suite. There was a 4 poster bed with nice mosquito net over it, a separate room for toilet, huge tub, shower, bathroom, outside huge balcony facing beach and ships. Next time we’d ask for a room higher up for more expansive beach view. Nice, hard mattress; very low quality sheets, pillows and beach towels. Only saw one mosquito in the room, but lots of small ones outside at dawn and dusk. Had our Deet on so no bites thankfully. Great Bay beach was nice enough although not as amazing as other BVI beaches. Free beach chairs and umbrellas outside of our hotel. Saw 4 ships come into St. Martin port from balcony as well as our Windsurf ship entering port and docked. I was a little uneasy about having to sign a blank credit card sheet at check-in (the type they slide through machine). When one checks out they put the expenditure amounts in. Went to breakfast at hotel restaurant overlooking beach…Amazing food and good service. Visited the Blue Bitch Bar/Caribbean restaurant on beach for lunch. Good wings, portabella mushroom wrap. Slow service. Caribbean band outside the restaurant was wonderful, interacting with passersby, etc. Great deals on Front St. for drinks, buckets of beers, chairs, etc. Usually about $20 - $25 for 2 chairs with various drink deals included. Timeshare salespeople annoying, trying to get us to do an hour presentation for freebees, etc. Had dinner at The Greenhouse on the beach across from a marina, easily walkable from our hotel. Food was great and they offered 2 for 1 drinks during a time period. This offer included huge, delicious drinks, any type liquor, frozen drinks, etc. Watched someone climbing up trees, cutting coconuts down right on Front St. to sell at his stand the next day. Returned to our hotel with nice music playing outside, but we were tired so went right to sleep. Day 1 of cruise After another great breakfast at hotel, we headed to Sang’s grocery for wine (2 bottles permitted per cabin on ship) and suntan lotion (couldn’t put in our carry-ons due to liquids rule/amounts). Had to cross busy road to get there, but prices reasonable and decent selection. Tip requested by person who didn’t pack our items at register, but offered to carry our groceries outside. We told him, “thanks, but we’re walking…He says “I work for tips sort of angrily. Maybe that’s how they do things there? We gave him a buck and left. We did carry-ons only this cruise due to connecting flights, coming back to Charlotte through customs and having a great laundry package onboard ship. $109 total for week. Laundry put out before 9am was back on hangers by 4 the next day. Sometimes even the same day. Can specify hand wash, don’t put in dryer, etc. That being said, when on direct flights or connecting flights in US only, we prefer checking a bag for return souvenirs and not having to lug carry-ons around with us. Arrived at ship at 12:30PM. Boarding commenced at 1pm…not a minute before! Waited outside (hot in sun!). Went through security in tent and boarded. Complimentary cocktail, greetings by ship’s staff. Found our cabin and were pleasantly surprised at the size and storage space. We knew that we’d only have portholes due to no balconies on ship. Fun seeing waves splash over them occasionally. Really missed balcony though. Linens and pillows were very good quality and comfortable. Cabin had l’occutaine (sp?) toiletries – wonderful. Bose unit nice. Unpacked and headed to buffet. Lots of choices and wonderful sitting outside on deck. By the end of the first day most personnel know your first names and greet you by them. Nice touch. A special thanks to Sherwin, Maria, Tissi, our cabin stewardess, and the cook for breakfast and lunch on veranda. One could order from menu or enjoy buffet. The food on this ship was the best ever. Our cabin was kept immaculate by Tissi although we hardly saw her. One night we returned to find a huge 2 kissing swan towel display with a bow and arrow made out of gold foiled chocolate candies on our bed. (25th anniversary) Didn’t feel like we were nickeled and dimed on this cruise at all and felt that the employees and officers really wanted us to have a great time. Their smiles were genuine. Announcement made that due to mechanical problems the ship was not leaving port at 7pm as originally scheduled to arrive in St. Barts in the morning. We were disappointed that we’d miss the first night’s sailing to St. Barts as well as the second night of our cruise, overnighting in St. Barts. So we stayed at the St. Martin Dock for the first 2 nights of our cruise. Windstar did provide free ferry passes the next day from St. Martin to St. Barts. We originally signed up for these. However, in the morning we thought about having to wait for groups to gather, wait for ferries and stick strictly to the ferry times we had chosen. Decided to go to Orient Bay Beach instead which turned out to be a great decision. Fabulous beach which we’ve always enjoyed. Spoke to people who had done the ferry to St. Barts and they really were upset at late ferries, etc. Windstar offered free water taxi rides to Front St. the next day. We took advantage of this offer and visited the shops. We were also told that the Beach BBQ with toys would not be a Prickly Pear Beach in Virgin Gorda, but had been rescheduled to Fischer’s Cove. Another disappointment, but it turned out well. More info on this below. On another note, we weren’t able to use the water toys off the back of the ship for the duration of our cruise. We were told the current was too strong. To make up for lost ports, in addition to the above-mentioned ferry and water taxi trips, Windstar extended a $300 per cabin on-board credit which could be used for everything except tips. Also gave us free drinks the first 2 days of the cruise. Since we already had a $300 OBC, that gave us $600 to use onboard. We were first told that we couldn’t use this for a future Windstar cruise, but when I expressed disappointment about that, I received a letter on my door staying we could use the $300 to do so. Unpacked and headed to pool deck. Comfortable deck chairs, lounges tables, umbrellas. Never had to look for empty lounges during trip. Had our usual cocktails around 6pm and attended an informative port talk around 6pm. My very fussy husband, who has his nightly martinis at home, a little dry and just a little dirty, claimed he didn’t get a good martini for the duration of the trip. Great OJ so my screwdrivers were wonderful. (Fresh squeezed OJ daily at breakfast also.) Delicious appetizers passed at the bar during cocktail hour. We were surprised that the bars never seemed to have much camaraderie barside before dinner. Dinner was fabulous. Seafood Risotto and fish dish, panna cotta and butter pecan ice cream for dessert. The food portions on this trip weren’t large, but more than enough to enjoy. Restaurant service excellent in all 3 restaurants. Still managed to put on some pounds during trip! Drink/wine prices about $8.50 each/$38.50 average bottle (and up, of course). The food displays on plates were impressive. Enjoyed the Compass Rose lounge in evenings. Nice atmosphere, opening up to outside seating area. Listed to music by Duo, Mellow Yellow. Girl singer very good; guy not a great singer, but good on keyboards. Danced quite a bit. There was also a band nightly in the lounge. Girl singer pretty good, but we really didn’t enjoy the band at all. Comfortable seating. We liked the nightly port talks, captain’s cocktail party, introductions to Officers etc. Library and DVD selection decent. Girls at reception desk pleasant and went out of their way to help. I had difficulty checking into AA at their computer for my return flight. She helped me do so and print my boarding tickets. Dinner second night – short ribs w/pasta, great; beef wellington just okay; shrimp cocktail soggy, escargot delicious. Impressed by offering us black napkins instead of white since we were wearing dark clothes. Never had to wait to be seated for dinner. Choice of seating for 2 or larger table. Although we weren’t looking for the hairy chest contest, etc., we were surprised that there were absolutely no activities during the day inbetween excursions and seeing ports. Seem to remember just one day of trivia. Perhaps it’s because most people are off the ship visiting ports. Hubby visited the fitness center a few times. Satisfactory based on size of ship. They also listed free yoga and stretch classes daily besides spa treatments, etc. Sailed to Sopers Hole, Tortola, the next day at 1pm. Finally got to see sails unfurl to music. Terrific. Took lots of photos. Fabulous lunch buffet, napped on deck. Dinner at Stella Bistro (need to make reservation upon boarding). Lamb shank, mussels, raspberry crème brulee…delicious. Watched a DVD movie – went to bed early. Tortola – Took ship’s snorkel excursion. Was supposed to go to Caves and Norman Island, but weather didn’t cooperate so visited 2 snorkel stops in Norman Island vicinity. Good equipment, fun crew, nice boat, rum punch after snorkeling. Not