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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
FYI: Windstar does cruises geared towards adults only. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on just after official check-in time began. It was quick and easy. Captain was there to great us as we boarded the sleek beautiful Wind Surf. ... Read More
FYI: Windstar does cruises geared towards adults only. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on just after official check-in time began. It was quick and easy. Captain was there to great us as we boarded the sleek beautiful Wind Surf. Staff is exceptional. They really can make or break a vacation and in this case they made it! Can't say enough about any of them. Bar staff, food staff, hotel staff, bridge crew, everyone was great. Hi to Maria, Casey, Eric, Jervie and all the other bar stall who had our names, room numbers, and drink orders figured out in the first day. They were a lot of fun on our trip and really made our journey even better. Hasan our cabin steward helped us with some minor issues in our stateroom, and made sure he kept us up to date on what was being done to improve our cabin. The cabins are of standard cruise ship size. No balcony, but decent enough room. Lots of little storage places everywhere. We keep luggage under the bed so they are out of the way. The food was gourmet dining every lunch and dinner. Breakfast was also good. Lunch and dinner you can do buffet or order off the menu to get served. Ala Carte restaurants were booked after check-in and did take about 3/4 of an hour to do. You got to book each one once. All the dinner food was exceptional. Entertainment was a bit slow for my taste, but with limited space and time, they do a good job with what they have. Sailaway music and raising of the sails was fun, and we watched it every time we left port. The crew talent show is a must see as is liar/liar. Line dancing with the crew was also fun, but geared more towards the crew than the passengers. The included excursion at St. Lucia was incredible. The crew work so hard to get everything set up for the guests. It was a great beach day and bbq. The shore excursions were pricey and limited on some islands. We did excursions through the ship on five out of six islands. All of them were great, but mostly could have been done on our own for less. Disembarkation was well organized and quite easy as well. Passport pickup, luggage retrieval, getting cabs to the airport, all done with ease. There also was no going through customs in St. Maarten so that was a nice surprise. We did our own transportation to the airport and it was way cheaper than through the ship. Not a big deal if you have a later flight. We had an issue with our final bill (it ended up being our mistake) but the staff bent over backwards to make sure we were happy with how it was resolved. This included access to the internet or a phone call to our travel agent if necessary. We did not take them up on this offer, but the gesture was greatly appreciated on our end. If you have an issue with motion sickness, you will need something as these ships are smaller and rock more than a large ship. I didn't let that bother me though...just took some dramamine and was good to go for the week. One suggestion to Windstar would be to include current weather forecast announcements before people go out for the day. They list it in the bulletin the night before, but they weren't always accurate. Overall, we had a great time and the staff really made the difference. We would not only recommend this cruise ship, but the cruise line itself. We plan to do another cruise with Windstar in the future. Incredible experience! Thanks Windstar and Wind Surf! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our 2nd windsurf cruise out of st martin (2 yrs ago we did the class cruise). both were great; this one was the better. we enjoyed the choice of itinerary. always anchored at stops (except st martin) and tendered. seemed ... Read More
This was our 2nd windsurf cruise out of st martin (2 yrs ago we did the class cruise). both were great; this one was the better. we enjoyed the choice of itinerary. always anchored at stops (except st martin) and tendered. seemed like often we could actually see our next and last destinations in view. all except once did we have no problem boarding tenders (rough once, but made it). really like that was always not formal. cabin on 2nd deck fine. shower very good, big towels. bathrobe and slippers to use nice. steward fauzi very good; learned our habits so only met a few times. gala deck bbq on Wednesday and beach bbq on thurs both super (the latter, only less so because of the long line). cant say enough about how friendly all the staff were; always greeted with a smile, sometimes by name. especially bfast waiter faezal always energetic, and fun to kid with. food was always very good, and varied. bfast was a combo of buffet and ala carte; made to order omelets, etc. desserts of cookies and ice cream addictive for 7 days (have withdrawn ok since). didn't do laundry pkg, but individual; worked out to be enough compass rose duo 'mellow yellow' very good to listen to before and after dinner. wed night crew/staff and thurs night beatles talent very entertaining. definitely recommend... Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
My wife and I just completed the Windsurf Yachtsman Cruise and it was awesome. First, dress was casual and don't overpack . These are my recommendations and thoughts for anyone taking or thinking about this Cruise. All the stops were ... Read More
My wife and I just completed the Windsurf Yachtsman Cruise and it was awesome. First, dress was casual and don't overpack . These are my recommendations and thoughts for anyone taking or thinking about this Cruise. All the stops were terrific. Antigua, Tortola, Virgin Garda, British Virgin Isles , St. Bart's. Each offered an opportunity to explore on your own or to take excursions. More on that later. My first recommendation when you board is to make a Reservation at Stella's and Candles- for Candle's try to make it last night as you are docked in St. Bart's and view while eating outside is awesome . Next walk around the ship and get familiar with it. The main deck, Amphora restaurant ( excellent ) , the pool, fitness center, reception desk ( Marianne and her co- workers are amazing ). Extremely helpful in everything and always smiling and great disposition. You can pick up daily newspaper, NY Times crossword puzzle, sudoku . Fun stuff. There are plenty of excursions and everyone seemed to enjoy the one's they took. We took only one the 8:30 ( 4 hours) - Jost Van Dyke Catamarran Snorkel and Hiking trip. 5 stars - the owner was our Captain and the whole experience was great ! For $79. Per person it was a real bargain - good snorting, great picture taking and overall perfect experience. Meals- breakfast was buffet or menu ( eggs Benedict , banana pancakes , French toast - all fabulous ---- Lunch - same buffet or off menu - hamburgers, hot dog and grilled chicken were awesome but you had many other choices. Dinner - too many choices to name - all excellent ! Wine list was excellent ! We had a Mossback Pinot Noir and Rutherford Hill Chardonnay all reasonably priced and saved for next meal if you like. Eric was excellent in the Compass Bar and as wine steward in Amphora- very knowledgeable and always had a great smile and it was great having him help us. The sports activities on the back of ship when tendered are great ! Try to take advantage of them if time avails. For exercise there is a fitness center but I walked around deck 11 times ( roughly 2.20 miles) so says Fitbit ! You can order food 24/7 . The beach barbecue was excellent. Fischer Cove had excellent facilities ( wi-fi yeah! ) and food , activities and plenty of chairs to relax. The ship barbecue was excellent. Tremendous preparation done so well. Bring camera to take pictures! You will not believe some of the carvings! Lobster, shrimp and filet were great ! Entertainment on board was fine . There was 2 sets of singers that will keep you occupied if you stay up late. Bed at 9:30 for me . Exhausting fun days ! I really enjoyed the Crew Talent show one night. One of the crew put on the best juggling act with liquor bottles you'll ever see. Also the crew during the barbecue did a fabulous YMCA version which I should post on YouTube. A classic ! The crew was absolutely awesome. So helpful and always smiling and greeting you by name if they recognized you. At 6:45 pm each night Steve ( head of guest services) gives an outstanding presentation of your next day port and excursions. He was excellent along with Jona. I have to give a special shout out to Cecep who took care of our room to perfection and his little towel animals each night. Really nice guy. So if your thinking of this Cruise or taking it enjoy - it really was special and Windstar did there best for us ! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We choose the cruise because of the ports of call and our previous Wind Star experience (this was our eighth Wind Star cruise and third on the Wind Surf). The cruise is Yachtsman, Caribbean. We were scheduled for: Philipsburg, St. ... Read More
We choose the cruise because of the ports of call and our previous Wind Star experience (this was our eighth Wind Star cruise and third on the Wind Surf). The cruise is Yachtsman, Caribbean. We were scheduled for: Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Falmouth Harbour, Antigua Soper's Hole, Tortola, B.V.I. Jost van Dyke Great Harbour, B.V.I , Virgin Gorda, Prickly Pear Beach, B.V.I., Gustavia, St. Barthelemy Philipsburg, St. Maarten Because of weather we did not visit Virgin Gorda or St. Barts. We also learned that Wind Star no longer uses Prickly Pear Beach after the cruise started. Instead of Virgin Gorda we spent the day at Road Town, Tortola. A terrible alternative and instead of a special day at the beach, we had a one hour steel band and a rum drink. There had to be a better port of call. It seems the weather was a surprise to everyone at Wind Star. We were to arrive at ST. Bart's at 0800 and leave at 10:00 PM. We arrived at 0700 and the captain decided to leave for St. Maartan at 0800. Since St. Bart's was a highlight of the cruise we thought we should at least wait a few hours to see if we could use the tenders. Communication from the Captain and crew was limited so we never were told the whole story. Again, there should have been alternatives since the weather was forecast. Also, the Wind Surf looks tired and out dated. Worn carpet, inside bright work is dull. Internet and electronic entertainment has not changed in the 12 years we have used Wind Star and it was old then. We feel the ship was under staffed as the crew could not provide the personal service we were used to on Wind Star (70 guests in the bar and one waiter as an example). Slow service in the restaurants and the food is mediocre. Disappointing experience for us Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
When I received an email that Windstar was offering a sizable discount on certain cruises during the holidays, I investigated their sailings to Tahiti and the Caribbean. Since Tahiti gets a lot of rain in December and January, we opted for ... Read More
