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Sail Date: December 2005
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good ... Read More
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good pr, and a much deserved plus). For scuba divers, they advertise as a 'liveaboard' in mags such as Rodale's Scuba...NOT!!!. PLUS: Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) was great. Open bridge while sailing. Sails unfurled in the evening and mid morning. Room service seemed better than actual set meals. Minus: After midnite, you can't get a glass of water, let alone a simple snack (ie a simple sandwich), unless you request room service. A cup of coffee can't be found until 6am. In between lunch and dinner (keep in mind you may have missed breakfast or lunch for an excursion you booked with the ship), you get cookies!. Communication between departments was non-existent. If you booked an excursion, and it ran past lunch, you didn't get lunch. To their credit, the second week they did try to reconcile this problem. Excursions are hit and miss. They may be cancelled, they may not. They may be on time, they may be 2 hours late. Finally, and if anyone from the company actually reads this stuff: Never, and I say NEVER give your product away. We booked at a reasonable (at the time) rate to my wife and I. Then took advantage of their advertised policy of a steep discount for a back to back. Only to find out that if you went to a discount website, we could have gotten the first week for almost half off. Overall: Taking into account the weather the first week and it being the first time this company did this specific itinerary, they did a commendable job. However, by their own admission, by offering such a steep discount on those 'last minute' sites, I felt we well overpaid, and probably won't sail again with them. If you work for the company and read this, consider the following: NEWER give up your front gate!! Offer free drinks, discounts on shipboard stuff, etc., but NEVER give up your front gate!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a ... Read More
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a 7 day trip was quite enough. I didnt have any wishes for a longer voyage. Going to smaller ports on a smaller ship left me feeling like the out of the way, back woods ports were pretty much the same. If you have seen 4, you have seen them all. Yes, they have differences, but the differences dont matter so much in the grand scheme of things. Windstar, the company that owns the 3 sail cruise ships, is owned by Holland America, which is owned by Carnival. All of the descriptions of the cruise experience from the Windstar web site describe each of the ships as small, luxury sail/motor ships: Sailing under the banner of its appropriate tag line "180º From Ordinary," Windstar was created in the mid-1980's with the vision to offer an alternative to the typical cruise or resort vacation. The Windstar passenger sees the world from a romantic sailing ship with luxurious accommodations, a casual yet elegant atmosphere, and exquisite service and cuisine. The Wind Surf, at 308 passengers, is twice the size of the other two ships. I havent been on the smaller ships, but from what I have heard, they are different in feel (i.e. better) than the Wind Surf. The bottom line for me is that the Wind Surfs dEcor was utilitarian: nice, but utilitarian. The food ranged from good to very good, the service from the staff was very good, while the service from management was poor. What the Wind Surf has to offer is small, out of the way ports that the big ships cant get into. Can you imagine 3,200 passengers storming the beach at Mayreau (population 212)? Instead, our 308 passengers fit in just fine. Moreover, with so few passengers, we saw the same people day after day, and that was a delightful experience. I dont think I would take Wind Surf again unless it were going to a destination that was absolutely compelling, that no one else was going to, and (a big and) the price was more in line with what I was actually receiving. So, lets start at the beginning: The Wind Surf is a 5 masted sailing cruise ship. Like all sailboats, the design of everything is subordinated to making room for the masts, lines, supports etc. It is hard to take a picture without running afoul of sailing apparatus. In the Wind Surfs case, that makes for a long skinny ship; so rather than your typical cruise ship configuration of two outside corridors with lounges in the middle, you often have only one corridor and an L shaped room, like the 1960s combination living/dining rooms of a suburban ranch house. None of that is bad, and in fact, it is downright pleasant. Or, it would be if the ship actually functioned as a sailboat. There were two lengthy periods when the motor was disconnected (not, shut off), and the ship proceeded under sail power. The idea was that it was a sailing experience, but the reality was that the motor was needed for electrical power, and I could still hear it vibrating away. The ship never heeled over into the wind. In short, the Wind Surf struck me as a motorized cruise ship with a gimmick. True enough, a nice gimmick, but my body wasnt fooled even for a moment. As for luxury, forget it: thats my opinion, anyway. The cabin and elsewhere was nicely utilitarian, but both Celebrity (nouveau upscale) and Holland American (pretend old money, i.e. quieter upscale) were far, far, far more luxurious. Wind Surf claims to be a 5 star ship like Celebrity and Holland American, but the reality is closer to a very pleasant 3 or 4 stars but for the much smaller number of passengers. This year, Holland American costs about $120 per person per day in the Caribbean, and Celebrity checks in at $142, while Wind Surf averages $264. What you have to do is decide if the smaller number of passengers and the unusual ports are worth paying the extra money. It probably is worth it once or twice, but dont spend the money thinking you are getting luxury in your surroundings. You arent. Dining: Breakfast and lunch on the Wind Surf are in the Veranda Cafe, which is an indoor-outdoor buffet experience. I found both to be great, but Nancy fought with the menu. Breakfast included real granola, fruit, European cold cuts, smoked salmon, a rotating exhibit of eggs on English muffins, i.e. Benedict, Florentine, etc., an omelet / scrambled egg station  no powdered eggs, which most other cruise lines try to palm off on passengers too old to remember being at camp, and a pancake / waffle station. Lunch consisted of more buffets than you could ever imagine: Mexican day, Indonesian day etc. Also there was a carving station, sandwich creation ingredients etc. Nancy kept wanting some of the breakfast ingredients like mozzarella cheese to put on her lunch salad. She was happiest the day she ordered room service and got a Caesar salad and a piece of plain grilled salmon. Of course, she would have been even happier if our room had had a table that she could have eaten it from. There were two locations for dinner: the main dining room called The Restaurant and the Bistro cafe. The Bistro did not seem to be thought of (by the passengers, anyway) as a gourmet location as compared to The Restaurant. Rather, it was simply an alternative venue. Consequently, reservations were fairly easy to come by. Both the Restaurant and the Bistro featured open seating from 7:30 to 9:30. We always told the headwaiter that we wanted company and were seated at tables for 4 or 6. It was a nice way to meet folks. Before dinner, a live band played in the lounge, appetizers were served, and at 7:15, the cruise director would give a short talk about the next days port. All in all, it was quite civilized. I must compliment Wind Surf on providing more port information than any other cruise line I have been on to help the non-excursion passengers plan their day. This was the first cruise I have ever been on where I actually gained weight (a pound and a half, thank you), and I attribute that to the fact that the desserts were tasty rather than consisting of imitation 3-Musketeer-fluff sandwiched in between allegedly choco-like substances. If you are a dark chocolate fan like me, the flourless chocolate cake with hazelnut puree accompanied by pistachio brittle was worth holding back on the green beans in order to save room. On the other hand, on French night in the Bistro, I doubt that a real French person would have recognized the meal: the strawberry tart, for example, had chocolate pudding underneath the strawberries. French night wasnt very French, but Indonesian night had the best lobster Ive ever been served. Since there were no assigned tables, the dining staff (all male) had to work harder to keep everybody serviced. They were the same folks who ran the tables in the breakfast & lunch buffets, and with 308 passengers, it wasnt too hard to keep track of the passengers foibles. Nevertheless, it was still surprising to have a waiter come all the way across the room to bring me an ice tea because he knew I liked iced tea, and my waiter for that night hadnt learned my preferences yet. Susan, one of the wine stewards, once bought (not, brought, but bought as in paid for) me a coke because she had noticed that I didnt drink alcohol. I never had that happen before. One day, I asked for blueberries the next day at breakfast. Requests like that are usually routine on the larger cruise ships. On the Wind Surf, the response was, We will have to see what is on the menu. Public Rooms: There are really only three public rooms of any consequence: the library, the lounge, and the Compass Rose bar. The library has some reference and travel books plus several bookcases of left-behind books that, fortunately, had reading material worth reading. It also had tables and chairs plus two non-internet computers. Every afternoon, I would discover a plate of cookies and a couple of pitchers of juice had been set out for bookworms like me. It rained 5 out of 7 days on our cruise, and we discovered that one of the shortcomings of the Wind Surf is that there are few, if any, comfortable indoor reading locations. The best seats are the couches in the hallway near the library. Other than those, you are pretty much on your own. We didnt use the lounge nearly as much as we thought we would. It is the main assembly room, the entertainment room, and it contained one of the bars that was used for the two cocktail parties that the ship hosted to make us feel better about the broken air conditioning. They never did figure out a way to make us feel better about the fact that our cabin had no cold water in our shower for 2 and a half days. It was so hot in our cabin that the sweat was just pouring off us, and we couldnt even shower due to the scalding water. Grrrr. Anyway, here is a picture of the lounge: We came here most nights about 7:00 to hear the lecture before dinner about the next days port. In addition, we could sample the appetizers that were served to tide us over until dinner at 7:30 and listen to the music played by a 4 person group that we had heard on a previous cruise with another cruise line in one of their small, out of the way, secondary lounges. In other words, the live music was okay, but barely that. We never came back after dinner for a night of dancing, but we did come for the crews talent night which was very enjoyable. The Compass Rose Bar is the main bar, if you happen to need a stool to hang out on. If you dont need a