2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Overall: a WONDERFUL cruise!!! Note: This cruise is geared towards adults. I only remember seeing 2 older teens on the trip, and we all thought that they must be lonely and bored. The Windstar web site can be confusing. . . . call them ... Read More
Overall: a WONDERFUL cruise!!! Note: This cruise is geared towards adults. I only remember seeing 2 older teens on the trip, and we all thought that they must be lonely and bored. The Windstar web site can be confusing. . . . call them if you have questions. When trying to figure out the actual boarding time - ignore the website and stick with what is written on your document voucher that arrives several weeks before your cruise. The suites on Deck 3 are well worth the money!! They have 2 bathrooms and 2 sets of closet, drawer and desk areas. Note- their hair dryers are small and have little power- if I were to do it again, I would take my own. I am from the US, and there is one US plug at each desk area. There are several "europe-type" of plug sites. The bed was very comfortable!! (Seriously, the best thing about the room is having 2 bathrooms!!!!!!) The food is good. There are 3 places to dine for dinner. The Amphora is their standard dining room and the attire is "country club" (no jeans ). The other two places are Stella Bistro (more dressy- but not "over the top") and Candles (casual - jeans are ok). The Amphora has a standard menu and additional items that change nightly. The Stella Bistro and Candles have the exact same menu each night. One night is a BBQ- so all of the restaurants are closed. The BBQ was actually pretty good..... the grilled lobster was excellent!! If you have a large party traveling together or know where you want to eat on certain nights, make reservations at Stella Bistro or Candles. They do fill up. No reservations are needed for Amphora. The excursions that Windstar offers at the ports are more pricey than what you would pay, if you were to arrange taxi transportation on your own. If you book the excursions on-line, on your MY WINDSTAR account, before you go on your cruise, you will be able to cancel them if you change your mind. Cancel as soon as you know that you want to get out of it - if you know this before your trip, CALL them to cancel, because you won't be able to cancel on the web site. Once you are on the boat there is a schedule of excursions and a note about when you need to cancel by in order to get a refund. If you cancel excursions, once you are on board, the $$ will appear on your account as a credit, and unless you drink a lot, you'll have a credit at the end of your trip. We were able to book a private tour with a personable young tour guide, who takes you in his BMW. Check out his website: Gavin Nicholson www.invergordontours.com. He could do tours at 2 of the ports of call: Portree and Invergordon. Drink plan ----- it is pretty pricey and unless you drink A LOT, you don't need it. The cost of "normal" wine (including tip) was @ $8.50 a glass. Read your daily menu of activities carefully. There are good things to attend, like the staff talent show, the Scottish folk group, Captain's Cocktail Party and more. . . . but you won't know about them, unless you read the menu of scheduled events. The staff - they are wonderful. They are more than willing to talk to you and do anything for you to make your vacation wonderful. Captain Harris is a personable and fun guy. Tips: $12 per person, per day is added to your account for tips. These tips are for all of the staff. Our room steward (Ben) was wonderful and we tipped him extra ( $40) and one fella (Hens) was really kind and helpful in the dining areas and we tipped him too. The other people in our group tipped their room stewards too. Be prepared for the unexpected - - one day our port-of-call was cancelled due to rough seas. Things happen, but this was the 2nd full day of being stuck on the boat and we were somewhat sad that their "Plan B" for the day was to show us how to make towel animals. They do have DVD's that you can borrow - but none of them are super recent. In hindsight, I wish that I had taken 1 or 2 movies along that I wanted to see. Wifi - you can buy a plan after you board. We had added global service to our one phone. The wifi in the areas of travel is "spotty" at best. It worked when near land, but when not near land it did not work. Packing - warm clothes, windbreaker, umbrella, gloves and a hat. Take a look at a map and notice how far north the trip takes you. Edinburgh and Dublin had sweater weather, but the rest of the ports were windy, damp and chilly .....and if you are someone who chills easily, you will think that some days are downright cold. Get ready to have a great time and meet awesome people and view beautiful scenery!!   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Although this was our first experience with Windstar (and last), we have sailed many times. When a cruise line advertises a "luxury cruise experience" and charges accordingly, my wife and I have a certain level of expectation ... Read More
Although this was our first experience with Windstar (and last), we have sailed many times. When a cruise line advertises a "luxury cruise experience" and charges accordingly, my wife and I have a certain level of expectation that comes from traveling with the likes of Regent Seven Seas. Windstar is NOT Regent! (Not even close) While we had a nice time/interesting itinerary and the crew and officers were great, we simply paid way too much for what was billed as a "luxury cruise". The ship (Windsurf) and the pre-cruise/on board communications also left a lot to be desired. The ship is clearly "long in the tooth" and poorly maintained........the ceilings in the lounge were water stained and the windows were so dirty that they were difficult to see through.........the carpet in the cabin and the common area was stained and worn......the standard cabin was small and Formica was everywhere. Windstar is NOT a luxury line and should not advertise as such, nor should they command the prices they charge. In addition, the the transfers purchased from the cruise line were 4 times the going rate and the hotels were twice the going rate, as were their port excursions. The internet service was the worst I have ever experienced. Their drink package was $108/day/cabin! By the time we were finished, we had spent more for the total package than we would have with the "all inclusive" Regent Seven Seas AND our cabin would have been twice as big, along with a balcony, dressing room and marble bathroom, instead of 2 port holes that were so corroded that photos I took through them would be embarrassing to share. Our advise would be to select another "luxury cruise line", because when it is all said an done, Windstar's exorbitant and ubiquitous a la-carte charges would put their cost in the range of "real" luxury cruise. Having said that, IF they charged less and charged reasonable for their "extras", their crew would be a joy for anyone to experience...... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our 4th cruise on the Windsurf and second leg of a back to back trip. We’ve had some very upsetting events happen during this trip, however we try to be fair in this review, particularly to the hard working staff onboard. ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on the Windsurf and second leg of a back to back trip. We’ve had some very upsetting events happen during this trip, however we try to be fair in this review, particularly to the hard working staff onboard. Please read the full review and be warned: Scotland made for some challenging sailing, but the Captain and his crew managed beautifully. We enjoyed being able to reach the smaller ports, visiting some of Scotland’s remote towns and villages. We were reminded in Invergordon, what it is like to dock in a port accessible to large cruise ships. The Ruby Princess had docked there as well and its 3,000+ passengers ended up flooding all of the nearby tourist sites, including Loch Ness. We had to move cabins following the previous 8-day cruise we had taken. There did not appear to be a process organized by the ship that would ensure back-to-back passengers to get to their new cabins with top priority. A chat with the cabin stewards and a tip thankfully fixed that. (not a luxury experience!). The cabin we had on this leg of the journey was A category and located towards the forward part of the ship near the crew mess entrance. It was therefore quite noisy … we also had issues with smoke traveling up from Deck 0, the crew deck. An A deck cabin in this location should not be sold to passengers. It is clearly inferior to other cabins! We also had issues with key cards working on several occasions during our trip resulting in many trips across the ship to reception and back, until we finally requested that someone from reception or maintenance accompanies us and fix the problem for good. Once again, far from a luxury experience) The majority of the crew though were wonderful, as described in our previous review. They still ‘make’ the trip memorable – even with the various shortcomings mentioned here. The most astonishing events during this trip however were related to Windstar Corporate politics, which we got dragged into completely involuntarily. Windstar politics don’t seem to stop at crew level as one might expect, but utilize unsuspecting guests without any form of agreement or authorization by publishing entirely slanderous Windstar internal statements for what must be hidden corporate agendas. We have more class than Windstar, so won’t lay out all the details, but please be warned – what you think might be the vacation of a lifetime or a well deserved break (which is what we were thinking), may end up turning into a multi-month nightmare for any guest with integrity and a sense of justice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which still makes Windstar so unique in the cruising market. We like the size of the Windsurf – there is always enough space to find a private corner somewhere. There are plenty of dining options and a couple of entertainment options in the evening. All very chilled and relaxing. We also enjoy meeting a lot of the guests on board … many are fellow travellers who are quite low key, but appreciate their luxuries and enjoy exploring the world. Unfortunately, many of the capable crew we were pleased to getting to know on previous trips, had moved on to other newer Windstar ships . They were replaced by lesser-experienced, but still very friendly and helpful crew. What some of the crew lacked in experience, they made up for with tremendous charm and a great willingness to help and serve the guests on board. The officers were very friendly and approachable, regularly mixing with guests. Despite our appreciation of the crew’s efforts, we noticed a deterioration of standards from prior cruises: The embarkation was delayed and the waiting area in Lisbon certainly wasn’t designed with comfort in mind. The Captain managed the situation well by communicating directly to the waiting passengers. The cabins are well designed, but the light colored carpets showed stains - so badly - that we asked the Cabin Steward to have them cleaned, which he promptly did. The chocolates left during turndown service are a nice idea, but do they have to be unwrapped? The quality of the food, never outstanding on past trips either, left much to be desired. It certainly does not pass for a fine dining experience. It is ok – mediocre. Even the specialty restaurants ‘Stella Bistro’ and ‘Candles’ struggle to set themselves apart from the main dining room. The BBQ is quite fun and the freshly grilled food is enjoyable. The bar staff was absolutely wonderful and so was some of the dining room staff. The shore excursions were ok, but tend to be geared towards more mature clientele. With a bit of research beforehand, we managed to have very enjoyable self-guided tours ashore. The fitness offerings are also geared towards an older crowd. What was meant to pass for yoga, had very little to do with yoga. It was held in the midst of the weight machines in the tiny little gym on board, while there was plenty of fabulous open deck space to conduct a yoga session. We would have gladly signed a release if that was the reason an outdoor space wasn’t chosen. If Yoga is advertised, one would expect a certified yoga instructor. The instructor teaching the class couldn’t even name the poses! We became aware of some Windstar HQ related politics … subtle signs that would increase significantly on the second leg of our journey and unfortunately endured for months after our trip. More on this in the review of our second leg on this trip: Dublin to Edinburgh. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I want to state clearly and emphatically that WE LOVE WINDSTAR!! My wife and I have now been on seven Windstar cruises, including five on the Wind Surf. We have frequently recommended Windstar to relatives, friends and sometimes to ... Read More
