1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
The windspirit, windstar cruise was brillant. Ive been on about 7 cruises and this surpassed them all. What a great way to see six islands in seven days without hassles of unpacking, travel time and moving. The windspirit only had 130 ... Read More
The windspirit, windstar cruise was brillant. Ive been on about 7 cruises and this surpassed them all. What a great way to see six islands in seven days without hassles of unpacking, travel time and moving. The windspirit only had 130 passengers and 100 crew. The food was fabulous - available 24 hours. The crew were so friendly and helpful. They were amazing at remembering names. Our standard cabin level 1 was spacious and comfortable. The shower was really good. And the clothes line got lots of use for drying our wet swimwear each day. We visited Moorea, Raiatea, Taaha, Borabora (2 days) and Huahine. Highlight tours included the stingrays in Moorea. Just do it. They are much much much better in Moorea than borabora (we did both). The motu (island) day in Taaha and borabora. These were fantastic with a great show in Borabora. Sailing away with music, sails and sunsets - magical. But the music is only played at the back of the boat so if you are standing at the front like us on the second day you will miss the music. Drinks were reasonably priced (us8 for a cocktail). But all non alcoholic drinks are free so if you wanted a mocktail they were all free. We booked a private charter in borabora with pure snorkelling. Totally recommend this. It was fantastic. The disappointments were Huahine. Locals just werent welcoming of cruise ships and expressed their displeasure numerous times. I also got tired of the male put downs by the “female” island tour guide. We did a snorkelling trip and dont recommend it at all. it was suppose to be three hours and was less than two with one stop. And the guide didnt even get in the water and point things out - too busy on her phone, Others didnt think their land trips were much better. So do your own thing in Huahine. The food was fantastic. We booked candles (outside deck) in bora bora and this was very nice (although we missed out on the seared tuna at the restaurant that night). Room service available 24 hours and we ordered nacho chips, salsa and guacamole a few times. Also once we were late back from our private tour so we had room service lunch. Variety at breakfast was very good - french toast our favourite. My other disappointment was the water platform. We did the sea biscuit in Moorea at the water platform on the boat. This was great fun. I tried to do it again with my son on other days but one family dominated the water platform water skiing. One day we were told they were closed for lunch for an hour, so we came back and they said they were packing up in half an hour and couldnt take us. The paddleboards were old and waterlogged. However, we did enjoy swimming at the water platform. I think they need a booking system for skiing, wave boards and sea biscuit I highly recommend a windstar cruise and a fantastic way to see so much. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our 7th WindStar cruise (over the last 14 years) -- the 4th on one of their sailing ships. We'd talked to lots of fellow cruisers over the years and asked what they'd recommend for seeing Tahiti, and WindStar seemed ... Read More
This was our 7th WindStar cruise (over the last 14 years) -- the 4th on one of their sailing ships. We'd talked to lots of fellow cruisers over the years and asked what they'd recommend for seeing Tahiti, and WindStar seemed the top pick. We're quite active and enjoyed the sporting options this itinerary and this ship provided. We found the food to be really good -- better than our second most recent cruise, a crossing on Seabourn. This Windspirit ship a very small ship and you do get to know the staff quite well. All staff did exceptional jobs. Special requests were handled with pleasure. The reception staff were the best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. All staff except for one waiter met or exceeded our high expectations; that one waiter, unfortunately, was consistently disappointing. Cocktails were also well done. We've sailed at least 3 times with this Bar Manager, Bien. The team is enthusiastic. We asked for several special mix cocktails and all were great. There is minimum entertainment on the ship -- so if you want dancers and musical shows, look elsewhere. I struggled ahead of the cruise with logistics -- what nights of the cruise were special items on offer, what time would be be allowed aboard, and what time are we kicked off at the end? I offer the following Day-by-Day rundown in case it's helpful to others. We try to pack minimally, and it would have been useful to know that we could wear shorts/jeans on 3 of the 7 nights. Tuesday -- arrive Tahiti from San Francisco on United. Overnight on our own Intercontinental. Wednesday -- Overnight Intercontinental Thursday -- Embarcation, starting at 1pm. We arrived at the pier at about 1:30 and waited about 30 minutes to board as there was a line. Biggest hold up seemed to be the physical inspection of luggage -- looking for bottles and confiscating bottles of Alcohol. We had 2 bottles of Champagne per cabin, which was allowed through. We booked Candles this night -- dinner on the back deck of the boat; so shorts/jeans allowed this night. Friday -- Moorea, via Tender. Saturday -- Raiatea, Docked. Deck Barbecue this evening, so shorts/jeans allowed. Sunday -- Taha'a -- all day on a private island, including lunch. You really don't go ashore to Taha'a, unless you're on a tour that goes there. Monday -- Bora Bora, via Tender. Tuesday -- Bora Bora, via Tender. Evening event is dinner with dancers on private island -- so shorts another night for dinner. This private island is available mid-morning to mid-afternoon for any guests who just want to be on a beautiful quiet beach. Wednesday -- Huahine, via Tender. Thursday -- Disembarkation. I believe we had to be off around 9am. Sofitel had a much better day-room option than the Intercontinental, so we arranged day rooms at the Sofitel and used taxis to get to/from the hotel. We flew out this same evening, on United. More details on what we did by day. Pre-Cruise -- we arrived in the evening 2 days ahead of the cruise, flying in on United from San Francisco. On arrival it was really hot, still, and very humid; I'd read this would be the case and I was still very surprised. I live on an island off the coast of South Florida -- so I'm used to warm days and nights -- this was downright hot. While we cleared immigration within minutes, others on our flight took about an hour to finally get through. There was a small group of singers/musicians welcoming the passengers to Tahiti. We'd rented a car from Avis to drive ourselves to the hotel