This was our fifth cruise with WS lines. While we still enjoy the ambiance, crew, small ship cruising, some of the changes are not for the better. There is now a "harder sell" mentality for the spa, shop and excursions. The port excursion prices are exceptionally high for what they provide, which is most unfortunate. We have been able to book independent excursions that offer more time and sights for the same or even less cost than what WS charges. The new owners of the WS line do not offer the same amenities and discounts for prior travelers, known as ForeMast Club members, as had Holland America and prior owners. This is definitely not good PR and does not encourage loyalty in those of us who have traveled before.
That said, the Wind Surf was in good condition, although the refurbished decor looked way too utilitarian for the "casual elegance" of the advertising. The colors were beyond bland, the prints in the carpet and upholstered chairs looked anything but elegant, more in keeping with a 2* hotel. The public areas and cabins were very clean. The cabin and wait staff were as friendly and attentive as in all our other trips. Boon remembered us from a prior trip! The staff learns our names within the first day, an incredible feat. The food was fresh, mostly unimaginative but nicely prepared. Loved the breakfast selections, dinners had good choices, but typically on the bland side and became repetitive. I would suggest that the menu include local specialties of the countries being visited.
Local talent was brought on board, one a lovely 16 year old vocalist, Lucy Kelly from Wales, sounding much like Charlotte Church. The other was a harpist. This is a WS feature, to bring aboard local talent, and much appreciated by the passengers. The other talent sailing as part of the crew provided good entertainment in the lounges.
The ports of Dublin, Holyhead, Waterford, Fishguard, Scilly Isles/St. Mary's, Falmouth, Dartmouth, and Portsmouth were interesting. The villagers in the smaller ports were wonderfully welcoming, much like those in New Zealand when we sailed "down under". And quite unlike the larger and more touristy ports of France, Italy, Greece and Spain.
We will give WS one more try before jumping ship to try another line.....