WORST PART OF THE TRIP Getting there and getting back, Barbados and Nevis. The Miami airport is awful. There appeared to be no organization to clearing customs. Barbados and Nevis are 3rd world countries. Personally, if I want to see ... Read More
WORST PART OF THE TRIP Getting there and getting back, Barbados and Nevis. The Miami airport is awful. There appeared to be no organization to clearing customs. Barbados and Nevis are 3rd world countries. Personally, if I want to see unemployed vagrants, I can go to any inner city for a lot less $$$. The immigration people in Barbados when we entered were scowling, humorless, and irritated that we were there to spend money in their poor run-down island. BEST PART OF THE TRIP The other passengers and the ship itself, which is in great condition. We met so many really nice and interesting people - who also had good manners. If you like to drink too much and boogy till ya puke, this isn't the cruise for you. Most passengers are experienced, interesting people with lots of good conversation to share. Their company was truly a highlight. There were several children on this trip, except for 1 boy in a stroller who was loud, all were well-mannered and cute fun kids. ACCOMMODATIONS Very nice cabins - even standard size. The suites are very spacious, but not necessary. Cabin stewards are excellent. There's fresh fruit and a small vase of fresh flowers as well as a very nice assortment of soaps, shampoos, and body lotions. Towels were large enough to easily wrap around and the bathrobes were nice and eliminated the need to take on along. The hair dryer is kind of lame, but did ultimately do the job. TV and VCR were great with some movies to watch that I had not seen. DINING Both the Restaurant and the Bistro were very attractive. The breads and deserts were all simply wonderful. Appetizers, soups, and salads at dinner were great - better on some nights, but over all, really good. I only have a couple of "areas for improvement" to note. The fish entrees were ALWAYS overcooked (except the lobster which was always perfect). The sirloin was tough - well gee, why wouldn't it be - it's tough on land as well. The filets were just fine when delivered as ordered. Filet serving sizes were small, but after all the preliminary courses, they were more than adequate. Lunch and breakfast choices were good. Breakfast was particularly good - eggs a zillion ways, smoked salmon everyday, great pastries, cereals hot and cold, fresh melons, pineapple, grapes as large as plums - all were very good. Lunch was the least exciting. The buffet items were not too good and I didn't care for all the marinated/vinegar type salads. One day there was a meat in a gravy dish, but no pasta or rice to put it over which seemed a little odd to me. A good sandwich bar would have been a welcome choice. BAR The bar staff is really good. The white wine selection is fine - if the only wine you like is a chardonnay. The second day out, they were out of the pinot grigio with no replenishment. The liquor selection isn't extensive, but is adequate in terms of quality range and choice - after all this isn't a giant ship with storage for 5 different port selections. Beer selection is adequate for mainstream consumption - Bud, Bud Light, Hiney, and one or two others. COFFEE All of it good - not wimpy. Espresso, cappacino, laite available w/meals. ROOM SERVICE Zippy - fast - efficient and a good selection. This was a good vacation. I appreciated the lack of announcements all day long. On Christmas Day, we sailed around under sail power. It was a great day, although it was the first time I ever ate French fries and played a slot machine on Christmas day. The ports of St. Barts and Isle de Sainte were really nice. I suspect the French islands are a lot nicer than some of the others. Ship management gets FOUR HAPPY FACES for the way everything is handled. When seas were too choppy to go to Anguilla and St. Martin (French side), we sailed around until we could dock on the Dutch side. When the sister ship, Club Med, was in the vicinity, they arranged for us to sale next to them for a while to get some really good pictures. This is one area where the differences were apparent - Wind Surf sails are clean - Club Med sails dirty w/soot. The ship is very clean everywhere. It was a good vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
We sailed Rome to Nice Oct 31, 2004, and never having cruised before I will offer my opinion on WindSurf. Four of us travelled and none of us has ever cruised before so I am unable to compare ships but will offer you my opinion. FABULOUS! ... Read More
We sailed Rome to Nice Oct 31, 2004, and never having cruised before I will offer my opinion on WindSurf. Four of us travelled and none of us has ever cruised before so I am unable to compare ships but will offer you my opinion. FABULOUS! Yes you get a porthole instead of a balcony, but the size of the ship is why I chose WindSurf. I never had a desire to sail on a large ship and this was the perfect way to travel the intimate ports of the Mediterranean without hauling luggage, and knowing your accommodations were consistent. Sea sickness: one of us felt unwell on our first night, the rest of us were fine. It was quite amazing how quick you adjust. You felt some movement on the ship, but talking to other passengers, few we spoke with were ill from the movement. Sea sickness pills were available at reception and the infirmary, and you are supposed to take them 4 hours before sailing. Staterooms were really nice and serviceable. Our porthole looked directly at the ocean, that was cool. They do your rooms twice daily which was a treat. The staff were amazing, and yes, within a couple of days, they do know your names. Food was also fabulous, lots of choice without the buffet mentality, choices of salad, appetizer, soup and usually 4 - 5 entrees to choose from...excellent in both quantity and presentation. We had room service breakfast every morning, ate lunch in port and dinner on ship. Excursions: we chose to entertain ourselves and rented a car one day and took our time around the island we were on. 50 Euro for the car for the day for 4 people. Arranged all our own transportation and transfers via email prior to leaving. Our room was 118 on the lower deck and you really felt very little movement there. Room 220 on the upper deck is adjacent to where everyone gets on and off in port each day so avoid it. The noise of everyone on the stairs at 8:00 a.m. is terrible. The wonderful thing about this ship is you never have to wait for anything. The tender to and from the port would take 2 people if you were the only ones waiting to come or go! Casual Elegance is the motto and it is correct, everyone was usually dressed nicely for dinner, your choice as to how much you want to dress up, common sense seems to prevail here. Entertainment: the crew did a show one evening that was really cute, the 2 bands were excellent (played every evening) and there were a lot of people dancing. Besides, it is the others on the ship usually providing the entertainment!! Casino is small but adequate. There are casinos in port in the large cities in Nice, Monte Carlo, etc. Spa was excellent, lots of people using it, and the gym always seemed to have people working out. We worked out walking in the ports, putting on miles just walking around. The ship provided you with written material everyday on the next port, so you had some idea what to expect and what were the highlights. Overall it was 1st class, very comfortable, relaxing. You could be as organized as you wished, or simply take it day by day. Average age? 45-50 ish....in the Mediterranean. Rating...5 star in my mind! Only thing I would change is more time in Rome before we sailed!  Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
Cruises: 11/7-14/2004 - Nice to Barcelona 11/14/21/2004 - Barcelona to Lisbon Overview While no cruise is perfect, our back to back cruises on the Wind Surf were way above average. We sailed to great ports, all the while feeling that ... Read More
Cruises: 11/7-14/2004 - Nice to Barcelona 11/14/21/2004 - Barcelona to Lisbon Overview While no cruise is perfect, our back to back cruises on the Wind Surf were way above average. We sailed to great ports, all the while feeling that we were privileged and pampered. Nothing beats the feeling of being on a ship under sail, and it's a pleasure to sail with a few hundred other passengers, rather than a few thousand. For a description of the ship, public rooms, fellow passengers, fitness and recreation, family, dress code, and tipping, see the main Cruise Critic review of the Wind Surf. Best part of the trip Except for the two bad weather days, every day was a best part. The crew was friendly and helpful, the passengers were interesting, the ports were great, and the ship itself was fun. It was great having a feeling of elegance, yet not having to dress up - Windstar really does have "casual elegance." Worst part of the trip This was a tie between two things: disembarkation, and a very bumpy, unplanned sea day when everything seemed to go wrong. Both will be discussed below. Embarkation There was some confusion as to when we could board, so we were at the pier a bit after 1 p.m., but couldn't board until 2. Once we could board, embarkation was painless. (Give them a 3 for information accuracy, 5 for the actual boarding, averaging a 4.) We had left our bags on the pier around 10:30 a.m., and they magically appeared in our room. We climbed up the gangplank at 2, took the mandatory awful boarding picture, then were ushered into the lounge and handed a mimosa. We filled out forms, and that was it. Even a goof regarding our boarding cards was fixed quickly. Indeed, that became a keynote of the trip: Windstar made few mistakes; but when they did, they usually fixed it quickly. Accommodations These were the smallest rooms we'd had on our five cruises (188 square feet), and we were concerned that we would feel cramped. We needn't have had any fears: though compact, the rooms were very comfortable, and we had no cabin fever even after two weeks. There seemed to be room for all our belongings. We did miss having a bath tub; but we knew that in advance. The steward was unobtrusive: perhaps a bit too much so. However, the room was kept clean, and when we asked for something (ice, more shampoo, etc.) it arrived promptly. The towels and bathrobes were good, and the fruit bowl was kept filled. Dining The food in the dining rooms was so good, and so convenient, that we never even tried room service. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda room; however, we quickly found that we could avoid crowds (the crowds weren't very big, anyway), and get waiter service for several items, if we sat in the adjacent Bistro. The breakfast choices always included pancakes, French toast, waffles, and at least one light cuisine choice. Eggs were made to order, smoked salmon was available every day, and caviar was available two or three times each week. There was lots of fruit, meusli, great breads and pastries, and stuff we never even tried, such as British breakfast, cold cereal, breakfast meats (hot and cold), etc. We had three or four lunches off the ship, mostly on excursions; but it was a temptation to eat every lunch on the ship. Most lunches had themes (Italian, Spanish, Asian), and the choices were generally interesting. Grilled food, such as fish and burgers, was always available. The salads were especially varied and interesting. There were always lots of desserts, including low fat and the famous HAL bread pudding. The review of "sfg" of a 2002 cruise mentioned the need for a sandwich bar, and said that buffet choices were not too good. We felt that buffet choices were excellent. While there still is no area where the ship crew makes cold sandwiches, there are plenty of sandwich ingredients available, including great bread, for making your own sandwiches. We never did so, because the other choices were so good. The lobster and lamb chop barbecue lunch, on the last cruise day of each week, was a highlight of the trip. If we had any quibbles with the food, it involved dinner. During the first week, when the ship had 210 passengers, everything went smoothly, and meals took a leisurely but not slow amount of time. In week two, when there were 300 passengers, service slowed, and we experienced waits on occasion. Nonetheless, our Indonesian server, Lilik, was always courteous and attentive. As for the food itself, it was not five star, but it was the best we've had on a cruise ship. There was some effort to serve food that related to where we were (the Mediterranean). There were vegetarian choices, healthy food, and "low carb" food, as well as four or five other choices. We always got a table for two, as requested, unless we asked for a larger table. One night we were at a table for six, and we had six different main courses - all good. With soup, salad, appetizer, main course, and dessert there was too much food: by the end of the trip we were consistently skipping at least one course. The menus were so good that we kept putting off trying the alternate restaurant, the Bistro. On our first try, we were too seasick to enjoy the food. This was the missed port day in Mahon, as described below, and was not a fair test of the restaurant. When we finally did try it in normal weather, we enjoyed it as much as the main restaurant. Wine and Liquor We can't really judge this area. Since we were sailing in wine country (France and Spain), we purchased almost all of our wine on shore, and paid a $10 corkage fee each time we opened a bottle. (The wine steward did give us one "freebie" each week). Similarly, the bar crew was very friendly even though we normally ordered iced tea, rather than something alcoholic. Ports and Itinerary Before we left, Walt, the host for the Windstar board, described our two weeks as a "killer itinerary." That was accurate. We had just the right mix of big cities (Marseilles, Barcelona, Malaga), medium size cities (Palma de Majorca, Tangier), and small places (Porquerolles, Ibiza, Sete, Portimao). Due to Mistral winds, we missed two ports: St. Florent, Corsica, and Mahon, Minorca. Both would have been great. However, the missed day at St. Florent resulted in one of the highlights of the trip. We went from Nice to Villefranche, a distance of about five miles, instead of going to Corsica. We took a tour to St. Paul de Vence, and placed a stone on Chagall's grave. Unforgettable. Villefranche itself was interesting, including a narrow, completely enclosed street, the Rua Obscura. Visiting Tangier, Morocco, including our excursion to Tetuan (the white dove), was like stepping into another world. Everything was exotic, from the narrow alleyways to the robes worn by the people to the vendors who kept trying to get us to bargain for and purchase their goods. I hope the line keeps this port in its itineraries, but adds western-style bathrooms to the buses. We were one of a group who needed "facilities," and when we were shown a hole with two footprints, only Joe used it. The guide here was superb, keeping the worst vendors away and keeping all of us together. Things did not turn out well for our other missed port, Mahon. (We missed the first and last scheduled ports of the first week's itinerary.) We spent a sea day in 60 knot winds. The ship is fairly stable; but no ship feels comfortable in such high winds, and Joan became seasick. To make matters worse, some thoughtless passenger flushed something that he shouldn't have flushed down a men's room toilet, and it knocked out the toilets for our entire bank of cabins and public areas. Even after the public bathroom was fixed, our toilet and the toilet in the room next to us had to be replaced. Imagine a sea day with near hurricane force winds, when you couldn't even use your own stateroom. With many empty rooms, the line could have let us rest in an empty room. Instead, we wandered from public room to public room. Joan was too doped up on seasickness pills to care, Windstar did give us a bottle of wine as a "make good," but they could and should have done more. In all justice to them, they probably had their hands full with a nasty storm and at least three broken toilets. Excursions We used ship's excursions in about half the ports. In the other ports, Patrick, the excursion