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Sail Date: September 2018
Bucket list item was the Greek isles and since we prefer the smaller ships, opted for a Windstar cruise. Only 135 or so guests so no crowds or lines. Ship is a little old but well maintained and except for the air conditioning and the ... Read More
Bucket list item was the Greek isles and since we prefer the smaller ships, opted for a Windstar cruise. Only 135 or so guests so no crowds or lines. Ship is a little old but well maintained and except for the air conditioning and the internet, very comfortable and enjoyable. Except for Monemvassia, there were no big buses for the tours which was nice but that may be dependent on the number of folks that signed up. All vehicles were comfortable.Crew was hospitable except for one wine steward and when brought to the attention of management, things changed promptly. Ports were all very enjoyable though I was pretty tired of ruins once everything was over. Stayed in the Electra Hotel for a few nights in Athens and it was nice with a rooftop dining area with views of the Acropolis. Just avoid room 211 which had a toilet so close to the wall and shower one had to be a contortionist to use. Last night we moved to the Grand Bretagne and it was a beautiful old hotel but probably not worth the extra money. Tried to get reservations for our group of 8 several weeks before for dinner on the rooftop but they were full. Could not even find space to have a cocktail that evening as most of the space was closed off for some reason. Went next door to King George hotel and had a wonderful meal on the top floor with even better views of the Acropolis. Highly recommend this! Crew was polite and accommodating but not as nice as Crystal Esprit. Food in the dining room was good but not exceptional. Candles was better and especially the on-deck barbecue...that was amazing. Dinner at the Celsus Library was also amazing. Went to the opera afterwards in the old theatre and sitting on stone, even for an hour, was awful. Delos and Turkey were wonderful stops but all were excellent. Chartered a private catamaran in Santorini instead of the ships cat tour and it was fantastic. Breakfasts were nice with a wide selection of food on the buffet with the opportunity to order off the menu if desired. Bridge tour was nice and informative. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were small ... Read More
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were small but comfortable, the beds were a little on the hard side for my taste but were still cozy enough to get a good night's sleep. The food on board was wonderful! The kitchen staff outdid themselves at every meal. I swear we barely ever stopped eating on board, as soon as breakfast was cleared, someone was out offering fresh slices of watermelon, then lunch, then a dish of sorbet on the sun deck, then an amazing dinner and cocktails, definitely overdid it but everything was impeccable. The cruise director was always knowledgeable about our ports, giving us plenty of insight on what to do while in each country (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece). I do think the excursions could be improved upon though, they only offered a couple excursions in each port, and they were participation based, so if the one you wanted didn't have enough guests, it didn't happen. That being said, the only port I think an excursion is truly necessary is Albania. My favorite stops were Korcula, Kotor, Anti-Paxos and Paxos (Anti-Paxos had the best beach and bluest waters I've ever seen in my life!). I would gladly travel with Variety in the future, and look forward to the day I get to sail with them again! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I'm a Veteran, so I know the general weather of Europe in the fall. The first decision, timing of our cruise, was driven by weather. The second decision was location. We wanted a cruise which called at Patmos and Ephesus (port of ... Read More
I'm a Veteran, so I know the general weather of Europe in the fall. The first decision, timing of our cruise, was driven by weather. The second decision was location. We wanted a cruise which called at Patmos and Ephesus (port of Kusadasi, Turkey) in particular. The third decision was ship size. Frankly, we didn't want to live in a suburb, which is what the BIG cruise ships seem to be. Instead, we chose a small, intimate ship where we got to know people. Our decisions drove our selection, and we came to a Windstar small ship cruise. MSY WindStar has space for 148 guests, period. Our voyage was glorious. That's all I need to say. PLANNING FACTORS: We were first time cruisers, so we had a learning curve: - Laundry: Windstar's current rate is $112 per cabin for the voyage. VERY MUCH WORTH IT. My wife's bag was under 35 lbs at the airport, mine was under 30lbs. That was for 12 days of travel! - Liquor. You have a choice of three plans: $32, $52, or $72 per person per day. You have to drink a LOT for the plans to pay for themselves. THAT SAID, CAUTION: Windstar enforces a max 2 bottle per stateroom policy for liquor you bring to the ship yourself. - Internet access: GET THIS BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR YOUR TRIP. The rate is $250 for two devices if you pre-book. It's $250 PER DEVICE if you buy on embarkation day. - Tours: If I was cruising the Rhein/Main/Danube, I'd pass on tours. I know something of where I'm going. In Greece, I took the tours, but I think I can do better. On this voyage, be wary of the full day Kusadasi-Ephesus tour. The last stop is an Oriental/Turkish carpet shop, and the sales pressure is beyond tremendous. Sorry, I just didn't have $24K budgeted. - Dining: You cannot go wrong. Period. - Ships' decor: No issues. There were a very, very few places where the ship showed she wasn't brand new, but you could see the ships' company working every day maintaining something or other! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Overall a great trip! Some highlights: - The front desk staff performed an amazing feat of memorization, and knew everyone's name by the first evening - The food was *fantastic* throughout. - The 'signature event' was amazing - ... Read More
Overall a great trip! Some highlights: - The front desk staff performed an amazing feat of memorization, and knew everyone's name by the first evening - The food was *fantastic* throughout. - The 'signature event' was amazing - private access to a major historical site, onsite dinner, and string quartet (this was at the Library of Celsus) - The crew in general were cheerful and friendly - For the ship enthusiast, the open bridge and engine room tours are pretty cool - The dramatic music and sails unfurling at every departure sounded like it would be cheesy, but it's actually kind of awesome. General notes: - It's easy to get a table for 2 at the restaurant (Amphora), or to eat in your room (all the rooms have a small table and chairs), if you aren't feeling like socializing at any given meal. - The dress code is surprisingly casual for such a fancy cruise; my husband and I are more jeans-and-tshirt type people, and we fit right in. - The pool is pretty tiny (10x7); it's fine for hanging out or playing around, but not great if you want to swim laps. It's also a saltwater pool, which makes for more buoyant swimming. Advice for future cruisers: - The watersports platform was only open in Monemvasia due to rough seas at the other ports. I suspect that it's common for it to only be open one or two days on a given cruise, so if it's important to you, check with the front desk the night before about the weather report/likelihood of the platform being open. - Forward cabins have less engine noise. Ours was cabin 133, and while we could hear the engines (you can hear them anywhere on the ship), it wasn't very loud; neither my husband or I had any trouble sleeping through them. - The website for Windstar is kind of a disaster; be aware that all information on the cruise will disappear from the site 5 days before the cruise (this wasn't a glitch, the site just said that you have to pick a cruise at least 5 days in the future to see itinerary information), so make sure to print/save everything well ahead of time. And heaven help you if they decide to revamp the site again - it was down for a solid 4 months after we'd booked our cruise over the phone. - Candles reservations go quickly, so if you have a tightly-packed itinerary, put in your reservation as soon as you board the ship. - Make friends with the band, and they will be happy to play your requests =) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Everything from the Boat, the service, food, day-trips and especially the crew was fantastic. we were made to feel like a group of close friends and family enjoying the best holiday together, nothing was an imposition and our itinerary ... Read More
Everything from the Boat, the service, food, day-trips and especially the crew was fantastic. we were made to feel like a group of close friends and family enjoying the best holiday together, nothing was an imposition and our itinerary varied beautifuly according to the weather and the decisions of our Captain and our fabulous cruise director Marita Kokkinakis. I would not hesitate to recommend this cruise to my friends and colleagues, I celebrated my birthday while in Santorini and the crew made it one of the most memorable, it happened to be the Greek feast night so we had incredible food and Marita even arranged a cake.. Our itinerary was changed due to bad weather during the cruise, but the alternative stops we visited were equally spectacular and enjoyable, especially loved the regular swim stops we made at beautiful isolated points along the way. overall i would say this was one of the best holiday experiences i've ever had. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We went on the Greek island cruise on the Wind Star in June 2017. It was an amazing experience. The food was wonderful as was the staff. They were all very friendly and took the time to get to know you. We loved the ship. Our cabin had ... Read More
