11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
La Ora Na! Just returned from a dream-like 10-night Tahiti & Tuamotu Island Wind Spirit Cruise. A trip to French Polynesia has been on my bucket list for many years and the time was right to celebrate our 30-year wedding anniversary. ... Read More
La Ora Na! Just returned from a dream-like 10-night Tahiti & Tuamotu Island Wind Spirit Cruise. A trip to French Polynesia has been on my bucket list for many years and the time was right to celebrate our 30-year wedding anniversary. This was our third Windstar Cruise but first on a sailing ship. Everything was wonderful from the ship and the crew to the great food, fellow passengers and the beautiful islands. We loved every minute from the diving, snorkeling, beaching, Polynesian luau, Beach BBQ, cultural and scenic excursions to just being together in paradise. We left during the rainy season and so knew we were chancing some bad weather but we were very fortunate as we only had three solid cloudy and/or rainy days and 9 really good days with very little clouds and rain. It was hot and humid. Only one drift snorkeling excursion was canceled due to strong winds and current in Fakarava. A few people were sick with motion sickness at the beginning of the cruise going out to Tuamotu Islands but we took Bonine. (meclizine) and had absolutely no problems. When in the Society Islands there was very little motion and no one had any problems. We had our outgoing flight from LAX to PPT on Air Tahiti which was fine. (older plane). Upon arrival to PPT at 11 pm we took a taxi and stayed overnight at the cheaper but nice/adequate Hotel Sarah Nui. We were a five-minute walk to the Moorea Ferry dock where we bought tickets in the morning and took the first ferry to Moorea and spent the full day and night at the very nice Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa. It was rainy and cloudy but the snorkeling in front of the resort was stunning with the water clarity, colorful coral and fish life. We took a special deal and just stayed in a garden room but it was very nice. Some of our fellow cruise passengers stayed in the over the water bungalows for the unique experience. Depends on where you want to put your vacation dollars. Took the late morning ferry back to Tahiti and literally walked off the one ferry and down the port to the Windstar which was boarding. Waited in a short line as they manually checked luggage. (different than in San Juan) but it was quick efficient and staff was very nice. Crew greeted us and escorted us to our cabin AX 205 which was very conveniently located mid ship. Though smaller than the motorized ships rooms. (Legend and Pride) it had great storage space. Did miss the large picture window. (just two port holes) but overall very nice for the smaller space. We then went to a full buffet lunch on the Veranda before heading back into Papeete to the market as my hubby had forgotten his sunglasses. We browsed and got some ideas and ended up coming back and buying a pearl necklace at the end of the cruise. We really enjoy the food on the Windstar, particularly the breakfast on the Veranda. Maybe it was our jet lag but we woke up each morning hungry and the breakfast was great. You can order special dishes from the menu. (various types of egg Benedicts, French toast, pancakes, waffles, and usually some other items). There was also an egg station where my husband had eggs over easy and they made tasty personalized omelets. Great fruits, cheeses, yogurts, bacon, sausages and various pastry. We made it back most days for lunch and then went back into the port. Dinners varied for us but we enjoyed some nights alone at a couples table. (tired after long day) but other nights we ate with others and really enjoyed talking and getting to know our fellow cruise mates. It was a very interesting mix of people. Most seemed well traveled and active and ranged in age from late 40s to late 60s. We didn’t buy the beverage package but bought reasonably priced bottles of wine to drink with dinner. There weren’t a lot of activities on board especially after dinner but we usually found we were tired after the long port days and sleep was great. We did love the deck party dinner, the Polynesian show/dinner on the private motu in Bora Bora and the lectures given by Dr. Kess on Polynesian history. We also enjoyed happy hour before dinner where we sat and talked with fellow cruisers about the day and listened to the destination manager talk about the upcoming port. Several nights we walked the deck and just looked at the glorious night sky. Captain Garciyanov came out of the bridge to show us the southern cross and constellations. He was not only approachable but approached us and other passengers’ multiple times. He was so friendly and energetic. He gave us a great bridge tour. We had just come from getting our picture taking at the bow. (think Titanic and King of the world). Shore Excursions: We did three through the ship and the rest independent. The ships excursions were all good and everyone we talked to thought they were of high quality. We just like doing things independently and on our own timeline but it was a good mix. I will give some detail to what we did as it was hard to find info on some of these islands Fakarava: Fantasy Island came to mind as we first visited Fakarava one of the largest and most beautiful atolls (land formed by the rising reef). The extremely windy weather caused some adjustments to the plan as our drift snorkeling was cancelled but my husband was able to Drift Dive the Garuae Pass through a private company known as O2 Fakarava as he is an advanced diver. He had emailed them before we left home and arranged the dive. He had never seen so many sharks concentrated together hunting the extremely large schools of fish. The current was rapid and the water clarity pristine. He was super pumped after the dive! I took the ship’s excursion to the gorgeous but remote Blue Lagoon. The shallow waters shone in the most brilliant colors of turquoise and jade-green. As I snorkeled on my own in the lagoon, black tip reef sharks swam all around me. It was electrifying! Unfortunately the current was too strong to go to Pufuna to drift snorkel. Rangiroa: Let the adrenaline begin! The second day, we visited Rangiroa know as the The Endless Lagoon. From there Michael and I went on a private excursion with Rangiroa Plongee. It was a drift snorkel through the famous Tiputa Pass. As we rode through 10-foot waves in our little zodiac to the ocean side of the pass, our guide said ok when we see the pod of dolphins we are