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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We sailed on the Windstar to the Caribbean, St George to St George, in early March 2017. The ship was lovely, the crew was very attentive and food was quite good. The advantage of cruising on a small ship like this is that visits to small ... Read More
We sailed on the Windstar to the Caribbean, St George to St George, in early March 2017. The ship was lovely, the crew was very attentive and food was quite good. The advantage of cruising on a small ship like this is that visits to small ports and hidden away places are possible and the itinerary was full of promise. While the first few days of this cruise confirmed this expectation, bad weather (high wind, strong seas) forced the cancellation of at least 50% of the itinerary. This was bad luck and no fault of anyone. The crew did a great job of keeping us safe. What was disappointing was that the cruise line did not offer one single bit of compensation. No complementary drinks, or services and no rebates or discounts on future trips. I would be hesitant about recommending this trip at this time of year. Our trip was dramatically restricted due to weather as were other sailing during this time. There were no foul weather plans or alternative itineraries so we spent most of the time cruising at sea often under adverse weather conditions. Overall it was a disappointing experience. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
After a spectacular Windstar experience through the Panama Canal several years ago, we could not wait to do it again with our two younger sons - and this time - adding our oldest son and his wife. We planned a Christmas week cruise out of ... Read More
After a spectacular Windstar experience through the Panama Canal several years ago, we could not wait to do it again with our two younger sons - and this time - adding our oldest son and his wife. We planned a Christmas week cruise out of Barbados and talked it up for months. Our first indication that things would be different was the first night's sail away. This is Windstar's brand, their signature sail away. It's what makes the cruise so memorable and filled us with joy the last time. This time we got our drinks, met on deck, and grinned like crazy waiting to see the reaction of the oldest, his wife and new friends we had already made on the cruise. As the music hit the crescendo, the large sail didn't move. And that was it, our magical sail away hit that sour note every single night. Comments that first night and subsequent nights: "That's it?" After speaking to the crew, we found out it had been broken for at least two weeks. It remained broken through our entire cruise. We noted small things that added up as well. The back flag was frayed, there was rust around the pool, the pool and hot tub were often empty and closed for repairs, the back stairwell smelled like cat pee (very strongly), there was only one tender making excursions a long process, they chipped rust every day off the hull, the carpet was ripped in two places in our cabin, the AC was very warm (could never get it cool enough), and there was a loud, high pitched noise anytime the engine was running (the reply was yes we know and can't find it) - just to name a few things. Service saved the cruise for us, it was as good as the first time. For the price we paid for a small luxury cruise for 6 adults, we were very, very disappointed and will not cruise Windstar again. And we were so looking forward to experiencing their brand again - i just didn't come close to expectations. Other comments that week from returning guests: - They seem to be getting awfully close to cheapening their brand. - This feels like a small Carnival ship this time - This entertainment is so cheesy. Wasn't it much classier last time? - That's it again? (the sail every night) Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our second New Year's cruise with Windstar & we love the casual atmosphere that you find on board. Last year we did the Windsurf out of St Marteen, it was outstanding this one not quite up to the same level. The one ... Read More
This was our second New Year's cruise with Windstar & we love the casual atmosphere that you find on board. Last year we did the Windsurf out of St Marteen, it was outstanding this one not quite up to the same level. The one constant is the impressive personal service, most all of the staff will remember your first name, drink preferences, meal choices after just the first day. We even had some staff that remembered us from the first cruise we had in 2015. If you suffer from motion sickness, this might not be the cruise to take at this time of the year. There were 2 long days at sea, 14 hrs or so and coming back to Barbados was uncomfortable for many even though we were headed into the 15-20' swells rather than taking them on the side of the ship. Check in process very easy and quick. I would recommend making your dinner reservation for the Candles restaurant for an evening at anchor or a late departure, and make that res as soon as possible-it is very popular to dine under the stars & only accomodates about 30 guests. Food was generally very good, although our party of 4 often waited quite a while to be served at dinner. There were adjacent tables seated after us that were having coffe when our entrees were delivered-but were enjoying the evening so it was a minor issue for us anyway. There is a drink package available-$108/cabin per day double occupancy, while it sounds expensive if you enjoy a few glasses of wine, couple of cocktails, perhaps a beer during the day it will pay for itself. Beers $6-7, drinks $8.50-10.00, wines $8-12. It is very easy to hit the $54 threshold/person each day without too much problem. It also eliminates having to sign a ticket each time you order something. You must sign up for this option on the first day. I did hear some folks who did not opt for it wish they had a couple of days into the trip. Laundry package $109/cabin for the whole trip, personally I don't think it worth the price. You will spend most of the days in a bathing suit & t shirts. The prices are pretty reasonable: t shirt, underwear, socks $1.80 each; sport shirt $3.75; dress shirt $4.75, so you can do a fair amount of laundry for less than the package price. Be sure when you arrive in Barbados to fill out 1 immigration form for each passenger-our airline misinformed us which led to an extended wait for immigration and customs. We did the snorkeling at Tobago-average at best, strong current & surf so weak or out of shape swimmers had a difficult time. River tubing in Grenada was good, but the description leads you to expect a lot more time on the water. The drive each way is more