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Sail Date: August 2018
This cruise went to Alaska. Chose Windstar because of port visits. This is my fifth cruise to Alaska; before this always the same ports. Windstar substitutes smaller towns — Haines, Sitka; and Wrangell. The main problems are ... Read More
This cruise went to Alaska. Chose Windstar because of port visits. This is my fifth cruise to Alaska; before this always the same ports. Windstar substitutes smaller towns — Haines, Sitka; and Wrangell. The main problems are passenger comfort and excessive nickel and dimeing. The ship, in an apparent effort to save costs, is too cold. Most passengers wear winter coats to the longes, casino, and dining rooms. Initially the cabins were also icy, but that has improved thought not toasty. We have been on other cold weather crises, including around Patagonia, and never experienced this problem. Another extremely irritating condition is excessive promotion of products and services including costly liquor packages. Everything is for sale. The crew takes every opportunity to promote shore excursions. The eat more and weigh less seminar seemed to be a thinly disguised promotion for electronic monitoring and sale of a pill package. The fitness facilities are limited, but OK. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo traveler and wanted a luxury experience. I explained that bedding and the sleeping arrangements were very important to me. I sleep with a CPAP and require a minimum of a double size bed as I sleep in the center. With proper electrical hookup bedside. I needed a fully equipped gym with cardio equipment so I can run the morning otherwise I get anxious. A well appointed spa.  I was assured that the motor boat class of Windstar had all of this and more. A luxury cruise in every sense of the word filled with pampering amenities. The Windstar Star Breeze boasted of beautifully appointed accommodations, exceptional public areas, 2 luxury dining rooms, full spa and gym facilities.  Upon boarding I quickly surveyed the situation and my heart sank.  My stateroom 226  The bedside plug was damaged. I was unable to get power to the CPAP machine. The adapters would not work it took 3 trips by maintenance until they found a workable solution.  The bed is 2 singles pressed against each other. Something I was specifically was assured was not the case!  The bathroom mirror vanity was cracked and held together with silver tape.  The white Marble was stained completely yellow around the toilet from years of urine on porous stone.  The DVD player did not work. I went to the spa to book services. I was delighted to see acupuncture. Was told that was not a service provided on this ship. Why was it on the menu of services then? I booked 3 massage sessions regardless.  I took a tour of the spa. I recoiled upon opening the steam room door due to the smell of mold that was overwhelming, it was small and musty.  I went to the gym and was shocked to discover outdated equipment. An old rower, a basic exercise bike and 2 treadmills. The ceiling is maybe 6’5 the treadmill is a step up making it impossible to be used without hitting my head. I am 6’.  I went to the buffet. Again dismayed, the food was basic and below anything I was accustomed to. I inquired about the buffet because that was another issue I had and was assured by the booking agent that there were full service restaurants available all day. I assumed that the cafeteria buffet was only because we had not set sail yet.  We left the port and set sail. I asked about internet and that it was imperative that I was able to get basic work done with my home office and was assured that it would work throughout he ship. Upon signing up the reception informed me that it was unlikely to work in my stateroom. That was what came to pass not only did it not work in my stateroom it never worked at all as well as the computers in the library! One computer was out of service. Every passenger I spoke with complained about it.  The library filled with books left behind by other passengers. A selection of DVD’s from the 90’s  There was no real bon voyage celebration - some flag thing with no fanfare or pomp. No champagne toast, no little waving flags nothing.  The lounge singers provided bad renditions of popular songs.  If it weren’t all so sad it would have been funny. It was all like a late night basic cable skit.  I went to dinner in the below deck restaurant. It was all mediocre. The ambiance, the service and food.  I went to bed distraught. The seam in the middle of the bed, the hard pillows, the scratchy sheets. I tried to hold back tears. I was a grown man. Day 1 at sea. More bad lounge singing, a lecture about a detox treatment for sale. I went for my massage in an intensely claustrophobic treatment room. I asked about the overhead florescent tube lights. He informed me that there is no way to shut them off. Florescent lighting trigger my migraines he explained that he puts this eye mask on. I don’t want anything on my face especially something like a beanbag that isnt clean and used by others. The massage was amateur at best.  I went to dinner at Candella - the converted buffet. That stayed exactly the same other then then it being night. Not a candle electric or otherwise, not a flower, not twinkling light. A blank room. The steel buffet set up remained. A night cafeteria with a new name. A lipstick on a pig. This was supposed to be the special steak house?  