9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises ... Read More
First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises on the Wind Star (1) Star Pride (2), Star Legend (1) and Wind Surf (3). What we love about Windstar is the small ships, the fact you can do things independently easily, the relaxed dress code, the food, which keeps getting better, and last but not least the great service staff which goes out of its way to make your cruise memorable. This was our first cruise back on a sail ship after 3 cruises on the motor yachts. We did Classic Caribbean itinerary from Feb 2nd to 9th as we had done the Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary twice already and did not like the fact they had changed some of the stops in the BVI. In the end we really enjoyed this itinerary with Barbuda and Dominica being new stops for us. The weather was just about perfect and seas were the calmest of all our cruises. We noticed the demographics of this cruise were probably a little older than our previous Windstar cruises with a good majority of guests over 70-75 but this did not hinder in any way our enjoyment as fellow Windstar passengers are all fairly active and well travelled. Finally, we travelled with another couple for which this was a first cruise on Windstar and likely not their last. Another great cruise with Windstar Booking: We booked just over 2 months ahead by pure accident as we typically wait for annual Christmas Sale as we feel prices get better closer to sailings (we always go for lowest priced cabin as location is not necessarily important to us). We called the company directly (we do not use a travel agent) to inquire about availability and they said that there was a promotion for Canadian residents with a $500 discount on the cruise price. I could not find this special on their website and the timing of my call was perfect as this special did not last very long. The 4 of us each got the $100 referral OBC which in our case was applied against our drink package purchased when we got onboard. We were assigned room 153 at front of ship and we were “upgraded” to 141 more in the center a few weeks later. Our friends were also upgraded from 103 to 122. Windstar also offered a 20% discount on the price of internet, drink package and laundry if all taken together prior to cruise which we did not take as we did not care for the ship’s slow and expensive internet (we had access to a good roaming package which we used most of time as we were always close to islands). Embarkation Although we typically fly in the day before, our schedule did not allow for such luxury this time around. Our plane landed in SXM at 16h30 on departure day (ship’s departure scheduled at 19h00) and we got out of the terminal around 17h15. Cabs were plentiful and we ended up sharing one with another Canadian couple on same flight that was also boarding the ship. Cab ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took 30 minutes. We boarded the ship at 17h45 and check-in was swift at front desk given our tardiness . Sail away was on schedule at 19h00. Not the ideal situation for travel but things worked out nicely. We were told our cruise was fully booked, so around 310 passengers on board. This was not an issue throughout the cruise as the Wind Surf remains very spacious with nooks and crannies for everyone. Cabin: We were in 141 and our friends in 122 (both added to Wind Surf stateroom sticky forum). Cabins are well designed with plenty of storage if required. 141 was quiet and had no issues although on 3 occasions, we had to call maintenance to fix our toilet as vacuum system had problems and toilet risked overflowing. In all 3 cases (one time at 3 am) the problem was fixed quickly by maintenance staff. Our room attendant was attentive although we did not have any special requirements. Reusable water bottles we refilled every day (one with flat water, the other sparkling) and our ice bucket was kept full with ice every day. Our friends in 122 complained about regular banging noise which we suspect was due to some gangway or tender equipment hanging above their room. We were also wondering how we would find going back to the smaller sail ship staterooms after experiencing the larger suites on the Star ships on our last 3 cruises. Well it wasn’t an issue as the rooms are very well designed and we were really only in our room to sleep or change over for dinner. We did not use room service nor laundry service this time. Bathroom was compact and well designed but starting to show its age. Occitane toiletries are provided in all rooms. Bars and Entertainment: Drinks were mostly taken outside at Compass Rose or Pool Bar. Did not go to Lounge except for Talent Show but band seemed competent. Bar service was always good. Duo at Compass Rose was OK and had guests dancing and when finished around 11pm, guests would come in to plug IPad playlists in system to keep party going a little longer. This happened a few evenings with people dancing a little past midnight. A lot of fun. Food: Again food was a highlight. We ate at Amphora 4 times, one time each Candles and Stella Bistro and Deck BBQ on the late night in St-Kitts. Menu was varied although gluten free items remain limited (our friend suffers from gluten intolerance and we were just more sensitized to his diet challenges throughout the cruise). Breakfast was good with buffet or a la carte items available. Couple of things we noticed were the poor quality of orange juice which in the past was freshly squeezed and now is a watered down Tropicana version and the fact there were no fresh peeled orange slices on the buffet whereas these were always on buffet in the past. We had good lunches at Veranda when we made it back in time from the island as the venue is only open from 12h00 to 14h00. We were late a few times and had to settle for food at Yacht Club. Lunch should be extended to 14h30 to accommodate those with dietary restrictions as the menu at the Yacht Club, while good, remains limited for them. Service in the dining rooms at dinner was fast and efficient (sometimes too fast) with meals lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. We mostly had dinner around 8pm and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table and by the time we were finished, most of the time we were the last table in dining room. Menus were varied with several fish, meat and vegetarian dishes and all 4 of us were impressed by the quality and presentation of food. Deck BBQ food was great although lobster was a little chewy. We did not do the Dining Under The Stars (offered twice on our cruise) as it was not offered to us. This was a bit disappointing. Beach BBQ was held on Pigeon Island, which is our least favourite Windstar Beach BBQ location (the others being Mayreau and Virgin Gorda). While food was good, beach is too small and not necessarily the nicest. A couple of evenings, we were treated to canapés at Compass Rose before dinner. Usually had 2 different types of them but just one tray so these would disappear very fast with literally no chances for seconds. I suspect these were also served in the Lounge but we never went to the Lounge for pre dinner drinks so cannot confirm. We are a bit picky about our coffee and the caffe lattes at Veranda in the morning were good (regular coffee not so much) but even better at Yacht Club. We did try a few of the the latter’s sandwiches and sweets offered in the afternoon on one occasion and all were good. 3 of us were on the recently introduced TopMast Discoveries drink package at $49 while the 4th party was on the CaptainsExclusive package at $59. This created confusion with servers with several drinks (liquor) being charged to our room although drunk by our friend on the full drink package. All charges were reversed but this was a hassle as we needed to check bill daily to ensure charges were being reversed overnight and that no new ones were being added. Drink package probably makes sense if you have 5 or more drinks per day and even though we were drinking our quota, we generally felt that the value proposition of the drink packages had come down markedly from the previous iterations with price of package going up $7 and the wines offered having a price point no higher than $9.50/$10 vs a max of $11.50 under previous package. We will likely need to re-think this aspect on our next cruise. Marina We did not use the marina this time around but it was open in Barbuda, Les Saintes and St Barth. We saw several people using it when available. The water toys were also brought to the beach on Pigeon Island for the Beach BBQ Spa: Our friends each got a $50 spa voucher (good on port days) offered by Windstar to all first time cruisers which they used for a very relaxing hot stone massage. Gym: we did not use gym but it looked clean and well equipped and did not seem overcrowded Tenders: Tenders were used in all ports except Dominica where we were docked at the industrial dock, not the more central cruise ship dock (occupied by Silverseas on that day). While tender service was good, the tenders themselves are in need of a total overhaul. During our cruise we got to see the Seabourn, Club Med 2 and Star Clipper tenders and all of them were in substantially better condition than the Surf’s. They will be changing the tenders on the Motor Yachts, they probably should do the same with the sailing ships. Bridge Did not visit the bridge this time around and whereas in the past there was a photo opportunity at the bow of the ship, we did not see this on this cruise. Stops and excursions: We generally