all going to quickly jump into the ocean and swim with them....WHAT! ....And so, we did......TWICE!......It’s one of the moments when you can’t think too hard as the waves are crashing but there are dolphins next to your little zodiac so we dove in and the first time a whole family swam with us and the next jump was just one dolphin but she came up to me as I squeaked my hello. It was sheer joy! We then drift snorkeled through the pass to see a couple large Spotted Eagle Rays, numerous black tip reef sharks, moray eels and tons of fish. The water clarity again was suburb. We also snorkeled in the area known as the Aquarium. Michael then went on another drift dive while I took a walk and relaxed at Hotel Kira Ora resort on the beach. It was serene drinking a Pina Colada and sitting by the beach and water. Taha’ a: This is the port you need to have a ship’s excursion as they only will tender you to the private motu for a day at the beach. We did the Scenic Exploration of Taha ’a and had a fascinating experience visiting a local pearl farm and watching them harvest the pearls from the oysters. We toured the scenic island, a vanilla farm, ate some local fruit and “learned” a traditional Tahitian dance. Spent the afternoon with “ok” snorkeling around the motu. It was a very cloudy, rain off/on day. Bora Bora: Our favorite island of the trip. It’s beauty was simply stunning with luscious green mountains surrounded by a crystal clear blue and turquoise lagoon. The weather gods gave us two sunny days and we took full advantage of our short time. Fortunately, the ship spent two days at the island but I was itching for more. It had everything from water to land adventures! The first day we rented our own private dive boat with dive master,. David from H20 Bora Bora took Michael diving with manta rays and along a spectacular coral reef . In the afternoon, we all snorkeled three more spectacular sites. It was like swimming in an aquarium. We swam with a squadron of spotted eagles rays, many sharks, eels and so many beautiful fish. The water was so nice. We also had a spectacular lunch on the beach and I witnessed Michael eating two things I never thought he would. Raw fish and coconut. Poisson cru au lait de coco. It was very tasty. The next day we rented a Scooter through Avis (shop right at port) and circled the main island, exploring the beautiful landscape and snorkeling the southern beach on our own. We ended the day with a Polynesian luau on a private motu sponsored by Windstar. Such a Romantic, gorgeous sunset and setting that made us wish we could stay there forever. Loved! Loved ! Bora Bora Huahine Nui: was an island that really captured the history and culture of French Polynesia. We decided to go on a guided tour of the sacred sites with a local archeologist. In an open air Le Truck, we toured the ruins of Maeva village, a vanilla plantation and an area with 500-year-old fish traps that are still used today. The tour then ended with lovely views and the feeding of the sacred blue eels. The island was beautiful, quiet, laid back and I learned a lot about the way of life and history of the French Polynesian . We then went back to the ship for lunch and back out to the local beach by the port to snorkel Moorea: Returned to a now sunny beautiful island. After a slow start as Albert Transport was an hour late picking us up at the port to take us to rent the car. They were on “island time” but then made us still pay for the full 8-hour car rental even though they were an hour late. We had the email confirmation of pick up time (this was our only “mess up” of the cruise) We then spent the day driving, exploring, and snorkeling in our rented car. (Belevedere Lookout, Opunohu Valley, snorkeling at Temae/Public Beach) As we sailed away from Moorea, someone spotted a pod of dolphin and we all ran to one side of the ship. How can it not make you smile, laugh and feel joy as you watch dolphins surfing and playing in the waves? I do think the captain was afraid of us tipping the ship especially as it was the last day of a 10-day feast of food! Wonderful way to end our 10-day cruise Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
17 nights on Wind Spirit in French Polynesia was the cruise of our lifetime. The ship, food, staff and amenities were perfection, and our clothes were wet with tears having to disembark. The staff literally knock themselves out trying to ... Read More
17 nights on Wind Spirit in French Polynesia was the cruise of our lifetime. The ship, food, staff and amenities were perfection, and our clothes were wet with tears having to disembark. The staff literally knock themselves out trying to please and make the experience something you'll never forget. We chose this because we sailed a 7 day on the original Windsong Tahiti 25 years ago- it was a dream of a cruise then and just as wonderful this time only 10 days longer. We are water people, former divers and long time snorkelers. Figured we'd never tire of being in the water with all but 2 days of 17 in port. We were right. A caveat- this is not a cruise for anyone with a mobility problem. Most of the excursions are for people with a moderate tolerance for physical activity. If you like the water you should be a decent swimmer and moderately good snorkeler, although there are beginner diving excursions. There are a lot of land tours on each island however that work for everyone. Had gorgeous weather. Just two days of rain in 17 days, the rest sunny and spectacular. It is the rainy season though so the humidity was high. We headed to Papeete on Air Tahiti Nui from LAX. The flight was decent even though it was one of their older planes, good food, good service and right on time. I'd pre-reserved a router online with Tahiti Wifi that worked great in port everywhere but Fakarava and Rangiroa. Pick up at the airport in Papeete was easy. We met the B&B proprietor Beni from Fare Suisse right in the pickup point at the airport just as he did last year when we visited. Fare Suisse has simple, but comfy rooms, extremely clean and a nice breakfast. There are 10 rooms and they offer airport pickup and dropoff at the port. Beni and wife Therese could not be nicer more generous people. We visited the market down the street for some toiletries we'd forgotten. There's an ATM there too. Boarding started about 12-1pm. There was a short line to wait while staff did a manual luggage screening. It was quite cursory though, we had some airline type containers of alcohol and they weren't found although I saw they'd confiscated some full bottles. Then we were on board that sleek gorgeous