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Sail Date: March 2018
For those of you who want 'the scoop' and are waffling whether to cruise on this type of ship - here's a summary: 1. Don't book if you're disabled, seriously. There's elevators, but they don't go everywhere, and ALL PORTS were TENDERED. ... Read More
For those of you who want 'the scoop' and are waffling whether to cruise on this type of ship - here's a summary: 1. Don't book if you're disabled, seriously. There's elevators, but they don't go everywhere, and ALL PORTS were TENDERED. The tender at times is a challenge to get into/out of. And a lot of the ports require walking, have hills, or focus on water sports. Also, the captain did an incredible job in keeping that vessel stable in the swells that we had, but it's not a 130k ship, so of course there's more movement. 2. Don't book if you're looking to nag at everything that's less than perfect and 5-star - they do an awesome job but it's not Regent or whoever they are. Also no formal gowns here. The destination talks will not be done by highflying scientists. 3. Don't book if you need constant entertainment, shopping, exotic stuff to do and if you must spend your time using wifi.. They make many stops so the shop is often closed (-by law-), many people are active and go to bed early, and there's no flowrider, climbing wall or ice rink :] Wifi is expensive and slow, TV very limited. Perfect if you love reading or watching DVD's or lie out on deck and relax. 4. While not formal, they WILL send you to your room to change if you wear shorts to dinner. They let the flip-flops slide... 5. Smoking is very limited (thank God!) - so if you are a smoking-in-casino type, probably not the ship for you. We booked this Windstar cruise just a few months prior to departure since our planned St. Maarten vacation had to be changed due to the hurricane damage. Due to the date, the price was right and we wanted to try a small ship. Went from the airport directly to the pier since we had seen San Juan before. We had not booked a transfer with Windstar which was probably a good idea since we would have waited at the airport for everyone to arrive, and instead we could embark and enjoy our cabin. Of course embarkation in San Juan is a breeze (it even was on the 960-passenger Viking Star), more so on a ship with only 212 passengers. It took all of 10 minutes to walk to the check-in area, get our ship's card and our photo taken at the gangway. Our room (lowest category) was incredible - the largest we've had, a true suite with comfortable sofa, a window sill you can sit in/on, 2 more chairs and accent tables.. the bathroom...! double sinks, marble, deep tub/shower... wow. TV turns to sofa or the bed. We don't do much drinking or entertainment, so can't comment on bars etc, but the library was great, you can take books or DVDs to watch in your cabin. Service is unsurpassed - everybody knew our name by day 2 or 3, and nothing was too much of a bother. Even though breakfast/lunch are buffet, they will bring you anything you ask for that could be available. Very mixed bunch of passengers, age, backgrounds and otherwise, from kids, to boozing rednecks , to gay couples, families, groups, elderly, people from US, Canada, Australia, Fiji, India, Cuba... even an autistic girl who was just a joy to be around. Everyone was lovely with her. We didn't do their shore excursions since (except for the unplanned St.Kitt's stop) they were quite expensive - perhaps due to the small group sizes. Ports, see below. Several of us became "Windstar converts" others will probably not return. That depends whether it's a good fit for you or not. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week ... Read More
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week Windstar crossing from Barbados to Lisbon rather than fly.  Having read other reviews, we were pleased to discover the ship was not carrying a contingent of workmen contracted to do maintenance work that would interfere with our enjoyment of the cruise. Comparing the different Windstar ships is  like comparing different champagnes.  Each experience is delightful and different.  The unifying overall enjoyment originates from  the hard working and faithful Windstar officers and crew who make every effort to call you by your name and remember little things from how many towels you want in your bathroom to your personal beverage preferences in the diningrooms. Our suite was mid ship on deck 5 and steps away from the circular stairway and the elevator.  We found ourselves spending more time relaxing in our beautiful, spacious suite than on any other cruise.  Our cabin steward provided the highest, most personalized service we have ever experienced on any cruiseline.   She not only kept our suite spotless, she capitalized on our appreciation for creative towel animals.  