director, gave us plenty of information about the port, so we could do things on our own. With one big exception, the tours were reasonably priced and interesting, and gave us a good idea of the area in which we were traveling. We avoided the big, overcrowded tour from Malaga to Granada (which was loved by the people who took it); so all of our tours were also uncrowded: always under 30 people, twice under 15. The line made an effort to run each tour, even when fewer than 20 people signed up. Windstar negotiated a favorable dollar-euro ratio for those tours, so they were competitive with your private arrangements. So what was the problem? Bathroom stops. They were too infrequent, and the bathrooms on the buses were never available. Breakfast featured excellent coffee, fresh-squeezed juice and wonderful smoothies as well as abundant ice water. The busses could drive for more than an hour before arriving at our destination. Even when the busses had bathrooms, some gibberish prevented the guides from letting us use them. As a weight watcher, we learned to drink several glasses of water upon arising. We drink more water than most, and have never used a laxative. As the population ages, this will become more of a problem. We hope the line cures this problem. Entertainment There wasn't much of it, and we didn't miss it. There was a small casino, and there were usually bands in the two lounges. They were not well populated most of the time: people were simply too tired after exciting days on shore. Most people rented DVDs, and watched them in their rooms. Still, we have no doubt that, had we been night owls instead of early birds, we could easily have made our own entertainment. Nonetheless, if you want big, glitzy shows, this may not be the ship for you. The only "show" was the weekly crew show, which was quite interesting. Level of service Generally excellent, from the hostess, Cherie, on down. The crew made us feel pampered and special. Tipping Very confusing. The "tipping not required" policy resulted in confusion about whether to tip, and how much. We ended up giving pooled tips to the dining room staff and bar staff, and individual tips to the room steward and wine steward. Clear guidelines would be better. Better still would be a slight increase in price, all of which would go into staff pay, so that tipping truly is not needed. Windstar will try this idea, as well as including wine with dinner, in its "Signature Sailings" in 2005. Disembarkation After two great weeks, even the best disembarkation would have been a downer. The actual disembarkation was worse than that. Because the ship was going into dry dock, we disembarked an hour west of Lisbon, and had a long bus trip. (In fairness, getting off the ship was quick and well organized, and would have been good had we gone directly to the pier instead of into a bus.) Once we picked up our bags (loading them onto carts ourselves, since there seemed to be no porters), there was no one to help us get a cab. Joe went back inside to use the restroom, and got locked into the port terminal. There was no one to help him get out, and we lost our place in line trying to get a cab. Although it seemed the terminal was devoid of personnel, we soon discovered many workers. A few minutes after we loaded our luggage onto carts, people in orange suits started to take the carts back. We were left with piles of luggage on the ground and no cabs in sight. The most aggressive people got cabs quickly. Finally, someone from Windstar organized a line; but the pushy people, rather than those of us who arrived first, got on line first. Meanwhile cab drivers came up to us and offered to drive us for three or four times the meter rate. Absurd! Final impressions Despite a few glitches, a fantastic trip! Bravo, Wind Surf! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
A Solid 8.5-9.0 Just returned from the Wind Surf, traveling from Cozumel to Honduras and Belize. A good mix of mostly US passengers, where average age was around 55 or so. This was a very good mid-level to semi-luxury cruise, with ... Read More
A Solid 8.5-9.0 Just returned from the Wind Surf, traveling from Cozumel to Honduras and Belize. A good mix of mostly US passengers, where average age was around 55 or so. This was a very good mid-level to semi-luxury cruise, with exceptional food and service from a continually smiling crew. With two restaurants, they served excellent tasting food (a solid 10), with a flair for presentation and options. The Bistro offers a nice alternative, although somewhat difficult to get a reservation there since some passengers book there every night on their first day, leaving few daily openings per the posted regulations. Also, it seemed to us and others that starting dinner service at 7:30 was a little late since it took about 2 hours to complete. Rooms were larger than expected, with plenty of closet and bathroom space, and well appointed. The bed was fairly hard, although we slept well most nights. The hot tubs were great, but the pools were small and rarely used. Exercise room was very functional and the spa was nice. Several bars to choose from and great food during happy hour. Main complaints were around the shore excursions, as the ship enjoys charging about double what you can book them for on your own. Also, choices were limited in Honduras, or very expensive ($400 pp for one tour to see some Mayan ruins that included air). Diving was $120 for most 2-tank dives ($200 for some specialty dives), although local operators typically charged $50-60. Some passengers seemed irked by traveling to a 3rd world country like Honduras, but we thought it to be interesting. Also, if you are not on one of their pricey shore excursions, you are not allowed on the first tender to shore each day, even if you are waiting first in line. Also, we left port each day around 5:00, meaning we had limited time to visit a port after an excursion, and were constantly looking at the watch. Drinks were also fairly pricey ($5 for a US beer), small and some tasted watered down. Room service was very fast with same great food as the restaurants. The Internet service only worked for one day, which presented other inconveniences. A nicely laid out ship with two elevators for the elderly or tired. Casino was nice but not used much. Some of the senior level crew seemed to have an attitude to passengers, but others were truly great and made it clear they enjoyed their job. Made lots of new friends and did enjoy our vacation, but will likely try their smaller ships or Star Clippers as that is more our style. But, this is a good value to those looking for an enjoyable ship, experience and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was clean, the staff was very friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar markets themselves as being "casual elegant" and that is correct. They do not have the European level of ... Read More
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was clean, the staff was very friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar markets themselves as being "casual elegant" and that is correct. They do not have the European level of service as Seabourn, but you should not expect it. Service in restaurant was good and the menu between main dining room and bistro gave you ample selections to choose from. The ship is a great size and fairly stable. When we did have a 55mph headwind, we found ourselves 2-hours behind schedule and were not sure the ship would fit under the bridge going into Lisbon. It was very exciting as they sent a crewman up the mast to advise if we would not clear it - we were close! Had we not fit, they planned to tender everyone to the dock, not a good option for people with lots of luggage or flights close to arrival time. Embarkation and debarkation was among the best we've experienced. Very organized and fast. Only issue was local customs officials and we all know cruise lines can't control that. The cabins and bathroom are comfortable and have an amazing amount of storage for the overall SqFt. The bed cover is bad polyester and the bed mattress did have a worn center. Pillows are tiny so if you need support, bring your own. The fitness room is in a great all-glass room so it is wonderful for your workout. Weight machines as well as free weights, cardio machines and mats are all you need. Towels and chilled water are available, as well as antiseptic wipes for the equipment. The entertainment tried to do something for everyone, and with such a mixed crowd, somewhat missed everyone. Maybe it was the particular group on this cruise, but most people did not hang around the musical groups. They either went to their cabin or stayed out by the pool bar. The pools are small, but the two hot tubs on the back of the ship are a great way to relax, yet still be in the thick of the action. But if you are looking to soak and get away from it all, it won't work for you. As for nit-picking: * The store has very poor quality logo items and overall selection (mostly Tommy Bahamas clothes) * The ship's camera was out of focus the whole trip and the system never gives you ship's data (such as wave height, wind, direction, etc.) like other ships do * The wine stewards do need quite a bit of training. The worst offender just plunked down the wine list and mumbled "Want wine?" as he drifted past the table. * You cannot take your own beer or spirits onboard, but they don't tell you that till you are boarding and they take it from you (returning it at end of the cruise). You can take wine but there is a $10 corkage fee. * When you order a cheese tray via room service, the only crackers you can get are saltines, no variety or no-salt options. But you can pick them up at the lunch buffet. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good ... Read More
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good pr, and a much deserved plus). For scuba divers, they advertise as a 'liveaboard' in mags such as Rodale's Scuba...NOT!!!. PLUS: Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) was great. Open bridge while sailing. Sails unfurled in the evening and mid morning. Room service seemed better than actual set meals. Minus: After midnite, you can't get a glass of water, let alone a simple snack (ie a simple sandwich), unless you request room service. A cup of coffee can't be found until 6am. In between lunch and dinner (keep in mind you may have missed breakfast or lunch for an excursion you booked with the ship), you get cookies!. Communication between departments was non-existent. If you booked an excursion, and it ran past lunch, you didn't get lunch. To their credit, the second week they did try to reconcile this problem. Excursions are hit and miss. They may be cancelled, they may not. They may be on time, they may be 2 hours late. Finally, and if anyone from the company actually reads this stuff: Never, and I say NEVER give your product away. We booked at a reasonable (at the time) rate to my wife and I. Then took advantage of their advertised policy of a steep discount for a back to back. Only to find out that if you went to a discount website, we could have gotten the first week for almost half off. Overall: Taking into account the weather the first week and it being the first time this company did this specific itinerary, they did a commendable job. However, by their own admission, by offering such a steep discount on those 'last minute' sites, I felt we well overpaid, and probably won't sail again with them. If you work for the company and read this, consider the following: NEWER give up your front gate!! Offer free drinks, discounts on shipboard stuff, etc., but NEVER give up your front gate!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a ... Read More
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a 7 day trip was quite enough. I didnt have any wishes for a longer voyage. Going to smaller ports on a smaller ship left me feeling like the out of the way, back woods ports were pretty much the same. If you have seen 4, you have seen them all. Yes, they have differences, but the differences dont matter so much in the grand scheme of things. Windstar, the company that owns the 3 sail cruise ships, is owned by Holland America, which is owned by Carnival. All of the descriptions of the cruise experience from the Windstar web site describe each of the ships as small, luxury sail/motor ships: Sailing under the banner of its appropriate tag line "180º From Ordinary," Windstar was created in the mid-1980's with the vision to offer an alternative to the typical cruise or resort vacation. The Windstar passenger sees the world from a romantic sailing ship with luxurious accommodations, a casual yet elegant atmosphere, and exquisite service and cuisine. The Wind Surf, at 308 passengers, is twice the size of the other two ships. I havent been on the smaller ships, but from what I have heard, they are different in feel (i.e. better) than the Wind Surf. The bottom line for me is that the Wind Surfs dEcor was utilitarian: nice, but utilitarian. The food ranged from good to very good, the service from the staff was very good, while the service from management was poor. What the Wind Surf has to offer is small, out of the way ports that the big ships cant get into. Can you imagine 3,200 passengers storming the beach at Mayreau (population 212)? Instead, our 308 passengers fit in just fine. Moreover, with so few passengers, we saw the same people day after day, and that was a delightful experience. I dont think I would take Wind Surf again unless it were going to a destination that was absolutely compelling, that no one else was going to, and (a big and) the price was more in line with what I was actually receiving. So, lets start at the beginning: The Wind Surf is a 5 masted sailing cruise ship. Like all sailboats, the design of everything is subordinated to making room for the masts, lines, supports etc. It is hard to take a picture without running afoul of sailing apparatus. In the Wind Surfs case, that makes for a long skinny ship; so rather than your typical cruise ship configuration of two outside corridors with lounges in the middle, you often have only one corridor and an L shaped room, like the 1960s combination living/dining rooms of a suburban ranch house. None of that is bad, and in fact, it is downright pleasant. Or, it would be if the ship actually functioned as a sailboat. There were two lengthy periods when the motor was disconnected (not, shut off), and the ship proceeded under sail power. The idea was that it was a sailing experience, but the reality was that the motor was needed for electrical power, and I could still hear it vibrating away. The ship never heeled over into the wind. In short, the Wind Surf struck me as a motorized cruise ship with a gimmick. True enough, a nice gimmick, but my body wasnt fooled even for a moment. As for luxury, forget it: thats my opinion, anyway. The cabin and elsewhere was nicely utilitarian, but both Celebrity (nouveau upscale) and Holland American (pretend old money, i.e. quieter upscale) were far, far, far more luxurious. Wind Surf claims to be a 5 star ship like Celebrity and Holland American, but the reality is closer to a very pleasant 3 or 4 stars but for the much smaller number of passengers. This year, Holland American costs about $120 per person per day in the Caribbean, and Celebrity checks in at $142, while Wind Surf averages $264. What you have to do is decide if the smaller number of passengers and the unusual ports are worth paying the extra money. It probably is worth it once or twice, but dont spend the money thinking you are getting luxury in your surroundings. You arent. Dining: Breakfast and lunch on the Wind Surf are in the Veranda Cafe, which is an indoor-outdoor buffet experience. I found both to be great, but Nancy fought with the menu. Breakfast included real granola, fruit, European cold cuts, smoked salmon, a rotating exhibit of eggs on English muffins, i.e. Benedict, Florentine, etc., an omelet / scrambled egg station  no powdered eggs, which most other cruise lines try to palm off on passengers too old to remember being at camp, and a pancake / waffle station. Lunch consisted of more buffets than you could ever imagine: Mexican day, Indonesian day etc. Also there was a carving station, sandwich creation ingredients etc. Nancy kept wanting some of the