ship with a welcome mai tai and off to a beautiful lunch spread in the Veranda. Always several hot dishes, and salads, incredible cheeses and breads and of course the fabulous desserts. There is also a special cooked to order daily, first day was prime rib. Bar service began that first lunch and waiters knew and addressed us by our names from then on. Our cabin was a BX Deck 1, #129. Wonderfully laid out and remarkably designed storage. The bathroom was very comfortable with a roomy shower and nice fixtures. Our cabin attendant Ady was superb. Explored this gorgeous ship for the rest of the afternoon spending most of our time relaxing on a deck chair on the bow. Husband is fond of working out and his only disappointment was the gym- decent equipment but small space. Get 3 people in there and it really heats up. There is yoga and Pilates every morning starting at 7am on the top deck. Dinner in Amphora, as breakfast and lunch, were just remarkable.The variety and consistency were mindblowing. We had the good luck to be booked on a James Beard Foundation cruise with a pastry chef who gave demonstrations every other day. On alternate days there were wine tasting (complimentary!) events. Most we didn't make due to excursions unfortunately but those who did just raved. Service in Amphora was superb- seemed we never had to wait for a course. The maitre d' gave us the same table for 2 almost every night in the quietest part of the dining room. Although service was so good we'd have been happy with any of the waiters we had. I'd probably choose Adhe as number one though. If I have a complaint it would be that the dining room is very noisy. But the FOOD- unbelievable. Infact Cruise Critic gave Oceania the nod for best luxury line cruise food...our most frequently traveled line is O and we give them a 4.75. We give Windstar a 5. I have to say something about breakfast! First of all as with lunch we could eat out on deck in a covered area looking out at the ocean. There was the usual gorgeous spread, fruits, pastries, to order eggs, bacon, sausage etc but there is a menu to order from too with different selections each day- eggs benedict, raisin brioche french toast, belgian waffles with raspberries and blueberries, flax seed pancakes. Try spoiling us more. Coffee was just ok with a weakness on the cappuccinos and espresso. Good but not delicious. With everything else so drop your socks coffee gets a pass. Was wonderful to wake up at 6am and enjoy the gorgeous mornings with coffee and pastries on a chair overlooking the ocean and the next island we were closing in on. Candles was lovely. We had four nites in Bora Bora and were fortunate to have both our nights in Candles on the overnight in Bora Bora- very calm and peaceful. Could have had more nites in Candles but the food in the dining room was so good it was hard to pass up the nightly selections there. Wine service was excellent, terrific selection with good prices. Cocktails reasonably priced too. Lucked out and had free laundry service for the whole cruise- what a gift. Not only could we pack lighter but everything came back in beautiful shape, even silk shirts and bathing suits. They said pressing was not included but everything looked pressed to me! In before 9am back by 5pm same day. The library had limited inventory as you might expect- bring your kindle. The shop was well stocked for the size of the ship. We aren't night people but passed through the lounge after dinner and sometimes sat to listen to the two person group softly singing popular tunes. The young woman had a spectacular voice- Time To Say Goodbye and Don't Cry for Me Argentina were outstanding. The gentleman sat on deck by the pool some afternoons and played softly. The deck party dinner was superb. Food selections and atmosphere were wonderful. As was the dinner on the motu in Bora Bora. The show including the fire dance was phenomenal. The motu day off Tahaa was a nice surprise too. Decent snorkeling, water toys, good lunch, beautiful location. The parts I love the best are the evenings. The sail away. The sails open and ahhhhh. So lovely. And the nights on the bow of the boat. The stars so bright and the moon on the water. Truly magical. One night we were out and one of the officers pinted out the constellations to us. Shore excursions.....did all but two independently. The ship's tours we took were surprisingly good as they seemed to be with most of the people we spoke with. Just a lot more expensive than independent. Fakarava- one reason I wanted to do this cruise was to do Fakarava. And to tour with the famous Ato. It didn't work out. He needed 8 people, we only had 6 a few days before the trip and he could not confirm us. So in order to have something we were assured of doing, I booked the Blue Lagoon with the ship. The day before the tour Ato emailed saying he'd take us, but at that late date I had no access to email. He showed up at the dock, but not me not ever thinking it was still on. So he ended up taking just 4 other people at only 75% of the price he quoted me. Not nice and I was sorely disappointed. Those folks said they had one of the best tours they'd ever taken just as I knew it would be. Dang. The Blue Lagoon was pretty good- saw a protected bird motu from a distance and visited the Blue Lagoon. Spectacularly colored water but we spent almost 2 hours just hanging around with a guide who carried on a long convo with some French speaking Canadians while the rest of us sat on a coral mound and watched crabs. We stayed so long there we had very little time to snorkel at Pufuna which would have been the highlight for us. Maybe 10 minutes there to get back to the ship just in time before it departed, and it would have been terrific snorkeling had we been able to stay longer. The excursion was OK but could have been better. Rangiroa- independent drift snorkel and the Aquarium. Very exciting. You need to be a good snorkeler. The day we were there the current was moving fast. You jump in and the current takes you past tons of fish while holding onto a small raft behind your guide. There's really not time to stop to adjust your mask so you have to be READY! A good reason to bring your own snorkel equipment so you know everything fits and works for you. We had three runs one of which was a mile long and marvelous. Afterwards we visited the aquarium with tons of fish, big moray and resting big nurse shark. Tahaa- the Coral Garden with the ship. It was terrific. Beautiful 30 min. boat ride with about 6 others to a gorgeous channel between motus. You get out of the boat and walk to the site where