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31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I rarely write reviews of any of our trips but feel compelled to alert others regarding this ship. We have sailed with Windstar five previous times and this was our first cruise on a "motor" ship. First, the good The crew ... Read More
I rarely write reviews of any of our trips but feel compelled to alert others regarding this ship. We have sailed with Windstar five previous times and this was our first cruise on a "motor" ship. First, the good The crew were their usual fantastic selves doing all they could to make the journey satisfactory, the entertainers were very good and the food was pretty much up to Windstar standards.The cabins were fine and larger than those on the sailing ships, but who spends much time in the cabin? The not so good. The first night on the ship, the air conditioning failed. My wife and I have traveled enough to know that stuff happens and have learned to live with it The problem was that no announcements regarding the problem were made until the following morning when the problem was virtually fixed. It was fixed around midday. Several people called the desk throughout the night and were assured that it would be fixed within one half hour. Several people slept in deck chairs that night. Windstar did issue a $100 per person credit for the inconvenience. While limited smoking areas are provided on the ship on one occasion people were smoking on the outside Star Bar well away from the smoking area and on another occasion,I smelled smoke when I opened our balcony door. I found that someone one deck below and two cabins forward was smoking on their balcony. When I pointed this out to an officer on the flying bridge, he merely shrugged as if to say so what. I later pointed this out to the cruise director and the issue never occurred again. While the crew performed admirably, I always had the feeling that they were operating short handed. Service in the restaurant just wasn't what we had come to expect on Windstar. If you have any difficulty negotiating stairs, and expect to take any excursions that require the use of tenders, be cautious. Access to the tenders is through the bowels of the ship on two or three dark sets of steps which can be a problem. The tenders are not the life boats but real tenders, but they have been beaten up well used and need some refer, Excursions were an aggravation. The Destinations manager did not know how to properly pronounce the names of a couple of destinations, but this was the least of the problems. On the Glass bottom Boat and Snorkel trip, I would have been sorely disappointed had I gone for the glass bottom boat ride since it lasted about ten minutes and the snorkel lasted about an hour. We snorkeled. The boats looked like our excursion might be their last. Boarding was by climbing from the dock onto a ladder and then descending onto the deck. Again, mobility could be an issue. The Samur sail and snorkel was a farce, but I refer you to Trip Advisor for an accurate description of that fiasco. Again, if you have mobility issues do not take this excursion as you have to go from a slippery zodiac to the deck the ship by climbing up the side of the ship. One of the things we have always loved on Windstar is the Christopher Columbus sail away music. On the Legend it was very loud at the center of the ship but should barely be heard for and aft. Disappointing While none of these items were disastrous, They were aggravating and not up the standard txt Windstar has set on the sailing ships. Being seasoned travelers, who enjoy each others company, we enjoyed our cruise in spite of the issues. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We sailed on the Windstar to the Caribbean, St George to St George, in early March 2017. The ship was lovely, the crew was very attentive and food was quite good. The advantage of cruising on a small ship like this is that visits to small ... Read More
We sailed on the Windstar to the Caribbean, St George to St George, in early March 2017. The ship was lovely, the crew was very attentive and food was quite good. The advantage of cruising on a small ship like this is that visits to small ports and hidden away places are possible and the itinerary was full of promise. While the first few days of this cruise confirmed this expectation, bad weather (high wind, strong seas) forced the cancellation of at least 50% of the itinerary. This was bad luck and no fault of anyone. The crew did a great job of keeping us safe. What was disappointing was that the cruise line did not offer one single bit of compensation. No complementary drinks, or services and no rebates or discounts on future trips. I would be hesitant about recommending this trip at this time of year. Our trip was dramatically restricted due to weather as were other sailing during this time. There were no foul weather plans or alternative itineraries so we spent most of the time cruising at sea often under adverse weather conditions. Overall it was a disappointing experience. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
After a spectacular Windstar experience through the Panama Canal several years ago, we could not wait to do it again with our two younger sons - and this time - adding our oldest son and his wife. We planned a Christmas week cruise out of ... Read More
After a spectacular Windstar experience through the Panama Canal several years ago, we could not wait to do it again with our two younger sons - and this time - adding our oldest son and his wife. We planned a Christmas week cruise out of Barbados and talked it up for months. Our first indication that things would be different was the first night's sail away. This is Windstar's brand, their signature sail away. It's what makes the cruise so memorable and filled us with joy the last time. This time we got our drinks, met on deck, and grinned like crazy waiting to see the reaction of the oldest, his wife and new friends we had already made on the cruise. As the music hit the crescendo, the large sail didn't move. And that was it, our magical sail away hit that sour note every single night. Comments that first night and subsequent nights: "That's it?" After speaking to the crew, we found out it had been broken for at least two weeks. It remained broken through our entire cruise. We noted small things that added up as well. The back flag was frayed, there was rust around the pool, the pool and hot tub were often empty and closed for repairs, the back stairwell smelled like cat pee (very strongly), there was only one tender making excursions a long process, they chipped rust every day off the hull, the carpet was ripped in two places in our cabin, the AC was very warm (could never get it cool enough), and there was a loud, high pitched noise anytime the engine was running (the reply was yes we know and can't find it) - just to name a few things. Service saved the cruise for us, it was as good as the first time. For the price we paid for a small luxury cruise for 6 adults, we were very, very disappointed and will not cruise Windstar again. And we were so looking forward to experiencing their brand again - i just didn't come close to expectations. Other comments that week from returning guests: - They seem to be getting awfully close to cheapening their brand. - This feels like a small Carnival ship this time - This entertainment is so cheesy. Wasn't it much classier last time? - That's it again? (the sail every night) Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our second New Year's cruise with Windstar & we love the casual atmosphere that you find on board. Last year we did the Windsurf out of St Marteen, it was outstanding this one not quite up to the same level. The one ... Read More