are not the type to book ship excursions as we feel they are overpriced and like to do things on our own. I typically like to do my own research and do not like to plan too long ahead. Barbuda: Nothing planned. Only tour offered was to view frigate bird sanctuary which did not interest us. We instead took a cab to Princess Diana beach ($30 each way). Very nice pink sand beach with nobody other than a few fellow cruisers on it. No facilities so bring water and some food if you are going to spend a long time. We were there for about 3 hours and got on the ship around 2pm just in time to catch lunch at Veranda. The ship leaves early at 3 pm on this day. Dominica: Again we stepped out of ship and hired a cab to go to Ti-Tou Gorge and Trafalgar Falls. Cost was $160 for the 4 of us and lasted 2.5 hours. Ti-Tou Gorge is not to be missed as you swim in a crystal clear river canyon up to a small waterfall. Very nice. The drive to both these spots is also spectacular as the road sits at the top of a high mountain ridge. We were back on the ship by 1h30 and had lunch at Veranda. Found a chair on deck for the remainder of day and used pool and hot tubs. Although the Island suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Maria in Sept 2017, the island infrastructure and vegetation is recovering nicely. Pigeon Island: This was our 4th time to Pigeon Island and it is our least favourite spot for the Beach BBQ. The beach is small and crowded although the area in the back where they actually serve the BBQ is nice. The water toys were brought to the beach, as well as paddle boards and kayaks. They also offered waterski and wakeboardings runs for those who wanted. Club Med 2 (Wind Surf’s twin) was also in port that day which made for interesting pictures. Les Saintes: This was our third time to Les Saintes and we continue to enjoy this stop. There is a quaint village with some interesting shops and a Fort (Fort Napoleon) from which the views of the bay and our sail ship are simply breathtaking. Note the Fort is only open until 12h30 and bring €5 cash if you want to get in. We rented a 4 seat electric golf cart (cost €75) from Green Car Rental to tour Island but you need to reserve it in advance as these get taken up very quickly (we had learned this the hard way the previous time we were there). Wanted to go to Pain de Sucre Beach but path is somewhat steep and rocky which required shoes we did not have. Instead went to Pompierre beach (no facilities). Nice beach but the palm trees have taken a beating as a result of hurricane Maria last year. Had a good lunch in town at Cafe de la Marina with a nice view of the port while the ladies shopped linen at Mahogany next door. Basseterre St-Kitts: Our initial plan was to get off ship, take the 9h30 ferry to Nevis ($16 each way/pers), hire a cab for a few hours to do tour of island, visit plantation and get dropped off at Pinney’s Beach. However we were a bit tired that morning and thus proceeded to a less intense plan B which was to take a cab ($30 each way) to go to Cockshell Beach at the far South end of the Island. We rented chairs ($5 each) and umbrellas ($10) at the Spice Mill and also had good lunch there. Beach is nice and was somewhat crowded, something rare on a Windstar cruise but there were another 2 ships in port, so this was to be expected. Ship left late at 10pm and this was night of deck BBQ. St-Barth: We had reserved a convertible Mini Cooper to tour Island ahead of time with Sixt Car Rental. Called them up 30 minutes prior to going to shore so they were there to pick us up and take us to airport to fill out docs. Cost was a bit steep at €105 but we had fun touring. Went to Saline and Gouverneurs beaches, did some shopping and had lunch at Nikki Beach in St-Jean. Lunch was good although this is St-Barth and everything is pricey. Returned the car at airport, got shuttled back to port and did some more shopping in Gustavia. Took tender around 6pm back to ship. Debarkation. Debarkation was trouble free. Had breakfast around 8am after picking up our passport and having face to face meeting with Immigration on board ship around 7h30 (this is new as we usually just picked up passport on ship and passed Immigration once on shore). Our flight was late (5pm) so we took a cab to Holland House, took up their day pass offer which for $25 includes 2 chairs, 4 drinks,use of shower, Wifi and facilities. Had good lunch at their restaurant and left at 2h30 for airport. Ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took just under 30 minutes and this concluded another wonderful Windstar cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. ... Read More
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. Pros: --Small ship with sails: we don’t enjoy large ships anymore and the sails were beautiful --Excellent service: from the Captain on down, everyone was charming with just a very few exceptions (see cons) —Good food: Mostly excellent. No fails! --Nice fitness room Cons: —Aging ship that needs total re-furbishing: Formica EVERYWHERE, stained carpets, lots of thick, painted-over rust. Small porthole windows and no balconies. —We felt nickeled and dimed: expensive beer and wine prices made us buy the package. Then they tried to up-sell us to the fine wines and mixed drinks. WIFI package was $60 and data ran out in just one day of checking email. So slow! Shore excursions are very pricey—none are included. —Itinerary should have been tweaked for this late-in-the-season cruise. Ibiza was a ghost town—should have been replaced. We did not get Windstar’s usual on-shore special event. Why not? —Docking: the line advertises its ability to dock in small towns and ports, however, we were always docked in a large, industrial port. —Staffing: the front desk staff was cold and dismissive. Everyone else was warm and tried very hard. However, the lounge is terribly understaffed at cocktail hour. Table service was almost non-exisistent! You had to fight your way to the bar and wait. I guess we were hoping for more of a river cruise experience, but perhaps that was unreasonable. I doubt that we will try Windstar again. We will try other small, high-end lines and hope for a better value. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Booked the Rome to Venice cruise on the recommendation of some friends and enjoyed it. Pre-cruise Windstar reps were readily available to answer questions with details and options. We utilized the well appointed gym most days and thought ... Read More
Booked the Rome to Venice cruise on the recommendation of some friends and enjoyed it. Pre-cruise Windstar reps were readily available to answer questions with details and options. We utilized the well appointed gym most days and thought the staterooms were as described with plenty of storage and a comfortable bed. Service and food was excellent throughout the ship. We elected to sign up for two excursions through Windstar and did others on our own, which was the right combination for us. There was a glitch with an engine communication issue that added a day at sea, but they made some adjustments to try to alleviate the impact—we were glad the issue was resolved. The onboard internet did not work as advertised. To Windstar’s credit, we were refunded charges we had paid in advance, but would have made other arrangements had we known onboard connectivity would be fairly nonexistent. We travelled as a couple, and it was nice to have options to either share a table at dinner or dine as a couple and enjoyed meeting fellow guests. We like a variety of modes of travel, but Windstar is a very good option for a small luxury cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do enough for us. The ship was beautiful, especially during the times the sails were up. The food was out of this world. It was the best we had during our entire European vacation. I really can’t think of anything that Windstar could have improved on as far as the onboard experience was concerned. The only downfall was that some of the ports weren’t as picturesque as we’d imagined. If we would have done our research beforehand, we would have booked excursions at those stops. Windstar lives up to its reputation and I met many passengers who were experienced travellers with the cruise lineIt wasn’t an inexpensive vacation but it was worth every penny. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I chose to sail with Windstar to celebrate my 50th Birthday accompanied by both my parents and sister. Below is an honest and unbiased review of what was a very positive experience. It is obvious on boarding the Wind Surf that she is ... Read More
