120 Windstar Star Legend Cruise Reviews

This was our 3rd cruise with Windstar and had an amazing time! I've been reading the other reviews about the Star Legend and was very curious to see the "complaints" for myself. I read a lot of complaints about the ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with Windstar and had an amazing time! I've been reading the other reviews about the Star Legend and was very curious to see the "complaints" for myself. I read a lot of complaints about the tenders. This would be the only aspect that I would agree with. We used the life boats on previous sailings, so using these tenders gave us more room and less fumes! The negative of these tenders is that the crew didn't seem to understand how to operate them. We were slammed into the dock many times before the tender was secured. This happened both times that we were anchored. The rest for the positive: We purchased transfers from Windstar from the Barbados airport and had a quick 15-minute drive to the port. Within 5 minutes we were walking up the stairs to the yacht. Check-in was quick as usual and we were escorted to our room by our room steward. Food was excellent everywhere - Amphora, Candles and the Yacht Club. We purchased the beverage package and had Shirley & Jocelyn making sure that our glasses were always replenished! On one day when our Windstar excursion was late getting back, the manager of Vernada/Candles (Yogi) made sure that lunch was extended until we got back to the yacht. We purchased Windstar's nutmeg & chocolate factory excursion. Excellent tour guide & driver, but the only thing that was confusing was that both factories were closed on a Sunday. We still toured the inside of both factories. The private event on Mayreau was excellent and the BBQ was amazing! The crew work so hard to get all of the food and water sports equipment tendered to the island. The deck party was postponed a day because of high winds in Curacao so it was re-scheduled for our last night. A perfect ending to an amazing cruise. Excellent food, excellent music by "Splash" and great entertainment from the staff. We're looking forward to booking the next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I rarely write reviews of any of our trips but feel compelled to alert others regarding this ship. We have sailed with Windstar five previous times and this was our first cruise on a "motor" ship. First, the good The crew ... Read More
I rarely write reviews of any of our trips but feel compelled to alert others regarding this ship. We have sailed with Windstar five previous times and this was our first cruise on a "motor" ship. First, the good The crew were their usual fantastic selves doing all they could to make the journey satisfactory, the entertainers were very good and the food was pretty much up to Windstar standards.The cabins were fine and larger than those on the sailing ships, but who spends much time in the cabin? The not so good. The first night on the ship, the air conditioning failed. My wife and I have traveled enough to know that stuff happens and have learned to live with it The problem was that no announcements regarding the problem were made until the following morning when the problem was virtually fixed. It was fixed around midday. Several people called the desk throughout the night and were assured that it would be fixed within one half hour. Several people slept in deck chairs that night. Windstar did issue a $100 per person credit for the inconvenience. While limited smoking areas are provided on the ship on one occasion people were smoking on the outside Star Bar well away from the smoking area and on another occasion,I smelled smoke when I opened our balcony door. I found that someone one deck below and two cabins forward was smoking on their balcony. When I pointed this out to an officer on the flying bridge, he merely shrugged as if to say so what. I later pointed this out to the cruise director and the issue never occurred again. While the crew performed admirably, I always had the feeling that they were operating short handed. Service in the restaurant just wasn't what we had come to expect on Windstar. If you have any difficulty negotiating stairs, and expect to take any excursions that require the use of tenders, be cautious. Access to the tenders is through the bowels of the ship on two or three dark sets of steps which can be a problem. The tenders are not the life boats but real tenders, but they have been beaten up well used and need some refer, Excursions were an aggravation. The Destinations manager did not know how to properly pronounce the names of a couple of destinations, but this was the least of the problems. On the Glass bottom Boat and Snorkel trip, I would have been sorely disappointed had I gone for the glass bottom boat ride since it lasted about ten minutes and the snorkel lasted about an hour. We snorkeled. The boats looked like our excursion might be their last. Boarding was by climbing from the dock onto a ladder and then descending onto the deck. Again, mobility could be an issue. The Samur sail and snorkel was a farce, but I refer you to Trip Advisor for an accurate description of that fiasco. Again, if you have mobility issues do not take this excursion as you have to go from a slippery zodiac to the deck the ship by climbing up the side of the ship. One of the things we have always loved on Windstar is the Christopher Columbus sail away music. On the Legend it was very loud at the center of the ship but should barely be heard for and aft. Disappointing While none of these items were disastrous, They were aggravating and not up the standard txt Windstar has set on the sailing ships. Being seasoned travelers, who enjoy each others company, we enjoyed our cruise in spite of the issues. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We were apprehensive after hearing reports regarding the tenders and the bottled water and the condition of the Star Legend. But we were happily and pleasantly surprised to enjoy a wonderful sailing last week on this very special boat. ... Read More
We were apprehensive after hearing reports regarding the tenders and the bottled water and the condition of the Star Legend. But we were happily and pleasantly surprised to enjoy a wonderful sailing last week on this very special boat. The captain, James Griffiths, was very present, very funny and most importantly, very smart when it came to the safety and comfort of the passengers. We did have our Marigot destination changed to Phillipsburg due to the rough seas that made tendering unsafe. That was a good thing. The cabins on this ship are spacious and comfortable. We booked a "balcony" cabin and were happy that we did. It was wonderful to open the doors and step out to see the water or port. Tenders worked fine, and an outside chartered tender was added at one of the stops. The ports were great. Recommend picking up some bug spray especially for Jost Van Dyke. Montserrat was one of the best--yet, being new to tourism again, there isn't much regulation with cab fares and such, so negotiate pricing beforehand and don't expect a bargain. Fuel is very expensive here and it is not a cheap island to live on. Be friendly, be kind. Back to the ship: the L'Occitane amenities are full size and lovely. You may bring 2 bottles of wine or champagne on board for consumption in your cabin. Coffee in the front Star Lounge each morning is very nice. Food is very good, very fresh. Housekeeping is thorough and unobtrusive. the fitness center is small but well equipped with treadmills, weights and one rower. No elliptical machines. Did not use the spa, but looked great with Elemis products. Don't miss the Deck Barbecue! And if you are looking for a small table of two or four, get there early--these fill up quickly. Embarkation and debarkation are a delight--so quick and easy! You have to love these smaller ships--the experience is intimate and very calm. The crew is so friendly and kind. Wonderful experience! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Fantastic cruise! We are a recent empty nest couple in their late forties who love to travel. We have cruised over nine times but always on the bigger ships. Decided to try the smaller ship and see some new port sites. Really liked ... Read More
Fantastic cruise! We are a recent empty nest couple in their late forties who love to travel. We have cruised over nine times but always on the bigger ships. Decided to try the smaller ship and see some new port sites. Really liked that we didn't depart three of the islands until after 10 pm. Overall, we loved the cruise, especially the personalized service and the wonderful fresh, delicious food. It was true that the staff learns your name and we bonded with several and enjoyed talking and seeing them everyday. Our fellow 183 passengers were a mix of mostly well-traveled, friendly age 40 thru 60s. There were a couple of family groups with older teens and twenties and some older folks but most were 50 to late 60s. Embarkation: So easy! Boarded at 1 pm. Walked to the room and then had a delicious lunch. Toured the ship. Won a treatment in the spa raffle and enjoyed the sail away out of San Juan Pier 4. We had a small snafu as the captain changed our port in Saint Maarten to Phillipsburg from Marigot as the previous two weeks the seas were too rough to tender in. I was glad he let us know at the start so we could rearrange our independent booking. Stateroom: We were in 129, an ocean view category S1 on Deck 4. The bathroom was great with a nice size tub and shower. The suite had lots of storage and space with a nice couch and sitting area. The only negative about the stateroom was the bed/mattress was too hard but after the first night we asked to have something put on it to soften the mattress and our steward took care of it right away and we were much happier. It was also the first time we didn't have a balcony but thought the large window kept the room bright. Missed having a balcony when we were coming and going into islands but really was not that important as we anchored out in the bays and tendered in so it wasn’t the same as being docked. For sail-away we always just went out on the decks. I would definitely do the ocean view again for the price. The room itself was large and our attendant kept the mini bar stocked with free soda and water. We did not buy the alcohol package as we wouldn't drink that much but my husband bought three bottles of wine which each cost 45 dollars and we had some mixed drinks that cost about 12 dollars a piece. I also brought my own bottle of wine on board which you are allowed up to two. I poured a glass before dinner and on the BBQ night I easily went back to my room for a second glass. All nonalcoholic beverages were free. Amenities: beach towels and water supplied port side and rooms stocked with good vanity necessities Dining: breakfast and lunch were served on deck 7 aft. Breakfast was great and you could have eggs and omelet’s cooked anyway you liked and they also had made to order items such as French toast, pancakes and waffles. The buffet was also very good with fruit, pastries, yogurt, and various meat items. We had dinner in Amphora on deck 3 and thought the variety and freshness of the food was very good. Candles, located where breakfast was served, was the specialty restaurant we ate at one night. Made reservations the first day for one of the days we were in port late. Loved the filet mignon, other food and service but the area was much noisier than Amphora so we didn’t enjoy the atmosphere as well as the dining room. We did get coffee and snacks in the Yacht club, which is very beautiful and loved sitting in there talking with others at the end of the day. Water sports: this is where my husband was a little disappointed with the lack of equipment. No waterskiing. Passengers were not able to take dinghies by themselves etc. But we spent most of our days on the islands so it wasn’t a priority for us. On Prickly Pear we were too late in the day to be able to use the bigger equipment: the one Hobby cat always had a line and we were too late i.e. another wait list to go tubing. We did kayak and many others took better advantage of the floats, paddle board etc. I did see the younger family groups spending a lot of time at the platform deck Spa: Did a massage, which was good but expensive. No real extras/sitting areas. They did have a very small steam room and sauna. Tenders: All worked well on this trip without problems. Minimal wait in the morning. We were either on the first or second tender as they gave priority to the passengers that bought their shore excursions but we never waited long coming or going. Disembarkation: Easy off the boat at 830am after a full breakfast. Walked our luggage for about 10 minutes up into old San Juan and left them at Barrachina. No charge but they asked for donation. We gave them five dollars a bag. That allowed us to walk the old city and outside the wall on the trail around to el Moro. Did some shopping, ate lunch and then took a 25-dollar cab ride to the airport. Security line was long at the airport but we bypassed as we have TSA pre-check Ended a wonderful, relaxed cruise that exceeded our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our first Windstar non-sailing experience and I came back impressed with the week in the Caribbean. With snow making travel more than a little inconvenient for many passengers, it was hard not to be excited at arriving in San ... Read More
This was our first Windstar non-sailing experience and I came back impressed with the week in the Caribbean. With snow making travel more than a little inconvenient for many passengers, it was hard not to be excited at arriving in San Juan and being on the Star Legend an hour after deplaning. We were in our cabin about 15 minutes after arriving at the port terminal with a painless embarkation process. Reviews are accurate that the cabins are much larger than on the WindSurf and it was nice having the extra bathroom, closet and relaxation space. We were happy to see several crew members from previous trips and experienced wonderful service from the eager bar and wait staff. It doesn't take long for the crew to acknowledge you by name and engage you on a daily basis. It's probably one of the things we have found to enjoy most about the line; service and recognition are important and it makes for a very satisfying experience. A quick note about the liquor package. I was wondering if I should order it and a previous guest made a great point about it on a previous cruise, His comment was something like this: " Do you like a Mimosa/screwdriver/bloody sometimes during breakfast? Maybe a beer or glass of wine at lunch? How about a Pina Colada or Mojito in the afternoon by the pool (and if you fall asleep reading, ordering another one because the ice melted and your beverage is watery)? How about Chardonnay with your salad or fish and Cabarnet or Pinot if it pairs well with the rest of your dinner? An after dinner cordial listening to the band at the Star Bar? You broke even around dinner time. The ability to change your mind if you didn't like the "drink of the day" on deck and reverted to your old stand by, the opportunity to try a number of different wines both red and white and not worry about it was great. I know there were a few nights I tried several different wines with dinner having a little of each before settling on the one that I wanted. No problem...there was always a new glass and a new opportunity to find something I liked that I didn't know about. The drink package allowed me to do that. Oh, and the mini bar is included, too. The key was not about getting obliterated on the cruise but about having the opportunity to try a number of different things that I normally wouldn't. The food was very good and we had another beautiful evening at Candles on an evening off of Jost Van Dike. Got to see Montserrat, an island not on many itineraries. The volcanic devastation is remarkable and was an experience for those who took one the tours available from the ship or, as we did, just hiring a taxi at the pier and arranging it yourself. One other island was new to us this year, Culebra, off of Puerto Rico. We didn't do too much but the turtle tour was a big hit, except for some who likely weren't really physically up to it. With some wave action, it was difficult for some moving around. All in all, another great Windstar experience. The crew and quality make the difference. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We just returned home form our 4th Windstar cruise. This was our first on the newly fitted power yacht, Star Legend. I must admit, we were a bit scared by the early reviews of the ship from the summer of 2015 as the ship was newly launched ... Read More
