22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My wife and I were on the March 12 Wind Surf cruise. We’re in our early 50s and have cruised over 50 times. This is our second time on Wind Surf. We flew into SXM on the Friday before we sailed. Getting through the airport was ... Read More
My wife and I were on the March 12 Wind Surf cruise. We’re in our early 50s and have cruised over 50 times. This is our second time on Wind Surf. We flew into SXM on the Friday before we sailed. Getting through the airport was relatively easy and we took a cab to our hotel, Divi Little Bay. The hotel is in a beautiful location on Little Bay. We enjoyed our room (had a great view) and the food on the resort was good. Service, however, was terrible. We would not stay again. The Ship We checked out of our hotel at 11 am on Saturday (no late checkout allowed) and arrived at the pier before noon. Windstar has a luggage check in near the entrance to the port but boarding does not start before 1:00 pm. Fortunately, there were plenty of places to sit in the shopping area. When boarding started, we were though security, checked in, and in our cabin very promptly. Check in as well as specialty restaurant reservations takes place onboard. Security does seem to check carry on bags for alcohol…..we had two bottles of wine, which was not a problem. We were in a suite on deck 3. The suites on Wind Surf have been converted from two separate cabins into one suite. This allowed for 2 bathrooms and 2 closets. While the extra space may not have been needed, the extra bathroom was a nice feature. Cabin service was great all week. One afternoon, we heard a banging noise in our cabin. I reported the problem and it was resolved promptly. The reception desk called twice to make sure we had no further problem. The Wind Surf is not large but it has several dining spaces, a nice lounge, a couple of other bars, small casino, Yacht Club, and a gift shop. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tub. Lounge chairs are spread throughout the outdoor spaces. A marina is lowered from the back of the ship when conditions permit. Unfortunately, we didn’t have very good conditions for this feature on our cruise but it’s very nice when available. Snorkel gear is available for check out from this area. Dining We thoroughly enjoy the dining on Wind Surf. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Verandah, which has indoor and outdoor seating. It has a buffet with several a la carte items that are ordered from the menu. Overall, we found the food to be very good. The main dining room, Amphora, is our favorite for dinner. The menus offer a variety of choices, all of which include quality ingredients and excellent preparation. The servers are great. There are two specialty restaurants (no extra charge). We enjoyed our meal in Stella Bistro, even though the AC was malfunctioning and the room was hot. The food was excellent. Candles is the outdoor dinner restaurant (uses Verandah area). This was a disappointment. The menu is limited. I ordered a NY strip steak. I was served a piece of meat so thin that I would call it a minute steak. Everything else was OK but the other venues are better. I’d rather eat inside anyway. Once each week, there is a deck buffet for dinner. Last year, we really enjoyed this event. This time, it seemed to have gone downhill. The lobster tails were small, lamb chops were replaced with some type of lamb t-bone, and there was no chocolate fountain. Additionally, the buffet was scheduled from 7:00-8:30 but the food service ended shortly after 8:00. We tend to eat later so this was disappointing. If they are going to continue this event, they should keep Amphora open for those of us who want to eat a little later and prefer table service. Entertainment Since Wind Surf is a small ship, entertainment is limited. They have a band that plays in the lounge every night. We found them to be very good. Once each cruise, there’s a crew show. It’s very entertaining. There’s also a duo that plays in one of the bars. We never heard them play. Daily activities are limited. On our sea day, there was a galley tour and cooking demo as well as a few other activities. For the most part, passengers simply relax and enjoy a book or movie. There are no children’s activities. This is a positive as it limits the number of children on the ship. Those that were aboard were well behaved. Ports We started in Antigua. We took the Reef Riders excursion. It was very well done. The Reef Rider staff was very good and the snorkeling was good. The only negative was that it was a 45 minute one way trip to/from the harbor. I think most of the excursions required a long ride. Windstar might consider using a different harbor to get passengers closer to activities. Our second stop was Sopers Hole, Tortola. We took a snorkeling trip to Norman Island. The boat was a large catamaran, which was rated for 100 passengers. There were only 40 of us so it was very spacious and comfortable. We stopped at the “Indians,” which is a reef/rock formation off of the island. The snorkeling was great….some of the best we’ve done in the Caribbean. The second stop was supposed to be the “Pirate Caves” but we couldn’t anchor due to too many boats. We diverted to another area, which wasn’t nearly as good as the first stop. There was a third stop at “Pirates Bight,” which is a beach area with a couple of bars/restaurants. It was very nice and also very popular with boats in the area. Jost Van Dyke is a small island with very few options, other than a couple of famous bars. We took the snorkel trip offered by the ship. The catamaran and crew were very nice but it was too crowded. The boat should have been limited to about half the number of passengers that were on it. It was very difficult to move around. The snorkel stop was OK but nothing great. The second stop was at Taboo Bar, near the “bubbly pools.” We stayed way too long at this location. There’s no reason to spend any time at a bar during a snorkeling trip. I wouldn’t recommend this one. The stop at Virgin Gorda is for Prickly Pear Beach. The only way to see Virgin Gorda is to take a ship excursion. We didn’t but enjoyed a nice beach day. The lunch buffet was very good and there were very few people on the beach until the tours got back in the afternoon. It would be nice it some type of boat trip could be added to the Baths. The only way to see them was to take a full island tour. Our last stop was supposed to be St. Barts. Due to wind and swell conditions, we were diverted to St. Kitts. The Captain took the time to explain this during the crew show a couple of nights beforehand. I thought he handled the situation very well and it was appreciated. We just enjoyed the ship on this day. Final Thoughts Disembarkation from Wind Surf couldn’t be easier. Simply retrieve your passports (they keep these at check in) in the lounge and get off. There are no crowds or lines. Luggage is placed near the taxis at the entrance to the port. Windstar will sell you a transfer to the airport for $35pp. Don’t do this….taxis are only $10 pp. SXM is not an easy airport to get through so allow plenty of time. Check in lines can be long as can security. It’s not a US territory so there’s no TSA Pre-check. When we arrived, there was only one security line open for the entire airport. It probably took us an hour to check in (we had priority so our line was short), clear immigration, and pass through security. We enjoy Windstar far more than the larger ships. It’s quiet and relaxing. The crew is outstanding. They remember your names and anticipate your needs. We haven’t been on any other line with this level of service. We will certainly be back. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
37th cruise, 57 year old with spouse and traveling with two 35 year old couple. Experienced travelers and yearly Caribbean trips (on land and on sea). Embark was non eventful and pretty much walk on, drinks/food were readily available. ... Read More