When I received an email that Windstar was offering a sizable discount on certain cruises during the holidays, I investigated their sailings to Tahiti and the Caribbean. Since Tahiti gets a lot of rain in December and January, we opted for a Caribbean cruise. The Wind Surf sailing worked well with our schedule. We boarded in St. Maarten and noticed four cruise ships in the cruise terminal - P & O, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and then the Wind Surf. It was the smallest of the ships, yet the only one with masts to set sail. What makes a Windstar ship special is that they visit some ports that the big ships don't, so when you are in port it is not packed with cruise passengers. The embarkation was easy. There were no lines. We walked right up and gave the staff our information. Golf carts were nearby to whisk us to the Wind Surf, however we elected to check out the shops in the terminal before boarding the ship. Once we did, again without a line to wait in, we showed the crew staff our documents and passports. Then we walked over to the waiter staff to make reservations to the more intimate dining at Stella Bistro and Candles. Candles is so cool, because it is steak and seafood al fresco dining. We received our room card to check out our staterooms 255 and 253. Both were identical except 253 had two twin beds and 255 was made into a king. What was different is that 255 was next to the water tight metal door. At arrival to every port and when we sailed away, three buzzing alarms sounded and the doors came down right next to our room. Early in the morning, it woke us up. Another bug-a-boo about 255 was a constant rolling sound and boom when we were at sea. I had to sleep with earplugs and a pillow over my head, yet still would wake up to this sound. I called the reception desk three times. Our room steward Etti did everything she could to help soften the noise. She put pillows near the porthole covers and talked to the room steward who worked above our room. An evening steward checked out the sound and said it was the wake hitting the hull as we sailed. He said it was the sound he heard on the first level. The pound sound could be the waves, but not the rolling sound before the boom. Other than not sleeping well at night, I loved the cruise. Here is what I enjoyed - 1. BBQ lunch in St. Lucia's Pigeon Island. It's quite a spread. Sail, paddle board, snorkel, waterski and hike to the top of the fortress. 2. The yoga class with Jonathan at St. Lucia at the park while listening to the waves crash was memorable. His 6 pm Pilates class was also a good work out. 3. Pink Beach in Barbuda. Others enjoyed Coco Beach. 4. Free motion sickness pills at the reception desk. My daughter needed a pill at least once a day. 5. On Sunday The Veranda offers Brunch from 9 to 1 p.m. There is such a variety. 6. The crew are extremely friendly from Indonesia and the Philippines. Andi, Nova, Uud and Russ in the dining areas were terrific. Etti our room steward was wonderful. There was a blind couple on the ship and the staff were so helpful and accommodating. 7. Two juccuzi tubs on the back of the boat next to the pool. The tubs are small, ideal for two or family of four. At sunset when the ship is ready to set sail is the best time to be out on deck. 8. Taking the River Tubing Adventure in Roseau, Dominica. A bus picks up passengers and takes guests on a 20 minute drive to the forest. Each guest receives a yellow inner tube. There are seven guides that help guide guests down class one and two rapids. The guides sing and tell jokes at various stops. It's a sumner camp feel and fun floating down among bamboo trees, papaya, coconut. At the end of the journey, guests receive a cup of rum punch, water or Soda. They also have a plate of fresh fruit from the area - coconut, grapefruit, papaya and sugarcane. 9. Dining at Stella Bistro for a French dinner. Reservations are required and can be made on the first day of the cruise. The lobster Thermidore, escargot and Creme brûlée are delicious. 10. Popcorn and a movie. Guests can select a DVD from the media library and go back to their room to order room service. There is 24 hour room service. Popcorn comes warm, slightly buttered and salted in two separate bowls. They make crudités and dip and quesadillas too. 11. Be sure to see the crew talent show. It's very entertaining to see your cabin steward sing a Maroon 5 song, your favorite bartender juggle and pour colorful drinks, and the cruise director and four other crew members perform a synchronized swimming skit. 12. Dinner at Candles is quite an elegant al fresco affair. The grilled steak and seafood restaurant. 13. Al fresco BBQ dinner on deck. All the guests sit outdoors on the wood deck under the masts. There is a roasted suckling pig, lobster tails, king crab legs, chicken, salads, and a large dessert table. Sitting under the stars, while listening to a live band, we visited the buffet a few times. After the dinner, the crew encourages the guests to line dance out on the deck. Visiting St. Bart's and anchoring near the millionaire and billionaire yachts. 14. Playing board games after dinner or seeing the musicians perform in the evening. 15. Walking to Shell Beach in St. Barts and snorkeling near million dollar yachts. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open ... Read More
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open seating and you had to make reservations at the other two. The other two were a little better, but wish they would change that policy somehow. I'm not a hospitality manager, so I'm sure there's a reason it's done that way. Some people complained that they were "balcony people" and wouldn't sail again on windstar because of no balconies. Well I don't know why they would have booked this ship in the first place. This is an older crowd and things wind down relatively early. The entertainment somewhat caters to the older crowd (we are in our mid and late 40's and found the entertainment great). This is NOT a cruise for kids or probably even teens. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our third Wind Star cruise on their sailing vessels. My husband were hoping to get much needed rest and relaxation. We went on a back to back. I was surprised on our first week that there were a lot of children. It was the week of ... Read More
This was our third Wind Star cruise on their sailing vessels. My husband were hoping to get much needed rest and relaxation. We went on a back to back. I was surprised on our first week that there were a lot of children. It was the week of Christmas but I had never seen so many unsupervised children on such a small ship. The parents could have done these kids a favor and had them on one of the larger lines with water slides, video games and a large pool. Because the kids had nothing to do and were unsupervised they ran all over and planted themselves in the two whirl pool tubs on the back of the ship and in the very small pool. We had an at sea day for the first leg of the trip and it was beyond horrible as relaxation was no where to be found. The first week of the ship they did not open the back of the ship much. We went off the back one day and it was very rough. They have a blue floating mat and a trampoline that had jumping children on it. The second week was much better. There was not any at sea days, there were less children but the sailing was sold out as was the week before and the ship was crowded. I really regretted my choice for the holidays. I should have went on Oceania as I have done in past years. The chef had a decorated ginger bread house which Oceania does as well. But on Oceania they have lots of different Christmas cookies around the decorations on plates that are kept full of fresh cookies. Not the case on Wind Surf. For both weeks of this back to back on Windsurf dining was consistently frustrating. We arrived on board at a few minutes before three. Embarkation was great and simple. We then asked for the welcome on board buffet and it was closed down. Dinner would be at 7:00 but they have the yacht club that serves cold sandwiches and coffee. What a disappointed. We hadn't eaten because we had been traveling all day and the sandwich choices were fair. I like egg salad but it was served in a pita (Yuk) - the sandwiches are pre-made so there was no choice of bread. I got a tuna salad sandwich that was all bread and very little tuna salad. I would have been better off getting a subway at the airport. Dinner time mediocre at best. I really like fresh fruit and vegetables. The vegetable choices in the main dinning room were frozen broccolli, frozen carrots and peas. They always had a dark green salad with tomatoes that were never ripe and should not have been served. There was always plenty of meats but I am not a big meat eater. I did try the beef wellington but the crust was mush and the meat inside was under cooked. I like medium to medium rare and it was rare. One night I asked for a pasta with marinara sauce which is not on the main dining room menu but is on the room service menu and I was told no I could not get that. I did see other people ordering pasta on different nights but that evening the chef came out and told me it was not possible because it would put them off of their time line. In the evening I like to have a snack but after dinner there is no food service open on board. The Yacht club which has sandwiches and cookies closes at 6:00 pm. So I called room service and asked for a couple of oranges to eat before bed. I was told oranges are only available on the morning room service menu and was not available at that time of the night. Frustration!!! I spent a lot of money on this cruise and was very disappointed by this. Since we were on for two weeks we did have two beach bbq experiences and two evening deck experiences. The food at both of those experiences was very good and I have no complaints. It was disconcerting that at the first week of the beach bbq there were a lot of kids and very few people took advantage of the hand sanitizer. Also I saw people returning to the buffet line with dirty plates. This was also seen at the lunch buffet on board. The one thing I liked about Oceania is that they serve you on the buffet line so you don't have people who don't have sanitary hands touching the buffet. Being we were outside and kids would run up and grab a piece of fruit out of the fruit salad as did some adults I had concerns. I did not get sick and neither did my husband but I was concerned. The second week of the beach bbq someone must of said something because they did have workers serving the food rather than people taking what they wanted and they wore plastic gloves. The first week I suspect there were many cabins with three or more people because at that beach experience it was very difficult to get a chair. Many people put a towel on their chair with a book and then disappeared. At the beach experience they did bring out water toys and the sports team was very busy. My husband and I used to sail a lot in our 30's and he wanted to take one of the hobie cats but the line for that was too long. The second week there were less people and he talked to a woman who was handling the check out. He asked her a few questions and she was somewhat rude but I imagine she was hot and it had been a long day. She briskly told him that they did not teach people to sail. I guess since he asked her about the hobbie cats she assumed he could not sail which was not true. He just walked away and figured it was not going to be a pleasant experience. On the back of the ship there were two men one I believe was named BangBam and they were exceptionally nice and watched over the swimmers. I used to scuba dive when I was younger and I automatically hand signal when I enter the water. To my surprise he hand signaled back. The two men who worked the sports deck were terrific but the girl they had there was not friendly or helpful. The deck BBQ was good. The first night they did not follow the deck BBQ with line dancing but they did the second week. Entertainment for both weeks was lacking. They have a large screen TV by the games and books. Many of the men wanted to see the Rose Bowl game but all that was on the large TV were Wind Star advertisements. A couple of guys were trying to look at a tablet that had the game on it. I dont' think it would have cost much for them to have a movie or a game during the cruise on the large screen. The singers were fine nothing that I cared to sit and listen to for an extended period of time. They do have games but what we found when we went to play them is most are missing pieces. Scrabble was missing 11 tiles. We brought our own games from home and people were circling around us wanting to know about the games and where to get them. I don't mind that there isn't a lot on the ship in the evening because I enjoy relaxing but the movie library is very outdated and the games are old and missing pieces. This is not luxury and I was disappointed that the cruise was touted as a luxury experience. As I mentioned I have traveled on Windstar before when it was owned by Holland America and the management is very different. On the plus side our cabin steward Fauzie was the best we have ever had even better than what we had on Seabourn and Oceania. He did his best. The bed mattress was not good. We were sore every day. When I told Fauzie he put together some makeshift padding. It was no where near as good as beds we have had on Holland America, Oceania, Seabourn or Celebrity. The mattress was like one we had on Carnival. The actual sheets were very soft and of a high quality. I also told Fauzie how upset I was about not being able to get oranges and each night when I came back to the cabin he had a dish of oranges. He was very caring and kept the cabin spotless. Our shoes were lined up and although the carpet was worn he did his best to make the place look great. Waiter service around the ship was variable. We had an excellent server name Udd and then we had some other servers who were also kind but did not understand English very well so if I asked for ice tea with extra lemmon and extra ice I would get an ice tea with no lemon and an extra cup of ice. What I thought was really unforgivable was the higher ranking management on the ship. All the workers seemed to try very hard to please and I thought the were over worked. At dinner one night in the dining room on waitress Ollie was alone in a section with very large tables. That poor woman was running and doing the best she could. There was no one busing her section to pour water. My husband needed some water and she was so busy she could not get to it. There were officers in white uniforms who worked in the dining room who would not pick up a pitcher of water and help serve. The were walking around literally doing nothing while this poor waitress was struggling without assistance. Beside us not getting our drinks and being very thirsty through dinner I asked her for a piece of apple pie for dessert which was available on room