My wife and I did the Treasures of the Greek Isles cruise that leaves from Athens and stops in Nafplio, Mykonos, Kusadasi (Turkey), Patmos, Santorini, and Monemvasia, returning to Athens. We enjoyed the small ship experience and the no dress up requirement. Very relaxing on board, hectic on the daily tours. Windstar picked us up from the airport on time...it was basically a taxi cab. We used them for the pick up based on past cruise experiences where the taxi driver couldn't find the ship because it had no address. Terrific crew on board that works very hard to make everyone happy. It is a beautiful ship. Unfortunately, they never seemed to put up more than a couple of sails. We used the Windstar tours every day except for Santorini and Athens. They were very well organized and everything went smoothly. However, most of the islands were very hot, even for June. We had read about mosquito problems in Santorini, but we didn't run across one. Unfortunately, the Kusadasi evening event was rained out for the first time in years, so we had dinner at the hotel that caters the event. Can't blame them for an act of god, but still disappointed we didn't get to do the dinner at the Ephesus library. For Santorini and Athens, our party of four used "Tours by Locals". They were quite excellent also, and provided a small group experience for less than half the cost of the equivalent tour from Windstar. For all the tours, the guides seemed to provide for periodic toilet stops, and the toilets for the most part were clean and modern. Watch out for the toilet in the ruins of Mycenae in Nafplio, my wife got locked in a dark stall for a while. Also the pay public toilet at the north end of the Oia walkway in Santorini was filthy. Food at breakfast and lunch on the ship was excellent. At dinner, the food was good, but not as good as some other cruise lines. Some observations not usually included in reviews:
- Internet (an option that you can purchase) speed was measured at 1.5 Mbps download and upload speed if you sat in the lobby near the front desk. The wifi in the room was weak (-89 dBm) and limited the bandwidth further. Web pages loaded at low cost DSL speeds...about 10-20 seconds to open a page.
- The toilet in the room was light brown in the bottom instead of white. It looked like the staff had scrubbed it a bit too hard and took the finish off, so now it couldn't be effectively cleaned any longer.
- A few weeks before the cruise, we got an email from Windstar to make sure we got a Turkish visa for the Kusudasi visit. We didn't need it. Even the Turkey website says that you don't need one for such a short visit. All we needed was the ship ID (no passport).
- Daily evening announcements can't be heard in the room. No option to turn it on or off like other ships. So you had to stick your head out the door to hear what they were saying. And the announcements sometimes modified the meeting times previously announced in the daily bulletin.
- The Windstar documentation mentions "wet landings", where you jump out of the tender boat into shallow water. There were no wet landings on this cruise. The tender always dropped us off at a dock. At a couple of stops, the ship could actually tie up to a dock, eliminating the need for the tender.
The AX room was as expected, and the bathroom was very efficiently laid out so that you could get what you needed to get done without feeling claustrophobic. The room had lots of storage space for luggage and unpacked clothing. The queen bed was comfortable. We needed a couple of extra pillows for my wife's back, and that was no problem. Noise level from the engine and generator sounded like a vacuum cleaner running in the next room, and was continuous the entire cruise. But we had no problem sleeping through it. Air conditioning in the room was effective, but you couldn't open a window. In general, the ship was very stable, having roll stabilization, except for one night. Stormy weather had churned up the Aegean Sea, and many people became sea sick.