I chose to sail with Windstar to celebrate my 50th Birthday accompanied by both my parents and sister. Below is an honest and unbiased review of what was a very positive experience. It is obvious on boarding the Wind Surf that she is not just any cruise ship and that Captain Gerry Hogan is very proud her. Quite rightly so. Wind Surf is the flagship of the Windstar fleet and she is a beautiful sailing motor yacht. Captain Hogan is there to welcome his guests onboard and he is there at the end the journey to bid you farewell. It’s a personal touch that sets the tone for a cruise that is truly different. As she sails from destination to destination you’ll feel immersed in the experience, rather than just a passenger travelling upon a ship. The Staterooms might be more functional than they are luxurious, but they are nicely appointed with comfy beds, quality bathroom products and lots of storage space. The Staterooms give you the feel that you are actually on a sailing yacht rather than some grandiose floating hotel. The quality of the food throughout the ship is excellent and there are some lovely dinning options, with two speciality restaurants located on deck and a ship’s BBQ night which none of us will forget! AmphorA is the main dining room. It is sophisticated and elegant with service to match, without being over stuffy. However it is customer service where Wind Surf really excels and without doubt it has to be said, it is second to none! The ship’s crew are beyond outstanding and work tirelessly to ensure your cruise will be an unforgettable one. They have a sense of camaraderie that will make you feel you’re amongst friends and not just there as a paying guest. Windstar deserve every accolade they win. Congratulations! Our thanks go to all the Wind Surf crew for making our trip so memorable. They say Windstar is “180 degrees from ordinary” … “that she will feel like your own sailing yacht.” They are bold claims, but when her sails go up on your last sail away, you’ll know what they mean. Wind Surf … She is is special ship that none of us will forget. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my ... Read More
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my wife became ill and needed a wheelchair temporarily to get around. I considered cancelling all of our excursions but the Destination Manager assured me they would get us on our excursion and get the most out of the cruise as we could. And they did exactly that going way out of their way to insure we saw everything we came for. Only had to cancel one excursion in Monaco that just couldn't be done in a wheelchair. Everywhere we went on the ship they went out of their way to accommodate us and make things easier. I can't say enough good things about the crew. The food on the ship was absolutely delicious and with 3 dining area on a small ship we never had to wait. The wait staff was efficient and quick with a recommendation. With just over 300 passengers the crew and passengers soon became very familiar with each other. I have never seen ship's officers so visible and everywhere on the ship. The Captain and all other senior officers seemed to be greeting passengers all over the ship including when we arrived and disembarked the ship. Staff interacted with guests at a crew talent show, line dancing and other events. The cabin, while not significantly larger than most cruise cabins, had a generous amount of storage. We usually are fighting over hangers and drawers but not this time. The bed was fine and the bathroom adequate. The ship is definitely showing it's age. At almost 30 years old you can tell it has undergone many paint jobs and renovations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it but you could still see many things that would be designed differently today. Still, to be on a sailing ship with all the sails up through the Med was quite an experience. A great feature was the back swimming deck. With all the toys you could want you could swim, snorkel, kayak paddleboard or have the crew tube you around the ship. While the ports were very important and interesting, the ship and crew were the highlights of this cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and i sailed on the Wind Surf for 10 days from Civitavecchia to Civitavecchia. The itinerary was good, our cabin was good, the service was good and the food quality was good. We did three cruise shore tours which were very good ... Read More
My wife and i sailed on the Wind Surf for 10 days from Civitavecchia to Civitavecchia. The itinerary was good, our cabin was good, the service was good and the food quality was good. We did three cruise shore tours which were very good and within the price range that cruise companies charge. The whole cruise was to ports in Italy (apart from one day in French Corsica) which, as everyone appreciates, is one of the foundation of many western cultures and languages, has created countless artistic masterpieces, produced wonderful classical and modern music and musicians, and is renowned for its wine and food - we saw and felt evidence of that every time we set foot on shore. BUT once we boarded the ship we found only one officer was Italian; the general crew were primarily Indonesian and Phiiippino/a (which would be great if we were doing a cruse in Asia); the Captain, when addressing the passengers en masse, made no effort to pronounce Italian place names in other than an english accent; there was only one Italian red table wine and one Italian white (neither of which were better than average); there was close to zero Italian food dishes; no Italian live or background music (not even Dean Martin singing Amore); and zero cultural lectures which have been a feature of the other four small ship cruises that we have done over the last decade. For the record, there was an Italian cheese tasting one evening in which blocks of unnamed cheese were placed on cheese boards while the sommelier (who was European but not Italian) encouraged you buy the ship's red wine (one from Italy and the others from California, South Africa and South America). So would we sail Wind Surf and or Windstar Cruises again? Our answer is "NO". We would seek a better experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
WindStar WindSurf, booked 5/18, Dalmatian Coast and Italy. Terrific itinerary and lousy cruise. Staff was earnest at best and let's call it unresponsive at worst. Lack of planning at embarcations usually led to chaos. By all means, ... Read More
WindStar WindSurf, booked 5/18, Dalmatian Coast and Italy. Terrific itinerary and lousy cruise. Staff was earnest at best and let's call it unresponsive at worst. Lack of planning at embarcations usually led to chaos. By all means, do not purchase any of the excursions; as on so many cruises, these are considerably overpriced. On our trip, they were, well, rip-offs. Incompetent or disinterested tour guides (vendors) consistnetly failed to provide even the minimum offered in excursion descriptions. Worst of all on our cruise, and most surprisingly, service in main diningroom was more than once the worst we have experienced in almost 20 years of cruising up and down the price range: vanishing waiters, failures to deliver, missing follow-ups. Finally, we just left. Try another luxury line instead - even if, you guessed it, it costs a bit more. Based on our experience on this one trip, I'm disappointed to say: avoid WindStar. Service was so bad that I am motivated to post this review - my first anywhere, any place, about anything. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Hi Adventurers! We recently completed a beautiful trip on board the Windstar Wind Surf across Italy, Montenegro, and Croatia and we fell in love with the boat, its crew and the beautiful port of calls. During our journey, we had the ... Read More
Hi Adventurers! We recently completed a beautiful trip on board the Windstar Wind Surf across Italy, Montenegro, and Croatia and we fell in love with the boat, its crew and the beautiful port of calls. During our journey, we had the opportunity to visit Rome, the famous Amalfi coast, Sicily, Kotor, Montenegro and three port cities in Croatia. Our trip ended in Venice where we continued our vacation. It's evident that Windsurf spends significant resources in training their associates. The Wind Surf crew was able to provide a consistently high level of customer service in all aspects of the trip; onboarding, the restaurants and the cafeteria, boutique, and the cabins, etc. We truly enjoyed the company of the entire staff; however, we fell in love with Nadine, Aditthas, one of the restaurant supervisors and the big smile and sincere disposition of our cabin butler. These three individuals exceeded our expectations consistently during our 8-day trip. The Wind Surf is a fine old dame; a five-mast schooner that brings up memories of a romantic past and pirate encounters. As you look at the Wind Surf from the distance, its beautiful display of white sails become an attractive landmark in any of the ports of call that you visit. This is not the type of cruise experience, where you are expected to be entertained by a troupe of dancers, singers and all sorts of juggling acts. Instead, passengers get intimate dining experiences, the company of other passengers, romantic cocktail hours and impressive views from any spot on the boat. The available options of shore excursions are very interesting and affordable. We thought that crew and their excursions vendors did a great job in adapting the excursions to the American market. The restaurant options are limited; however, they compensate this by providing an exceptional array of breakfast, lunch and dining options for the American palate. Our first experience with Windstar was unforgettable and we know we'll be back next year to enjoy another exciting destination. Perhaps Japan, China or the Brittish Isles. We just want to thank the Wind Surf's crew for their attention to detail and exceptional customer focus. and to Windstar for sticking to their promise of delivering "180-degree-from-the-ordinary" experiences. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My friend and I chose this cruise because we really liked the itinerary and had read the reviews prior to booking. It was expensive, but had been on many cruises with other cruise lines and were happy to pay the cost for a luxury cruise. ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise because we really liked the itinerary and had read the reviews prior to booking. It was expensive, but had been on many cruises with other cruise lines and were happy to pay the cost for a luxury cruise. Ship - It didn't start well as, unlike other cruise lines the embarkation process was awful. At the terminal we had to initially wait off the ship on the quay in the sun for half an hour, then when we got onto the ship we had to wait another half hour in line to be checked in, this was about 2pm. We weren't allowed to register two credit cards (which was to prove to be a major problem later) as we wanted to each pay our own bills. The ship is 'tired' and really needs a refit, stained carpets, worn out chairs in the lounge etc. It just doesn't compare with other companies. Cabin - Our travel agent had booked twin beds and checked the day before that this would happen and was assured that this would be no problem. Nevertheless we didn't have twin beds, we went to reception and they assured us it would be dealt with, eventually at 6.30pm the beds were sorted. The cabin was fine, plenty of storage and clean, but basic. Dining - there are three restaurants, but you can only book to eat out in the French restaurant and the Candles restaurant (that is the only restaurant where you can eat on the deck). The food in all three was good, but not exceptional. The waiting staff were attentive and helpful. Entertainment and activities - The resident band and singer were talented and played a good variety of music, however if you wanted to dance they didn't start playing until 9.30pm which seemed late. We attended the fitness exercise classes at 7am and 5pm with Nathan, who was a lively instructor. We also went to a line-dancing class, that was rather a disaster because of no music and a temporary instructor. Service - though the staff were friendly, it felt that the whole trip was about 'selling' extras, unlike other cruises that we have been on everything was an extra. Drinks were very expensive unless you bought a drinks package! For example - if you wanted to drink wine it was $32 a day per person and with all drinks it was over $50 per day. There is no way that we would we drink that amount each day! The Spa treatments were also very costly and throughout treatments rather than being calm it was all about selling extras, cosmetics etc. Also we weren't aware that a service charge of 15% gets put on automatically everything - your fare, drinks, spa etc. We considered this was completely wrong, other cruise lines suggest what you should 'tip', gives you envelopes for cabin staff and all house keeping and then you can put it in a 'postbox' so that all staff can be included in any disbursements. In the small print when you get your bill they say that staff rely on the service charge money as part of their salary - this is wrong. I have a service business and there is no way would I put a compulsory service charge on my client's invoices. You can if you 'pressure' sign a form to have the service charges removed, which we did. Not having two credit cards registered proved enormously problematic and it took 5 long discussions with reception to try and obtain 2 separate correct bills despite us giving them all the information clearly laid out. It was extremely frustrating. Ports and shore excursions - All the ports were great and it was fun even when we had to use the tender. We did do some of the excursions, again expensive and certainly you could do the same things by going ashore and saving a lot of money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We had been looking forward to something really special on this "Bucket List" cruise, and for the most part, we were not disappointed. Quality of food, service, ship, cabin and excursions was generally excellent. We ... Read More
We had been looking forward to something really special on this "Bucket List" cruise, and for the most part, we were not disappointed. Quality of food, service, ship, cabin and excursions was generally excellent. We especially loved the beach party and the deck BBQ (I love lobster!). Was it the definitive, earth shattering, "OMG, I'm never cruising mainstream again" experience? Probably not. In fact, I doubt we would go to the extra trouble and expense of sailing with Windstar again. For example: We live on the West coast of the US - Oregon to be specific. It was a long day flying to Miami (where we stayed for two nights for fun), then another 6 hour flight to Barbados. The return trip was very hard on us - long flight to Miami, then overnight, then early flight from MIA, transfer in DFW, then a three hour drive home from PDX. As far as I can tell, all of Windstar cruises involve a similar amount of air travel. If the Windward Islands had been an amazing paradise, it might have been worth the trouble, but they were just...more lovely Caribbean Islands. Very much uphill and downhill, with long bus rides to get to the places of interest. Snorkeling trips were just OK (maybe even less than that), and although the gardens were fabulous, we could have experienced a similar amount of beauty without going nearly so far. The small ship size SHOULD have resulted in happy social contacts, and to some extent it did (tip of the hat to the many lovely people whose company we really enjoyed - I hope you know who you are). Less positive is that the people we didn't enjoy (and there were a surprisingly high number of those) were pretty hard to stay away from. The least enjoyable part of our cruise was actually our stateroom. We had a lovely double room-suite that was spacious, comfortable and well appointed. Trouble is, we couldn't spend any real time reading and relaxing because there was a loud blower that ran constantly. We asked maintenance, and they said it couldn't be turned off, and other passengers mentioned similar situations in their staterooms and in staterooms on other Windstar ships. There were two thermostats in the room, but adjusting them made no impact on the actual climate in the room. There seemed to be a daytime temperature of too cold, and a night time temperature of too hot. One afternoon, we actually had to go on deck when we began shivering after an hour of reading in our lovely, but very much refrigerated, cabin. And on deck we found...the pervasive howling buzz of whatever equipment resides in that big stack on deck. You can't get away from it. So much for peaceful relaxation. So I gave five stars, but maybe don't really mean it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We are frequent Windstar cruisers especially in the Caribbean although our connection with Windstar began in the Med about 9 years ago. We have also cruised on Sea Dream Seabourn, and Silversea so we have experience with quality small ... Read More
We are frequent Windstar cruisers especially in the Caribbean although our connection with Windstar began in the Med about 9 years ago. We have also cruised on Sea Dream Seabourn, and Silversea so we have experience with quality small ship cruise lines.. Noted improvements on this cruise were the quality and variety of the food, the level and friendliness of the service, and the big improvement in the quality of the entertainment both in the main lounge and the bar. The on deck barbeque was fantastic. The food was terrific and amongst the best that we have ever experienced on any cruise line. The staff and the band provided great entertainment during the meal with the cooks dancing and adding to the festiveness of the occasion. We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed this cruise. Added to all of this the captain and crew did their best to make sure that we could tender safely into the various ports notwithstanding the sometimes choppy water. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our first voyage on a small luxury cruiser and it was excellent. The ship, crew, food, venues, cabins and majority of passengers were great. No mega pools, large outdoor TV screens or ice rinks here. I would not suggest this ship ... Read More
This was our first voyage on a small luxury cruiser and it was excellent. The ship, crew, food, venues, cabins and majority of passengers were great. No mega pools, large outdoor TV screens or ice rinks here. I would not suggest this ship for kids under 18 as it is adult oriented and I saw nothing that would entertain younger passengers. There were two 6 yr. olds on board, we saw them at various meal times but at no other time. Ideal for couples of all ages. It is a relaxing cruise ship, where within three to four days you have crossed paths with most of the passengers and as a result you should be the type that enjoy speaking to people. If you want to go on this cruise and be by yourself, you can do it but you'll miss the true spirit of what the experience is. Also, it is not for 'seagulls' - you know the people who grab a lounge chair, throw their towel and hat down and claim it for that day, whether they are using it or not. They scream 'mine, mine. mine' if someone comes near it. If you are, you'll be quickly identified and the rest of the passengers will be talking about you the entire trip. Yes we had a few of them - why do such people exist? Almost all passengers despise the large cruise ships and enjoy the relaxed sociable atmosphere on this ship. Many have cruised with the line many times. The ports of call are varied, some will be near the large cruise ship stops, other will be in smaller ports where the big guys can't get to - this makes the choice most appealing The open bridge policy is very interesting if you like to know how these ships steer and get where they are going. The bridge officers are very welcoming to visitors. When the sails are unfurled and you cast off, it is a great feeling. Be prepared though, in rough seas you'll be tossed around a bit. Entertainment is hit and miss - we had two groups -one was a hit the other most tired of after a night or two. Like all cruise lines, there are expensive add ons if you want them and excursion sales pitches but these are easily ignored. Would I go again - you bet ya ! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose this cruise because my usual island vacation had to be cancelled due to the hurricane damage. I thought I would never go on a cruise. The thought of a floating city with lines a mile long are not my kind of vacation. I like the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my usual island vacation had to be cancelled due to the hurricane damage. I thought I would never go on a cruise. The thought of a floating city with lines a mile long are not my kind of vacation. I like the small quaint island with no more than 5 -6 people on the beach. Even though I have no other cruising experience to compare this to, I am a convert. Windstar spoiled me and I loved it. Rooms were great, food was great, entertainment was great, and staff were fabulous. The only thing I would change about it is the check out time on disembarkation. It is too early. It would be nice if they could bump it up an hour or two to 10:00 or 11:00 am. Most people have a long day of travel and having to get up early and put luggage outside your cabin at 6:30 AM in unreasonable. We did a two week cruise out of Barbados. The day passengers leave and more come on is not pleasant for the guests that are continuing on the second week. The pool area is cleaned, which is a good thing, but it really disrupts the guests that are staying. Not sure what the solution is as there is really no place else to go unless you leave the ship. We didn't leave because the weather was terrible and had we walked over to the beach, we would have been caught in the rain, which wouldn't have been fun. I can't wait to go again. Thank you for a great time! Boston Tia Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our 3rd time on the Windsurf. The cruise had been scheduled to embark and disembark in St. Martin. However, after Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Martin, the cruise was rescheduled to go RT Barbados. The ports changed again after ... Read More
This was our 3rd time on the Windsurf. The cruise had been scheduled to embark and disembark in St. Martin. However, after Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Martin, the cruise was rescheduled to go RT Barbados. The ports changed again after Hurricane Maria. Windstar cruises was very quick to change their itinerary to ports unaffected by the recent storms. As a result, we visited some new ports. Mayreaux, Bequia, Anse Matin, and Monserrat were all new to us. The excursions were well organized. Guides were excellent. We had a great time exploring small ports that are seldom visited by the big ships. We also enjoyed the included "unexpected OBC". The ship was beautiful. As an older ship, the care to details is amazing. Crew was constantly cleaning, polishing, painting, and fixing everything. The cabins are well arranged. Lots of storage space....drawers, shelves, and double closets were ideal. Cabin had good lighting, beautiful linens, and comfortable chairs. Bathroom had lovely L'Occitane toiletries. There are no cabins with verandas. As a small ship, it is easy and quick to get outside. Lots of public spaces indoor and out. Never had to go hunting for a deck chair. The small pool deck aft was a great place to relax. Non alcoholic drinks were included everywhere on the ship. The fridge in the cabin is restocked daily with your choice of beverages. Room service 24/7 was prompt and free. Dining was superb. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda. Seating at linen covered tables indoor and out. You could select from the buffet or order from the menu. Choices were interesting with daily specials. The Yacht Club was open daily until 6pm serving drinks and small sandwiches and pastry. Yacht Club was my go to place for coffee. Diner was served in 4 places. No surcharge anywhere. The main restaurant Aamphora had different menu each night. The food choices were very good. If you wanted something off the menu, ask and usually it happens. No request was denied. The Stella Bistro had a set menu with a French flair. Candles and Dining Under the Stars were outside. Their menus were mostly grilled items. The fillet at Candles was delicious. The buffet salad bar at Dining Under the Stars was outstanding. Once each week, there is a beach party ashore with food and local entertainment. Once a week the regular restaurants are closed because there is a deck BBQ with fabulous food and entertainment. The highlight is grilled lobsters. We took 3 excursions which were excellent. The best was on the disembarkation day. We put our luggage out at 6:30 the day of disembarkation and enjoyed a full breakfast before leaving the ship. The captain and some staff members were at the gangway to help with hand luggage. Hugs all around. While our luggage was taken to the airport, we took a 4+ hour tour around Barbados in an air conditioned van. Great guide. After enjoying an included lunch at a beautiful plantation, we were driven to the airport. We were met by Windstar reps who assisted us with our luggage and checkin. We had a fabulous time and will return. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We recently took the the new concept cruise “back to back” (14 days) with Windstar Cruises on the Wind Surf. It appears that this will be successful for Windstar Cruises because over half the passengers stayed on for two weeks. After ... Read More
We recently took the the new concept cruise “back to back” (14 days) with Windstar Cruises on the Wind Surf. It appears that this will be successful for Windstar Cruises because over half the passengers stayed on for two weeks. After flying long distances it is great to be able to stay for an extended time. It felt like time was much slower. This cruise was perfect for us in every way. This was our 22 cruise with Windstar Cruises we are obviously fans. Having said that I have to state that she , Wind Surf, is a beautiful “old lady”, high maintenance yes but absolutely beautifully maintained. Her interiors are modern, bright and cheery,immaculate in every way. Because she is a motor sailing ship there is a tremendous amout of outside space to enjoy the ship. Both weeks she was neary full at at no time did we feel there were 300 people onboard. There was always space to find sun and shade, space for privacy, your very own nook, and space to meet friendly people and have a refreshing rum punch. She was fitted with new sails so the sail aways were great with bright white new sails being unfurled as we listened to the signature music. For this cruise I have to say that of all the cruises we have been on with Windstar the food and dining was the best. I know food, the science behind it, how it is prepared, adventurous eaters, etc. Every evening we were WOWed by the dinners in the Amphora, Candles and Stella Bistro. Stella was authentic French, Candles under stars, dreamy romantic, Amphora simply lovely, and in all restaurants all meats were perfectly prepared, the fish was never dry and my favorite the lobster bisque the real thing! The Veranda for lunch great salads and if you are late for lunch the sandwiches in the Yacht Club fantastic. Afternoon tea terrific little finger sandwiches and scones with real clotted crean. Breakfast, not my meal, good fresh fruit, eggs made to order, excellent granola and freshly squeezed orange juice. In all past cruises we really never ate the bread because that is where I am a complete food snob but whoever the baker was the breads were fantastic especially the Italian bread sticks, perfect. The breads were never soggy from the saltly, humid, sea air. I know that food is very subjective but this was our take. Service perfect as usual, always above and beyond. Captain Hogan ran a happy ship. James, the nightly host and excursions manager, from Scotland, was absolutely terrific. His nightly talks were informative but full of great humor. He was so enjoyable. Housekeeping perfect from our cabins, public rooms and bathrooms, restaurants etc. For having to really revamp and move the cruise due to the hurricane Windstar did a great job. A mixture of culturally interesting, great beaches and beautiful scenery. We could not get into Monserrat due to 7-10 foot sea swells so instead we went into Antiqua, not too shabby! Our sail by the Pitons of St. Lucia was extraordinary not only the landscapes but the many sailboats and a clipper ship in full sail all sailing in front of the Pitons showing the reflections of their shadows. It seemed every afternoon around 4 we had a rain shower followed by a rainbow and then followed by red sunsets. Magical Great cruise, looking forward to our next. For good reason we are happy customers. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First off, all the people that work there try real hard. the Captain and his crew tried very hard to make the cruise comfortable despite tropical storm Alieen with 85 miles winds.However this is not a luxary cruise. Princess is must better ... Read More