as many fish as I remember seeing there years ago. Lots more in Chankanaab, Cozumel. Coral better at Norman Island though. Stopped at Pirate’s Blight resort/beach on way back for about 45 minutes. Nice beach, excellent painkillers! Back at 12:30 or so. Went to Yacht Club for delicious sandwiches. They have various, delicious coffees, little cakes and sandwiches from 6am – 6pm. Windsurf’s coffee best we’ve ever had on cruises. Specialty coffees included in cruise cost unlike most other cruiselines. BBQ moved from deck to lounge area for dinner due to possibility of showers. Words cannot describe it. HUGE selection with everything from salads to wonderful king crab legs, big shrimp, paella (best I’ve ever eaten), lobster tails, whole pig, lamb, etc. Linedancing with crew in lounge afterward. Jost Van Dyke – Arrived in evening. We intended to go to Foxy’s, but just too tired to do so. Awoke to showers. Bored in cabin. Headed to Jost late AM. Thankfully the weather cleared around 1pm so we had a great day. Jost is much more commercialized than last time we visited, many years ago. Still lots of fun. Hendo’s Hideaway next door also looked nice. Had our share of painkillers and the best fish and chips at Jost beach. Dinner at Candles Outside restaurant. (make reso when boarding). Full moon over water, fabulous veal chop and perch dish, crème brulee. Received a nice cake acknowledging our 25th anniversary. Amazing night. The Crew Show took place in the lounge that night. Appreciated their enthusiasm, but not our thing. Virgin Gorda – Took 9:30 tender to another boat to a very pretty Fischer’s Cove beach (substitute for Prickly Pear). Great day using Windsurf’s SUP, kayaks, trampoline, raft, etc. Volleyball with staff, excellent Caribbean band amazing BBQ on beach etc. Others told us that Prickly Pear was nicer. Reasons for skipping that beach were varied. Not sure if Windsurf will ever visit there again. We were told that this was the ship’s first visit to Fischer’s Cove. Things seemed to go well except for having few beach chairs and lounges. They seemed to have worked this out though, bringing more chairs as needed. Antigua – Were going to do what I read was a short walk to Pigeon Point Beach. Guess we and other fellow cruisers missed the trail to do so. Grabbed a cab - $5pp….Short ride, but a lot easier. Very hot out. Decided to skip historic Dockyard and Shirley Heights. The beach wasn’t great, but a nice cove and atmosphere. Not many fish seen while snorkeling.Hubby went to Gertrudes for a pina colada and gave them a $20 bill. Wanted to give him change in their currency. He told them he didn’t want that. They gave in and he got $8 USD back. Have to say they made a great drink. There is a BBQ shack bar/restaurant, Bumpkins, down the other end. Very rustic, but nice people who called us a taxi back to ship later in the day. Someone told me that their beers were ridiculously expensive. We hadn’t done beer that day so not sure. Last night onboard – Captain and entire crew paraded into the lounge. The Stewards carried in towel animals, some very different and impressive. All departments recognized and everyone sang “That’s what friends are for”…Very nice. Since our return flight wasn’t til 3:25 and we had carry-on luggage with us, we decided to take a ship’s excursion the morning of debarkation. We met around 7:45am and were delayed til around 8:15 due to one couple’s not showing up. Tour guide asked if we wanted to skip stopping back at Phillipsburg due to delay. We all agreed to do so. Took a nice tour to Oyster Pond and Orient Bay areas for photos; shopped and had a wonderful peach tart and cappuchino at Seraphina’s bakery in Marigot (loved the French atmosphere!); had a terrific pizza and drinks at Sunset Grill area restaurant. Unfortunately, just 2 small planes passed overhead, but we had been there before so just sitting in the restaurant was fine for us. Got to airport on the tour bus about noon. Enjoyed the reasonably priced shopping and the Souliga lounge at airport though our Priority Pass. Complimentary drinks, light snacks, coffee, wifi, newspapers. Boarded our flight to Charlotte airport. Had burger and beers at Tequiliera restaurant there. Not good at all and expensive. Plane out of Charlotte to Tampa had to be de-iced so delayed. 32 degrees in Charlotte. Freezing to us Floridians. We hadn’t thought about it being cold so only had light clothing and sweaters with us. Economy parking/shuttle at Tampa airport was great. No waiting at all. We didn’t get home til 1:30am. Thanks to Windsurf for a wonderful cruise. Hope to sail another Windstar ship with balcony in the future! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the ... Read More
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the better the experience and that puts Windstar at the top of our list. We have been on the 5,000 passenger giants where you are an anonymous part of a city at sea. With 280 passengers and 100 crew, the Windsurf almost feels like you are on a private yacht. Every single crew member treated us like we were the most important people on board and it was wonderful. We are sailors and our favourite curses in the Caribbean are chartering our own yachts. Second to that is the Island Windjammer cruises with real sailing yacht. Our last voyage was 12 passengers and 6 crew on a 90 foot sloop, but that requires a real love of sailing and it is expensive. Windstar cruises are the happy compromise. There is no real sailing sensation on a Windstar other than stirring music when sails are hoisted but the small size of the ship allows anchoring in remote locations that emulates the real sailboat experience. You also trade excitement and danger for luxury and pampering if you go Windstar. Previous Reviews We have never submitted a review before but we disagree so much with a negative review from our cruise that we felt we owed it to the crew of Windsurf to set the record straight. Some specific rebuttals of that review: 1)The dress code for dinner is appropriate and dress code is well documented on the website. 2)The Captain handled the mechanical problems at St Barths admirably. Windstar chartered us a high speed ferry for us so we still got to do St Barts and the company gave us a generous cruise credit to compensate. 3) Our dock in St Maarten was fine and only 100 yards from the regular dock and no one cares what dock you are on. 4) Criticisms of the band were unwarranted. I am a musician and to my professionally tuned ear this was clearly in the top 1% of bands I have ever heard. 5) Criticisms of the tenders were unwarranted. These are the universal lifeboats used on every ship in the world as tenders 6) When other reviews are so overwhelmingly positive this tells you something. OUR REVIEW The Ship Well designed and meticulously cared for, it motors well and sails well. Despite its large size there are so few passengers that there are always lots of places to sit either inside or on deck. We have been on real windjammers and this was ultra luxury in comparison. The water ballast system means the ship sails level even in heavy weather. Bad news for real sailors but a delight for landlubbers. Fake sailing at its best. The Staterooms Small but who cares. We never had time to do anything but sleep in them. The lack of balconies is not an issue because there are so many private sitting areas on the various outside decks. Cleverly designed and visually appealing, the highlight is the full size shower which is far superior to the tubes in the large cruise ships. The Crew Many nationalities but as on all ships mostly Philippine. Every single crew member gave us a full smile and the red carpet treatment and many gave us extra service. The treatment of crew by the officers is exemplary and it was clear this ship was a happy environment. Food Without doubt the best we have ever eaten, and came close to gourmet quality. Despite hours of exercise every day I came home ten pounds heavier. The freedom to sit anywhere is great. We constantly sat with different people and got to know many of the passengers. The Ambience We cannot stress how different the ambiance is from a large ship. The windsurf is like the theme song to Cheers where everyone knows your name. It didn't matter who was beside you passenger or crew, friendly conversation and courteous behaviour was everywhere. We felt part of a community. Ports of Call The Classic itinerary is one of the best in the Caribbean visiting St Marten, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Antigua, St Lucia, Guadaloupe, St Kitts and St Parts. In vacation lingo these are upscale islands with unique features. Most importantly, you are not going ashore at the main dock with thousands of other ants all fighting for position. The Windstar boats mostly anchor offshore and you are tendered in in small groups. We never felt like we were standing in line for anything. Tours We have done these islands and seen the highlights before so we either stayed on board and enjoyed the water