you begin your drift snorkel with water shoes carrying your fins(Yes bring water shoes. Neoprene gloves and pants or tights and rash guard too to cover body. Very sharp coral on this tour and we saw lots of injuries. You can find this stuff on Amazon for next to nothing) Then entering the water with your fins (with lots of direction!) you sail down a channel lined with coral seeing some gorgeous sealife. It was some of the best snorkeling I've ever done. This is not to be missed. Your guides will help you along the way. If the water is flowing fast it's a lot harder to stay on course but your guides will nearly pick you up and redirect your body. The water is very shallow- you can stand up. Everyone has to do this! It's one of the most incredible snorkeling sites we've ever done. At the very minimum pack water shoes. Mine were $12 on Amazon. Bora Bora- had 4 days there and did 3 different tours. The very best was Tohora Bora Bora. I was not expecting it to be so wonderful having added it on at the last minute. The guide Simon was fantastic. Exuberant, excited about teaching about his lagoon and island, and this was all about snorkeling with dolphins, manta rays, eagle rays, stngrays, sharks and a coral garden with the clearest water I've ever seen. We were wowed not just by the scenery but also by a guide who was truly mesmerized still by his environment after living in Bora Bora for 20 years. If your go May through October he will take you to see whales! We also did Pure Snorkeling and Lagoon Service and while they were very good they were not quite as good as Tohora Bora Bora. Pure Snorkeling brought us to most of the same sites as Tohora did but the guide was very quiet while a very sweet guy. The guide at Lagoon Service was a little impatient with a few of the slower people on the boat telling them to hurry up while trying to get up on the ladder. It's not easy for new snorkelers to get in and out of a boat. Then they brought us to their gorgeous private motu for lunch. Everything was fine until we the time kept passing and we realized it had been 2 hours since we'd seen our guide. Thought that he was ready to bring us back to the ship about 2:30 until they brought out another guy who wanted to show us how to open a coconut. He loved to TALK and that went on for 45 minutes! The tour is great but just do the morning tour- no lunch. I should add that in the morning they brought us to the open ocean and we snorkeled with lemon sharks. It was worth it just for that. Moorea- jet ski with Moorea Activities Center. A blast! Exceedingly nice family company. We went most of the way around the island. My husband is a fast but terrible driver. Midway he told me "I can't see a thing!". We snorkeled about 3 sites and ended up in a shallow area full of stngrays. They are so sweet and loving. Like amorous cats. Do this. It was only $185 for 2 people. Ship was charging $399. The company picks you up right on time at the dock. Mid-cruise we stopped in Papeete as the 10 day part of the cruise ended and the 7 day began so we picked up more passengers. We took the ferry back to Moorea (easy) for a day stay at the Hilton Moorea. $90pp for all day, use of pool and beach and toys and fabulous lunch. Terrific snorkeling. Used Torea Nui Transport in Moorea- right on time. Another family outfit- nice people and they do island tours too. Reasonable. There are tons of stray dogs in Tahiti as there are all over the world. Tahitians don't believe in spay/neuter either. So lots of skinny, sad dogs but especially so in Moorea. A few are owned but most are free. There were lot of us buying food at grocery stores feeding along the way. It's heartbreaking. Our next day in Moorea we'd planned to rent a car and go to the Lagoonarium, but it rained very heavily all day so we returned the car early and went back to the ship. Raiatea- wow, another amazing day. We did L' Excursion Bleue with Bruno. Fabulous. He has a boat that accommodates 12 people but he'd just booked the two of us. Instead of canceling he took just the two of us around the whole island of Tahaa snorkeling- same tour as he does with the big groups probably at a loss to him. He's a sweet man. First place we stopped was teeming with sharks- there must have been 50 at least. We swam with them all around us and stingrays floating around too. The nicest thing was that he seemed in no hurry- he'd let us stay in the water wherever we stopped as long as we wanted. Another stop to snorkel and then a vanilla and pearl farm. Could have done without those but they were brief and no pressure to buy at all. Another snorkel stop and then back to the Coral Garden drift which we'd done before. We were so happy to be returning as it is so spectacular. He was a much better guide this time too. Huahine- another day with Sailing Huahine Voile. Did this last year. A beautiful sailing boat for 12 moored in Fare right off the dock where tender arrives. There were just 4 of us and it was a lovely day. Two snorkel sites with lots of background history and explanation of sealife. Again lunch a little too long and it's bring your own from the local market. Huahine is probably my favorite island. Very unspoiled. The couple who operate the boat are characters- a lot of fun. If it were possible we would have done Ile Aux Recifs in Rangiroa with Leon. They have a 6 passenger minimum. By the time I got the 6 together I stopped getting emails from them. But give it a try- it's supposed to be wonderful. revaultleon@mail.pf Sorry so long. But just returned last night and still coming off the high of all this. Everyone who has the means and the physical ability needs to do this. It's hard to describe how magnificent this cruise is. Just do it. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was advertised as a "sailing" ship," filling its sails with the tradewinds of Tahiti" in every advertisement, and we fell for it. As experienced sailors on a 40' sailboat, San Diego to Hawaii and back, ... Read More