I went to sleep with stomach pain, sad and frustrated. I prayed that in the morning the excursion would be a bright spot.  I woke up early with mild pain and cramping, nauseous and a little weak. I went to the ships doctor seeking pepto bismol. I wanted to make sure that i wouldn’t be queasy on the off board excursion. He immediately started to question my systems, I explained to the best of my ability the situation. He said in order to continue I would need to pay I think $150. He chose to ignore my request for Pepto and let me know if he were to examine me and he suspected that I might have a bacterial or viral digestive illness that he would immediately quarantine me. Not upon clinical diagnosis but suspicion. That lab results would be sent out and until their return minimum 3 days and an all clear I could be locked in my room. This was a perceived threat. His insistence that I undergo an invasive examination and that results would need to be sent to the CDC for confirmation and clearance a 4 day minimum.  At one point as I attempted to leave his office he stepped in front of me blocking my exit. I told him to move or call security. He moved out of my way. The threat of possibly being locked in the cabin with no open window induced such a state of panic that went into a state of fight or flight. I left the ship immediately. I took a 4 hour taxi from the port of call back to Edinburgh. Any one of the above reason have justifiable cause to leave. I am utterly and totally disgusted. I had to reroute my flights and incur an enormous amount of financial loss. My dream trip ruined.  That aspect of the ships protocol is highly disturbing. After sharing all of this the President of Windstar - John Delaney refused any kind of refund, credit or apology. Nothing. What a disgusting lack of customer service. If considering a cruise look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they provided on their newer style of motorized cruising. They purchased ships from the Seabourne line. The ship we were on is the Star Breeze. It is about 30 years old and it shows. Embarkation went very smoothly and our luggage appeared in our room in a timely fashion. Our room was quite comfortable and large with a walk in closet, full tub with shower and large sitting area. Very comfortable indeed. The service in the cabin was just what we needed with our cabin staff being very responsive to our needs. The food in the main dining room is average. There is nothing overtly wrong with it but it is not exciting, interesting or especially tasty. The one exception being the 'indoor BBQ' night necessitated by bad weather. On this night the ships galley was our BBQ area and it was fund to walk through the galley and the food was excellent. The service in the main dining room was weak regardless of where we sat and who attended to us. At times it would be difficult to get wait staff to come to the table. Water was poured before we could get the word sparkling out of our mouth and then a look of annoyance appeared when we asked to switch. The food and service in the private dining room was a different story. Both were excellent. Entertainment was practically non-existent. In comparison to river boats where local talent is featured many evenings and lectures on others there was pretty much nothing offered after dinner except a duo then ended early. Shore excursions were good and interesting. Unfortunately we were battling bad weather throughout the journey. In fact, our day in Portrush had to be cancelled as the tenders were not able to run. This was very unfortunate as the cruise had no back up plan for onboard activity this day. We had nothing to do all day. Yes, we did get to the next port that night and were allowed off the boat but the city was shut down by the time we arrived. This seemed to be poor planning. The ship itself clearly shows its age especially in the dining room and stage lounge and is in serious need of a facelift. We will likely not travel this line again as there are too many better options. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
French Polynesia is a location we have visited in the past but this was an opportunity to sail to many of the islands of this area and see them from a different prospective. We had stayed at two resorts on two different islands in over the ... Read More
French Polynesia is a location we have visited in the past but this was an opportunity to sail to many of the islands of this area and see them from a different prospective. We had stayed at two resorts on two different islands in over the water bungalows, so this was a new experience and was very enjoyable. Sailing on the Wind Spirit gave us the opportunity to explore areas that we would not be able to access on our own. The staff was very friendly and accommodating, the size of the yacht was perfect and the food was very good. We enjoyed every excursion as we had many new and wonderful experiences. The on board time was equally gratifying and relaxing at the many different venues. We had such a wonderful experience that we would highly recommend the WindStar Cruise Line and absolutely this itinerary. We look forward to sailing with WindStar in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Overall- Very good service and excellent crew; highlights were the exceptional nature staff for lectures and tours. Nice introduction to Inside Passage and Alaska small town life. Small ship with interesting guest ... Read More