for the night and to take us around the island the next day. The rental worked out well. Wednesday -- Full day on Tahiti. We'd arranged for a guide to take us on a 1/2 day hike to Fautaua Waterfall. The flora and fauna were spectacular, and the water was very refreshing. It was a pretty moderate to difficult hike given some of the roots and boulders we had to traverse, and we stopped short of the waterfalls given our pace and schedule. We did spend some time swimming in the river before we headed back down the trail. After the hike, we headed off toward some local sights including a great lookout, the Point Venus Lighthouse, and the Three Cascades Waterfall. We were about 1/3 of the way around the island at this point, and we decided to drive back / return the car as we'd only rented the car for one day. While the hotel is walkable to/from the Airport, it's quite a busy journey; we turned in the car and caught a taxi back to the hotel. Thursday -- We were out of our room by 11am and the hotel held our luggage until our departure at 1pm. Taxi from the hotel to the pier was about $25 USD. That was for 5 people and luggage. Once aboard the ship and after we'd unpacked, several of us went into Papeete to visit the Catholic Church and Market. The Church as interesting but incredibly warm. The market had some breeze blowing through it; none of the goods for sale spoke to us so we walked away having not purchased anything. Sail away was around 6pm. Some of our companions had never experienced a WindStar sailing ship sail away and they marveled at spectacle. We'd arranged for dinner on deck this evening, so we didn't need to change out of our shorts. It was a very short 2.5 hour sail to Moorea, where we anchored off shore for the night. We knew our sailing month, April, was near the end of rainy season, and we had a small shower near the end of dinner. Staff had anticipated this event and arranged all tables under cover. The shower was over quickly. Friday -- We'd arranged for a rental car on Moorea so that we could do two things -- hike the Three Coconuts Trail and drive around the entire island. Avis picked us up at the dock...but as we were 5 people and their car only fit 4, two of us had to drive to the rental office, get the rental car for 5 people, and drive it back. So we wasted some 45 minutes; this came back to haunt us as we tried to get some local fish (Poison Cru) at the highly rated beachside restaurant Snack Mahana; they had run out of food and closed early this day. Besides our Windstar ship, the Paul Gaugin was also on Moorea. The Three Coconuts Trail was beautiful; as it had rained the night before, some of the path was very muddy slippery. One of our folks abandoned the hike and headed back to wait for the rest of us. We didn't have a guide this day but did have a detailed GPS map that came in handy twice on the return as we somehow lost the trail. The drive around the island was mildly interesting; we were, however, tired and hungry. Saturday -- Raiatea. In the morning we'd planned to hike to the Mt. Tapioi, where the Communications Tower is located, for a great birds eye view of the island. The afternoon we'd booked a spectacular drift snorkel through the coral gardens -- one of the highlights of the trip. We were not successful on the hike as the path traverses private property and the property owners close the road to tourists on the weekend; we were in Raiatea on Saturday. I'd emailed the listed address on the sign asking permission to hike the trail on Saturday and the mailbox was no longer valid; some locals asked us to leave. We had a wander along the coast and visited a local market. The afternoon drift snorkel was arranged through Te Mara Nui Plongée. Cost was 8,000 CPF/person, payable day of, in cash. We were told to bring masks, snorkels, and water shoes; not fins. We had 3 or 4 runs through the coral gardens. It was surreal to see such beauty as you floated by in the current. The boat anchored off a little island and we waded ashore. We then walked the length of the island with the guides (there were 2 guides with us). The guides explained that we entered the current and floated back towards the boat. The float took maybe 20 minutes, where we waded back to the island and repeated. We saw lots of fish, some beautiful soft coral, some blue lipped clams, and even an octopus; the octopus was just as interested in us as we were in it. There were far less snorkelers this day than the ship's organized tour the next day to the same location. When we returned to the ship, some local ladies were instructing guests how to make outfits from local fabric and how to dance. The evening's deck barbecue was great -- I especially liked the suckling pig and the lobster. There was lots of line dancing, and then dancing under the stars. The last dancers left around 11pm. Sunday -- Taha'a. We enjoyed the private island all day. WindStar had all of the water toys at the beach for guests' use; there was a full bar set up, and there were tons of longers, both in the sun and in the shade. We stayed at the beach all day. Monday -- Bora Bora. We hadn't planned anything for the morning. For the afternoon, we'd arranged an island tour with Natura Discovery. Cost was $70 each, payable day of in cash. The met us at the dock, with an covered but open 4X4 vehicle. We took a trip around the island, stopping at the beach, a plantation, a WWII site, and several lookouts. First stop was at the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant and bar. It was a really nice tour. Once back at the ship, several of us tried wakeboarding with the Watersports crew. All of us got up on the wakeboard -- some of us for a few seconds and others for a few minutes. One other in our group loved lounging on the floating pads behind the ship. Tuesday -- Bora Bora. In the morning we'd arranged a single dive with Dive 'N Smile. Three of our group were certified divers and two were not. Cost was $100 for the certified folks and $110 for non-certified. Patrick was the Dive Master and he had a great casual way about him that relaxed everyone -- he was superb! The scenery was good, not great. We're very glad we did this as we wanted to say we've been on a dive in Bora Bora. Patrick brought us directly back to the ship. We grabbed a quick lunch and changed into our swimsuits as we were headed to the island where tonight's dinner was planned. The water toys were on the beach but no other services were provided (towels and drinks had to be brought with you from the ship). The evening dinner was really good. The food was good, the dancers were good. It was a pretty magical evening under the stars. Wednesday -- Huahine. We'd planning to rent bicycles and do a self tour around the island. Instead it rained quite hard for a few hours this morning. I understand some tours went as scheduled and some guests had a lovely