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70 St. Maarten to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

I have just returned from the Christmas cruise on the Tere Moana. Previously I have cruised on large ships and ships even smaller than the Tere Moana. I have also done the Paul Gauguin Tahiti and Society Islands cruise. We couldn't ... Read More
I have just returned from the Christmas cruise on the Tere Moana. Previously I have cruised on large ships and ships even smaller than the Tere Moana. I have also done the Paul Gauguin Tahiti and Society Islands cruise. We couldn't have wished for a lovelier trip. The itinerary was splendid (Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda. St. Kitts, Ile des Saintes, St. Barts). The crew were extremely helpful, went out of their way repeatedly to take care of our needs. Food was superb--Christmas evening, for example, we ate out by the pool with music provided by a local steel band. Lobster was one of the menu choices. Food was elegantly presented, varied and tasteful. I don't think I have ever seen a more appealing selection of drinks on a cruise (and this was all included in the price of the trip). Cabin was spacious and attractively appointed. Lots of room to store and hang things. The sea was a bit rough one night but I have had the same thing happen on a small ship in the Mediterranean. In my experience one does not take a small ship cruise for the entertainment. In short, a great trip.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Sagitta October 2013 six day cruise This was my second cruise on Sagitta and sixth with Island Windjammers. I have just finished my seventy fifth cruise so I have some experience. While I do enjoy cruising on mid size cruise ships doing ... Read More
Sagitta October 2013 six day cruise This was my second cruise on Sagitta and sixth with Island Windjammers. I have just finished my seventy fifth cruise so I have some experience. While I do enjoy cruising on mid size cruise ships doing the real deal on small sailing ships is a dream vacation. Throw a couple of bathing suits, a few T shirts, a pair of shorts or two in a ditty bag and you are good to go on the adventure of a lifetime. If you like formal dress and fancy feed read no further, this is not for you. If you enjoy long lines and large groups forget this. With only a maximum of 24 passengers on board (mostly experienced well traveled shipmates) life onboard is relaxed and enjoyable. Good conversation, socializing, sailing and snorkeling are the highlights. Snorkeling gear is provided and better equipment than my own. The islands visited are excellent and often in coves exemplary for snorkeling and hiking. Beer, wine and sodas are included in the price and you are free to bring spirits. The rooms are comfortable, individually conditioned and with very nice facilities. The crew is very friendly and you will know most of their names before you depart. Engine room tours and bridge visits are interesting. The ships of IWJ are small and do move about in some weather conditions, which I love but others do not appreciate. For those precautions are prescribed. Frankly if you need a little adventure in your life and are looking for something you will remember fondly for a long time look no further.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I hate to sound Californian, but the Windsurf energies were just great. The cabin was basic on deck 2 but great crisp sheets and a design that is not cramped. Windsurf was so small (300 passengers) meant that the tenders are frequent and ... Read More
I hate to sound Californian, but the Windsurf energies were just great. The cabin was basic on deck 2 but great crisp sheets and a design that is not cramped. Windsurf was so small (300 passengers) meant that the tenders are frequent and easy. The BVIs were non-traditional ports, and I don't like large crowds. The on-board BBQ was awesome and now 2 years later I can say the experience as a whole was super, although no individual island or cruise person was memorable. The crew was kind. I thought I wrote a review 2 years ago but seeing that none is in my CruiseCritic history I guess better late than never. More recently I took a Celebrity cruise with an upscale "Aqua" cabin with balcony, but the Windstar experience beat it hands down. Took a nonstop flight from DC and arrived the morning of the cruise - a short taxi ride to the port and easy boarding which I believe was $20 including tip. After the cruise we had a 1/2 day before the flight and rented a car which allowed us a tour of both the French and Dutch sides of St, Martin including a stop at some beach bar whose name I forget - fun and relaxing. And left the day of arrival. We made a full circle - and stopped in a local supermarket. SInce there are only 300 passengers disembarkation is quick. Another plus of this cruise was we spent about 8 hours under sail - which is aesthetically pleasing, We will be back on Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
After leaving my heart in Tahiti with the Paul Gauguin and its crew, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new PG ship, the Tere Moana. Although so many reviews deemed it the "Terrible Moana", I was confident that DH and ... Read More
After leaving my heart in Tahiti with the Paul Gauguin and its crew, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new PG ship, the Tere Moana. Although so many reviews deemed it the "Terrible Moana", I was confident that DH and I could have a ball on any boat, especially in the Caribbean. So, here we go. --Embarkation. The port in Galisbay, St. Martin is a bit third world. If you've been on the Paul Gauguin, the on-boarding experience for the Tere Moana isn't nearly as nice. You pull up to a gate at the port where a Caribbean guard takes your passports and goes back into the building for about 10 minutes. I felt a bit uneasy about my passport running away, but had faith it would return. Once you get into the pier, you are dropped off at a hot shipping container, where people who aren't necessarily wearing PG clothing, quickly take your bags and send you into "security" inside the shipping container. After the shipping container, you are loaded into someone's random mini-van and driven the 150 yard to a tired looking yacht"" oh wait, it's the Tere Moana. While the outside of the boat is a little unassuming there is no denying that she is going to take you to fabulous destinations, clearly, due to her size. Tere Moana only has 45 staterooms and 90 total guest, making it easy to navigate into ports that larger ships cannot. --Inside. After stepping inside Tere Moana and getting the standard welcome glass of Champagne from the friendly staff, I was shocked by how small the boat was. Yes, I was expecting it to be tiny; no, I didn't realize I could throw a baseball (with my girly arm) the length of the boat. The ships refurbishment was lovelyâ€" little touches of the namesake Tahitian boat, like artwork, etc. and yet still elegantly appointed. The staterooms were some of my favorite we have seen-- beautifully decorated with calm colors, a nice sized window (we were in C class on the pursers deck), and a pretty good sized bathroom, although a bit space-capsule-esque. There is ample closet and storage space, even having 3 adults in the cabin. As for tips on room location, try to stay away from the Grand Salon if you are a light sleeper, as the Karaoke Gods may wake you well into the night meaning about 11:15pm, since everyone was in bed no later than 10pm. Nonetheless, it could be fairly painful to listen to the constant wailing in the meantime. Make sure to bring a fan if you like your room cold. The A/C is certainly as old as the boat and kept the room livable, but certainly not cool. --Outside. The pool looks more like a hot tub based on size, but is clean and conveniently located with Vishel working the pool bar during the day. Unlike the PG, the bar opens at 8:30am making your ever-growing need for a Bloody Mary happy. The crew keeps each lounge chair stocked with fresh beach towels all day. --Tendering. Something a little different on the Tere Moana are the tenders also known as Zodiacs. I happened to adore them, but they certainly are exposed to the elements. You can get a little wet, and they can be a bit slippery (we saw the Cruise Director slip and accidentally punch a crew member in the face!) and subject to the motion of the ocean… The "tenders and crew are wonderful and really make you feel like you are part of an exclusive yachting cruise. The only down side was that the crew was told to run on a specific schedule" which I totally understand however, when the tenders are completely full with a line of people waiting, there is no reason for them to stay parked at the dock for another 15 minutes in the sun. --Food. The food was fine. Some things were incredible like their soups and presentations of every dish. Some items were atrocious like having the same short list of breakfast options EVERY. MORNING. Or finding a grasspur in your salad. Or the curdled creme brulee Do not, I repeat DO NOT, order your food spicy. I live for spicy food and this stuff was downright nuclear-- Blow your socks of and send your running for the bathroom hot. The chef was certainly heavy handed in regards to the cayenne pepper. Also, be aware that there is only one option for dining for dinner in a restaurant. --The downsides. That brings me to the downsides of Tere Moana which haven't been worked out on the new ship. The Schedule. It changed 2 times. There were no storms. No broken generators. No reasons.Well, I lied. There was a reason for the first change, which I appreciated. There were to be large cruise ships in port with us at one of the islands. PG thought ahead to help make our experience better with lesser people, so they made that change. What irked me most was when we boared the ship and found a new itinerary. You have to be kidding me! I went on my own and found a private tour to take us around the islands on the first day. After the second last minute schedule change, our guide had to go even further to pick us up, which meant more in fuel charges for our group. When we asked our "Cruise Concierge" Manuel, he shrugged his shoulders and said I should call my vendor to figure out what to do? Umm, really? Hey mister, pretty sure you shouldn't be in the customer service industry. And Manuel's poor attitude didn't stop there. He made similarly nasty comments to other guests on board the ship during the course of the cruise. I'm thinking he got a good talking to (by the PG Corporate Team, which was on board to see what was going on with the bad reviews!), because halfway through the cruise Manuel did an about-face. He ended the cruise with a slightly better disposition than he began. My guess is he won't be on the ship much longer at least he shouldn't be. On the pier, other cruise ships had the standard Paul Gauguin style tents with cold water, tea and cold towels. The passengers on the Tere Moana were left to their own devices and sought shelter under a restaurant overhang. Ultimately, on the days when things like this happened, we all felt like we made a bad decision spending as much as we did on the Tere Moana, instead of picking a similarly priced competitor. When we finally got back to the ship, the normal offering of cold towels and waters were gone just an empty tray and coke can. After a long day, this tiny feature added up to disappointment at its finest. So, here's the deal. DH and I did have a blast. We met some wonderful people and thoroughly enjoyed the islands. We visited locales we have never been to in the Caribbean and had a heck of a vacation. Was I disappointed at the Tere Moana? Yes. Would I go on it again? ehhh. Maybe. Will I continue to rave and fly for hours to get to the Paul Gauguin in Tahiti? Most certainly. If you're already booked keep your reservation. Just realize what you're going into. The boat is small. TINY. It's forced socialization at its finest sometimes you just don't want to fess up to the 8th beach bar you've visited on your trip in lieu of an archaeological site. But with that socialization and small feel comes prime destinations, a family atmosphere and personalized service. Tere Moana is having some growing pains, but is not to be written off. I'm confident the PG Corporate team who was on board this cruise, went back with some valuable information and will be making ample changes. Either way, Tere Moana certainly has the potential to be a major rival for her competitors... just think of her as a diamond in the rough. For pictures of the TM and our vacation, visit www.sunscreenrequired.com Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
1. The staff and crew provide a much better product than the one described in several posts on cruisecritic.com in January and February of 2013. The reviews from that time are relatively negative and I almost cancelled my trip after ... Read More