breakfast ingredients like mozzarella cheese to put on her lunch salad. She was happiest the day she ordered room service and got a Caesar salad and a piece of plain grilled salmon. Of course, she would have been even happier if our room had had a table that she could have eaten it from. There were two locations for dinner: the main dining room called The Restaurant and the Bistro cafe. The Bistro did not seem to be thought of (by the passengers, anyway) as a gourmet location as compared to The Restaurant. Rather, it was simply an alternative venue. Consequently, reservations were fairly easy to come by. Both the Restaurant and the Bistro featured open seating from 7:30 to 9:30. We always told the headwaiter that we wanted company and were seated at tables for 4 or 6. It was a nice way to meet folks. Before dinner, a live band played in the lounge, appetizers were served, and at 7:15, the cruise director would give a short talk about the next days port. All in all, it was quite civilized. I must compliment Wind Surf on providing more port information than any other cruise line I have been on to help the non-excursion passengers plan their day. This was the first cruise I have ever been on where I actually gained weight (a pound and a half, thank you), and I attribute that to the fact that the desserts were tasty rather than consisting of imitation 3-Musketeer-fluff sandwiched in between allegedly choco-like substances. If you are a dark chocolate fan like me, the flourless chocolate cake with hazelnut puree accompanied by pistachio brittle was worth holding back on the green beans in order to save room. On the other hand, on French night in the Bistro, I doubt that a real French person would have recognized the meal: the strawberry tart, for example, had chocolate pudding underneath the strawberries. French night wasnt very French, but Indonesian night had the best lobster Ive ever been served. Since there were no assigned tables, the dining staff (all male) had to work harder to keep everybody serviced. They were the same folks who ran the tables in the breakfast & lunch buffets, and with 308 passengers, it wasnt too hard to keep track of the passengers foibles. Nevertheless, it was still surprising to have a waiter come all the way across the room to bring me an ice tea because he knew I liked iced tea, and my waiter for that night hadnt learned my preferences yet. Susan, one of the wine stewards, once bought (not, brought, but bought as in paid for) me a coke because she had noticed that I didnt drink alcohol. I never had that happen before. One day, I asked for blueberries the next day at breakfast. Requests like that are usually routine on the larger cruise ships. On the Wind Surf, the response was, We will have to see what is on the menu. Public Rooms: There are really only three public rooms of any consequence: the library, the lounge, and the Compass Rose bar. The library has some reference and travel books plus several bookcases of left-behind books that, fortunately, had reading material worth reading. It also had tables and chairs plus two non-internet computers. Every afternoon, I would discover a plate of cookies and a couple of pitchers of juice had been set out for bookworms like me. It rained 5 out of 7 days on our cruise, and we discovered that one of the shortcomings of the Wind Surf is that there are few, if any, comfortable indoor reading locations. The best seats are the couches in the hallway near the library. Other than those, you are pretty much on your own. We didnt use the lounge nearly as much as we thought we would. It is the main assembly room, the entertainment room, and it contained one of the bars that was used for the two cocktail parties that the ship hosted to make us feel better about the broken air conditioning. They never did figure out a way to make us feel better about the fact that our cabin had no cold water in our shower for 2 and a half days. It was so hot in our cabin that the sweat was just pouring off us, and we couldnt even shower due to the scalding water. Grrrr. Anyway, here is a picture of the lounge: We came here most nights about 7:00 to hear the lecture before dinner about the next days port. In addition, we could sample the appetizers that were served to tide us over until dinner at 7:30 and listen to the music played by a 4 person group that we had heard on a previous cruise with another cruise line in one of their small, out of the way, secondary lounges. In other words, the live music was okay, but barely that. We never came back after dinner for a night of dancing, but we did come for the crews talent night which was very enjoyable. The Compass Rose Bar is the main bar, if you happen to need a stool to hang out on. If you dont need a stool, then the extended Compass Rose is still the place to be since the tables spill out onto the deck. If you wake up too early to eat breakfast, there is always a continental bite to eat in the Compass before moving on to pancakes, waffles etc. In addition to the main public rooms, there is also the Terrace Bar on the next deck up that was touted as the cigar spot. There was quite a bit of sympathy expressed by the cruise director for the cigar smokers who never had a spot for themselves. Windstars solution was to use the Terrace Bar to create that spot. Unfortunately, they never enforced their own rules about smoking elsewhere. The net result was that the three rear decks were overrun by smokers. Basically, the smoking rules were unworkable in the first place. The idea was that half of each of the three decks was for smoking. Even if that had been followed, it never would have worked because the decks were so small that the wind blew the smoke everywhere. In short, it was like the bad old days where there was a smoking section in each restaurant (or airplane) that never isolated the smoke in the first place. That was the theory. The reality was worse. There was no enforcement, and the smokers smoked everywhere, although I must admit that there wasnt much smoking inside. I put on my California hat and tried to complain. They just couldnt get it. It never was their responsibility any more than it would have been in a restaurant in 1954. Fitness and Recreation: The Wind Surf positively excelled in the fitness department. The gym is on the top deck with views all around and more than enough machines for the number of passengers. It never felt crowded. Some of the fitness classes were free, including the one that I went to where I was the only one there. It was like having a fitness trainer for free rather than paying $75 per hour. In addition to the gym and the aerobics room, the Wind Surf also had a water sports platform that dropped down from the rear of the ship. We picked the largest of the three ships for our cruise because it had a larger sports platform with more toys. The sports platform can only be used in ports where the ship tenders rather than docks and when the waters are calm enough. On the Wind Surf (as opposed to the 2 smaller ships), you cannot swim off of the platform since the platform floats on the water rather than being above the surface. The net result is that the water sports platform is best for kayaking, sailing and not much else. They did hand out (free) snorkeling gear at the start of the cruise that we used for our excursions. There were about 35 divers out of the 308 passengers plus numerous snorkelers and water people. If you go, you are in the midst of an active crowd. There is one swimming pool on the top deck that I never saw occupied, even once. The one on the rear deck did get some use, although the hot tubs were vastly more popular. There is also a spa for those who like to spend double the price of a land massage. We tried it with the on-board credit that went along with our tickets. My favorite part was the questionnaire that they wanted us to fill out in the beginning. The whole purpose of the questionnaire was to set them up to offer us products to buy at the end of the massage. One part of the questionnaire asked: What home cleansing routine do you follow? I answered that I vacuumed weekly. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Our cruise on the Windsurf was wonderful. Were there one or two things I could pick at? Sure - nothing's ever perfect but I have to say we all left the ship thrilled with our cruise and wanting to go back. The experience was great and ... Read More
Our cruise on the Windsurf was wonderful. Were there one or two things I could pick at? Sure - nothing's ever perfect but I have to say we all left the ship thrilled with our cruise and wanting to go back. The experience was great and we were very well satisfied. We were a group of friends made up of 3 couples traveling together and all agreed that: - service was excellent, with very friendly and attentive staff who remembered all our first names after our first interaction. - food was excellent a lot of the time and at least good all the time. - cabins were roomy and well-designed; we had room to easily store everything (and we packed heavily). NOTE: the bed linens and towels were great - they had recently done an upgrade in that respect and it definitely showed (I'm picky about sheets). - the itinerary was excellent with no lame stops. We did an excursion with the boat and a few on our own...all were fun. - the relaxed dress and free-style dining was a really nice feature...we enjoyed the restaurant but felt like the service in the Bistro was a little better and preferred it. We were very pleased with just about everything. I did not think the couple who performed in the Compass Rose bar at night were any good (they sang cheesy songs to recorded tracks) until I went at cocktail hour - they sang relaxing songs with an acoustic guitar and were wonderful. I say DROP the tracks. Also, one of the couples in our group was a gay couple and there was no taint of oddness or discrimination on the part of anyone on board at all, I'm glad to say. I HIGHLY recommend Windstar. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel ... Read More
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel [recommended!] Caught a cab down the Ramblas to the pier  this cost 12¬ which is a lot cheaper than the $65 that Windstar wanted for the transfer. Boarding started at 2pm  a strange procedure  all the photos and credit card taking was done when we were on board sitting in the lounge. At least they served a glass of champers and some canapEs when we waited. We had a suite #337  port side forward  the suites are basically two back to back cabins with a hole knocked between them. No further alterations have been made so you are left with two vanity units, two cupboards, two fridges, two mini bars, four safes and best of all two bathrooms. New dEcor on the beds is a pretty gold/maroon colour  the beds seemed new and were very very comfortable. However the woodwork in the room was all chipped and scratched and looked rather tired. This was my impression of the whole ship  and I think it is going into dry dock shortly so perhaps they will give it a good revamp as it certainly needs it. On my previous cruises whenever we docked there was always some poor guy dangling over the side with a tin of paint painting the hull but this did not happen at all  and the poor hull was all scratched and marked as if the captain had had a few troubles in the past trying to park the ship!!! I took a peek into a normal cabin and these appeared to be very small with no seating area at all  unless you sat on the bed. Because the windows are portholes all the cabins are always quite dark. Food was generally very good  the breakfasts were vast spreads with separate omelette chef and the waffle chef areas. Lunches were often speciality buffets like Mexican or Greek or Lobster days and these were excellent. There was full afternoon tea at 4pm and on a few evenings they had canapEs at 6:30. Dinners were slightly disappointing  there are two restaurants and we ate every night in the smaller Bistro which requires booking on the day at 8am. Menus were simple. The dEcor in the Bistro was again rather shabby  again I am used to sumptuous dining rooms with chandeliers, ornate paintings, plush carpets, drapes and wallpaper  but the Bistro had faux wood walls, one picture and a few tired looking yucca plants! One evening they had a Indonesian theme evening which was very good and on another there was a Mediterranean themed buffet complete with suckling pigs. This was followed by the crew show which involved a few dances from their local countries [Indonesia and Philippines] and then a few more traditional show numbers like YMCA On board these smaller ships you tend to make your own entertainment. There is a small pool and 2 Jacuzzis - the chair hogs were in force and it was sometimes difficult to find a chair on sea days. In the evening there was a group who played in the lounge  the dance floor is so small though you could not really dance properly, and there was a duo who played in the Compass Rose bar  thought that the volume was rather loud for the size of the room. The ship had a casino and the usual art auctions  didnt try either. Ports of call were Ibiza, Palma, Malaga and Tangiers. I never take the ships tours and tend to do my own thing. In both Ibiza and Palma they laid on a courtesy bus to take you to the town  this ran every ½ hour. In Malaga they did not  caught a cab to El Corte Ingles [the department store] and then walked slowly back to the ship via coffee, the Cathedral and a leisurely lunch. The cathedral is spectacular and well worth a visit. In Tangiers we just took one of the local guides who met the ship  the cost was $20 for all four of us for a ½ day tour which seemed good value to me. Weather was good through out apart from a bit of rain in Palma. Even saw dolphins and a whale....! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2006
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, ... Read More
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, or maybe it was due to cost considerations by the cruise line. However, the quality and approach slipped considerably. It became ordinary. PORTS: There was no need to have two sea days. We had wonderful ports, and by using two sea days, especially when the portage in Abiza was changed to an inconvenient location with an arrival at siesta, or when a lovely local like Majorca is shorted in time, the quality of the experience is lost. Indeed timing changes caused us to miss the ability to see the Rock of Gibraltar as well! Now the food. Windstar food is top notch and 5 star - at least it was. This cruise featured the best one would expect from Dennys or COCO, NOT from a Splichel (Pinot restaurants) designed menu. Shore excursions sold out. The line made no effort to line up backup guides - leaving clients to fend for themselves in places like Tangier! While the dining room and bar staff were, as always, terrific, room service was not accommodating, food was average, ports were shortened, coke was $2.50 and beer $7.50 and one wonders: Why bother with Windstar? I doubt that I will sail them again and I was a committed Windstar booster. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest ... Read More
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest disappointment. Mystery meat available at every meal. The amount of small children on board was a complete surprise. There is nothing for them to do and they were allowed in both restaurants until after 9pm. Nothing says dinner like screaming kids. We expected none as in the past. Smoking rules are not enforced anywhere. However, tee shirts were for sale outside the restaurant for purchase to remind you that this is no longer a 5 star experience. The special touches that were Windstar have disappeared and it is not longer worth the price. Embarkation used to be a joyful return to a wonderful ship, friendly faces from the past, both passengers and crew members. Not so any more the new management has put many untrained people into the staff and it shows. We feel sorry for the few staff that have stayed, they try so hard to maintain the level of service from the past. Disembarking was fast. With the feeling they really wanted you to leave as quickly as possible! And we were glad to leave. We met some wonderful people and enjoyed seeing the crew from our previous time on board. The ship is still wonderful to sail on, but you have many choices for the price range. Our advice is try another cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