Overall- Very good service and excellent crew; highlights were the exceptional nature staff for lectures and tours. Nice introduction to Inside Passage and Alaska small town life. Small ship with interesting guest interactions. Service: excellent Food: very good: served dinners, breakfast and lunch buffets Ship: old ship and good condition; elevators; meeting rooms okay. Itinerary: okay; 6 sea days, 6 touring days; 12 days Van/Van. Tours: very good guides; nice 6 person Zodiac; good tour guides. Cabin: spacious, heater and A/C worked; Lighting very good Communications: daily plan delivered, daily orientation talks. Entertainment: 2 duets each day; not a major feature Highlight: 8th floor forward assembly room: Yacht Club Lowlight: 6th floor aft meeting room (cold): Compass Rose -- Spent 3 pre-cruise days in Victoria; took V2V jet boat to Vancouver spent 3 post-cruise days in Vancouver -- a la carte pricing: alcohol, spa, tours-- your choice, you pay for service. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
The Star Pride is relatively small (abt 250) with everything scaled down to that size. Service was competent & friendly & more than sufficient to handle the guests efficiently. With all of the well publicized problems with virus ... Read More
The Star Pride is relatively small (abt 250) with everything scaled down to that size. Service was competent & friendly & more than sufficient to handle the guests efficiently. With all of the well publicized problems with virus transmission aboard ship, one would have expected a staff more focused on this issue. Although there were hand sanitizer stations available on the ship (e.g. outside of dining areas) the staff was not involved, at all, in encouraging passenger use as was the practice on other cruises. There seemed a fetish to learn every passenger's name by the 2nd day as if that would automatically elevate one's perception that it alone signified personal service. Perhaps that desire to provide personal service motivated some dining & cabin staff to inappropriately address guests by their given name. Food quality was uniformly superior. A free "specialty" restaurant (Candles) was disappointing. It was not special in any sense of the word. The space used for serving breakfast & lunch was utilized. The tables were "on top" of each other. The service was competent but not fine dining. The menu was limited. After our initial experience, we cancelled our future reservations there & chose to dine in the main dining room. The Fitness Center was poorly conceived--mediocre equipment was squeezed in to a too small low 'ceilinged' room that almost always felt crowded & somewhat unsafe because of that. Two different mediocre duos (keyboard & singer) provided the "entertainment." Too many of the shore excursions were excessively priced. For those who did not choose strenuous activities, they generally consisted of long boring bus tours sprinkled with differing quality of attractions. The disembarkation process was flawless as was the transfer to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do enough for us. The ship was beautiful, especially during the times the sails were up. The food was out of this world. It was the best we had during our entire European vacation. I really can’t think of anything that Windstar could have improved on as far as the onboard experience was concerned. The only downfall was that some of the ports weren’t as picturesque as we’d imagined. If we would have done our research beforehand, we would have booked excursions at those stops. Windstar lives up to its reputation and I met many passengers who were experienced travellers with the cruise lineIt wasn’t an inexpensive vacation but it was worth every penny. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Overall, this was an excellent cruise. The food is fabulous and despite the small size of the ship, the cabins are relatively spacious. The crew were extremely friendly and made a point of knowing everyone by name. Unlike larger ships, ... Read More
Overall, this was an excellent cruise. The food is fabulous and despite the small size of the ship, the cabins are relatively spacious. The crew were extremely friendly and made a point of knowing everyone by name. Unlike larger ships, there is no fighting for deck chairs, etc. A very relaxed experience. There were, however a couple of issues that need to be addressed. The WIFI on the ship is extraordinarily expensive (even when purchasing an internet package prior to sailing), which would be acceptable if it worked - it doesn't. Coverage was spotty at best and extremely slow. Windstar should really upgrade their equipment - I have been on other cruises where the Internet was fantastic even out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean a thousand miles from land. Shore excursions - Most were quite good, but we had a horrible experience in Nafplion. We were on an excursion that visited Mycenae and the guide was very longwinded, and did not allow us enough time to tour the entire site. To make matters worse, she made a stop at what can only be described as a tourist souvenir shop along the highway - we were forced to stay there for a bout 20 minutes while the proprietors gave us a hard sell on their "genuine, fake" reproductions of Greek trinkets. Really, this is not something one would expect from a luxury cruise line like Windstar. As mentioned in a previous review, the water sports platform is only open when the ship is at anchor (4 of the 7 ports of call). However they cannot open the water sports platform in Santorini because they are required to run the engine at all times. In the other three ports the sports platform was not open do to winds - so on a 7 day cruise, we were never able to swim in the Aegean! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I have always wanted to see Alaska. Unfortunately, we chose Windstar's costly 14-day cruise on the 200-passenger Star Legend and 4-day pre-cruise to Denali. We were extremely disappointed. After many cruises on lines ranging ... Read More
