WORST PART OF THE TRIP Getting there and getting back, Barbados and Nevis. The Miami airport is awful. There appeared to be no organization to clearing customs. Barbados and Nevis are 3rd world countries. Personally, if I want to see ... Read More
WORST PART OF THE TRIP Getting there and getting back, Barbados and Nevis. The Miami airport is awful. There appeared to be no organization to clearing customs. Barbados and Nevis are 3rd world countries. Personally, if I want to see unemployed vagrants, I can go to any inner city for a lot less $$$. The immigration people in Barbados when we entered were scowling, humorless, and irritated that we were there to spend money in their poor run-down island. BEST PART OF THE TRIP The other passengers and the ship itself, which is in great condition. We met so many really nice and interesting people - who also had good manners. If you like to drink too much and boogy till ya puke, this isn't the cruise for you. Most passengers are experienced, interesting people with lots of good conversation to share. Their company was truly a highlight. There were several children on this trip, except for 1 boy in a stroller who was loud, all were well-mannered and cute fun kids. ACCOMMODATIONS Very nice cabins - even standard size. The suites are very spacious, but not necessary. Cabin stewards are excellent. There's fresh fruit and a small vase of fresh flowers as well as a very nice assortment of soaps, shampoos, and body lotions. Towels were large enough to easily wrap around and the bathrobes were nice and eliminated the need to take on along. The hair dryer is kind of lame, but did ultimately do the job. TV and VCR were great with some movies to watch that I had not seen. DINING Both the Restaurant and the Bistro were very attractive. The breads and deserts were all simply wonderful. Appetizers, soups, and salads at dinner were great - better on some nights, but over all, really good. I only have a couple of "areas for improvement" to note. The fish entrees were ALWAYS overcooked (except the lobster which was always perfect). The sirloin was tough - well gee, why wouldn't it be - it's tough on land as well. The filets were just fine when delivered as ordered. Filet serving sizes were small, but after all the preliminary courses, they were more than adequate. Lunch and breakfast choices were good. Breakfast was particularly good - eggs a zillion ways, smoked salmon everyday, great pastries, cereals hot and cold, fresh melons, pineapple, grapes as large as plums - all were very good. Lunch was the least exciting. The buffet items were not too good and I didn't care for all the marinated/vinegar type salads. One day there was a meat in a gravy dish, but no pasta or rice to put it over which seemed a little odd to me. A good sandwich bar would have been a welcome choice. BAR The bar staff is really good. The white wine selection is fine - if the only wine you like is a chardonnay. The second day out, they were out of the pinot grigio with no replenishment. The liquor selection isn't extensive, but is adequate in terms of quality range and choice - after all this isn't a giant ship with storage for 5 different port selections. Beer selection is adequate for mainstream consumption - Bud, Bud Light, Hiney, and one or two others. COFFEE All of it good - not wimpy. Espresso, cappacino, laite available w/meals. ROOM SERVICE Zippy - fast - efficient and a good selection. This was a good vacation. I appreciated the lack of announcements all day long. On Christmas Day, we sailed around under sail power. It was a great day, although it was the first time I ever ate French fries and played a slot machine on Christmas day. The ports of St. Barts and Isle de Sainte were really nice. I suspect the French islands are a lot nicer than some of the others. Ship management gets FOUR HAPPY FACES for the way everything is handled. When seas were too choppy to go to Anguilla and St. Martin (French side), we sailed around until we could dock on the Dutch side. When the sister ship, Club Med, was in the vicinity, they arranged for us to sale next to them for a while to get some really good pictures. This is one area where the differences were apparent - Wind Surf sails are clean - Club Med sails dirty w/soot. The ship is very clean everywhere. It was a good vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
We sailed Rome to Nice Oct 31, 2004, and never having cruised before I will offer my opinion on WindSurf. Four of us travelled and none of us has ever cruised before so I am unable to compare ships but will offer you my opinion. FABULOUS! ... Read More
We sailed Rome to Nice Oct 31, 2004, and never having cruised before I will offer my opinion on WindSurf. Four of us travelled and none of us has ever cruised before so I am unable to compare ships but will offer you my opinion. FABULOUS! Yes you get a porthole instead of a balcony, but the size of the ship is why I chose WindSurf. I never had a desire to sail on a large ship and this was the perfect way to travel the intimate ports of the Mediterranean without hauling luggage, and knowing your accommodations were consistent. Sea sickness: one of us felt unwell on our first night, the rest of us were fine. It was quite amazing how quick you adjust. You felt some movement on the ship, but talking to other passengers, few we spoke with were ill from the movement. Sea sickness pills were available at reception and the infirmary, and you are supposed to take them 4 hours before sailing. Staterooms were really nice and serviceable. Our porthole looked directly at the ocean, that was cool. They do your rooms twice daily which was a treat. The staff were amazing, and yes, within a couple of days, they do know your names. Food was also fabulous, lots of choice without the buffet mentality, choices of salad, appetizer, soup and usually 4 - 5 entrees to choose from...excellent in both quantity and presentation. We had room service breakfast every morning, ate lunch in port and dinner on