1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Spain Cruises
  4. Spain Cruise Reviews
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We've traveled with Ponant ships on a number of trips. The cabins have amble room and storage. Essentially the same layouts on levels 3, 4 and 5. The toilet is in a separate area from the sink and shower. Great water pressure. The ... Read More
We've traveled with Ponant ships on a number of trips. The cabins have amble room and storage. Essentially the same layouts on levels 3, 4 and 5. The toilet is in a separate area from the sink and shower. Great water pressure. The ship staff seems to truly enjoy what they do and seem to work together under the guidance of a ship captain who seems to foster a sense of family for all onboard. Guests and workers. You will find the ship impeccably clean. Lots of places to relax and enjoy (and drink). Indoors and out of doors. The bread/pastries/dessert are fantastic. Pastry chefs gets a gold star. Where there is need for more attention is the food -- lacking choice, laden with fats and gluten, overcooked, uninspiring. Not keeping with European and American current food trends. Also the captains evenings are very old school. Too much pomp and circumstance. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We choose this cruise because of the ports and we had never been on Windstar. We assumed it was a sailing ship because of the masts we saw in ports. Shortly after boarding we were told that one of our excursion was canceled due to ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the ports and we had never been on Windstar. We assumed it was a sailing ship because of the masts we saw in ports. Shortly after boarding we were told that one of our excursion was canceled due to Ramadan in Tangier. Did the cruise line not know, because it was advertised on their website for months, and one of the reasons we booked the cruise. The city of Tangier was like a ghost town. So moving on, my husband and I were enjoying the jacuzzi on a beautiful full moon night when we were told that we had to get out, because it was closed. It wasn't even 9 pm. On another night we were sleeping and at 2 in the morning an upholstered tile from the headboard fell on my husbands head. No damage, but surprising . We assumed the the room steward would have it fixed. But no, we called and someone came and fixed it. The next day our room steward said "I thought it was yours", really I brought a headboard tile with me. The food was good, but not regional. There was a BBQ one night with all the food from the region, but I expected to have at least one option a night from the region on the ships menu. Don't get me started about the news letter. Wrong dates, wrong times, wrong cities. Two hour wrong wakeup times, on and on. We've been cruising since 2002 on many different lines and travel many times every year on land and sea. We have never been more disappointed in a cruise line. The staff was wonderful the ports beautiful, but the attention to detail was miserable. The photo we bought is not printable on our email. So disappointed. We also think it really isn't a sailing ship, just a gimmick, because we never sailed and the sports deck was never available. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
i did costa fascinosa and other than less availability of vegetarian food, didnt face any problem whatsoever.bothe embarkation and disembarcarion were smooth. the food was good and well presented except for the fact that they ran out of ... Read More
i did costa fascinosa and other than less availability of vegetarian food, didnt face any problem whatsoever.bothe embarkation and disembarcarion were smooth. the food was good and well presented except for the fact that they ran out of foon sometimes. the cabin was well cleaned and made up everyday. the staff was amazing and catered to all our needs. we were provided with indaian food which was delicious. the hygiene and other things onn the cruise were good. though i felt their swimming pool wasnt big enouygh. the every day show were excellent and perfect. the tours were slightly costly. the bars and the restaurants were well eqipped. the staff was amazingly courteoua and was at our disposal all the time. the restaurant staff didnt make us feel foreign even for one moment and went to all lengths to make us comfortable. we were provided with egg less desserts specially on requestg. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our third cruise. Our first two cruises were on Royal Caribbean out of Boston and Miami. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and here are our positive comments: Food – Overall, the food in the main dining room was ... Read More
This was our third cruise. Our first two cruises were on Royal Caribbean out of Boston and Miami. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and here are our positive comments: Food – Overall, the food in the main dining room was excellent. We enjoyed most every meal very much. Unlike other cruises we have taken, we also enjoyed the fact that we could eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch each day as well. Staff – Every staff member we talked with was very friendly, accommodating and eager to assist us in any way they could. Impressive! Whoever is hiring and training the staff is to be complimented for a job consistently well done! Itinerary, Ports & Shore Excursions - The itinerary only had 3 at sea days out of 14 days and the at sea days were nicely spaced out over the entire time span, which was perfect for us. All of the ports had great options for things to do or shore excursions to take. Security – Security is very high on this ship and greatly appreciated. In most every port, we went through three security checkpoints prior to getting back on the ship. Getting off the ship was usually very quick and easy with no waiting. Library & Card Room – What great spaces for at sea days. These two rooms were very popular with guests who wanted a quiet place to read, or a fairly quiet place to play games with friends or family. Embarkation & Disembarkation – Both very smooth and well organized. Providing an early luggage storage option for passengers arriving too early for embarkation was a very nice offer. We were also very impressed with the high number of taxis who came out to the ship during disembarkation. So, while there was a