My husband and I recently returned from our first Windstar cruise celebrating our 45th Anniversary. From start to finish, we can not say enough good about our experience. The staff and crew on the Wind Spirit were top notch and waited on us continually with cheerful attitudes. This was in spite of unusually cloudy/rainy weather for Tahiti this time of the year. Almost all of their planned activities had to be moved, rearranged and brought on board - no easy task, but they made the most of it. We would be hard pressed to find anything to complain about.
The one inconvenience on this ship over a larger cruise ship is the gangway - a steep stairway rather than the ramp we are used to. It is a lot harder on older knees, but someone was usually there to carry our gear and towels etc to allow us two hands to grasp the rail. There is no elevator on this ship - it would have been nice at times, but they often carried our snorkel gear etc to our room for us. And the only other item of complaint we had was at our Candles outdoor dinner (also moved under cover because of rain), our table was right next to the serving/cooking area. As we were finishing our dessert, the wait staff was disassembling the serving area, removing table cloths etc which dampened the ambiance. We felt they could have waited a few minutes on that.
So that being the only items we could criticize, we loved our entire week. Everyone was friendly, learned our names and used them, offered help, just all around great service in every area. Our weather was the only downer and that couldn't be helped. We met many new friends on board, and could not have had a better week. We now love Windstar.
We were surprised that our cabin did not seem smaller than regular cruise ship cabins we have had. Storage space was amazing, and everything we asked for Ceppy our steward got for us. Extra pillows, a nightlight for the bathroom (the cabin is very dark at night), ice bucket constantly refilled - any request. Our bed was comfortable, tv worked well, lighting was a little less bright than I like - especially for makeup. But there were great reading lights over the bed. I took a power strip so had plenty of plugs for hairdryer (supplied in cabin) and battery chargers. Robes and slippers were provided as well. We loved being on the second floor as not so many steps every time we went anywhere, since there is no elevator.
We stayed at Le Meridien the night we arrived at Papeete. We had been at the Intercontinental 9 years prior and I think we prefer it, but we really enjoyed our short time at the hotel. The hallways are dark and the elevator a ways from the lobby, but our large room and view were nice. We also had a day room there for our day in Papeete at the end of our cruise before flying late at night. I do think the rooms are overpriced, especially the day room as we only used it to shower and change clothes. We would have rather had access to a shower room and luggage storage for much less. We spent the day on the beach and pool area, so really didn't need the room. But at the last minute friends from the ship asked to share our room, so the cost was cut for us. We would have done that from the beginning had we known anyone going on the cruise with us. Our breakfast buffet (included in the first day) was quite good, and we bought lunch the last day - it was good too, but the sandwiches were huge. We enjoyed the pool, the beach, (snorkeling was just ok, not great, and current was very strong) and especially watching the sunset on our last night in Tahiti against Moorea in the background.We considered a helicopter ride here, but it was expensive for a short ride, so opted to relax. Friends that went on an all day excursion loved it, seeing lots of waterfalls. We did visit the market in town once we transferred to the ship - to buy tuber rose leis that we love, and a tropical flower arrangement for our anniversary to have in our cabin - and a Hinano tshirt for my husband. Our weather in Tahiti was the best we had all week, so that made our time there considerably better.