sports or just did hunted for a beach. Caribbean tours are largely a waste of money. Most of the things you can do yourself or are overpriced, but if you have a herd mentality and a fat wallet they are okay. Our only tour was zip lining. It was overpriced and the zip lines too short but we got to cross zip lining off our bucket list. On the other hand every free, mostly deserted beach we frequented was a 5 star day. Nothing compares with being plucked onto a private beach. Entertainment We completely lucked out. A new band started the week of our cruise as noted above. They were most impressive and we ended up spending 4 hours a night listening to them. Name of the band is Stage Direction. They are Philippine and have been together for 18 years and spent the last 8 years on Norwegian Cruise Lines on the big ships. Except for requests they never repeated a song the whole voyage. The lead singer should by rights be on America's got talent. She did Whitney Houston, Adele, Pat Benetar and Shania Twain hits as good as the originals and got frequent standing ovations. The lead guitarist could hold his own with Jimmi Hendrix doing riffs and even gave us the Chuck Berry walk. Last night was Beatles tribute and they did credible renditions. I believe if they had work permits in the USA they would be opening acts for the stars. The music on this trip was a true delight. They are only booked until May. Hope you get to hear them. Value for Money and Overall Comment Windstar vacations are pricier than the run of the mill cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian etc,, but you get so much more enjoyment. If you want pampering go to Regent. If you want a great vacation that maximizes sun, wind, water and sand and goes off the beaten path then Windstar is your dream vacation. We will probably alternate Windstar with real sailboats on future Caribbean vacations. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a ... Read More
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a total makeover. When we were to board, embarkation was not at its usual dock but more of an industrial dock so check in was chaotic and very long. We sat here until 11:00 pm, sailing was to be at 7:00 pm but divers were underneath the ship repairing a part. Not a good start! We were told by a Wind Star cruise reservations agent that we could snorkel off the sports platform from the Ship since the ship is smaller 310 passengers, so that was a big selling point for us. This was not true as the ship would anchor at a 100 feet or more and snorkeling off the sports platform was not allowed anyway. We were also told no shorts in the main dining room the Amphora and no flip flops of any kind in the lounge in the evenings. We were not informed of this when purchasing the cruise or is not stated in any of the brochures or on the Wind Star web site. I advised the onboard Customer Service Manager of this and she informed me it is stated on the website, but not so.When sailing to the different islands we always tendered in, which we knew we would some of the times but every single time aboard old hot tenders. More like tin sweat boxes. The first day we stood in the hall with a line of people and waited an hour as only one tender was running. On day 7 the captain made an announcement that we would not be going to St Barts our last port because they had scheduled a time to finish the repair that was started on embarkation day so now our 9 day cruise that we paid for was an 8 day. I believe that Wind Star knew about this when we departed on day 1. We asked for a refund for the one night but our request was denied. The passengers stayed aboard the ship sitting at the pier in St. Maartin not what we signed up or paid for. We disembarked and went to a hotel. Very disappointing and not at all what was expected for the money we paid which is quite a bit more than other cruise lines. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
9 days "Sicily Splendors" was purchased in June 2016. We cruised on Windstar (Windsurf) before and knew about the warm crew approach, amazing food, long staying in the ports and all the other things smaller ships can offer. We ... Read More
9 days "Sicily Splendors" was purchased in June 2016. We cruised on Windstar (Windsurf) before and knew about the warm crew approach, amazing food, long staying in the ports and all the other things smaller ships can offer. We were in the different parts of Italy many times but not in Sicily. So the decision was easy. Embarkation was smooth and easy. We were upgraded to a higher deck - which was a nice surprise. Cabin was clean and kept clean all the voyage. The dining on Windstar ships is the one of the best you can get on a cruise ship. All the time 5* - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, BBQ event - everything! The ports were interesting for us as I've mentioned. All around Sicily plus Malta and Gozo (small island next to Malta). Unfortunately due to the weather conditions in Gozo captain decided to stay one more night in Valletta so we couldn't see Gozo. But safety first and we spent a wonderful one more day in Malta - which was nice :) Special event was very well organized. Additional point to the Team. Miss the ship already and dream to come again! :) Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because of the small ship experience. We did not want to be on a big "floating city". We found Windstar to be a wonderful experience. the only thing I would change is for Windstar to allow complimentary ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the small ship experience. We did not want to be on a big "floating city". We found Windstar to be a wonderful experience. the only thing I would change is for Windstar to allow complimentary internet and to be more reasonable about the exorbitant alcohol package. That said, we loved the experience! The staff is very welcoming. We highly recommend the laundry service...outstanding. We do think that the shore excursions are overrated and very expensive. We found that we could do better just going on line and booking an excursion by ourselves. For example, the Blue Grotto tour was well over $100 and we booked a tour for $33. The planned, free excursion to the Gambino Winery was amazing! Totally enjoyable. We did not think Split was a particularly good stopover; the Diocletian Palace was filled with souvenir ships...not very interesting to us. Kotor and Roving were the highlights for us....well worth the stopover. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Our experience on Windstar Cruises was excellent. We had originally chosen an itinerary from Istanbul to Athens. However, Windstar pulled out of Istanbul after the attempted coup, and gave us the opportunity to stay with the ship's ... Read More
Our experience on Windstar Cruises was excellent. We had originally chosen an itinerary from Istanbul to Athens. However, Windstar pulled out of Istanbul after the attempted coup, and gave us the opportunity to stay with the ship's new itinerary or change. We chose to change to an earlier sail date from Rome to Venice, with stops in Montenegro, Croatia and Italy. Windstar was very responsive to our requests and questions as we made these changes. We stayed in Rome for one night prior to the cruise, and took the train from Rome to Civitavecchia on our embarkation day. This ended up being slightly stressful (we missed the express train and ended up on a local -- cutting it very, very close to missing the all-aboard time). We made these arrangements independently, and might have been better off using Windstar to make the arrangements for us. That said, they welcomed us to the port and helped us get aboard. The registration process once on the ship was quick and easy, and we relished the opportunity to relax. The Wind Surf is a gorgeous ship. Upon leaving each port, she unfurled her sails and the ceremony was invigorating. The decks are very pleasant, with plenty of seating. The deck bars are responsive to your needs, but not pushy, which has not been our experience with other cruise lines. We had booked the least expensive type of cabin, but with Windstar's price guarantee, when the price lowered and it was too late to refund us, they granted us both a cabin upgrade and an onboard credit! Our cabin was well-furbished, comfortable and had more storage than we actually needed. Our steward was pleasant and unobtrusive, and we experienced no disturbing noises or even ship movement from our cabin. The dining onboard is excellent. Breakfast, with its choice of menu service or buffet, more than met our needs. The lunch buffet changed daily to reflect our different port stops, with some delightful cheeses, olives and interesting main dish choices, as well as a standard menu reflecting the more Americanized choices of burgers, hotdogs and pizza. Many guests chose to stay in port for lunch at each stop, but we travelled on a tight budget and were grateful that we could make it back to the ship and eat each