6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. ... Read More
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. Pros: --Small ship with sails: we don’t enjoy large ships anymore and the sails were beautiful --Excellent service: from the Captain on down, everyone was charming with just a very few exceptions (see cons) —Good food: Mostly excellent. No fails! --Nice fitness room Cons: —Aging ship that needs total re-furbishing: Formica EVERYWHERE, stained carpets, lots of thick, painted-over rust. Small porthole windows and no balconies. —We felt nickeled and dimed: expensive beer and wine prices made us buy the package. Then they tried to up-sell us to the fine wines and mixed drinks. WIFI package was $60 and data ran out in just one day of checking email. So slow! Shore excursions are very pricey—none are included. —Itinerary should have been tweaked for this late-in-the-season cruise. Ibiza was a ghost town—should have been replaced. We did not get Windstar’s usual on-shore special event. Why not? —Docking: the line advertises its ability to dock in small towns and ports, however, we were always docked in a large, industrial port. —Staffing: the front desk staff was cold and dismissive. Everyone else was warm and tried very hard. However, the lounge is terribly understaffed at cocktail hour. Table service was almost non-exisistent! You had to fight your way to the bar and wait. I guess we were hoping for more of a river cruise experience, but perhaps that was unreasonable. I doubt that we will try Windstar again. We will try other small, high-end lines and hope for a better value. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was the middle portion of our back2back2back cruise aboard Wind Surf celebrating my husband's 65th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. Originally we were going to do the first cruise (Treasures of Southern Spain & ... Read More
This was the middle portion of our back2back2back cruise aboard Wind Surf celebrating my husband's 65th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. Originally we were going to do the first cruise (Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco) and then rent a car and travel through the south of France but when we realized this was the next cruise, we booked it! We love Windstar cruises and the port intensive itineraries. We also love the small ship experience and the amazing crew on board. This was our 4th cruise on Windstar and it just gets better and better. Yachtsman's Harbors of the Rivieras was a lovely itinerary and all the stops could easily be done DIY. Since we were already on board, Barcelona was really a stop on our itinerary rather than a boarding day. And since we were staying on board, the day before we had made reservations for Candles and Stella Bistro and found out our key cards would still be valid. Barcelona: We booked tickets ahead of time at Sagrada Familia and Park Guell and walked off the yacht and took a taxi to Sagrada Familia. We had the 9 am tour and were one of the first folks in that morning. We opted for the audio tour which allowed us to go at our own pace. At the end of our visit, we hopped a taxi and headed to Park Guell for our 12 noon group tour. I'm glad we had a tour guide and the views were spectacular but the park was so crowded. One more taxi ride to the market at Las Rambles, a few tapas and a walk back to the yacht put us back on board just prior to our 4 pm all aboard. It was a quick day but we were able to see the sights we had wanted to see. Would more time had been nicer? Of course but it was time for sail away and rest of the Riviera! Port Vendres, France - We had no idea what to do at this port but some friends that were on the first cruise with us suggested we hike to Collioure along the path by the water so we did. It took us awhile but the views were beautiful and Collioure was an adorable town. We wandered throughout and found a wonderful restaurant for lunch run by a mother and daughter team. Shopping afterwards and then we hopped on the small tourist train to take us through the vineyards and back to Port Vendres. Sanary-sur-Mer, France - The market in Sanary-sur-Mer is very large and on Wednesday's it has even more to offer. This was also the day of the Chef's Market Tour so we signed up the night before and away we went. The market was filled with vendors and so many shoppers! We were told people come from all around for this market and I believe it! We stopped at several meat and cheese places and tasted several different kinds of cheese and meats. But quickly the tour was over and we hadn't even seen the chef purchase anything! He told we would see the new items in the next day or so but to be honest, we never could figure out what he might have purchased. We walked around for a bit more and then went and found a meat, cheese and wine shop in town and proceeded to have a lovely, impromptu wine tasting with the owner! We left with several new bottles of wine and a new friend. Monte Carlo, Monaco - Prior to booking this cruise our plan was to rent a car and tour the south of France and stay in Nice for a few days. Hence, the decision to take the train to Nice from Monte Carlo. It was easy to find the train station but trying to purchase a train ticket from the automated machine not so easy. We ended up finding the live person selling tickets to make sure we understood which train to take to Nice and more importantly, how to get back to Monte Carlo. We had just missed a train so it was lunch time by the time we got on. We arrived in Nice in time for a quick walk through the Flower Market which was filled with the most beautiful flowers! We walked to the beach (lots of pebbles) and then found a place for lunch. After a leisurely lunch, we had enough time to wander