1. The staff and crew provide a much better product than the one described in several posts on cruisecritic.com in January and February of 2013. The reviews from that time are relatively negative and I almost cancelled my trip after reading them. In retrospect, they reflect typical problems in shakedown cruises for a new vessel sailing for a new company in a new area of travel. Many of the problems described in earlier posts had been fixed by the end of March. Plans are in place to fix most of the others. 2. The experience on the Tere Moana is not yet as good as it's going to be. As evidenced by the hands-on involvement on corporate staff on the end-of-March cruise, the Paul Gauguin Company is committed to improving this product and to matching the quality of their South Seas cruises. Passengers were asked for their opinions, problems were acknowledged, and no one was better at seeing what needed to change than Paul Gauguin's "Secret Shoppers." But remember, even though this is not the Paul Gauguin it can be a satisfying experience in its own right. 3. Beware of the shore excursions. The quality and value of the shore excursions was about as consistent as a two-year-old's moods. Some -- like the dolphin encounter, the train on St. Kitts, and the Norman Island snorkel were marvelous. Others -- like the tours of the Baths, Virgin Gorda, or St. Kitts were outrageously over priced. 4. If you plan to arrive pre-cruise or leave post-cruise consider where you will stay very carefully. The ship departs from the French side of the island. This means you are about 45 minutes away from the dock if you stay on the Dutch side. If you stay on the French side, the Radisson Blu Hotel suggested by Paul Gauguin as a pre/post cruise option is definitely not for everyone. Read reviews on Trip Advisor to see if it's right for you. 5. Allow plenty of time for the drive from the French side of the island to the airport on the Dutch side and vice versa. This trip might take as few as 25 minutes, but if you travel at rush hour -- yes this does exist on St. Martin -- or if one of the bridges on the drive is up to let boats through, you could easily spend an hour in traffic. 6. The staff and crew are exceptionally pleasant and accommodating. This cruise was a first for many of the staff and though they don't yet know everything, they are absolutely committed to pleasing the guests. They are also excited about the ports of call and talked about looking forward to going to Europe. Their lack of cynicism and boredom was refreshing. 7. Take charge of your own experience. Don't expect the concierge to know a great deal about what you'll find when you go ashore. After all, the trip at the end of March was only his third time making the circuit from St. Martin to St. Martin. Be on the alert for the unexpected. While we were anchored in St. Barts, there was a marvelous regatta and the ship anchored so that we were just a few hundred yards from the finish line. Enjoying this event was a highlight for many, but many more missed it entirely because they failed to pay attention to the shipboard announcements. Plan to be your own on-board entertainment. Alex -- The Piano Man was gracious, charming, and able to give anyone willing to take the plunge the opportunity to launch a career as a soloist. 8. This is not an "adventure" cruise. The ports where we disembarked had people, buildings, things to buy, and plenty to drink. There was some contact with "the locals," but only if it was sought out while in port. Even on the night when the crew provided entertainment think karaoke rather than stage production. 9. This is not a "luxury" cruise. The food was great, but not outstanding. Boarding Zodiacs is not something one wants to do in dresses, high heels, or leather-soled shoes. The general vibe with other passengers and crew is casual, informal, and fun. 10. The Tere Moana is not finished yet. The ship, crew, ports of call and passengers have not yet coalesced into an easily-branded or described experience. If you enjoy being part of helping set the tone for whether this becomes more adventure than luxury, more luxury than adventure, or delightfully (at least for me) a little of each, this might be the cruise for you. Please remember that your cruise will certainly be different in some respects from what I've described here. The cruise experience depends on the cruiser's attitude and expectations, the weather, how the ship's staff deliver on their promises and how everyone is able to respond to the unexpected. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
An altogether pleasant vacation experience. This ship is small, that is why we selected her. Her ports of call (except St.Kitts) were devoid of any large cruise ships. On all, but one day we anchored, and tendered into shore to small ... Read More
An altogether pleasant vacation experience. This ship is small, that is why we selected her. Her ports of call (except St.Kitts) were devoid of any large cruise ships. On all, but one day we anchored, and tendered into shore to small port towns. Our company in the bays, were yachts of all kinds, from all over the world. There were sufficient cruise sponsored shore excursions, if you did not want to just strike out on your own. They were on a par price wise with other cruise ships for duration, and activities. Service was uniformly excellent, and responsive. Menus were never posted for meals. Breakfast was the same each day, with the usual selections that you would expect, lunches were themed, with the menu items offered based on the theme (asian, mexican, italian, beach BBQ, etc.) and extremely varied and tasty. Dinner was served (as the other meals were buffet style), and everything on the menus (which varied each night) was superb. There was no "lobster night" for reasons (sustainability) which were explained. All sea food was fresh, and local, and the meat dishes were of the highest quality. Liquor was available at your whim, at no additional cost, and included wines were good, but not of wine snob quality. The "PianoMan" was the the entertainment on the ship, and he was versatile, and talented, and had us singing songs with the teen passengers till late in the night. The ship is the former Le Levant, built in 1999. She shows wear appropriate for her age, but has been maintained well, and completely refurbished inside. She has a shallow draft, and even with four stabilizers will roll a bit in seas--like any yacht. If you are prone to motion sickness stick with the floating hotels, but you will never see these islands! Improvements that could be made 1) A few more staff to service cabins, 2) Hamburgers, and hot dogs available everyday, and on the room service menu, 3) upgrading(moving)the embarkation/disembarkationport, 4) sorting out the boarding process. It was not well organized, and if you got to the port area they would not let you in before the appointed 3:00. I did have the opportunity to visit the Doctor for treatment of a pre-cruise broken toe. Dr. Vasili was a pleasant, competent man who showed me the proper way to splint my broken digit, which reduced the pain, and gave me much more mobility. This is a good cruise to take a group on, as you will have a built in circle of friends, and can add more if you find other passengers who are compatible. All in all a different and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This review is meant to be critical with a purpose. I hope that PG cruises make the appropriate changes so that you get what you paid for, that I can return on a different itinerary and that they succeed as a company. To qualify my review ... Read More
This review is meant to be critical with a purpose. I hope that PG cruises make the appropriate changes so that you get what you paid for, that I can return on a different itinerary and that they succeed as a company. To qualify my review I have sailed on 5 cruises including the large mass floating buffet line ships. I have also sailed on the Paul Gauguin in 2011 to French Polynesia on the 14 day Marquesas Islands itinerary. The Paul Gauguin is by far the best ship I have ever sailed on, in the best location in the world. She is 5+ star in every regard with the best food, drink and service in a paradise location. We were planning a trip to another Caribbean island this spring when we received the brochure from PG cruises showing the new Tere Moana and the Caribbean itinerary. Based on the brochure and our past experience on the Paul Gauguin, we were sold. We expected the same great all inclusive food and service, on an even smaller more intimate ship to great Caribbean ports where the large ships don't go. It is obvious that PG cruises has marketed the Tere Moana toward those previous guests who loved the Paul Gauguin. We were already sold on the PG product, so we expected the same this time because that is how it is advertised. As my review title indicates, the Tere Moana is advertised to be the same as the Paul Gauguin but it is not. Even though the ships and locations are different, they advertise the same product or cruise experience. This is my biggest issue as the Tere Moana did not deliver the luxury, top notch experience that Paul Gauguin did. Bottom line is that we did not get the value expected as was advertised for the high prices that we paid. During our sailing on March 23, we had 70 passengers and no children. The PG cruises sales dept staff and VP were also onboard. They were actively asking for guest feedback as well as making their own observations and notes(over 20 pages). They openly admitted that things were not up to par and that changes would be addressed to the President Diane Moore directly. I was asked to email my comments that we discussed onboard so that they could pass them on. We were told that we would not recognize the ship in 6 months due to all the changes/improvements that would be made. I relished the opportunity to have dinner with some of them and discuss the issues. Many gueats made their opinions known and did not just smile and say everything was great. Good on you PG sales staff for this but it means little unless those changes are made. We were informed that there were problems with the refurbishment company who is being sued by PG cruises. Obviously there are some issues that are beyond the control of PG but I believe that they launched this ship too early before all the advertised levels of service were ready. We had hoped that 3 months in that all the kinks would be worked out. Obviously they were not and that was reflected in the comments and notes of the sales dept staff themselves. My problems started well before we sailed. It was like the PG cruises office was divided between the Paul Gauguin and Tere Moana because we had absolutely no issues on our last cruise. I emailed them to find out the port locations as they only listed the island itinerary. They responded to my email with a letter showing a changed itinerary but no listing of the exact port locations. I emailed again with another request for the locations and questions about the Virgin Gorda BBQ, timings and excursions. They never even responded to my email. I had to find out through a TA and other members here on CC. Nice customer service.They ended up sending me the wrong change of itinerary letter not once but twice - through our TA and me directly. I only found out about the errors through other CC members. Then when PG cruises realized their errors, they did not bother to email any of the guests to apologize nor clarify the correct itinerary. Thanks to those here who helped, it was invaluable. Something that I learned from previous cruisers on this itinerary about tenders in Virgin Gorda proved to be correct and still makes no sense. They send tenders from North Sound to Gun Creek for the ship Baths shore excursion. Some of us wanted to take the tender over and then get a taxi to do our own tour of the Baths. We were told only those with ship booked tours could take this tender. We were told we had to tender to Bitter End Yacht Club which is at a location with no roads to the rest of the island. We pleaded with them to let us go on one of the tenders to Gun Creek after the Baths tour tenders were done. They agreed because there were only 4 of us but we would have to make arrangements for our own tender back before the tenders started at 12:30 to the beach BBQ at Prickly Pear island. When we showed up for the tender there were other ships excursions people going anyway and plenty of room available. Why not tell us that before and let us know that we could go anyway? Why not let people off to explore the island on their own as opposed to going to a dead end location with a yacht club? We booked our own return tender which they told us we had to but when we showed up early there were a whole bunch of guests there waiting and plenty of room available. We did not even need to do this and they never bothered to tell us we could come on the already scheduled tender anyway. We met other guests on the pier in the same situation who had to argue to get tenders. They are obviously trying to prevent non-ship booked excursions to the Baths. We paid $14 per person each way for the taxi and $6 per person fee to enter the Baths. The ship tour is $90 per person. We took the great advice of CC members on the previous itinerary who advised not to show up before 3pm at the Galisbay pier as they were not allowed in and waited outside in the hot sun for an