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69 St. Maarten to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

Since this forum helped me decide to travel with Star Clippers, I feel obligated to report on the marvelous experience I have just completed, March 25-April 1 on the Star Flyer, Treasure Islands itinerary, and to counter the mutterings and ... Read More
Since this forum helped me decide to travel with Star Clippers, I feel obligated to report on the marvelous experience I have just completed, March 25-April 1 on the Star Flyer, Treasure Islands itinerary, and to counter the mutterings and nitpicking of some disgruntled previous posters. Most importantly, this is a far different experience than traveling on a behemoth cruise ship with thousands of passengers. Harking to the bygone days of clipper ships, it replicates a much quieter, more intimate, more collegial journey. You get to know your fellow passengers (there were 155 of us, and 70 crew, total) far better, since you see each other frequently. Most are veteran travelers, with stories and advice to generously share, both with previous Star Clippers trips, and with other cruise lines. On my trip they were a pleasant mix of Americans and Europeans (British, German, Swiss, and French), although most nationalities tended to keep to themselves. All shipboard announcements were made in English, German, and French. I traveled solo, and found several other passengers who were as well. This presents no problem at all, as seating at meals and participation in on-ship and on-shore events allow constant mingling; I never felt like a fifth wheel, and was always welcomed to a table or to a social group. I was able to form some delightful friendships. The ship’s entire staff and crew, top to bottom, deserve the highest praise for their unremitting professionalism, courtesy, and efficiency. It must take a special kind of crew to work amidst a bunch of always-in-your-way passengers, asking you questions, but every one of them handled their duties with aplomb and patience, every, every minute. Meriting special commendation is the cruise director, Steffi, who was worth her weight in gold! She was always on top of everything, giving clear information, and exhibiting a wonderful combination of enthusiasm, patience, and efficiency. Captain Yuriy, too, was a welcome, knowledgeable, reassuring presence (and many of us appreciated his early request that we eschew any talk of politics or religion!) Was the rocking a problem? Not really. A few people wore patches or took tablets, but I found that you very easily, very quickly adapt to instinctively shifting your weight to accommodate. Even with a cabin in the aft area, clipper deck (#343), it was not particularly noticeable (although, admittedly, we had calm seas the entire trip). The appearance of the ship was absolutely top-flight at all times, in every single area. The stress on safety was appreciated, and clearly more necessary than on large cruise ships, since we were much closer to the ship’s operation. Safety instructions were reiterated and explicit, as they needed to be. The food was far, far better than we had any right to expect. Absolutely superb. Day after day, night after night we marveled at how the chef and his staff (in that little galley) could continue to produce such wonderful meals. Everything was absolutely delicious and in many ways superior to that of the large cruise ships. The bars, too, were well-stocked and well-tended. The service of everyone was excellent in all respects, from stewards to waiters, to tender operators, to engineers and sail crew, to officers, consistently exhibiting a high standard of quality and exemplary work ethic. My room steward was every bit as attentive and responsive as those on large ships. The tender operators diligently toiled in the hot sun hour after hour to ferry passengers to and from shore, always providing extremely helpful, safe, and efficient service. I was originally apprehensive about using tender service to and from the shore, as all but the initial embarking in St. Maarten and final debarking there was accomplished by tender. But at every moment I felt safe and under careful supervision and attention. Not to worry! I am not a lie-on-the-beach person, and traveled mainly for the experience of enjoying the working of the ship itself and the destinations, so I found these latter, especially in Anguilla and the BVI, to be a little too remote for my taste. In Tortola, we had no chance to visit Road Town, the capital of the BVI, as we were there only one evening, anchored far from the town, in which everything was closed, anyway (which was regrettable). There are very few excursions provided (one or two per port), along with a few sports activities on shore and on the ship. I made my own arrangements for tours on St. Martin and St. Kitts, so I can’t effectively evaluate those provided by the ship. The highlight of each day was the departure, with sails going up and music playing—really stirring, and unlike anything I had experienced before—a time we all looked forward to each day. I found no problem whatsoever with anyone hogging deck lounge chairs as some have mentioned on this board; everyone courteously vacated them, taking their towels, when no longer needed. The aft area under the awning was a refreshing hangout location, but it never became contentious. I found extremely helpful, and would highly recommend viewing, the 360-degree virtual tour of the Star Flyer provided by Star Clippers: http://www.starclippers.com/us-dom/explore-star-clippers/virtual-tours/star-flyer-virtual-tour.html A few quibbles: • The embarkation process in the terminal was too slow, with only the cruise director valiantly trying to handle everything in the embarkation area, and long lines resulting. More help is needed on this. • Even restricted to two areas, it was hard to avoid the smokers. Might Star Clippers give any thought to a smoke-free cruise? Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Although it's been a year+ since we cruised on Sagitta, reading these reviews is bringing back many great memories. We decided to splurge and do something extra special for our 40th anniversary. Neither one of us care for crowds, ... Read More
Although it's been a year+ since we cruised on Sagitta, reading these reviews is bringing back many great memories. We decided to splurge and do something extra special for our 40th anniversary. Neither one of us care for crowds, dressing up for dinner or the general cattle call of the big ship cruising experience. Sagitta is 180 degrees from that. Sagitta's capacity is 24 passengers, and she was not full on the date we sailed. The moment you step aboard in St. Maarten, you are handed a flute of champagne and sit on deck chatting with the crew and passengers and friends. It was a treat to watch hundreds of people pass by on their way back to their huge ships docked behind us and looking with envy at us on Sagitta. We knew she was the right choice for us. Cabins are small but efficiently organized. Plenty of storage room for your t-shirts and shorts and undies, you won't need much more than that. Good water pressure in the shower. Enough counter space and outlets to charge up your devices. Double size bunk on the lower level, single size above. One porthole by the bed, one in the bathroom. Mimi - our amazing everything person - took our passports on Day One and she took them into each island ahead of time to clear us ahead of time. All we had to do was tender in and out from each island at our leisure. To me, that's luxury. We visited St Barths, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla The food was fantastic! Not fancy, just very well prepared and presented. All of the crew were wonderful - I noticed some familiar names in the recent reviews - Stephen and George were with us, and I'm glad to see they are still there. Bamboo and Bernard were members of our crew as well, and they were wonderful - every single one of the crew went out of their way to make it special. Access to go below deck is very steep, and more like a ladder. No grand staircase here, folks. And the access to the tender could be challenging for some. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My wife and I just completed the Windsurf Yachtsman Cruise and it was awesome. First, dress was casual and don't overpack . These are my recommendations and thoughts for anyone taking or thinking about this Cruise. All the stops were ... Read More
My wife and I just completed the Windsurf Yachtsman Cruise and it was awesome. First, dress was casual and don't overpack . These are my recommendations and thoughts for anyone taking or thinking about this Cruise. All the stops were terrific. Antigua, Tortola, Virgin Garda, British Virgin Isles , St. Bart's. Each offered an opportunity to explore on your own or to take excursions. More on that later. My first recommendation when you board is to make a Reservation at Stella's and Candles- for Candle's try to make it last night as you are docked in St. Bart's and view while eating outside is awesome . Next walk around the ship and get familiar with it. The main deck, Amphora restaurant ( excellent ) , the pool, fitness center, reception desk ( Marianne and her co- workers are amazing ). Extremely helpful in everything and always smiling and great disposition. You can pick up daily newspaper, NY Times crossword puzzle, sudoku . Fun stuff. There are plenty of excursions and everyone seemed to enjoy the one's they took. We took only one the 8:30 ( 4 hours) - Jost Van Dyke Catamarran Snorkel and Hiking trip. 5 stars - the owner was our Captain and the whole experience was great ! For $79. Per person it was a real bargain - good snorting, great picture taking and overall perfect experience. Meals- breakfast was buffet or menu ( eggs Benedict , banana pancakes , French toast - all fabulous ---- Lunch - same buffet or off menu - hamburgers, hot dog and grilled chicken were awesome but you had many other choices. Dinner - too many choices to name - all excellent ! Wine list was excellent ! We had a Mossback Pinot Noir and Rutherford Hill Chardonnay all reasonably priced and saved for next meal if you like. Eric was excellent in the Compass Bar and as wine steward in Amphora- very knowledgeable and always had a great smile and it was great having him help us. The sports activities on the back of ship when tendered are great ! Try to take advantage of them if time avails. For exercise there is a fitness center but I walked around deck 11 times ( roughly 2.20 miles) so says Fitbit ! You can order food 24/7 . The beach barbecue was excellent. Fischer Cove had excellent facilities ( wi-fi yeah! ) and food , activities and plenty of chairs to relax. The ship barbecue was excellent. Tremendous preparation done so well. Bring camera to take pictures! You will not believe some of the carvings! Lobster, shrimp and filet were great ! Entertainment on board was fine . There was 2 sets of singers that will keep you occupied if you stay up late. Bed at 9:30 for me . Exhausting fun days ! I really enjoyed the Crew Talent show one night. One of the crew put on the best juggling act with liquor bottles you'll ever see. Also the crew during the barbecue did a fabulous YMCA version which I should post on YouTube. A classic ! The crew was absolutely awesome. So helpful and always smiling and greeting you by name if they recognized you. At 6:45 pm each night Steve ( head of guest services) gives an outstanding presentation of your next day port and excursions. He was excellent along with Jona. I have to give a special shout out to Cecep who took care of our room to perfection and his little towel animals each night. Really nice guy. So if your thinking of this Cruise or taking it enjoy - it really was special and Windstar did there best for us ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