This was our second New Year's cruise with Windstar & we love the casual atmosphere that you find on board. Last year we did the Windsurf out of St Marteen, it was outstanding this one not quite up to the same level. The one constant is the impressive personal service, most all of the staff will remember your first name, drink preferences, meal choices after just the first day. We even had some staff that remembered us from the first cruise we had in 2015. If you suffer from motion sickness, this might not be the cruise to take at this time of the year. There were 2 long days at sea, 14 hrs or so and coming back to Barbados was uncomfortable for many even though we were headed into the 15-20' swells rather than taking them on the side of the ship. Check in process very easy and quick. I would recommend making your dinner reservation for the Candles restaurant for an evening at anchor or a late departure, and make that res as soon as possible-it is very popular to dine under the stars & only accomodates about 30 guests. Food was generally very good, although our party of 4 often waited quite a while to be served at dinner. There were adjacent tables seated after us that were having coffe when our entrees were delivered-but were enjoying the evening so it was a minor issue for us anyway. There is a drink package available-$108/cabin per day double occupancy, while it sounds expensive if you enjoy a few glasses of wine, couple of cocktails, perhaps a beer during the day it will pay for itself. Beers $6-7, drinks $8.50-10.00, wines $8-12. It is very easy to hit the $54 threshold/person each day without too much problem. It also eliminates having to sign a ticket each time you order something. You must sign up for this option on the first day. I did hear some folks who did not opt for it wish they had a couple of days into the trip. Laundry package $109/cabin for the whole trip, personally I don't think it worth the price. You will spend most of the days in a bathing suit & t shirts. The prices are pretty reasonable: t shirt, underwear, socks $1.80 each; sport shirt $3.75; dress shirt $4.75, so you can do a fair amount of laundry for less than the package price. Be sure when you arrive in Barbados to fill out 1 immigration form for each passenger-our airline misinformed us which led to an extended wait for immigration and customs. We did the snorkeling at Tobago-average at best, strong current & surf so weak or out of shape swimmers had a difficult time. River tubing in Grenada was good, but the description leads you to expect a lot more time on the water. The drive each way is more like 1hr, & there is 20 min spent getting everyone fit for a life jacket, helmet etc. December is the end of the rainy season, so the water was flowing pretty good and as such there were 5-6 guides in the water at each section of rapids to keep people headed in the right direction. After each section of rapids, we would have to collect and wait for the guides to get in position for the next section and so on. We actually spent 10-15 minutes going through the white water & that was pretty exciting. Just beware of the dry season-Jan to June. We had to disembark the ship by 8:45am & our flight did not leave till 4:30pm, so we opted for an island tour with lunch & a dropoff at the airport. Very good tour and well worth the money. The airport was extremely busy with long wait times as there were at least 4 large cruise ships docking as well as the smaller ones. Seats in the terminal/restaurants were hard to come by & the rest rooms were very busy. Not impressed with the airport handling on both arrival and departure. All in all a good cruise, but will opt for the larger Wind Surf in the future. The smaller ship would do better in the calmer waters, but I doubt Windstar could fill the Surf for the Windward Island cruise-full cabins=more $$. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
First time on a small ship (146 passengers on a ship that holds 212) and did not miss the "floating city" experience of past larger ship cruises. The staff were very friendly, helpful and attentive and the service was 1st class. ... Read More
First time on a small ship (146 passengers on a ship that holds 212) and did not miss the "floating city" experience of past larger ship cruises. The staff were very friendly, helpful and attentive and the service was 1st class. Very much enjoyed the population size of the small cruise ship and the opportunity to get to know many of our fellow passengers. The cabins were very comfortable and we enjoyed spending a lot of time just enjoying the ocean breeze and sounds from the open window of the Juliet balcony in our suite. 24hr room service is AWESOME! Some of the Ports on the "Best of the ABC Islands" cruise were not much to look at when waking up in the morning. Unless you signed up for a ship excursion, trying to find some Island hideaway beach was difficult if not impossible. Even some of the excursions left folks wishing for some clearer waters to swim and snorkel and soft Caribbean sand under their feet. None of the ports allowed to do any swimming, sports and such from the much touted "sports deck". I had imagined being anchored in some bay by a lovely sand trimmed beach and hopping into a kayak from the ship's sport deck and paddling about looking at a dreamy beach. They did have the sports stuff all onshore in Mayreau; which was what I had imagined for a secluded beach that only a small ship could get to. They had plenty of chairs, shade and set up a bar from the ship. Contrast that with the dreadful and depressing oil field lined dock we woke up to in Curacao ... yuck! Barbados and Aruba are picturesque, but theses two ports start are bookends, so you do have to arrive at least a day before and stay at least a day after to enjoy them. The food and dining was less than expected. Not 5 star; very similar to what I have had on the many other cruises aboard the large ships. However, there was an on-deck BBQ which was, by far, the best food of the trip (accompanied by an AWESOME steel drum band that came onboard from shore). Also, the coffee bar in the Yacht Club aboard ship was very nice; the coffee, the treats and the club itself. The entertainment was half great and half OMG, take the mic away from that woman. One duo was perfect for this ship, clientele and ambiance. They were funny, had a diverse and enjoyable repertoire of songs and instruments and sounded great. The woman that sang after the on-board BBQ was, well, let's just say no-one heard from her again for the rest of the cruise. (I need to thank the person that took her microphone away). The special event "An Antillean Evening" fell way short. The venue was very nice, but could not handle the 140 or so folks from the ship that attended. I would hate to see what it would be like if a full ship of 212 passengers attended. First, you had to go stand in lines at each "station" to get food on very small plates; which is the antithesis of the beauty of sailing a small ship – no lines! Second, once you got to the "station" half of the items were gone, not yet replenished, so more standing and waiting. All the while standing in line, I am trying not to bump my backside into the face of someone sitting at a table (this was, alas, quite a challenge for me and my backside). All this for so-so food and roasted meat you couldn't cut even if you borrowed a freshly sharpened jungle machete. Props to the Steel Drum Duo as they provided some Jazzy music that was wonderful. I wish the ship would have held a beach BBQ on Mayreau instead. All in all, I am glad to have experienced a small ship and the Start Pride was nice and Windstar staff was superb. I would not revisit this particular itinerary and do wish I selected a different trip. Not sure if I will travel Windstar again .... this trip left me hankering for a weeklong stay on a great beach with soft sand, calm waters, snorkeling, great food, some live music and a pool with a swim-up bar. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest ... Read More
