4 Windstar Wind Surf Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean from Rome (Civitavecchia)

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
Sail Date June 2018
We have sailed Windstar 5 or 6 times in the past and always had a great experience. So when it came to going on a special trip with my Mom the cruise line was an easy choice. I left the cruise itinerary up to Mom to pick. She selected ... Read More
We have sailed Windstar 5 or 6 times in the past and always had a great experience. So when it came to going on a special trip with my Mom the cruise line was an easy choice. I left the cruise itinerary up to Mom to pick. She selected Glitter and Glam of the Riviera. We left from Rome and disembarked in Barcelona, both was very smooth. Great trip! Staff is excellent as is the food. The ports were great; best was Monte Carlo! The ship was Wind Surf their biggest at 310 pax but it wasn't full (sorry Windstar) that week so quite comfortable. It is also the one with elevators which came in very handy since Mom was in a wheelchair. All of the staff is just great but we had exceptional service from Allen and Larry dining room mgrs, Eric, Ruel, Ade, Lilik, Yusef and Nino! Just love Windstar and will cruise with them again... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
BACKGROUND This was my 6th cruise on the Wind Surf, first 3 times were when it was the Club Med 1 (Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Polynesian itineraries). I have also cruised several times on the Wind Star and Wind Spirit, most recently ... Read More
BACKGROUND This was my 6th cruise on the Wind Surf, first 3 times were when it was the Club Med 1 (Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Polynesian itineraries). I have also cruised several times on the Wind Star and Wind Spirit, most recently in Costa Rica. This was also my 3rd time sailing out of Civitavecchia, once on the Club Med 1, later on a (now defunct) Renaissance ship, and now again on the Wind Surf. Although the experiences were similar (all of them GREAT), there were some notable differences. First, the Wind Surf Review that was written by Cruise Critic contributor Jana Jones is very comprehensive and accurate, so I will try not to repeat any of this basic information. I love the Wind Surf, and small ship luxury cruising in general. I cannot imagine enjoying one of those mega-sized cruise ships with thousands of passengers. If you have ever been in St. Thomas when a large ship is in port, and seen the throngs of passengers wandering the streets at 10 AM in the morning, with beers in hand, you may understand my viewpoint. TRAVEL TO THE PORT We chose a Rome-Rome itinerary because of the fantastic price we got from Windstar via the Foremast Club (previous Windstar cruisers), and the reasonable air fare resulting from flying into and out of Rome (no 3-way itinerary). We got a great Delta airfare of $649 out of the Baltimore-Washington airport, connecting through New York. Unfortunately, the trip both ways was a real nightmare, mostly due to routing complications caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Or flight from NY to Rome was delayed 4 hours, then cancelled due to mechanical problems with the plane. We then got on an Alitalia flight to London, which had to turn around and return to NY mid-flight due to another mechanical problem. As a result, we arrived in Rome over 12 hours late, thoroughly exhausted and frazzled. Luckily, we choose to travel with carry-on bags only, which really saved our bacon on more than one occasion. More on that later. One fellow traveler offered this observation about Delta --- DELTA = Doesn't Ever Leave the Airport, or alternatively, DELTA - Don't Expect Luggage to Arrive. In Delta's defense, their customer service staff was overwhelmed by the many schedule disruptions, but did their best to re-schedule flights, and otherwise accommodate their customers. After our return, my wife and I each received a nice letter from Delta, along with 17,500 complimentary frequent flier miles. HOTEL INFO Because we had visited Rome twice before, we chose to go directly to Civitavecchia from the airport. We booked a room at the Hotel Bramante, which I researched via the Travel Advisor website, and Expedia. The hotel arranged ground transportation for us (nice Mercedes van). We previously had travelled to Civitavecchia by means of the train, and since there is a train terminal right at the airport, this would have been very economical and convenient. However, since we actually arrived so late, it was nice to have a driver waiting for us, with a relaxing 45 minute drive to the hotel. The hotel is small, but sparkling clean, and very comfortable. There was a nice continental breakfast, and complimentary shuttle service to the dock. The hotel is not located in a very scenic part of town, so we did no strolling about. Checking in at dockside was a breeze, and we were soon aboard. STATEROOM We were in Cabin # 148, very convenient to the forward elevator and stairs. No surprises there --- the cabin was clean and comfortable. We unpacked, went right up to the Veranda to enjoy some lunch. SHIP INFO Again, no surprises for us. The crew was installing brand-new fitness equipment, and the bar staff was replacing all of the crystal and stemware, so it was obvious that