We were so looking forward to our Windsurf cruise. Our cabin was light, spacious, comfortable, always clean and fresh flowers and fruit were a nice touch. We enjoyed the Captain playing Vagellis 1492 "Conquest of Paradise” over the loudspeakers as the sails were unfurled when leaving ports. We enjoyed the open bridge and the friendly officers and the wait-staff were always jovial and attentive. We enjoyed the ports of call and felt privileged when we had a high, front row seat at the fabulous Red Arrow air show off Monte Carlo. We even found items in the ‘American’ menu that suited our palate.
As much as we enjoyed the experience there were disappointments.
First off, the coffee was terrible. Starting the day with good strong coffee is a must and although experimenting at the various coffee spots on board, trying to find a good blend/strength, it was all to no avail. We would have been happy to pay for decent coffee.
When our cruise aboard the Windsurf was first booked we set about planning how to spend our leisurely days. Looking at the colourful brochure this was easy. Relaxing around the pool deck, dropping into the pool and spa, and sipping drinks from the bar. On paper it sounded great. Perfect. In reality, the aft area is open to cigarette smokers with cigarette smells wafting all around the rear deck. To a non-smoker this is a nightmare. Try as we could we were driven from the area and restricted to the front of the ship for the entire cruise. So you could say that we had ‘half-a-ship cruise’. We did not use the pool or the spa or try the exotic cocktails and our swimmers stayed in the suitcase. The cruise should have been advertised as a ‘smokers delight’ because smokers were given the best area on board.
A bigger disappointment was just around the corner.
On our wedding anniversary we had planned to dine at ‘candles’, an open air restaurant set up on the deck each evening. Under the stars and sails, cruising along the French Rivera, it was to be a romantic dinner that we would always treasure. "Sorry, the restaurant is fully booked for the rest of the cruise”.
This was a major disappointment as we had planned the cruise to coincide with our anniversary.
Days later a passenger told us that the same people, at the start of the cruise, book the restaurant each evening for the whole cruise, making it impossible for other guests to experience open air dining. If true, I find this very unfair. Then on the last night, chatting to a Candles Restaurant waiter, who told us that we should have come by, as tables were available most evenings as some diners change their mind and don’t turn up!!! Something is very wrong here!
Our Windstar experience verdict: very ordinary…but had the potential to be spectacular!