For fourteen nights she created different amazing animals or humorous creations;many of them were so unique, she became well known throughout the ship because of the photos we shared with other passengers. The quality and variety of food was the best yet of any Windstar ship, including the freshness and taste of the croissants, rolls and breads. The only disappointment was the ship itself which is in need of some major maintenance.   Hopefully many of the things listed below will be corrected when the Breeze goes into dry dock next week. 1.We saw a number of cloudy Thermo Pane windows with broken seals in the  Yacht Club that need replacement. Similarly the aft window frames in the Compass Rose lounge have been  shoddily repaired. 2. Large sections of teak deck on  decks  7 and 8 need major repair/replacement. 3. The swimming pool heater and the broken electronic control panel for the pool swimming jets need repair/replacement. The pool heater was broken for several days making they pool unusable and the Jets never worked at all the entire cruise.  Others aboard ship who boarded the week before us had already complained about the jets .    4. Rusty areas were visible around many windows. As far as the daily schedule, we would have enjoyed having more than just one lecturer to listen to aboard  during the two week crossing since there weren't a many activities offered. We took advantage of the discount for booking a further cruise on board. Although we are had a great cruise,  we both decided that for ocean crossings especially we prefer the Surf for several reasons: the ship is an additional 100 feet longer and with the sails up and lower center of gravity, there is less ship motion; we prefer the location and open design of the veranda on the Surf as well as the amount of open deck space for lounging and waking ; we prefer the location and adjacencies of the public lounges and diningrooms; there Surf offers a much more extensive fitness center, especially elliptical machines. The Breeze only has treadmill machines. Windstar remains our favorite cruise line by far.  We are fond of many crew we have repeatedly sailed with over the decades.  We think the Anschutz Corporation, owners of Windstar, have the right vision and commitment to maintain and improve this amazing fleet of small vessels. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We booked this trip at very much the last minute, deciding to go someplace warm for my wife's spring break about a week before departing. Clearly, we were fortunate to find a vacancy on board this ship. This was our first time on a ... Read More
We booked this trip at very much the last minute, deciding to go someplace warm for my wife's spring break about a week before departing. Clearly, we were fortunate to find a vacancy on board this ship. This was our first time on a Windstar cruise. Suffice to say, it will not be our last. We love the opportunities and ambiance of a small ship. This itinerary was magical and in a part of the Caribbean where we had not traveled. If you can't find relaxation in places like Martinique, St. Lucia, Grenada and the Grenadines, then you have bigger problems. The entire ship was well-outfitted without being overdone. Excellent taste. Our cabin was very comfortable. Clearly, one of the few downsides of such small ships is that there are no balconies, just good-sized portholes. But as someone who occasionally wrestles with claustrophobia, the cabin was plenty spacious and open, and I had no problem. The service was impeccable in every department. A special shout-out to Aimee. one of the staff at the main desk, who was exceedingly friendly and able to quickly solve any issue, no matter how small. Food was superb in all restaurants. We wish we could have dined at Candles (the outdoor steakhouse) more than once, but understand that is the norm. Each stop was in a superb location. We didn't partake of a lot of the ship-based excursions. Except for a nutmeg and chocolate-making tour that my wife enjoyed in Grenada. In St. Lucia, we independently booked a full-day tour with John Nestor of Paradise Excursions. Highly recommended. The beach day in Mayreau was well-organized and so perfect. Our suggestions for improvement are limited and rather minor. Three, in particular. 1) It would be nice to have some offerings of local Caribbean food on the menu. Perhaps one such local item on each dinner menu. 2) Really minor, but there was often a shortage of towels available late in the day by the pool and hot tubs. 3) The Windstar website could use some increased functionality and more user-friendliness. And a couple of calls in the days before the trip to the company offices in Seattle did not always yield the best information. We heard comments from other passengers as well that the service on board the ship was very far superior to some of the home office issues. But I don't want to focus on criticisms or suggestions as they are truly rather minor. All in all, this was a superlative experience which we were so lucky to find at the last minute. We will be back on board a Windstar ship, and hopefully before too long. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