This was advertised as a "sailing" ship," filling its sails with the tradewinds of Tahiti" in every advertisement, and we fell for it. As experienced sailors on a 40' sailboat, San Diego to Hawaii and back, pacific northwest, central america and panama canal, we know sailing. The feeble efforts to make this look like sailing consisted of releasing tiny pieces of storm jib type sails for photo purposes, playing a sailing song, and departing port. The Captain himself said one sail was missing, and a crew member said the hydraulics weren't working--however, on excursion days we could look back and see that once again those fragments of sails were set while at anchor strictly for photographic value. Rough nights on board could have been improved with stabilizing sails, and the winds of 25 knots would have provided a wonderful experience. But this ship doesn't sail. We gave up the option of a veranda and having the fresh tropical air waft through our cabin with the expectation there would be sailing. Instead, the ports were sealed (two 16" port holes per cabin) and our cabin was a snug air conditioned capsule with no outside contact. From deck 1 it required 4 sets of stairs to get to the pool deck and breakfast. (we were on deck 2--only 3 sets) To depart the ship, however, required maneuvering down and back a steep 25 step stairway which hugged the side on the hull. On the plus side, the cabin space was well designed , sparkling clean, the crew was fantastic and friendly and the food was good. The high priced excursions varied in quality, several required riding in truck beds with boards on each side for seats, others used small SUV's requiring a lot of crawling into them. There was one well narrated comfortable bus ride. Our excursions alone for two cost about $1700 dollars. The worst was one advertised as a "romantic sunset cruise" and it turned out to be a small runabout boat, that speeded around for about an hour, served tiny plastic glasses of champaigne, got several of us wet with spray--all for a price of $300 for two. Dining on deck in Candles was magical, but had to be reserved. Amphora was the main dining room, very large, extremely noisy. One of the most disappointing aspects was their failure to obtain return airline seating assignments for us, claiming all they promised was a seat. This problem was not made known until we had paid all fees. As a result we ended up in separate seats on the 8 hour return flight. I had tried to correct this well prior to departure,with multiple phone discussions with an unhelpful staff member, but could not get her manager to return calls or emails or provide access to their air department. We have taken tours with Viking and their customer service far exceeded the haphazard approach found on Windstar. Their sales staff, of course, was charming and helpful. Never again!!! Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After researching the best way to see the islands of Tahiti my wife and I settled on a cruise as the best way to travel through the islands and also get to stay at and explore one of our dream destinations...Bora Bora! The Windspirit ... Read More
After researching the best way to see the islands of Tahiti my wife and I settled on a cruise as the best way to travel through the islands and also get to stay at and explore one of our dream destinations...Bora Bora! The Windspirit ticked all the boxes, small ship, no sea days, no children, no lifts, perfect. Now for a quick rundown on the ship, only around 70 cabins, so less than 130 guests as there were a few travelling on their own, the main restaurant Amphora was only used for dinner and had a great atmosphere coupled with excellent food, the second restaurant located on the top deck was where breakfast and lunch were served has tables inside and is air conditioned as well as more tables outside on the deck. It only took a day or two for the waiters and bartenders to learn all our names and favourite food and drinks, amazing really and a very nice touch. Barrack looked after us superbly at the restaurants and Edmark mixed drinks like a pro. There are also a few breakfast items and coffee from 6am on the pool deck where you just helped yourself if up early. The cabins are on two levels, we booked level one as the rooms are all identical except the 2 owners cabins on the stern. The cabin was well appointed with a huge amount of storage, we bought a suitcase each and even when fully unpacked there was enough storage left for at least another suitcase full or maybe more.We stowed the empty suitcases under the bed. Boarding started at 1pm and was an easy exercise, with so few passengers it was a breeze, unlike the mayhem we have experienced when boarding on larger cruise ships. After boarding and checking out our cabin we had lunch onboard which was a great introduction to the food onboard, lunch was excellent. We then went ashore and wandered around Papeete township for a couple of hours where I purchased a local sim which had 30 mis of calls and 2gb data included from Vodafone for under US$50, however be aware data doesn’t work when at a couple of the islands, also I was unable to share the data with my hotspot on my iPhone even after being assured this would work. Even after checking and sending emails daily I had only used 200mb of data at the end of the trip so was well covered with the 2gb. Sail away is a big event on Windstar with loud music and sails unfurling, a truly great experience. We opted not to buy a drinks package as we wanted to have cocktails sometimes, spirits and beer at others and wine with dinner and the only package that includes everything is US$50 per person per day so US$100 per cabin per day, we figured we wouldn’t drink more than $700 of drinks over 7 days as the drinks prices weren’t to bad, $5.50 for a Heineken, bottles of wine $30 to $40(some were more but we found good wine in this price bracket) This proved to be the case with our drinks account being a little over $600. We travelled with another couple and we rented a car at three of the islands and explored these independently, cost to hire a car ranged from $70 to $85 well worth it as we stopped at various attractions and resorts as well as swimming and snorkeling while circumnavigating each island. I would highly recommend this option. I only went on one Windstar organised excursion which was the coral drift snorkeling trip, this was awesome! The 2 special events put on by Windstar, the BBQ lunch and day on a private Moto at Ta’ha is magical and the evening dinner on a private motu at Bora Bora are not to be missed. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We always wanted to go to Tahiti / Bora Bora and we decided that a cruise would be the best way to see the most islands. We would highly recommend the Windstar Wind Spirit. We took a 7 day cruise and loved it. We did not book our ... Read More