service but not on the menu. Ollie said no. Later I grabbed the manager and asked him for the pie and he did get it for me. I did tell him that it appeared they were understaffed and he did admit that indeed this was a very full cruise. The second week the dining room was not as full as it was the week of Christmas. Reservations for the specialty restaurants did not go too well. When we arrived we made our reservations the first week. That whole week we did not receive our invitation so I called. I was told that they did not have them. I made another and when we went up we were not on the list. This happened to several people I spoke to on the cruise. The food in the speciality restarant was better than in the main dinning room but still there was not much in the way of fresh vegetables. They did have brocollini in Candles which was good. The breakfast and the lunch buffets daily were very good. I loved the salad bar each day at lunch. But lunch hours were short and if you left the ship in the morning there was a chance you would miss lunch which was from 12:30 - 2:00 most days. We tended to sleep in so we missed breakfast which ended at 9:00. I really loved it the one day on New Years Day when they did brunch. They had a very good quiche and I was so happy to be able to have fresh fruit and vegetables. I would say if there is a really good price on windstar then it is worth the trip. But don't pay luxury prices or even above average prices or you might be disappointed. We will sail on any major cruise lines and are not disappointed if the price point is ok. We go on Carnival because we love the comedy club and I know not to eat in the dining room and to expect lower quality food and a harder bed. So as long as I am paying an economy price I am ok with it. This was disappointing to me because I expected a higher level of quality than what I got for the money and I feel that I over paid. Even with it being Christmas I don't feel that the dining hours, food quality, the mattress quality and the crowds were what I expected for what is advertised as a luxury experience. We paid about $5400 with taxes and port charges for two people for 15 days and I feel that the trip was worth about $4,000 for two including port charges and taxes - if that. I could have went on Holland America or Celebrity and had a balcony with money left over and it would have been a better experience. At least if there were kids there would have been places to go. We had cabin 211 which is in a good location so if you do decide to take a cruise on Windsurf I would recommend this cabin. Everything in the cabin worked. The carpet was very spotted and looked like it should be cleaned. We did get the laundry service and it was awesome. If you go on Wind Surf I highly recommend paying for the laundry service. You put your dirty clothes in a bag and the next day they are washed and pressed. All of our clothes came out perfect better than at home. We came back to the ship one day and just missed lunch. We asked if we could have room service on the deck so we could eat outside. We were told no that room service was to be eaten in your room. So we ordered to the room and took our food out to a table ourselves. There dining hours are so short that you may have to eat off the room service menu. Room service was pretty fast about 30 minutes. The rooms aren't very comfortable for dining because they do not have a balcony. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
the cruise was very nice. the ship needs a lot of upgrading though. the ports of call visited were good and bad st. john antigua is a dump not worth going to shore. barbuda should be taken off the list. there is nothing there to speak ... Read More
the cruise was very nice. the ship needs a lot of upgrading though. the ports of call visited were good and bad st. john antigua is a dump not worth going to shore. barbuda should be taken off the list. there is nothing there to speak of but a bird sanctuary. st.lucias beach party was great. st. kitts was great beautiful, the best place on the cruise to do your souvenir shopplng. st. barts was beautiful but unless you are rich dont plan on doing your shopplhg there. hats were 40 dollars. in st. maarten and st. kitts the were 5 bucks. just an example of how high prices were. food on the windsurf was the best thing about the ship. room was also nice enough. I just prefer the bigger cruise ships overall. the deck bbq party on top deck was the best event of the whole cruise by far. the setup was really nice,and the food was great.they cooked a whole pig ,crablegs ,ribs ,steak,and more. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We booked the Windsurf to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The food was amazing and the service extraordinary, better than anything we’ve experienced on our other cruises. There were some snags along the way with the ports, but Windstar ... Read More
We booked the Windsurf to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The food was amazing and the service extraordinary, better than anything we’ve experienced on our other cruises. There were some snags along the way with the ports, but Windstar went out of their way to try to please us because of these. Would definitely book a Windstar cruise again, but due to the lack of balconies on the Windsurf ship, would choose a yacht with balcony next time. Although there were always seats and privacy available on deck, we really missed being able to sit out on a private balcony in the wee hours of the morning, early afternoons after visiting ports and watching the stars in the late evening. We did notice a sewer and occasional smoke odor by our cabin (Deck 1, #155, front). Think it would have been better to have chosen a front cabin on a higher deck. We met wonderful people on this cruise and due to the small amount of people onboard (about 220 passengers; 196 employees), we ran across each other frequently. We decided to fly in from Tampa to Miami to do our Global Entry interview (more about that later) and then connect to St. Martin. Grabbed a taxi ($25 due to late arrival time). The driver asked if we’d mind if he stopped in a local grocery store enroute. He was in there for about 10 minutes with some “quirky” people hanging outside the store which made me a bit uneasy. All turned out well and the driver gave us a brief “tour” as we headed to the hotel. Arrived at the Royal Pasanggahran Guest House on Front Street in Phillipsburg around 10:40pm. We were dismayed at the outside of the hotel from the Front St. entrance, but were pleasantly surprised at the inside of the hotel, entrance from beach and our fabulous room in the new section that was more like a suite. There was a 4 poster bed with nice mosquito net over it, a separate room for toilet, huge tub, shower, bathroom, outside huge balcony facing beach and ships. Next time we’d ask for a room higher up for more expansive beach view. Nice, hard mattress; very low quality sheets, pillows and beach towels. Only saw one mosquito in the room, but lots of small ones outside at dawn and dusk. Had our Deet on so no bites thankfully. Great Bay beach was nice enough although not as amazing as other BVI beaches. Free beach chairs and umbrellas outside of our hotel. Saw 4 ships come into St. Martin port from balcony as well as our Windsurf ship entering port and docked. I was a little uneasy about having to sign a blank credit card sheet at check-in (the type they slide through machine). When one checks out they put the expenditure amounts in. Went to breakfast at hotel restaurant overlooking beach…Amazing food and good service. Visited the Blue Bitch Bar/Caribbean restaurant on beach for lunch. Good wings, portabella mushroom wrap. Slow service. Caribbean band outside the restaurant was wonderful, interacting with passersby, etc. Great deals on Front St. for drinks, buckets of beers, chairs, etc. Usually about $20 - $25 for 2 chairs with various drink deals included. Timeshare salespeople annoying, trying to get us to do an hour presentation for freebees, etc. Had dinner at The Greenhouse on the beach across from a marina, easily walkable from our hotel. Food was great and they offered 2 for 1 drinks during a time period. This offer included huge, delicious drinks, any type liquor, frozen drinks, etc. Watched someone climbing up trees, cutting coconuts down right on Front St. to sell at his stand the next day. Returned to our hotel with nice music playing outside, but we were tired so went right to sleep. Day 1 of cruise After another great breakfast at hotel, we headed to Sang’s grocery for wine (2 bottles permitted per cabin on ship) and suntan lotion (couldn’t put in our carry-ons due to liquids rule/amounts). Had to cross busy road to get there, but prices reasonable and decent selection. Tip requested by person who didn’t pack our items at register, but offered to carry our groceries outside. We told him, “thanks, but we’re walking…He says “I work for tips sort of angrily. Maybe that’s how they do things there? We gave him a buck and left. We did carry-ons only this cruise due to connecting flights, coming back to Charlotte through customs and having a great laundry package onboard ship. $109 total for week. Laundry put out before 9am was back on hangers by 4 the next day. Sometimes even the same day. Can specify hand wash, don’t put in dryer, etc. That being said, when on direct flights or connecting flights in US only, we prefer checking a bag for return souvenirs and not having to lug carry-ons around with us. Arrived at ship at 12:30PM. Boarding commenced at 1pm…not a minute before! Waited outside (hot in sun!). Went through security in tent and boarded. Complimentary cocktail, greetings by ship’s staff. Found our cabin and were pleasantly surprised at the size and storage space. We knew that we’d only have portholes due to no balconies on ship. Fun seeing waves splash over them occasionally. Really missed balcony though. Linens and pillows were very good quality and comfortable. Cabin had l’occutaine (sp?) toiletries – wonderful. Bose unit nice. Unpacked and headed to buffet. Lots of choices and wonderful sitting outside on deck. By the end of the first day most personnel know your first names and greet you by them. Nice touch. A special thanks to Sherwin, Maria, Tissi, our cabin stewardess, and the cook for breakfast and lunch on veranda. One could order from menu or enjoy buffet. The food on this ship was the best ever. Our cabin was kept immaculate by Tissi although we hardly saw her. One night we returned to find a huge 2 kissing swan towel display with a bow and arrow made out of gold foiled chocolate candies on our bed. (25th anniversary) Didn’t feel like we were nickeled and dimed on this cruise at all and felt that the employees and officers really wanted us to have a great time. Their smiles were genuine. Announcement made that due to mechanical problems the ship was not leaving port at 7pm as originally scheduled to arrive in St. Barts in the morning. We were disappointed that we’d miss the first night’s sailing to St. Barts as well as the second night of our cruise, overnighting in St. Barts. So we stayed at the St. Martin Dock for the first 2 nights of our cruise. Windstar did provide free ferry passes the next day from St. Martin to St. Barts. We originally signed up for these. However, in the morning we thought about having to wait for groups to gather, wait for ferries and stick strictly to the ferry times we had chosen. Decided to go to Orient Bay Beach instead which turned out to be a great decision. Fabulous beach which we’ve always enjoyed. Spoke to people who had done the ferry to St. Barts and they really were upset at late ferries, etc. Windstar offered free water taxi rides to Front St. the next day. We took advantage of this offer and visited the shops. We were also told that the Beach BBQ with toys would not be a Prickly Pear Beach in Virgin Gorda, but had been rescheduled to Fischer’s Cove. Another disappointment, but it turned out well. More info on this below. On another note, we weren’t able to use the water toys off the back of the ship for the duration of our cruise. We were told the current was too strong. To make up for lost ports, in addition to the above-mentioned ferry and water taxi trips, Windstar extended a $300 per cabin on-board credit which could be used for everything except tips. Also gave us free drinks the first 2 days of the cruise. Since we already had a $300 OBC, that gave us $600 to use onboard. We were first told that we couldn’t use this for a future Windstar cruise, but when I expressed disappointment about that, I received a letter on my door staying we could use the $300 to do so. Unpacked and headed to pool deck. Comfortable deck chairs, lounges tables, umbrellas. Never had to look for empty lounges during trip. Had our usual cocktails around 6pm and attended an informative port talk around 6pm. My very fussy husband, who has his nightly martinis at home, a little dry and just a little dirty, claimed he didn’t get a good martini for the duration of the trip. Great OJ so my screwdrivers were wonderful. (Fresh squeezed OJ daily at breakfast also.) Delicious