through some shops and buy some wine at a grocery store (inexpensive and delicious!) before catching the train back to Monte Carlo. We did a bit more shopping in Monte Carlo and then headed back to our yacht. I have to say we were SO thankful to be on Wind Surf that day in Monte Carlo. There was one of those monster ships with hoards of people trying to get back on board. We got caught up in their madness for a brief moment before the port staff realized we were on Wind Surf and got us right through security. It looked like a nightmare on the other side! Cannes, France - Our next stop was in Cannes and we had booked the WS tour Provence Wine Tasting with Chateau Saint Roseline. I had tried to book a private wine tasting tour through several companies prior to boarding but they were so expensive (over 500 euros for the 2 of us) that when we saw this one for $129 each, we went ahead and joined the tour. It turned out to be a wonderful day with 2 different wineries, 7 bottles of wine purchased, and good friends to share the experience. The history of both wineries was interesting and the tour guides well versed. Overall a delightful day tasting wine in Provence! Portofino, Italy - We couldn't make up our minds what to do here so my DH decided we should take the WS tour Cinque Terra by Boat Tour for $189 per person. I would hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone that loves to explore on their own. Here's our experience... The swells were pretty high as we pulled into Portofino which meant a hairy experience boarding the tenders. Because of the weather, it took over an hour to get all the folks on this tour over on the tenders. We then boarded a ferry boat (filled only with the WS tour) to take us to Cinque Terra. Well, you can imagine if the swells were bad on the tenders, they were just as bad on the ferry boat. What was suppose to take about an hour turned into almost double that amount of time. It was a rough morning but the best part was that we were able to see by sea, the 5 villages of the Cinque Terra. (My DH jokes those 5 photographs were the most expensive photographs I ever took!) By the time we finally landed at Monterooso (no other landings available that day due to the waves) we were so far behind we were told we had only 2 hours before we had to board again to go back to Portofino and the yacht! Well, I wasn't the least bit happy about that and I told my DH and the Aussies we were traveling with that day that I was taking the train to Riomaggiore for lunch and I'd figure out how to get back to Portofino later. They all agreed and we told the tour guide we were heading out on our own, found the train station and hopped the next train to Riomaggiore. It was one of the best decisions we made the entire trip! After walking up the one main street in Riomaggiore, we stopped for the most fabulous lunch at the most delightful restaurant! After several courses, many bottles of wine and some limoncello, we ad to say good-bye to our new friends/owners of the place, and litearlly had to run back to catch the train to Santa Margherita. There was an art festival along the water we checked out and then grabbed a taxi back to Portofino in time for pizza, beer and wine. The sunset was glorious over Portofino and we were the last ones on the last tender at 8:30 back to the yacht. It was a most memorable day! We missed the Deck BBQ because we stayed in Portofino so late but we didn't really care since we had such a great day with our Aussie friends. Portoferraio, Italy - Another day without a real plan so we did what we had been doing for 15 days and wandered around Elba on our own. We hiked up to the fort and checked out the views; we found a sidewalk cafe and joined all the locals having Sunday dinner out; we sat back and just relaxed. Easy and delicious! And that brought us to Civitavecchia. A turnaround day for us but a sad day too since we had to now say good-bye to our friends we had met while boarding in Lisbon on cruise #1. Originally I had thought to take a cooking class on our own here but we wandered around instead and took in the local market and stopped for pastries and coffee at a local place. It's definitely a working man's port but we saw lots of families out and about too. It wasn't as scenic as some of our other stops but it is a big city compared to the last few ports of call. We walked the waterway and stopped for a beer and free WiFi before boarding to continue on to our next Wind Surf adventure...Sicilian Splendors! A few notes about our total Wind Surf experience on our back2back2back... We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. Overall, we love Windstar cruises because it suits us. We love port intensive cruises. We love the smallness of the ships and that it affords you the opportunity to get to know your fellow cruisers as well as the officers and staff and they get to know you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had been on three Wind Star cruises before but all were on the smaller Wind Song and Wind Spirit ships so we weren't exactly sure on what to expect with the larger Wind Surf. We loved it. Our cruise had 296 guests on board but you ... Read More
