6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Up until this cruise, I would have said that the best cruise I ever took was in French Polynesia on the Paul Gauguin, back when that ship was part of the Regents Seven Seas line. This cruise, however (from Venice to Rome, with stops in ... Read More
Up until this cruise, I would have said that the best cruise I ever took was in French Polynesia on the Paul Gauguin, back when that ship was part of the Regents Seven Seas line. This cruise, however (from Venice to Rome, with stops in Croatia, Montenegro, Sicily and the Amalfi coast), may well have topped that one. This cruise was not inexpensive, but you definitely get what you pay for. EMBARKATION was smooth and painless. Since we were not using Windstar’s transfer offer, we did have a little bit of difficulty getting information about where and how to board. You do so at the San Basilio port, easily reached by the vaporetto, or water bus (riding this from the Rialto stop, as we did, is itself a pleasant and scenic experience). Once on board we had to spend about 45 minutes filling out forms, but then we were free to explore; an excellent lunch (carved prime rib) was already being served. THE SHIP is relatively small (a bit more than 300 passengers) and very nicely laid out. Cabins do not have balconies, but all have portholes, are spacious (by cruise ship standards) and are beautifully arranged for maximum flexibility. Every cabin has a TV with DVD player; DVDs are available for free checkout in the ship’s library. The TV has a variety of satellite news channels, both for liberals (MSNBC) and conservatives (Fox News); several movies also play repeatedly throughout the day. We never actually saw our cabin steward, but he was very accommodating when we left him notes. On our first day, he replaced, at our request, all the beer and other alcoholic beverages in our refrigerator and replaced them with complimentary cans of coke and diet coke. Our cabin was always kept spotlessly clean and of course there were the inevitable towel animals waiting us for when we came back from dinner. The ship has sails (a huge plus for my wife, who loves sailing) and although they are mostly for show, they are occasionally used. When they are unfurled, stirring music plays. Another huge plus: There is a marina at the rear of the ship from which you can check out kayaks and even a small Hobie sailboat (all for free). The marina is open (weather permitting) whenever you are in a port that requires tendering to shore, but my wife absolutely loved sailing on the Adriatic. There is also a huge float that makes for fun swimming. This is a high-end cruise and therefore attracts an older crowd; I’d say the vast majority of passengers were at least 50 and there were plenty of people over 70, though we did see a few honeymooners and other folks in their 30s and 40s. There are no youth or childcare facilities; the ship makes very clear that young children and teenagers are not preferred passengers. This was fine with us. DINING is superb. The principal breakfast and lunch venue is the Veranda, where you can eat either indoors or outdoors. The arrangement is “buffet plus”: a good buffet (in the indoors part), with a smallish menu from which you can order extra items if necessary. (One thing I appreciated at every breakfast was freshly squeezed orange juice, which was excellent.) Dinner is served primarily in the main dining room, the AmphorA, though one evening during the cruise there is an on-deck barbeque, including not only things like paella, ribs and steak but also lobster (and of course a ton of salads, appetizers, breads and desserts). All non-alcoholic beverages are always free at every venue (including the bars); a charge is made for alcoholic beverages. Food at dinner was usually first-rate, with a choice of five or six entrees. My favorites were the prime rib and beef Wellington. Dinner is open seating (just come when you feel like it; there may be a line), but on the second night we sat at a table with a great view and excellent waiters, so my wife and I made a point of requesting that table (#7) every night from then on, and always got it. In addition to AmphorA, there are a couple of specialty restaurants, for which a reservation is required (but there is no extra charge). We ate at only one, Candles. During the check-in, we were asked if we wanted to make reservations there that night, and after looking at the AmphorA menu and seeing nothing that we had to have, we said yes. This was a great decision, since Candles is outdoor seating and the views as we sailed away from Venice were wonderful. There is also complimentary room service, but as we never took advantage of this option, I can’t comment on its quality. THE PORTS ranged from satisfactory to memorable. Our three top ports were Dubrovnik, Kotor (in Montenegro) and Amalfi, all of which had great scenery. Gettting to Kotor requires sailing down a beautiful passage ringed by mountains; unfortunately we were a little late departing so we didn’t get the spectacular mountain views a second time, as the sun had already set. The captain did a good job of pointing out points of interest as we sailed, and one evening (I think it was after departing Sicily) he mentioned we would be passing Stromboli, which I had never heard of, but found out was an active volcano. We were lucky enough at one point to see lava not just glowing from the top of the volcano but actually shooting out in a spectacular