day. Dinner was delicious, regardless of whether we ate in the main dining room or in one of the two specialty restaurants, although I must say that my experience in the Stella Bistro was truly remarkable. I need to find their recipe for lobster bisque -- I've never had one that good! If you are looking for a cruise ship with lots and lots of onboard entertainment, Windstar is not for you. There was a small casino (we don't gamble, so I can't speak to its quality), a few lounges, a library with books and games, but very little in the way of organized entertainment. Most of the guests chose to spend our day at sea reading by the pool, hanging out on the decks, or relaxing in one of the indoor areas. It was exactly what we like! Twice in port, we were able to use the sports deck on the back of the ship to swim in the Adriatic, and it was great fun! They have paddle boards and other water sports equipment, but we really enjoyed the opportunity just to get wet and take a dip in the sea. There is also a very nice workout room, and they offer daily exercise activities, but with the extensive walking we were doing in each port, I didn't see the point of taking advantage of these offerings. Speaking of in-port -- wow, our excursions were phenomenal! Our guides were terrific, transportation was clean and efficient, and the places we visited were...breathtaking, historical, panoramic, awe-inspiring, full of art and full of story. Our favorite stop was Istria (Rovinj) on the northern Croatian coastline. We took a full-day "Istria in-Depth" excursion and it was unmatched in the scenery we took in, the food we were provided, and the chance to truly explore some less-visited places in this gorgeous country. We had originally decided not to book excursions in two cities, but after wandering aimlessly in Capri, we decided this was not good planning and chose to use the Windstar excursion desk and book excursions for each of the other stops. Windstar prides itself on its personalized small-ship service. It was very good. Additionally, the small-ship is such a great place to make new friends. We truly enjoyed the chance to talk, dine, and explore with new friends from all over the world (although the majority of passengers are American). We will travel with Windstar again, and I hope it is sooner rather than later! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
After more than a dozen previous cruises on the Wind Surf, this was our first ever back to back cruise. The first leg was Edinburgh to Dubln, visiting many smaller ports in the British Isles, followed by Dublin to Lisbon, visiting the ... Read More
After more than a dozen previous cruises on the Wind Surf, this was our first ever back to back cruise. The first leg was Edinburgh to Dubln, visiting many smaller ports in the British Isles, followed by Dublin to Lisbon, visiting the Scylli Isles, France, Spain, and Portugal. It was also our first booking in a suite, a definite upgrade from the regular cabin. Having access to two separate baths and two separate closets, was much appreciated. The spacious sitting area was also nice, as we were traveling with friends. Windstar was also gracious enough to comp us for the laundry package for our second voyage, which was a real treat. No more rinsing out underwear in the sink! I learned later that Windstar often does this for back to back cruisers. Thank you, Windstar! During our stay in Dublin, we booked the excursion to the Guinness Museum, which was a real treat. The museum is housed in a huge converted warehouse, which is worth a visit unto itself. There are 5 stories of exhibits, showing the brand's celebrated history, the unique brewing process, the equipment and technology, advertising campaigns, and finally, a pint of Guinness in the Sky Bar, with a panoramic view of Dublin. After dropping off all the other passengers at their hotels, the bus took us back to the ship, and we got back in time for a late lunch. Our first stop was in Waterford, followed by the Scylli Isles, where we had a real treat. Prince William spent many vacations there as a child, and he and Kate happened to be there for a Royal tour. So they came out to the Wind Surf in their Royal launch, and gave us a wave as they motored by! All the Wind Surf passengers were lining the rails, cheering, waving and snapping photos. During those first few days of the cruise we also had some other VIP's on board, new Windstar President John Delaney and Vice President Doug Santoni. I took the opportunity to introduce myself, and found them both to be highly engaging, and interested in my opinions and experiences, especially about my 3 cruises on the Wind Surf's sister ship, the Club Med 1. After our first conversation, Mr. Delaney set aside another hour in his busy schedule for a more in-depth meeting. He has big plans for Windstar, mostly focusing on ways to improve the cruising experience. Bravo! On our cruise, very much like many others I have been on, almost 50% of the passengers were Yacht Club members, including one passenger with almost 40 previous cruises, going back to the late, great Wind Song. Windstar must be doing some things REALLY well to earn that kind of loyalty. Lately I have seen some less than glowing Cruise Critic reviews, almost always from first-timers who apparently expect white glove table service, and caviar in the hot tubs. I prefer the warm personal service from crew and staff who not only welcome me back, but remember my name. The true stars of the ship are the officers, especially Hotel Manager Nick Bulger, and the fantastic team of Steve and Amanda Millar. We have already booked our next cruise in February to Costa RIca and the Panama Canal, where we join President John Delaney for the "Presidents" cruise. Then next October, we will be back on the Wind Surf to visit the Canary Islands. Join us! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The old ship with an outdated decor and a very few amenities. The entertainment was limited to an OK band and a duo (husband and wife) singers. The food was OK, but not great. The cabin was small with a peeling wallpaper and some ... Read More
The old ship with an outdated decor and a very few amenities. The entertainment was limited to an OK band and a duo (husband and wife) singers. The food was OK, but not great. The cabin was small with a peeling wallpaper and some rusted spots in the shower. It was also dark with pothole windows which were advertised as the ocean view cabins. A poor quality TV reception, limited to 4-5 channels. Internet is slow and expensive. Wi-Fi was available only close to the reception desk not in our room. The "Fitness Center" was so small that 2 people felt as a crowd. The 24 hours food court (pizza, sandwiches, tea, coffee), typical for all the cruises I've been to, is not available. There is a room service alternative that I've never used. The only positive detail of the cruise was friendly, service-oriented staff. Not a luxury cruise that I've hoped for! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not ... Read More
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not disappointed. Edinburgh is a lovely city, offering fantastic history, architecture, and pub food & drink. Upon arrival, we were pleased to learn that the city was celebrating their annual "Festival Fringe", billed as the world's largest arts festival, spanning 25 days of nonstop music, dance, comedy, and poetry in over 300 venues. The Royal Mile leading up to the Castle was thronged with people, many in costume. Every block had one or more stages, with performances every 30 minutes. What a great time! The cruise got off to a bad start at embarkation, when we arrived at dockside in Edinburgh, only to be informed that the Wind Surf was actually in Dundee, over 60 miles away! After a frantic taxi ride (an extra 160 Euros) we arrived in Dundee, then drove around in circles for a while searching for the "King George V Wharf", which even the local taxi drivers had never heard of. As we got near the water we could see the masts of the ship, but it took quite a while to find the completely unmarked dock entrance. As we go onboard we saw many other taxis pulling up with frustrated looking customers. As we got to the top of the gangway, I was greeted warmly by Nick Bulger, the Wind Surf's Hotel Manager, a good friend from several previous cruises. Soon we were comfortably situated in Cabin 327, our first time in a suite, and certainly not the last. By the time we got to dinner we had already touched base with several of our favorite crew members such as Nova, Casey, Jun, Phillip, Merrick, and Chef Eddy. A few other crew members heard that I was on board, and tracked me down in the Compass Rose just to say hello. It's this kind of warm personal service that sets Windstar 180 degrees from ordinary, indeed. Unfortunately, our favorite entertainers, Craig and Nikki from the "Rain" duo, were not on board (Nikki just had a baby!) Their replacements were a British duo, the "Upbeats" who were