We went on the Greek island cruise on the Wind Star in June 2017. It was an amazing experience. The food was wonderful as was the staff. They were all very friendly and took the time to get to know you. We loved the ship. Our cabin had plenty of storage room and was bigger than expected. The excursion selections were well thought out with an excellent variety. Being a smaller cruise ship, there were no assigned dining times and you could stay in the restaurant as long as you wanted. Swimming off the back of the ship was a nice, fun bonus. The absolute highlight of the trip was the dinner at Ephesus, Turkey. Windstar took all the guest to the ancient library there for 4-5 course amazing meal. It was an experience of a lifetime. I know we’ll be taking many more Windstar cruises. I highly recommend them. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We took a cruise with Windstar on the Wind Star to visit the Greek Isles. It was our first time with this cruise line. Every single aspect of the cruise exceeded my expectations! From start to finish, (nearly) everything was perfect. The ... Read More
We took a cruise with Windstar on the Wind Star to visit the Greek Isles. It was our first time with this cruise line. Every single aspect of the cruise exceeded my expectations! From start to finish, (nearly) everything was perfect. The yacht, the food, drinks, the crew members (especially the crew members!) all made for a wonderful vacation. We could not be happier! The food was some of the best I've had while traveling, including at luxury all inclusive resorts. It's amazing how they can create such delicious and creative meals, at sea nonetheless! The menu varied each night, and included a nice variety of dishes from different cuisines and with meat, fish, seafood, vegetarian, etc. The dining service was also exceptional. We ate on the deck on night, and that was also an excellent experience! The crew in particular is amazing. They come from all over the world, with a large majority from Indonesia and the Philippines. We made friends with so many of the crew members, who went above and beyond to make us feel special. To mention just a few who really stood out: Joel, Rene, Noel, Marco, Philip, Endro, Asep and Saka (our cabin steward). They are always approachable, friendly and willing to please, all with a smile on their faces (even when having to deal with rude guests). We decided to double our gratuities, and also tipped cash to those we got to know best by the end of our 7 night cruise. They work extremely hard to make your cruise vacation spectacular, and deserve special recognition. I also have to mention the musical team, Duality (Marni and Chooi) who were outstanding and entertained us each afternoon and night! The only problem (if I'm being picky) was that our cabin was too hot. We asked about it twice, but it stayed hot for the duration of the cruise. I suspect this has more to do with the architecture of the ship (the cold air comes from front of the ship, and warms up before it gets to aft cabins). But apart from that, perfection! We took a few excursions with Windstar, and they were all very well planned and a good value. One excursion, however, seemed a little crowded. I looked at the excursions head of time and booked private tours guides through tours by locals at some ports. It ended up costing the same or just slightly more than the cost of an excursion booked through the ship for 2 people. One day, we decided to take a break and stayed aboard, enjoying the lounge chairs on the deck by the pool. I am definitely planning on taking many, many more cruises with Windstar. One of the major advantage is the small ship size. I would never want to travel on a "megaship" with thousands of people. A smaller "yacht" makes it a more personal experience, and there are no lines anywhere. We are looking at Tahiti next year, on the Wind Spirit, which features the same layout as the Wind Star. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I did the Treasures of the Greek Isles cruise that leaves from Athens and stops in Nafplio, Mykonos, Kusadasi (Turkey), Patmos, Santorini, and Monemvasia, returning to Athens. We enjoyed the small ship experience and the no ... Read More
My wife and I did the Treasures of the Greek Isles cruise that leaves from Athens and stops in Nafplio, Mykonos, Kusadasi (Turkey), Patmos, Santorini, and Monemvasia, returning to Athens. We enjoyed the small ship experience and the no dress up requirement. Very relaxing on board, hectic on the daily tours. Windstar picked us up from the airport on time...it was basically a taxi cab. We used them for the pick up based on past cruise experiences where the taxi driver couldn't find the ship because it had no address. Terrific crew on board that works very hard to make everyone happy. It is a beautiful ship. Unfortunately, they never seemed to put up more than a couple of sails. We used the Windstar tours every day except for Santorini and Athens. They were very well organized and everything went smoothly. However, most of the islands were very hot, even for June. We had read about mosquito problems in Santorini, but we didn't run across one. Unfortunately, the Kusadasi evening event was rained out for the first time in years, so we had dinner at the hotel that caters the event. Can't blame them for an act of god, but still disappointed we didn't get to do the dinner at the Ephesus library. For Santorini and Athens, our party of four used "Tours by Locals". They were quite excellent also, and provided a small group experience for less than half the cost of the equivalent tour from Windstar. For all the tours, the