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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo traveler and wanted a luxury experience. I explained that bedding and the sleeping arrangements were very important to me. I sleep with a CPAP and require a minimum of a double size bed as I sleep in the center. With proper electrical hookup bedside. I needed a fully equipped gym with cardio equipment so I can run the morning otherwise I get anxious. A well appointed spa.  I was assured that the motor boat class of Windstar had all of this and more. A luxury cruise in every sense of the word filled with pampering amenities. The Windstar Star Breeze boasted of beautifully appointed accommodations, exceptional public areas, 2 luxury dining rooms, full spa and gym facilities.  Upon boarding I quickly surveyed the situation and my heart sank.  My stateroom 226  The bedside plug was damaged. I was unable to get power to the CPAP machine. The adapters would not work it took 3 trips by maintenance until they found a workable solution.  The bed is 2 singles pressed against each other. Something I was specifically was assured was not the case!  The bathroom mirror vanity was cracked and held together with silver tape.  The white Marble was stained completely yellow around the toilet from years of urine on porous stone.  The DVD player did not work. I went to the spa to book services. I was delighted to see acupuncture. Was told that was not a service provided on this ship. Why was it on the menu of services then? I booked 3 massage sessions regardless.  I took a tour of the spa. I recoiled upon opening the steam room door due to the smell of mold that was overwhelming, it was small and musty.  I went to the gym and was shocked to discover outdated equipment. An old rower, a basic exercise bike and 2 treadmills. The ceiling is maybe 6’5 the treadmill is a step up making it impossible to be used without hitting my head. I am 6’.  I went to the buffet. Again dismayed, the food was basic and below anything I was accustomed to. I inquired about the buffet because that was another issue I had and was assured by the booking agent that there were full service restaurants available all day. I assumed that the cafeteria buffet was only because we had not set sail yet.  We left the port and set sail. I asked about internet and that it was imperative that I was able to get basic work done with my home office and was assured that it would work throughout he ship. Upon signing up the reception informed me that it was unlikely to work in my stateroom. That was what came to pass not only did it not work in my stateroom it never worked at all as well as the computers in the library! One computer was out of service. Every passenger I spoke with complained about it.  The library filled with books left behind by other passengers. A selection of DVD’s from the 90’s  There was no real bon voyage celebration - some flag thing with no fanfare or pomp. No champagne toast, no little waving flags nothing.  The lounge singers provided bad renditions of popular songs.  If it weren’t all so sad it would have been funny. It was all like a late night basic cable skit.  I went to dinner in the below deck restaurant. It was all mediocre. The ambiance, the service and food.  I went to bed distraught. The seam in the middle of the bed, the hard pillows, the scratchy sheets. I tried to hold back tears. I was a grown man. Day 1 at sea. More bad lounge singing, a lecture about a detox treatment for sale. I went for my massage in an intensely claustrophobic treatment room. I asked about the overhead florescent tube lights. He informed me that there is no way to shut them off. Florescent lighting trigger my migraines he explained that he puts this eye mask on. I don’t want anything on my face especially something like a beanbag that isnt clean and used by others. The massage was amateur at best.  I went to dinner at Candella - the converted buffet. That stayed exactly the same other then then it being night. Not a candle electric or otherwise, not a flower, not twinkling light. A blank room. The steel buffet set up remained. A night cafeteria with a new name. A lipstick on a pig. This was supposed to be the special steak house?  I went to sleep with stomach pain, sad and frustrated. I prayed that in the morning the excursion would be a bright spot.  I woke up early with mild pain and cramping, nauseous and a little weak. I went to the ships doctor seeking pepto bismol. I wanted to make sure that i wouldn’t be queasy on the off board excursion. He immediately started to question my systems, I explained to the best of my ability the situation. He said in order to continue I would need to pay I think $150. He chose to ignore my request for Pepto and let me know if he were to examine me and he suspected that I might have a bacterial or viral digestive illness that he would immediately quarantine me. Not upon clinical diagnosis but suspicion. That lab results would be sent out and until their return minimum 3 days and an all clear I could be locked in my room. This was a perceived threat. His insistence that I undergo an invasive examination and that results would need to be sent to the CDC for confirmation and clearance a 4 day minimum.  At one point as I attempted to leave his office he stepped in front of me blocking my exit. I told him to move or call security. He moved out of my way. The threat of possibly being locked in the cabin with no open window induced such a state of panic that went into a state of fight or flight. I left the ship immediately. I took a 4 hour taxi from the port of call back to Edinburgh. Any one of the above reason have justifiable cause to leave. I am utterly and totally disgusted. I had to reroute my flights and incur an enormous amount of financial loss. My dream trip ruined.  That aspect of the ships protocol is highly disturbing. After sharing all of this the President of Windstar - John Delaney refused any kind of refund, credit or apology. Nothing. What a disgusting lack of customer service. If considering a cruise look elsewhere. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they provided on their newer style of motorized cruising. They purchased ships from the Seabourne line. The ship we were on is the Star Breeze. It is about 30 years old and it shows. Embarkation went very smoothly and our luggage appeared in our room in a timely fashion. Our room was quite comfortable and large with a walk in closet, full tub with shower and large sitting area. Very comfortable indeed. The service in the cabin was just what we needed with our cabin staff being very responsive to our needs. The food in the main dining room is average. There is nothing overtly wrong with it but it is not exciting, interesting or especially tasty. The one exception being the 'indoor BBQ' night necessitated by bad weather. On this night the ships galley was our BBQ area and it was fund to walk through the galley and the food was excellent. The service in the main dining room was weak regardless of where we sat and who attended to us. At times it would be difficult to get wait staff to come to the table. Water was poured before we could get the word sparkling out of our mouth and then a look of annoyance appeared when we asked to switch. The food and service in the private dining room was a different story. Both were excellent. Entertainment was practically non-existent. In comparison to river boats where local talent is featured many evenings and lectures on others there was pretty much nothing offered after dinner except a duo then ended early. Shore excursions were good and interesting. Unfortunately we were battling bad weather throughout the journey. In fact, our day in Portrush had to be cancelled as the tenders were not able to run. This was very unfortunate as the cruise had no back up plan for onboard activity this day. We had nothing to do all day. Yes, we did get to the next port that night and were allowed off the boat but the city was shut down by the time we arrived. This seemed to be poor planning. The ship itself clearly shows its age especially in the dining room and stage lounge and is in serious need of a facelift. We will likely not travel this line again as there are too many better options. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Dublin to Lisbon cruise started with ship not being in port where it was supposed to be, high winds, first night staying in port, first port of call cancelled, grey skies. Sounds bad? No it wasn´t bad at all. Ship incoming had to ... Read More