picnic on a sand bar in the rain. Once the rain stopped, we did have a wander about the town -- drinks in the yacht club, a visit to the beach, a visit to the church, and a visit to the Distillery, where we purchased several local concoctions. Our "rent bicycles" plan seemed very flawed as there were no apparent places to rent bicycles. Huahine is quite a sleepy place, so make sure you plan ahead if you want a car, bike, or driver for wandering around. Thursday -- We'd booked day rooms at the Sofitel. They offered us day rooms for 18,000 XPF per room. We had the room from 9am - 6pm. I wrote to the concierge email address listed on their website to get his offer. The Intercontinental wanted us to purchase rooms 2 nights in order to use the facilities during the day from 9am-6pm. Hope this is helpful to others. I'd highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had sailed on the Wind Star in Costa Rica a few years ago and were impressed. The Wind Spirit experience was even better. At the end of the cruise, the disembarking guests were hugging the crew members, something I had never seen on ... Read More
We had sailed on the Wind Star in Costa Rica a few years ago and were impressed. The Wind Spirit experience was even better. At the end of the cruise, the disembarking guests were hugging the crew members, something I had never seen on any other cruise. It felt like we had actually become friends during the 11 days on board. We had exchanged stories about families, careers, and felt we got to know them personally. Special recognition is owed to our cabin steward (Farid) the ladies at the front desk (Maggie and Gretchen) and the servers that took care of us (DeDe, Bambang and Edison). They consistently went above and beyond whatever was asked of them and seemed to genuinely enjoy working with the guests. The maitre d' (Rafal) runs a great operation. The food was consistently excellent, and included locally sourced seafood, as fresh as you can get. The picnic dinner the staff put on ashore on the small island ("motu") involving native dishes must have involved a huge amount of work, but was done flawlessly. Many small touches added greatly to our enjoyment. When we returned to the ship from an excursion, we were usually hot and sweaty. Right at the top of the gangway were cold, wet towels to wipe your face and neck....pure heaven. We did three of the excursions offered through the ship and loved them all, especially the "shark and stingray encounter" which was magical. Martina, the "Destination Manager" was always available with good advice on shore trips. I honestly can't offer a single serious criticism or suggestion to improve the cruise. In fact, my only negative observations would be very minor : more shade on the afterdeck would help cool off while sipping a tall drink following a day in the tropical sun. Tables with umbrellas were at a premium. My second observation seems trivial even to me, but I was not impressed by the musical due "Wake Up" that played in the lounge. They seemed to be lip synching nearly every song. Sometimes one or the other would stop in the middle of a song but the singing/playing continued. I heard several other passengers comment on this. The sailing crew, the ones behind the scenes, made sure everything went smoothly, like the tenders or zodiacs for shuttling passengers between ship and shore and the distribution of snorkeling gear. Although not for small children or those with mobility problems, I would recommend this cruise to anyone, and will always have fond memories of my Tahiti vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We spent our 25th anniversary on Moorea 27 years ago and decided it was time to revisit our memories. We had never been on a smaller ship and decided this was the way to see the other islands. It didn't disappoint. There were 142 ... Read More
We spent our 25th anniversary on Moorea 27 years ago and decided it was time to revisit our memories. We had never been on a smaller ship and decided this was the way to see the other islands. It didn't disappoint. There were 142 passengers to 101 staff. It made it seem quite intimate and friendly. The staff make a point to remember everyone by name. Some of the small things I appreciated were no poised photos every time you got on or off the ship. There is no pressure to sign up for a future cruise. Plus it's all very relaxed with few dress codes (no dress up nights). The majority of the people were between 60-75 with about 5 honeymoon couples. We met some of the nicest people on this cruise. Our room was adequate with plenty of storage, comfortable bed, porthole view and nice toiletries. There are no elevators so all rooms have stairs. There is one dining room & the outdoors deck, Candles. We found the food to be very good. The special moments were the deck BBQ plus the special BBQ at Bora Bora on a private motu. The pool is very small & there is a hot tub. The deck had adequate chairs but without shade it was just too hot to set in the sun. Moorea is a lovely island. Best excursion is through Alberts Transport Lagoon where you get to snorkel with sharks & rays & have a great BBQ on a private motu. Siki was a great guide. Also went snorkeling at Temae Beach which was great. At Raiatea we wandered around town & then found an excursion up the Faaroa river, the only navigable river. At TaHa'a we did the cruise ship excursion of the coral drift snorkel. It was fun but definitely not for someone who hasn't snorkeled. The current was strong the day we went & if you didn't have flippers I'm not sure what you would do. It's important to keep up with the person in front so you don't get caught on the coral. We did this three times. Bora Bora is very pretty. It's all about over the water bungalows. We went on an excursion we found at the dock. It turned out to be great. We snorkeled with lots of sharks & rays & got to go around the whole island. We had a private tour around the island learning of the history of the US building the airport to protect the island during WW2. The ship put on a superb BBQ complete with fire dancers & Tahitian dancers. Great food. Our last stop was Huahine. We joined 7 others from the ship & hired a private boat to take us snorkeling. It was some of the best snorkeling we've ever done. But really wished we had more time there to explore the island which most people thought was the most unspoiled. We loved the small ship, meeting great people & having a relaxed atmosphere. Tahiti is living the dream. Absolutely stunning. We'd definitely sail with Windstar again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
La Ora Na! Just returned from a dream-like 10-night Tahiti & Tuamotu Island Wind Spirit Cruise. A trip to French Polynesia has been on my bucket list for many years and the time was right to celebrate our 30-year wedding anniversary. ... Read More