Cruise: 12/2-9/2007 - Barbados to Barbados Overview This was our third cruise on the Wind Surf, after back to back cruises in the Mediterranean in November, 2004. We sailed to small ports, all the while feeling that we were privileged ... Read More
Cruise: 12/2-9/2007 - Barbados to Barbados Overview This was our third cruise on the Wind Surf, after back to back cruises in the Mediterranean in November, 2004. We sailed to small ports, all the while feeling that we were privileged and pampered. Nothing beats the feeling of being on a ship under sail, and we spent quite a bit of time under sail, with the engine disengaged. It's a pleasure to sail with a few hundred other passengers, rather than a few thousand. Why is the title for our review "the tender trap"? Because four of the six ports were ports where we anchored and then took tenders to shore. That got to be something of a drag, and limited our ability to come and go off the ship. Description of the ship The MSY Windstar is a "motorized sailing yacht". It is about half the length of a mega ship, but much narrower, and with far fewer decks (6, plus a partial sun deck). There are a maximum of 312 passengers and 190 crew. Most staterooms are 188 square feet, with portholes (no balconies), with everything built in. The rooms, despite their relatively small size, are so well designed that they feel roomy. Best of all, they feel nautical, as if they are staterooms on a yacht. In contrast, cruise ship rooms, even elegant ones such as our suites on the Noordam and Regent Seven Seas Navigator, feel like hotel rooms that happen to be on a ship. There is one main public room, the lounge, and several bars. There is a fairly large (for 300 people) gym, and a sports platform that is lowered when the ship is anchored and not docked. Dress code is elegant casual: suits and fancy dresses are not seen at all on this itinerary or in the Med., and they supposedly have a rule that anyone caught wearing a tie will be banned from the dining room. This is not really a family ship. On our three cruises, two had no kids at all, while the third had two or three. While perhaps 60 percent of the PAX were over 50, there was a pretty good mix of younger people as well. Shore excursions tended to be active: perhaps a bit too much so for the age mix. If you are not fairly mobile, this probably is not the ship for you. Best part of the trip The crew was friendly and helpful, the passengers were interesting, the ports were relaxing, and the ship itself was fun. It was great having a feeling of elegance, yet not having to dress up - Windstar really does have "casual elegance". Worst part of the trip Transfers, embarkation, disembarkation, and the tenders. The tenders were needed for almost every port - hard to enter and leave, with strong gas fumes, they meant we never made a second trip back to the ports after we boarded the ship. The visit to the emergency room (see below). Embarkation My husband underwent an emergency appendectomy Monday night before the cruise. He couldn't lift our suitcases, stand for long periods, and was certainly mobility impaired. American Airlines' wheelchair techniques at JFK were honed to perfection (true as well at the end of the trip), and we settled in our coach seats philosophically, if not comfortably. We had opted for Windstar's own hotel and their transfers - a waste of time and money, if not worse. We staggered off the plane, and tried to find our luggage. In Barbados, we had to walk down 12 steps to get to the tarmac. No wheelchairs. We were herded onto a bus, jammed in at the airline's convenience. No wheelchair. No Windstar representative. It took an hour for our luggage to come out of the luggage carousel, and the porter we found took another party out in the time it took our luggage to come out. Where was our Windstar transfer? All through the airport, people were standing holding signs. Windstar's representative was a block from the exit, and when we found her she had just sent the bus away. We waited, and waited, and waited...When we got to the Accra Beach hotel, they had NO RESERVATION for us. The Windstar representative at the desk found us a hotel room long after my comfort level plummeted to "wish I'd stayed home". Their upgraded room, meant as a generous gesture, turned out to be a menace when Joe had a bad fall coming out of the hot tub, and injured his back. We spent Saturday night in a Barbados emergency room. . Two Windstar ships were loading from the same hotel the next day. They loaded within a few minutes of each other, a BIG MISTAKE. Why did the company combine three different busloads? One busload went on a tour, one went to the Wind Star and one was supposed to go to the Wind Surf. All three groups jammed the lobby, milling around and causing confusion. We stood in three lines...an ordeal for my husband. Once we got on board, Joe went for a walk off the ship, and found our luggage in a shed on the pier. It was nearly loaded onto the wrong ship! Joe had to do a lot of negotiating to get our luggage onto the proper ship. Accommodations The Accra Beach hotel might have been charming if we'd arrived promptly, had a shower, and a nap. Instead, we were overtired by the time we entered our room. Joe fell on the Jacuzzi, and the resulting trip to the emergency room on Saturday night further depleted our health. Fortunately, Debbie the manager trainee and her male counterpart were compassionate and helpful. The got us into a taxi, both ways, found us a clinic with an x-ray service, and even managed to make the process seem dignified. They got us to a clinic, where Joe had an X-Ray and the M.D. on duty urged to get back on the cruise ship the next day. I'm still grateful to Debbie and the male night manager for the happy outcome. They were the difference between a lawsuit and a commendation. Still, I wouldn't pay for Windstar's own transfers and hotel again. It was poor quality for the money. As indicated in our 2004 review of the ship, these were the smallest rooms we'd had on our ten ocean cruises (188 square feet), but we knew that the room had not been a problem in 2004. Though compact, our stateroom was very comfortable, and we had no cabin fever. There seemed to be room for all our belongings. We did miss having a bath tub; but we knew that in advance. The steward was unobtrusive. Our room was kept clean, and when we asked for something (ice, more shampoo, etc.) it arrived promptly. The towels and bathrobes were good, and the fruit bowl was kept filled. Dining The food in the dining rooms was so good, and so convenient, we never felt a need to eat elsewhere. . Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda room; however, we quickly found that we could avoid crowds, and get waiter service for several items, if we sat in the adjacent room, Degrees (formerly known as the Bistro). The breakfast choices always included pancakes, French toast, waffles, and at least one light cuisine choice. Eggs were made to order, smoked salmon was available every day, and the fruit was fresh and abundant. There was lots of fruit, meusli, great breads and pastries, and stuff we never even tried, such as British breakfast, cold cereal, breakfast meats (hot and cold), etc. We ate every lunch on the ship, except for the beach barbecue. Most lunches had themes (Italian, Spanish, Asian), and the choices were generally interesting. Grilled food, such as fish and burgers, was always available. The salads were especially varied and interesting. There were always lots of desserts, including low fat and the famous HAL bread pudding. The review of "sfg" of a 2002 cruise mentioned the need for a sandwich bar, and said that buffet choices were not too good. We felt that buffet choices were excellent. While there still is no area where the ship crew makes cold sandwiches, there are plenty of sandwich ingredients available, including great bread, for making your own sandwiches. I have a habit of making sandwiches from the breakfast buffet to ease the munchies, and we found this helpful when our American Airlines flight failed to serve edible food. Yes, a Windstar raisin bread and cheese sandwich smelled better after 8 hours than the airline's $5.00 sandwiches. The barbecue on the beach at Mayreau was one of the highlights of the trip. The succulent ribs, lamb chops, and corn were culinary standouts. The steel band was a hoot, the vendors were laid back and had colorful things to sell. They had some of the best prices for shells here. We had the entire island to ourselves...and it was lovely. I went into the ocean three times, lined up for food and dessert twice, and even shooed away the crows. Unlike Pigeon Island, we COULD find our way to the appropriate area, and enjoy the time on shore. The alternate restaurant outdid itself on Indonesian night, but we like that type of food more than most people. The alternate restaurant was otherwise OK, but the regular dining room was superb. EXCEPT for a 40-minute wait for our entrees on the last night, while people who came after us were served before us, the service was fine. We were hungry by 7:30 PM, the hour the restaurant opened, so often sat at a table for two for prompter service. Ports, Itinerary, and Excursions All ports except two (Dominica and Grenada) were tender ports. In Dominica, a larger cruise ship took the convenient port near the center of town, and we were docked more than a mile from town. It might as well have been a fifth tender port. Joan missed lunch to shop at her favorite "native" store, J. Nassief, and it was a stretch. The crew did their best with the tenders, but they remained a source of seasickness and fumes. I believe Joe's lack of mobility made us more sensitive to this drawback, but we found it a negative. The ports varied: in Pigeon Island, thanks to the useless port talks, we never found the correct beach and regretted getting off the ship; in Mayreau we could see the tenders going back and forth with food and drink and almost smell the succulent barbecue. In most of the other ports, we shared private tours with Rochelle and Elliot ("Smokey"), whom we met through the CC boards. The sports platform was open on all four tender days, with sailing, kayaking, swimming and snorkeling (off a boat launched from the platform, not the platform itself), and other activities. We didn't try it, but it looked like fun. In Bequia, we engaged Noel, the driver of a safari taxi. The three hour tour, for four people, was under $30 per person, maybe close to $20. The ship's tour, which includes one thing (moon holes) that we didn't see, is in the $85 range. In Grenada, I took a river tubing tour from the ship, and it was a hoot - flying past huge rocks in a tube, getting wet and muddy, and laughing our heads off . The driver in the River Tubing graciously drove us to world-famous Annandale Falls before taking us back to the ship. loved it. Joe, Rochelle, and Elliot took a tour with a & e Tours. A rather standard tour, but quite nice. Later, Joe and I walked through the market, and bought spices. Tobago taught us something about ship's tours. The ship has a snorkeling and glass bottom boat tour, for $59 per person. They use all three glass bottom boat providers at a place called Speyside. We booked a $20 glass bottom boat ride, plus $10 per person for transportation, from Top Ranking glass bottom boats, and were surprised, when we arrived, to learn that our tour would be delayed by 30 minutes. Why? So the tour for the Wind Surf, on the same boat, could be completed. Our tour was actually better, because we had 10 people (8 from the Wind Surf), while there were about 25 people from the Wind Surf on the boat before we got on. Also, we had a choice of snorkeling or a nature walk on Little Tobago, while they had no choice--just snorkeling. Our tour cost half the amount of the "official" tour, on the same boat. What the heck is Windstar's profit margin? In Dominica we used Fredos taxi again, as we did last year. We went up to Carib Indian territory, and saw parts of the island that we didn't go to last year, such as the emerald pool. Mr. Nice Fruits is a touristy place, but it's still fun sampling many of the local fruits. All in all, a great tour. In Barbados we relied on the wonderful Glory Tours, as described below under disembarkation. Entertainment There wasn't much of it, and we didn't miss it. There was a small casino, and there were usually bands in the two lounges. They were not well populated most of the time: people were simply too tired after exciting days on shore. Most people rented DVDs, and watched them in their rooms. Had we been night owls instead of early birds, we could easily have made our own entertainment. Nonetheless, if you want big, glitzy shows, this may not be the ship for you. The only "show" was the weekly crew show, which was quite interesting. Level of service Generally excellent, except for the port talks. The crew made us feel pampered and special. The trip helped Joe recover from his surgery and trauma. Once we got on board the ship, Windstar couldn't do enough for us. Tipping A standard $11.00/day is added to your room bill. I didn't think it was enough, considering how hard the crew worked. Iced Tea and water were free at the bar, no tip. They cheerfully brought us many glasses of iced tea, just as if it was the best champagne, which carried a 15% tip. Disembarkation Always a downer. Windsurf had a tie-in with some flights, so some people left before 5 a.m. We left at 8:30 and were met by Sarah Taylor, the owner of Glory Tours, who took us on a personalized tour for much less than the ship charge. When we found we still had time to kill before our late afternoon flight, she even added an extra hour to the tour (we went to the northern tip of the island) for no charge. Fantastic, and (including the cost of a fish lunch at a local restaurant) we saved about $30 per person compared with the ship's tour. Final impressions As was the case in 2004, a fantastic trip, despite some glitches! Once again, Bravo, Wind Surf! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
This was our third trip on the Windsurf, the first 2 were in the caribbean. We arrived in Nice on the 8th of May and travelled thru Italy by train for 10 days prior to the cruise. We had wonderful food, met many interesting and kind people ... Read More