very long line of passengers awaiting taxis, the line moved very quickly and no one was concerned about catching their flights on time. And, here are our suggestions for improvement (take these with a grain of salt because every cruise ship has areas that can be improved): General Appearance & Cleanliness – Overall, this ship is very attractive and immaculately clean. Group Fitness Classes – Most classes are only offered a couple days per week and always at the same time. For instance, the Pilates classes were only offered two days per week and only at 8:00 am. Since most every shore excursion left at 8:30 am, it was impossible to ever attend these classes if you took shore excursions. Spa – We wanted to make reservations for 50 minute massages for each of the three at sea days. Since the massages cost a whopping $140 for each of us, we only made two reservations. After the first massage turned into a giant product sales pitch and the therapist completely ignored the areas we requested to have worked on, we filed a complaint with Guest Relations and quickly cancelled our second reservation. Onboarding – There were a couple of times when getting back onto the ship took in excess of 1.5 hours. After a long, all-day shore excursion this seemed unreasonable. Shore Excursions – While we enjoyed all of the excursions we took, the restaurant lunch provided during the “Barcelona & Montserrat” all day excursion was way below standard. Drink Package Upgrade - We booked our room with the Classic Drink Package, then tried to educate ourselves about the Premium Drink Package to decide if we wanted to upgrade. Well, we found after much research by us and our travel agent, there is little to no information out there about the Premium Drink Package. It felt like getting this information from Celebrity was kind of “a difficult game”. So, we upgraded “in the blind”. For hard liquor with the Premium Package, it was fine. However, for wine, the Premium Package was not so fine. Very marginal wines (like Celebrity’s own label Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon) were the “top level” wines offered. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I did my first cruise on the Celebrity Solstice in 2012 round the Mediterranean and it was the most magical experience everything from the beauty of the ship and the cleanliness the way in which we were cared for excellent. Celebrity x ... Read More
I did my first cruise on the Celebrity Solstice in 2012 round the Mediterranean and it was the most magical experience everything from the beauty of the ship and the cleanliness the way in which we were cared for excellent. Celebrity x helped us when our travel agent let us down so we had no hesitation in booking direct felt it would be nice to be back in safe hands. What a mistake initially everything went ok holiday booked what could go wrong. Just about everything, Our initial sailing booklet didn't arrive I checked spam nothing, I phoned up to say how did we get our luggage tags was assured I would be informed when this was in August. By September I was beginning to get nervous however I did eventually get said booklet and was told my luggage tags would be here. I then asked about a connection from the airport to the ship and was told for 19euros this was possible. When I phoned up about it got someone completely different who said it was not possible so I asked what was the port address for the ship and the person I was speaking to had little English spelt out the name which turned out to be wrong. The Barcelona Airport hotel sorted that one out for us. Baggage tags never arrived eventually sent some sticky luggage tags from the complaints department We did not get the email about the virus being on the ship and arrived at the time suggested only to join hundreds of people waiting. I have to say I am all for the methods adopted on health and safety and the company did offer travel back to Barcelona however we had flown in late the night before were tired and decided to stay put. All the passengers were offered a bottle of water and either a packet of crisps or a bar of chocolate very suitable for a diabetic - what was wrong with some tea or coffee and a roll it surely wasn't that difficult. When we did get on a glass of sparkling wine was enjoyable but not the person trying to sell a 3 meal deal. The room was comfortable but a little tired and all the little extra's did eventually appear over the next 8 days. I had trouble with my electrics and when my hot brush decided to overheat and start smoking I let Guest relations know in case the fire alarm went off I was told someone would come up no one did. Two days later my phone charger also decided to give up the ghost, I asked the room attendant twice if someone could look at the sockets as this did not happen on me earlier cruise. We were woken up in the middle of the night by the air conditioning going off the lights wouldn't work and the emergency lighting came on. It was a little concerning. After we left Lisbon we went down to arrange our dinner booking and the smell of diesel was really clawing thankfully I wasn't eating in that part of the ship that evening. The staff we had in the dining room and the co-ordinator were fantastic, as was the staff in the Sky Lounge enjoyed the drink and nibbles. The gastropub was a favourite the girls their very funny and helpful. The café al Bacio served the most delicious iced teas and great coffee these were our ship highlights. The food was very good with quite a selection for every taste. The Canapé's delivered to the room sadly were not a patch on the last time I had to ask for a fork or spoon to be delivered and they certainly were not finger food. The excursions off the ship were on the whole pretty good as was the 3 meals off shore a good mix of places with plenty of time to see them. My overall impression was tired ship, stress in some of the staff in short a real end of season feel to the cruise leaving us very disappointed in comparison to the 2012 experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our third cruise and second with Celebrity and we truly enjoyed ourselves. We chose this trip because of the itinerary - Barcelona, Palma De Mallorca, Gilbratar, Malaga, Lisbon and Cadiz (Seville) and it was during the ... Read More