La Ora Na! Just returned from a dream-like 10-night Tahiti & Tuamotu Island Wind Spirit Cruise. A trip to French Polynesia has been on my bucket list for many years and the time was right to celebrate our 30-year wedding anniversary. This was our third Windstar Cruise but first on a sailing ship. Everything was wonderful from the ship and the crew to the great food, fellow passengers and the beautiful islands. We loved every minute from the diving, snorkeling, beaching, Polynesian luau, Beach BBQ, cultural and scenic excursions to just being together in paradise. We left during the rainy season and so knew we were chancing some bad weather but we were very fortunate as we only had three solid cloudy and/or rainy days and 9 really good days with very little clouds and rain. It was hot and humid. Only one drift snorkeling excursion was canceled due to strong winds and current in Fakarava. A few people were sick with motion sickness at the beginning of the cruise going out to Tuamotu Islands but we took Bonine. (meclizine) and had absolutely no problems. When in the Society Islands there was very little motion and no one had any problems. We had our outgoing flight from LAX to PPT on Air Tahiti which was fine. (older plane). Upon arrival to PPT at 11 pm we took a taxi and stayed overnight at the cheaper but nice/adequate Hotel Sarah Nui. We were a five-minute walk to the Moorea Ferry dock where we bought tickets in the morning and took the first ferry to Moorea and spent the full day and night at the very nice Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa. It was rainy and cloudy but the snorkeling in front of the resort was stunning with the water clarity, colorful coral and fish life. We took a special deal and just stayed in a garden room but it was very nice. Some of our fellow cruise passengers stayed in the over the water bungalows for the unique experience. Depends on where you want to put your vacation dollars. Took the late morning ferry back to Tahiti and literally walked off the one ferry and down the port to the Windstar which was boarding. Waited in a short line as they manually checked luggage. (different than in San Juan) but it was quick efficient and staff was very nice. Crew greeted us and escorted us to our cabin AX 205 which was very conveniently located mid ship. Though smaller than the motorized ships rooms. (Legend and Pride) it had great storage space. Did miss the large picture window. (just two port holes) but overall very nice for the smaller space. We then went to a full buffet lunch on the Veranda before heading back into Papeete to the market as my hubby had forgotten his sunglasses. We browsed and got some ideas and ended up coming back and buying a pearl necklace at the end of the cruise. We really enjoy the food on the Windstar, particularly the breakfast on the Veranda. Maybe it was our jet lag but we woke up each morning hungry and the breakfast was great. You can order special dishes from the menu. (various types of egg Benedicts, French toast, pancakes, waffles, and usually some other items). There was also an egg station where my husband had eggs over easy and they made tasty personalized omelets. Great fruits, cheeses, yogurts, bacon, sausages and various pastry. We made it back most days for lunch and then went back into the port. Dinners varied for us but we enjoyed some nights alone at a couples table. (tired after long day) but other nights we ate with others and really enjoyed talking and getting to know our fellow cruise mates. It was a very interesting mix of people. Most seemed well traveled and active and ranged in age from late 40s to late 60s. We didn’t buy the beverage package but bought reasonably priced bottles of wine to drink with dinner. There weren’t a lot of activities on board especially after dinner but we usually found we were tired after the long port days and sleep was great. We did love the deck party dinner, the Polynesian show/dinner on the private motu in Bora Bora and the lectures given by Dr. Kess on Polynesian history. We also enjoyed happy hour before dinner where we sat and talked with fellow cruisers about the day and listened to the destination manager talk about the upcoming port. Several nights we walked the deck and just looked at the glorious night sky. Captain Garciyanov came out of the bridge to show us the southern cross and constellations. He was not only approachable but approached us and other passengers’ multiple times. He was so friendly and energetic. He gave us a great bridge tour. We had just come from getting our picture taking at the bow. (think Titanic and King of the world). Shore Excursions: We did three through the ship and the rest independent. The ships excursions were all good and everyone we talked to thought they were of high quality. We just like doing things independently and on our own timeline but it was a good mix. I will give some detail to what we did as it was hard to find info on some of these islands Fakarava: Fantasy Island came to mind as we first visited Fakarava one of the largest and most beautiful atolls (land formed by the rising reef). The extremely windy weather caused some adjustments to the plan as our drift snorkeling was cancelled but my husband was able to Drift Dive the Garuae Pass through a private company known as O2 Fakarava as he is an advanced diver. He had emailed them before we left home and arranged the dive. He had never seen so many sharks concentrated together hunting the extremely large schools of fish. The current was rapid and the water clarity pristine. He was super pumped after the dive! I took the ship’s excursion to the gorgeous but remote Blue Lagoon. The shallow waters shone in the most brilliant colors of turquoise and jade-green. As I snorkeled on my own in the lagoon, black tip reef sharks swam all around me. It was electrifying! Unfortunately the current was too strong to go to Pufuna to drift snorkel. Rangiroa: Let the adrenaline begin! The second day, we visited Rangiroa know as the The Endless Lagoon. From there Michael and I went on a private excursion with Rangiroa Plongee. It was a drift snorkel through the famous Tiputa Pass. As we rode through 10-foot waves in our little zodiac to the ocean side of the pass, our guide said ok when we see the pod of dolphins we are all going to quickly jump into the ocean and swim with them....WHAT! ....And so, we did......TWICE!......It’s one of the moments when you can’t think too hard as the waves are crashing but there are dolphins next to your little zodiac so we dove in and the first time a whole family swam with us and the next jump was just one dolphin but she came up to me as I squeaked my hello. It was sheer joy! We then drift snorkeled through the pass to see a couple large Spotted Eagle Rays, numerous black tip reef sharks, moray eels and tons of fish. The water clarity again was suburb. We also snorkeled in the area known as the Aquarium. Michael then went on another drift dive while I took a walk and relaxed at Hotel Kira Ora resort on the beach. It was serene drinking a Pina Colada and sitting by the beach and water. Taha’ a: This is the port you need to have a ship’s excursion as they only will tender you to the private motu for a day at the beach. We did the Scenic Exploration of Taha ’a and had a fascinating experience visiting a local pearl farm and watching them harvest the pearls from the oysters. We toured the scenic island, a vanilla farm, ate some local fruit and “learned” a traditional Tahitian dance. Spent the afternoon with “ok” snorkeling around the motu. It was a very cloudy, rain off/on day. Bora Bora: Our favorite island of the trip. It’s beauty was simply stunning with luscious green mountains surrounded by a crystal clear blue and turquoise lagoon. The weather gods gave us two sunny days and we took full advantage of our short time. Fortunately, the ship spent two days at the island but I was itching for more. It had everything from water to land adventures! The first day we rented our own private dive boat with dive master,. David from H20 Bora Bora took Michael diving with manta rays and along a spectacular coral reef . In the afternoon, we all snorkeled three more spectacular sites. It was like swimming in an aquarium. We swam with a squadron of spotted eagles rays, many sharks, eels and so many beautiful fish. The water was so nice. We also had a spectacular lunch on the beach and I witnessed Michael eating two things I never thought he would. Raw fish and coconut. Poisson cru au lait de coco. It was very tasty. The next day we rented a Scooter through Avis (shop right at port) and circled the main island, exploring the beautiful landscape and snorkeling the southern beach on our own. We ended the day with a Polynesian luau on a private motu sponsored by Windstar. Such a Romantic, gorgeous sunset and setting that made us wish we could stay there forever. Loved! Loved ! Bora Bora Huahine Nui: was an island that really captured the history and culture of French Polynesia. We decided to go on a guided tour of the sacred sites with a local archeologist. In an open air Le Truck, we toured the ruins of Maeva village, a vanilla plantation and an area with 500-year-old fish traps that are still used today. The tour then ended with lovely views and the feeding of the sacred blue eels. The island was beautiful, quiet, laid back and I learned a lot about the way of life and history of the French Polynesian . We then went back to the ship for lunch and back out to the local beach by the port to snorkel Moorea: Returned to a now sunny beautiful island. After a slow start as Albert Transport was an hour late picking us up at the port to take us to rent the car. They were on “island time” but then made us still pay for the full 8-hour car rental even though they were an hour late. We had the email confirmation of pick up time (this was our only “mess up” of the cruise) We then spent the day driving, exploring, and snorkeling in our rented car. (Belevedere Lookout, Opunohu Valley, snorkeling at Temae/Public Beach) As we sailed away from Moorea, someone spotted a pod of dolphin and we all ran to one side of the ship. How can it not make you smile, laugh and feel joy as you watch dolphins surfing and playing in the waves? I do think the captain was afraid of us tipping the ship especially as it was the last day of a 10-day feast of food! Wonderful way to end our 10-day cruise Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every ... Read More
We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every single day! The bar and restaurant crew were outstanding and taking care of our every request To our pleasant surprise the crew gave us an entertainment nite to be part of and have real fun! Every whim was taken care of!! I only wish that there had been a larger pool though the ocean was there too! Every island we docked on had such unique offerings that we wished we had more time to explore all Lastly the beach barbecue on the private island topped it all with the activities one could do all day long We will definitely set the sails with this cruiser in the future! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
17 nights on Wind Spirit in French Polynesia was the cruise of our lifetime. The ship, food, staff and amenities were perfection, and our clothes were wet with tears having to disembark. The staff literally knock themselves out trying to ... Read More
17 nights on Wind Spirit in French Polynesia was the cruise of our lifetime. The ship, food, staff and amenities were perfection, and our clothes were wet with tears having to disembark. The staff literally knock themselves out trying to please and make the experience something you'll never forget. We chose this because we sailed a 7 day on the original Windsong Tahiti 25 years ago- it was a dream of a cruise then and just as wonderful this time only 10 days longer. We are water people, former divers and long time snorkelers. Figured we'd never tire of being in the water with all but 2 days of 17 in port. We were right. A caveat- this is not a cruise for anyone with a mobility problem. Most of the excursions are for people with a moderate tolerance for physical activity. If you like the water you should be a decent swimmer and moderately good snorkeler, although there are beginner diving excursions. There are a lot of land tours on each island however that work for everyone. Had gorgeous weather. Just two days of rain in 17 days, the rest sunny and spectacular. It is the rainy season though so the humidity was high. We headed to Papeete on Air Tahiti Nui from LAX. The flight was decent even though it was one of their older planes, good food, good service and right on time. I'd pre-reserved a router online with Tahiti Wifi that worked great in port everywhere but Fakarava and Rangiroa. Pick up at the airport in Papeete was easy. We met the B&B proprietor Beni from Fare Suisse right in the pickup point at the airport just as he did last year when we visited. Fare Suisse has simple, but comfy rooms, extremely clean and a nice breakfast. There are 10 rooms and they offer airport pickup and dropoff at the port. Beni and wife Therese could not be nicer more generous people. We visited the market down the street for some toiletries we'd forgotten. There's an ATM there too. Boarding started about 12-1pm. There was a short line to wait while staff did a manual luggage screening. It was quite cursory though, we had some airline type containers of alcohol and they weren't found although I saw they'd confiscated some full bottles. Then we were on board that sleek gorgeous ship with a welcome mai tai and off to a beautiful lunch spread in the Veranda. Always several hot dishes, and salads, incredible cheeses and