like 1hr, & there is 20 min spent getting everyone fit for a life jacket, helmet etc. December is the end of the rainy season, so the water was flowing pretty good and as such there were 5-6 guides in the water at each section of rapids to keep people headed in the right direction. After each section of rapids, we would have to collect and wait for the guides to get in position for the next section and so on. We actually spent 10-15 minutes going through the white water & that was pretty exciting. Just beware of the dry season-Jan to June. We had to disembark the ship by 8:45am & our flight did not leave till 4:30pm, so we opted for an island tour with lunch & a dropoff at the airport. Very good tour and well worth the money. The airport was extremely busy with long wait times as there were at least 4 large cruise ships docking as well as the smaller ones. Seats in the terminal/restaurants were hard to come by & the rest rooms were very busy. Not impressed with the airport handling on both arrival and departure. All in all a good cruise, but will opt for the larger Wind Surf in the future. The smaller ship would do better in the calmer waters, but I doubt Windstar could fill the Surf for the Windward Island cruise-full cabins=more $$. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
First time on a small ship (146 passengers on a ship that holds 212) and did not miss the "floating city" experience of past larger ship cruises. The staff were very friendly, helpful and attentive and the service was 1st class. ... Read More
First time on a small ship (146 passengers on a ship that holds 212) and did not miss the "floating city" experience of past larger ship cruises. The staff were very friendly, helpful and attentive and the service was 1st class. Very much enjoyed the population size of the small cruise ship and the opportunity to get to know many of our fellow passengers. The cabins were very comfortable and we enjoyed spending a lot of time just enjoying the ocean breeze and sounds from the open window of the Juliet balcony in our suite. 24hr room service is AWESOME! Some of the Ports on the "Best of the ABC Islands" cruise were not much to look at when waking up in the morning. Unless you signed up for a ship excursion, trying to find some Island hideaway beach was difficult if not impossible. Even some of the excursions left folks wishing for some clearer waters to swim and snorkel and soft Caribbean sand under their feet. None of the ports allowed to do any swimming, sports and such from the much touted "sports deck". I had imagined being anchored in some bay by a lovely sand trimmed beach and hopping into a kayak from the ship's sport deck and paddling about looking at a dreamy beach. They did have the sports stuff all onshore in Mayreau; which was what I had imagined for a secluded beach that only a small ship could get to. They had plenty of chairs, shade and set up a bar from the ship. Contrast that with the dreadful and depressing oil field lined dock we woke up to in Curacao ... yuck! Barbados and Aruba are picturesque, but theses two ports start are bookends, so you do have to arrive at least a day before and stay at least a day after to enjoy them. The food and dining was less than expected. Not 5 star; very similar to what I have had on the many other cruises aboard the large ships. However, there was an on-deck BBQ which was, by far, the best food of the trip (accompanied by an AWESOME steel drum band that came onboard from shore). Also, the coffee bar in the Yacht Club aboard ship was very nice; the coffee, the treats and the club itself. The entertainment was half great and half OMG, take the mic away from that woman. One duo was perfect for this ship, clientele and ambiance. They were funny, had a diverse and enjoyable repertoire of songs and instruments and sounded great. The woman that sang after the on-board BBQ was, well, let's just say no-one heard from her again for the rest of the cruise. (I need to thank the person that took her microphone away). The special event "An Antillean Evening" fell way short. The venue was very nice, but could not handle the 140 or so folks from the ship that attended. I would hate to see what it would be like if a full ship of 212 passengers attended. First, you had to go stand in lines at each "station" to get food on very small plates; which is the antithesis of the beauty of sailing a small ship – no lines! Second, once you got to the "station" half of the items were gone, not yet replenished, so more standing and waiting. All the while standing in line, I am trying not to bump my backside into the face of someone sitting at a table (this was, alas, quite a challenge for me and my backside). All this for so-so food and roasted meat you couldn't cut even if you borrowed a freshly sharpened jungle machete. Props to the Steel Drum Duo as they provided some Jazzy music that was wonderful. I wish the ship would have held a beach BBQ on Mayreau instead. All in all, I am glad to have experienced a small ship and the Start Pride was nice and Windstar staff was superb. I would not revisit this particular itinerary and do wish I selected a different trip. Not sure if I will travel Windstar again .... this trip left me hankering for a weeklong stay on a great beach with soft sand, calm waters, snorkeling, great food, some live music and a pool with a swim-up bar. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest ... Read More
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest disappointment. Mystery meat available at every meal. The amount of small children on board was a complete surprise. There is nothing for them to do and they were allowed in both restaurants until after 9pm. Nothing says dinner like screaming kids. We expected none as in the past. Smoking rules are not enforced anywhere. However, tee shirts were for sale outside the restaurant for purchase to remind you that this is no longer a 5 star experience. The special touches that were Windstar have disappeared and it is not longer worth the price. Embarkation used to be a joyful return to a wonderful ship, friendly faces from the past, both passengers and crew members. Not so any more the new management has put many untrained people into the staff and it shows. We feel sorry for the few staff that have stayed, they try so hard to maintain the level of service from the past. Disembarking was fast. With the feeling they really wanted you to leave as quickly as possible! And we were glad to leave. We met some wonderful people and enjoyed seeing the crew from our previous time on board. The ship is still wonderful to sail on, but you have many choices for the price range. Our advice is try another cruise line. Read Less
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