This was our third cruise and second with Celebrity and we truly enjoyed ourselves. We chose this trip because of the itinerary - Barcelona, Palma De Mallorca, Gilbratar, Malaga, Lisbon and Cadiz (Seville) and it was during the Thanksgiving holiday in Canada where the weather was perfect for walking and visiting. Our overall impression of the Celebrity experience is positive - this ship had some of the friendliest crew members we've encountered in a long time. Our Silhouette dinning room crew, Milorad and Izlem, were top-notch. They were extremely attentive and fulfilled every request in a timely manner. They set the tone each day with a wide smile and friendly greeting. The decor is sleek and minimalist with white curtains hanging in the shopping area. Modern art photos hung on stairway walls throughout the ship. The atrium was impressive but featured a huge multi-colored vase with a tree that shifted in the "wind." The public restrooms were modern and featured cloth and paper towels. We really enjoyed the foods in the ship despite lack of some Asian foods on board, we appreciated more if we could have more Chinese and Vietnamese foods. We knew that there was a good Vietnamese cook on board. We bough all excursion on board and really appreciated all tours. However we appreciated most were Malaga, Cadiz and Gilbratar tours. One thing that really stands out the Celebrity Equinox ship was the help desk service attentional care. They kindly answered all our concerns. Thank very much Two Nguyen's families in Canada Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was my first Windstar cruise. Based on the prices and their own marketing material - how they position themselves as a luxury experience for the most discerning traveler - and having been on a whole range of other cruise lines, I ... Read More
This was my first Windstar cruise. Based on the prices and their own marketing material - how they position themselves as a luxury experience for the most discerning traveler - and having been on a whole range of other cruise lines, I expected a good-to-great experience. What I got was more like a poor-to-mediocre one. Disappointment abounded - from the food to the ports of call to excursions to the service to the lack of sleep. POSITIVE - Staterooms: The all-suite staterooms are the largest I've ever stayed in - easily 2x the size of others. They've been recently renovated and are generally nice - additional thoughts under 'Negative' below. - Service: Almost every crew member I encountered was friendly and warm and wanted to help. Unfortunately, that niceness didn't equate to excellent service. 'Nice', 'friendly', 'warm' all go a long way in providing good service - but they don't replace the quality of the actual service provided. E.g. The waiter can be the nicest guy I've ever met, but it only goes so far in making up for the fact that I've asked for iced tea 3x and still don't have it. NEGATIVE - Staterooms: The key word about the ship is that it was 'renovated' - other than most of the public spaces (and not all of them were completely renovated), nothing looked new. In the rooms, you'll see stains in the marble in the bathroom, odd chipping/peeling in the veneers on the furniture, notice the age of the drawers and shelves in the closet, and the ancient tvs and dvd players. - Food: The dinner menus almost always looked good, but the food rarely impressed. Breakfast and lunch actually tasted like bad cafeteria food. At dinner one evening, I was served a pasta with pesto sauce, in which the pesto had been so badly prepared (and this is pesto, folks - not a difficult thing to make) that it was burnt and blackened. The dish was gross, but knowing how long I'd have to wait - and how disappointing another dish could be - I just ate it. - Overflowing toilets: One of the public restrooms, just off one of the main public rooms, overflowed into the public space several times during the cruise. And they kept putting a fan on the carpet to dry it. Well, that fan blew the air into the public room - so you could smell the disgusting scent of sewage mixed with deodorizer in the front half of the room. - Boat vibration and rocking: Yes, these are things that are to be expected on any cruise, and that I've experienced myself. I've never, though, had my bed shake - not just vibrate - so intensely, all night before that I couldn't get any rest. We weren't in the least expensive stateroom offered - not that it would be 'ok' even if we were. When you're paying these prices, no one should have a room that shakes so intensely every night. And the rocking - they rarely extend the stabilizers, and I heard many guests complaining and talking about intense sea sickness. It should be noted that the waters were *not* bad or rough at any point during the cruise. One night a woman was asking reception for some sea-sickness medication, and was told that the doctor couldn't be reached. This was after the poor woman had been up all night prior being sick. Pathetic. - Service: There was absolutely *nothing* excellent, luxurious or even 'good' about the service. I lost count of how many repeated requests - at dinner, with reception, with the maitre'd - were forgotten or had to be repeated several times. I was served the wrong meal numerous times, after having waited far too long to receive it in the 1st place. Our 2nd night, the waiter actually explained the severe delays were due to them being understaffed. !?!? How many times do I need to order iced tea or water or what-have-you before I actually get it? Again, this is supposed to be a higher-end experience - I've gotten better service on a Carnival Cruise back in college. The maitre'd offered, unsolicited - *he* offered - to send the menu for the following day to our room 3 times, but it never appeared. And he was surprised every time that it didn't show up. - Activities: There's really nothing of interest scheduled. - Ports of call: Two of the six ports should never have been part of the itinerary. One was a low-income vacation town and the other was an economically depressed town with literally nothing going on. - Excursion Director: This guy was nice, sure. But had absolutely no personality, gave no opinions or expert advice about any of the ports. All we heard were generalities and bland 'this is great, this is great, that's great' - everything was nice and great. Those words lose their meaning and provide no actual insight into the various options. His powerpoint presentations bordered on being sad. He cancelled our tickets on one of the excursions accidentally, with nothing to say but 'I'm sorry - try visiting the museum on your own'. I thought this was supposed to be a luxurious experience. You make a mistake, make it right - period. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We've sailed on the Legend when she was part of the Seabourn Line, so we know what this ship offers, the plus and minuses. I'm not going to compare my service experience to Seabourn, as this is a totally different line. My review ... Read More
