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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not ... Read More
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not disappointed. Edinburgh is a lovely city, offering fantastic history, architecture, and pub food & drink. Upon arrival, we were pleased to learn that the city was celebrating their annual "Festival Fringe", billed as the world's largest arts festival, spanning 25 days of nonstop music, dance, comedy, and poetry in over 300 venues. The Royal Mile leading up to the Castle was thronged with people, many in costume. Every block had one or more stages, with performances every 30 minutes. What a great time! The cruise got off to a bad start at embarkation, when we arrived at dockside in Edinburgh, only to be informed that the Wind Surf was actually in Dundee, over 60 miles away! After a frantic taxi ride (an extra 160 Euros) we arrived in Dundee, then drove around in circles for a while searching for the "King George V Wharf", which even the local taxi drivers had never heard of. As we got near the water we could see the masts of the ship, but it took quite a while to find the completely unmarked dock entrance. As we go onboard we saw many other taxis pulling up with frustrated looking customers. As we got to the top of the gangway, I was greeted warmly by Nick Bulger, the Wind Surf's Hotel Manager, a good friend from several previous cruises. Soon we were comfortably situated in Cabin 327, our first time in a suite, and certainly not the last. By the time we got to dinner we had already touched base with several of our favorite crew members such as Nova, Casey, Jun, Phillip, Merrick, and Chef Eddy. A few other crew members heard that I was on board, and tracked me down in the Compass Rose just to say hello. It's this kind of warm personal service that sets Windstar 180 degrees from ordinary, indeed. Unfortunately, our favorite entertainers, Craig and Nikki from the "Rain" duo, were not on board (Nikki just had a baby!) Their replacements were a British duo, the "Upbeats" who were very good vocalists. The main band was "High Society", which seems to change lead singers every cruise. They are a family act, and don't offer much energy or showmanship. They play before and after dinner, and seldom can entice anyone onto the dance floor. The only time I saw any dancing at all was after the weekly BBQ, when the crew got everyone up for line dancing. However, the amateur show put on by the crew was greatly improved, including a hysterically funny synchronized swimming act. Contrary to some recent CC reviews, I thought the ship was in great shape, and our cabin was immaculate. The food was excellent, with some local dishes mixed in with the normal Asian-influenced menu. Service, as always, was very attentive and personal. Our cruise itinerary was very interesting, entirely in small ports such as Invergordon, the Orkney Islands, and the Isle of Man. In several ports the ship was anchored out, rather than moored at a pier. On a few occasions when the sea was a bit choppy the tender ride to and from the ship got a little rocky, and on one occasion the Captain had to cut off the tender service entirely. The weather was cool, usually around 60F degrees, and often foggy in the morning. However, there was sunshine almost every day. The last stop was in Dublin, where we visited the fascinating Guinness Museum, and learned how to do the "perfect pour" of Guinness Stout. I am not a big fan of Guinness, but I do like dark beers, and was able to buy several Guinness variants that are not widely available in the U.S., such as Indian Porter, Double Stout and XX. Another great cruise! This was also our first ever back/back cruise, as we continued on to France, Spain and Portugal --- the topic of a second review. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was the 6th cruise for my wife and me; our first was on Silversea (which was very good), and our next 4 were all on Seabourn which were all superb. We chose this WindStar cruise because of its itinerary -- starting in Scotland, with ... Read More
This was the 6th cruise for my wife and me; our first was on Silversea (which was very good), and our next 4 were all on Seabourn which were all superb. We chose this WindStar cruise because of its itinerary -- starting in Scotland, with stops in Norway, Denmark, Germany, and ending in Sweden. We'd been to Scandinavia before and looked forward to returning. Based on ratings and reviews of Windstar, we expected the ship and its meals and services to be close to what we experienced on Seabourn. The itinerary did not disappoint; the ship, service and meals did. I suppose that if we had never sailed on Seabourn (or even Silversea), we might not have noticed as much; we expected Windstar to be comparable in quality to those two cruise lines, and it was not. No ONE thing on Windstar was terrible; but it was a collection of countless "little things" (our list reached 40 items) that added up to a significantly lower level of service than the likes of Seabourn offered. Although a few of the meals on Windstar were very good, most were average and a more than a couple were far below average. There were issues with cleanliness, lack of communications (such as the captain failing to announce when we were able to disembark), and poor service. If you've never sailed with top lines such as Seabourn or Silversea, you might not notice or mind some of the Windstar issues that stood out to us. But if you have sailed on these other top-tier lines, our advice would be to prepare yourself for a significantly lower level of quality and of service when sailing with Windstar -- or, just make the decision to NOT run the risk of disappointment and stick with Seabourn. That's what we're going to do from now on. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in Northern Europe without a stop in St. Petersburg. Most Baltic cruises go to Russia. Since I do not agree with Putin's politics, I didn't want to go to Russia. Starting in Edinburgh was also an attraction. We stayed in Edinburgh for 2 nights before the cruise. The cruise left from the port of Lieth which is very close to Old town Edinburgh. We arrived at the dock at 1 pm to check in. We were met by the cruise director that told us that boarding was delayed until 3 pm because the ship was being deep cleaned as the last cruise had noro virus. We were able to check our bags at the dock. We were also told that we would recieve $25pp OBC for the inconvience. Instead of just waiting at the dock, we visited the Queen's yacht, The Britania. It was berthed next to the Windsurf. The self guided audio tour was excellent. It was about 4pm when we returned to the dock. At that time, we boarded the ship, checked in, and booked times at Candles and Stella Bistro. Checking in was quick. We were told not to unpack since as Yacht Club members we were on the upgrade list. Since we liked pur cabin location and all cabins are the same, we declined an upgrade. We were on deck one slightly forward. It was a great location. When the sea doors are shut when the ship is arriving or departing, being forward allowed us access to the elevator. Our previous time on the Windstar we were midship and were closed off from access to the elevators. We enjoyed the casual atmosphere. No lines, dine whenever you want, unlimited non-alcohlic drinks, fabulous food, outstanding service, etc. being on the Windsurf was wonderful. We enjoyed breakfasts and most lunches in the Veranda. We enjoyed dinners in Aamphora. We also liked our 2 dinners in the specialty venues. Candles used to be aft on the pool deck. It is now on the star deck near the veranda. It has wind/rain shields allowing you to eat outside most of the time. The fliet at Candles is fantastic. The menus in the veranda and Aamphora change daily. Often, the chef adds local items. We enjoyed the Norwegian salmon, smoked items, fresh fruits, and local cheeses and sausages. The deck bbq was outstanding.. We enjoyed quick snacks at the Yacht Club and tea in the Compass Rose. Room service was excellent. Call, order, and it arrived quickly. Want something that wasn't on a menu, usually no problem. If the ingredients are on the ship, they will make it for you. We especially enjoyed the special event which included a canal boat tour in Copenhagen, an after hours tour at a museum with a private reception of delicious local cuisine and drinks. In most ports we did our own thing. We did buy 2 excursions from the ship. In Copenhagen, we went on the Dragor fishing village tour. It was mostly a bus tour of Copenhagen with a short stop at Dragor. Description misrepresented the tour. Having been in Copenhagen twice before, we were expecting a tour completely outside the city. In Visby, we took the West Coast drive and city tour. It was excellent. We also enjoyed having the unlimited same day laundry service. It was a pleasure to arrive home. Instead of spending time doing laundry, I unpacked my clean clothes. Entertainment was very limited. The band in the main lounge was excellent. The duo in Compass Rose was poor. The guest lecturer was ok. In one port, there was a men's chior singing local songs. The crew put on a show one night. Not much else doing on the ship. I spent a lot of time reading or talking with guests. Each night before we arrived at a port, cruise director gave a short presentation about the port. I was happy that I had researched the port before the cruise. The info on the ship was very basic. They kept trying to persuade guests to buy expensive excursions. The ship excursions were overpriced. Aside from pushing the excursions, there was no real hard sell like you get on the large mass market cruises. weather was good. It was warm enough on most days to enjoy being on the outside deck areas. Went into the pool. The sport platform did not open. We enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Overall: a WONDERFUL cruise!!! Note: This cruise is geared towards adults. I only remember seeing 2 older teens on the trip, and we all thought that they must be lonely and bored. The Windstar web site can be confusing. . . . call them ... Read More
Overall: a WONDERFUL cruise!!! Note: This cruise is geared towards adults. I only remember seeing 2 older teens on the trip, and we all thought that they must be lonely and bored. The Windstar web site can be confusing. . . . call them if you have questions. When trying to figure out the actual boarding time - ignore the website and stick with what is written on your document voucher that arrives several weeks before your cruise. The suites on Deck 3 are well worth the money!! They have 2 bathrooms and 2 sets of closet, drawer and desk areas. Note- their hair dryers are small and have little power- if I were to do it again, I would take my own. I am from the US, and there is one US plug at each desk area. There are several "europe-type" of plug sites. The bed was very comfortable!! (Seriously, the best thing about the room is having 2 bathrooms!!!!!!) The food is good. There are 3 places to dine for dinner. The Amphora is their standard dining room and the attire is "country club" (no jeans ). The other two places are Stella Bistro (more dressy- but not "over the top") and Candles (casual - jeans are ok). The Amphora has a standard menu and additional items that change nightly. The Stella Bistro and Candles have the exact same menu each night. One night is a BBQ- so all of the restaurants are closed. The BBQ was actually pretty good..... the grilled lobster was excellent!! If you have a large party traveling together or know where you want to eat on certain nights, make reservations at Stella Bistro or Candles. They do fill up. No reservations are needed for Amphora. The excursions that Windstar offers at the ports are more pricey than what you would pay, if you were to arrange taxi transportation on your own. If you book the excursions on-line, on your MY WINDSTAR account, before you go on your cruise, you will be able to cancel them if you change your mind. Cancel as soon as you know that you want to get out of it - if you know this before your trip, CALL them to cancel, because you won't be able to cancel on the web site. Once you are on the boat there is a schedule of excursions and a note about when you need to cancel