extended period of time. We showed up around 4:30 and we were the only guests in sight. This was the fastest and easiest cruise embarkation ever. Our bags were at our room waiting for us before we finished our welcome champagne and paperwork which took about 5 minutes. The staterooms on the Tere Moana are beautiful. They were spacious and modernly decorated. Storage space is the most I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Great touch having an Ipod docking station in the room. Shower was a standard small circular unit. No issues with heating or AC as others have previously stated. I missed having a live camera feed channel on the TV to see the ports as we arrived or show our route progress. We always had bottled water, beer and pop in the fridge. There was even space for our own drinks/food in the fridge. There is even bottled water at the reception desk available each morning prior to departing the ship.The only issue that we encountered in relation to our room was that the steward did not replace our beach towels every day but this was fixed by simply asking for them. Food is a very subjective topic. Every meal on the Paul Gauguin was fantastic. Food on the Tere Moana did not match those high standards. I would rate the food as very good but not excellent. It did not stand out above Royal Caribbean or Norwegian. Breakfast and lunch were buffet only which was a disappointment. Although lunch was buffet, there was a different theme every day and was very good for the three times we ate there. The mexican and caribbean themes were particularly excellent for a buffet. Breakfast was a disappointment with exactly the same dishes every day in the exact same spot. One would expect breakfast ordered from a menu on a luxury ship. The dinners were different every night and obviously the best meal on the ship. There were not two venue choices for dining as advertised in the brochure. Breakfast and lunch were in the Veranda while dinner was in L'Etoile. There are two venues but not two choices. This was set and not a choice as advertised. Dining was always open seating with people usually forming their own tables according to numbers or able to sit at a large table with whomever else showed up. We ate with many different guests at different tables every night. It was quite warm in the dining room as previous reviewers have stated. Overall, the dinners were very good but some nights were exceptionally better than others. I was particularly disappointed there was no lobster available on a luxury ship. I have read that others say this is because of sustainable food. This reason is in contrast with the New Years Eve meal on the ship when they had lobster tails. Dinners on the Paul Gauguin were outstanding every night. Paul Gauguin left me continually excited for the next meal but I did not feel this way on Tere Moana. One thing that must be pointed out are the desserts/pastries. Not just ourselves, but almost every guest we dined with commented on how poor the desserts were. Some even said the pastry chef should be fired. Personally, I thought the pain au chocolat was the worst I ever had. This was obvious when on multiple nights every person at the dinner table left their desserts unfinished including the birthday/anniversary special cakes which everybody left. On both ships the wine was good but not great. I consider myself a bit of a wine snob so this is important to me. Each night there is a red and white available to choose from at dinner or the bar. The good thing about this system is that if you don't like the wine on a particular night then you can still ask for a wine that you enjoyed from a previous night. There were a couple I really enjoyed and would drink any day. Chris and Vishal made sure I always had my preferred wine, even without asking for it. Great service from all bars onboard and of course top shelf liquors. I was disappointed to see that on a luxury cruise they charged extra for cheap wines. I did buy quite a few extra charge wines because I enjoy the better wines. The included wine retails for $9 a bottle. The wine that I had to pay an extra $30 for actually retails for $16 a bottle. For the price of this luxury cruise, I find it absurd to charge extra for such low price wine. I would understand charging extra for $100 wines and champagnes. Service was exceptional on the Paul Gauguin but not so much on the Tere Moana. It has been stated many times in all the previous reviews that service and the crew is a work in progress. While I felt that every crew member was friendly, genuine, caring, and hard working, a lot of them either lack the experience or had not been trained to the level of Paul Gauguin. Here are some specific examples: my wine glass never went below half empty while other guests sat waiting/had to ask, or in some cases, served themselves. We noticed the level of service was very different within the dining room depending on which table you sat at and who served you. I personally had excellent service from Gede and Vishal, they were equal to the service level of Paul Gauguin. Another example was when we wanted to eat outside for breakfast and a waiter asked me if we were moving tables. I told him, yes we were going to eat outside. He then stood there and watched as we struggled to open the outside door with plates and drinks in our hands. On Paul Gauguin, this never happened as they even carried your plates from the buffet to your table. We were able to order extra dishes or make substitutions regularly but one night, two people at the table asked for extra items but never received them and nothing was said. One thing we found odd at dinner was the "Always Available" choices at the bottom of the menu. Each time somebody asked what was the fish, chicken,or steak choice, the waiter pointed to the feature menu item on the top of the menu and said that's the choice. So in essence, there was never a "Always Available" choice different from the features listed on the menu. While we never used room service, others commented that it was very limited and not very good. I personally enjoyed every meal but others dining with us did not. The private beach BBQ as advertised in the brochure, was one of the highlights we looked forward to on this cruise as we had done the same with Paul Gauguin on Tahaa. On the first night, they announced that lunch would be a "surprise" private BBQ on a beach at Prickly Pear Island even though everyone already knew that. Food consisted of fish, chicken, steak, hotdogs, hamburgers, and a salad bar. While the quality and taste of the food was excellent, I find it cheap to serve hotdogs and hamburgers on a luxury cruise. Go on the mega ships if you want to stand in line and eat that stuff. Why not have lobsters and champagne since it's such a small number of guests and make it a truly special BBQ? The only drinks offered were canned beer, pop, and wine. How hard would it be to offer rum punch that could easily be pre-mixed in one container? Oh but wait, you could buy mixed drinks at your own cost at the public beach bar. The floating bar on Tahaa was one of the most awesome things we experienced. I don't think it would be that difficult to do the same thing on Prickly Pear. Other things that were disappointing on this cruise: -running out of certain wine/port/cider early into the cruise and never replenished after being told it ran out, - no bottled liquor in the rooms,which is common on luxury ships and all inclusive hotels, - very limited 5 minute briefing on the next days port(example: many guests were upset that they did not know much about the sailing regatta in St Barths and missed a truly remarkable experience), even the VP had to ask me for directions to the beach one day, - lack of port facilities: we had a sign with the tender times posted, while the other luxury ships in port(Seabourn/Windstar) had tents to shade the sun, drinks, cold towels and snacks. We looked like the poor child on the pier next to those ships. PG cruises should take notice of how luxury cruising is done, - lack of entertainment:one steel pan drum performance and one staff singing night both of which were awesome. This was the only night everyone showed up in the lounge after dinner. Take a look at the Paul Gauguin who bring in dance troupes each night from different islands to perform to see how it should be done. Other nights it was karaoke which was terrible(hence why nobody ever showed up) but it must be pointed out that the talented Alex on piano and snorkel equipment was great. I asked for a song to which he did not know the words but the next night he had them memorized and sang them perfectly. Bravo, thats service. Things that confused me or which I have no answer: - the whole issue above about tenders to Virgin Gorda makes absolutely no sense, - the ship did not maintain its posted itinerary timings. When it says a particular port at 8am, that is the time the ship arrives, not the time you can get off it. First tenders were usually 845am. Scheduled departure time was late in the evening or at night but we usually left early before dinner. The posted times said last tender at 6pm even though the ship was not scheduled to leave till later but in small print below the tender times it stated separate tenders could be privately arranged after these hours. Nobody ever took later separate tenders as nobody wanted to go on their own. Not a very user friendly system and nobody ever spent any time on an island in the evening. What I don't understand is why we left so early and sailed for extra hours and did not arrive early enough to get guests off at 8am when all these islands are so close, - why did we sail from St Barths at 9pm to get to St Martin for 5am when they are only an hour apart in rough seas that sent items flying, suitcases banging into walls that were in the hallways and kept everyone up all night? The rocking/rolling was absolutely brutal when there was no need for it, - no comment cards available on the ship....I will let you figure out that one. I have to mention the much publicised zodiac tender situation. We were told by the sales staff that this was due to an issue with the refurbishment company and that the real tender boats are coming soon. I actually liked the open air zodiacs, felt adventurous and was able to see more of the beautiful ports/boats. I am 40 and it was easy but I am willing to bet that a 70 year old passenger might not enjoy this. People did get splashed up front and some had difficulty getting up on high piers despite the assistance of experienced and helpful staff. One day we watched the largest man on the ship lose his balance trying to get out of the zodiac and fell back knocking over the smallest woman on the ship. By some miracle she was not hurt but the potential was there for a broken neck/back. I did not observe a first aid kit or spinal board on the zodiac and would hate to see what would have happened if that man or woman had been cut open from getting knocked over. Overall I would rate my cruise experience as a 4. This was mainly based on great weather, beautiful beaches/islands, all inclusive and the fun we had with other guests that we spent time with on the cruise. I would give the ship, its food and service a 3. Everything about the Paul Gauguin was 5 star. This is where I am most disappointed. Paul Gauguin has set the bar so high for us that everything else falls short. It is sad that PG cruises markets and advertises the Tere Moana to be an equal product and in some ways even better because it is a smaller more intimate ship. They need to make improvements, stop the false advertising and lower prices for this ship to be on par with Paul Gauguin. The bottom line is that we did not get nearly the value that we paid for and a lot of the luxury class cruise ship standards did not exist. I truly believe that anyone who feels this is a 5 star luxury cruise has not sailed on the Paul Gauguin nor the other small luxury class ships. I hope PG cruises makes the necessary changes that they told us they would because I would love to go to the Greek Islands in the future. Did I get value for the money paid? NO. Would I recommend this cruise to my friends? Not at this price/value. Would I return? Only when it is on par with Paul Gauguin. Alberta Couple Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
\As an aid to future TM travelers, I offer the below in the hopes you're expectations fall in line with Paul Gauguin's new offering of an intimate small ship experience. We were part of a family group of 14 on a proposal/wedding ... Read More