We just returned home form our 4th Windstar cruise. This was our first on the newly fitted power yacht, Star Legend. I must admit, we were a bit scared by the early reviews of the ship from the summer of 2015 as the ship was newly launched into the Windsatr fleet. We went with an open mind and the hope after several "shakedown" cruises, the ship would have it down pat.......That they did! We had the best time on the spacious ship. My wife and I could not decide which ship we liked more...the new power Star Legend or the sail Wind Surf. It was refreshing to be on a newly fitted boat. Yes, the ship is 25 years old, yet it did not feel that way. All the public rooms were fresh and full of nice amenities. The cabins were all much larger than on the Wind Surf . Food was good. My wife just started a restricted gluten free regimen and they were happy to prepare whatever she wanted! The service was fantastic! As repeaters, we remembered several staff members , who remembered us ( or made us feel that way) Indeed, the 170 passengers were well taken care of by the 150 crew. The swim deck is great and the staff there was fun and so helpful. We took a few excursions...you must go to the buried city Plymouth on Monserratt. It was so eerie and interesting. The America's Cup yacht sailing experience was one of the best excursions we've ever taken. My only minor complaint was there was no great "band" in the Compass Rose lounge. It is such a great space with great service (Rod) and was pretty quiet at night. In closing, Windstar has done a nice job getting this ship to deliver a great experience! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
The cruise began in the routine Windstar fashion with efficient and friendly service. The first person we encountered, who was handing us refreshments, was Gino ... a friend from several past Windstar voyages. A few minutes later we were ... Read More
The cruise began in the routine Windstar fashion with efficient and friendly service. The first person we encountered, who was handing us refreshments, was Gino ... a friend from several past Windstar voyages. A few minutes later we were greeted by Bobby, another old friend. There were at least half a dozen crew who recognized us from past trips and welcomed us to the Star Legend. We were checked in and in our room in less than fifteen minutes. First, let me admit that we love Windstar, and the flagship Wind Surf is our favorite. That being said, I will attempt an honest review, and I will attempt to address a few of the issues mentioned by a few people who have written rather critical reviews, who I henceforth will refer to as the complainers. First, some have said that the ship is old and covered with rust. I'm reminded of Captain 'Lucky' Jack Aubry in "Master and Commander" when Maturin referred to the "Surprise" as being an old ship, and Jack responded that she was not old but "in her prime". I am a retired Naval Commander, and a retired airline Captain ... so I am the 'Captain and Commander'. All Naval vessels will show a bit of rust even brand new ones. That is why chipping and painting is a continuous process ... as is sanding and varnishing. The Star Legend from all outward appearances could pass for a new ship. She is beautiful. She is 'in her prime'. The suites (all the rooms are suites) are beautiful, the carpeting throughout the ship is perfect, the marble baths with tubs are marvelous, the public areas are amazing and they are constantly cleaned and polished. The smallest of the suites on Star Legend is nearly twice the size of the standard rooms on the Surf. Some have said the service has suffered from the acquisition of the three 'Stars'. We have cruised with Windstar three times in twelve months, twice on the Surf and once on Star Legend. We have nine total cruises with Windstar. Our Star Legend cruise completed yesterday was simply superb. Bear in mind that we do not expect perfection, which in my view is why some become excessively critical. And we do not expect the Captain to control mother nature. Things did not go perfectly. We missed two ports because of heavy swells in the anchorage areas that made tendering impossible. St. Barth's had predicted heavy swells so we went to St. Thomas and enjoyed a catamaran snorkel trip to St. John, and we actually anchored at St. Martin, but the tender boarding platforms were going under water in ten degree rolls (I was sliding out of bed) so we went to Tortola. We also really wanted to visit St. Barth's and St. Martin, but the Captain did his best to adjust to the unfortunate circumstances ... and most of us had a great time anyway ... except for a few complainers. The tenders: No ... the Stars do not use the life boats as tenders. The tenders are carried in the sports deck. They are two twenty-five passenger single deck cabin cruisers that are far more comfortable than a life boat tender ... they are not 'new', but I liked them. They can accommodate the entire passenger load in approximately four trips each. We never waited more than five minutes for a tender, and depending on the traffic they ran one or both continuously. The sports deck was open and available in every port that allowed it, and where conditions permitted. I know this area is rarely, if ever, used in Europe. The food: If you are expecting gourmet food, your expectations may be a little high. If you are expecting food that is better than most, if not all major cruise lines including their upscale offspring, you are in the ballpark. We have cruised with Silversea, and with Tauck, and they are very good. Windstar, including the Star Legend, is as good, or better. Forget about getting caviar, but the food is very good. The Star Bar/The Compass Rose: On the Wind Surf, the Compass Rose is where the 'dance' duo resides. On the Star Legend they live at the Star Bar ... both are on the top of the ship. "Flash", Victoria and Dave were the dance duo stars, and they were great! In Europe it was explained that the Compass Rose becomes the dance venue. The on deck BBQ: This is a really fun event on all the Windstar ships. But the logistics on the sailing vessels is a bit of a challenge. On the Star Legend they have a large pool deck, with an elevated area for the pool and the hot tub, which is an ideal location for the entertainers to perform, above the area where people eat and later dance. The food and the presentation were spectacular, the entertainment was great. We did feel a bit guilty that the staff worked so hard two days in a row, deck BBQ then beach BBQ the following day, to show us such a great time. But, we loved it in spite of our guilt. Disembarkation: Just exactly what we expected from Windstar. You get up, have breakfast, pick up your passports, and walk off the ship. Two minutes to find our bags, porter picks them up and takes them to a taxi, and we are off to the airport. Ten minutes. When you only have two or three hundred people, this stuff is easy. Do we miss the sails? Yes! But ... surprise ... they have continued the tradition. At sail away two officers in their dress white uniforms symbolically raise a large ship's ensign (flag) slowly to the masthead while they play Vangelis 1492, Conquest of Paradise ... and everyone is on deck watching and listening. On the Wind Surf this is done while they raise on five, two hundred foot masts, twenty-six thousand feet of sail. Awesome! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Several recent reviews of the Star Legend are noted below and I won’t repeat their excellent and comprehensive critiques, but I do feel the need to cast my vote since there have been both positive and negative reports. In the way of ... Read More
Several recent reviews of the Star Legend are noted below and I won’t repeat their excellent and comprehensive critiques, but I do feel the need to cast my vote since there have been both positive and negative reports. In the way of background, I have lost count of the number of Windstar cruises I have taken, starting in Tahiti on the Windsong in 1988 as a college student and ending in 2013 on the Windstar traveling through the Panama Canal, which was less than stellar in my opinion. My husband and I have also cruised on SeaDream, Celebrity, Oceania, Viking and Uniworld. On January 16, 2016 we finished our first "power" cruise with Windstar on the Star Legend leaving San Juan and travelling to various ports in the Caribbean. Due to somewhat mixed reviews on CruiseCritic, and the fact that our 2013 experience was way below the usual Windstar standards, we had no expectations and were ready for whatever we found. However, from the moment of embarkation to our departure one week later we were consistently delighted by that old Windstar ambiance of the ship, service and itinerary. Despite it's age, the ship was elegant, the cabins unexpectedly spacious by the sailing vessel standards and the common spaces comfortable and spit shined. Although everything about our cruise was wonderful, it is always the staff that shines above all. From our cabin steward Jajat to the wait staff and sommeliers, especially Endro and Bobby, we were spoiled rotten by their kind attentions. Particularly memorable were the dinners created by Chef Nilesh and his talented staff. I was not thrilled by the cuisine on my last Windstar cruise but this experience could not have been more different. Interesting, varied choices and outstanding preparation and presentation. It is amazing what Chef Nilesh can accomplish in that small galley, especially when serving nearly 200 diners at once. At our table if one asked for rare filet minion it was rare, not medium or well done. We also enjoyed Captain Griffiths, for his sense of humor, warm personality and sound judgment in putting our safety above the unreasonable demands of passengers who do not have a healthy respect for the dangers of wind and the sea. When forced by high seas to change our itinerary, he weathered quite a few angry tirades and, in my presence, did it with patience and respect, although, at least in one case, I'm not sure how he managed it. When we were in Montserrat, a port we did make despite the unusually strong winds blowing from an unusual direction, a large swell hit the tender while we were disembarking and I was the person with one foot on the tender and one on the dock when the boat surged forward and broke the lines securing it to the dock. Although I would have liked to visit St. Bart’s and St. Martin as well, I have no doubt that Captain Griffiths made the right and proper choice in seeking harbors safer than those initially planned. Two more points. Although I have always enjoyed the beach barbecue event that Windstar does on most Caribbean itineraries, it is usually cut short for me by the heat and lack of shade. The Prickly Pear Beach event, however, was done perfectly. Not only were tent umbrellas set up at the water’s edge for everyone on board, there were many comfortable shaded tables to eat lunch without having to balance it on your lap. I can’t even imagine the ton of work it took to set up and disassemble this party and I for one am grateful for their efforts. Secondly, in Culebra, think about renting a golf cart. A representative from Carlos Jeep Rental met us at the dock and although they really wanted us to take a jeep, the last thing we wanted to do was be “inside” in a car. The representative ran us the short distance to the shop where we rented the cart for $70 - with the six of us it averaged out to $12pp. Since taxis charge $10 round trip pp to Flamenco Beach we were able to see most of the rest of the island “for free” and, more importantly, on our own schedule. I could go on and on but will conclude by saying I cannot wait for my next Windstar Cruise. They exceeded my expectations by far, and I would venture to say there is no better bargain right now in the small ship category. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have cruised with sea dream 3x and Seabourn twice, so our comparison is to those, not larger ships. We were actually on this ship (star legend) when it was Seabourn legend. A few quick points: - the food is good. Not outstanding ... Read More
We have cruised with sea dream 3x and Seabourn twice, so our comparison is to those, not larger ships. We were actually on this ship (star legend) when it was Seabourn legend. A few quick points: - the food is good. Not outstanding but good overall. Breakfast was great, lunch was ok, dinner was generally good. Drining room was too bright however. - buying the alcohol package is ok but perhaps not worth it. It did not include champagne at all or many of the things we would have preferred. We are not heavy drinkers but like nice wine with dinner and a good cordial. - they are understaffed for beverage service at dinner. We often had to wait through the first course to get a glass of wine. The wine steward was always frenzied trying to catch up. - they are not doing a great job of cleaning. There was a film of scum in their tiny pool (and they took out the old pool that Seabourn had and replaced it with a sitting area no one ever used. We miss the original pool. The cabins are decently clean but yet we found hair that was not ours (dark) in the shower when we arrived. - the average passenger age was older than expected (maybe mid 70's) and I think that factored into their decision to skip two ports based on waves. However sea dream was smaller and on similar itinerary at the same time and made both ports we skipped. We missed the best two - st Bart's and st Martin. - entertainment is two duos. Splash was good but the other one (double malt) belongs in a lounge somewhere. Too dreary for the ship. - there were no snacks when you got back from an excursion. There was no welcome feeling at all. -staff seemed young and not as well trained as the other two lines mentioned. -overall, it gets an average from us and we are not likely to try windstar again. It failed a little in every area when compared to sea dream and Seabourn. And the price is not differ when you add the alcohol package and yet it offered much less. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our 3rd Windstar cruise, the other two on the Wind Surf. I was hooked on Windstar after the 1st cruise. Love the casual, familiar atmosphere of these ships and especially the low passenger count. On this trip, we had 175 ... Read More