eruption; sadly, neither my wife nor I got a photo of this. We were a little annoyed that the ship’s photographer did not have the foresight to set up her camera for the possibility of something like this happening; we would have been more than willing to pay for a photo of this event. If we were to do it all over again, we would book, in Messina, Sicily, the shore excursion to Mt. Etna. It’s expensive and time-consuming but Messina didn’t offer a lot of stuff to do; we spent about three hours walking around and then found a gelato place where we could get free wifi as well as gelato. (For some reason, gelato was not served on board, but regular ice cream was. I think it should be a law that a ship in or even near Italy must serve gelato.) ENTERTAINMENT on board is pretty minimal. That suited us fine; we are early-to-bed, early-to-rise types and wouldn’t have been able to partake of it in any event. Don’t count, though, on the typical comedian/impressionist/audience participation games that you find on the larger ships. DISEMBARKATION was mildly problematic, but that’s not the ship’s fault. Getting from the port where we docked to Rome takes some doing; we decided to kill two birds with one stone and booked a shore excursion to Rome, which left us off a short taxi-ride away from the Spanish steps, where our hotel (booked by us independently of the cruise) was. There was also a miscommunication between us and the shore excursion lady about what stops were made; both my wife and I were sure that at least one additional stop was promised, but the tour leader said no. As it is we stopped only at St. Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls, and getting there on the tour bus took forever (traffic jams here are murder); there was no bathroom on the tour bus and I was in considerable distress when we finally arrived. I don’t know of any other reasonable and inexpensive way to get from the port to Rome, though. SUMMARY One or two minor glitches to the contrary, this was a great cruise. Both my wife and I will look forward to traveling with Windstar Cruises in the future. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Let me start off by saying this was our 5th Windstar Cruise and was one of " the best". I did a lot of due diligence before our trip on Viator, TripAdvisor, NY Times Travel etc.regarding our cities we were visiting. You should ... Read More
Let me start off by saying this was our 5th Windstar Cruise and was one of " the best". I did a lot of due diligence before our trip on Viator, TripAdvisor, NY Times Travel etc.regarding our cities we were visiting. You should probably do this but the Yacht provides a write up on each stop ( places of interest, history etc.) which was fabulous information. You can pick these up as soon as you board near excursion desk. OK let's get started. I hope the information I provide you will make your trip easier and you take advantage of all my tips. We flew into FCO ( ROME) and I had contracted thru Viator a car ( 69 EUROS plus tip) to take us to Port of Civitavecchia. It was a pleasant hour ride and our driver gave us a history lesson on all the little towns we passed . We arrived before 1 pm check in so your options are to wait in lobby, walk around Port or take a free bus 10 minute bus ride to city. Once you can go onboard you fill out a few forms, have your picture taken, and give credit card for incidentals. My recommendation is to make your "special night" dinner reservations at Stella and Candles immediately after checking in. We love Stella and were able to go back 2 nights. Our "favorite restaurant" . Gede is the maitre' de and excellent in running the restaurant. For Candles ,I recommend at the end of the trip when your in a Port late and you sit outside for beautiful views and romantic dinner. The main restaurant is Amphora. It was very very good. Our maitre'ed was Hayruttin and a really nice guy. Our outstanding waiter was Andi ( hardest working guy on Yacht). Always smiling and so friendly. He was also our waiter for breakfast and lunch along with Aqil ( great smile and very hard worker). Eric was our Wine Steward. Extremely knowledgeable and a great guy. We've had Eric and Andi on 3 of our cruises and they are AWESOME. Look and ask for them. They really are the best at what they do. I have to tell you that ALL THE STAFF ( 192 people) are just terrific. So friendly and always looking to help out. It speaks volumes to Windstar for having such a great staff. There is a very full menu for all 3 meals but if you desire something else they will bend over backwards to accommodate you. One night there is the ' most incredible" BBQ on deck at night. You name they have it. Lobster, shrimp, fish, roast beef etc. Bring your camera . You won't regret it. Our cabin #320 : If you like 2 bathrooms, 2 TV'S, 2 large closets, plenty of great amenities with a sitting room then I highly recommend the Windsurf. Our room was awesome. Perfect location. Middle of yacht and completely accessible to main bridge and everywhere else. Our previous cruise we had Cabin #331 which was really good also. The bed, sheets and pillows are all first class. The rooms are cleaned in the morning and at night. On this Classic Italy trip being on the even side gave us great views of the coastline and Ports the whole trip. The Information desk is manned by 4 outstanding workers. I remember Mary and Kareem and apologize can't remember other 2 but all were extremely helpful answering any