\As an aid to future TM travelers, I offer the below in the hopes you're expectations fall in line with Paul Gauguin's new offering of an intimate small ship experience. We were part of a family group of 14 on a proposal/wedding announcement gathering. We had a good time over the week spent on the Tere Moana and always make the best out of almost any situation thrown at us. The Tere Moana brochures promised activities, itinerary and services that were not provided. I spent many hours researching and planning only to be surprised when receiving final documents with changes. Cruise Critic forums had much better information. I was left to fend for myself as our departure date neared, eventually forcing me to make the decision not to book any activities on my own. I had to go with PG's high priced (albeit well executed) ShoreEx ... primarily because I had lost faith in the Tere Moana's ability to keep schedule on a planned itinerary. Embarkation/Check-in at Galisbay Port was a major inconvenience due to French security's inability to handle the back-up of early arriving passengers. Over an hour of more in the blazing hot sun, so bring your own sunscreen and water. The comment from the hotel director was, "Not my problem, that's port security." While it may be out of her control, ... it was a problem! After the long hot sweaty security SNAFU, we were treated to a pleasant and friendly greeting from the quay, up the gangway, to the reception desk. When advised of a cabin change, no explanation of why ... no advanced notice, I informed the check-in staff that this was unacceptable. The 16MAR13 sailing had ~75 passengers (holds 90). I don't understand if our sailing wasn't full, what the problem was. Satisfaction required escalation to the hotel director. In the mean time, we sat in the lounge in our hot sweaty clothes for another half hour+ when all we wanted was a shower and to join our group for a drink and relaxing get-together. My wife and I came to PG with high expectations (most of our group are PG repeaters and recommend the PG operation highly) ... imagine all of the above transpiring and what a frustrating "first impression" Tere Moana gave us ... ugh!!! Onto dining; in the main restaurant, L'Etoile, the presentation was EXCELLENT. The soups were OUTSTANDING, the lamb was EXCELLENT, and the rest of the meals(s) were VERY GOOD. However, the filet mignon was INEATIBLE, and my "every nightly" steak was tough and served cold. Waiter Arnold was delightful, attentive and strived to excel at dinner, breakfast and every time we came across him onboard. Not under his control, but I rate TM's overall dining service as only GOOD. I conversed with Maitre D' Utpal and we came up with the following explanation: In our group (table for ten), the men were destined to get plates that had been cooling down while the waiters had everyone's meals readied and then politely served the women first. Compounding this were long delays between courses. Tere Moana needs more waiters for the bigger table(s) and/or you need to get seated at a smaller table. With the proviso that meal evaluations are highly subject to individual opinion, I gave Tere Moana an EXCELLENT rating in the La Veranda, no complaints here for breakfast or lunch. I actually enjoyed these "hot" meals more than the drawn out "formal" dinners. Toward the end of the week, breakfast selections did become monotonous but this was understandable for the small ship TM is. Of note to those reading the PG brochures, there may be two dining venues advertised / pictured, however, TM really operated only the La Veranda for breakfast and lunch, and only the L'Etoile for dinner. We personally did not partake of room service, a result of grumblings from fellow passengers. On a positive note, the staff occasionally extended the lunch hour to accommodate late returning ShorEx participants. The Tere Moana's staterooms do get a "five star" rating from me; plenty of hangers, drawers and closet space. Excellent towel exchanges, very timely, in fact quick, room turn-arounds while we breakfasted. Air conditioning was a little cool, but preferable to sweating like our friends did down the hall. Here is where I have learned from past cruises to select a cabin away from the entry and foyers. A recommendation for the bathroom: The wall mounted hair dryer is very "old school". It gets excessively too hot to handle well before the wife's hair was any where near drying. We envied our friend who brought her own dryer. I was delighted with the selection of travel books in and the small and cozy layout of the library/computer room. Both the guest lecturer and the steel drum duo were EXCELLENT and refreshing. Our Zodiac boat handlers excelled at their job helping us passengers on and off the fantail and piers. I think PG now blatantly realizes that Zodiacs are not for the infirm or mobility challenged. All the previous postings regarding "tender" services should, by the time you read this, have been overcome by events ... real "tenders" are promised for future cruises. A good cruise is what you make of it. Taking into account the TM's small size limitations, evening entertainment consisted of a "one man" piano bar singer with a naturally limited music selection. Piano player Alex, however was the "glue" that held us passengers together. He jumped right in to keep the lounge lively. Alex made it happen. Regarding port information and ShoreEx, cruise concierge Manuel was the nicest guy with a very pleasant disposition, however his port information was woefully inadequate. We were especially disheartened regarding the advertised marina "water sports". What good are kayaks if they are unavailable for our use? Sadly, we Tere Moana passengers were relegated to "Big Eye Liberty" only ... watching the Wind Surf's passengers enjoying "swim call" off their fantail. In my opinion, PG headquarters failed Manuel. One of the pax on our Baths tour was said to be a PG representative. When we asked her, "Why didn't PG send an advance man down to reconnoiter the ports?" ... she said PG did. Who ever this guy was, he/she missed the mark! In summary, we paid top dollar for a "five star" experience and received a middle-of-the-road product. The phrase, "Over promised and under performed." best describes my feelings about PG. Any comparisons regarding Tere Mona's facility, services and activities to the MV Paul Gauguin are inappropriate at this time. Using the Paul Gauguin reputation to market the Tere Moana experience ... falls short. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We just returned from our 9th Windstar cruise in the last 12 years, and our 5th on the Windsurf. We traveled with 4 other couples, all of whom are Windstar alumni. Our last trip was the same itinerary, with one change this time. They ... Read More
We just returned from our 9th Windstar cruise in the last 12 years, and our 5th on the Windsurf. We traveled with 4 other couples, all of whom are Windstar alumni. Our last trip was the same itinerary, with one change this time. They replaced St Kitts with Antigua...a good idea, although we all felt we didn't need 2 days in Antigua. More time in Virgin Gorda would be great. Since our last trip, 11 months ago on the Windsurf, the company has refurbished all of the public rooms, and the cabins as well. The public rooms are stunning. We found the cabin to be lovely, except for the carpet....if it had been changed, it was dirty and tattered on the edges. Surprising! Like the other review, we felt that the room needed more electrical outlets...there was only one in the cabin, and with all of the chargers that we carry for phones, ipads, etc, we could use another. The main dining room, AmphorA is beautiful. A much more sophisticated look. We were accommodated with a round table for 10...a nice way to converse with a large group. The Stella Bistro is equally beautiful. The food in these restaurants, while good, was not the quality that we have had in the past. The fish was dry, and steaks just OK. The staff in the dining rooms were as wonderful as always, cheerful and friendly, although it appeared as though there were fewer of them, and they were working a lot harder. But they always smile, and remember your name! Remarkable! We did not get the beverage package. We found the drinks reasonably priced, as always. The Veranda was also refurbished, but we found it to be crowded, as they have a added a large salad station which was difficult to maneuver around. The breakfast and lunch are both served here buffet style, with seating inside and out. We have always loved sitting outside to dine, and there seemed to be less tables there, while the addition of tables inside added to the crowding. The lunch buffet salad selection was always a favorite....but the variety is no longer there, and was disappointing. You can still order from a menu for breakfast and lunch if you desire, and the food is very nice. The staff, again is wonderful. There were 2 exceptions to the change in food quality. The barbeque held outside on the deck is as fabulous as ever...with lobster, shrimp and salads in abundance. And of course, the beach barbeque, on Prickly Pear Beach in Virgin Gorda (a fabulous spot) This is a highlight of the trip. The Yacht Club has become the location for morning coffee and pastry, as well as sandwiches throughout the day, and afternoon tea. Nicely done. However, one of the features that we loved was changed. Early morning coffee outside at the Compass Rose. My husband would pick up a cup of coffee and walk about watching us come into port. A simple thing that we miss, and could easily be changed. We do like the new awning at the Compass Rose. I have to mention the group who entertained us, both on this trip and the last. They are called Top Society, a family of musicians and singers...and are talented and delightful. As far as the excursions are concerned, we took a high speed catamaran to Anegada, the northernmost virgin island. It was a beautiful trip, with time on the beach as well as a tour of the island, and the crew on that ship were terrific. We have gone to The Baths on past trips. A previous reviewer felt the excursions were not very interesting. We take this cruise for r and r...so the excursions are not that important. Each island has its own beauty, and we just enjoy being there. The open bridge is a highlight of Windstar cruises for us. We are boaters, and enjoy meandering up to the bridge during the day, and in the evening. The navigation officers were always very pleasant and knowledgeable, and enthusiastically explained the dynamics of navigation and the workings of this magnificent sailing vessel. They made us feel that we were part of a great experience. Regarding the embarkation process. We waited in line for ½ hour in the noon day sun, with only one check in agent, who while friendly, obviously needed assistance. They did provide a cold beverage. Our luggage was transported to the ship very quickly by vehicle, while the passengers walked about ½ mile to the ship. It would be nice if some form of transportation could have been provided to individuals who needed it Once we were aboard, we knew why we always return....year after year, after year. Thanks for the memories, Windstar!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We and another couple of our sailing friends embarqed on a weeks cruise in paradise. As sailors, we were not interested in the usual cruise ship with thousands of passengers, but to be under sail with a small group going to ports that the ... Read More
We and another couple of our sailing friends embarqed on a weeks cruise in paradise. As sailors, we were not interested in the usual cruise ship with thousands of passengers, but to be under sail with a small group going to ports that the mega cruise ships can't access. We found the Star Clipper to be well found, maintained, and a very pleasant stay for out weeks trip. The class 3 cabin was compact, but very functional. The food offerings were well done, with sufficient choices. The bar offerings were reasonable in price, as were the wine offerings for dinner. The crew performed well, and the watersports team were over the top great! We found the dining room service efficient, but not very engaging. The passengers represented 14 nations, so the announcements got somewhat tedious in 3 languages. The european contigent pretty much ignored the non smoking rules, and smoked wherever they pleased. We also discovered that they don't feel much like being at the back of any lines, and will cut to the front unless confronted. We had hoped to be under full sail like in all the brochures, but our best day had 9 of the 14 sails out, and usually it was 4 or 5, but we were sailing. It seemed like they were more concerned with keeping the ship level, and passengers comfortable as opposed to really cranking under sail which we were of course hoping for. The music playing and sails unfurling was a very nice touch that everyone appreciated whenever we got underway. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
After searching for months my husband and I decided on a Windstar cruise for our first one. From the moment we boarded the ship until the time departed it was an amazing trip! The ship itself was beautiful and well maintained, a few places ... Read More
