This was our first Windstar cruise and we were somewhat disappointed. The main problem seems to be that Windstar are not sure what market they are aiming for.
We booked a suite (two cabins knocked into one) and paid considerably more than for A or B grade cabins. Apart from the space, there were no privileges whatsoever. Internet access, in suite drinks, laundry were all 'extras'. There was a single rose on the coffee table (which looked as though it had been round the Med on previous cruises). It wilted and, hopefully, would have to be replaced for the next cruise. There was a bowl of not very fresh fruit - this was withdrawn after two days.
We mainly used Degrees for dinner. The food was always perfectly presented but sometimes lacked flavor. Escargo Provinciale was served with no garlic. This was immediately rectified and we thoroughly enjoyed our snails thereafter. One old rose decorated our table for the 10 days.
Candles (on the aft deck) was brilliant. The food simple and well cooked. The setting was perfect.
The highlight of the cruise was the staff. They were brilliant and the last two nights aboard - Crew Show and Deck BBQ were great fun.
Embarkation was quick and simple. No problems.
The pre-cruise hype talked of small ships visiting small ports, etc. Our first stop was Le Harve - the second biggest commercial port in France. We have visited Le Harve many times. It's a huge commercial and ferry port. I think that we were the only cruise ship there. We berthed a considerable distance from the town. No shuttle bus was provided. Honfleur is nearby and other possibilities would have been Corunna and/or Brest. The Channel Islands would also have been an alternative.
Our next stop was Britain's busiest ferry port - Dover. Luckily, the local council provided a courtesy bus.
The stops in Antwerp and Amsterdam were excellent and it was quite moving when we left Antwerp. It seemed the whole city had turned out to see us off.
The vessel made a tremendous impression where ever we went and the sight of the sails leaves a special memory.Rachael Roberts (Soprano) gave two excellent performances. Apart from the two groups playing in The Lounge and The Compass Rose, the only other activity was a trivia quiz which took place in The Compass Rose whilst we were having afternoon tea.
We really looked forward to this cruise. We very much liked the vessel itself which soon will complete it's 'refurb'. The staff were outstanding.
If Windstar are aiming for 'high-end' patrons, it may be that they will need to concentrate on the detail - ports, obvious money saving touches (fruit, flowers, etc), shuttle buses, etc.
Would we do it again? Probably not and certainly not in a suite.
Nice cabin mid-ships. A/C defective. Very quiet. No problems.
2nd Busiest commercial port in France. Not very attractive.
Busy ferry port. Dover Castle well worth a visit.
Lovely small city and good berth.
A lot of road works/rebuilding near Cruise Terminal and Railway Station.
Canal trip essential and â‚¬7.50 24 hour hop-on/hop-off bus ticket good value and good way to see most of City.