March 22 through 1 April 2018 This is a cruise for you if you ever wondered what it would be like to sail aboard a private sailing yacht through the South Pacific paradise. HITS: - Sailing on a four mast ship through the South ... Read More
March 22 through 1 April 2018 This is a cruise for you if you ever wondered what it would be like to sail aboard a private sailing yacht through the South Pacific paradise. HITS: - Sailing on a four mast ship through the South Pacific Islands just sailing on your own private Motoring Yacht at a fraction of the cost. - The two special events on private motu (reef islands) were absolutely awesome. - Service on the Wind Spirit was exceptional throughout our cruise. Our room attendant (Dedi) was very efficient as well as being very friendly. The Serving Staff in the Amapour Dining Room was also exceptional. - All meals were also excellent throughout our trip. It is amazing that the chef could get such a wide variety of high quality fresh food in such a remote location. - Embarkation and Disembarkation were both very quick & easy. This is not surprising given that there were only 116 passengers to process. - The description of the excursions in the My Windstar website was very accurate and informative. We found that Windstar’s excursions were high quality experiences. GETTING THERE: It is not easy any or cheap flying to Papeete, Tahiti. Only Tahiti Niu and Air France fly nonstop from LAX to Papeete, Tahiti (Airport Code PPT). Air New Zealand (United Code Share) has an insanely long 30+ hour flights (via Auckland) or Hawaiian Airlines with 18+ hour layovers in Honolulu. We choose the Air France flight (Code Share with Delta) LAS > LAX > PPT. We splurged for Premium Economy because it was only about ~$500 more than Coach when we booked. I checked air fares a few months later and found that they had been raised much higher. We flew a Delta flight to LAX and our Checked Luggage was booked through to PPT. Our Delta Flight arrived in LAX Terminal 2 and our Air France Flight departed from the Bradley Terminal. Fortunately, Delta has a shuttle from Terminal 3 to the Bradley Terminal so we DID NOT have to go through TSA again. The service on Air France was very good. It was an overnight flight so we slept for most of the 8 hour flight. Premium Economy was a worthwhile splurge. Thankfully our luggage arrived without any problem Papeete is a small airport and getting through Tahitian Customs and Immigration was quick & easy. We took a taxi to our hotel 2,400 Polynesian Francs (~$US24) PreCruise Hotel: We chose Hotel Tahiti Nui (3 Star) because it was close to the ship (just 4 blocks/400 yards). We chose a Jr Suite (another splurge) with an Early Check In for (~$US240). The Le Meridien (recommended by Windstar) and the InterContinental are both 5 Star Resort Hotel alternatives which may be better for longer stays. The location of the Hotel Tahiti Nui is in the downtown area. The area looks rough but we never felt unsafe. We found it very convenient for our needs. Traffic in Papeete was much more busy than I expected. For example, the traffic was stop and go all the way from the airport to the hotel. It seemed just busy and congested as Honolulu. Both my wife My wife and I experienced serious Jet Lag from our flight. Our afternoon was spent exploring the downtown and harbor area. The weather channel predicted 80% chance of rain but thankfully they were wrong. Very humid through. We walked back to our hotel after a nice lunch in a restaurant overlooking the harbor. We stopped into a convenience store and bought cereal and milk for breakfast. 1,100 CFP. (~$US11) which was more reasonable than the Continental Breakfast offered by the hotel for $US33 (a full “American Breakfast” was $US45). We both needed showers after our walks and we were content spending the rest of the day recovering from our flight. The Hotel Tahiti Nui is just fine for a day or two before a cruise but it is not a Resort Hotel of the same caliber as the Intercontinental or Le Meridian. It is also much less expensive as a result. Having a couple hundred in CFP came in handy as we saved a lot of money by avoiding the expensive hotel restaurant. EMBARKATION: Hotel Check out was 11:30 and ship embarkation starts at 1:30. Although it is only an 8 minute walk to the Fingers Pier where the ship was docked, it would have been very difficult to transit because there are many poor sidewalks, high curbs and cross streets so we took a taxi for 2,000 CFP (~$US20). We arrived at 1:30 when embarkation started along with some of the