very good vocalists. The main band was "High Society", which seems to change lead singers every cruise. They are a family act, and don't offer much energy or showmanship. They play before and after dinner, and seldom can entice anyone onto the dance floor. The only time I saw any dancing at all was after the weekly BBQ, when the crew got everyone up for line dancing. However, the amateur show put on by the crew was greatly improved, including a hysterically funny synchronized swimming act. Contrary to some recent CC reviews, I thought the ship was in great shape, and our cabin was immaculate. The food was excellent, with some local dishes mixed in with the normal Asian-influenced menu. Service, as always, was very attentive and personal. Our cruise itinerary was very interesting, entirely in small ports such as Invergordon, the Orkney Islands, and the Isle of Man. In several ports the ship was anchored out, rather than moored at a pier. On a few occasions when the sea was a bit choppy the tender ride to and from the ship got a little rocky, and on one occasion the Captain had to cut off the tender service entirely. The weather was cool, usually around 60F degrees, and often foggy in the morning. However, there was sunshine almost every day. The last stop was in Dublin, where we visited the fascinating Guinness Museum, and learned how to do the "perfect pour" of Guinness Stout. I am not a big fan of Guinness, but I do like dark beers, and was able to buy several Guinness variants that are not widely available in the U.S., such as Indian Porter, Double Stout and XX. Another great cruise! This was also our first ever back/back cruise, as we continued on to France, Spain and Portugal --- the topic of a second review. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Windsurf. My husband and I are a well traveled couple in our early 60s. We have only taken one "big" cruise boat tour which was to Alaska on another line. I just don't care for ... Read More
We just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Windsurf. My husband and I are a well traveled couple in our early 60s. We have only taken one "big" cruise boat tour which was to Alaska on another line. I just don't care for ships with 3,000 passengers and all that those crowds entail. The Windstar cruise line fits our needs perfectly. This was our 2nd cruise with Windstar, the first on the Surf. We aren't looking for a lot of onboard entertainment options and appreciate good food and the casual atmosphere. We always choose to have dinner with other passengers and have met some very interesting, well traveled people. On this trip, Windstar had invited a guest lecturer who spoke to the passengers on , "The Romanov Dynasty" and "Deception in WII". (all pertinent in Norther Europe and Russia) These lectures were extremely interesting and very well attended. The 3 excursions we took were enjoyable with knowledgable guides. We did hire a private guide in St. Petersburg (not through Windstar) and were very happy that we did. I heard positives regarding Windstar's St. Pete's tours however they did not go into a few of the sites that the private tour did. Our special event evening was a Russian ballet, "Swan Lake". What a memorable opportunity! Our cabin had been upgraded to a suite (321) which was spacious and we definitely appreciated. Our previous experience was on the Star Pride which was an all suite vessel. (Pride is smaller than the Surf and we actually like the smaller size better) All in all, a very good experience and we plan to travel this line in the future. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We choose the cruise because we had never seen the Baltic States and we prefer small boats of giant ships. It got good reviews and we had done many riverboat cruises before. We thought this would be like an big river cruise... wrong. We ... Read More
We choose the cruise because we had never seen the Baltic States and we prefer small boats of giant ships. It got good reviews and we had done many riverboat cruises before. We thought this would be like an big river cruise... wrong. We started the cruise by spending three days in Stockholm to get our bodies in the right time zone. We loved Stockholm, found it easy to navigate and the people very pleasant. Our hotel there was on the water and very nice. We did not use the computer that we had with us in Stockholm because we were just exploring the neighborhood and the "hop on hop off" highlights. For that reason, we did not check our email. When we got to the port to leave there was not ship. Panic. Fortunately our cab driver called his home desk and found another set of docks. We went there and found the boat. So we had a scary start. We got all checked in and went to our cabin. The cabin was nice but not Spectacular. It was just a boat cabin. All of the riverboats that we had been on were far superior to this cabin and the carpet clearly needed replacing. The two porthole were sort of grimy looking and filled with big glumps of some kind of glue. The food on this boat, in the dining room, was spectacular but the "Snack" food was sort of dry and uninteresting. The problem that I have with this whole approach to cruising is that, unlike river cruises, they tend to "nickle and dime" you to death. That is a significant charge each day to go on a tour when we were in port. (cheapest being $69.99 most expensive being $700.). There were spa ads and tongue evaluation ads and other ad through out the shop. I found that sort of tacky. The alcohol package was very expensive. The appeal of a small boat cruise is that it becomes like summer camp. You pay up front and put your credit card away until you leave. Not so here. The tours that we took were "okay" at best. None were spectacular. The Russian tours were under planned and did not make rooms for the crowds. Often we were on a bus that just zoomed by places that we would have like to stay longer. The onboard service were great, the crew were very accommodating but the just the plan of the trip left much to be desired. We were very disappointed. The internet on the boat was outrageously expensive. And, even in port, when it was free the boat seemed to block the free internet. This is 2016. Internet should just be there, at least in port. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was the 6th cruise for my wife and me; our first was on Silversea (which was very good), and our next 4 were all on Seabourn which were all superb. We chose this WindStar cruise because of its itinerary -- starting in Scotland, with ... Read More
This was the 6th cruise for my wife and me; our first was on Silversea (which was very good), and our next 4 were all on Seabourn which were all superb. We chose this WindStar cruise because of its itinerary -- starting in Scotland, with stops in Norway, Denmark, Germany, and ending in Sweden. We'd been to Scandinavia before and looked forward to returning. Based on ratings and reviews of Windstar, we expected the ship and its meals and services to be close to what we experienced on Seabourn. The itinerary did not disappoint; the ship, service and meals did. I suppose that if we had never sailed on Seabourn (or even Silversea), we might not have noticed as much; we expected Windstar to be comparable in quality to those two cruise lines, and it was not. No ONE thing on Windstar was terrible; but it was a collection of countless "little things" (our list reached 40 items) that added up to a significantly lower level of service than the likes of Seabourn offered. Although a few of the meals on Windstar were very good, most were average and a more than a couple were far below average. There were issues with cleanliness, lack of communications (such as the captain failing to announce when we were able to disembark), and poor service. If you've never sailed with top lines such as Seabourn or Silversea, you might not notice or mind some of the Windstar issues that stood out to us. But if you have sailed on these other top-tier lines, our advice would be to prepare yourself for a significantly lower level of quality and of service when sailing with Windstar -- or, just make the decision to NOT run the risk of disappointment and stick with Seabourn. That's what we're going to do from now on. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in Northern Europe without a stop in St. Petersburg. Most Baltic cruises go to Russia. Since I do not agree with Putin's politics, I didn't want to go to Russia. Starting in Edinburgh was also an attraction. We stayed in Edinburgh for 2 nights before the cruise. The cruise left from the port of Lieth which is very close to Old town Edinburgh. We arrived at the dock at 1 pm to check in. We were met by the cruise director that told us that boarding was delayed until 3 pm because the ship was being deep cleaned as the last cruise had noro virus. We were able to check our bags at the dock. We were also told that we would recieve $25pp OBC for the inconvience. Instead of just waiting at the dock, we visited the Queen's yacht, The Britania. It was berthed next to the Windsurf. The self guided audio tour was excellent. It was about 4pm when we returned to the dock. At that time, we boarded the ship, checked in, and booked times at Candles and Stella Bistro. Checking in was quick. We were told not to unpack since as Yacht Club members we were on the upgrade list. Since we liked pur cabin location and all cabins are the same, we declined an upgrade. We were on deck one slightly forward. It was a great location. When the sea doors are shut when the ship is arriving or departing, being forward allowed us access to the elevator. Our previous time on the Windstar we were midship and were closed off from access to the elevators. We enjoyed the casual atmosphere. No lines, dine whenever you want, unlimited non-alcohlic drinks, fabulous food, outstanding service, etc. being on the Windsurf was wonderful. We enjoyed breakfasts and most lunches in the Veranda. We enjoyed dinners in Aamphora. We also liked our 2 dinners in the specialty venues. Candles used to be aft on the pool deck. It is now on the star deck near the veranda. It has wind/rain shields allowing you to eat outside most of the time. The fliet at Candles is fantastic. The menus in the veranda and Aamphora change daily. Often, the chef adds local items. We enjoyed the Norwegian salmon, smoked items, fresh fruits, and local cheeses and sausages. The deck bbq was outstanding.. We enjoyed quick snacks at the Yacht Club and tea in the Compass Rose. Room service was excellent. Call, order, and it arrived quickly. Want something that wasn't on a menu, usually no problem. If the ingredients are on the ship, they will make it for you. We especially enjoyed the special event which included a canal boat tour in Copenhagen, an after hours tour at a museum with a private reception of delicious local cuisine and drinks. In most ports we did our own thing. We did buy 2 excursions from the ship. In Copenhagen, we went on the Dragor fishing village tour. It was mostly a bus tour of Copenhagen with a short stop at Dragor. Description misrepresented the tour. Having been in Copenhagen twice before, we were expecting a tour completely outside the city. In Visby, we took the West Coast drive and city tour. It was excellent. We also enjoyed having the unlimited same day laundry service. It was a pleasure to arrive home. Instead of spending time doing laundry, I unpacked my clean clothes. Entertainment was very limited. The band in the main lounge was excellent. The duo in Compass Rose was poor. The guest lecturer was ok. In one port, there was a men's chior singing local songs. The crew put on a show one night. Not much else doing on the ship. I spent a lot of time reading or talking with guests. Each night before we arrived at a port, cruise director gave a short presentation about the port. I was happy that I had researched the port before the cruise. The info on the ship was very basic. They kept trying to persuade guests to buy expensive excursions. The ship excursions were overpriced. Aside from pushing the excursions, there was no real hard sell like you get on the large mass market cruises. weather was good. It was warm enough on most days to enjoy being on the outside deck areas. Went into the pool. The sport platform did not open. We enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We choose this cruise because of the ports and we had never been on Windstar. We assumed it was a sailing ship because of the masts we saw in ports. Shortly after boarding we were told that one of our excursion was canceled due to ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the ports and we had never been on Windstar. We assumed it was a sailing ship because of the masts we saw in ports. Shortly after boarding we were told that one of our excursion was canceled due to Ramadan in Tangier. Did the cruise line not know, because it was advertised on their website for months, and one of the reasons we booked the cruise. The city of Tangier was like a ghost town. So moving on, my husband and I were enjoying the jacuzzi on a beautiful full moon night when we were told that we had to get out, because it was closed. It wasn't even 9 pm. On another night we were sleeping and at 2 in the morning an upholstered tile from the headboard fell on my husbands head. No damage, but surprising . We assumed the the room steward would have it fixed. But no, we called and someone came and fixed it. The next day our room steward said "I thought it was yours", really I brought a headboard tile with me. The food was good, but not regional. There was a BBQ one night with all the food from the region, but I expected to have at least one option a night from the region on the ships menu. Don't get me started about the news letter. Wrong dates, wrong times, wrong cities. Two hour wrong wakeup times, on and on. We've been cruising since 2002 on many different lines and travel many times every year on land and sea. We have never been more disappointed in a cruise line. The staff was wonderful the ports beautiful, but the attention to detail was miserable. The photo we bought is not printable on our email. So disappointed. We also think it really isn't a sailing ship, just a gimmick, because we never sailed and the sports deck was never available. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We have sailed Windstar 5 or 6 times in the past and always had a great experience. So when it came to going on a special trip with my Mom the cruise line was an easy choice. I left the cruise itinerary up to Mom to pick. She selected ... Read More
We have sailed Windstar 5 or 6 times in the past and always had a great experience. So when it came to going on a special trip with my Mom the cruise line was an easy choice. I left the cruise itinerary up to Mom to pick. She selected Glitter and Glam of the Riviera. We left from Rome and disembarked in Barcelona, both was very smooth. Great trip! Staff is excellent as is the food. The ports were great; best was Monte Carlo! The ship was Wind Surf their biggest at 310 pax but it wasn't full (sorry Windstar) that week so quite comfortable. It is also the one with elevators which came in very handy since Mom was in a wheelchair. All of the staff is just great but we had exceptional service from Allen and Larry dining room mgrs, Eric, Ruel, Ade, Lilik, Yusef and Nino! Just love Windstar and will cruise with them again... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My husband and I chose this cruise because we wanted to go to the French Riviera, Monaco, Portofino, and Cinqueterre and this cruise covered all these locations plus additional ports. The cruise was also round trip from Rome ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we wanted to go to the French Riviera, Monaco, Portofino, and Cinqueterre and this cruise covered all these locations plus additional ports. The cruise was also round trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) back to Rome. Most Riviera cruises left from a port in one country (ie, Italy) and ended in another country (ie, Spain). We wanted to fly in and out of Italy, so that after the cruise we could continue touring Italy on our own. Many passengers had chosen this cruise because it included 2 days in Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix and these folks bought tickets to see the race and made arrangements for special dinners, etc. We did not, although we saw the track and enjoyed the general festivities of Monte Carlo during that time. We have cruised on very large ships before and wanted to try a small ship, like the Windsurf. We were very glad we did. The ship only had 200 passengers (although it holds over 300) and the crew was almost 200. We were given excellent service by the crew. The food was generally outstanding. The dining rooms were lovely. There was food available throughout the day in different venues and there was free room service until late at night. Our room was compact, was exceptionally well designed and gave us sufficient space for clothes, suitcases, etc. The rooms all had portholes rather than picture windows and there were no balconies. However, this was not a drawback on this cruise. Although the Windsurf did not have the kinds of activities available on large ships (the in-water activities of the Windsurf were not part of this cruise), there was live music, a lounge, deck chairs, hot tubs, movie and book libraries, a gym and some fitness classes. There was a small casino, but I never saw anyone there. Dress was casual and nice casual for dinners. The cruise offered many side trips at ports and one free excursion. My husband and I went off on our own to see Grasse (from Cannes) and Nice (from Monaco). The Windstar line offered some extras with the booking and we chose 2 nights at a hotel in Rome plus free transport to the Rome port. We had poor weather, which resulted in changes to the itinerary (although all places listed were visited), and which created problems with the use of the tenders to and from ports. We did have some problems related to maintenance work that were eventually sorted out. The reception desk could have done a better job regarding information for port visits. We highly recommend the Windsurf for cruising. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be ... Read More