appetizers passed at the bar during cocktail hour. We were surprised that the bars never seemed to have much camaraderie barside before dinner. Dinner was fabulous. Seafood Risotto and fish dish, panna cotta and butter pecan ice cream for dessert. The food portions on this trip weren’t large, but more than enough to enjoy. Restaurant service excellent in all 3 restaurants. Still managed to put on some pounds during trip! Drink/wine prices about $8.50 each/$38.50 average bottle (and up, of course). The food displays on plates were impressive. Enjoyed the Compass Rose lounge in evenings. Nice atmosphere, opening up to outside seating area. Listed to music by Duo, Mellow Yellow. Girl singer very good; guy not a great singer, but good on keyboards. Danced quite a bit. There was also a band nightly in the lounge. Girl singer pretty good, but we really didn’t enjoy the band at all. Comfortable seating. We liked the nightly port talks, captain’s cocktail party, introductions to Officers etc. Library and DVD selection decent. Girls at reception desk pleasant and went out of their way to help. I had difficulty checking into AA at their computer for my return flight. She helped me do so and print my boarding tickets. Dinner second night – short ribs w/pasta, great; beef wellington just okay; shrimp cocktail soggy, escargot delicious. Impressed by offering us black napkins instead of white since we were wearing dark clothes. Never had to wait to be seated for dinner. Choice of seating for 2 or larger table. Although we weren’t looking for the hairy chest contest, etc., we were surprised that there were absolutely no activities during the day inbetween excursions and seeing ports. Seem to remember just one day of trivia. Perhaps it’s because most people are off the ship visiting ports. Hubby visited the fitness center a few times. Satisfactory based on size of ship. They also listed free yoga and stretch classes daily besides spa treatments, etc. Sailed to Sopers Hole, Tortola, the next day at 1pm. Finally got to see sails unfurl to music. Terrific. Took lots of photos. Fabulous lunch buffet, napped on deck. Dinner at Stella Bistro (need to make reservation upon boarding). Lamb shank, mussels, raspberry crème brulee…delicious. Watched a DVD movie – went to bed early. Tortola – Took ship’s snorkel excursion. Was supposed to go to Caves and Norman Island, but weather didn’t cooperate so visited 2 snorkel stops in Norman Island vicinity. Good equipment, fun crew, nice boat, rum punch after snorkeling. Not as many fish as I remember seeing there years ago. Lots more in Chankanaab, Cozumel. Coral better at Norman Island though. Stopped at Pirate’s Blight resort/beach on way back for about 45 minutes. Nice beach, excellent painkillers! Back at 12:30 or so. Went to Yacht Club for delicious sandwiches. They have various, delicious coffees, little cakes and sandwiches from 6am – 6pm. Windsurf’s coffee best we’ve ever had on cruises. Specialty coffees included in cruise cost unlike most other cruiselines. BBQ moved from deck to lounge area for dinner due to possibility of showers. Words cannot describe it. HUGE selection with everything from salads to wonderful king crab legs, big shrimp, paella (best I’ve ever eaten), lobster tails, whole pig, lamb, etc. Linedancing with crew in lounge afterward. Jost Van Dyke – Arrived in evening. We intended to go to Foxy’s, but just too tired to do so. Awoke to showers. Bored in cabin. Headed to Jost late AM. Thankfully the weather cleared around 1pm so we had a great day. Jost is much more commercialized than last time we visited, many years ago. Still lots of fun. Hendo’s Hideaway next door also looked nice. Had our share of painkillers and the best fish and chips at Jost beach. Dinner at Candles Outside restaurant. (make reso when boarding). Full moon over water, fabulous veal chop and perch dish, crème brulee. Received a nice cake acknowledging our 25th anniversary. Amazing night. The Crew Show took place in the lounge that night. Appreciated their enthusiasm, but not our thing. Virgin Gorda – Took 9:30 tender to another boat to a very pretty Fischer’s Cove beach (substitute for Prickly Pear). Great day using Windsurf’s SUP, kayaks, trampoline, raft, etc. Volleyball with staff, excellent Caribbean band amazing BBQ on beach etc. Others told us that Prickly Pear was nicer. Reasons for skipping that beach were varied. Not sure if Windsurf will ever visit there again. We were told that this was the ship’s first visit to Fischer’s Cove. Things seemed to go well except for having few beach chairs and lounges. They seemed to have worked this out though, bringing more chairs as needed. Antigua – Were going to do what I read was a short walk to Pigeon Point Beach. Guess we and other fellow cruisers missed the trail to do so. Grabbed a cab - $5pp….Short ride, but a lot easier. Very hot out. Decided to skip historic Dockyard and Shirley Heights. The beach wasn’t great, but a nice cove and atmosphere. Not many fish seen while snorkeling.Hubby went to Gertrudes for a pina colada and gave them a $20 bill. Wanted to give him change in their currency. He told them he didn’t want that. They gave in and he got $8 USD back. Have to say they made a great drink. There is a BBQ shack bar/restaurant, Bumpkins, down the other end. Very rustic, but nice people who called us a taxi back to ship later in the day. Someone told me that their beers were ridiculously expensive. We hadn’t done beer that day so not sure. Last night onboard – Captain and entire crew paraded into the lounge. The Stewards carried in towel animals, some very different and impressive. All departments recognized and everyone sang “That’s what friends are for”…Very nice. Since our return flight wasn’t til 3:25 and we had carry-on luggage with us, we decided to take a ship’s excursion the morning of debarkation. We met around 7:45am and were delayed til around 8:15 due to one couple’s not showing up. Tour guide asked if we wanted to skip stopping back at Phillipsburg due to delay. We all agreed to do so. Took a nice tour to Oyster Pond and Orient Bay areas for photos; shopped and had a wonderful peach tart and cappuchino at Seraphina’s bakery in Marigot (loved the French atmosphere!); had a terrific pizza and drinks at Sunset Grill area restaurant. Unfortunately, just 2 small planes passed overhead, but we had been there before so just sitting in the restaurant was fine for us. Got to airport on the tour bus about noon. Enjoyed the reasonably priced shopping and the Souliga lounge at airport though our Priority Pass. Complimentary drinks, light snacks, coffee, wifi, newspapers. Boarded our flight to Charlotte airport. Had burger and beers at Tequiliera restaurant there. Not good at all and expensive. Plane out of Charlotte to Tampa had to be de-iced so delayed. 32 degrees in Charlotte. Freezing to us Floridians. We hadn’t thought about it being cold so only had light clothing and sweaters with us. Economy parking/shuttle at Tampa airport was great. No waiting at all. We didn’t get home til 1:30am. Thanks to Windsurf for a wonderful cruise. Hope to sail another Windstar ship with balcony in the future! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a ... Read More
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a total makeover. When we were to board, embarkation was not at its usual dock but more of an industrial dock so check in was chaotic and very long. We sat here until 11:00 pm, sailing was to be at 7:00 pm but divers were underneath the ship repairing a part. Not a good start! We were told by a Wind Star cruise reservations agent that we could snorkel off the sports platform from the Ship since the ship is smaller 310 passengers, so that was a big selling point for us. This was not true as the ship would anchor at a 100 feet or more and snorkeling off the sports platform was not allowed anyway. We were also told no shorts in the main dining room the Amphora and no flip flops of any kind in the lounge in the evenings. We were not informed of this when purchasing the cruise or is not stated in any of the brochures or on the Wind Star web site. I advised the onboard Customer Service Manager of this and she informed me it is stated on the website, but not so.When sailing to the different islands we always tendered in, which we knew we would some of the times but every single time aboard old hot tenders. More like tin sweat boxes. The first day we stood in the hall with a line of people and waited an hour as only one tender was running. On day 7 the captain made an announcement that we would not be going to St Barts our last port because they had scheduled a time to finish the repair that was started on embarkation day so now our 9 day cruise that we paid for was an 8 day. I believe that Wind Star knew about this when we departed on day 1. We asked for a refund for the one night but our request was denied. The passengers stayed aboard the ship sitting at the pier in St. Maartin not what we signed up or paid for. We disembarked and went to a hotel. Very disappointing and not at all what was expected for the money we paid which is quite a bit more than other cruise lines. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the ... Read More
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the better the experience and that puts Windstar at the top of our list. We have been on the 5,000 passenger giants where you are an anonymous part of a city at sea. With 280 passengers and 100 crew, the Windsurf almost feels like you are on a private yacht. Every single crew member treated us like we were the most important people on board and it was wonderful. We are sailors and our favourite curses in the Caribbean are chartering our own yachts. Second to that is the Island Windjammer cruises with real sailing yacht. Our last voyage was 12 passengers and 6 crew on a 90 foot sloop, but that requires a real love of sailing and it is expensive. Windstar cruises are the happy compromise. There is no real sailing sensation on a Windstar other than stirring music when sails are hoisted but the small size of the ship allows anchoring in remote locations that emulates the real sailboat experience. You also trade excitement and danger for luxury and pampering if you go Windstar. Previous Reviews We have never submitted a review before but we disagree so much with a negative review from our cruise that we felt we owed it to the crew of Windsurf to set the record straight. Some specific rebuttals of that review: 1)The dress code for dinner is appropriate and dress code is well documented on the website. 2)The Captain handled the mechanical problems at St Barths admirably. Windstar chartered us a high speed ferry for us so we still got to do St Barts and the company gave us a generous cruise credit to compensate. 3) Our dock in St Maarten was fine and only 100 yards from the regular dock and no one cares what dock you are on. 4) Criticisms of the band were unwarranted. I am a musician and to my professionally tuned ear this was clearly in the top 1% of bands I have ever heard. 5) Criticisms of the tenders were unwarranted. These are the universal lifeboats used on every ship in the world as tenders 6) When other reviews are so overwhelmingly positive this tells you something. OUR REVIEW The Ship Well designed and meticulously cared for, it motors well and sails well. Despite its large size there are so few passengers that there are always lots of places to sit either inside or on deck. We have been on real windjammers and this was ultra luxury in comparison. The water ballast system means the ship sails level even in heavy weather. Bad news for real sailors but a delight for landlubbers. Fake sailing at its best. The Staterooms Small but who cares. We never had time to do anything but sleep in them. The lack of balconies is not an issue because there are so many private sitting areas on the various outside decks. Cleverly designed and visually appealing, the highlight is the full size shower which is far superior to the tubes in the large cruise ships. The Crew Many nationalities but as on all ships mostly Philippine. Every single crew member gave us a full smile and the red carpet treatment and many gave us extra service. The treatment of crew by the officers is exemplary and it was clear this ship was a happy environment. Food Without doubt the best we have ever eaten, and came close to gourmet quality. Despite hours of exercise every day I came home ten pounds heavier. The freedom to sit anywhere is great. We constantly sat with different people and got to know many of the passengers. The Ambience We cannot stress how different the ambiance is from a large ship. The windsurf is like the theme song to Cheers where everyone knows your name. It didn't matter who was beside you passenger or crew, friendly conversation and courteous behaviour was everywhere. We felt part of a community. Ports of Call The Classic itinerary is one of the best in the Caribbean visiting St Marten, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Antigua, St Lucia, Guadaloupe, St Kitts and St Parts. In vacation lingo these are upscale islands with unique features. Most importantly, you are not going ashore