37th cruise, 57 year old with spouse and traveling with two 35 year old couple. Experienced travelers and yearly Caribbean trips (on land and on sea). Embark was non eventful and pretty much walk on, drinks/food were readily available. Crew from Captain on down were excellent and made sure everything was up to par (or above). I watched an officer get a older women a lounge chair and then asking her if she would like a drink, he made sure she was taken care of. Meaning that if yo asked anyone a question they either answered it on the spot or found someone, they didn't direct you elsewhere. Within a day the servers knew our drink preferences and made sure we were always "hydrated" Being small you were never herded and waiting in line for anything. Cruisers know exactly what herding is and that is one of my reasons for not cruising as much. The ship is older, but despite some comments of wear, was in very good shape. The room was of usual standard and seemed to have a little larger bathroom (though I'm sure it was the layout) Food was plated and of wide verity and of good quality. Passengers were of wide range of ages. I would say 50 was the normal, and good conversations were had all over. Again a smaller passenger allows for knowing people;s preferences. The back of ship opens to a marina and I would suggest to get there at first opportunity, since weather has a say as to if it opens or not (only open one day). There were a lot of sailors on board (myself included) and there was a open bridge policy for those who needed more information (I didn't) Debark was extremely fast and we did the Americas Cup Regatta as a post excursion (highly recommend) We were going to rent chairs at the Holland house and taxi to airport, but this was a lot better and easlier Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from ... Read More
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from St. Maarten to St. Lucia and return at a relaxing 12 knots with her sails billowing. Accommodations, food and service were all excellent. Shore excursions were typical for the Caribbean except for the Frigate bird sanctuary on Barbuda, the only place where nesting birds can be seen up close. Credit must be given to the captain for his timing and navigation when leaving St. Lucia, to catch the setting sun shadow of the Surf with her sails against the Pitons. However, be prepared to spend some time walking from the cruise port gates to the ships mooring. On disembarking, our group, catching an early flight, had to carry our own luggage from the ship to the port entrance, which was the low point of the cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Just returned from a week on the Wind Surf--my first WINDSTAR cruise. Overall, a really great experience. My cabin--128--was comfortable and well appointed. The bathroom was a surprise--plenty of counter space and outstanding water ... Read More
Just returned from a week on the Wind Surf--my first WINDSTAR cruise. Overall, a really great experience. My cabin--128--was comfortable and well appointed. The bathroom was a surprise--plenty of counter space and outstanding water pressure in the shower. The cabin was clean--my room steward Eri kept it well serviced. Boarding was pretty efficient--no long lines anywhere. I was traveling with friends and we were all checked in in about 10 minutes. Our itinerary was the Yachtsman's Caribbean. It was perfect--a different island every day! We only did one ship excursion--the Baths at Virgin Gorda. In every other port we found cab drivers to take us to a local beach. Less expensive than excursions and since we were really looking for R&R it was the best way to go. Spent a lot of time sunning and swimming. Re: the Baths excursion--we were really glad that we did it--truly amazing site--but very disappointed in the lack of a guide to take us through the boulders. It is not an easy trek--and we (and lots of others) got lost. Heard that someone in another group had a panic attack. So, to classify this as a "moderate" activity was very misleading. The common areas on the ship were great--always found a place to sit and relax--even o the sea day. We enjoyed cocktail hour at Compass Rose--though a few more tables there would be a good addition. Entertainment was weak. The duo in Compass Rose had the most depressing play list--it became a running joke--what memorial service song will they play next? The band in the lounge did their best, but they were just a tad too corny to really engage the passengers. That said, a highlight of the week was the crew show--that gets a "10" for sure! The crew was very pleasant and I have no complaints there. They work hard--all of them. Food--this is why this isn't a 5 star review. The food was fine, but not great. We ate at Candles our first night and that was just OK--disappointing. The main dining room was better. But the menu seemed stagnant and boring. My last cruise was Oceania so perhaps my expectations were too high. This wouldn't keep me from sailing WINDSTAR again--I definitely would--but with different expectations. Spa--worth every penny I spent there! The acupuncturist was amazing! Fixed a shoulder pain I'd had for months! My massage was excellent too. Water platform--we had access on two days only due to weather. It was really fun to swim off the back of the boat, but those currents are no joke. When they have it closed, it's for a reason. Other passengers--wonderful people! Everyone was friendly and pleasant and easy to be around. We made some great friends (and met several groups who had met on prior WINDSTAR cruises). Would I sail them again--absolutely! When you consider the itineraries, price and service, they offer a great value. Final note--do not book their airport transfer--much cheaper to take a cab Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The entire experience was very good. From hotel to yacht to cabin was smooth. The cabin BX 124 was a very comfortable size, much bigger than standard cabin on celebrity or princess. We had room service several times and the service ... Read More
The entire experience was very good. From hotel to yacht to cabin was smooth. The cabin BX 124 was a very comfortable size, much bigger than standard cabin on celebrity or princess. We had room service several times and the service was excellent and choices very good. The entertainment in two areas were very good. We used the pool and hot tub. The casino was small. The staff were extremely attentive. Very clean ship. The food was good to great. The prices for drinks were reasonable. There was a cafe open till 5 daily which served small plates and specialty coffees - thus was very nice. Before choosing Windstar I searched many reviews and found not enough to really convince me either way but I am glad we took a chance. There were daily activities and the onboard gym were nice to have if you were interested. The port and shore excursions were well planned...you could be as active or lay backed as you wished. Cost were appropriate for each region. The tour directors were available for advise and suggestions if you wanted to do something on your own. Which we did following their tips. We did 3 excursions and we're happy with our choices. My only suggestion is you can transfer much cheaper yourself Windstar charged 60.00 per couple from airport to hotel and again 60.00 to transfer from hotel to yacht and again 60.00 to transfer to airport. So 180.00 was way to expensive can be done for half the price or less! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
While this was not our first time cruising my wife and I are 51 and 45 both have lived in Europe, the US and South America, it was our first time on Windstar - WindSurf. In short, it was a fantastic cruise and I could not have asked for ... Read More