This was our 3rd Windstar cruise, the other two on the Wind Surf. I was hooked on Windstar after the 1st cruise. Love the casual, familiar atmosphere of these ships and especially the low passenger count. On this trip, we had 175 passengers(not quite full) and 150 crew. We read some of the bad reviews on the Dec 27th trip and were concerned a little before we left about what to expect. What we got was exactly as expected - plus a little more. Here are specific points to address those negative reviews I read: 1. Some complained about the beds. My understanding is all the mattresses were new in May when they completely remodeled the interior of the ship. I slept like a baby every night and even pulled the sheets back to look at the mattress. Did not look old to me. I am okay with foam pillows. The sheets I had were were not pilled and very silky. 2. Someone complained about not going to the Bitter End in Virgin Gorda. I spoke with them about this and was told the Bitter End was not allowing Windstar to tender there during their peak season. The Bitter End wanted to cater to their regular crowd. Not the ships fault and tenders could resume in February sometime. 3. Someone complained about having to take the Windstar excursion to visit the Baths. Again, I was told that Virgin Gorda was not actually a stop on this trip, rather Prickly Pear was the official stop. Therefore, they did not have privileges to tender to Virgin Gorda other than for a local controlled tour. 4. Food was great overall. Some things better than others, of course, but as good as expected. 5. Don't come on a Windstar cruise if you are not prepared for stairs on the ship. The ship is small and stairs are the easiest way to get around. 6. Someone complained about not embarking in Phillipsburg as said it was because Windstar didn't want to pay to dock in the big ports. I am not sure, but the specific reason we like Windstar is that you tender in to lesser know places and uncrowded ports. You know the stops before you book, so that should not be a surprise and none of these islands are so big that a 30 minute cab ride cannot get you around and the port stops are usually all day long, so there should be time. 7. Tender problems - that did happen on the very last day at Prickly Pear. One tender did go out of service. I realize that is a serious problem and I Windstar knows that as well and is doing whatever they must to get it remedied. The all-suite rooms are spacious, with walk-in closets. Ours had a bathtub, which is typical. They do have some rooms where the bathtub has been replaced with a big shower and if you need that, make sure you ask about that when you pick your room. I don't think there are very many. The service was exceptional throughout the ship. Repeat customers were given a cocktail party and greeted warmly upon arrival, but special treatment. Used the spa for massage and facial and very happy with that. Workout room had weights, bikes, and treadmills- a couple of each - but not huge. Like the extra deck space you get without the sails. Overall, no reason for us not to want to go on another Windstar cruise again - probably on one the Star Legend or one of its sister ships preferred just because of the stateroom. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Windstar Cruise on Star Legend - Jan 2-9, 2016 - Embarkation San Juan Puerto Rico Quick Review Great Cruise! I did not hear any complaints. Food was wonderful. There were 178 passengers and 150 crew and the service was great, very ... Read More
Windstar Cruise on Star Legend - Jan 2-9, 2016 - Embarkation San Juan Puerto Rico Quick Review Great Cruise! I did not hear any complaints. Food was wonderful. There were 178 passengers and 150 crew and the service was great, very friendly staff. Ports were all accessed by tender and the tender service was fine, minimal waiting times. We were the only cruise ship in the ports we stopped at. Snorkeling was not great but the beaches were beautiful and the water was warm. The yacht had a large water sports platform where you could swim or kayak when the ship was at anchor. The gym was well equipped. The entertainment consisted of 2 musical duos which were very good. Dress: "resort casual", no jackets needed for men; pants and a collared shirt for dinner for men. Arranging your own excursions was difficult but not impossible. Weather was typical for the Caribbean in January, high in the low 80's, partly cloudy, nice breezes, occasional showers. We found no bike riding on any of the islands. The yacht is older but was in great shape after its refurbishment in 2015. Detailed Review This was our first cruise on a Windstar yacht. We are veterans of about 15 cruises, ocean and river, large ships and small vessels. Embarkation Pier 4 (sometimes they are at Pier 1) in Old San Juan We boarded the yacht at 1pm. Lunch was served till 4. The yacht left San Juan at 10pm. Windstar’s sail-away song is “Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis, an amazing instrumental you hear every time the yacht leaves port. Staterooms We were in 228, an Ocean View Category 2, no balcony. The room was 275 square feet and felt quite large. It included a nice sitting area with a couch, coffee table and 2 chairs. We had a refrigerator with free bottled water and sodas and beer & wine for purchase. The bar in the room had wine, beer & soda glasses, a wine opener, a bottle opener, and an ice bucket. You can bring 2 bottles of wine on board with you per room per cruise. We opened a bottle of wine in the room and brought glasses of wine with us to dinner, no problem. Other people brought wine to the table and the staff opened them with no corkage fee. Our room had a walk-in closet and plenty of storage space. The room only had only one 110 volt plug. You'll likely need a power strip to charge all your electronics. There also was a 220 plug, so you could bring a converter to double your power supply. The yacht seems set up for Europe more than America. The TV channels had mostly European coverage, lots of soccer, no American sports coverage. You got BBC, Fox News and MSNCB, but no CNN. A Blu-Ray DVD player was included with the flat screen TV and the library had a hundred or so DVDs to check out at no charge. A Bose blue tooth speaker is in the room to play music from your phone or tablet. Internet Coverage The ship sells a $250 per week package per internet device. Windstar tells you the coverage is spotty. I got limited cell data service with T-Mobil in some of the islands but it was also weak. I could get emails and sports scores in some ports, but no downloading a newspaper or ESPN 3 to your device. No service for my wife’s Verizon phone once we left San Juan. Verizon customers may want to buy Verizon’s International Package, which is a good idea if you want to stay connected, especially if you are setting up independent tours. GPS Coverage I like to know where I am when I am touring another country, so I downloaded an App called Google Offline Maps (free) and the maps of the countries we would be visiting when I was on WiFi. Then, when you have no cell service, you open that Country’s map and your GPS feature on your phone will locate you on the map and track you all day, which is great if you are hiking or on a tour. Note The ship supplies you with beach towels, ponchos and snorkeling gear for your excursions. Robes and slippers are in your room. Water bottles are in the room. The bathrooms have good shampoo & conditioners. You Should Bring Good water shoes with a decent sole, not the $6 water slippers, that you can use to walk on hard & soft surfaces and in the water as some days you'll be walking & swimming in the same shoes. A day bag or backpack to tote your stuff to the beach, which are some distance from the tender pier Water proof camera would be very useful, other wise put your camera or phone in a zip lock bag or two. 3 bathing suits, they take a while to dry in your room Drinks to purchase You could purchase an unlimited drink & wine package for $108 per cabin per day. The price was the same even if only one person in the room was drinking. Single beers were $6 or $7, wines were $8.50 to $11. Cocktails were $8 to $11. Bottles of wine were in the $30 to $40 range. Windstar adds 15% gratuity to all of the above prices. The wine selection was good. Dining Dinner was served in Amphora on deck 3 from 7-9pm, open seating. The food was very good and the service was very good. Breakfast and lunch were served on Deck 7 aft, with inside and outside seating. You could order off the menu or choose from the buffet or do both. This restaurant was converted in a specialty restaurant for dinner, no extra charge, you need to book in the morning to eat there. They had a different menu and you could sit outside. The Yacht Club on Deck 8 forward had coffee, sandwiches and treats throughout the day which came in handy when you came in late from an excursion. Water Sports Deck Weather permitting, the crews lowers a huge stern platform where you can kayak, swim, paddle board, go on a short ride in an inflatable motor boat around the harbor. They put some floating devices in the water for you to hang onto when swimming as the current is sometimes strong. It's a good place to cool off quickly, just jump in! Spa/Gym - Deck 7 forward All the usual spa services were offered. Great gym for a small boat - open 24 hours. There are 6 cardio machines and quite a few individual weight machines, not one of those combo weight machines that you see in many small gyms. There were free weights, matts and space for yoga or stretching. Ports 1. Culebra - Sunday. 8-5pm We thought we could rent bikes by the ferry landing - wrong! No bike shop, and if there was the streets were not wide enough to ride a bike with all the traffic. We just walked around, not much to see. We should have done the snorkeling tour. Shipmates reported it as a good excursion. There were no independent tours being sold on land that we could find. Most people took the $5 p/p each way shuttle to the Flamingo Beach which was beautiful, but there were no restrooms or chairs. So bring 2 towels each. Good day to kayak off the boat's swim deck. 2. St. Bart's - Monday 8am to 10pm We did the sailing catamaran snorkeling excursion. The sailing was great, the water was clear and warm, the snorkeling was fair. Back to the boat for lunch, then back to St Bart's to explore the town of Gustavia. Lots of mega-yachts in harbor. No independent tour operators that we could find. The harbor side walkway is pleasant to walk around. The rest of the streets were very steep and full of traffic. The shops were "high end" and French. 3. Little Bay Montserrat - Tuesday 8 to 5pm We found a private tour for $40/person for 4 people. It lasted 5 hours, great trip. Our guide was David Lee who also runs the Hilltop Restaurant with his wife. David doesn't do many tours, but his son does. I don't have his contact info. Very interesting tour of the volcano devastated island. The ship was selling a similar tour for $139 p/p. There were taxi drivers at the pier available to take you on tours. For the really good hikers, there was a hilly up and down trail with Rendevous Beach waiting on the other end where there was snorkeling - bring your own gear from the boat. Good shoes are a must. The hike was moderate to strenuous and took about 1 hour each way. 4. Marigot-St Martin Wednesday 8 to 10pm Very busy island, way too much traffic for the available roadway network, very few places to safely ride a bicycle although there was a German bicycle group trying to do so. Beautiful bays and beaches. The north half is run by the French, the south half is run by the Dutch. There is no border crossing, just a sign along the road. The small cruise ships like the Star Legend come into Marigot on the French side, while the big cruise ships use the pier in Philipsburg on the Dutch side, about an hour away in the heavy traffic. We did the America's Cup Sailboat racing event down in Philipsburg. There were 3 Americas Cup boats with about 18 people on each boat and we raced an America's Cup windward/leeward course after proper training. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Theses boats are really fast! About half the passengers helped with the sailing, the other half just hung on and enjoyed the ride. We did not get wet although you could if the seas were higher. They stored your bags to keep them dry during the sail. 5. Jost Van Dyke BVI Thursday 8 to Midnight We did the helicopter flight which was quite a thrill. We saw the whole island from the helicopter. The snorkeling on this island was not good due to choppy seas and the lack of coral. Not a lot to do on this island. Foxy' was a good place to buy logo gear including rash guards for snorkeling or taking the high speed boat ride the next day. 6. Virgin Gorda - BVI - Friday 8 to 5pm Great Final Day We took the power boat ride excursion offered by Windstar, it was great. It was a 5 hour tour in a high speed inflatable type host. We stopped at a flock of pink Flamingos in a shallow area along with a swim in an area of stacked conch shells. The water was 3' deep. We stopped at islands of the rich & famous. The trip lasted 5 hours. The ship arranged a "private beach" day on Prickly Pear Island, which was an amazing day from 10-4. Beach bbq, games, all the boats and water toys, beach chairs with huge umbrellas. We got there about 1:30 after our boat ride, still in time for the BBQ. Disembarkation Very smooth, we off the boat by 8:30 and at the airport by 9:00am. You have to go thru customs at the pier, which was very quick. Cab fare was $25. Do not buy the ship transfers which cost triple that and not as convenient. The Rainforest tour from the yacht with drop off at the airport might be worthwhile, although you could probably find a cab driver to do that at the pier in San Juan. There were plenty of drivers who spoke English, although they do drive fast. The TSA line at the airport was very long, causing people to be late for flights, so get there early. We had TSA pre-check, so we breezed thru in 5 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I'm an avid, frequent, and very guilty cruiser. I'm guilty in that I often read reviews, but seldom write or contribute. I'm in my mid 40's and recently travelled on the New Year's sailing of the Star Legend with ... Read More
I'm an avid, frequent, and very guilty cruiser. I'm guilty in that I often read reviews, but seldom write or contribute. I'm in my mid 40's and recently travelled on the New Year's sailing of the Star Legend with my wife, 18 year old son, 16 year old daughter and my parents. By way of background, we are very experienced cruises. I'm fortunate to be approaching 80 cruises under my belt and spend about 8 weeks a year at sea. Over the years my taste in cruising has changed for a variety of reasons including maturity and unfortunately the commercialization of the cruise industry. Years ago (i.e. 1982) I loved the food, service and traditional service on lines like Princess and Sitmar. In fact, those early life cruise experiences are what ultimately conditioned my brain to subconsciously always be on the hunt for a vintage cruising experience of days gone by. The introduction of mega ships which are built with every square inch and second on board designed to be profit centers has cheapened and ruined the cruise experience in my opinion. Upcharges for eating, peeing, standing in the grand atrium etc. while fighting large crowds and eating poor quality food seems to have become the norm for many of the large mass market lines. Over the years as my taste in cruising has changed so has my consideration of what lines I will and won't spend my hard earned dollars and vacation time on cruising. In recent years, I have really enjoyed Oceania, Regent, and Azamara as to me these lines have recreated the magic of cruising and done it so well. The two mass market lines I still think do a "good" job compared to the others are Celebrity & Holland America - especially in their suite class (I see that's a topic of many other threads). So...for the New Year I booked my family on the Summit 7 night Caribbean cruise out of San Juan. After securing non-refundable airline tickets from Los Angeles to San Juan I learned that he Summit was due for a major refurbishment in early 2016 and was not keen on sailing on a ship about to go into dry dock. Enter the Star Legend of Windstar Cruises. It turned out the Star Legend was sailing the exact same day from San Juan as the Celebrity Summit on a 7 night itinerary so I decided to take a risk - cruising on a ship and line that non of my family had sailed on before and more worrisome had really bad reviews. I was determined to go have a great time no matter what. A new experience awaited. We flew in a few days early and stayed at the Ritz Carlton San Juan which was a great opportunity to unwind after a long day of travel and enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation before the cruise. On the day of embarkation we hired a van to take us to the Old San Juan Pier ($32 fixed rate for 6 people and 10 bags - they charge $1/bag). While driving to the pier we passed the mega ships. My daughter asked "daddy is that our ship?". While driving along the piers at the Old San Juan water front our driver missed our pier because he could not see the Star Legend behind the pier building. Yes - that's how small the Star Legend is - 10,000 tons. 200 passengers. Half the size as the original Love Boat (Pacific Princess 20,000 tons) with 1/3 the number of passengers. We quickly unloaded our luggage at the pier and within 5 minutes were the only passengers (3pm) climbing the gangway to be checked in on board. Upon embarkation we were taken to the ships lounge to be