Sadly it is no longer the same cruiseline. We sailed back to back to be on board for Christmas and New Years. The shock of the changes by the new owners were unexpected. The chef had left before this cruise and the food was the biggest disappointment. Mystery meat available at every meal. The amount of small children on board was a complete surprise. There is nothing for them to do and they were allowed in both restaurants until after 9pm. Nothing says dinner like screaming kids. We expected none as in the past. Smoking rules are not enforced anywhere. However, tee shirts were for sale outside the restaurant for purchase to remind you that this is no longer a 5 star experience. The special touches that were Windstar have disappeared and it is not longer worth the price. Embarkation used to be a joyful return to a wonderful ship, friendly faces from the past, both passengers and crew members. Not so any more the new management has put many untrained people into the staff and it shows. We feel sorry for the few staff that have stayed, they try so hard to maintain the level of service from the past. Disembarking was fast. With the feeling they really wanted you to leave as quickly as possible! And we were glad to leave. We met some wonderful people and enjoyed seeing the crew from our previous time on board. The ship is still wonderful to sail on, but you have many choices for the price range. Our advice is try another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We travel with a group from local travel agency. We had 20 in our group and this was my first time on Windstar. I love the smaller ship. The cabins were spacious and the biggest of any cruise line. There was a walk in closet and large ... Read More
We travel with a group from local travel agency. We had 20 in our group and this was my first time on Windstar. I love the smaller ship. The cabins were spacious and the biggest of any cruise line. There was a walk in closet and large bathroom. Our cabin was clean and well stocked the entire cruise. Our group mostly hung out at the Star Bar during the afternoon. The pool was small and did not really have a spot to all meet up. Sevice at the bars on board was friendly and great at getting items for our group when possible. (Coors Light and Baileys). I enjoyed the Dining room meals and was happy with service, offerings and taste. Some of travelers in our group were not as impressed. We ate at Candles one night and was very impressed. Great food and loved the outside dining experience. The entertainment was a bit slow for our lively group. Enjoyed the one night we spent dancing. Steve did a great Elton John show. We would have liked more dancing upbeat music. There was a small casino open most nights for a few hours. All ports were nice and most days had to tender to shore.There were excursions offered but we did our own thing at each stop. We found the embarkation and disembarkation an easy process without any issues. We were also happy we took the drink package. Overall it was a great time with our group. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week Windstar ... Read More
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week Windstar crossing from Barbados to Lisbon rather than fly.  Having read other reviews, we were pleased to discover the ship was not carrying a contingent of workmen contracted to do maintenance work that would interfere with our enjoyment of the cruise. Comparing the different Windstar ships is  like comparing different champagnes.  Each experience is delightful and different.  The unifying overall enjoyment originates from  the hard working and faithful Windstar officers and crew who make every effort to call you by your name and remember little things from how many towels you want in your bathroom to your personal beverage preferences in the diningrooms. Our suite was mid ship on deck 5 and steps away from the circular stairway and the elevator.  We found ourselves spending more time relaxing in our beautiful, spacious suite than on any other cruise.  Our cabin steward provided the highest, most personalized service we have ever experienced on any cruiseline.   She not only kept our suite spotless, she capitalized on our appreciation for creative towel animals.  For fourteen nights she created different amazing animals or humorous creations;many of them were so unique, she became well known throughout the ship because of the photos we shared with other passengers. The quality and variety of food was the best yet of any Windstar ship, including the freshness and taste of the croissants, rolls and breads. The only disappointment was the ship itself which is in need of some major maintenance.   Hopefully many of the things listed below will be corrected when the Breeze goes into dry dock next week. 1.We saw a number of cloudy Thermo Pane windows with broken seals in the  Yacht Club that need replacement. Similarly the aft window frames in the Compass Rose lounge have been  shoddily repaired. 2. Large sections of teak deck on  decks  7 and 8 need major repair/replacement. 3. The swimming pool heater and the broken electronic control panel for the pool swimming jets need repair/replacement. The pool heater was broken for several days making they pool unusable and the Jets never worked at all the entire cruise.  Others aboard ship who boarded the week before us had already complained about the jets .    4. Rusty areas were visible around many windows. As far as the daily schedule, we would have enjoyed having more than just one lecturer to listen to aboard  during the two week crossing since there weren't a many activities offered. We took advantage of the discount for booking a further cruise on board. Although we are had a great cruise,  we both decided that for ocean crossings especially we prefer the Surf for several reasons: the ship is an additional 100 feet longer and with the sails up and lower center of gravity, there is less ship motion; we prefer the location and open design of the veranda on the Surf as well as the amount of open deck space for lounging and waking ; we prefer the location and adjacencies of the public lounges and diningrooms; there Surf offers a much more extensive fitness center, especially elliptical machines. The Breeze only has treadmill machines. Windstar remains our favorite cruise line by far.  We are fond of many crew we have repeatedly sailed with over the decades.  We think the Anschutz Corporation, owners of Windstar, have the right vision and commitment to maintain and improve this amazing fleet of small vessels. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
With winter wearing us down we felt it was time to book another cruise to soak up some sun and heat. We ended up choosing Windstar because 1) It wasn't departing out of the cruise ports we'd done many times before (Miami, Ft. ... Read More