other 116 other passengers. Unfortunately, it was not raining. There were there porters available who quickly took baggage and put on the luggage tags. Check in went quickly though and efficiently taking about 15 minutes once it was our turn. Once onboard a nice Buffet lunch was available. We departed Papeete at 18:00 sailing off into a beautiful sunset. Our first dinner was excellent! Day 2 - AT SEA: DAY 3 - FAKARAVA, TUAMOTU (Anchor) We did not book any excursions as I wanted to get the feel of the ship and take advantage of the Windstar's water sports platform where you can swim off the back of the ship. Weather was mostly sunny but there was a stiff breeze which made the water quite choppy. Spent the rest of the morning reading and napping. DAY 4 - TIPUTA, RANGIROA (Anchor) Rangiroa, the second largest coral atoll in the world and a premier dive destination. I took a snorkeling excursion to “The Aquarium” a small motu (island) inside the lagoon. I have snorkeled many places all over the world and have never seen as many fish as this location!!! It was incredible!! My wife went to the Paul Gauguin Museum and Pearl Farm where she learned about the island as well as how pearls are “farmed” The "Special Event" Dinner was Bbq on the pool deck under the stars. Great food and wonderful service. DAY 5 - AT SEA Much needed rest after BBQ on the pool deck the evening before. Sailing between Rangiria and Taha. The Captain shut the engine down and used sails for most of the day. Another very good dinner. Nice entertainment in the lounge 9 to 10. Spent about 20 minutes Star Gazing fro forward deck of ship. Lots of stars in Southern Hemisphere that we rarely get to see. DAY 6 - TAHA'A (Anchor) The quiet sister island to Raiatea (they share the same lagoon) offers similar enchanting scenes, from paradise-white sand beaches to an ancient volcano and deep valleys redolent with the scent of vanilla. I booked the Coral Garden Drift Snorkel Excursion to a Coral Garden channel. We took a small boat to the other side of Tahaa Island where a 100 yard wide channel runs between two small islands. The current runs over a beautiful coral reef. We walked to the inlet side of the channel and drift snorkeled about 400 yards downstream which was a truly unique snorkeling experience. We snorkeled down this beautiful coral filled channel three times which was enough time in the water. My wife was very happy with the Scenic Exploration of Taha'a excursion that she booked. The second “Special Event” was a BBQ lunch on Motu Mahaea off the island of Taha'a. The ship dining staff set up a great lunch for everyone. The ship’s staff also brought over kayaks and paddle boards for use in the motu. It was a great day!! DAY 7 – HUAHINE (anchor) Huahine is a more isolated and "savage" island (actually two sister islands linked together), known for its lush forests and deep lagoon. We both took the Sacred Sites & Cultural Walk excursion. Our guide was incredibly interesting and informative. He explained the history of the Island of Huahine as well as the history of French Polynesia in fascinating detail. This was a great excursion. It was very warm (90 degrees) so we really looked forward to getting back to the ship. DAY 8 - BORA BORA (anchor) is justly famous for its magnificent lagoon and magical water I booked a snorkeling excursion through Trip Advisor. It had the same 3 snorkeling spots as the ship's excursion but was about $40 cheaper. Swimming with Black Tip Sharks is completely safe but takes some getting used to. The Sting Rays were also a unique and interesting encounter. My wife enjoyed her Glass Bottom Boat excursion. Her guide was excellent. Described the history of Bora Bora. She thought it was a fascinating excursion. DAY 9 - BORA BORA (anchor) We needed a rest day onboard after several day’s of fantastic excursion experiences. The evening’s Destination Discovery event where everyone on the ship was taken by large Polynesian Catamarans to our own private island off Bora Bora for a spectacular Tahitian luau, complete with Tahitian dancers and fire dancers. DAY 10 – Morea (anchor) I walked around the port area for about a half hour, stopped at a cafe for a cup of tea before returning to the ship. DAY 11 – Papeete > DISEMBARKATION The ship arranged a taxi to take us to the airport. Our Air France flight (07:30 departure) was a long but uneventful back to LAX. We had 3 hours to clear Customs & Immigration and get over to Terminal 2 where we caught our Delta flight back to Las Vegas (arrived 23:00). FINAL THOUGHTS: I believe that this was the best cruise that we had ever taken. I cannot recommend Windstar any higher than that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this because Lat November it was on a flash sale at 75% discount from the rack rate. It's at the end of winter, but rest assured, we are warming up. Compared to MSY Wind Star, the MV Star Breeze is huge. There are three ... Read More
