After more than a dozen previous cruises on the Wind Surf, this was our first ever back to back cruise. The first leg was Edinburgh to Dubln, visiting many smaller ports in the British Isles, followed by Dublin to Lisbon, visiting the Scylli Isles, France, Spain, and Portugal. It was also our first booking in a suite, a definite upgrade from the regular cabin. Having access to two separate baths and two separate closets, was much appreciated. The spacious sitting area was also nice, as we were traveling with friends. Windstar was also gracious enough to comp us for the laundry package for our second voyage, which was a real treat. No more rinsing out underwear in the sink! I learned later that Windstar often does this for back to back cruisers. Thank you, Windstar!
During our stay in Dublin, we booked the excursion to the Guinness Museum, which was a real treat. The museum is housed in a huge converted warehouse, which is worth a visit unto itself. There are 5 stories of exhibits, showing the brand's celebrated history, the unique brewing process, the equipment and technology, advertising campaigns, and finally, a pint of Guinness in the Sky Bar, with a panoramic view of Dublin. After dropping off all the other passengers at their hotels, the bus took us back to the ship, and we got back in time for a late lunch.
Our first stop was in Waterford, followed by the Scylli Isles, where we had a real treat. Prince William spent many vacations there as a child, and he and Kate happened to be there for a Royal tour. So they came out to the Wind Surf in their Royal launch, and gave us a wave as they motored by! All the Wind Surf passengers were lining the rails, cheering, waving and snapping photos.
During those first few days of the cruise we also had some other VIP's on board, new Windstar President John Delaney and Vice President Doug Santoni. I took the opportunity to introduce myself, and found them both to be highly engaging, and interested in my opinions and experiences, especially about my 3 cruises on the Wind Surf's sister ship, the Club Med 1. After our first conversation, Mr. Delaney set aside another hour in his busy schedule for a more in-depth meeting. He has big plans for Windstar, mostly focusing on ways to improve the cruising experience. Bravo!
On our cruise, very much like many others I have been on, almost 50% of the passengers were Yacht Club members, including one passenger with almost 40 previous cruises, going back to the late, great Wind Song. Windstar must be doing some things REALLY well to earn that kind of loyalty. Lately I have seen some less than glowing Cruise Critic reviews, almost always from first-timers who apparently expect white glove table service, and caviar in the hot tubs. I prefer the warm personal service from crew and staff who not only welcome me back, but remember my name.
The true stars of the ship are the officers, especially Hotel Manager Nick Bulger, and the fantastic team of Steve and Amanda Millar.
We have already booked our next cruise in February to Costa RIca and the Panama Canal, where we join President John Delaney for the "Presidents" cruise. Then next October, we will be back on the Wind Surf to visit the Canary Islands. Join us!
Perfect location adjacent to the main staircase leading up to the lounge. Our first time in a suite, and probably not our last.