With winter wearing us down we felt it was time to book another cruise to soak up some sun and heat. We ended up choosing Windstar because 1) It wasn't departing out of the cruise ports we'd done many times before (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, etc.) and 2) the ports were not, with the exception of Castries, places we had been to before. Yeah, basically we wanted to try something different in the Caribbean! We ended up flying in the day before to Bridgetown, Barbados. I'm not a fan of flying in the same day as the cruise especially during winter storm months as the likelihood of delays is high and who wants to miss at least one day of cruising because of flight delays! It's also a great way to get in a day of exploring at the homeport. And were we ever glad to go in the day before! It seems like all the major airlines arrive at the airport at about the same time, resulting in very long immigration lines. In fact, a number of people arrived on the ship on departure day during the lifeboat drill due to the length of time it took to clear customs. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard in the Garrison area of Bridgetown - chosen entirely because I could get the room on Marriott Rewards points. The hotel was clean, staff were friendly, and, although not on the beach, beach access was directly across the street from the hotel. There are a number of dining options near the Marriott. We ended up walking along the beach boardwalk and had dinner at Tapas - a wonderful restaurant on the beach about a ten minute walk from the hotel. The following day, prior to packing up and heading to the port, we spent a couple of hours on the beach. All beaches in Barbados are public. We expected to have beach vendors offer to sell us trinkets but in all the time we had only one vendor approach us. Around 1 pm (we had a late checkout) we packed up and grabbed a taxi to the port. Hint: ALWAYS confirm the price with the driver before getting in. In fact, ask the hotel what the rate is. They have the official rate cards and can tell you what you should be paying. The port was a bit of a nightmare. There were a number of ships berthed that day, including the P&O Azura (a really big ship!). We got about 300 yards from the security checkpoint and then stopped...and waited...and waited. And finally got out and walked through the checkpoint and on to the Windstar check in area. This was the initial check in only, where they collect your bags and have you fill out the standard health questionnaire. After you drop your bags off, you wander around trying to figure out how to get to the ship! There was no signage and little guidance until we found someone in a Windstar shirt who was able to point us to a shuttle bus to take us to the ship. Getting on the ship we experienced what was the first hint of the outstanding crew that the Windstar has. Climbing up the gangway we were greeted Jeffery, the Hotel Manager, and Belinda, the captain. One of the benefits of the small ship experience is that you get to know the crew and they get to know you. Checking in left a lot to be desired. After the greeting, cold towels, and drink, we were directed to the lounge for registration -- where it was a general mass of people standing around waiting to get to the registration desk. It might be a minor quibble but having a some sort of line would have made things a lot smoother! From there you are escorted to your cabin. While this was easily the smallest cabin we've had in some time it was also the best laid out cabin we have ever had. More storage than we could ever need...and a surprisingly large bathroom! Speaking of the bathroom, it was stocked with L'Occitane brand of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, etc. On to the ship... It's small. 70 cabins in total, all but one the same size. No balconies. There is a lounge and the Amphora restaurant on Deck 3. The casino (about 8 slot machines and two gaming tables) is attached to the lounge. There is a small but well equipped spa located on Deck 3 as well. Deck 4 has a bar, tiny pool and hot tub, and a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. There are plenty of deckchairs fore and aft to enjoy the weather. The interior of the ship is very well maintained. For a ship built in 1986 the interior looks fantastic. The exterior was in good shape as well but you could see where it could use a coat of paint (some rust) and there were some nasty dents in the side of the ship. Eating... You could have room service delivered 24 hours a day with no fee (unlike some of the big ships). Selection was quite good. Although we didn't try it, you could have dinner items delivered from the restaurant during the dinner items. We did order in the fresh popcorn a few times while watching a movie (the ship has a large selection of DVDs that you can check out to watch). Breakfast was served upstairs on Deck 4, and consisted of a hot and cold buffet, an omelette station, and a la carte items that you could order. This was probably the weakest in terms of service. We found that ordering from the omelette station was hit and miss - hot dishes made quickly about half the time; other times dishes took 20 minutes to get and were cold or incorrect. Lunch was also served in the same restaurant with a similar format: hot and cold buffet, a hot dish station, and a limited (burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and one entree) a la carte menu. Dinner was typically offered after the daily port talk session and consisted of appetizers, soups, mains, and desserts. All were prepared to order; unfortunately, this caused problems when everyone stampeded to dinner after the port talk! The kitchen clearly got overloaded and significant delays in getting food occurred a couple of nights. However, the food quality was quite good - think as good if not better than the Blu restaurant on Celebrity. One night of the cruise Windstar has a deck barbecue. This was very good with excellent food (paella, steak, shrimp, ribs, chicken, fish, lobster) and local music. One of the highlights of the cruise! Entertainment There really isn't any. They have a duo playing pop song covers every evening in the lounge. On the one sea day trivia games, kitchen tours, and the like are offered. And there's the DVD library and in room TV movies to watch. Ports and Shore Excursions The ports are where Windstar either excelled or failed...badly. Being a small ship Windstar can get into ports that most other ships can't. But when going into the larger ports Windstar seems to end up with some horrible berths. We were supposed to go to Pigeon Island but, for 'operational' reasons we ended up at Castries on a Sunday. The city is essentially closed down on Sundays and we were berthed in an industrial area. Having not booked an excursion there was very little for us to do. Our next port was St. George, Grenada. Again, Windstar was relegated to a commercial area of the port far away from the city and the spice market. It's the small ports where Windstar shines. We went to Tobago Cays, Moreau, and Bequia. Wonderful ports with beautiful beaches and very few people around! The excursions offered by Windstar were geared primarily towards snorkeling and scuba diving. Since we aren't into that we did not have a lot of choice for excursions and ended up doing only one - a Barbados tour and airport transfer on departure day. The Service... Windstar really shines here. The crew are friendly, approachable, and really want you to have a good time. The one issue we had was acted upon promptly. In fact, many of the crew members addressed us by name within two days of the cruise. It was the crew service that took this cruise from an 'Average' rating to a 'Very Good' rating. In Summary... There are a few things that really stand out with Windstar: 1. Special events - the deck BBQ and the Moreau beach BBQ were outstanding. 2. The sailing experience - we were able to go to areas of the ship (open bridge, bowsprit) that are typically off limits. We were shuttled to the smaller ports on Zodiacs (you aren't getting that on a larger ship!). 3. The small ports - going places we wouldn't get to otherwise 4. The Crew. Outstanding. There were a few things we didn't like: 1. The big ports - Windstar seems to get shunted to the less desirable areas due to its size. 2. Entertainment - there really is none. 3. Shore Excursions - mostly geared to the scuba and snorkel enthusiasts. Would We Go On Windstar Again? The jury is out on this one. We both wanted to try the small ship experience and found that the lack of entertainment really detracted from our enjoyment. Additionally, we found the limited selection of excursions (a small ship really can't support a wide variety) detrimental for us. There really were none that we wanted to do. If you like snorkeling or scuba diving, Windstar's Caribbean itineraries are a great option. If you like to sit back and be entertained, Windstar probably isn't the cruise for you. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We loved our week on the Star Legend and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a relaxing, low key cruise. Super friendly staff and great food morning, noon and night. Most passengers were North American. The age profile was ... Read More
