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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Windstar has been on my radar for awhile. We are pretty adventuresome travelers and not big cruise people but theidea of a sailing yacht exploring the iskands in French Polynesia sounded like fun. After a rough year we were looking forward ... Read More
Windstar has been on my radar for awhile. We are pretty adventuresome travelers and not big cruise people but theidea of a sailing yacht exploring the iskands in French Polynesia sounded like fun. After a rough year we were looking forward to a trip where we didn’t have to think or plan too much. Windstar and The Wind Spirit completely exceeded all of our expectations. I woukd call this line “ high end casual”. If you like mice things ( great food, nice wines, high level of service) but enjoy being sporty and casual this is a great choice. Most people enjoyed nice things but appreciated being able to live in shorts, swim suits and sun dresses for the cruise. I cannot say enough good things about the staff. We interacted with numerous staff and members of manager throughout the cruise and everyone was impressed with the level of service. Everyone was friendly and helpful, taking pride in knowing your name and anticipating your needs. The rooms was were way larger than I was prepared for based in past reviews. We were on the second floor which is above the water line which was a good choice for us. Our friends on floor one at the water line made me a little queasy but they said they were fine. Plenty of US electrical outlets , bathroom and shower was fine for my 6’6” husband. Lots of storage and a comfy bed you could actually walk around. The food was incredible, every meal every day. I took a galley tour and was impressed that everything is fresh, the only frozen item is ice cream. Plenty of fresh fruits and veg eatables with every meal. Loads of healthy choices and plenty of unhealthy ones but plenty of choices. We ate outside almost every breakfast and lunch. The main restaurant is lovely and changes the menu every night. The Candles restaurant option on the deck offers more of a steakhouse menu with grilled meats and fish. The onboard bbq was incredible with a suckling pig, lobster and other delights. The motu special event was not to be missed with a great show and meal on a private island. We loved the activities ( snorkeling in Moorea, jet skis in Bora Bora and a not to be missed snorkel and picnic in lovely Huahine). We also enjoyed the private motu day where we did yoga and massages on the beach. The sport deck was a blast . We took kayaks out for a while then floated on the dock for a relaxing time. We enjoyed getting up early to catch a sunrise and coffee on deck each morning. We saw some beautiful rainbows and dolphins on a few mornings. Rainbows and dolphins! Can’t get better than that. Other special touches included the cultural activities that were available onboard and in special activities. The staff takes great care to research and recruit authentic and interesting people to interact with guests. We made leis onboard one afternoon while we learned traditional dance and heard some great music . One night a local came on to tell us Tahitian history and tradition. He was fascinating. This cruise would not be good for people who have mobility issues. Lots of stairs and no elevators. The boat gets rocking and would be miserable for people with mobility issues. The crude would probably not appeal to younger people who want a party scene. With 136 passengers it is pretty chill. People were having a great time but if you want a noisy club scene then a big cruise line might be better. Pro tips- if you think you will be snorkeling a lot bring your own mask and snorkel . The masks get used a lot on the boat so some people were frustrated because they leaked. Bring shoes like Tevas that strap on for water, hiking around etc. don’t miss a sail away or sunset I would take another Windstar cruise without hesitation Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my ... Read More
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my wife became ill and needed a wheelchair temporarily to get around. I considered cancelling all of our excursions but the Destination Manager assured me they would get us on our excursion and get the most out of the cruise as we could. And they did exactly that going way out of their way to insure we saw everything we came for. Only had to cancel one excursion in Monaco that just couldn't be done in a wheelchair. Everywhere we went on the ship they went out of their way to accommodate us and make things easier. I can't say enough good things about the crew. The food on the ship was absolutely delicious and with 3 dining area on a small ship we never had to wait. The wait staff was efficient and quick with a recommendation. With just over 300 passengers the crew and passengers soon became very familiar with each other. I have never seen ship's officers so visible and everywhere on the ship. The Captain and all other senior officers seemed to be greeting passengers all over the ship including when we arrived and disembarked the ship. Staff interacted with guests at a crew talent show, line dancing and other events. The cabin, while not significantly larger than most cruise cabins, had a generous amount of storage. We usually are fighting over hangers and drawers but not this time. The bed was fine and the bathroom adequate. The ship is definitely showing it's age. At almost 30 years old you can tell it has undergone many paint jobs and renovations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it but you could still see many things that would be designed differently today. Still, to be on a