by in order to get a refund. If you cancel excursions, once you are on board, the $$ will appear on your account as a credit, and unless you drink a lot, you'll have a credit at the end of your trip. We were able to book a private tour with a personable young tour guide, who takes you in his BMW. Check out his website: Gavin Nicholson www.invergordontours.com. He could do tours at 2 of the ports of call: Portree and Invergordon. Drink plan ----- it is pretty pricey and unless you drink A LOT, you don't need it. The cost of "normal" wine (including tip) was @ $8.50 a glass. Read your daily menu of activities carefully. There are good things to attend, like the staff talent show, the Scottish folk group, Captain's Cocktail Party and more. . . . but you won't know about them, unless you read the menu of scheduled events. The staff - they are wonderful. They are more than willing to talk to you and do anything for you to make your vacation wonderful. Captain Harris is a personable and fun guy. Tips: $12 per person, per day is added to your account for tips. These tips are for all of the staff. Our room steward (Ben) was wonderful and we tipped him extra ( $40) and one fella (Hens) was really kind and helpful in the dining areas and we tipped him too. The other people in our group tipped their room stewards too. Be prepared for the unexpected - - one day our port-of-call was cancelled due to rough seas. Things happen, but this was the 2nd full day of being stuck on the boat and we were somewhat sad that their "Plan B" for the day was to show us how to make towel animals. They do have DVD's that you can borrow - but none of them are super recent. In hindsight, I wish that I had taken 1 or 2 movies along that I wanted to see. Wifi - you can buy a plan after you board. We had added global service to our one phone. The wifi in the areas of travel is "spotty" at best. It worked when near land, but when not near land it did not work. Packing - warm clothes, windbreaker, umbrella, gloves and a hat. Take a look at a map and notice how far north the trip takes you. Edinburgh and Dublin had sweater weather, but the rest of the ports were windy, damp and chilly .....and if you are someone who chills easily, you will think that some days are downright cold. Get ready to have a great time and meet awesome people and view beautiful scenery!!   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
My wife and I and two other couples met in Edinburgh, where we spent three days getting over jet lag and enjoying this fun city (we highly recommend the food tour Eat Walk Edinburgh). The cruise terminal in Edinburgh was small with few ... Read More
My wife and I and two other couples met in Edinburgh, where we spent three days getting over jet lag and enjoying this fun city (we highly recommend the food tour Eat Walk Edinburgh). The cruise terminal in Edinburgh was small with few amenities, but the boarding process went smoothly enough. From the start, the Wind Surf staff were friendly and welcoming. Our cabin (one of the standard cabins, but upgraded to be on the 2nd level midship) was compact and efficient, with two porthole windows, and we found it quite comfortable. There is an elevator, but we used the stairs, which gave us a lot of exercise during the 11-day cruise. The public areas were nice, and we ate dinner a few times each in the upscale restaurant, in the main dining room, and (our favorite during good weather) on the poolside deck. We also spent several evenings in the main lounge where we enjoyed pop music (Cool Breeze band) and dancing. There was live entertainment also in a smaller bar area, but we did not go there. I enjoyed using the hot tub (there are two) and also the small pool several times. Few guests used the pool, which made it that much easier and less crowded for me. I also used the exercise room a couple of times, and it seemed to be pretty available. I did not try the spa. People seemed to enjoy the game room and my wife and I shopped in the ship store. Open deck space and lounge chairs were in short supply at times, but compared with some ships, there was adequate outdoor space to enjoy and walk around. One time in the Baltic Sea we swam off the ship's swimming area, and enjoyed that (but water temp was 62 degrees!). Throughout the cruise, staff were very nice and competent. An especially positive feature is the open door policy on the bridge and in most areas of the ship. We took a very interesting galley tour. The captain and hotel manger could not have been nicer or more open to conversation, and this set an open and friendly tone throughout. The food was very good in all restaurants onboard. Alcohol choices were good and prices comparable to restaurants at home. We chose to eat a few lunches on land, just to get a better feel for the areas we visited. We loved the choice of port stops - a good mix of cities and smaller towns. In every case the ship docked in a convenient location. The shore excursions offered by Windstar seemed to be over-priced, so we did not take any of them. Instead, we did a little advance planning and arranged tours and activities on our own, including a food tour in Copenhagen (excellent). We rented bikes in Skagen and arranged a guided walking tour in Warnemunde. We explored Oslo, Visby and Sandhamn on our own. We also purchased the two day hotel extension in Stockholm, and explored that on our own (from the Scandic Anglais Hotel, which was nice and had an excellent location). In Copenhagen and Stockholm we used the hop-on/off boats, and recommend them (but not the buses). Although the cruise was wonderful, my one suggestion for improvement is that the quality of handouts and information given prior to each port stop be more complete, more up to date, and more professional (such as using real maps, in English; and providing information about where to eat, shop, and get cash, as well as transportation tips). The port information lectures were not well done and seemed aimed at marketing the shore excursions (which is necessary, but not sufficient).   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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