I want to state clearly and emphatically that WE LOVE WINDSTAR!! My wife and I have now been on seven Windstar cruises, including five on the Wind Surf. We have frequently recommended Windstar to relatives, friends and sometimes to complete strangers. The two couples traveling with us on this last voyage have sailed on multiple Windstar cruises with us. We recruited them to Windstar several years ago. These three couples have taken a combined total of eighteen Windstar cruises. We are invested in Windstar and want it to succeed. But we are in agreement that this most recent cruise was the least satisfying and most disappointing by far. Before describing the disappointments, I'll highlight some of the many positives. ** The food service staff was, as always, outstanding. The waiters – many of whom we knew from previous cruises - were friendly, fun and efficient, and worked hard to cater to whatever we needed. After only a day or two, they knew our names and many of our preferences. Abdul did a great job. ** The housekeeping staff was also excellent. Our cabin steward, Darta, was friendly and efficient. Somehow, he always seemed to know when we were gone, because by the time we returned the cabin was always clean and straight. What few requests we had werequickly taken care of. ** Kudos to Klaus, the head chef! The food at all the restaurants was outstanding, perhaps the best we have ever had on a Windstar cruise. Good variety, well-prepared and beautifully presented. (I especially enjoyed the bison steak, which Klaus arranged for me to special order even when it wasn't on the menu.) Portion sizes were just right. ** The senior staff were terrific. Captain Peter Harris is certainly a very capable boat driver, since we regularly sailed from port to port safely and comfortably. But we especially appreciated his friendly, personable demeanor, his on-board visibility, and his willingness and eagerness to interact with passengers. We saw more of Peter, and spoke more with him, than any other ship captain we have encountered in many years of cruising. Likewise with Hotel Manager Ratko Strbac, who I was fortunate to get to know, like and respect. Ratko had only been with Windstar for a few weeks when we met him. He knows his business, and Windstar is fortunate to have him. His approach to guest relations will make the Wind Surf a much better ship on which to cruise. ** The lounge band was quite good; Coco has a terrific voice. But we found ourselves spending most evenings in the Compass Rose listening to Rain Duo. Craig and Niki were awesome! I could listen to Niki's sweet, beautiful, mesmerizing voice all night. And Craig's vocals and guitar playing would give Mark Knopfler a run for his money. (This is a great compliment, by the way.) ** The Wind Surf, and its smaller siblings, are, of course, one of the primary reasons we often sail with Windstar. We love these beautiful ships . . . the ambiance, the comfort and informality, the homey feeling. We enjoy, as well, many of the small, off-the-beaten-track ports of call. Alas, this recent Windstar cruise was fraught with disappointments that tarnished the brand and seriously diminished our enjoyment of this vacation. Most of our concerns can be traced directly back to Windstar headquarters. For example: ** Initial check-in, and the few weeks leading up to it, were a mess. For the first time ever, no embarkation documents were mailed to us . . . instead, Windstar emailed us (through our travel agent) an ”eDOC TICKET”. This document was confusing and contradictory. It stated that check-in began at 1:00 pm; All Aboard was 4:00 pm; and departure was at 2:00 pm !!?? How does that work? We never could get clarification from Windstar, so, to be safe, we arrived at the terminal at 10:30 am, and then sat around for three hours twiddling our thumbs waiting to board. Because of Windstar's communications incompetence, we wasted an entire morning during which we could have been exploring Lisbon. This was an ominous beginning to our 16 day cruise on the Surf. ** On-board, we soon discovered that the Surf no longer has a Cruise Director. It now has what they call a “Destination Manager”, whose primary job seems to be to sell overpriced shore excursions. Her port talks spent precious little time promoting the sights, sounds, attractions and charm of the port city. Instead, she mostly encouraged folks to hop on a bus and go somewhere else. On top of that, information she did share with us was often incorrect or incomplete. Almost never did she discuss or promote any on-board activities. For example, trivia night, line-dancing instruction, market tour with Klaus, wine-tasting etc., etc., are all fine activities, but no one with Windstar, including our destination manager, promoted them. ** Speaking of on-board entertainment, the afternoon of third day, a Folklore song and dance group was brought on board.. They were very good, but passengers wouldn't have known about them unless they carefully read the daily program. The destination manager had said nothing about them the night before, and the lounge was barely half full. Those who did attend, (we did), were given no information at all about the performers. Where were they from? What region, or era, or ethnicity did their music and dance come from? What did their costumes represent? We don't know. The Windstar officer introducing them said little more than “Here's your entertainment”, after which no more words were spoken. What a wasted opportunity. ** Bar service in the lounge, and wine service in Amphora was often poor. We don't blame this on the servers . . . they were uniformly very good, friendly and attentive. There simply weren't enough of them to handle crowd. We can only guess that dictates from headquarters resulted in under-staffing, We were told that many of the more experienced staff had been transferred to the Star Pride. ** WiFi on board was awful! Connections were slow, intermittent or nonexistant. I signed up for access on the first day, and by the third day was so frustrated that I asked them to disconnect me. They did so without argument and with a full refund. ** The Dublin to Edinburgh portion of our back-to-back cruise started on an even worse note than it did in Lisbon. We had never been to Dublin before, so we signed up for the “special” Dublin city tour that would also transfer departing guests to the airport or a hotel. I asked the ladies at the reception desk several times if we would have to go to the airport ourselves. I told Ice that if the tour did require us to accompany the other passengers to the airport, that we would cancel. She checked with Jeff, who reportedly made a call or two, and then confirmed that after the Dublin tour we would be dropped off at the Davenport Hotel at 1:00 pm, and from there would join up with other guests going to the Wind Surf. Because of this promise, we took the tour. It was mostly a waste of time. We were very rushed. There was no expedited ticketing to anything, so we ended up standing in line for forty minutes to see the Book of Kells and then had only fifteen minutes there before we had to move on. We then started a whirlwind tour of St. Patrick's Cathedral at 11:45 am. We were told to be back on the bus at 12:05 pm, at which time our guide told us we were now heading for the airport. I asked “To the airport??!!” Yes, indeed. Precisely what we were promised would NOT happen was happening. I was incredulous – and furious - and told him to stop the bus. My wife and I got off the bus, not where we wanted to be but at a place better than a scenic drive to the airport. When we finally returned to the ship, I described to Jeff what had occurred. Jeff wasn't much help, but ultimately, Ratko, (the aforementioned hotel manager), stepped in and resolved the situation to our satisfaction. My thanks to Ratko for his concern, his empathy and his personal involvement. Windstar is a great brand. We have traveled with Windstar often in the past, and will probably do so in the future. However, we are very concerned about what we felt was a marked deterioration in communications and service from previous Windstar cruises. This last Windstar cruise just didn't seem as special . . . too many corners had been cut. We worry that quality of the Surf, Spirit and Star will continue to suffer as the three Seabourn ships are brought on line and their experienced staff are diluted even more. We will be taking many more ocean cruises in the coming years. For the first time, however, we'll be seriously considering Azamara and Oceana and Viking as viable alternatives to Windstar.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
"Gaelic Explorer" Itinerary - Dublin to Edinburgh - July 12-20, 2014 We'd cruised on Wind Surf three times, but always on warm weather itineraries in the Caribbean or Bahamas, and it'd been ten years since our last ... Read More
