This was my first Windstar cruise. Based on the prices and their own marketing material - how they position themselves as a luxury experience for the most discerning traveler - and having been on a whole range of other cruise lines, I ... Read More
This was my first Windstar cruise. Based on the prices and their own marketing material - how they position themselves as a luxury experience for the most discerning traveler - and having been on a whole range of other cruise lines, I expected a good-to-great experience. What I got was more like a poor-to-mediocre one. Disappointment abounded - from the food to the ports of call to excursions to the service to the lack of sleep.
- Staterooms: The all-suite staterooms are the largest I've ever stayed in - easily 2x the size of others. They've been recently renovated and are generally nice - additional thoughts under 'Negative' below.
- Service: Almost every crew member I encountered was friendly and warm and wanted to help. Unfortunately, that niceness didn't equate to excellent service. 'Nice', 'friendly', 'warm' all go a long way in providing good service - but they don't replace the quality of the actual service provided. E.g. The waiter can be the nicest guy I've ever met, but it only goes so far in making up for the fact that I've asked for iced tea 3x and still don't have it.
- Staterooms: The key word about the ship is that it was 'renovated' - other than most of the public spaces (and not all of them were completely renovated), nothing looked new. In the rooms, you'll see stains in the marble in the bathroom, odd chipping/peeling in the veneers on the furniture, notice the age of the drawers and shelves in the closet, and the ancient tvs and dvd players.
- Food: The dinner menus almost always looked good, but the food rarely impressed. Breakfast and lunch actually tasted like bad cafeteria food. At dinner one evening, I was served a pasta with pesto sauce, in which the pesto had been so badly prepared (and this is pesto, folks - not a difficult thing to make) that it was burnt and blackened. The dish was gross, but knowing how long I'd have to wait - and how disappointing another dish could be - I just ate it.
- Overflowing toilets: One of the public restrooms, just off one of the main public rooms, overflowed into the public space several times during the cruise. And they kept putting a fan on the carpet to dry it. Well, that fan blew the air into the public room - so you could smell the disgusting scent of sewage mixed with deodorizer in the front half of the room.
- Boat vibration and rocking: Yes, these are things that are to be expected on any cruise, and that I've experienced myself. I've never, though, had my bed shake - not just vibrate - so intensely, all night before that I couldn't get any rest. We weren't in the least expensive stateroom offered - not that it would be 'ok' even if we were. When you're paying these prices, no one should have a room that shakes so intensely every night. And the rocking - they rarely extend the stabilizers, and I heard many guests complaining and talking about intense sea sickness. It should be noted that the waters were *not* bad or rough at any point during the cruise. One night a woman was asking reception for some sea-sickness medication, and was told that the doctor couldn't be reached. This was after the poor woman had been up all night prior being sick. Pathetic.
- Service: There was absolutely *nothing* excellent, luxurious or even 'good' about the service. I lost count of how many repeated requests - at dinner, with reception, with the maitre'd - were forgotten or had to be repeated several times. I was served the wrong meal numerous times, after having waited far too long to receive it in the 1st place. Our 2nd night, the waiter actually explained the severe delays were due to them being understaffed. !?!? How many times do I need to order iced tea or water or what-have-you before I actually get it? Again, this is supposed to be a higher-end experience - I've gotten better service on a Carnival Cruise back in college. The maitre'd offered, unsolicited - *he* offered - to send the menu for the following day to our room 3 times, but it never appeared. And he was surprised every time that it didn't show up.
- Activities: There's really nothing of interest scheduled.
- Ports of call: Two of the six ports should never have been part of the itinerary. One was a low-income vacation town and the other was an economically depressed town with literally nothing going on.
- Excursion Director: This guy was nice, sure. But had absolutely no personality, gave no opinions or expert advice about any of the ports. All we heard were generalities and bland 'this is great, this is great, that's great' - everything was nice and great. Those words lose their meaning and provide no actual insight into the various options. His powerpoint presentations bordered on being sad. He cancelled our tickets on one of the excursions accidentally, with nothing to say but 'I'm sorry - try visiting the museum on your own'. I thought this was supposed to be a luxurious experience. You make a mistake, make it right - period. Read Less