We've sailed on the Legend when she was part of the Seabourn Line, so we know what this ship offers, the plus and minuses. I'm not going to compare my service experience to Seabourn, as this is a totally different line. My review will be based on a line such as Celebrity or Princess Sailing. Positive The refurbished interior is done very good. I'm an Interior Designer and I like what they did with the staterooms and the main dining room looks great. Staff, very friendly and working hard to do what they could to help (For 98%) State room attendant did a fantastic job, we would go to breakfast and when we came back the room was serviced and clean. The ports of call, small ships get you into some of the best kept ports. They allow you two bottles of wine per person to bring on board. Yacht Club, great place for coffee in the morning. Access to the bridge, very cool. And I can't remember her name but there's a women on the bridge was very good at explaining instruments and sailing. The food, was very good. Cables dining at the rear of the ship is set up as a grill, the veal chop was really good. They ask you dine only once at candles as its limited in seating. We were lucky and had dinner here twice, one night the weather was cool and reservations cancelled, we antipcapted this happening and walked up hoping to get a table and scored. The deck party was great, great selection and good tasting. Overall the food, Better than the big lines, but not Seabourn. Negative This ship is sorely under staffed! You would think as this was the second week sailing, they would over staff to handle a new vessel. Dinner was a time consuming affair. Not enough service staff and everyone tends to come to dinner at the same time. Food was good, but surprised they didn't offer more regional offerings. Indian food was offered a couple of nights, interesting but not for Spain & Portugal. They did not have enough wine on board , the previous sailing had consumed most of the offerings and our first night the wine selection was limited. The bar staff would close the deck bar at 7:30 because he needed to go down to the restaurant, and there's 14 people drinking at the bar. As drinks are not included you would think they would have a well staffed bar. Forget about ordering food at the bar. You need to go to the stateroom and place a room service order? I know sounds weird but it's the only way to get a plate of cheese or appetizer at the bar. Midnight, bars close! So who cares if your hanging out with new friends and it's just taken you 2 1/2 hours to eat dinner and you sat down at 8:30. And, if you have a liquor you like and they don't have it, well too bad. Really, we are paying by the glass get some XO Patron Cafe. A couple of pours you've paid for the bottle. I think this is a Windstar issue, they should allow managers to handle simple issues as picking up a bottle. Internet- when we came on board they recommended we not sign on for the internet packages. The reception said it was slow. Well, it's not super fast but when you are at sea you should expect this kind of issue. We found if only one of us used the service at one time it worked pretty good. Another couple didn't sign up and half way through the trip they received a call from the cellular provider they had a $1200 cellular bill. Buy the intent packages and turn off the cellular data roaming so this won't happen to you. Laundry offer, this one I have to say REALLY! They put a laundry offer for $98 have your laundry done, all week! But they turn around and tell you it was a mistake offer, should be $125. I had to laugh at this one, why would you even tell guests you screwed up and ask them to pay the difference. Eat it! Don't even ask your guests this kind of thing! A crew member called us three times on our 8 day cruise between 3:00-5:30 AM looking for the boss. We were in room 125, and I expect "The Boss" had a similar stateroom number. When we called reception on the 3rd occasion, to see if the issue could be resolved you would have thought I was speaking in Latin. She was of no help, and if she didn't get the problem she should have had the Hotel manager contact us. Shore Excursion we landed in Gilbrator and had a limited amount if time. I had booked our shore excursion online prior to boarding the ship. Tickets were in our stateroom upon our arrival, so everyday we pulled them out and arrived at our designated area. We hoped on our bus and realized they put us and three other couple on the wrong tour. Very disappointing, as this will be a port we will never be in again. We didn't make it to the top of the rock! Check your tickets carefully. And, the other is due wax finding out you can get off the boat and do the same tour at 1/2 the price. Pool Redesign, not a fan. They have pulled out the pool and installed a once piece pool or over sized hot tub up on a large deck. Plus, they chose to clean the pool when we at sea. I feel this should be done when we are at port. The staff was using pool towels from the deck to clean the pool. Strange, latter I started wondering if a guest had an accident in the pool :( We docked in Palma, other cruise ships provided transpiration into the city. When we docked, we couldn't even find a cab to take. Nor could the other 20 guests standing around. Rooms, I love the rooms and the bathrooms. Our room the sound system wasn't working after the second day. We called reception but no one showed up to look at it. I thought this was dangerous, we couldn't hear any of the announcements. And we were lucky, some people lost hot water. I guess our timing for showers worked as we didn't have this problem. Pillows, they offered fiber pillows only. Entertainment- they had 2. Two piece bands this was Ok. A real band would have been nice. Flamingo dancers one late afternoon, but the timing was off. It was around the time everyone was returning from shore. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