We chose this because Lat November it was on a flash sale at 75% discount from the rack rate. It's at the end of winter, but rest assured, we are warming up. Compared to MSY Wind Star, the MV Star Breeze is huge. There are three different public spaces, we prefer the Yacht Club. It's the equivalent of a Flag Bridge on a naval vessel, sitting overtop the navigation bridge. The cabins are huge, at 270 sq ft! The photos are truth! The picture window is five feet by four feet. The main dining room and the ships galley are on deck 3. Decks one and two are engineering spaces and cargo. The crew has spaces forward and aft on deck 4, along with staterooms. Deck five is more staterooms, the hotel business office, and the lounge. Deck six is the larger suites, more staterooms, the inside bar, screening room, and library. Deck seven is the buffet(veranda), the pools, the outside bar, the spa, and the navigation bridge. Good food, great staff, flat seas, combine for a fantastic voyage! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
To celebrate my 60th birthday with my family, we booked the Wind Surf cruise and set sail on March 3rd. I had done a lot of research for the trip, and tried to find information of anyone who found that they were sea sick, as I do suffer ... Read More
To celebrate my 60th birthday with my family, we booked the Wind Surf cruise and set sail on March 3rd. I had done a lot of research for the trip, and tried to find information of anyone who found that they were sea sick, as I do suffer from motion sickness from time to time. I wore the patch behind my ear, and was prepared with the bands on my wrists, but by the second day I was pretty sick. The rest of my family had a blast - the food was amazing, the crew so accommodating and friendly, but I was suffering quite badly. So much so that the ship doctor had to give me a needle to settle my stomach. In the end, I was unable to partake in any of the planned excursions, and was mostly in the cabin in bed. I would highly recommend this cruise, however if you suffer at all from any kind of motion sickness or vertigo give it a pass. I tried to find information before booking the trip but everything I read was positive for smooth sailing. Suffice to say, if I had read about any sort of sway or rocking of the boat, I would not have booked this holiday! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
For us the best part of the Windstar experience is the crew! They are fantastic! We have been on all three of the sailing yachts and now this, our first motor yacht, and the crew has been the common stand out thing on all of them! Our ... Read More
For us the best part of the Windstar experience is the crew! They are fantastic! We have been on all three of the sailing yachts and now this, our first motor yacht, and the crew has been the common stand out thing on all of them! Our cabin was great, the food excellent. Friends with the French Balconies really liked them for the fresh air but our large picture window was just fine. We just popped out on to the deck when we wanted a better view. We prefer the smaller ships Wind Star and Wind Spirit, but we were very comfortable on the Star Breeze. We would gladly sail again on a motor yacht if the itinerary demanded it. Embarkation in Costa Rica was a breeze. Disembarkation in Barbados was a little confusing but sorted itself out once off the ship. Then went very smoothly. Just wish wi fi was a lot cheaper. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We had been looking forward to something really special on this "Bucket List" cruise, and for the most part, we were not disappointed. Quality of food, service, ship, cabin and excursions was generally excellent. We ... Read More
We had been looking forward to something really special on this "Bucket List" cruise, and for the most part, we were not disappointed. Quality of food, service, ship, cabin and excursions was generally excellent. We especially loved the beach party and the deck BBQ (I love lobster!). Was it the definitive, earth shattering, "OMG, I'm never cruising mainstream again" experience? Probably not. In fact, I doubt we would go to the extra trouble and expense of sailing with Windstar again. For example: We live on the West coast of the US - Oregon to be specific. It was a long day flying to Miami (where we stayed for two nights for fun), then another 6 hour flight to Barbados. The return trip was very hard on us - long flight to Miami, then overnight, then early flight from MIA, transfer in DFW, then a three hour drive home from PDX. As far as I can tell, all of Windstar cruises involve a similar amount of air travel. If the Windward Islands had been an amazing paradise, it might have been worth the trouble, but they were just...more lovely Caribbean Islands. Very much uphill