Dublin to Lisbon cruise started with ship not being in port where it was supposed to be, high winds, first night staying in port, first port of call cancelled, grey skies. Sounds bad? No it wasn´t bad at all. Ship incoming had to divert to Dublin City ( from originally Dún Laoghaire, small village south of Dublin) which we did not know about. Check in and Transfer to ship and it´s new location was painless and seamless though in Dan Laoghaire with bus transfer to ship. Arrival at ship was met by an all smiling and super friendly, mostly Indonesian crew, which set the tone for the duration of the cruise. The Crew were just outstanding and turned the whole voyage into a lovely experience, much better than even anticipated. This was my first Windstar cruise, surely not my last. Ship is in very good condition, I found the staterooms lovely and cosy in great modern condition, absolutely big enough (normally never say No to a Suite when price is right), super comfortable beds with super comfy pillows. Deck 2 selection midship turned out to be the best selection we could have made. High enough to overlook the water and as stable as possible. The size of the cabin turned out to be a big plus in high seas, which we had indeed. First port of call then was Isles of Scilly. Never thought we would be able to stop and tneder, but we did, as winds came down a bit. We had our scheduled half day in a lovely corner of South of England. Then we crossed over to Brest. Quite a ride as the winds had picked up again which also resulted in higher waves. Not a good night for everyone on board, even for quite a few Crew members. Still they were smiling and joking and assisting and serving drinks and Food. Restaurant was never really empty, so a lot of people coped quite well with the ship dancing on the waves. Weather in Brest unfortunately did not cooperate at all. It rained all day, just untill exactly when we left the port in the evening for our 2 night/1 full day crossing of the Bay of Biscayne. You guessed it, the waves got worse. It was quite a ride and quite a few passeners had a very difficult time. Sill many had no problem and enjoyed the ride, like we did. Wether only improved once we reached Spain in El Ferrol, followed by Vigo, both very nice ports with a beautiful back countryside. Next and final stop short stop in Porto was all sunny and just piccture perfect. The whole voyage was perfect, despite th weather. Ports great, excursion good, food good, ship just perfect. I really had no complaints at all. Passenger were mostly Americans, I guess 95 %, lovely as we all know them, as well as occasionally noisy, but always fun to be around. Crew as mentioned is truly exceptional !Looking forward to do it again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had sailed on the Windsurf in the Caribbean. We decided to choose a really different itinerary.......Dublin to Lisbon. And different it was. Originally 1st stop was Waterford, Ireland but the Irish Seas were in turmoil so the ship ... Read More
We had sailed on the Windsurf in the Caribbean. We decided to choose a really different itinerary.......Dublin to Lisbon. And different it was. Originally 1st stop was Waterford, Ireland but the Irish Seas were in turmoil so the ship couldn't visit. So we stayed in Dublin overnight. No loss, as we had been to Ireland many times. The northern stops were a bit cool, southern stops hot and sunny. The Windsurf is a beautiful sailing vessel, just the right size. With approx. three hundred passengers and two hundred crew the service is outstanding. Friendly and personal, the crew goes above and beyond to make your journey a memorable one. Highlight of the trip was the deck BBQ in Vigo, Spain. Hard to call it a BBQ with the high end food offered.. Vigo is a gorgeous harbor and sailing out of there at sunset with the sails all lit up was something dreams are made of. The captain and officers were around constantly interacting with the guests and being able to go on the bridge anytime at sea was an interesting experience. Hats off to Windstar Cruises for offering a more intimate setting than the large ships. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that ... Read More
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that the shower in my cabin was over a bathtub, making it very difficult to get in and out of the shower. Bathtubs on ships don't make a lot of sense to me. And the shower head was placed awkwardly in a corner, making it difficult to get the full force of the shower. Service was very good and so was the food; dinners were elegantly served and there was always good entree choices. The Fitness Center is very well equipped. Generally, Windstar does a good job. My annoyance is that I felt "nickled and dimed" because there are so many extra charges. I would rather pay a little more and have more included (like wine at dinner and laundry). Another annoyance is to arrive at a "briefing" for the next day's activities only to have to sit through half an hour of marketing for future Windstar trips before the "briefing" begins. Another annoyance is Internet access; they sell it but tell you that it will work only intermittently and so much time is used up just trying to log on, plus it's expensive! But all in all, it was a good trip and I would do it again! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I took this cruise because it was a James Beard Food Cruise. The suite offered very little I wouldn't pay extra for it. This is the second time I booked on this cruise line and was disappionted both times.The communication was ... Read More
I took this cruise because it was a James Beard Food Cruise. The suite offered very little I wouldn't pay extra for it. This is the second time I booked on this cruise line and was disappionted both times.The communication was not good aboard the boat. There were activities that were not listed except if you found something in small print so you had to make sure you kept up. Examples the chefs on shore food purchases were not communicated, the galley tour was orly communicate and so was the star light dinner. So for a person who paid top dollar did not get any benefits. Other lines provide a person that takes care of the suites . I think they should adopt that practice. Food on the ship was ok even though it was such a small boat and a special James Beard cruise. Entertainment was limited but acceptable. This is an al carte cruise so everything is extra. While annoying we knew that going in. The staff was great . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This small yacht has one of the better cabins than Regents, Celebrity, Paul Gauguin, etc. The cabins have no balcony but an open space for double doors. The interior design includes a walk-in closet. That is a WOW. The trip sailed ... Read More
This small yacht has one of the better cabins than Regents, Celebrity, Paul Gauguin, etc. The cabins have no balcony but an open space for double doors. The interior design includes a walk-in closet. That is a WOW. The trip sailed around Iceland and the shore excursions were plentiful. Perhaps the cost of living in Iceland is high, it appears that the shore excursions are more expensive than the other cruises. Not a great deal of travelers heard of WindStar. But if this cruise line is going to Asia, their WIFI program needs to work at a better level than at the present. Entertainment is very low key. Most of all, confusions with communications appeared quite often, resulting in conflicts with travelers. On the whole, it is a pleasant, cold and windy cruise in the midst of summer so that I can say I crossed the Article Circle in style. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Being welcomed back to the Wind Surf by our Captain Gerry Hogan and his spectacular crew made us feel as if we were being welcomed home. This particular cruise from Dublin to Edinburgh was a dream for us and almost unattainable after a ... Read More
Being welcomed back to the Wind Surf by our Captain Gerry Hogan and his spectacular crew made us feel as if we were being welcomed home. This particular cruise from Dublin to Edinburgh was a dream for us and almost unattainable after a sudden serious health issue earlier in the year. Seeing "the Surf" tied up at the dock brought tears to our eyes. Being greeted by staff who remembered us from other sailings not only made us feel instantly at home, it is also a testament to a company that must be great to work for as the crew members have choices in employers and they keep coming back. There is so much to say about this cruise starting with the ports which were all interesting with each one very different in landscape and culture. Going to Isle of Man and learning the history of this country and its part in WWII was enlightening. Kirkwall and all of the Orkney Islands, going to Scapa Flow feel like a step back into history, both modern and ancient. Portree, Isle of Skye, is one of the most beautiful places on earth; Tobermory charming and Portrush all of these rolled into one. Disembarking in Edinburgh was easy and it's understandable why people fall in love with this charming city and continue to return. The Wind Surf is in wonderful shape with excellent services, continuous smiles and a true effort to make every guest feel special. The reception staff and dining room staff are eager to do whatever it takes to satisfy each request. We eat anything an everything but met lots of people with specific food needs and all were exceedingly happy with the abundance of choices. The cabin stewards are the best in the business, keeping the cabins immaculate and will appear at a moments notice to take care of any personal need. We are always amazed that our names are remembered from day one. This particular itinerary is one that should not be missed. There were lots of fellow passengers who were interested in these countries as part of their ancestry. And if one isn't into ancestry and/or the history of Ireland and Scotland, there are always the breweries and distilleries! Great trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in ... Read More