We always wanted to go to Tahiti / Bora Bora and we decided that a cruise would be the best way to see the most islands. We would highly recommend the Windstar Wind Spirit. We took a 7 day cruise and loved it. We did not book our flights or any tours through the cruise line. The ship was small - maybe 140 passengers and the food and service was great. We flew in the day before and took the ferry over to Moorea and stayed in an overwater bungalow at the Manava Beach Resort. For tours we took... Top Jet ATV Tour on Moorea Arii Moana Tour on Riatea (pearl farm, coral garden snorkel drift, vanilla plantation, & lunch) 4WD Tour, Bloody Mary Lunch, and Shark and Stingray cruise on Bora Bora All great tours - we would highly recommend. We were told later that the Champion Pearl Farm is a little bit of a scam - they don't actually grow any pearls there but it was still interesting. We would suggest not taking any tours on the day you are at Taha'a. The Windstar's private island is great. Our first day on Bora Bora we took a taxi to the Sofitel for the day. We sat by the pool all afternoon and lunch was included. I think it was $50 a person. We did not get the drink package on the cruise. It think we spent $500 on drinks for the week. The nice thing about getting the package is that you don't have to worry about it but I think you drink more to try and get your monies worth. We did get some Hinano beer at the local grocery store on several islands. For pearls we would suggest Eva's Pearls on Moorea. Overall is was a great trip. We would definitely take another Windstar cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband and i took this special cruise to french polynesia for my 60th birthday celebrations. We had a wonderful time and the service was good however it was not impeccable nor outstanding. I was expecting a cleaner cabin 227 hence ... Read More
My husband and i took this special cruise to french polynesia for my 60th birthday celebrations. We had a wonderful time and the service was good however it was not impeccable nor outstanding. I was expecting a cleaner cabin 227 hence found carpet was delapidated and our attendant was not accomadating since we had to ask for basic toiletries on our first day and ice cube! In addition we bought a laundry package and unfortunately they lost my husband shorts! The worse shore package was anapearl farm with snorkeling! We were driven with a van for 15 mins and arrived at a docking station where summer our anapearl hostess tooked 19 of us to her pearl farm via a small boat. We arrived at the pearl farm in the middle of the ocean and she explained the process of pearl farming which was interesting but failed miserably in allowing us to snorkel to observe the oyster bed pearl process under water due to the fact an unscheduled 6person guest visitors pop in hence summer was unable to complete our snorkeling tour. We all felt summer was interested in selling her mediocre pearls instead of filling her tour contract!!! Would high not take purchase this excursion and i have complained to kuba (cruise director) hence future customer would be missed lead. Lastly the food quality: The breakfast buffet was good but not spectacular hence could use improvement with better variety of tropical fruits abundant in fp and better quality bakery which i found the croissants to be stale. Dinner was good overall but lack substance innovation lack luster especially the “james beard” signature plate was horrible!!! In addition, the pastry chef serve 6 of us in our table for my birthday celebration with an unrise flat soufle! There was no explanation or worse no apologies or offer a substitution!!! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Windstar has been on my radar for awhile. We are pretty adventuresome travelers and not big cruise people but theidea of a sailing yacht exploring the iskands in French Polynesia sounded like fun. After a rough year we were looking forward ... Read More
Windstar has been on my radar for awhile. We are pretty adventuresome travelers and not big cruise people but theidea of a sailing yacht exploring the iskands in French Polynesia sounded like fun. After a rough year we were looking forward to a trip where we didn’t have to think or plan too much. Windstar and The Wind Spirit completely exceeded all of our expectations. I woukd call this line “ high end casual”. If you like mice things ( great food, nice wines, high level of service) but enjoy being sporty and casual this is a great choice. Most people enjoyed nice things but appreciated being able to live in shorts, swim suits and sun dresses for the cruise. I cannot say enough good things about the staff. We interacted with numerous staff and members of manager throughout the cruise and everyone was impressed with the level of service. Everyone was friendly and helpful, taking pride in knowing your name and anticipating your needs. The rooms was were way larger than I was prepared for based in past reviews. We were on the second floor which is above the water line which was a good choice for us. Our friends on floor one at the water line made me a little queasy but they said they were fine. Plenty of US electrical outlets , bathroom and shower was fine for my 6’6” husband. Lots of storage and a comfy bed you could actually walk around. The food was incredible, every meal every day. I took a galley tour and was impressed that everything is fresh, the only frozen item is ice cream. Plenty of fresh fruits and veg eatables with every meal. Loads of healthy choices and plenty of unhealthy ones but plenty of choices. We ate outside almost every breakfast and lunch. The main restaurant is lovely and changes the menu every night. The Candles restaurant option on the deck offers more of a steakhouse menu with grilled meats and fish. The onboard bbq was incredible with a suckling pig, lobster and other delights. The motu special event was not to be missed with a great show and meal on a private island. We loved the activities ( snorkeling in Moorea, jet skis in Bora Bora and a not to be missed snorkel and picnic in lovely Huahine). We also enjoyed the private motu day where we did yoga and massages on the beach. The sport deck was a blast . We took kayaks out for a while then floated on the dock for a relaxing time. We enjoyed getting up early to catch a sunrise and coffee on deck each morning. We saw some beautiful rainbows and dolphins on a few mornings. Rainbows and dolphins! Can’t get better than that. Other special touches included the cultural activities that were available onboard and in special activities. The staff takes great care to research and recruit authentic and interesting people to interact with guests. We made leis onboard one afternoon while we learned traditional dance and heard some great music . One night a local came on to tell us Tahitian history and tradition. He was fascinating. This cruise would not be good for people who have mobility issues. Lots of stairs and no elevators. The boat gets rocking and would be miserable for people with mobility issues. The crude would probably not appeal to younger people who want a party scene. With 136 passengers it is pretty chill. People were having a great time but if you want a noisy club scene then a big cruise line might be better. Pro tips- if you think you will be snorkeling a lot bring your own mask and snorkel . The masks get used a lot on the boat so some people were frustrated because they leaked. Bring shoes like Tevas that strap on for water, hiking around etc. don’t miss a sail away or sunset I would take another Windstar cruise without hesitation Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