We loved our week on the Star Legend and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a relaxing, low key cruise. Super friendly staff and great food morning, noon and night. Most passengers were North American. The age profile was mainly over 50s with a lot of couples aged 60 plus. We were told this was a typical profile for passengers on the ship. There were no children aboard; just as well as there are zero facilities for them on board. The entertainment was low key with two sets of duos performing in different parts of the ship in the evenings plus several crew based fun evening events. Most guests were in bed by 22:00. The ship holds a maximum of 212 passengers and is usually 95% full we were told. With a crew of over 150 there is plenty of personal service. All the accommodation was suites and our mid-priced room was certainly the biggest we've ever had on a cruise with a large picture window, walk in wardrobe and large bathroom with a bath as well as a shower. Higher rated suites had French balconies on higher decks. There was a fridge in the suite pre-stocked with free soft drinks and pay-for alcoholic drinks but also with plenty of room for some of your own purchases. Although fully refurbished the Star Legend is an old vessel so there is the constant thrum of the engines and generators although this soon melds into the background. So why just 4 stars? Because of the high costs of 'add ons' on board (see TIPS below) TOP TIPS & OTHER INFO. * You can officially take two bottles of wine on board although this is supposed to be drunk in your cabin. There was however, no check on how much you brought on board. Several guests regularly took their own glasses of their own wine into the evening briefings or dinner. * For several of the remote beaches visited we took a small, soft cooler bag ashore with ice from the ship and drinks bought from local stores. * Several features weren't fully explained in the arrivals briefing although they are covered is some of the cabin information. For example, a light breakfast menu and hot drinks is available from 06:00 each day in the ship's Yacht Club. * There is a free raffle for discount vouchers in the ship's spa but you must attend the short introduction in the gym to stand a chance of winning. For our presentation, there was about a 1 in 10 chance of winning – we won a $50 discount voucher although this failed to cover little more than a portion of the high treatment costs. * Anyone with mobility problems will have considerable difficulty boarding or leaving the ship’s tenders which was the only way of getting on and off the ship during our week on board after we sailed. Access was down several stair cases and, an often, precarious step on to the tender and then again down steps into the tender. * Snorkels and googles are available for free each time you go ashore from the activities deck area at the rear of the vessel where you get on the tender. * We felt that all the optional ‘add ons’ available on board were expensive. $109 US for the laundry package (although you could also get individual items done); $250 for unlimited, but slow, wifi; (most stops had local cafés with free wifi). * All on-board purchases and services had a 15% service charge added. * There is a $12 service charge per passenger per day added to your final bill. This is distributed amongst all staff. Individual gratuities over and above this as optional. Amongst several of our fellow travellers this seemed to be $20 for favoured ‘wait’ staff and $30 for the state room attendant. * There was a wide variety of shore excursions. Doing the most expensive each day during our one week cruise would have cost over $800 US per person! We did several of the trips independently using local taxis or just walking around at less than half the price quoted on the ship. For most shore based activities independent trips can be arranged in advance via contact with local companies on the Internet. * The ship’s drinks package does not include bottles of wine, only wines by the glass. You would have to drink a LOT of alcohol to justify buying the package! Read Less
65 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Background: Just completed a special tour where our sales group had the complete ship for a week. We started in Bridgetown, Barbados and called on Pigeon Island, St. Lucia, Les Saintes, St. Kitts, St. Barts, Jost Van Dyke and ended in ... Read More
Background: Just completed a special tour where our sales group had the complete ship for a week. We started in Bridgetown, Barbados and called on Pigeon Island, St. Lucia, Les Saintes, St. Kitts, St. Barts, Jost Van Dyke and ended in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. This ship will be going into dry dock in about a month. After 30 years of service it needs to. The staff have done a great job of keeping it clean and refreshed but after some time it just needs a compete make over. The staff from the Captain to the tender drivers were very polite, helpful and called you by name. English is a second language to most so be patient. Make sure you are at the back of the boat for the "sail away". The officers make this a big deal with the overture from 1492 playing loud as each sail is unfurled and you sail out of anchorage. Other boats stop to watch also. Bring your cameras and video it. Food & Drinks: This is a Diet Coke friendly ship. Real Diet Coke from the States. In fact, if you are looking for locally sourced fruits, vegetables or meats sorry because everything is from the States preserved in vacuum packages. If you like to eat unhealthy then this is the ship for you. If you at least try to watch your weight then you can find fruits and some grilled vegetables along with granola but you better take your own light or fat free dressing. Overall the food was good and the Chef did go out of his way to make anything you wanted. If you have been on the Windstar before it is my understanding that the prior Chef has left the ship to join another line. The people I talked with said the prior Chef was amazing. We did not drink a lot on the ship but the selection of scotches were impressive. The bourbons were run of the mill and the same with vodkas and gins. Most people drank rum punches or the drink of the day. I talked with several people who did the drink package and they said they got their monies worth. Most drinks ran $6-$8/drink (beer, wine and punches). Scotches were $10-$15/shot. Beers were local so if you like Coors Light or Bud you are out of luck. In our brochure it said you could bring two bottles of wine on board but we never had a problem with purchasing wine especially on the French islands to bring on board and drink in our cabin. In fact, there was no screening like you normally have to with X-Rays on the bigger ships. I did buy a bottle of scotch in Duty Free in Miami and it was not taken at check in so I drank on it all week. Dining: Breakfast starts most days at 7:30 am and goes to 9:30 am. There is a light breakfast and coffee/tea bar by the pool that starts at 5:30 am for early risers. Ordering off the ever changing menu for breakfast was great. If you like eggs benedict, blueberry pancakes or French toast then you will be in Nirvana. Lunch is casual and served at mid-ship either inside or outside. There is always a well supplied salad bar which will have something for everyone. There was a Caesar Salad offering every day but realize you're on a cruise ship so it's the full leaded dressing. There are also hot entrees each day and a special dish like roasted