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in lounge, interesting historical lectures by a very informed historian. Wonderful service and extremely friendly and kind crew. Captain always actively engaged with passengers. Ability of all to remember passenger names was astounding and never experienced on any other line. Mixed age groupings, kids with grandparents and so forth, and younger crowd than Vantage or Viking get made it nice too. Ship is gorgeous under sail. We had foggy conditions and missed one port of call but no one seemed to mind and felt securely cared for by the senior staff and crew. Great land excursions, though somewhat expensive. Wonderful cruise director, who was very caring with anyone who was unsteady or needed extra time. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Before reviewing a wonderful five-star cruise, let me dispense with my booking frustrations with the Windstar office. Without burdening you, may I simply say that the powers-that-be in Seattle need to properly train their representatives, ... Read More
Before reviewing a wonderful five-star cruise, let me dispense with my booking frustrations with the Windstar office. Without burdening you, may I simply say that the powers-that-be in Seattle need to properly train their representatives, empower them to answer concerns and questions, and then abide by their answers. Should anyone want details, please contact me. Now for the Star Legend cruise from Lisbon to Dublin with port calls in Porto, El Ferrol, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, and St Malo. First, my wife and I have been enjoying cruises for 25 years on both larger and smaller ships. As in the Goldilocks story, we found the Star Legend to be just right. Boarding was seamless and pleasant at about 1:00 in the afternoon. After having a glass of Champagne, providing our passports and receiving our boarding cards, we were escorted to our “suite” which was in order and immaculate. We were then invited to enjoy lunch on the Veranda. From that point on, for the next 10 days, service from every member of the staff was always with a sincere smile and immediate. From laundry service to in-room meals, from tour escorts to bartenders, from the personable Captain to the fellow polishing brass, everyone was willing and able to be of service. Yes this ship has some age, but I have learned to appreciate the workmanship in older vessels. The walls of our spacious cabin were solid, constructed of wood, mirrors and padded fabric. We did not hear our neighbors and I doubt they heard us. All meals were outstanding in all of the venues, with a great variety of menu selections. The wine list was more than adequate. Here I must give special kudos to the wonderful young lady who served us three meal per day, almost without exception, (not that she was assigned to us, but because we sought her, or she looked for us). Trisna, from Bali, was the most caring, attentive, friendly individual imaginable, and able to do all that she did with the graciousness of a prima ballerina. Thank you so very much Trisna! Our ports of call were unique, and great launching points for some very interesting tours. It was so nice to dock at every port. No tendering. Before wrapping this up, I must mention two tiny aspects which did not please us. One, the music provided by the entertainers included amplified computer accompaniment. In some places this was bearable, but in the Compass Rose room it was not. We entered this room on two different occasions after dinner and the volume was so loud we turned around and left. My only other gripe would be that I bristled at having time taken from my 50 min. massage to pitch my need for additional massages and a $55.00 “cooling gel.” Yes, we would do it again, and recommend it highly. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The old ship with an outdated decor and a very few amenities. The entertainment was limited to an OK band and a duo (husband and wife) singers. The food was OK, but not great. The cabin was small with a peeling wallpaper and some ... Read More
The old ship with an outdated decor and a very few amenities. The entertainment was limited to an OK band and a duo (husband and wife) singers. The food was OK, but not great. The cabin was small with a peeling wallpaper and some rusted spots in the shower. It was also dark with pothole windows which were advertised as the ocean view cabins. A poor quality TV reception, limited to 4-5 channels. Internet is slow and expensive. Wi-Fi was available only close to the reception desk not in our room. The "Fitness Center" was so small that 2 people felt as a crowd. The 24 hours food court (pizza, sandwiches, tea, coffee), typical for all the cruises I've been to, is not available. There is a room service alternative that I've never used. The only positive detail of the cruise was friendly, service-oriented staff. Not a luxury cruise that I've hoped for! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise because of the date, destination and my birthday. Our documentation stated the cruise left from Edinburg and the address on the ticket was for Edinburgh; however, when we gave our ticket and documentation to the cab ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the date, destination and my birthday. Our documentation stated the cruise left from Edinburg and the address on the ticket was for Edinburgh; however, when we gave our ticket and documentation to the cab driver, he took us to the port. When we arrived, we had to find a harbor master to locate ship-then we discovered we were to leave from Dundee. 75 miles away! We were lucky, our driver could take us and we arrived just in time to leave-$290.00 later!! We called the "emergency numbers 3 times-no one returned our phone calls-so don't bother calling them!! Our cabin lacked furniture by the bed and we had to charge phones, iPad and lay them on the floor with reading glasses and other nighttime things! First day, excursions were in chaos and we waited over an hour for the buses to arrive!! First day, we had booked an excursion to see a castle with falconry demonstration. Our guide decided we need to be back early 3 hours for lunch??) so she cut the trip short!! She treated us like we were small children and regaled us with stories of her teaching " dumb" royalty in a private school. The special exhibit for this trip was watching a high school band perform. Seriously!! A part of that trip-we were taken to a battleground with a nice Visitor's center-BUT! Our same guide did not let us go inside!! Instead she led us outside and lectured for 30 minutes! Guess she knew more than the historians!! When we returned, Windstar was contacted-which acted like all was our fault because we were ignorant and did not read our documentation! We are two doctors who travel a great deal and were insulted! We spent 4 days pre cruise in Edinburh-thank goodness-on our own or I do not know I'd we could have seen the city. Their excuse, we did not pay their transportation fee to port! And did not stay at their hotel. We stayed at a beautiful Trip Advisor boutique hotel which we loved!! We were less than impressed with Windstar-this was our second-had it been our first-it would have been our last!!after they have your $$, you are totally written off!! Trying to communicate with their staff before we left was a nightmare as well!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not ... Read More
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not disappointed. Edinburgh is a lovely city, offering fantastic history, architecture, and pub food & drink. Upon arrival, we were pleased to learn that the city was celebrating their annual "Festival Fringe", billed as the world's largest arts festival, spanning 25 days of nonstop music, dance, comedy, and poetry in over 300 venues. The Royal Mile leading up to the Castle was thronged with people, many in costume. Every block had one or more stages, with performances every 30 minutes. What a great time! The cruise got off to a bad start at embarkation, when we arrived at dockside in Edinburgh, only to be informed that the Wind Surf was actually in Dundee, over 60 miles away! After a frantic taxi ride (an extra 160 Euros) we arrived in Dundee, then drove around in circles for a while searching for the "King George V Wharf", which even the local taxi drivers had never heard of. As we got near the water we could see the masts of the ship, but it took quite a while to find the completely unmarked dock entrance. As we go onboard we saw many other taxis pulling up with frustrated looking customers. As we got to the top of the gangway, I was greeted warmly by Nick Bulger, the Wind Surf's Hotel Manager, a good friend from several previous cruises. Soon we were comfortably situated in Cabin 327, our first time in a suite, and certainly not the last. By the time we got to dinner we had already touched base with several of our favorite crew members such as Nova, Casey, Jun, Phillip, Merrick, and Chef Eddy. A few other crew members heard that