This was our third trip on the Windsurf, the first 2 were in the caribbean. We arrived in Nice on the 8th of May and travelled thru Italy by train for 10 days prior to the cruise. We had wonderful food, met many interesting and kind people and saw some pretty awesome sights. The day of our embarkation on the Windsurf we took an earlier train from Manarola (than we thought we needed). We arrived a little after 4pm went to the airport to collect a stored bag and took a taxi to the ship for our 10pm departure. We were pulling into the port only to our dismay to see the Windsurf leaving. I pulled out my documents and checked them and of course they said all aboard 10pm. We then flagged down the harbormaster, he radioed the ship and were told that the ship's agent would have to come and try to help us. I spoke by cellphone to the purser and she was aware that some documents were "misprinted". We waited about a half hour for the ships agent to arrive, he said we could stay in Nice overnight or go to St Tropez by taxi and spent the night for embarkation the next morning. We had the nicest taxi driver from the airport who was so kind to stay with us and try to help us thru our ordeal. I asked him if he wanted a good fare for a run to St Tropez (on the cruise line of course). He called his wife and she agreed to let him work a few extra hours so off we went. Meanwhile the ship's agent was arranging hotel for us in St Tropez. We had about a 2 hr ride and the driver who spoke fair english filled us in on some of the sights and history of the area. He earned a 340 euro fare for his effort. We arrived in St Tropez and were very pleased with the hotel they put us up at. It was the Byblos. They also arranged dinner for us at "Spoon" which is a famous restaurant at the Byblos hotel. They even had a bottle of champagne in our room for us Crystal was the brand. The next morning they had a taxi waiting to take us to the ship. We tendered to the ship, waited for the ships fire drill to end and were settled in our cabin by about 11:30. We went up for lunch thinking well we had all the good food on our trip prior and were not expecting what we were about to experience. What we experienced was the best food for the entire trip of any cruise ever. We've been on Regent, Windstar, Sea Dream, Celebrity and others. The staff is the same friendly, helping, fun and efficient people we had on our previous 2 Windsurf trips. I will single out some names hopefully for the good recognition they deserve. Dani, Putu, Yogi, Sammy, and many others made the trip exceptional. We consistently had excellent service and food in all the dining venues. I credit the food to the head chef ERWIN who was everywhere making sure things were right. This trip was all about the Cannes film festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. We anchored overnight in Cannes but since it was crowded and we are not the celebrity seekers, we took the train to EZE where we spent a great afternoon on our own. Next port was Santa Margarita. This is a gem that they added as a last minute change. We had a wonderful day just exploring all the villas, shops and restaurants. We found a local place on the water had a morning espresso. The owner was so kind and friendly and we told him we would come back for lunch. About 3 hours later we returned and he was so pleased he gave us the best table in the house. On to Monaco for the Grand Prix. We opted not to buy the ships package but I bought tickets on line from a local restaurant that had bleachers about 200 meters past the start finish line. I'm a bit of a motor-head and I was in heaven for 2 days on earth. It was all I expected and more. (My wife even became an F1 fan on this trip) I bought a Massa shirt and proudly wore it to dinner after he was the top qualifier for the race. The ship went all out for the Grand Prix, even making a life size cake model of one of the F1 cars. The Med was pretty rough for the 2 days we were in Monaco, tendering was very difficult. The day of the race we were told we would be tendered ashore but the ship was moving early to Nice so there would be a couple ferries hired to take all the passengers there. It was a smart move as we saw some other ships tenders having major trouble loading and unloading. My final comments on the trip are as follows, The ships staff, food quality, fellow passengers and the Monaco experience made this the best cruise ever for my wife and myself. The fact that our documents were printed wrong (by the cruise line) is totally inexcusable. All our arrangements for the transfer and hotel in St Tropez were done by the staff of the Windsurf (purser) and the ships agent. After we returned we contacted Majestic lines (the owners of the Windsurf) and feel the offer they made us was very poor and insufficient for what we went thru. I commend the crew and staff of the ship for salvaging a wonderful trip for us. The only reason we will return and we will return is the outstanding crew this ship has. A bit of advice to the Management, the ships staff is the main reason so many people repeat. You cannot ever pay them too much. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
First cruise ever. We had a great time but were in for a few surprises. First few minutes, a passenger (pax) complained she wanted a welcome gift. The poor crew had no idea what she meant , nor did we. She suggested a bagel? We found the ... Read More
First cruise ever. We had a great time but were in for a few surprises. First few minutes, a passenger (pax) complained she wanted a welcome gift. The poor crew had no idea what she meant , nor did we. She suggested a bagel? We found the wait staff to be wonderful while the pax were demanding, greedy, selfish to distraction. Be prepared for many from the "Big Apple". The surrounding boroughs were well represented. Pax ran the staff around like dogs. It was so embarrassing. They ordered multiple entrees at meals. They grabbed all the DVDS as we left port; they hogged all of the lounge chairs (which was really bad while at sea)....and they booked the restaurants largely day one. We didn't realize it was "Survivor" mentality. I decided I rather sink that be stuck with anyone of them on a life boat. I start with this because they were rude and obnoxious and it truly affected us. The boat was a bit shabby. The fumes of paint was apparentas they touched up the ship. We weren't looking for the QE 2 but I was a bit disappointed at how shabby it looked on the exterior. I felt that I was on the Nantucket steamship ferry. As a kid, you could run around on the big steam ships. This boat was casual and lended itself to fun. It's not a cruise for more senior folks largely due to the need to board tenders to go to shore. The state rooms were just fine. The beds very good. Water pressure excellent...room kept very clean except aged fruit wasn't removed. In our room, the steward was outstanding. The staff worked like dogs and as stated, were treated accordingly much to our dismay. The ships staff was great . The captain seemed truly distant and indifferent. We didn't run aground nor hit an iceberg so he gets a passing grade. It wasn't fancy but we didn't want fancy. It was the perfect boat for us. Small. No crowds. I felt the staff tried to please us and went over board to do so. No pun intended. The staff in The Veranda was a bit more reserved and less tolerant of the pax antics but still worked very very hard. The food was a mix of truly awful to ok. The room service food was so bad they should omit it. Nachos were broken chips with a little cheese. A grilled ceasar was worse. The breakfasts were great in the Veranda but the dinner fare was awful.I think they could relax the dress code as this isn't a formal affair (Ok I was dying to wear jeans. I'll admit it). It was my first cruise and I would do it again on this small ship. It was perfect for my interests, which was travel...rather than formality. If you want elite, formality ;don't get around well or require a balcony , don't take this ship. PS If you are a complainer , take another ship please. I had the time of my life. Its what YOU make of it and this was fun. We give the service a 5 out of 5 and a 10 out of 5 for working as hard as they do and dealing with pax. The ships boat staff was wonderful and friendly. The reception desk worked hard to please as did cheryl. Geno, Alladin and Raphael had indelible smiles and made our time wonderful on board. Embarking was so easy as was leaving the boat. The ports were a lot of fun and beautiful. We made our our plans in port. The buses were very clean and timely that took you to town. The whole endeavor was well run. All in all, we were affected by the grab while it lasts mentality but the staff made our trip outstanding. Of note, the ROme toVenice trip is amazing. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
Trip to the shipThe cruise line does not furnish transportation to and from the ship. That can be costly. To the ship was e150.00 for 2. From the ship was $120.00 U.S. each. Embarkation was fairly smooth. One surprise was that X-ray and ... Read More
Trip to the shipThe cruise line does not furnish transportation to and from the ship. That can be costly. To the ship was e150.00 for 2. From the ship was $120.00 U.S. each. Embarkation was fairly smooth. One surprise was that X-ray and metal detectors are used on the ship each time you enter. What they are looking for is beyond me. I doubt any terrorists would ride that boat so it became obvious to many that they are primarily looking for alcohol. Note  They do not allow passengers to bring liquor on board. The rooms  Even though they are small in square footage, they are extremely adequate. The showers are fantastic (plenty of water.) Staff  Exceptional people. Most are from Malaysia, hard workers and very friendly. Food Adequate, nothing special, it all looks great but all is mass produced and lacks seasoning, many small portions and courses to deal with. Ports of call Most are accessible only by the ship's old tenders. They need replacing, are noisy, smelly, and slow. Several stops were obviously poorly planned as there were three-five other cruise ships in port at the same time and the crowds were nerve racking and overwhelming. (Much like being at a football game.) Seaworthiness of ship  Due to the smaller size (compared to large luxury liners) the ship doesn't fare well with rough seas. One day we were at sea all day with 10-15 foot swells, many including me got sea sick. It was so rough all the water sloshed out of one swimming pool on deck. I was in bed most of the day. The ship is also very slow and the sails couldn't be used due to wind direction. I noticed most other ships readily passing us while at sea. Entertainment None to speak of and that's good. The water sports platform on the rear of the ship is excellent for kayaking. They don't allow swimming off of the platform but you can get in a kayak and go out a short distance and swim off of it. The "Help Desk" or Reception desk They are not very helpful unless it's very simple. They refused to convert Euros to U.S., don't appear to really want to help, unable to give any alternatives to issues such as alternatives for travel/transportation off the ship, not extremely helpful. Most of the crew were friendly and helpful but not this group. Disembarkation The ship required bags to be packed and outside cabin at 1 a.m. night before disembarking so packing becomes an issue. It was a pain standing in long lines awaiting for return of our passports, awaiting baggage to be delivered off ship, etc. and ship charged $120.00/each for a bus ride to the airport from dock. Overall It's really just another cruise. The sailing sounds so romantic though. (It's not really.) Too far to travel (from U.S. to Rome and Venice back to U.S.)for the ports of call. We should have just stayed in Rome or Venice for a week and seen more interesting sites/places. On board they will nickel and dime you to death. Beers are $6.00-$9.00 each, mixed drinks are $6.00, wine corkage is $15.00 if you bring it on board and as mentioned, they do not allow passengers to bring liquor on board. (You can slip it through if you're careful. Use your imagination.) Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
We finally convinced 3 other couples to sample samller ship and compre it with their Mega ship experience and I truely think their choice in the future cruising will be on smaller ship. They were relaxed and enjoyed not having to deal with ... Read More
We finally convinced 3 other couples to sample samller ship and compre it with their Mega ship experience and I truely think their choice in the future cruising will be on smaller ship. They were relaxed and enjoyed not having to deal with masses throughout the cruise.We arrived in Rome 3 days in advance of embarkation and had enough time to enjoy the historical city and on the day of embarkation, we decided to hire a van to take us direct to the port, rasther than taking the train from Terimini. Spliting the cost 4 ways certainly made a difference in keepint the cost down and the fact that we would be taken direct to the dock. My wife and I have taken the train which is very inexpensive, but made a mistake of walking to the dock from the station, because it looked so close. Not worth it, Take a taxi!Embarkation was quick as usual, but we did wait in a holding tent for a while, since we arrived early, embarkation started right on time at 1pm. Our suite 331 was very comfortable, approximately 356 sqf, it is about the size of mid range suite with balcony on Mega ships. What WindStar had put their 2 standard cabins together which resulted in two of everything in the suite. Loved the double bathrooms and closets. I have cruised on Regent Mariner and their smallest cabin with balcony equaled our suite.We sailed on Surf to Western Med in 2007 and also on Star from Athens to Istanble 5 years ago which was our intro to cruising and we have not stopped. We definitely prefer small ships which includes SeaDream with 100.We sailed on time from Chivitavecchia for Capri which was our first ports of call, but when we returned to our cabin, after our dinner, there was a note fron the Captain that Capri was changed to Sorrento. Weather palyed a part in this change, because it was too windy for safe anchorage at Capri. It certainly was a disappointment, but we under stand how dangerous tender operation can be in bad weather. We arrived in Sorrento and some of us decided on Positano visit by  traveling through beautiful Amalfi coast. It was a wonderful day to remember.Our next port was Taorimina, Sicily and it was truely a hidden jewel not often mentioned among travelers I know. It was our favorite and would like to return one day to stay longer in this lovely city. It was a subject of conversation at the dinner table by many.Surf has 4 different dinning options, two of which were open air dinning. But because of windy weather with few sprinkles, it was only opened 1 or 2 nights I believe. Needless to say were not able to obtain reservation for neither.We had our dinners in the main dinning room which was fine, although we had one dinner in set menu dinning room and it was fine. But main dinning room menu selection was much more in variety and changed daily.Service was excellent.I puchased some bottles of wine in Rome and had no problem taking them onboard and $15 corkage was charged, when I took them into dinning room.We had one day at sea, on our way to Corfu, I must say it is not my favorite pass time, since i don't read much. But I managed to keepyself occupied. One word about all inclusive cruise compared to non. I have done both and really prefer non, now that I have done both. It is true, you're not nickled and dimed to death on inclusive ships, once you've paid the set amount. But can you justify the fare difference which on all inclusive can be up to $600-800 pp per day? Just how much alchoholic beverage can you drink? The dinning options are more elegant and of higher quality, even at that the difference is excessive. I don't mind signing for every drink or bottle water and soda, because I am not a heavt drinker or demand gurmet meals 3 times a day. Back to Surf. The windy condition resulted in some ideal anchorage spots not available for use and required shuttle transportation at couple of ports, but it was fine. One thing I did notice is that some passengers were complaining that cruiseship personnel were not organized with shuttle service. There should have been staff members present at both ends, rather than just the departure point. We were left to fend for ourselves, dealiing with contracted vendor who provided the transportation.After Corfu, we headed for Duvrovnik, Croatia, again we had to give up the best anchorage due to weather and shuttled in and had to find our tour guide who was waiting at the old port docking area. But we enjoyed our visit to this historical or once war torn city with very little signs of damages we witnessed on the news. Life goes on!Our final ports of call was Havar, Croatia, charming little island which easily can be mistaken for one of the Greek islands. Very short stay and it started to sprinkle as we left.I failed to mention earlier that the group of musicians who were onboard back in 2007 had just renewed their contract and were performing onboard. They remebered us and our favorite song and played it for us almost every night, very small thing, but to be recognized and renew friendship means a great deal for customer relationship and for repeat clients. On our final morning, we entered main channel for port of Venice, San Marcos Square was in full view and everybody was on deck for an amazing viewsDisembarkation was delayed a bit due to luggage handling delay, but other than it went smoothly. Our ship docked at the main channel dockage, rather than one of those slips at the main terminal. So we were further away from everything.We had to walk few blocks to the termianl and had very few options for hotel transfer. Main terminal had a free shuttle to Piazza Rome which was sort of centeral point for various transportation options, but non where we were, only very expensive water taxi. In hind sight, it turned out to be the best option, especially with bags. Venice is not baggage friendly city with bridges and uneven roads. So, if you decide to take care of ground transfer yourself, spen a few extra euros and save yourself a major headach. Take a water taxi and have them deliver you to your hotel, right to their front step. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We took a 7 day cruise on WindStar's Wind Surf, our 6th cruise but first on this cruise line. This was the smallest ship we have ever cruised on, with only 215 passengers on a ship holding 315. Since we live in Italy and would be ... Read More