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be there, the views are so gorgeous, the other passengers so pleasant. There's no fighting over deck chairs, no scrambling to get the best seats, no worry you'll get reservations to the restaurant of your choice. There's a feeling like, "Relax. Chill. There's enough of everything and they have it all planned out." From the time I arrived at the airport at Venice and a Windstar agent was waiting to take us to our hotel, I just feel relaxed and taken care of. The food on t his cruise was even better than the food on Windstar, the last ship on this line I cruised, and that's really saying something! There was more variety, I think, more food from local markets featured in all three meals. I honestly couldn't have imagined fresher, more appealing meals than all of those that were offered--I can't think of one that wasn't really delicious. In the city where I live, I can't get food anywhere this good! Yes, the entertainment isn't great (although I liked the duo Splash). But really, the entertainment is in the vistas all around you and the conversations with other passengers. We didn't get to have our signature event, which was supposed to be a cocktail party with folk dancing in Dubrovnik. The lead dancer died that day, so you couldn't fault Windstar for that. And they brought in some folk singers on to the ship instead (not the same, though; I didn't care for them much). Our deck barbeque had to be moved indoors because of weather, but it was delicious and brilliant all the same--they work so hard on this! And we missed one of our ports, Capri, one of the ones I was most looking forward to, because it wasn't safe to tender (seas were too rough). The usual captain of Wind Surf was on vacation, and the substitute captain had an emergency, so the first officer became captain for his first time ever. Even with all of this, though, there was such sincere desire to please the passengers and make their vacations memorable that I think the crew cared more about the things we missed than we did. The ports of call were great, the available tours were outstanding, our cabin was comfortable and so well taken care of during our voyage (thanks, Azhar!) that it was just overall a really great vacation. Windstar, you've spoiled me! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I had sailed Wind Surf several years ago and it was the only ship I knew I could recommend to my sister who was paying for it. Although I rated this as Excellent, I must get the negatives out of the way first. 1) the WINDSTAR sales ... Read More
I had sailed Wind Surf several years ago and it was the only ship I knew I could recommend to my sister who was paying for it. Although I rated this as Excellent, I must get the negatives out of the way first. 1) the WINDSTAR sales office is aloof and does not return calls or answer questions to our satisfaction. I had previously used Vacations to Go and I will go back to them in the future rather than the WINDSTAR Sales office in Seattle. I think it is wise to compare the price of cruise cancellation insurance with both companies or go through AMEX for booking and insurance. 2) there is a mysterious $626 charge by WS on the Amex that NO ONE can explain, charged April 28 when we were in air transit 3) there is another $390 charge for something after the cruise charged by WS 4) upon landing and disembarking in Venice we had to walk approximately 1/2 mile to customs and immigration (this may have been the private transporters fault, so it would be very wise to check this) we are 70 and I am impaired and it was an unreasonable hike. 5) the Surf did not honor its own policy regarding smoking and we found it impossible to get away from. It was not possible to enjoy the deck by the pool as it was overwhelmed by cigarette and cigar smoke. To us this would have been a deal breaker had we known that windsurf would not enforce their own written policy. This changed after the first week when we and others filed written complaints. 6) the port stop in Sicily is dirty and we found no place to get away from cigarette smoke 7) although my sister is not afraid of spending lots of money, we found the tours offered by WS were outrageously expensive. We could engage a private car service at the pier for a reasonable fee. The one tour that we would have been willing to pay the outrageous fee was hogged by a corporate group who took most of the tours and managed to bounce private travelers off. Not cool, WINDSTAR. Positives 1) on board, the staff is amazing: Abby at the Reception desk, talented Robert at the cappuccino machine who made our cappuccino with soy milk instead of milk), Jonas and Gonzalo at the tour desk, all the awesome chefs, the first mate Ailine (who actually sailed the ship), the cabin steward for rm 310 who has been on the WindSurf for 17 years, the laundry service, the spa (best pedicure ever), the guys on the launch who took very special care of me and my inability to balance, Allen the F&B director and his amazing wait staff who truly worked their tails off for us - all with a positive attitude and a smile every single time - even when we changed tables four times (not kidding), the singing hotel manager, the executive chef who let us tag along on his market trips and bought raspberries and honey for us, the executive sous chef who personally picked out my fish and made us a birthday cake (we are twins) 2) we recommend getting the optional laundry package ($110 for the week for the cabin), usually in by 9, back by 4, done up perfectly, IRONED! 3) do attend the crews talent show. We laughed until we cried 4) this not a cruise for children 5) we loved the private events, Villa Durazo in Porto Fino and the Gambino Winery in Sicily 6) stay out on deck for the sail away - it is majestic 7) this beautiful ship commands attention in the ports - even the locals photograph it! It is the only cruise ship that is permitted to traverse the grand basin in Venice. It is beyond special. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We were in cabin 328 on the May cruise "Glitter and Glam" of the Riviera. It was fabulous. I booked thru my travel agent and also dealt with the corporate call center too when I had questions. We had been on the Wind Star in 1988 ... Read More
We were in cabin 328 on the May cruise "Glitter and Glam" of the Riviera. It was fabulous. I booked thru my travel agent and also dealt with the corporate call center too when I had questions. We had been on the Wind Star in 1988 in the Caribbean -- so we wanted to duplicate that wonderful experience for our 70th birthday year of travel! We were able to upgrade to a suite because the boat was not full. We did a few excursions via WindStar and they were wonderful. We went by bus to St Tropez. The bus was immaculate, our guide spoke great English and had a tremendous amount of info on Cote de Provence Rose. Julia, one of the Wind Star officer's wife accompanied our little group of 14 to better evaluate the tour company. Top notch. The tour to Monte Carlo was equally wonderful. Like the sisters, who were on our trip, we really enjoyed Villa Durazzo and it was great. I guess we drank the kool aid because both my husband and I loved the trip. The food, the service, the ship's cleanliness, the attitude of everyone who worked on the boat was AA+. We have been on cruises with other cruise lines but the WindStar is so great unlike anything else. We also worked with Kristina, the photographer, to take our picture with a flag we brought from our previous WindStar experience. Everyone went out of their way to help us enjoy our trip. Our cabin steward, Ady, helped us get acclimated. He was attentive but not in our way. We felt very safe too - a concern sailing in the Mediterranean. We enjoyed ourselves so much we just booked the Baltics Delight cruise next summer! We had no trouble with billing. Everything was perfect. Well done Wind Surf and Wind Star Cruises Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. This was the first of three scheduled JBF cruises and exceeded all expectations. I think it exceeded those of the JBF representatives and the Windstar staff as well. In addition to the 7 ports that we would visit after leaving Lisbon, we had nightly tastings of Spanish wines that were poured and examined at length by Sommelier Steve Olson. He is known as "the wine geek" for good reason. Besides 3 full glass "tastings" each evening, the wines of the night were then served at no charge with dinner. Some of the wines are available in my local stores for upwards of $75 per bottle; some we can't even get here. Then the food! Our chef was Michel Nischan, a