I was on board, and tracked me down in the Compass Rose just to say hello. It's this kind of warm personal service that sets Windstar 180 degrees from ordinary, indeed. Unfortunately, our favorite entertainers, Craig and Nikki from the "Rain" duo, were not on board (Nikki just had a baby!) Their replacements were a British duo, the "Upbeats" who were very good vocalists. The main band was "High Society", which seems to change lead singers every cruise. They are a family act, and don't offer much energy or showmanship. They play before and after dinner, and seldom can entice anyone onto the dance floor. The only time I saw any dancing at all was after the weekly BBQ, when the crew got everyone up for line dancing. However, the amateur show put on by the crew was greatly improved, including a hysterically funny synchronized swimming act. Contrary to some recent CC reviews, I thought the ship was in great shape, and our cabin was immaculate. The food was excellent, with some local dishes mixed in with the normal Asian-influenced menu. Service, as always, was very attentive and personal. Our cruise itinerary was very interesting, entirely in small ports such as Invergordon, the Orkney Islands, and the Isle of Man. In several ports the ship was anchored out, rather than moored at a pier. On a few occasions when the sea was a bit choppy the tender ride to and from the ship got a little rocky, and on one occasion the Captain had to cut off the tender service entirely. The weather was cool, usually around 60F degrees, and often foggy in the morning. However, there was sunshine almost every day. The last stop was in Dublin, where we visited the fascinating Guinness Museum, and learned how to do the "perfect pour" of Guinness Stout. I am not a big fan of Guinness, but I do like dark beers, and was able to buy several Guinness variants that are not widely available in the U.S., such as Indian Porter, Double Stout and XX. Another great cruise! This was also our first ever back/back cruise, as we continued on to France, Spain and Portugal --- the topic of a second review. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
My husband and I chose this cruise for the itinerary, which was very interesting: Dublin, Orkney Island, Norwegian fjords, Faroe Islalnds, Reykjavik. Being an old Seaborne ship, the cabin is a suite which was large with a sitting area, ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise for the itinerary, which was very interesting: Dublin, Orkney Island, Norwegian fjords, Faroe Islalnds, Reykjavik. Being an old Seaborne ship, the cabin is a suite which was large with a sitting area, walkin closet, large bathroom, and very comfortable. We very much enjoyed the itinerary. The cruise itself was a disappointment. Service was not very good. The food was fair and served cold at times. A language barrier existed between staff and guests and you never knew what might show up at the dinner table. When the ship has to make an announcement over the intercom system, asking guests "to be more patient" at dinner in the dining room because it takes over 2 hours to get a meal, you know there is a problem and many people are complaining. Obviously, a middle management and training problem exist. Could not wait to get off the ship. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Did a circumnavigation of Iceland. Ship was in very good condition, considering its age (but it did have a refurb last May). A few minor things could have been better, tho. Liked our window stateroom - at 277 sq. ft, it was large for a ... Read More
Did a circumnavigation of Iceland. Ship was in very good condition, considering its age (but it did have a refurb last May). A few minor things could have been better, tho. Liked our window stateroom - at 277 sq. ft, it was large for a very small ship. Everything in good working order. Asked for feather pillows, and our room steward got them for me. Food, for the most part, was very good. My wife had a standard steak in AmphorA that was not very good, but the filet mignon in Candles was excellent. Otherwise, I'd rate it very good. Lots of variety for on-deck BBQ, incl lobster. But did not open Verandah for breakfast or lunch, due to chilly weather. Very pleased with wait staff in restaurants! Gave 3 of them an extra tip. We were on the Star Legend's inaugural voyage last May, and some of the staff remembered us. My wife remembered the casino mgr when she was with another cruise line; they bonded. Shorex varied from Good to Fair; ditto for tour leaders -- primarily English language skills (accent and vocabulary). But remember you're in very small towns (several hundred to a few thousand), so not a lot of population to draw from for tourism. Only truly negative was a local actor who came on board for a one-man show on one of the Icelandic sagas, He was terrible! Overall, a very good experience and I'd go again on one of Windstar's power yachts. Ignore the negative reviews - chalk it up to "learning curve". Give Windstar a try. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've ... Read More
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've seen them on cruises and there is no pleasing them. My wife and I and another couple, all in our early 50's, recently completed the cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon. It was superb! We had a basic cabin on a lower level and it was very spacious, clean and well appointed. Our cabin steward was great and friendly. The air conditioning was cold and easy to control. The bed/mattress was very comfortable. Pillows were soft foam and perfect! I heard someone on our cruise literally complain that they had to pick up their own glass of champaign upon boarding the boat, that it wasn't "handed" to them. If that's your biggest issue, you have a great life! We were extremely pleased to find out that the main dinner restaurant was a la carte, and wow, was it ever awesome! The chef visited every table, every day to discuss how their meal was (awesome!). The food progressively got better and better! The oso bucco was stellar as was the prime rib! Each day their were new special salads and soups to start the meal, as well as different entrees and deserts. Was it perfect? No. One day I ordered medium rare beef Wellington and it came out medium well. When the waitress noticed she asked if I'd like something different and I said yes. She brought me another meal within three minutes. Seriously, it was AMAZING service! I don't know what the other people were complaining about regarding excessive vibration and the smell of oil, there was absolutely none of that. It was clean, fancy and delicious. We did dinner one night at the reservations required steak place, Candles. Filet minion, New York strip, Mahi Mahi, all amazing! But I have to say, the main dining room was equally good, but it just didn't serve the same amount of steak. Dinner was from 7-9. With only 200 passengers, and a la carte serving (vs a crappy carnival cruise line buffet) it made complete sense. We never had to wait to get our drinks refilled (with lots of ice) or wine poured for us. The service was truly exceptional, and we found the serving staff really tried to get to know us by name and remember our drink preferences. My wife would go to the Yacht Club in the late afternoon to read and the waitress would bring her a red wine and club soda without her having to ask. Needless to say, she got a great tip! The night of the BBQ was spectacular! The lobster, flank steak, suckling pig, fish, paella and all the amazing accompaniments were outstanding! The biggest issue was finding a shady place to sit. When a server saw us sitting in the sun, she offered us an alternative in the shade just around the corner that we hadn't seen. Breakfast was great too! They had a buffet set up if you wanted to grab something quickly and get on your way, as well as an omelet bar and a la carte menu. It was a great assortment of always great food. We only ate lunch on the boat twice, once on sea day and once when we stopped in Gibraltar for the morning. It was awesome both times as well. You're not going to go hungry on this boat. If you wanted a meal outside of the normal seating times, the boat has 24 hour room service (which includes popcorn if you want to stay in your room one evening and watch a movie) as well as light meals in the Yacht Club until 5:00pm. At 6:00pm they started serving awesome appetizers in the Star Bar. Speaking of the Star Bar, it became our favourite evening hangout. Jesus and Haleigh played great music that was a combo of easy listening during the early hours, to dance music later on in the evening. We closed it down a few time! That's not to take away from the Compass Rose bar. The band there was great as well, but it's inside and we only went there on one particularly cool breezy evening. My wife and I are retired and consider ourselves rather adventurous. Our friends who were with us were equally adventurous. We saw many many couples who were much older than us on the cruise having a great time! It's clearly that this is the cruise line for cool adventurous people! We want to be like them when we get older. We also saw some people who my wife described as "cranky pants". People who needed to be treated like kings and queens or their noses would get out of joint. Fortunately these people were few and far between and we did a good job of avoiding them. I suspect the writers of the negative reviews fell into the category. I'm not going to comment in detail about each port that we stopped at. They were all awesome and unique and we had a great time at each one. If you're interested in reviews on the ports, go to tripadvisor. I will say that we did two tours arranged by Windstar, one that we organized on our own, and the rest we just walked and wondered around (which was awesome). All of them were great, but the nice thing about doing you own thing is that there are fewer people and you get a more personal experience. We will definitely be back on a Windstar boat, and hopefully on Star Breeze! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I must confess at the outset that I have never been a fan of "cruising" and that sentiment has been further confirmed as I have watched ever larger, slab-sided monstrosities blot out the vistas of some of the most beautiful bays ... Read More
