This trip was my 5th with Windstar Cruises. Since my first trip they have changed owners twice. The new owners have spent time and money renovating the public areas and keeping the cabins up to standard. However there needs to be a lot more effort, time and money spent on the decks to get the ship sailing again.
Advising the passengers on the amount of time the sails were up is not sailing. I have sailed on the Windstar in the Caribbean and Tahiti and looked forward to being under sail on the recent trip from Athens to Istanbul. As a ship's master and a competitive sailor, I realised that there were several opportunities to sail the ship.
It appeared that the deck gear such as travellers which control the angle of the sail were not working. The sails also appeared old and it seemed that the crew were afraid of sail damage in the wind. We, therefore, did not sail with the engine off at any time during the one week cruise. The noise level in the cabins under power are not conducive to a good nights sleep.
If I had wanted to do the trip on a motor ship I could have done it a half the price in quiet comfort on several other good cruise lines.. One night at about 10.30pm an engine was started that sounded as loud as an aeroplane cabin. That noise lasted about an hour during which I was offered another cabin. The noise returned at 5.15am the next morning. Complaints later that day were met with a standard "we cannot explain what it was!"
Apart from the disappointment of not sailing and the loud cabin noises, the food was good in both the restaurants, the ports visited were interesting and I thought Gonzalo was the most informative and amusing cruise director that I have ever encountered.