After searching for months my husband and I decided on a Windstar cruise for our first one. From the moment we boarded the ship until the time departed it was an amazing trip! The ship itself was beautiful and well maintained, a few places of rust on the ship here and there...but you are in salt water, bound to happen. The crew was constantly cleaning and maintaining the ship. My favorite part of the ship were the sails and Compass Rose. Most of our evenings were spent there listening to the duo that was playing. Great talent. The service and staff were very accommodating, and yes they do know your name after day one! Everything I ate on board rated from very good to awesome! My only complaint was the coffee, if you are a coffee drinker you might not enjoy the coffee. I heard the expresso and cappuccinos were great though. Next trip I will just take a small French press and make my own. My husband really enjoyed the water platform off of the back of the ship, he used that several times. Our favorite parts were the beach day with the BBQ and the BBQ on the ship, both were lots of fun and food amazing ( and we are used to fine dining). We were on the beverage plan and the drinks were not watered down at all, and always had excellent service. We also purchased the laundry package and used it several times. However, the prices per piece are very reasonable so if you only need a few things laundered then I wouldn't get the package. As far as excursions we did our on and didn't book through the ship. We loved Smugglers Cove, we borrowed snorkeling stuff from the ship and went on our own! Beautiful beaches at each port, just ask the locals were to go. And, you can negotiate cheaper cab prices. We can't wait to go on our next cruise, we have decided to do at least 2 on Windstar a year! This was our favorite vacation ever! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
As our first cruise we don't have much to compare our experience too, however as seasoned travellers and as persons accustomed to 5-star luxury holidays we held high expectations for the trip. We started in St.Maarten having flown ... Read More
As our first cruise we don't have much to compare our experience too, however as seasoned travellers and as persons accustomed to 5-star luxury holidays we held high expectations for the trip. We started in St.Maarten having flown in from a 4 day shopping trip to New York. I won't go into the abysmal service and experience of flying with British Airways, however will point out I will never fly with them again. We stayed at the Holland House hotel in St.Phillipsburg, where the cruise terminal was visible from the veranda restaurant and beach. For $200 a night accommodation including breakfast and wifi for two, this was the perfect start to the holiday. It does not have a pool however, the beach is a stones throw from breakfast and the sea perfectly warm and clean. Having spent a few days on St.Maarten we were ready to board our ship. As our tickets stated we could board anytime, however the rooms weren't ready until 1400, we chose to embark a little early due to boredom and excitement. When promptly greeted by the Seabourn representative at the pier we were a little surprised to find the ship almost full already, as this was 2hrs before boarding time. However guest registration was quick and easy, we were promptly handed a glass of champagne and several canapes before being escorted to our room. The room itself was on deck 4 and port side. We opted for the cheapest room available as previous travellers on board had advised. This is purely down to the size of the ship, it really isn't big enough to worry about the extra 6 meters walk you encounter by spending £500 per person more. We did have an extra flight of stairs to ascend in a morning for breakfast, however as this was the only exercise we encountered each day we were quite glad of it. The room itself was large enough, with a queen bed, sitting area, en suite and walk in wardrobe. Our stewardess Lydia greater us promptly introducing herself and offering complementary soaps and opening a bottle of champagne. This is where we really noticed the Seabourn difference. The service is exquisite. Within a day virtually every staff member knows your name, the bar staff know what you drink and how you like it. Nothing is too much trouble or effort, however they are not imposing or in your face. The first night we were invited to dinner by Sam, the ships guitarist. He was excellent company and introduced us to the world of cruising. As a relatively young couple (30) we were slightly concerned as to the demographic on board. We were surprised to find around 20 other similar aged passengers, however they mainly travelled in groups and were unsociable with the rest of the ship. One particular girl really became annoying but having to exclaim "Oh, My, God" in between every other word. This was however no fault of seabourn. The ship had 99 Americas, 50 British and 40 others. Not quite at capacity of 210. There were also 170 staff on board. The food! As a food lover this was the biggest aspect of the cruise we looked forward to, and it didn't disappoint. The portions are plenty full but not massive and always cooked to your liking (the waiter will remember how you had your steak last night/ at lunch and ask if you want it the same!) By the end of the cruise both the wife and I were struggling to fit into clothes and on return to the UK my scales told me I was 14lbs heavier! Must have enjoyed it. The drinks are also fantastic. The bar tenders are a knowledge of cocktails and are always happy to recommend something, or make whatever you order. Champagne is virtually on tap 24hrs a day. The frozen Mojitos were my favourite, basically a Mojito flavoured slush puppy. My wife loved the strawberry daiquiri, until she ate them out of strawberries. These were swiftly replaced at the next port after much apologising. Not much of my time on board was spent sober, however it was a little uncouth to be drunk (as the woman who decided to strip naked in the restaurant on the first night found out!) The ship had recently been refitted in dry dock during the summer so was looking fantastic. The only aspect that is starting to look its age were to two tender boats that take you ashore. These could defiantly do with replacement/refurbishment. They still serve their purpose sufficiently ferrying passengers around and do get some abuse from their helms when approaching the ship/shore. Hold on tight! The port excursions we experienced, Treasure island snorkeling and Tree too zip lining were well organised and run. Do however be prepared to sign your entire life away before they will let you participate, presumably down the the American suing culture. We didn't get chance to experience the marina due to weather conditions, and this forms my only negative of the cruise. On the second to last day we were due to anchor off Le.Marin for the beach BBQ and marina day. The swell was large and the captain made the decision it was too dangerous to moor. This was fair enough as Seabourn can't control the sea conditions, however the lack of alternative was disappointing. Our only option was to spend the day at sea travelling to Barbados where there isn't much see or do on an evening around the port. Bridgetown is also a little seedy and intimidating on an evening, so overall we felt to have lost out. My other gripe was the disembarkation procedure. Bags had to be packed and outside your room by 11pm. This also appeared to be when the service stopped. You all of a sudden felt like an inconvenience to the crew trying to prepare the boat for the guests boarding the following day. As we were travelling straight back from Barbados to the UK for Christmas (the boat arrived in Barbados on 23rd December) we couldn't carry liquids, nor did we want to wear our cold cloths for travelling back to English climates on the morning before flying. Jeans, jumper and coat were too much for 34 degree heat. We ended up changing at the airport and repacking the bags before check in. There were no complimentary Molton Brown goodies on the last day, presumably because people just steal them, but does mean you need your wash bag. A small point I know but quite inconvenient all the same. We have defiantly caught the cruising bug and are looking at several already. Once you factor in the inclusive tipping, drinks and suite Seabourn isn't that much more expensive than other cruise liners, and I can't see how they are beaten. We are however looking at trying their larger ships just for a comparison. I will report back when done. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Windstar cruise is a very nice ship with excellent staff,but not 5 star. We have traveled on Silversea, Reagent, and Tauck river cruises which do a better job pampering you and earn a 5 star. Windstar says they recently renovated but the ... Read More
Windstar cruise is a very nice ship with excellent staff,but not 5 star. We have traveled on Silversea, Reagent, and Tauck river cruises which do a better job pampering you and earn a 5 star. Windstar says they recently renovated but the carpets in the cabins has not been changed. The ships cruise director is not very informed nor does the font desk have much information on the ports .We never had internet connection which has been a chronic problem for this cruise line. The TV selection is bare minimum with no US news station.Also the ship wants to charge for everything even a wine tasting event which I thought they could use to promote some of their on board wines. One small problem especially for elderly guest is a lot of the doorways have a ledge and often you kick it with your foot or trip. It takes a little while to get use to the ledge.Though it sounds like a lot of negatives my family age 14, 16 18 and 20 all had a great time and I would recommend the cruise to my friends and would travel with them again if I found an enticing destination. The food was very good and seemed to get better as the week went on. We ate in all of the restaurants but felt the main dining room was excellent and enjoyed having the same waiter every night. The crew really does a great job. The wines are reasonable priced and a good selection of moderately priced wines. We did not pay for the drink packaged and came out ok. Just remember to budget a 12% fee for tip and 15% fee for drinks. Water and soda included. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 2nd sailing on this refurbished ship which was an amazing return after 12 years. The ship is a beautiful as ever. From the captain who was very informative, entertaining and "good looking" to the incredible service ... Read More
This was our 2nd sailing on this refurbished ship which was an amazing return after 12 years. The ship is a beautiful as ever. From the captain who was very informative, entertaining and "good looking" to the incredible service from all the staff, it ranks as one of the best of over 15 sailings I've been on. I published various public videos on you tube which show the ship and some of the destinations. This is not a cruise for youngsters or the weak/infirm. *Cabins - renovated and enough space and enjoyed the free soda and water throughout. The steward, who were rarely saw, kept the place top notch. *Food dining - we ate at the Restaurant most of the time because they had the best variety but we loved dining under the stars in Candles and on the BBQ night. Breakfast was always delicious and the filet mignon was very good but some of the other beef dishes were tough. The pork and chicken were very good as were the fish dishes and the side dishes and app/dessert. The wait staff went overboard to please and make sure everything went well and you were a happy customer. *Nightlife - the family band playing in the lounge was perfect as was the duo who played on the Compass Rose. Unfortunately we were generally so wiped out that we went to be early many times. *Excursions - well run and complemented to ports. The staff were informative but did not seem to have the detailed kowledge with "inside tips" if you wanted to deviate from their excursions. ** Overall, we will definitely sail this ship, or maybe try another, in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This is as good as it gets. An amazing ship, amazing staff, fantastic itinerary, wonderful guests. Plus look out for our next, (complete contrast), review as we were on the ship for 2 weeks. It's hard to know where to start. A ... Read More