My husband and I have always wanted to see Alaska. Unfortunately, we chose Windstar's costly 14-day cruise on the 200-passenger Star Legend and 4-day pre-cruise to Denali. We were extremely disappointed. After many cruises on lines ranging from Tauck, Silverseas, and Star Clipper to Royal Caribbean, this is--by far--the worst experience we ever had. The 4-day pre-cruise trip through Denali was a total ripoff. For $5,000, Windstar provided a bus trip, a few hours on the Alaska railroad, 2 dinners and a box lunch, with a boring tour guide who spent as little time and energy as possible with the oversized 38-person group. For example: Day 4 took us from Talkeetna to Seward, an area with hundreds if not thousands of wonderful things to see and do, but it seemed as if Windstar only wanted to burn up the time with as little cost to Windstar as possible. We were bussed to downtown Anchorage and deposited at a museum for several hours, then dumped at a FLEA MARKET where we were told to scrounge our lunch among filthy food stalls before being bussed to the ship in Seward. Really? for $1,250 a day? Thank goodness our I-Phone directed us to a clean restaurant and edible food to wait out our precious, costly day in this magnificent area. If you want to see Denali, fly to Anchorage and rent a car or take the train, hire a flight seeing tour in Talkeetna and take the Park Service bus tour in Denali; you will have a much better experience for a fraction of the cost. Onboard the Star Legend, the staff's principal mission is to extract as much onboard revenue from each passenger as possible. Everything but the food was extra: excursions, fitness classes and other onboard activities, drinks, wine with dinner, etc., and involuntary service charges were added to our account daily regardless of the service provided. Another passenger warned us too late to make our own inventory of the in-room bar, as she and others were charged for items that weren't provided in the first place. There was something wrong with the ship's engines, causing a vibration that often made it difficult to sleep. The ship was designed for warm weather locations. We had to walk outside to reach the Veranda/Candles dining area and a lot of the dining and bar space was outdoors, where it was too cold and rainy for use during most of our cruise. The temperature control didn't work; our stateroom and the Compass Rose and other public areas were frequently too cold. Most of the passengers came down with a bad cold, which was undoubtedly due to the poor housekeeping and lack of ventilation. Our stateroom was large and well-arranged, but the carpet was worn and dirty and the housekeeping was not properly managed or supervised. The room was never made up until late afternoon. Glasses were removed but not replaced, dust cloths and trays were left behind, and we had to ask for shampoo, water and other necessities. Nothing was ever really cleaned. I dropped an earring and looked under the bed for it; no one had vacuumed there in a long time. The food quality was good, but the service and use of venues was not properly managed. The large dining room, AmphorA, had impossibly slow service at breakfast and lunch, which drove everyone to the buffet at Veranda. With little indoor space, Veranda was overcrowded but no effort was made to extend the breakfast and lunch hours there or provide a buffet option or better service in AmphorA. The fixed menu at Veranda/Candles was good but boring. The excursions were just commercial operations any traveler could use at a much lower cost. Windstar added no value and did nothing to assure the safety or comfort of its passengers, but added 80% to 100% to the cost. No Windstar representative accompanied any of the excursions. No headphones or microphones were provided by Windstar, so it was often impossible to hear speakers and guides. We had several upsetting experiences. For example: 1. We took a jet boat excursion up the Sitkine River ($350 each), a wild river in a wilderness area. After the driver drove recklessly and put the boat aground on a shoal, we learned that he had no tow line, no dock line or other line of any kind, no anchor or winch, and had not even connected his GPS to the Coast Guard emergency system. A second boat also lacked any rescue line, anchor or winch, but had an old dock line. The passengers were told to stand in the stern while the other boat tried to tow us off the shoal. The line broke, the boat jerked violently, and the second crewman went hurtling through the passengers, knocked my grip off the rail, and pushed me down the steps from the stern to the floor of the cabin. I suffered bruises that have still not healed. After several more broken lines, the boat was finally towed off the shoal and they raced through the remainder of the tour with no refunds. When I complained about the operator's lack of safety equipment and procedures, Windstar's destination manager was unable to understand that any responsible boat operator carries a rescue line and other safety equipment and connects his GPS to the Coast Guard system. He gave us a partial refund of $340 and never inquired about my injuries. 