Wind Surf Cruise Review by Avalonfun
Note: This cruise is geared towards adults. I only remember seeing 2 older teens on the trip, and we all thought that they must be lonely and bored.
The Windstar web site can be confusing. . . . call them if you have questions. When trying to figure out the actual boarding time - ignore the website and stick with what is written on your document voucher that arrives several weeks before your cruise.
The suites on Deck 3 are well worth the money!! They have 2 bathrooms and 2 sets of closet, drawer and desk areas. Note- their hair dryers are small and have little power- if I were to do it again, I would take my own. I am from the US, and there is one US plug at each desk area. There are several "europe-type" of plug sites. The bed was very comfortable!! (Seriously, the best thing about the room is having 2 bathrooms!!!!!!)
The food is good. There are 3 places to dine for dinner. The Amphora is their standard dining room and the attire is "country club" (no jeans ). The other two places are Stella Bistro (more dressy- but not "over the top") and Candles (casual - jeans are ok). The Amphora has a standard menu and additional items that change nightly. The Stella Bistro and Candles have the exact same menu each night. One night is a BBQ- so all of the restaurants are closed. The BBQ was actually pretty good..... the grilled lobster was excellent!! If you have a large party traveling together or know where you want to eat on certain nights, make reservations at Stella Bistro or Candles. They do fill up. No reservations are needed for Amphora.
The excursions that Windstar offers at the ports are more pricey than what you would pay, if you were to arrange taxi transportation on your own. If you book the excursions on-line, on your MY WINDSTAR account, before you go on your cruise, you will be able to cancel them if you change your mind. Cancel as soon as you know that you want to get out of it - if you know this before your trip, CALL them to cancel, because you won't be able to cancel on the web site. Once you are on the boat there is a schedule of excursions and a note about when you need to cancel by in order to get a refund. If you cancel excursions, once you are on board, the $$ will appear on your account as a credit, and unless you drink a lot, you'll have a credit at the end of your trip. We were able to book a private tour with a personable young tour guide, who takes you in his BMW. Check out his website: Gavin Nicholson www.invergordontours.com. He could do tours at 2 of the ports of call: Portree and Invergordon.
Drink plan ----- it is pretty pricey and unless you drink A LOT, you don't need it. The cost of "normal" wine (including tip) was @ $8.50 a glass.
Read your daily menu of activities carefully. There are good things to attend, like the staff talent show, the Scottish folk group, Captain's Cocktail Party and more. . . . but you won't know about them, unless you read the menu of scheduled events.
The staff - they are wonderful. They are more than willing to talk to you and do anything for you to make your vacation wonderful. Captain Harris is a personable and fun guy.
Tips: $12 per person, per day is added to your account for tips. These tips are for all of the staff. Our room steward (Ben) was wonderful and we tipped him extra ( $40) and one fella (Hens) was really kind and helpful in the dining areas and we tipped him too. The other people in our group tipped their room stewards too.
Be prepared for the unexpected - - one day our port-of-call was cancelled due to rough seas. Things happen, but this was the 2nd full day of being stuck on the boat and we were somewhat sad that their "Plan B" for the day was to show us how to make towel animals. They do have DVD's that you can borrow - but none of them are super recent. In hindsight, I wish that I had taken 1 or 2 movies along that I wanted to see.
Wifi - you can buy a plan after you board. We had added global service to our one phone. The wifi in the areas of travel is "spotty" at best. It worked when near land, but when not near land it did not work.
Packing - warm clothes, windbreaker, umbrella, gloves and a hat. Take a look at a map and notice how far north the trip takes you. Edinburgh and Dublin had sweater weather, but the rest of the ports were windy, damp and chilly .....and if you are someone who chills easily, you will think that some days are downright cold.
Get ready to have a great time and meet awesome people and view beautiful scenery!!
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