sailing ship with all the sails up through the Med was quite an experience. A great feature was the back swimming deck. With all the toys you could want you could swim, snorkel, kayak paddleboard or have the crew tube you around the ship. While the ports were very important and interesting, the ship and crew were the highlights of this cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had a wonderful time on the wind surf. We didn’t expect to.... We’re not “cruise people” - The idea of a cruise ship is just gross to us. We tried the Windstar cruise because a sailboat charter wasn’t able ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the wind surf. We didn’t expect to.... We’re not “cruise people” - The idea of a cruise ship is just gross to us. We tried the Windstar cruise because a sailboat charter wasn’t able to get us to all the places we wanted to go. What we found was the WindSurf was a lot more enjoyable than a sailboat charter. Much less work, great food, great staff. In terms of value, it was a really affordable way to go to some of our favorite places. What really set this ship apart was the staff. They were just amazing. It was delightful to have a room steward - thank you Bayu – who would clean up our cabin and even do our laundry every day. We got really spoiled. The bartenders were also great especially Maria. And the service staff for the onboard meals were just delightful especially Charlie. The itinerary for this cruise was great. It started in Rome, then went to Ellba, then Portovenere in the Cinque Terra, then Portofino, then Monaco, St Tropez, La Lavandou and ending up in Nice. These are great yachting destinations. The key thing about the WindSurf was the value proposition. We could’ve chartered our own yacht and spent 20 times more for the same itinerary, but this let us pretend we were Billioaires for a few days on a budget. Our fellow passengers were nearly all American and generally retired but we also met some people that were closer to our age (30s) and more active. The ship itself was very beautiful and interesting. It clearly is in need of an update, but don’t let that scare you away as it’s really something special to experience. The food was much better than we could’ve imagined. But we were a little disappointed with the wine selection. It would’ve been nice if they would have had more local Italian and French wines versus the California-centric wine list. (Especially because we couldn’t really bring any wine into the ship). But now I’m just sounding snobby. We must send a big aloha and thank you to the team members who made this trip so fun. Captain Gerry was great and we enjoyed our chats in the bridge with him. The bar and dining team was great with Naria and Charlie deserving special recognition and of course Bayu our room steward who completely spoiled us. Thank you WindSurf team for a great week in the Med. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We wanted to cruise Alaska for a long time but the large ships were totally unappealing to us as our preferred cruise line has been Windstar for many years. We had high expectations as Windstar advertised this as more of an "off the ... Read More
We wanted to cruise Alaska for a long time but the large ships were totally unappealing to us as our preferred cruise line has been Windstar for many years. We had high expectations as Windstar advertised this as more of an "off the beaten path" experience with "signature expeditions". We were NOT disappointed! Not only was the expedition staff great with their lectures and knowledge of glaciers, bears, whales, seals, sea lions and everything else that roams Alaska, they were really great fellow travelers who enjoyed the cruise as much as the paying passengers. We had almost perfect weather which was a plus; beautiful sunshine most days and very little rain but cool and refreshing days. We were thrilled with the food and presentation on this sailing. Windstar has really upped the quality and presentation as a result of their James Beard Foundation partnership. Because of the cooler weather they opened more dining venues for both breakfast and lunch which made for nice choices. The new zodiac expeditions and kayaks were a great addition and gave us the ability to get "up close and personal" with the glaciers. Riding on a zodiac while seeing mountain goats as ice floated by from a calving glacier was a total thrill! The shore excursions were mostly exceptional with lots of opportunity for "flightseeing" over glaciers, fjords, etc. For those who were interested, there were lots of cultural opportunities to learn about the native Alaskan tribes and visit their villages. We also did the 5 day land tour of northern Alaska and Denali. It was a first for Windstar in Alaska and could have used a few tweaks here and there but also a great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from Amsterdam ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from Amsterdam and first off, the 18-20 year olds were not allowed to drink. Now, this isn't a deal killer, but let's be clear, when you are a 19/20 year old college student and you can drink "legally" it's fun. We were finally told we could sign a waiver to allow them to drink, well....OK, I guess. Then, it got worse - they wouldn't allow anyone under 21 to GAMBLE! Now where is this coming from? This is actually the one thing my son did on his 18th birthday just because he COULD! The dealers were rude and obnoxious. One of the stops on our trip was St. Petersburg, Russia (one of the BIG reasons we chose this cruise) and we were going to the ballet as an excursion through Windstar in the evening (we spent the night in SP) and the departure time for the excursion was prior to dinner being served; when we inquired what would be done about it, no one seemed aware that this was even happening. They did make an accommodation for those going on the excursion, but that should have been something they thought about in advance. Now for the worst part, the OTHER CRUISERS. What a bunch of snobs! A bunch of old snobby people who snubbed their noses at us.Nasty! Never again - back to Star Clippers we shall go. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His ... Read More