stool, then the extended Compass Rose is still the place to be since the tables spill out onto the deck. If you wake up too early to eat breakfast, there is always a continental bite to eat in the Compass before moving on to pancakes, waffles etc. In addition to the main public rooms, there is also the Terrace Bar on the next deck up that was touted as the cigar spot. There was quite a bit of sympathy expressed by the cruise director for the cigar smokers who never had a spot for themselves. Windstars solution was to use the Terrace Bar to create that spot. Unfortunately, they never enforced their own rules about smoking elsewhere. The net result was that the three rear decks were overrun by smokers. Basically, the smoking rules were unworkable in the first place. The idea was that half of each of the three decks was for smoking. Even if that had been followed, it never would have worked because the decks were so small that the wind blew the smoke everywhere. In short, it was like the bad old days where there was a smoking section in each restaurant (or airplane) that never isolated the smoke in the first place. That was the theory. The reality was worse. There was no enforcement, and the smokers smoked everywhere, although I must admit that there wasnt much smoking inside. I put on my California hat and tried to complain. They just couldnt get it. It never was their responsibility any more than it would have been in a restaurant in 1954. Fitness and Recreation: The Wind Surf positively excelled in the fitness department. The gym is on the top deck with views all around and more than enough machines for the number of passengers. It never felt crowded. Some of the fitness classes were free, including the one that I went to where I was the only one there. It was like having a fitness trainer for free rather than paying $75 per hour. In addition to the gym and the aerobics room, the Wind Surf also had a water sports platform that dropped down from the rear of the ship. We picked the largest of the three ships for our cruise because it had a larger sports platform with more toys. The sports platform can only be used in ports where the ship tenders rather than docks and when the waters are calm enough. On the Wind Surf (as opposed to the 2 smaller ships), you cannot swim off of the platform since the platform floats on the water rather than being above the surface. The net result is that the water sports platform is best for kayaking, sailing and not much else. They did hand out (free) snorkeling gear at the start of the cruise that we used for our excursions. There were about 35 divers out of the 308 passengers plus numerous snorkelers and water people. If you go, you are in the midst of an active crowd. There is one swimming pool on the top deck that I never saw occupied, even once. The one on the rear deck did get some use, although the hot tubs were vastly more popular. There is also a spa for those who like to spend double the price of a land massage. We tried it with the on-board credit that went along with our tickets. My favorite part was the questionnaire that they wanted us to fill out in the beginning. The whole purpose of the questionnaire was to set them up to offer us products to buy at the end of the massage. One part of the questionnaire asked: What home cleansing routine do you follow? I answered that I vacuumed weekly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest ... Read More
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest disappointment. Mystery meat available at every meal. The amount of small children on board was a complete surprise. There is nothing for them to do and they were allowed in both restaurants until after 9pm. Nothing says dinner like screaming kids. We expected none as in the past. Smoking rules are not enforced anywhere. However, tee shirts were for sale outside the restaurant for purchase to remind you that this is no longer a 5 star experience. The special touches that were Windstar have disappeared and it is not longer worth the price. Embarkation used to be a joyful return to a wonderful ship, friendly faces from the past, both passengers and crew members. Not so any more the new management has put many untrained people into the staff and it shows. We feel sorry for the few staff that have stayed, they try so hard to maintain the level of service from the past. Disembarking was fast. With the feeling they really wanted you to leave as quickly as possible! And we were glad to leave. We met some wonderful people and enjoyed seeing the crew from our previous time on board. The ship is still wonderful to sail on, but you have many choices for the price range. Our advice is try another cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
Cruise: 12/2-9/2007 - Barbados to Barbados Overview This was our third cruise on the Wind Surf, after back to back cruises in the Mediterranean in November, 2004. We sailed to small ports, all the while feeling that we were privileged ... Read More
Cruise: 12/2-9/2007 - Barbados to Barbados Overview This was our third cruise on the Wind Surf, after back to back cruises in the Mediterranean in November, 2004. We sailed to small ports, all the while feeling that we were privileged and pampered. Nothing beats the feeling of being on a ship under sail, and we spent quite a bit of time under sail, with the engine disengaged. It's a pleasure to sail with a few hundred other passengers, rather than a few thousand. Why is the title for our review "the tender trap"? Because four of the six ports were ports where we anchored and then took tenders to shore. That got to be something of a drag, and limited our ability to come and go off the ship. Description of the ship The MSY Windstar is a "motorized sailing yacht". It is about half the length of a mega ship, but much narrower, and with far fewer decks (6, plus a partial sun deck). There are a maximum of 312 passengers and 190 crew. Most staterooms are 188 square feet, with portholes (no balconies), with everything built in. The rooms, despite their relatively small size, are so well designed that they feel roomy. Best of all, they feel nautical, as if they are staterooms on a yacht. In contrast, cruise ship rooms, even elegant ones such as our suites on the Noordam and Regent Seven Seas Navigator, feel like hotel rooms that happen to be on a ship. There is one main public room, the lounge, and several bars. There is a fairly large (for 300 people) gym, and a sports platform that is lowered when the ship is anchored and not docked. Dress code is elegant casual: suits and fancy dresses are not seen at all on this itinerary or in the Med., and they supposedly have a rule that anyone caught wearing a tie will be banned from the dining room. This is not really a family ship. On our three cruises, two had no kids at all, while the third had two or three. While perhaps 60 percent of the PAX were over 50, there was a pretty good mix of younger people as well. Shore excursions tended to be active: perhaps a bit too much so for the age mix. If you are not fairly mobile, this probably is not the ship for you. Best part of the trip The crew was friendly and helpful, the passengers were interesting, the ports were relaxing, and the ship itself was fun. It was great having a feeling of elegance, yet not having to dress up - Windstar really does have "casual elegance". Worst part of the trip Transfers, embarkation, disembarkation, and the tenders. The tenders were needed for almost every port - hard to enter and leave, with strong gas fumes, they meant we never made a second trip back to the ports after we boarded the ship. The visit to the emergency room (see below). Embarkation My husband underwent an emergency appendectomy Monday night before the cruise. He couldn't lift our suitcases, stand for long periods, and was certainly mobility impaired. American Airlines' wheelchair techniques at JFK were honed to perfection (true as well at the end of the trip), and we settled in our coach seats philosophically, if not comfortably. We had opted for Windstar's own hotel and their transfers - a waste of time and money, if not worse. We staggered off the plane, and tried to find our luggage. In Barbados, we had to walk down 12 steps to get to the tarmac. No wheelchairs. We were herded onto a bus, jammed in at the airline's convenience. No wheelchair. No Windstar representative. It took an hour for our luggage to come out of the luggage carousel, and the porter we found took another party out in the time it took our luggage to come out. Where was our Windstar transfer? All through the airport, people were standing holding signs. Windstar's representative was a block from the exit, and when we found her she had just sent the bus away. We waited, and waited, and waited...When we got to the Accra Beach hotel, they had NO RESERVATION for us. The Windstar representative at the desk found us a hotel room long after my comfort level plummeted to "wish I'd stayed home". Their upgraded room, meant as a generous gesture, turned out to be a menace when Joe had a bad fall coming out of the hot tub, and injured his back. We spent Saturday night in a Barbados emergency room. . Two Windstar ships were loading from the same hotel the next day. They loaded within a few minutes of each other, a BIG MISTAKE. Why did the company combine three different busloads? One busload went on a tour, one went to the Wind Star and one was supposed to go to the Wind Surf. All three groups jammed the lobby, milling around and causing confusion. We stood in three lines...an ordeal for my husband. Once we got on board, Joe went for a walk off the ship, and found our luggage in a shed on the pier. It was nearly loaded onto the wrong ship! Joe had to do a lot of negotiating to get our luggage onto the proper ship. Accommodations The Accra Beach hotel might have been charming if we'd arrived promptly, had a shower, and a nap. Instead, we were overtired by the time we entered our room. Joe fell on the Jacuzzi, and the resulting trip to the emergency room on Saturday night further depleted our health. Fortunately, Debbie the manager trainee and her male counterpart were compassionate and helpful. The got us into a taxi, both ways, found us a clinic with an x-ray service, and even managed to make the process seem dignified. They got us to a clinic, where Joe had an X-Ray and the M.D. on duty urged to get back on the cruise ship the next day. I'm still grateful to Debbie and the male night manager for the happy outcome. They were the difference between a lawsuit and a commendation. Still, I wouldn't pay for Windstar's own transfers and hotel again. It was poor quality for the money. As indicated in our 2004 review of the ship, these were the smallest rooms we'd had on our ten ocean cruises (188 square feet), but we knew that the room had not been a problem in 2004. Though compact, our stateroom was very comfortable, and we had no cabin fever. There seemed to be room for all our belongings. We did miss having a bath tub; but we knew that in advance. The steward was unobtrusive. Our room was kept clean, and when we asked for something (ice, more shampoo, etc.) it arrived promptly. The towels and bathrobes were good, and the fruit bowl was kept filled. Dining The food in the dining rooms was so good, and so convenient, we never felt a need to eat elsewhere. . Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda room; however, we quickly found that we could avoid crowds, and get waiter service for several items, if we sat in the adjacent room, Degrees (formerly known as the Bistro). The breakfast choices always included pancakes, French toast, waffles, and at least one light cuisine choice. Eggs were made to order, smoked salmon was available every day, and the fruit was fresh and abundant. There was lots of fruit, meusli, great breads and pastries, and stuff we never even tried, such as British breakfast, cold cereal, breakfast meats (hot and cold), etc. We ate every lunch on the ship, except for the beach barbecue. Most lunches had themes (Italian, Spanish, Asian), and the choices were generally interesting. Grilled food, such as fish and burgers, was always available. The salads were especially varied and interesting. There were always lots of desserts, including low fat and the famous HAL bread pudding. The review of "sfg" of a 2002 cruise mentioned the need for a sandwich bar, and said that buffet choices were not too good. We felt that buffet choices were excellent. While there still is no area where the ship crew makes cold sandwiches, there are plenty of sandwich ingredients available, including great bread, for making your own sandwiches. I have a habit of making sandwiches from the breakfast buffet to ease the munchies, and we found this helpful when our American Airlines flight failed to serve edible food. Yes, a Windstar raisin bread and cheese sandwich smelled better after 8 hours than the airline's $5.00 sandwiches. The barbecue on the beach at Mayreau was one of the highlights of the trip. The succulent ribs, lamb chops, and corn were culinary standouts. The steel band was a hoot, the vendors were laid back and had colorful things to sell. They had some of the best prices for shells here. We had the entire island to ourselves...and it was lovely. I went into the ocean three times, lined up for food and dessert twice, and even shooed away the crows. Unlike Pigeon Island, we COULD find our way to the appropriate area, and enjoy the time on shore. The alternate restaurant outdid itself on Indonesian night, but we like that type of food more than most people. The alternate restaurant was otherwise OK, but the regular dining room was superb. EXCEPT for a 40-minute wait for our entrees on the last night, while people who came after us were served before us, the service was fine. We were hungry by 7:30 PM, the hour the restaurant opened, so often sat at a table for two for prompter service. Ports, Itinerary, and Excursions All ports except two (Dominica and Grenada) were tender ports. In Dominica, a larger cruise ship took the convenient port near the center of town, and we were docked more than a mile from town. It might as well have been a fifth tender port. Joan missed lunch to shop at her favorite "native" store, J. Nassief, and it was a stretch. The crew did their best with the tenders, but they remained a source of seasickness and fumes. I believe Joe's lack of mobility made us more sensitive to this drawback, but we found it a negative. The ports varied: in Pigeon Island, thanks to the useless port talks, we never found the correct beach and regretted getting off the ship; in Mayreau we could see the tenders going back and forth with food and drink and almost smell the succulent barbecue. In most of the other ports, we shared private tours with Rochelle and Elliot ("Smokey"), whom we met through the CC boards. The sports platform was open on all four tender days, with sailing, kayaking, swimming and snorkeling (off a boat launched from the platform, not the platform itself), and other activities. We didn't try it, but it looked like fun. In Bequia, we engaged Noel, the driver of a safari taxi. The three hour tour, for four people, was under $30 per person, maybe close to $20. The ship's tour, which includes one thing (moon holes) that we didn't see, is in the $85 range. In Grenada, I took a river tubing tour from the ship, and it was a hoot - flying past huge rocks in a tube, getting wet and muddy, and laughing our heads off . The driver in the River Tubing graciously drove us to world-famous Annandale Falls before taking us back to the ship. loved it. Joe, Rochelle, and Elliot took a tour with a & e Tours. A rather standard tour, but quite nice. Later, Joe and I walked through the market, and bought spices. Tobago taught us something about ship's tours. The ship has a snorkeling and glass bottom boat tour, for $59 per person. They use all three glass bottom boat providers at a place called Speyside. We booked a $20 glass bottom boat ride, plus $10 per person for transportation, from Top Ranking glass bottom boats, and were surprised, when we arrived, to learn that our tour would be delayed by 30 minutes. Why? So the tour for the Wind Surf, on the same boat, could be completed. Our tour was actually better, because we had 10 people (8 from the Wind Surf), while there were about 25 people from the Wind Surf on the boat before we got on. Also, we had a choice of snorkeling or a nature walk on Little Tobago, while they had no choice--just snorkeling. Our tour cost half the amount of the "official" tour, on the same boat. What the heck is Windstar's profit margin? In Dominica we used Fredos taxi again, as we did last year. We went up to Carib Indian territory, and saw parts of the island that we didn't go to last year, such as the emerald pool. Mr. Nice Fruits is a touristy place, but it's still fun sampling many of the local fruits. All in all, a great tour. In Barbados we relied on the wonderful Glory Tours, as described below under disembarkation. Entertainment There wasn't much of it, and we didn't miss it. There was a small casino, and there were usually bands in the two lounges. They were not well populated most of the time: people were simply too tired after exciting days on shore. Most people rented DVDs, and watched them in their rooms. Had we been night owls instead of early birds, we could easily have made our own entertainment. Nonetheless, if you want big, glitzy shows, this may not be the ship for you. The only "show" was the weekly crew show, which was quite interesting. Level of service Generally excellent, except for the port talks. The crew made us feel pampered and special. The trip helped Joe recover from his surgery and trauma. Once we got on board the ship, Windstar couldn't do enough for us. Tipping A standard $11.00/day is added to your room bill. I didn't think it was enough, considering how hard the crew worked. Iced Tea and water were free at the bar, no tip. They cheerfully brought us many glasses of iced tea, just as if it was the best champagne, which carried a 15% tip. Disembarkation Always a downer. Windsurf had a tie-in with some flights, so some people left before 5 a.m. We left at 8:30 and were met by Sarah Taylor, the owner of Glory Tours, who took us on a personalized tour for much less than the ship charge. When we found we still had time to kill before our late afternoon flight, she even added an extra hour to the tour (we went to the northern tip of the island) for no charge. Fantastic, and (including the cost of a fish lunch at a local restaurant) we saved about $30 per person compared with the ship's tour. Final impressions As was the case in 2004, a fantastic trip, despite some glitches! Once again, Bravo, Wind Surf! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
My husband and I cruised between Barbados and St Martin and back on the Windsurf the last week of November. I agonized over our choice before we went, not being able to find that many reviews for this particular cruise line. I have to say ... Read More
My husband and I cruised between Barbados and St Martin and back on the Windsurf the last week of November. I agonized over our choice before we went, not being able to find that many reviews for this particular cruise line. I have to say that I was not disappointed, the cruise was one of the best and most memorable vacation that my husband and I have taken. The ship is in good shape, the state rooms are very nice, beds are comfortable and the common rooms are well laid out. When we first entered the ship I was a little wary as the carpets in the lounge appeared to be quite stained. Well they could use an upgrade there, that was about the only place that the ships appearance wasn't great. The embarkation process was quick and easy and we were in our stateroom in no time. It took my husband's luggage a while to make it to our room, but the ladies at the guest services were attentive and tried to keep my husband calm. We spent our first night dining on the deck as we left port - it was beautiful. We spent some days anchored at different ports in the Western Antilles. The water sports platform was a very nice break from poolside if you wanted to take a dive in the ocean. The pool on deck was nice for cooling off, but not really meant for swimming. The only port we docked in was Guadeloupe, other than that you had to take tenders to the ports. Not really that bad as they ran regularly and there was very little wait. What I liked the best was that they also left from the port to the ship on a regular basis, meaning that you never got the huge cruise ship line ups that you find when trying to get back to the larger ships on tenders. Perhaps it was because we were before the real big cruise season, but I didn't find alot of excursions available at the ports. If you wanted to see something on the islands you could hail a taxi and go it on your own or use the excursions through the ship. Our cruise hosts did a great job of giving you good information about each of the ports and if you are more adventuresome you can probably find some real neat spots. My husband and I are a bit more tentative so in the end we booked some excursions through the ship and were pleased with how they were managed. We haven't done a lot of cruising but on the last Carnival cruise we took it was always a chore to get a spot around the pool. Not so here, there are plenty of loungers available for the passengers and it was easy to move around if you wanted a spot in the shade for a while. There was always spots available either in the sun by the pool or on the deck in the shade. Every afternoon they would bring you frozen sorbet and a cold towel to wipe your hands and face - never had that kind of attention before. As with all ships the extras add up so you have to be careful. My husband and I enjoy wine with our meals and cocktails by the pool. After a week on the ship and with 2 excursions our bill was $1,500 US. A bit expensive, but not unexpected. Overall it was a great experience, we will definitely be back on board with the Windstar Cruise Line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
First sailing on a Windstar adventure and was not sure what to expect. What was experienced was lots of relaxation with just the right amount of activity if desired. The lack of "stimulation" (which I loved) from big ships was a ... Read More