three time James Beard awarding winning chef. He had presentations, classes, and shopping tours for guests. There was a final dinner that Chef Michel, Steve Olson, and the Windstar corporate chef collaborated on that was beyond belief. The representative from the JBF left the day before the cruise ended to get to JBF annual awards in Chicago. These guys were personable, approachable, and seemed to be having the time of their lives along with their families. A true once in a lifetime experience for us. As for the rest of the review, it is not possible to find fault with the spectacular Windstar staff, the cleanliness of the ship, the officers availability and the overall willingness to do whatever it takes. We were so happy to see old crew members who are like a big family to one another and to us. The ports on this itinerary were okay; nothing that I was particularly excited about, but interesting and each one different. Lisbon and Barcelona, of course, are two of the great cities of Europe and we were thrilled with each. We did mostly private tours and enjoyed each port. Lots of Roman ruins, etc. One port, Ibiza, has the Sa Cova winery (like we needed more wine) that was lovely and in the same family since the 1500's. Almeria is a seaport that is next to desert sites where many famous movies were filmed, from Lawrence of Arabia, to Exodus, to the spaghetti westerns. All and all, a really memorable 8 days that we will think and talk about for years to come. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our 2nd Windstar cruise. We are now serious fans of this line. We have been on both the "yachts" and the sail ships now and both, although different were excellent. Service was superb. We were thrilled to have ... Read More
This was our 2nd Windstar cruise. We are now serious fans of this line. We have been on both the "yachts" and the sail ships now and both, although different were excellent. Service was superb. We were thrilled to have the dining room server, Esther, that we had met on our first cruise. She was consistently helpful, accommodating and pleasant. We hope we meet her on our future cruises (and we have booked several others already). Our room Stewart, Iman, also went above and beyond. What ever we needed we got! And strangely, the ship's doctor was the most valuable crew member, as she aggressively treated the bronchitis I came on with and saved the vacation. Only two days lost--and can't say they were lost as I lounged on deck and was treated like a princess. We were fortunate to be on a James Beard cruise and the wine tasting, the special dinner and the learning experience was beyond compare. What fun we had! We had a suite and were very comfortable. The suites are two cabins combined so there is a living room and two bathrooms. Very comfortable. The tours included and those purchased were very good, the wine and food theme was carried on many hours of them. The highlight for me was Granada and the Alhambra. It was a perfect tour capped with an excellent lunch. A must do. And on the ship, we were truly well fed and entertained at the Barbeque. We were very fortunate that the weather was ideal. The sunset magnificent and the whole experience was amazing. And the crew line dances were so much fun. Highly recommend this ship. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was my first cruise, but my boyfriend's 5th. While I haven't cruised before, I've traveled extensively. My boyfriend has typically taken large ships on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. In his words, "This isn't ... Read More
This was my first cruise, but my boyfriend's 5th. While I haven't cruised before, I've traveled extensively. My boyfriend has typically taken large ships on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. In his words, "This isn't cruising, this is yachting. You can't even compare it to a large cruise ship." We took Windstar's Classic Caribbean itinerary, which visits Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, St. Kitt's, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin. We had a large suite on Deck 3 which was beautifully appointed and comfortable with a King-sized bed. From the moment we approached the ship we were treated like royalty. The check in procedure was seamless and we were quickly taken to our cabin by our stewart, who was wonderful the entire trip. Our cabin was spotless and stayed that way the entire trip, with fresh fruit every day. One of the nicest things about this cruise is you are not charged for soft drinks and if you don't purchase the alcohol package, the drinks are very reasonable with a great selection of wines by the glass for dinner. Little tip: Try the drink of the day! There were numerous dining options and the food was first rate at all of them. You can dine al fresco on the top deck, and there are three dining experiences: Candles (steaks), Stella (Upscale) and Amphora (dining room). We never had a problem with reservations for the first two, and we never had trouble with seating. Service was superior! The dining manager Allen went out of his way to make sure we enjoyed the food and service. In fact, when we suffered a bad sunburn, he send yogurt to our room and advised us to rub it on the sunburn to help with the pain (it worked great). "Daddy" supervised the wait staff and he was also fabulous. You got the sense that these folks really cared about your experience and they went above and beyond to make us happy. The fitness room on the ship was well appointed and not too crowded in the morning or afternoon. Each evening, we got a list of activities on board for the following day and the ones we did were really terrific (trivia/line dancing). One of the best things about this ship is the fact that they don't allow people to reserve lounge chairs (the same folks who then disappear and don't use them). So, we were always able to find a place to relax somewhere on the ship/any time of day. A couple of things not to miss are the beach party and deck BBQ...both were great fun and the food was fantastic. Also, the crew show was WONDERFUL. We really enjoyed it...there's some great talent on board. In the evenings there is a choice of a duet in the Compass Lounge and a band in the main lounge. Both were very talented and we really enjoyed them. We also give high marks to the Casino staff. The dealers and manager were so sweet and took time to educate passengers who didn't know how to play the games well. They were a lot of fun! The excursions were really great. Very well organized and on time. We did one each day and didn't have a single complaint. A couple of things to note...this is not a cruise for children. It's really very adult-oriented. Also, if you have physical limitations, you might find it hard to get on and off the tender to go ashore if it's rough. The ship moors in several locations, so there's not always docking for easy access to shore. There was one day when getting on and off the tender was a real challenge. Overall, I would recommend this cruise line HIGHLY. The service was excellent on every level...the staff was amazing. It will truly spoil you for any other cruise experience. In fact, we plan to try the Yachtsman's tour next spring. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My travel partner is a large cruise ship enthusiast, and I don't enjoy it. I prefer the 37 foot boat I sailed in the Caribbean years ago. All this is to say that the Wind Surf was a perfect compromise - small enough to get into quiet ... Read More
My travel partner is a large cruise ship enthusiast, and I don't enjoy it. I prefer the 37 foot boat I sailed in the Caribbean years ago. All this is to say that the Wind Surf was a perfect compromise - small enough to get into quiet harbors and feel like you're sailing, but large enough to offer 3 great restaurants and plenty to do. Our cabin #217 was perfect in both location and size - didn't miss a balcony or a picture window. The service was excellent; very friendly, and efficient too. Then there was the food - can't say enough about how delicious it was! One night they had what they called a "barbecue" on the outside decks, but that was definitely an understatement. They served lobster tails, steak, shrimp, lamb chops and delicious side dishes on candlelit tables covered with white tablecloths. The tenders we took to ride into ports (which again, were small and uncrowded) were always available. There was a water sports deck which offered swimming, snorkeling, etc. which was also fun. One other notable activity was the outstanding kitchen tour and cooking demonstration. Seeing the cooks and sous chefs at work was a treat. The ambiance on the ship was amazing. The convivial atmosphere, from the crew to passengers, made our days even more special. Can't wait for another cruise on this ship! Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment N/A 0.0
Service 3.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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