We had been on three Wind Star cruises before but all were on the smaller Wind Song and Wind Spirit ships so we weren't exactly sure on what to expect with the larger Wind Surf. We loved it. Our cruise had 296 guests on board but you never seemed to see any crowds at all except perhaps during dinner in the main dining room. As like all Wind Star cruises the crew were so friendly and helpful. Cruises typically make or break themselves on the food, our food was exceptional, both in quality and variety and having 2 other dining options besides the main dining room was great. Our stateroom was not overly large but was very well laid out and had all the amenities we had come to expect from Wind Star. It was great having 2 options to dance and listen to live music after dinner in both the lounge and the Compass Rose bar. We left ports quite late each night so rarely saw the casino open or very busy, they could use a craps table to give us dice players an option. The ports of call were amazing, each one different and offering great options to do and see. If I was to get picky my 2 negatives were the cost of the shore excursions and the beverage packages. Shore excursions seem to have become a major profit center for the cruise line. On past cruises our nightly introduction to the next day's port was more a general discussion of the history/culture while now it's more of a run through of all the shore excursions that can be bought. We booked 2 shore excursions on our own prior to travelling that were identical to the ship's version and paid less than half the price. The shore excursions we did do through the ship were very well run, professional and insightful. The beverage package is pricey and sort of mickey mouse for an upscale cruise line. Why not just add $300 to the price of the cruise and make it all drinks included, minus the high end stuff. Bartenders always needing to determine what package you have or if you even have one, it was annoying and unnecessary. Overall, a great cruise with great people, love the Casual Elegance atmosphere. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I chose to sail with Windstar to celebrate my 50th Birthday accompanied by both my parents and sister. Below is an honest and unbiased review of what was a very positive experience. It is obvious on boarding the Wind Surf that she is ... Read More
I chose to sail with Windstar to celebrate my 50th Birthday accompanied by both my parents and sister. Below is an honest and unbiased review of what was a very positive experience. It is obvious on boarding the Wind Surf that she is not just any cruise ship and that Captain Gerry Hogan is very proud her. Quite rightly so. Wind Surf is the flagship of the Windstar fleet and she is a beautiful sailing motor yacht. Captain Hogan is there to welcome his guests onboard and he is there at the end the journey to bid you farewell. It’s a personal touch that sets the tone for a cruise that is truly different. As she sails from destination to destination you’ll feel immersed in the experience, rather than just a passenger travelling upon a ship. The Staterooms might be more functional than they are luxurious, but they are nicely appointed with comfy beds, quality bathroom products and lots of storage space. The Staterooms give you the feel that you are actually on a sailing yacht rather than some grandiose floating hotel. The quality of the food throughout the ship is excellent and there are some lovely dinning options, with two speciality restaurants located on deck and a ship’s BBQ night which none of us will forget! AmphorA is the main dining room. It is sophisticated and elegant with service to match, without being over stuffy. However it is customer service where Wind Surf really excels and without doubt it has to be said, it is second to none! The ship’s crew are beyond outstanding and work tirelessly to ensure your cruise will be an unforgettable one. They have a sense of camaraderie that will make you feel you’re amongst friends and not just there as a paying guest. Windstar deserve every accolade they win. Congratulations! Our thanks go to all the Wind Surf crew for making our trip so memorable. They say Windstar is “180 degrees from ordinary” … “that she will feel like your own sailing yacht.” They are bold claims, but when her sails go up on your last sail away, you’ll know what they mean. Wind Surf … She is is special ship that none of us will forget. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
I had waited a long time to experience this special yacht and I put off writing this review because I do not enjoy writing negative comments ...but here we go..... Like many people now, we have been on dozens of cruises and around 9 or so ... Read More
I had waited a long time to experience this special yacht and I put off writing this review because I do not enjoy writing negative comments ...but here we go..... Like many people now, we have been on dozens of cruises and around 9 or so different cruise lines so I was looking forward so much to the quality and service on this large yacht. The cabin we had was very spacious and well designed. Our cabin steward was very polite and professional. I was looking forward so much to 5 or maybe 4 star dining like they have in most cruise ships "speciality restaurants ".The FOOD.....Example.…They had burgers on the written daily lunch menu....The lunch choice was limited, so I ordered a burger without chips.....The waitress brought a burger WITH CHIPS ….why did you bring me chips I asked politely......IT COMES THAT WAY !!! the waitress replied staring at me with a rather puzzled look. She offered no options. Is this professionally trained waitressing ? There were several more instances which I will leave out because it will annoy me to recall them. This was the general level of service and food quality we experienced on this luxury cruise. The officers were very friendly as were the majority of the crew with plenty of passenger space and good quality live music. In my experience and on this particular cruise we were on, If you enjoy "Thomson" (Marella) cruise levels of professionalism, service and food choice and quality, then the Windsurf will not disappoint you To end on a very positive note.....The guests, who were mainly American speaking and almost all of them thought that almost everything was " AWESOME " including the "CHICKEN STOO " in the pot ,in the self-service buffet..... .Hopefully we were one of only a few couples who were disappointed with this particular cruise. This is only OUR opinion Please ,someone tell me that we got this review all wrong because I really like this very special sailing ship. 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I had sailed Wind Surf several years ago and it was the only ship I knew I could recommend to my sister who was paying for it. Although I rated this as Excellent, I must get the negatives out of the way first. 1) the WINDSTAR sales ... Read More