Windstar is serious about maintenance and upkeep. One thing I did notice on this and other cruises on the Wind Surf, is that the sails were never up for more than a few minutes, despite some fairly steady breezes. I am suspecting that this may be due to some sort of mechanical problems, and also because the larger size of the ship compared to its smaller sisters. Last year in Costa Rica, the ship got up to 14 knots on sail power alone. That REALLY got everyone excited! DINING As usual, the food was excellent, without being over the top. We took breakfast and lunch on deck whenever possible, weather permitting. I really enjoyed the fresh-squeezed OJ, ripe melons, and smoked salmon for breakfast, and looked forward to the cold soup of the day at lunch, along with the brad pudding. It was too cool in the evening to eat on deck, so we didn't get to try Candles or Le Marche. There was also no BBQ night, again possibly due to the coolish weather. Highlight of the cruise was having dinner with the captain, along with Fran Bigelow (Guest Lecturer) and her husband. Low spot for me was the coffee --- too strong and bitter (I DO like my Starbucks). Also, in my opinion, the wine list is pretty average. ACTIVITIES There were only 140 passengers on board, so many of the activities were very lightly attended. There was a Wii tournament, which was fun, and also a Blackjack tournament which I missed (I have won several times on previous occasions). CHILDREN'S CLUBS There were no children on board, and I don't ever remember seeing any on a previous Windstar cruise. SERVICE Excellent, as usual. Several staff recognized me from previous cruises, and vice versa. ENTERTAINMENT This is an area where Windstar definitely needs to improve. The Wind Surf almost always has a large combo playing in the main lounge before and after dinner, and a guitarist/vocalist playing in the Compass Rose for Happy Hour, and after dinner. The Phillipino musicians in the combo were skilled, especially the lead singer, who must have watched a lot of Tom Jones videos. But they were extremely laid back, with no spark or energy --- a real snoozefest. In contrast, the Compass Rose had Callen & Joyce, who were outstanding. Callen is a gifted guitarist, and he does his own computerized arrangements, which allows him to sound like a full combo, with bass, drums, keyboards, etc. Joyce is only an average vocalist, but makes up for it with an infectious, sparkly personality. They have an extensive playlist, and do requests as well. They filled the bar up every night, especially when they had a "Name That Tune" contest, with a bottle of champagne as a price. It was so popular they did it again on our last night, to everyone's enjoyment. Another highlight was the Guest Lecturer, Fran Bigelow, who has a gourmet chocolate business based in Seattle, Washington. Her presentation on the history and joys of chocolate was both entertaining and informative. One night she hosted a "tasting" of high-cocoa dark chocolates paired with vintage port. WOW! The rest of the entertainment was dreadful. One night there was a comedy magic act that was really cornball. Another night Mark, the "Cruise Director" performed his cabaret act, which was also mediocre. He has a fine voice and is a polished performer, but the material is mostly show tunes, some of which featured "specialty" lyrics. If you like the Catskills in the '50's, you'd probably like his act. The rest of the cruise, he was almost invisible, which makes one wonder what his role was. The weekly show put on by the staff and crew is OK, but after you've seen it a few times, the novelty of seeing the waiters perform their line dance gets a little old. In general, it seems that Windstar has been trying in recent years to broaden their entertainment offerings, but without much success. For me, I would much rather listen to a good guitarist than watch a second-rate comedian or magician. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS We visited 5 ports --- Porto Vecchio, Corsica; Messina, Sicily; Sorrento, Italy; and the Italian islands of Capri and Ischia. In general, I find many of the shore excursions to be very average and a bit overpriced. In many ports, renting a car and/or hiring a cab will allow you to see the same sights at a lower cost. In Corsica, we took the tour to Bonifacio, which is incredibly scenic, well worth the visit. It's only about a on-hour drive from Porto Vecchio. In Messina, we stayed on the ship, and I didn't hear anyone raving about their time ashore. In Sorrento, my wife took the tour of Herculaneum, near Vesuvius, and greatly enjoyed it --- as the site is much better preserved than Pompeii. In Capri, we visited Anacapri, and took the chair lift to the top of the island, with spectacular views of the Faraglioni rocks below. I was greatly disappointed that when the ship set sail (speaking figuratively) from Capri that evening, it did not sail over by the rocks, which are not only scenic, but have been featured in so many movies. There was plenty of time, since Ischia is only a few miles away --- go figure. Unfortunately, the Blue Grotto was closed due the combination of rough water and high tide. In Ischia, we saw the "La Roca" castle, and visited a small fishing village on the other side of the island --- very scenic. Again, we could have done