at the main dock with thousands of other ants all fighting for position. The Windstar boats mostly anchor offshore and you are tendered in in small groups. We never felt like we were standing in line for anything. Tours We have done these islands and seen the highlights before so we either stayed on board and enjoyed the water sports or just did hunted for a beach. Caribbean tours are largely a waste of money. Most of the things you can do yourself or are overpriced, but if you have a herd mentality and a fat wallet they are okay. Our only tour was zip lining. It was overpriced and the zip lines too short but we got to cross zip lining off our bucket list. On the other hand every free, mostly deserted beach we frequented was a 5 star day. Nothing compares with being plucked onto a private beach. Entertainment We completely lucked out. A new band started the week of our cruise as noted above. They were most impressive and we ended up spending 4 hours a night listening to them. Name of the band is Stage Direction. They are Philippine and have been together for 18 years and spent the last 8 years on Norwegian Cruise Lines on the big ships. Except for requests they never repeated a song the whole voyage. The lead singer should by rights be on America's got talent. She did Whitney Houston, Adele, Pat Benetar and Shania Twain hits as good as the originals and got frequent standing ovations. The lead guitarist could hold his own with Jimmi Hendrix doing riffs and even gave us the Chuck Berry walk. Last night was Beatles tribute and they did credible renditions. I believe if they had work permits in the USA they would be opening acts for the stars. The music on this trip was a true delight. They are only booked until May. Hope you get to hear them. Value for Money and Overall Comment Windstar vacations are pricier than the run of the mill cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian etc,, but you get so much more enjoyment. If you want pampering go to Regent. If you want a great vacation that maximizes sun, wind, water and sand and goes off the beaten path then Windstar is your dream vacation. We will probably alternate Windstar with real sailboats on future Caribbean vacations. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My wife and I were on the March 12 Wind Surf cruise. We’re in our early 50s and have cruised over 50 times. This is our second time on Wind Surf. We flew into SXM on the Friday before we sailed. Getting through the airport was ... Read More
My wife and I were on the March 12 Wind Surf cruise. We’re in our early 50s and have cruised over 50 times. This is our second time on Wind Surf. We flew into SXM on the Friday before we sailed. Getting through the airport was relatively easy and we took a cab to our hotel, Divi Little Bay. The hotel is in a beautiful location on Little Bay. We enjoyed our room (had a great view) and the food on the resort was good. Service, however, was terrible. We would not stay again. The Ship We checked out of our hotel at 11 am on Saturday (no late checkout allowed) and arrived at the pier before noon. Windstar has a luggage check in near the entrance to the port but boarding does not start before 1:00 pm. Fortunately, there were plenty of places to sit in the shopping area. When boarding started, we were though security, checked in, and in our cabin very promptly. Check in as well as specialty restaurant reservations takes place onboard. Security does seem to check carry on bags for alcohol…..we had two bottles of wine, which was not a problem. We were in a suite on deck 3. The suites on Wind Surf have been converted from two separate cabins into one suite. This allowed for 2 bathrooms and 2 closets. While the extra space may not have been needed, the extra bathroom was a nice feature. Cabin service was great all week. One afternoon, we heard a banging noise in our cabin. I reported the problem and it was resolved promptly. The reception desk called twice to make sure we had no further problem. The Wind Surf is not large but it has several dining spaces, a nice lounge, a couple of other bars, small casino, Yacht Club, and a gift shop. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tub. Lounge chairs are spread throughout the outdoor spaces. A marina is lowered from the back of the ship when conditions permit. Unfortunately, we didn’t have very good conditions for this feature on our cruise but it’s very nice when available. Snorkel gear is available for check out from this area. Dining We thoroughly enjoy the dining on Wind Surf. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Verandah, which has indoor and outdoor seating. It has a buffet with several a la carte items that are ordered from the menu. Overall, we found the food to be very good. The main dining room, Amphora, is our favorite for dinner. The menus offer a variety of choices, all of which include quality ingredients and excellent preparation. The servers are great. There are two specialty restaurants (no extra charge). We enjoyed our meal in Stella Bistro, even though the AC was malfunctioning and the room was hot. The food was excellent. Candles is the outdoor dinner restaurant (uses Verandah area). This was a disappointment. The menu is limited. I ordered a NY strip steak. I was served a piece of meat so thin that I would call it a minute steak. Everything else was OK but the other venues are better. I’d rather eat inside anyway. Once each week, there is a deck buffet for dinner. Last year, we really enjoyed this event. This time, it seemed to have gone downhill. The lobster tails were small, lamb chops were replaced with some type of lamb t-bone, and there was no chocolate fountain. Additionally, the buffet was scheduled from 7:00-8:30 but the food service ended shortly after 8:00. We tend to eat later so this was disappointing. If they are going to continue this event, they should keep Amphora open for those of us who want to eat a little later and prefer table service. Entertainment Since Wind Surf is a small ship, entertainment is limited. They have a band that plays in the lounge every night. We found them to be very good. Once each cruise, there’s a crew show. It’s very entertaining. There’s also a duo that plays in one of the bars. We never heard them play. Daily activities are limited. On our sea day, there was a galley tour and cooking demo as well as a few other activities. For the most part, passengers simply relax and enjoy a book or movie. There are no children’s activities. This is a positive as it limits the number of children on the ship. Those that were aboard were well behaved. Ports We started in Antigua. We took the Reef Riders excursion. It was very well done. The Reef Rider staff was very good and the snorkeling was good. The only negative was that it was a 45 minute one way trip to/from the harbor. I think most of the excursions required a long ride. Windstar might consider using a different harbor to get passengers closer to activities. Our second stop was Sopers Hole, Tortola. We took a snorkeling trip to Norman Island. The boat was a large catamaran, which was rated for 100 passengers. There were only 40 of us so it was very spacious and comfortable. We stopped at the “Indians,” which is a reef/rock formation off of the island. The snorkeling was great….some of the best we’ve done in the Caribbean. The second stop was supposed to be the “Pirate Caves” but we couldn’t anchor due to too many boats. We diverted to another area, which wasn’t nearly as good as the first stop. There was a third stop at “Pirates Bight,” which is a beach area with a couple of bars/restaurants. It was very nice and also very popular with boats in the area. Jost Van Dyke is a small island with very few options, other than a couple of famous bars. We took the snorkel trip offered by the ship. The catamaran and crew were very nice but it was too crowded. The boat should have been limited to about half the number of passengers that were on it. It was very difficult to move around. The snorkel stop was OK but nothing great. The second stop was at Taboo Bar, near the “bubbly pools.” We stayed way too long at this location. There’s no reason to spend any time at a bar during a snorkeling trip. I wouldn’t recommend this one. The stop at Virgin Gorda is for Prickly Pear Beach. The only way to see Virgin Gorda is to take a ship excursion. We didn’t but enjoyed a nice beach day. The lunch buffet was very good and there were very few people on the beach until the tours got back in the afternoon. It would be nice it some type of boat trip could be added to the Baths. The only way to see them was to take a full island tour. Our last stop was supposed to be St. Barts. Due to wind and swell conditions, we were diverted to St. Kitts. The Captain took the time to explain this during the crew show a couple of nights beforehand. I thought he handled the situation very well and it was appreciated. We just enjoyed the ship on this day. Final Thoughts Disembarkation from Wind Surf couldn’t be easier. Simply retrieve your passports (they keep these at check in) in the lounge and get off. There are no crowds or lines. Luggage is placed near the taxis at the entrance to the port. Windstar will sell you a transfer to the airport for $35pp. Don’t do this….taxis are only $10 pp. SXM is not an easy airport to get through so allow plenty of time. Check in lines can be long as can security. It’s not a US territory so there’s no TSA Pre-check. When we arrived, there was only one security line open for the entire airport. It probably took us an hour to check in (we had priority so our line was short), clear immigration, and pass through security. We enjoy Windstar far more than the larger ships. It’s quiet and relaxing. The crew is outstanding. They remember your names and anticipate your needs. We haven’t been on any other line with this level of service. We will certainly be back. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
37th cruise, 57 year old with spouse and traveling with two 35 year old couple. Experienced travelers and yearly Caribbean trips (on land and on sea). Embark was non eventful and pretty much walk on, drinks/food were readily available. ... Read More
37th cruise, 57 year old with spouse and traveling with two 35 year old couple. Experienced travelers and yearly Caribbean trips (on land and on sea). Embark was non eventful and pretty much walk on, drinks/food were readily available. Crew from Captain on down were excellent and made sure everything was up to par (or above). I watched an officer get a older women a lounge chair and then asking her if she would like a drink, he made sure she was taken care of. Meaning that if yo asked anyone a question they either answered it on the spot or found someone, they didn't direct you elsewhere. Within a day the servers knew our drink preferences and made sure we were always "hydrated" Being small you were never herded and waiting in line for anything. Cruisers know exactly what herding is and that is one of my reasons for not cruising as much. The ship is older, but despite some comments of wear, was in very good shape. The room was of usual standard and seemed to have a little larger bathroom (though I'm sure it was the layout) Food was plated and of wide verity and of good quality. Passengers were of wide range of ages. I would say 50 was the normal, and good conversations were had all over. Again a smaller passenger allows for knowing people;s preferences. The back of ship opens to a marina and I would suggest to get there at first opportunity, since weather has a say as to if it opens or not (only open one day). There were a lot of sailors on board (myself included) and there was a open bridge policy for those who needed more information (I didn't) Debark was extremely fast and we did the Americas Cup Regatta as a post excursion (highly recommend) We were going to rent chairs at the Holland house and taxi to airport, but this was a lot better and easlier Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from ... Read More
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from St. Maarten to St. Lucia and return at a relaxing 12 knots with her sails billowing. Accommodations, food and service were all excellent. Shore excursions were typical for the Caribbean except for the Frigate bird sanctuary on Barbuda, the only place where nesting birds can be seen up close. Credit must be given to the captain for his timing and navigation when leaving St. Lucia, to catch the setting sun shadow of the Surf with her sails against the Pitons. However, be prepared to spend some time walking from the cruise port gates to the ships mooring. On disembarking, our group, catching an early flight, had to carry our own luggage from the ship to the port entrance, which was the low point of the cruise. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
While this was not our first time cruising my wife and I are 51 and 45 both have lived in Europe, the US and South America, it was our first time on Windstar - WindSurf. In short, it was a fantastic cruise and I could not have asked for ... Read More