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His knowledge was outstanding and his delivery humorous. A visit to the Vasa museum in Stockholm is a must. The cruise through the Kiel canal was extraordinarily. The staff were friendly, and efficient. The food was excellent and the bar service outstanding. The cabin was spacious, clean and well maintained. The only downside were the reception and tour staff who had little local knowledge but tried. The company should go for “all inclusive” as the billing process was a pain, bits of paper everywhere. The hidden costs added to the bill at the end were annoying. Lack of taxis at disembarkation was annoying but this was a local issue beyond the control of the company. Beware of the local taxi drivers who will try and rip you off with a flat fee, use the meter. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Things I wish I had known: If you are choosing a Windstar Alaska itinerary because you think the small ship will do lots of scenic cruising that large ships cannot do, be aware that during the 3 days described on the itinerary as ... Read More
Things I wish I had known: If you are choosing a Windstar Alaska itinerary because you think the small ship will do lots of scenic cruising that large ships cannot do, be aware that during the 3 days described on the itinerary as "cruising" in Misty Fjords, the Kenai and Tracy Arm the ship does not cruise. What it does is travel into these areas and drop anchor so the boat can act as a dock for the expeditions on zodiac (1 hour) or kayak (2 hour) which passengers have paid for. The capacity of these excursions is less than half of the capacity of the ship so half of the passengers spend all day and all of the passengers spend most of the day just floating in place looking at the same glacier or treed hillside. There were no enrichment activities or entertainments or musical acts during these days. The only things on the schedule on all three days combined was one wine tasting (fee required) and a few exercises classes (fee required for most--capacity 8) and some pitches for spa products. The weather was nice enough for hot tubbing but the larger hot tub was under repair for all but the last couple days of the cruise. The nature expeditions were exciting (we had great weather) and were the highlight of many passengers' trip. But there were lots of long boring hours involved as well. OTHER REVIEW ITEMS: THE SHIP Is beautiful and classic with nice well maintained wooden decks. It is kind of old and the carpets and furnishings show wear. There was a leak in the windows on the 6th floor lounge causing a dank smell. The tender area is not accessible by elevator, causing inconvenience on tendered days for anyone with mobility issues DINING and BEVERAGE The food in the dining room was very good with interesting menus. The wine list was extensive, especially wines by the glass. Craft beer drinkers were excited to see ALASKA Brewing beer available but supplies ran out after two days and were not replenished until Juneau. The most exotic beers on board most days were Molson and Grolsch, Breakfast in the Veranda was nothing special and pretty much the same every day. The biggest issue with Veranda at both lunch and breakfast was lack of room as it was too cool for most people to want to sit outside. The crowding made coffee and tea service hard to come by. The problem could have been helped by extending hours, but Windstar chose instead to curtail hours. On some days there was no breakfast buffet after 8:30 and on other days the dining room was open for just one hour for lunch. Other reviewers have noted that dinner service in Amphora took an excessive amount of time and I would agree. The staff was very professional but seemed spread thin. CABIN Our balcony cabin was spacious with a lovely sitting area and a nice walk in closet. The bathing set up is a tub with a shower head on the end of a hose which can be mounted on the wall at kind of an odd angle. This arrangement could be a problem for anyone with mobility issues who would not want to step up into a tub. The thermostat in our room did not work. The cabin was alternately and randomly hot or cold with no relationship to settings. We heard others passengers complain of the same thing. The balconies on this ship are actually ledges you can step out onto. Do not expect an actual veranda. EXCURSIONS The excursion staff was the best group on the ship. They gave good overview talks for of every port and the excursion groups were well organized. We booked a number of excursions through Windstar and they were all as advertised and well run with good local guides. ON BOARD EXPERIENCE WIndstar has lots of loyal customers and they are themselves a good feature of the boat. They are well traveled and interesting and the small ship size makes it easy to mingle and enjoy each other. The ability to visit the bridge and the officers there is a great feature. We had trouble with on- board accounting. We managed to get a couple of errant charges reversed while on board, but once we got home discovered Windstar had charged our credit card for more than the amount shown on the "final Billing" left on our door the last morning. We have no idea what the extra amounts are and are disputing them. Windstar