I had sailed Wind Surf several years ago and it was the only ship I knew I could recommend to my sister who was paying for it. Although I rated this as Excellent, I must get the negatives out of the way first. 1) the WINDSTAR sales office is aloof and does not return calls or answer questions to our satisfaction. I had previously used Vacations to Go and I will go back to them in the future rather than the WINDSTAR Sales office in Seattle. I think it is wise to compare the price of cruise cancellation insurance with both companies or go through AMEX for booking and insurance. 2) there is a mysterious $626 charge by WS on the Amex that NO ONE can explain, charged April 28 when we were in air transit 3) there is another $390 charge for something after the cruise charged by WS 4) upon landing and disembarking in Venice we had to walk approximately 1/2 mile to customs and immigration (this may have been the private transporters fault, so it would be very wise to check this) we are 70 and I am impaired and it was an unreasonable hike. 5) the Surf did not honor its own policy regarding smoking and we found it impossible to get away from. It was not possible to enjoy the deck by the pool as it was overwhelmed by cigarette and cigar smoke. To us this would have been a deal breaker had we known that windsurf would not enforce their own written policy. This changed after the first week when we and others filed written complaints. 6) the port stop in Sicily is dirty and we found no place to get away from cigarette smoke 7) although my sister is not afraid of spending lots of money, we found the tours offered by WS were outrageously expensive. We could engage a private car service at the pier for a reasonable fee. The one tour that we would have been willing to pay the outrageous fee was hogged by a corporate group who took most of the tours and managed to bounce private travelers off. Not cool, WINDSTAR. Positives 1) on board, the staff is amazing: Abby at the Reception desk, talented Robert at the cappuccino machine who made our cappuccino with soy milk instead of milk), Jonas and Gonzalo at the tour desk, all the awesome chefs, the first mate Ailine (who actually sailed the ship), the cabin steward for rm 310 who has been on the WindSurf for 17 years, the laundry service, the spa (best pedicure ever), the guys on the launch who took very special care of me and my inability to balance, Allen the F&B director and his amazing wait staff who truly worked their tails off for us - all with a positive attitude and a smile every single time - even when we changed tables four times (not kidding), the singing hotel manager, the executive chef who let us tag along on his market trips and bought raspberries and honey for us, the executive sous chef who personally picked out my fish and made us a birthday cake (we are twins) 2) we recommend getting the optional laundry package ($110 for the week for the cabin), usually in by 9, back by 4, done up perfectly, IRONED! 3) do attend the crews talent show. We laughed until we cried 4) this not a cruise for children 5) we loved the private events, Villa Durazo in Porto Fino and the Gambino Winery in Sicily 6) stay out on deck for the sail away - it is majestic 7) this beautiful ship commands attention in the ports - even the locals photograph it! It is the only cruise ship that is permitted to traverse the grand basin in Venice. It is beyond special. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We were in cabin 328 on the May cruise "Glitter and Glam" of the Riviera. It was fabulous. I booked thru my travel agent and also dealt with the corporate call center too when I had questions. We had been on the Wind Star in 1988 ... Read More
We were in cabin 328 on the May cruise "Glitter and Glam" of the Riviera. It was fabulous. I booked thru my travel agent and also dealt with the corporate call center too when I had questions. We had been on the Wind Star in 1988 in the Caribbean -- so we wanted to duplicate that wonderful experience for our 70th birthday year of travel! We were able to upgrade to a suite because the boat was not full. We did a few excursions via WindStar and they were wonderful. We went by bus to St Tropez. The bus was immaculate, our guide spoke great English and had a tremendous amount of info on Cote de Provence Rose. Julia, one of the Wind Star officer's wife accompanied our little group of 14 to better evaluate the tour company. Top notch. The tour to Monte Carlo was equally wonderful. Like the sisters, who were on our trip, we really enjoyed Villa Durazzo and it was great. I guess we drank the kool aid because both my husband and I loved the trip. The food, the service, the ship's cleanliness, the attitude of everyone who worked on the boat was AA+. We have been on cruises with other cruise lines but the WindStar is so great unlike anything else. We also worked with Kristina, the photographer, to take our picture with a flag we brought from our previous WindStar experience. Everyone went out of their way to help us enjoy our trip. Our cabin steward, Ady, helped us get acclimated. He was attentive but not in our way. We felt very safe too - a concern sailing in the Mediterranean. We enjoyed ourselves so much we just booked the Baltics Delight cruise next summer! We had no trouble with billing. Everything was perfect. Well done Wind Surf and Wind Star Cruises Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