"Gaelic Explorer" Itinerary - Dublin to Edinburgh - July 12-20, 2014 We'd cruised on Wind Surf three times, but always on warm weather itineraries in the Caribbean or Bahamas, and it'd been ten years since our last sailing. We were curious how she had held up after going through three owners since the last time we were aboard. We were not disappointed. We chose to purchase Windstar's 2-night pre-cruise Dublin hotel package. We took a cab (27 Euros) from the airport to the O'Callaghan Davenport Hotel, which was centrally located within walking distance of Trinity College, shops and eateries on Grafton Street, Book of Kells, Temple Bar, museums, parks, and a hop-on-hop-off bus stop. Although rated four-stars, the Davenport was a bit frayed around the edges. Our 5th floor room was nice, although the air conditioning was so weak we had to open the window. That turned out to be problematic at bedtime because of the very popular outdoor pub just below the window. The hotel staff was friendly, and the included morning breakfast buffet was tasty. Windstar's coach transfer to the ship together with all of the other Windstar passengers staying at the Davenport was disorganized, with a lot of standing around with luggage waiting for the coaches. The Windstar on-site rep seemed to be doing the best she could. It was an easy coach ride to the ship at Dún Laoghaire. There was a several blocks hike with carryons from the cruise terminal checked-baggage drop-off to the ship. No problems the day we were there because it was a beautiful day, but it could've been problematic if it had been raining or the ferry was there. Wind Surf looked terrific, not showing her age at all. We were a bit distracted walking aboard in Dún Laoghaire because Captain Harris happened to be one of the staff greeting passengers at the bottom of the boarding ramp, and he actually carried one of our carryons inside. The major total ship refit not too long ago was quite evident on first impression. The decks, passageways, stairways, lounge, bars, dining areas, and our suite midship on deck three all looked brand-new. Smiling staff was everywhere. Check-in was easily accomplished in the lounge. Food, (always a subjective topic because everyone has individual expectations), was very good in our opinion. Better than we remember from our prior cruises, and certainly much higher quality and taste (and service) than what we usually experience on Royal Caribbean. Always fresh and tasty buffet options on the Star Deck Veranda for breakfast and lunch, plus you could order from a brief menu if you chose. When the Veranda was crowded, the adjacent Bistro was open as overflow. The reservations-required supper in the Stella Bistro was very good, although we thought the food quality and service was just as good in the Amphora main dining room. We didn't get a chance to eat at the alternative reservations-required served-outdoors Candles at supper, but because of the weather on this cruise, all Candles meals were moved into the Veranda. The Deck BBQ was also moved indoors, and the main lounge was converted into a dining room. The Yacht Club midships on Main deck had tasty sandwiches, snacks, and coffees from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM. We were somewhat disappointed the Purell hand sanitizer dispensers installed around the ship and on the gang plank were almost always empty, and there was never any mention anywhere asking passengers to use them to help prevent the spread of norovirus. The weather. We always overpack. This time, though, what we brought home un-worn were all of our short-sleeve, warm-weather clothes. There’s a reason why the photos we all see of Ireland and Scotland show amazing greenery. It rains. Whether the weather was sunny and bright, or chilly and rainy, the temps never got much above the low 60s F. We had some very beautiful, clear blue skies days, some days when there was rain interspersed with brief periods of beautiful blue skies, and a few days when it rained most of the day. When it rained, it was mostly that horizontal rain, making umbrellas powerless. Just pack thinking when you’re out and about off the ship you’ll layer, bring a light water-resistant windbreaker, and bring an umbrella that pops back into shape when the winds turn it inside-out. Evening wear aboard was “casually elegant”. Some men wore sport coats in the Bistro and the dining room, but most wore nice slacks with collared shirts. The women looked great, as usual, but they weren’t overly dressy or wearing anything formal. The main lounge band, “Cool Breeze”, was good and the singer excellent, and the duo in the Compass Rose bar, “Rain Duo” was good, too. Don’t miss the crew talent show in the main lounge. The ports of call. We have always liked Wind Surf’s niche, being able to drop anchor in the small ports and marinas where the mega ships can’t go. For all of our stops, except our last day in Invergordon, Scotland, (where we shared our day tied up near the 3100-passenger Ruby Princess and two oil platforms), we were the largest vessel to be seen. We tendered in/out each day except at Invergordon. The trade-off being able to visit smaller ports of call is not being able to do a whole lot of online research for planning exploration on our own or pre-arrange private excursions. Although several cruisecritic.com contributors on our cruise had made their own plans, we opted to purchase Windstar’s (excessively-priced) excursions. Even with the poor Euro and British Pound Sterling exchange rates with the US dollar, the ship’s excursion prices seemed way out of line based upon the individual entry fees we saw posted at the places we visited. We did enjoy all of our daily excursions with the exception of the day at Invergordon, where our group found itself at Urquhart Castle with six or more coaches from the Ruby Princess plus many land-based tourist groups. All of our local guides were very good, and easy to understand. The excursions we chose were: Isle of Man – “Vintage Steam Train & Magnificent Castle Rushen” (excellent! - sunny) Portrush – “The Giant’s Causeway and Old Bushmills Distillery” (stormy, but beautiful) Tobermory – “Mull’s Duart Castle with Tea” (excellent! - sunny) Portree – “Dunvegan Castle & The Cullins” (stormy, crowded, but sunny late) Kirkwall – “Ancient Treasures” (rainy/cold/blowing, some sun late) Invergordon – “Loch Ness & Historic Urquhart Castle” (sunny, crowded, interesting, although didn’t stop at Loch Ness visitor’s center as described) At the end of the cruise in Leith/Edinburgh, disembarkation was easy. Our bags were waiting for us in the terminal, and there were cabs lined up outside once we'd claimed our luggage. The easy (Sunday morning) ride to the airport in a very clean local cab with a nice driver was only 26 British Pounds Sterling (compared to Windstar's $95/person airport transfer fee). In summary, we had a terrific fourth cruise aboard Wind Surf, and we agreed we’ll sail on her again in the not too distant future.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
I was particularly excited about the evaluations mentioning the uniqueness of the Wind Star ships. Wind Surf is indeed a pretty sailing ship, small yet very comfortable and with 300 guests and 200 crew. Very promising! Stateroom / ... Read More
I was particularly excited about the evaluations mentioning the uniqueness of the Wind Star ships. Wind Surf is indeed a pretty sailing ship, small yet very comfortable and with 300 guests and 200 crew. Very promising! Stateroom / bathroom were very good, comfortable, well designed and with enough cabinets and small storage places to organize your goods. However, the safe is too small. It was generally well kept, but occasionally we found empty water carafes (they do not keep water bottles in the minibar) and used glasses at bed time. Wifi never worked, but at least we were properly refunded. What really bothered me was the lack a lounge to stay protected against the sun and wind in the upper deck with expanded forward and side views. The internal lounges were not comfortable and had no view. The pool area – aft – is too small, with limited view and always packed. In my previous cruises I always enjoyed such a lounge for reading or enjoying a drink with a nice view, specifically when departing, approaching the port or sundown. Outside in the top deck there is a very limited space – or not at all – to enjoy an open shaded area with some protection against the wind. We always had pretty sunny days, but I wonder where to stay in a day at sea in a rainy day. Breakfast and lunch at the Veranda were very nice, a lot of buffet and a la carte options and great service. Dinner had a lot of high and lows: the Amphora - the standard, daily restaurant – was reasonable, but occasionally we found some food – such as the Alfredo pasta – totally tasteless. Candles – the small outside restaurant that must be booked – was the best option, with good main courses and great service (they even provided blankets when it was too chilly). Seafood spear and steak were superb, but the “shrimp and salmon carpaccio” was simply a thin, round smear of paté. The biggest disappointment is the supposedly top French bistro, Stella’s: portions were ridiculously small: the escargot appetizer was small and we got just a few in a big pastry; the scallops were only 4 small ones, smaller and less than any regular seafood restaurant; rack of lamb was small (the rack and the lamb itself). I know one can order more, but it was never offered. I know what a French restaurant is and how small their portions may be (not in a bistro, usually more generous), but Stella was simply ridiculous! The menu also did not reflect what the food was, fancy names and poor food. The espresso and sandwiches bar was nice and a good option for a drink or snack. Entertainment was poor: a small band with a singer also with high and lows, but she really improved during the cruise. No other decent options, on top of 1 evening with a crew show: entertaining and funny, even when they performed poorly! Shore excursions were limited and expensive for what they delivered. Many were cancelled due to lack of attendees. They made daily presentations of the next port of calls in the evening. It would be nice, but they presented the port of the day after, and it was confusing: even the presenter said “tomorrow” when she meant “the day after tomorrow”. Probably they wanted to give some more time for guests to think about and buy packages, but at the end of the day a presentation and a vrief recap of the last one was simply confusing. Services, generically speaking, were great: the waiters and supervisors, reception, tender, and so on. To my great disappointment, the last dinner – survey had been delivered and tips settled – was simply awful: no one paid attention to us, the smiling faces were gone, the beverage steward never showed up and I had to order cocktails to the waiter. After a long, long time they arrived: wrong order and exactly when they served dinner and the bottle of wine I had in storage. Even the waiter we had dearly recommended in the survey could not manage to keep our water glasses filled. Even with the “Ups” we experienced more “Downs”, and it was certainly the worst cruise we experienced. WindStar, never again!   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
This was Windstar's inaugural food and wine cruise of Spain. My girlfriend and I jumped at the chance to book, since we'd been drinking the wines of Spain and enjoying authentic Spanish food at home and at the two local ... Read More