I must confess at the outset that I have never been a fan of "cruising" and that sentiment has been further confirmed as I have watched ever larger, slab-sided monstrosities blot out the vistas of some of the most beautiful bays and harbors of the world. This feeling perhaps first began when I was invited to lunch on board the SS France when she visited Sydney, Australia on her final voyage before being cast into the role of a floating university, a venture that proved to be folly. Nonetheless, any vessel that could boast twenty three pastry chefs had to be a winner in my book and a testament to the fact that the French would allow a kitchen of any less proportion or caliber to cross an ocean under the Tri-color flag of France. Those are sadly bygone days and the commercial employment of the current-day behemoths to introduce the masses to the joys of travel are a mere shadow of the all but forgotten days of the great ships. However, over recent years I have become quite enamoured of the 100 to 600 passenger vessels of the SeaDream and Azamara brands that have brought new life to my hope for a better quality experience at sea. My exploration of these offerings has proven most satisfactory and the emphasis on melding a superb, all-inclusive on-board experience with longer stays in port and more overnights to allow the traveler to really enjoy local cuisine and culture without the rush on and off for what is often a dissapointing "tour" of the local town. Additionally, the shallower draft of these smaller vessels permits them to transport one to ports and river destinations denied their larger competitors. The true all-inclusive products these lines offer is a refreshing change from the need to always be reaching into your pocket for everything such as gratuities or a glass of wine. It was with this new appreciation for the call of the sea that I was promted to coax some friends to join me in sampling Windstar's newly acquired motor ship, the Windstar Legend for a "Culinary and Wine Delights" voyage from Dover down the coast of France and Spain to Portugal. "Legend" indeed! It might more appropriately be called "Myth" as it has proved to be about one and a half stars short of its perported five. Notwithstanding the comments to follow, I would not wish to take anything away from the largely Indonesian (non-officer) crew who were absolutely wonderful in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere at every point of contact. The kitchen staff also produced a very satisfactory offering at every meal despite the fact that they and the wait staff were as frustrated as we passengers at the daily changes as to where breakfast or lunch would be served. The daily bulletin was invariably wrong and even junior officers, when found, had difficulty in directing us to the correct location! When an investment is made to re-fit a ship one has to bear in mind that the steel structure of the original designer's vision is unchangeable. Thus it is the exterior facade and the interior furnishings and other items of decore that are the focus of any expenditures. In this instance I found it difficult to see beyond the ovbviously new carpet, just where had the $millions been spent? My bathroom fixtures had been re-caulked, although to say it was a shoddy job would be generous. The missed piece around the basin faucet was evidence of the grunge that the new grout was to cover. Our friends found a three legged chair (one broken) propped up against the wall of their cabin and the table at which I sat in the Yacht Club had the surround veneer peeling way. Poor quality choice of furnishing or poor upkeep, take your pick! The steel edge of our balcony already was showing deeply encrusted rust which would indicate a lack of detail in cleaning and painting the exterior. In all, this lady shows her age and is not up to the standard befitting a five-star hotel at sea. All of this pales in comparisonm to the failure of the fresh water system at the start of our first at-sea day. Guests reported being caught in full lather as hot water turned brown and diminshed to a trickle. Toilets ceased to work and even ingenious efforts to flush with bottles of Perrier were thwarted due to the vacuum system also being turned off! Not what one had hoped for and again, perhaps evidence that the re-fit dollars were not fully deployed in support of the mechanical areas either. Hence we were diverted to the port of Brest to have the tanks flushed and repairs made. Disembarkation was not an option but then, Brest harbor did not appear inviting enough to venture out. The price point of our voyage was far from inexpensive which made the nickel and dime-ing plus constant efforts to up-sell (spa) more annoying. The partially inclusive price was certainly five star, the product not so. One clear point of differentiation from either Sea Dream or Azamara has been the officer corp. Aboard the Azamara Quest the officers were constanlty mingling and talking with guests, always ready to answer a question or engage them in a story about the next port of call. On no less that three occassions the captain or another officer would casually stop by and ask if they could join us for breakfast or lunch. Not so aboard the Legend where senior officers have rarely be seen. In speaking of officers, another detail involves the daily bulletin where in the header we are advised that our captain is one, whereas in the body copy another person is introduced as the captain (whom we later learned was the prior captain!). This gave rise to some discussion as to whether our captain might indeed be new to his rank. At every announcement he would commence with "Ah, good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is er (pause) your captain speaking..." He never sounds quite sure that he might only be the first officer, perhaps the most recent rank he occupied? With the notable difference between the Wind Star experience and that of Azamara where very officer from the captain down were constantly visible and mingling with the guests it was clear that the "servant/leader" model was in play as officers set the example in creating a unique on board sense of "family" from the top down. Not so with the WindStar executive team! With little desire to bash the efforts of this crew to work around the product they have been given, there is little point in mentioning the "World Class" gym that isn't, or the morning mystery of where breakfast is being served on any given day. Suffice it to say that this is an okay cruise, but not the five-star experience promised. It certainly is well below the price point charged. Come on Wind Star, take note of what Azamara And Sea Dream are doing and shape up. You can do better than this! If you are getting ready to book this Cruise, don't..... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I and another couple chose this cruise for the timing, the itinerary, the small ship and the food/wine theme. We had all used Windstar before (Windsurf) and loved it. As other reviewers have testified, this cruise was ... Read More
My wife and I and another couple chose this cruise for the timing, the itinerary, the small ship and the food/wine theme. We had all used Windstar before (Windsurf) and loved it. As other reviewers have testified, this cruise was marred by engineering malfunctions, and was less organized than one would expect on a luxury cruise. The pre-cruise experience was mixed; we booked over a year in advance, and were told we would be able to benefit from any subsequent price reductions. I had to be very alert and very assertive to get these, though. Had I waited until the last minute to book, I would have saved some money (but that is not really practical because of the need to plan ahead for this major a vacation). We enjoyed most of the places we visited (especially St. Malo, Bordeaux, El Ferrol, and Lisbon, where we stayed an extra 3 days). We also enjoyed meeting and spending time with many other passengers. The food was excellent for the most part, and the wine was pretty good. The deck layout is not as functional as on other cruise ships of this size. The cabin was fine (when the plumbing worked). The front line staff members were very nice. Some of the shore excursions were poorly planned with too much time in a bus and not enough time to explore or have a meal. The special evening at the Bordeaux wine estate was disappointing. We enjoyed exploring the cities of St. Malo, Bordeaux, El Ferrol and Lisbon on our own. I, especially, loved the two oyster farm tours (Cancale and La Rochelle). We enjoyed the on board entertainment (small lounge, Fado singer), but this was not a major feature of the cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Along with 12 members of family and friends we took the Windsurf to the Tall Ship parade in Amsterdam. All of us were repeaters from 2nd Time cruisers to 18th with the exception of one couple. We boarded in Oslo which was efficient and ... Read More