First sailing on a Windstar adventure and was not sure what to expect. What was experienced was lots of relaxation with just the right amount of activity if desired. The lack of "stimulation" (which I loved) from big ships was a definite plus for me. If you want clubbing and nightly entertainment this is not the cruise for you. My sailing had only 224 passengers and it was quite nice to actually get to know most of the folks on the cruise and share both onshore experiences and learn what a small world in which we live. Sports platform was a major plus as to jump or dive into the middle of the crystal clear Caribbean was magnificent. There were also sailboats, kayaks, waterski boats and snorkel trips for guests when sports platform was open. I found the spa facilities to be nice with some services definitely better than others depending upon the technician providing the services. Fitness area was adequate but not necessary for me with all the swimming and other activities in which to participate. Food and bar service were good although I did not feel exceptional. There is 24 hour room service however the meals are served at set times. If you want a snack in between meals, room service would have to be used as there is no buffet at "all times" as I have experienced on other cruises. It should be noted room service was very fast. The casino is small and not many folks frequent it, however, the few which did were "regulars" and we all got to know each other and looked forward to seeing each other each evening to talk about our days and enjoy each others company. The dealers were very friendly and it was hard to get upset even when the money was going to the wrong side of the table. Crew members were very helpful and went out of their way to get to know the guests names and particular needs. One day of ordering a particular drink and it was remembered and offered at the appropriate meal. While they were attentive, they were not overbearing. It was quite refreshing. The captain of the ship allowed folks to enter the bridge and in St.Lucia sailed over to the base of the Pitons for a view of the beach and to take photos. It was also nice to not have loud announcements every 30 minutes or so from the Captain. We usually only heard from the bridge when we were under full sail or if a landmark was being identified. One negative is the amount of guests they put on the tender boats as it was uncomfortable being so crowded aboard and with only one window and the boarding area open it was also quite hot. I think more tender boats or even more trips with less people would be desirable. I also received this feedback from most of my fellow passengers. All in all, I would recommend the experience to anyone wanting to relax, see a few ports of interest and bask in the sunlight and swim in the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I'll say right up front that this was our tenth cruise but the first with Windstar. With a very few small items. we enjoyed the trip from beginning to end and would definitely sail with Windstar again. Embarkation was a snap and was ... Read More
I'll say right up front that this was our tenth cruise but the first with Windstar. With a very few small items. we enjoyed the trip from beginning to end and would definitely sail with Windstar again. Embarkation was a snap and was concluded on-board as opposed to a line of counters like larger cruise lines. This less is more approach was a theme that would be repeated throughout the trip. The only thing that was unusual was that we had to surrender our passports for the duration of the cruise. Getting them back, however, was extremely easy at the end so it was not a big deal. We understand the ship sailed about 2/3 full and they were selling suite upgrades at reception. We did not inquire since our cabin was very comfortable. Getting use to a ship as small as the Wind Surf too a while, but we took to it pretty easily. Getting off again to shop in Barbados before dinner was easy. The cabin was well designed (especially the bathroom) with plenty of storage. Since it was so easy to get on deck quickly, we surprisingly did not really miss a balcony. The bed was very comfortable, the climate control worked very well (we slept under the comforter, and the DVD was very welcome since there was no TV except for 2-3 in-room that played all day. We did not sail to watch TV, but a news channel would have been nice. Food was the best we have had on any cruise - including on-board Celebrity. Certainly the smaller number of passengers allowed for a more individualized approach, but every dish was properly (and deliciously) prepared and served promptly. For a ship this size, the number of options was outstanding. The Restaurant was consistently excellent. The Tuscan-inspired Degrees was superb and the outdoor venues (Candles -Steakhouse and Le Marche-Shelfish) were both tremendous. Lunch buffets in the Veranda were always great. All-in-all I would hev to say we ate very well! In keeping with the mood of the cruise, Service was relaxed but always professional. It would have been nice to actually meet our cabin Steward, Victor, but we have absolutely no complaints with the job he did. Entertainment was where we would suggest a few tweaks. Just one or two semi-organized activity options between when we returned from an excursion or lunch and when we went for before dinner drinks would have been welcome. No pool games, no bingo, perhaps something like an enrichment lecture, bridge, or some other low stress option. I know this is not Windstar's approach (or probably what most of their clients want), but the option would be nice. There are just so many DVDs you can watch. The entertainment in the Lounge was a band named Saga and they were excellent. It made having a drink with new friends a pleasure. The Sports Platform was a real plus. Even though we did not use the facilities, we did get snorkel equipment (no charge) for use during the week. That was great! The itinerary was outstanding and we really liked visiting a lot of the smaller Caribbean ports. We enjoyed them all, but our favorites were Mayreau, Dominica, and Pigeon Island/St. Lucia. Debarkation at the end cruise was another painless process. Bags did not have to be out until 1:00 AM (that was great!) and Immigration was handled on-board in record time. The combination Barbados tour/lunch/airport transfer was a wonderful way to make our travel home more enjoyable. We definitely recommend Windstar. Add to all the pluses that there are no formal nights (or even coats to be seen!) and it is hard to beat! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
I will try to provide a VERY detailed review of our first ever Windstar cruise. A little background, this is only our 2nd cruise ever, our only other experience cruising was a massive Carnival ship, which was a great cruise at the time ... Read More
I will try to provide a VERY detailed review of our first ever Windstar cruise. A little background, this is only our 2nd cruise ever, our only other experience cruising was a massive Carnival ship, which was a great cruise at the time because we were entertaining my 13 year old daughter (Wife and I, early 50's, normal vacation is to pick one area and explore it very thoroughly). As a matter of fact this year's big trip was to be to Tuscany in the fall, but winter in Vermont was really dragging on, and when an email offering a tremendous discount on Windstar came across my desk, off we went. First stop was Barbados; we spent the night before at the Silver Point hotel. Big shout out, as this was a GREAT place to unwind and get ready for the cruise. A bit far from anything but great fun watching the kite surfers and the food at the on site restaurant was really good if a bit expensive. On Sunday we went on a tour of the island with a friend we met on the Cruisecritic boards and had great fun. Saw lots and lots of beaches then went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and lunch. Embarkation; truly could not of been easier. We boarded early as we were so excited to start exploring the ship. Walked into the terminal, handed off the luggage, and got a nice cold glass of water, picture taken and on board we went. On Board, for an older ship the public spaces are incredible clean and shiny. That said some areas are getting threadbare, carpets at the gangways, around the elevators and some parts of the cabins were dirty and dusty. Also I noticed some sheets had a few small stains but all in all a truly beautiful ship. Speaking of cabins we had quite a run around with ours, when we booked we were given cabin 122, mid ship, 1st floor, perfect spot. Then we were upgraded for free , Thank You, to the 2nd floor right where the elevators were, no thank you, so when I called back to say we rather have to room we booked, I was told no problem, but I never noticed that we had been moved to 111, same category but further back of the ship. This posed no problem with rocking but our cabin was right at the gangway level, so privacy was a problem when the tenders were loading. Cabins were small but very comfortable and served their purpose perfectly. Of course being such a small ship, it was no problem at all finding our way around. Food; I though the meals were incredible, something different every day. Food always fresh, well seasoned and some of the dishes truly 5 star quality. Over all I would say the food was well above average. Probably the most disappointing meal was the outside restaurant called La Marche, 5 course seafood menu that stayed the same all week and just didn't seem to be inspired. Degrees, on the other hand, with its Mediterranean inspired menu was excellent as was every meal we had in the main dining room. The main dining room had at least 5 choices for entrees every night including some unusual ones, my very first oxtail and it was GREAT. Breakfast and lunch were very good with made to order choices available every day along with a buffet.. The breakfast buffets were your standard fare but 4 to 5 made to order choices were available everyday (Tiramisu pancakes YUM). The lunch buffet changed every day, the Asian inspired buffet was really good. My one pet peeve was the absolute ridiculous pricing for sodas and bottled water, c'mon why rip off your customer that way?? Drinks and wine were expensive but not crazy bad and as a wine freak, I was very happy with the by the glass options we had for dinner. Staff was great. I have never seen a more polished, happy group of employees. Everyone really seemed to love their job and seemed to take great pleasure in serving you. Our room steward, while mainly invisible, kept our room spotless, (well if you ignored the dust and fingerprints near the ceiling, that is, but even we didn't notice that till the last day). Bar staff, front desk staff, were always smiling and helpful. I can not remember one single time when someone appeared to be in a bad mood. Activities, passengers and miscellaneous; For the most part, forget any activities on board, they had scheduled a couple of WII tournaments, a putting contest and nobody ever showed up, of course (and I may get lynched for this) if the "cruise director" had made a quick, simple announcement maybe we would of gotten a few people. Speaking of the cruise director, he must have the easiest job in the whole world as I never saw him do a thing except sing at the lounge one night and introduce staff. Passengers tended to be between the ages of 40-60 though we saw a few 30 something's and one incredible lady of 93 on her 15th Windstar cruise. Most everybody was really friendly, sorta felt like one big extended family. OK this appears to have gone on long enough, quickly just a few things, sign up for the laundry deal, $99 per cabin unlimited laundry well worth it, you have to be a serious drinker to get your monies worth from the pre paid deals, more modern music in the Compass Rose, great pre dinner music in the Lounge, talent show was fun, comedian is the absolute