No children are allowed. Service and food were quite good. Ports were interesting and easy to walk around without an escort. There was a free two night stay in Lisbon which was a lovely way to end the cruise. Low key entertainment after ... Read More
No children are allowed. Service and food were quite good. Ports were interesting and easy to walk around without an escort. There was a free two night stay in Lisbon which was a lovely way to end the cruise. Low key entertainment after dinner consisting of flamenco dancers one night. Every night we enjoyed going to cocktail lounge with friends, chatting and listiening or dancing to a wonderful combo. No glitzy show with 2 thoushand people in attendance. Ambiance just what we like, low key. We booked this same cruise again for June 29th a only this time we are taking our adult children with us to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. When we arrive at Malaga, we booked Spain Day Tours to take us to Granada to see the famous Alhambra. We hope other from our ship will join us on this tour to make it even more memorable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
7 day Western Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona to Rome. Ports included: Collioure, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portovenere and Portoferraio. We stayed two nights at the Wilson Boutique hotel in Barcelona prior to the cruise. ... Read More
7 day Western Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona to Rome. Ports included: Collioure, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portovenere and Portoferraio. We stayed two nights at the Wilson Boutique hotel in Barcelona prior to the cruise. This was the hotel that Windstar is affiliated with in Barcelona. Hotel was just ok, from speaking to others it seems like there was a big difference in the rooms in the hotel, some were large and comfortable, others were very small and cramped. Ours was somewhere in between. Really enjoyed the smaller ports, Collioure and Portovenere. This was one big advantage to cruising on a smaller ship, I don't think bigger ships would go into smaller ports like these. Overall we liked the Wind surf, beautiful ship, we were happy with our cabin and the service. We liked the small ship experience and getting to know many other passengers. The food was hit and miss and overall disappointing though. Breakfast and lunch were fine. Dinner was generally disappointing though and didn't compare well to a previous cruise we had done on Holland America. Most ports we anchored offshore and tendered in. This didn't really bother us, but it generally took a little longer to get on and off the ship. We had some rough weather at times which made some of the tender rides a bit of an adventure, but we ended up kind of enjoying it. The ship itself rocked back and forth quite a bit but we had no problems with seasickness and we didn't hear of anyone else who had problems. Because of rough seas we were unable to anchor at Portofino which was the original plan and instead anchored at Portovenere which was a more sheltered harbour. Was disappointing to miss Portofino, but Portovenere was lovely. We did a couple of excursions and enjoyed them all, particularly the Provence Wine Tasting from Cannes. Would consider doing another Windstar cruise, but will probably try a different cruise line next. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
My Wife and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary aboard the Wind Surf on the Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras tour (Barcelona-Rome) Sept 20-27th, 2014. The key to this cruise is knowing what to expect, so you're not disappointed. We ... Read More
My Wife and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary aboard the Wind Surf on the Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras tour (Barcelona-Rome) Sept 20-27th, 2014. The key to this cruise is knowing what to expect, so you're not disappointed. We chose it mainly for 3 reasons: 1) the ports of call, 2) the intimacy and personal service of a small ship, and 3) small ship access to the ports. We're experienced cruisers and travelers. Here's our honest opinion of our trip last week. THE SHIP: This gal is 26 years old and shows every bit of it. She's tired, rusted, requires a ton of lipstick and daily maintenance to appear reasonably presentable up close, but from afar, she's got an amazing silhouette, classic lines and turns heads everywhere she goes. It's far from a luxury ship as frequently described, but it has a certain character to her that is rather appealing. It holds just over 300 passengers so it's small and therefore not at all crowded, intimate, and is able to access ports that monster sized ships don't. The staterooms are updated, comfortable and exceptionally well designed with plenty of storage and built-in 115V (US/Canada) and 230V (Europe) power outlets. There's a well appointed gift shop that's quite reasonably priced and stocks anything you might forget, and some nice memorabilia. This ship is surprisingly stable. It has very tall masts which offer balance and stability. The ship is 600 feet long and has very little rocking motion. It is however 28 years old and mechanical noise does transfer through the ship. Fortunately, the captain uses the sales virtually all the time while sailing at night which reduces/eliminates use of the engines. We've cruised on much bigger ships that are quieter, but have much more noticeable rocking motion than this ship. OUTDOOR DECKS: The outdoor seating is mainly at the rear of the ship. The largest is