Along with 12 members of family and friends we took the Windsurf to the Tall Ship parade in Amsterdam. All of us were repeaters from 2nd Time cruisers to 18th with the exception of one couple. We boarded in Oslo which was efficient and beautiful. Our first night we choose to eat outside at Candles which was glorious. We spend our dinner gazing out over the Oslo Fiord as we sailed along, clear, lovely night, it did not get dark until 9:45, delicious food what a way to begin a cruise. We had great weather, lovey sail into Kristiansand where we docked. I was able to buy at the famous fish market the Baltic Shrimps and bring them aboard to our friends to enjoy for lunch. Our day at sea was crossing the North Sea where it behaved, calm, a bit of rain, for those of us who wanted a bit of sea rock and roll not to be. The highlight was The Tall Ship Parade. We rose at 5 am to go through the lock. We anchored across from Java Island a beautiful spot right across the waterway which partially parallels Central Station in Amsterdam. The Tall Ships were a bit delayed and we certainly could see the sails as they came into the harbor to dock. Some people were disappointed that they were not closer or the we were actually not " in" the parade but the logistics for all ships especially our huge sail boat part must have been a nightmare. The tenders immediately began the easy five minute ride to Java Island. All day and all night thousands of small ships, barks and brigantines, schooners, pleasure craft circled us, it was memorizing. We were about 500 yards from the fireworks barge and for two nights we enjoyed 30 minutes of Grande Finale. Glorious! The Wind Surf had surprises for us as the day went by: hats with Sail Amsterdam on them, sips of special typical liquors, special food treats, a men's chorus singing sea shanteys, etc. Very surprising and generous. It was a great two days on the ship being the center of attention. The other ports were also interesting and in Vlissingen and Zeebruge Windstar provided buses to take us the the towns of Middleburg and to the rail station to get to Bruges. Very convenient and well appreciated. Service was impeccable as usual, food was delicious, creative and varied. It was a busy cruise with plenty to see and do and then come back to the ship to relax. Docking in Dover was efficient and easy. I hope in five years Windstar will repeat this cruise. It was different, totally enjoyable, a wonderful way to experience a great event. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
THE GOOD The crew is extraordinarily gracious. This is a ship with a small passenger load (312). We particularly enjoyed Hotel Manager, Nick Berger. He is studying for U.S. citizenship, and the U.S. could do a lot worse than Nick. A ... Read More
THE GOOD The crew is extraordinarily gracious. This is a ship with a small passenger load (312). We particularly enjoyed Hotel Manager, Nick Berger. He is studying for U.S. citizenship, and the U.S. could do a lot worse than Nick. A wonderful gentleman. THE BAD Windstar is the only ship that we have sailed to date that did not offer complimentary wine with dinner. Even Windjammer served wine with dinner--not the greatest wine, but wine. We were ever so surprised when we were asked to sign a charge for our wine with dinner. Check for more on this below. Even though we got a very good rate on the cabin (Military Discount), I cannot say much for the cabin, itself. We were on the lowest level and one should not pay much attention to the picture of the standard cabin in the brochure. Our "panoramic view of the ocean consisted of two (count them, two) portholes. We learned from other passengers, that the two porthole "vista" was not limited to Deck One. You want a vista, reserve a suite. The cabin was the smallest we have had in quite a number of cruises. Windstar considers itself to be a luxury cruise line--NOT. The food is ordinary, the cabins small, and you have already heard my take on the wine charges with dinner. THE UGLY More on drinks. Besides charging for wine with dinner, Windstar also charges you at the time of service for the service, itself. They tack a 15% service charge onto every drink served. Amazing! Although we received a low rate on our cabin, we calculated what a comparable cruise would cost on Regent (a true luxury cruise line). After we shelled out for our round-trip air fare, shore excursions, and drinks, we could have taken a Regent cruise for the same price, and thereby had a true luxury cruise. Frankly, we felt nicked and dimed at nearly every turn. It goes without saying that we will not make the mistake of cruising with Windstar again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
My husband and I went on the Star Breeze for a trip around Ireland and Scotland. The itinerary was wonderful and we enjoyed the excursions that the cruise ship laid on ; they were VERY expensive but well run and first class all the way. ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Star Breeze for a trip around Ireland and Scotland. The itinerary was wonderful and we enjoyed the excursions that the cruise ship laid on ; they were VERY expensive but well run and first class all the way. We stayed in Suite 6. It was a two room suite, not too bad until you went to the windows. Outside our bedroom was a very restricted view ( lifeboat hanging there). Outside one living room window the curtains were never opened because the view out there was just a mess of steel supports, beams, ropes and general mess. The sliding balcony was another story. Half of the overhead space was taken up by an old "rescue" boat. Heaven forbid if they ever have to use it. It was held together ( barely) with black tar and tape that was hanging off. Really unsightly. Needless to say we were not out on our balcony very often. If you go on this ship stay away from Suite 6! Also the ceiling above the bed had rust stains on as though there had once been a leak in there. I know that they spent money refurbishing this ship but certainly a lot of areas were left completely untouched. It really could use a thorough inspection. I can't really say that the food was all that great. Some nights good, some nights just okay. To much sodium in most dishes. Lunch time looked more like a cheap cafeteria. There was no imagination used in the salads whatsoever and it was the same old thing every day. ( Raw broccoli or cauliflower anyone) . Also on some nights the waiters had no idea how to explain the food that was on the menu. One item I asked about was described as a Spanish rice - it was actually and awful colored sauce, full of peppers and spices that was poured all over the fish. Sad, to say- all of the best meals that we had were off the ship as we decided to eat lunch out on most days that we were on shore. Staff were really nice and friendly. All in all - good cruise just a little more attention needed to the menus, the food in general and the items around the ship that still needed attention. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our sixth Windstar cruise and our first on the Star Legend. I really wanted to submit a glowing review as I have in the past; unfortunately, this cruise was not quite up to the Windstar standards we have come to expect. ... Read More