ship. Excursions: we chose to entertain ourselves and rented a car one day and took our time around the island we were on. 50 Euro for the car for the day for 4 people. Arranged all our own transportation and transfers via email prior to leaving. Our room was 118 on the lower deck and you really felt very little movement there. Room 220 on the upper deck is adjacent to where everyone gets on and off in port each day so avoid it. The noise of everyone on the stairs at 8:00 a.m. is terrible. The wonderful thing about this ship is you never have to wait for anything. The tender to and from the port would take 2 people if you were the only ones waiting to come or go! Casual Elegance is the motto and it is correct, everyone was usually dressed nicely for dinner, your choice as to how much you want to dress up, common sense seems to prevail here. Entertainment: the crew did a show one evening that was really cute, the 2 bands were excellent (played every evening) and there were a lot of people dancing. Besides, it is the others on the ship usually providing the entertainment!! Casino is small but adequate. There are casinos in port in the large cities in Nice, Monte Carlo, etc. Spa was excellent, lots of people using it, and the gym always seemed to have people working out. We worked out walking in the ports, putting on miles just walking around. The ship provided you with written material everyday on the next port, so you had some idea what to expect and what were the highlights. Overall it was 1st class, very comfortable, relaxing. You could be as organized as you wished, or simply take it day by day. Average age? 45-50 ish....in the Mediterranean. Rating...5 star in my mind! Only thing I would change is more time in Rome before we sailed!  Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
Cruises: 11/7-14/2004 - Nice to Barcelona 11/14/21/2004 - Barcelona to Lisbon Overview While no cruise is perfect, our back to back cruises on the Wind Surf were way above average. We sailed to great ports, all the while feeling that ... Read More
Cruises: 11/7-14/2004 - Nice to Barcelona 11/14/21/2004 - Barcelona to Lisbon Overview While no cruise is perfect, our back to back cruises on the Wind Surf were way above average. We sailed to great ports, all the while feeling that we were privileged and pampered. Nothing beats the feeling of being on a ship under sail, and it's a pleasure to sail with a few hundred other passengers, rather than a few thousand. For a description of the ship, public rooms, fellow passengers, fitness and recreation, family, dress code, and tipping, see the main Cruise Critic review of the Wind Surf. Best part of the trip Except for the two bad weather days, every day was a best part. The crew was friendly and helpful, the passengers were interesting, the ports were great, and the ship itself was fun. It was great having a feeling of elegance, yet not having to dress up - Windstar really does have "casual elegance." Worst part of the trip This was a tie between two things: disembarkation, and a very bumpy, unplanned sea day when everything seemed to go wrong. Both will be discussed below. Embarkation There was some confusion as to when we could board, so we were at the pier a bit after 1 p.m., but couldn't board until 2. Once we could board, embarkation was painless. (Give them a 3 for information accuracy, 5 for the actual boarding, averaging a 4.) We had left our bags on the pier around 10:30 a.m., and they magically appeared in our room. We climbed up the gangplank at 2, took the mandatory awful boarding picture, then were ushered into the lounge and handed a mimosa. We filled out forms, and that was it. Even a goof regarding our boarding cards was fixed quickly. Indeed, that became a keynote of the trip: Windstar made few mistakes; but when they did, they usually fixed it quickly. Accommodations These were the smallest rooms we'd had on our five cruises (188 square feet), and we were concerned that we would feel cramped. We needn't have had any fears: though compact, the rooms were very comfortable, and we had no cabin fever even after two weeks. There seemed to be room for all our belongings. We did miss having a bath tub; but we knew that in advance. The steward was unobtrusive: perhaps a bit too much so. However, the room was kept clean, and when we asked for something (ice, more shampoo, etc.) it arrived promptly. The towels and bathrobes were good, and the fruit bowl was kept filled. Dining The food in the dining rooms was so good, and so convenient, that we never even tried room service. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda room; however, we quickly found that we could avoid crowds (the crowds weren't very big, anyway), and get waiter service for several items, if we sat in the adjacent Bistro. The breakfast choices always included pancakes, French toast, waffles, and at least one light cuisine choice. Eggs were made to order, smoked salmon was available every day, and caviar was available two or three times each week. There was lots of fruit, meusli, great breads and pastries, and stuff we never even tried, such as British breakfast, cold cereal, breakfast meats (hot and cold), etc. We had three or four lunches off the ship, mostly on excursions; but it was a temptation to eat every lunch on the ship. Most lunches had themes (Italian, Spanish, Asian), and the choices were generally interesting. Grilled food, such as fish and burgers, was always available. The salads were especially varied and interesting. There were always lots of desserts, including low fat and the famous HAL bread pudding. The review of "sfg" of a 2002 cruise mentioned the need for a sandwich bar, and said that buffet choices were not too good. We felt that buffet choices were excellent. While there still is no area where the ship crew makes cold sandwiches, there are plenty of sandwich ingredients available, including great bread, for making your own sandwiches. We never did so, because the other choices were so good. The lobster and