My husband and I have traveled on our own in Europe since 1976. Now that we are retired we usually combine travel on our own with Celebrity cruises. The last cruise was Celebrity Equinox Oct/Nov 2014 from Barcellona to Ft Lauderdale. We ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled on our own in Europe since 1976. Now that we are retired we usually combine travel on our own with Celebrity cruises. The last cruise was Celebrity Equinox Oct/Nov 2014 from Barcellona to Ft Lauderdale. We spent two weeks in Spain before the cruise. Madrid, Seville and Barcellona. We had a wonderful time and found the people so helpful and proud of their country. They encouraged my Spanish and believe me my Spanish is very limited. The Equinox was top drawer with the best food we have had on Celebrity. The glass blowing shows are the best entertainment for me. My husband likes the ping pong, golf,and Bocci. I love the gym and spin classes. We were in port five times. Mallorca, Valencia, Malaga, Lanzarote and Tenerife. We got to see a lot of Spain and to top it off the weather was warm and sunny almost every day. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
The staff was great. The performances outstanding (Especially the aqua show). The specialty restaurants offered some of the best meals I can remember. But for the price you pay, they really take advantage of you on the little things. We ... Read More
The staff was great. The performances outstanding (Especially the aqua show). The specialty restaurants offered some of the best meals I can remember. But for the price you pay, they really take advantage of you on the little things. We paid over $1,000 for 'all inclusive' dining. Literally, you could order 3 appetizers and 2 mains if you wanted to. Yet you had to pay for soda? I don't drink soda so I didn't mind. Meanwhile, I just stayed hydrated with the water that was supplied in the room. When I got my bill I owed over $200 in water! I was shocked because there was no sign saying the water wasn't complimentary. What did they expect me to do in the middle of the night, walk down the hall and down a level to the water fountain in my pajamas? If they cared at all about their patrons they could offer the basic necessities for free. I am appalled. Secondly, internet fees were close to $45 a day. I was on vacation so I didn't want to spend much on internet....however, I did just like to check in with the babysitter to make sure everything was ok at home. Internet is not expensive these days and offering it for free or even a reasonable price will not break their bank. The 'free' dinner smelled like a retirement home. There were too many people on the boat. Overall, I felt they didn't accommodate my basic needs. Out of principle, I will not sail with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our second cruise. Service, cleanliness, cabins all tip top. Food plentiful, mostly good, but bland. Desserts beautiful but tastes and contents are similar. The menus for the theme restaurants do not seem to change from cruise to ... Read More
This was our second cruise. Service, cleanliness, cabins all tip top. Food plentiful, mostly good, but bland. Desserts beautiful but tastes and contents are similar. The menus for the theme restaurants do not seem to change from cruise to cruise, so if you liked "Red Ginger" on your last cruise you'll see the same things on this one. They do take you to smaller ports that bigger ships can't get to. The several down sides to this line are: nickel and diming: everything is an extra charge from Wi-Fi to wine. Very annoying. And the so-called cooking lessons are a rip off. Tours are expensive and of very mixed quality. The land tours are also only about 4 hours each and it is difficult to get two tours a day because of timing. The boat is usually docked far from downtown and shuttles between there and the boat are erratic. If you want to take one tour per day and spend the rest of the day on the ship you'll be pleased. Otherwise, not. Also, the shipboard activities are really limited, mostly swim, exercise, pay a fortune at their Spa, do bridge or play trivia. If you want something more exciting, or like lectures and discussions, you won't find much of that. The so-called entertainment is mostly amateurish. Think carefully about this line before you book. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
We were shocked at the poor service levels on board the Epic. Cabin attendants did not clean cabin properly or even on time ie one day they went in at 7.30pm. Food was cold in Sheehans bar on 3 ocassions with very poor service there ... Read More
We were shocked at the poor service levels on board the Epic. Cabin attendants did not clean cabin properly or even on time ie one day they went in at 7.30pm. Food was cold in Sheehans bar on 3 ocassions with very poor service there especially. Toilets were not cleaned regularly all over the ship. We have contracted athletes foot since leaving the ship. The staff in Bliss lounge (nightclub) were rude and their so called service was awful. The zen zone had kids in it even though they were not allowed in there! The dining rooms were closed during port calls which we found very dissapointing as with other ships they are open to give choice to the passenger. Finally the ship is poorly designed as one cannot see out anywhere on deck as they have tinted glass blocking ones views! Overall not a good ship and poorly managed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
This is the first review of the newest ship in Windstar's fleet, the 212-passenger motor yacht "Star Pride", This 6-night inaugural cruise sailed on May 5, 2014 from Barcelona, with stops in Sete, Sanary sur Mer, Monte ... Read More