checked in and were offered complimentary welcome aboard drinks. This process took just a few minutes. By far this was the best embarkation process ever. The friendly crew who checked us in also had other jobs on the ship and we saw them often. So...off to our cabins we went to unload our carry-ons and start exploring the Star Legend. The Star Legend is the former Seabourn Legend and underwent a $8.5 million refurbishment in early 2015. For a 23 year old ship (and please remember it is a 23 year old ship!) this yachts looks fabulous! We opted for the lowest category suite (all cabins are suites) on deck 4 as I didn't see the value in upgrading to a higher deck for the same size suite and rocking is always less the lower you are. The suites were very well appointed and immaculately kept. We were all impressed by the size. The bathrooms are clearly older, but also very clean and marble clad (Carrera white). Bath amenities included L'Occitane products and large towels. There is a combined bathtub/shower combination with a handheld shower sprayer (mounted in awkward way) that always had great pressure. Next we were off to explore this tiny yacht. Interior spaces are very well kept and the renovation was well done - in my opinion. A very warm and welcoming feeling throughout the yacht. We were disappointed by the outside decks and the restaurant/buffet on the back of the ship which had a very bad feng shui (to be kind). In my opinion, Windstar really screwed up badly by getting rid of the aft pool and replacing it with a dining platform forward of the rear buffet. My daughter referred to the pool as a bathtub. Frankly, some people probably have bathtubs at home which are larger. Our favorite outdoor spot was he forward hot tub on the bow. After that scathing review of the pool area why would I give a 5 star review to this ship? A cruise experience is not just about being on the biggest, newest and fanciest vessel. There is so much more that goes into making memories. Let me make clear, that despite the less than ideal pool area and some really old and dilapidated other outdoor spaces (sports marina and aft crew area which you walk through to board tenders) this ship shines in every other way like a 5 star hotel. Service was consistently excellent throughout. Food was good to very good. Being a small ship dinner options were limited and was 7-9pm in the Amphora Dining Room and 1 night during the cruise guests can enjoy Candles (verandah café turned into steak house at night). Food was consistently solid for dinner. One night the dining room is closed and dinner is a deck BBQ which was terrific and very well done. Breakfast and lunch were served in the aft buffet and offered typical fare (nothing to get excited about). Room service was outstanding, fast, and the menu extensive. By the second day on board the crew knew most passengers by their first names and the amazing bar tenders even knew drink preferences. What a game changer. No entertainment offered other than 2 duos (both very good). The ambiance was incredibly friendly with most guest quickly mingling and getting to know one another. Interestingly, many of my friends thought we were crazy to bring our teenagers on Windstar as they said "there's nothing to do". As it turns out about 1/3 of the passengers were in the 15-25 age range traveling with their families. The kids/young adults LOVED this cruise! Not everybody needs to be entertained 24/7 and it was refreshing to make socializing our own entertainment. My kids even commented that they enjoyed the Star Legend more than the Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Much to be said about this and a whole commentary can be written about back to the basics. One of the best features of Windstar is having only 200 passengers. Never a line! The ability to call on smaller ports that large ships can't was also an amazing bonus. I won't go into detail about the ports as this review is already quite long. However, I will say the ports were AMAZING! The beach BBQ on Prickly Pear Beach was the BEST we have ever experienced and Trumps (pardon the expression) Seabourn and other "luxury" lines. Yes - it's true. Tender service is not optimal and the tenders are just that - tenders. The ship to shore boats Windstar uses on the Star Legend are NOT dual use life boats and tenders like those used on most other ships. These tenders are actually deployed from the sports marina by hydraulic devices. These boats are slow, but comfortable. Hopefully, Windstar will replace these tenders with new ones. Apparently, the Star Breeze or Star Pride has new tenders. The sports marina was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. It was deployed daily and staffed with 2 amazing crew. We enjoyed the trampoline, water mats, kayaking and swimming. There is also a sailboat for use. My kids loved being towed around by the Zodiac on a banana boat type thing. The captain could not have been more kind and accessible. Great sense of humor. We took advantage of the open bridge policy to watch sail away one night and were amazed at how welcome we were made to feel. Of note, the captain also had a terrific sense of humor despite previous posts. In summary, I gave this terrific and very enjoyable cruise on the Star Legend 5 stars because of the amazing overall experience - much of which can be attributed to the most amazing, wonderful, kind and attentive staff we have ever experienced. There are a few areas where Windstar is rough around the edges, but this is not a traditional cruise and cannot be viewed as such. You really feel as if you are on a very large private yacht. My family is hooked on Windstar and cannot wait to return. Keep up the amazing work Windstar! Windstar truly is 180 degrees from ordinary. Sure, there are other ships/lines which are much more polished and luxurious, but in all fairness I don't think reviewers should be comparing the Star Legend to the likes of these other ships/lines. The only conclusion I can take away from the negative reviews are that some people are just miserable and choose to be that way or their expectations were so off that the Windstar Star Legend experienced shocked them like jumping into cold water. I'm a luxury travel connoisseur and certainly could write a critical review of an experience that disappoints or does not meet advertised expectations. However, Windstar delivers exactly what it promises. Thanks again Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our 13th Windstar cruise and the 2nd on the Legend. Many of the comments I will make here I've posted before - after our last cruise in June 2015. Also, I read some recent reviews by others on Cruise Critic and my comments ... Read More
This was our 13th Windstar cruise and the 2nd on the Legend. Many of the comments I will make here I've posted before - after our last cruise in June 2015. Also, I read some recent reviews by others on Cruise Critic and my comments will be somewhat repetitive. I thinks that's fine - maybe someone at Windstar will actually read this and do something. At the outset, I want to be clear that none of my negative comments pertain to the on board staff. They try. Hard. They work long hours and do what they can. However, I am quite disappointed with Windstar at the corporate level. First, there is no loyalty program. Because we've cruises with Windstar some many times, you'd think we'd be welcomed back as repeat customers. Nothing! Not even flowers or fruit in the room. And no one at check in said anything. I had this discussion on previous cruises and still nothing changed. I talked to Calvin, the hotel manager. He listened, but nothing happened. The only one that actually did anything was Bianca, the guest relations manager. Airlines and hotels pride themselves on their loyalty programs. Norwegian has one, so does Seaborn. Not Windstar. Next, the ship is in bad shape. Tenders were both broken on one day. No matter how good the tender operators are, they can't manage with bad equipment. On one occasion, Windstar had to hire a tender operator and it was so bad, that vessel crashed int our ship and the tender cracked. There is rust in a lot of places. The brackets in the bathtub holding the hand-held shower were loose. There really is no attempt to provide activities in the case of rain - which we had daily. Clearly, the weather isn't anyone's fault, but there ought to be some on board contingency plans. On the plus side, the crew, as usual, was great: Yogi - always a pleasure. Yaya, Lyn, Bobby, all work hard and always smile. The staterooms (suites) really need sprucing up. I do like the Yacht Cub and AmphorA. Food is better since Chef Michael took over. Overall, I think we will be taking a break from Windstar. I need to see if management really wants this to be considered a luxury cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was my second Windstar cruise and it did not live up to the first. Two of us sailed on the Windsurf in March and I was very excited to bring my whole family (11 of us) on the Star Legend for Christmas week. It was disappointing. ... Read More
This was my second Windstar cruise and it did not live up to the first. Two of us sailed on the Windsurf in March and I was very excited to bring my whole family (11 of us) on the Star Legend for Christmas week. It was disappointing. The ship should not have been put into service after being purchased until all of the systems were upgraded. One tender broke down and it took us almost 2 hours to get to shore. The sports deck was inoperative much of the time. The staff was embarrassed and apologetic, but little from the Captain. The least the company could have done was buy us a drink. We received inconsistent information regularly. As an example, at one bar we were told that the ship was out of limes and then in the dining room there was no problem getting a lime for our drink. We took a shore excursion and upon checking was told that we did not need our tickets. Upon reaching shore, the tour company needed our tickets. Small things - but consistent. I rarely saw any of the officers, especially the captain. I would have hoped that they would have been more accessible, given some of the problems. Some of the Windstar basics were in place - excellent service from the cabin, bar and dining room staff; roomy staterooms; and well maintained public spaces. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Hello – DH and I recently sailed the December 19 – 26 itinerary of the Star Legend. This was our first cruise on Windstar, having sailed previously with Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. We have sailed ... Read More
Hello – DH and I recently sailed the December 19 – 26 itinerary of the Star Legend. This was our first cruise on Windstar, having sailed previously with Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. We have sailed the most with Celebrity (maybe 10 times in various cabins up to and including Aqua Class) and twice on the PG in French Polynesia. We are in our 40s/50s and enjoy active pursuits including scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing and other water sports. We also enjoy the food and beverage aspect of cruising. The main reason Celebrity became our favorite line 15 or so years ago is its reputation for excellent food. Sadly, the food quality on all of the lines has apparently diminished (in our experience and based on the many comments on Cruise Critic). Since observations about food are very objective, this review will not go into that in any depth. We found the food on the Legend good but with room for improvement. Many of my other comments have already been discussed in recent reviews, so I will try to cover new territory or answer questions that I have seen discussed on the boards recently. We flew directly to San Juan the day of the cruise, arriving about 12:30 pm, and went straight to the ship docked at the Old San Juan pier (not the Pan American pier where the big ships dock). Some information said that we couldn’t board before 5:00 pm but other info said 1:00 pm, so we gave it a try and were one of the first couples to board the ship when it opened shortly after 1:00. The taxi was about $25 with 4 pieces of luggage. Our stateroom 106 was on the fourth floor and it was beautiful – and although it was in the cheapest price category, it was the largest cabin we have ever had on a ship. Other people have discussed whether or not Windstar is a “luxury” line, so without taking a position on that, I can say that our cabin was truly luxurious to us. The appointments in the cabin exceeded the appointments in the rest of the ship IMO. Others have mentioned the firm mattresses and pillows. I did request and receive a softer pillow, and I was comfortable on the mattress. There were plenty of nice, wooden hangers – with normal hooks that can be lifted off and moved around – in the walk-in closet. There was a full-sized bathtub with a Grohe hand shower and brackets to attach it at two different heights. I didn’t have any problem with the shower and thought the water pressure and consistency of water temperature were perfect. We brought on two bottles of Champagne in our checked luggage and we bought a third at a wine store in Old San Juan later that afternoon. The policy is vague – whether it is 2 bottles per stateroom or 2 bottles per person – but in San Juan they are pretty flexible and didn’t even look at the one bottle that we were obviously carrying on. The cabins include a refrigerator and a selection of wine and bar glassware, including Champagne glasses, so we often enjoyed a glass of Champagne in our luxurious stateroom before dinner. Our attempts at room service (one breakfast and one snack after we missed lunch) were not satisfactory but we did not go hungry. The muster drill was at 4:15 pm. (I don’t know what happened to the passengers who obeyed the instructions to board after 5:00.) That was followed by the typical spa raffle at 5:00. DH and I were both happy with the spa treatments we booked. I will give a shout out to Genevieve who gave the best pedicure I have ever had and in addition was lovely and interesting. We walked around the ship to familiarize ourselves, and I can report that the library was well stocked for a ship of this size. We didn’t borrow any books but our visit resulted in meeting a nice couple that we socialized with at various times during the week. Entertainment consisted of two musical duos – an acoustic duo who played mostly indoors and the livelier “Splash” who played mostly at the outdoor bar. Both were good, but Tori, the female singer of “Splash,” fulfilled the dynamic role on the ship that is normally filled by a cruise director (talking between songs about their experiences in port, narrating the sailaways, engaging with the crew and passengers nearby, etc.). There was an organized presentation each evening about the next day’s port. We had purchased the laundry package at $109 per cabin for a 7-night itinerary, and we used it daily. It does not include dry cleaning but everything (including a linen shirt that was labeled dry clean only) came back fine. If you put the bag out by 9:00 am the clothes will be back by 5:00 pm the same day. We considered that a nice luxury and even sent bathing suits. Unfortunately, we had a blustery, rainy week but we didn’t let it spoil our otherwise nice vacation. The first stop being a good example. It was probably my favorite port even though we were subject to two downpours. I overheard both crew and passengers (just one of each) complaining that this was not a good port, so it depends what you are looking for. Culebra This was maybe the third sailing of this itinerary for the Star Legend which started sailing for Windstar in May. We had read unfortunate reports about the tenders before we left home. For those to whom this may be news, the Star Legend only docks in San Juan. All of the other ports are accessed by tenders that ferry the passengers from the ship to a dock on the island. The Legend is equipped with two tenders that are stored inside the rear of the ship. They were apparently designed to fit tightly inside that space and it appears they are the same age as the ship, or approximately 25 years old. They do not appear to have been maintained as well as the Legend herself. There were numerous problems