We took a 7 day cruise on WindStar's Wind Surf, our 6th cruise but first on this cruise line. This was the smallest ship we have ever cruised on, with only 215 passengers on a ship holding 315. Since we live in Italy and would be arriving by train, we skipped the ship's transfer service and opted to do it on our own. The only "hiccup" of our entire trip came as we tried to find the proper dock for the Wind Surf. We rec'd no written confirmation or email from Wind Star prior to the trip and unfortunately our TA was unresponsive when we inquired about the ship's location. We mistakenly rode the port's free shuttle bus, only to arrive in the main port for larger cruise ships. We could see the Wind Surf but had difficulty reaching it. We finally arrived at the Wind Surf 2.5 hours after arriving in Venice, and after taking the vaporetto water bus and walking about 1/3 mile. In retrospect, maybe we should have paid 60E ($90 US) for a water taxi directly to the ship and avoided all the hassle, but we use public transport often and didn't realize it would be so challenging to find the ship.Check-in and embarkation were easy and quick, more laid-back than on other large 3,000 passenger ships we've cruised. I guess with only 215 guests onboard, all the procedures were faster and simpler. The entire ship was scaled down size-wise from our previous ships, but space was always roomy to adequate and we never felt cramped in any public or private areas. In the lounge where check-in occured, we were offered snacks, drinks, and info about the spa. We were escorted to our cabin & unpacked within 30 minutes of arriving at the port terminal. The ship was beautiful and well-maintained, with teak decks, two hottubs, adequate sun lounges for relaxing, and a small pool (one pool was under maintenance the entire trip). There were plenty of small tables with umbrellas on the rear decks, perfect for reading, enjoying a drink, or just watching the view as we sailed. The main level of the ship also had a large lounge with entertainment and free snacks from 6-7pm, large book and DVD library, free IPOD rental, plenty of comfortable leather chairs for reading, the shore excursion desk, reception area, and small shop for souvenirs and toiletry items. There was a small casino but it was never busy. Our cabin was a simple ocean-view stateroom. The first day I smelled a gas or diesel odor on that level when we first entered, but it wasn't overwhelming or constant throughout the cruise. Since we were at the bottom & rear of the ship, maybe cabins on higher, central or front decks would be completely free of fumes. Our cabin was very spacious, light and provided plenty of storage. There were more cubby holes, shelves, & drawers for storage than we needed. The bed was extremely comfortable and the pillows were soft but supportive. We never heard any noise and I slept like a baby. The room contained a flat screen TV, DVD-CD player with IPOD dock, underpowered hairdryer, individual room AC controls, roomy granite bath with plenty of storage, powerful handheld shower, and nice L'Occitane toiletries from France. WindStar seemed to include lots of nice amenities even though this was one of the simplest and least expensive rooms on the ship (bought last-minute at a great price!). The room was well-designed and made maximum use of the space available, and it never felt cramped. The sailing was smooth and we never felt excessive motion from the seas. Sails were unfurled via computer most days although the engine was also used to provide power. We enjoyed all the ports and could easily walk from the ship to important historic sights within 5-10 minutes. We did not take any shore excursions because we enjoy traveling independently and it was super easy to explore all the ports (no docking 50 miles from town as on large ships). Ports included Venice (overnight), Koper Slovenia, Rovinj Croatia, Split Croatia, and Dubrovnik Croatia. Port time was adequate and leaving/entering the ship, even on the tenders, was quick & easy. On 2 out of 5 ports we used tenders to reach shore, but there were no long waits and the tenders had plenty of space since they weren't full. Food aboard the ship was above average and better than Princess & Norweigan ships we've cruised on. We ordered room service twice, and the food was good and service was prompt. Breakfast & lunch buffets in the Veranda were plentiful and included lots of fresh fruit, salads, and a grill station for eggs, french toast, or sandwiches. Dinners in the main dining room were very good, and special outdoor tables were set up on the rear decks near the pool for 2 theme restaurants: one offered steaks, the other seafood. A smaller indoor dining room offered a themed menu that rotated every couple of days, from asian fusion to continental/italian. We ate there on the asian fusion night and enjoyed it. The wine/beer list was adequate but naturally smaller than on larger ships; prices were reasonable and several under $60 US bottles were offered. Service was consistently good throughout the cruise in both dining room and cabin areas. Staff members were friendly, attentive, and professional without being overbearing, and they brought extra touches around like cold towels while we lounged in the sun.The Wind Surf is not the ship for you if you like big Las Vegas-style shows, plenty of nighttime entertainment, extensive casino games, lots of shipboard activities, have limited mobility, love formal nights, or plan to bring small children under 12 years old. If you want to focus on seeing the ports, enjoy a smaller ship with no crowds, and want to enjoy a nice meal while cruising, the Wind Surf might be perfect for you. We enjoyed it and would definitely return for another 7 day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
Five stars!  We just returned from a 7 day Wind Surf cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Nice. The ship had just 135 passengers on board (capacity is about 200 more than that), so, as you can imagine, our experience may not be the norm, ... Read More
Five stars!  We just returned from a 7 day Wind Surf cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Nice. The ship had just 135 passengers on board (capacity is about 200 more than that), so, as you can imagine, our experience may not be the norm, but it was a delight. We have nothing but the highest praise for the crew and staff whose friendly attitudes enhanced our overall trip experience. We arrived about 4pm for a 6pm departure and were among the last to arrive since we had spent as much time as possible in Rome. We took a train from Termini in Rome and I agree with other posts that note the walk from the rail station in Civitavecchia to the port entrance dragging bags is not something everyone will want to do, especially if it's hot out. We did that, however, and then caught a bus inside the Port entrance to our ship. Cabs are available at the train station and will drop you right at the luggage tent. Check-in was a breeze with drinks and hors d'oevres offered. We were escorted to our cabin and our luggage arrived at the door within 30 minutes. The cabin was a standard (not suite), which was more spacious than we had envisioned....we were glad we had not opted for the higher priced suite. There was more than enough storage space, the suitcases fit under the bed, and we settled in quickly. The bathroom was modern, clean, very nicely lit and well stocked with wonderful L'Occitane shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion. I would have liked an exhaust fan, but you can't have everything! The room had an Ipod dock (Ipod rentals available, though we had our own. Note that it DOES NOT charge the Ipod while in the dock, but the front desk staff graciously recharged our Ipod twice) and DVD player - great to have since there was little in the way of television programming available. With just 135 passengers our experience was certainly one of ample access to all aspects of the ship. We dined in each of the evening restaurant venues - 2 indoor, 2 outdoor - somehow managing to select the perfect nights to dine outdoors when several evenings were a bit too windy or were hampered by a late afternoon shower. We found the food to be consistently excellent and the service just outstanding throughout. We actually preferred the main dining room menu to the other venues, though they were also good and offered a nice change of scene.  The waiters, wine stewards, and bar staff could not have been more delightful or accommodating. The dining rooms were never full, so every night everyone had a lovely window view to enjoy. With a port stop every day we never enjoyed a lunch aboard ship, but the breakfast spread was tremendous, with hot made-to-order items (omelets, crepes, French toast, etc.) available as well. In chatting with other passengers there was some agreement that a casual, available anytime, restaurant would be a nice addition to the ship, since the dinner period (7:30-9:30) was open seating, but was like dining in a very nice restaurant - not someplace you could drop in to grab a hamburger if you're tired from a long day of touring. Room service was available, but it was inconvenient to eat in your room since there was only one chair that tucked in under the desk/vanity. If you're looking for entertainment or after dinner activities, you're pretty limited here - but you probably wouldn't be considering this cruise if you wanted the big after-dinner show and bingo! The DVD library seemed to be popular and offered quite a large selection. After a long day in port many passengers seemed very happy to just take a movie back to their room and relax. That's not to say there wasn't some nightlife available if you wanted it. There are two lounges - one offered a 6 piece group playing dance tunes suitable for couples dancing, and in the other, smaller Compass Rose bar, a duo playing more contemporary rock n roll. With such a reduced passenger load we found that few people spent time after dinner in the larger lounge - those who wanted to drink and socialize mostly spent time in the Compass Rose. The casino is small with just 4 tables and about 25 slot machines, however, that drew an enthusiastic blackjack group each evening - and I'm happy to report my DH's winnings were able to finance the tab at the end of the trip - so, yes, some folks came out ahead. The tables were $5 minimum for blackjack, which makes it an affordable diversion. The joviality of the shipboard casino was in sharp contrast to the port casinos (Monte Carlo, Nice), where gambling is quiet and serious. Note that the casino did not open until the ship had sailed from port - so with an 11pm sailing time each evening, gambling was a late night activity. I can imagine that with a full ship the casino could seem too small, but that was not an issue on this sailing. The crew show on Friday night was charming and fun, and was a very nice way to see another side of these hardworking crew members, almost all from Indonesia.  Our itinerary required tendering service in LaSpetzia, Portfino and St. Tropez. We found that service to be quick and efficient - we never waited more than a few minutes in either direction. The advantage of the anchorage was that the water sports deck was then opened - in this case, in Portofino and St. Tropez.  So some passengers were swimming, sailing and kayaking. We did not avail ourselves of spa services, but those who used the services were very complimentary. As you can imagine, there were "specials" offered during the week to entice passengers to indulge. The daily newsletter and evening briefing on the next port of call were both very helpful. We did not go on any ship sponsored excursions, preferring to extend our days and take the excellent public transportation available. Those who did go on the excursions seemed to like them very much and the photographs taken by the ship photographers certainly seemed to show happy groups. Several excursions were cancelled due to lack of adequate enrollments. We saved A LOT of money using the trains instead of excursions, but recognize that some will opt for the convenience value of just hopping on the bus on the dock. Having done a lot of research about our ports of call ahead of time, however, we felt very confident going it alone - and it paid off with unique experiences that only come when you're on your own and not in a large tour group. (special shout out to fodors.com forums and tripadvisor.com - a wealth of information available that helped immensely in planning for each port of call)Our itinerary was wonderful. A nice combination of the big city and the small villages. The only disadvantage to this itinerary was Monday in Florence since the Uffizi and Accademia museums are closed on Mondays. We knew that ahead of time and decided there is much to see in Florence, so we focused on the positive and will save those visits for another trip. As hiking enthusiasts the highpoint for us was the stop in LaSpetzia and visiting the Cinque Terre. We hiked between 4 of the 5 towns and took the train to the 5th - a long day, but one filled with natural beauty, fantastic food (ask me about panna cotta in Vernazza!) and little glimpses into the lives of the 5Terre residents that will be long remembered. It didn't hurt that the weather was nearly perfect throughout the week (high 70's/low 80's and sunny 90% of the time) and we hit just before the peak season, so crowds weren't an issue. We would certainly choose June again, as the water was warm enough for swimming, but the heat of the summer not yet uncomfortable. Evenings were cool enough to require a sweater on deck...and always in the ship's public areas, which were kept very cool (too cool in my opinion, but my DH liked it fine). Overall, we had a excellent cruise experience, enjoying our traveling hotel room and the congeniality of other passengers and the crew. This is not the ship for those who are looking for constant entertainment, glitz or buffet extravaganzas. But if you're looking for a low key, more casual, and romantic cruise with a focus on providing a comfortable backdrop to your port adventures, this could be the ship for you. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was nice and clean, the staff was really friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar advertised themselves as being "clean and elegant" and we found that they more then met these ... Read More