does not have customers present cards or sign for each purchase. Instead the staff punches in the passengers' room number. The idea that the staff knows everyone by name is supposed to insure that they notice errors, I guess. Obviously, errors get through. ENTERTAINMENT There was one duo and one solo act that performed at the same hours every day. There were two trivia contests and the Liars Club performance and the staff night entertainment. A native dance group came aboard one day. These performers appeared to be high school or college students. SUMMARY Windstar has many loyal customers and I can appreciate much of what they love about a small ship. However, a price of more the $450 per day (not including tips, beverages, excursions or transfers) for an itinerary of 12 days with only 7 days in ports, causes me to rate this as a very poor value for the money. Compared to my previous experiences on Windstar, I found the staff to be spread very thin and the little luxuries -such as chocolates at dinner, theme dinners or parties, and even towel sculptures on my bed-- to be missing from this trip. I will be monitoring the Windstar reviews to see if some of the issues continue or begin to right themselves. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise for the small ship experience. It also called at ports not available with larger ships. It was our first cruise with Windstar. While it would have been interesting to explore Vancouver before the cruise, we scheduled ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the small ship experience. It also called at ports not available with larger ships. It was our first cruise with Windstar. While it would have been interesting to explore Vancouver before the cruise, we scheduled air the same day as embarkation. Embarkation was smooth although delayed due to loading and unloading of supplies and waste.Disembarkation was also slightly delayed, although announcements were clear. The ship was in good condition with maintenance occurring continuously as the cruise proceeded. This was only a problem when painting and varnishing occurred in the vicinity of the public areas, particularly the Yacht Club (the room above the bridge with great views, puzzles and games as well as snacks, sandwiches and barista service), where the smell was unpleasant. We had chosen a lower cost cabin back in February and received an upgrade before the cruise started. The cabin was spacious (compared to our only other experience on a Costa Mediterranea cruise). Fresh fruit, bottled water and chocolates were provided every day (if you had eaten them, otherwise the old ones were left). Cabin service was very good with the stewards calling us by name every day. Announcements were very weak in the cabin until the dial was set on any other position than the one selected by the stewards. The best part of the trip was the "Windstar signature expeditions" departing from the ship's marina. We chose the Zodiac experiences instead of the kayak ones. Misty Fjords, Endicott Arm (Dawes glacier), Kenai Fjords (Aialik glacier). Simon was a great guide on these, pointing out wildlife and natural features. The other excursions were provided by external providers. Highlights were the whale watching at Icy Straight Point and the Mendenhall glacier walk. The cost of the excursions seemed a little pricey, but there was only a little mark-up by Windstar who provided the scheduling and reservations. Dining service started earlier or was extended when excursions required. Dining service was a little hectic due to everybody showing up at once, Service was slow in Amphora because of this, taking up to two hours for a three course meal. We had to go down to the Amphora dining room twice for breakfast due to there being no room at the Veranda because the outside seating was not usable due to the weather. We also had room service for dinner twice which was provided flawlessly (they even returned with the baked alaska dessert on time without our calling again!). Two ports of call had little in the way of things to do on shore, Icy Straight Point and Haines, but top-notch excursions. Juneau and Ketchikan had too many gift shops and jewelry stores but interesting sights could be found away from those. On-board entertainment was slim. There was a musical trio in the bars at night, a crew talent show (hilarious) and a liars club. The port and expedition briefings as well as the expedition re-caps were interesting and useful.Days at sea had more varied talks. We chose to extend our vacation by adding a land tour, through Windstar. This included stops in Talkeetna, and Denali, ending up in Fairbanks. There were no extra cost options as all excursions were included, including many meals. The only disappointment in this vacation was not seeing Orcas at sea or wolves in Denali. All the other wildlife biggies were seen: bears, moose, caribou, whales, seals, otters, bald eagles and various other birds. We saw Denali! One caveat about small ships is that they are not as stable as the megaships. Rough seas on sea days can affect those sensitive to motion sickness. Get your patches before you embark! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
The staff and quality of food was outstanding. The suite was large and never felt confining. Double sink vanity, large tub, walk-in closet all made the 8 day experience just like home! Every evening after dinner and drinks, we came back ... Read More