This is the first review of the newest ship in Windstar's fleet, the 212-passenger motor yacht "Star Pride", This 6-night inaugural cruise sailed on May 5, 2014 from Barcelona, with stops in Sete, Sanary sur Mer, Monte Carlo, Portofino, and Portoferraio, ending at Civitavecchia (Rome). Most of the passengers were Windstar alumni cruisers, as well as many travel industry & media representatives. Also in attendance were owners Philip and Nancy Anschutz, Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz, and several members of his executive team. The ship's Captain was 15-year WIndstar veteran Alan MacAry, with whom I have sailed on several other occasions. The cruise started with a gala pier-side fiesta, with music and dancers by a colorful and energetic Catalonian Rumba band. The dancers were very skillful in enticing some of the passengers to join in. Free-flowing Champagne, wine, and tasty tapas contributed greatly to a festive atmosphere. The ceremony culminated when Father Marto Rodriquez blessed the ship, its passengers and crew, and "Godmother" Nancy Anschutz snipped the ribbon releasing the bottle of champagne, which smashed against the bow to great acclaim from all, including the shipboard crew lining the decks. Later in the cruise, there was another gala shipboard party in Monte Carlo, with a dazzling guest violinist, and a Cabaret styled dance troupe. Again, complimentary champagne, wine, and tasty nibbles get everyone in a party mood. SHIP INFORMATION: The Star Pride one of three (3) new motor yachts purchased from Seabourn Cruise Lines, and the first to enter service after an intensive 18-day refurbishment. Two more sister ships, the Star Breeze and Star Legend, will join the fleet next May. The interior decor received new furnishings, upholstery, carpeting, wall and window treatments, with a definite nautical theme. The ship has many features familiar to WIndstar regulars: intimate "private yacht" ambiance, country club casual dress policy, attentive wait staff who learn guests' names seemingly overnight, and the open bridge policy. Cabins are all suites, with a minimum 50% larger footprint, larger marble bath, and a walk-in closet. The ship also features an aft sports platform for water activities, a small casino, and spa. The Veranda restaurant has both indoor and open-air seating (with a lovely new awning), and transforms into the Candles alternative dinner restaurant at night The AmphorA restaurant is on the lower deck, and is handsomely decorated, spacious and comfortable However, a common complaint was that there are no restrooms on the bottom deck, so diners must go up one deck to find one. I did not find this to be a real issue, but for someone with limited mobility, it could be more important. The Show Lounge was completely redone, and features a large bandstand for combos such as Top Society (whom I have seen on several previous Wind Surf cruises. Oddly enough, there is no bar in the Show Lounge, in my opinion a major shortcoming. The Compass Rose is located adjacent to the Casino, and has a very nice bar area and large dance floor. Unfortunately, it is completely indoors --- I really missed the aft ocean view from the Compass Rose on the other ships. EMBARKATION: Getting on board the ship was delayed by close to an hour. Once we got on board, none of the electronic room keys worked, so everyone had to wait a short time. Many small little glitches during the first few days, but Windstar managed to fix almost every issue very quickly. ACTIVITIES: All the Windstar yachts have a minimal approach to onboard activities, and the Star Pride was no exception. There are no Zumba parties, glass blowing exhibitions, or bridge tournaments such as might be found on larger vessels. Bravo!! One traditional activity that was not highlighted was the afternoon tea time in the Compass Rose. Doesn't have the same appeal indoors.... Another was the Blackjack tournament, which just wasn't featured. Maybe on future cruises. One activity that was highlighted was the opportunity to go shopping with the chef(s) --- there were actually two on board. One was the new Corporate Executive Chef Michael Sabourin, and the other was the Star Pride Executive Chef Rohit Dimri. Tom Steghorn of Travel Weekly wrote a great column about this experience, can be viewed here: http://www.travelweekly.com/Cruise-Travel/Shopping-with-the-chefs-from-the-Star-Pride/. NOTE TO CC: HOPE THIS EXTERNAL LINK IS OK! I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with Chef Michael, and since the day before I had taken a gourmet walking tour of the local food markets in Sete, France, I had some inside knowledge to share. Chef Michael was just terrific! He actually listened to what I had to say, and based a few of his purchases on my input (or so I would like to think). Biggest event of the week was the Deck Barbecue, featuring the dance review by the wait staff. Most dancing I saw all week! INTERNET ACCESS: Always a sore point, especially at sea. Windstar charges $50 for 100MB of bandwidth, as opposed to a fixed number of minutes. This is a wise pricing model, in my view. Otherwise, everyone would be clogging up the works sending selfies home to their friends. Connectivity was painfully slow, but not a lot different than on other cruise ships I have been on. SERVICE: As always, the personalized service was terrific. Waiters and bartenders made an effort to address passengers by name, and were genuinely enthusiastic about posing for pictures. The star of the show was Lilla, the vivacious and glamorous restaurant manager. What a treat! She seemed to be everywhere all the time, always smiling, laughing, and "working the room" like a seasoned performer. First time I have seen a female restaurant manager on WIndstar, or any female wait staff. In contrast, there was another restaurant manager on board (not sure of titles) who seemed to roam around looking at things, but who never interacted with the guests at all. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS: We took an excursion from Monte Carlo to the ancient village of Eze, and then to the Rothschild Estate. VERY photogenic, and thoroughly enjoyable. We also took a boat excursion from Portofino to the tiny fishing village of San Fruttuoso, and then on the the larger village of Comigli. My wife later took an excursion to the island of Elba, which she found to be very interesting. All the excursions were well organized. What was missing was the normal daily presentation of excursions, which I would have expected to be done by Travis, the Excursions Manager. I was told that this was a temporary omission, and the briefings would be provided on future cruises. OUR CABIN #136: Great location almost amidships, directly adjacent to the Atrium, so just one deck and a few steps from Guest Services, and the disembarkation ramp. Our cabin was on the lowest of the three passenger decks, and the least expensive. We had a nice large window (albeit a bit scratched), but no balcony. The cabin was