This is as good as it gets. An amazing ship, amazing staff, fantastic itinerary, wonderful guests. Plus look out for our next, (complete contrast), review as we were on the ship for 2 weeks. It's hard to know where to start. A truly stunning week. We arrived in St Maarten from the UK on Friday and boarded on Saturday. Our cabin was lovely. Boarding was fairly seamless. We started to feel our way around. Checked out the restaurants, gym etc. Had a beer by the pool bar looking forward to setting sail that evening. We ate at the fish restaurant the first night. It was good but not as good as the main restaurant which we loved. We thought the main restaurant was really special. Leaving St Maarten was dramatic. We soon learned that every night we set sail they play the tune used in Hunt For Red October, (Hymn to the red army), as the sails unwind. All about the experience. We loved the fact that as this was a smaller sailing ship we could get into the more quaint smaller ports. I've noted the ports of call below. We did a few trips, we explored some gorgeous places, we had lots of sun, enjoyed the beers and wines on board, enjoyed the food on board, and loved the sailing. As the days went by we gradually met more and more people, got to know the staff, (they get to know you), and had a stunning stunning time. 10 out of 10. As good as it gets. A huge huge huge thank you to Captain John and all the staff and guests on board for creating an amazing week. A fantastic bunch of staff with at least 30 that were worth naming plus all the sailors who work tirelessly in the background to make this all happen. So so many special people like Bobby, Kennedy, Raul, Harry, January, Captain John himself, Sam who drives the boat, and so so many more. The efforts of these people, a good crowd onboard, the gorgeous gorgeous boat and the very carefully planned schedule of beautiful places to stop made this exquisite. We were onboard the following week too. Wind Star booking rules allowed a group of 30 business people to book. I'm sorry but small boats are for small parties. It changed the feel of the week dramatically and I'm sorry to say we are unlikely to go back. Wind Star - you've gone for what looked like a good money booking and ignored the fact that you've lost as much money as many of the people on the boat the second week will never come back. Everyone was complaining about these rude rude ignorant people Schedule as follows:- 2012 March 17 Saturday Philipsburg, St. Maarten 2012 March 18 Sunday Soper'S Hole, Tortola, B.V.I. 2012 March 18 Sunday Jost Van Dyke Great Harbour, B.V.I 2012 March 19 Monday Jost Van Dyke Great Harbour, B.V.I 2012 March 19 Monday Virgin Gorda, Prickly Pear Beach, B.V.I. 2012 March 20 Tuesday Virgin Gorda, Prickly Pear Beach, B.V.I. 2012 March 21 Wednesday Basseterre, St. Kitts 2012 March 22 Thursday Les Saintes, F.W.I. 2012 March 23 Friday Gustavia, St. Barthelemy 2012 March 24 Saturday Philipsburg, St. Maarten Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
First off, let me say that this was as perfect as I remember WindSurf being since 2007 which was our last cruise on her. Embarkation was easier than pie. DH has trouble walking long distances, so the check in people found a golf cart to ... Read More
First off, let me say that this was as perfect as I remember WindSurf being since 2007 which was our last cruise on her. Embarkation was easier than pie. DH has trouble walking long distances, so the check in people found a golf cart to deliver him to the gangplank. We arrived around 1:30 and were on board within 10 minutes and in our cabin within another 20. The Captain, who is a comedian, met us at the gangplank with a welcome. We were due to sail at 7. Muster was at 5:30 and was different than the last time. You can muster inside the doors of your station in the ac. That was a lovely experience!! Sail Away was as fun and memorable as I still had in my dreams! The music, the sails...Perfect. It was a little different for us to arrive/depart St Maarten as last time we left from Barbados. We spent the night before at the Holland House Beach Resort, which allowed us to see the ship first thing that morning. Amazing the difference of sizes between WS and a Celebrity... We did try out all of the restaurants at dinner (these were all new since we were on in 07). Restaurant was nice and service was good. Degrees, to me, was just a smaller regular restaurant and the service was questionable. Le Marche was ok....we didn't think it was any better seafood than in the dining room. Candles was definitely great; however, the wind was blowing and the food was cold in short order. The ambiance, however, was wonderful! Breakfast and lunch in the Veranda were great and the servers all went out of their way to get you what you wanted, help find seats, etc. First day was at sea. Unfortunately, we had a gentleman who got sick on sea day and we made a medical stop at Guadaloupe which was no being deal for the passengers. Good news is he was ok and the captain reported almost daily on his progress. We did sail by Montserrat which was fascinating! We sailed very slowly past it so you could see the destruction from the volcano and still see the 'phosphorus cloud' around the top of the volcano. Then Martinique. We were scheduled to dock at Le Marin. That didn't happen. It would appear that they let another yacht dock there overnight and there was no room for us. The captain was less than pleased and expressed himself so. But, that was not at all the cruise lines fault. We docked at Fort De France instead. We were scheduled for a ship sponsored 4x4 jeep ride. We were given the opportunity to cancel or go. Having never been to Martinique we decided to continue on. Well, done with Martinique. We were supremely disappointed with the rain forest and really didn't see anything very redeeming. Then to St Lucia and Beach Barbecue. We did not go to this. Everyone said it was really nice, although, a little difficult to manage your plate and sit in a beach chair. There was limited shade which is what kept us from going. But, we love St Lucia so we didn't really feel like we missed anything as we have done this in the past. They had lots of water toys available for the people who did go. the crew really does a top notch job with this! Dominica next. My best opinion of this was 'been there, done that'. That is really an unfair comment for me to make since we didn't do any tours. After getting car sick in Martinique, I really wasn't up to another venture. We had friends who did the aerial tram and suspension bridge. They said the island was beautiful, so I think we were just disappointed with the port and didn't explore further. Antigua. We have been here before and were looking forward to docking at Nelson dockyard, but we docked at Falmouth. There really wasn't anything there, but we did find a Yacht club that had a great lunch while looking over the marina. St Barts. How can you not love this place. We had greasy burgers at Le Select and did some shopping. Most of our days were spent on board, just sitting outside of Compass Rose reading books, taking naps, etc. It was so nice for the servers to not ask you every 30 seconds if you wanted another drink like they do on the large lines. Sometime around 2-3 p.m. in the afternoon, they came around with coolers...orange sherbert in half orange peels, frozen watermelon shooters. etc. Our ship was not full. There were around 260 people on board. I still saw people getting off that I had never seen while we were on board. We were under sail probably more than I can ever remember...about 60-70% of the time. Some of that could have been the closeness of the islands, but whatever works!! There was never a problem finding a chaise wherever you wanted to perch... It was fun to see Rene who was on the Spirit our 1st (and 2nd) sailing, and Raul and Segung from our last trip on the Surf. It was relatively interesting to only see ladies at the front desk and in the gift shop. Otherwise, as far as I could tell, the rest were men. The new sandwich spot was very nice. It was lovely to be able to get a sandwich to to--with water--if you had an excursion or just wanted to get off the ship and go to a beach. The upgrade to the rooms were lovely and certainly gave the ship a fresh look. It does need more refurbish to the decks, but that didn't bother me at all!! The staff show was a riot and the Dr. on board is quite the entertainer. They also had a deck barbecue our last night at sea. Lots of salads, grilled lobster, a whole pig, desserts. I wasn't overly impressed, but that was just me. It was very festive, but the food was barely even warm. After dinner, some of the servers---and the Dr--put on a dance show with lots of line dances. The Dr was definitely cutting a rug!! And, he was a very nice man to boot!! Daddy was wonderful...as was Bambang. We had a short conversation with Daddy one night about service in Degrees and he looked so hurt. We explained we were not fussing...just making him aware. He definitely takes his job seriously!! Captains cocktail party was nice as usual. We cannot comment on the overview of the next day's events from the lounge since we sailed almost every night around that time and I opted to be on deck for sail-away. Tea time was not quite as festive as I remembered...they used to do banana's foster or cheeries jubilee one day. Again, didn't ruin my trip! They used to also, on some nights, sort of make it a real party on deck for sail away with special drinks. But, the flip side is we never felt pressured about anything. Disembarkation was just as easy as embarkation. We did stay over one extra night at the Hotel Beach Plaza in Marigot. I would suggest you find another stay over hotel...even though it was one of the ship's 'sail/stay' program. I wish I could find something negative to say. However, I really don't have anything. It was as near perfect a vacation as one could possibly have!! Everyone from the gentlemen who helped us on/off the tenders (and they really helped my DH) to the maintenance people working were friendly, helpful and made you feel like you were the only one on the ship. Here's hoping I can go again next year and not wait 5 more!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This is cruise #30 and cruise line #8 for us. We are in our mid-40s, professionals DINK. We've been sailing for 16 years but this was one of the best experiences ever. Here's why. Service: the word gracious is on the website. ... Read More
This is cruise #30 and cruise line #8 for us. We are in our mid-40s, professionals DINK. We've been sailing for 16 years but this was one of the best experiences ever. Here's why. Service: the word gracious is on the website. It is a true definition of how we were treated. We were called by name almost immediately and felt as though all staff were genuinely concerned that we were cared for and having a good time. Because of only having 270 pax there was ample time for them to get to know us and us to get to know them. It seems silly to say, but I felt like I was on my own yacht. Not once did I hear the words called out to no one in particular "Bar Service?" It was, "Miss Barbara, can I get you something to drink?" Crew: the open bridge policy is unique. Wander up there when you want (not during port times). Ask anything and prepared to be informed and entertained. Capt Clark has missed his calling as a comedian. He kept us entertained more than once during the welcome aboard and the farewell party. Funny, intelligent man. All other staff friendly and unobtrusive. Sails: this was the reason I wanted to go on Windstar. I got goose bumps on sail away from St Maarten when the music started and the first sail got unfurled. It never got old for the other 6 nights either. We were on sail power for 39% of our cruise. So beautiful. Too bad we only saw the sails up while we were on board - but otherwise we would have missed the boat! We did bust a sail on the first night, the forward sail caught too much wind and let go, but it wasn't noticeable. Venues: I was thinking I might be bored, since I'm pretty active, but I wasn't. I was so relaxed that it never occurred to me that I wasn't doing a lot. We went in to some ports, but truly I couldn't care less where we went so that's why there will be no reviews of the ports except maybe a small comment or two. The Compass Rose seemed to be the place to be. It was the only place where finding a spot to sit at times was difficult. Once they revamp the space they may address the seating arrangements. Afternoon tea, before and after drinks were all popular times. The Lounge became like a family room, a place to gather for the port talk before dinner, have a drink and fabulous hot/cold hors d'oeuvres. The band was just right, playing a good mix and not too loud. Plenty of space for all and very cozy. I loved that room. The Yacht Club is the rest of deck 4 (Main) and has reception (Ladies were so helpful and friendly), the sandwich bar and coffee station, library and DVD library (all free and readily available). Lots of comfy leather chairs for lounging. Dining: Well. I like food. The first night we found a great little table for two at The Restaurant which suited us just fine. Great choices on the menu, and very well presented. Staff seemed to know the menu very well and were completely able to adjust without "checking". Good for the fussy eater my DH is. The first night though, our waiter Steven seemed to disappear after the main course was served. My pork was not cooked and I wasn't at all happy, but he nor any other staff were anywhere to be found, and when they came close I couldn't get their attention. Finally, he did come back and I explained my problem. It was too late to fix it although he was genuinely sorry he'd disappointed me. Needless to say at that point I wasn't hopeful for the rest of the cruise if the first dinner was such a poor experience. Well, I needn't have worried. It was an absolute anomaly, and the service and food was outstanding, truly outstanding for the rest of the week. We also tried Degrees for one meal, and found it wonderful as well. We just liked the Restaurant and our table a bit better. Degrees is on Deck 5 and adjacent to the Veranda restaurant and used as overflow seating for lunch and breakfast. We had reservations one night at Candles, unfortunately one of the two nights it decided to rain during the evening. We missed out but heard good things. The last