breads and of course the fabulous desserts. There is also a special cooked to order daily, first day was prime rib. Bar service began that first lunch and waiters knew and addressed us by our names from then on. Our cabin was a BX Deck 1, #129. Wonderfully laid out and remarkably designed storage. The bathroom was very comfortable with a roomy shower and nice fixtures. Our cabin attendant Ady was superb. Explored this gorgeous ship for the rest of the afternoon spending most of our time relaxing on a deck chair on the bow. Husband is fond of working out and his only disappointment was the gym- decent equipment but small space. Get 3 people in there and it really heats up. There is yoga and Pilates every morning starting at 7am on the top deck. Dinner in Amphora, as breakfast and lunch, were just remarkable.The variety and consistency were mindblowing. We had the good luck to be booked on a James Beard Foundation cruise with a pastry chef who gave demonstrations every other day. On alternate days there were wine tasting (complimentary!) events. Most we didn't make due to excursions unfortunately but those who did just raved. Service in Amphora was superb- seemed we never had to wait for a course. The maitre d' gave us the same table for 2 almost every night in the quietest part of the dining room. Although service was so good we'd have been happy with any of the waiters we had. I'd probably choose Adhe as number one though. If I have a complaint it would be that the dining room is very noisy. But the FOOD- unbelievable. Infact Cruise Critic gave Oceania the nod for best luxury line cruise food...our most frequently traveled line is O and we give them a 4.75. We give Windstar a 5. I have to say something about breakfast! First of all as with lunch we could eat out on deck in a covered area looking out at the ocean. There was the usual gorgeous spread, fruits, pastries, to order eggs, bacon, sausage etc but there is a menu to order from too with different selections each day- eggs benedict, raisin brioche french toast, belgian waffles with raspberries and blueberries, flax seed pancakes. Try spoiling us more. Coffee was just ok with a weakness on the cappuccinos and espresso. Good but not delicious. With everything else so drop your socks coffee gets a pass. Was wonderful to wake up at 6am and enjoy the gorgeous mornings with coffee and pastries on a chair overlooking the ocean and the next island we were closing in on. Candles was lovely. We had four nites in Bora Bora and were fortunate to have both our nights in Candles on the overnight in Bora Bora- very calm and peaceful. Could have had more nites in Candles but the food in the dining room was so good it was hard to pass up the nightly selections there. Wine service was excellent, terrific selection with good prices. Cocktails reasonably priced too. Lucked out and had free laundry service for the whole cruise- what a gift. Not only could we pack lighter but everything came back in beautiful shape, even silk shirts and bathing suits. They said pressing was not included but everything looked pressed to me! In before 9am back by 5pm same day. The library had limited inventory as you might expect- bring your kindle. The shop was well stocked for the size of the ship. We aren't night people but passed through the lounge after dinner and sometimes sat to listen to the two person group softly singing popular tunes. The young woman had a spectacular voice- Time To Say Goodbye and Don't Cry for Me Argentina were outstanding. The gentleman sat on deck by the pool some afternoons and played softly. The deck party dinner was superb. Food selections and atmosphere were wonderful. As was the dinner on the motu in Bora Bora. The show including the fire dance was phenomenal. The motu day off Tahaa was a nice surprise too. Decent snorkeling, water toys, good lunch, beautiful location. The parts I love the best are the evenings. The sail away. The sails open and ahhhhh. So lovely. And the nights on the bow of the boat. The stars so bright and the moon on the water. Truly magical. One night we were out and one of the officers pinted out the constellations to us. Shore excursions.....did all but two independently. The ship's tours we took were surprisingly good as they seemed to be with most of the people we spoke with. Just a lot more expensive than independent. Fakarava- one reason I wanted to do this cruise was to do Fakarava. And to tour with the famous Ato. It didn't work out. He needed 8 people, we only had 6 a few days before the trip and he could not confirm us. So in order to have something we were assured of doing, I booked the Blue Lagoon with the ship. The day before the tour Ato emailed saying he'd take us, but at that late date I had no access to email. He showed up at the dock, but not me not ever thinking it was still on. So he ended up taking just 4 other people at only 75% of the price he quoted me. Not nice and I was sorely disappointed. Those folks said they had one of the best tours they'd ever taken just as I knew it would be. Dang. The Blue Lagoon was pretty good- saw a protected bird motu from a distance and visited the Blue Lagoon. Spectacularly colored water but we spent almost 2 hours just hanging around with a guide who carried on a long convo with some French speaking Canadians while the rest of us sat on a coral mound and watched crabs. We stayed so long there we had very little time to snorkel at Pufuna which would have been the highlight for us. Maybe 10 minutes there to get back to the ship just in time before it departed, and it would have been terrific snorkeling had we been able to stay longer. The excursion was OK but could have been better. Rangiroa- independent drift snorkel and the Aquarium. Very exciting. You need to be a good snorkeler. The day we were there the current was moving fast. You jump in and the current takes you past tons of fish while holding onto a small raft behind your guide. There's really not time to stop to adjust your mask so you have to be READY! A good reason to bring your own snorkel equipment so you know everything fits and works for you. We had three runs one of which was a mile long and marvelous. Afterwards we visited the aquarium with tons of fish, big moray and resting big nurse shark. Tahaa- the Coral Garden with the ship. It was terrific. Beautiful 30 min. boat ride with about 6 others to a gorgeous channel between motus. You get out of the boat and walk to the site where you begin your drift snorkel with water shoes carrying your fins(Yes bring water shoes. Neoprene gloves and pants or tights and rash guard too to cover body. Very sharp coral on this tour and we saw lots of injuries. You can find this stuff on Amazon for next to nothing) Then entering the water with your fins (with lots of direction!) you sail down a channel lined with coral seeing some gorgeous sealife. It was