This was our sixth Windstar cruise and our first on the Star Legend. I really wanted to submit a glowing review as I have in the past; unfortunately, this cruise was not quite up to the Windstar standards we have come to expect. Embarkation was easy and smooth; however, for the first time in all our cruises we were not greeted by any ship's officers (usually the Captain). This "invisibility" of officers continued throughout the cruise. We have always been amazed in the past with them wandering the ship and getting to know them - not so on this cruise. The renovations of the Legend were very nicely done. All the public areas were comfortable and clean. As time goes by, I’m sure the ship will only get better. The crew were out (weather permitting) cleaning, varnishing, etc. every day. Our suite was great - the bathroom could use a little more attention, nothing bad just looking a little worn. There were two different duos on board performing and they were both excellent. What was strange was there never seemed to be more than four or five couples enjoying the entertainment in the evenings after dinner. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Amphora (except for our last day) due to unpredictable weather. They were buffet-style with an additional menu listing daily specials. Here we encountered a minor peeve - they continually served our Eggs Benedict with solid yolks even after we reported it to the chef. Only once during the entire cruise were the yolks properly done. I know this is a minor thing; however, it is also something that should not have happened to begin with and should have been easily corrected and was not. The evening meals were exceptional as always. Service was not up to par with it taking up to three hours for our meal until we found one server, Esther, who was efficient. We stuck with her for the remainder of the cruise. Not sure exactly what the problem was – training, lack of staff, or the crew not “jelling” yet. Also, found the wine steward service lacking - sometimes difficult to get the wine list. More than once he would come by a table, take an order and then completely ignore other couples seated at the same table. We loved the itinerary and we enjoyed wonderful weather. With the exception of a few showers one day, we experienced “Camelot” weather where it only rained after sundown. We took two ship tours and they were both excellent. In Invergordon, we had rented a car for the day and were so tired that we did not participate in the Fields of Culloden private event but those who did said it was great. All other touring we did was privately arranged. The tendering was another issue. I liked the actual tenders used, but the tender crews needed additional training – it bordered on unsafe when we were in rough waters. We were assured that this matter would be addressed and, hopefully, it will. Overall, this was not a bad cruise – just not a great cruise. I know Windstar is experiencing some growing pains with doubling their capacity in one year. I feel confident that as time goes by, they will appropriately address the various issues and deliver a great cruise experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
BACKGROUND:  We have sailed on the Wind Surf many times, including 3 cruises when it was owned by Club Med, so every new cruise is now like a family reunion of sorts for us. Since our last cruise on the Surf, there have been many changes ... Read More
BACKGROUND:  We have sailed on the Wind Surf many times, including 3 cruises when it was owned by Club Med, so every new cruise is now like a family reunion of sorts for us. Since our last cruise on the Surf, there have been many changes -- new owners (Xanterra), new ships in the fleet, newly refurbished interior decor, and a new itinerary (first time for us in Scandinavia). This May we were delighted to sail on the maiden voyage of the Star Pride, and so I was looking forward to a point-by-point comparison between the two ships. HOTEL INFORMATION: We arrived in Stockholm two days before the cruise, and stayed at the Scandic Hotel in the center of town, conveniently located just a block or so from the train station, with many nearby restaurants, and within an easy walk of the Palace, City Hall, Old Town, and other attractions. Our room was very comfortable, wi-fi service was excellent, and the hotel cafe/bar was lively and attractive, with good food. The breakfast buffet was as good as I have experienced anywhere in Europe, but it did get crowded after 8 AM. There were many other Windstar passengers staying at the hotel, as evidenced by Windstar caps, jackets, and other apparel. EMBARKATION: The ship was conveniently docked in town, so it was a very short bus ride from the hotel to the dock, and we were able to board immediately. Check-in was both smooth and quick, and by the time we got to our cabin, our luggage was already there, as was our cabin steward Christian. CABIN: We were in Cabin 136, which is midship on the lowest deck, arguably the most comfortable location for minimal motion at sea, Although we had great weather for most of the cruise, there was some rocking & rolling on occasion, especially at night. We slept like babies! As always, the cabin was spacious (188 sq ft) and comfortable. Unlike on the Star Pride, the beds were high enough to enable luggage storage underneath. They were also VERY comfortable. As always, the bathroom toiletries were by the upscale French brand L'Occitane, I have fallen in love with the Verbena scent, and so was greatly surprised to find that only the bath soap had that fragrance, while the hand soap, shampoo, and bath oil were the "Milk" variety, with a definite Baby powder aroma. Maybe Windstar got a better deal on it, who knows? SHIP/CREW INFORMATION: We were greeted at the dock by Captain Peter Harris of Britain, with whom we had sailed before. He is charming, affable, very gregarious, and extremely witty. We were pleased to receive an invitation to dine with him one night, and had the opportunity to also meet his beautiful wife and lovely daughter. What a handsome family! But we especially noted and appreciated his on-board visibility, and his effortless ability to chat up the passengers. The Hotel Manager Ratko, and Bar Manager Andrew were fairly new to Windstar, very competent, but lacked that easy manner with the guests. I was very interested to see the new Windstar decor, and to compare the WInd Surf implementation to that of the Star Pride. When cruising, I often get up very early to explore the ship, along with my camera and tripod. Windstar has used some of my photos in their publlcations and blogs, and I recognize a few on my pics in the Cruise Critic photos. Overall, I found the new Wind Surf decor to be very subdued, with a blue/brown/tan color scheme. Sleek and soothing, yes. Dazzling, no. The most noticeable change was replacing much of the carpeting with dark, high gloss oak flooring. However, it seemed to me to be a composite product of some sort, as the surface was a tad lumpy. This was especially noticeable in the transition to the Lounge, which already had real wood flooring, which was (to coin a phrase) "flat as a board." The new carpeting has a plush, almost shag-like pile to it. This worked great in the public rooms like the Yacht Club, but not so well on the stairs, where it tended to mash down on the edges, and thus looked worn even though it is still very new. ACTIVITIES/EXCURSIONS: As has been noted in almost every review I have read about Windstar cruises, planned activities are not their forte'. First, they do not really have a Cruise Director on board, and the daily activity sheet is almost identical from day to day. They do offer "Port Talks" in the late afternoon to discuss the next day's port of call, and the excursions that are available. In general, I very seldom sign up for excursions, as I find them to be overpriced, and often somewhat boring. My wife did sign up for a tour in Oslo, which she enjoyed. In my opinion, Windstar would do well to consider adopting the Viking river cruise model, and offer a complimentary walking tour at each port of call. Instead, most of their tour offerings involve climbing on a bus (or even a train) to go somewhere else. I much prefer to wander around town and take pictures. However, there ARE two planned activities that occur on almost every cruise: the deck BBQ and the crew show. The deck BBQ is OK, but I find it to be overrated, crowded (especially when the weather does not allow al fresco dining), and with just average food. The main attraction is grilled lobster or lamb chops (mine were almost raw). Big deal. The other traditional activity is the crew show, which can be pretty good if there is some talent on board, but once you've a bunch of waiters line dancing, the appeal dwindles with repeated iterations. Most of the passengers AND the crew seem to like it though, and that's what counts. Another activity that Windstar doesn't really promote at all is the popular "Name That Tune" contest that occurs twice a week in the Compass Rose after dinner. The "Rain" duo always does this, and before them, Callen & Joyce would also do it. It's VERY popular, and never fails to fill the room, with passengers forming large teams for competition. Great fun! SERVICE: What brings passengers back to Windstar again and again is the intimacy and ambiance of small ship cruising, combined with the highly personalized service provided the wait staff. They are just terrific. They greet everyone by name, quickly learn where you like to sit, and what you like to eat and drink. It's very easy to start thinking of them as personal friends instead of ships' crew. For many such as myself, the favorite dining experience is at breakfast and lunch in the Veranda, where it is not so crowded, the pace is relaxed and informal, and there is more interaction with the wait staff. On our cruise, the senior guy at lunch was "Boon", but the favorite waiter was "One", Of course, everyone had their personal favorites, which is why the result is such a pleasant experience. I only had one service complaint, which was that food service in AmphorA could be quite slow, especially when a majority of the passengers decided they wanted to be seated immediately after the dining room opened. DInner should not have to take over two hours! This was not nearly such a problem in the Candles or Stella Bistro venues. The