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was nice and clean, the staff was really friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar advertised themselves as being "clean and elegant" and we found that they more then met these expectations. The service in the restaurant and the menu had a wide variety of dishes. Embarkation and debarkation was efficient everything was very well organized and professional. We find that on the smaller ships that you are mostly left to your own devices for entertainment. There are two jacuzzis and a small pool and the two hot tubs in the back of the ship are a nice way to unwind after long days sight-seeing and the jacuzzi were a nice place to interact with your fellow cruisers. But one detraction was that if we wanted to get away and soak up the sun and get away from it all that was a near-impossible possibility. Chair hogs were in full force and sometimes it was hard to find a chair on sea days. In the evening there was a group who played in the lounge but we found the dance floor to compact to really dance properly. If you enjoy gambling or you are a art enthusiast there are casinos and art auctions the ship. The cabins and bathroom provided a nice amount of comfort and found the storage space for the overall Sq Ft. One issue I did have was that the pillows were too small but I just know that next we'll bring our own. The fitness room is in a big all-glass room so it is so beautiful for your workout. Weight machines as well as free weights, cardio machines and mats are all you need. For after your work-out towels and chilled water are available, as well as antiseptic wipes for the equipment. Ports of call were Ischia, Palma, Capri, Amalfi, Ajaccio Livorno and Rome. I never take the group tours and tend to arrange everything trough my travel agent, but this time I decided to organize private ship excursion and tours in Rome with a Tour Company called Easitalytours.com, which was higly reccommended to us from a friend of mine who did some tours with them last year. We did some pre-cruise tours with them in Rome before our cruise, and private tours in Amalfi, visiting Positano and Pompeii, where Antonela gave us a wonderful two-hour tour in the ancient city. Our Driver Philippo was so nice and informative too, and he took us to Chez Black, a water front restaurant in Positano where we tasted some delicious seafood appetizers and a great white wine. In Livorno we met Marco, what a great experience! He was able to take us to see the best of Florence, including the David. Marco was very knowledgeble, and he took such wonderful care of us! The highlight of our trip was indeed the time we spent in Rome with Fabio. This man has a beautiful spirit and his knowledge impressed my husband as well, who studied art history. With his passion Fabio made Rome to come alive to us. We enjoyed our time with him so much that we decided to book him for our post cruise in Rome. He took us in a gorgeous location called Castel Gandolfo, just outside Rome where we had a great wine tasting in a old wine cellar, and there we had also the best meal of the entire trip in a restaurant called "Pagnanelli", which is next the Pope's summer residence overlooking a beautiful lake. You could not ask for better cuisine and scenery! Our guide for the Vatican Julia was a beauty! Her explanations about the Sistine Chapel were quite impressive, she gave us the perfect tour, between precious information and funny anecdotes. Her knowledge, her beautiful Italian accent, and endearing charm made our visit so amazing. My husband and I will have beautiful memories about our cruise and the tours we did in Europe! We traveled throughout the world but we never had such attentive people taking fine care of us in a special and professional way. I definitely recommend Easitalytours.com to all who want to have private tours in Italy. They have brand new Mercedes vehicles and the drivers and tour guides we had spoke all a perfect English. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2009
Background: This was my 8th Atlantic crossing, after one on a freighter, 4 on Cunard, and 2 on Crystal. Wind Surf was a very different experience, but the one it most resembled was the freighter. Arrival and embarkation: As is ... Read More
Background: This was my 8th Atlantic crossing, after one on a freighter, 4 on Cunard, and 2 on Crystal. Wind Surf was a very different experience, but the one it most resembled was the freighter. Arrival and embarkation: As is strongly recommended, I flew into Lisbon a day early. Having been there previously, I opted to stay in Sintra (Tivoli Sintra), a charming town about 40 minutes away by train. There are 2 terminals in Lisbon. The primary one is right at the Alacantra Mer train station and is used primarily by the megaships. We were docked at the Cais da Rocha Conde do Obidios, about towards town from the station. The police there told me it was 3 km and gave me misleading directions, so I took a cab for the final leg to the ship. The cruise documents said "Boarding 10:00am, All aboard 1:00" for a 2:30 departure. When I arrived about 12 the only thing they were doing was accepting baggage; a number of people were hanging around the terminal, mostly standing, and we were told check-in would not begin until 1. I went back out of the terminal and found that we were only an easy 10-minute walk from where I had boarded the cab. Check-in did not begin until 1:00 and it was after 1:30 when I stepped on board the ship. Ship info: The Wind Surf is a "Motor Sailing Yacht". It has sails, but they appear to be more for show than functional, as the ship is really not designed to maximize their benefit. We did sail about 70 miles without the engines at about 5 knots, but it appeared we were getting at least as much push from the current as we did from the sails. My observation was that when we were under sail power, the motion of the ship was quite evident as there was little water flowing past the stabilizers. The ship is small at 312 passengers and 6 decks, and has some really odd quirks. The cabin numbering starts from the stern of the ship, while the stairways are numbered from the bow, and start with stairway 2. Unlike Windstar's 2 smaller ship, the Wind Surf has 2 elevators. A final oddity is that the bottom 2 decks have a series of waterproof doors that must be closed when the ship enters of leaves a port. There was no warning of this before we started our muster drill making it a real "Chinese Fire Drill" finding the right stairway down to my cabin to retrieve my life jacket for the drill. Windstar was formerly affiliated with Holland America and has changed ownership in the recent past. The opinions I heard from veteran passengers was that the line has either changed little or gotten somewhat better after the change in ownership. Staterooms: The rooms are fairly large (188 square feet minimum), comfortable, and generally well laid out. The exceptions are having the life jackets in a ceiling compartment, not obvious to find, and not easily reached, and having all the electrical outlets in an awkward spot under the desk. I also found the 110 volt outlet not working when I arrived; I reported the matter to my room steward and it was corrected within 4 hours. With the exception of these minor issues, the room (the lowest category on the ship) was superb. The Wind Surf has no cabins with balconies. Dining: The Restaurant (Deck 4, forward) is the primary location for dinner, and has an open seating policy. I generally prefer early seating, and the 7:00pm opening was a bit late for my tastes, but was a pleasant surprise from the 7:30 opening published in Windstar literature. It was generally 7:30 by the time my table filled up and an order was taken. It was open seating but I generally dined with the same people since there was a fairly small number of early diners willing to share a table. The menu was varied and the service was excellent. There were 3 alternate dinner venues. Degrees (Deck 6, forward) served a 6-course fixed menu (with a vegetarian option) with 4 menus rotating by day of the week. The other 2 venues were actually parts of the deck with tables set up for dinner. Le Marche was a seafood restaurant on deck 6 aft is set up with service provided from the Terrace Bar. I do not eat seafood and thus did not try Le Marche. Candles is set up around the pool on deck 4 aft and offered a limited menu, mostly charcoal grilled meats baked potatoes, and corn on the cob, supplemented by an excellent Tiramisu. Le Marche and Candles used the same staff as Degrees, so when they were open Degrees was closed. The alternative venues required reservations but did not impose a supplemental fee. The Verandah (Deck 6, midship) was the primary venue for breakfast and lunch. It is set up as a buffet, but is well staffed with waiters eager to make the trip through the buffet line and bring passengers whatever they want. The seating is about half inside and half on deck. The outside portion has a grill booth where eggs are prepared for breakfast and burgers for lunch. Other items such as pancakes and waffles are also prepared to order from the galley. The Compass Rose bar (deck 5, aft) serves a continental breakfast 6-11am and is the site for afternoon tea. Activities and entertainment: Not much to speak of. There is no cruise director in the traditional sense. A "hostess" (actually a couple in this case) organizes a few activities, including a daily trivia contest and a cruise-long shipbuilding contest. They appeared to be volunteers cruising for free in exchange for their services and the results were pretty amateur, but they took a genuine interest in the passengers. The sports team had some activities and classes and wii tournaments were a big draw as were near-daily cooking demonstrations. Mostly, though activities consisted of reading, knitting, and relaxing. In the evening, there were small bands in two of the lounges, and one night there was a combined crew-passenger talent show. On one evening each of the passengers received an invitation to dinner from one of the staff. Some came from departments like the casino and gift shop, others from ships officers. One issue with this event was it was poorly publicized and many passengers declined the invitation thinking it was a sales pitch or other come-on. The groups were re-shuffled and combined to form full tables. I ended up with a Cadet (officer in training near the end of maritime school) and a Junior Officer who were very gracious hosts and enjoyed a wonderful evening. As on most repositioning cruises there was an emphasis on crew training and one day they did an abandon ship exercise where they set up a life raft in the swimming pool. At the conclusion of the drill there was an opportunity for the passengers to board the raft. It was a very interesting experience and gave me a real desire not to ever have to go through for real. There were walking decks around the ship on both decks 5 and 6, although deck 5 was closed for most of the voyage for maintenance of the teak. The deck 6 track was labeled 5.5 laps per mile, although most walkers thought it was mislabeled and actually about 6.5 laps per mile. There were DVD players in the rooms and a good selection of movies in the library but entertainment was distinctively do it yourself. Service: The service was excellent, friendly and attentive without hovering. Like many of the small, premium lines the staff at reception knew everybody's name by about day 2. Captain Mark Boylin was out around the ship and very approachable. He knew many of the repeat passengers and was always willing to stop and chat even with the newcomers. Children: There were no specific childrens' facilities on the ship. While port intensive Windstar cruises may be ok for children, the transatlantic voyage would certainly not. Ports: Disembarkation: Disembarkation was smooth and finished by about 9am. The taxis in Barbados were all about 12-passenger vans, and waited for a nearly full van before leaving. My taxi took a group to another hotel on the way to my hotel. Summary: Ratings are a very subjective matter. What is good really depends on the individual's point of view. I would have preferred a few more activities, especially the enrichment programs offered by the likes of Cunard and Crystal on their transatlantic voyages, but still immensely enjoyed my crossing. The biggest disadvantage of Windstar for me is really that they do not return to the US, so extensive air travel is required at both ends of the cruise. I have booked a Mediterranean Voyage for fall 2010 and will then get a feel for Windstar on a port intensive itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
First sailing on a Windstar adventure and was not sure what to expect. What was experienced was lots of relaxation with just the right amount of activity if desired. The lack of "stimulation" (which I loved) from big ships was a ... Read More
First sailing on a Windstar adventure and was not sure what to expect. What was experienced was lots of relaxation with just the right amount of activity if desired. The lack of "stimulation" (which I loved) from big ships was a definite plus for me. If you want clubbing and nightly entertainment this is not the cruise for you. My sailing had only 224 passengers and it was quite nice to actually get to know most of the folks on the cruise and share both onshore experiences and learn what a small world in which we live. Sports platform was a major plus as to jump or dive into the middle of the crystal clear Caribbean was magnificent. There were also sailboats, kayaks, waterski boats and snorkel trips for guests when sports platform was open. I found the spa facilities to be nice with some services definitely better than others depending upon the technician providing the services. Fitness area was adequate but not necessary for me with all the swimming and other activities in which to participate. Food and bar service were good although I did not feel exceptional. There is 24 hour room service however the meals are served at set times. If you want a snack in between meals, room service would have to be used as there is no buffet at "all times" as I have experienced on other cruises. It should be noted room service was very fast. The casino is small and not many folks frequent it, however, the few which did were "regulars" and we all got to know each other and looked forward to seeing each other each evening to talk about our days and enjoy each others company. The dealers were very friendly and it was hard to get upset even when the money was going to the wrong side of the table. Crew members were very helpful and went out of their way to get to know the guests names and particular needs. One day of ordering a particular drink and it was remembered and offered at the appropriate meal. While they were attentive, they were not overbearing. It was quite refreshing. The captain of the ship allowed folks to enter the bridge and in St.Lucia sailed over to the base of the Pitons for a view of the beach and to take photos. It was also nice to not have loud announcements every 30 minutes or so from the Captain. We usually only heard from the bridge when we were under full sail or if a landmark was being identified. One negative is the amount of guests they put on the tender boats as it was uncomfortable being so crowded aboard and with only one window and the boarding area open it was also quite hot. I think more tender boats or even more trips with less people would be desirable. I also received this feedback from most of my fellow passengers. All in all, I would recommend the experience to anyone wanting to relax, see a few ports of interest and bask in the sunlight and swim in the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
My husband and I cruised between Barbados and St Martin and back on the Windsurf the last week of November. I agonized over our choice before we went, not being able to find that many reviews for this particular cruise line. I have to say ... Read More
My husband and I cruised between Barbados and St Martin and back on the Windsurf the last week of November. I agonized over our choice before we went, not being able to find that many reviews for this particular cruise line. I have to say that I was not disappointed, the cruise was one of the best and most memorable vacation that my husband and I have taken. The ship is in good shape, the state rooms are very nice, beds are comfortable and the common rooms are well laid out. When we first entered the ship I was a little wary as the carpets in the lounge appeared to be quite stained. Well they could use an upgrade there, that was about the only place that the ships appearance wasn't great. The embarkation process was quick and easy and we were in our stateroom in no time. It took my husband's luggage a while to make it to our room, but the ladies at the guest services were attentive and tried to keep my husband calm. We spent our first night dining on the deck as we left port - it was beautiful. We spent some days anchored at different ports in the Western Antilles. The water sports platform was a very nice break from poolside if you wanted to take a dive in the ocean. The pool on deck was nice for cooling off, but not really meant for swimming. The only port we docked in was Guadeloupe, other than that you had to take tenders to the ports. Not really that bad as they ran regularly and there was very little wait. What I liked the best was that they also left from the port to the ship on a regular basis, meaning that you never got the huge cruise ship line ups that you find when trying to get back to the larger ships on tenders. Perhaps it was because we were before the real big cruise season, but I didn't find alot of excursions available at the ports. If you wanted to see something on the islands you could hail a taxi and go it on your own or use the excursions through the ship. Our cruise hosts did a great job of giving you good information about each of the ports and if you are more adventuresome you can probably find some real neat spots. My husband and I are a bit more tentative so in the end we booked some excursions through the ship and were pleased with how they were managed. We haven't done a lot of cruising but on the last Carnival cruise we took it was always a chore to get a spot around the pool. Not so here, there are plenty of loungers available for the passengers and it was easy to move around if you wanted a spot in the shade for a while. There was always spots available either in the sun by the pool or on the deck in the shade. Every afternoon they would bring you frozen sorbet and a cold towel to wipe your hands and face - never had that kind of attention before. As with all ships the extras add up so you have to be careful. My husband and I enjoy wine with our meals and cocktails by the pool. After a week on the ship and with 2 excursions our bill was $1,500 US. A bit expensive, but not unexpected. Overall it was a great experience, we will definitely be back on board with the Windstar Cruise Line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I'll say right up front that this was our tenth cruise but the first with Windstar. With a very few small items. we enjoyed the trip from beginning to end and would definitely sail with Windstar again. Embarkation was a snap and was ... Read More