March 22 through 1 April 2018 This is a cruise for you if you ever wondered what it would be like to sail aboard a private sailing yacht through the South Pacific paradise. HITS: - Sailing on a four mast ship through the South ... Read More
March 22 through 1 April 2018 This is a cruise for you if you ever wondered what it would be like to sail aboard a private sailing yacht through the South Pacific paradise. HITS: - Sailing on a four mast ship through the South Pacific Islands just sailing on your own private Motoring Yacht at a fraction of the cost. - The two special events on private motu (reef islands) were absolutely awesome. - Service on the Wind Spirit was exceptional throughout our cruise. Our room attendant (Dedi) was very efficient as well as being very friendly. The Serving Staff in the Amapour Dining Room was also exceptional. - All meals were also excellent throughout our trip. It is amazing that the chef could get such a wide variety of high quality fresh food in such a remote location. - Embarkation and Disembarkation were both very quick & easy. This is not surprising given that there were only 116 passengers to process. - The description of the excursions in the My Windstar website was very accurate and informative. We found that Windstar’s excursions were high quality experiences. GETTING THERE: It is not easy any or cheap flying to Papeete, Tahiti. Only Tahiti Niu and Air France fly nonstop from LAX to Papeete, Tahiti (Airport Code PPT). Air New Zealand (United Code Share) has an insanely long 30+ hour flights (via Auckland) or Hawaiian Airlines with 18+ hour layovers in Honolulu. We choose the Air France flight (Code Share with Delta) LAS > LAX > PPT. We splurged for Premium Economy because it was only about ~$500 more than Coach when we booked. I checked air fares a few months later and found that they had been raised much higher. We flew a Delta flight to LAX and our Checked Luggage was booked through to PPT. Our Delta Flight arrived in LAX Terminal 2 and our Air France Flight departed from the Bradley Terminal. Fortunately, Delta has a shuttle from Terminal 3 to the Bradley Terminal so we DID NOT have to go through TSA again. The service on Air France was very good. It was an overnight flight so we slept for most of the 8 hour flight. Premium Economy was a worthwhile splurge. Thankfully our luggage arrived without any problem Papeete is a small airport and getting through Tahitian Customs and Immigration was quick & easy. We took a taxi to our hotel 2,400 Polynesian Francs (~$US24) PreCruise Hotel: We chose Hotel Tahiti Nui (3 Star) because it was close to the ship (just 4 blocks/400 yards). We chose a Jr Suite (another splurge) with an Early Check In for (~$US240). The Le Meridien (recommended by Windstar) and the InterContinental are both 5 Star Resort Hotel alternatives which may be better for longer stays. The location of the Hotel Tahiti Nui is in the downtown area. The area looks rough but we never felt unsafe. We found it very convenient for our needs. Traffic in Papeete was much more busy than I expected. For example, the traffic was stop and go all the way from the airport to the hotel. It seemed just busy and congested as Honolulu. Both my wife My wife and I experienced serious Jet Lag from our flight. Our afternoon was spent exploring the downtown and harbor area. The weather channel predicted 80% chance of rain but thankfully they were wrong. Very humid through. We walked back to our hotel after a nice lunch in a restaurant overlooking the harbor. We stopped into a convenience store and bought cereal and milk for breakfast. 1,100 CFP. (~$US11) which was more reasonable than the Continental Breakfast offered by the hotel for $US33 (a full “American Breakfast” was $US45). We both needed showers after our walks and we were content spending the rest of the day recovering from our flight. The Hotel Tahiti Nui is just fine for a day or two before a cruise but it is not a Resort Hotel of the same caliber as the Intercontinental or Le Meridian. It is also much less expensive as a result. Having a couple hundred in CFP came in handy as we saved a lot of money by avoiding the expensive hotel restaurant. EMBARKATION: Hotel Check out was 11:30 and ship embarkation starts at 1:30. Although it is only an 8 minute walk to the Fingers Pier where the ship was docked, it would have been very difficult to transit because there are many poor sidewalks, high curbs and cross streets so we took a taxi for 2,000 CFP (~$US20). We arrived at 1:30 when embarkation started along with some of the other 116 other passengers. Unfortunately, it was not raining. There were there porters available who quickly took baggage and put on the luggage tags. Check in went quickly though and efficiently taking about 15 minutes once it was our turn. Once onboard a nice Buffet lunch was available. We departed Papeete at 18:00 sailing off into a beautiful sunset. Our first dinner was excellent! Day 2 - AT SEA: DAY 3 - FAKARAVA, TUAMOTU (Anchor) We did not book any excursions as I wanted to get the feel of the ship and take advantage of the Windstar's water sports platform where you can swim off the back of the ship. Weather was mostly sunny but there was a stiff breeze which made the water quite choppy. Spent the rest of the morning reading and napping. DAY 4 - TIPUTA, RANGIROA (Anchor) Rangiroa, the second largest coral atoll in the world and a premier dive destination. I took a snorkeling excursion to “The Aquarium” a small motu (island) inside the lagoon. I have snorkeled many places all over the world and have never seen as many fish as this location!!! It was incredible!! My wife went to the Paul Gauguin Museum and Pearl Farm where she learned about the island as well as how pearls are “farmed” The "Special Event" Dinner was Bbq on the pool deck under the stars. Great food and wonderful service. DAY 5 - AT SEA