2. In Sitka, my husband went sport fishing ($299) while I took the wildlife excursion ($149). The previous day, we conferred with the destinations manager on where and when we could meet to continue our day together, and were told both boats returned to the same dock next to our ship. When I returned, I checked again and was told to wait on that dock for the fishing excursion to return at 1:30. When it didn't return, no one on Windstar could locate the 8 missing passengers or contact the operator, who for his own convenience had left them on a dock in downtown Sitka. The fishing excursion had been extremely rough, because the driver did not know how to operate the boat properly in that weather. Eventually, my husband made his way back to the ship, but it was too late to salvage our chance to see Sitka. 3. In Juneau, we had reserved a dogsledding excursion by helicopter on the Mendenhall Glacier ($629 each) and were scheduled for a 2:45 pm departure. The dogsledding trips were cancelled at 9 am that morning, but Windstar did not inform us of the cancellation until 2:00 pm. We waited all day for the 2:45 excursion, when we could have walked down the dock and taken a seaplane to see the entire Juneau Icefield or many other commercial offerings. Windstar deliberately wasted our day, so our only option would be their abbreviated helicopter trip to the bottom of the Mendenhall ($365 each). Locking in their profit was far more important than our experience. The best thing about this trip was the onboard kayaking and zodiac expeditions. The expedition crew was well-organized, safety conscious, and knowledgeable. However, there were only four opportunities to use these resources and the ship only carried a handful of kayaks and three zodiacs so only a fraction of the passengers could go. On the days the ship anchored in the scenic fjords for the 2-hour kayaking and 1-hour zodiac trips, there was nothing else to do. The other saving grace was the passengers, interesting people and pleasant company. There were several enrichment activities, but no set schedule for them. Entertainment consisted of 2 duos who repeated the same playlists. We tried to enjoy drinks and dancing in the lounge after dinner, but it was extremely cold and the "dance music" was more suitable for 20-somethings than the demographics of the passengers. There was no outside entertainment. The final straw came at disembarkation, when we were required to drag all of our luggage through the dock terminal in Vancouver to the city tour with hotel ($79 each plus hotel). No one from Windstar accompanied the passengers from the dock terminal. When we reached the hotel, our luggage was left in the driveway and we were on our own. Even on inexpensive student tours, I have never seen a company fail to transfer the passengers and their baggage to their hotel or the airport in a considerate manner. This was like a kick in the pants as we walked out the door, pockets picked. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
The pre-cruise land tour spent most of its time figuring out how to fill time instead of showing us the sights. The guide was less than knowledgeable. We paid a great deal, but were often told to go out and get our own meals at our ... Read More
The pre-cruise land tour spent most of its time figuring out how to fill time instead of showing us the sights. The guide was less than knowledgeable. We paid a great deal, but were often told to go out and get our own meals at our expense. It became obvious that the person in charge of the tour had no interest in the excursions nor any knowledge of how good they were. This characteristic continued when we arrived on the boat. Windstar has no quality control mechanisms in place to assure that any land side excursions are reputable or even safe. The ship was OK, but was in need of refurbishment. The engines/transmissions/propellers were not in-tune so the ship vibrated significantly. Carpeting needs replacing, doors don't align with jams, deck flooring uneven. Cabin was spacious and well-designed. It's maintenance was the problem. They just don't clean well. Food was good though it started to get boring during the second week. Entertainment was marginal and not that good. Service consists of trying to get more money out of your pockets. Not what I expected. The shore excursions were not good at all. One was downright dangerous. A jet boat up a river ran aground. That has to be expected. BUT, the boat had no tow line or any line that could be used to pull it off into floatable water. The cowboys who were running the boat had no idea what to do. Worse, they did not have the GPS system linked to the VHF radio or the boats registration entered into the radio. If anyone on board would have pushed the VHF radio's Emergency Button, the Coast Guard would not get any information about the boat's type, location, or anything. Windstar really lets their guests go on such slovenly boats??? There was a Windstar Exec on board. He was totally uninterested in the quality of what the guests were receiving. Friends had told us that Windstar was great. People on board told us that Windstar was great. Windstar was absolutely despicable for the price they charged. Read Less
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