First off, all the people that work there try real hard. the Captain and his crew tried very hard to make the cruise comfortable despite tropical storm Alieen with 85 miles winds.However this is not a luxary cruise. Princess is must better and it is not in the class of Oceanic. This is about getting room service 1/2 hour late. taking over 30 minutes to get a workable hairdryer, losing dining reservation for 18 at their special restaurant, despite confiming it the day before. Knowing what is jasmine tea vis green tea. Not getting a wheel chair, when requesting it. Little stuffs that relates to communication and the failure to delivery. The cabin was great and have lots of places for storages. The shower was huge with plenty of hot water. Cabin size was excellent. Love the one price cleaning and delivery within 24 hours. Love the idea of free soda and coffee. The $12 per day crew service charge was very reasonable and we got good service. Entertaiment was enjoyable. Port excursions by the cruise company was first class and having lunch at great places helps. Recommend it highly. Dining was so-so at best. Desserts was not good, not even ice creams. Worst roast beef i ever have. The specialize restaurant is much better, but you only get to it only once. The best was when they did a barbecue dinner with all the choices. Since the ship is smaller, it limited dining options. It can use a buffet.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Windstar Cruises maintains that they are 180 Degrees from Ordinary. After sailing with them four times, I cannot refute that statement. In fact, they are extraordinary. Recently my husband and I set off from Dublin, bound for Lisbon, on ... Read More
Windstar Cruises maintains that they are 180 Degrees from Ordinary. After sailing with them four times, I cannot refute that statement. In fact, they are extraordinary. Recently my husband and I set off from Dublin, bound for Lisbon, on their flagship vessel the Wind Surf. Cruising with Windstar is more akin to sailing on a large luxury yacht. As soon as the 1492: Conquest of Paradise Theme song begins to play, while the seven massive sails unfurl during sail away, you will know why. With room for only 310 passengers, the ship never feels crowded. Throughout your voyage, you can expect 5-star service with a personal touch from the crew. They are attentive and friendly and by the second day on board expect them to address you by name. Although Windstar Cruises have options for all-day dining, you won’t find any mega cruise ship style buffets on board. Rather, 24/7 dining comes only in the form of room service. We took advantage of this by having fresh coffee and croissants delivered to our room daily. It is the best kind of alarm clock I can think of using while on a cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Cruised with Windstar several times in the past. Did the 2017 Baltic cruise on the WindSurf. Began the cruise in Stockholm and ended it in Copenhagen. The WindSurf is in good shape. The staterooms are adequate and the common areas are ... Read More
Cruised with Windstar several times in the past. Did the 2017 Baltic cruise on the WindSurf. Began the cruise in Stockholm and ended it in Copenhagen. The WindSurf is in good shape. The staterooms are adequate and the common areas are fine. This cruise went as planned with the exception of the cancellation of the Bornholm day. I found the WindSurf staff to be business like and well versed in the company line and Windstar "speak." Don't remember the captain's name. He said the right things, promoted Windstar and showcased his staff. Compared to other Windstar cruises, I felt the staff on this cruise was unenthused and did nothing out of the ordinary as service goes. Of course, there were a few that did, but by and large, they did what they were supposed to do and nothing more. After 10 days, the food became monotonous. Food quality is adequate, but certainly not to be confused with fine cuisine. Towards the end of the cruise, several "bugs" made their way throughout the passenger ranks, as many people had colds or GI issues. Hopefully this did not continue on the next cruise. Shore excursions were so-so, with some being well done and others not so. The stop in Lithuania was not good and the concentration camp trip in Poland was awefull. Some of these excursion should be re-evaluated. I would suggest doing your homework and looking into booking your own shore excursions. For example, I would split an 8 hour private car and guide in Russia. You can see all of the sights this way and tailor your own agenda. I would like to try this itinerary on Silver Seas or another luxury line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
My brother chose this cruise and invited us to join him. While it wasn't an itinerary we had ever considered, we soon became excited about seeing such a different part of the world. From start to finish, we loved our time on the Wind ... Read More
My brother chose this cruise and invited us to join him. While it wasn't an itinerary we had ever considered, we soon became excited about seeing such a different part of the world. From start to finish, we loved our time on the Wind Surf. Both embarkation and disembarkation were quick and nearly effortless. The personable and attentive staff made us feel special, and the size of the ship (312 passengers) made it a much more intimate cruising experience than we'd previously experienced. The food was excellent and varied, so we looked forward to every meal. My husband is a vegetarian, and the kitchen staff were very attentive to be sure he was happy with his meals (they even gave him a preview of the next night's menu in case he wanted to request that they make him a special entree, which turned out not to be needed). We did not partake in evening entertainment (as we generally had to get up early for tours), but attended a couple of interesting lectures about upcoming ports of call or cultures. We chose some of the excursions offered by the ship, and booked others on our own. We were very pleased with the ports we visited (St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, Klaipeda, and Gdansk), and felt we learned a lot. (The sea was too rough to tender in Bornholm, so we had an unexpected sea day, but it was the loveliest weather and we were under full sail for over three hours.) We spent four nights in Stockholm prior to boarding the ship (at the Grand Central Hotel by Scandic), and another three nights in Copenhagen at the end (at the Hotel Admiral), and very much hope to return to both cities. We very much look forward to traveling with Windstar again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Being welcomed back to the Wind Surf by our Captain Gerry Hogan and his spectacular crew made us feel as if we were being welcomed home. This particular cruise from Dublin to Edinburgh was a dream for us and almost unattainable after a ... Read More
Being welcomed back to the Wind Surf by our Captain Gerry Hogan and his spectacular crew made us feel as if we were being welcomed home. This particular cruise from Dublin to Edinburgh was a dream for us and almost unattainable after a sudden serious health issue earlier in the year. Seeing "the Surf" tied up at the dock brought tears to our eyes. Being greeted by staff who remembered us from other sailings not only made us feel instantly at home, it is also a testament to a company that must be great to work for as the crew members have choices in employers and they keep coming back. There is so much to say about this cruise starting with the ports which were all interesting with each one very different in landscape and culture. Going to Isle of Man and learning the history of this country and its part in WWII was enlightening. Kirkwall and all of the Orkney Islands, going to Scapa Flow feel like a step back into history, both modern and ancient. Portree, Isle of Skye, is one of the most beautiful places on earth; Tobermory charming and Portrush all of these rolled into one. Disembarking in Edinburgh was easy and it's understandable why people fall in love with this charming city and continue to return. The Wind Surf is in wonderful shape with excellent services, continuous smiles and a true effort to make every guest feel special. The reception staff and dining room staff are eager to do whatever it takes to satisfy each request. We eat anything an everything but met lots of people with specific food needs and all were exceedingly happy with the abundance of choices. The cabin stewards are the best in the business, keeping the cabins immaculate and will appear at a moments notice to take care of any personal need. We are always amazed that our names are remembered from day one. This particular itinerary is one that should not be missed. There were lots of fellow passengers who were interested in these countries as part of their ancestry. And if one isn't into ancestry and/or the history of Ireland and Scotland, there are always the breweries and distilleries! Great trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in ... Read More
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in lounge, interesting historical lectures by a very informed historian. Wonderful service and extremely friendly and kind crew. Captain always actively engaged with passengers. Ability of all to remember passenger names was astounding and never experienced on any other line. Mixed age groupings, kids with grandparents and so forth, and younger crowd than Vantage or Viking get made it nice too. Ship is gorgeous under sail. We had foggy conditions and missed one port of call but no one seemed to mind and felt securely cared for by the senior staff and crew. Great land excursions, though somewhat expensive. Wonderful cruise director, who was very caring with anyone who was unsteady or needed extra time. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I have always loved Venice and my dream was to leave Venice by a sailing ship. We chose the May 17 th date because we wanted to sail out in the early evening when the light of Venice is what you see in the magical paintings. . We were so ... Read More