While this was not our first time cruising my wife and I are 51 and 45 both have lived in Europe, the US and South America, it was our first time on Windstar - WindSurf. In short, it was a fantastic cruise and I could not have asked for anything more. We selected Windstar because of the Conde Naste review articles describing the smaller more intimate ships and also the promise of getting into smaller ports. Our cruise was the "Yachtsman's Caribbean" which sailed out of St Maarten - Philipsburg. We got on the boat around 4pm and set sail at 7pm promptly. First port was Antigua we arrived early in the am and the captain intended to anchor at a smaller port near Shirley Heights but it was too windy for the tender boats to safely load passengers, so we went around the island to the city of St John and docked there in a protected harbour. The island excursions tour was fun - but I suggest taking a taxi on your own over to Shirley Heights for the Sunday BBQ party and stay as late as you can becasue the Sunday party was so much fun, we wanted to stay until they closed the place down. got back on board late around 10pm and were still hungry but the main restaurant had closed and we were sweaty from dancing - the Executive sous chef saw us looking hungry and came out and offered to prepare a meal for us - it was delivered to our room just as we got out of the shower. Just one of many examples of the excellent service we got on the cruise. The cabins appeared to have been recently remodeled and were very well appointed - like staying in a 5 star hotel; wood trim, granite counters in the bath and on the desk. Most of the service staff was Indonesian and they were so intuitive and responsive to anything you wanted, that yo had to be careful wheat you said. Once I casually mentioned to the cabin steward that the bed was a bit more firm than I liked and when we came back from lunch, they had swapped the mattress and put a pillow top on it. A rare level of luxury and care. next stop was Sopers Hole a very small harbor and a wonderful little island with long empty beaches straight out of the magazines THIS is what we came for ! The excursion tour guide was Donovan and he had lots of fun toting us around in the back of a 4x4 from beach to beach. He sidetracked to a local Rum distillery and we all got lubricated. next day was Jost Van Dyke which is a smaller island and the captain said there were more people on the ship than live on the island ! Another perfect score. The tender boats ran every 20 mins so you could come and go as you pleased and explore the island. That night while anchored nearby, The staff prepared a huge on deck bbg with lobster, ribeyes, ribs, paella and of course deserts. the dinner was followed by a line dancing party on the top deck and all the crew, officers and service staff (including some of the cabin stewards ) came out and did the Whip and watched me nay nay. : -) it was BIG FUN and it was a level of intimacy with the other passengers and crew that you just don't find many places. Nexts ports were Virgin Gorda - definitely go see the Baths and swim on the beach there, and then while there, the crew went over to the uninhabited island of Prickly Pear Beach and set up another bbq beach party for us and also some volleyball nets and took all the watersports stuff: kayaks, sailboats, etc etc so we could spend the day on the beach. Volleyball was crew and passengers again. One day/night was spent sailing at sea and we thought it might be a bit boring but the crew had plenty of activities if we were up for it or you could just hang out by the pool/hot tub and sip on a cocktail. We did both :-) The second to last port was a stop at St Barts and while the refined paris of the Caribbean was certainly beautiful and impressive, after spending a week on small undeveloped beaches and tiny ports, we were a bit disoriented by the sight of million dollar yachts, celebrities, hotels for $3200 a night and topless french models parading up and down the beaches. Many of us agreed, we would have traded that for a second day at Jost Van Dyke. If you do go to St Barts, and want to experience it, then head over to Nikki Beach which is a beach and 4 star restaurant by the Eden Hotel. For lunch at Nikki Beach, we spent about $125 per person - and I might offer that the food on the ship was every bit as good or better and the service was WAAAY better on board. Another place to go on St Barts is La Plage which is walking distance from Eden Rock as well. Overall I will say that Windstar is now our favorite and we will be returning for another cruise as soon as possible. I would describe it as an affordable luxury cruise for those who are looking for a more intimate or romantic experience and who want to see smaller ports with fewer people. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had ... Read More
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had elevators. We chose the Yachtsman's itinerary because it was the least likely to experience any roughness. I can report that we only had one evening with slight rolling for a few hours. My mother, who can be prone to sea sickness did just fine! Pre-cruise we stay at Alicia's Inn in Philipsburg for one night. Based on price and only a one night stay, it was fine. Friday evening we ate at Toloula Mangos and Saturday's breakfast was at Barefoot Restaurant. Both had lovely views of the harbor. The breakfast at Barefoot was especially good and reasonably priced. Tip for any future cruisers. Just a short walk will take you to Caribbean Liquors & Tobacco, located at 8 W.G. Buncamper Road, Philipsburg, St.Maarten. Not an extensive selection, but what they did have was nice and very reasonably priced. We purchased five bottles to take on board with us. Boarding Time!!! The port area is just a short taxi ride. Checked in our luggage, wandered the shops, then caught a cart to carry us to the ship. Embarkation was as efficient and easy as expected and before we knew it we were shown to our cabin. Luggage hadn't arrived yet so we took a quick walk around the ship and made our way up to the Veranda for lunch. By the time we made our way back to our cabin the luggage had arrived. Our cabin was clean and comfortable. While I prefer the cabin design of the Wind Star/Spirit, it was very functional with more than sufficient storage space. Bedding was luxurious and the bed very comfortable. Always love the l'Occitane bath products. Our cabin attendant, Dian, was attentive and the best we have ever had on any cruise. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the dining and selections offered. The dishes that didn't totally please were few and far between. In addition to the usual selections, one night there was an Indonesian entree and on another an Indian entree (Biryani). The Biryani was especially good and spicy!! We also dined in Stella Bistro and Candles. Again, both venues were great. While the beach BBQ was fine, the deck BBQ was especially good on this cruise. The daily selections for both breakfast and lunch in the Veranda were varied and fresh. If we had any complaint about the food, for some reason the deserts did not seem as good as we've previously experienced. Not bad - just not as good. The service, overall, was exemplary. The Veranda staff took my mother under their wing and treated her like royalty. This made the trip very special for her. I'd like to give a shout to Nova and Esther for their remarkable attention to my mom. Our cabin attendant Dian was also the best. The only Windstar excursion we participated in was the St. Bart's snorkel. The snorkeling was not very good, but the catamaran ride was great! So no complaint. Disembarkation was too quick and easy - we stayed aboard as long as we could. From there we took a taxi and spent the day at Mary's Boon Resort which is just a short taxi drive from the airport. Had a lovely lunch on the beach while trying to figure out if and when we would be able to get home - we were dealing with the East Coast snowstorm. In summary, we had a fantastic cruise! We were a little worried after our less-than-stellar cruise aboard the Legend last June - but Windstar came through with flying colors!!!!! This cruise showcased the Windstar experience we have come to know and love. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
First- We were informed a couple days before our vacation was to start that our cruise was cancelled. I asked to be switched to another ship at 9:00 am and by 5 pm I needed to call and be very demanding to make sure we had a cabin on a ... Read More
First- We were informed a couple days before our vacation was to start that our cruise was cancelled. I asked to be switched to another ship at 9:00 am and by 5 pm I needed to call and be very demanding to make sure we had a cabin on a boat going somewhere. Our excursions were of coarse cancelled as well as the loss of our pre and post cruise hotels and air fair. I had to scramble to make something of our Christmas Vacation the night before we were scheduled to leave. Overall the actual ship was okay. 1) The cabin was clean and a good size 2) The onboard staff was very accommodating and eager to please. 3) Entertainment on board is poor at best. 4) Food quality and choices are also poor. 5) Excursions are very un-organized. Transportation un-organized and excursions cancelled or times changed. Reception desk never seemed to know that was going on. At the end of the cruise I was overcharged and so far have not been credited and been given one excuse after another by the guest relations department at Windstar. I would not recommend a line that treats is passengers with such a carless attitude. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
