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Sail Date: April 2019
We got a flight out of Philli the day before and had a nice hotel at the Simpson Bay , with a decent beach. So no rush or stress at sailing day. Taxi to the cruise terminal was no problem Embarkation easy and fast. Since ... Read More
We got a flight out of Philli the day before and had a nice hotel at the Simpson Bay , with a decent beach. So no rush or stress at sailing day. Taxi to the cruise terminal was no problem Embarkation easy and fast. Since there were only 150 passengers we had more crew than passengers. The cabins are standard size with enough storage space. Bathroom are small but good equipped. Restaurants were not full and the choice of food good. However some dishes were very salty and some dishes did not deserve their name. Crew and officers were polite and customer oriented. Entertainment was just so so Even the crew tried their best. Good was the visit on the bridge , where you always could ask the officer on duty about what’s going on and of course how the weather will be for the next days. The cost for local WiFi is outrageous expensive. For unlimited access they charged $ 650. The drinks are a little expensive , but do not take the beverage option. We did not do excursions at the Azores, but there are enough taxis in Ponta Before Lisbon enjoy the to the Tagus river even its past 11:00 pm When arriving in Lisbon take a cab to the airport and pay not more than € 20. locals pay € 10. For an excursion to Sintra you can take a train , which takes 40 min. Otherwise enjoy Lisbon by foot or by tram. The No 15 tram ( la quince) takes you to Belem and the sights Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Having done this exact cruise last year, albeit a little later in the Spring, and enjoyed it so much we booked it again when offered. In full disclosure we got an AMAZING deal that we couldn't pass up. The crossing was originally ... Read More
Having done this exact cruise last year, albeit a little later in the Spring, and enjoyed it so much we booked it again when offered. In full disclosure we got an AMAZING deal that we couldn't pass up. The crossing was originally scheduled for the end of March but was moved up two weeks. We found out at the end of the crossing that it was to complete a 10-day dry dock before SP began her Med season. Only 62 people were onboard compared to 168 last year. Did it make a difference? Yes, in that there wasn't enough for the crew to do, and it seemed they got a little bored. Can't blame them. With the exception of the trivia games and "name that tune" the guests didn't seem to want to participate a lot - maybe they were a little bored too. The Spa was rarely used as was the gym. Several times on leaving the gym in the late afternoon the hair salon area was dark and there was no one at the front desk. Rarely saw anyone in the casino (which we heard is being eliminated during the "stretching"). Cruiselines use the days at sea to get done repairs, both cosmetic and mechanical, that couldn't be completed during the ship's Caribbean season. This resulted in some noise, loud at times, that really bugged some people - us not so much. After receiving complaints the ship did the best they could to complete the repairs when guests weren't on deck. As another reviewer wrote Star Pride is showing her age and isn't due to go into full dry dock for "stretching" until 2020, so it's no wonder WS schedule a mini-dry dock now. Hopefully these repairs will be enough to see the ship through. The crew was fantastic! Learned your name quickly and your preferences for things like coffee, wine, etc. They were always smiling and always greeted you by name. With only one exception, we felt they worked hard and enjoyed what they did. We couldn't say the same for our stateroom attendant. Nice guy but seemed not to have been well trained. The food was outstanding and, we both agreed, actually better this year than last. Really it was the highlight of the trip. Our stop in Horta was pretty worthless, although it was nice to get onto dry land for a few hours. We ventured forth and found the grocery store to buy some liquor to take back on with us for the remaining 3 days. We had taken liquor on in our bags when we boarded so we thought this wouldn't be a problem. I understand the liquor confiscation reasoning and policy, especially for Caribbean cruises, but with only 3 days left it would have been nice if someone had told security to waive it. Instead we didn't get to enjoy drinks in our room and went to the Compass Rose instead. In fairness the port that we had also brought and was confiscated with the liquor, was returned to us that same afternoon. Still, we kind of resented what we felt was petty on WS's part. SP is an older ship and I'll be interested to see what she looks like after her "stretching" in 2020. We won't do another crossing though. Even at a great price it just lacked anything that would compel us to return. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we had been on 12 other WindStar cruises and had a good experience on all of them. This cruise was different. The food was horrible- repetitive, lacking fresh fruits and vegetables ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we had been on 12 other WindStar cruises and had a good experience on all of them. This cruise was different. The food was horrible- repetitive, lacking fresh fruits and vegetables with a high concentration of carbs. For breakfast we had cold scrambled eggs and cold sausages with canned fruit. I even found a hair in my food. Even the desserts were boring - mousse and more mousse and bread pudding every day. The exact same lunch was served two days in a row. The salad bar consisted of the same boring ingredients every day. The service has gone downhill and the ship was very tired looking. After 10 Days only a couple of the wait staff knew our names and they certainly didn’t remember our preferences. The gym was a disgrace with only one properly functioning bicycle and several mornings no towels. The public carpeting was stained with ares of fraying. There were almost no activities on board. We had an extra sea day due to weather and the crew did nothing to fill the very long day. Everything is extra including a mandatory service charge All of this with an exorbitant price tag. On the plus side our cabin was spacious. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We wanted to try a transAtlantic cruise and the 13-day trip from San Juan to Lisbon seemed perfect. We had delightful weather the first 10 days, interesting weather the last three. Our bad that we didn't realize that the trip was as ... Read More
We wanted to try a transAtlantic cruise and the 13-day trip from San Juan to Lisbon seemed perfect. We had delightful weather the first 10 days, interesting weather the last three. Our bad that we didn't realize that the trip was as much for maintenance as for our pleasure, so we can't complain that deck crews were occasionally in the way of outside activities. The cuisine was perfect. The wine list was very interesting. Crew were positive and professional. We didn't expect to be entertained, so the daily astronomy lectures, French conversation and trivia competition were a nice surprise. We will go again. If there was one small quibble, it is the antiquated wiring in our cabin. A lot has changed in the 30 years the Pride has been sailing. Most of us carry a variety of electronics, all of which need plugging in at some point. Our suite had three outlets, two in the living area and one in the bathroom. The 220 in the bathroom didn't work and the 120 in the main cabin couldn't seem to get a steady grip on the plug. It seems like rewiring the ship would be a daunting project, but something akin to the Bose docking station that sits in front of the old sound controls might make ours lives easie - a nicely installed power strip if the electrical system is up to it.. One other quibble: Embarkation was slow, hot and frustrating. The ship began boarding an hour after hotel check-out, so passengers were left to their own devices to find shade until the gates opened, which a hundred meters of shade beckoned just beyond the gate. Wait! One more tiny quibble: TV selection was pretty good with reasonably current movies, but one can watch the same documentary about the Panama Canal so many times. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We got an offer from WS for the Eastbound TA as a prior cruiser and it truly was an offer we couldn't refuse. We had always wanted to try the power yachts (or as someone I know calls them "baby Seaborns" since the boats ... Read More
We got an offer from WS for the Eastbound TA as a prior cruiser and it truly was an offer we couldn't refuse. We had always wanted to try the power yachts (or as someone I know calls them "baby Seaborns" since the boats used to be owned by SB). We opted for a BS1 on Deck 5. Up front let me state that we have already booked the same crossing for next year in the same cabin - we loved it that much! We flew down to San Juan and stayed at the El Convento right in the heart of Old San Juan - highly recommended. San Juan looks good, but in reality there was a lot of damage. We went to the pier at 11:00 and were told we could drop off our stuff but that they wouldn't be ready for boarding until 1:30. So we walked around, did a little shopping (including buying some booze to enjoy in our cabin) and arrived back around 2. After a little wait we were on board and another little wait while people checked in. No problem for us. There were 163 (?) passengers on the ship. In a nutshell this was the perfect escape. Great crew, very good food, nice entertainment and enough things to do if you wanted or nothing to do if that's what you needed. Bar and restaurant crew were all outstanding. Spa/gym was fine for what I needed (although an elliptical would be great!); men's shave done by the Spa Manager was one of the best treatments I've had on a ship. So why only 4 stars? There were some things operationally that WS didn't think through: it became evident, based on the Captain's daily report, that we were going to be running into some not so great weather as the days went on. Knowing that WS should have rescheduled some things, especially the Deck BBQ that EVERYONE was looking forward to. They should have moved it up when the weather/temps were favorable, but instead kept to the routine which meant it was on dreary, rainy and windy day so that they had to improvise and move it indoors. I understand the weather is out of WS's control, but they knew what was coming (since we were told every day to expect worsening conditions). The result was less than stellar food - Budhi, the head chef, and his crew did his best but - of no fault of his own - the event was just disappointing. This was the head office's call and they blew it. If they weren't aware of the situation then there was a breakdown in communication. This criticism may be nitpicking but on a crossing - when very few "special events" are expected - the special events that they did have should have been well executed. It wasn't. Again - we loved the crossing, met some nice people and just reveled in the sheer monotony of the day to day repetitiveness: wake up, eat, lay on deck, eat, read/nap, shower, drink, eat and go to bed. Get up and do it all over again. Not for everyone - totally for us! Hopefully next year these decisions will be made with a little more foresight. Regardless, I am hoping to see many of the crew that we met when we are onboard again - they really made the experience phenomenal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Great trip! Thirteen days at sea and away from chaos of USA. The crew were phenomenal and really care about customer service. Beautiful suite with Juliet balcony. It was really nice to sleep with door open and the sound of the waves. We ... Read More