with the tenders in the two sailings prior to ours and some problems on our sailing too. We were able to reach all of the advertised ports, unlike some of the prior sailings, however we consider ourselves lucky, and it is the tender situation alone that will prevent us from booking another Windstar cruise in the near future. We suspect and hope that management is squeezing the last drops of utility from those tenders and will purchase replacements in the near future. We were really looking forward to Culebra, which had been cancelled the previous week due to the tender problems, so we were happy upon boarding to see that Culebra was on the agenda for the first stop the next day. Culebra is the home of Flamenco Beach which is on most lists of best beaches so we were planning a self-guided beach day. I still recommend this. There is no need to rent a car or book an excursion. It is a small island with numerous taxi buses that cruise around looking for passengers. We paid $3 pp each way to Flamenco Beach and back. The taxis hold about 15 people so if they are not full the drivers call out to people on the road to and from the beach and in the little town (and this was the Sunday before Christmas). The beach is advertised as walking distance but it would be a pretty long and boring walk. The beach itself has restrooms and concessions, as well as life guards and picnic tables. We didn’t buy any food but my pina colada was about $7 and I think DH’s beer was $4. Two different downpours found us huddling with strangers under covered picnic tables but we enjoyed that. We did not enjoy the sand flies or similar biting creatures that left our legs covered in itchy red dots for 3 or 4 days. I highly recommend bug repellent for this location. The itching was so bad that both DH and I were awakened by it during the night and had to slather on more hydrocortisone. On about the third day I paid a visit to the ship’s doctor for alcohol swabs. He was nice and helpful, and there was no charge for a little thing like that. That evening was the welcome reception by the captain, so this may be a good time to let you know that our captain was James Griffiths. I believe he just came on for this cruise and had not captained the previous versions of this itinerary. Some other reviewers mentioned that they didn’t see enough of the officers, but I saw Captain Griffiths out and about plenty. We don’t seek out the officers or try to sit at the Captain’s table so maybe it is a matter of perception. It was a small ship, and I certainly saw officers. There is an open bridge policy (we did not visit) so anyone wanting to see the officers could certainly do so. There was also a galley tour but we did not take that either. Captain Griffiths was very personable during the welcome reception and I saw (and overheard) him eating meals with and chatting with passengers in a pleasant way. If he had joined us for a meal I would have welcomed him, but we were normally seated at a table for two. St Barth’s The first night we “sailed” to St. Barth’s which was probably the longest sailing of the week so that brings me to the motion. There was some. We don’t usually get seasick and we didn’t this time either. For those who needed it, there was a supply of meclizine out on the Reception desk for the taking. Since we were at anchor every day, the only motoring was at night and the motion was enough to wake us a number of times. We were in the lowest category and in the forward category so there were probably just a few less rocky cabins closer to the center of the ship. I don’t think I would pay extra to be in that low, center category if we had it to do over again, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be any higher either. I took extra sleeping aides (more than my usual) after the first night and they helped. Although when a crew member said they don’t take sleeping pills so they can respond in the event of an emergency, and then we had the news of the grounding of the Star Pride in Panama, I began to think that I should reassess my coping strategy of ear plugs, eye mask and two different OTC sleeping aides. We were happy to see St. Barth’s but it is now off the checklist. We rented a car and drove the whole island. We thought we might windsurf at a place known for windsurfing but it didn’t look interesting so we kept going. The tender made it back to the ship but just barely. The engine cut off 5 or 6 times during the pretty short trip. It was interesting to see all of the super yachts in the harbor. Montserrat We were advised the previous evening that our excursion was cancelled. This was the only Windstar excursion that we booked, and apparently we were the only two who booked it, so they cancelled due to lack of participation. It was a “Coastal Boat Tour” down the coast to see the volcano and the volcano damage from the water. After the full day in the rental car on St. Barth’s we did not have any interest in a bus tour so we took advantage of this morning to have our spa treatments. After lunch we took the tender to the island and walked around a little. There is not much to see where the ship tenders on the north side of the island but we wanted to support the tourism efforts by purchasing some souvenirs and drinks. Then we returned to the ship and were happy that the captain did a sail-by along the coast to see as much as we could through the clouds and fog. It is a desolate place. St. Martin The ship anchors in the harbor at Marigot, on the French side of the island. We have been to both the Dutch and French sides so for this day we had reserved a rental car to go to a windsurfing beach. On a previous cruise we did the America’s Cup excursion and we do recommend that as great fun. Unfortunately, our plans this day were disrupted by the tender problems. I think they were only running one tender this morning due to problems with the second tender. That led to back-ups of people trying to get off the ship. That was compounded by them using the one working tender to ferry groceries onto the ship. Then the tender ran out of fuel and had to be refueled – a “Keystone Cops” exercise of trying one side and then another to see how far the hose would reach - before we were finally able to make it to the island, at which time the rental car agency was closed and there were no cars available at the other agencies. We had waited for our tender in the Lounge for 1.5 hours – from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. When we finally got to the island and had no car we had a drink in the port area and went back to the ship for lunch and for our first (and only) use of the watersports platform. You can probably piece this together from other reviews if you are really interested but this day may have been the only day on this cruise that the watersports platform was open. Even on this day they only allowed swimming as the wind and current were too great for sailing, kayaking, and waterskiing. We heard various explanations for the closures on other days including wind, current and mechanical issues. The mechanical issue was not new as they supposedly encountered it in Europe also. Something about the hinge where the platform raises to the back of the boat to close it before they get underway. We were told that at some point in Europe it didn’t close and posed enough of a safety hazard that an itinerary was impacted. But we had a nice time frolicking in the warm water and lingering on the large foam floats that they fasten to the back, and we would not have had that opportunity if the tenders had been running properly! So all in all a nice day. (I am even shopping for a foam float like that to keep on our boat.) That evening (Wednesday) was the outdoor BBQ, which I understand is a Windstar highlight. It did not disappoint. The rain held off until almost the very end. In addition to the elaborate spread, including grilled lobster tails by the truck full, the evening featured music by both duos as well as music by various crew members, and then more music and dancing – specifically line dancing to many popular songs (think YMCA). It reminded me a little of the “crazy signs” that are a unique element of Club Med vacations. Both officers and crew led the dancing. Another shoutout to Tori of the duo “Splash” for acting as emcee. Jost Van Dyke We were here Christmas Eve and it was different than I had imagined. White Bay was very busy, very crowded with people and boats. I knew it was a favorite of cruisers but based on webcams that I had watched a few years ago it was nothing like this. Oh well, checked this off the checklist too. We were lucky to find a nice, quiet place that I will mention since we probably won’t be going back any time soon. The ship anchors in Great Harbor, and from the tender pier you can walk to the right to Foxy’s Beach Bar (closest) or walk up a hill (8 minutes) to the left and see White Bay spreading out below you. White Bay is the home of the famous Soggy Dollar Bar, but we stopped at the first beach bar we came to while walking, Ivan’s No Stress Bar, and had a lovely, clean beach with chairs for the price of a drink. We could have stayed there all day but wanted to see what all the fuss was about farther up the beach so after a couple of drinks at Ivan’s we walked over to Gertrude’s (beyond Soggy Dollar) for lunch. We took a taxi back over the hill to Foxy’s ($5 pp) for a souvenir and then went back to the ship. Foxy’s was dead by then because it was Christmas Eve. The ship was running Zodiac rides to Foxy’s that evening until 11:30 pm (not the tenders but a rubber Zodiac from the ship), but we didn’t feel the need to go back out. We had dinner in the main restaurant where we ate every night. We ate in Veranda for breakfast and lunch and were happy to have an alternative for dinner. Since this was Christmas Eve they had a traditional turkey meal, and although this probably won’t benefit anyone else at this point, I can report that the Christmas turkey was the best of any Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey that I have had on a ship (maybe off a ship too). Virgin Gorda (Windstar “Private Event”) This was not a stop at Virgin Gorda, but a stop at an island across from the Bitter End Yacht Club on the far end of Virgin Gorda, where Windstar presumably leased space for a private event. We have been to Virgin Gorda before so we didn’t mind, but I don’t think there was a way to get there if you wanted to go (other than taking the excursion offered to the Baths on the opposite end of Virgin Gorda that left at 7:30 am). This was a nice day, punctuated by two blustery downpours that had us hunkering under and holding onto the large beach umbrellas that Windstar brings onshore for the guests. We came over on one of the first tenders and did not have a hard time getting a shady spot for the day. We took advantage of snorkeling and kayaking, and also lounging on those floating foam pads. The lunch was adequate but not as elaborate as the Wednesday BBQ. Windstar offered a welcome rum punch but further libations had to be signed for. I understand the beach volleyball was exciting because we had a lot of young people onboard with their parents for Christmas. For anyone familiar with the private island experience of Paul Gauguin on Taha’a, this was not as elaborate but still a nice day. Disembarkation in San Juan There was no problem with our invoice so we needed only to pick-up our passports at reception and exit the ship about 8:30 am, last call for disembarkation. Veranda was open for breakfast until 8:30. There were no lines or crowds. We caught a taxi to the airport just outside the ship ($25 total vs $35 pp for a transfer). The only problem was the long wait at the airport and a flight that was delayed. We took advantage of the Global Lounge through Priority Pass, but the food was horrible so I bought snacks in the airport. Drinks were free and they were make-them-yourself. An alternative strategy, which we did on a prior cruise, is to check your bags at a restaurant in Old San Juan for the day and explore the city. There are a couple places that do this for a few dollars per bag. In hindsight this would have been better than the airport lounge, but arriving early meant we were through check-in in a flash. Hope this helps others considering the same itinerary! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We set sail on the Star Legend Dec.19 with great expectations of a high end cruise experience. Unfortunately it was just average, and in some perspective outright disappointing. On a positive side the room was beautiful and very spacious. ... Read More
We set sail on the Star Legend Dec.19 with great expectations of a high end cruise experience. Unfortunately it was just average, and in some perspective outright disappointing. On a positive side the room was beautiful and very spacious. The cabin service was also exemplary. The food was good, not great, but the chef was more than happy to accommodate special requests, a very nice touch. Despite Windstar having invested $18M in a makeover after acquiring the Star Legend from Seaborn, the ship still showed its age in several critical areas. The tenders were past their useful life and failed several times during our journey. The first time we were on the tender when one of the engines quit. High seas prevented us from docking and we sat stranded for 30 minutes while they struggled to get it working. The next day we waited two hours and almost missed our excursion due to the fact that the same tender was not working, leaving one working boat. To exaserbate an already bad situation the crew had forgotten to fuel the one working tender before the start of the day and had to stop for an additional 20 minutes to refuel. Perhaps the worse part in the two hours of waiting was the fact that the staff failed to make a single announcement to advise the passengers of what was going on. One of the amenities that attracted us to Windstar was the availability of water sports off the back platform. In seven days of sailing the platform was NEVER OPENED. We were told by the staff that it was due to the fact that the seas were to rough. Ironically on two different days we passed other cruise ships that had their platform open to guests. Talking to other members of the staff we came to learn that there were frequent mechanical issue with the platform the was complicating its use, let alone equipment challenges. Again, the communication from the staff was notably absent and left passengers guessing. Over our past five cruises we always appreciated the memories captured by the ship photographers. Unfortunately this was not the case on this cruise. We even asked the photographer to take a formal family photo on Christmas Eve. When we went to review the pictures the next day we learned that she had only taken one photo (???) of the immediate family which she said did not turn out, and only one of the extended family was oddly centered. So much for memories. The true test of a business is not what happens when everything goes as planned, but how they handle the situation when things run aground (pun intended). In this case the crew failed miserably. When an office could be found, and engaged, they seemed indifferent to the plight of the passengers and unwilling of take any steps toward addressing the issues at hand. How hard is it to take a passenger name and cabin and send a note of apology. Staff members we befriended told us that Windstar corporate is well aware of the tender and mechanical problems and has yet to provide a response as to when they would be addressed. The cruise line could be amazing, but it needs to pick up its game, improve communication, take responsibility, and deliver on the promise it communicates in its marketing materials. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Hello! My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Caribbean cruise aboard the Star Legend. We're fairly experienced cruisers, having been on a total of about 8 others, all on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. In fact, we've run ... Read More