questions, wake-up or if there was a problem they were extremely attentive to passengers needs. In the morning there are 2-3 pages of current news everyday from Times Digest, USA Today and British News along with NY Times crossword puzzle, Suduko and Jumble. These are a lot of fun to do if you have time. Near the information desk is the Yachtsman Club where you can get coffee ( also specialty coffees), fruit, desserts , sandwiches and outstanding peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Don't expect to lose any weight . After the 5th day it was getting embarrassing. I needed to wear all my shirts out I was eating so much. Again the food was really good . So if you have time there is a full "state of the art" workout facility. I walked around the ship 11 times ( 2.2 miles) and when your sailing on the Adriatic Sea it's like a bath tub. There a plenty of lounge chairs on 2 decks for just reading and relaxing and taking in the views. There is also the Compass Bar where you can lounge or get served awesome drinks by Eric. There are 2 hot tubs ( did not use) and small pool. When ship is docked in a Port you can use any of the water sports activities at back of Yacht which is run by BJ. He is a really cool guy, very athletic and runs a really good operation in water activities. These are not available if weather is inclement. Entertainment- There is entertainment starting at 9:15 pm in the main lounge. Wonderful singer and back up band( the guys are pretty good singers also ). they have Beatles Night and 50/60/70"s Night. There is a duo singing in the Compass Bar each night. One of the highlights of the trip is Crew entertainment night. You have no idea how talented some of the crew are. Wonderful singers but my favorite group was Men's Synchronized Swim group led by BJ. I couldn't stop laughing at the incredible performance these 8 guys did. There is also a Casino on board . Ports and Excursions- I did a lot of research thru Viator and TripAdvisor re: excursions. I will be honest with you. Don't waste your time. Every evening, Gonsalvo would give us a brief scenario of our next Port. He was extremely thorough and he and his assistant Joha were very helpful. First, the excursions the Yacht offers are fabulous. Prices vary but you should be able to find a price point for your needs. Second, the guides the Yacht provided at each Port were outstanding. Third, but most important the Yacht will provide you with the BEST DRIVERS anywhere. If you've been to Italy ( especially Sicily- the road to Mt. Etna is unbelievable) and all their drivers were the consummate professional and just outstanding. When you see them make impossible turns hairpin turns with these big buses you'll thank me. Plus if you should incur any trip problems it's mush easier dealing with Windstar than these other small travel companies. One word of advice: foreign buses do not have bathrooms . We took 5 excursions: (1) Boat to Positano ( view are magnificent and bring 2-3 credit cards you'll need it- great shopping)- (2) trip to Mt. Etna- the cruise line provides you with a free activity and after Mt. Etna we went to the Gambino Winery where we had a wonderful meal, sampled 4 good wines and serenaded with nice music. Also a wine cellar tour. All your morning excursions will end up at Gambino Winery so you don't have to worry about missing anything. (3) Historic Kotor on foot- wonderful excursion and town (4) Dubrovnik City Sights and Cable Car- awesome (5) Krka National Park Highlights- it's not Niagara Falls but pleasant trip. The last day was Rovinj and we did our own tour and it worked out well. This was a perfect city to just walk and walk. We stayed in Venice for 2 extra nights and there's nothing I can tell you about Venice that you don't know . I contracted thru Viator for pick up from Port in Venice to our Hotel ( Baglioni Hotel Luna- place is like a palace- highly recommend- it's magnificent ) and it ran 80 Euros. From hotel to airport it ran 120 Euros. I think I pretty much covered everything you'll need for this trip. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. Enjoy your next cruise . Ciao !!!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have been on the Windstar Line's smaller wind yachts and wanted to experience the larger Wind Surf. With about 190 crew and 350 passengers the facilities and service were above and beyond what we expected. The slightly larger format ... Read More
We have been on the Windstar Line's smaller wind yachts and wanted to experience the larger Wind Surf. With about 190 crew and 350 passengers the facilities and service were above and beyond what we expected. The slightly larger format allowed a little more space and enabled the provision of three distinctly different dining experiences. The small size of the ship allowed it to anchor close to all the ports visited. The tender service was adequate with short trips due to the proximity to the docks. The cabins are typical Windstar pattern designed by the French in 1986 and seemed to have been recently refurbished. They have plenty of storage and a small desk. The unique bathrooms had all new plumbing fittings with a thermostat that actually worked on the shower. Entertainment was limited but adequate with two groups, one in the lounge and one on the back deck. The crew show was very good! Special functions such as a lunch at a winery in Taormina and the deck BBQ went well. Especially the BBQ which offered such a large variety of food from Lobster through Paella to Skirt Steak that it was impossible to try everything. Held as the sun set in the valley like space of Kotor it was a very special evening. As the port cities on the itinerary were interesting enough we declined the excursions. However we got good reports from those who took them. The meals in all restaurants were superb. Head Chef Eddie took about 10 of us to the markets in Kotor where he purchased some wonderful cured meats, olives and fruit which he served at the BBQ. He also arranged a tasting of meats and cheeses together with a sample of the local red wine Vranac. (not so good before lunch!) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this trip as it went to ports that we had never been to before. Yes the Windsurf is old but the inside is really nice in every detail. The cabin is small compared to other cruises we have taken but there is adequate storage space ... Read More
We chose this trip as it went to ports that we had never been to before. Yes the Windsurf is old but the inside is really nice in every detail. The cabin is small compared to other cruises we have taken but there is adequate storage space for everything. The crew is truly wonderful. They know you name from the first day and what you liked and didn't like. Just loved everything. The trip skipped Gozo but we were still able to do the planned excursion. It also missed another port but we were able to make the best of it. There was also a free excursion to the Valley of the Temples which was great and included a free lunch at a hotel near by. Also had a free open bar. Not too shabby. Only one suggestion and I probably know it is not possible. Windstar should cut out the portholes and replace with a large window. Probably the cost ios too great Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Wanted to see Sicily, great experience but though the ship could do with some updating, carpets need replacing. Bathrooms a very good design. Plenty of storage space in the cabin. Food very good. Restaurant management and staff with a few ... Read More
Wanted to see Sicily, great experience but though the ship could do with some updating, carpets need replacing. Bathrooms a very good design. Plenty of storage space in the cabin. Food very good. Restaurant management and staff with a few exceptions could do with additional training. The BBQ dinner was exceptional heaps of lobster tails and prawns. We booked early and no consideration was given when the fares were dramatically reduced, trying to contact the shipping company for any kind of advice was like pulling teeth for us and our travel agent. Not a very easy company to deal with. I would not sail again on this ship as I believe the standard and service is better on other ships although the food was first class. Most ships these days provide wine with meals they did not. They wanted $54 US per day per person in a wine package, cheaper to buy wine by the glass US$10 approximately. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We choose this cruise because : 1. We sailed on this ship in 1996 , originally she was called Club med 1 , we always wanted to cruise again on this sister ship of the Club med 2 on which we are 35 cruises repeaters . Both ships were ... Read More
We choose this cruise because : 1. We sailed on this ship in 1996 , originally she was called Club med 1 , we always wanted to cruise again on this sister ship of the Club med 2 on which we are 35 cruises repeaters . Both ships were built by the same company. 2. we like ship with a lot of space on the deck where it is possible to have all meals on the deck if the weather permit 3. as a wild life photographer , I like to be able to take pictures from the bow of the boat we actually met sea mammals and sea birds different from the sea gulls 4. we new the comfortable size of the cabin on deck 1 and the différent decks 5. we didn know how the cooking was ? We were pleasantly surprised by the refinement of the meals presentation. 6. Each stop was interesting and the access to each city historic center was well managed for an easy acces by shuttles at each stop. We really enjoy this cruise , the two negative points are the cost of the wine and the wifi. A personal wish of my wife would be to have french translation of the daily information sheet 7. we were also attracted by very promotional last minute prices on this cruise Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this yacht because of the small size and the ports looked interesting to us. What we hadn't expected was a completely terrible shore excursion experience at our first port, Tangier. No quality assurance was evident so this was not ... Read More
We chose this yacht because of the small size and the ports looked interesting to us. What we hadn't expected was a completely terrible shore excursion experience at our first port, Tangier. No quality assurance was evident so this was not a good start and we were quite worried that this would be the standard throughout the cruise. Fortunately visits to subsequent ports were very good. We also didn't understand why it was so difficult to obtain a reservation at "Candles" and "Stella" restaurants, particularly as they often looked to be only half full. Accommodation, food and quality of service was to a very high standard. We also enjoyed the open bridge policy and meeting some of the crew. Other "pluses" were the sailing experience and lovely public spaces; embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient and the high quality of our cabin. Overall an enjoyable experience which was matched with perfect weather Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Chose this cruise because DH wanted to cruise on the ship with sails, and there were islands we had not yet experienced in the Caribbean-Barbuda, Isles de Saintes, and St Barths. Our cabin was 222 which was convenient to the stairs, ... Read More