Great trip! Thirteen days at sea and away from chaos of USA. The crew were phenomenal and really care about customer service. Beautiful suite with Juliet balcony. It was really nice to sleep with door open and the sound of the waves. We had smooth sailing virtually the entire trip. Being in the middle of the Atlantic and waited on so well was such a wonderful experience. The meals, particularly dinner, were outstanding. Everything is made on demand and plated with style. Single seating wherever and whenever you want in the dining room. My wife is a vegetarian and commented on quality and variety. Perhaps the most wonderful thing on this ship is that there are virtually no lines from boarding to departure. Our voyage had 163 passengers and 150+ crew on board. I enjoyed the entertainment, especially Greg Redfern who spoke almost every morning about space and the stars. His night time star gazing session with deck lights off was amazing. I would love to do another crossing on Star Pride. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week Windstar ... Read More
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week Windstar crossing from Barbados to Lisbon rather than fly.  Having read other reviews, we were pleased to discover the ship was not carrying a contingent of workmen contracted to do maintenance work that would interfere with our enjoyment of the cruise. Comparing the different Windstar ships is  like comparing different champagnes.  Each experience is delightful and different.  The unifying overall enjoyment originates from  the hard working and faithful Windstar officers and crew who make every effort to call you by your name and remember little things from how many towels you want in your bathroom to your personal beverage preferences in the diningrooms. Our suite was mid ship on deck 5 and steps away from the circular stairway and the elevator.  We found ourselves spending more time relaxing in our beautiful, spacious suite than on any other cruise.  Our cabin steward provided the highest, most personalized service we have ever experienced on any cruiseline.   She not only kept our suite spotless, she capitalized on our appreciation for creative towel animals.  For fourteen nights she created different amazing animals or humorous creations;many of them were so unique, she became well known throughout the ship because of the photos we shared with other passengers. The quality and variety of food was the best yet of any Windstar ship, including the freshness and taste of the croissants, rolls and breads. The only disappointment was the ship itself which is in need of some major maintenance.   Hopefully many of the things listed below will be corrected when the Breeze goes into dry dock next week. 1.We saw a number of cloudy Thermo Pane windows with broken seals in the  Yacht Club that need replacement. Similarly the aft window frames in the Compass Rose lounge have been  shoddily repaired. 2. Large sections of teak deck on  decks  7 and 8 need major repair/replacement. 3. The swimming pool heater and the broken electronic control panel for the pool swimming jets need repair/replacement. The pool heater was broken for several days making they pool unusable and the Jets never worked at all the entire cruise.  Others aboard ship who boarded the week before us had already complained about the jets .    4. Rusty areas were visible around many windows. As far as the daily schedule, we would have enjoyed having more than just one lecturer to listen to aboard  during the two week crossing since there weren't a many activities offered. We took advantage of the discount for booking a further cruise on board. Although we are had a great cruise,  we both decided that for ocean crossings especially we prefer the Surf for several reasons: the ship is an additional 100 feet longer and with the sails up and lower center of gravity, there is less ship motion; we prefer the location and open design of the veranda on the Surf as well as the amount of open deck space for lounging and waking ; we prefer the location and adjacencies of the public lounges and diningrooms; there Surf offers a much more extensive fitness center, especially elliptical machines. The Breeze only has treadmill machines. Windstar remains our favorite cruise line by far.  We are fond of many crew we have repeatedly sailed with over the decades.  We think the Anschutz Corporation, owners of Windstar, have the right vision and commitment to maintain and improve this amazing fleet of small vessels. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I chose this cruise because a) I am hooked on Windstar cruises and b) I wanted to see what an ocean crossing is like. Wow, wow and wow! I loved this adventure....14 days on the open sea, whale and dolphin sightings, fun and games and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because a) I am hooked on Windstar cruises and b) I wanted to see what an ocean crossing is like. Wow, wow and wow! I loved this adventure....14 days on the open sea, whale and dolphin sightings, fun and games and the BEST customer service you can imagine. I traveled on the Windsurf last fall and was sold on Windstar cruises already. An ocean crossing is different from a cruise with ports-of-call. The Star Legend is a beauty of a ship with a crew to love. 139 pax. (22 solo) and 150 crew left San Juan on April 9 and arrived in Lisbon on April 23. The cruise exceeded my expectations in almost every way. ( weather could have been just a little better). I was a solo traveler, but quickly found dining partners by asking to be seated at a large table. Merrick, dining Officer, was extremely accomodating and genuinely cared about guests' happiness. There were so many activities to keep me busy that I often had a hard time deciding between that or a few relaxing hours on deck or in my luxurious cabin. This cruise is not for the following: late-night partiers, kids, those who need shows at night or those who like to dress to the nines. Captain Reville was very gregarious and accessible. In fact, by the end of the crew I felt like I knew most of the officers. I loved the captain's high noon time check, followed by our voyage data (i.e. Miles traveled) and his marine "trivia"....interesting facts about the cruise, the ocean, marine life, etc. And visiting the bridge, chatting with the officers and cadets, and learning about the ship was a special treat......Windstar has an open bridge policy when at sea. The dining servers and bar, wine stewards are THE BEST!!! They always adress you by name with a warm smile and after 14 days, friendships are formed. Our newly formed group of diners always chose the same table and were thrilled to have Cayah as our server and Sammy as our wine steward, who both knew what we liked and took very, very good care of us! EVERY ONE of the dining and bar staff were incredible. But I most fondly remember, of course, Cayah and Sammy, but also Gusti, Kristi, Gino, Deva and Dyan. Too many to list here. The food (cooked to order) is top-notch, gourmet. In-room dining is also excellent. Every officer and crew member on this ship made me feel appreciated. I miss everyone's smiles and laughter. Happiness!! That's the overwhelming feeling from them and what they made feel. The ship is a beauty with a large Yacht Club at the bow....beautiful view with a coffee and sandwich bar and a place to relax and read or play cards. The Compass Rose is a beautiful lounge where a lot of daytime activities took place and at night became a lounge with bar and entertaining duo. The Star Bar is an outdoor bar that is enjoyable when weather is good....also with a great duo to entertain. As I said, this type of cruise is not for everyone. But if you are looking for some down time and want to arrive in Europe with no jet-lag, this is awesome. I would definitely do an ocean crossing again, but only with Windstar!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our 1st cruise on a smaller ship. Really liked the size vs.the bigger ships. Windstar was 1st class from beginning to end. Personnel were friendly, polite,professional and fun. Food was excellent. Excursions were accurately ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise on a smaller ship. Really liked the size vs.the bigger ships. Windstar was 1st class from beginning to end. Personnel were friendly, polite,professional and fun. Food was excellent. Excursions were accurately described and fairly priced. The Sports Deck off the rear of the ship is an extra bonus and very enjoyable. The day on the private island was fun; and the deck party/celebration was amazing! The Panama Canal experience is most impressive and educational, and the ship does a good job presenting it. Pre and post hotels (in San Jose and Panaa City) were 4 or 5-star -- very nice. We were very satisfied and would recommend Windstar and this particular itinerary highly. P.S. while in Panama City, we hired a taxi to give us a personal, sight-seeing tour of the city. His name is Eric A. Singh; 507-6040-9459. He was great! Very fair, informative, clean/comfortable car and a real gentleman. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We use cruise ship repositioning trips to avoid air travel rather than for a "cruise" vacation. This was the first time we have crossed the Atlantic on a small ship, previously we have used Holland America and Celebrity and were ... Read More
We use cruise ship repositioning trips to avoid air travel rather than for a "cruise" vacation. This was the first time we have crossed the Atlantic on a small ship, previously we have used Holland America and Celebrity and were interested in the differences. Ship, The Star Pride is a fairly old but well maintained ship formally run by a luxury line, this showed in the cabin size, layout and standard of finish which were all superior to the lines previously mentioned. Being small-+/- 200 passengers the ship had a little more movement and obviously fewer amenities, however the corresponding benefit was a more personal trip. Crew, absolutely great, young, smiling, efficient, courteous,mainly Indonesian and they clearly enjoyed their work , many had completed a number of contracts with this line. The maitre'd Allen and his understudies Adesh and Earl are particularly good at their jobs. Cabins, We had #122 on deck 4, asea view with a separate sitting room and large picture window. Iconography think it inferior to the balcony cabins on the upper decks as the balconies are tiny "Juliette" types and pretty much unusable. Food, better than the larger lines, more "restaurant" , less"hotel" with interesting menues and entrees cooked to order rather than pre played. The two BBQ lunch days were very good and it was a pity that it was not a daily offering. Beverages, Our only area of issue, having purchased an expensive beverage package we were annoyed to find that there were a list of exclusions for which the full, not the incremental , price had to be paid. As this included the spirits which we normally drink I do not think the package is a sensible purchase as even a committed alcoholic would have difficulty in consuming enough to cover the cost. Entertainment/activities, largely centered arround fellow guests the private yacht ambience is a defining factor. The two duos on board were good and generated a night club feeling. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