As usual, an excellent sailing experience aboard the Sagitta, with a great itinerary and a comfortable mix of sailing and island visits. It is so nice to be able to work with a crew who are as professional, safety-conscious, attentive, ... Read More
As usual, an excellent sailing experience aboard the Sagitta, with a great itinerary and a comfortable mix of sailing and island visits. It is so nice to be able to work with a crew who are as professional, safety-conscious, attentive, courteous, friendly and helpful as those on the Sagitta. It was truly a pleasure to see old friends again, as well as meeting new members of the team. It is always great to see them all working as one - helping each other with all assignments and always there for the guests as well. Kudos to Captain Patricio and the rest of the crew. The Sagitta is a three masted schooner, with only 24 passengers. Very intimate and comfortable, with excellent service from the crew. Swimming and snorkeling on island beaches or off the ship. Adventurous hikes or lazy days or shopping on a different island every day. The food is delicious - I gain weight on every cruise. This is an annual cruise for me - two back-to-back 12 day cruises - St Maarten to Tortolla and then back to St Maarten. I will be back: already have the same cruises booked for 2018. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open ... Read More
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open seating and you had to make reservations at the other two. The other two were a little better, but wish they would change that policy somehow. I'm not a hospitality manager, so I'm sure there's a reason it's done that way. Some people complained that they were "balcony people" and wouldn't sail again on windstar because of no balconies. Well I don't know why they would have booked this ship in the first place. This is an older crowd and things wind down relatively early. The entertainment somewhat caters to the older crowd (we are in our mid and late 40's and found the entertainment great). This is NOT a cruise for kids or probably even teens. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our third Wind Star cruise on their sailing vessels. My husband were hoping to get much needed rest and relaxation. We went on a back to back. I was surprised on our first week that there were a lot of children. It was the week of ... Read More
This was our third Wind Star cruise on their sailing vessels. My husband were hoping to get much needed rest and relaxation. We went on a back to back. I was surprised on our first week that there were a lot of children. It was the week of Christmas but I had never seen so many unsupervised children on such a small ship. The parents could have done these kids a favor and had them on one of the larger lines with water slides, video games and a large pool. Because the kids had nothing to do and were unsupervised they ran all over and planted themselves in the two whirl pool tubs on the back of the ship and in the very small pool. We had an at sea day for the first leg of the trip and it was beyond horrible as relaxation was no where to be found. The first week of the ship they did not open the back of the ship much. We went off the back one day and it was very rough. They have a blue floating mat and a trampoline that had jumping children on it. The second week was much better. There was not any at sea days, there were less children but the sailing was sold out as was the week before and the ship was crowded. I really regretted my choice for the holidays. I should have went on Oceania as I have done in past years. The chef had a decorated ginger bread house which Oceania does as well. But on Oceania they have lots of different Christmas cookies around the decorations on plates that are kept full of fresh cookies. Not the case on Wind Surf. For both weeks of this back to back on Windsurf dining was consistently frustrating. We arrived on board at a few minutes before three. Embarkation was great and simple. We then asked for the welcome on board buffet and it was closed down. Dinner would be at 7:00 but they have the yacht club that serves cold sandwiches and coffee. What a disappointed. We hadn't eaten because we had been traveling all day and the sandwich choices were fair. I like egg salad but it was served in a pita (Yuk) - the sandwiches are pre-made so there was no choice of bread. I got a tuna salad sandwich that was all bread and very little tuna salad. I would have been better off getting a subway at the airport. Dinner time mediocre at best. I really like fresh fruit and vegetables. The vegetable choices in the main dinning room were frozen broccolli, frozen carrots and peas. They always had a dark green salad with tomatoes that were never ripe and should not have been served. There was always plenty of meats but I am not a big meat eater. I did try the beef wellington but the crust was mush and the meat inside was under cooked. I like medium to medium rare and it was rare. One night I asked for a pasta with marinara sauce which is not on the main dining room menu but is on the room service menu and I was told no I could not get that. I did see other people ordering pasta on different nights but that evening the chef came out and told me it was not possible because it would put them off of their time line. In the evening I like to have a snack but after dinner there is no food service open on board. The Yacht club which has sandwiches and cookies closes at 6:00 pm. So I called room service and asked for a couple of oranges to eat before bed. I was told oranges are only available on the morning room service menu and was not available at that time of the night. Frustration!!! I spent a lot of money on this cruise and was very disappointed by this. Since we were on for two weeks we did have two beach bbq experiences and two evening deck experiences. The food at both of those experiences was very good and I have no complaints. It was disconcerting that at the first week of the beach bbq there were a lot of kids and very few people took advantage of the hand sanitizer. Also I saw people returning to the buffet line with dirty plates. This was also seen at the lunch buffet on board. The one thing I liked about Oceania is that they serve you on the buffet line so you don't have people who don't have sanitary hands touching the buffet. Being we were outside and kids would run up and grab a piece of fruit out of the fruit salad as did some adults I had concerns. I did not get sick and neither did my husband but I was concerned. The second week of the beach bbq someone must of said something because they did have workers serving the food rather than people taking what they wanted and they wore plastic gloves. The first week I suspect there were many cabins with three or more people because at that beach experience it was very difficult to get a chair. Many people put a towel on their chair with a book and then disappeared. At the beach experience they did bring out water toys and the sports team was very busy. My husband and I used to sail a lot in our 30's and he wanted to take one of the hobie cats but the line for that was too long. The second week there were less people and he talked to a woman who was handling the check out. He asked her a few questions and she was somewhat rude but I imagine she was hot and it had been a long day. She briskly told him that they did not teach people to sail. I guess since he asked her about the hobbie cats she assumed he could not sail which was not true. He just walked away and figured it was not going to be a pleasant experience. On the back of the ship there were two men one I believe was named BangBam and they were exceptionally nice and watched over the swimmers. I used to scuba dive when I was younger and I automatically hand signal when I enter the water. To my surprise he hand signaled back. The two men who worked the sports deck were terrific but the girl they had there was not friendly or helpful. The deck BBQ was good. The first night they did not follow the deck BBQ with line dancing but they did the second week. Entertainment for both weeks was lacking. They have a large screen TV by the games and books. Many of the men wanted to see the Rose Bowl game but all that was on the large TV were Wind Star advertisements. A couple of guys were trying to look at a tablet that had the game on it. I dont' think it would have cost much for them to have a movie or a game during the cruise on the large screen. The singers were fine nothing that I cared to sit and listen to for an extended period of time. They do have games but what we found when we went to play them is most are missing pieces. Scrabble was missing 11 tiles. We brought our own games from home and people were circling around us wanting to know about the games