Hello! My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Caribbean cruise aboard the Star Legend. We're fairly experienced cruisers, having been on a total of about 8 others, all on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. In fact, we've run out of itineraries on the big ships. It was either try a smaller line or start repeating - hence our first Windstar cruise. A bit about us. We're late thirty/early forty-somethings who, while not really athletes, tend to be active do-ers on our vacations. We like exploring, drinking cocktails and collecting experiences, not t-shirts. For the sake of space, I'm not going to discuss ports here. Instead, I'm going to focus on the cruise, ship and staff. Here are some notes about our experience. First impressions: Wow. From our hotel on the beach in the Condado area of San Juan to our stateroom took about 45 minutes. I brought 3 bottles of wine aboard in my carry-on (for two people) and no eyebrows were raised. The gangway was truly a gangway, complete with wooden stairs to climb. I didn't ask, as it wasn't relevant to us, but I would assume there must be a provision in place for those with mobility issues as the stairs are a bit narrow and steep. In less than 5 minutes we'd been handed a glass of complimentary rum punch, checked in and traded our passports for room keys. We were then greeted by a steward who walked us to our room and opened the door for us. Inside we found a plate of fresh food, a vase of orchids, and...SPACE. A full sitting area with a couch, coffee table and two chairs separated by draw curtains from a sleeping area with a bed, end tables and dressing vanity. There was a backlit cabinet of various wine and cocktail glasses that contained a concealed mini-fridge. There was a Bose sound dock and a flat screen tv. (Tip: bring an auxillary cord to connect the sound dock to your particular device. We had to go back out to CVS to buy one.) There was a WALK-IN CLOSET with more than enough hangers and hanging space. It contained storage shelves, a few small drawers and the safe, which had a digital combination lock. The bathroom had decent storage space and a full tub. (Tip: Despite improved bathroom storage space I was still grateful for my over-door shoe holder to keep the sunscreen, stain sticks, etc. No comments from our steward about their not being allowed.) Overall, the room felt spacious and luxurious. The neutral tan/grey interior was a vast improvement over Carnival's inexplicable orange theme. We were in a basic room on deck four - the lowest guest room deck. We had no noise from above or below. There were no odors or moisture issues. Our window was huge so the room was bright and cheery during the day. We book balcony rooms on the big ships and our door is never closed. I thought I'd miss that, but justified it with the old "but you're never really in your room," excuse. As it turns out, no, I didn't miss the balcony and to my pleasant surprise, the room was so nice and spacious that I enjoyed spending time in it. Throughout the week we noticed dozens of little touches that separate Windstar from the Big Box lines. For example, drinks came in glasses. Everywhere - even on deck. No cheesy plastic cups or giant pineapples with straws through them. Wine came in wine glasses. Cocktails came in cocktail glasses, etc. There are no paper towels in the public bathrooms - just cloth hand towels. All drinks but alcohol are included. I inquired about a "soda package" on day one, which garnered gentle chuckles. We didn't purchase the alcohol package so I can't comment as to its value. The pool deck area was an oasis. No hairy chest contests, belly-flop duels or blaring hip-hop. The loungers were all cushioned and there was an unlimited supply of oversized towels. The loungers on the upper deck were all paired with oversized umbrellas, which was nice. While I thoroughly enjoyed the peace of the pool deck, I do think that perhaps Windstar could lighten up a bit on the music. I appreciated not hearing the Wobble or Cupid Shuffle twice per day, but the deck tunes definitely skewed a bit old for my taste. Four Barry Manilow songs in 1.5 hours? Remember, if we're all asleep we're not buying drinks! The two hot tubs were comfortably hot, and while the pool was small, it was one of those "swimmer" pools, in which the push of a button created a current against which one could swim for exercise. The food was exquisite. Nothing tastes mass produced. We ate in the Veranda for breakfast each morning. I always ordered a custom omelet, and never waited more than 5 minutes for it, at the most. We were never on board for lunch. We ate dinner in Amphora most nights. The menu was varied and we tried a bit of everything. The staff were gracious when my husband, a bottomless pit of an eater, ordered double appetizers or even two entrees. Our only complaint, re: food, is that there are periods through the day, such as late afternoon/early evening, and after 9 pm, when room service is the only option. We would return to the ship around 5 pm after busy days in port, starving, and there wouldn't really be much available. On St. Martin night we almost skipped dinner on board as we'd been advised that all the restaurants would be closed in favor of a top deck barbecue. We chose to go to it at the last minute and were so glad we did. Delicious! Best meal of the trip. Don't miss it. We also did eat at Candles one night. The food was excellent, as expected, and the breeze was nice, but its located at the very back of the ship. The engine noise was surprisingly loud. We decided that we liked the main dining room better. My husband, who hates to iron only slightly more than he hates to pack, has a habit of shoving all his dinner shirts into the suitcase then sending them for pressing on the first day. He's also a clothes guy, who likes options. On Carnival and RC, this combination has led to pressing bills of $60 to $75 to start our cruise. Surprisingly, he sent 8 shirts for pressing on day one and our total bill was less than $20. The other major difference I noticed on this cruise was the crew. Naturally, on a smaller vessel one gets to know both crew and fellow passengers better than when there are 5000 others aboard. But the Windstar crew were around a lot. We saw them at port. We drank with them at the bar (off duty, of course.) Even the Captain, when he was off duty, would come and have a drink and mingle. They were delightful, accessible and very much part of the Windstar experience. Our fellow cruisers appeared to range in age from 20 to 80+. There were no children. (I received mixed reports about this. Not sure if its a Windstar policy or just a gentle recommendation. But another Tip: This ship is just not for kids. They would have been bored to death.) Everyone I met was pleasant. Most were very well-traveled. Multiple US states and nationalities were represented. As has probably been reported, we learned upon arrival that a broken tender vessel meant that we would be unable to go to Culebra. Instead we went to St. Thomas. I appreciate the fact that the ship made provisions to find us an alternate port, rather than just skipping a port day entirely. I do believe that the problem must have been fixed by the end of St. Thomas day, as for the rest of the cruise we appeared to be using just ship tenders with no issues. We had two small problems while on board. The first, involved our plans for St Martin port day. We'd planned to take the ferry to Anguilla for the day, which required our passports. I made a mental note to stop by guest services the night before to ask for them - then promptly forgot to do so. The next morning, we went there first thing to retrieve them, and learned that both the purser and the assistant purser had gone ashore early to process some new crew. The guest services staff tried several times to reach them via walkie-talkie and were unable to do so. We ultimately had two choices - wait an indeterminate amount of time - perhaps two hours or more - for them to return, or switch gears and find something to do in Marigot instead. We opted for the latter option. As we exited out to the tender area, we chanced upon the first officer. He stopped us and apologized, stating that he'd heard what was going on. He was trying to reach the purser to get permission to go into the safe without her. He said that if we wanted to wait, he'd find us onboard as soon as he heard something. At this point, we'd resigned ourselves to the change of plans, so we simply thanked him profusely for his attention and left the boat. The second problem occurred on Jost Van Dyke. We were up bright and early and ready for the first tender. Upon reaching the tender deck, we were informed that the first few tenders were going to be full of guests who'd booked ship-sponsored excursions. It would be about an hour until one was available for "independents." I've learned that one can always catch more flies with honey, as they say, so I simply smiled and said, "No problem. We'll wait. Maybe we can squeeze onto one." Sixty seconds later he was on his walkie-talkie and arranged for the Zodiac raft to bring us to shore. Instead of waiting an hour, we were literally the first two guests onto Jost Van Dyke by about 30 minutes. The point of those two stories is simply to illustrate that the customer service on Windstar is outstanding. In both cases, we had problems (one entirely of my own making, I might add) that staff went out of their way to try to solve for us. Would this have happened if the officers in question didn't know us by name after seeing us around the boat for the past few days? I doubt it. Evening entertainment options are limited. There are a few bars on board - all of which were well staffed. There was a duo that sang in the lounge, and one that sang at the pool deck bar. The casino is limited to a few slot machines and two tables. I'd browsed the single store through in about 20 minutes. As I mentioned, we're do-ers. We're up early and go all day. Usually, one after dinner drink, a walk up to the front for some star-gazing and we were ready to go to sleep. But those who enjoy shows and lots of evening action might be a bit bored in the evenings. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation. We awoke, cleaned up, and went to the veranda for breakfast. Afterward, we scanned our keys "out" one last time and walked back down the steps. Our luggage was right there, as were porters. The customs line was very short. From breakfast to cab in about 6 minutes. Amazing. I cannot compare Windstar to lines like Seabourne, as I've not sailed them, but they were definitely a luxurious upgrade in comparison to the big boat lines. The minute our steward escorted us into our room I was ruined for life for the big ships. Our Windstar cruise was simply delightful. We felt pampered, relaxed and loved darn-near every second of it. We're already researching our next one. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
First of all, we are big fans of Windstar's sailing yachts and were a bit skeptical about the Legend, especially after reading some of the less than stellar reviews. We've done most of the islands on this itinerary but were very ... Read More
First of all, we are big fans of Windstar's sailing yachts and were a bit skeptical about the Legend, especially after reading some of the less than stellar reviews. We've done most of the islands on this itinerary but were very interested in returning to Montserrat as we were there in 1984 (on the old Yankee Clipper), and followed the devastation from the volcano very closely over the years. This was our first opportunity to return so we decided that the Legend was the way to go. As usual with Windstar, our embarkation was flawless although there was a bit of a discrepancy between the website information and the final boarding information that was sent to us. We did make it onboard at 1:00 p.m. even though we were not departing San Juan until 10:00 p.m. When we were shown to our suite I was blown away. We have reserved suites on the Surf for a lot more money and were stunned at the value in the Legend's suites. The walk in closet was amazing, large sitting area by the window, bathroom with full tub, etc. Everything was immaculate and our room steward, Eddy, was the best we've had on any cruise. This is not a brand new ship so there were signs of that but no more than a hotel room that was renovated 1 - 2 years before. We explored the ship and found all of the public rooms to be in excellent condition. Everything was immaculate, and in true Windstar style, a smiling and friendly crew. We ran into some crew that we had sailed with on the Surf and the warm greetings made us feel like we were home. Now - as for the sails and the sail away! It IS different than the Surf, Spirit, etc., and there were a few people on board who could just not get over it. Please people, it IS a different type of ship and hoisting the flag is NOT the same as the sails unfurling. But after the first night it was a non issue for us. We would suggest different sail away music though. It just doesn't feel right. Back to the public areas. The Yacht Club is lovely and quiet - great for reading a book. AmphorA had the best food we've had on Windstar which is saying a lot as it's always good. Candles is on the Verandah. My only quibble is that it feels more enclosed than the Surf or the Spirit but the food was excellent. Yougi runs the Verandah and Candles like a total pro. Bobby was the barman in Candles and we knew him from the Surf. A great guy! Breakfast and lunch was outstanding with lots of fresh fruits, omelets made to order, all of the "usual" that we expect from Windstar. Excursions were similar to the other Caribbean sailings. Lots of water things but we did get the opportunity for a French cooking class (more of a demonstration) on St. Martin in a lovely restaurant overlooking the water. Food was excellent, lots of wine, fun company. Loved it! My husband did the Stars & Stripes America's cup and had a blast. The highlight of our trip though was Montserrat and a private tour that we booked on our own. The ones that went from the ship were shorter in duration and we wanted to spend the day seeing what was and what is. The residents are excited that finally, after all of these years, some tourism is coming back to their island. They are resilient and hopefully they will make it. There are only 5,000 people left living there and they need our support. Jimmy Buffet made the island famous with his Volcano Song. We wish he would do one about their survival and encourage tourists to return. If anyone knows him (hahaha), please make the suggestion! We had a port change from Culebra to St. Thomas as one of the tenders was on the fritz. A bit of a disappointment but things like that can happen. Windstar did provide lots of opportunities for things to do that day so it seemed to work out okay. Probably our biggest disappointment was being unable to disembark on Virgin Gorda unless we took a Windstar tour. We were especially looking forward to this stop as we love the Bitter End and Pussers and going there each year has become kind of a tradition for us. Since we had already done the usual tours on this island, I stayed aboard and read a great book, my husband went to the beach BBQ. This is the big "private event" on this trip but I had enough sun and beach by the last day. Our fellow passengers who had not done this itinerary before loved it. The crew works hard and does a great job out there. Disembarkation was almost too easy! We were off the ship and on our way very early in the morning. Since we had a late flight we did the ship's rainforest tour outside of San Juan. It was worth the money and the experience. Included was a drop off at the airport so it all worked out. In summary - we would go on one of the sailing yachts again in a heartbeat. No hesitation - none! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Background: This was our first Windstar cruise, although we have logged 30+ together (mainly Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, but also Seven Seas Navigator and Paul Gauguin.) We are in our late-40's/early 50s and consider ... Read More