While this was not our first time cruising my wife and I are 51 and 45 both have lived in Europe, the US and South America, it was our first time on Windstar - WindSurf. In short, it was a fantastic cruise and I could not have asked for anything more. We selected Windstar because of the Conde Naste review articles describing the smaller more intimate ships and also the promise of getting into smaller ports. Our cruise was the "Yachtsman's Caribbean" which sailed out of St Maarten - Philipsburg. We got on the boat around 4pm and set sail at 7pm promptly. First port was Antigua we arrived early in the am and the captain intended to anchor at a smaller port near Shirley Heights but it was too windy for the tender boats to safely load passengers, so we went around the island to the city of St John and docked there in a protected harbour. The island excursions tour was fun - but I suggest taking a taxi on your own over to Shirley Heights for the Sunday BBQ party and stay as late as you can becasue the Sunday party was so much fun, we wanted to stay until they closed the place down. got back on board late around 10pm and were still hungry but the main restaurant had closed and we were sweaty from dancing - the Executive sous chef saw us looking hungry and came out and offered to prepare a meal for us - it was delivered to our room just as we got out of the shower. Just one of many examples of the excellent service we got on the cruise. The cabins appeared to have been recently remodeled and were very well appointed - like staying in a 5 star hotel; wood trim, granite counters in the bath and on the desk. Most of the service staff was Indonesian and they were so intuitive and responsive to anything you wanted, that yo had to be careful wheat you said. Once I casually mentioned to the cabin steward that the bed was a bit more firm than I liked and when we came back from lunch, they had swapped the mattress and put a pillow top on it. A rare level of luxury and care. next stop was Sopers Hole a very small harbor and a wonderful little island with long empty beaches straight out of the magazines THIS is what we came for ! The excursion tour guide was Donovan and he had lots of fun toting us around in the back of a 4x4 from beach to beach. He sidetracked to a local Rum distillery and we all got lubricated. next day was Jost Van Dyke which is a smaller island and the captain said there were more people on the ship than live on the island ! Another perfect score. The tender boats ran every 20 mins so you could come and go as you pleased and explore the island. That night while anchored nearby, The staff prepared a huge on deck bbg with lobster, ribeyes, ribs, paella and of course deserts. the dinner was followed by a line dancing party on the top deck and all the crew, officers and service staff (including some of the cabin stewards ) came out and did the Whip and watched me nay nay. : -) it was BIG FUN and it was a level of intimacy with the other passengers and crew that you just don't find many places. Nexts ports were Virgin Gorda - definitely go see the Baths and swim on the beach there, and then while there, the crew went over to the uninhabited island of Prickly Pear Beach and set up another bbq beach party for us and also some volleyball nets and took all the watersports stuff: kayaks, sailboats, etc etc so we could spend the day on the beach. Volleyball was crew and passengers again. One day/night was spent sailing at sea and we thought it might be a bit boring but the crew had plenty of activities if we were up for it or you could just hang out by the pool/hot tub and sip on a cocktail. We did both :-) The second to last port was a stop at St Barts and while the refined paris of the Caribbean was certainly beautiful and impressive, after spending a week on small undeveloped beaches and tiny ports, we were a bit disoriented by the sight of million dollar yachts, celebrities, hotels for $3200 a night and topless french models parading up and down the beaches. Many of us agreed, we would have traded that for a second day at Jost Van Dyke. If you do go to St Barts, and want to experience it, then head over to Nikki Beach which is a beach and 4 star restaurant by the Eden Hotel. For lunch at Nikki Beach, we spent about $125 per person - and I might offer that the food on the ship was every bit as good or better and the service was WAAAY better on board. Another place to go on St Barts is La Plage which is walking distance from Eden Rock as well. Overall I will say that Windstar is now our favorite and we will be returning for another cruise as soon as possible. I would describe it as an affordable luxury cruise for those who are looking for a more intimate or romantic experience and who want to see smaller ports with fewer people. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had ... Read More
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had elevators. We chose the Yachtsman's itinerary because it was the least likely to experience any roughness. I can report that we only had one evening with slight rolling for a few hours. My mother, who can be prone to sea sickness did just fine! Pre-cruise we stay at Alicia's Inn in Philipsburg for one night. Based on price and only a one night stay, it was fine. Friday evening we ate at Toloula Mangos and Saturday's breakfast was at Barefoot Restaurant. Both had lovely views of the harbor. The breakfast at Barefoot was especially good and reasonably priced. Tip for any future cruisers. Just a short walk will take you to Caribbean Liquors & Tobacco, located at 8 W.G. Buncamper Road, Philipsburg, St.Maarten. Not an extensive selection, but what they did have was nice and very reasonably priced. We purchased five bottles to take on board with us. Boarding Time!!! The port area is just a short taxi ride. Checked in our luggage, wandered the shops, then caught a cart to carry us to the ship. Embarkation was as efficient and easy as expected and before we knew it we were shown to our cabin. Luggage hadn't arrived yet so we took a quick walk around the ship and made our way up to the Veranda for lunch. By the time we made our way back to our cabin the luggage had arrived. Our cabin was clean and comfortable. While I prefer the cabin design of the Wind Star/Spirit, it was very functional with more than sufficient storage space. Bedding was luxurious and the bed very comfortable. Always love the l'Occitane bath products. Our cabin attendant, Dian, was attentive and the best we have ever had on any cruise. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the dining and selections offered. The dishes that didn't totally please were few and far between. In addition to the usual selections, one night there was an Indonesian entree and on another an Indian entree (Biryani). The Biryani was especially good and spicy!! We also dined in Stella Bistro and Candles. Again, both venues were great. While the beach BBQ was fine, the deck BBQ was especially good on this cruise. The daily selections for both breakfast and lunch in the Veranda were varied and fresh. If we had any complaint about the food, for some reason the deserts did not seem as good as we've previously experienced. Not bad - just not as good. The service, overall, was exemplary. The Veranda staff took my mother under their wing and treated her like royalty. This made the trip very special for her. I'd like to give a shout to Nova and Esther for their remarkable attention to my mom. Our cabin attendant Dian was also the best. The only Windstar excursion we participated in was the St. Bart's snorkel. The snorkeling was not very good, but the catamaran ride was great! So no complaint. Disembarkation was too quick and easy - we stayed aboard as long as we could. From there we took a taxi and spent the day at Mary's Boon Resort which is just a short taxi drive from the airport. Had a lovely lunch on the beach while trying to figure out if and when we would be able to get home - we were dealing with the East Coast snowstorm. In summary, we had a fantastic cruise! We were a little worried after our less-than-stellar cruise aboard the Legend last June - but Windstar came through with flying colors!!!!! This cruise showcased the Windstar experience we have come to know and love. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you ... Read More
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you need for your enjoyment, but without redundancy. Unlike the large ships, the WindSurf started from St. Maarten, so each day brought a new island -- there were no dead days at sea. Accordingly, there was no need for on-board entertainment like a rock climbing wall or zipline. The cruise was all about the islands and the people that you met on board. My wife and I went for our 20th anniversary, and we had a terrific time. CABINS: Very comfortable. Well appointed and with more than enough room for two. It was good to have the stocked fridge with soft drinks and ample water. I did not feel nickel and dimed every time I reached for a soda. The only thing missing was a balcony, but it was fine without one. DINING: Excellent food. One the large ships, lavish buffets or other foodstuffs are available 24/7. Not on this ship. You ate during dining hours, maybe picked up a cookie, sweet, or sandwich from the Yacht Club at odd hours, or ordered from room service. Popcorn is available from room service for those nights you decide to get a DVD from their library. Steak at Candles was surprisingly tasty -- I love my steaks, and while filet mignon looked a little thin, it was delicious! The main dining room was very good, with some basics (steak, salmon, chicken), and a rotating menu of other entrees. Stella Bistro was also fine, but I was a bit distracted during dinner there. We had two bbq blow-out meals -- one on pidgeon island, and the other on board. These guys know what they're doing with a grill indeed! Also, a shout out to the special Indian cuisine option one night. Absolutely lovely. MARINA: The stern opens up when the ship anchors at port. It's a great way to spend an afternoon, and you end up meeting other like minded active passengers there. It's one of the best features of the ship, where you can always spend a few hours in the water, whether bouncing on one of the floating mats, or taking out a small sailing catamaran. Only disappointment was that we did not get a chance to waterski or wakeboard. Not sure why it never happened - we were given different reasons. PASSENGERS: With less than 300 passengers on this cruise, we felt that we had met or seen everyone else on the ship at one time or another. Everyone was friendly, and one of the great pleasures was the shared experiences that we had with the other passengers. You cannot imagine how easy it was to make friends on this cruise, as opposed to the big ships where the masses can be overwhelming. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and ... Read More
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and we arrived in St. Maarten early afternoon. The customs check took a while but went fine. We grabbed a cab and took a leisurely ride to the Holland House in Phillipsburg. We checked in and grabbed quick nap – later that evening we visited the bar and had a few drink and appetizers as our dinner. Departure day I got up early, ran the beach boardwalk for a few laps, and found a way to walk to the ship – yes it was there. We had a great breakfast, around noon checked out, and started our walk to the pier (this was a mistake) – the security folks were nice enough to point us to the Windstar luggage check tent (we found no signage) and we checked our bags and headed toward the ship. We passed though security check on the dock and within minutes, we had our room keys, beverage package and headed to our room. We dropped off the things we were still carrying and headed to the Veranda for some lunch. In spite of some of the reviews and comments on CC about the Veranda lunch, I found it to be more than adequate on departure day as well as for breakfast and lunch every other day – the chefs and the wait staff did a great job. If you wanted something made all you had to do was ask. Dining - The first night we ate our dinner in the Amphora. We walked up and asked for a table for two and within seconds, we were there. The Amphora has a comprehensive menu offering and we ate there three times on our cruise. We found the food, and service to be outstanding. The wait staff had some of the same crew members we had met in the Veranda so they already knew us the first night including our drink choices. Very personal service and we liked the familiarity. We were fortunate to be able to eat in the Stella Bistro twice during our cruise as the experience there was a couple of notches better than Amphora – the food, service was outstanding, and on our second night we invite a new friend we had made on the trip. We all had a great time. The other two nights for dinner, we had the ship wide deck barbecue. We secured a table outside the Compass Rose (one of the aft bars) and had a very good time eating under the stars. There was a wide choice of food including lobster tail, shrimp, snow crab claws, sucking pig, grilled pork, flat iron steaks, and a multitude of salads and veg. We saved the Candles experience for the last night anchored at St. Barts – we ate within the Veranda area on the upper deck because the weather was threatening. It did not detract from the experience and the great food and service. Beverage Package – worked well for us, probably drank too much. We found everything offered in the package was of good quality and very drinkable with the exception of the 187ml Cava, it was just terrible. Laundry package – a must have. We packed light and only one regulation carry-on bag each and did not run out of clothes and went home with most of them clean. Overall – AWESOME Trip, we will sail on the Wind Surf again. We had read it was like being on a private yacht and I can tell you that was our exact experience. The crew did an OUTSTANDING job and are the real driver behind the experience. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