some of the best snorkeling I've ever done. This is not to be missed. Your guides will help you along the way. If the water is flowing fast it's a lot harder to stay on course but your guides will nearly pick you up and redirect your body. The water is very shallow- you can stand up. Everyone has to do this! It's one of the most incredible snorkeling sites we've ever done. At the very minimum pack water shoes. Mine were $12 on Amazon. Bora Bora- had 4 days there and did 3 different tours. The very best was Tohora Bora Bora. I was not expecting it to be so wonderful having added it on at the last minute. The guide Simon was fantastic. Exuberant, excited about teaching about his lagoon and island, and this was all about snorkeling with dolphins, manta rays, eagle rays, stngrays, sharks and a coral garden with the clearest water I've ever seen. We were wowed not just by the scenery but also by a guide who was truly mesmerized still by his environment after living in Bora Bora for 20 years. If your go May through October he will take you to see whales! We also did Pure Snorkeling and Lagoon Service and while they were very good they were not quite as good as Tohora Bora Bora. Pure Snorkeling brought us to most of the same sites as Tohora did but the guide was very quiet while a very sweet guy. The guide at Lagoon Service was a little impatient with a few of the slower people on the boat telling them to hurry up while trying to get up on the ladder. It's not easy for new snorkelers to get in and out of a boat. Then they brought us to their gorgeous private motu for lunch. Everything was fine until we the time kept passing and we realized it had been 2 hours since we'd seen our guide. Thought that he was ready to bring us back to the ship about 2:30 until they brought out another guy who wanted to show us how to open a coconut. He loved to TALK and that went on for 45 minutes! The tour is great but just do the morning tour- no lunch. I should add that in the morning they brought us to the open ocean and we snorkeled with lemon sharks. It was worth it just for that. Moorea- jet ski with Moorea Activities Center. A blast! Exceedingly nice family company. We went most of the way around the island. My husband is a fast but terrible driver. Midway he told me "I can't see a thing!". We snorkeled about 3 sites and ended up in a shallow area full of stngrays. They are so sweet and loving. Like amorous cats. Do this. It was only $185 for 2 people. Ship was charging $399. The company picks you up right on time at the dock. Mid-cruise we stopped in Papeete as the 10 day part of the cruise ended and the 7 day began so we picked up more passengers. We took the ferry back to Moorea (easy) for a day stay at the Hilton Moorea. $90pp for all day, use of pool and beach and toys and fabulous lunch. Terrific snorkeling. Used Torea Nui Transport in Moorea- right on time. Another family outfit- nice people and they do island tours too. Reasonable. There are tons of stray dogs in Tahiti as there are all over the world. Tahitians don't believe in spay/neuter either. So lots of skinny, sad dogs but especially so in Moorea. A few are owned but most are free. There were lot of us buying food at grocery stores feeding along the way. It's heartbreaking. Our next day in Moorea we'd planned to rent a car and go to the Lagoonarium, but it rained very heavily all day so we returned the car early and went back to the ship. Raiatea- wow, another amazing day. We did L' Excursion Bleue with Bruno. Fabulous. He has a boat that accommodates 12 people but he'd just booked the two of us. Instead of canceling he took just the two of us around the whole island of Tahaa snorkeling- same tour as he does with the big groups probably at a loss to him. He's a sweet man. First place we stopped was teeming with sharks- there must have been 50 at least. We swam with them all around us and stingrays floating around too. The nicest thing was that he seemed in no hurry- he'd let us stay in the water wherever we stopped as long as we wanted. Another stop to snorkel and then a vanilla and pearl farm. Could have done without those but they were brief and no pressure to buy at all. Another snorkel stop and then back to the Coral Garden drift which we'd done before. We were so happy to be returning as it is so spectacular. He was a much better guide this time too. Huahine- another day with Sailing Huahine Voile. Did this last year. A beautiful sailing boat for 12 moored in Fare right off the dock where tender arrives. There were just 4 of us and it was a lovely day. Two snorkel sites with lots of background history and explanation of sealife. Again lunch a little too long and it's bring your own from the local market. Huahine is probably my favorite island. Very unspoiled. The couple who operate the boat are characters- a lot of fun. If it were possible we would have done Ile Aux Recifs in Rangiroa with Leon. They have a 6 passenger minimum. By the time I got the 6 together I stopped getting emails from them. But give it a try- it's supposed to be wonderful. revaultleon@mail.pf Sorry so long. But just returned last night and still coming off the high of all this. Everyone who has the means and the physical ability needs to do this. It's hard to describe how magnificent this cruise is. Just do it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We enjoyed the small ship atmosphere with a limited number of guests we felt like we actually go to know people and crew. It felt like we were on a big yacht complete with sails! The food was excellent with buffet choices and the ability ... Read More
We enjoyed the small ship atmosphere with a limited number of guests we felt like we actually go to know people and crew. It felt like we were on a big yacht complete with sails! The food was excellent with buffet choices and the ability to order from a menu at breakfast and lunch. Dinners were fabulous with several choices, it was sometimes difficult to choose from so many great options! The ship was very clean and modern. The crew were very friendly with an open bridge when we were at sea. They offered many excursions and the ones we took were fun. They opened the back of the ship when we were anchored and we were able to participate in water sports activities. It was great to be able to walk the entire deck and spend time in lounge chairs on the front or back deck in sun or shade. The inside lounge was large and comfortable if there was bad weather or it was too windy. In addition the Wind Spirit had three special events that were very well done; A motu picnic on Tahaa, an on-board BBQ dinner on the pool deck and a very special Motu dinner and Polynesian cultural show & dance on Bora Bora. My wife and I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was advertised as a "sailing" ship," filling its sails with the tradewinds of Tahiti" in every advertisement, and we fell for it. As experienced sailors on a 40' sailboat, San Diego to Hawaii and back, ... Read More