chicken, salmon wellington or pork shoulder craved by the lunch Chef. You can order off the menu also for hamburgers with French fries or a hot dog. Save room for two selections of ice cream with caramel or chocolate topping (no cones). In the evenings, after the port talk from Ana, the main dining room will open at 7:30 pm. The food was vey good and there were a lot of interesting options. The Chef is eager to assist with any dietary issues. One evening during the cruise you can book to sit on the back of the ship and dine under the stars. I would suggest you look at your itinerary and book your reservation when the ship is anchored. They try their best to set the tables in a way when the ship is moving that you are not getting wind blown. The food at Candle's is good but Veranda's is better. If it's your anniversary by all means book an evening under the stars but bring a light jacket or sweater to cover up. Gym: There is a small workout room and it's a 100 degrees if more than two people are working out together. Two treadmills, one elliptical, one up right bike and one incumbent bike along with a full range of hand weights with a bench. There is a machine to do lat pulls. If you are taller than 6 foot then you will hit your head on the treadmill running! Cabins: Remarkably comfortable from the bed on down. We had plenty of space to store a month's worth of clothes (my wife does not travel light!). Cabin steward (Ben) was helpful and friendly. Entertainment: We had a duo and they were good. We didn't spend any time in the lounge because there were DVDs that you could check out. The TV programming is limited (SKY, BBC, FOX, CNBC, Food Network, Travel Network, a sports channel of soccer or cricket, a movie channel that the ship ran, and a video of the bridge). We read mostly and watched out our first floor port hole. It gives a new meaning to be "sea level". We had cabin 136 which was in the front of the ship. I feel badly for the people in the last cabins at the back of the ship. They complained about the noise and ear plugs didn't help much. I guess the engine noise is something on a small ship you can't avoid. The ship bills the "sport deck" as being something great. They did let down the door in every port except one. Each time we were told to hang on to the line because the current was so strong it would take you out to sea. They had these huge rubber mats that you could tan on but they moved some much with the current it was not very relaxing. We used our assigned snorkel gear one time because you could not snorkel off the back of the boat (never). Ports of Call: We did not have time to visit Bridgetown or St. Maarten (we had been to both of these stops before on ships). Except for St. Kitts (we met two massive cruise boats there) most people either visited abandoned forts or walked to beaches because there was not much of a town to visit. About half the ship would take excursions that took them to beaches to snorkel. The best snorkeling was in Virgin Gorda. The shopping for trinkets was best in St. Kitts (t-shirts, hats). The liquor stores are right by the pier where the big boats dock (we never docked the whole week). In St. Barts the shopping is good but expensive. We went to Le Select so I could see where Jimmy Buffett wrote "Cheeseburgers in Paradise". The wine stores where great because this is a French colony. Everyone asked be about Jost Van Dyke. You must visit "Foxy's" at night (live band and limbo dancing) and "Soggy Dollar" during the day (relaxing place to sit in the water or under a tree, no music, no dancing). There is no town. These are beach bars that you will be amazed are standing and you will wonder why you didn't nail up a couple of 2x4s and mix rum drinks earlier. I think it's just a place where people who have been sailing all day want to pull into a sandy beach area, out of the wind and drink rum until it's time to make dinner. There is nothing special about either one of these places (except maybe it's a special place in your mind) but for some it is a bucket list item. Someday someone is going to ask you whether you have been and you will want to be one of the cool kids and say "YES". Overall: If you want to visit ports that most cruisers will never see then this is something you need to do once or maybe twice. We had people on the ship that had done this cruise 3 and 4 times. They love the intimate, relaxed sailing of a small ship. I have to admit it was nice to visit the bridge, talk to the Captain, walk out on the front of the ship like a scene from the Titanic and visit places that I didn't have to fight 5,000 of my fellow cruise mates getting on and off the ship. Read Less
38 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
MVY Windstar - Barbados - Jan 5th 2016 - Caribbean cruise. Wonderful Cruise, wonderful people and staff, and a great ship EXCEPT for the noise in some of the cabins at night while underway. The noise is a very high pitched wine that makes ... Read More
MVY Windstar - Barbados - Jan 5th 2016 - Caribbean cruise. Wonderful Cruise, wonderful people and staff, and a great ship EXCEPT for the noise in some of the cabins at night while underway. The noise is a very high pitched wine that makes it impossible to sleep. When we complained that ultimately moved us to a cabin much further forward, The noise was almost eliminated but still there. BUT you could sleep. Many people on the cruise complained of the noise and i think they played musical cabins because one couple that we talked to had complained and we found that they were going to be moved to the cabin that we had vacated! What really bothers me and I find unbelievable is that the noise issue has been going on for about 3 years. That the company could rent out the cabins, cruise after cruise, and put their on board staff through the process of trying to appease upset customers every cruise is, to me, unprofessional at the best and disreputable at the worst. The cruise itself was exactly what we'd hoped for - slow and relaxing. Stopping at smaller ports, not visited by the giant cruise ships, allowed you to see what the Caribbean was all about. A couple of days spent on a white sand, sun drenched beaches with lounges and cabanas supplied by the cruise line, with clear blue water to swim and snorkel in was our idea of paradise. This was capped of on one stop with a great BBQ lunch setup on shore. The ship itself was older but very well maintained. The hall carpets were pretty threadbare but other than that everything w was beautifully maintained. The food was probably the best we have ever had on any cruise ship! One other thing that bothered me was this ship has an open bridge police - that means you can visit the bridge anytime the ship is underway. In itself this was great, it gave one an opportunity to witness, first hand, what the running of a ship like this entails. Unfortunately the Captain was an arrogant and condescending individual who treated questions as if he were talking to children. Not a good representative of the company. As I said earlier, the location, the routes, the ports visited, the ship itself, the food and most definitely the staff are all fantastic. it is too bad that the issue of the horrible whining noise had to ruin or first day but after a lot of complaining we were finally given a cabin much farther forward which was lot better. The noise was still there but did not interfere with sleep. It is just too bad that the noise has to put such a dark cloud on the cruise. I would definitely NOT recommend this ship for a cruise until they repair their very noisy propulsion motor!. I would recommend the same cruise on a different ship. If you do doubt the noise level I am talking about go to YouTube and type in WINDSTAR CABIN 205. Some one in 2012 - 4 years prior - in Cabin 205 (the same cabin we initially had) recorded their experience with the noise. By all means take a similar cruise just not on this ship. If you choose to go on this ship insist on a forward cabin. 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