lamb chop barbecue lunch, on the last cruise day of each week, was a highlight of the trip. If we had any quibbles with the food, it involved dinner. During the first week, when the ship had 210 passengers, everything went smoothly, and meals took a leisurely but not slow amount of time. In week two, when there were 300 passengers, service slowed, and we experienced waits on occasion. Nonetheless, our Indonesian server, Lilik, was always courteous and attentive. As for the food itself, it was not five star, but it was the best we've had on a cruise ship. There was some effort to serve food that related to where we were (the Mediterranean). There were vegetarian choices, healthy food, and "low carb" food, as well as four or five other choices. We always got a table for two, as requested, unless we asked for a larger table. One night we were at a table for six, and we had six different main courses - all good. With soup, salad, appetizer, main course, and dessert there was too much food: by the end of the trip we were consistently skipping at least one course. The menus were so good that we kept putting off trying the alternate restaurant, the Bistro. On our first try, we were too seasick to enjoy the food. This was the missed port day in Mahon, as described below, and was not a fair test of the restaurant. When we finally did try it in normal weather, we enjoyed it as much as the main restaurant. Wine and Liquor We can't really judge this area. Since we were sailing in wine country (France and Spain), we purchased almost all of our wine on shore, and paid a $10 corkage fee each time we opened a bottle. (The wine steward did give us one "freebie" each week). Similarly, the bar crew was very friendly even though we normally ordered iced tea, rather than something alcoholic. Ports and Itinerary Before we left, Walt, the host for the Windstar board, described our two weeks as a "killer itinerary." That was accurate. We had just the right mix of big cities (Marseilles, Barcelona, Malaga), medium size cities (Palma de Majorca, Tangier), and small places (Porquerolles, Ibiza, Sete, Portimao). Due to Mistral winds, we missed two ports: St. Florent, Corsica, and Mahon, Minorca. Both would have been great. However, the missed day at St. Florent resulted in one of the highlights of the trip. We went from Nice to Villefranche, a distance of about five miles, instead of going to Corsica. We took a tour to St. Paul de Vence, and placed a stone on Chagall's grave. Unforgettable. Villefranche itself was interesting, including a narrow, completely enclosed street, the Rua Obscura. Visiting Tangier, Morocco, including our excursion to Tetuan (the white dove), was like stepping into another world. Everything was exotic, from the narrow alleyways to the robes worn by the people to the vendors who kept trying to get us to bargain for and purchase their goods. I hope the line keeps this port in its itineraries, but adds western-style bathrooms to the buses. We were one of a group who needed "facilities," and when we were shown a hole with two footprints, only Joe used it. The guide here was superb, keeping the worst vendors away and keeping all of us together. Things did not turn out well for our other missed port, Mahon. (We missed the first and last scheduled ports of the first week's itinerary.) We spent a sea day in 60 knot winds. The ship is fairly stable; but no ship feels comfortable in such high winds, and Joan became seasick. To make matters worse, some thoughtless passenger flushed something that he shouldn't have flushed down a men's room toilet, and it knocked out the toilets for our entire bank of cabins and public areas. Even after the public bathroom was fixed, our toilet and the toilet in the room next to us had to be replaced. Imagine a sea day with near hurricane force winds, when you couldn't even use your own stateroom. With many empty rooms, the line could have let us rest in an empty room. Instead, we wandered from public room to public room. Joan was too doped up on seasickness pills to care, Windstar did give us a bottle of wine as a "make good," but they could and should have done more. In all justice to them, they probably had their hands full with a nasty storm and at least three broken toilets. Excursions We used ship's excursions in about half the ports. In the other ports, Patrick, the excursion director, gave us plenty of information about the port, so we could do things on our own. With one big exception, the tours were reasonably priced and interesting, and gave us a good idea of the area in which we were traveling. We avoided the big, overcrowded tour from Malaga to Granada (which was loved by the people who took it); so all of our tours were also uncrowded: always under 30 people, twice under 15. The line made an effort to run each tour, even when fewer than 20 people signed up. Windstar negotiated a favorable dollar-euro ratio for those tours, so they were competitive with your private arrangements. So what was the problem? Bathroom stops. They were too infrequent, and the bathrooms on the buses were never available. Breakfast featured excellent coffee, fresh-squeezed juice and wonderful smoothies as well as abundant ice water. The busses could drive for more than an hour before arriving at our destination. Even when the busses had bathrooms, some gibberish prevented the guides from letting us use them. As a weight watcher, we learned to drink several glasses of water upon arising. We drink more water than most, and have never used a laxative. As the population ages, this will become more of a problem. We hope the line cures this problem. Entertainment There wasn't much of it, and we didn't miss it. There was a small casino, and there were usually bands in the two lounges. They were not well populated most of the time: people were simply too tired after exciting days on shore. Most people rented DVDs, and watched them in their rooms. Still, we have no doubt that, had we been night owls instead of early birds, we could easily