I have always loved Venice and my dream was to leave Venice by a sailing ship. We chose the May 17 th date because we wanted to sail out in the early evening when the light of Venice is what you see in the magical paintings. . We were so fortunate because we had the perfect evening, clear, warm with a red sunset. Needless to say it could not have been more perfect. The reflections in the water especially when we saw the La Salute Church, across from St. Marks was, it remarkable. The Wind Surf docked at the Sam Bascilio terminal and could not be easier to get to, take the # 2 vaparotto from almost any stop, from the stop at San Bascillio go over a tiny bridge and you are at the terminal. Easy and does not break the bank by using a wAter taxi. As described above not only was the the sail away beautiful the entire cruise was full of sensual delights. Our first stop being Rovinj a beautiful seaside village with incredible Italian influence, lovely harbor, friendly people. Split was stop #2 with the palace and on the outside a beautiful market. I love markets because I do believe they are the heart and soul of a culture. We choose not to go to the unusual beach because it was 70 and sunny but not warm enough to swim. Dubrovnik was our least favorite stop because it was loaded with touists, imagine when it is quieter it must be lovely. The Destination Event was there and it was lovely. We were bussed to a hilltop outside the city, offered a lovely selection of wine and appetizers and then went to an ancient outside arena to see a song and dance cultural show which was very entertaining. The view from the hilltop was beautiful with spectuacular views of the Adriatic with the Windsurf floating below. Great evening well planned and managed by Windstar. Kotor was our favorite stop the sail in and out was spectacular with the hills and mountains. Lovely, historic town. We went to the market with the chef which was really fun, the venders were very generous. The chef bought many items for the ship including the best honey we have ever eaten and fantastic cheeses and olives.Again, our sail out we had the beautiful red sunset. Day at sea calm and warm what could be better. Sicily is where the port was changed due to security and the G7. We had a private guide and went to the historic market in Catania. Great authebtic day. That night was a highlight of the cruise for us. We chose Candles that night and to our delight we again had a red sunset that sat over the Aeolian Islands that was beyond georgeous as well as a thrilling sail near Stromboli watching the smoke come out of the volcano. That evening was something we will never forget. Since we only had 5 hours in Almafi at the last stop we chose the ship's excursion, a boat trip to Positano, beautiful ride along the coast and we spent a lovely time in Positano. Very well organized excursion. The sail away beautiful following the coast. The food on this trip exemplary, healthy, varied, interesting, delicious and beautifully presented. The crew and service always the best. The ship looked great, she is really beautiful especially from those hill towns along the Dalmation Coast, looking down on her. We were very fortunate to have had nearly perfect weather and calm seas for relaxing and touring. Since were were in Italy 10 days before the cruise I really appreciated the laundry service so I could be comfortable with just using a small carry on. I hate checking and lugging. Dream come true again with Windstar. They made it easy, beautiful and exciting for us. Perhaps I should say " red sunset at night a sailor's delight" . That was this cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Up until this cruise, I would have said that the best cruise I ever took was in French Polynesia on the Paul Gauguin, back when that ship was part of the Regents Seven Seas line. This cruise, however (from Venice to Rome, with stops in ... Read More
Up until this cruise, I would have said that the best cruise I ever took was in French Polynesia on the Paul Gauguin, back when that ship was part of the Regents Seven Seas line. This cruise, however (from Venice to Rome, with stops in Croatia, Montenegro, Sicily and the Amalfi coast), may well have topped that one. This cruise was not inexpensive, but you definitely get what you pay for. EMBARKATION was smooth and painless. Since we were not using Windstar’s transfer offer, we did have a little bit of difficulty getting information about where and how to board. You do so at the San Basilio port, easily reached by the vaporetto, or water bus (riding this from the Rialto stop, as we did, is itself a pleasant and scenic experience). Once on board we had to spend about 45 minutes filling out forms, but then we were free to explore; an excellent lunch (carved prime rib) was already being served. THE SHIP is relatively small (a bit more than 300 passengers) and very nicely laid out. Cabins do not have balconies, but all have portholes, are spacious (by cruise ship standards) and are beautifully arranged for maximum flexibility. Every cabin has a TV with DVD player; DVDs are available for free checkout in the ship’s library. The TV has a variety of satellite news channels, both for liberals (MSNBC) and conservatives (Fox News); several movies also play repeatedly throughout the day. We never actually saw our cabin steward, but he was very accommodating when we left him notes. On our first day, he replaced, at our request, all the beer and other alcoholic beverages in our refrigerator and replaced them with complimentary cans of coke and diet coke. Our cabin was always kept spotlessly clean and of course there were the inevitable towel animals waiting us for when we came back from dinner. The ship has sails (a huge plus for my wife, who loves sailing) and although they are mostly for show, they are occasionally used. When they are unfurled, stirring music plays. Another huge plus: There is a marina at the rear of the ship from which you can check out kayaks and even a small Hobie sailboat (all for free). The marina is open (weather permitting) whenever you are in a port that requires tendering to shore, but my wife absolutely loved sailing on the Adriatic. There is also a huge float that makes for fun swimming. This is a high-end cruise and therefore attracts an older crowd; I’d say the vast majority of passengers were at least 50 and there were plenty of people over 70, though we did see a few honeymooners and other folks in their 30s and 40s. There are no youth or childcare facilities; the ship makes very clear that young children and teenagers are not preferred passengers. This was fine with us. DINING is superb. The principal breakfast and lunch venue is the Veranda, where you can eat either indoors or outdoors. The arrangement is “buffet plus”: a good buffet (in the indoors part), with a smallish menu from which you can order extra items if necessary. (One thing I appreciated at every breakfast was freshly squeezed orange juice, which was excellent.) Dinner is served primarily in the main dining room, the AmphorA, though one evening during the cruise there is an on-deck barbeque, including not only things like paella, ribs and steak but also lobster (and of course a ton of salads, appetizers, breads and desserts). All non-alcoholic beverages are always free at every venue (including the bars); a charge is made for alcoholic beverages. Food at dinner was usually first-rate, with a choice of five or six entrees. My favorites were the prime rib and beef Wellington. Dinner is open seating (just come when you feel like it; there may be a line), but on the second night we sat at a table with a great view and excellent waiters, so my wife and I made a point of requesting that table (#7) every night from then on, and always got it. In addition to AmphorA, there are a couple of specialty restaurants, for which a reservation is required (but there is no extra charge). We ate at only one, Candles. During the check-in, we were asked if we wanted to make reservations there that night, and after looking at the AmphorA menu and seeing nothing that we had to have, we said yes. This was a great decision, since Candles is outdoor seating and the views as we sailed away from Venice were wonderful. There is also complimentary room service, but as we never took advantage of this option, I can’t comment on its quality. THE PORTS ranged from satisfactory to memorable. Our three top ports were Dubrovnik, Kotor (in Montenegro) and Amalfi, all of which had great scenery. Gettting to Kotor requires sailing down a beautiful passage ringed by mountains; unfortunately we were a little late departing so we didn’t get the spectacular mountain views a second time, as the sun had already set. The captain did a good job of pointing out points of interest as we sailed, and one evening (I think it was after departing Sicily) he mentioned we would be passing Stromboli, which I had never heard of, but found out was an active volcano. We were lucky enough at one point to see lava not just glowing from the top of the volcano but actually shooting out in a spectacular eruption; sadly, neither my wife nor I got a photo of this. We were a little annoyed that the ship’s photographer did not have