and where to get them. I don't mind that there isn't a lot on the ship in the evening because I enjoy relaxing but the movie library is very outdated and the games are old and missing pieces. This is not luxury and I was disappointed that the cruise was touted as a luxury experience. As I mentioned I have traveled on Windstar before when it was owned by Holland America and the management is very different. On the plus side our cabin steward Fauzie was the best we have ever had even better than what we had on Seabourn and Oceania. He did his best. The bed mattress was not good. We were sore every day. When I told Fauzie he put together some makeshift padding. It was no where near as good as beds we have had on Holland America, Oceania, Seabourn or Celebrity. The mattress was like one we had on Carnival. The actual sheets were very soft and of a high quality. I also told Fauzie how upset I was about not being able to get oranges and each night when I came back to the cabin he had a dish of oranges. He was very caring and kept the cabin spotless. Our shoes were lined up and although the carpet was worn he did his best to make the place look great. Waiter service around the ship was variable. We had an excellent server name Udd and then we had some other servers who were also kind but did not understand English very well so if I asked for ice tea with extra lemmon and extra ice I would get an ice tea with no lemon and an extra cup of ice. What I thought was really unforgivable was the higher ranking management on the ship. All the workers seemed to try very hard to please and I thought the were over worked. At dinner one night in the dining room on waitress Ollie was alone in a section with very large tables. That poor woman was running and doing the best she could. There was no one busing her section to pour water. My husband needed some water and she was so busy she could not get to it. There were officers in white uniforms who worked in the dining room who would not pick up a pitcher of water and help serve. The were walking around literally doing nothing while this poor waitress was struggling without assistance. Beside us not getting our drinks and being very thirsty through dinner I asked her for a piece of apple pie for dessert which was available on room service but not on the menu. Ollie said no. Later I grabbed the manager and asked him for the pie and he did get it for me. I did tell him that it appeared they were understaffed and he did admit that indeed this was a very full cruise. The second week the dining room was not as full as it was the week of Christmas. Reservations for the specialty restaurants did not go too well. When we arrived we made our reservations the first week. That whole week we did not receive our invitation so I called. I was told that they did not have them. I made another and when we went up we were not on the list. This happened to several people I spoke to on the cruise. The food in the speciality restarant was better than in the main dinning room but still there was not much in the way of fresh vegetables. They did have brocollini in Candles which was good. The breakfast and the lunch buffets daily were very good. I loved the salad bar each day at lunch. But lunch hours were short and if you left the ship in the morning there was a chance you would miss lunch which was from 12:30 - 2:00 most days. We tended to sleep in so we missed breakfast which ended at 9:00. I really loved it the one day on New Years Day when they did brunch. They had a very good quiche and I was so happy to be able to have fresh fruit and vegetables. I would say if there is a really good price on windstar then it is worth the trip. But don't pay luxury prices or even above average prices or you might be disappointed. We will sail on any major cruise lines and are not disappointed if the price point is ok. We go on Carnival because we love the comedy club and I know not to eat in the dining room and to expect lower quality food and a harder bed. So as long as I am paying an economy price I am ok with it. This was disappointing to me because I expected a higher level of quality than what I got for the money and I feel that I over paid. Even with it being Christmas I don't feel that the dining hours, food quality, the mattress quality and the crowds were what I expected for what is advertised as a luxury experience. We paid about $5400 with taxes and port charges for two people for 15 days and I feel that the trip was worth about $4,000 for two including port charges and taxes - if that. I could have went on Holland America or Celebrity and had a balcony with money left over and it would have been a better experience. At least if there were kids there would have been places to go. We had cabin 211 which is in a good location so if you do decide to take a cruise on Windsurf I would recommend this cabin. Everything in the cabin worked. The carpet was very spotted and looked like it should be cleaned. We did get the laundry service and it was awesome. If you go on Wind Surf I highly recommend paying for the laundry service. You put your dirty clothes in a bag and the next day they are washed and pressed. All of our clothes came out perfect better than at home. We came back to the ship one day and just missed lunch. We asked if we could have room service on the deck so we could eat outside. We were told no that room service was to be eaten in your room. So we ordered to the room and took our food out to a table ourselves. There dining hours are so short that you may have to eat off the room service menu. Room service was pretty fast about 30 minutes. The rooms aren't very comfortable for dining because they do not have a balcony. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the ... Read More
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the better the experience and that puts Windstar at the top of our list. We have been on the 5,000 passenger giants where you are an anonymous part of a city at sea. With 280 passengers and 100 crew, the Windsurf almost feels like you are on a private yacht. Every single crew member treated us like we were the most important people on board and it was wonderful. We are sailors and our favourite curses in the Caribbean are chartering our own yachts. Second to that is the Island Windjammer cruises with real sailing yacht. Our last voyage was 12 passengers and 6 crew on a 90 foot sloop, but that requires a real love of sailing and it is expensive. Windstar cruises are the happy compromise. There is no real sailing sensation on a Windstar other than stirring music when sails are hoisted but the small size of the ship allows anchoring in remote locations that emulates the real sailboat experience. You also trade excitement and danger for luxury and pampering if you go Windstar. Previous Reviews We have never submitted a review before but we disagree so much with a negative review from our cruise that we felt we owed it to the crew of Windsurf to set the record straight. Some specific rebuttals of that review: 1)The dress code for dinner is appropriate and dress code is well documented on the website. 2)The Captain handled the mechanical problems at St Barths admirably. Windstar chartered us a high speed ferry for us so we still got to do St Barts and the company gave us a generous cruise credit to compensate. 3) Our dock in St Maarten was fine and only 100 yards from the regular dock and no one cares what dock you are on. 4) Criticisms of the band were unwarranted. I am a musician and to my professionally tuned ear this was clearly in the top 1% of bands I have ever heard. 5) Criticisms of the tenders were unwarranted. These are the universal lifeboats used on every ship in the world as tenders 6) When other reviews are so overwhelmingly positive this tells you something. OUR REVIEW The Ship Well designed and meticulously cared for, it motors well and sails well. Despite its large size there are so few passengers that there are always lots of places to sit either inside or on deck. We have been on real windjammers and this was ultra luxury in comparison. The water ballast system means the ship sails level even in heavy weather. Bad news for real sailors but a delight for landlubbers. Fake sailing at its best. The Staterooms Small but who cares. We never had time to do anything but sleep in them. The lack of balconies is not an issue because there are so many private sitting areas on the various outside decks. Cleverly designed and visually appealing, the highlight is the full size shower which is far superior to the tubes in the large cruise ships. The Crew Many nationalities but as on all ships mostly Philippine. Every single crew member gave us a full smile and the red carpet treatment and many gave us extra service. The treatment of crew by the officers is exemplary and it was clear this ship was a happy environment. Food Without doubt the best we have ever eaten, and came close to gourmet quality. Despite hours of exercise every day I came home ten pounds heavier. The freedom to sit anywhere is great. We constantly sat with different people and got to know many of the passengers. The Ambience We cannot stress how different the ambiance is from a large ship. The windsurf is like the theme song to Cheers where everyone knows your name. It didn't matter who was beside you passenger or crew, friendly conversation and courteous behaviour was everywhere. We felt part of a community. Ports of Call The Classic itinerary is one of the best in the Caribbean visiting St Marten, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Antigua, St Lucia, Guadaloupe, St Kitts and St Parts. In vacation lingo these are upscale islands with unique features. Most importantly, you are not going ashore at the main dock with thousands of other ants all fighting for position. The Windstar boats mostly anchor offshore and you are tendered in in small groups. We never felt like we were standing in line for anything. Tours We have done these islands and seen the highlights before so we either stayed on board and enjoyed the water sports or just did hunted for a beach. Caribbean tours are largely a waste of money. Most of the things you can do yourself or are overpriced, but if you have a herd mentality and a fat wallet they are okay. Our only tour was zip lining. It was overpriced and the zip lines too short but we got to