We just returned from our 9th Windstar cruise in the last 12 years, and our 5th on the Windsurf. We traveled with 4 other couples, all of whom are Windstar alumni. Our last trip was the same itinerary, with one change this time. They replaced St Kitts with Antigua...a good idea, although we all felt we didn't need 2 days in Antigua. More time in Virgin Gorda would be great.
Since our last trip, 11 months ago on the Windsurf, the company has refurbished all of the public rooms, and the cabins as well. The public rooms are stunning. We found the cabin to be lovely, except for the carpet....if it had been changed, it was dirty and tattered on the edges. Surprising! Like the other review, we felt that the room needed more electrical outlets...there was only one in the cabin, and with all of the chargers that we carry for phones, ipads, etc, we could use another.
The main dining room, AmphorA is beautiful. A much more sophisticated look. We were accommodated with a round table for 10...a nice way to converse with a large group. The Stella Bistro is equally beautiful. The food in these restaurants, while good, was not the quality that we have had in the past. The fish was dry, and steaks just OK. The staff in the dining rooms were as wonderful as always, cheerful and friendly, although it appeared as though there were fewer of them, and they were working a lot harder. But they always smile, and remember your name! Remarkable! We did not get the beverage package. We found the drinks reasonably priced, as always.
The Veranda was also refurbished, but we found it to be crowded, as they have a added a large salad station which was difficult to maneuver around. The breakfast and lunch are both served here buffet style, with seating inside and out. We have always loved sitting outside to dine, and there seemed to be less tables there, while the addition of tables inside added to the crowding. The lunch buffet salad selection was always a favorite....but the variety is no longer there, and was disappointing. You can still order from a menu for breakfast and lunch if you desire, and the food is very nice. The staff, again is wonderful.
There were 2 exceptions to the change in food quality. The barbeque held outside on the deck is as fabulous as ever...with lobster, shrimp and salads in abundance. And of course, the beach barbeque, on Prickly Pear Beach in Virgin Gorda (a fabulous spot) This is a highlight of the trip.
The Yacht Club has become the location for morning coffee and pastry, as well as sandwiches throughout the day, and afternoon tea. Nicely done. However, one of the features that we loved was changed. Early morning coffee outside at the Compass Rose. My husband would pick up a cup of coffee and walk about watching us come into port. A simple thing that we miss, and could easily be changed. We do like the new awning at the Compass Rose.
I have to mention the group who entertained us, both on this trip and the last. They are called Top Society, a family of musicians and singers...and are talented and delightful.
As far as the excursions are concerned, we took a high speed catamaran to Anegada, the northernmost virgin island. It was a beautiful trip, with time on the beach as well as a tour of the island, and the crew on that ship were terrific. We have gone to The Baths on past trips. A previous reviewer felt the excursions were not very interesting. We take this cruise for r and r...so the excursions are not that important. Each island has its own beauty, and we just enjoy being there.
The open bridge is a highlight of Windstar cruises for us. We are boaters, and enjoy meandering up to the bridge during the day, and in the evening. The navigation officers were always very pleasant and knowledgeable, and enthusiastically explained the dynamics of navigation and the workings of this magnificent sailing vessel. They made us feel that we were part of a great experience.
Regarding the embarkation process. We waited in line for Â½ hour in the noon day sun, with only one check in agent, who while friendly, obviously needed assistance. They did provide a cold beverage. Our luggage was transported to the ship very quickly by vehicle, while the passengers walked about Â½ mile to the ship. It would be nice if some form of transportation could have been provided to individuals who needed it
Once we were aboard, we knew why we always return....year after year, after year. Thanks for the memories, Windstar!!!!!