at the rear of the ship around the tiny pool and 2 small hot tubs. Above the main level there's a smaller deck with bar, and an even smaller deck above that. Seating is very limited on all 3 rear decks. However, along both sides of the ship there are plenty of seats, usually unoccupied, and offering quiet enjoyment with excellent views. THE SERVICE: We had Captain John Clark (who is a total comedic riot), Hotel Manager Ratko Strbac (who is extremely enthusiastic and approachable), and the entire crew work exceptionally hard to personalize your trip and create a relaxed, casual atmosphere with outstanding service to make up for the ship being old, tired, and not a luxury vessel. You're made to feel like you're visiting with family (in their old outdated house). Senior management are highly accessible and mingle with guests frequently. Whenever the ship is at sea, passengers are welcome to visit and experience the Captain's Bridge and control room. This is very unique to Windstar Cruises, and part of the approachable, hands-on environment of this cruise line. THE FOOD: If you're looking to engorge yourself on 24/7 buffet, this is not the ship for you. Breakfast and lunch buffets are very good, with variety of fresh fruit, breads, hot foods, selection of hot items and made-to-order fair. You can always order room service, which we never did, but heard it's excellent. Dinners are very good, served in the formal dining room (business casual dress, dinner jackets without tie for men, although some men come in just dress shirts and collared polos, no shorts allowed). There are specialty nights that you have to book as soon as you board, one is "Candles" outdoor dining, the other is French cuisine at "Stellas". Both are excellent menus, but located in re-purposed areas used for dining during the day (not separate restaurants). Again, it's about the food and service, not the ship. You do have the option to dine alone or sit with other couples, which is a great way to meet people from around the world. ENTERTAINMENT: We were well aware the onboard entertainment is minimal. We took this cruise for the ports, which are the real entertainment, and used the ship simply as a water taxi from port to port. If you're looking to stay onboard the ship for high entertainment value, you'll be sorrily disappointed. It's not that kind of cruise. Whenever the ship is anchored at port, the rear garage opens up to create a small water park with water slide, trampoline, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and water skiing... all dependent on weather conditions. DEMOGRAPHIC: There are no children onboard (I don't think they're forbidden). Virtually no travelers in their 20's. Just the odd couple in their 30's. We are in our 40's and found almost no others. Most of the passengers are late 50's, 60's and early-mid 70's. The average age is about 65. Onboard entertainment is matched accordingly. Most "nightlife" on the ship shuts down very early. Again, this isn't a party boat, but rather, a unique means of getting from port to port where all the action is. A very large percentage of the passengers are multi-repeat customers. THE PORTS: 1- BARCELONA SPAIN: Amazing metropolitan lively bustling city with excellent architecture, entertainment, historic sites, shopping, and excellent means of getting around. Highly recommend the all-day hop on/hop off open air bus with guided tutorial of points of interest. It takes you everywhere you'd want to visit. La Rambla is the most happening street in town, full of non-stop activity, cafes, restaurants, rocking night life, but also has loads of thieves, scammers and pick-pockets, so exercise caution. 2- PORT VENDRES FRANCE: Sleepy little fishing village. Aside from the main street of shops surrounding the marina, and a couple old castles nearby, there's not much happening here. Great day to take an excursion into the scenic countryside. If they dropped this port from the itinerary, it would improve the journey. 3- MARSEILLE FRANCE: Large, overpopulated and very dirty city. Extremely rude, uncooperative and unfriendly French locals once you get off the main tourist streets. Several points of interest best visited by the tiny tourist train that circulates throughout the city. Awesome view and photo opportunities from the hilltop in the east end overlooking the city. Can easily see the city in half a day, spend the other half in the countryside on excursion. 4- CANNES FRANCE: By far our favorite port of call on this trip. Small, quaint, picturesque town on the sea, in a large scenic cove, with tremendous display of wealth in mega yachts, hotels, cars and shopping. You'll surely recognize scenes from some of the many movies shot here. It's lifestyles of the rich and famous, but there's also a fabulous area in the west end of town for local shopping, food market, restaurants, historic buildings, and casual touring. Once again, take the tiny train tour to oversee all the hot spots and get a great impression of the town overall. This place is oozing with charm, glamour and scenery. Could easily spend 2 full days here, wish we could drop Port Vendres and double up on Cannes. 