night we ate at Le Marche, on deck 6 right under the sails. It was the seafood restaurant, and they served a starter including shrimp and tuna something, a wonderful greek salad, and about 5 entrees. We had the seafood trio and it was wonderful. Dessert was okay too, but by then I was so full... Breakfast and Lunch were both buffet/A la Carte. Walk in, pick what you want from the buffet and the waiter will come along to see if you want pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict etc etc etc or at lunch a variety of grill items. There was never any lobster at lunch, despite rumours we'd heard. Oh well. BBQ - two of these, one on the beach at lunch, the other on deck in the evening. The beach one was at St Lucia. The amount of work that went into this preparation was amazing. Everything carried over by tender. Okay. China plates and real cutlery. The complete bar from the ship. Ice cream. Ribs, chicken, salads, dessert, tea, coffee. It was like eating on the ship except you were on the beach. The organization was incredible. Fantastic. The BBQ on the ship looked as amazing, although we chose to eat in the dining room just because it was a little too dark and windy for our tastes. Glad we did too, because my filet mignon was perhaps the best I have had IN MY LIFE. I also had creme brulee at some point during the week - not usually a favourite, but hey, I tried. Chef Ronald's creme brulee must be the reason that people eat creme brulee. Wow. Okay, enough about the food. You won't go hungry and you will love it. Did I mention the specialty coffee and the cheese plate and the plentiful choices of yummy things? German choc cake, also not a favourite, OMG So Good. LOL One complaint: regular coffee in the morning was horrible. Pool Area: one pool, despite evidence of a pool on Deck 6 at one point in the design. Salt water. Chilly. But for some reason lovely and warm on the last day. Two hot tubs. Here's something: 3 pm Friday. sitting in the hot tub. Why, who knows since it's hot outside. Along comes a server with a plate of frozen lemon sorbet, fancy lemon sorbet in real glass dishes, on a china plate with a silver spoon. I'm in heaven. I'm on a yacht, in the hot tub, looking over the beautiful Caribbean, and eating lemon sorbet off a china plate. Is that the reason we cruise, or what? LOL There are lots of loungers, especially since we were in port most days, and lots of places to sit with an iPad or kindle to read. Books too :) Shade was at a premium, but could be found with a little effort. Embarkation: we were late. 6 pm in fact. Among the last to board. We took a Windstar transfer (only the two of us with a company rep and driver in a very nice Jeep). Met at the port entrance and escorted to the ship, and eventually met by someone who took our luggage down to the ship for us. We quickly found our way to check in, filling out a few docs and then being escorted to our stateroom by the chief steward, and shown around the stateroom and its amenities. Nice touch. Debarkation. Everyone off within 40 minutes. Nice leisurely breakfast, then maybe 3 announcements saying come get your passports and off you go. All luggage was at the top of the pier near the tour buses and taxis. Couldn't be simpler. We took the island tour through the cruise line since our flight wasn't until 430. It was a good option rather than sitting in the airport, although too much time driving around the island and not enough time downtown shopping. We've been there many times so I knew which stores were where and made a beeline for what I wanted. And time for a .99 cent beer at the Barefoot Terrance on the beach before heading to the airport. Personalities: My favourite bar staff: Bobby. Always smiled, called me by name, knew what I wanted and made sure I kept hydrated in the sun. I called him Roberto he was that good. Gino: Best hair at sea. Great dancer. Smile to launch a thousand ships. Makes a great martini. My favourite wait staff: Steven. Gentle, funny and gracious. We were well looked after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Daddy: the maitre d'hotel. Funny guy. Great for crew morale, not afraid to pitch in and serve or clean up. Always patting the staff on the back and smiling. A true leader. Captain Clark: what a guy. Sail with him anywhere. Great Costa jokes :) Other things to note: Abilio is the port guy. The Port Guy has to be somebody's nephew. He was as one guest pointed out "not useful". Vicki is the guest services manager. Didn't have to deal with her, but her voice would make you want to jump overboard. The Ship. She's a little rough around the edges, but hey she's not a fancy new mega ship. There were lots of crew giving touch ups here and there as you would see on any sea-going vessel. We had a very rough cruise. If you were prone to sea sickness, you would not have been a happy person. I haven't been tossed around that much in a long time, and I never get sick, but there was one point when I wished it would just stop. Most people said that. However, the Doc wasn't too busy, because he was front and centre at the Crew Talent show (a highlight) giving his all in a Whitney Houston Tribute. Ports: Who remembers from ports? St Barts - busy and expensive. Good for yacht watching. The rest I heard people suggest that even though they weren't crawling with other ships, there wasn't much to see or do. Organized tours to snorkle or swim seemed to be the best bet. Like I said, I've been to most islands and they've blended a long time ago. Gym. Small and at times very busy. Although there were at least 10 cardio machines and several weight machines. Ample supply of free weights and stability balls. Two tvs to watch. Some space for stretching. It was nicely air conditioned. There were classes avail to do yoga on the deck, but for a fee. Fellow passengers: They say 40-60. Our cruise more like 60-75. No herd mentality, but there was no reason to rush for anything because there was enough of whatever you wanted for everyone who wanted it. Lots of couples travelling together and plenty of mixing with strangers if that's what you wanted to do too. DH and I are kind of shy, but Bobby, our bar guy, introduced us to another Canadian couple and took credit all week for it :) 4 kids, 3 teen girls and one 8 year old boy. They kept busy reading, swimming from the marina on deck 2 and were very well-behaved. I think the crew enjoyed having them there. Speaking of fees: pop, juice, coffee, tea and bottled water all included and no problem for the bar staff to bring it promptly. Alcohol has the standard %15 gratuity. To bring your own bottle onboard from any of the ports no problem, but a charge of $17.50 for uncorking in the dining room applied. Compared to Carnival or Princess the wine choices were a bit more high end, and about $10 more for the cheapest bottle. Expect to pay minimum $37 US for a bottle and up from there. Thankfully for me, DH won the equivalent of my bar bill in the casino and a bit more :). Overall: a total winner. I would recommend this hand over heart. I will return. If you're even thinking about it - do it. You won't regret the experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our third Windstar cruise, but we had not been on the Windsurf since 1998. I'm going to tag along with another review here by "c5Marine," because they did such a nice job of describing their cruise. First the ... Read More
This was our third Windstar cruise, but we had not been on the Windsurf since 1998. I'm going to tag along with another review here by "c5Marine," because they did such a nice job of describing their cruise. First the "BAD"... NONE Second the "GOOD"... Everything Even though we had been on the Windsurf in 1998 in the Mediterranean, my expectations were exceeded on this cruise. The ship had a recent refit, and the cabins and public rooms were beautiful. The food was off-the-charts, and even the coffee was great. We had done this same itinerary with Star Clipper a few years ago, and we just love the ports-of-call. The best part of this cruise, for us, was the crew. From Captain John to our cabin steward, Puji -- everyone was so pleasant and friendly. I never once felt like it was a front or a put-on, as I've seen on some of our other cruises. I feel the Windsurf was a very good value. We didn't get nickled-and-dimed for everything. Soft drinks, juice, sparking water, and fancy coffees were all included. Also there are very few ships that offer a galley and engine-room tour. Of course, the bridge is always open while at sea -- which is fantastic. In addition to the two music groups which were very good, the Windsurf also put on a great Superbowl party. After this Windstar cruise, I don't think we'll ever be on a large cruise ship again. Windstar has really upped their game and with the new ownership, I think they have a great future ahead. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We sailed out of St Maarten on the 10th of December 2011 for 14 nights through the Panama Canal and continued to Costa Rica in Central America. Windstar as a company recently has had new owners and they are refurbishing their ships, not ... Read More
We sailed out of St Maarten on the 10th of December 2011 for 14 nights through the Panama Canal and continued to Costa Rica in Central America. Windstar as a company recently has had new owners and they are refurbishing their ships, not that the Windstar ship really needs it. Able to get into areas the larger even mid-size can not do. Great food, even better service since we had only had 38 passengers instead of the 148 she holds. The cabins are identical on both decks, a little on the small size from the bed to the wall but still very luxurious. The bathrooms are a bit small but due to the round shower there is no elbow bumping with of lots of storage, counter and mirror area. Closets are Very roomy. You can walk around the deck which makes exercise very easy and even has a well equip GYM. Our naturalist Carlos Picardo certainly made the cruise for us with evening talks very lively, interesting and fun. Always most gracious at all times and so informative on every port and great on the Panama Canal even though is is my 7 trip through the canal. We never put the sails up though I asked several times. One of the sails needed replacing, though it was on board, but the rest were fine and the ship looks great in port for pictures and advertizing for the company with the sails up. Last Windstar cruise, 2003, for 4 weeks the sails were up all the time. The Captain, Mark, was stiff and in real life unfriendly. When we disembarked at Porto Caldera, there were about 8 guest waiting for transport to the main gate and he walked buy within 40ft and keep his head averted so as not having to speak to anyone. Your cruise is over. The rest of the officers were just fine. The chief engineer was a delight. In fact he actually off the ship to say good by. Excellent sports couple though there was not enough time to use the swim deck do to short hours they scheduled and if you wanted time on shore before it got too warm you were out of luck. Well this guys, happy sailing. Cindy Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Notes on the Cabin: • Plenty of room • Space under bed for all luggage • Lots of hangers, drawers, cubbies • Safe is pretty small. Holds iPad but not laptop. • There is always ice provided morning & night ... Read More