worse I have ever saw he must be the owners relative to keep a job. Any specific questions please feel free to write me; andyb1958 at comcast net I will post a link to our web album in the cruise critic Windstar board once I have the pictures all up. Bequia; Our least favorite stop, dirty, taxi driver tried to rip us off. Turtle sanctuary was OK, beach was nice but there is better later in the trip. Dominica; Port itself is only OK what made this an incredible stop was the Caribbean cooking class we took, Daria and staff are unbelievable as is her home. If you have a chance do this tour 5+ for the class. St Lucia; Another fun day, we went zip-lining which was alot of fun and then Windstar had a picnic for us on a private beach. We then explored the back side of Pigeon Island which is very cool. All in all one stop I wish we would of had more time to explore the island. Grenada; Would of liked to explore the town and market place more but we had booked a river tubing adventure, DO NOT do this unless you know exactly how much rain fall they have had . On our trip they had no rain for the last 3 months and the water level was WAY too low. This trip should have been canceled in my opinion and we felt ripped off. Our only disappointment in the whole trip, Windstar if you are reading this, pay attention to the trips you offer and warn your customers before they spend money. If we had been told the river level was low and we could choose another trip we would have. Mayreau; Incredible beach, killer hill, cool bars, great stop Tobago; Best stop of the whole trip, private guide who was unbelievable. saw almost the whole island and a huge amount of birds , Hiked the rain forest great time Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2010
We recently just finished our fourth Windstar cruise on the Windsurf sailing from Barbados for a week. The cruise was absolutely wonderful and an experience every cruiser should take advantage. We are avid cruisers and have sailed on all ... Read More
We recently just finished our fourth Windstar cruise on the Windsurf sailing from Barbados for a week. The cruise was absolutely wonderful and an experience every cruiser should take advantage. We are avid cruisers and have sailed on all of the main stream cruise lines. They all have something for passengers however Windstar takes it to another level. Checking in was the easiest thing. If you have ever sailed on the larger ships you know what that experience is like it can take forever unless you are a preferred guest or are travelling in a suite. This was so easy, no line up just a quick check on a couple of things, register you credit card and then you are handed your keys and you board. The whole process took approx. 2 mins. They did change it this time as when we previously sailed you check in on board in the lounge, this time was on shore however both ways are very simple. This sailing we were in a mini suite and we really enjoyed the extra space and the fact that we had two bathrooms so when we were getting ready to go out we didn't have to wait on one another. A real bonus. The cabins are generous and because it is a sail ship every ounce of space is used so that you could put everything away and didn't have to have things lying around. They knew what they were doing when they planned these cabins. We have stayed in a regular cabin before and they are just as wonderful so if you opt for that you will not be disappointed. The food was wonderful, with lots of variations and the dining options would rival any of the big ships. For dinner you had a choice of 5 options. The Restaurant, Degrees, Candles, Le Marche or room service. On this cruise we took advantage of every option and ate twice at the Restaurant and Le Marche. Le Marche is a great experience and the meals were creative and tasty. You couldn't want for anything as they had it. Breakfast and lunch were also good although we did end up eating on shore mostly for lunch and just getting back in time for some of the bread pudding. Windstar has the best bread pudding and there was always a line up for it. I recall one day when there was none in the pan and the waiter jokingly told us that it was all gone you should have seen the faces. Of course it was not all gone he just had to refill however you would have thought he had just told everyone to get off the ship! It was interesting in some of the ports when the larger ships were there and I can honestly say we were glad not to be on them. Small ships are the way to go. The crowd on this sailing were wonderful. We were travelling with friends however we also met and travelled around with other guests on shore and at dinner. We only did one shore excursion and that was in Dominica. It was a cooking class and if you have an opportunity to do this excursion we would highly recommend it. At the other ports we just got off the ship and made our own way around. It is pretty simple to do since we went to very small islands. I would highly recommend that you take the laundry package. For $99 dollars it was money well spent. We went home with clean cloths that were nicely pressed. It was a real treat. Windstar is not for kids as there are no daily activities. There is a cruise director however other than singing in the lounge at night we really didn't see him do much. Nice gig if you can get it. Overall Windstar's motto is "180 Degrees from Ordinary" and it is. Simply put it is one of the best cruise lines we have sailed and we plan on sailing on it again. Next time we are going to do the Greek Islands. If you are looking for a unique experience then try Windstar you won't be disappointed. Happy sailing!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was our 6th Windstar cruise and out 3rd on the Surf. No surprises - which is a good thing. Check in and registration was easy and fast and we were greeted by the captain before boarding. Inside, there were two women checking people in ... Read More
This was our 6th Windstar cruise and out 3rd on the Surf. No surprises - which is a good thing. Check in and registration was easy and fast and we were greeted by the captain before boarding. Inside, there were two women checking people in along with the Hotel Manager, Henri Lemay, greeting people. It took less than 15 minutes from the time we walked onto the ship until we were in our cabin. Since we had just been on this ship last summmer, we didn't expect much in the way of change. The cabins were spotless, the beds comfortable and the staff friendly and welcoming. We recognized many of the waiters, and bar staff from previous trips and they knew us. I'd guess more than 40% of the passengers were alumni. We left Barbados on time and headed to our sea day. The itinerary had to be changed around a bit due to an unforeseen illness, but personally I don't think it took away from the trip. For the first time, there were two "lectures" during the sea day. I don't recall any of the Windstar ships offering this before. I think it's a great idea and I'd encourage them to keep doing it. The ship was about 95% filled, but you still have no trouble finding quiet places inside our outside to read or sleep. The Surf is a beautiful ship and the crew keeps it amazingly clean. The food was the same - good, but not great. The addition within the last few years to add La Marche and Candles was a good one and making reservations for either or both was simple. No lines. The ports of call were okay. Perhaps my wife and I have had enough of the Caribbean, but to me they all begin to look the same. One issue everyone had was the decision to dock at Portsmouth instead of Roseau on Dominica. Many people complained because the former is a depressed, dirty little town with no stores and no shops, and virtually no beach. So we quickly went back to the ship and spent the bulk of the day there. We also went to Granada (very nice), Bequia (good to visit, but not much to see our do), Mayreau, (not road, no stores). Unless one was very adventurous, there was little to see or do. The traditional picnic on the beach was nice, but the lounges were too close together and there was very little shade. We again opted to go back to the ship. (Seriously, we're not people who really want to just hang out on the ship!). I think the highlight of this cruise was New Year's Eve. Nearly everyone on board came into the lounge to hear two very good bands. They played continuously for several hours and a bit before midnight the entire crew joined in. People seemed to have a great time, but noboday got out of hand Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
I must say I disagree with some of the previous review - a cruise like this is what you make of it. As a first-timer, my expectations were slightly different. I was glad to see a mixture of ages aboard - more younger people than normal, I ... Read More
I must say I disagree with some of the previous review - a cruise like this is what you make of it. As a first-timer, my expectations were slightly different. I was glad to see a mixture of ages aboard - more younger people than normal, I was told, which added some energy. The ship is a beautiful vessel with a maximum of 300 or so passengers - a perfect size. Pre-cruise, we stayed at Little Arches, a wonderful boutique hotel on the south coast across the mesmerising Enterprise/Miami beach, one of the most impressive stretches of white sand in Barbados. In my opinion, this is a better choice than Windstar's preferred hotel (although rooms are limited). Our first impressions of Windsurf were good. When the sails were out it was very romantic. On the first port of call to St George's Grenada, we lined up next to a big Thomson ship with capacity for 1000 passengers. Everyone was glad to be on Windsurf - a much more elegant ship. One of the strengths of Windsurf is the ports of call and excursions - many bigger ships do not offer the same interesting itineraries. We started off with a sea day which was good to get accustomed to the ship. Someone had a heart-attack through the night and another had overdosed on pills - a dramatic start to the holiday, although somewhat unusual. I was impressed with how Windsurf dealt with these incidents and simply swapped over the sea day supposed to take place later on in the cruise. Very efficient and no fuss at all. St George's, Grenada, the first port of call was a beautiful harbour and the ship offered several excursions. We chose the essential sight seeing tour which gave a superb overview of the island with some great photograph opportunities over the lush green island. We visited a cocoa making house where a man showed how cocoa was made and explained differences between spices such as nutmeg. At Fort Frederick we enjoyed paronamic views to the sound of a steel drum. Later on, we visited the dream-like white sand Grand Anse beach. The next stop was Bequia, Grenadines - a stunning island with a walkway surrounded by yachts and turquoise water, where we enjoyed lobster pizza and took another excellent excursion. Princess Margaret beach and Lower Bay were charming rustic beaches. Mayreau, Grenadines, was another highlight. We visited the sublime Salt Whistle Bay, a perfect picture postcard beach - a Caribbean hideaway. After that we took a catamaran to Tobago Cays - we thought we had died and woken up in heaven! The waters were a mixture of cyan, turquoise and marine blue. Portsmouth, Dominica was a bit of a disappointment - it was raining and we didn't get to see much of the beautiful rainforest or the rare parrots inhabiting the island. This was the only occasion that the nature trail excursion we chose fell short. Pigeon Island, St Lucia though was fantastic - a windswept beach with the Atlantic ocean bashing against rocks and an excellent barbecue. The ship also visited the magnificent pitons near soufriere. On board the ship, we made reservations at Le Marche - the outdoor restaurant serving delicious sea-food and Candles, the romantic steak restaurant. We dined at The Restaurant, the main eaterie, which was more of what you would expect of a mass market cruise experience. Degrees, the mediterranean restaurant, was much better with a good standard of food, although not matching what you would probably find on the high end luxury cruises. In terms of entertainment, there was always something going on. A special treat was a member of Kool and the Gang performing for New Year's Eve! Otherwise, the house band was not bad. Most surprisingly an excellent classical pianist was also on board. The lecture by Sir Harold Evans on the sea day on American innovators was extremely interesting - we certainly did not expect to learn anything new on our cruise. Post-cruise, we opted for the Hilton Barbados - a beautifully located hotel, although lacking in basic customer service. In summary, Windsurf is an excellent choice for a first-time cruiser. We are already contemplating our next trip to the Caribbean aboard the capable hands of Windsurf. We met many interesting well travelled people on board. The majority of passengers were American with a sprinkling of British and other European couples. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We just returned from the Tobin James Wine Cruise aboard the Windsurf. I've travelled on many ships in the past but the service on this particular cruise far exceeded my expectations. The cabins for such a small ship are unusually ... Read More
We just returned from the Tobin James Wine Cruise aboard the Windsurf. I've travelled on many ships in the past but the service on this particular cruise far exceeded my expectations. The cabins for such a small ship are unusually large, and although there are no balcony cabins you don't miss it. We especially enjoyed the DVD player and slippers. And the closets are so roomy. You would think the larger cruise lines would get a clue. Our cabin steward was wonderful. I gave him the nickname stealthy because we never ever saw him yet no matter what time of day or night we left our room, when we returned it was spotless! And there were no bags of laundry cluttering the hallways. The service was exceptional, from the bar waiters who always remembered which wine you were drinking to the captain who has a wonderful sense of humor. I can't say enough wonderful things about the ship and its crew. And because this was a special sailing full of James Gang people, it was like a huge wine party at sea with 300 of our closest friends. Almost forgot about the food which was simply amazing. The wine pairing dinner our last night had so much food, I could only take one bite of the dessert. The onboard luau was wonderful and the specialty restaurant delicious. My only "complaint" is that they only let you sign up for one specialty restaurant per cruise, to give everyone a chance to experience them. If you've never cruised on a smaller ship because you thought it was cost prohibitive, I sincerly urge you to try Windstar. There is simply no comparison for the value you received compared to the larger mass market ships. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
Made it back to icy Toronto on Saturday. Excellent Cruise on Wind Star! We stayed in the Barbados for 2 days before the cruise at Courtyard by Marriott. The hotel and staff was excellent. Walk across the road to the Coconut Court which is ... Read More
Made it back to icy Toronto on Saturday. Excellent Cruise on Wind Star! We stayed in the Barbados for 2 days before the cruise at Courtyard by Marriott. The hotel and staff was excellent. Walk across the road to the Coconut Court which is on the beach. They did not seem to care if we walked down their steps to the beach. We ate breakfast there in the morning looking at the beach and water in 80 degrees! Excellent. If you walk out the Coconut Court and turn left on the beach, walk about 5 minutes, you come to a great boardwalk and it goes to Accra Beach (some call it Rockby Beach). The Accra Resort is on this beach and it is a fabulous beach. There is a bar at the end called the Tiki and a beer there included a chair on the beach. We went there on our day back until our plane left. Great place. Wind Star was a great cruise. Over night to St. Lucia was rough. Rolled around the bed most of the night but it wasn't too bad. Anchored near Pigeon Island. We went to the beach there. It was ok but rather small. You can walk through the gates of the park (Pigeon Island Park) and walk the beach at the Sandals. In the afternoon the Captain pulled anchor and sailed to the "Pitons". Great sailing with the wind. Sailed all night to Grenada. Was a bit rough but manageable. In Grenada, we took a taxi to the Grand Anse Beach. Long and beautiful. We were early so no one bothered us. We walked to the end of the beach and went to "The Owl" beach bar. As long as you buy something they let you use their chairs and washrooms. Beer was 2 for $5 US. I thought was good. A couple form England were staying at the resort there and told us there was a path to the next beach (Morne Rouge). It was a steep climb but we made it. It was a smaller beach but also had a bar with the same deal as before. Buy a beer and chairs are free. Both were beautiful walking beaches. We walked back to Grand Anse and caught a Water Taxi back to the Wind Star. Great little cruise. Next was Tobago Cays. The water was to rough for a tender so the captain set sail for Union Island. Really wanted to see the waters at Tobago but alas Mother Nature took over. The beach at Union Island was "rustic". I am thinking this beach (called Chatham Beach) was like the Caribbean used to be. Several little shacks that sold cold drinks and run on solar cells. We stayed there for most of the day. It was okay. Next up was Mayreau. Great little island with a beautiful beach. We anchored in Saline Bay by the town of 300 people. My wife and I walked across the island to Salt Whistle Bay. What a beach! Had a beer a the "Last Bar before the Jungle". It was the only bar. People were very friendly. We had a tour "dog" for the whole walk. The walk is demanding as the road is very steep. We stopped at the church at the top of the hill for a rest. It rained very hard while we were there but it was hot! Wind Star had a beach barbeque that was exceptional at Mayreau. The water here was crystal clear so bring your snorkel. Last day was at Bequia. There was a boardwalk along the water through the town. It was worth walking and ended at a small beach were a resort used to operate. In the pm we took the zodiac for the ship to Princess Margret Beach. Again it was a walkable gorgeous beach. A lady was selling cold drinks (2 for $5 US) but she charged for the chairs ($6.00 each). Great way to end our cruise. Wind Star had a excellent food and the service was great. Staff were friendly and seemed sincere. Worth every dollar we spent. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We were looking for something different from a typical cruise... No formal nights... Relaxing, elegant, and fun...we found it! Being on a large yacht instead of a huge ship was intimate and you got to know as many or little people as you ... Read More
We were looking for something different from a typical cruise... No formal nights... Relaxing, elegant, and fun...we found it! Being on a large yacht instead of a huge ship was intimate and you got to know as many or little people as you wanted. Only about 125 guests and over 100 staff made it a great experience, staff had fun and were genuine and wanted to be sure you had an amazing time. The excursions were all picked to be spectacular and not the norm. We did a catamaran cruise with snorkeling and a lobster lunch on a beach. The ride was amazing, the boat beautiful, and the lunch the best ever...seriously great beach lunch. The ship was able to easily change it's course a bit if needed for rough waters and pulled in a cove one night so we wouldn't rock too much while sleeping. The captain was great and endured sails were up as much as possible... Think it was like 95% of time. The deck BBQ and steel band was amazing under the stars. The beach lunch BBQ was neat and the exclusive snorkeling beach. The little towns were great and different. Wifi is non existent on ship...it's the one thing they need is free great wifi. But we connected free at bars on almost every island and being disconnected other times was nice.... Just hard if u need it. Everyone was given free snorkel gear for week and that was nice. The deck chairs were comfy, the pool bar awesome, just a great trip. The food was great. Main dining, candles, the breakfast and lunch buffets , all better than on a normal cruise. And buffet still same with a menu to order from too...crazy great! Their alcohol package is too expensive and we drink enough ;-) still didn't come close to spending what we would have on package so skip till they make it more sensible. All staff were amazing... Montse was great, daddy, Bree, Andre, there were just too many to name but each made our cruise.... Even the mechanic guys fixing stuff were fun and friendly. You can tell the staff lives what they do and care. We met great people too. Lounge was kind of a waste ... Entertainment wasn't great and it was typically empty nightly. They should move music to deck nightly after dinner as many would participate and did one night they did it. The night they let some guests sing and okay guitar it was full until the entertainer started singing with them ... She was nice just not good so people left. ;-( We will cruise again on windstar... Looking forward to their new ships as well. If you go out of barbados....the island and people are the friendliest of any island so far. This small of an intimate ship allowed us to get in port at 530am and make an 8am flight home..,wish we would have stayed a few days like we came in early to do though. Highly recommended to anyone Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
This was our fourth Windstar cruise, second time for this itinerary. We have been on Wind Spirit three times and this was our first cruise on Wind Star. We were looking forward to this cruise, not only to escape the winter but also to ... Read More