cross zip lining off our bucket list. On the other hand every free, mostly deserted beach we frequented was a 5 star day. Nothing compares with being plucked onto a private beach. Entertainment We completely lucked out. A new band started the week of our cruise as noted above. They were most impressive and we ended up spending 4 hours a night listening to them. Name of the band is Stage Direction. They are Philippine and have been together for 18 years and spent the last 8 years on Norwegian Cruise Lines on the big ships. Except for requests they never repeated a song the whole voyage. The lead singer should by rights be on America's got talent. She did Whitney Houston, Adele, Pat Benetar and Shania Twain hits as good as the originals and got frequent standing ovations. The lead guitarist could hold his own with Jimmi Hendrix doing riffs and even gave us the Chuck Berry walk. Last night was Beatles tribute and they did credible renditions. I believe if they had work permits in the USA they would be opening acts for the stars. The music on this trip was a true delight. They are only booked until May. Hope you get to hear them. Value for Money and Overall Comment Windstar vacations are pricier than the run of the mill cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian etc,, but you get so much more enjoyment. If you want pampering go to Regent. If you want a great vacation that maximizes sun, wind, water and sand and goes off the beaten path then Windstar is your dream vacation. We will probably alternate Windstar with real sailboats on future Caribbean vacations. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a ... Read More
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a total makeover. When we were to board, embarkation was not at its usual dock but more of an industrial dock so check in was chaotic and very long. We sat here until 11:00 pm, sailing was to be at 7:00 pm but divers were underneath the ship repairing a part. Not a good start! We were told by a Wind Star cruise reservations agent that we could snorkel off the sports platform from the Ship since the ship is smaller 310 passengers, so that was a big selling point for us. This was not true as the ship would anchor at a 100 feet or more and snorkeling off the sports platform was not allowed anyway. We were also told no shorts in the main dining room the Amphora and no flip flops of any kind in the lounge in the evenings. We were not informed of this when purchasing the cruise or is not stated in any of the brochures or on the Wind Star web site. I advised the onboard Customer Service Manager of this and she informed me it is stated on the website, but not so.When sailing to the different islands we always tendered in, which we knew we would some of the times but every single time aboard old hot tenders. More like tin sweat boxes. The first day we stood in the hall with a line of people and waited an hour as only one tender was running. On day 7 the captain made an announcement that we would not be going to St Barts our last port because they had scheduled a time to finish the repair that was started on embarkation day so now our 9 day cruise that we paid for was an 8 day. I believe that Wind Star knew about this when we departed on day 1. We asked for a refund for the one night but our request was denied. The passengers stayed aboard the ship sitting at the pier in St. Maartin not what we signed up or paid for. We disembarked and went to a hotel. Very disappointing and not at all what was expected for the money we paid which is quite a bit more than other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Last year we sailed on the Sagitta and had such a good time we had to book again. We loved the casual, relaxed atmosphere. Unlike the big ships, everything is small and more personal. You will know the crew and guests by first name within ... Read More
Last year we sailed on the Sagitta and had such a good time we had to book again. We loved the casual, relaxed atmosphere. Unlike the big ships, everything is small and more personal. You will know the crew and guests by first name within a day or two. We didn't expect to see several of the same crew members. I think it says something very positive about a company to see employees stay for long periods of time. Once again, we were completely impressed by the entire crew, each one working tirelessly to ensure we all had a perfect week. Leah did a great job of providing information, offering suggestions, and setting up activities in each port. Matt, our Captain shared his extensive knowledge of all of the islands and was always ready to assist wherever needed. If you are lucky enough to sail with King, you will get to enjoy his comedy show- a highlight of each of our trips. The Sagitta is a very comfortable ship, with enough room to move around to find a quiet place for relaxation or for joining the conversation wherever a few people gather. The cabins may look small in photos, but they are very thoughtfully laid out with plenty of storage. The bathrooms are larger than you expect. The stewards do a great job of keeping everything spotlessly clean. Food on these trips has been excellent. We had George as out chef both weeks. This week we got to meet the new crew member, Erman who did beautiful food carvings and baked wonderful pastries. There is no lack of opportunity to overeat on this trip. I especially love the days they serve West Indian cuisine. We enjoyed meeting the other travelers and will remain friends with several. A few tips: take extra sunscreen and less of everything else. Take soft sided luggage. When the crew offers advice on what to see or where to visit, listen, they know these islands well. Whenever they offer to set up transport let them. They hire excellent, reliable transportation at fair prices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We had teenagers on the trip and thought some of the activities would be enjoyable. Once on board the ship and located in our cabin things were going well. We then went to our first meal and it was a disaster. The crowds were overwhelming ... Read More
We had teenagers on the trip and thought some of the activities would be enjoyable. Once on board the ship and located in our cabin things were going well. We then went to our first meal and it was a disaster. The crowds were overwhelming and seats to eat were hard to find in the dining room. The food was not tasty and the desserts were extremely dry and tasteless. The main shows were booked up on the first day so we were unable to attend. The sales on the ship are a scam. They had a 75% off sale on watches. I bought a watch that showed an original price of over $700. I bought it for $150. When I got home I looked on amazon and found the identical watch and model number on sale for $79. I feel this is fraud and should be reported to appropriate authorities. Since the cruise ship is not based in the US, I doubt there is much I can do but report this kind of activity on sites such as yours. The ship had too many people in reference to the facilities on board. The pool was so crowded that you had to try to pick some off hours to get in the pool. All in all a crowded, congested experience, with tasteless food, and included being ripped off in their watch sale. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from ... Read More
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from St. Maarten to St. Lucia and return at a relaxing 12 knots with her sails billowing. Accommodations, food and service were all excellent. Shore excursions were typical for the Caribbean except for the Frigate bird sanctuary on Barbuda, the only place where nesting birds can be seen up close. Credit must be given to the captain for his timing and navigation when leaving St. Lucia, to catch the setting sun shadow of the Surf with her sails against the Pitons. However, be prepared to spend some time walking from the cruise port gates to the ships mooring. On disembarking, our group, catching an early flight, had to carry our own luggage from the ship to the port entrance, which was the low point of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My girlfriend and I just returned from an incredibly enjoyable and relaxing vacation aboard Island Windjammers' Sagitta Motorsailer. From initial questions about booking the trip until stepping off the vessel at the end of the ... Read More
My girlfriend and I just returned from an incredibly enjoyable and relaxing vacation aboard Island Windjammers' Sagitta Motorsailer. From initial questions about booking the trip until stepping off the vessel at the end of the vacation everyone at Island Windjammers was courteous, service-oriented, friendly and wanted to make sure we had a great experience. Our trip took us from St. Maarten to St. Barths, Nevis, St. Kitts and Anguilla. While the weather was initially a bit unfriendly with some wind, rain and rolling seas (but who can control the weather?), the Sagitta crew was always smiling and helpful and went the extra mile to ensure we had a safe, happy and memorable vacation. The ship was always spotless and cabins were very roomy for a small vessel. The daily snacks and food at every meal were delicious. The shore excursions were interesting and well-planned. When Sagitta was in port one could go ashore to explore or stay aboard and just relax or swim, snorkel, float or swing from the mast rope. This was my girlfriend's first sailing/cruise experience and she loved it so much we are already talking about another booking. It was my sixth vacation of this type (four windjammers and two ocean liners). Island Windjammers is without question the best choice for those who prefer smaller groups and the opportunity to relax, explore, and learn about "the real Caribbean" with others who have similar vacation interests. The quality,service and atmosphere are exceptional. Suggestions for interested parties: - Try to schedule week day flights. Island airports are very, very busy on weekends. Long line and delays are the norm. Having a couple of days at the beginning and end of the sailing trip will simplify your vacation. - Visit the Island Windjammer website. It is very informative and will tell you all you need to know about their vacations. - Pack light - all you need are shorts, T-shirts, swimwear, flip-flops for the beach (go barefoot aboard ship) and comfortable shoes if you do a hiking excursion. A light jacket may be handy as windy nights can be cool. Thanks to Captain Steffen and all his crew we had a fantastic vacation aboard Sagitta and look forward to another Island Windjammers vacation very soon. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I wasn't sure if I would be any good on a sailing ship but wanted to see the smaller island in the Virgin Islands...I was thrilled by how well appointed Star Clipper is....It's a newish ship built in a style one used to see in ... Read More