I'll say right up front that this was our tenth cruise but the first with Windstar. With a very few small items. we enjoyed the trip from beginning to end and would definitely sail with Windstar again. Embarkation was a snap and was concluded on-board as opposed to a line of counters like larger cruise lines. This less is more approach was a theme that would be repeated throughout the trip. The only thing that was unusual was that we had to surrender our passports for the duration of the cruise. Getting them back, however, was extremely easy at the end so it was not a big deal. We understand the ship sailed about 2/3 full and they were selling suite upgrades at reception. We did not inquire since our cabin was very comfortable. Getting use to a ship as small as the Wind Surf too a while, but we took to it pretty easily. Getting off again to shop in Barbados before dinner was easy. The cabin was well designed (especially the bathroom) with plenty of storage. Since it was so easy to get on deck quickly, we surprisingly did not really miss a balcony. The bed was very comfortable, the climate control worked very well (we slept under the comforter, and the DVD was very welcome since there was no TV except for 2-3 in-room that played all day. We did not sail to watch TV, but a news channel would have been nice. Food was the best we have had on any cruise - including on-board Celebrity. Certainly the smaller number of passengers allowed for a more individualized approach, but every dish was properly (and deliciously) prepared and served promptly. For a ship this size, the number of options was outstanding. The Restaurant was consistently excellent. The Tuscan-inspired Degrees was superb and the outdoor venues (Candles -Steakhouse and Le Marche-Shelfish) were both tremendous. Lunch buffets in the Veranda were always great. All-in-all I would hev to say we ate very well! In keeping with the mood of the cruise, Service was relaxed but always professional. It would have been nice to actually meet our cabin Steward, Victor, but we have absolutely no complaints with the job he did. Entertainment was where we would suggest a few tweaks. Just one or two semi-organized activity options between when we returned from an excursion or lunch and when we went for before dinner drinks would have been welcome. No pool games, no bingo, perhaps something like an enrichment lecture, bridge, or some other low stress option. I know this is not Windstar's approach (or probably what most of their clients want), but the option would be nice. There are just so many DVDs you can watch. The entertainment in the Lounge was a band named Saga and they were excellent. It made having a drink with new friends a pleasure. The Sports Platform was a real plus. Even though we did not use the facilities, we did get snorkel equipment (no charge) for use during the week. That was great! The itinerary was outstanding and we really liked visiting a lot of the smaller Caribbean ports. We enjoyed them all, but our favorites were Mayreau, Dominica, and Pigeon Island/St. Lucia. Debarkation at the end cruise was another painless process. Bags did not have to be out until 1:00 AM (that was great!) and Immigration was handled on-board in record time. The combination Barbados tour/lunch/airport transfer was a wonderful way to make our travel home more enjoyable. We definitely recommend Windstar. Add to all the pluses that there are no formal nights (or even coats to be seen!) and it is hard to beat! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
I will try to provide a VERY detailed review of our first ever Windstar cruise. A little background, this is only our 2nd cruise ever, our only other experience cruising was a massive Carnival ship, which was a great cruise at the time ... Read More
I will try to provide a VERY detailed review of our first ever Windstar cruise. A little background, this is only our 2nd cruise ever, our only other experience cruising was a massive Carnival ship, which was a great cruise at the time because we were entertaining my 13 year old daughter (Wife and I, early 50's, normal vacation is to pick one area and explore it very thoroughly). As a matter of fact this year's big trip was to be to Tuscany in the fall, but winter in Vermont was really dragging on, and when an email offering a tremendous discount on Windstar came across my desk, off we went. First stop was Barbados; we spent the night before at the Silver Point hotel. Big shout out, as this was a GREAT place to unwind and get ready for the cruise. A bit far from anything but great fun watching the kite surfers and the food at the on site restaurant was really good if a bit expensive. On Sunday we went on a tour of the island with a friend we met on the Cruisecritic boards and had great fun. Saw lots and lots of beaches then went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and lunch. Embarkation; truly could not of been easier. We boarded early as we were so excited to start exploring the ship. Walked into the terminal, handed off the luggage, and got a nice cold glass of water, picture taken and on board we went. On Board, for an older ship the public spaces are incredible clean and shiny. That said some areas are getting threadbare, carpets at the gangways, around the elevators and some parts of the cabins were dirty and dusty. Also I noticed some sheets had a few small stains but all in all a truly beautiful ship. Speaking of cabins we had quite a run around with ours, when we booked we were given cabin 122, mid ship, 1st floor, perfect spot. Then we were upgraded for free , Thank You, to the 2nd floor right where the elevators were, no thank you, so when I called back to say we rather have to room we booked, I was told no problem, but I never noticed that we had been moved to 111, same category but further back of the ship. This posed no problem with rocking but our cabin was right at the gangway level, so privacy was a problem when the tenders were loading. Cabins were small but very comfortable and served their purpose perfectly. Of course being such a small ship, it was no problem at all finding our way around. Food; I though the meals were incredible, something different every day. Food always fresh, well seasoned and some of the dishes truly 5 star quality. Over all I would say the food was well above average. Probably the most disappointing meal was the outside restaurant called La Marche, 5 course seafood menu that stayed the same all week and just didn't seem to be inspired. Degrees, on the other hand, with its Mediterranean inspired menu was excellent as was every meal we had in the main dining room. The main dining room had at least 5 choices for entrees every night including some unusual ones, my very first oxtail and it was GREAT. Breakfast and lunch were very good with made to order choices available every day along with a buffet.. The breakfast buffets were your standard fare but 4 to 5 made to order choices were available everyday (Tiramisu pancakes YUM). The lunch buffet changed every day, the Asian inspired buffet was really good. My one pet peeve was the absolute ridiculous pricing for sodas and bottled water, c'mon why rip off your customer that way?? Drinks and wine were expensive but not crazy bad and as a wine freak, I was very happy with the by the glass options we had for dinner. Staff was great. I have never seen a more polished, happy group of employees. Everyone really seemed to love their job and seemed to take great pleasure in serving you. Our room steward, while mainly invisible, kept our room spotless, (well if you ignored the dust and fingerprints near the ceiling, that is, but even we didn't notice that till the last day). Bar staff, front desk staff, were always smiling and helpful. I can not remember one single time when someone appeared to be in a bad mood. Activities, passengers and miscellaneous; For the most part, forget any activities on board, they had scheduled a couple of WII tournaments, a putting contest and nobody ever showed up, of course (and I may get lynched for this) if the "cruise director" had made a quick, simple announcement maybe we would of gotten a few people. Speaking of the cruise director, he must have the easiest job in the whole world as I never saw him do a thing except sing at the lounge one night and introduce staff. Passengers tended to be between the ages of 40-60 though we saw a few 30 something's and one incredible lady of 93 on her 15th Windstar cruise. Most everybody was really friendly, sorta felt like one big extended family. OK this appears to have gone on long enough, quickly just a few things, sign up for the laundry deal, $99 per cabin unlimited laundry well worth it, you have to be a serious drinker to get your monies worth from the pre paid deals, more modern music in the Compass Rose, great pre dinner music in the Lounge, talent show was fun, comedian is the absolute worse I have ever saw he must be the owners relative to keep a job. Any specific questions please feel free to write me; andyb1958 at comcast net I will post a link to our web album in the cruise critic Windstar board once I have the pictures all up. Bequia; Our least favorite stop, dirty, taxi driver tried to rip us off. Turtle sanctuary was OK, beach was nice but there is better later in the trip. Dominica; Port itself is only OK what made this an incredible stop was the Caribbean cooking class we took, Daria and staff are unbelievable as is her home. If you have a chance do this tour 5+ for the class. St Lucia; Another fun day, we went zip-lining which was alot of fun and then Windstar had a picnic for us on a private beach. We then explored the back side of Pigeon Island which is very cool. All in all one stop I wish we would of had more time to explore the island. Grenada; Would of liked to explore the town and market place more but we had booked a river tubing adventure, DO NOT do this unless you know exactly how much rain fall they have had . On our trip they had no rain for the last 3 months and the water level was WAY too low. This trip should have been canceled in my opinion and we felt ripped off. Our only disappointment in the whole trip, Windstar if you are reading this, pay attention to the trips you offer and warn your customers before they spend money. If we had been told the river level was low and we could choose another trip we would have. Mayreau; Incredible beach, killer hill, cool bars, great stop Tobago; Best stop of the whole trip, private guide who was unbelievable. saw almost the whole island and a huge amount of birds , Hiked the rain forest great time Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2010
We recently just finished our fourth Windstar cruise on the Windsurf sailing from Barbados for a week. The cruise was absolutely wonderful and an experience every cruiser should take advantage. We are avid cruisers and have sailed on all ... Read More
We recently just finished our fourth Windstar cruise on the Windsurf sailing from Barbados for a week. The cruise was absolutely wonderful and an experience every cruiser should take advantage. We are avid cruisers and have sailed on all of the main stream cruise lines. They all have something for passengers however Windstar takes it to another level. Checking in was the easiest thing. If you have ever sailed on the larger ships you know what that experience is like it can take forever unless you are a preferred guest or are travelling in a suite. This was so easy, no line up just a quick check on a couple of things, register you credit card and then you are handed your keys and you board. The whole process took approx. 2 mins. They did change it this time as when we previously sailed you check in on board in the lounge, this time was on shore however both ways are very simple. This sailing we were in a mini suite and we really enjoyed the extra space and the fact that we had two bathrooms so when we were getting ready to go out we didn't have to wait on one another. A real bonus. The cabins are generous and because it is a sail ship every ounce of space is used so that you could put everything away and didn't have to have things lying around. They knew what they were doing when they planned these cabins. We have stayed in a regular cabin before and they are just as wonderful so if you opt for that you will not be disappointed. The food was wonderful, with lots of variations and the dining options would rival any of the big ships. For dinner you had a choice of 5 options. The Restaurant, Degrees, Candles, Le Marche or room service. On this cruise we took advantage of every option and ate twice at the Restaurant and Le Marche. Le Marche is a great experience and the meals were creative and tasty. You couldn't want for anything as they had it. Breakfast and lunch were also good although we did end up eating on shore mostly for lunch and just getting back in time for some of the bread pudding. Windstar has the best bread pudding and there was always a line up for it. I recall one day when there was none in the pan and the waiter jokingly told us that it was all gone you should have seen the faces. Of course it was not all gone he just had to refill however you would have thought he had just told everyone to get off the ship! It was interesting in some of the ports when the larger ships were there and I can honestly say we were glad not to be on them. Small ships are the way to go. The crowd on this sailing were wonderful. We were travelling with friends however we also met and travelled around with other guests on shore and at dinner. We only did one shore excursion and that was in Dominica. It was a cooking class and if you have an opportunity to do this excursion we would highly recommend it. At the other ports we just got off the ship and made our own way around. It is pretty simple to do since we went to very small islands. I would highly recommend that you take the laundry package. For $99 dollars it was money well spent. We went home with clean cloths that were nicely pressed. It was a real treat. Windstar is not for kids as there are no daily activities. There is a cruise director however other than singing in the lounge at night we really didn't see him do much. Nice gig if you can get it. Overall Windstar's motto is "180 Degrees from Ordinary" and it is. Simply put it is one of the best cruise lines we have sailed and we plan on sailing on it again. Next time we are going to do the Greek Islands. If you are looking for a unique experience then try Windstar you won't be disappointed. Happy sailing!!! Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment N/A 0.0
Service 3.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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