This was Windstar's inaugural food and wine cruise of Spain. My girlfriend and I jumped at the chance to book, since we'd been drinking the wines of Spain and enjoying authentic Spanish food at home and at the two local restaurants in Atlanta that serve it. Bottom line: the cruise delivered. It was just what I was hoping for and I can enthusiasticlly recommend it to others. I had never cruised Windstar or the smaller ships before. I researched extensively online and mostly found comments saying simply "you're going to love it." To help other newbies or those considering future food and wine cruises, I'll try to give the details that stayed with me. We boarded around 5:30 pm in Lisbon after spending a day and a half there on our own (no cruise hotels or transfers). I believe boarding started at 1:00 pm and all aboard was 10:00 pm for a 11:00 pm sail away. I was surprised to see what looked like the majority of passengers already on board and in the middle of the first wine tasting at 5:30 or 6:00. We had missed the muster drill but were pointed to someone from the bridge who gave us our own personal safety demonstration. We had also missed the first wine talk and general introduction of the men and the company who were providing the wine, but we weren't the only ones and we jumped right in. There was a wine tasting and passed hors d'oeuvres every evening from 6:00 to 7:00. The atmosphere was that of a 300-person cocktail party -- festive and enjoyable, but it was challenging to hear the descriptions and discussion of the wines because we never arrived early enough to get a seat up front. The talk lasted about 15 minutes, all the while the hard-working staff circulated with generous samples of the evening's four featured wines. Windstar gave each of us a nifty little notebook to make notes on the wine, with preprinted pages where you could fill in the name, vintage, your thoughts, etc. These same wines were available that evening at dinner or later in the bar at no charge. I read elsewhere on the forum (thanks, r&rd) that there were 450 cases of wine for 320 passengers. It was more than ample! Obviously, I was super glad that I didn't spring for the alcohol package. I sure hope the bartenders and servers were compensated for lost tips, which usually come on the slip you sign for each drink. We tried to do our part. There were a number of things that made this cruise different from the normal Lisbon to Barcelona sailing (I'm guessing here, since I don't have anything to compare it to). We had two wine pairing dinners, both excellent (although the only food complaints I heard all week were about the dry pork on the first pairing dinner. I can't say; I had the fish and it was excellent). Each course was paired with a wine that we had heard about in that evening's wine talk. I honestly couldn't tell if the food itself was Spanish-influenced; it didn't seem so to me, and that would have been a nice touch. There were two excellent cooking demonstrations by chef Seamus Mullen, the first on our day at sea and the second on the final afternoon. I missed the second one but tasted the result -- really good paella. I was so happy they distributed the recipes because we will definitely try our hand at making them. One evening a local flamenco troupe was brought on board, and I enjoyed every moment. They were fabulous. Again, so happy about that extra touch (which I've read happens on other Windstar cruise as well) because we otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to see flamenco shows which are always at night. Another feature of this cruising was two complimentary food/wine-themed shore excursions. These were the only excursions we took, Windstar or otherwise. The rest of the time we explored the port towns on our own. I was pleased with both the sherry cellar tour in Jerez de la Frontera and the vineyard tour outside Valencia. Both included city tours and the guides and buses were first-rate. I had wondered how I would fare on a small ship, in terms of seasickness. I had no problems whatsoever, and we experienced a few high seas here and there but not much. My girlfriend, a more experienced cruiser than I, has always worn the patch but tried going without and she was fine too; didn't ever need the Dramamine we brought. The boat rocked a little but I found it pleasant. Although at times I did have to use the handrails walking around, just briefly. The cabin was roomy and comfortable with plenty of space for our things. Liked the L'Occitane bath products. Our travel agent advised selecting a cabin in the middle of the ship for stability purposes. Our porthole was a few feet above the water and I spent a lot of time (probably too much) just staring out at the waves and being mesmerized. The one maintenance issue we had was fixed within hours. We made use of the Bose speaker, hooking it up to our iPhones. If you have the newer phone with the redesigned pin, you just ask at reception for an adapter. There was one outlet in the cabin (maybe suites have more, I don't know). It had two plugs, one European and one US. Since our cabin was on the lowest level the watertight doors in the hallway were closed when we were coming into or leaving port. These were every 40 feet or so and there is stairway access in each 40-foot section, so we weren't prevented from going up or down. It was just surprising and we always seemed to forget about it, so we'd go up the stairs to the second level and try to estimate where to go down again, since the cabin numbers don't directly correspond. Maybe other folks are familiar with this but it was new to me. Getting on and off the ship at ports of call was always smooth and easy. Sometimes we walked right into town, other times there was a shuttle. Disembarkation in Barcelona was especially painless and well-organized. There was a slight change in our itinerary, which their website or materials prepare you for, and that was docking in Palma, Mallorca instead of tendering to Soller. The seas were evidently too rough to tender, so everybody was pretty happy that the captain made the call. No excursions were harmed in the making of this change. I've never been to either city, but I was delighted with Palma -- probably my favorite port on this itinerary. The service was very good, as other posters have written. I think reading all the other comments had set my expectations very high and the service didn't quite live up to them but was still very good. It's been years since I cruised and that was on a big NCL ship. I imagine the service we received on the Wind Surf was much better than the big ships can offer, but I didn't experience the bit where "the crew addresses you by name early in the cruise." The only ones who addressed us by name were our wonderful cabin steward and, interestingly, the woman in the gift shop. But I'm not complaining in the least. The servers had a huge job to do, with the nightly wine tastings and the two pairing dinners where everyone was seated at the same time. And we never hung out in one area or one bar long enough to really get to know the staff so that's part of it too. Food is such a subjective thing but I'll give my take. The dinners were tasty with a good selection of entrées. There was always the option of ordering salmon, streak, chicken and one other dish if none of the selections appealed. The quality, presentation and portion size were good. My only complaint is a minor one: the bread, butter and coffee were really subpar. Especially since the bread and coffee are so good in Spain, it was disappointing to be served dull bread, low quality butter and weak coffee. I tried the coffee shop for lattes and espressos, but it was the same week coffee in a different form. The drinks were priced well and we enjoyed the daily cocktail, an interesting concoction named after a city we'd recently visited. We only ate one or two breakfasts and lunches on board, preferring to eat those meals in port. But the ones we ate had a good selection of fresh food. We ordered room service one night and were very pleased with it. Stella Bistro was a nice change of pace (or menu, anyway) from the dining room. After the first night, dining at Candles was moved inside due to windy conditions. That was a-okay with me, because it did not look pleasant for the diners (or the waitstaff) that first night on deck. One thing that stood out and really exceeded my expectations was the deck barbecue. I wanted to eat one of everything (and maybe five servings of lobster) and then go back for seconds and thirds. On everything. It was a gorgeous evening, the band from the lounge was playing, Spanish wine was flowing -- a stellar night. As far as activities and entertainment, I like the idea of Windstar's low-key approach of not having a lot of planned events. This cruise may have been a little different because it *did* feel like there were a number of activities, with the daily wine talks and tastings and the two cooking demonstrations. I enjoyed the two singing groups in the evening, and there was a guest entertainer as well. The engine room tour felt special; I wouldn't expect to get to go behind the scenes like that and walk through the engine room on any other ship. We missed the shopping trip in port with the chef because of an excursion, and they didn't seem to offer the galley tour on this cruise. I like how Windstar doesn't make many announcements over the intercom. There was generally one each day, usually as we were leaving port. It became a running joke between my girlfriend and I that the captain always apologized for making the announcement -- politeness is always welcome, but it's okay, one announcement a day is nothing to apologize for. I think an officer on the bridge got in a bit of trouble for announcing that there was a pod of whales to be seen; I was glad he told us! But I think it was at the tail end of the last dinner seating so I can understand not wanting everyone in the the dining room to rush to the windows. We used the fitness center twice. I loved watching the sea as I rode the bike or used the elliptical. I was rewarded for my attempts at fitness by a dolphin sighting! We didn't use the laundry service so I can't comment on that. There was hardly any smoking on deck. Very rare and not a bother at all. The passengers ranged in age a good bit. The majority seemed to be late 50s or 60 and older. Being in my mid-40s I was curious how many near-ish my age there were, and I estimated 30 or so people under 50, which is more than I had expected. The other passengers were friendly, no stuffiness at all. The casual evening attire (as compared to coat and tie or black tie) was welcome. Some dressed more elegantly than others but really, anything other than jeans was fine. Overall, an excellent experience on board. Very good service, a stunning vessel, an emphasis on the local food and drink, enchanting ports of call -- I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
While I wish we could have stayed, we have returned to reality! Our March 1 cruise on the Wind Surf was amazing and converted my husband to small ship cruising (as I had hoped!). We flew to St. Maarten a day early and flew through ... Read More