I wasn't sure if I would be any good on a sailing ship but wanted to see the smaller island in the Virgin Islands...I was thrilled by how well appointed Star Clipper is....It's a newish ship built in a style one used to see in films....Wonderful amenities when it came to dining, cocktail hours, two pools, comfortable cabins was a surprise yet basic. The variety and quality of food was amazing partly because unlike mega ships the Clipper food is cooked fresh for each meal, Whole Turkey, Lobster, Suckling Pig, Aso Buco, fresh veg and amazing deserts. Wine was amazingling cheap by comparison. The crew quickly became more good friends than crew and because it only holds 180 you get to meet so many others in the open seating plan. Everyday a different island, excersions or just fabulous beach days...mostly taken ashore by tender and there was a Sport crew who took all the toys ashore for you to play with. Casual all day and evenings were less formal but guys should wear long pants and short sleeve shirt or similar but some ladies did it all and looked fabulous....that's what its about....you do your thing and everybody loves it. There internet...can you beleive $6. an hour. Wine starts at $15. and a good bottle might be $35. Endless cocktail choices expertly made at the Tropical Bar on the open deck or in the Piano Bar and what a talented guy on the synthasizer. This is the first of more than 30 cruises where I felt posessive about the ship and didn't want to leave the crew and all...its great to know I can go back....I'm not a kid but nobody cared that it took me a bit longer on the stairs. I must add...we had two wonderful little girls on the ship...so sweet and sadly we mostly thought it was not a ship for children....there's nothing for them to do. Kids need to run, jump, twirl, hop, kick, spin and bounce all over so when the ship is doing the same thing and thee are so many stairs and obsticals we feared something would happen and finally one of the little girls when dashing off along and went head first down the stairs and we had to turn the ship around and rush her to hospital in St. Kitts. She was kept in but magically re-appeared the last night to all our applause. We were returned to St. Martin where we began, and our luggage was already ashore and waiting for us...Sad to say good-by...so I said..."I'll be back". Next time I expect to see the ghosts of Bette Davis and Peter Lorrie sipping a cocktail on deck ... it just that sort of great experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had ... Read More
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had elevators. We chose the Yachtsman's itinerary because it was the least likely to experience any roughness. I can report that we only had one evening with slight rolling for a few hours. My mother, who can be prone to sea sickness did just fine! Pre-cruise we stay at Alicia's Inn in Philipsburg for one night. Based on price and only a one night stay, it was fine. Friday evening we ate at Toloula Mangos and Saturday's breakfast was at Barefoot Restaurant. Both had lovely views of the harbor. The breakfast at Barefoot was especially good and reasonably priced. Tip for any future cruisers. Just a short walk will take you to Caribbean Liquors & Tobacco, located at 8 W.G. Buncamper Road, Philipsburg, St.Maarten. Not an extensive selection, but what they did have was nice and very reasonably priced. We purchased five bottles to take on board with us. Boarding Time!!! The port area is just a short taxi ride. Checked in our luggage, wandered the shops, then caught a cart to carry us to the ship. Embarkation was as efficient and easy as expected and before we knew it we were shown to our cabin. Luggage hadn't arrived yet so we took a quick walk around the ship and made our way up to the Veranda for lunch. By the time we made our way back to our cabin the luggage had arrived. Our cabin was clean and comfortable. While I prefer the cabin design of the Wind Star/Spirit, it was very functional with more than sufficient storage space. Bedding was luxurious and the bed very comfortable. Always love the l'Occitane bath products. Our cabin attendant, Dian, was attentive and the best we have ever had on any cruise. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the dining and selections offered. The dishes that didn't totally please were few and far between. In addition to the usual selections, one night there was an Indonesian entree and on another an Indian entree (Biryani). The Biryani was especially good and spicy!! We also dined in Stella Bistro and Candles. Again, both venues were great. While the beach BBQ was fine, the deck BBQ was especially good on this cruise. The daily selections for both breakfast and lunch in the Veranda were varied and fresh. If we had any complaint about the food, for some reason the deserts did not seem as good as we've previously experienced. Not bad - just not as good. The service, overall, was exemplary. The Veranda staff took my mother under their wing and treated her like royalty. This made the trip very special for her. I'd like to give a shout to Nova and Esther for their remarkable attention to my mom. Our cabin attendant Dian was also the best. The only Windstar excursion we participated in was the St. Bart's snorkel. The snorkeling was not very good, but the catamaran ride was great! So no complaint. Disembarkation was too quick and easy - we stayed aboard as long as we could. From there we took a taxi and spent the day at Mary's Boon Resort which is just a short taxi drive from the airport. Had a lovely lunch on the beach while trying to figure out if and when we would be able to get home - we were dealing with the East Coast snowstorm. In summary, we had a fantastic cruise! We were a little worried after our less-than-stellar cruise aboard the Legend last June - but Windstar came through with flying colors!!!!! This cruise showcased the Windstar experience we have come to know and love. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I took the Christmas 2015 voyage on Star Clipper through the leeward West Indies islands (St Maarten to St. Maarten) as a single traveler. There was no single supplement, which was a bonus. I’ve been a long time Windstar cruiser for over ... Read More
I took the Christmas 2015 voyage on Star Clipper through the leeward West Indies islands (St Maarten to St. Maarten) as a single traveler. There was no single supplement, which was a bonus. I’ve been a long time Windstar cruiser for over 20 years and, in my experience, the only difference between the two is that Clipper will give you a more authentic sailing, if that’s what you’re looking for. As someone who has lots of sailing experience, I have no problems with rocking and rolling but if you have a queasy stomach and easily prone to seasickness, you should be prepared for it, especially while sleeping and using the head. I found the passenger demographics between the typical Windstar passenger types very similar to that of Clipper (couples in their 40s -70s). There were more teens on this cruise, mostly due to the fact that it was over Christmas. Here’s my key dislikes about Star Clipper: -There’s no exercise room and no exercise equipment. If you want to workout while aboard, you’re hosed. Plan to go on excursions that require you to get a workout. Oh yes,they do post a daily workout in the center of the ship but just try stretching and exercising while the ship is listing steadily from side to side! -You can’t get your meals –or anything—delivered to cabin. And, you can’t eat your meals at the ship’s bar. This is a problem if you happen to be single, or even a couple, and simply don’t want to mix with others on any given night. -The ship’s pursars were very snarky and not helpful. Also, you can’t buy anything practical in the ship’s store, i.e, sunglasses, last minute toiletries, etc. They also keep the fact that they offer movies on CDs a secret. -While the ship’s cruise director is very knowledgeable about maritime history, he doesn’t provide much useful info on the islands prior to embarking if you want to go it alone outside of the excursions. He typically mentions just one thing (“take a walk to the fort”) if you are on your own. Be sure to Google the island to make your own way. -If you scuba dive like me, you won’t be able to aboard Clipper. They stopped it, however, they still have tanks aboard the boat. -The ship’s water sports equipment is dated and worn out. Also, I found the sports staff incredibly unfriendly and nonchalant about safety issues. -The food is simply “ok” but not great or anywhere near inspired. You won’t find anything out of the ordinary here. -Clipper glorifies the days of sailing yore (they say you’re welcome to help the crew with hoisting lines, etc., but don’t believe it. Its only hype.) and really plays this theme up as part of their brand. Problem is those days are in fact over and most people can’t really relate to them anymore. I kept thinking that they have a far better opportunity to provide some education on the importance of preserving ocean life, something that better resonates with today’s customer. -The interiors, especially the dining room, looks like a Red Lobster restaurant only with linen. It's a dated look and should be updated without losing its sea faring branding. -The house staff, with the exception of the bartenders and head waiter, seem relatively unfriendly and not happy. Some bad attitudes. -Entertainment. I don’t go on cruises for the entertainment but keyboardist Charlie from Budapest will have you craving for Weird Al Yankovitch before the end of the cruise. They also put on a “Talent Contest,” which is really cheesy and should be retired. Its downright painful to watch the crew be forced to perform. What I liked: -No single supplements -Low alcohol prices. Cocktails were $6; wine was $3. -Ship exteriors—and cabin interiors-- were kept clean and well maintained. I didn’t notice a speck of rust on her decks. Clipper clearly takes pride in her fleet. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you ... Read More
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you need for your enjoyment, but without redundancy. Unlike the large ships, the WindSurf started from St. Maarten, so each day brought a new island -- there were no dead days at sea. Accordingly, there was no need for on-board entertainment like a rock climbing wall or zipline. The cruise was all about the islands and the people that you met on board. My wife and I went for our 20th anniversary, and we had a terrific time. CABINS: Very comfortable. Well appointed and with more than enough room for two. It was good to have the stocked fridge with soft drinks and ample water. I did not feel nickel and dimed every time I reached for a soda. The only thing missing was a balcony, but it was fine without one. DINING: Excellent food. One the large ships, lavish buffets or other foodstuffs are available 24/7. Not on this ship. You ate during dining hours, maybe picked up a cookie, sweet, or sandwich from the Yacht Club at odd hours, or ordered from room service. Popcorn is available from room service for those nights you decide to get a DVD from their library. Steak at Candles was surprisingly tasty -- I love my steaks, and while filet mignon looked a little thin, it was delicious! The main dining room was very good, with some basics (steak, salmon, chicken), and a rotating menu of other entrees. Stella Bistro was also fine, but I was a bit distracted during dinner there. We had two bbq blow-out meals -- one on pidgeon island, and the other on board. These guys know what they're doing with a grill indeed! Also, a shout out to the special Indian cuisine option one night. Absolutely lovely. MARINA: The stern opens up when the ship anchors at port. It's a great way to spend an afternoon, and you end up meeting other like minded active passengers there. It's one of the best features of the ship, where you can always spend a few hours in the water, whether bouncing on one of the floating mats, or taking out a small sailing catamaran. Only disappointment was that we did not get a chance to waterski or wakeboard. Not sure why it never happened - we were given different reasons. PASSENGERS: With less than 300 passengers on this cruise, we felt that we had met or seen everyone else on the ship at one time or another. Everyone was friendly, and one of the great pleasures was the shared experiences that we had with the other passengers. You cannot imagine how easy it was to make friends on this cruise, as opposed to the big ships where the masses can be overwhelming. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and ... Read More
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and we arrived in St. Maarten early afternoon. The customs check took a while but went fine. We grabbed a cab and took a leisurely ride to the Holland House in Phillipsburg. We checked in and grabbed quick nap – later that evening we visited the bar and had a few drink and appetizers as our dinner. Departure day I got up early, ran the beach boardwalk for a few laps, and found a way to walk to the ship – yes it was there. We had a great breakfast, around noon checked out, and started our walk to the pier (this was a mistake) – the security folks were nice enough to point us to the Windstar luggage check tent (we found no signage) and we checked our bags and headed toward the ship. We passed though security check on the dock and within minutes, we had our room keys, beverage package and headed to our room. We dropped off the things we were still carrying and headed to the Veranda for some lunch. In spite of some of the reviews and comments on CC about the Veranda lunch, I found it to be more than adequate on departure day as well as for breakfast and lunch every other day – the chefs and the wait staff did a great job. If you wanted something made all you had to do was ask. Dining - The first night we ate our dinner in the Amphora. We walked up and asked for a table for two and within seconds, we were there. The Amphora has a comprehensive menu offering and we ate there three times on our cruise. We found the food, and service to be outstanding. The wait staff had some of the same crew members we had met in the Veranda so they already knew us the first night including our drink choices. Very personal service and we liked the familiarity. We were fortunate to be able to eat in the Stella Bistro twice during our cruise as the experience there was a couple of notches better than Amphora – the food, service was outstanding, and on our second night we invite a new friend we had made on the trip. We all had a great time. The other two nights for dinner, we had the ship wide deck barbecue. We secured a table outside the Compass Rose (one of the aft bars) and had a very good time eating under the stars. There was a wide choice of food including lobster tail, shrimp, snow crab claws, sucking pig, grilled pork, flat iron steaks, and a multitude of salads and veg. We saved the Candles experience for the last night anchored at St. Barts – we ate within the Veranda area on the upper deck because the weather was threatening. It did not detract from the experience and the great food and service. Beverage Package – worked well for us, probably drank too much. We found everything offered in the package was of good quality and very drinkable with the exception of the 187ml Cava, it was just terrible. Laundry package – a must have. We packed light and only one regulation carry-on bag each and did not run out of clothes and went home with most of them clean. Overall – AWESOME Trip, we will sail on the Wind Surf again. We had read it was like being on a private yacht and I can tell you that was our exact experience. The crew did an OUTSTANDING job and are the real driver behind the experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We went on this cruise with several people following our favorite Troprock singer. Our group had 71 people in it. That part we enjoyed immensely. The Captain and crew were friendly, except for the European gal at the customer desk ... Read More
We went on this cruise with several people following our favorite Troprock singer. Our group had 71 people in it. That part we enjoyed immensely. The Captain and crew were friendly, except for the European gal at the customer desk (of all places). The boat has newer carpet and such, but is still somewhat tired. Our cabin was mildew smelling, and had veneer off several doors and pieces of furniture. It was apparent they had varnished over the damaged areas at the last refurbishing. also, the carpet and upholstery had several stains on it that Resolve could have removed. The bars never opened on time, usually 45-60 minutes late ( I guess they save money on the booze that way). Selection of wine and champagne was very limited. The buffets at breakfast and lunch were pretty good, and the shore BBQ was very good. However the dinners were mediocre at best. The first night I had a tough and strange tasting "top Sirloin strip with a slimy oil coating. Another night the Prime rib was cut so thin it was almost a slice of luncheon meat. No Lobster night, nor Crab, nor Grouper. The information said they use local fish. Well Salmon is not native to the Caribbean. I have had better food on 2900 passenger Carnival ships. My bet is the chef will not be on this boat very long, They tried to force mediocre Pinot Noir on us five of the seven nights, and when I asked for a different red selection, they fought bringing it. We struggled to get the right items in our fridge in our cabin also. I could not get through to them to not put cheap Budweiser and Miller beers in it. I finally got a couple of Beck's and Heinekens. I did like the itinerary of small Caribbean ports, but that didn't make up for the other mediocrities. The show thew crew performed for us on the next to last night was very good, with a several people who could really sing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
As we sit here in St. Maarten having breakfast overlooking the Caribbean at the Royal Passanggrahan guest house, we are reflecting on the fabulous time we had aboard Sagitta, already missing the warm smiles of the crew and the new found ... Read More
As we sit here in St. Maarten having breakfast overlooking the Caribbean at the Royal Passanggrahan guest house, we are reflecting on the fabulous time we had aboard Sagitta, already missing the warm smiles of the crew and the new found friendships made throughout the week. It was the perfect vacation for people like us - casual, intimate, and relaxing. Lots of sailing and beach time on islands with breathtaking views, shared with people from diverse backgrounds but with the same down-to-earth love of simple beauty and a spirit for adventure. Our cabin was very comfortable and seemed to magically return to its pristine state before noon each day. We loved getting to know the crew and captain who were always willing to have a chat while confidently and quietly attending to the ship and its other passengers. Everything was very clean and well maintained. The food was very fresh and plentiful and too good to say no to, even when our bellies protested that enough was enough. Each island visited had something for everyone and Island Windjammers provides the flexibility to accommodate most tastes, whether it's sunning on picture perfect beaches on Anguilla, beach bar hopping on St. Kitts, snorkeling in crystal clear waters off St. Barth, or strolling in the lovely botanical gardens on Nevis. This is not a big cruise ship experience and we love the intimacy and personalized service of being on a smaller vessel that provides the true feel of sailing as if you were on your own private yacht. And given the small number of passengers, we got the bonus of making some wonderful new friends we hope to meet again for future adventures. We love you, Island Windjammers! See you again next year when we can sail on your newest vessel, Vela! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We went with a group of 60 or so. Vast majority were first timers with the exception of our travel agent, her assistant and their husbands. The ship was just great. Beautiful and nostalgic. The staff overall did a good job. Igor, the main ... Read More
We went with a group of 60 or so. Vast majority were first timers with the exception of our travel agent, her assistant and their husbands. The ship was just great. Beautiful and nostalgic. The staff overall did a good job. Igor, the main bartender was just great. Slybert, also did a great job. Room stewards did a great job as well. We especially liked that you could order a bottle of wine, and if you did not finish it, they would tag it and you could finish it the next night. I thought that was very innovative in lieu of a beverage package, gave you more options than only ordering house wines and cut down on the waste. Weather, good or marginal, was what it was and gave you the romance of the high seas. The activities were ample and diverse both on the ship and off. At meals, our people were segregated to one side of the dining room. Talk about squashing that aura of meeting other travelers. The only problem was that food poisoning afflicted a number of our group. After just a couple of days in, the first cases started and rippled through our group; eventually taking probably more than 20%, even on their way home. It was not the flu and not motion sickness. You could never pinpoint where you contracted it. But, trying to be fair, we just felt we contracted it on ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This company thinks it's like the old Windjammer Barefoot cruises but falls short in a lot of ways. The service was okay but the crew didn't go the extra mile when it comes to customers needs coming first. I stayed for two weeks ... Read More
This company thinks it's like the old Windjammer Barefoot cruises but falls short in a lot of ways. The service was okay but the crew didn't go the extra mile when it comes to customers needs coming first. I stayed for two weeks which was a mistake. I knew I would be on my own for the Saturday night I was to stay on the ship. Not one of the crew ever asked if I needed anything and no one ever offered me a cup of coffee or a piece of toast. I was totally ignored as if I didn't exist there. For what I paid for the total vacation I should have been offered a coke, snack, or a free tee shirt for staying over for two weeks. Nothing was offered. The only person who was friendly and accommodating was Eric, a white man from California. He made it a point to visit with the guests and get to know everyone, he made the trip interesting.  The food was good but served cold. Unfortunately it was terribly windy but that didn't stop the crew from serving lunch and dinner on the back of the ship. The lettuce was flying off the tables, glasses were tipping over, food was cold and I complained but they still served the meals back there. You would think that customers come first and their comfort but, no, that didn't happen. I had to take my food downstairs to eat while some of it was still warm. In Anguilla if you wanted to go to the famous Shoul Beach there was a charge. Lunch was warm chicken wraps and some oranges in a cooler that wasn't cooled. This should have been included in the cruise. I booked a shared cabin and had a roommate. The second week there was an empty cabin. They should have offered one of us the other empty cabin so we could have some privacy but no one said anything. Other passengers who've never been on a boat like this might think it was excellent but it really needs some big changes. I won't take another vacation with this company, they failed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I'm not much for cruise ships that can carry thousands, so when I booked Windstar's cruise I was hoping for a casual vibe, less of a crowd, and good service, with nice ports of call and decent food. Our on-board experience was ... Read More
I'm not much for cruise ships that can carry thousands, so when I booked Windstar's cruise I was hoping for a casual vibe, less of a crowd, and good service, with nice ports of call and decent food. Our on-board experience was terrific all-around, and we will certainly consider them the next time a cruise vacation calls. It's nice that the sails can propel the boat from port to port, and certainly makes for a prettier boat than one of those floating cities. The Veranda breakfast restaurant also doubles as the Candles dinner spot. Loved that place for both the first and last meal of the day. The staff was friendly and attentive--we have nothing but thumbs up when it comes to them. Seriously, beyond wonderful. We had the best massages of our lives on this ship, and that's saying something since we go often at home. If I had a negative, it was the pre-booking experience. Forget getting an answer to any emails. If you want to get info, you must call up and speak to someone on the phone. I had a total of zero responses to 4 different email questions at different times. They need more staff at the home office for that, and also to ensure that your wait time on the phone is not forever! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was the third time we have sailed on the Wind Surf and it proved to be every bit as good as we remembered and maybe even a bit better. This was the first time in the Caribbean on the Wind Surf and we boarded in St. Maarten. We got in ... Read More
This was the third time we have sailed on the Wind Surf and it proved to be every bit as good as we remembered and maybe even a bit better. This was the first time in the Caribbean on the Wind Surf and we boarded in St. Maarten. We got in two days early to avoid any chance of winter weather in the Northeast stopping us from arriving on time. We stayed at the Holland House in Phillipsburg and that was a good choice as it had a beach and we could actually see our ship (along with other ships) as it pulled in. It was a quick $10 ride to the dock but you could actually walk there or take a ferry. We arrived about 2 PM and as always, they made embarkation a breeze. We dropped off our carry on bags and then headed towards the Veranda for lunch. Two servers recognized us from a cruise 1 1/2 years earlier. Thus started the cruise that makes the experience better than being on a big ship. Every single staff member made us feel that they really wanted us to have a wonderful experience. The other couple traveling with us was on their first WindStar cruise and they felt the same way so it was not just due to our being repeat customers. I did later learn that nearly the half of cruisers were repeat customers. Our room was as advertised, small with two portholes but very well organized. There was tons of room to store every thing we brought and our bags were in the room when we returned from lunch. We met our room steward and he said just leave a note for anything we wanted. We only saw him once during the week but he kept the room very clean and delivered an extra set of wine glasses when requested. We appreciated his service. We never used room service as there really is not an appropriate seating area to even have breakfast. We have begun to take the lowest cost room as they all are the same size but cost changes as related to position on the ship. The suites are actually two rooms but we did not feel the need to spend the extra dollars as our goal was to get out of the room and enjoy the sun on the decks of the ship. I am going to throw something in here that maybe corporate could work on. I do not feel that WindStar rewards loyalty. I actually called corporate headquarters to ask about a complimentary upgrade that they say they offer for past guests. The guy said there really were none as the ship was pretty much full but that was not actually the case as the ship sailed with well under 300 passengers. The request might have been complicated by the fact that we had adjoining cabins. Also, aside from a cocktail party for returning guests there really was nothing. How about some perks? Other lines offer things like free laundry or wifi. At any rate, muster was handled very efficiently and professionally and it made us feel that the crew was well equipped to handle any emergency. The crew is where I really saw a bit of a difference. They seem driven to perform at the highest level. It was almost like they want to be known as the most efficient and pleasant staff in the industry and on this cruise, they were. The best example is when on the night of the deck barbecue a storm kicked up about a half hour before the start. The crew quickly moved everything inside, had the grills under cover and made it a terrific experience. It was truly wonderful even though we could not be under the stars. This captain, by the way, is the friendliest and most personable captain I have ever encountered on over a dozen cruises. He is a real delight and it should be noted that public announcements were minimal. His fellow officers seem to reflect his enthusiasm and they all proved to be wonderful during the week. An example was when the announced galley tour filled to capacity, the head chef offered another one and even gave individual tours to two late arriving couples. In every way, he showed pride in his job, his staff and the food throughout the week was uniformly good to excellent. Even though the ship is small they have three dinner options and they all were wonderful. Candles serves grilled fare and a veal chop I had there was truly memorable. The other two dining rooms were beautiful and had wonderful food and beverage service. The reception desk was served by several fabulous young ladies who were always pleasant and willing to serve. They greeted every guest with a smile and tried their hardest to help the guests. Though the amazing Myra was our wonderful facilitator, all the young ladies and their manager, Anthony, were seen providing exemplary service to everyone I saw. The excursion desk also had a professional and helpful staff who took the time to provide good service in any way they could. Our excursions with them were very well done and provided real value for what they charged. It should be noted that since the British Virgins, Antigua and St. Barth's are small islands, the ship has to anchor and tenders are used. The crew made the tender experience as pleasant as it could be as there were some rough sea days. Now, the good part of anchoring off shore is that the Water Sports back deck was lowered and could be used for water activities. You can just swim off the back of the boat or avail yourself of sailing, kayaking or other water activities. The folks there, especially Yuri, Alma and BJ do a super job. On the day of the beach party, they moved all the equipment over to the island so it was available on that beach day. The beach party BBQ was also a special experience with great food and entertainment. Entertainment at night was in two lounges and both the family act in the main lounge and the duo in the Compass Rose were near perfect. By the way, try not to miss the line dancing or the crew show, they are a hoot. Great job by the crew and they really seemed to be enjoying themselves. The casino was small but the staff there was as pleasant as the rest of the crew. The Yacht Club is a wonderful addition. There you can get coffee, snacks and/or sandwiches to take on excursions or eat there. Here is where WindStar saves the passengers a little money as the specialty coffees were included in the fare where other lines charge for expresso, cappuccino or like coffees. Also the cocktail parties hosted by the staff were top notch. Disembarkation was a breeze and there were many cabs ready to take you to the airport or hotels that had day passes. Even though there was a daily charge for gratuities and a tip was included with every drink, we decided to personally tip three servers, our room steward and a few other staff. In actuality, every crew member did a terrific job and I guess we decided to reward those who were our personal favorites. As for the itinerary, it was fabulous, especially the stops in BVI. All in all, the Wind Surf once again proved that sailing with them is money well spent Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I was very unsure about going on the Diamant the first time in January 2010 (I was afraid of being seasick - tablets on board are brilliant, a brand we don't have in the UK), but I came home feeling I'd found my heaven on earth. ... Read More
I was very unsure about going on the Diamant the first time in January 2010 (I was afraid of being seasick - tablets on board are brilliant, a brand we don't have in the UK), but I came home feeling I'd found my heaven on earth. I've now been on 5 trips in 6 years. If I could afford to go three times a year I would. I have made lots of very close friends from each trip. Last month I shared a cabin with a lady I met the previous year. I feel very safe and very happy on board. I'm greeted with big hugs from crew members now as I've got to know some of them well. The crew maintain high professional standards while also being very friendly and welcoming. They will do what they can to meet your individual needs, and have a laugh (I like my salads naked - something one crew member remembered from my previous trip 15 months!) The food This is amazing, no doubt at all about that, on both Sagitta and Diamant. I'm a fussy eater and love the meals on board. If there was occasionally an aspect of a meal I didn't like it never mattered - I would like most of the food, and another meal was always just around the corner. I love the freedom to help yourself to water or a variety of soft drinks (what Americans call 'sodas'!) at any time. Sailing The sails are put up whenever there is enough wind. In practice this means the sails go up most days but not every day. Everyone loves it when they are up so the crew do their best to have them up as much as possible. 12 Day Trips The extended trips are the ones I go for every time. 6 days is too short. I've done 12 days on Diamant going to/from Grenada down to St Vincent via about 10 Grenadine Islands. I adore the little islands, they are less developed and less touristy. I've also done 12 days on Sagitta to/from St Maarten down to Dominica (via St Kitts, Nevis, Saba, Guadaloupe, Isle de Saintes, Montserrat, Anguilla and St Barths - those are the islands I can remember right now) - an interesting trip as the Islands were all very different. I loved the French ones best, and Monserrat was fascinating to see post-volcanic eruption. My trip in January 2015 was 12 days starting in St Thomas and ending in St Maarten (via Tortolla, Norman Island, Sandy Cay, Cooper Island, Jost Van Dyke (fab!), Virgin Gorda, Tintamarre Island, Anguilla and St Barths again). I think there was more actual sailing on the Dominica trip as the BVIs are very close together. I adore beautiful empty beaches and clear seas for swimming and the BVIs were amazing for me. There is more culture and visits/excursions on the Dominica trip, and more tourist-type activities (shopping, old forts, scuba diving.) There were water sports such as paddle boards and kayaks in several places in the BVIs. Diamant and Sagitta The two boats and general life on board - Diamant is gorgeous, small and more informal and personal. You get to know the 12 passengers and 6 crew really well. The cabins on the Diamant are smaller than Sagitta's but all are air conditioned and beautiful. The ensuite shower rooms are roomy with enough surfaces, hair dryers and excellent hot showers. The wood everywhere is a joy to touch and look at on both boats. You get clean towels every 3 days and clean sheets after 6 days. Everywhere is spotlessly clean (felt strange seeing men do the cleaning....my ex- husband and my Dad never did any, ever.) Sagitta is bigger taking 24 passengers and has 10 crew. Rules have to be stricter and it is a little more formal with more people to keep safe and happy. The cabins are bigger with more storage and are spread over two decks rather than one. There are two single cabins - they are tiny, and they share one shower room. However, there is a large comfy seating area right beside the two singles which is rarely used by other passengers. I have shared a cabin with a stranger twice, and come away with 2 new great friends. The Sagitta has plenty of sun loungers on deck and upright 'director' chairs, and the Diamant has new upright chairs but no loungers. I felt it was quite 'posh' when I first went on Sagitta because of the loungers. There are rubber/foam mats you can lie out on deck on Diamant or you sit on the beautiful wooden seats. On the back of both boats there are the seating-dining areas with cushioned seating. There is plenty of shade on both boats if you need it. People tend to read and chat on board, and after the evening meal many passengers go to their cabins. The more sociable stay up later (helped along by alcohol for some) socialising and playing the odd game or two until 11-11.30pm, but most people prefer to retire early and get up early. On a few islands we did leave the boat after dinner to party at local bars (Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke was lively, busy and included dancing.) Breakfast is at 8am, and coffee and freshly made mini cakes are available from about 6.30 or 7am I believe (I'm not an early bird!!) You never need to wear shoes on board but they do like you to wear a shirt at breakfast and shorts/skirts/dresses and tops at dinner ie no swim wear at dinner. Home ports I highly recommend staying a couple of nights in Grenada or St Maarten or St Thomas before you board. It allows you to recover from a tiring journey and adjust to Island time and heat. At least one night at the end is an added bonus but not so important. The hotels are expensive but cheaper ones are still pretty good by European standards. They charge by the room and not per person as in the UK, and breakfast is not generally included. If you want to keep costs down buy drinks (especially water) at local supermarkets and keep them in your room fridge. The local buses are great and cost just $1 for most trips. Just ask locals where to get the bus and where to get off. They are very friendly and helpful. Taxis are expensive and the open local buses are much more fun. The Islands where you board all have good shopping (mainly closed on Sundays unless big cruise ships are also in port - shops open for big cruise passengers on any day of the week.) Swim wear is not considered appropriate in the towns anywhere in the Caribbean, unlike European resort towns. They are far more conservative than the British! Oh, and it's illegal to wear camouflage shorts or shirts on Grenada. Luggage Pack a basic change of clothes, swimsuit and important items in your hand luggage. It is not uncommon for luggage to arrive a day or two late (mine arrived a week late for my first trip, and I'd only gone for a week...!) There is one socket in the cabin so an adaptor with multi-ports for recharging phones, iPads etc is useful. The snorkel equipment the boats have for you to borrow is excellent, and you keep your set for the trip. I highly recommend travelling with Island Windjammers.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My husband and I have been on many cruises. All of our cruises, however, had been on the larger cruise lines. We will most likely never return to the larger cruise ships. We loved the small ship yacht sail on Wind Surf. On our cruise there ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises. All of our cruises, however, had been on the larger cruise lines. We will most likely never return to the larger cruise ships. We loved the small ship yacht sail on Wind Surf. On our cruise there were 224 passengers and 198 service personnel. Needless to say the service was excellent. It was a more intimate experience. The Captain was visible during each day and the Bridge was open to the guests for inspection. It was easier to become familiar with the location of the restaurants and lounges. There was a dinner available at Candles Restaurant "Under the Stars" which was a magnificent experience. There was also an "Under the Stars" barbecue which was a spectacular event. In Virgin Gorda the guests were treated to a beach party which was not only a great lunch event but also a wonderful beach day. We were fortunate to have booked a suite which provided two bathrooms, two TV's, and two dressing areas. The storage space left many drawers empty because there was so much room! I did have an opportunity to see a standard stateroom which did not appear to be too small. However, the extra bathroom was a plus! Overall this was a 10 out of 10 experience! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015

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