and downhill, with long bus rides to get to the places of interest. Snorkeling trips were just OK (maybe even less than that), and although the gardens were fabulous, we could have experienced a similar amount of beauty without going nearly so far. The small ship size SHOULD have resulted in happy social contacts, and to some extent it did (tip of the hat to the many lovely people whose company we really enjoyed - I hope you know who you are). Less positive is that the people we didn't enjoy (and there were a surprisingly high number of those) were pretty hard to stay away from. The least enjoyable part of our cruise was actually our stateroom. We had a lovely double room-suite that was spacious, comfortable and well appointed. Trouble is, we couldn't spend any real time reading and relaxing because there was a loud blower that ran constantly. We asked maintenance, and they said it couldn't be turned off, and other passengers mentioned similar situations in their staterooms and in staterooms on other Windstar ships. There were two thermostats in the room, but adjusting them made no impact on the actual climate in the room. There seemed to be a daytime temperature of too cold, and a night time temperature of too hot. One afternoon, we actually had to go on deck when we began shivering after an hour of reading in our lovely, but very much refrigerated, cabin. And on deck we found...the pervasive howling buzz of whatever equipment resides in that big stack on deck. You can't get away from it. So much for peaceful relaxation. So I gave five stars, but maybe don't really mean it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this because we wanted a 7-day canal transit on a small ship. First time on Windstar. Overall very good -- excellent service, food was quite satisfactory, ship was in good but not outstanding condition. The cabin space was ... Read More
Chose this because we wanted a 7-day canal transit on a small ship. First time on Windstar. Overall very good -- excellent service, food was quite satisfactory, ship was in good but not outstanding condition. The cabin space was excellent -- was skeptical of the french balcony, but liked it a great deal. Since you have a whole suite, no need for a separate balcony, and opening the sliders brought the outdoors inside. The canal transit was excellent, super informative, just what we wanted. The excursions at the Panama and Costa Rica stops were good. Time on board was generally very relaxing and pampered (see smoking exception below!). We are not foodies, but we found the food very good in selection and quality -- and again the service overall was really excellent, from top to bottom. As noted above, the ship's smoking policy was ridiculous. We enjoyed hanging out at the outdoor bar, called the Star Bar, and there is a designated smoking area right next to the bar (like maybe 10 feet away). Come on, this is the year 2018! We had perhaps 6 or 7 smokers (out of about 170 passengers), why should they smog up the place for the all the others? Of course the breeze was always blowing straight from them towards the rest of us. Worse, two people were cigar smokers, and they also puffed away. Windstar should move the smoking area away from the bar! There is plenty of space on the top deck (where the Star Bar is), and the smoking area should be moved AWAY. Before booking another Windstar I would need to investigate the details of the individual ship's policy -- I would be very cautious about booking another cruise on this ship if the policy is not changed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We are frequent Windstar cruisers especially in the Caribbean although our connection with Windstar began in the Med about 9 years ago. We have also cruised on Sea Dream Seabourn, and Silversea so we have experience with quality small ... Read More
We are frequent Windstar cruisers especially in the Caribbean although our connection with Windstar began in the Med about 9 years ago. We have also cruised on Sea Dream Seabourn, and Silversea so we have experience with quality small ship cruise lines.. Noted improvements on this cruise were the quality and variety of the food, the level and friendliness of the service, and the big improvement in the quality of the entertainment both in the main lounge and the bar. The on deck barbeque was fantastic. The food was terrific and amongst the best that we have ever experienced on any cruise line. The staff and the band provided great entertainment during the meal with the cooks dancing and adding to the festiveness of the occasion. We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed this cruise. Added to all of this the captain and crew did their best to make sure that we could tender safely into the various ports notwithstanding the sometimes choppy water. Read Less
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