The Starbreeze was perfect in every way. This cruise was a repositioning of the ship so we had several days at sea. Very relaxing but many activities were available. The crew was friendly and most efficient. Breakfast and lunch ... Read More
The Starbreeze was perfect in every way. This cruise was a repositioning of the ship so we had several days at sea. Very relaxing but many activities were available. The crew was friendly and most efficient. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda restaurant where you could eat inside on on a deck outside shaded with a tarp. Both breakfast and lunch were expansive buffets with cold and hot offerings. Also menu items are offered. Dinner is served in the Amphora dining room. Each meal we had at dinner was remarkable. Any taste or dietary need is accommodated. The Beef Wellingron was the best I've ever had! I can't say enough about the wait staff. They were helpful and always served with a smile. There is a barbecue on deck with each sailing. It is phenomenal! Ribs, lobster tails, steamed shrimp, paella, etc. Top quality all around. My favorite part of sailing on a Windstar cruise is the "Sailaway." As you leave any port, "Conquest of Paradise" (the theme from the movie "1492") is played. On the sailing yachts, the sails are unfurled. On the Star Breeze, two officers raise the Winstar flag as the music plays. It is an amazingly moving experience. This was my second Winstar cruise and it will not be my last. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This trip was a present to myself for retiring after 42 years of teaching. It was not a disappointment. I had a wonderful time, was treated exceptionally well by a most friendly, efficient, caring crew and ship mates. Everyone was friendly ... Read More
This trip was a present to myself for retiring after 42 years of teaching. It was not a disappointment. I had a wonderful time, was treated exceptionally well by a most friendly, efficient, caring crew and ship mates. Everyone was friendly and open to fun. While there was an issue with air conditioning on a night or two, the ship was run well. The food was fantastic. After having a galley tour and understanding how they work their provisions, I was even more impressed with what we were able to eat. Exceptionally great food! The ship was clean, kept up and I felt very safe the entire trip. Yes, it is an older luxury ship, but it fit what I was looking for, small, personal, and we'll run. The captain and main crew were very approachable and open to discussing how things were run. In short, I felt treated like a queen or someone who had their own personal yacht. I would highly recommend this way of travel! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of ... Read More
Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of the price point and the specifics of what the cruise line advertises and offers as compared to their competitors. Having recently traveled on Viking (river cruise in China which we absolutely loved!), we wanted to try another ship with a small number of passengers. After a thorough search, we decided to give Windstar (and the Star Legend) our business - per their advertisement - "fully refurbished boat, approximately 200 passengers, gourmet food and wine, world class gym, elegant staterooms and unique and memorable shore excursions'. So let's discuss what was accurate and what was off the mark - the pro's - very spacious stateroom, cabin attendant was excellent, on-board entertainment was very enjoyable, Candles dinning was great, majority of crew worked very hard to make the trip memorable, and select staff management (Elena and Bianca) worked very hard to listen to our concerns and to the extent practical within their control make our travels and pleasant as possible, and the people were so much fun to meet. The cons - (1) for a refurbished ship, the interior was in dire need of a fresh paint and varnish (age of the ship was not well hidden), the bathroom was not updated - pealing paint and wall tiles in shower were old and separating), (2) wine - not paired with dinner or the countries visited, wine tastings were poorly planned and executed (rushed so the room could be turned over for dinner, no wait staff to serve additional portions to the customers, and wine selections ran out during dinner, "wine expert" was not organized and could not keep the attention of the customers) - we stopped going after day four, quality of wines served were average to below average at best and had low Wine Spectator ratings, (3) on-board dinning service - very dis-jointed for the first three days - meals were late (i.e. not everyone was served at the same time), side dished were missing or wrong, and if you ordered fish it was guaranteed to arrive overcooked and dry, (4) food quality - got better as the days went by but serving three shrimps on top of rice is not gourmet, (5) bar service - with the exception of a few bar staff, very inconsistent service for mixed drinks - long wait (10 minutes), wrong order, glass half-filled - deferred to wine and beer to avoid the the hassle which was not our preference, (6) broken water system during