This was advertised as a "sailing" ship," filling its sails with the tradewinds of Tahiti" in every advertisement, and we fell for it. As experienced sailors on a 40' sailboat, San Diego to Hawaii and back, pacific northwest, central america and panama canal, we know sailing. The feeble efforts to make this look like sailing consisted of releasing tiny pieces of storm jib type sails for photo purposes, playing a sailing song, and departing port. The Captain himself said one sail was missing, and a crew member said the hydraulics weren't working--however, on excursion days we could look back and see that once again those fragments of sails were set while at anchor strictly for photographic value. Rough nights on board could have been improved with stabilizing sails, and the winds of 25 knots would have provided a wonderful experience. But this ship doesn't sail. We gave up the option of a veranda and having the fresh tropical air waft through our cabin with the expectation there would be sailing. Instead, the ports were sealed (two 16" port holes per cabin) and our cabin was a snug air conditioned capsule with no outside contact. From deck 1 it required 4 sets of stairs to get to the pool deck and breakfast. (we were on deck 2--only 3 sets) To depart the ship, however, required maneuvering down and back a steep 25 step stairway which hugged the side on the hull. On the plus side, the cabin space was well designed , sparkling clean, the crew was fantastic and friendly and the food was good. The high priced excursions varied in quality, several required riding in truck beds with boards on each side for seats, others used small SUV's requiring a lot of crawling into them. There was one well narrated comfortable bus ride. Our excursions alone for two cost about $1700 dollars. The worst was one advertised as a "romantic sunset cruise" and it turned out to be a small runabout boat, that speeded around for about an hour, served tiny plastic glasses of champaigne, got several of us wet with spray--all for a price of $300 for two. Dining on deck in Candles was magical, but had to be reserved. Amphora was the main dining room, very large, extremely noisy. One of the most disappointing aspects was their failure to obtain return airline seating assignments for us, claiming all they promised was a seat. This problem was not made known until we had paid all fees. As a result we ended up in separate seats on the 8 hour return flight. I had tried to correct this well prior to departure,with multiple phone discussions with an unhelpful staff member, but could not get her manager to return calls or emails or provide access to their air department. We have taken tours with Viking and their customer service far exceeded the haphazard approach found on Windstar. Their sales staff, of course, was charming and helpful. Never again!!! Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After researching the best way to see the islands of Tahiti my wife and I settled on a cruise as the best way to travel through the islands and also get to stay at and explore one of our dream destinations...Bora Bora! The Windspirit ... Read More
After researching the best way to see the islands of Tahiti my wife and I settled on a cruise as the best way to travel through the islands and also get to stay at and explore one of our dream destinations...Bora Bora! The Windspirit ticked all the boxes, small ship, no sea days, no children, no lifts, perfect. Now for a quick rundown on the ship, only around 70 cabins, so less than 130 guests as there were a few travelling on their own, the main restaurant Amphora was only used for dinner and had a great atmosphere coupled with excellent food, the second restaurant located on the top deck was where breakfast and lunch were served has tables inside and is air conditioned as well as more tables outside on the deck. It only took a day or two for the waiters and bartenders to learn all our names and favourite food and drinks, amazing really and a very nice touch. Barrack looked after us superbly at the restaurants and Edmark mixed drinks like a pro. There are also a few breakfast items and coffee from 6am on the pool deck where you just helped yourself if up early. The cabins are on two levels, we booked level one as the rooms are all identical except the 2 owners cabins on the stern. The cabin was well appointed with a huge amount of storage, we bought a suitcase each and even when fully unpacked there was enough storage left for at least another suitcase full or maybe more.We stowed the empty suitcases under the bed. Boarding started at 1pm and was an easy exercise, with so few passengers it was a breeze, unlike the mayhem we have experienced when boarding on larger cruise ships. After boarding and checking out our cabin we had lunch onboard which was a great introduction to the food onboard, lunch was excellent. We then went ashore and wandered around Papeete township for a couple of hours where I purchased a local sim which had 30 mis of calls and 2gb data included from Vodafone for under US$50, however be aware data doesn’t work when at a couple of the islands, also I was unable to share the data with my hotspot on my iPhone even after being assured this would work. Even after checking and sending emails daily I had only used 200mb of data at the end of the trip so was well covered with the 2gb. Sail away is a big event on Windstar with loud music and sails unfurling, a truly great experience. We opted not to buy a drinks package as we wanted to have cocktails sometimes, spirits and beer at others and wine with dinner and the only package that includes everything is US$50 per person per day so US$100 per cabin per day, we figured we wouldn’t drink more than $700 of drinks over 7 days as the drinks prices weren’t to bad, $5.50 for a Heineken, bottles of wine $30 to $40(some were more but we found good wine in this price bracket) This proved to be the case with our drinks account being a little over $600. We travelled with another couple and we rented a car at three of the islands and explored these independently, cost to hire a car ranged from $70 to $85 well worth it as we stopped at various attractions and resorts as well as swimming and snorkeling while circumnavigating each island. I would highly recommend this option. I only went on one Windstar organised excursion which was the coral drift snorkeling trip, this was awesome! The 2 special events put on by Windstar, the BBQ lunch and day on a private Moto at Ta’ha is magical and the evening dinner on a private motu at Bora Bora are not to be missed. Read Less
Wind Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 2.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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