This was our second New Year's cruise with Windstar & we love the casual atmosphere that you find on board. Last year we did the Windsurf out of St Marteen, it was outstanding this one not quite up to the same level. The one constant is the impressive personal service, most all of the staff will remember your first name, drink preferences, meal choices after just the first day. We even had some staff that remembered us from the first cruise we had in 2015.
If you suffer from motion sickness, this might not be the cruise to take at this time of the year. There were 2 long days at sea, 14 hrs or so and coming back to Barbados was uncomfortable for many even though we were headed into the 15-20' swells rather than taking them on the side of the ship.
Check in process very easy and quick. I would recommend making your dinner reservation for the Candles restaurant for an evening at anchor or a late departure, and make that res as soon as possible-it is very popular to dine under the stars & only accomodates about 30 guests.
Food was generally very good, although our party of 4 often waited quite a while to be served at dinner. There were adjacent tables seated after us that were having coffe when our entrees were delivered-but were enjoying the evening so it was a minor issue for us anyway.
There is a drink package available-$108/cabin per day double occupancy, while it sounds expensive if you enjoy a few glasses of wine, couple of cocktails, perhaps a beer during the day it will pay for itself. Beers $6-7, drinks $8.50-10.00, wines $8-12. It is very easy to hit the $54 threshold/person each day without too much problem. It also eliminates having to sign a ticket each time you order something. You must sign up for this option on the first day. I did hear some folks who did not opt for it wish they had a couple of days into the trip.
Laundry package $109/cabin for the whole trip, personally I don't think it worth the price.
You will spend most of the days in a bathing suit & t shirts. The prices are pretty reasonable: t shirt, underwear, socks $1.80 each; sport shirt $3.75; dress shirt $4.75, so you can do a fair amount of laundry for less than the package price.
Be sure when you arrive in Barbados to fill out 1 immigration form for each passenger-our airline misinformed us which led to an extended wait for immigration and customs.
We did the snorkeling at Tobago-average at best, strong current & surf so weak or out of shape swimmers had a difficult time. River tubing in Grenada was good, but the description leads you to expect a lot more time on the water. The drive each way is more like 1hr, & there is 20 min spent getting everyone fit for a life jacket, helmet etc. December is the end of the rainy season, so the water was flowing pretty good and as such there were 5-6 guides in the water at each section of rapids to keep people headed in the right direction. After each section of rapids, we would have to collect and wait for the guides to get in position for the next section and so on. We actually spent 10-15 minutes going through the white water & that was pretty exciting. Just beware of the dry season-Jan to June.
We had to disembark the ship by 8:45am & our flight did not leave till 4:30pm, so we opted for an island tour with lunch & a dropoff at the airport. Very good tour and well worth the money. The airport was extremely busy with long wait times as there were at least 4 large cruise ships docking as well as the smaller ones. Seats in the terminal/restaurants were hard to come by & the rest rooms were very busy. Not impressed with the airport handling on both arrival and departure.
All in all a good cruise, but will opt for the larger Wind Surf in the future. The smaller ship would do better in the calmer waters, but I doubt Windstar could fill the Surf for the Windward Island cruise-full cabins=more $$.
Small at 188 sq ft, but lots of places to put your things. Enough outlets, very comfortable beds.
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