have made our own entertainment. Nonetheless, if you want big, glitzy shows, this may not be the ship for you. The only "show" was the weekly crew show, which was quite interesting. Level of service Generally excellent, from the hostess, Cherie, on down. The crew made us feel pampered and special. Tipping Very confusing. The "tipping not required" policy resulted in confusion about whether to tip, and how much. We ended up giving pooled tips to the dining room staff and bar staff, and individual tips to the room steward and wine steward. Clear guidelines would be better. Better still would be a slight increase in price, all of which would go into staff pay, so that tipping truly is not needed. Windstar will try this idea, as well as including wine with dinner, in its "Signature Sailings" in 2005. Disembarkation After two great weeks, even the best disembarkation would have been a downer. The actual disembarkation was worse than that. Because the ship was going into dry dock, we disembarked an hour west of Lisbon, and had a long bus trip. (In fairness, getting off the ship was quick and well organized, and would have been good had we gone directly to the pier instead of into a bus.) Once we picked up our bags (loading them onto carts ourselves, since there seemed to be no porters), there was no one to help us get a cab. Joe went back inside to use the restroom, and got locked into the port terminal. There was no one to help him get out, and we lost our place in line trying to get a cab. Although it seemed the terminal was devoid of personnel, we soon discovered many workers. A few minutes after we loaded our luggage onto carts, people in orange suits started to take the carts back. We were left with piles of luggage on the ground and no cabs in sight. The most aggressive people got cabs quickly. Finally, someone from Windstar organized a line; but the pushy people, rather than those of us who arrived first, got on line first. Meanwhile cab drivers came up to us and offered to drive us for three or four times the meter rate. Absurd! Final impressions Despite a few glitches, a fantastic trip! Bravo, Wind Surf! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
A Solid 8.5-9.0 Just returned from the Wind Surf, traveling from Cozumel to Honduras and Belize. A good mix of mostly US passengers, where average age was around 55 or so. This was a very good mid-level to semi-luxury cruise, with ... Read More
A Solid 8.5-9.0 Just returned from the Wind Surf, traveling from Cozumel to Honduras and Belize. A good mix of mostly US passengers, where average age was around 55 or so. This was a very good mid-level to semi-luxury cruise, with exceptional food and service from a continually smiling crew. With two restaurants, they served excellent tasting food (a solid 10), with a flair for presentation and options. The Bistro offers a nice alternative, although somewhat difficult to get a reservation there since some passengers book there every night on their first day, leaving few daily openings per the posted regulations. Also, it seemed to us and others that starting dinner service at 7:30 was a little late since it took about 2 hours to complete. Rooms were larger than expected, with plenty of closet and bathroom space, and well appointed. The bed was fairly hard, although we slept well most nights. The hot tubs were great, but the pools were small and rarely used. Exercise room was very functional and the spa was nice. Several bars to choose from and great food during happy hour. Main complaints were around the shore excursions, as the ship enjoys charging about double what you can book them for on your own. Also, choices were limited in Honduras, or very expensive ($400 pp for one tour to see some Mayan ruins that included air). Diving was $120 for most 2-tank dives ($200 for some specialty dives), although local operators typically charged $50-60. Some passengers seemed irked by traveling to a 3rd world country like Honduras, but we thought it to be interesting. Also, if you are not on one of their pricey shore excursions, you are not allowed on the first tender to shore each day, even if you are waiting first in line. Also, we left port each day around 5:00, meaning we had limited time to visit a port after an excursion, and were constantly looking at the watch. Drinks were also fairly pricey ($5 for a US beer), small and some tasted watered down. Room service was very fast with same great food as the restaurants. The Internet service only worked for one day, which presented other inconveniences. A nicely laid out ship with two elevators for the elderly or tired. Casino was nice but not used much. Some of the senior level crew seemed to have an attitude to passengers, but others were truly great and made it clear they enjoyed their job. Made lots of new friends and did enjoy our vacation, but will likely try their smaller ships or Star Clippers as that is more our style. But, this is a good value to those looking for an enjoyable ship, experience and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was clean, the staff was very friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar markets themselves as being "casual elegant" and that is correct. They do not have the European level of ... Read More