You might notice that I have written several (read as "a lot") of cruise reviews, having been traveling with RCCL and Celebrity for years. We're fans of the "modern luxury" approach to cruising but have wanted to ... Read More
You might notice that I have written several (read as "a lot") of cruise reviews, having been traveling with RCCL and Celebrity for years. We're fans of the "modern luxury" approach to cruising but have wanted to try Windstar for years. So if you're like us and enjoy the amenities provided by larger ships but want to dip your toe into waters of smaller ships then read on...(WARNING: long review!) [I'm not going into the blow-by-blow detailed description of what we did every day (phew!), but instead will offer my opinion of how Windsurf differs from her significantly larger counterparts.] A (very little) background: We're in our 50's and work in the hospitality business. We cruise for the food, relaxation, itinerary and - most importantly - service, always booking a suite category cabin. We usually find the beverage packages a good value, but lately have been happy to find that our level of cabin includes a complimentary beverage package. We don't care much for the onboard entertainment, lectures, classes, art auctions, trivia, etc. We are nitpickers - we're on vacation - so if something is awry here and there we don't stress about it. We were sent an email offer from Windstar in the early Spring that we simply couldn't pass up. I booked over the telephone, which was easy and quick. Closer to our sailing date I also booked our shore excursions directly with Windstar as well, having the same positive experience. One of us was celebrating a birthday, which I let the booking agent know, and was informed that the information would be passed on to the ship (more on that later). Overall a very good experience with Windstar over the phone (note: the WS website is not great, so don't hesitate to contact them the old fashioned way). Less people means a better, more personalized vacation. Embarkation was a simple no muss, no hassle affair, and from the moment you board Windsurf every staff member (Windsurf features an almost exclusively Filipino crew) learns your name and greets you with it throughout the journey and every effort is made to provide you with a customized vacation tailored to your preferences. The service was exceptional. Unlike a lot of people who complain that the food on the large ships is not hot enough or well seasoned or too small, we find the food on the ships we have sailed to be good to excellent. The food on Windsurf is in another category altogether. There was not one single meal - breakfast, lunch, or dinner - that was not freshly prepared, visually well presented, and amazingly delicious. [I lie: The pizza at lunch in the Verandah sucks. Don't order it, it's a waste of calories and just, well, sucks!] The two "specialty restaurants" (included in your cruise fare) are equally excellent but dining in the main dining room AmphorA (yes, that's how Windstar spells it with the uppercase "A" at the end, and - no - I don't know why) is not a step down, more like a step to the side. Food on Windsurf was hands down superior to any "specialty" restaurant (that you pay for) on the bigger ships. For us this was a HUGE positive. There are two entertainment venues one (Compass Rose) featured a duet, the other (the Lounge) featured a band. We had cocktails before dinner each evening at the CR (lovely, outdoor seating). The duet there was good, but their playlist was bit outdated (no kidding, Tom Jones and the Carpenters!) but they were playing to their audience (average age on this trip was mid-60's). Again, entertainment isn't our thing so they could have had a CD playing and we would have been happy. Point is you don't cruise on Windsurf for the entertainment. A previous reviewer suggested guest lecturers, etc. If I'm on a sailing ship in the Caribbean (or Mediterranean) I don't want to sit inside listening to someone drone on about the history of pirates unless it's Johnny Depp talking about the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. Seriously. Big ships are known for the (mostly mediocre) entertainment so if that's your thing stick with them. We booked a Suite at an awesome price and loved it! The suites are two cabins combined into one. The standard cabin might have been ok, but we preferred having the extra space. Love the L'Occitane bath amenities (yes, I stole some to take home) and our cabin was always spotless. For the size of cabin to ship ratio the Suite was on par with the big ships, albeit maybe a bit smaller. We thought we would miss having a balcony, but we didn't as there are tons of public areas inside and out to take advantage of. Again, who wants to sit inside when your sailing the beautiful seas? We didn't use the Spa or the Fitness Center. Both looked lovely: the Spa offered the same menu of services you would find in the big ships and the Fitness Center was state of the art, but our dance card was filled with snorkeling and zip-lining. An amenity you will NEVER find on the big ships is the Marina, Windsurf's water activities platform at the stern (that means back) of the ship that is opened for guests' use including kayaks, floating mats, sailboats, and more. It's awesome! As I mentioned earlier we booked our shore excursions through Windstar (i will review each port separately) and were very happy with each one. The price/value was much better than you would find on the big ships because you're not with 1000 others and having to wait for hours while this one finds the perfect tchotchke to take home and that one needs the bathroom for the bazillionth time. Smaller excursions meant more personalized attention from the tour operators as well and you got to meet and chat with more of your fellow cruisers, enhancing the fun factor of the excursion. The "Special Event" in St. Lucia (Windstar's signature event) was okay. We took a zip-lining trip that was a little far away, so we got back with a 1/2 to spare before lunch was taken away. However, the effort that went into putting on the event was clearly evident and the officers and staff are to be highly commended and congratulated for doing such a fantastic job of pulling it off. Herculean really. Two days later the second signature event, the on deck barbecue, was held and again the staff of the Windsurf hit it out of the park. Honestly there was more food than the 250+ guests could ever eat. This event, too, was phenomenal. [If you need to refill your coffee, now is a good time.] It's the little things on Windsurf, like learning your name and what soda you like, that differentiate this cruise from the larger ships. I mentioned earlier that one of us was celebrating a birthday. When we returned to our cabin after an amazing snorkeling trip we found a note wishing him Happy Birthday and signed by the Captain and Hotel Director. Later than evening (at the on deck BBQ) he was presented with a birthday cake (freshly made strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream and berries) and sung to (you've never lived until you've heard "Happy Birthday" with a Philippine accent!). So in the midst of putting on the event they took the time to recognize one guest's special day. For us that was priceless. Windsurf is 26 years old. Yes, she is showing her age here and there, but who cares? After 26 years on the open seas you would too, and when the Captain raises the sails to the dramatic music from Vangelis' "1492" (got goosebumps every time) and you set sail for your next port you realize it really just doesn't matter. You want brand new? Go to the bigger ships. You want authentic? With Windsurf you got it. When you go to bed and realize you don't hear the thrum of engines because the ship is actually sailing you understand THAT'S the reason you booked the trip in the first place. OK. Enough. We're hooked. Will we go back to the bigger ships? Sure. They serve their purpose too, but any concern we had of the Windsurf being "too small" were for naught. Windstar's motto "180 degrees from Ordinary" is spot on. You won't find an experience like this anywhere. Anywhere. p.s. - WiFi? Don't bother. No one has the technology yet. The big ships don't. Windstar doesn't. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you ... Read More