5- MONTE CARLO/MONACO: The home of uber-rich. Monaco is the flaunting ground of the super rich and famous... mega yachts, exotic cars, jet setter lifestyle, extremely expensive shops, this place reminds you that you're not a Billionaire. Best way to see it all is the open air hop on/hop off guided tour bus. You'll see the royal family's castle, the old historic town, the famous hercule marina, the lavish Monte Carlo Casino (totally over-rated as a casino, the kind of place you go just to say you've been, but don't get excited about the gambling, it's a flop in that regard), the Cafe Paris, and Hotel de Paris. Be mindful of bus schedules, getting stranded anywhere in Monaco is a problem as there are virtually no taxis in town! Most of the major streets you'll travel are part of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit which is interesting. Monaco is extremely hilly but also very wealthy. There are elevators and escalators everywhere, so you don't have to sweat too much. 6- PORTOFINO ITALY: This very picturesque village is a great spot to spend the day walking in an unhurried pace, visiting local shops, cafes, restaurants and sites. Santa Margherita is within a long walk, but there are plenty of water taxis and shuttles going frequently if you want more shopping (be mindful of the 1-4pm daily closures). Walking or driving along winding seaside roads is breathtaking. 7- PORTOFERRAIO ITALY: A small, sleepy little village much like Port Vendres France (stop #1) this place we could do without. It's got one of everything you need to sustain life, a few general stores, cafes, restaurants, and that's about it. Not much happening here as you'll quickly discover by taking the tiny train tour. Their claim to fame is a loose connection to Napolean, which is exploited touristically. Beyond that, there's little so see or do here. We wish this port was dropped in exchange for something more appropriate or traded for more time in Cannes or Monaco. 8- CIVITAVECCHIA ITALY: This is not a destination, it's the remote ship port town serving Rome, which is 1 hour drive away. There's nothing to see or do here, other than mildly interesting remains of the stone wall that once surrounded the town. The 1 hour drive along the cost is relaxing, with views of the sea, rolling hills, mountains of Tuscany in the distance, and a couple small villages along the way. 9- ROME ITALY: Rome is Rome. Thousands of years of history, churches, monuments, and attractions. 3 cities built on top of each other, there's plenty to see and do here. It's not our personal taste of destination. We find Rome to be grossly overcrowded, very dirty, riddled with graffiti and in desperate need of cleaning. The food is very good, but getting around is not fun, and when you leave, you'll likely fly out of Rome's airport, which is not at all within the city, but a good 30-45 minutes drive to its coastal location. DAILY VISITS TO EACH PORT OF CALL: One thing that was poorly done by Windstar is providing passengers with a good meaningful overview of each port with helpful tourist advice. There's a brief tourist version write-up left in your stateroom each day, and a sales pitch on a small number of Windstar-organized excursions. But we found it very helpful to step off the ship each morning and head straight for the tourist office. Get a local map, ask the office to circle major points of interest and highlight the stops for any hop on/hop off bus tours, we found these to be the best way to explore and see the cities. You should also Google each port of call to see if there happens to be any major events while you're there. For example, there was a major sailing regatta in Cannes and the international yacht show in Monaco. Both were huge events that Windstar never mentioned, but we discovered and enjoyed very much. INTERNET: This is the single most disappointing part of this cruise and the ports of call. Onboard, there is internet/wifi which you purchase (not cheap) but it's painfully slow and highly unreliable. Avoid the pain, put your devices away and don't even bother trying. In port, the wifi is very unreliable, with the exception of Cannes and Monaco, which were both excellent. TIPS: - Buy a half decent pocket digital camera. We saw so many passengers trying to take pictures on their phones. The ports and sites and onboard views are amazing, you won't catch them on your cheap camera too well. - Also buy a small portable tripod, the kind with flexible legs so you can wrap it around a pole or other structure to take a nice picture of the two of you, so every photo isn't a "selfie". Bring a spare battery and charge both in your room, so you can take pictures all day. - Buy a travel shoulder bag with zippered pockets for security against pick-pockets and thieves, and watch your items very closely. Never carry your wallet or valuable in your back pockets or open bags. - Buy a voltage adapter and carry it with you and onboard to charge batteries and phone. - Book onboard appointments early (spa, special dinners, etc.) they fill up fast, do it as soon as you board. - Onboard wine with dinner is $30+ per bottle. Good wine is $3-$6 Euro in each port. You can buy and bring wine onboard and drink it free in your room, or bring it to dinner for a $15 Euro corkage fee. Drinks on the ship in general are not cheap. - Most ports have old cobble stone roads/walkways, which require very comfortable shoes   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
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 ... Read More
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!   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This was our 8th Wind Star cruise (six on the Wind Surf, two on the Wind Spirit). As Wind Star cruises emerges from bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years, we had some concerns as we boarded the Wind Surf on Easter Sunday in Barcelona. ... Read More