You might notice that I have written several (read as "a lot") of cruise reviews, having been traveling with RCCL and Celebrity for years. We're fans of the "modern luxury" approach to cruising but have wanted to ... Read More
You might notice that I have written several (read as "a lot") of cruise reviews, having been traveling with RCCL and Celebrity for years. We're fans of the "modern luxury" approach to cruising but have wanted to try Windstar for years. So if you're like us and enjoy the amenities provided by larger ships but want to dip your toe into waters of smaller ships then read on...(WARNING: long review!) [I'm not going into the blow-by-blow detailed description of what we did every day (phew!), but instead will offer my opinion of how Windsurf differs from her significantly larger counterparts.] A (very little) background: We're in our 50's and work in the hospitality business. We cruise for the food, relaxation, itinerary and - most importantly - service, always booking a suite category cabin. We usually find the beverage packages a good value, but lately have been happy to find that our level of cabin includes a complimentary beverage package. We don't care much for the onboard entertainment, lectures, classes, art auctions, trivia, etc. We are nitpickers - we're on vacation - so if something is awry here and there we don't stress about it. We were sent an email offer from Windstar in the early Spring that we simply couldn't pass up. I booked over the telephone, which was easy and quick. Closer to our sailing date I also booked our shore excursions directly with Windstar as well, having the same positive experience. One of us was celebrating a birthday, which I let the booking agent know, and was informed that the information would be passed on to the ship (more on that later). Overall a very good experience with Windstar over the phone (note: the WS website is not great, so don't hesitate to contact them the old fashioned way). Less people means a better, more personalized vacation. Embarkation was a simple no muss, no hassle affair, and from the moment you board Windsurf every staff member (Windsurf features an almost exclusively Filipino crew) learns your name and greets you with it throughout the journey and every effort is made to provide you with a customized vacation tailored to your preferences. The service was exceptional. Unlike a lot of people who complain that the food on the large ships is not hot enough or well seasoned or too small, we find the food on the ships we have sailed to be good to excellent. The food on Windsurf is in another category altogether. There was not one single meal - breakfast, lunch, or dinner - that was not freshly prepared, visually well presented, and amazingly delicious. [I lie: The pizza at lunch in the Verandah sucks. Don't order it, it's a waste of calories and just, well, sucks!] The two "specialty restaurants" (included in your cruise fare) are equally excellent but dining in the main dining room AmphorA (yes, that's how Windstar spells it with the uppercase "A" at the end, and - no - I don't know why) is not a step down, more like a step to the side. Food on Windsurf was hands down superior to any "specialty" restaurant (that you pay for) on the bigger ships. For us this was a HUGE positive. There are two entertainment venues one (Compass Rose) featured a duet, the other (the Lounge) featured a band. We had cocktails before dinner each evening at the CR (lovely, outdoor seating). The duet there was good, but their playlist was bit outdated (no kidding, Tom Jones and the Carpenters!) but they were playing to their audience (average age on this trip was mid-60's). Again, entertainment isn't our thing so they could have had a CD playing and we would have been happy. Point is you don't cruise on Windsurf for the entertainment. A previous reviewer suggested guest lecturers, etc. If I'm on a sailing ship in the Caribbean (or Mediterranean) I don't want to sit inside listening to someone drone on about the history of pirates unless it's Johnny Depp talking about the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. Seriously. Big ships are known for the (mostly mediocre) entertainment so if that's your thing stick with them. We booked a Suite at an awesome price and loved it! The suites are two cabins combined into one. The standard cabin might have been ok, but we preferred having the extra space. Love the L'Occitane bath amenities (yes, I stole some to take home) and our cabin was always spotless. For the size of cabin to ship ratio the Suite was on par with the big ships, albeit maybe a bit smaller. We thought we would miss having a balcony, but we didn't as there are tons of public areas inside and out to take advantage of. Again, who wants to sit inside when your sailing the beautiful seas? We didn't use the Spa or the Fitness Center. Both looked lovely: the Spa offered the same menu of services you would find in the big ships and the Fitness Center was state of the art, but our dance card was filled with snorkeling and zip-lining. An amenity you will NEVER find on the big ships is the Marina, Windsurf's water activities platform at the stern (that means back) of the ship that is opened for guests' use including kayaks, floating mats, sailboats, and more. It's awesome! As I mentioned earlier we booked our shore excursions through Windstar (i will review each port separately) and were very happy with each one. The price/value was much better than you would find on the big ships because you're not with 1000 others and having to wait for hours while this one finds the perfect tchotchke to take home and that one needs the bathroom for the bazillionth time. Smaller excursions meant more personalized attention from the tour operators as well and you got to meet and chat with more of your fellow cruisers, enhancing the fun factor of the excursion. The "Special Event" in St. Lucia (Windstar's signature event) was okay. We took a zip-lining trip that was a little far away, so we got back with a 1/2 to spare before lunch was taken away. However, the effort that went into putting on the event was clearly evident and the officers and staff are to be highly commended and congratulated for doing such a fantastic job of pulling it off. Herculean really. Two days later the second signature event, the on deck barbecue, was held and again the staff of the Windsurf hit it out of the park. Honestly there was more food than the 250+ guests could ever eat. This event, too, was phenomenal. [If you need to refill your coffee, now is a good time.] It's the little things on Windsurf, like learning your name and what soda you like, that differentiate this cruise from the larger ships. I mentioned earlier that one of us was celebrating a birthday. When we returned to our cabin after an amazing snorkeling trip we found a note wishing him Happy Birthday and signed by the Captain and Hotel Director. Later than evening (at the on deck BBQ) he was presented with a birthday cake (freshly made strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream and berries) and sung to (you've never lived until you've heard "Happy Birthday" with a Philippine accent!). So in the midst of putting on the event they took the time to recognize one guest's special day. For us that was priceless. Windsurf is 26 years old. Yes, she is showing her age here and there, but who cares? After 26 years on the open seas you would too, and when the Captain raises the sails to the dramatic music from Vangelis' "1492" (got goosebumps every time) and you set sail for your next port you realize it really just doesn't matter. You want brand new? Go to the bigger ships. You want authentic? With Windsurf you got it. When you go to bed and realize you don't hear the thrum of engines because the ship is actually sailing you understand THAT'S the reason you booked the trip in the first place. OK. Enough. We're hooked. Will we go back to the bigger ships? Sure. They serve their purpose too, but any concern we had of the Windsurf being "too small" were for naught. Windstar's motto "180 degrees from Ordinary" is spot on. You won't find an experience like this anywhere. Anywhere. p.s. - WiFi? Don't bother. No one has the technology yet. The big ships don't. Windstar doesn't. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
About us: We have been on 18 Windstar sailing yachts and we were leery of trying the motor yachts but we are so glad we did. What we learned: One can not compare motor yachts and sailing yachts, we are happy we tried the motor yacht ... Read More
About us: We have been on 18 Windstar sailing yachts and we were leery of trying the motor yachts but we are so glad we did. What we learned: One can not compare motor yachts and sailing yachts, we are happy we tried the motor yacht and would go again in a minute. Windstar has left their distinctive mark on the new ship and it made it very special. The ship: We enjoyed exploring the new ship and found that it has wonderful outdoor and indoor spaces. There are many nooks and crannies one can enjoy outside, from the bow in the am with shade and great sitting are and viewing, the lounge with a terrific space outside with comfortable couches and chairs with great viewing, the area around to pool is terrific for shade, the Star Bar wonderful again shade and sun and on the stern on deck eight there is a lovely sitting area mostly sun but terrific views. The inside spaces are lovely. The Yacht Club early morning with huge Windows, with an outside observation deck enjoyed terrific coffee at 6 am, we were there every morning, the Amphora restaurant was lovey and it was at the bottom of the ship and was very calm, no rocking and rolling, the Veranda has a great outside space covered by a large tarp to keep it shady as well at the entrance a shady garden space that was lovely to enjoy breakfast of lunch. All the spaces were ship shape. In the corridors going to the rooms there was quiet pipped in classical music which we enjoyed, very civilized. We had a French balcony room which we so enjoyed the fresh air. The rooms were beautifully laid out, spacious, more drawers than my entire house and since I travel with nothing I used one, cute little walk-in closet, great bed for my back, wonderful bathroom with great water pressure and hot water in addition L'Occitaine products. We enjoyed relaxing in the afternoon with our open balcony door. We did not notice any frayed carpets, or rust. We never notice that we just like to keep it positive but we felt the decor was fresh and lovely with the Windstar blues and brown. Pretty and nautical. Food: We felt it was one of the best we have had. We thought Candles was lovely, great food for me especially the lamb. Windstar, in my opinion, has always had outstanding lamb so I usually follow the lamb at the restaurants. Service: Windstar way Flawless,as always. Activities: This was a mini re positioning with 4 days at sea, which we love days at sea. We stopped at Aruba which is not our favorite but we did not care and Cartagena which was fascinating. It is a very poor and very wealthy city, very new and very old, what was remarkable it was so clean, no litter ( litter, hate it and always see it ). Warm, welcoming people, it was very hot that 100 degrees but it was a terrific port. We are not activity people we like to swim, read, nap, lookout over the sea, to us sea days are perfect. We enjoyed the afternoon live music around the pool. My only complaint was during the day around the pool area was dreadful pipped in loud music. I complained and they lowered the sound and I wrote head office about it. This music was not needed we had the sea to listen to. I did join a trivia team we won the first day and lost badly on the others, Fun yes and a nice way to meet nice people. Sail aways: Windstar was able to continue the tradition, which by the way we love. On the motor yacht they had a huge WS flag and 2 officers would get on the roof of the Star Bar and host the flag to the music, the flag would wave in the wind, almost like a sail. Some people thought it was hokey but we thought it was a creative way to continue an important Windstar tradition we liked it. The Captain was a very nice. He is a great cheerleader for the ship. He came over with her from the Seabourne and he loves the Star Breeze he was funny she was like a baby to him. When I mentioned we loved her grace he was impressed. We have sailed out whole life and grace on a ship is important and the Star Breeze has graceful lines. We are happy the motor yachts are carrying on the Windstar traditions with causal elegance and not ostentatious we like that way it is important to us. We like the informal ways. We are very happy we tried a motor yacht and will be on them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was the Classic Caribbean, St. Maarten, Barbuda, Pigeon Island, St. Kitts-Nevis, Isle de Saintes, St. Barts It took a couple of years to convince her to go on a sailing ship. I started with the Windjammer and worked my way up. It ... Read More