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you need for your enjoyment, but without redundancy. Unlike the large ships, the WindSurf started from St. Maarten, so each day brought a new island -- there were no dead days at sea. Accordingly, there was no need for on-board entertainment like a rock climbing wall or zipline. The cruise was all about the islands and the people that you met on board. My wife and I went for our 20th anniversary, and we had a terrific time. CABINS: Very comfortable. Well appointed and with more than enough room for two. It was good to have the stocked fridge with soft drinks and ample water. I did not feel nickel and dimed every time I reached for a soda. The only thing missing was a balcony, but it was fine without one. DINING: Excellent food. One the large ships, lavish buffets or other foodstuffs are available 24/7. Not on this ship. You ate during dining hours, maybe picked up a cookie, sweet, or sandwich from the Yacht Club at odd hours, or ordered from room service. Popcorn is available from room service for those nights you decide to get a DVD from their library. Steak at Candles was surprisingly tasty -- I love my steaks, and while filet mignon looked a little thin, it was delicious! The main dining room was very good, with some basics (steak, salmon, chicken), and a rotating menu of other entrees. Stella Bistro was also fine, but I was a bit distracted during dinner there. We had two bbq blow-out meals -- one on pidgeon island, and the other on board. These guys know what they're doing with a grill indeed! Also, a shout out to the special Indian cuisine option one night. Absolutely lovely. MARINA: The stern opens up when the ship anchors at port. It's a great way to spend an afternoon, and you end up meeting other like minded active passengers there. It's one of the best features of the ship, where you can always spend a few hours in the water, whether bouncing on one of the floating mats, or taking out a small sailing catamaran. Only disappointment was that we did not get a chance to waterski or wakeboard. Not sure why it never happened - we were given different reasons. PASSENGERS: With less than 300 passengers on this cruise, we felt that we had met or seen everyone else on the ship at one time or another. Everyone was friendly, and one of the great pleasures was the shared experiences that we had with the other passengers. You cannot imagine how easy it was to make friends on this cruise, as opposed to the big ships where the masses can be overwhelming. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and ... Read More
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and we arrived in St. Maarten early afternoon. The customs check took a while but went fine. We grabbed a cab and took a leisurely ride to the Holland House in Phillipsburg. We checked in and grabbed quick nap – later that evening we visited the bar and had a few drink and appetizers as our dinner. Departure day I got up early, ran the beach boardwalk for a few laps, and found a way to walk to the ship – yes it was there. We had a great breakfast, around noon checked out, and started our walk to the pier (this was a mistake) – the security folks were nice enough to point us to the Windstar luggage check tent (we found no signage) and we checked our bags and headed toward the ship. We passed though security check on the dock and within minutes, we had our room keys, beverage package and headed to our room. We dropped off the things we were still carrying and headed to the Veranda for some lunch. In spite of some of the reviews and comments on CC about the Veranda lunch, I found it to be more than adequate on departure day as well as for breakfast and lunch every other day – the chefs and the wait staff did a great job. If you wanted something made all you had to do was ask. Dining - The first night we ate our dinner in the Amphora. We walked up and asked for a table for two and within seconds, we were there. The Amphora has a comprehensive menu offering and we ate there three times on our cruise. We found the food, and service to be outstanding. The wait staff had some of the same crew members we had met in the Veranda so they already knew us the first night including our drink choices. Very personal service and we liked the familiarity. We were fortunate to be able to eat in the Stella Bistro twice during our cruise as the experience there was a couple of notches better than Amphora – the food, service was outstanding, and on our second night we invite a new friend we had made on the trip. We all had a great time. The other two nights for dinner, we had the ship wide deck barbecue. We secured a table outside the Compass Rose (one of the aft bars) and had a very good time eating under the stars. There was a wide choice of food including lobster tail, shrimp, snow crab claws, sucking pig, grilled pork, flat iron steaks, and a multitude of salads and veg. We saved the Candles experience for the last night anchored at St. Barts – we ate within the Veranda area on the upper deck because the weather was threatening. It did not detract from the experience and the great food and service. Beverage Package – worked well for us, probably drank too much. We found everything offered in the package was of good quality and very drinkable with the exception of the 187ml Cava, it was just terrible. Laundry package – a must have. We packed light and only one regulation carry-on bag each and did not run out of clothes and went home with most of them clean. Overall – AWESOME Trip, we will sail on the Wind Surf again. We had read it was like being on a private yacht and I can tell you that was our exact experience. The crew did an OUTSTANDING job and are the real driver behind the experience. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
It is probably the main sales argument that Wind Surf only carries around three hundred passengers. And the ship certainly has great potential. Unfortunately, that potential is not used fully. This cruise’s itinerary, the ship being only ... Read More
It is probably the main sales argument that Wind Surf only carries around three hundred passengers. And the ship certainly has great potential. Unfortunately, that potential is not used fully. This cruise’s itinerary, the ship being only 2/3 full, took us from Lisboa to the Canary Islands with 2 stops in Morocco on the way. The small island of La Gomera was probably the highlight of the cruise with an overwhelming display of nature’s forces. On the boat our impressions were quite divided: On the one hand there was excellent service staff, probably one of the most caring staff at sea, very good food and a very relaxing atmosphere. On the other hand the ship really, really needs someone from outside to take a look at all the work that needs to be done. The management, although all of them were nice chaps who were in constant interaction with the passengers have been on the ship for many years. It might just be operational blindness but it appeared to us that they just don’t recognize that many spots onboard need work to be done. Just a tiny example: To keep the door to the Verandah restaurant open staff put napkins into the lock. Not very professional, is it? Want more examples? The lounge: A totally sterile environment which was most of the time deserted. The reason for that might be that the entertainment was non-existent. Why not bring in interesting lecturers or PROFESSIONAL entertainers. The pool: A beautiful spot - but fresh colour, a few flowers and plants and a working whirlpool would be a great idea. The terrasse: A smokers bar that opens at 10pm ?! Why not open it right after dinner (7pm) so people can go up there and enjoy a cognac and a cigar right after their meals? By the time they were open most of the passengers had retreated to the cabins. The sauna: I like going to the sauna after the gym but this part of the boat is a total letdown, not appealing to today’s spa-and-wellness seeking passengers at all. Old installations, worn shower curtains, no relaxation area. And finally THE CABIN: Perfect size, a nicely designed bathroom - but not well kept and not very state of the art. And the BOSE entertainment system doesn’t help here. The fridge had not been installed properly and always had to be pushed back in after one had opened the door. The hair dryer wasn’t working as it should, the toilet seat cover was loose. And no bottle of sparkling wine or champagne upon embarkation? Come on, that is industry standard. Strangely enough the mandatory safety drill took place before all the passengers were on board. Departure was in the evening. If you checked in after 6pm all you got was a letter informing you that you should watch the safety video in the cabin. Also the crew safety drill, which on other ships can take up to an hour, was a matter of about five to ten minutes. We got the impression that they handle safety not exactly the way it should be. All in all, we enjoyed our cruise because of the very good weather and most importantly the waiters, the food and all staff including the captain. It is a very nice feature that you can visit the bridge whenever you wish while the ship is at sea. Also the officers will be dining with the passengers on many opportunities. Not to forget that Windstar invites you to a complimentary event which certainly has its prize. However, if a company wants to attract customers nowadays they need to make sure that all the onboard facilities are working properly, that the cabins shine and that you get the general feeling that the ship (be it an old or a new one) is taken well care of. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We booked the trip based on the itinerary and the cruise line. After reviewing the online reviews of the ship we did not have very high expectations but figured that more people complain than praise plus, what the heck! We traveled with ... Read More
We booked the trip based on the itinerary and the cruise line. After reviewing the online reviews of the ship we did not have very high expectations but figured that more people complain than praise plus, what the heck! We traveled with our 24 year old son and our 78 and 82 year old moms. Our son was the youngest person on the ship including the staff. He did like the gym, the food and the water toys. The rooms were much larger than we are accustomed to from other cruises and very well laid out with a good sized bathroom. We were in the dungeon yet it was still very nice and easy to find our way around. The bed was very comfortable and the toiletries were of good quality. We did not avail ourselves of any of the excursions from the ship as they were all very expensive and we did not want to ride around with 50 of our closest friends en masse. We got our own rooms before and after the trip and hired our own transfers. The boat wanted $120 per person for the transfer from Rome to the port and I hired a very nice van for $180 EU. Same situation when we arrived in Venice. I hired a private water taxi which was virtually waiting for us upon arrival and the people going to the hotel through the boat waited 1 hour and 20 minutes. The ports were all fantastic and we had plenty of time in each port. They allowed us to bring as much wine as we wanted on the ship each time we arrived. The only restriction was liquor. The only negative for us was the activities on the ship- there were NONE! There was a nice little band each night but come on, EVERY night the same thing? We have been on mega ships, small ships and river cruises and every one of those had something at night to do. We went to our rooms after dinner (8:30) every night because there was no one out and nothing to do. One night they had the crew come out and put on skits and talents but while I applaud their enthusiasm it was awful. By the time it was over half the room had left. Even on the one day at sea they had essentially NOTHING to do. Towel folding, line dancing, tour of the kitchen... Could you not throw in some bingo, magician, hide and go seek, something ?? The food was very good. Usually by the end on a cruise you can see reconstituted food from previous nights and we did not find that to be the case. One night they had a 'bar-b- que'. I use the term lightly because it was AMAZING, nothing bar-b-que about it. They had lobster tail that they cooked on the grill, paella, stone crab claws, flank steak, desserts galore. It was the best food we have ever had on any boat. They had line dancing that evening from the practice during the day. It was the most festive thing we saw all week. The tv was great and had lots of channels. Lots of movies to borrow. The internet was surprisingly good. We paid the $250 for unlimited service. They gave us a code that we could use on one device at a time but found that we could put it on several devices. Boarding and disembarking was painless with no lines. All in all, we would definitely go again with Wind Star. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Sixth Windstar Cruise, 3rd on Windsurf. Older ship (they will never build another like this) but it has been well maintained and the mostly Indonesian crew works hard to keep the guests happy. Food is above the average cruise line food ... Read More
Sixth Windstar Cruise, 3rd on Windsurf. Older ship (they will never build another like this) but it has been well maintained and the mostly Indonesian crew works hard to keep the guests happy. Food is above the average cruise line food but nothing like the food available in Italy before or after the cruise. They don't push their shore excursions too hard and we have found that we can arrange for excellent private guides in many ports for the same or less cost. The problem as Windstar has gotten bigger appears to be the Seattle corporate office. Our recent cruise had a change of itinerary before departure and only a few passengers were notified of it. This affected our shore plans and nobody in the home office wants to take ownership of the problem. In addition, we booked a post cruise transfer hotel stay in Rome through Windstar and it appeared that the hotel was totally unprepared for our arrival. The local agent for Windstar was useless. We are seasoned travelers and generally go with the flow so we probably will cruise with Windstar again. Would never book a pre or post cruise stay through them again. A high % of guests are repeat customers who know that they will meet other older affluent people. This is not a ship for solo travelers or anyone under 50. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party ... Read More
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party until late at night. We would listen to music, and may I add...the duo Casey and Erick were stunning. Man...what a lovely voice. Cannot believe SA Idols let her slip through their hands. If ever you come across them, ask them to do Purple Rain and Bed of Roses. They absolutely made our tour. Well done Windstar!! Let me also not forget Harry our waiter at the restaurants. What a guy. The whole ship was talking about him. He should be the communications leader. He was witty, quick to assist, quick to let you feel welcome and even special. The rooms were excellent. Enough space and what a big bathroom. I am a big, very big guy and did not have any problem at all in the shower. The food at all the restaurants were superb. We will be going again and again and again...this I promised myself. I stayed in Room 243. When that door was closed during day or night it was peaceful and quiet. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Our cruise was the "Splendors of Southern Spain", embarking from Lisbon, Portugal, ending in Barcelona, Spain. This was our 10th Windstar cruise, most of which have been on the Wind Surf. Highlights of the cruise were the ... Read More