guides seemed to provide for periodic toilet stops, and the toilets for the most part were clean and modern. Watch out for the toilet in the ruins of Mycenae in Nafplio, my wife got locked in a dark stall for a while. Also the pay public toilet at the north end of the Oia walkway in Santorini was filthy. Food at breakfast and lunch on the ship was excellent. At dinner, the food was good, but not as good as some other cruise lines. Some observations not usually included in reviews: - Internet (an option that you can purchase) speed was measured at 1.5 Mbps download and upload speed if you sat in the lobby near the front desk. The wifi in the room was weak (-89 dBm) and limited the bandwidth further. Web pages loaded at low cost DSL speeds...about 10-20 seconds to open a page. - The toilet in the room was light brown in the bottom instead of white. It looked like the staff had scrubbed it a bit too hard and took the finish off, so now it couldn't be effectively cleaned any longer. - A few weeks before the cruise, we got an email from Windstar to make sure we got a Turkish visa for the Kusudasi visit. We didn't need it. Even the Turkey website says that you don't need one for such a short visit. All we needed was the ship ID (no passport). - Daily evening announcements can't be heard in the room. No option to turn it on or off like other ships. So you had to stick your head out the door to hear what they were saying. And the announcements sometimes modified the meeting times previously announced in the daily bulletin. - The Windstar documentation mentions "wet landings", where you jump out of the tender boat into shallow water. There were no wet landings on this cruise. The tender always dropped us off at a dock. At a couple of stops, the ship could actually tie up to a dock, eliminating the need for the tender. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
An excellent cruise. The Viking staff was excellent. They were friendly, helpful, and provided service with a smile. THe service was outstanding and the entire staff worked hard to provide a great experience for the folks onboard. The ... Read More
An excellent cruise. The Viking staff was excellent. They were friendly, helpful, and provided service with a smile. THe service was outstanding and the entire staff worked hard to provide a great experience for the folks onboard. The shore excursions were well done and enjoyable. The food was the best I have ever had on any cruise. This cruise exceeded my expectations. The variety of food and the food quality were really good. The was a nice variety of dining options available on the ship. The service in the dining areas was the best I ever experienced on a cruise. There were more than an adequate number of activities available on the cruise. In fact, there were so many options available that I had to prioritize which I would do on this cruise and and which I would do on my next Viking Ocean Cruise. This cruise was so good that we are now looking forward to booking our next cruise on Viking Ocean Cruises. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
It was a perfect week in every way, and we will surely be booking another trip with Variety Cruises. We loved the Galileo - our room was quite comfortable, and the public areas on the boat were spotlessly clean, offering a variety of ... Read More
It was a perfect week in every way, and we will surely be booking another trip with Variety Cruises. We loved the Galileo - our room was quite comfortable, and the public areas on the boat were spotlessly clean, offering a variety of places to sit both indoors and outside. The delicious meals exceeded our expectations, and our cruise director, Joseph, was knowledgable, experienced, friendly and fun to listen to when he addressed our group. Swim stops were well organized and much appreciated by everyone. We kayaked, snorkled, and simply floated in the refreshing and beautiful sea. We chose only one excursion -- Delos, and well worth it -- since the other islands were easy to explore on our own. But those who chose the excursions seemed very pleased. The professional crew made us feel safe and cared about. Valerie, the awesome bartender, knew everyone's name within an hour of boarding. Our favorite islands were Folegandros and Syros - the Galileo allows for small island visits, which is one of the best aspects of the trip. Our fellow passengers were friendly and fun to be with, and the configuration of the dining tables allowed us to get to know everyone by week's end. Passengers were from England, Australia, Spain, Switzerland and the US; the multitude of cultures greatly enhanced the trip. There are so many benefits to being on an intimate yacht as opposed to a giant cruise ship. In addition to jumping into the sea from the boat and visiting smaller islands, there's a sense of being part of the environment, an intimacy that can't be had on a floating city with thousands of inhabitants. I can't wait for our next Variety cruise. The only part of the trip we didn't enjoy was saying good-bye to our new friends! Huge thanks to everyone connected with Variety Cruises, for allowing us the privilege to sail with you on our perfect vacation. Read Less

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