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was clean, the staff was very friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar markets themselves as being "casual elegant" and that is correct. They do not have the European level of service as Seabourn, but you should not expect it. Service in restaurant was good and the menu between main dining room and bistro gave you ample selections to choose from. The ship is a great size and fairly stable. When we did have a 55mph headwind, we found ourselves 2-hours behind schedule and were not sure the ship would fit under the bridge going into Lisbon. It was very exciting as they sent a crewman up the mast to advise if we would not clear it - we were close! Had we not fit, they planned to tender everyone to the dock, not a good option for people with lots of luggage or flights close to arrival time. Embarkation and debarkation was among the best we've experienced. Very organized and fast. Only issue was local customs officials and we all know cruise lines can't control that. The cabins and bathroom are comfortable and have an amazing amount of storage for the overall SqFt. The bed cover is bad polyester and the bed mattress did have a worn center. Pillows are tiny so if you need support, bring your own. The fitness room is in a great all-glass room so it is wonderful for your workout. Weight machines as well as free weights, cardio machines and mats are all you need. Towels and chilled water are available, as well as antiseptic wipes for the equipment. The entertainment tried to do something for everyone, and with such a mixed crowd, somewhat missed everyone. Maybe it was the particular group on this cruise, but most people did not hang around the musical groups. They either went to their cabin or stayed out by the pool bar. The pools are small, but the two hot tubs on the back of the ship are a great way to relax, yet still be in the thick of the action. But if you are looking to soak and get away from it all, it won't work for you. As for nit-picking: * The store has very poor quality logo items and overall selection (mostly Tommy Bahamas clothes) * The ship's camera was out of focus the whole trip and the system never gives you ship's data (such as wave height, wind, direction, etc.) like other ships do * The wine stewards do need quite a bit of training. The worst offender just plunked down the wine list and mumbled "Want wine?" as he drifted past the table. * You cannot take your own beer or spirits onboard, but they don't tell you that till you are boarding and they take it from you (returning it at end of the cruise). You can take wine but there is a $10 corkage fee. * When you order a cheese tray via room service, the only crackers you can get are saltines, no variety or no-salt options. But you can pick them up at the lunch buffet. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good ... Read More
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good pr, and a much deserved plus). For scuba divers, they advertise as a 'liveaboard' in mags such as Rodale's Scuba...NOT!!!. PLUS: Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) was great. Open bridge while sailing. Sails unfurled in the evening and mid morning. Room service seemed better than actual set meals. Minus: After midnite, you can't get a glass of water, let alone a simple snack (ie a simple sandwich), unless you request room service. A cup of coffee can't be found until 6am. In between lunch and dinner (keep in mind you may have missed breakfast or lunch for an excursion you booked with the ship), you get cookies!. Communication between departments was non-existent. If you booked an excursion, and it ran past lunch, you didn't get lunch. To their credit, the second week they did try to reconcile this problem. Excursions are hit and miss. They may be cancelled, they may not. They may be on time, they may be 2 hours late. Finally, and if anyone from the company actually reads this stuff: Never, and I say NEVER give your product away. We booked at a reasonable (at the time) rate to my wife and I. Then took advantage of their advertised policy of a steep discount for a back to back. Only to find out that if you went to a discount website, we could have gotten the first week for almost half off. Overall: Taking into account the weather the first week and it being the first time this company did this specific itinerary, they did a commendable job. However, by their own admission, by offering such a steep discount on those 'last minute' sites, I felt we well overpaid, and probably won't sail again with them. If you work for the company and read this, consider the following: NEWER give up your front gate!! Offer free drinks, discounts on shipboard stuff, etc., but NEVER give up your front gate!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a ... Read More
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a 7 day trip was quite enough. I didnt have any wishes for a longer voyage. Going to smaller ports on a smaller ship left me feeling like the out of the way, back woods ports were pretty much the same. If you have seen 4, you have seen them all. Yes, they have differences, but the differences dont matter so much in the grand scheme of things. Windstar, the company that owns the 3 sail cruise ships, is owned by Holland America, which is owned by Carnival. All of the descriptions of the cruise experience from the Windstar web site describe each of the ships as small, luxury sail/motor ships: Sailing under the banner of its appropriate tag line "180º From Ordinary," Windstar was created in the mid-1980's with the vision to offer an alternative to the typical cruise or resort vacation. The Windstar passenger sees the world from a romantic sailing ship with luxurious accommodations, a casual yet elegant atmosphere, and exquisite service and cuisine. The Wind Surf, at 308 passengers, is twice the size of the other two ships. I havent been on the smaller ships, but from what I have heard, they are different in feel (i.e. better) than the Wind Surf. The bottom line for me is that the Wind Surfs dEcor was utilitarian: nice, but utilitarian. The food ranged from good to very good, the service from the staff was very good, while the service from management was poor. What the Wind Surf has to offer is small, out of the way ports that the big ships cant get into. Can you imagine 3,200 passengers storming the beach at Mayreau (population 212)? Instead, our 308 passengers fit in just fine. Moreover, with so few passengers, we saw the same people day after day, and that was a delightful experience. I dont think I would take Wind Surf again unless it were going to a destination that was absolutely compelling, that no one else was going to, and (a big and) the