We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were Antigua, Tortola, Jost, St. Barths, and Virgin Gorda.
We flew in 1 day early and stayed in Philipsburg, in the center of town (at the Sea View Hotel – not recommended). I would recommend, however, planning to get here at least 1 day early because the airport here is very crowded and unpredictable – all of our flights, in & out, were delayed therefor causing missed connections and re-scheduled flights. It was very hectic.
However, once aboard the Wind Surf everything changed. I have nothing to complain about, no negative comments.
Checking in was a breeze. We had only a standard room, but it was very comfortable. We were on the 3rd deck which I thought was perfect for this ship – down 1 to get on/off the ship or to get to the water platform, and up 1 flight for the casino, diner, entertainment, reception, and the pool bar. Perfect.
The entertainment was very good – 2 choices, the duet who performed at the Compass Rose, or the band who played in the lounge. They were both excellent, but I preferred the duet…they were more than excellent and played songs if requested.
The casino was just the right size, and the dealers were friendly and very accommodating. They would open a table for you if asked. It was never too crowded there, so I thought it was perfect. 3 table games (BJ & 3-Card Poker), 1 roulette table, and some slots. Sadly, no Craps table.
The gym was very clean, surprisingly a good size for a small ship, and very useable. A trainer is staffed there and is more than willing to assist with questions. He also teaches a few classes – at no charge.
The meals were always great. Breakfast & lunch are served up on the top deck. Could either grab something off the buffet or order off the menu. Each day, we’d 1st order room service coffee, then go up to the veranda for something to eat. On the breakfast menu, the chef offered a new daily “chef special Eggs Benedict” along with the standard one. I loved that, they were all very good. And the buffet was great as well. They had 2 Barbeque Parties that were loads of fun. The main room for diner was just as good. Everything was perfect. Once, after a few drinks, I jokingly wished that Crème Brule was on the menu. ….Our waiter went and found it at a different restaurant and brought it to us… Every meal was perfect. We would also order ”late night “ room service, and it was very good too.
The bar service was quick & the bar tenders were friendly. At times though it can get crowded at the bar, but unlike other cruise lines – there are not many waiters walking around asking you if you need a drink. Usually you have to go up to the bar yourself, but it’s a short walk. Note/FYI: we did not purchase the drink plan, yet always had a drink in our hand and at times had too much…. Our total ship “bar bill” was $650.
The ship “sail-away”, playing the 1942 music…. Was a little less dramatic and inspiring than I thought it would be, I think maybe it was a bit over-hyped to me by everyone to me. For me, maybe the music should be played louder, but I found the best place to get a feel for it was standing under a speaker. But when the sails unravel…it is a little romantic and was nice to watch. It’s a great feeling to be under sail with a ship moving; I’ve never experienced that before. I miss it already.
The sports platform was fantastic. It is much better entertainment than any large cruise ship can offer. The guy running it – “PJ” I think – was wonderful. I will say to be careful if you go water-skiing in the ocean…. ïŒ If you’re getting stiches; request small stitching and additional stiches (this will help reduce the scaring).
The port destinations were as good as they could be. Seriously, I would have no problem taking this same itinerary next year. As other reviewers have said – there are always some cabs at each port if needed. Soper’s Hole, Tortola, is one of them – grab a cab and head to a Tortola beach – off the tender there is a nice bar, Pussers, and some shops…but that’s pretty much all. I will cab it next time.
Lastly, the crew. I can’t say that they all remembered my name, but many did. Every one of them were personable, friendly, helpful, kind, …. Like the boy scouts… They were truly a great group of employees.
I can’t imagine a better vacation.
We did get lucky to have perfect weather, and met other couples on the ship with whom we seemed to hang out with. They were all good people and made our trip superb. We met one of the couples on the Cruise Critic forum page (Joymitch) before the cruise then met up with them on the ship. That was awesome in itself and they are great people. Isn’t the internet fantastic!?