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
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: February 2018
We have just spent 2 weeks sailing from Barbados and with out any debate this was the best cruise-boat /crew we have ever been part of, we both don't think we can ever go back to the mega ships we have been on before. Embarkation ... Read More
We have just spent 2 weeks sailing from Barbados and with out any debate this was the best cruise-boat /crew we have ever been part of, we both don't think we can ever go back to the mega ships we have been on before. Embarkation was right on time and we were shown to our cabin(503)after passing the SPA & drinks package guys (which is a no brainer if you intend to have a few) We did several land excursions and while some were not for us they were exactly as described and james did a great job- he doubles as the cruise director and i must say gives it 110%every day even meeting us at 5 am on the day we left- good job mate again. The fact we were in BS503 allowed us to dine where ever and when we wanted even when busy and the guys always made that happen- first class service again Merrick and ipund and all their band off cooks and wait staff (seem to all work 23 hours a day) The laundry worked well always back by 5 ish in the afternoon - The veranda (lunch and doubles as candles at night)guys just awesome nothing was ever a problem great food good variety. There are signs of wear and tear around the boat highlighting its not new but really nowhere in the safety aspect and we not worried by a few worn carpets. Most nights we sailed the music belted out the "1492 conquest of paradise" as they unfolded the sails great display and begins the nightly party! we found the band every night at the compass bar was great - many headaches created there. This boat uses its tenders quite a bit for the small ports/islands it visits and we had a almost a drama one day but the crew of lifeboat 6 acted instantly with out hesitation and boosted my wife back to the windsurf ! in very tough conditions-again great job done by all these crew guys.- the effort put in to take everything to the beach for a great BBQ is amazing-and then bring it all back! The only downer is the WIFI - slow and expensive -fix this and you truly have it all. all in all one of the best 2 weeks we have spent ever! Windsurf - we'll be back! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We recently took the the new concept cruise “back to back” (14 days) with Windstar Cruises on the Wind Surf. It appears that this will be successful for Windstar Cruises because over half the passengers stayed on for two weeks. After ... Read More
We recently took the the new concept cruise “back to back” (14 days) with Windstar Cruises on the Wind Surf. It appears that this will be successful for Windstar Cruises because over half the passengers stayed on for two weeks. After flying long distances it is great to be able to stay for an extended time. It felt like time was much slower. This cruise was perfect for us in every way. This was our 22 cruise with Windstar Cruises we are obviously fans. Having said that I have to state that she , Wind Surf, is a beautiful “old lady”, high maintenance yes but absolutely beautifully maintained. Her interiors are modern, bright and cheery,immaculate in every way. Because she is a motor sailing ship there is a tremendous amout of outside space to enjoy the ship. Both weeks she was neary full at at no time did we feel there were 300 people onboard. There was always space to find sun and shade, space for privacy, your very own nook, and space to meet friendly people and have a refreshing rum punch. She was fitted with new sails so the sail aways were great with bright white new sails being unfurled as we listened to the signature music. For this cruise I have to say that of all the cruises we have been on with Windstar the food and dining was the best. I know food, the science behind it, how it is prepared, adventurous eaters, etc. Every evening we were WOWed by the dinners in the Amphora, Candles and Stella Bistro. Stella was authentic French, Candles under stars, dreamy romantic, Amphora simply lovely, and in all restaurants all meats were perfectly prepared, the fish was never dry and my favorite the lobster bisque the real thing! The Veranda for lunch great salads and if you are late for lunch the sandwiches in the Yacht Club fantastic. Afternoon tea terrific little finger sandwiches and scones with real clotted crean. Breakfast, not my meal, good fresh fruit, eggs made to order, excellent granola and freshly squeezed orange juice. In all past cruises we really never ate the bread because that is where I am a complete food snob but whoever the baker was the breads were fantastic especially the Italian bread sticks, perfect. The breads were never soggy from the saltly, humid, sea air. I know that food is very subjective but this was our take. Service perfect as usual, always above and beyond. Captain Hogan ran a happy ship. James, the nightly host and excursions manager, from Scotland, was absolutely terrific. His nightly talks were informative but full of great humor. He was so enjoyable. Housekeeping perfect from our cabins, public rooms and bathrooms, restaurants etc. For having to really revamp and move the cruise due to the hurricane Windstar did a great job. A mixture of culturally interesting, great beaches and beautiful scenery. We could not get into Monserrat due to 7-10 foot sea swells so instead we went into Antiqua, not too shabby! Our sail by the Pitons of St. Lucia was extraordinary not only the landscapes but the many sailboats and a clipper ship in full sail all sailing in front of the Pitons showing the reflections of their shadows. It seemed every afternoon around 4 we had a rain shower followed by a rainbow and then followed by red sunsets. Magical Great cruise, looking forward to our next. For good reason we are happy customers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
After our experience with UNPROFESSIONAL and uncharming service in The House Hotel in Barbados we enjoyed the so well trained and friendly service of the windstar crew!!!!!- just perfect! The cabin was well kept and clean. Breakfast, ... Read More
After our experience with UNPROFESSIONAL and uncharming service in The House Hotel in Barbados we enjoyed the so well trained and friendly service of the windstar crew!!!!!- just perfect! The cabin was well kept and clean. Breakfast, lunch or dinner were always phantastic and it´s great to have breakfast or lunch or dinner sitting outside in the deckchairs on the veranda while You watch the sea. The captain - Melinda ist charming and knows her job as do the other members of the crew. We can´t say much about the entertainment or the off shore tours because we had been on a private cruise. It was a wonderful first experience even we had often rain and the sea was quite rocky for february, but I do hope that we will sail again with the Windstar and Melinda in the Mediterranean or Sweden and Norway or the baltic!!! Thank You all! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
So many positives on this cruise. The food was fantastic, the crew exceptional and the ship beautiful. I have cruised over 15 times and on this one I brought three other couples. We all agreed the cruise was top rate, The entertainment ... Read More