Our cruise was the "Splendors of Southern Spain", embarking from Lisbon, Portugal, ending in Barcelona, Spain. This was our 10th Windstar cruise, most of which have been on the Wind Surf. Highlights of the cruise were the private excursion to see the beautiful Spanish "dancing" stallions, the excursions to The Alhambra and to the Tio Pepe winery, and the fabulous island paradise of Palma de Mallorca. Our cruise began with a 2-night stay at the 5-star Tiara Park Hotel in Lisbon, conveniently located near a small park where the "Hop On, Hop Off" tour buses are located. There were 70 other Windstar cruisers at the hotel, and we met several nice folks before ever boarding the Wind Surf. The hotel itself featured a clean, modern design, with spacious rooms and excellent wi-fi service. We took our meals in the hotel dining room, where the food and service was first rate. Two buses picked up all the Windstar guests and got us to the WInd Surf early in the afternoon. Check in on the ship was seamless, and after a short lunch, we found our bags already delivered to our cabin #224, near the aft of the ship. It wasn't long before we had touched base with several of our favorite crew members, including Nova (waiter) and Angeline (bartender). 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 normal, indeed. The ship's captain was Vladimir Delgado from Panama, the youngest captain in Windstar's fleet. We have previously sailed with several excellent captains, such as John Clark and Peter Harris, both now retired. Captain Delgado raised the bar to a new level, with his enthusiasm and gregarious personality. My wife and I had the pleasure of dining with him one evening, along with a few other guests, and greatly enjoyed his company. Unfortunately, our favorite entertainers, Craig and Nikola from the "Rain" duo, were not on board, and apparently we missed them by just a week or so. Their replacements were Erik and Caycie, who were also quite good. There was also a new band on board called "SeaScape" that were a big improvement over "High Society" and others. Even the amateur show put on by the crew was much improved! I have often been critical of the on board entertainment in the past, so this was an encouraging trend. Another aspect of the shipboard entertainment is the music played in the Compass Rose lounge, which can often be wildly uneven. Accordingly, I brought on board an iPod loaded with close to 1000 smooth jazz & vocal offerings, and donated it to the ship's Hotel Manager Nick Bulger. Unlike several earlier cruises, Nick was very supportive of my efforts, and we collaborated on the music for the remainder of the cruise. Many passengers complimented both of us on the music, but perhaps the most appreciative were the bar staff, who saw it as a welcome change. Nick later invited us to join him for dinner, and sent a very nice bottle of wine to my cabin, as well. The Wind Surf was in great shape, as were the cabins and public areas. A big surprise was the internet service, which was greatly improved. If there was any downside at all, it was that some of the shore excursions were rather pricey. As always, it was sad to leave the ship in Barcelona, but we will be back at earliest opportunity. Can't wait! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Really, my only complaint is that this ship does not cater for solo travellers. Until I met someone to eat with, I was eating by myself and reading a book! they were shocked when I ask if I could not join with other people. There is a ... Read More
Really, my only complaint is that this ship does not cater for solo travellers. Until I met someone to eat with, I was eating by myself and reading a book! they were shocked when I ask if I could not join with other people. There is a very well equipped gym in a small room so no place to lay on a mat especially as each time I was there, the fitness instructor was giving either a class or personal training. One exercises looking out to the port or the sea. Lovely! Embarkation was at 13:00 hrs. and I got there at 13:30. Hardly a queue. Very easy. Someone showed me to my cabin. I went to the buffet where they were serving lunch. There are three restaurants and managed to get bookings in the two smaller ones. The best was Candles Restaurant...grilled meat and the veal chop was excellent, as were the vegetables. Actually, all of the restaurants were good, though Candles was my favourite. I had the buffet for lunch every day. A tasty selection. I think I and two Australians were the only non-Americans on the ship. Every evening there was a briefing about the following day's tours and the city. Very helpful. I enjoyed the cruise but for the first two days felt very isolated, especially at dinner. And for that reason probably will not cruise on this line again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Along with 12 members of family and friends we took the Windsurf to the Tall Ship parade in Amsterdam. All of us were repeaters from 2nd Time cruisers to 18th with the exception of one couple. We boarded in Oslo which was efficient and ... Read More
Along with 12 members of family and friends we took the Windsurf to the Tall Ship parade in Amsterdam. All of us were repeaters from 2nd Time cruisers to 18th with the exception of one couple. We boarded in Oslo which was efficient and beautiful. Our first night we choose to eat outside at Candles which was glorious. We spend our dinner gazing out over the Oslo Fiord as we sailed along, clear, lovely night, it did not get dark until 9:45, delicious food what a way to begin a cruise. We had great weather, lovey sail into Kristiansand where we docked. I was able to buy at the famous fish market the Baltic Shrimps and bring them aboard to our friends to enjoy for lunch. Our day at sea was crossing the North Sea where it behaved, calm, a bit of rain, for those of us who wanted a bit of sea rock and roll not to be. The highlight was The Tall Ship Parade. We rose at 5 am to go through the lock. We anchored across from Java Island a beautiful spot right across the waterway which partially parallels Central Station in Amsterdam. The Tall Ships were a bit delayed and we certainly could see the sails as they came into the harbor to dock. Some people were disappointed that they were not closer or the we were actually not " in" the parade but the logistics for all ships especially our huge sail boat part must have been a nightmare. The tenders immediately began the easy five minute ride to Java Island. All day and all night thousands of small ships, barks and brigantines, schooners, pleasure craft circled us, it was memorizing. We were about 500 yards from the fireworks barge and for two nights we enjoyed 30 minutes of Grande Finale. Glorious! The Wind Surf had surprises for us as the day went by: hats with Sail Amsterdam on them, sips of special typical liquors, special food treats, a men's chorus singing sea shanteys, etc. Very surprising and generous. It was a great two days on the ship being the center of attention. The other ports were also interesting and in Vlissingen and Zeebruge Windstar provided buses to take us the the towns of Middleburg and to the rail station to get to Bruges. Very convenient and well appreciated. Service was impeccable as usual, food was delicious, creative and varied. It was a busy cruise with plenty to see and do and then come back to the ship to relax. Docking in Dover was efficient and easy. I hope in five years Windstar will repeat this cruise. It was different, totally enjoyable, a wonderful way to experience a great event. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our 2nd time on the WindSurf (Yachtsman of the Caribbean before) and our fourth cruise with the Windstar line (Tahiti and the Panama Canal before on the Windstar). We chose this cruise because the ship would participate in Sail ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on the WindSurf (Yachtsman of the Caribbean before) and our fourth cruise with the Windstar line (Tahiti and the Panama Canal before on the Windstar). We chose this cruise because the ship would participate in Sail Amsterdam, a once every five-year event that brings together sailing ships from all over the world. Since the Windsurf is the largest commercial sailing ship in the world, the Windstar line began three years ago working with Sail Amsterdam to allow the ship to participate. Their efforts paid off!! We began in Oslo,which is a beautiful city and worth a visit on its own merits. We did a Hop On Hop Off tour of the city after leaving our luggage at the ship in the morning. We departed Sunday evening and enjoyed Windstar's famous "Sail Away" event. Our first port was Kristiansand on the southeast coast of Norway, a vacation spot for most Norwegians due to its relatively warm temperature and beneficiary of a large amount of North Sea oil money due to the larger number of vacation homes in the area. We had a day at sea and the North Seas was what we expected - rain and a little rough despite the size of the ship. Still,the staff did an excellent job keeping everyone entertained and well fed. The trip really began when we pulled into Amsterdam. We anchored just off of Java Island in the morning. The ship parade was to begin a 10, but did not start until 2 due to delays in the lead ship arriving in port. When it did start, it was pretty amazing. Probably 20 tall sailing ships and navy vessels, plus literally hundreds of yachts, fishing boats, small pleasure craft participate in the parade. Due to our size and anchorage, it was difficult to see some of the larger ships come in, but the ship provided binoculars to help. The upside was that most of the boats actually circled around our ship for the remainder of the day and into the evening. Most of the boats anchored next to our ship to watch the fireworks show that evening. You could almost walk across the harbor the boats were tightly packed in! The next day, we toured the large ships that were anchored dockside along Java Island and the mainland. We had been to Amsterdam last year so we did not go into the city. This is a country of 17MM people, but 2MM people come into the country for Sail Amsterdam, so everything is crowded. The deck bbq was the 2nd night in port and capped off by a 2nd fireworks show that night. The remainder of the cruise had stops along the Netherlands and Belgium coast, where you learn about the extensive dike and reclamation system. We would recommend tours inland to get a real sense of the country. The cheeses and seafood are excellent. The ship and its staff were excellent as always. If you have never sailed with Windstar, give it a try. Almost 2/3rd's of our passengers were repeat Windstar cruisers, so it should tell you something. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
THE GOOD The crew is extraordinarily gracious. This is a ship with a small passenger load (312). We particularly enjoyed Hotel Manager, Nick Berger. He is studying for U.S. citizenship, and the U.S. could do a lot worse than Nick. A ... Read More
THE GOOD The crew is extraordinarily gracious. This is a ship with a small passenger load (312). We particularly enjoyed Hotel Manager, Nick Berger. He is studying for U.S. citizenship, and the U.S. could do a lot worse than Nick. A wonderful gentleman. THE BAD Windstar is the only ship that we have sailed to date that did not offer complimentary wine with dinner. Even Windjammer served wine with dinner--not the greatest wine, but wine. We were ever so surprised when we were asked to sign a charge for our wine with dinner. Check for more on this below. Even though we got a very good rate on the cabin (Military Discount), I cannot say much for the cabin, itself. We were on the lowest level and one should not pay much attention to the picture of the standard cabin in the brochure. Our "panoramic view of the ocean consisted of two (count them, two) portholes. We learned from other passengers, that the two porthole "vista" was not limited to Deck One. You want a vista, reserve a suite. The cabin was the smallest we have had in quite a number of cruises. Windstar considers itself to be a luxury cruise line--NOT. The food is ordinary, the cabins small, and you have already heard my take on the wine charges with dinner. THE UGLY More on drinks. Besides charging for wine with dinner, Windstar also charges you at the time of service for the service, itself. They tack a 15% service charge onto every drink served. Amazing! Although we received a low rate on our cabin, we calculated what a comparable cruise would cost on Regent (a true luxury cruise line). After we shelled out for our round-trip air fare, shore excursions, and drinks, we could have taken a Regent cruise for the same price, and thereby had a true luxury cruise. Frankly, we felt nicked and dimed at nearly every turn. It goes without saying that we will not make the mistake of cruising with Windstar again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
No children are allowed. Service and food were quite good. Ports were interesting and easy to walk around without an escort. There was a free two night stay in Lisbon which was a lovely way to end the cruise. Low key entertainment after ... Read More
No children are allowed. Service and food were quite good. Ports were interesting and easy to walk around without an escort. There was a free two night stay in Lisbon which was a lovely way to end the cruise. Low key entertainment after dinner consisting of flamenco dancers one night. Every night we enjoyed going to cocktail lounge with friends, chatting and listiening or dancing to a wonderful combo. No glitzy show with 2 thoushand people in attendance. Ambiance just what we like, low key. We booked this same cruise again for June 29th a only this time we are taking our adult children with us to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. When we arrive at Malaga, we booked Spain Day Tours to take us to Granada to see the famous Alhambra. We hope other from our ship will join us on this tour to make it even more memorable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
We booked two back to back cruises. The first cruise included the French Riviera, Monaco for the Formula 1 Race, Elba, and two delightful small Italian ports. The second cruise included Sicily, Malta, Sorrento, and Capri. The ship is ... Read More
We booked two back to back cruises. The first cruise included the French Riviera, Monaco for the Formula 1 Race, Elba, and two delightful small Italian ports. The second cruise included Sicily, Malta, Sorrento, and Capri. The ship is able to get into smaller ports and always has interesting itineraries. The ship is unique with sails which it uses frequently, although it has engines which assure that it arrives on time. The food is varied and excellent. The cabins are comfortable with adequate space. The dining room has open seating which assures one of meeting other guests and making interesting new friends. The dress is informal. The service on the ship is friendly and excellent. The shore excursions are varied and well planned. Water sports are available when the rear sports platform is opened and lowered into the water. This was our 4th cruise on the Wind Surf and 12th on the Windstar Line. The Wind Surf has only 250-300 passengers and avoids the crowds associated with larger ships. One can actually get to know the fellow passengers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I have now sailed on Windstar 4 times, the last being the Classic Italy/Dalmatian Coast cruise on Wind Surf that May 3 -11. Sadly, because we really have loved the small ship, casual and comfortable style of Windstar in the ... Read More
My wife and I have now sailed on Windstar 4 times, the last being the Classic Italy/Dalmatian Coast cruise on Wind Surf that May 3 -11. Sadly, because we really have loved the small ship, casual and comfortable style of Windstar in the past, I think this is likely our last Windstar sail. I have some specific comments but I must say that the Windstar feeling seems to have changed. The marketing is slicker but the service actually seems a little more rote and less personal. I was surprised that the meals in the dining room were not better - I had heard they had improved but I did not find that. Not that they were bad, they certainly were acceptable - but one comes to expect more of Windstar. As a point of comparison, the food in Amphora and breakfasts at the Verandah were consistently excellent - so the company can do it. The excursion and tour selections were extremely disappointing - you could get 1/2 day or full day private cars or vans or book ordinary walking or bus tours for twice the price that you have to pay if you book directly. And, there was, at least to me, a significant overemphasis on food and wine experiences. The Sicily private event was a waste of a day. But the most unpleasant experience was disembarkation in Venice. The actual point where we leave the ship was a long walk from the terminal - a long long walk. We were staying at an apartment in Venice so did not need Windstar transfers. But we did need directions, etc. to get started. The Windstar staffer at the terminal had little time for us - after all we were past customers and not paying for a transfer so she just pointed out the door and said get a taxi over there. We walked - there was no taxi stand - we ended up walking 30 minutes from the terminal to Piazza Roma for vaparetto connections (and it turned out if she had helped there was a vaparetto stop not 5 minutes from the terminal in the other direction). This was not just a lack of service; it was specifically disservice. Summary - ship is still fun, food good but not great, cabin comfortable, ports good, shore excursions mediocre. All in all, not the world's best small ship line. 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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