this very easily by taxi, at much lower cost. DISEMBARKATION AND RETURN HOME We shared ground transportation (another nice Mercedes van) back to Rome with another couple, probably could have done it just as easily and much cheaper via the train. Our flight back home was delayed 9 hours, then was routed North of Iceland, so we could look out the window and see that pesky volcano belching smoke and ash. Arrived in NY around 11 PM, but were able to breeze through Customs and baggage check (no checked luggage), got in the head of the line at the Delta Service Desk. We then lucked out when Delta decided to put us up for the night at the local Doubletree. After 4 hours sleep, and a flight through Atlanta back to Baltimore, we go home just about a full day late. SUMMARY Another GREAT Windstar cruise! Can't wait until the next one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was nice and clean, the staff was really friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar advertised themselves as being "clean and elegant" and we found that they more then met these ... Read More
We were very impressed with the WindSurf. It was nice and clean, the staff was really friendly and the food was excellent. WindStar advertised themselves as being "clean and elegant" and we found that they more then met these expectations. The service in the restaurant and the menu had a wide variety of dishes. Embarkation and debarkation was efficient everything was very well organized and professional. We find that on the smaller ships that you are mostly left to your own devices for entertainment. There are two jacuzzis and a small pool and the two hot tubs in the back of the ship are a nice way to unwind after long days sight-seeing and the jacuzzi were a nice place to interact with your fellow cruisers. But one detraction was that if we wanted to get away and soak up the sun and get away from it all that was a near-impossible possibility. Chair hogs were in full force and sometimes it was hard to find a chair on sea days. In the evening there was a group who played in the lounge but we found the dance floor to compact to really dance properly. If you enjoy gambling or you are a art enthusiast there are casinos and art auctions the ship. The cabins and bathroom provided a nice amount of comfort and found the storage space for the overall Sq Ft. One issue I did have was that the pillows were too small but I just know that next we'll bring our own. The fitness room is in a big all-glass room so it is so beautiful for your workout. Weight machines as well as free weights, cardio machines and mats are all you need. For after your work-out towels and chilled water are available, as well as antiseptic wipes for the equipment. Ports of call were Ischia, Palma, Capri, Amalfi, Ajaccio Livorno and Rome. I never take the group tours and tend to arrange everything trough my travel agent, but this time I decided to organize private ship excursion and tours in Rome with a Tour Company called Easitalytours.com, which was higly reccommended to us from a friend of mine who did some tours with them last year. We did some pre-cruise tours with them in Rome before our cruise, and private tours in Amalfi, visiting Positano and Pompeii, where Antonela gave us a wonderful two-hour tour in the ancient city. Our Driver Philippo was so nice and informative too, and he took us to Chez Black, a water front restaurant in Positano where we tasted some delicious seafood appetizers and a great white wine. In Livorno we met Marco, what a great experience! He was able to take us to see the best of Florence, including the David. Marco was very knowledgeble, and he took such wonderful care of us! The highlight of our trip was indeed the time we spent in Rome with Fabio. This man has a beautiful spirit and his knowledge impressed my husband as well, who studied art history. With his passion Fabio made Rome to come alive to us. We enjoyed our time with him so much that we decided to book him for our post cruise in Rome. He took us in a gorgeous location called Castel Gandolfo, just outside Rome where we had a great wine tasting in a old wine cellar, and there we had also the best meal of the entire trip in a restaurant called "Pagnanelli", which is next the Pope's summer residence overlooking a beautiful lake. You could not ask for better cuisine and scenery! Our guide for the Vatican Julia was a beauty! Her explanations about the Sistine Chapel were quite impressive, she gave us the perfect tour, between precious information and funny anecdotes. Her knowledge, her beautiful Italian accent, and endearing charm made our visit so amazing. My husband and I will have beautiful memories about our cruise and the tours we did in Europe! We traveled throughout the world but we never had such attentive people taking fine care of us in a special and professional way. I definitely recommend Easitalytours.com to all who want to have private tours in Italy. They have brand new Mercedes vehicles and the drivers and tour guides we had spoke all a perfect English. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 3.5 N/A
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities N/A N/A
Service 3.5 4.7
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

Find a Wind Surf Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click