4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
Best known for its three sailing ships, Seattle-based Windstar Cruises also offers three all-suite motor yachts. All sail destination-intensive cruises that combine well- and lesser-known ports. The line offers a lighter style of luxury that is less inclusive and more casual while still offering upscale accommodations and service.
Windstar attracts adults all the way from 30 to 90 years, including honeymooners and people celebrating milestone birthdays or anniversaries. The core age, however, is 55 to 75, with most coming from North America; others come from New Zealand and Australia, the U.K. and other European countries. You won't find younger families onboard as Windstar draws the line at kids under 8.
Not really. You can leave your formal dress and neckties at home and stick to country club casual sportswear. By day, most women wear walking shorts, slacks, skirts, sarongs and cover-ups; in the evenings resort-style dresses and dressy pants. Men usually wear walking or Bermuda shorts or khakis by day and lightweight trousers and collared shirts in the evening. Windstar doesn't allow shorts, flip-flops, jeans, hats or T-shirts during dinner at either of its dining venues.
There are few organized activities onboard a Windstar cruise, with most cruisers spending their time onshore exploring the ports being visited. The unregimented, relaxed life with outstanding food and service fits the passengers, and friendships spring up quickly. Many passengers take advantage of the water sports platform that's on most ships and all the toys that go with it. In the evening, passengers will chat in the main lounge, and while a house band might play for a little while, most cruisers get to bed early to take advantage of a full day in port the next day.
The line does have a robust partnership with the James Beard Foundation, with culinary demonstrations on every sailing that give passengers access to chef secrets.
On the sailing ships, the top deck will always be packed if the sails are scheduled to be unfurled.
No. Although Windstar is a luxury line, its pricing is a la carte, which means the cruise fares are lower than most competitors. You choose what you want to pay for whether it be alcohol and soft drinks, Wi-Fi, shore excursions, gratuities and spa and beauty treatments.
The cruise fare covers all dining and unlimited use of the water sports platform, including equipment for snorkeling, stand-up paddle-boarding, kayaking, sailing, water skiing and windsurfing.