This was our 8th Wind Star cruise (six on the Wind Surf, two on the Wind Spirit). As Wind Star cruises emerges from bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years, we had some concerns as we boarded the Wind Surf on Easter Sunday in Barcelona. Fortunately the cabin stewards, restaurant and bar staff all delivered excellent service throughout our cruise. No complaints. We remain amazed at the staff's level of professionalism, their positive attitude,their enthusiasm and competence.The ship carried 200 passengers(2/3rd occupancy) on our cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia with stops in Majorca, St Tropez, Monte Carlo and Portofino. We were traveling with 2 other couples who had never sailed on a cruise ship before. We enjoyed pleasant weather for most of the cruise.My wife and I sailed on the Wind Surf in the Med previously in September 2010 (Venice to Civitavecchia). On both cruises we noticed a deterioration in the quality of evening meals served. Breakfasts and lunches were excellent, but suppers were hit and miss. Our other criticism revolve around the excursion staff. At our first port of call, Palma (Majorca), the ship arranged for hourly complimentary bus transfers between the ship and town-center. We were given a schedule when we left the ship. On our return many passengers were waiting at the designated pickup location for over an hour because the bus driver was following a less frequent schedule. We showed the driver our schedule but she told us that she would only follow the schedule that her employer gave her. Three of us took an excursion to Le Lavandou, a coastal town in Province, about a 45 drive west of St Tropez. It was a bad $79 per person investment. The trip lacked any significant points of interest. We drove through several interesting villages (such as Bormes-les-Momosas) but we were not allowed to explore them. Lastly the excursion directors on both cruises were of little value to independent travelers. The information provided at the nightly 10 minute lectures was disappointing. Requests for train schedule information and travel info received little attention.Our friends who just completed their 4th Wind Star cruise on the Wind Spirit (Civitavecchia to Anthens), reported to us that evening meals on their cruise were disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel ... Read More
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel [recommended!] Caught a cab down the Ramblas to the pier  this cost 12¬ which is a lot cheaper than the $65 that Windstar wanted for the transfer. Boarding started at 2pm  a strange procedure  all the photos and credit card taking was done when we were on board sitting in the lounge. At least they served a glass of champers and some canapEs when we waited. We had a suite #337  port side forward  the suites are basically two back to back cabins with a hole knocked between them. No further alterations have been made so you are left with two vanity units, two cupboards, two fridges, two mini bars, four safes and best of all two bathrooms. New dEcor on the beds is a pretty gold/maroon colour  the beds seemed new and were very very comfortable. However the woodwork in the room was all chipped and scratched and looked rather tired. This was my impression of the whole ship  and I think it is going into dry dock shortly so perhaps they will give it a good revamp as it certainly needs it. On my previous cruises whenever we docked there was always some poor guy dangling over the side with a tin of paint painting the hull but this did not happen at all  and the poor hull was all scratched and marked as if the captain had had a few troubles in the past trying to park the ship!!! I took a peek into a normal cabin and these appeared to be very small with no seating area at all  unless you sat on the bed. Because the windows are portholes all the cabins are always quite dark. Food was generally very good  the breakfasts were vast spreads with separate omelette chef and the waffle chef areas. Lunches were often speciality buffets like Mexican or Greek or Lobster days and these were excellent. There was full afternoon tea at 4pm and on a few evenings they had canapEs at 6:30. Dinners were slightly disappointing  there are two restaurants and we ate every night in the smaller Bistro which requires booking on the day at 8am. Menus were simple. The dEcor in the Bistro was again rather shabby  again I am used to sumptuous dining rooms with chandeliers, ornate paintings, plush carpets, drapes and wallpaper  but the Bistro had faux wood walls, one picture and a few tired looking yucca plants! One evening they had a Indonesian theme evening which was very good and on another there was a Mediterranean themed buffet complete with suckling pigs. This was followed by the crew show which involved a few dances from their local countries [Indonesia and Philippines] and then a few more traditional show numbers like YMCA On board these smaller ships you tend to make your own entertainment. There is a small pool and 2 Jacuzzis - the chair hogs were in force and it was sometimes difficult to find a chair on sea days. In the evening there was a group who played in the lounge  the dance floor is so small though you could not really dance properly, and there was a duo who played in the Compass Rose bar  thought that the volume was rather loud for the size of the room. The ship had a casino and the usual art auctions  didnt try either. Ports of call were Ibiza, Palma, Malaga and Tangiers. I never take the ships tours and tend to do my own thing. In both Ibiza and Palma they laid on a courtesy bus to take you to the town  this ran every ½ hour. In Malaga they did not  caught a cab to El Corte Ingles [the department store] and then walked slowly back to the ship via coffee, the Cathedral and a leisurely lunch. The cathedral is spectacular and well worth a visit. In Tangiers we just took one of the local guides who met the ship  the cost was $20 for all four of us for a ½ day tour which seemed good value to me. Weather was good through out apart from a bit of rain in Palma. Even saw dolphins and a whale....! Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment N/A 0.0
Service 3.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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