the foresight to set up her camera for the possibility of something like this happening; we would have been more than willing to pay for a photo of this event. If we were to do it all over again, we would book, in Messina, Sicily, the shore excursion to Mt. Etna. It’s expensive and time-consuming but Messina didn’t offer a lot of stuff to do; we spent about three hours walking around and then found a gelato place where we could get free wifi as well as gelato. (For some reason, gelato was not served on board, but regular ice cream was. I think it should be a law that a ship in or even near Italy must serve gelato.) ENTERTAINMENT on board is pretty minimal. That suited us fine; we are early-to-bed, early-to-rise types and wouldn’t have been able to partake of it in any event. Don’t count, though, on the typical comedian/impressionist/audience participation games that you find on the larger ships. DISEMBARKATION was mildly problematic, but that’s not the ship’s fault. Getting from the port where we docked to Rome takes some doing; we decided to kill two birds with one stone and booked a shore excursion to Rome, which left us off a short taxi-ride away from the Spanish steps, where our hotel (booked by us independently of the cruise) was. There was also a miscommunication between us and the shore excursion lady about what stops were made; both my wife and I were sure that at least one additional stop was promised, but the tour leader said no. As it is we stopped only at St. Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls, and getting there on the tour bus took forever (traffic jams here are murder); there was no bathroom on the tour bus and I was in considerable distress when we finally arrived. I don’t know of any other reasonable and inexpensive way to get from the port to Rome, though. SUMMARY One or two minor glitches to the contrary, this was a great cruise. Both my wife and I will look forward to traveling with Windstar Cruises in the future. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Let me start off by saying this was our 5th Windstar Cruise and was one of " the best". I did a lot of due diligence before our trip on Viator, TripAdvisor, NY Times Travel etc.regarding our cities we were visiting. You should ... Read More
Let me start off by saying this was our 5th Windstar Cruise and was one of " the best". I did a lot of due diligence before our trip on Viator, TripAdvisor, NY Times Travel etc.regarding our cities we were visiting. You should probably do this but the Yacht provides a write up on each stop ( places of interest, history etc.) which was fabulous information. You can pick these up as soon as you board near excursion desk. OK let's get started. I hope the information I provide you will make your trip easier and you take advantage of all my tips. We flew into FCO ( ROME) and I had contracted thru Viator a car ( 69 EUROS plus tip) to take us to Port of Civitavecchia. It was a pleasant hour ride and our driver gave us a history lesson on all the little towns we passed . We arrived before 1 pm check in so your options are to wait in lobby, walk around Port or take a free bus 10 minute bus ride to city. Once you can go onboard you fill out a few forms, have your picture taken, and give credit card for incidentals. My recommendation is to make your "special night" dinner reservations at Stella and Candles immediately after checking in. We love Stella and were able to go back 2 nights. Our "favorite restaurant" . Gede is the maitre' de and excellent in running the restaurant. For Candles ,I recommend at the end of the trip when your in a Port late and you sit outside for beautiful views and romantic dinner. The main restaurant is Amphora. It was very very good. Our maitre'ed was Hayruttin and a really nice guy. Our outstanding waiter was Andi ( hardest working guy on Yacht). Always smiling and so friendly. He was also our waiter for breakfast and lunch along with Aqil ( great smile and very hard worker). Eric was our Wine Steward. Extremely knowledgeable and a great guy. We've had Eric and Andi on 3 of our cruises and they are AWESOME. Look and ask for them. They really are the best at what they do. I have to tell you that ALL THE STAFF ( 192 people) are just terrific. So friendly and always looking to help out. It speaks volumes to Windstar for having such a great staff. There is a very full menu for all 3 meals but if you desire something else they will bend over backwards to accommodate you. One night there is the ' most incredible" BBQ on deck at night. You name they have it. Lobster, shrimp, fish, roast beef etc. Bring your camera . You won't regret it. Our cabin #320 : If you like 2 bathrooms, 2 TV'S, 2 large closets, plenty of great amenities with a sitting room then I highly recommend the Windsurf. Our room was awesome. Perfect location. Middle of yacht and completely accessible to main bridge and everywhere else. Our previous cruise we had Cabin #331 which was really good also. The bed, sheets and pillows are all first class. The rooms are cleaned in the morning and at night. On this Classic Italy trip being on the even side gave us great views of the coastline and Ports the whole trip. The Information desk is manned by 4 outstanding workers. I remember Mary and Kareem and apologize can't remember other 2 but all were extremely helpful answering any questions, wake-up or if there was a problem they were extremely attentive to passengers needs. In the morning there are 2-3 pages of current news everyday from Times Digest, USA Today and British News along with NY Times crossword puzzle, Suduko and Jumble. These are a lot of fun to do if you have time. Near the information desk is the Yachtsman Club where you can get coffee ( also specialty coffees), fruit, desserts , sandwiches and outstanding peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Don't expect to lose any weight . After the 5th day it was getting embarrassing. I needed to wear all my shirts out I was eating so much. Again the food was really good . So if you have time there is a full "state of the art" workout facility. I walked around the ship 11 times ( 2.2 miles) and when your sailing on the Adriatic Sea it's like a bath tub. There a plenty of lounge chairs on 2 decks for just reading and relaxing and taking in the views. There is also the Compass Bar where you can lounge or get served awesome drinks by Eric. There are 2 hot tubs ( did not use) and small pool. When ship is docked in a Port you can use any of the water sports activities at back of Yacht which is run by BJ. He is a really cool guy, very athletic and runs a really good operation in water activities. These are not available if weather is inclement. Entertainment- There is entertainment starting at 9:15 pm in the main lounge. Wonderful singer and back up band( the guys are pretty good singers also ). they have Beatles Night and 50/60/70"s Night. There is a duo singing in the Compass Bar each night. One of the highlights of the trip is Crew entertainment night. You have no idea how talented some of the crew are. Wonderful singers but my favorite group was Men's Synchronized Swim group led by BJ. I couldn't stop laughing at the incredible performance these 8 guys did. There is also a Casino on board . Ports and Excursions- I did a lot of research thru Viator and TripAdvisor re: excursions. I will be honest with you. Don't waste your time. Every evening, Gonsalvo would give us a brief scenario of our next Port. He was extremely thorough and he and his assistant Joha were very helpful. First, the excursions the Yacht offers are fabulous. Prices vary but you should be able to find a price point for your needs. Second, the guides the Yacht provided at each Port were outstanding. Third, but most important the Yacht will provide you with the BEST DRIVERS anywhere. If you've been to Italy ( especially Sicily- the road to Mt. Etna is unbelievable) and all their drivers were the consummate professional and just outstanding. When you see them make impossible turns hairpin turns with these big buses you'll thank me. Plus if you should incur any trip problems it's mush easier dealing with Windstar than these other small travel companies. One word of advice: foreign buses do not have bathrooms . We took 5 excursions: (1) Boat to Positano ( view are magnificent and bring 2-3 credit cards you'll need it- great shopping)- (2) trip to Mt. Etna- the cruise line provides you with a free activity and after Mt. Etna we went to the Gambino Winery where we had a wonderful meal, sampled 4 good wines and serenaded with nice music. Also a wine cellar tour. All your morning excursions will end up at Gambino Winery so you don't have to worry about missing anything. (3) Historic Kotor on foot- wonderful excursion and town (4) Dubrovnik City Sights and Cable Car- awesome (5) Krka National Park Highlights- it's not Niagara Falls but pleasant trip. The last day was Rovinj and we did our own tour and it worked out well. This was a perfect city to just walk and walk. We stayed in Venice for 2 extra nights and there's nothing I can tell you about Venice that you don't know . I contracted thru Viator for pick up from Port in Venice to our Hotel ( Baglioni Hotel Luna- place is like a palace- highly recommend- it's magnificent ) and it ran 80 Euros. From hotel to airport it ran 120 Euros. I think I pretty much covered everything you'll need for this trip. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. Enjoy your next cruise . Ciao !!!! 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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