So many positives on this cruise. The food was fantastic, the crew exceptional and the ship beautiful. I have cruised over 15 times and on this one I brought three other couples. We all agreed the cruise was top rate, The entertainment on deck was perfect. Two issues. On our day we docked in Puerto Rico the boats pool and top deck were closed. The reason was unclear as some said normal maintanance and others said to prepare for an inspection. It was very hot so one day of our cruise was eliminated by these closures. We were forced into an itinerary. We went to the Bicardi Rum factory which was nice and the shop charged 95 dollars a person. When we arrived we saw the tour we took was 15 per person. A cab would have been a total of 20 This was disturbing. Otherwise an A plus cruise which I would strongly reccomend. One couple paid half what we paid as they booked late. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our 3rd Windstar cruise - the other 2 being in Europe. We enjoy the small ship atmosphere and have been very pleased with the level of service and casual elegance of the Windstar experience. This ship was full with 144 passengers, ... Read More
This was our 3rd Windstar cruise - the other 2 being in Europe. We enjoy the small ship atmosphere and have been very pleased with the level of service and casual elegance of the Windstar experience. This ship was full with 144 passengers, I believe, and 99 crew. This cruise started in Barbados with a fast and easy embarkation and a sunset departure that brought most everyone up to the deck to enjoy the "signature sail away" music and raising of sails. Our cabin was 2nd deck mid-ship and was comfortable with a firm bed and lots of storage space. I must comment on the water pressure in the shower - wow - far better than I get at home! We had read that the first night going from Bridgetown to St. Lucia could be rocky and, indeed, you definitely knew you were on a boat that first night! Preparing ahead with Bonine, patch, or whatever, would probably always be a good preventative against the swells. The final night also featured some rocking and rolling, but we didn't hear any complaints, so perhaps everyone had their sea legs by then. Of particular note on this cruise was the incredibly friendly group of people aboard. Mostly American with a good number of Canadians, some Brits, French and others. While most of the passengers were couples, we found nearly everyone inviting others to join them for dinner and tables for 4 or 6 quite common. We were really pleased with this aspect of the cruise and don't know if it is always replicated on these Caribbean trips, but it worked for us! There were a few men traveling alone and one commented at the end of the trip about how welcoming and friendly everyone had been to him --- unlike many cruises he'd taken on other lines. I think the small size of the ship helps - you feel like you know everyone on the ship by the end of the week! Phillipe, the Voyage Leader, did a good job of introducing us to the various ports of call each evening prior and was exceedingly patient and good natured throughout the trip. His French accent was adorable and his dancing skills were put on display during the on-deck barbeque dance party - fun! Michael, the bar manager, Haley and Jesus, the entertainers, the ship's doctor, the reception staff - all were 100% upbeat and enthusiastic in their interactions with us. While we know that there is repetition to their jobs week after week with a new crowd of passengers, the staff really made you feel like they enjoyed their work and were having fun. Even the captain showed off his sense of humor and was a genial host on the bridge visits. Our cabin steward, "T" was a delight and was at the ready with a smile and greeting whenever we met and quickly responded whenever a request was made. A few towel animals found their way into our cabin, too. A real highlight on board was the on-deck barbeque. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather throughout the trip, so being on deck with an absolutely amazing spread of food, a steel drum band playing, and then line dancing after was just terrific. Haley did a good job of getting people up and dancing and the crew dances were fun to watch. It was a great evening! The diversity of the ports made this trip quite memorable. We did 3 excursions and were satisfied with each one. In St. Lucia, the Sights and Casteries tour took us through hill and dale and to the capital city - so we had a good look at the island. The guide was very good and while we could have done without the final stop at an arts and crafts shop, overall it was a good trip to get a look at the island. In Grenada, we did the glass bottom kayak tour. It was an interesting area to kayak and we were taken to the location of the underwater sculpture park. It was a bit difficult to see much through the bottom of the boat given the sea being a bit stirred up, but it was a worthwhile paddle if you like to kayak.The staff took photos of our group arriving and boarding the kayaks and sold a CD for $10 that also included underwater photos of the sculpture park.The snorkel excursion in Tobago Cay was aboard a large catamaran with about 30 people aboard. The boat had two stops - the first took us to a reef, and then we went to an area with sea turtles to see. Rough seas made the first stop a challenge for some of us (who were weaker swimmers), but the second stop was great and most everyone managed to see some turtles, which was awesome. And the rum punch served on the way back to the ship was fantastic! Remember to bring tip money for the guides - something easily forgotten when you're putting on bathing suits. Our favorite day was on the island of Mayreau at the "special event." The day was magnificent, there was nice snorkeling right off the beach, lunch was served under the shade of the palms, the water sports items were available to use from the beach, and there were shade cabanas set up with lounge chairs all the way down the beach. Paddle boarding is harder than it looks! There was a steep walk from the beach to the top of the island where the area behind the church offered amazing views of neighboring islands and reefs and that crystal clear blue and green water. If you're up for it, you can continue on that road to the other side of the island and Salt Whistle Bay, which has small beachfront restaurants and bars. Its a steep walk both ways, but Salt Whistle is lovely. That night we had our dinner at Candles on deck (deee-lish) and then went to the crew show, which was so much fun (don't miss it!). It was truly a perfect day. We did have 1 day at sea and the activities and demos during the day made the time fly. Some folks can sit and read all day and others cannot, so towel animals, fruit carving, trivia, galley tour and line dancing instruction were appreciated! Name that Tune in the evening was well attended and well managed by Hailey and Jesus. We almost won! The breakfast selections were varied and quite good in our experience. Plenty of fruit, hot items, and the best Muesli! We mostly had lunch on board and it was fine. Caesar salad was very good. Best part was discovered at the end of the trip - bread pudding - OMG - soooo good. Don't miss it. Dinner in the dining room offered a nice and varied selection. But the best dinners were enjoyed at the on-deck barbeque and at Candles. If you have the chance to take the galley tour, do it - it's amazing what they accomplish in such a small space. Overall, the food was well presented, tasted good, and the service was excellent. Disembarking was done reluctantly - we didn't want to leave. But, of course, it was efficiently handled in spite of 3 mega ships also in port. Our flight was 1pm, so we hired a taxi to take us up to Holetown and see a bit of the island that we didn't see on our one day ahead of the cruise. $80 got us a 1.5 hour tour plus trip to the airport, which seemed very fair.There are excursions available with airport transfer, but your flight had to be after 3:30pm. So, our thanks to the crew and fellow passengers for a wonderful week at sea and visits to new and interesting ports. This is an itinerary that the big ships cannot offer, take advantage of it! Read Less
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