price was more in line with what I was actually receiving. So, lets start at the beginning: The Wind Surf is a 5 masted sailing cruise ship. Like all sailboats, the design of everything is subordinated to making room for the masts, lines, supports etc. It is hard to take a picture without running afoul of sailing apparatus. In the Wind Surfs case, that makes for a long skinny ship; so rather than your typical cruise ship configuration of two outside corridors with lounges in the middle, you often have only one corridor and an L shaped room, like the 1960s combination living/dining rooms of a suburban ranch house. None of that is bad, and in fact, it is downright pleasant. Or, it would be if the ship actually functioned as a sailboat. There were two lengthy periods when the motor was disconnected (not, shut off), and the ship proceeded under sail power. The idea was that it was a sailing experience, but the reality was that the motor was needed for electrical power, and I could still hear it vibrating away. The ship never heeled over into the wind. In short, the Wind Surf struck me as a motorized cruise ship with a gimmick. True enough, a nice gimmick, but my body wasnt fooled even for a moment. As for luxury, forget it: thats my opinion, anyway. The cabin and elsewhere was nicely utilitarian, but both Celebrity (nouveau upscale) and Holland American (pretend old money, i.e. quieter upscale) were far, far, far more luxurious. Wind Surf claims to be a 5 star ship like Celebrity and Holland American, but the reality is closer to a very pleasant 3 or 4 stars but for the much smaller number of passengers. This year, Holland American costs about $120 per person per day in the Caribbean, and Celebrity checks in at $142, while Wind Surf averages $264. What you have to do is decide if the smaller number of passengers and the unusual ports are worth paying the extra money. It probably is worth it once or twice, but dont spend the money thinking you are getting luxury in your surroundings. You arent. Dining: Breakfast and lunch on the Wind Surf are in the Veranda Cafe, which is an indoor-outdoor buffet experience. I found both to be great, but Nancy fought with the menu. Breakfast included real granola, fruit, European cold cuts, smoked salmon, a rotating exhibit of eggs on English muffins, i.e. Benedict, Florentine, etc., an omelet / scrambled egg station  no powdered eggs, which most other cruise lines try to palm off on passengers too old to remember being at camp, and a pancake / waffle station. Lunch consisted of more buffets than you could ever imagine: Mexican day, Indonesian day etc. Also there was a carving station, sandwich creation ingredients etc. Nancy kept wanting some of the breakfast ingredients like mozzarella cheese to put on her lunch salad. She was happiest the day she ordered room service and got a Caesar salad and a piece of plain grilled salmon. Of course, she would have been even happier if our room had had a table that she could have eaten it from. There were two locations for dinner: the main dining room called The Restaurant and the Bistro cafe. The Bistro did not seem to be thought of (by the passengers, anyway) as a gourmet location as compared to The Restaurant. Rather, it was simply an alternative venue. Consequently, reservations were fairly easy to come by. Both the Restaurant and the Bistro featured open seating from 7:30 to 9:30. We always told the headwaiter that we wanted company and were seated at tables for 4 or 6. It was a nice way to meet folks. Before dinner, a live band played in the lounge, appetizers were served, and at 7:15, the cruise director would give a short talk about the next days port. All in all, it was quite civilized. I must compliment Wind Surf on providing more port information than any other cruise line I have been on to help the non-excursion passengers plan their day. This was the first cruise I have ever been on where I actually gained weight (a pound and a half, thank you), and I attribute that to the fact that the desserts were tasty rather than consisting of imitation 3-Musketeer-fluff sandwiched in between allegedly choco-like substances. If you are a dark chocolate fan like me, the flourless chocolate cake with hazelnut puree accompanied by pistachio brittle was worth holding back on the green beans in order to save room. On the other hand, on French night in the Bistro, I doubt that a real French person would have recognized the meal: the strawberry tart, for example, had chocolate pudding underneath the strawberries. French night wasnt very French, but Indonesian night had the best lobster Ive ever been served. Since there were no assigned tables, the dining staff (all male) had to work harder to keep everybody serviced. They were the same folks who ran the tables in the breakfast & lunch buffets, and with 308 passengers, it wasnt too hard to keep track of the passengers foibles. Nevertheless, it was still surprising to have a waiter come all the way across the room to bring me an ice tea because he knew I liked iced tea, and my waiter for that night hadnt learned my preferences yet. Susan, one of the wine stewards, once bought (not, brought, but bought as in paid for) me a coke because she had noticed that I didnt drink alcohol. I never had that happen before. One day, I asked for blueberries the next day at breakfast. Requests like that are usually routine on the larger cruise ships. On the Wind Surf, the response was, We will have to see what is on the menu. Public Rooms: There are really only three public rooms of any consequence: the library, the lounge, and the Compass Rose bar. The library has some reference and travel books plus several bookcases of left-behind books that, fortunately, had reading material worth reading. It also had tables and chairs plus two non-internet computers. Every afternoon, I would discover a plate of cookies and a couple of pitchers of juice had been set out for bookworms like me. It rained 5 out of 7 days on our cruise, and we discovered that