other service complaint that comes up time and again is with the internet. It is so crummy that Windstar should just forget about it, at least while away from port. DINING: Head Chef Klaus created some great food for us throughout the cruise. No complaints whatsoever. Perhaps the one area where I would look for improvement would be to offer more European style whole grain breads. The breads offered at the Scandic hotel were better than what was served on board. The wine service on board. was VERY good. I did not opt for the premium beverage package, as it costs over $100/day per cabin, and I just can't drink that much and walk straight. Also, I stick to beer and wine, and seldom if ever order a mixed drink or cocktail The wines offered on board were of very good quality, at very reasonable prices (good selection at $7-9/glass or $26-35/bottle). Again, in my opinion WIndstar should consider the Viking Cruise model, which is to include beer, wine & soft drinks with meals, with premium beverages available from the bar. ENTERTAINMENT: Let's start with the good. "Rain" (Craig & Nicola WIlloughby) are simply outstanding, miles better than any other entertainers I have heard on any cruise ship, regardless of size. Craig is a brilliant guitarist, and Nicola has a beautiful voice. They are very versatile and entertaining, and bring a lot of energy and passion into their delivery. They usually pack the Compass Rose, with the crowds increasing every night. The main problem is that the Compass Rose room is just too small. The "Cool Breeze" band appearing in the main Lounge was mediocre at best, very much like the "Top Society" combo that appeared on the Star Pride. Vocalists were OK, but the musicians were just average at best, no energy or passion in their delivery, tired arrangements, lackluster repertoire, etc. Some nights there were only a few folks in the Lounge at 10 PM! Meanwhile, the Compass Rose was jammed. Main asset for both bands is that all the band members are Filipino, which means they can share quarters with the crew. My advice would be to dump the bands, put "Rain" (or a similar duo like "One Night Stand") in the main lounge, put a DJ or piano player in the Compass Rose. I am betting that bar sales would pick up significantly, while costs would go down. Passengers would be better served. DISEMBARKATION: Hard part is getting off the ship by 8:30 AM or so. However, it all went smoothly EXCEPT for the monster big line of folks waiting for a taxi. Luckily, we were one of the first passengers off, and we still had to wait almost 30 minutes. Lots of passengers were really unhappy, I'm sure. When meeting people, first impressions are very important. With a cruise, the last impression is often what sticks in your mind. SUMMARY: While we were on our previous cruise on the Star Pride in May, we booked another cruise on the Wind Surf to Spain for September 2015, took advantage if the on-board booking discount. Much to my surprise, Windstar apparently no longer offers a discount for an on-board booking, nor was their any on-board sales effort at all. What I did notice was cruise information displayed on the on-board computers --- but for the 2013 season! Oooooops! We are dedicated Windstar aficianados, and I am sure we will be back for many more cruises in future. I just wish Windstar would get their act together to address some of these vexing issues that would be SO easy to fix. I wish better things for them. Gary (The Hitman)   Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our 4th cruise on the Windsurf and second leg of a back to back trip. We’ve had some very upsetting events happen during this trip, however we try to be fair in this review, particularly to the hard working staff onboard. ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on the Windsurf and second leg of a back to back trip. We’ve had some very upsetting events happen during this trip, however we try to be fair in this review, particularly to the hard working staff onboard. Please read the full review and be warned: Scotland made for some challenging sailing, but the Captain and his crew managed beautifully. We enjoyed being able to reach the smaller ports, visiting some of Scotland’s remote towns and villages. We were reminded in Invergordon, what it is like to dock in a port accessible to large cruise ships. The Ruby Princess had docked there as well and its 3,000+ passengers ended up flooding all of the nearby tourist sites, including Loch Ness. We had to move cabins following the previous 8-day cruise we had taken. There did not appear to be a process organized by the ship that would ensure back-to-back passengers to get to their new cabins with top priority. A chat with the cabin stewards and a tip thankfully fixed that. (not a luxury experience!). The cabin we had on this leg of the journey was A category and located towards the forward part of the ship near the crew mess entrance. It was therefore quite noisy … we also had issues with smoke traveling up from Deck 0, the crew deck. An A deck cabin in this location should not be sold to passengers. It is clearly inferior to other cabins! We also had issues with key cards working on several occasions during our trip resulting in many trips across the ship to reception and back, until we finally requested that someone from reception or maintenance accompanies us and fix the problem for good. Once again, far from a luxury experience) The majority of the crew though were wonderful, as described in our previous review. They still ‘make’ the trip memorable – even with the various shortcomings mentioned here. The most astonishing events during this trip however were related to Windstar Corporate politics, which we got dragged into completely involuntarily. Windstar politics don’t seem to stop at crew level as one might expect, but utilize unsuspecting guests without any form of agreement or authorization by publishing entirely slanderous Windstar internal statements for what must be hidden corporate agendas. We have more class than Windstar, so won’t lay out all the details, but please be warned – what you think might be the vacation of a lifetime or a well deserved break (which is what we were thinking), may end up turning into a multi-month nightmare for any guest with integrity and a sense of justice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which still makes Windstar so unique in the cruising market. We like the size of the Windsurf – there is always enough space to find a private corner somewhere. There are plenty of dining options and a couple of entertainment options in the evening. All very chilled and relaxing. We also enjoy meeting a lot of the guests on board … many are fellow travellers who are quite low key, but appreciate their luxuries and enjoy exploring the world. Unfortunately, many of the capable crew we were pleased to getting to know on previous trips, had moved on to other newer Windstar ships . They were replaced by lesser-experienced, but still very friendly and helpful crew. What some of the crew lacked in experience, they made up for with tremendous charm and a great willingness to help and serve the guests on board. The officers were very friendly and approachable, regularly mixing with guests. Despite our appreciation of the crew’s efforts, we noticed a deterioration of standards from prior cruises: The embarkation was delayed and the waiting area in Lisbon certainly wasn’t designed with comfort in mind. The Captain managed the situation well by communicating directly to the waiting passengers. The cabins are well designed, but the light colored carpets showed stains - so badly - that we asked the Cabin Steward to have them cleaned, which he promptly did. The chocolates left during turndown service are a nice idea, but do they have to be unwrapped? The quality of the food, never outstanding on past trips either, left much to be desired. It certainly does not pass for a fine dining experience. It is ok – mediocre. Even the specialty restaurants ‘Stella Bistro’ and ‘Candles’ struggle to set themselves apart from the main dining room. The BBQ is quite fun and the freshly grilled food is enjoyable. The bar staff was absolutely wonderful and so was some of the dining room staff. The shore excursions were ok, but tend to be geared towards more mature clientele. With a bit of research beforehand, we managed to have very enjoyable self-guided tours ashore. The fitness offerings are also geared towards an older crowd. What was meant to pass for yoga, had very little to do with yoga. It was held in the midst of the weight machines in the tiny little gym on board, while there was plenty of fabulous open deck space to conduct a yoga session. We would have gladly signed a release if that was the reason an outdoor space wasn’t chosen. If Yoga is advertised, one would expect a certified yoga instructor. The instructor teaching the class couldn’t even name the poses! We became aware of some Windstar HQ related politics … subtle signs that would increase significantly on the second leg of our journey and unfortunately endured for months after our trip. More on this in the review of our second leg on this trip: Dublin to Edinburgh. Read Less
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