This was the Classic Caribbean, St. Maarten, Barbuda, Pigeon Island, St. Kitts-Nevis, Isle de Saintes, St. Barts It took a couple of years to convince her to go on a sailing ship. I started with the Windjammer and worked my way up. It was over dinner and a bottle of wine and some reviews and pictures of the Wind Surf that we would give it a try. This was our 15th cruise, the others have been on all the major lines, with Celebrity being our favorite. I like small and she likes big ships. We were able to get a direct flight from O'Hare to St. Maarten, which took the stress out of getting connecting flights or going a day early. We arrive at the dock and they proceeded to check us in very quickly as it looked like we were the last to board. The stateroom was a normal size for a cruise ship, not that you should spend much time in the room anyway. Let's get the only problem we had out of the way. We were in a stateroom mid ship. As we settled in for the night and the yacht had been underway for a few hours. Somewhere below us, in which I assume were the engineering spaces, all night long it sounded like a bowling ball in a metal tube rolling back and forth. Suffice to say I did not get any rest. In the morning I went to reception and asked them to check on what we heard. Of course had to wait till we were underway about lunch time to hear the noise reoccur. They sent an Engineering Officer down to check on the noise. She said she would check on it so we went up on deck to relax and have lunch. When we returned there was A NOTE saying that the noise was normal, but they would move us up one deck to another cabin. We took them up on the offer. Problem solved. Everything for the rest of the cruise was 1st rate, everything from dining, room attendants, etc. was excellent. The excursions we took were 2 snorkeling trips and a kayak trip. The vendors they lined up were great in all aspects of the tours. They paid attention to us when we were in the water, safety was always at the fore front of the trips. The day on the beach at Pigeon Island( actually a peninsula ) at St. Lucia was very well done. Everything was available to us, beach cabanas, chairs, towels, lunch was provided which was very good. From the crowd that was on the beach it looked like most of the passengers took advantage of the day. Being on a ship we did not expect much on the entertainment side. They had two bands, one in the main lounge and one in the bar aft. They split the time so if you went to dinner you could always see one before or after. They were fine, nothing great, be sufficient. The best night was the CREW entertainment night and they packed the lounge with the passengers, they were quite good and entertaining. Dining was above normal. Breakfast and lunch was served on deck either al fresco or you could sit inside. The menus usually consisted of 5/6 thing you could order or go to the buffet. More than enough choices. The fruit and cheeses were always plentiful. You could get omelets to order or roast turkey or beef at the carving station. The main dining room was fine, as were the two specialty restaurants, Stella Bistro and Candles (reservations required). Food and service was excellent. Service was not overwhelming just attentive enough. We wanted to order a bottle of merlot, but the wine steward suggested another brand, it was either a couple of dollars more or less I don't remember. It was an excellent choice, and later during the cruise we stopped at one of the bars and asked the bartender for recommendation and it was the same brand. We also had some port and took the recommendation of the server, which was also fine. We were able to find here at home and the reviews rated it highly. Disembarkation went smoothly as we took a tour before returning to the airport, which helped because we had 6 hours to kill before our flight. The tour was excellent given by an Expat from New York by way of Canada. She was very knowledgeable about St. Maarten. We would plan another cruise on Windstar either Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
My wife and I are in our early 50s and have taken over 50 cruises over the last 25+ years. Frankly, we are tiring of the mass market lines that crowd ever larger numbers of people on their ships and have cut the quality of food, service, ... Read More
My wife and I are in our early 50s and have taken over 50 cruises over the last 25+ years. Frankly, we are tiring of the mass market lines that crowd ever larger numbers of people on their ships and have cut the quality of food, service, and amenities dramatically. For this cruise, we decided to try Windstar…..what a huge improvement! We were on the Wind Surf for the Classic Caribbean itinerary in March. We flew to St. Maarten the day prior and stayed at Mary’s Boon Beach Resort for one night. This property is right next to the airport runway on a very nice stretch of beach. It was a small property with a Caribbean feel. There was a nice restaurant directly on the beach. The hotel offers transportation to the pier ($30) and we arrived shortly after noon on Saturday. Windstar had a tent to take luggage near the taxi stand the then it was through security and onto the ship. Check in was completed along with dining reservations in the lounge. We found that our fellow passengers were close to our age from professional occupations. There were a few children that were very well behaved….the lack of children’s activities pretty much requires that they stay with their parents. Wind Surf is a sailing ship but uses motors for maneuvering and for less than favorable wind conditions. After leaving port, the sails are mechanically raised one at a time, from front to back. It’s an impressive sight. The ship doesn’t move very quickly but this keeps the winds on deck to a tolerable level. Cabin/Ship The cabins were available after checking in. They are standard size and we found plenty of storage in the cabin and bathroom. The bed was very comfortable. We were on deck 2 mid ship. It was quiet and there was only slight motion while we were at sea. We did miss having a balcony but we were in our cabin far less time than on larger ships. Cabin service was excellent. The Wind Surf is not a large ship. It has one main lounge and a couple of other smaller bar areas. There was also a large library with a coffee shop adjacent to the lounge. The main dining room, purser’s desk, and shop were on the same deck. The casual restaurant/buffet was on a higher deck. Entertainment is limited…..there were two small bands with vocalists who performed nightly. They were very good. There are plenty of outer decks with comfortable lounge chairs spread throughout. There is a small pool and two hot tubs on the aft deck. Windstar has an open bridge policy so you can walk right in when the ship is at sea. Although we never had much trouble finding a chair in the shade, it looks like there would be some opportunities to add some. We never sit in the sun so this is important to us. The Wind Surf has a marina that lowers from the back of the ship when it is at anchor. There are kayaks, small sailboats, and water skiing (no charge for any of this) as well as floats and a trampoline in the water. There is always staff available in this area. We found this very enjoyable and took the opportunity to swim directly from the ship on several occasions……much better than a pool. Dining We found the food to be excellent. The ingredients were fresh and high quality, far better than what we’ve had recently on larger ships. We ate in both specialty restaurants (no extra charge) and found them to be very good as well. “Candles” is an outdoor restaurant, which has recently been moved from the pool area to a higher deck. This provides cover if needed and allows for the pool/hot tubs to be available later in the evening. On one evening, a deck barbeque was provided. These make me nervous because they are usually crowded with marginal food. That was not the case on Wind Surf. There were a variety of excellent choices including grilled lobster, lamb chops, ribs, and roast pork. We arrived late and a crew member ensured that we had a table. Breakfast and lunch were served in the casual restaurant. There were a variety of buffet items along with a small made to order menu. Breakfast items included fresh squeezed OJ, quality fruit items, and waffles/pancakes made to order. Lunch always included a hot buffet, salad, and grill items made to order. The only thing we didn’t care for was the pizza. Service in all of the dining areas was very good. Non-alcoholic beverages are included….including soda in the mini-bar. This is very convenient. Ports Because Wind Surf is smaller than most ships, she can call on unique places. We only saw one big ship the entire week (in St. Kitts). We started in Barbuda, which only offered one tour (to a bird sanctuary) otherwise there was nothing but a stretch of beach with no facilities. We also stopped at Pigeon Island (St. Lucia), St. Kitts, Nevis, Isle Des Saintes, Dominica, and St. Barts. The beach party was on Pigeon Island. It’s a nice spot and the barbeque on the beach was very good. It was, however, crowded when everyone got to the beach. Even for a small group, a bigger beach is needed. We took the ship’s excursions (which we rarely do) in several places. The groups were much smaller and the tours were well done. There was generally a crew member with us. We particularly liked the cooking demonstration in St. Kitts. There were only five of us, which was a shame because the grounds of the great house were very pretty and the demonstration/food was excellent. We had great weather all week. We have never had a smoother disembarkation than from Wind Surf. There were no lines, crowds, people sitting all over, or endless announcements. You simply retrieved passports from the staff and walked off the ship. We hired a guide to give us a tour of St. Maarten before our afternoon flight. This worked out well. The airport is crowded but not too bad for the Caribbean. The security line was long but moved fairly well. There was a variety of duty free shops but not much by way of food. Why We Will be Back • No crowds or lines….anywhere! • We did not see an single intoxicated person all week • No crowds of kids running all over the ship • No annoying cruise director and constant sales pitches • NO BINGO • No “stupid passenger trick” shows • No pool games or beer chugging • No constant pressure for up sells or gimmicks • No singing in the dining room • NO FORMAL NIGHTS……virtually all passengers complied with “smart casual” • Excellent service • The most friendly crew we have every experienced • Excellent food (quality ingredients make a difference) • A very relaxing cruise This was our first trip on Wind Star….it won’t be our last! This is what cruising used to be. It is more expensive but you get value for the money spent. I will have a very hard time returning to a mass market line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
I'm not much for cruise ships that can carry thousands, so when I booked Windstar's cruise I was hoping for a casual vibe, less of a crowd, and good service, with nice ports of call and decent food. Our on-board experience was ... Read More
I'm not much for cruise ships that can carry thousands, so when I booked Windstar's cruise I was hoping for a casual vibe, less of a crowd, and good service, with nice ports of call and decent food. Our on-board experience was terrific all-around, and we will certainly consider them the next time a cruise vacation calls. It's nice that the sails can propel the boat from port to port, and certainly makes for a prettier boat than one of those floating cities. The Veranda breakfast restaurant also doubles as the Candles dinner spot. Loved that place for both the first and last meal of the day. The staff was friendly and attentive--we have nothing but thumbs up when it comes to them. Seriously, beyond wonderful. We had the best massages of our lives on this ship, and that's saying something since we go often at home. If I had a negative, it was the pre-booking experience. Forget getting an answer to any emails. If you want to get info, you must call up and speak to someone on the phone. I had a total of zero responses to 4 different email questions at different times. They need more staff at the home office for that, and also to ensure that your wait time on the phone is not forever! Read Less
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