spacious, and seemed even larger because of the very low bed. However, the low bed also made it impossible to use for luggage storage, even a carry-on. A nice feature is a curtain that can be drawn between the bed and the sitting area --- very convenient if I wanted to read after my wife went to bed. DINING: Food on board was 99% outstanding. I had venison one night that was the best I have ever had in my life. All the food was great, with very few misses. I had duck one night that was slightly dry, but it was still very tasty. Biggest complaint I heard was that the indoor seating at the Veranda restaurant was a little limited, with 6-7 tables of 6, 3 tables of 4, so total seating was around 50. If the weather is a little cool, windy, or rainy, seating could be a problem. No problem to go downstairs to the AmphorA restaurant, but most passengers like the ocean view. ENTERTAINMENT: The primary band is a 4-piece (guitar, bass, drums, piano) Filipino combo called Top Society, whom I have seen perform on several different Wind Surf cruises. They have a new female lead singer this year who is quite good, and who also plays violin (!). Some of the passengers just loved them, but I did not. While they are versatile, and capable of some good performances, I found them to be mediocre.at best. Their playlist is quite stodgy --- how many times can you hear "Fly Me To The Moon" and "Beyond The Sea" on one cruise? A much better choice was the duo appearing in the Compass Rose, "One Night Stand", comprised of Craig & Collette from the UK. Collette has a beautiful voice, and does most of the lead vocals, while Craig plays the piano and does background vocals and duets, They use a lot of computerized instrumental background arrangements, and are very versatile. I heard them do a dance medley that included "Disco Heat" (originally performed by Sylvester) that had everyone in the room dancing. Despite this success, they are not really oriented towards dance music. A smaller venue, such as the Compass Rose rooms on other Windstar ships, would suit them better, I think. DISEMBARKATION: Very straightforward. We arranged a private car with another couple for travel to Rome from Civitavecchia. About half the price.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
Typically we book well ahead on our cruises, however a gap in the diary and a strong desire for some serious r and r brought us back onboard Azamara Journey, for the first time ever in an Oceanview room. We had read less positive reviews ... Read More
Typically we book well ahead on our cruises, however a gap in the diary and a strong desire for some serious r and r brought us back onboard Azamara Journey, for the first time ever in an Oceanview room. We had read less positive reviews in the weeks previously and were also concerned about how we would cope sans balcony - however, within minutes we knew we had made the right decision because Azamara Journey is in great shape as ever and we had a brilliant seven nights. Embarkation This was one of the swiftest embarkations we have ever had and it was lovely that the ship was docked down town at the foot of Las Ramblas and not further out in the larger facility. From leaving our hotel (Crowne Plaza Fira very good) to sitting out the back with our first included glass of wine was 27 minutes, my mathematically precise other half tells me. Room We had never had anything other than a suite on Azamara before and so we had read all about the small bathrooms. We were actually pleasantly surprised how spacious the room and bathroom were, the storage was far better than on a Celebrity ship and the bathroom is larger than the ensuite off our guest bedroom. We had expected something like we had experienced on our first ever cruise (NCL) but this was much better. The location on Deck 4 was perfect, very quiet and our stateroom team were excellent and the room was always immaculate and clean and showed no obvious signs of wear and tear. Again we had read that you see a difference in team when you are in the cheaper rooms - most certainly not so. Dining This is where I have my biggest complaint, or maybe it is with the manufacturers of our washing powder because all my clothes are now too tight and I think the other half has a similar issue. Every meal, be it in Windows Café or the main Discoveries Dining Room was well cooked, extremely tasty and just right. The pastries from Mosaic café were a delight (ok I know why we do not want a room on Deck 4 again, it is far too near that Deck 5 den of cake sin and cookie temptation). Service was always attentive, perceptive and with a smile. It is lovely that although waiters have individual areas of responsibility they work as a team, helping each other out and thinking guest first. For us all the food came at the right temperature and generally wine glasses were promptly topped up. They were a little slower topping up the Club sodas but I think when that happened there were usually surrounding tables who had quite extensive and complex demands on the Assistant Waiter re cocktails. A Jazz Brunch was served on the At Sea day and as ever there was a great range of options to eat at that event with the eating accompanied by the Journey Orchestra playing some great Jazz sets. Entertainment We know Azamara will never compete with big ships and full production stages but we enjoyed what was offered most nights. We were a little less keen on the comedy hypnotist (but that is a personal preference) but this was offset by our delight at hearing Brookes Aehron again after a gap of several years. He has lost none of his sparkle!! There are no longer singing duos around, we liked that poolside as we prefer to read quietly there (or sleep) and it had no impact on us elsewhere. The DJ was less energetic than his predecessor but as he had just come on board, perhaps he was still settling into his style and rhythm. The Cruise Director (Eric) is extremely talented and yet also very modest (except when he is coaching Captain Johannes in navigation skills). Seriously though it is great to see staff working hard and yet having fun and being very comfortable as a team. Ports of call Minorca - a gem and a very easily walkable port but not one you will find lots of tourist shops. It is a genuine place, very welcoming and lots of lovely tiny streets to explore Alcudia Mallorca - we were only the second ship ever to call there. A lovely