While I wish we could have stayed, we have returned to reality! Our March 1 cruise on the Wind Surf was amazing and converted my husband to small ship cruising (as I had hoped!). We flew to St. Maarten a day early and flew through immigration. I had read stories about horrors at the airport, but we experienced none of it. Soon-to-be friends (we met on the ship) did have issues arriving Saturday. Their plane arrived in plenty of time, but they were held on the tarmac waiting for a gate. I think they were the last to board, and it was quite close to sailing time. If at all possible I recommend heading down a day early. It also allowed us to get in vacation-mode before sailing. We stayed at the Pasanggrahan Hotel in Phillipsburg, and took a quick cab ride over to the dock on Saturday afternoon. We dropped our luggage and headed to the ship. What a difference.....it all felt so personal and friendly. We boarded about 1:30pm (being greeted at the gangway by the Hotel Manager and one of the First Officers) and were dropping our carry-ons in our cabin 30 minutes later. We grabbed lunch, enjoyed the sun and headed out to the deck to experience our first sail-away to the sounds of 1492. It was everything all experienced Windstar sailors promised! We enjoyed the dining options, especially the opportunity to eat by ourselves or join new friends. The food was good bordering on great. We second others' recommendation that you try and book Candles on a night in port. The winds while sailing seemed like they would be an impediment to enjoying the atmosphere on deck. The ports on the Yachtsman's Caribbean itinerary are built for pure relaxation. The only excursion we did was to the Baths and we booked that because it was just easier, transportation-wise, and it deposited us directly at the beach barbeque! On all the other islands we headed to a beach and relaxed. The deck barbeque and the beach barbeque were outstanding...both created environments that felt intimate and special, though not at all contrived. Beaches were plentiful and easy to access. I can't even remember the names, but all were beautiful and cabs were readily available at all the docks. On Jost Van Dyke, a lot of people headed to Foxy's the night we arrived but we had lunch there the next day after enjoying Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar on the beach. If we were to do the same itinerary someday, I'd check out the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. We never made it off the ship in the evening because we were exhausted, in a good way, every day. On the ship, I used the gym (small but very well-appointed), lounged (my husband loved getting coffee every morning at the Compass Rose and just sitting on deck), and relaxed. One of the things that drew us to Windstar was its reputation for attracting friendly, open passengers. From day one that was obvious. We met great people from all over and even became good friends with a few. There were just a couple of younger, single people on our cruise, but they seemed to find each other and have a great time. By younger, I mean 20-25 or so. The crew was AMAZING, and so friendly. It was nice to have our cabin steward greet us by first names in the hallways. As for the cabin, I was concerned about the size and lack of balcony, but it was wonderful. We were on deck three mid-ship and I'd say it was perfect for us. Yes, the cabins are small, but so well-appointed and designed that it didn't feel claustrophobic at all. The mini bar was replenished (without asking) with soda as my husband drank it (!) and the bottled water was used everyday - the choice of still or sparkling was a nice touch. And, on the advice of many on this board, we took the laundry package. What a great convenience. Next time I'll pack 1/2 as much. Departing the ship on Saturday was a breeze. We put our bags out the night before, woke up and had breakfast before departing around 8:45am. We grabbed a group cab at the dock and headed to the airport to check our bags. We then walked over to the Sunset Bar at the end of the runway and met our friends from the ship to watch planes dive bomb the beach on approach to landing! After enjoying a few last drinks we walked back for our 2:25pm flight to NY. The airport was a ZOO. Thank goodness it was close to on-time. On arriving in NY customs/immigration were a breeze and we headed out into the freezing day (by Caribbean standards!) where snow still covered the landscape. There will definitely be a next time. We loved the Windstar experience and look forward to trying the smaller ships or even the new motor yachts. Now to find time to head off again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were ... Read More
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were Antigua, Tortola, Jost, St. Barths, and Virgin Gorda. We flew in 1 day early and stayed in Philipsburg, in the center of town (at the Sea View Hotel – not recommended). I would recommend, however, planning to get here at least 1 day early because the airport here is very crowded and unpredictable – all of our flights, in & out, were delayed therefor causing missed connections and re-scheduled flights. It was very hectic. However, once aboard the Wind Surf everything changed. I have nothing to complain about, no negative comments. Checking in was a breeze. We had only a standard room, but it was very comfortable. We were on the 3rd deck which I thought was perfect for this ship – down 1 to get on/off the ship or to get to the water platform, and up 1 flight for the casino, diner, entertainment, reception, and the pool bar. Perfect. The entertainment was very good – 2 choices, the duet who performed at the Compass Rose, or the band who played in the lounge. They were both excellent, but I preferred the duet…they were more than excellent and played songs if requested. The casino was just the right size, and the dealers were friendly and very accommodating. They would open a table for you if asked. It was never too crowded there, so I thought it was perfect. 3 table games (BJ & 3-Card Poker), 1 roulette table, and some slots. Sadly, no Craps table. The gym was very clean, surprisingly a good size for a small ship, and very useable. A trainer is staffed there and is more than willing to assist with questions. He also teaches a few classes – at no charge. The meals were always great. Breakfast & lunch are served up on the top deck. Could either grab something off the buffet or order off the menu. Each day, we’d 1st order room service coffee, then go up to the veranda for something to eat. On the breakfast menu, the chef offered a new daily “chef special Eggs Benedict” along with the standard one. I loved that, they were all very good. And the buffet was great as well. They had 2 Barbeque Parties that were loads of fun. The main room for diner was just as good. Everything was perfect. Once, after a few drinks, I jokingly wished that Crème Brule was on the menu. ….Our waiter went and found it at a different restaurant and brought it to us… Every meal was perfect. We would also order ”late night “ room service, and it was very good too. The bar service was quick & the bar tenders were friendly. At times though it can get crowded at the bar, but unlike other cruise lines – there are not many waiters walking around asking you if you need a drink. Usually you have to go up to the bar yourself, but it’s a short walk. Note/FYI: we did not purchase the drink plan, yet always had a drink in our hand and at times had too much…. Our total ship “bar bill” was $650. The ship “sail-away”, playing the 1942 music…. Was a little less dramatic and inspiring than I thought it would be, I think maybe it was a bit over-hyped to me by everyone to me. For me, maybe the music should be played louder, but I found the best place to get a feel for it was standing under a speaker. But when the sails unravel…it is a little romantic and was nice to watch. It’s a great feeling to be under sail with a ship moving; I’ve never experienced that before. I miss it already. The sports platform was fantastic. It is much better entertainment than any large cruise ship can offer. The guy running it – “PJ” I think – was wonderful. I will say to be careful if you go water-skiing in the ocean….  If you’re getting stiches; request small stitching and additional stiches (this will help reduce the scaring). The port destinations were as good as they could be. Seriously, I would have no problem taking this same itinerary next year. As other reviewers have said – there are always some cabs at each port if needed. Soper’s Hole, Tortola, is one of them – grab a cab and head to a Tortola beach – off the tender there is a nice bar, Pussers, and some shops…but that’s pretty much all. I will cab it next time. Lastly, the crew. I can’t say that they all remembered my name, but many did. Every one of them were personable, friendly, helpful, kind, …. Like the boy scouts… They were truly a great group of employees. I can’t imagine a better vacation. We did get lucky to have perfect weather, and met other couples on the ship with whom we seemed to hang out with. They were all good people and made our trip superb. We met one of the couples on the Cruise Critic forum page (Joymitch) before the cruise then met up with them on the ship. That was awesome in itself and they are great people. Isn’t the internet fantastic!?   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We embarked from St. Maarten in early February on the Windsurf and from the start, it was a fabulous experience! Embarkation was fast and simple and very personalized and we were quickly escorted to our suite accommodations (we splurged), ... Read More
We embarked from St. Maarten in early February on the Windsurf and from the start, it was a fabulous experience! Embarkation was fast and simple and very personalized and we were quickly escorted to our suite accommodations (we splurged), which were very comfortable. We loved the relaxed atmosphere and were surprised at the number of dining options on such a small ship. The ship has all the amenities of a larger ship (pool, hot tubs, library, fitness room, spa, etc.), but the smaller number of passengers meant they were very accessible. The food was wonderful, with plenty of choice for those with dietary restrictions, and the service was excellent. Staff made an exceptional effort to remember our names and our favourite wines. The entertainment was provided by a band that had a very large repertoire and the members were all very talented. The itinerary was very interesting, taking us to places a larger ship wouldn't be able to go. The shore excursions were very well organized, with several choices in each port. We especially loved the trip to the native Carib village in Dominica, Touna Aute. I expected a "touristy" set-up, but this was the real deal - visiting the villagers at their homes and learning about their culture and history. The tour culminated in a visit to the tour leaders' home where we sat down to a lunch of their traditional foods at their table (just 8 people on this tour - can't get that on a big ship!). We were very sorry when the cruise came to an end and we had to return to the frozen north, but we'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Once again, Windstar out does itself! This time aboard the Wind Surf with another couple (their first). We opted for the beverage package, it suits our needs. We didn't do any excursions since we had been to all the ports previously. ... Read More
Once again, Windstar out does itself! This time aboard the Wind Surf with another couple (their first). We opted for the beverage package, it suits our needs. We didn't do any excursions since we had been to all the ports previously. We used the spa services, which were very good. We toured the galley and the engine room. We did a vow renewal ceremony, which was incredible! But, the best part of the cruise was Captain Harris and his amazing crew. One crew member, Ace, remembered us from our cruise 3 years ago. We were greeted each day by name and a wonderful smile, had many interesting conversations and just enjoyed their company. Our cabin, 222, was located pretty close to the disembarkation area at most ports. It really didn't both us much, except passengers standing in our way when trying to get to and from our room. The passengers on this cruise were about the same age group as the last cruise, but pretty quiet and to themselves (except for a few). While we loved the Wind Surf, I think we like the small Wind Spirit better. Just liked the layout of the ship and the smaller group better. Will we cruise Windstar again, Absolutely! It may be another 2-3 years, but we will be back!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Windsurf. We were three couples and we all thought that the cruise was fantastic. It is not a luxury cruise in my opinión but, it is a calm, thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed experience ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Windsurf. We were three couples and we all thought that the cruise was fantastic. It is not a luxury cruise in my opinión but, it is a calm, thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed experience ... No lines, no crowds, soothing old style yacht with lots of wood, sober decoration, nice decks ... The cabin, 121 on deck one, was very nice, everything very well designed, lots of closet room, very nice bathroom and shower. The crew is fabulous, always there to please you, to try to get you something, cabin attendant took wonderful care of our cabin while we were out, room service arrived promptly - not more tan 10 minutes.. Our only complaint was that on the one day that the yacht is sailing all day there were not enough lounge chairs but of course, people have the habit of placing a towel on the chair and then going away. We complained about this to an officer. The food was excellent, high quality, well prepared, wonderful beach bbq, fabulous bbq on deck - amazing lobster, salads, fish ! Everything was delicious !! It is a quiet, relaxing experience. We had a wonderful time with our friends and expect to repeat the experience in the future. We did not however like this itinerary (Dominica, St. Lucia, Les Saintes, Nevis and St. Kitts). There are really no nice beaches on these islands, but we had already visited most of the islands on the alternate itinerary. Our mistake, would have enjoyend going back to Virgin Gorda or St. Barts !! High recommendations for Windstar !!! Excellent cruise experience !! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, ... Read More
Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, travelling together were like a bunch of kids on and off the ship. Anchoring at locations away from the town-sized monster ships gave us a chance to visit local shops in smaller towns, yet get to the bigger "tourist centers" if we wanted to. The food was spectacular, the scenery was incredible, and listening to the music while the sails were unfurled on the 5 masts was thrilling. Seeing the ship at anchor when returning from shore excursions was a wonderful sight. With just under 300 passengers, we were able to get together when we wanted, and go our separate ways when we wanted. The six of us did get together for dinner each evening. All six of us went to a small local bar, the Mad Mongoose, in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua, to watch our Seahawks beat the 49ers. It was a raucous, fun evening with lots of local residents and a few travelers from around the world. We all did many activities together and separately. Some of us went swimming off the watersports platform at the stern of the ship, two went snorkeling at the Baths and another site on Virgin Gorda, four of us enjoyed the swimming and "people" watching at Shell Beach on St. Bart's, two of us went swimming and playing with dolphins on Tortola, and we all spent many hours sitting and reading at many locations all over the ship. Our rooms were luxurious, comfortable, and very well prepared by our Steward, Beny. I cannot possibly imagine a better trip for the price. We will take Windstar trips again !!!!!!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2014
My wife and I just completed an 8 day 7 night cruise on Windstar's Wind Surf. What an incredible performance by the entire crew. This is the easiest boarding experience of the many cruises we have taken. We were actually greeted by ... Read More
My wife and I just completed an 8 day 7 night cruise on Windstar's Wind Surf. What an incredible performance by the entire crew. This is the easiest boarding experience of the many cruises we have taken. We were actually greeted by Captain Harris as we embarked. The Wind Surf is essentially a large yacht, which is engine powered but that also raises it gorgeous sails. When it departs a port, it plays "1492", which is very cool when your sitting on the aft deck of the yacht watching the departure, sipping a drink. The yacht is classy and understated. You can tell that everything is finely made, but not overstated or gaudy in its decoration. The crew from top to bottom is Windstar's greatest asset. They are the nicest, most decent people around who will do anything to help you relax and have a good time. Captain Harris is frequently available to chat with, as well as Jeffrey, the yacht manager. Props to Panos, Kristi, the Spa Manager who recently finished her contract; the girls at the reception desk, Lai Rachelle and Nieva, Clara, the ship store manager, Iman, our cabin steward and the myriad of servers who treated us so well: Daddy, Sunu, Anjur, Sony, Hans and many, many more. Since passenger capacity is only 300, many of the crew remember your names. Breakfast is either buffet or sit down, on the Veranda, which has an inside and an outside.There are three restaurants for dinner: Amphora, Stella's, a French Restaurant and Candles, the Steakhouse. They all have changing, creative and tasty cuisine. And, if it's not on the menu, they will go find it for you. If something tastes particularly good, you can have another. The wine stewards are helpful and liquor is very reasonably priced. They have some great wines that won't dent your budget. There is a nice fitness center too, along with a small casino with blackjack, roulette and machines. There is a pop/rock band every night called Top Society, a family band from the Phillipines that covers many songs from the 50's to the present. After they perform, the come out to the audience to greet you and introduce themselves. A special musical guest was Niki Evans from the UK. She is starring in Blood Brothers in the West End and was a semi-finalist in the UK on American Idol. She is a powerhouse vocalist that is amazingly talented and very friendly. She is a "human jukebox. We give Windstar our highest recommendation and we look forward to returning soon.   Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
All the five star+ reviews of Windstar cruises were right on. It is a unique and wonderful experience. None of the reviews addressed the fantastic value of the optional premium beverage package. It was one of the best parts of the cruise. ... Read More
All the five star+ reviews of Windstar cruises were right on. It is a unique and wonderful experience. None of the reviews addressed the fantastic value of the optional premium beverage package. It was one of the best parts of the cruise. The Bartenders (yes, they do learn your name), give smiling, happy, friendly service. All liquor is top shelf and they make any specialty drink you want. Also, soda, bottled water, juice, hot tea is all presented with a smile. Combined this with the knowledge that you can drink whatever, whenever you want for a reasonable daily price including tips, made the trip even more wonderful. Champagne under the stars with the wind rattling the ships massive sails is an experience no one should miss. Brandy nightcaps taste better while sitting in a lounge chair built for two with moonglow over the water. We bought the package upfront, with our cabin. Windstar give you the option of deciding to purchase it within the first 12 hours of the cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2014
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to ... Read More
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to delays in our flights, we were late in arriving at St. Maarten and boarded the Windsurf just one hour before it left port. It was supper time so we went to the Amphora restaurant. Too tired to change into more elegant clothes, we were a bit disheveled, and felt that as a result we might be met with a somewhat disdainful attitude on the part of staff. Quite the opposite! We were greeted with smiles and seated at a beautifully set table. My daughter mentioned that she was a vegetarian, at which point the chef and restaurant manager appeared to discuss how they could make meals to best suit her needs. We were encouraged to meet with the chefs on a daily basis so that each delicious meal was made to her specifications. As for myself (I’m not a vegetarian), I thoroughly enjoyed the meals in all the restaurants. Later in our voyage, during a beach picnic on Pigeon Island where a meal was prepared and served on the beach by the Windsurf staff, we made our food choices and were told our food would be brought to us shortly. We had installed ourselves on beach chairs at quite a distance from the cooking area. To our amazement, the chef appeared with a big grin and our two plates in hand. He noticed that the people near us had empty plates and removed the plates for them. This lack of pretentiousness on the part of the chef and the heartfelt pleasure he had in making Windsurf guests have a wonderful eating experience went a long way towards making our holiday extraordinary. As well, we were consistently given friendly and professional service by the staff in all the restaurants and bars. Stateroom Our stateroom was on the lower deck, midship. We barely felt the motion of the ship, and it was such a quiet area that we were able to sleep blissfully each night. We enjoyed hearing the sound of the water lapping against our porthole, lulling us to sleep. The beds were the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in (we have high-end mattresses at home and would happily trade them for the Windsurf mattresses in our stateroom). The shower was great, good water pressure and several choices of showerheads. Our stateroom was small, but we never felt crowded. The young man who did our stateroom housekeeping was friendly and efficient, so that we could always count on a clean and pleasant environment. Room service for meals was also excellent. Smoking My daughter and I are both non-smokers, so it was important to us that to be able to avoid smokers on the ship. Most of the ship, both interior and exterior, is non-smoking, so we were generally able to breathe freely. One disappointment though was that smoking was allowed in the terrace outside the Compass Rose Bar. The Compass Rose had entertainment consisting of a lovely singing duo. We tried on several occasions to listen to them, but the Compass Rose had open doors which allowed cigar and cigarette smoke from the terrace to permeate the room. The smoke also reached the pool and the outdoors Candles restaurant. We finally gave up on going to that area of the ship. There are other designated smoking areas on the ship. I’m hoping Windstar Cruises will change their policy and prohibit smoking on the Compass Rose terrace, since smoking there affects so much of what otherwise would be a very enjoyable section of the ship. Shore excursions We found that the information provided by the Windsurf crew about port excursions was somewhat disappointing. For example, we were told that on the island of Les Saintes we could get a taxi to Pain de Sucre beach. Arriving at Les Saintes, we went to the small tourist information building and were told that there was only one taxi on the island and no other tourist mode of transportation except for scooters (and vans for people staying at hotels). Not having a driving license, scooters weren’t an option for us. We ended up at a dive center in town, where the friendly owners tried hard to contact the one taxi driver as well as finding an alternative mode of transportation, to no avail. Searching for a way to Pain de Sucre beach took us a couple of hours, by which time we had no time for the long walk it would have taken us to get to other beaches. Had we not been misinformed by Windsurf staff about the availability of taxis, we would have made other plans. I should mention that Windsurf offered a guided tour to the Pain de Sucre beach at a cost of $135 per person, which we found to be ridiculously overpriced. One great aspect of travelling with Windstar Cruises is that, due to their ability to go to the smaller ports, there aren’t the huge crowds of tourists who get off the large cruise liners. If Windstar Cruises lowered the prices of their shore excursions and kept their shore excursion agents more informed about the various port activities, it would most likely make a big difference in the enjoyment of these beautiful Caribbean islands. Water sports platform On the one day we planned to use the water sports platform, the currents were dangerous so we weren’t able to use it. On days when it was safe and the water sports equipment was out, Windsurf guests looked like they were having a great time using it. General impressions Very friendly and efficient service. Our fellow guests were friendly and the overall atmosphere was laid back and extremely relaxing. Making new friends was easy, especially when choosing to eat meals at a table with multi-seating. However, for those who want to be less social, there are always places to enjoy this wonderful voyage in privacy, as well as the choice to eat at a table for one or two people. Travelling on a ship with sails was a unique and magical experience. We’re looking forward to our next Windstar vacation!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it ... Read More
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it easy to get to the higher deck levels of the ship. I never experienced a time when I couldn't use an elevator. The ship is clean, tidy and well-maintained and our cabin was nice and with a well thought out design. Liked the overhead Hansgrohe shower head and handheld spray. It had different water pressure settings and patterns. The L'Occitane bath products provided were Lemon Verbana scented. The bed was comfortable, not too hard or too soft. Chairs in the cabin and on the above decks do not have good lower back support though. Our cabin steward was efficient and friendly. There was always a basket of fresh fruit in the cabin and two heart-shaped chocolate candies and also fresh ice in the ice bucket every night with the turndown service. The BBQ on the beach on St. Lucia and also the second BBQ on the ship were highlights of the trip. They did that well! Even had a live steel drum band on the beach. Occasionally the captain of the ship would make an announcement. He sounded just like the British actor Hugh Grant and had a nice sense of humor. We only booked one ship excursion and felt it was worthwhile money spent. Most of the islands we explored a bit on our own. The island itinerary on this trip was St. Maarten, Dominca, St. Lucia, Les Saintes (French West Indies), Nevis and St.Kitts. Nevis was the least interesting island. Taxi drivers there will hound you to use their services. We decided to just go back to the ship instead. Another couple that did take a taxi ride on the island were disappointed and told us it wasn't worth it. Most of the time we had to use a tender boat to get onto an island. It was easy and not scary and the crew is always ready to lend a helping hand to make getting on and off the tender boat simple. The Torment of Love pastries (filled with either coconut, banana or guava) and sold in baskets on the main street of Les Saintes, were delightful and also the French ice cream flavors ( guava, cassis, etc.) Most islands accepted US dollars but I had to pay with euros on Les Saintes. There is an Atm machine in town where you can obtain euro currency. There were several first-run movies available daily on your cabin tv and also a dvd and book library on the ship. I did purchase some wifi bandwidth to use with my ipad. The internet connection worked pretty well in the cabin and had an worked even better on a higher level of the ship. The food on the ship was good but not memorable. There wasn't a meal that made me wish I could eat it again. The dinner service every night was more elaborate and formal than breakfast or lunch. It would be nice if they would offer an optional informal dining venue for dinner other than room service. All in all, this was a nice trip!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus ... Read More
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus (climbing walls, mini golf, basketball, etc) not to mention the 8000 people on the ship. I was pointed in the direction of the Windstar Windsurf. We took two boys ages 17 and 22. The cruise was over Christmas so we figured (and were right) that there would be other young adults on the ship. It was fantastic, from the room (not as big as the last ship) to the food to the crew. I don't have enough time to leave a complete review but we couldn't have been happier. The kids even had a great time. We went swimming and playing in the ocean off the back of the ship every day, something we haven't ever had the opportunity to do before. This was like being on our own private yacht. It's a small ship with only 300 passengers and if you wanted to find a corner and read or listen to music it wasn't a issue. You are going to want to take advantage of the 24 hour open bridge policy, it's fascinating. Everything we did was special and we would do it again and will. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We cruised Dec. 14 - 21, 2014 from St. Martin to Dominique, St. Lucia, des Santes, St. Kitts/Nevis, BasseTerre. I have to begin this by saying that I give Windstar high marks for its interest in providing a good cruise. Everything you ... Read More
We cruised Dec. 14 - 21, 2014 from St. Martin to Dominique, St. Lucia, des Santes, St. Kitts/Nevis, BasseTerre. I have to begin this by saying that I give Windstar high marks for its interest in providing a good cruise. Everything you read here I put in a letter to Mr. Birkholz, president of Windstar. He called me to follow up and thank me for the letter, apologize for the shortcomings, take action to fix them, and offer an incentive to cruise again with Windstar. You can't do better than that. The staff is great. They were always smiling, cheerful, and helpful. Our cabin steward, Suki, was a gem. It has to be a challenge to keep everyone that way cruise after cruise and my hat is off to the management staff who makes that happen. Among the staff, the captain is a standout for his comedic wit and could probably have his own show. The band we had (High Society) did a fine job of playing songs we could enjoy and dance to (we are over 65). We appreciated the security arrangements for leaving and returning to the ship and the card scan made it easy. The tender service to shore ran often and smoothly. The quietness of our cabin was remarkable. Rarely did we hear anything from outside or next door or even the ocean for that matter (we were mid ships on deck 1). The TV/DVD/Boise system worked smoothly and enjoyably (but we did miss CNN or a major US network). Our cabin was a decent size and nicely furnished with a comfortable bed. However, the mini-fridge would not chill very much at all and the cabin was 80 degree when we arrived the first day and it took half a day to cool down. The overall maintenance and cleanliness of the ship was excellent. The BBQ on the beach was very nice and the swimming area pleasant. The food service and food were very good with a few exceptions. The small number of passengers also makes for a more enjoyable cruise experience. It can be hard to find a shady spot on deck during the day if you are not a sun worshipper. There were small issues that clouded our enjoyment. First among those was our confusion over the application of a $200 credit we got through the travel agent. We assumed it would go against anything on our bill including the $12/day per person gratuity charge. Nope. Maybe it would pay for an island tour we had prebooked prior to the cruise. Nope. We did not discover the limits of the credit until I inquired about 4 days into the cruise. The money went toward drinks and items in the gift shop - neither would have been expenses we would have incurred otherwise. The staff tried to resolve our request but bureaucracy got the best of us. The water provided in the rooms had a baking soda taste to it. Not so bad you couldn't drink it, but you would never look forward to having a glass of water. No bottled water in the minifridge either. We eventually discovered we could get it at the bar and sandwich shop after we bought some onshore. The ports of call were nice, but sadly these little islands do not have much to offer with their tiny economies. The good news is the big ships don't stop at them (at least not when we were there) so you don't have crowds. We had a nice tour on Dominique to the waterfall and gorge, but not much fun snorkeling. As far as we could tell, the reefs you may find along the trip are not thriving and hardly scenic. Don't expect much. This is not the fault of Windstar, just something you should know. BasseTerre is nothing but a tacky tourist trap. des Santes is a quaint little town worth a stroll. You can find cheap WiFi in one of the cafes there. Shipboard WiFi is expensive and slow. Your biggest headache won't be on the cruise. It will be what to do after you depart in the morning when it is over and before you catch your plane if it leaves later in the day. There is NO service to check your luggage so you can leave it and wander the town. Windstar offers a "tour" that lasts until about noon before it drops you at the airport. That costs about $70/person. A taxi to the airport costs $20/person. We solved the problem by taking a taxi to "Mary's Boon" hotel/restaurant near the airport and hanging out for four hours including getting lunch. I recommend it highly for that purpose. The airport itself is nice and clean, but it is still an airport terminal. (Note: US Airways requires 3 hr. arrival before departure - don't believe it. We were there on a very busy day and 2 hours was way more than enough. I wouldn't arrive less than 90 minutes before because things are not handled efficiently.) You can get food to eat in the terminal gate waiting area.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose ... Read More
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose Windstar bc of the itinerary and wanted to give Windstar a try. The highs were the great ports and the marina off the back of the ship. Even though our weather was not great at the beginning of the cruise, it improved and we enjoyed wonderful days in Virgin Gorda, St. Barts and Tortola. The sailing was VERY rocky, but we were not affected by it. The room was good and very well appointed- especially the bathroom which has a very useful lay-out. Our cabin steward could not have been nicer and more helpful. Breakfast and Lunch in the Veranda were perfect- many choices, attentive service and no problem finding a place to sit. The lows outnumbered the highs. There was a big corporate organized group onboard- inferred that it was basically a wine and dine and thank you for media advertising. We had read on previous reviews that if a large group is onboard, it can greatly affect the cruise for others. This is very true. They took over Candles one night, and also hosted a special dinner around the aft pool one evening which precluded anyone else from enjoying that area for the evening. They would congregate at the bars in large, loud groups making it awkward for others to be there. The group was at least 60 people, and on a cruise of 300 people, this constitutes a large group. Smoking was another issue. We are not vigilantly against smoking, but it was overwhelming at times around the pool. Smoking areas were on one side of the ship- we just think that with such a small pool area, maybe move it somewhere else? The crew was friendly and we definitely encountered many who were to be commended ( we always turn in commendation forms as we know that they are important to the crew). But, it seemed as if they were not well trained or were new to Windsurf. Our dinners lasted at least 2.5 hours due to either a slow kitchen or slow wait staff. We would have liked for the Veranda to be open as a buffet in the evenings- dinners became a drawn out affair that we did not look forward to. Room Service was always an option, but we did not come on Windsurf to eat in our room. Th final straw was the fact that crew members (mainly casino and "cadets"- crew members in training) basically took over the Marina and the water trampoline in port and especially at the beach picnic on Prickly Pear. We have never encountered this on any cruise before- we realize that the crew works hard, but shouldn't those amenities be reserved for guests first? Comparing Windstar to comparable lines with comparable prices, Windstar falls short in the area of service. With the exception of our cabin steward, we did not feel like we received the service that we expected. We do not expect to be waited on hand and foot, but with such a strong crew to guest ratio, thought it would be a better experience. To be honest, with the exception of turning in favorable commendations for crew members, we do not post reviews such as this. You have to take all reviews at face value, and everyone has their own opinion. But, there were just too many things about our experience on Windsurf that were not favorable. They truly have the potential to be amazing, and their itineraries are great. We would try them again, but would go into it with lowered expectations. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