The staff and quality of food was outstanding. The suite was large and never felt confining. Double sink vanity, large tub, walk-in closet all made the 8 day experience just like home! Every evening after dinner and drinks, we came back to a cabin that had been picked up and a bed folded down. Fresh water and a filled ice bucket everyday. The wine selection and knowledgeable wine steward was first class! The barbecue out on the deck was beyond anything we expected. The staff always made sure we had a drink. Deck chairs were plentiful and blankets were brought out for those chilly evenings. The duo that sang and played music were very good and entertained our requests making for fun evenings after dinner. The shore excursions were extremely organized and getting on and off the ship was easy and streamlined. Our only criticism, and this is very minor, was that the cabins could use a little updating, especially the bathrooms. But, storage was plentiful, and the laundry service was super and worth the extra money. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I have sailed on 7 different cruise lines on multiple cruises to the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Russia, Alaska, and Europe. Wind Surf was launched for Club Med in 1989 (30 years old). Dry dock and total renovation and redesign cannot ... Read More
I have sailed on 7 different cruise lines on multiple cruises to the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Russia, Alaska, and Europe. Wind Surf was launched for Club Med in 1989 (30 years old). Dry dock and total renovation and redesign cannot come soon enough! This is an old boat and feeling rundown and shabby (not chic). And the sails may wow folks in port, but there is a lot of hoopla over the "unfurling" of sails and playing the same Vangelis music every evening. First time was interesting, but come on folks, what's the big deal. The passenger demographic of this cruise line is well-healed seniors in their 70's who have more money than travel experience and are easily impressed. Overall, the value simply wasn't here. Some may feel they are part of an exclusive guest list of 300 passengers, but the ship is small, staterooms are very small, food service is adequate but average and entertainment is virtually nonexistent. Staff is under pressure to do their jobs and wanted little to do with passenger's requests or comfort. Overall the promise of Windstar's promotional website and literature does not match the promise of a personal and unique experience, an engaging staff, or amazing luxury cruise yachting experience. Boarding the ship in Rome (Civitavecchia), I was astounded that only one of the two elevator was functional at embarkation and the crew had that elevator tied up for hours delivering luggage to state rooms. No staff elevators on board this ship. I spoke with the Reception Desk and they promised each day that the second elevator would be fixed anytime. It took 3 days and constant reminding the desk that there are a lot of very senior passengers who have mobility issues and need the elevator. After repair and elevator started functioning again, they shut down the elevators several times during the cruise and placed an "out of order" sign on the doors. This old ship should never have left port without both elevators functioning. Our cabin was the smallest stateroom ever, with minimal closet and storage space. Bed linens were nice, but the beds were broken down and should have been replaced a year ago. But the bathroom was downright difficult and out dated. I'm 5'11", 185 lbs and it was close for me. Cannot imagine how some on board managed to shower or use the toilets as the space was so tight. Luxury Yacht? Not in my book. Each evening as passengers returned to the ship after a day of excursions, we would congregate on the pool deck expecting to watch the exit from ports during sunsets, relax, swim, chat and enjoy some bar beverages. At 6:00 pm, staff beginning removing all umbrellas, closing pool and jacuzzis, collecting all towels and bar glasses and shutting down the Pool Bar and Deck. Fresh towel bins were empty. Many passengers voiced their objections at this untimely closing of the large pool deck of the ship but staff had their orders and ignored the passengers requests. While reclining in swim wear, we were told to go upstairs and order our drinks at that bar. Then they collected and stacked the chaises to clear the deck. Stupid Ship and Bar Policy. After while, passengers gave up requesting to leave the Pool Bar and Deck open while we sail out of ports. The cruise itinerary was a major draw for us; visiting ports of east and west coasts of Italy, and the Dalmatian coast. Visiting the cruise ports was great fun, but certainly there were the other "mega ships" in port, also. So the idea that the ship is so "small" (700 ft isn't really small), we could sail into ports restricted to larger ships was false. And unfortunately for some, the rear ship "marina" was only lowered twice on the cruise. Many were disappointed that equipment was not in good condition and the kayaks were not available as they posed competition to the local businesses. Shore excursions? Unless you have money to burn, take time to research the cruise ports and figure out what interest you, rather than pay outrageous fees for Windstar excursions (yes, were talking several thousands extra for excursions). It seemed every time you turned around, there were extra charges, overpriced drinks, extra gratuity for staff (I'm glad to tip for extraordinary service), staff saying "no", not possible, cannot do that, sir. Certainly not the promise of the Windstar Cruises. One bright spot in the ships staff was the Gym Facilitor, Nathan from South Africa. Very knowledgeable in fitness and exercise and very aware of the age of his passengers. Well done! I will definitely sail more cruises in the future, but definitely not on Windstar ships. As a matter of fact, we've already booked a Viking River Cruise for 2019. Read Less
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