one of the shortcomings of the Wind Surf is that there are few, if any, comfortable indoor reading locations. The best seats are the couches in the hallway near the library. Other than those, you are pretty much on your own. We didnt use the lounge nearly as much as we thought we would. It is the main assembly room, the entertainment room, and it contained one of the bars that was used for the two cocktail parties that the ship hosted to make us feel better about the broken air conditioning. They never did figure out a way to make us feel better about the fact that our cabin had no cold water in our shower for 2 and a half days. It was so hot in our cabin that the sweat was just pouring off us, and we couldnt even shower due to the scalding water. Grrrr. Anyway, here is a picture of the lounge: We came here most nights about 7:00 to hear the lecture before dinner about the next days port. In addition, we could sample the appetizers that were served to tide us over until dinner at 7:30 and listen to the music played by a 4 person group that we had heard on a previous cruise with another cruise line in one of their small, out of the way, secondary lounges. In other words, the live music was okay, but barely that. We never came back after dinner for a night of dancing, but we did come for the crews talent night which was very enjoyable. The Compass Rose Bar is the main bar, if you happen to need a stool to hang out on. If you dont need a stool, then the extended Compass Rose is still the place to be since the tables spill out onto the deck. If you wake up too early to eat breakfast, there is always a continental bite to eat in the Compass before moving on to pancakes, waffles etc. In addition to the main public rooms, there is also the Terrace Bar on the next deck up that was touted as the cigar spot. There was quite a bit of sympathy expressed by the cruise director for the cigar smokers who never had a spot for themselves. Windstars solution was to use the Terrace Bar to create that spot. Unfortunately, they never enforced their own rules about smoking elsewhere. The net result was that the three rear decks were overrun by smokers. Basically, the smoking rules were unworkable in the first place. The idea was that half of each of the three decks was for smoking. Even if that had been followed, it never would have worked because the decks were so small that the wind blew the smoke everywhere. In short, it was like the bad old days where there was a smoking section in each restaurant (or airplane) that never isolated the smoke in the first place. That was the theory. The reality was worse. There was no enforcement, and the smokers smoked everywhere, although I must admit that there wasnt much smoking inside. I put on my California hat and tried to complain. They just couldnt get it. It never was their responsibility any more than it would have been in a restaurant in 1954. Fitness and Recreation: The Wind Surf positively excelled in the fitness department. The gym is on the top deck with views all around and more than enough machines for the number of passengers. It never felt crowded. Some of the fitness classes were free, including the one that I went to where I was the only one there. It was like having a fitness trainer for free rather than paying $75 per hour. In addition to the gym and the aerobics room, the Wind Surf also had a water sports platform that dropped down from the rear of the ship. We picked the largest of the three ships for our cruise because it had a larger sports platform with more toys. The sports platform can only be used in ports where the ship tenders rather than docks and when the waters are calm enough. On the Wind Surf (as opposed to the 2 smaller ships), you cannot swim off of the platform since the platform floats on the water rather than being above the surface. The net result is that the water sports platform is best for kayaking, sailing and not much else. They did hand out (free) snorkeling gear at the start of the cruise that we used for our excursions. There were about 35 divers out of the 308 passengers plus numerous snorkelers and water people. If you go, you are in the midst of an active crowd. There is one swimming pool on the top deck that I never saw occupied, even once. The one on the rear deck did get some use, although the hot tubs were vastly more popular. There is also a spa for those who like to spend double the price of a land massage. We tried it with the on-board credit that went along with our tickets. My favorite part was the questionnaire that they wanted us to fill out in the beginning. The whole purpose of the questionnaire was to set them up to offer us products to buy at the end of the massage. One part of the questionnaire asked: What home cleansing routine do you follow? I answered that I vacuumed weekly. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Our cruise on the Windsurf was wonderful. Were there one or two things I could pick at? Sure - nothing's ever perfect but I have to say we all left the ship thrilled with our cruise and wanting to go back. The experience was great and ... Read More
Our cruise on the Windsurf was wonderful. Were there one or two things I could pick at? Sure - nothing's ever perfect but I have to say we all left the ship thrilled with our cruise and wanting to go back. The experience was great and we were very well satisfied. We were a group of friends made up of 3 couples traveling together and all agreed that: - service was excellent, with very friendly and attentive staff who remembered all our first names after our first interaction. - food was excellent a lot of the time and at least good all the time. - cabins were roomy and well-designed; we had room to easily store everything (and we packed heavily). NOTE: the bed linens and towels were great - they had recently done an upgrade in that respect and it definitely showed (I'm picky about sheets). - the itinerary was excellent with no lame stops. We did an excursion with the boat and a few on our own...all were fun. - the relaxed dress and free-style dining was a really nice feature...we enjoyed the restaurant but felt like the service in the Bistro was a little better and preferred it. We were very pleased with just about everything. I did not think the couple who performed in the Compass Rose bar at night were any good (they sang cheesy songs to recorded tracks) until I went at cocktail hour - they sang relaxing songs with an acoustic guitar and were wonderful. I say DROP the tracks. Also, one of the couples in our group was a gay couple and there was no taint of oddness or discrimination on the part of anyone on board at all, I'm glad to say. I HIGHLY recommend Windstar. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel ... Read More
