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Sail Date: March 2013
We sailed on the Wind Star from Puerto Caldera to Panama leaving on Sat. 3/9/13. The transfer to the ship was very efficient and the boarding went quickly. The check in was very efficient and we were in our cabin with our bags in less ... Read More
We sailed on the Wind Star from Puerto Caldera to Panama leaving on Sat. 3/9/13. The transfer to the ship was very efficient and the boarding went quickly. The check in was very efficient and we were in our cabin with our bags in less than 20 minutes. The sailing took place at dusk and as we stood on the fantail with a drink in hand and talking to two new friends, the ship got underway. They unfurled the sails with a striking song playing in the background, it made for a stirring experience. The initial dinner in the Amphora restaurant was outstanding as was every subsequent meal. The breakfast and lunch menus at the Veranda restaurant or at Candles (the open deck dinner venue) were equally varied and delicious. On the last night there was a fantastic buffet dinner on the deck. Everything from a whole roasted pig, piles of delicious shrimp, and lobster tails, etc. The most enjoyable thing for us was the crew. They are a mix of Filipino and Indonesian and every one of them is very personable and attentive. By day two they all knew your first name and what you preferred as to food or drink. We still haven't figured out how they got everyone's names down so quickly. It is hard to find things much about the ship to complain about. The internet access was very expensive and very, very slow. Activities on board are limited but that gives you plenty of time to relax and make friends. I did enjoy the blackjack tournaments held on two separate days. Especially the second one since I won $200 on my $25 investment. The piano player Buddy does a great job. We had two couples that we spent a lot of time with and two others that were quite close to us. We played a lot of cards and learned a new game. The two onshore tours we took were overpriced and overhyped. The Marine Wildlife Safari would have been OK at half the price and half the time. The Golfo Dulce Rescue Center was interesting and the lady is doing a yeoman job with the rescued animals but it was overpriced. The ship had a mechanical problem on the day we came through the Panama Canal so we ended up sitting off Porto Bello instead of making it to the San Blas Islands. They added an excursion as well as a trip to the shore and it was fairly well-hyped by the director as a beautiful place. As we were preparing to get on the tender to go ashore our friends were coming back aboard saying the place was horrible and they were annoyed at the false advertising. We talked to a number of people and while the reviews were varied they were all negative. The disembark process was as smooth as the boarding. We would certainly travel again with Wind Star as it was a great time. We would just be more cautious with our of-ship choices. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This is as good as it gets. An amazing ship, amazing staff, fantastic itinerary, wonderful guests. Plus look out for our next, (complete contrast), review as we were on the ship for 2 weeks. It's hard to know where to start. A ... Read More
This is as good as it gets. An amazing ship, amazing staff, fantastic itinerary, wonderful guests. Plus look out for our next, (complete contrast), review as we were on the ship for 2 weeks. It's hard to know where to start. A truly stunning week. We arrived in St Maarten from the UK on Friday and boarded on Saturday. Our cabin was lovely. Boarding was fairly seamless. We started to feel our way around. Checked out the restaurants, gym etc. Had a beer by the pool bar looking forward to setting sail that evening. We ate at the fish restaurant the first night. It was good but not as good as the main restaurant which we loved. We thought the main restaurant was really special. Leaving St Maarten was dramatic. We soon learned that every night we set sail they play the tune used in Hunt For Red October, (Hymn to the red army), as the sails unwind. All about the experience. We loved the fact that as this was a smaller sailing ship we could get into the more quaint smaller ports. I've noted the ports of call below. We did a few trips, we explored some gorgeous places, we had lots of sun, enjoyed the beers and wines on board, enjoyed the food on board, and loved the sailing. As the days went by we gradually met more and more people, got to know the staff, (they get to know you), and had a stunning stunning time. 10 out of 10. As good as it gets. A huge huge huge thank you to Captain John and all the staff and guests on board for creating an amazing week. A fantastic bunch of staff with at least 30 that were worth naming plus all the sailors who work tirelessly in the background to make this all happen. So so many special people like Bobby, Kennedy, Raul, Harry, January, Captain John himself, Sam who drives the boat, and so so many more. The efforts of these people, a good crowd onboard, the gorgeous gorgeous boat and the very carefully planned schedule of beautiful places to stop made this exquisite. We were onboard the following week too. Wind Star booking rules allowed a group of 30 business people to book. I'm sorry but small boats are for small parties. It changed the feel of the week dramatically and I'm sorry to say we are unlikely to go back. Wind Star - you've gone for what looked like a good money booking and ignored the fact that you've lost as much money as many of the people on the boat the second week will never come back. Everyone was complaining about these rude rude ignorant people Schedule as follows:- 2012 March 17 Saturday Philipsburg, St. Maarten 2012 March 18 Sunday Soper'S Hole, Tortola, B.V.I. 2012 March 18 Sunday Jost Van Dyke Great Harbour, B.V.I 2012 March 19 Monday Jost Van Dyke Great Harbour, B.V.I 2012 March 19 Monday Virgin Gorda, Prickly Pear Beach, B.V.I. 2012 March 20 Tuesday Virgin Gorda, Prickly Pear Beach, B.V.I. 2012 March 21 Wednesday Basseterre, St. Kitts 2012 March 22 Thursday Les Saintes, F.W.I. 2012 March 23 Friday Gustavia, St. Barthelemy 2012 March 24 Saturday Philipsburg, St. Maarten Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We have sailed with Windstar before and they did not disappoint. Within ten seconds after embarkation we met three crew members who remembered us from our previous two cruises. Following our check-in, which also lasted less than five ... Read More
We have sailed with Windstar before and they did not disappoint. Within ten seconds after embarkation we met three crew members who remembered us from our previous two cruises. Following our check-in, which also lasted less than five minutes we were in our cabin with our bags. There is not a single frowny face on this cruise...everyone knew our names by day 2. The food was fantastic, all day, every day. Nothing is ever boring here. The food menu changes for every meal...no repeats except for the dining under the stars experience Candles...not to be missed. The Panama Canal experience from the deck is unique, not shared by other larger cruise lines. Seeing the ship ascend or descend the walls in the lock chambers beats looking down on a narrow gap that looks the same from lock to lock.It was also a thrill to everyone on deck as we passed the Miraflores Locks to see hundreds of people watching our sailing yacht pass throughthe locks. On board commentary from a local Costa Rican naturalist adds knowledge to the passage. Passing under the Bridge of the Americas with only a metre or two to spare during low tide was an unexpected thrill. A bridge tour, galley tour and the evening Captain's yarns beats the hum drum of large ship spectacles and Vegas style entertainment. During our final night, the entire crew entertained us with their own talents during a deck BBQ party. After seven days we got to know over 80 people on board quite well...another thing not shared on large cruises. Isla Coiba, Panama is also the best beach experience I have ever known. Gently shallow waters, sand bottom, calm swells, clear water and a full service beach BBQ to boot, beats the crowds of Megan's Bay and many other world class beaches hands down...let's not tell the world about this unspoiled place. We have already booked our next cruise with Windstar and are looking forward to another adventure...Please Windstar do not change a thing, you are already perfect. Read Less
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