Background: This was our first Windstar cruise, although we have logged 30+ together (mainly Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, but also Seven Seas Navigator and Paul Gauguin.) We are in our late-40's/early 50s and consider ourselves very active, primarily interested in water activities. Travel to Embarkation Port: Non-stop flight on Delta from Atlanta arrived on time with no issues. Hotel: We flew in the morning of embarkation, so n/a. Embarkation: This was the easiest embarkation ever. Not another passenger in sight as we alighted from our taxi at the pier in Old San Juan. We quickly showed our documents and met up with a porter who accompanied us all the way to the gangway. We watched him transfer our luggage onto the ship and stepped onboard. We checked in at the Lounge and were directed to our cabin by our actual steward, Jajat. It seemed as if we never stopped moving, and our luggage somehow made it to the cabin at the same time that we did. Ship Information: This was the smallest ship on which we have sailed to date. There were 172 passengers onboard our sailing. Facilities (except tenders, more on that in Port section) seemed entirely adequate for the number of passengers onboard. We never experienced lines, chair hogs, or a wait of more than a few moments for anything except tenders. Activities: This is not a cruise for those who need to be entertained. When we were onboard, we occupied ourselves with swimming off the watersports platform (sunning mats, a large water trampoline, and kayaks and a paddle board were available), visiting with other passengers by the pool or Star Bar, or relaxing ondeck or in our cabin with a book. Dining: Dinner in AmphorA was usually very good to excellent, with a few misses. Menu highlights for me were the Ahi Tuna appetizer, seared Tuna entrée, seafood risotto and soups. I would say that the beef was of good quality, but not consistently cooked. (On the night we had beef wellington, mine was undercooked and DH's overcooked.) Desserts were hit or miss for me. The deck party was one of the highlights of the cruise. An incredible selection of food, with dining on white tablecloths under the stars. We were somewhat underwhelmed with Candles. On the night we went, we were tendered at St. Barths', and the orientation of the ship combined with the canopy over the dining area gave us no view. The food was good, but I would not rate it higher than AmphorA. Breakfast in Veranda was consistently good with a wide variety of hot, cold, and cooked to order selections. (Always omlettes and classic Eggs Benedict available, with a specialty version of EB, pancakes and French Toast each day. Lunch in Veranda was a challenge for us, probably because we typically have a salad, and the salad selections were somewhat lacking. That said, we were always able to find something to eat! We ordered room service one morning, and our order was delivered on time and complete. Service: Here is where Star Legend really shined for us. We enjoyed excellent service in every dining and bar venue onboard. The servers miraculously learned our names and preferences almost immediately and seemed genuinely interested in making sure that our every need was met. Service on this cruise was warm and personal, but not formal. Servers and staff uniformly addressed us by our first names, which was fine with us. But others who expect a more formal approach might be disappointed. Special mention: Endro (dining server), Lyn, Edison & Jeem (bar servers), Jajat (cabin steward), and Janelle (water sports). Kid's Club: n/a Entertainment: Entertainment was limited, but not lacking, in our opinion. There were two duos who entertained in the lounges and on deck in the evening. We particularly enjoyed Splash, an engaging and energetic couple, who seemed to able to play any type of music that you might think of. We danced to their sets every night of the cruise. The other duo, Double Malt, performed acoustic music, which is just not as much our style. Port & Shore Excursions: As opposed to another recent reviewer, we were excited to be anchored (vs. docked) and tendering into the smaller ports away from the giant ships and crowds. This also gave the advantage of having the water sports platform in operation each day (except the Prickly Pear beach experience day, when the toys were taken to the beach.) BUT, it did result in the biggest negative of the voyage, the tendering operation. I agree with the previous reviewer who declared the equipment to be substandard and the operators poor. I was surprised to read that tender problems had occurred on earlier voyages, as the malfunction of one of the tenders on St. Barths' day seemed to have taken the staff by surprise. It really messed up tours that day, but I was impressed how fast they contracted with local options for the rest of the week. (Now not so much impressed if they had problems previously.) We came to call their docking procedure the "crash landing" approach. Also agree with previous reviewer that the path taken to the tenders was not very pretty (down steep stairs and through maintenance/crew areas). But this seems to be dictated by the design of the ship and location of platforms, so I'm not sure what could be done to improve/correct. Culebra: We taxied to Flamenco Beach, which would have been beautiful on a pretty day. However, it was rainy and windy when we were there. St. Barth: We took the ship's Catamaran Sailing Adventure tour. It was a lovely catamaran with a small number of passengers (tour limited to 20). Snorkeling was just OK, not great, so we did not think it a great value for the $149 pp price. (Also, our time was reduced due to the tendering delays, so it ended up being a shorter tour than advertised.) Montserrat: The ship's Buried City tour was a highlight of our trip. The island is just gearing up again for tourism after the 1997 volcanic eruption, and we were one of the first ships to call there. The tour is a new one that takes you into the "Exclusion Zone", which is considered to be a danger area if the volcano were to erupt. The tour guides were in constant contact with the Montserrat Volcanic Observatory to make sure that we were not in any danger, and safety seemed to come first. We actually had the opportunity to walk around the devastated city and were taken to an overlook to get a long-range view of the volcano. Last stop was a tasty lunch and steel drum entertainment at a new facility on a black sand beach. There were some logistical hiccups, but it was a very unique and informative tour. Marigot: We walked around town, visited the Catholic Church, and climbed to the top of the Fort. It was very hot, and we were very glad to find the air-conditioned mall. Jost Van Dyke: We took the ship's Sailing and Snorkeling Tour, which was a bit of a misnomer, as it was a power catamaran rather than a sailing vessel. There were only 36 passengers on a boat designed for 50, so again no crowds. A couple of decent snorkel stops, and a stop at Foxy's Taboo for a Bushwhacker or Painkiller (not included in tour price.) When was arrived back at the tender pier, we hopped in a taxi for a quick trip to Soggy Dollar Bar for a drink and photo op. Since it was getting late in the day, we were worried about getting a taxi back. Our driver said not to pay him, he would wait for us and collect the round trip fare back at the pier. Virgin Gorda: We had planned to do the Bathes & Highlights tour, but just couldn't imagine spending another half day touring on buses when we had already been to The Baths on another trip. Good decision, as those who had gone on the tour later reported that it was a couple of hours too long for their interest. The Prickly Pear Beach Experience was excellent, similar to a private island day on other cruise lines, but without so many people. The buffet lunch was delicious, and it was fun to have all of the water toys there. Disembarkation: The easiest ever. We picked up our passports from Reception, enjoyed one last breakfast, and were off the ship and in a taxi in no time at all. Summary: Much has been said lately on the Windstar message board about the line no longer being "luxury." For me, luxury is enjoying wonderful food and service with friendly, well-travelled, interesting shipmates. These two things made our cruise most enjoyable. While every detail was not perfect, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and will be sailing Windstar again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
What can corporate Windstar be thinking? Just got off the Star Legend, the most dangerous and old ship I have ever sailed on in 30 cruises. No safety signs (even for wet paint and varnish), tenders don't work, people are expected to ... Read More
What can corporate Windstar be thinking? Just got off the Star Legend, the most dangerous and old ship I have ever sailed on in 30 cruises. No safety signs (even for wet paint and varnish), tenders don't work, people are expected to climb dozens of stairs to tenders and hop onto poorly parked and operated tenders - both of which are now broken - and rubber dingies. A nice but in some cases inexperienced crew can do nothing with awful, unsafe, old equipment. And it was a rocky and sea sickening ride more than 1 night. Also, ship does not port where anyone else does and doesn't tell you before hand. No board games onboard or daily activities. What a nightmare. RUN AWAY from this "luxury" cruise. Most annoying things: Used balcomy stateroom next to mine to store and fold sheets. Left door open at night to bang open and close; also went in and out at all hours. WHAT? People were so bored, absolutely nothing was going on on this ship. Even movies and tv reception were lacking. Embarkation is a nightmare. Prepare to wait in the hot sun and wait a lot more before climbing 30 stairs to get onboard and get in another line to get your keys, etc. Tenders broken, waffle machine broken, ice cream machine broken, cannot make pancakes, cannot make a soft egg to save their lives (be it over easy or poached.) Huge markup if you take pre cruise hotel, excursions, or transfer to or from airport (transfer was 3 times more expensive than a cab.) One bbq and one shore party (where people got stranded for almost 2 hours) for lack of transportation does not make a good time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
If not for the crew, food and beverage servers, and our room steward, our first Windstar "Luxury Cruising" experience would have been a complete disappointment. With that said, my wife and I decided on the Windstar Legend. We ... Read More
If not for the crew, food and beverage servers, and our room steward, our first Windstar "Luxury Cruising" experience would have been a complete disappointment. With that said, my wife and I decided on the Windstar Legend. We were more than excited to board such a "luxury" style yacht for this very special vacation. As we boarded, we were greeted by Captain Richard and Hotel Manager Calvin, which was a very nice personal touch. Our cabin was pleasant and comfortable. We began to walk around the exterior of the ship, and found it not welcoming at all. It seemed like the ship was closed down. There was no water in the pool, lounge chairs were stacked up, and no music was playing. We walked further and began to get a common theme that the Windstar Legend was far from Luxury but was a very weathered yacht. My wife and I looked at each other and I actually asked her if we just made a big mistake and if she wanted to get off before it sailed. We are optimistic people so we went with it... We met amazing people, and the staff could not have done more for us. They were great. Windstar marketing and advertising manager should receive a raise because what is portrayed on the videos and the website is a far cry from reality. The broken ice cream machine/freezer, the aged tenders, the lack of watersports, which was a very big attraction for us, and inflatable zodiacs were completely unacceptable and embarrassing. Tenders were constantly broken, and the drivers were incapable of controlling a tender frequently slamming them into the platforms the days they were in operation. There was actually a day when we had no functioning tenders at all, and elderly passengers with canes were taking the zodiacs back to the ship. This was not safe, and as a result, I was helping to get them on and off the boat. It was ridiculous. Most passengers on the ship felt the same. I heard the couple staying in the owners suite did not have Air conditioning in their room for 3 days and asked to get off the ship. The reality of the situation is that the Windstar Company should be embarrassed to provide their employees with such old broken down equipment. The next consideration for the Legend might be providing the employees with the proper resources to do their jobs. As I stated previously, we had a great time on our Honeymoon, but it was only because of the staff and the wonderful people we met. In fairness to Windstar, I must mention we did voice our concerns with them after returning home and were compensated for our dissapointment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
There were a lot of small irritations that would not keep me from sailing with windstar again. Like the broken ice cream machine. But,there is no excuse for the tenders. By the time the cruise was over neither one was working. They tried ... Read More
There were a lot of small irritations that would not keep me from sailing with windstar again. Like the broken ice cream machine. But,there is no excuse for the tenders. By the time the cruise was over neither one was working. They tried using the zodiacs at one point, 4 passengers at a time,but one of them got punctured. Ended up hiring a local to transport us. The tenders were frequently breaking down, slow, broken seats, broken floor cover and inexperienced drivers. I wasted way too much of my vacation waiting for tenders!!! The excursions were poorly organized and poorly vetted. There was poor local knowledge of the ports by the staff. Having said that, there were many bright spots. great support staff! Housekeeping, wait staff, front desk, bar staff, all great. Very good food and drink. Fabulous day at prickly pear beach, the private beach event. Stay away from the beach excursion in antiqua. It's too long a drive,not a nice drive,and the beach was too rough for most. Many less fit swimmers had to be helped out of the surf. Also very shelly bottom. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This is our 5th Windstar cruise, having previously cruised on the Windsurf several times, as well as the Windspirit (we also do cruises on larger ships as well). This means we are Windstar supporters, but it also means we know what the ... Read More