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel [recommended!] Caught a cab down the Ramblas to the pier  this cost 12¬ which is a lot cheaper than the $65 that Windstar wanted for the transfer. Boarding started at 2pm  a strange procedure  all the photos and credit card taking was done when we were on board sitting in the lounge. At least they served a glass of champers and some canapEs when we waited. We had a suite #337  port side forward  the suites are basically two back to back cabins with a hole knocked between them. No further alterations have been made so you are left with two vanity units, two cupboards, two fridges, two mini bars, four safes and best of all two bathrooms. New dEcor on the beds is a pretty gold/maroon colour  the beds seemed new and were very very comfortable. However the woodwork in the room was all chipped and scratched and looked rather tired. This was my impression of the whole ship  and I think it is going into dry dock shortly so perhaps they will give it a good revamp as it certainly needs it. On my previous cruises whenever we docked there was always some poor guy dangling over the side with a tin of paint painting the hull but this did not happen at all  and the poor hull was all scratched and marked as if the captain had had a few troubles in the past trying to park the ship!!! I took a peek into a normal cabin and these appeared to be very small with no seating area at all  unless you sat on the bed. Because the windows are portholes all the cabins are always quite dark. Food was generally very good  the breakfasts were vast spreads with separate omelette chef and the waffle chef areas. Lunches were often speciality buffets like Mexican or Greek or Lobster days and these were excellent. There was full afternoon tea at 4pm and on a few evenings they had canapEs at 6:30. Dinners were slightly disappointing  there are two restaurants and we ate every night in the smaller Bistro which requires booking on the day at 8am. Menus were simple. The dEcor in the Bistro was again rather shabby  again I am used to sumptuous dining rooms with chandeliers, ornate paintings, plush carpets, drapes and wallpaper  but the Bistro had faux wood walls, one picture and a few tired looking yucca plants! One evening they had a Indonesian theme evening which was very good and on another there was a Mediterranean themed buffet complete with suckling pigs. This was followed by the crew show which involved a few dances from their local countries [Indonesia and Philippines] and then a few more traditional show numbers like YMCA On board these smaller ships you tend to make your own entertainment. There is a small pool and 2 Jacuzzis - the chair hogs were in force and it was sometimes difficult to find a chair on sea days. In the evening there was a group who played in the lounge  the dance floor is so small though you could not really dance properly, and there was a duo who played in the Compass Rose bar  thought that the volume was rather loud for the size of the room. The ship had a casino and the usual art auctions  didnt try either. Ports of call were Ibiza, Palma, Malaga and Tangiers. I never take the ships tours and tend to do my own thing. In both Ibiza and Palma they laid on a courtesy bus to take you to the town  this ran every ½ hour. In Malaga they did not  caught a cab to El Corte Ingles [the department store] and then walked slowly back to the ship via coffee, the Cathedral and a leisurely lunch. The cathedral is spectacular and well worth a visit. In Tangiers we just took one of the local guides who met the ship  the cost was $20 for all four of us for a ½ day tour which seemed good value to me. Weather was good through out apart from a bit of rain in Palma. Even saw dolphins and a whale....! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2006
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, ... Read More
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, or maybe it was due to cost considerations by the cruise line. However, the quality and approach slipped considerably. It became ordinary. PORTS: There was no need to have two sea days. We had wonderful ports, and by using two sea days, especially when the portage in Abiza was changed to an inconvenient location with an arrival at siesta, or when a lovely local like Majorca is shorted in time, the quality of the experience is lost. Indeed timing changes caused us to miss the ability to see the Rock of Gibraltar as well! Now the food. Windstar food is top notch and 5 star - at least it was. This cruise featured the best one would expect from Dennys or COCO, NOT from a Splichel (Pinot restaurants) designed menu. Shore excursions sold out. The line made no effort to line up backup guides - leaving clients to fend for themselves in places like Tangier! While the dining room and bar staff were, as always, terrific, room service was not accommodating, food was average, ports were shortened, coke was $2.50 and beer $7.50 and one wonders: Why bother with Windstar? I doubt that I will sail them again and I was a committed Windstar booster. 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 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.1

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