4 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My friend and I chose this cruise because we really liked the itinerary and had read the reviews prior to booking. It was expensive, but had been on many cruises with other cruise lines and were happy to pay the cost for a luxury cruise. ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise because we really liked the itinerary and had read the reviews prior to booking. It was expensive, but had been on many cruises with other cruise lines and were happy to pay the cost for a luxury cruise. Ship - It didn't start well as, unlike other cruise lines the embarkation process was awful. At the terminal we had to initially wait off the ship on the quay in the sun for half an hour, then when we got onto the ship we had to wait another half hour in line to be checked in, this was about 2pm. We weren't allowed to register two credit cards (which was to prove to be a major problem later) as we wanted to each pay our own bills. The ship is 'tired' and really needs a refit, stained carpets, worn out chairs in the lounge etc. It just doesn't compare with other companies. Cabin - Our travel agent had booked twin beds and checked the day before that this would happen and was assured that this would be no problem. Nevertheless we didn't have twin beds, we went to reception and they assured us it would be dealt with, eventually at 6.30pm the beds were sorted. The cabin was fine, plenty of storage and clean, but basic. Dining - there are three restaurants, but you can only book to eat out in the French restaurant and the Candles restaurant (that is the only restaurant where you can eat on the deck). The food in all three was good, but not exceptional. The waiting staff were attentive and helpful. Entertainment and activities - The resident band and singer were talented and played a good variety of music, however if you wanted to dance they didn't start playing until 9.30pm which seemed late. We attended the fitness exercise classes at 7am and 5pm with Nathan, who was a lively instructor. We also went to a line-dancing class, that was rather a disaster because of no music and a temporary instructor. Service - though the staff were friendly, it felt that the whole trip was about 'selling' extras, unlike other cruises that we have been on everything was an extra. Drinks were very expensive unless you bought a drinks package! For example - if you wanted to drink wine it was $32 a day per person and with all drinks it was over $50 per day. There is no way that we would we drink that amount each day! The Spa treatments were also very costly and throughout treatments rather than being calm it was all about selling extras, cosmetics etc. Also we weren't aware that a service charge of 15% gets put on automatically everything - your fare, drinks, spa etc. We considered this was completely wrong, other cruise lines suggest what you should 'tip', gives you envelopes for cabin staff and all house keeping and then you can put it in a 'postbox' so that all staff can be included in any disbursements. In the small print when you get your bill they say that staff rely on the service charge money as part of their salary - this is wrong. I have a service business and there is no way would I put a compulsory service charge on my client's invoices. You can if you 'pressure' sign a form to have the service charges removed, which we did. Not having two credit cards registered proved enormously problematic and it took 5 long discussions with reception to try and obtain 2 separate correct bills despite us giving them all the information clearly laid out. It was extremely frustrating. Ports and shore excursions - All the ports were great and it was fun even when we had to use the tender. We did do some of the excursions, again expensive and certainly you could do the same things by going ashore and saving a lot of money. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
I was particularly excited about the evaluations mentioning the uniqueness of the Wind Star ships. Wind Surf is indeed a pretty sailing ship, small yet very comfortable and with 300 guests and 200 crew. Very promising! Stateroom / ... Read More
I was particularly excited about the evaluations mentioning the uniqueness of the Wind Star ships. Wind Surf is indeed a pretty sailing ship, small yet very comfortable and with 300 guests and 200 crew. Very promising! Stateroom / bathroom were very good, comfortable, well designed and with enough cabinets and small storage places to organize your goods. However, the safe is too small. It was generally well kept, but occasionally we found empty water carafes (they do not keep water bottles in the minibar) and used glasses at bed time. Wifi never worked, but at least we were properly refunded. What really bothered me was the lack a lounge to stay protected against the sun and wind in the upper deck with expanded forward and side views. The internal lounges were not comfortable and had no view. The pool area – aft – is too small, with limited view and always packed. In my previous cruises I always enjoyed such a lounge for reading or enjoying a drink with a nice view, specifically when departing, approaching the port or sundown. Outside in the top deck there is a very limited space – or not at all – to enjoy an open shaded area with some protection against the wind. We always had pretty sunny days, but I wonder where to stay in a day at sea in a rainy day. Breakfast and lunch at the Veranda were very nice, a lot of buffet and a la carte options and great service. Dinner had a lot of high and lows: the Amphora - the standard, daily restaurant – was reasonable, but occasionally we found some food – such as the Alfredo pasta – totally tasteless. Candles – the small outside restaurant that must be booked – was the best option, with good main courses and great service (they even provided blankets when it was too chilly). Seafood spear and steak were superb, but the “shrimp and salmon carpaccio” was simply a thin, round smear of paté. The biggest disappointment is the supposedly top French bistro, Stella’s: portions were ridiculously small: the escargot appetizer was small and we got just a few in a big pastry; the scallops were only 4 small ones, smaller and less than any regular seafood restaurant; rack of lamb was small (the rack and the lamb itself). I know one can order more, but it was never offered. I know what a French restaurant is and how small their portions may be (not in a bistro, usually more generous), but Stella was simply ridiculous! The menu also did not reflect what the food was, fancy names and poor food. The espresso and sandwiches bar was nice and a good option for a drink or snack. Entertainment was poor: a small band with a singer also with high and lows, but she really improved during the cruise. No other decent options, on top of 1 evening with a crew show: entertaining and funny, even when they performed poorly! Shore excursions were limited and expensive for what they delivered. Many were cancelled due to lack of attendees. They made daily presentations of the next port of calls in the evening. It would be nice, but they presented the port of the day after, and it was confusing: even the presenter said “tomorrow” when she meant “the day after tomorrow”. Probably they wanted to give some more time for guests to think about and buy packages, but at the end of the day a presentation and a vrief recap of the last one was simply confusing. Services, generically speaking, were great: the waiters and supervisors, reception, tender, and so on. To my great disappointment, the last dinner – survey had been delivered and tips settled – was simply awful: no one paid attention to us, the smiling faces were gone, the beverage steward never showed up and I had to order cocktails to the waiter. After a long, long time they arrived: wrong order and exactly when they served dinner and the bottle of wine I had in storage. Even the waiter we had dearly recommended in the survey could not manage to keep our water glasses filled. Even with the “Ups” we experienced more “Downs”, and it was certainly the worst cruise we experienced. WindStar, never again!   Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment N/A 0.0
Service 3.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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