This is our 5th Windstar cruise, having previously cruised on the Windsurf several times, as well as the Windspirit (we also do cruises on larger ships as well). This means we are Windstar supporters, but it also means we know what the product should look like. From what I've read from some of the previous reviews...not sure we were on the same ship! Embarkation: We took the train from Rome to Civitavecchia and walked to the port bus. Upon arrival, Windstar personnel were on the dock to arrange luggage drop off; smooth and painless. Check-in quick and easy. Time from stepping on gangplank to cabin - maybe 10 minutes. Cabin: Balcony suite 214. As noted in other reviews, room large, nicely appointed. Walk-in closet, and large bathroom with bathtub. We had no interruption of the satellite TV. Our room was in great condition. As far as the balcony doors go; we did not open them much - it seemed a little difficult to open/close, but we did enjoy the large view they provided. It was on the port side which wasn't my 1st choice, but it turned out to be great as we had a view of the port at each stop. Ship Overall: I enjoyed the layout; it was nice to explore a new (to us) ship, but one that had the Windstar feel - yacht club, verandah, etc. The outdoor space on the upper deck has been extended from the original version so lots of place for relaxing in the sun. We were lucky enough to have great weather so we could take advantage of the pool and the hot tubs (my favorite is the one at the bow - a quiet spot). Entertainment: There were 2 duos onboard; both were great and lots of fun. Crew: 100% consistently fantastic; many recognized us from previous cruises and all were friendly and helpful. Great service as usual. Officers: Thought the Captain was very personable (Richard Reville); he is extremely funny when doing his speeches but all business when docking the yacht. Also spent some time talking with the Hotel Manager, Calvin; very nice guy. Dining: Breakfast at the Verandah; buffet offering a lot of options including omelette/fried egg station, but also there is menu service with eggs benny (2 kinds); pancakes, waffles, French toast. Lunch, buffet but also menu service. There are also baguette sandwiches at the Yacht club. Dinner is at Amphora on lower deck; lots of options each evening, great food. Other option 1 time per cruise is Candles which is held in the Verandah area - either inside or out. Slightly less options but a lovely experience. We had a Deck BBQ on the 5th night; just marvellous. Excursions: The private ship excursion we had was in Monte Carlo; Champagne and desserts at a terrace at the Café de Paris overlooking the Casino followed by a visit to the Casino itself. Only 3 people on our sailing did not attend. I think everyone who did enjoyed it. Itinerary: Portoferraio (Elba), Portofino, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Marseilles, Port-Vendres. We are do-it-yourselfers for the most part; preferring to explore the ports on foot or by local bus which we did in all the locations above. Got lots of walking in! Negatives: I did miss the sails at sail-away; just not quite the same. The only other negative I can come up with is that the daily information page had a lot of errors in it - certainly didn't affect my cruise or enjoyment level, but annoying. These included notice of the deck BBQ on the wrong day; a notice to change clocks back on the wrong day; a listing of all ABOARD at 8:45 p.m. (correct) with a Sailaway party on deck at 6:00 p.m. (maybe there was but we weren't sailing away at that point). Disembarkation: A little slower than usual, perhaps due to customs/immigration clearances. One thing we noticed this time was that there were Windstar personnel on the dock to assist with luggage pick-up. On previous cruises with Windstar we had felt a little bit abandoned after docking. We've had lots of great vacations, but this one is right up at the top of our list for enjoyment level. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I believe that an objective and unemotional review is critical for the reader (YOU) in gaining the most information possible in both the positive and negative aspects of any review for a cruise line, hotel or resort. I so hope this ... Read More
I believe that an objective and unemotional review is critical for the reader (YOU) in gaining the most information possible in both the positive and negative aspects of any review for a cruise line, hotel or resort. I so hope this review will assist or guide you in your decision about a Windstar cruise or act as a tool in your decision in comparing it to equal or similar lines (Azamara, Oceania and Silversea). Guests/passengers sail Windstar Cruises for its itinerary foremost and Windstar Cruises isn’t yet capable of delivering that promised itinerary or product as of now. Let me share quickly here just a bit about myself: With the completion of this Windstar Cruise, I now have fifty-one (51) sailings completed with various cruise lines. I also have spent my entire life within the travel industry with 25 of those years flying for a major global airline. My sailing was aboard Windstar Cruises ‘Star Legend’. This October 2015, sailing from Rome to Nice. Stateroom 132. It was my first Windstar experience and sadly, it will be my last Windstar experience. Windstar Cruises has decided to aggressively enter the cruise market with what they call Yachts. Instead of just their sailing ships; they’ve now gone to smaller power vessels that Seabourne Cruises (another cruise line) no longer wanted due to age and condition. Enter ‘Star Legend’ and ‘Star Breeze’ and ‘Star Pride’. The line promotes itself as unique in getting you, the passenger into smaller ports that the mega or big cruise lines can’t get into. However, in my case or my sailing, Windstar Cruises failed to deliver the small port product while it argued with Italian port authorities over tender fees and instead decided to miss the most important port of the sailing. You’ll find a main dining room, an aft dining venue used both day and night, a lounge snack area forward and of course room service 24/7. The boat/ship shows older and has few venues or entertainment options but remains quite comfortable and easy to navigate due to its 9000 GRT size. The aft pool has been removed and there is a very small pool and Jacuzzi mid-ship. Oddly enough, there is a petite sized casino and small gift shop that is mostly closed the entire cruise due to the time spent in port(s). The ship is older. Nearing 25 years of service with its former owners, Seabourne Cruises and initially Royal Viking Line. Built in 1990. It’s a challenge to see where the recent $8.5 million in refurbishment per ship has gone to but the boat/ship shows well; albeit older. There is some pitch and roll in the ride quality as it is a smaller vessel but that always depends on weather and sea conditions. Staying on a lower deck and mid ship will resolve or improve the ride quality greatly. The crew shared with us that they will not carry passengers when she makes her Atlantic crossing in the near future to North America. Let’s go over the PROS: 1) STATEROOM/CABIN: Largest standard stateroom ever at 275 square feet. Amazing comfort except for poor bedding/pillows. Walk-in closet, upscale L’Occitane bath products, tub/shower and power outlets for both European and North American appliances (No USB slots). 2) CUISINE: Food! Food! Food! Excellent and the best at-sea cuisine I have had since the early days of Princess or Sitmar Cruises. High quality in taste, selection and presentation. Room Service was just as good and dining in-suite was a delight! 3) PRIVATE EVENT: Windstar’s Complimentary Private Event (much like Azamara’s Amazing Evenings). As professional and well managed as one could expect (ours took us to the famous Monte Carlo Grand Casino Square). Complimentary casino admission, complimentary lavish dessert and champagne offerings and transfers were included that evening. Way too special! 4) CREW: Indonesian general ship crew/staffing is chosen by a third party vendor and supplied to Windstar cruises to cover everything from the dining room to photography services and about 90+% of the ships/boats overall staffing. Gracious, friendly and welcoming 24/7! 5) ITINERARY: Advertised or promised small harbor/harbor/port itinerary-BUT WARNING: That is how it is advertised but failed to occur because Windstar did not want to pay the tender fees in our case thereby missing the most important port of call. We were dumped/substituted for the day at the highly industrial port of Livorno, Italy next to cargo ships and loading cranes. Let’s go over the CONS: 1) ITINERARY RELIABILITY: As said, the key port of call was missed by the cruise line because of a dispute over tender fees. There were no weather issues and the captain disclosed that it was Windstar management (in Seattle) that had made the decision to abandon the intended port and park us instead at the industrial port of Livorno, Italy. That sub-standard and poor decision left the ships passengers with few alternatives. It was the port for Cinque Terre and Portovenere. Twice, the captain referred us to THE CONTRACT from the cruise line that stated that the cruise line had the option of missing or cancelling any port, for any reason. 2) OCCUPANCY/PASSENGER LOADS: We sailed with just a 55% occupancy factor. That in itself was a decisive aspect of the judgement to abandon a port that was costing the cruise line money for a 55% occupancy factor. If Windstar Cruises can’t fill its small ships for one of its most inviting itineraries; it will simply cease to exist; especially in light of its aggressive expansion goals. It certainly lost two passengers for repeat business forever from us and I share here that so many other passengers were so discontent at the overall handling by its Seattle Corporate headquarters. 3) SHIPS OFFICERS: The ships officers or management were arrogant, abusive and intolerant. I managed to gain a 30 minute meeting with the Captain, the Hotel Manager and the Voyage Leader. Only the Hotel Manager had any customer skills. The captain was often angry (as was the Voyage Leader) in that we were disputing the decision by Windstar to abandon its most important port. The captain was so very angry with us for questioning the operation that we later offered to disembark the vessel by his request. We also emailed the cruise line asking to leave the vessel for failing to deliver the promised product but Windstar Cruises ignored all emails we sent. Windstar Cruises (to date) has refused to answer or address our written correspondence. 4) ELEVATORS: The ship has two elevators in the center atrium area. One failed and was never repaired the entire week. 5) TENDERS: The ship uses motorboats instead of its tenders/lifeboats for ports where tendering is needed or permitted. These small motorboats are stored in what used to be the sports platform when the ships belonged to Seabourne Cruises. One of the two motorboat outboard motors remained inoperative the entire week yet the tender operation continued from the ship to the dock/port(s) on a single motor/engine. The entire week… 6) PHONES: In-room phones were often inoperative if you needed to contact room service. Instead, you would have to call the operator and have room service return the call to you. 7) TV: There is small older TV (maybe 20”) located in the stateroom and of course using satellite reception. It operated about 40-50% of the time. We remained along the coast of Italy and France the entire week with that same limited reception. The only alternative was to watch a continuous loop Rick Steve’s production about Rome. TV wasn’t essential for us as we were onboard for the ports of call but it along with other maintenance issues were evident the entire week. 8) BOTTLED WATER: (complimentary) is supplied upon boarding in each stateroom. BUT-NOT-SEALED. So we asked our stateroom attendant and was told that the water is refilled with the ships tap water with the same bottles being used cruise-after-cruise. There are no water packages available for sale onboard. 9) INTERNET: An astonishing and exorbitant $250.00 for one (1) device for the length of the cruise is optional. You may also purchase a $60.00 version but that only gives you 200MB and lasts a day or so for very limited access to emails. 10) LIQUOR PACKAGES: There are no ‘Wine Packages’ offered onboard Windstar cruises but a liquor package is offered for approx.; $1000.00 on a 7 day cruise per stateroom ($117 per day plus tip). 11) SHORE EXCURSIONS: These all vary but expect much higher-than-average shore excursions and a very limited selection. In our case, we sailed at only 55% occupancy so some were cancelled and some operated at half a bus load. You’ll do much better planning your own shore excursions where needed. Detailed information about each excursion offered is best found online before your sailing. 12) TRANSFERS: We used Windstar’s transfer service from the airport in Rome to the port where the ship was waiting for $115 per person. However, we instead used a cab from the port in Nice to the Nice airport for $30 per couple or $15 each. A major improvement over Windstar’s excessive transfer prices. If you book a Windstar Cruise, I would highly recommend that you purchase insurance from a third-party vendor (AIG, Travel Guard, etc). The solvency and the survivability of Windstar Cruises operating at a 55% occupancy factor and investing millions of dollars in older boats along with a very sub-standard managed operation in Seattle; make for an uncertain future. I was stunned and amazed that Windstar Cruises was operating so haphazardly that a contract or agreement wasn’t in place for the ships arrival at the various ports. As the captain shared with us; he was on the phone with Italian authorities’ right up until the last minute trying to arrange for tender operations at Portovennere, Italy. You’ll travel thousands and thousands of miles (in most cases) to get to a Windstar ship and you’ll invest well over the cruise fare itself to do so. To make such a journey and then have it fail because of a very incompetent operation; would cost you financially and emotionally; missing the cities you traveled so far to see. I would probably have to admit that while I prefer the professional and competent lines of Celebrity Cruises or Royal Caribbean; I’d even sail again with Carnival Cruise Lines before I would ever step aboard another Windstar Cruises ship/boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I traveled to Rome from California, we had arranged transportation to the Hotel Golden and found ourselves greeted by the Loria family which we found to be a true delight and a place we hope to return to some day. We highly ... Read More
My husband and I traveled to Rome from California, we had arranged transportation to the Hotel Golden and found ourselves greeted by the Loria family which we found to be a true delight and a place we hope to return to some day. We highly recommend this small quaint family owned and run hotel. Great location and an excellent, scrumptious home cooked breakfast each morning. We arrived at the Windstar Pier by a personable English speaking friend of the Golden. This had been arranged by one of the family members prior to our arrival in Rome. Our embarkation was very smooth and efficient. We arrived a bit early, it was suggested we leave our luggage and perhaps go into town and return after one hour. When we got back to the pier we given our room assignment and paper work to enter the gangplank and were within a matter of minutes, discovering our cabin and in awe of the generous size. We have never been on a ship with both a walk in closet and a bath tub and thoroughly enjoyed it all for the next seven nights and days. This being our first Windstar Cruise, but not our first cruise experience by any means, was delightful and enchanting! The smaller ship made accessing the intriguing, quaint ports possible. Some of the main reasons we choose Windstar was their lower passenger capacity. Our ship actually only had 130 guest aboard. The all adult passenger guest list was a definite plus. And their reputation for guest satisfaction. The cuisine was fabulous, as was the service from all the crew. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Candles Restaurant which once aboard ship we were able to make reservations for the evening of our choosing. May have been the evening breeze or perhaps the table for two overlooking the harbor, but this was an especially superb meal and romantic evening for us both. We were impressed and pleased with the assortment and quality of the food at the Barbeque. The crew's entertainment was both enjoyable and a talent we were surprised they all had! Very fun evening. The excursion of Monte Carlo was extraordinary, being the first time visiting The Grand Casino was a highlight. Champagne at the Cafe' de Paris was a memorable moment and appeared to be a fun time for all. Being the "gambler's" that we are, we had both a lucky and somewhat fortuitous adventure at the Roulette table. We had one Windstar tour cancelled due to low attendance and another due to a change of Port. For us, it was all exciting and the change of Ports did not spoil a thing for us. We actually found a private tour through a Conserzio Taxi with a great English speaking man named Carlo, taxi number 9, in Livorno that took the two of us through the Tuscan wine and olive countryside, with stops of our choosing. We next continued on to Florence with him providing a complete description of the highlights. He allowed ample time for shopping and meals before we continued to Pisa with more time there as we liked. He provided us with a personalize tour that we will remember for our lifetime. Disembarkation was very swift and although it started to rain, Windstar thought of everything and had outdoor tarps assembled to keep us dry. We are already looking forward to our next Windstar Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Star Legend Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.6

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