new terminal building a level 15 minute walk from the main beaches and bus to the old town. Unfortunately the local taxis have not yet worked out there is money to be made here, so the lovely large taxi area was empty all day, we are sure they will quickly learn. Some cruisers travelled to Palma for the day both independently and through organised excursions. Some independents found they had a stressful trip back to the ship as the local bus timetables seem to be "optional" but every one did make it back on time (just) Gibraltar - it was misty and a little windy so the Cable Car was not running for some of the day. We opted for a local taxi tour we picked up at the terminal which is at a standard set rate (£22 per person) and was very good and informative. In Gibraltar we also enjoyed our Azamazing evening which was a wonderful night despite the challenges of moving over 500 guests half way up the rock via narrow roads. The venue was wonderful, plenty seats, the music spine tingling and pleasant interval refreshments (the ship had laid on pre departure and welcome back buffets so no risk of going hungry) Cadiz - a lovely town to explore on its own but we opted to go further afield and took the cruiseline excursion to Seville, selecting the Seville on your own tour which is basically just transport to and from the beautiful Cathedral town. This was a great trip and we hope Azamara provide more of these "on your own" options in future as it gives us the security of reliable transport (and for 2 persons, less than the taxi fare) but combines this with the freedom to explore and see what you want at the other end. Being a Sunday we were very limited re the Cathedral but in a way were glad because we might not otherwise have explored Real Alcazar to the extent we did. Lisbon - we arrived lunchtime the day before disembarkation when we were going to spend some more time in Lisbon, so we opted for another trip, this time to Mediaeval Obidos an absolutely charming town 90 mins drive away. Although we were on a large bus (c35 of us) there were two guides and we used audio guide systems, half the bus on channel 1 and half on 2. We took slightly different routes round the village and it worked very well and did not feel like a large group event. Again a good trip we would recommend. Disembarkation This was very well arranged, we had hoped to opt for a late disembarkation but as the ship was on a tight turnaround, this was not offered so we changed our plans. Independent travellers were given a 2 hour window in which they could disembark when the chose, the luggage tags were only being used to help you find your cases. We like this and it all worked well. Summary This cruise reminded us why we like Azamara. It is everything from the relative compact size of the ship (and there are never elevator issues or lines to do anything) to the wonderful crew (not one person let the side down) to the fellow guests (hard to explain but it has the sorts of interesting people we like to cruise with, people who enjoy exploring places, socialising in the evening, but who do not need hip hop music and bling to make their holiday work for them). It was perfect r and r even if it is now requiring some effort on the exercise front to remove that one unwanted but self inflicted souvenir of a great holiday Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
After having sailed on the Rotterdam the past 3 years, we decided to go on the Ryndam this year . We were not disappointed ! What a great ship, being slightly smaller than the Rotterdam there seems to more space per passenger . ... Read More
After having sailed on the Rotterdam the past 3 years, we decided to go on the Ryndam this year . We were not disappointed ! What a great ship, being slightly smaller than the Rotterdam there seems to more space per passenger . Embarkation: smoothly and efficient, we were on board in 15 minutes Public Rooms : all in tip top shape , is this ship 20 years old ? ;-) MDR : we had open seating , it worked out really well, we only had to wait once. The quality of the food is perfect ! Lobstertails are still on the menu... . Although there have cutbacks in the amount of stewards , service is still great. Entertainment : HAL standard, nothing special except for magician Ruben Millegrand and Spanish Dance group. Fitness : was never crowded, enough equipment Ports of Call : except for Portland UK , worth docking !! Disembarkation : we took expedited, walked off with our own bags at 8 o'clock. Hotel Manager, Cruise Director and more staff were at the gangway to say goodbye, nice touch ! In General : very friendly crew ( even on disembarkation day ! ) and a very informative and "social" Captain. I hope that HAL will keep ships like the Ryndam in their fleet for a long time to come. If you 're looking for skating rink, climbing wall etc . not your ship . If you're looking for a great library, trivia quizzes, talking to fellow passengers, a casino , Ryndam is for you . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
Our cruise went Barcelona to Lisbon via Casablanca. The Spain section consisted of daily drop-ins to several Spanish Holiday islands followed by a day in Gibraltar. Then it was off to North Africa and Morocco. The lure of Casablanca was ... Read More
Our cruise went Barcelona to Lisbon via Casablanca. The Spain section consisted of daily drop-ins to several Spanish Holiday islands followed by a day in Gibraltar. Then it was off to North Africa and Morocco. The lure of Casablanca was strong and turned out to be completely different to other parts of Southern Europe. WE also went to see the old city of Rabat mainly to visit the souks and old forts. The it wa soff to Lisbon as the final port. We would strongly recommend Lisbon and Portugal - great sights as a discounted cost to Spain. The trams in Lisbon are magical. The Riviera is a top class ship with all the bells and whistles. We found the food and dining room service exceptional and other facilities enough to keep us happy for the time we were actually on the boat. Evening entertainment starts late and is hard work if you have spent the day sightseeing on land. The only major gripe was the cost of Internet facilities. The cost was real penny pinching considering the quality of other services and the cost of the cruise in general. P.S. Ricks Café was shut. Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise