1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Eastern Caribbean Cruises
  4. Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

70 St. Maarten to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

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
Thoroughly enjoyed the seven days spent on the Wind Surf! Was nervous about being on a smaller boat compared to some of the others but found it to be a delight, especially since we were in a port every day! The crew was simply stellar: ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed the seven days spent on the Wind Surf! Was nervous about being on a smaller boat compared to some of the others but found it to be a delight, especially since we were in a port every day! The crew was simply stellar: quick to respond to any concerns, taking pains to remember you by name and doing all they can to make your sailing spectacular! We selected a suite which was an appreciated luxury although the standard cabins which are exactly half the size would suffice especially since you are in a port each day anyway. It was the itinerary that sold us on this and for the most part, it didn't disappoint. For some strange reason, we docked in Dominica at a freight terminal, miles from town, and were given incorrect maps....walked around aimlessly looking for the town and finally returned to the ship. Not a terribly safe area and that was our only disappointment. We have been to the island before and know that other parts are safer and more beautiful. Barbuda was a delight. Exactly what we expected: remote, a little desolate, but just miles of beautiful pink sand beaches. The other surprise was Il Les Saint. What a lovely little French town and breathtaking beaches and colorful homes and businesses! The tender boats would go back and forth frequently and the crew was attentive and kind. Our cabin steward was friendly, but unobtrusive and kept the suite spotless! Food was varied. We loved Stella Bistro, and Candles. The deck barbecue night was fun! Didn't find it necessary to buy the liquor package. Bottled water and specially coffee included. Bring a little extra to tip these hardworking people, your cabin steward and food servers (bar service includes automatic gratuity)--we did. Their hard work deserves extra recognition! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our cruise was the "Yachtsman's Caribbean", a 7-night round trip voyage to/from St Maarten, with stops in Antigua, Tortola, Virgina Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and St Barths. This was my 10th voyage on the Wind Surf, including 3 ... Read More
Our cruise was the "Yachtsman's Caribbean", a 7-night round trip voyage to/from St Maarten, with stops in Antigua, Tortola, Virgina Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and St Barths. This was my 10th voyage on the Wind Surf, including 3 voyages when the ship was owned by Club Med. I guess I am just a repeat offender? As usual, we flew into St Maarten a few days early (always a wise choice) and spent 2 nights at the Sonesta Beach Resort and Casino at Great Bay, from where we could look across the water at the cruise ship dock. See my review on Trip Advisor for our great stay there. We boarded the ship right after 1 PM, and the check-in was completely seamless. We settled into Cabin 151, located very near the front of the ship, just a few steps from the steps/elevator up to the Veranda and the AmphorA restaurant. Prime location! Only nit was that a few of the pillow shams were slightly frayed. I was also pleased to see that the L'Occitane "Verbena" soap was back, although I missed the shampoo and body wash. Soon we were sailing away to the strains of "Conquest of Paradise", and marveling at the fantastic sunset. First step was to get to know the crew, as they are the heart and soul of Windstar. Several of the crew remembered me from past voyages, and greeted me by name. Even one of the deck hands recognized me! First stop was at the Customer Service desk, where I picked up a Windstar windbreaker that I had bought on a previous voyage, but inadvertently left on the ship. The Wind Surf crew found the windbreaker for me, shipped it to Seattle, then transported it by courier to the Wind Surf so that I could pick it up. I later bought several other articles of Windstar apparel in the ship's boutique. We were invited to have dinner with Savvas, the Restaurant Manager, and also spent some time chatting with Captain Steffen, quite the rakish looking sailor indeed, and very gregarious. He often would take his meals with guests, and was very visible around the ship. Food and service in the restaurants was impeccable, as was the bar service. Kudos to Savvas and his entire team. Later I spent some time working with the Bar Manager Dave, and the General Services Manager Marie. They empowered me to play some of my music (I am a former DJ) during Happy Hours in the Compass Rose lounge. This was fortunate, because the iPod dock on their sound board was out of service, and they only had 2 CD's to play, both of which were wildly inappropriate. I got many favorable comments about the music, and Dave noticed that guests were spending more time in the lounge, and that beverage sales were much improved. This was my second consecutive voyage where I was able to play music, and I greatly enjoyed it. There were some great activities in store for us, including a guest appearance by Olympic champion Mark Spitz, who delivered a charming and informative talk about his athletic career and personal experiences, and then taught a Master swimming class at the beach barbecue at Prickly Pear Beach. I won two bottles of champagne during the cruise, one for joining the team that won the weekly Trivia Contest, and another for my single-handed victory at the "Name That Tune" contest. We also got to see a spectacular rainbow, with the "pot of gold" right in front of the ship, and an exciting off-shore yacht race (REALLY big yachts) that crossed the finish line just ahead of the ship. The entertainment on board was mostly excellent, especially the fabulous and talented "Rain "Duo" (Craig and Nicola) that performed before and after dinner in the Compass Rose. I have gotten to know both of them quite well, and always try to plan my cruises for when they are on board. They packed the lounge every night. and wowed the crowds with their talent, showmanship and musical skills. On the other hand, the "Summer Wind" combo (piano, bass, drums, and vocalist) in the main lounge was very ordinary, to say the least. The lead singer was young, attractive, vivacious, and had a very nice voice. But the band was pretty ragged, and they could have used a guitarist. Their playlist was rather odd, with songs such as the Connie Francis nugget "Stupid Cupid", They also often played many of the same songs that "Rain" played, sometimes in the exact same order! Although some of the guests seemed to like them OK, I heard lots of negative comments. As a result, the main lounge was often completely deserted shortly after dinner. We only took one shore excursion, which was after we disembarked from the ship early Saturday morning, and our return flight home did not depart until 3 PM. The St Maarten Island Tour was the perfect answer, as it included transfer to the airport, and filled the day. Our next Windstar cruise will be in September on the Wind Surf for the "Splendors of Southern Spain". Can't wait. Maybe you can join us!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
we stayed 2 nights in Holland house hotel before cruise (great choice), and were taxied to windsurf. really liked the 'small ship' atmosphere (we have always cruise the main line, carnival, celebrity, etc.) everything was ... Read More
we stayed 2 nights in Holland house hotel before cruise (great choice), and were taxied to windsurf. really liked the 'small ship' atmosphere (we have always cruise the main line, carnival, celebrity, etc.) everything was definitely a step up. friendliness of the staff was very noticeable. loved anchoring and going in to most islands on tenders. locations were mostly smaller without tons of other cruisers. took excursions offered by the ship. frigate bird sanctuary in Barbuda. Trafalgar water falls in Dominica. private beach party at pigeon island st lucia. just went ashore to beach in les saintes. all super. when the sail were unfurled to music at each debarking it was neat, even after 7 days. never ate in the specialty restaurant but many others raved of them. met lots of new friends. smaller ship has you seeing the same folks more often. musician couple playing in rear lounge were very, very good. we spent a lot of time there before and after dinner. cabin on 2nd deck near middle very good. hardly ever felt the ship rolling/rocking.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Rating: 5 star rating based on overall experience and price paid. This is not a 5 star ship and things were not perfect, but we enjoyed ourselves and thought the cruise offered an excellent value. But you have to understand that you will ... Read More
Rating: 5 star rating based on overall experience and price paid. This is not a 5 star ship and things were not perfect, but we enjoyed ourselves and thought the cruise offered an excellent value. But you have to understand that you will be on a 25 year old ship, so temper expectations accordingly. Background: I am a past guest on most of the major cruise lines including Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and now Croisieres de France aka CDF. We decided to try CDF due to favorable pricing, which included food and alcohol. I believe that alcohol will not be included after some point in April 2015. We were also attracted to the itinerary out of St. Maarten which included visits to Guadeloupe, Martinique, Margarita Island, Venezuela, and 2 stops in the Dominican Republic. Videos: Some may have seen my YouTube video, "CDF for Americans", where I shared info that I gathered on Croisieres de France prior to this cruise. I expect to do several additional directly and loosely related videos. I recorded a room review and have uploaded it. My YouTube user name is bradfordwillis and if you look at my videos (almost 800 of them!), you should be able to find the CDF videos with the help of the YouTube search function (many are gaming videos). Dailies: I saved all of my daily "Journal de Bord", which were offered in English. I won't be scanning them, but I will retain them for a bit in case anyone has any questions. Money: I suggest that you bring along some Euro. We brought about 150 Euro each, although you could get by with more or less than that. The ship and many merchants will accept credit cards. Many smaller vendors, drivers and such will want Euro, especially in Guadeloupe and Martinique. The U.S. dollar is likely accepted at most other ports and widely accepted on the Dutch side of St. Maarten and somewhat (but less) on the French side. Be aware that Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted. Discover card, less so. I prefer a card that has no foreign transaction fee and use a Capital One Visa for this purpose. Many of the European credit cards have a security chip, while many U.S. cards don't. You probably won't have an issue with this, but if they have a problem with your card, have them run it though manually. Also be 100% sure to call your credit card company prior to sailing and give them your itinerary. Otherwise it may be blocked due to potential fraud and then you really have a problem. Telephone Communications: Unless you know *exactly* what you are doing, do not use your cell phone. Put it into airplane mode prior to leaving the U.S. and do not exit airplane mode anywhere for a split second. Rates on this ship and on many of these islands are super expensive. Data often runs over $20 per megabyte (yep, a megabyte is almost nothing). My suggestion is to buy the ship's Wi-Fi package (cheap by cruise ship standards) and use Skype for communications. You can enable Wi-Fi on your phone, but again I don't suggest you enable data or voice. I'd recommend you go into your settings, click on cellular, then roaming, and turn off data roaming and voice roaming and then leave it in airplane mode with only Wi-Fi enabled. If you do otherwise and get a big nasty bill, don't say you weren't warned. Skype is cheap and the ship's Wi-Fi is quite reasonable and usually pretty good, when the ship is not in or near the port. Embarkation/Disembarkation: In a word, bad. We first were scrutinized by St. Maarten pier personnel. Then, we dropped off luggage with some guys who we weren't even sure worked for CDF. Next, we waited in a very long line in the hot weather sweating, while 2 (yes, 2) agents tried to check in a long line of passengers. They seemed overworked and passengers got off to a slightly grumpy start. Once it was our turn, not having the receipt for my flights seemed to become a major problem (boarding passes were not enough). After more passport scrutiny, we were told to wait outside for an escort to walk us a very short distance to the gate, but no escorts were available. After maybe 20 minutes, an escort walked us to the gate. Once at the gate, passports were further scrutinized. We crossed the gangway only a few steps where passports were scrutinized again. We went through security screening, with a bag search and major hassle over my "hair iron" which they were going to have to confiscate as it was contraband. Only I didn't have a hair iron, I had a small fabric steamer, which they also tried to take. After I politely protested, it was allowed on board. Next, upstairs where passports were further scrutinized and one of the reception desk workers was obviously very sick with the flu, or similar. I might also add that this is the first cruise I've been on where *all* passports are held by the cruise line until the day of disembarkation, which is odd. My luggage never arrived and I was later told it was being held because it contained more contraband. I hadn't showered in a day and had no clothing to wear to dinner. Now, I would have to wait hours to retrieve my bag, even to the point of missing dinner, because security did not open until 8 pm. Finally, they showed up and it turned out the contraband was a tiny pocket knife with a 2 inch blade. Not even a problem, according to security. So, the embarkation process is the worst I've experienced and I call upon CDF to improve, simplify and streamline this process. Disembarkation was almost as poor. Lots of waiting around in the same room as those waiting for excursions. Luggage took a very long time to show up, while everyone sweated in the hot sun. The Ship: The ship is the Horizon, originally built for Celebrity Cruises roughly 25 years ago. The ship is small by today's standards, but has an excellent feel and layout. If you are expecting a new mega ship with a Grand Atrium, specialty dining and such, you will be disappointed. However, the ship itself is quite solid. I told my girlfriend that the bones of the ship are very good. And while CDF keeps the ship very clean, there is no mistaking that this is an older ship. When I first boarded, I thought she looked tired. But after a bit, she looked pretty good to me. Maybe the unlimited drinks helped? Let me also say that I enjoy a smaller ship. As CDF would say, "It's human-sized" and I agree with this. The Room: We had room 1077, which is a Prestige class ocean view room. We had a foldaway bunk as well as a love seat that opened into a bed. The room was kept very clean, although the window needed cleaning. There was some minor obstruction from the lifeboats below and lifts. I was surprised this wasn't mentioned. Partially obstructed views aren't usually considered the highest category (Prestige) in the ocean view class. The walls seemed pretty thin and we heard constant doors slamming during the night. I believe that we were near a service door, unfortunately. The air conditioning system seemed inconsistent. At times, room temperature was fine. Other times, even at night, the room was uncomfortably warm to the point that I had to sleep without sheets, blankets or clothing. I have uploaded a YouTube video tour of the room. Search CDF Horizon 1077 on YouTube to view. I purchased the Internet package and I thought it was fairly priced. Speeds were very good, with several periods of poor or no service. However, I was offered extra minutes to compensate me for this. Do be aware that the lower decks do not have in room Wi-Fi internet service available. I believe that only decks 7 through 11 offer Wi-Fi service. The Staff: The staff was very good and very friendly. Even though it is a French ship and maybe 75% of the passengers were French, all staff members spoke English and all announcements were in French, Spanish, and English, generally in that order. The service was typically very good to excellent. However, one reception area clerk was obviously terribly sick and really should not have been interacting with passengers. When I mentioned that she was sick and needed rest, she seemed embarrassed and did not want to discuss the topic. I later got sick and I wondered if I got it from her. Special kudos to our waiter, Birowo Wicaksono, who was outstanding. Always friendly, always a smile on his face, and 100% spot on and very honest with regard to his recommendations for the evening's best dinner selections. Sanitation: The ship was extremely clean, but passenger sanitation is not quite up to U.S. cruise line standards. They do have soap dispensers throughout the ship, but not a lot of passengers seemed to use them. At the buffet, so many hands touched those serving spoons and of course, many of those hands were not sanitary. To compare, on a Princess cruise that we took recently, *everyone* had to sanitize their hands in front of a staff member before they were even allowed in the buffet area. I heard a lot of people coughing, so I think that CDF could improve in this area. Passengers: As mentioned, the passengers were mostly French, with a good number of Spanish speakers, and very few Americans or English speakers. Menus and all printed material were also offered in English, so there were no major language issues. Despite the unlimited drinks on this sailing, passengers were uniformly well behaved. I'm in my early 50's and generally the passengers were older than me, with plenty of exceptions of course. I always enjoy the spirit of the French and this cruise reminded me of a prior trip to Paris years ago, where I had a wonderful experience. I had spent a little time trying to brush up on my French, purchasing a Berlitz French phrase book and CD. But the reality is that I don't speak French other than a very few basic phrases, so it was of very limited help. Conversely, most of the other passengers spoke French and to a lesser degree, Spanish. But literature was offered in English, announcements were in English and the crew spoke English, so everything worked out fine. The Food: For us, the biggest surprise was the quality of the food. It was mostly excellent. Everything was prepared fresh and with simple ingredients that paired well and made sense. The menu was not as beef/steak heavy as many U.S.-based cruise lines, but it was highly enjoyable and certainly no one left hungry. I think the lunch buffet was the best I've experienced on any ship. I noticed that they would often swap out food trays and bins even when there was plenty left. So there seemed to be a real emphasis on freshness. The pizza was not very good, which surprised me. Pasta buffet day in the main dining room was excellent. Asian buffet lunch in the main dining room was pretty good, but not as good as the pasta buffet. We seemed to eat a lot of lamb, chicken and pork, but generally it was surprisingly good and we didn't especially miss the usual slabs of beef. Surprisingly, the Gala Night (similar to Formal Night), featured a fancy rolled up menu and really poor quality beef medallions. They were generous cuts of beef, but way overcooked, super tough, and seemingly of a lower quality. I was surprised by this, so it's probably a good thing that they mostly stay away from beef. The drinks were also pretty good with an excellent variety. The house red wine was French and quite solid for what I assume was a basic wine. Les Granges was the brand, and the red, white and blush were all uniformly respectable. We had a lot of lamb, which was very good. The seafood was extremely fresh and very good. Salad was as basic as it gets, but with fresh ingredients. The French are very much into good food and wine, so while the selections are different than what you might see on a US based ship, it's tasty and generally high-quality food nonetheless. The desserts were mostly delicious. I have uploaded 2 videos showing the main dining room Search CDF Horizon dining room on YouTube to view. Coffee: I'm into coffee, so I'll cover that separately. The coffee in the buffet is poor. The coffee in Café Moka is really, really good. They use fresh Italian Lavazza beans, which is what I often use myself, and can whip you up a terrific cappuccino or espresso. Don't forget to visit and try some of their coffee drinks. Entertainment: We had Miss France on board, with cameras following her constantly, so I suppose that was entertainment in itself. But generally, the entertainment was very good to excellent. There was a Flamingo guitar player named Guillermo Fernandez who was excellent. We also enjoyed the band Sensation Tropical, who had a lot of energy and were musically very solid. We attended 3 shows in the theater and all were very good. I especially enjoyed their tribute to the Beatles. Good dancing, good singing, well-choreographed, and the live band (hidden upstairs on the left side) was also excellent. So generally, entertainment was very solid. I guess my only complaint was that, after and sometimes during some shows, there was way, way too much chatting by the cruise director, another fellow with a similar position, and too many introductions. We spent a bit of time with the cruise director, Mr. Tivoli, who is a nice guy and a good magician, so I'm not picking on him specifically. It's just that they could cut the chatter and introductions by maybe 85%-90% (seriously). There are many TV channels, but only 1 in English (CNN). However, you may find some American subtitled movies and such, but I doubt you came to watch a lot of television anyway. Dress Code: I didn't see a lot of suits, but most passengers were appropriately attired for the main dining room. I did see some suits and nicer dresses on Gala Night. Most nights, I wore a nice pair of designer jeans, a better quality dress shirt or slacks. I took a black sport coat and wore it once without a tie with jeans and during Gala Night, I mated it with some wool slacks, a tie and a nice dress shirt. My girlfriend mostly wore a nice, but not over-the-top, dress. Ports of Call: Interesting and varied. For the most part, you should and likely need to take an excursion of some form, or perhaps rent a car. Do not expect to simply walk around the port area and have a favorable experience. I want to discuss each port, but I do have a general suggestion. Book the ship's tours. While the ship's tours are in French or Spanish only, many of the tour guides also speak English. Be sure to sit at the very front of your bus, tell the tour guide that you are an English speaker, and usually they will attempt to accommodate you somewhat. Some of these islands seem potentially dangerous and the ship's tours did often include security. St. Maarten: For us, this is where the cruise began and ended. We stayed 2 nights on the back-end and I think St. Maarten is quite lovely. I've used Bernard Tours several times (this time too). He provides beer, strong rum punch, sodas, water and spends 4.5 hours with beach time at Orient Beach (1.5 hours), 45 minutes at Maho Beach, where the planes land right over your head (we got 1 hour), and visits the French capital Marigot, as well as providing a terrific overview of most of the island. He picked us up and dropped us off at the Holland House Hotel in Phillipsburg, which is highly recommended. Get a beachfront room if possible. It was awesome! Guadeloupe: This was our first stop and it was a generally poor experience. I had searched high and low for a English-speaking tour guide without a lot of success. So we figured that we'd exit the ship and see what we could find. We visited the Guadeloupe tourism desk, located next to the ship, and were referred to an English speaking taxi driver named Frederick (AVOID him!), who said he would show us all around the island and get us back "before the ship leaves" for 50 Euro each. We took him up on the offer and I considered ourselves lucky to have found an English-speaker, as pretty much everyone speaks French only. Things started off well. He showed us a lovely waterfall and some of the surrounding area. But after only 2 hours, he said he should go no further without another 60 Euro per person. We told him that simply wasn't going to happen and said he had told us he would drive us around for the day at the agreed upon price. He said there was some wonderful thing 10 minutes away he wanted to show us, but wouldn't do it for less money. We felt ripped off and misled by the guy, so obviously stay away from this driver. We told him that if he wouldn't drive us around, at least take us somewhere to eat and we were interested in trying Creole food. He took us to a restaurant called Gwot An Nou 9 Rue Hincelin assainissement 97139 Les Abymes 0590 24 44 27. The prices are moderate, the atmosphere is nice and the food was very good. They didn't speak English, but we got by somehow. But I think we got very unlucky by getting paired up with Frederick. You may well run into him, as again, most of these guys don't speak English. I hold him responsible for the fact that we didn't get to see much of the island. Shame on Frederick for trying to take advantage of tourists with bait-and-switch tactics. I recommend that you use a ship's tour such as "Creole Colors" or "St. Anne on your Own". Both are inexpensive and you know you'll get what you pay for. Just sit near the front, tell the guide you speak English and hope for the best! Martinique: This was probably the prettiest island on the trip, as well as the cleanest with terrific roadways and infrastructure. Like Guadeloupe, it is a French Republic and this has a very French feel to it. Martinique also felt like the safest island that we visited. I didn't feel as if someone was apt to slit my throat in order to take my watch and money, and that was not always the case. I don't think that we had security (not sure), but I don't think we needed it. The ship docks in Fort de France, which is a relatively large city. In my view, this is yet another case where you have to do a tour (or drive if you wish) and get away from the port. We did the "Saint Pierre and the Rum Distillery" tour, which is highly recommended. Some may know that St. Pierre was destroyed by a volcano in the early 1900s and only 1 man survived. The entire town was obliterated in nothing flat and the sole survivor was in jail for being drunk on rum. It's thought that the jail's thick walls saved him. But St. Pierre is quaint and charming. The drive to the city is long and gorgeous with so much varied terrain and elevations. The rum distillery they stop at is Rhum Depaz and the grounds are very pretty with nice tasting rum as well. I had considered doing the tour to the Clement rum distillery, which was more money, but I'm convinced that the "St. Pierre & Rum Distillery Tour" was the right decision. Margarita Island: The good news is that the people are very friendly. The bad news is that it seems outright unsafe. We had 4 military uniformed National Guardsmen to escort us. I had arranged a private tour, and I believe the driver was not far beyond the main gate. Security told me it's very dangerous to walk beyond the gate of the port area, so I'm not entirely sure why they even stop there. Since we couldn't hook up with our tour guide, I was able to snag the Fiesta Margarita ship's tour, which was the last to leave. It's a loud open air party bus that blasts music for the 2 hour drive to a very pretty beach where some food and alcohol are provided. I was fighting with my girlfriend, which killed the fun for me, but if you like to drink and party and you'd enjoy some beach time, this is a good value with good security. The island itself is more desert than tropical, but there is some appeal. Still, it does not seem safe without security, even though the people smiled and waved every time they say & heard our brightly-colored party bus. I had to use the restroom on the way back (remember, it's a really long drive and most have been drinking), and they did not seem to have good plans to do that. We ended up stopping on the side of the road and they expected me to relieve myself in front of the entire bus. Instead, I pushed my way several feet into the reeds, which are razor sharp, and immediately sunk into a foot of mud. I was covered with mud and my legs were bleeding quite a bit. It's a good tour, but they need to have a potential bathroom stop somewhere along the very long route. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: We did the Fun Safari to Bayaguana Tour. It was pricey (about $100 per person) and included a lunch that I didn't enjoy. There was something about the food that did not taste fresh. Maybe it was the seasonings, but I have my suspicions. I love to eat but when I'm leaving a lot of beef, rice and chicken on the plate, it tells you that something's up. Basically, you board a small bus and head out to the countryside where you visit a small town and drive over a lot of dusty, dirt roads. You'll see the modest town of Bayaguana, which is not "exciting" or especially scenic, but is interesting. You'll also visit a very pretty waterfall, where you can swim (I have a YouTube video on this search Bayaguana waterfalls to find it). We also visited a home and were shown coffee beans, a lot of tropical fruit and such. Again, the tour was interesting and the tour drivers did a great job (also included an armed undercover police officer), but at something like 7.5 hours it was a very long day and frankly, I would have probably preferred another option. For some, what might be a better option that's cheap, close and interesting is just to visit the nearby Colonial Zone (aka Zona Colonial). For many, it's a 15 minute walk from the ship and there are literally tourist police every block. Otherwise, you'll pay a cab $10-$12 to get there. There are many very old and interesting buildings, bars, restaurants, places to shop and lots of people both locals and tourists. I personally enjoyed this more than Bayaguana and it costs next-to-nothing to do. If you walk, exit the port and turn left at the first major street. Without turning, stay as far to the left as you can for 15 minutes or so and you'll come to a bridge over the inlet. Turn left and cross the bridge and you'll be there. Again, there are tourist police every block (I'm not joking), and they can point you there just in case. They won't speak English but say, "Zona Colonial?" and they'll get the idea. But it's really simple to get there. La Romana, Dominican Republic: There's limited time at this stop and we had heard that there was a shuttle service to Altos de Chavon, which is a newer village made to look like it's from the 1500s. While there were no shuttles, there were plenty of taxis and we shared one with others. Our fare was $10 per person, but you could pay more if you don't share. Altos de Chavon is not within walking distance. As you might guess, I'll be uploading several Altos de Chavon videos to YouTube. To find them, search CDF Horizon Altos de Chavon. I definitely do recommend that you visit Altos de Chavon. It's located within the lush resort of Casa de Campo and is gorgeous, it's safe, it's cheap, and it's a quick stop when you don't have much time anyway. The entrance fee is only $5. The surrounding area is very upscale and well maintained. Afterwards, our taxi driver (who had waited for us for an hour) drove us to the town of La Romana, encouraging us to shop. But despite a very, very heavy police presence (for a reason, no doubt), it looked pretty sketchy and not particularly appealing, so we skipped it. Our cab driver tried to convince us it was an "easy" walk from La Romana back to the ship, but that didn't appear to be the case. Venues: Other venues we visited were James Le Piano Bar, which is old school with dark woods and such. There was no piano playing when we were there and it was very quiet, but it's a nice relaxing place to get away and maybe have a snifter of Grand Marnier (extra 3 Euros) or a glass of wine. We also ran into the Captain, Cruise Director and some Senior Officers here. Saphir le Danse Club is okay. It opens late and generally crowds were smaller. My girlfriend likes to dance, so she enjoyed it. I can take it or leave it. We spent a ton of time at the Zephir bar poolside on Deck 11. We had one particular bartender who made us great drinks there. If you find someone like that, slip them $5 and they won't forget you. As mentioned earlier, we absolutely loved the cappuccino and espresso at Café Moka and we spent a lot of time listening to music while sipping drinks at Salon Rendez-Vouz located on Deck 7 just outside of the Le Splendide main dining room. Conclusion: I had a great time on Croisieres de France and on the Horizon. It's an older ship with a good feel and layout, so make sure you understand this. Service was very good as were the food, cocktails and entertainment. Language was not much of an issue either. Again, this was not a 5 star ship or experience, but I felt as if we received very good value for our money. If you are looking for something different at a reasonable price, consider Croisieres de France and the Horizon! Oh, and don't forget to check for my YouTube videos (my user name is bradfordwillis), as I plan on uploading a number of them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My wife and I had previously sailed on "Arabella" out of St. Thomas and I thought the Island Windjammer cruise would be a similar experience. My wife opted out of the cruise and I ended up as a "Solo" in one of the 2 ... Read More
My wife and I had previously sailed on "Arabella" out of St. Thomas and I thought the Island Windjammer cruise would be a similar experience. My wife opted out of the cruise and I ended up as a "Solo" in one of the 2 Solo Cabins (12). Flew from Detroit to St. Maarten and stayed over night at the Pasanggrahan Hotel. It was dated but clean and served its purpose. For some reason the bar and restaurant were closed and I ended up at "The Green House" which was just a five minute walk away. I recommend the Green House. The bar tender was friendly and the food was great. Boarded the Sagitta at the main port dock and the adventure began. There were 23 passengers, mostly from the US, I'm Canadian (Ontario) and there was a 4 member family from Calgary. We left at about 2:00 pm and sailed over to St. Barts. Now I have my first negative observation. Island Windjammers does not really explain the itinerary very well in their webpage. I thought we would be sailing (or motoring) some place every day. That's not the case. We stayed the first 2 nights anchored in St. Barts. I have been to St. Barts several times so I was disappointed that we were there that long. So on Tuesday we sailed over to a marine reserve (Anse de Colombier). Nice beach, very secluded no chairs but your could snorkel. Pulled anchor and sailed to Nevis (part of St. Kitts). Probably I should explain that Sagitta is not really a sailing ship. It is considered a motorized yacht with sails. The captain explained that even with the sail up he could not cut the engines. He needed the engines to steer. So if you are looking for a true sailing experience, Sagitta is not it. Anchored at Nevis harbour for the night and some went ashore for tours Wednesday. I've been to Nevis so I stayed on board. We left for Pinneys Beach Nevis (just a short sail away). Pinneys is a beautiful beach with a great beach bar called Sunshines. Great drinks and beautiful sand. Wednesday night we sailed to St. Kitts and anchored in the Harbour for dinner. On Thursday, several passengers went ashore and toured or shopped. At noon we sailed to South Friars Bay to the Ship Wrecked Bar for the afternoon. We had a bbq on the beach for dinner. A good time was had by all. Pulled anchor and did a night sail to Anguilla (the other side of St. Maartens). This was rocky night in my little bunk. Woke to Sandy Ground Anguilla in the morning. Anguilla is a beautiful place and I went ashore to Sandy Ground to find Elvis's Beach Bar. It was a national holiday so it was not going to open until night time. So I found "Dads" beach bar and it was great. All (but myself and one other passenger) went to Shoal Bay which is beach lovers dream. I have been there and I wanted to explore Sandy Ground. Had a great day. Went back to Sagitta for lunch and back to Dads for the afternoon. Now here is my second negative comment. I originally booked my flight back to Detroit (from St. Maarten) for 8:40 am, thinking that would be enough time to get to airport from the cruise dock. US Air changed the flight time to 8:05 am so I emailed Island Windjammers whether that would be enough time to catch the plane. I ended up changing my flight to a later one which cost me $200.00 US. So I was rather miffed when the captain said we would be sailing to St. Maarten on the last night and spent the Friday night at the dock in St. Maarten. If I had known this I could have easily been up and made the early flight saving myself some money. Island Windjammers really needs to include the itinerary information on the web site and booking information. Knowing you are docked in St. Maarten the last night does make a difference on travel plans. So... The food was good. Crew was great. Weather was warm and the sea is relaxing. By the Way: The solo cabins are SMALL. but there was a lounge outside the 2 solo's which came in really handy. Except for the travel glitches, I did enjoy the Sagitta. Would I do it again? Probably not. My wife really likes the Windstar Cruises for sailing, which are about the same cost and a great deal less "rustic".   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I sailed with the old Barefoot Windjammer in 2005 and were looking for a similar experience. We have sailed the larger cruise lines and did not enjoy the crowds, lines and large bills when leaving the ship. Island Windjammers ... Read More
My wife and I sailed with the old Barefoot Windjammer in 2005 and were looking for a similar experience. We have sailed the larger cruise lines and did not enjoy the crowds, lines and large bills when leaving the ship. Island Windjammers does not have a hot tub, masseuse, rock climbing wall or swimming pools. Instead, you are free to relax and enjoy great food, superior company and fantastic out of the way ports of call. When we arrived at embarkation, there was a Royal Caribbean giant cruise ship loading up near the Sagitta. The port guard tried to get our taxi driver to go to that ship and I begged "please don't make me get on that thing!" Our check-in with the Sagitta was pleasant and quick. The First Mate, Fernando met us on the dock and escorted us on board and introduced us to the crew. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were two of only fourteen passengers (the ship can carry up to 24). Our reserved cabin was the Owners Cabin. It is pure luxury, with a stocked refrigerator, large king-size bed and large head. I was amazed at how large the cabin was on this small ship. Talking with the other passengers, their cabins were comfortable, but nowhere near as comfortable as ours. However, you don't really spend a lot of time in the cabin, so you really don't need that much room. Most of the time is spent on deck or in port. Why would you want to spend time in a cabin when there is the beautiful islands right off the side of the ship? Captain Patricio sailed mostly at night. The first night or two, we didn't sleep great because of the movement of the ship, but after that it was like the Sagitta was rocking us to sleep. It does take a little time to get used to the motion of a smaller cruise ship. The night sailing was actually better because it allowed us more time on the islands, most of the time getting off the first dingy at 9:00 AM. We hit several islands (Anguilla, St. Barths, Nevis, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Iles des Saintes, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia). If we had sailed during the day, we may have not had enough time to see all of those wonderful places. The excursions were arranged by the Operations Manager, Moira. She did a great job of finding really good shore tours and excursions at decent prices. The Wacky Rollers tubing trip in Dominica is a don't miss tour. Two of the days, we did not feel like taking tours, so the dingy took us to a secluded beach with a cooler full of beer and sodas along with some rafts and floating noodles. The ship also provides snorkeling gear, so pack lightly. After about an hour at the beach, floating in the water, the dingy came back to check on us and to see if we needed anything. It was unbelievable – they were willing to do a beer run for us! That brings me to the alcohol policy, the best of any cruise line I've heard of. Island Windjammers provided a stocked cooler full of sodas and another full of beer. There was also wine available during dinner (both red and white). If you wanted stronger spirits, no problem, just buy what you wanted at a duty free shop and bring it on board. There is no large bar bill at the end of this cruise! Meals were prepared by Chef Lenny. He would venture out on the islands and pick up fresh fruit and other items for meals. The food was wonderful and I don't recall a single meal that I didn't clean the plate. The cruise price includes breakfast, lunch, a 5:00 snack (with rum drinks) and dinner. You can eat ashore and we did once only to find that the food on-board was much better. Chef Lenny promised us he would finish his cookbook soon. The rest of the crew was very attentive, polite and friendly. On a cruise this size, you get to know everyone on-board. I can't say enough about the great service we received from all of the crew. They felt like family by the time the cruise was over. If you like long lines, great crowds of people, expensive shore excursions that are also packed with people and large alcohol bills upon disembarkation, this is not your cruise line. If you like relaxed cruising with a small group of people, attentive crew aboard a clean ship and smaller more intimate ports of call, then I highly recommend Island Windjammers. My wife and I will be back.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I just spent a week on this ship in early May and I loved it! This is a very nice ship. From the main lobby, to the room, outside decks, theatre, club, restaurants to teh staff etc. The food was amazing. Nothing was a "good enough ... Read More
I just spent a week on this ship in early May and I loved it! This is a very nice ship. From the main lobby, to the room, outside decks, theatre, club, restaurants to teh staff etc. The food was amazing. Nothing was a "good enough facsimile". The food was just great! Even the buffet had enough options, including the Mediterranean and Ethnic Corners, that were done well. "Caffe Italia" was a nice little cafe that made proper Italian coffee. The wine selection was quite good at the restaurants. I cannot recall the name of the restaurant but on deck 7 (or was it deck 6?) they had a restaurant that made authentic Italian pizza like they do in Italy. The "Galaxy Night Club" on deck 16 was a rockin' place every night. The deejay actually did spin some good tracks and had the crowd in a groove. Mind you some nights like the last night, there weren't as many people there. The staff were very attentive to your needs and very cheerful and knowledgeable. I'm a photographer and had my equipment with me and had nice chats with the photographers on-board. As well I had a chance with a couple of friends to meet the Captain, Pier Paolo Scalla, and he sat with us for a considerable amount of time and chatted with us from everything about the ship to his childhood. From the chat it was obvious to me, the Captain's personality and expectations are evident in his staff. I would recommend this ship and would sail on it again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I truly enjoyed our week upon the Star Clipper. Although my husband and I have cruised several large lines including Celebrity and Princess, nothing prepared us for this incredible sailing vessel.It is a sight to behold and the sound of ... Read More
I truly enjoyed our week upon the Star Clipper. Although my husband and I have cruised several large lines including Celebrity and Princess, nothing prepared us for this incredible sailing vessel.It is a sight to behold and the sound of the rising masts and the wind blowing thru them stay with you way beyond your 7 days aboard! The accommodations are very nice, the ship is kept in superb condition, the service excellent and the food,quality,presentation and variety was the best of any cruise line. 5 star!! Although I have always requested a balcony with any cruise line we have used before I was extremely worried about being sea level. I gave to admit we really enjoyed our little porthole to the world. I have some wonderful pictures out that porthole.....and at times it looked like a washing machine.....Makes me realize I do not need a balcony to enjoy other cruises...think of the money I can now save. The Treasure Islands were perfect ...white sand...turquoise waters ...lots of yummy rum concoctions....but I don't think I would care where this ship was going. I just loved being on board. The small international passenger count of 160 made it easy to make long lasting friendships via pictures and email exchanges even if you do not speak the same language. Helping to hoist the masts, watching the brave actually climb them....or just sun bathing on the deck....there is something for everyone. I can not wait to start to plan our next voyage....we are looking forward to the magnificent Royal a Clipper this time. I would highly recommend this line!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Twenty-four strangers sailed out of Sint Maarten on 23 March 2014. Six days later, 24 friends bade each other an emotional farewell on the same dock, promising to see each other again. The Caribbean is a magic place. Seeing it on a small ... Read More
Twenty-four strangers sailed out of Sint Maarten on 23 March 2014. Six days later, 24 friends bade each other an emotional farewell on the same dock, promising to see each other again. The Caribbean is a magic place. Seeing it on a small three-masted schooner made it more magical. The crew of the Sagitta made it perfect. I was never interested in taking a cruise on a floating city. The only other cruise I had been on was an Alaska Inside Passage cruise on the sternwheeler, Empress of the North, with about 320 other passengers. When my wife said she and her sister wanted to go on a cruise together, I told her I didn't want a megaliner. In her inimitable style, she said, "You in charge, Bubba." There are a bunch of small ship cruises in the Caribbean. I had always wanted to take a trip on a sailing ship, so I started sorting through the windjammer cruises. I also wanted some stops at some of the more out-of-the-way islands. The two wants led me to a 6-day island-hopping jaunt along the Leewards aboard the Sagitta. So, let's run the checklist: Hotel: We stayed two nights at the Pasanggrahan ( pasa-grahn ) (you don't even want to know how badly I was butchering that one). Very nice. Simple, comfortable, great staff, right on Front Street and the boardwalk. Ship: The Sagitta is a 120-ft three-masted schooner with a 22-ft beam. It has cabins for 11 couples and two singles. There are two lounges, one on the main deck and one right below it, plus there are booths for dining and lounging on the aft deck. The fore deck had plenty of chairs and loungers. When a dinghy leaves a million dollar yacht and swings by your boat to get a closer look, you know you're something special. Activities: That would be you. And your fellow passengers. No rockwalls or hot tubs or tai chi classes. Lots of old-fashioned sitting and chatting, making new friends, telling all your best stories and listening to some really good new ones. There's a cooler of cold beer on the aft deck and wine in the fridge in the lounge to help with the story-telling. There is swinging from the yards on request. A rope swing from the yardarm of the main mast where you swing along the side of the ship and let yourself go into the incredibly blue waters of the Caribbean. You have to be plain foolish to try that when you're in your 70s, so I quit after my third swing. Service: Good service is unobtrusive. Ours must have been excellent, because I have little to comment on. Cabins were tidied every morning after everyone was out and about. The coolers and the fridge were always stocked. The lounge had a "magic sink" where any dirty dish or glass magically disappeared when put there. The meals were served promptly and efficiently. There were only 24 of us and we were a pretty low-maintenance crowd. Port and shore excursions: We stopped at Anguilla, Nevis, St. Kitts, and St. Barth. Leah, Sagitta's Operations Manager, had excursions lined up at each port for those who wanted them. Most were island tours at a fairly nominal charge. On St. Kitts, quite a few of the company took advantage of the opportunity to zip-line through the rain forest. Shoal Bay on Anguilla is touted as the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean. I don't have enough experience to compare, but I can't imagine one any more beautiful. Georgetown on Nevis is a small, unpretentious town with only a little shopping. Basseterre on St. Kitts is the largest town we visited with many nice shops and a modern shopping area. Gustavia on St. Barthelemy is very French, very chic, and very expensive. Most made a point to stop by Le Select which is relatively less expensive and is reputed to be the inspiration for Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise. Wherever we were, the crew usually ran a dinghy to and from the boat hourly to shuttle us and our goodies. On St. Kitts, our dinner was a barbeque on the beach at the Shiggidy Shack with dancing to steel drums afterwards. Cabin: Small (10x10, or so). Double bed with a single bunk over it. Plenty of space to hang and stow your clothes and stuff. My wife has big boat experience and said the bathroom was the same size as most she had seen. Very comfortably air-conditioned with a small fan to keep the air moving. I have no complaints. How much room do you need to change out of your swimsuit into your shorts? Or, to take those off and flop into bed? Dining: I gained three pounds. What can I say? It's all Lenny's fault. Lenny- big, black, with a 1000-watt grin and a magician in the tiny galley. No really fancy food- roast pork, lobster tail, mahi-mahi, stewed pumpkin, conch salad, eggs benedict. Ok, a little fancy, maybe. All served with the Lenny touch. There were several in the crowd who were experienced chefs and one professional chef. They all took notes of the special little touches Lenny had worked with his dishes. Late afternoon was snacks in the lounge. Fish fritters, Fried plantain or breadfruit, thin as potato chips, great dips with fresh veggies. At St. Barth, Leah scored about a dozen baguettes and about half a dozen cheeses and pates as only the French can make them. This was a BYOW(ine) snack party and we sampled the variety that each had brought back from Gustavia. Lenny said he's working on a cookbook and we all will be looking for it. There's no non-stop eating here, but the meals are healthy and delicious. Disembarkation: Piece of cake. We all settled up with Leah the afternoon before we got back to Sint Maarten. On-board expenses were light, considering that the beer and wine were complementary the whole trip. A couple of excursions, some souvenirs, and tips for the crew. She helped arrange transportation for those who needed it. The next day, we got our passports and a hug and began our sad journey back to reality. Summary: If you've thought it would be fun to stand barefoot on the deck of a sailing ship with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face and the sails popping overhead, you're right. It is. On the Sagitta, you get the fun of the adventure without the discomfort. You need to be able to entertain yourself, to enjoy the company of friends you're still learning about, to roam the streets of small, quaint towns with a friend or two. I don't know about children. Our crowd were all older, many retired. The Sagitta is big enough to ride the waves in comfort. We had one night that was a little bumpy, but most everyone enjoyed the ride. She is small enough that you get the real feel of what sailing must have been like a couple of centuries ago. I would do it again in a heartbeat.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
While I wish we could have stayed, we have returned to reality! Our March 1 cruise on the Wind Surf was amazing and converted my husband to small ship cruising (as I had hoped!). We flew to St. Maarten a day early and flew through ... Read More
While I wish we could have stayed, we have returned to reality! Our March 1 cruise on the Wind Surf was amazing and converted my husband to small ship cruising (as I had hoped!). We flew to St. Maarten a day early and flew through immigration. I had read stories about horrors at the airport, but we experienced none of it. Soon-to-be friends (we met on the ship) did have issues arriving Saturday. Their plane arrived in plenty of time, but they were held on the tarmac waiting for a gate. I think they were the last to board, and it was quite close to sailing time. If at all possible I recommend heading down a day early. It also allowed us to get in vacation-mode before sailing. We stayed at the Pasanggrahan Hotel in Phillipsburg, and took a quick cab ride over to the dock on Saturday afternoon. We dropped our luggage and headed to the ship. What a difference.....it all felt so personal and friendly. We boarded about 1:30pm (being greeted at the gangway by the Hotel Manager and one of the First Officers) and were dropping our carry-ons in our cabin 30 minutes later. We grabbed lunch, enjoyed the sun and headed out to the deck to experience our first sail-away to the sounds of 1492. It was everything all experienced Windstar sailors promised! We enjoyed the dining options, especially the opportunity to eat by ourselves or join new friends. The food was good bordering on great. We second others' recommendation that you try and book Candles on a night in port. The winds while sailing seemed like they would be an impediment to enjoying the atmosphere on deck. The ports on the Yachtsman's Caribbean itinerary are built for pure relaxation. The only excursion we did was to the Baths and we booked that because it was just easier, transportation-wise, and it deposited us directly at the beach barbeque! On all the other islands we headed to a beach and relaxed. The deck barbeque and the beach barbeque were outstanding...both created environments that felt intimate and special, though not at all contrived. Beaches were plentiful and easy to access. I can't even remember the names, but all were beautiful and cabs were readily available at all the docks. On Jost Van Dyke, a lot of people headed to Foxy's the night we arrived but we had lunch there the next day after enjoying Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar on the beach. If we were to do the same itinerary someday, I'd check out the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. We never made it off the ship in the evening because we were exhausted, in a good way, every day. On the ship, I used the gym (small but very well-appointed), lounged (my husband loved getting coffee every morning at the Compass Rose and just sitting on deck), and relaxed. One of the things that drew us to Windstar was its reputation for attracting friendly, open passengers. From day one that was obvious. We met great people from all over and even became good friends with a few. There were just a couple of younger, single people on our cruise, but they seemed to find each other and have a great time. By younger, I mean 20-25 or so. The crew was AMAZING, and so friendly. It was nice to have our cabin steward greet us by first names in the hallways. As for the cabin, I was concerned about the size and lack of balcony, but it was wonderful. We were on deck three mid-ship and I'd say it was perfect for us. Yes, the cabins are small, but so well-appointed and designed that it didn't feel claustrophobic at all. The mini bar was replenished (without asking) with soda as my husband drank it (!) and the bottled water was used everyday - the choice of still or sparkling was a nice touch. And, on the advice of many on this board, we took the laundry package. What a great convenience. Next time I'll pack 1/2 as much. Departing the ship on Saturday was a breeze. We put our bags out the night before, woke up and had breakfast before departing around 8:45am. We grabbed a group cab at the dock and headed to the airport to check our bags. We then walked over to the Sunset Bar at the end of the runway and met our friends from the ship to watch planes dive bomb the beach on approach to landing! After enjoying a few last drinks we walked back for our 2:25pm flight to NY. The airport was a ZOO. Thank goodness it was close to on-time. On arriving in NY customs/immigration were a breeze and we headed out into the freezing day (by Caribbean standards!) where snow still covered the landscape. There will definitely be a next time. We loved the Windstar experience and look forward to trying the smaller ships or even the new motor yachts. Now to find time to head off again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I sailed with Island Windjammers on Sagitta in March 2014. We joined Sagitta at the passenger terminal in St Maarten, we were met at the taxi rank by a member of the crew who directed us to the boat where other crew members ... Read More
My wife and I sailed with Island Windjammers on Sagitta in March 2014. We joined Sagitta at the passenger terminal in St Maarten, we were met at the taxi rank by a member of the crew who directed us to the boat where other crew members loaded our bags and placed them in the cabin for us. The cabins all have their own air conditioning unit, shower, sink and toilet, and two good sized bunks, with the exception of two single cabins, there are no inside cabins and all have a porthole. There is plenty of room for clothes and in my case a full sized Scuba BCD, mask, fins and regulator. On the first night onboard we met our fellow passengers and at 5pm we were introduced to the Island Windjammer Sagittarita Cocktail hour and snacks. Snacks were different each evening and ranged from BBQ ribs, Cheeses, Savory pastries, chicken wings, fresh battered fish, shrimp, fresh fruit and more. Dinner was served at 7pm on the aft deck and was absolutely outstanding. The seating area consists of four permanent tables arranged in a circular plan, you are free to sit where you choose and each table can seat six or even eight people. Wine is served with the evening meals and you are free to bring your own on board if you wish. The food is 5 star, prepared by the star Chef himself, Lenny. Sagitta sailed from St Maarten to Anguilla during the evening and the following day there was a tour to Shoal Bay Beach. Beautiful white sand, aquamarine Caribbean Sea and a shallow water reef just offshore that is fantastic snorkeling for all levels of swimmers. The next evening we sailed to St Kitts, and after another excellent evening meal we spent an hour or so looking over the bow at the natural phosphorescence being left in Sagitta’s wake as she made her way South, a truly magical experience. St Kitts itself was fun, we visited Sunshine’s Beach bar, and enjoyed their signature “Killer Bee” cocktails, the bar owner, Mr Sunshine will divulge the recipe to anyone can finish five of these, the logic being that they won’t remember what the recipe is, I didn’t take up the offer, or at least I don’t remember doing so. Sagitta then moved to Frigate Bay later in the afternoon and the evening was spent on the beach where the crew served Sagittarita’s at 5pm followed by a beach BBQ, beach games, dancing and cold beer. The following day we visited Nevis and took a tour to around the island one of the Hotels we visited was apparently a favorite spot of Lady Diana’s, it certainly was a beautiful location. Other highlights of the trip included, seeing Humpback Whales off the aft end one evening, magical sunrises and beautiful sunsets, beach “wet” landing’s in secluded bays inaccessible to larger vessels and making new friends with our fellow passengers and crew. Our final two days were spent in St Bart’s, the St Tropez of the Caribbean. St Bart’s, has some of the best beaches in the world, the best shopping in the Caribbean, incredible beach bars and restaurants. We walked to St Jean beach, about 3/4 hour from Gustavia, and well worth the journey. Again pure white sand, aquamarine sea, amazing beach bars and Eden Rock restaurant, which has to be seen to be believed. After lunch we took a cab to Shell beach and had dinner at the Brazilian restaurant “Do Brazil” overlooking the beach, the bay and a view to die for. The following day Sagitta moved from Gustavia and anchored in the Anse du Grande Columbier Bay. Here you had the option to go ashore by dinghy and spend the morning or the day at the beach, I opted not to return for lunch, I had not taken a packed lunch with me so my good friend Lenny made me one and sent it back with some of the returning passengers, a nice touch, especially the two cold Carib’s. I enjoyed every minute of my trip with Island Windjammers and I would definitely recommend this trip and Island Windjammers, I can’t wait to return.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were ... Read More
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were Antigua, Tortola, Jost, St. Barths, and Virgin Gorda. We flew in 1 day early and stayed in Philipsburg, in the center of town (at the Sea View Hotel – not recommended). I would recommend, however, planning to get here at least 1 day early because the airport here is very crowded and unpredictable – all of our flights, in & out, were delayed therefor causing missed connections and re-scheduled flights. It was very hectic. However, once aboard the Wind Surf everything changed. I have nothing to complain about, no negative comments. Checking in was a breeze. We had only a standard room, but it was very comfortable. We were on the 3rd deck which I thought was perfect for this ship – down 1 to get on/off the ship or to get to the water platform, and up 1 flight for the casino, diner, entertainment, reception, and the pool bar. Perfect. The entertainment was very good – 2 choices, the duet who performed at the Compass Rose, or the band who played in the lounge. They were both excellent, but I preferred the duet…they were more than excellent and played songs if requested. The casino was just the right size, and the dealers were friendly and very accommodating. They would open a table for you if asked. It was never too crowded there, so I thought it was perfect. 3 table games (BJ & 3-Card Poker), 1 roulette table, and some slots. Sadly, no Craps table. The gym was very clean, surprisingly a good size for a small ship, and very useable. A trainer is staffed there and is more than willing to assist with questions. He also teaches a few classes – at no charge. The meals were always great. Breakfast & lunch are served up on the top deck. Could either grab something off the buffet or order off the menu. Each day, we’d 1st order room service coffee, then go up to the veranda for something to eat. On the breakfast menu, the chef offered a new daily “chef special Eggs Benedict” along with the standard one. I loved that, they were all very good. And the buffet was great as well. They had 2 Barbeque Parties that were loads of fun. The main room for diner was just as good. Everything was perfect. Once, after a few drinks, I jokingly wished that Crème Brule was on the menu. ….Our waiter went and found it at a different restaurant and brought it to us… Every meal was perfect. We would also order ”late night “ room service, and it was very good too. The bar service was quick & the bar tenders were friendly. At times though it can get crowded at the bar, but unlike other cruise lines – there are not many waiters walking around asking you if you need a drink. Usually you have to go up to the bar yourself, but it’s a short walk. Note/FYI: we did not purchase the drink plan, yet always had a drink in our hand and at times had too much…. Our total ship “bar bill” was $650. The ship “sail-away”, playing the 1942 music…. Was a little less dramatic and inspiring than I thought it would be, I think maybe it was a bit over-hyped to me by everyone to me. For me, maybe the music should be played louder, but I found the best place to get a feel for it was standing under a speaker. But when the sails unravel…it is a little romantic and was nice to watch. It’s a great feeling to be under sail with a ship moving; I’ve never experienced that before. I miss it already. The sports platform was fantastic. It is much better entertainment than any large cruise ship can offer. The guy running it – “PJ” I think – was wonderful. I will say to be careful if you go water-skiing in the ocean….  If you’re getting stiches; request small stitching and additional stiches (this will help reduce the scaring). The port destinations were as good as they could be. Seriously, I would have no problem taking this same itinerary next year. As other reviewers have said – there are always some cabs at each port if needed. Soper’s Hole, Tortola, is one of them – grab a cab and head to a Tortola beach – off the tender there is a nice bar, Pussers, and some shops…but that’s pretty much all. I will cab it next time. Lastly, the crew. I can’t say that they all remembered my name, but many did. Every one of them were personable, friendly, helpful, kind, …. Like the boy scouts… They were truly a great group of employees. I can’t imagine a better vacation. We did get lucky to have perfect weather, and met other couples on the ship with whom we seemed to hang out with. They were all good people and made our trip superb. We met one of the couples on the Cruise Critic forum page (Joymitch) before the cruise then met up with them on the ship. That was awesome in itself and they are great people. Isn’t the internet fantastic!?   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Margaret and I have a couple of friends who seem to be on cruises all the time, so we had become curious about the experience. However, having sat on Riva deli Schiavoni in Venice with a cold glass of something white and Italian, watching ... Read More
Margaret and I have a couple of friends who seem to be on cruises all the time, so we had become curious about the experience. However, having sat on Riva deli Schiavoni in Venice with a cold glass of something white and Italian, watching packs of tourists from one of the large cruise ships being dragged towards Plazza San Marco by a brolly wielding guide, we had decided it probably wasn’t for us. So when we stumbled across the Star Clipper cruises, we realised there might be a way we could cruise and have a relaxing time, and the icing on the cake (at least for me) was that this was a ship with sails….and it actually sailed. Margaret was perhaps not so keen on this latter characteristic of the cruise, since I had taken her sailing a couple of years ago and I’m not sure she has yet forgiven me for the competitive nature of my “requests” to haul in the jib during the charity regatta we found ourselves in! But it was the Caribbean, it was warm and it looked beautiful, so the Treasure Island cruise was duly booked. It’s hard to summarise the trip in a few words, but from the first moment we saw the Star Clipper to the moment we left her (were those tears in our eyes…?) we both had a great time and a holiday with memories we will cherish. The staff were always on hand and nothing seemed too much trouble, the food was delicious and plentiful and the sailing was impressive indeed (Vangelis will always invoke a recollection of those sails being hauled high into the rigging). The highlights for us, well, that first sailaway, the beach BBQ, the Soggy Dollar on Josh Van Dyke, laying in the Widow’s net with the wind in our hair, the view from the Crow’s nest and not least the new friends we made….with only 130 passengers onboard I guess we spoke with just about everyone and all of them were friendly and having a good time. In all of this, I learnt a few things too, the largest sail on a Barquetine (which is what the Star Clipper is so I believe) is a Fisherman, the Lake District is in Cumbria (how did I not know that), and even after a 20 year break, I can still get up on a pair of waterskis! Would we do it again, absolutely. As has been said elsewhere, this is not something to do 3 times a year, but it is a definite repeat, and now I come to think of it given the relaxed intimate nature of the cruise, I have no doubt sailing along the Grande Canal would be quite an experience and we would almost certainly have the time to visit our little Tratorria for a glass or two of something white and cold. Oh, and one last thing, the Skipper really was a sailing nut, on the last day he anchored us close to the finish line for the St Barts Regatta. To say we had goose bumps watching a billion dollars of huge yachts gunning for the line inches from the bowsprit would be a bit of an understatement! There are some photos here http://www.dd1961.com/StarClipper - Enjoy Take Care and Happy Sailing   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
The thing about Island Windjammer is that there is no hard core itinerary. You book a Island Winjammer cruise to chill and not worry about excursions or buffet lines or what day or time it is. You book a Sagitta Island Windjammer cruise to ... Read More
The thing about Island Windjammer is that there is no hard core itinerary. You book a Island Winjammer cruise to chill and not worry about excursions or buffet lines or what day or time it is. You book a Sagitta Island Windjammer cruise to go with flow, drink sagaritas and eat snacks at 4:30, and to enjoy cruising. It's not a sailing ship, but it looks fantastic with the sails unfurled! We had a full house-- 24 passengers. The deck space was accommodating and the food was fresh and tasty. Entertainment? How about a sky unobstructed by the light pollution you get on a big cruise? Cabins? Small and efficient - but who wants to be in their cabins when there is a whole sea of dolphins and flying fish? Activities? Plentiful - if you like going to the beach, snorkeling, touring, a wine and cheese party and getting to know a diverse crowd. Our group had two sets of mother- daughter travelers, a group of 40 something friends who had been doing a once a year trip since high school and several couples. Ages ranged from 30 to 60-ish. The crew was accommodating, disembarkation was organized - overall a no-care vacation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We embarked from St. Maarten in early February on the Windsurf and from the start, it was a fabulous experience! Embarkation was fast and simple and very personalized and we were quickly escorted to our suite accommodations (we splurged), ... Read More
We embarked from St. Maarten in early February on the Windsurf and from the start, it was a fabulous experience! Embarkation was fast and simple and very personalized and we were quickly escorted to our suite accommodations (we splurged), which were very comfortable. We loved the relaxed atmosphere and were surprised at the number of dining options on such a small ship. The ship has all the amenities of a larger ship (pool, hot tubs, library, fitness room, spa, etc.), but the smaller number of passengers meant they were very accessible. The food was wonderful, with plenty of choice for those with dietary restrictions, and the service was excellent. Staff made an exceptional effort to remember our names and our favourite wines. The entertainment was provided by a band that had a very large repertoire and the members were all very talented. The itinerary was very interesting, taking us to places a larger ship wouldn't be able to go. The shore excursions were very well organized, with several choices in each port. We especially loved the trip to the native Carib village in Dominica, Touna Aute. I expected a "touristy" set-up, but this was the real deal - visiting the villagers at their homes and learning about their culture and history. The tour culminated in a visit to the tour leaders' home where we sat down to a lunch of their traditional foods at their table (just 8 people on this tour - can't get that on a big ship!). We were very sorry when the cruise came to an end and we had to return to the frozen north, but we'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Windsurf. We were three couples and we all thought that the cruise was fantastic. It is not a luxury cruise in my opinión but, it is a calm, thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed experience ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Windsurf. We were three couples and we all thought that the cruise was fantastic. It is not a luxury cruise in my opinión but, it is a calm, thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed experience ... No lines, no crowds, soothing old style yacht with lots of wood, sober decoration, nice decks ... The cabin, 121 on deck one, was very nice, everything very well designed, lots of closet room, very nice bathroom and shower. The crew is fabulous, always there to please you, to try to get you something, cabin attendant took wonderful care of our cabin while we were out, room service arrived promptly - not more tan 10 minutes.. Our only complaint was that on the one day that the yacht is sailing all day there were not enough lounge chairs but of course, people have the habit of placing a towel on the chair and then going away. We complained about this to an officer. The food was excellent, high quality, well prepared, wonderful beach bbq, fabulous bbq on deck - amazing lobster, salads, fish ! Everything was delicious !! It is a quiet, relaxing experience. We had a wonderful time with our friends and expect to repeat the experience in the future. We did not however like this itinerary (Dominica, St. Lucia, Les Saintes, Nevis and St. Kitts). There are really no nice beaches on these islands, but we had already visited most of the islands on the alternate itinerary. Our mistake, would have enjoyend going back to Virgin Gorda or St. Barts !! High recommendations for Windstar !!! Excellent cruise experience !! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My wife and I recently returned from our sixth Star Clipper cruise. This cruise took us around the BVI's, St Bart's and St Kitts. First the positive, great crew, excellent food and the ship was as stunning as ever. Don't ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned from our sixth Star Clipper cruise. This cruise took us around the BVI's, St Bart's and St Kitts. First the positive, great crew, excellent food and the ship was as stunning as ever. Don't expect gourmet cuisine, if you want that then pay gourmet prices. Our deck cabin was clean and comfortable. Great mix of passengers from many countries. The negatives on Star Clipper are a lack of shaded areas on top deck (Royal Clipper is much better). This is a serious issue and should be addressed.The house wines have definitely gone downhill since our last cruise and should be improved. The choice of destinations was in the main good, but St Kitts was a disaster, no one was allowed off in the Port unless on an excursion, we dropped anchor a little way up the coast opposite the most appalling beach in the Caribbean. Not good enough Star Clippers. In the main still a great cruise, but I would maintain that the Med cruises are better and I would in future choose the more passenger friendly Royal Clipper Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, ... Read More
Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, travelling together were like a bunch of kids on and off the ship. Anchoring at locations away from the town-sized monster ships gave us a chance to visit local shops in smaller towns, yet get to the bigger "tourist centers" if we wanted to. The food was spectacular, the scenery was incredible, and listening to the music while the sails were unfurled on the 5 masts was thrilling. Seeing the ship at anchor when returning from shore excursions was a wonderful sight. With just under 300 passengers, we were able to get together when we wanted, and go our separate ways when we wanted. The six of us did get together for dinner each evening. All six of us went to a small local bar, the Mad Mongoose, in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua, to watch our Seahawks beat the 49ers. It was a raucous, fun evening with lots of local residents and a few travelers from around the world. We all did many activities together and separately. Some of us went swimming off the watersports platform at the stern of the ship, two went snorkeling at the Baths and another site on Virgin Gorda, four of us enjoyed the swimming and "people" watching at Shell Beach on St. Bart's, two of us went swimming and playing with dolphins on Tortola, and we all spent many hours sitting and reading at many locations all over the ship. Our rooms were luxurious, comfortable, and very well prepared by our Steward, Beny. I cannot possibly imagine a better trip for the price. We will take Windstar trips again !!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to ... Read More
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to delays in our flights, we were late in arriving at St. Maarten and boarded the Windsurf just one hour before it left port. It was supper time so we went to the Amphora restaurant. Too tired to change into more elegant clothes, we were a bit disheveled, and felt that as a result we might be met with a somewhat disdainful attitude on the part of staff. Quite the opposite! We were greeted with smiles and seated at a beautifully set table. My daughter mentioned that she was a vegetarian, at which point the chef and restaurant manager appeared to discuss how they could make meals to best suit her needs. We were encouraged to meet with the chefs on a daily basis so that each delicious meal was made to her specifications. As for myself (I’m not a vegetarian), I thoroughly enjoyed the meals in all the restaurants. Later in our voyage, during a beach picnic on Pigeon Island where a meal was prepared and served on the beach by the Windsurf staff, we made our food choices and were told our food would be brought to us shortly. We had installed ourselves on beach chairs at quite a distance from the cooking area. To our amazement, the chef appeared with a big grin and our two plates in hand. He noticed that the people near us had empty plates and removed the plates for them. This lack of pretentiousness on the part of the chef and the heartfelt pleasure he had in making Windsurf guests have a wonderful eating experience went a long way towards making our holiday extraordinary. As well, we were consistently given friendly and professional service by the staff in all the restaurants and bars. Stateroom Our stateroom was on the lower deck, midship. We barely felt the motion of the ship, and it was such a quiet area that we were able to sleep blissfully each night. We enjoyed hearing the sound of the water lapping against our porthole, lulling us to sleep. The beds were the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in (we have high-end mattresses at home and would happily trade them for the Windsurf mattresses in our stateroom). The shower was great, good water pressure and several choices of showerheads. Our stateroom was small, but we never felt crowded. The young man who did our stateroom housekeeping was friendly and efficient, so that we could always count on a clean and pleasant environment. Room service for meals was also excellent. Smoking My daughter and I are both non-smokers, so it was important to us that to be able to avoid smokers on the ship. Most of the ship, both interior and exterior, is non-smoking, so we were generally able to breathe freely. One disappointment though was that smoking was allowed in the terrace outside the Compass Rose Bar. The Compass Rose had entertainment consisting of a lovely singing duo. We tried on several occasions to listen to them, but the Compass Rose had open doors which allowed cigar and cigarette smoke from the terrace to permeate the room. The smoke also reached the pool and the outdoors Candles restaurant. We finally gave up on going to that area of the ship. There are other designated smoking areas on the ship. I’m hoping Windstar Cruises will change their policy and prohibit smoking on the Compass Rose terrace, since smoking there affects so much of what otherwise would be a very enjoyable section of the ship. Shore excursions We found that the information provided by the Windsurf crew about port excursions was somewhat disappointing. For example, we were told that on the island of Les Saintes we could get a taxi to Pain de Sucre beach. Arriving at Les Saintes, we went to the small tourist information building and were told that there was only one taxi on the island and no other tourist mode of transportation except for scooters (and vans for people staying at hotels). Not having a driving license, scooters weren’t an option for us. We ended up at a dive center in town, where the friendly owners tried hard to contact the one taxi driver as well as finding an alternative mode of transportation, to no avail. Searching for a way to Pain de Sucre beach took us a couple of hours, by which time we had no time for the long walk it would have taken us to get to other beaches. Had we not been misinformed by Windsurf staff about the availability of taxis, we would have made other plans. I should mention that Windsurf offered a guided tour to the Pain de Sucre beach at a cost of $135 per person, which we found to be ridiculously overpriced. One great aspect of travelling with Windstar Cruises is that, due to their ability to go to the smaller ports, there aren’t the huge crowds of tourists who get off the large cruise liners. If Windstar Cruises lowered the prices of their shore excursions and kept their shore excursion agents more informed about the various port activities, it would most likely make a big difference in the enjoyment of these beautiful Caribbean islands. Water sports platform On the one day we planned to use the water sports platform, the currents were dangerous so we weren’t able to use it. On days when it was safe and the water sports equipment was out, Windsurf guests looked like they were having a great time using it. General impressions Very friendly and efficient service. Our fellow guests were friendly and the overall atmosphere was laid back and extremely relaxing. Making new friends was easy, especially when choosing to eat meals at a table with multi-seating. However, for those who want to be less social, there are always places to enjoy this wonderful voyage in privacy, as well as the choice to eat at a table for one or two people. Travelling on a ship with sails was a unique and magical experience. We’re looking forward to our next Windstar vacation!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Our cruise started in St martin. This was a trip my husband won through work, the entire boat was chartered by this company. We were greeted warmly with a cool towel, snacks and tropical drink upon arrival. The boat was extremely clean and ... Read More
Our cruise started in St martin. This was a trip my husband won through work, the entire boat was chartered by this company. We were greeted warmly with a cool towel, snacks and tropical drink upon arrival. The boat was extremely clean and well kept. After checking into our room (would recommend asking for a larger room- very small) we were able to leave the boat for the afternoon and explore the island. Embarking/disembarking was a very quick and easy process. We returned to the boat for dinner. I will say this was my main complaint. The main dishes served at dinner were not great. Meats were a bit tough. All other courses were good though and we had a good selection. Servers were flawless and had it down to a T. Breakfast and lunch were much better. I would recommend having dinner off the boat when possible. After dinner there was entertainment at the tropical bar. This was so much fun! Nickola played dance music each night and we enjoyed him so much! Igor was our bartender and he was prompt and had a great sense of humor. Excursions were wonderful! We were accompanied by Matt from the Clipper each time and enjoyed his young energy. We enjoyed kayaking in St Kitts and the ATV tour in St. Barths was so much fun! The seas were rough at night (apparently worse this time of year), but we didn't mind. We enjoyed "adventure sleeping". Our room was made up 2x a day and kept very clean. Liked the chocolates on our pillows each evening. Peter (cruise director) and his staff were all very accommodating and did everything to make our trip more enjoyable. I would recommend going with a group on this trip. The people we hung out with were my husband's co-workers (although we got to know them a lot better on the trip), so it made it fun dining with them each night and doing excursions together. So, other than sub-par main entrée and rough seas, it was still the most amazing trip I have ever taken. Something about that gorgeous ship made the whole thing so romantic too. Loved the staff and would definitely do the Star Clipper again (just work on that food a little bit guys). The memories we made here will last a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it ... Read More
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it easy to get to the higher deck levels of the ship. I never experienced a time when I couldn't use an elevator. The ship is clean, tidy and well-maintained and our cabin was nice and with a well thought out design. Liked the overhead Hansgrohe shower head and handheld spray. It had different water pressure settings and patterns. The L'Occitane bath products provided were Lemon Verbana scented. The bed was comfortable, not too hard or too soft. Chairs in the cabin and on the above decks do not have good lower back support though. Our cabin steward was efficient and friendly. There was always a basket of fresh fruit in the cabin and two heart-shaped chocolate candies and also fresh ice in the ice bucket every night with the turndown service. The BBQ on the beach on St. Lucia and also the second BBQ on the ship were highlights of the trip. They did that well! Even had a live steel drum band on the beach. Occasionally the captain of the ship would make an announcement. He sounded just like the British actor Hugh Grant and had a nice sense of humor. We only booked one ship excursion and felt it was worthwhile money spent. Most of the islands we explored a bit on our own. The island itinerary on this trip was St. Maarten, Dominca, St. Lucia, Les Saintes (French West Indies), Nevis and St.Kitts. Nevis was the least interesting island. Taxi drivers there will hound you to use their services. We decided to just go back to the ship instead. Another couple that did take a taxi ride on the island were disappointed and told us it wasn't worth it. Most of the time we had to use a tender boat to get onto an island. It was easy and not scary and the crew is always ready to lend a helping hand to make getting on and off the tender boat simple. The Torment of Love pastries (filled with either coconut, banana or guava) and sold in baskets on the main street of Les Saintes, were delightful and also the French ice cream flavors ( guava, cassis, etc.) Most islands accepted US dollars but I had to pay with euros on Les Saintes. There is an Atm machine in town where you can obtain euro currency. There were several first-run movies available daily on your cabin tv and also a dvd and book library on the ship. I did purchase some wifi bandwidth to use with my ipad. The internet connection worked pretty well in the cabin and had an worked even better on a higher level of the ship. The food on the ship was good but not memorable. There wasn't a meal that made me wish I could eat it again. The dinner service every night was more elaborate and formal than breakfast or lunch. It would be nice if they would offer an optional informal dining venue for dinner other than room service. All in all, this was a nice trip!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus ... Read More
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus (climbing walls, mini golf, basketball, etc) not to mention the 8000 people on the ship. I was pointed in the direction of the Windstar Windsurf. We took two boys ages 17 and 22. The cruise was over Christmas so we figured (and were right) that there would be other young adults on the ship. It was fantastic, from the room (not as big as the last ship) to the food to the crew. I don't have enough time to leave a complete review but we couldn't have been happier. The kids even had a great time. We went swimming and playing in the ocean off the back of the ship every day, something we haven't ever had the opportunity to do before. This was like being on our own private yacht. It's a small ship with only 300 passengers and if you wanted to find a corner and read or listen to music it wasn't a issue. You are going to want to take advantage of the 24 hour open bridge policy, it's fascinating. Everything we did was special and we would do it again and will. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose ... Read More
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose Windstar bc of the itinerary and wanted to give Windstar a try. The highs were the great ports and the marina off the back of the ship. Even though our weather was not great at the beginning of the cruise, it improved and we enjoyed wonderful days in Virgin Gorda, St. Barts and Tortola. The sailing was VERY rocky, but we were not affected by it. The room was good and very well appointed- especially the bathroom which has a very useful lay-out. Our cabin steward could not have been nicer and more helpful. Breakfast and Lunch in the Veranda were perfect- many choices, attentive service and no problem finding a place to sit. The lows outnumbered the highs. There was a big corporate organized group onboard- inferred that it was basically a wine and dine and thank you for media advertising. We had read on previous reviews that if a large group is onboard, it can greatly affect the cruise for others. This is very true. They took over Candles one night, and also hosted a special dinner around the aft pool one evening which precluded anyone else from enjoying that area for the evening. They would congregate at the bars in large, loud groups making it awkward for others to be there. The group was at least 60 people, and on a cruise of 300 people, this constitutes a large group. Smoking was another issue. We are not vigilantly against smoking, but it was overwhelming at times around the pool. Smoking areas were on one side of the ship- we just think that with such a small pool area, maybe move it somewhere else? The crew was friendly and we definitely encountered many who were to be commended ( we always turn in commendation forms as we know that they are important to the crew). But, it seemed as if they were not well trained or were new to Windsurf. Our dinners lasted at least 2.5 hours due to either a slow kitchen or slow wait staff. We would have liked for the Veranda to be open as a buffet in the evenings- dinners became a drawn out affair that we did not look forward to. Room Service was always an option, but we did not come on Windsurf to eat in our room. Th final straw was the fact that crew members (mainly casino and "cadets"- crew members in training) basically took over the Marina and the water trampoline in port and especially at the beach picnic on Prickly Pear. We have never encountered this on any cruise before- we realize that the crew works hard, but shouldn't those amenities be reserved for guests first? Comparing Windstar to comparable lines with comparable prices, Windstar falls short in the area of service. With the exception of our cabin steward, we did not feel like we received the service that we expected. We do not expect to be waited on hand and foot, but with such a strong crew to guest ratio, thought it would be a better experience. To be honest, with the exception of turning in favorable commendations for crew members, we do not post reviews such as this. You have to take all reviews at face value, and everyone has their own opinion. But, there were just too many things about our experience on Windsurf that were not favorable. They truly have the potential to be amazing, and their itineraries are great. We would try them again, but would go into it with lowered expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This review covers a cruise on the m/s Tere Moana from December 7-14, 2013. This was a round trip from St. Maarten. Summary: The Tere Moana’s size creates too many compromises to be worth the micro-ship “experience”. The bottom line ... Read More
This review covers a cruise on the m/s Tere Moana from December 7-14, 2013. This was a round trip from St. Maarten. Summary: The Tere Moana’s size creates too many compromises to be worth the micro-ship “experience”. The bottom line is that despite predominantly sunny skies, there was sufficient swell in the eastern Caribbean to provide an uncomfortable ride and make a shambles of the itinerary. Despite the ships limitations, the crew did an outstanding job and provided a level of grace and personal service that I have never experienced anywhere else. Keep in mind, however, that there were only 52 passengers aboard with a capacity of 90. Paul Gauguin touts the fact that their smaller ships can go places that larger ships can’t. In the case of the Paul Gauguin it appears that they succeeded in providing a good balance of stability and features (according to fellow passengers) but they went way too far with the Tere Moana. Simply stated, the Tere Moana is too small to be able to handle the Caribbean Sea. If there is one thing you should take away from this review, be prepared for constant and sometimes fairly extreme motion. This includes when tied up at a pier. For experienced boaters, who would consider something like a sailing charter it might not be objectionable but I am going to bet that for most people it would be a struggle. Tere Moana’s size also means that your itinerary is at constant risk of change because of fairly minor changes in weather (swells, in this case). If you are flexible, fine but if you have your heart set on the destinations, you are more likely to be disappointed than in the case of a larger ship (to be sure, larger ships also miss ports due to weather). During our cruise, the captain sought out larger, more protected anchorages rather than the smaller ones for the sake of passenger comfort. For me, Jost Van Dyke and Les Saintes were the kinds of smaller destinations that I was hoping to experience and did not. Embarkation (and disembarkation): Both were amazingly simple and quick. There is no comparison with conventional cruise ships. Check-in was a bit confused and the outgoing cruise director (more on this character latter) basically told us we could hang around and wait for a ride or walk to the ship. “it’s over there, you can’t miss it”. Well “over there was in between 5 other ships tied up in the massive port of Phillipsburg and a 10 minute walk with carry-ons. Fortunately, I knew exactly what the ship looked like and we managed to find it. Once we got to the gangway we were descended upon (in a good way) and all was well. Back to the outgoing cruise director, while we were checking in my wife casually asked about the weather (it had been marginal in St. Maarten). His response was, “It’s going to be bad, very rough”. My wife then asked, “should I put on my seasick patch”. The response was, “yes, take everything you have!”. So, at this point I am starting to picture the cab ride back to the airport but my wife decided to soldier on. In truth, the weather was a bit rough in the beginning but that was absolutely no excuse for scaring the hell out of a passenger short of cancelling the trip. Cruise: From hour one, the Tere Moana was chased around the Caribbean by swells. Early on we were informed that we would stay in St. Maarten overnight and the following day rather than departing for Tortola. At this point, Jost Van Dyke was already a casualty. We did not actually set sail until Monday morning and proceeded to St. Kitts. The schedule was further revised sending us next to Guadeloupe then St. Barts and on to the BVI. Thus, another “small” port, Les Saintes was gone. That lasted until the next morning but the seas were too rough and we turned around and headed for St. Barts, skipping Guadeloupe. Keep in mind that this whole time there was barely a cloud in the sky. This was all about swells. So, you get the basic point. Unfortunately, we had to make the trip back to St. Maarten from the furthest point, Virgin Gorda, rather than St. Barts so we set sail at 6 PM and were underway during dinner which I could not finish because of the motion. That’s what happened. Was it a fluke? I have no way of knowing but I believe the conditions we faced would have been easily handled by any other cruise ship. Check what happened to other “smaller” ships that were in the area if you are curious (Seabourn, Windstar, etc.). On the positive side, especially with such a light load, the ship seemed almost deserted. You could have all the space you wanted whenever you wanted it. This particular group did not have many “sun” people and the upper decks were virtually deserted. As a tip for those that like being outdoors the loungers on the top deck, forward are wonderful. Food: Breakfast and lunch were served as buffets but there was always a chef present preparing eggs, omelets, waffles (breakfast) and items like tacos, freshly fried fish, etc. (lunch) to order. There was a lot of choice without a lot of distinction. The desert selections for lunch were very nicely done. The food experience was a step up from the large ship experience but not a large one. The atmosphere, however, was 50 times nicer without all the hustle and noise. There was a “barbeque” on the beach in Virgin Gorda which was fun (basically, what they would have done on Jost Van Dyke). Dinner was presented formally and they did a good job but appeared to be stretched. No one was in a hurry but I do wonder what it would be like at full capacity. There was another “barbeque” on the pool deck one night with a local steel band that literally stood in the pool. Everything was served “wedding style” from two gas grills but it was fun. Entertainment: Entertainment consisted of a single keyboard player who seemed to be everywhere and performances by other members of the crew that had musical talents. The maître d’hôtel was particularly talented. All in all, it was fun and exactly what I expected but a far cry from any other ship I have ever been on. Conclusions: I strongly suggest that you seek out reviews from others on this cruise especially because a good 80+% of the passengers had previously been on the Paul Gauguin. These folks had already experienced the excellent Paul Gauguin Line service on a much larger ship. We were glad to have experienced the Tere Moana but would most definitely never venture onto a ship that small again, at least not for a week. Again, I have to say the crew was just super. I don’t know if the weather just dealt them a bad hand or if the Tere Moana is just an unplayable lie (at least in the Carribean). Regardless, if you are looking for super food or entertainment you need to look elsewhere. Just a final observation for Paul Gauguin Cruises…you guys are doing some serious harm to your brand. Most of my fellow passengers just loved your product before the Moana and many are not so sure after.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click