My husband and I embarked on our Venice to Rome cruise last fall with high expectations. As third time guests of Windstar, we felt we knew what to expect and were prepared for an enjoyable cruise. The ship itself was well appointed and we ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on our Venice to Rome cruise last fall with high expectations. As third time guests of Windstar, we felt we knew what to expect and were prepared for an enjoyable cruise. The ship itself was well appointed and we were very pleased with the beautiful accommodations. But what Windstar failed to disclose when we booked our cruise (almost a year out) was that our sailing was essentially a charter cruise. More than half the guests on board were media advertising groups cruising on a corporate junket. I knew from previous reviews that if a large group is onboard, it can negatively impact the cruise for other guests. Sadly, this was very true in our case. These large groups took over the Terrace Bar and deck each evening for a private reception, which precluded anyone else from enjoying that area. They congregated at the bars in large, loud groups making it impossible for others to be in the same space. But the worst behavior was reserved for the dining room each evening, when large groups, dressed down in jeans, would drink their way through dinner, often shouting to friends at nearby tables and in one unbelievable incident, eating with their hands from platters of food they had ordered for the table. The noise level made it impossible to have conversation and twice we left the restaurant early without finishing our dinner. The party-like atmosphere that dominated the cruise really devalued the Windstar experience for us. We will not cruise with Windstar again.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We were so looking forward to our Windsurf cruise. Our cabin was light, spacious, comfortable, always clean and fresh flowers and fruit were a nice touch. We enjoyed the Captain playing Vagellis 1492 "Conquest of Paradise” over the ... Read More
We were so looking forward to our Windsurf cruise. Our cabin was light, spacious, comfortable, always clean and fresh flowers and fruit were a nice touch. We enjoyed the Captain playing Vagellis 1492 "Conquest of Paradise” over the loudspeakers as the sails were unfurled when leaving ports. We enjoyed the open bridge and the friendly officers and the wait-staff were always jovial and attentive. We enjoyed the ports of call and felt privileged when we had a high, front row seat at the fabulous Red Arrow air show off Monte Carlo. We even found items in the ‘American’ menu that suited our palate. As much as we enjoyed the experience there were disappointments. First off, the coffee was terrible. Starting the day with good strong coffee is a must and although experimenting at the various coffee spots on board, trying to find a good blend/strength, it was all to no avail. We would have been happy to pay for decent coffee. When our cruise aboard the Windsurf was first booked we set about planning how to spend our leisurely days. Looking at the colourful brochure this was easy. Relaxing around the pool deck, dropping into the pool and spa, and sipping drinks from the bar. On paper it sounded great. Perfect. In reality, the aft area is open to cigarette smokers with cigarette smells wafting all around the rear deck. To a non-smoker this is a nightmare. Try as we could we were driven from the area and restricted to the front of the ship for the entire cruise. So you could say that we had ‘half-a-ship cruise’. We did not use the pool or the spa or try the exotic cocktails and our swimmers stayed in the suitcase. The cruise should have been advertised as a ‘smokers delight’ because smokers were given the best area on board. A bigger disappointment was just around the corner. On our wedding anniversary we had planned to dine at ‘candles’, an open air restaurant set up on the deck each evening. Under the stars and sails, cruising along the French Rivera, it was to be a romantic dinner that we would always treasure. "Sorry, the restaurant is fully booked for the rest of the cruise”. This was a major disappointment as we had planned the cruise to coincide with our anniversary. Days later a passenger told us that the same people, at the start of the cruise, book the restaurant each evening for the whole cruise, making it impossible for other guests to experience open air dining. If true, I find this very unfair. Then on the last night, chatting to a Candles Restaurant waiter, who told us that we should have come by, as tables were available most evenings as some diners change their mind and don’t turn up!!! Something is very wrong here! Our Windstar experience verdict: very ordinary…but had the potential to be spectacular!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was a wonderful itinerary and a memorable voyage for many reasons. After 2 days at a well-located hotel in London, we were transferred by motorcoach to Wind Surf at her dock at Portsmouth. Our ports in France were Cherbourg, St. ... Read More
This was a wonderful itinerary and a memorable voyage for many reasons. After 2 days at a well-located hotel in London, we were transferred by motorcoach to Wind Surf at her dock at Portsmouth. Our ports in France were Cherbourg, St. Malo, and Brest. Cherbourg was the departure point for seeing the D-Day beaches and Sainte Mere Eglise, a very moving day. St. Malo is a great place to explore, and then explore more. Brest was my least favorite port on this itinerary; I enjoyed the castle, now open as a museum. Our ports in Spain, La Coruna and Vigo, were both interesting with lovely walking and/or excursion opportunities. Walking La Coruna's 14 km. waterfront promenade is a great way to enjoy that lovely city. Our half-day in Porto, Portugal, allowed time to walk in the central city and along the Douro River. From Porto, we sailed onward to Lisbon. I was met at the dock by Pedro of Sintra Private Tours to start our excellent tour which ended with my being taken to my hotel. The next day I used a hop-on-hop-off bus for an overview of Lisbon that included an afternoon at the excellent Lisbon Oceanarium. Wind Surf and her crew are exceptional in every way. The food was the best ever on any of my cruises. I love the size of the ship, and, as in the past (this was my 5th Windstar cruise), watching the sails unfurl as we continue on towards a new port is an exhilarating experience. The best way I can share this fine travel experience is to direct you to my just-finished on-line photo album, which I am about to post in top position on my Shutterfly travel photo site: https://fredasphotos1.shutterfly.com. After you've opened the site, click on the top album, "Wind Surf London to Lisbon". Next click on SLIDESHOW, then at upper right click on FULL SCREEN. I think it works best then to click the button at the top center to disable auto-forward of photos, after which you can click on the right-arrow when you want to go to the next photo. There are captions and text so you can view and read it as a travelogue. It was a memorable journey. I hope you'll enjoy it vicariously! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
This was our fifth cruise with WS lines. While we still enjoy the ambiance, crew, small ship cruising, some of the changes are not for the better. There is now a "harder sell" mentality for the spa, shop and excursions. The port ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with WS lines. While we still enjoy the ambiance, crew, small ship cruising, some of the changes are not for the better. There is now a "harder sell" mentality for the spa, shop and excursions. The port excursion prices are exceptionally high for what they provide, which is most unfortunate. We have been able to book independent excursions that offer more time and sights for the same or even less cost than what WS charges. The new owners of the WS line do not offer the same amenities and discounts for prior travelers, known as ForeMast Club members, as had Holland America and prior owners. This is definitely not good PR and does not encourage loyalty in those of us who have traveled before. That said, the Wind Surf was in good condition, although the refurbished decor looked way too utilitarian for the "casual elegance" of the advertising. The colors were beyond bland, the prints in the carpet and upholstered chairs looked anything but elegant, more in keeping with a 2* hotel. The public areas and cabins were very clean. The cabin and wait staff were as friendly and attentive as in all our other trips. Boon remembered us from a prior trip! The staff learns our names within the first day, an incredible feat. The food was fresh, mostly unimaginative but nicely prepared. Loved the breakfast selections, dinners had good choices, but typically on the bland side and became repetitive. I would suggest that the menu include local specialties of the countries being visited. Local talent was brought on board, one a lovely 16 year old vocalist, Lucy Kelly from Wales, sounding much like Charlotte Church. The other was a harpist. This is a WS feature, to bring aboard local talent, and much appreciated by the passengers. The other talent sailing as part of the crew provided good entertainment in the lounges. The ports of Dublin, Holyhead, Waterford, Fishguard, Scilly Isles/St. Mary's, Falmouth, Dartmouth, and Portsmouth were interesting. The villagers in the smaller ports were wonderfully welcoming, much like those in New Zealand when we sailed "down under". And quite unlike the larger and more touristy ports of France, Italy, Greece and Spain. We will give WS one more try before jumping ship to try another line..... Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.1
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment N/A 3.6
Service 3.5 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.1

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