This was our fourth Windstar cruise, second time for this itinerary. We have been on Wind Spirit three times and this was our first cruise on Wind Star. We were looking forward to this cruise, not only to escape the winter but also to experience the new cabin design that has been implemented on the Wind Star. We were extremely pleased with the new layout. Lots of storage spaces, six electrical outlets (three 110 and three 220), larger safe located in closet. Our ports were: St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago Cays, Mayreau and Bequia. Since we are not shoppers and prefer small Caribbean islands, this was a perfect itinerary for us. On St. Lucia and Bequia, the water sports platform was out – on Tobago Cays and Mayreau, the water toys were available at the beach. Since this was Super Bowl weekend, it was great that Windstar set up a projection screen on Pigeon Island, St. Lucia, so that everyone could have the opportunity to see the game. They ran tenders until midnight. The also set up a burger/hot dog bar on the ship so that you could eat before going ashore for the game. Nice planning, Windstar. The food onboard was very good and we always appreciate the size of the portions at dinner, so you can enjoy multiple courses and not feel uncomfortable at the end of the meal. The wine selection was fine and fairly priced. Breakfast and lunch included made to order specials each day as well as buffet items. We always found something to tempt us. The entertainment in the evening was just so-so for this cruise. We have experienced better as well as worse. Of course, as always, the crew was outstanding. From Endro remembering us as we dropped off our luggage to Gusman recognizing us on the first night and saying, “Welcome home.” We will continue cruising with Windstar because we love their itineraries and the small ships. However, for us, their greatest asset is their crew who work so hard to make every cruise special for us.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Lets start with this nice ship with only 140 passengers. You will feel comfortable the first moment you step in. Quality of the food is perfect and you can enjoy apart from the nice islands the cuisine of the chef. People give you the ... Read More
Lets start with this nice ship with only 140 passengers. You will feel comfortable the first moment you step in. Quality of the food is perfect and you can enjoy apart from the nice islands the cuisine of the chef. People give you the impression that they are there to serve you. Allways with a smile and a nice comment. Let me especially name: Natasha - purser on board. Knowing you from the first day by name, helpfull and friendly and trying to solve every problem - in case there is. Cabins are a litte small but fits perfect the needs we had. We went to a cruise to enjoy sea, sand and sail. We did not want to loose time doing that in our cabin. Be sure: We will come back Thank you Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Embarkation: In Barbados - no issues The ship holds just under 150 guests. There cabins on 2 levels (level 1-the lowest) and one flight above (level 2). We were in 128-an excellent choice, fairly stable and quiet. You definitely feel the ... Read More
Embarkation: In Barbados - no issues The ship holds just under 150 guests. There cabins on 2 levels (level 1-the lowest) and one flight above (level 2). We were in 128-an excellent choice, fairly stable and quiet. You definitely feel the rolling on this ship, so take medication if you get the least amount of seasickness. The room was small but well designed. There was enough room for everything. There are no balconies on this ship. There is just a small bit of room between the foot of the bed and the wall. There was a small hole in the blanket but otherwise the bedding and pillows were fine. There is a TV with DVD-a good DVD library is available to borrow. The room a/c did not work well (a complaint I heard from others on the ship), several times we woke up sweaty. The ship: There are not enough places to hang out during the sea time. Also, during the full sea day, there were just a few activities (galley tour, food carving). During the half day at sea, no activities were scheduled. I think a trivia game would be nice (and well attended). Ports: When leaving the ship, water bottles were not offered. I had to scrounge around the boat to find one. Dining: The breakfast and lunch buffets were nice. French toast and pancakes were delicious. Excellent salad choices at lunch. The dinner menu was ok. Nothing inspired. We spoke with the maitre d about vegan options-there was no follow up. BBQ night on the deck was really nice. The drink service in the dining room was a problem throughout our stay. On 4 of 7 nights, when my water glass was empty I had to ask for a refill. There are organizational issues with the bar staff. Apparently the waiters don't serve drinks, so if you ask the waiter for a drink he has to tell the bar staff. If you did not order wine or a cocktail with your meal, no other drinks (iced tea, soda, etc) were offered. Staff: Excellent. Natasha and the other woman at the desk were great. Leo did a great job on the snorkeling excursion . Our room attendant, Shaka, was excellent. Gym: the gym was small but nice Other passengers: Due to the small size of the ship, there are a lot of interactions between the passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
The boarding in Bridgetown is amazingly effortless. The taxi basically drops you off at the door of the terminal; and Windstar folks are nearby to take your luggage.You can take their shuttle bus the 2 min. ride to the ship, or just walk ... Read More
The boarding in Bridgetown is amazingly effortless. The taxi basically drops you off at the door of the terminal; and Windstar folks are nearby to take your luggage.You can take their shuttle bus the 2 min. ride to the ship, or just walk around the pier looking at all the other ships in port. Then...just walk up the gangway into reception. As the ship is so small, there is very little ceremony to registering. The ship is so small that even midship, you will hear the engine, especially when it starts or stops. For more than a full day,we were under sail only; that was pretty different. As others have noted, you can feel the ship roll more than on large ships. It seemed to us that they tried to be at anchor a fair bit so the engine was less objectionable. We found the cabin a very reasonable size for such a small ship; with a good bathroom, with the possible exception of the toilet 'round cublcle' which is not a particularly good design. There was lots of room for stuff; and the suitcases fit under the bed. Robes and slippers are supplied; as are soft drinks and water; both commercially bottled and some kind of reusable bottle with supplied drinking water. Our A/C was good; in fact we had to turn it down to not chill the room. Nice touch to have French toiletries (citronella soap). The only slight problem is that the water was so soft, you feel like Lady Macbeth trying to wash her hands.....it feels like the soap will never come off. The food was good, but not exceptional. Service was usually good; although sometimes things were forgotten. As someone else mentioned, the port talk in the lounge just before the dinner start means lots of people will go to dinner at the same time. On one such occasion, we were one of the first to go in and get seated, and were not served until many other later arrivals had their dinners. The wine list was reasonable and varied. They serve very nice appetizers during the pre-dinner cocktail hour in the lounge, during the port talk.. One day, they have a champagne reception.....really...champagne from Champagne...and they roam with bottles to refill freely! Quite a surprise. They also serve lattes, cappuccinos, etc any time. Unfortunately,these are from a 'one-touch' machine; and they were erratic in quality. Sometimes, it seemed that the grinder had not used any coffee; it got stuck in the chute. Staff said they had problems with it. Coffees were cheerfully replaced until we were satisfied. The morning breakfast and lunch are served only in The Verandah, with indoor or outdoor seating. There are good a la carte and buffet selections. You quickly meet people on such a small ship; as you will see them often. The 'pool' I put in quotation marks; it is about 8 feet long, and was rarely full. Apparently,there was a leak problem with it which we were never told about; a fellow cruiser heard from staff. The small ports were a delight; especially Mayreau and Bequia which large ships would not go to. You can snorkel just off the beach in Mayreau, and Leo the cruise director came to lead a group snorkel. The Tobago Cays were a slight disappointment; the catamaran excursion did not use its' sail at all; and the snorkeling was not particularly great. Seeing turtles forage on the ocean floor was really interesting and different. As on other cruises, the time you spend between ports has little relation to their distance. You could easily spend more time in some ports and get to your next destination on time.This is an unfortunate practice; but certainly not unique to Windstar. It was not announced that sometimes, the shuttle tenders might wait a very long time to leave if they decided to make one less trip; and you spent more than a half hour waiting because the second last one became the 'last' one. Bottled water was set out in the lounge on port days to take with you. You can borrow snorkeling gear from the ship for the whole cruise. There is only one lounge, and the pool bar. There is one entertainer in total; which is fine for us. We like the quiet. This was by far the smallest ship we have been on; and we would happily repeat the experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We took the ‘Jewels of the Caribbean’ tour around the Windward Islands on MSY ‘Windstar’. The ship is well equipped. Cabins are on two decks and all are alike and of similar size, except the Owner's Suite. They offer generous ... Read More
We took the ‘Jewels of the Caribbean’ tour around the Windward Islands on MSY ‘Windstar’. The ship is well equipped. Cabins are on two decks and all are alike and of similar size, except the Owner's Suite. They offer generous space, with a large bed, a sitting area, and ample storage space. Passengers were all over 40, possibly over 50, mainly North American couples, with a handful of British and other European couples. Everyone was very sociable. The food is high quality and portions are generous. The wine list is extensive, and the 'house' wines are excellent. There was a very high staff to to passenger ration (about 1:1), and the staff were all very pleasant and helpful. Shore excursions are well organised and interesting. The only issue we had was with the so called 'Premium alcohol package' about which advance information is completely inadequate. Moreover, there appears little rationale for what is or is not included. A glass of wine from the range of house wines, costing up to $12, is included; a glass of Sherry charged at $8 is not. Whisky and Gin included; Brandy is not. Check details before you sign up. On the other hand, the unlimited laundry package is great value.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
We had a delightful 7-day cruise aboard Windstar, departing Feb. 21. We left from and returned to Barbados, visiting Pigeon Island in St. Lucia, Grenada, and Tobago Cays, Mayreau and Bequia, in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. The ship ... Read More