Much needed rest after BBQ on the pool deck the evening before. Sailing between Rangiria and Taha. The Captain shut the engine down and used sails for most of the day. Another very good dinner. Nice entertainment in the lounge 9 to 10. Spent about 20 minutes Star Gazing fro forward deck of ship. Lots of stars in Southern Hemisphere that we rarely get to see. DAY 6 - TAHA'A (Anchor) The quiet sister island to Raiatea (they share the same lagoon) offers similar enchanting scenes, from paradise-white sand beaches to an ancient volcano and deep valleys redolent with the scent of vanilla. I booked the Coral Garden Drift Snorkel Excursion to a Coral Garden channel. We took a small boat to the other side of Tahaa Island where a 100 yard wide channel runs between two small islands. The current runs over a beautiful coral reef. We walked to the inlet side of the channel and drift snorkeled about 400 yards downstream which was a truly unique snorkeling experience. We snorkeled down this beautiful coral filled channel three times which was enough time in the water. My wife was very happy with the Scenic Exploration of Taha'a excursion that she booked. The second “Special Event” was a BBQ lunch on Motu Mahaea off the island of Taha'a. The ship dining staff set up a great lunch for everyone. The ship’s staff also brought over kayaks and paddle boards for use in the motu. It was a great day!! DAY 7 – HUAHINE (anchor) Huahine is a more isolated and "savage" island (actually two sister islands linked together), known for its lush forests and deep lagoon. We both took the Sacred Sites & Cultural Walk excursion. Our guide was incredibly interesting and informative. He explained the history of the Island of Huahine as well as the history of French Polynesia in fascinating detail. This was a great excursion. It was very warm (90 degrees) so we really looked forward to getting back to the ship. DAY 8 - BORA BORA (anchor) is justly famous for its magnificent lagoon and magical water I booked a snorkeling excursion through Trip Advisor. It had the same 3 snorkeling spots as the ship's excursion but was about $40 cheaper. Swimming with Black Tip Sharks is completely safe but takes some getting used to. The Sting Rays were also a unique and interesting encounter. My wife enjoyed her Glass Bottom Boat excursion. Her guide was excellent. Described the history of Bora Bora. She thought it was a fascinating excursion. DAY 9 - BORA BORA (anchor) We needed a rest day onboard after several day’s of fantastic excursion experiences. The evening’s Destination Discovery event where everyone on the ship was taken by large Polynesian Catamarans to our own private island off Bora Bora for a spectacular Tahitian luau, complete with Tahitian dancers and fire dancers. DAY 10 – Morea (anchor) I walked around the port area for about a half hour, stopped at a cafe for a cup of tea before returning to the ship. DAY 11 – Papeete > DISEMBARKATION The ship arranged a taxi to take us to the airport. Our Air France flight (07:30 departure) was a long but uneventful back to LAX. We had 3 hours to clear Customs & Immigration and get over to Terminal 2 where we caught our Delta flight back to Las Vegas (arrived 23:00). FINAL THOUGHTS: I believe that this was the best cruise that we had ever taken. I cannot recommend Windstar any higher than that. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
If you are seeking a cruise with Tahitian culture, history and dancing, this one is not for you. We have taken two other Polynesian cruises and the crews were Polynesian. We learned a lot about the islands and their culture and history. ... Read More
If you are seeking a cruise with Tahitian culture, history and dancing, this one is not for you. We have taken two other Polynesian cruises and the crews were Polynesian. We learned a lot about the islands and their culture and history. The shows featured Polynesians and their dancing. The crew on the Wind Spirit is Asian and Eastern European and knew nothing about the islands. It seemed the cruise director learned everything he knew of the islands from books.This ship should have been sailing in the Caribbean. The entertainment every night was Hot, Hot, Hot, YMCA, and rock, nothing Polynesian. Even the music on the speaker systems was devoid of anything Polynesian. The crew was exceptional in all other respects. the food was good but not great. You pay $9 for a small glass of wine. Tours were excellent but expensive. On two occasions we contacted local tour operators for equivalent tours at less than half the price. The sports platform included a small swimming area and a couple of kayaks. On first and last day we had rooms at the Meridien hotel in Tahiti. Breakfast was included but nothing else. A better choice is the Paul Gaugin where everything except tours is included. We would not take another Windstar cruise. There is much better value to your money elsewhere. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The South Pacific was number one on our bucket list, so we gave ourselves this cruise for our 45th anniversary. It lived up to our dreams! Windstar was the perfect way to see these islands. The service was great, the yacht was amazing ... Read More
The South Pacific was number one on our bucket list, so we gave ourselves this cruise for our 45th anniversary. It lived up to our dreams! Windstar was the perfect way to see these islands. The service was great, the yacht was amazing and the itinerary was perfect. We did have a couple days of rain, but it wasn't bad. We were in cabin 136, so on the lowest passenger deck, The cabin was more spacious than we expected, and had so much storage space! We loved the food, even when it was buffet style, like the deck barbeque. We snorkeled a few times and were impressed with the variety of fish and coral we saw. The crew was attentive without hovering, and all so friendly! Our only complaint about the cruise is the lack of space to visit with other passengers. The lounge was a nice space, but when the entertainment duo played they were so loud it made conversation almost impossible. We did use the marina off the back of the yacht once, It was fun, and a novel experience. We had wondered in advance if we would find other passengers to make friends with. We shouldn't have worried--we made friends with so many other cruisers--they were all so much fun! All in all, we loved this cruise and are so glad we did it! Read Less
Wind Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 2.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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