Chose this cruise because DH wanted to cruise on the ship with sails, and there were islands we had not yet experienced in the Caribbean-Barbuda, Isles de Saintes, and St Barths. Our cabin was 222 which was convenient to the stairs, embarking / disembarking. For a small ship, our cabin was very comfortable and our steward was excellent - always had fresh ice and fresh linens. We were greeted with fresh flowers, fruit, and chocolates in our cabin - which were replenished during the cruise. There is no extra charge for the specialty restaurants which we enjoyed. For breakfast in addition to a buffet of great choices and an egg/omelette station, you also had menu items to choose from: tacos, waffles, french toast, a variety every day. Lunch was the same with a buffet, cooking station with a daily offering (roast pork, leg of lamb, salmon, etc) and the freshest ice cream - always an ice cream and a sherbert plus other desserts. The island beach BBQ was my least favorite although the food was plentiful and there was a band playing - nice atmosphere, just crowded feeling. We had lobster two nights; once in the Main Dining Room and once the night the staff grilled on deck. Best part of the cruise: there were no walkers or wheelchairs pushing their way around on deck and shore excursion numbers were small. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
TOns of smokers on this ship , they should be allowed places to smoke , but limited. impossible to get into the private dining rooms. Zero children on this trip - excellent - the cruise line does a very good job of explaining this is ... Read More
TOns of smokers on this ship , they should be allowed places to smoke , but limited. impossible to get into the private dining rooms. Zero children on this trip - excellent - the cruise line does a very good job of explaining this is probably a cruise where children will be disappointed and lack things to do. Entertainment was pretty much non-existent except for the crew - they were actually better than the paid musicians. Love that the small ship ca get into smaller ports and ZERO days at sea (yay!) new island every day. ship is getting a little long in the tooth. lots of return cruisers on this line , many obviously love it. Food was very uneven - some things great others mediocre or cold , surprising for so few passengers. Wine list is awful , i could put together a better list at half the price. C'mon this is not that hard , why the lack of effort ? The hard liquor list was very good. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was my third Windstar cruise - second one on the Windsurf. I chose the BVI Yachtman's Caribbean as I remembered those islands from long ago sailing. Unfortunately, we couldn't snorkel or catamaran very often (excursions were ... Read More
This was my third Windstar cruise - second one on the Windsurf. I chose the BVI Yachtman's Caribbean as I remembered those islands from long ago sailing. Unfortunately, we couldn't snorkel or catamaran very often (excursions were cancelled) due to rough seas, so not a lot to do. There were then limited excursions left to take advantage of. I did swim with the Stingrays - that was cool. The best day was St Bart's - catamaran cruise. Josh Van Dyke - the beach trip , Whites Bay, was good and they had shopping huts. Foxys was a dud - morning visit, nothing open. We couldn't do the evening visit , due to rough seas. Sopers hole, Tortola it rained. St. John's Antiqua was the dolphin swim. I did the final day Americas cup sailboat racing and that was FUN! The ship is getting tired - wallpaper is peeling in the rooms and the lounge has an old vibe to it. I didn't stay up late to hear the lounge singers. I found the staff distant and the captain not often visible. It was a different crowd this time - maybe sell off prices attracts different travellers? As a single traveller , I pay a lot and I expected a more upscale group of guests. The other sailings had that. I do think there are last minute sell - offs that change the vibe of the ship. The crew seemed tired - not as friendly as other cruises, less attentive. Again, maybe due to the weather being not great - rocking ship at night, not a lot of sleep, tenders difficult in high waves etc. My room 230 - was noisey with a motor type noise and a drain outside my room, gurgling all night. I asked to change rooms but they had only a lower grade stateroom, that I thought might be rougher. Overall, I was disappointed with this cruise. I will go with this line again - perhaps In Europe. I won't sail on the Windsurf again. I think I prefer a smaller vessel. The Star Legend ship was lovely last year - ABC islands. No sails but we didn't get to use the sails in the Windsurf except for one time. Even the beautiful sail away was a disappointment as the sails didn't open. Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.1
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment N/A 3.6
Service 3.5 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.3
Rates 4.0 4.1

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