We had a delightful 7-day cruise aboard Windstar, departing Feb. 21. We left from and returned to Barbados, visiting Pigeon Island in St. Lucia, Grenada, and Tobago Cays, Mayreau and Bequia, in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. The ship was nearly full with about 135 passengers. Boarding and departure went smoothly, in just minutes. No delays in getting to our stateroom, which was small but just fine. Very well organized, with more storage space than we used. Bathroom was small, but fine. A decent shower, no tub. Plenty of air conditioning and hot water. The ship is old, but has been nicely updated and looks wonderful. The public areas and rooms looked almost new, very well maintained and very pleasantly decorated. Service was friendly and good, but not overbearing. No pressure to buy shore excursions, drinks or souvenirs. Breakfast was by menu and buffet, lunch by buffet, and dinner by menu. Selection was excellent, food ranged from very good to excellent. Service was at times slow in the main dining room. We had room service once, and it was good. We were told virtually none of the food comes from local sources, which is unfortunate. Lamb from Barbados, for example, was something the ship should offer. Drinks were somewhat reasonably priced. The chef was available to talk. The captain was usually available to talk at least once a day. The bridge was frequently open. There was little to criticize on this cruise. The ship does allow smoking in part of the main rear deck, and a couple times that was annoying. Smoking needs to be eliminated. The whirlpool was nice but what passes for a swimming pool was in fact a whirlpool size tub. It could be eliminated and a second whirlpool added. We did one shore excursion, which went well. We heard no complaints about other excursions. We used tenders or zodiac boats to go ashore in most places, and there needs to be more emphasis on safety. Passengers in the zodiacs didn't know and weren't told something as basic as to hold onto the rope along the side. There was inadequate staff immediately available had someone fallen into the water. The ship isn't a true sailing ship, like a tall ship. But it has masts and the sails go up most days. When possible, the ship shuts down the engines and sails, which is fun. If you're looking for a cruise on a small ship that visits smaller places and gives you a good flavor of the Caribbean, I'd recommend Windstar.   Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
We are seasoned cruisers (Sea Goddess, Seabourn, Sea Dream, Silversea, Regent) but in the 20+ years of cruising we have never sailed on a "Wind" ship. We prefer small ships but we were concerned about the tightness of the ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers (Sea Goddess, Seabourn, Sea Dream, Silversea, Regent) but in the 20+ years of cruising we have never sailed on a "Wind" ship. We prefer small ships but we were concerned about the tightness of the staterooms and the publicity blurb which seemed to aim at younger passengers. What a pleasant surprise! We have just completed a Windstar Caribbean cruise and found it difficult to criticise: Suites tight but ok, with more storage space than we could fill. Bathrooms tight but brilliantly designed with the best shower we have experienced on a cruise. The whole ship has been beautifully and cleverly refurbished. Food very good standard. Crew very good, friendly and attentive - high ratio staff/passengers. Loved the informality (which we did not believe we would!) All officers very approachable and informative. Passengers - good mixture of all ages and the informality is contagious. Open dining. Very good destinations and tours and sensible pricing of tours. Enjoyed the "sailing" which they make a feature. Laundry very good and sensibly priced (take the $109 package). Minimal entertainment (which suited us!) Veranda for breakfast/lunch is beautifully designed and an attractive facility. Downsides: Hated having to sign for everything. Disliked only having portholes in suites - no fresh air. Because of the timing of the "next day talk", there tends to be a rush for Dinner at 7.30pm. I would have no hesitation in recommending Windstar and we will be repeating the exercise.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
What a spectacular cruise. We sailed out of Barbados on February 7th. We stayed 2 nights prior, and 1 night post cruise. Of all the cruise lines I’ve been on, Wind Star is by far my #1 choice. There are no Ping-Pong or shuffleboard ... Read More
What a spectacular cruise. We sailed out of Barbados on February 7th. We stayed 2 nights prior, and 1 night post cruise. Of all the cruise lines I’ve been on, Wind Star is by far my #1 choice. There are no Ping-Pong or shuffleboard tournaments, no drinking games, no pushy drink servers - but there is a whole lot of luxury, plenty of rest, beautiful small island stops, and outstanding views all the time. Maybe young adults, who are in their teens & 20’s would prefer some craziness over these small, classy, personable cruise ships but that would have to be about it. This was our 2nd Windstar cruise. Our last one was on the Wind Surf, only 10 months prior to this. That in itself says a whole lot about my impression of Windstar. The Windstar’s Wind Star, had about 130 passengers this trip, so it wasn’t sold out completely but it was full. Some days it was hard to get a lounge chair, however we always did find one. The casino is very small with only 2 tables and maybe 10 slot machines, the gym had 3 treadmills, 2 bikes, & 1 incumbent machine. There were also some weights. The deck plan layout was perfect: deck 4 had the pool & Veranda for breakfast & lunch. Deck 3 was the lounge, casino, restaurant, shop, and front desk. Decks 1 & 2 are the rooms. Deck 2 has the gym & sports platform. The meals were incredible, no complaints at all, only praise from me. They have everything at both breakfast & lunch with the buffet and/or the menu. The diner is open seating and always seemed to have a different menu. The bar staff and crew were again perfect. If you’ve been – Charlie, Noy, Phillip, Rene, and Tata are the only names I remember now that it’s been 2 weeks since I returned. My memory fades as quickly as my tan. Those guys were all wonderful. The island stops on this tour were superb. I can’t imagine a better itinerary. Barbados – go to the Boatyard. They have a good beach with music and lots to do. Fun! Their price also includes a ride back to the ship. Pigeon Island – we walked up to the fort, then down to the beach. This was our only rainy day. More like 4 hours of lite rain, mist, and clouds, then it was perfect. It’s not a tremendously hard walk up to the top, but it is steep & a little slippery when wet. I’d call it a challenging hike. Grenada – we took a cab to The Aquarium restaurant. Excellent beach, food & drinks. Mayreau – Beach party – it was great! Then we took a catamaran out for some snorkeling. This was worth it even though we were tired from the party & volleyball. They took us to a little sandbar island. I think it’s a Once-in-a-lifetime thing. Bequia – we just walked around. It’s best, after you get to the dock, to walk to your right. It quickly turns very nice and leads you to the beach where the ship’s little zodiac rafts pick-up & drop-off. Tobago Cays – we did the Tobago Cays Snorkel. $75 – absolutely worth it. My wife doesn’t snorkel, she stayed on the catamaran and spotted more turtles than I did while I was snorkeling. The fish, coral, and turtles where everywhere. I was asked “which ship did you prefer: Wind Surf or Wind Star”. I have to say the Wind Surf. The Wind Surf carries twice the number of passengers: 290, which is still small but there’s more of a chance to meet people of your type. And more important is the entertainment. The Wind Star had only 1 guy playing the piano – “John”. He was pretty good, but not near what the Wind Surf has: a duet up at the pool bar & occasionally in the lounge, AND there is also a 5 piece band at the lounge. But, you tell me that I’m sailing with Windstar again, and I won’t argue about which ship I want.   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
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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first Windstar cruise and we loved it. I believe each cruise line has a personality and people need to match their personality to the cruise line's personality. Windstar matches our's and will become our first ... Read More
This was our first Windstar cruise and we loved it. I believe each cruise line has a personality and people need to match their personality to the cruise line's personality. Windstar matches our's and will become our first choice in the future. We prefer smaller, less crowded informal ships with good service and Windstar delivers on these qualities. The staff are wonderful. Windstar's entertainment is minimal and this suits us just fine as we prefer to go to bed early and get up early to enjoy the day. The cruise director gave a port talk each day which I found very helpful. We did the Barbados RT cruise and are glad we did it now. We are 56 and 60, and I think this itinerary is challenging for older people or those with mobility challenges. At some of the ports, transfers were made using zodiacs instead of tenders which are not easy to get in and out of. Some of the ports only had snorkel or catamaran excursions that were not feasible for people with mobility issues. We love to snorkel so we had a great time. The cabins are small but very well set up with enough storage space. Just about all the cabins are the same except for the suites. The room stewards are wonderful and do a great job. The reception on the TV needs improvement. The food ranged from good to excellent; the desserts ranged from mediocre to excellent. I would not rate the food as 5 star but overall it was very good. The service was excellent. Embarkation and debarkation were very easy. Overall we had a great time. The water is rough on this route and the yacht rocked a lot. I don't recommend this itinerary for those who get seasick easily. I usually don't and I got a little queazy. I actually felt better up on deck than I did in my cabin. Ports and excursions: St. Lucia - Pigeon Island. We did not do an excursion here and wished we did. We spent the day at the beach which was lovely. Their are lounge chairs but they are not very comfortable for any length of time. We snorted along the rocks but only saw a few fishes; not worth the effort. Grenada - Beautiful island. We did the Champaign snorkel excursion and loved it. We snorkeled by the sculptures; the water clarity was very good so we had great views of the sculptures and fish. People on other cruises had mixed reviews; if the clarity was not good I can see it being a disappointment. The catamaran was one of the nicest I have every been on. The staff were excellent. I hope to go back to Grenada and spend a week there. Tobacco Cays - Beautiful water. We snorkeled in the morning and went to the beach in the afternoon. Snorkeling was great but I did not like the catamaran. It was large and there were just too many people on it. It took too long to get into the water. I would rather pay more and have less people on a smaller boat. Also I did not feel safe using the ladders on the boat. We saw beautiful coral and a lot of fish. We also saw many turtles. The beach Windstar transports you to wis beautiful and crystal clear water but there are no chairs on the beach so it's hard to spend too long there. Mayeau - Beautiful beach with crystal clear water. The ship held its beach barbecue here and it was great. Plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas. We snorkeled toward the rock outcrop and it was very nice. Beckque - lovely town. We took the tender to town, walked around and then took a path to Princess Margaret beach. The beach was just so so but the walk to the beach was lovely. However, it was not an easy walk and not doable for people with mobility issues. We took a tender back to the ship from the beach. Read Less
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