seal day - no showers or running water - things happen at sea so my issue is not that this happened but how the ship handled the situation - the captain made an announcement at approximately 9 am and mentioned that the water system broke and we would make a stop at Brest for repairs - not apologetic in any form and tried to make a joke about it - not funny for the guests who were stuck on board without a bathroom or shower - in terms of compensation - NONE...we asked them to open the bar and provide free drinks and were denied....the system was repaired and then broke again around 10 pm (no notice from the captain) - I called the front desk and the staffer did not understand why I was mad as he did not get a chance to shower (paying customer versus employee....where is the training...), (7) off-board dinner in Bordeaux - very elegant, classical music, wine in the courtyard and then dinner - only one selection - a meat dish that was served raw to myself and three others at our table - after 15 minutes and sending it back twice I decided not to eat the dried out mass in front of me. Two wines were served of which one was a beautiful 2001 Margaux - we each had one glass and asked for another bottle - they "ran out" even then we observed other tables actively getting additional bottles, (8) world class gym - broken equipment and missing weights - need I say more, (9) excursions - unlike Viking or other high end cruise lines, Windstar only includes two free shore excursions and the guests have to pay for any other trips so desired - the selections were marginal at best with the most notable being a wine tour of a local vineyard in the Medoc region of Bordeaux - expected elegant wines and encountered less than marginal samples - would have expected a higher quality vineyard to be made available. We did email Hans (CEO) a note summarizing our experiences and have not received any reply as of this review - not terribly surprised since he already has our money and from the experiences listed above, apparently does not have a keen focus on customer service. Some final thoughts and impressions - we probably wont use this cruise line again unless Han's contacts us and don't recommend anyone else using them unless you do a full due-diligence on all high end cruise and read the review, the ship management fell flat on attention to details and building/maintaining a strong and consistent team to perform and execute their respective duties flawlessly every time, and if you are going to offer a marginal experience then charge a marginal price so expectations can be tempered with reality. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2012
We just completed a second transatlantic cruise with the Windstar's ship Windsurf it was a wonderful cruise in so many ways. Of couse embarking is easy and quick with 107 fellow passengers, 89 who were repeat and 18 who were new to ... Read More
We just completed a second transatlantic cruise with the Windstar's ship Windsurf it was a wonderful cruise in so many ways. Of couse embarking is easy and quick with 107 fellow passengers, 89 who were repeat and 18 who were new to the cruise line. Many of the passengers have made multiple crossing and often meet each other either every or every other year. So, for many people it is a reunion. For a ship that can carry 312 people, having only 107 it was like having your own private yacht. For a crossing it takes a special passenger. You have to be happy making your own fun and activities and you have enjoy quiet and solitude. While there are few formal activities there is: reading, ocean and star gazing, a group of women did needle point and made jewelry, one lady painted, the ship does organize games such as trivia and ship golf, a group of people enjoyed putting together complicated puzzles, the ship publishes daily word and number games, there is musical entertainment in the evening and the ship had an evening movie and popcorn! This trip there was a popular tap dancing class initiated by a fellow passenger. As you can see much of activities are self driven and low key. The pool at the beginning of the trip was widely used and the hot tubs were always in use. One of my happy anticipations was the daily noon announcement by the Captain of our position, weather report, nautical miles to land, ocean depth and distance to the horizon. The bridge was happily open 24/7 for curious people like myself. While on this transatlantic we saw a whale, a shark, dolphins, 2 other ships and had a beautiful sail by the Azores. Despite the few number of passengers there was an outside eating restaurant In which the meat was extraordinary, the main restaurant and the bistro along with the Veranda restaurant for lunch and dinner. The food was consistently excellent and varied throughout the journey. The outside barbecue was truly under the stars. The Yacht Club, with the best sandwiches one could wish for, was always open. The cabins are spacious and comfortable, great in-cabin entertainment either a selection of 100s of DVDs or the 3 daily movie offerings.Windstar cruises are known for the superb service and this continued only the staff had more time to converse so we were able to spend more time in conversation with these wonderful people. A crossing is truly an amazing way to relax and Windstar has fined tuned it to the perfect vacation. I would rather take14 days sailing across the ocean than 7hours in a plane any day. Docking in Lisbon is a great experience because before you dock you go under a bridge that spans the harbor for that great optical illusion of the sails almost touching the bridge. The ship has to go under at low tide, this time it was 3:30 am and there were at least 40 people on deck watching this event. A fine way to say good by after 14 days of bliss. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
Having sailed on all of the Windstar ships many times since 1987, from places like Malaysia, the South Pacific, Tahiti, Europe, Caribbean, Belize and Costa Rica, I confess to being somewhat biased in my long love affair with these unique ... Read More
Having sailed on all of the Windstar ships many times since 1987, from places like Malaysia, the South Pacific, Tahiti, Europe, Caribbean, Belize and Costa Rica, I confess to being somewhat biased in my long love affair with these unique and special ships and the outstanding, personal service by their dedicated crew. We just returned home from another fantastic 14 day crossing on the Wind Surf from St Maartin to Lisbon. (March 2012) The cabins and suites have all been remodeled since last year and the new furnishings fabrics and colors are stunning. The new hallway carpeting, plus carpet pad and dramatic lighting (pictured) are beautiful. (Both smaller ships are currently undergoing similar refittings). In regard to the remodeled cabins, I particularly appreciated the plush new mattress and the new, soft, all cotton, bed linens. The individual directional reading lights over each bed are a nice addition, making it possible to read without disturbing anyone. Our suite (320). The new furniture (2012) is a big improvement, much nicer as well as more usable and comfortable. The only quirk we experienced with our cabin was that an engineer had to be make adjustments behind the HVAC grill to fit our particular room temperature preference after we were sailing. The new carpeting is luxurious, but with it's textured pile, is a curious choice. While the carpet remains perfectly clean, the textured pile shows all scuff marks from shoes on it's textured surfaces. For those with engineering backgrounds, the ship's vacuum septic system which services all the cabins has been upgraded as well. This Fall (November 2012) the remaining public areas, including the three dining facilities, are scheduled to be refitted. THE Officers and CREW continue to be the OUTSTANDING attribute. It is the high standards they maintain and the level of personal service makes sailing on Windstar so special. In addition to the usual daytime activities, for the first time ever, an introduction to TAP dance was offered for free. The passenger participation was so enthusiastic and everyone worked so diligently learning their steps, a TAP dance FINALE was performed at the end of the cruise in the Windstar Lounge and everyone in the show received a standing ovation. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2009
Background: This was my 8th Atlantic crossing, after one on a freighter, 4 on Cunard, and 2 on Crystal. Wind Surf was a very different experience, but the one it most resembled was the freighter. Arrival and embarkation: As is ... Read More
Background: This was my 8th Atlantic crossing, after one on a freighter, 4 on Cunard, and 2 on Crystal. Wind Surf was a very different experience, but the one it most resembled was the freighter. Arrival and embarkation: As is strongly recommended, I flew into Lisbon a day early. Having been there previously, I opted to stay in Sintra (Tivoli Sintra), a charming town about 40 minutes away by train. There are 2 terminals in Lisbon. The primary one is right at the Alacantra Mer train station and is used primarily by the megaships. We were docked at the Cais da Rocha Conde do Obidios, about towards town from the station. The police there told me it was 3 km and gave me misleading directions, so I took a cab for the final leg to the ship. The cruise documents said "Boarding 10:00am, All aboard 1:00" for a 2:30 departure. When I arrived about 12 the only thing they were doing was accepting baggage; a number of people were hanging around the terminal, mostly standing, and we were told check-in would not begin until 1. I went back out of the terminal and found that we were only an easy 10-minute walk from where I had boarded the cab. Check-in did not begin until 1:00 and it was after 1:30 when I stepped on board the ship. Ship info: The Wind Surf is a "Motor Sailing Yacht". It has sails, but they appear to be more for show than functional, as the ship is really not designed to maximize their benefit. We did sail about 70 miles without the engines at about 5 knots, but it appeared we were getting at least as much push from the current as we did from the sails. My observation was that when we were under sail power, the motion of the ship was quite evident as there was little water flowing past the stabilizers. The ship is small at 312 passengers and 6 decks, and has some really odd quirks. The cabin numbering starts from the stern of the ship, while the stairways are numbered from the bow, and start with stairway 2. Unlike Windstar's 2 smaller ship, the Wind Surf has 2 elevators. A final oddity is that the bottom 2 decks have a series of waterproof doors that must be closed when the ship enters of leaves a port. There was no warning of this before we started our muster drill making it a real "Chinese Fire Drill" finding the right stairway down to my cabin to retrieve my life jacket for the drill. Windstar was formerly affiliated with Holland America and has changed ownership in the recent past. The opinions I heard from veteran passengers was that the line has either changed little or gotten somewhat better after the change in ownership. Staterooms: The rooms are fairly large (188 square feet minimum), comfortable, and generally well laid out. The exceptions are having the life jackets in a ceiling compartment, not obvious to find, and not easily reached, and having all the electrical outlets in an awkward spot under the desk. I also found the 110 volt outlet not working when I arrived; I reported the matter to my room steward and it was corrected within 4 hours. With the exception of these minor issues, the room (the lowest category on the ship) was superb. The Wind Surf has no cabins with balconies. Dining: The Restaurant (Deck 4, forward) is the primary location for dinner, and has an open seating policy. I generally prefer early seating, and the 7:00pm opening was a bit late for my tastes, but was a pleasant surprise from the 7:30 opening published in Windstar literature. It was generally 7:30 by the time my table filled up and an order was taken. It was open seating but I generally dined with the same people since there was a fairly small number of early diners willing to share a table. The menu was varied and the service was excellent. There were 3 alternate dinner venues. Degrees (Deck 6, forward) served a 6-course fixed menu (with a vegetarian option) with 4 menus rotating by day of the week. The other 2 venues were actually parts of the deck with tables set up for dinner. Le Marche was a seafood restaurant on deck 6 aft is set up with service provided from the Terrace Bar. I do not eat seafood and thus did not try Le Marche. Candles is set up around the pool on deck 4 aft and offered a limited menu, mostly charcoal grilled meats baked potatoes, and corn on the cob, supplemented by an excellent Tiramisu. Le Marche and Candles used the same staff as Degrees, so when they were open Degrees was closed. The alternative venues required reservations but did not impose a supplemental fee. The Verandah (Deck 6, midship) was the primary venue for breakfast and lunch. It is set up as a buffet, but is well staffed with waiters eager to make the trip through the buffet line and bring passengers whatever they want. The seating is about half inside and half on deck. The outside portion has a grill booth where eggs are prepared for breakfast and burgers for lunch. Other items such as pancakes and waffles are also prepared to order from the galley. The Compass Rose bar (deck 5, aft) serves a continental breakfast 6-11am and is the site for afternoon tea. Activities and entertainment: Not much to speak of. There is no cruise director in the traditional sense. A "hostess" (actually a couple in this case) organizes a few activities, including a daily trivia contest and a cruise-long shipbuilding contest. They appeared to be volunteers cruising for free in exchange for their services and the results were pretty amateur, but they took a genuine interest in the passengers. The sports team had some activities and classes and wii tournaments were a big draw as were near-daily cooking demonstrations. Mostly, though activities consisted of reading, knitting, and relaxing. In the evening, there were small bands in two of the lounges, and one night there was a combined crew-passenger talent show. On one evening each of the passengers received an invitation to dinner from one of the staff. Some came from departments like the casino and gift shop, others from ships officers. One issue with this event was it was poorly publicized and many passengers declined the invitation thinking it was a sales pitch or other come-on. The groups were re-shuffled and combined to form full tables. I ended up with a Cadet (officer in training near the end of maritime school) and a Junior Officer who were very gracious hosts and enjoyed a wonderful evening. As on most repositioning cruises there was an emphasis on crew training and one day they did an abandon ship exercise where they set up a life raft in the swimming pool. At the conclusion of the drill there was an opportunity for the passengers to board the raft. It was a very interesting experience and gave me a real desire not to ever have to go through for real. There were walking decks around the ship on both decks 5 and 6, although deck 5 was closed for most of the voyage for maintenance of the teak. The deck 6 track was labeled 5.5 laps per mile, although most walkers thought it was mislabeled and actually about 6.5 laps per mile. There were DVD players in the rooms and a good selection of movies in the library but entertainment was distinctively do it yourself. Service: The service was excellent, friendly and attentive without hovering. Like many of the small, premium lines the staff at reception knew everybody's name by about day 2. Captain Mark Boylin was out around the ship and very approachable. He knew many of the repeat passengers and was always willing to stop and chat even with the newcomers. Children: There were no specific childrens' facilities on the ship. While port intensive Windstar cruises may be ok for children, the transatlantic voyage would certainly not. Ports: Disembarkation: Disembarkation was smooth and finished by about 9am. The taxis in Barbados were all about 12-passenger vans, and waited for a nearly full van before leaving. My taxi took a group to another hotel on the way to my hotel. Summary: Ratings are a very subjective matter. What is good really depends on the individual's point of view. I would have preferred a few more activities, especially the enrichment programs offered by the likes of Cunard and Crystal on their transatlantic voyages, but still immensely enjoyed my crossing. The biggest disadvantage of Windstar for me is really that they do not return to the US, so extensive air travel is required at both ends of the cruise. I have booked a Mediterranean Voyage for fall 2010 and will then get a feel for Windstar on a port intensive itinerary. Read Less
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