Notes on the Cabin: • Plenty of room • Space under bed for all luggage • Lots of hangers, drawers, cubbies • Safe is pretty small. Holds iPad but not laptop. • There is always ice provided morning & night • Mini bar & sodas in the room (for a fee) • Evian water in the room ($3.25 a bottle. We drank a lot!) • Laundry line in the shower • Regular shower & handheld • Table pulls out of the vanity, if you want to eat in the room I guess • DVDs plus 3 movies play continuously every day (Social Network, Eat Pray Love, The American, Ocean movies) • No towel animals! But good turndown service with mints, new ice, new towels, etc. • We did the laundry package, which was $99 for the week for the cabin. It was such a great thing to have. We sent laundry out every day (by 9am) and it was in our cabin by around 4 that afternoon. We cut down how much clothes we brought and went home with clean clothes! Plus they will iron things for you too. We thought it was well worth it. On-board: • Every evening there was a talk about the next day's port of call, plus excursions. Make sure you attend the Captain's Champagne Party. The Captain of the Wind Spirit (John Clark) is hysterical!! Plus, you get to meet the officers. There are also delicious hot appetizers passed around during this time. (every night) Nice time to relax between the day & the evening. Plus, you are right there by the dining room so that once the talk is over you can go right to dinner if you are hungry. A few nights we did that and a few nights we hung out for a while and went to dinner a bit later. Dinner is from 7:30-9:30, and there are tables for 2, 4 or more. • The casino is small but fun. The dealers explained a bit for those of us who didn't quite know what was going on. Plus everyone around the table explained too! They played Blackjack, Texas Hold'em, and a few other card games. There were about 15 slot machines. • The gift shop opened whenever the ship wasn't docked (the casino too) so the hours change every day. The shop is small but carries some necessities plus logo items & other souvenirs. • The library had tons of DVDs and some books & games. There is also a computer there & printer, but you do have to pay to access the internet. They sell cards for wireless internet, but we didn't buy one after being informed that it was about the speed of dial-up! • We didn't use the spa. • There will be a Flyer left in your cabin each day that tells times of events, meals, disembarkation, when the ship sails, emergency numbers, etc. • By the reception desk, there is information each day on the port of call including maps, beaches, etc. • We never had a problem finding a lounge chair. • There are beach towels that you can take as you get off the boat, and a laundry you can drop them in when you get back on board. Very convenient! • There are wet refreshing wash clothes by the door for when you return from your day on the island. • You scan your key card every time you go on & off the boat, so no one gets left behind. (or if someone does, they know who it is!) • The waiters will quickly get to know you by name, and you'll get to know them too. Everyone is super friendly. • The entertainment was a piano player. "Loungy" but good. • The crowd was probably from late 20's -late 60's with the majority in the 30's-40's I think. • There were lots of people who were first-timers, but lots who had been on a Wind Spirit before. We met one couple that was on their 23rd week! • You'll get a beach bag in your room the first or second day. First timers get a Windstar bag and returnees get Foremast Club bags. • Bring water to the islands! Especially if you are doing the Baths trip, because the little snack bar wasn't open when we got there. • The gym is small but well equipped. But I do think it helps if you aren't too tall! Wish I had brought: • Reusable water bottle • Capri pants (for some reason I only brought long pants and dresses for dinner,) • darker makeup (I couldn't use my regular makeup or blush after a few days because of my tan!) • adapter (we went to St. Martin a day early, and the power there is 220) • a paperback book (for those times I didn't want to risk getting my Kindle wet or lost) Really glad I brought: • Power strip (there were only 2 outlets in the room) • Battery powered tea lights (used for atmosphere in the room, and also as a nightlight in the bathroom) • Ziplocs (great for gathering seashells!) • Snorkeling gear (didn't have to worry about borrowing them or returning them) • Binoculars (they were great to look at the other ships/yachts!) • Sunscreen • Wet sack (kept stuff in it that I didn't want to chance getting wet) • A little purse for carrying around the boat (key card, camera, etc.) • Underwater camera (for snorkeling, and just to not have to worry about it getting wet!) Didn't need to bring: • Detergent (since we did the laundry package) • Jeans (too warm!) • Waterproof Jacket • Shawl (I had a light sweater that I used one evening, and a long sleeve shirt I wore on the deck sometimes)' • Umbrella (it rained, but very briefly when it did. Easy enough to wait it out or duck under something.) Meals: • Great BBQ on deck one night. Off the grill they served ribs, burgers, chicken, fish, beef, and lobster. There was also a roasted suckling pig that was delicious. The cold buffet had delicious giant shrimp, crab legs, cheeses, all kinds of salads, fruits and desserts, including a chocolate fountain. The restaurant is closed so you have to eat there but it is really fun! Plus, afterwards the crew does a bunch of line-dancing, guests join in, and it was a really fun night. • Fun BBQ on beach off Virgin Gorda. If you do Bath's tour (worth it!) then they will take you straight there after. • Always lots of daily specials, with Chef recommending a menu, but they always have grilled steak, chicken, salmon & vegetarian something. • Breakfast in restaurant, but continental breakfast by the pool until 11am. Then lunch (limited menu or you can do the buffet) • Afternoon tea by the pool. Sweets, fruits, little sandwiches. • Also around the pool when there are a lot of people, there are passing around of fruit skewers and/or sherbet. • "Candles" is okay. I guess if it is nice they do it outside, but it was always too windy. The one time we did it, it was in the Veranda and it was fine, and you can dress casually, but it's more fun & elegant in the dining room. Also apparently the menu there is the same each night. (at Candles.) • They did have the beverage packages, but we didn't do any of them. Most cocktails were about $6.50. Tortola: We did the Royal Dolphin Swim. It was FANTASTIC!! Expensive, but worth it. We spent 2 hours with the dolphins, petting them, having 2 of them pull us by the fins, having 2 of them come up behind us & push us into the air from under our feet! We got to kiss them & they kissed us, and more tricks. It was amazing & the dolphins & trainers are all very safe. They take photos and the price is $100 for ALL your photos on disc plus 2 big photos, or $25 each for photos. So it makes sense to do the $100 because you are probably going to want more than 4 photos! Went to Pusser's Bar. Delicious conch fritters, Painkillers, and a big gift shop. There is free wi-fi right when you walk into town. The people on the ship told us to look for a yellow building on the left called "The Bat Cave." It was closed but there was plenty of free wi-fi flying around, so we just sat on a staircase and used it. We docked in Tortola. (Only place we docked.) Only there until 2pm, but we had plenty of time to do our tour, walk around town, etc. Virgin Gorda: Went to Virgin Gorda. (Our itinerary was changed from the original, because people had requested to see the Super Bowl so we had to go somewhere that it was being shown.) Got to VG in time for people to take the tender to The Bitter End Yacht Club to watch the game. We didn't go, and had a nice dinner on board. NOTE: If you are celebrating a birthday on-board, they will bring you a cake. I didn't mention it was my husband's birthday (his request) but apparently they check the passenger roster each week to see if anyone has a birthday! It was actually great. Cake with candles, the waiters sang and someone played the guitar. The next day we took "The Baths" tour. I'm glad we didn't try to do this on our own. We docked on the north end of the island, and the Baths is on the south end. It is about a 45 minute drive up very steep hills & windy roads! Also, it leaves early so that you will be the first one at the Baths. By the time we left at 11am, it was really getting crowded but it was lovely for us. Definitely walk through "The Caves" part of The Baths. It's amazing. Also, bring snorkeling gear. We saw lots of fish & stingrays, and someone else saw a sea turtle. It's a hike up & down, plus you can walk on the boulders if you want so definitely wear appropriate shoes, not flip-flops. On the way back to the ship, we made about 4 stops for incredible photos and the tour guide told us all kinds of interesting things about the islands and also pointed out & named all the other islands around us. We got back to the dock, and the tender took us to Prickly Pear Beach, which is on a separately little island right by where the ship was anchored. The beach BBQ had started earlier that day, but there was plenty of food when we got there. There were loungers, and beach chairs, and tables/chairs in the shade. The sports toys (kayaks, water-skis, noodles, sailboats) were available to use from the beach. Heard some people spent the day at the Bitter End Yacht Club and really enjoyed that too. Apparently they had a nice beach, chairs, and very good margaritas. Jost Van Dyke: Set sail that afternoon, so it was fun to see the sails unfurl & sail in the light. We arrived in Jost Van Dyke around 7pm, so people could go ashore (usually to Foxy's) for the evening. We were planning to do so, but after the Captain's cocktail party (with free drinks, lots of appetizers, and meeting the crew) and a nice dinner, we didn't make it over there! The next morning we took the tender to Jost Van Dyke, which was my favorite port. It's so small (150 people) and absolutely gorgeous! We went down 'Main Street' which is an unpaved road with a police station, few shops and restaurants, a church and school. Then we walked to The Soggy Dollar bar. This is a very strenuous walk up a few big hills but it afforded amazing views. It took about 35 minutes and we felt like we deserved our drinks when we got to The Soggy Dollar! It's on a beautiful beach, and you are free to use the chairs/lounges/hammocks. Make sure you try a "Painkiller." They were invented here. We also really liked the 'nilla killa, which is made with Vanilla Rum. $6 each. The conch fritters were delicious! There is a little gift shop and I bought a few things. About 5-6 other beach bars & cafes. One World apparently belongs to Foxy's son. One place (Gertrude's?) makes your drink and then gives you the bottle of liquor to add as much as you want. Some places you have to pay to rent a chair, but it would be worth it if you wanted some quiet. No large boats dock at Jost Van Dyke, but there are tours from Tortola, which you can see right across the water. We took a taxi back to the dock ($5 a person) and went to Foxy's just to check it out. If we had been hungry or had room for another cocktail, we would have stayed but decided to go back to the boat. It seems like it would be really fun at night if there were lots of people there, and a band, but in the afternoon it was pretty low key. They do have a big gift shop there, but things weren't cheap. However, a big selection. St. Kitts: We didn't do any of the tours, but if I go back I will do the Brimstone Hill Tour. We spoke with some people who did it, and they really enjoyed it. They said it's really good for people who are into architecture, interior design and history. We went into town and caught a cab. Make sure you negotiate a rate before you go. It'll either be per-person or for the trip. And make sure you negotiate a pick-up! We went to White House Bay and snorkeled for about an hour. There is a sunken boat there, very close to shore, which is sort of interesting and attracts fish. Not the best snorkeling, but fun & very private. The beach was full of medium sized conch shells, which was awesome. We had our driver take us next to Reggae Beach (Cockleshell Beach) where we rented beach loungers for $5 each. Ate a delicious (but not cheap) lunch there. My husband's lobster was HUGE and delicious. Did a bit of snorkeling, but also saw an eel, a lobster and a ray right off the dock! We also saw Wilbur, the 900-pound island pig who hangs around. On the drive back to the dock, I asked the driver about the monkeys on the island. He told us there are 75k monkeys and 45k people on St. Kitts. And we saw a few just walking & sitting in trees while we were there, which was a thrill. Got back into town in time to do a little shopping. They had decent prices on sarongs, clothes, etc. A lot of people told me they did quite a bit of shopping there. Apparently there is a craft boutique/store in the main part of town, which would be great for some handmade local art. When we got back to the boat, it was BBQ on the deck party night! The entire pool deck was decorated, with tables all set up and an amazing buffet! They were BBQ'ing right there on the deck. At 9pm they cleaned up, and the sails were unfurled and we sailed away. Then the crew performed some line-dancing, and a hysterical version of "YMCA." Apparently there was a Line- Dancing class earlier in the evening. It was a very fun night! (The other restaurants were closed this evening, so it was all about the BBQ.) St. Barth: Since we were in St. Barth for 2 days, we spent the majority of the day on the boat, enjoying what the boat to offer. A nice leisurely breakfast and then we swam (well, got in) the small salt-water pool and hot tub. Very relaxing. We went into town for an hour or so in the afternoon. There is a cafe very near the dock that has free wi-fi, so we sat there and had a few drinks. The stores mostly close for a few hours at lunch, so if you want to shop (very expensive!) be sure to take that into account. There are supposed to be some fabulous restaurants on the island, so if you are into it you could go for a fancy dinner. The last tender ran at 11:30pm. We did go into St. Barth the next day. We had a lovely lunch at La Route Des Boucaners, sitting outside looking at all the HUGE yachts. Then we walked to Shell Beach, which was fantastic! Aptly named, there are so many beautiful perfect little shells all over the beach and the water was warm & glorious. Did some snorkeling there too. Saw a lot of the same fish as in the past, but more schools of them. Bring your towel and lay on the beach. Apparently there is quite a fee to rent the chairs. We did get a few drinks from the bar/restaurant, and used the restroom. One note, there is really NO shade at this beach so bring sunscreen! Went back to the ship for our last night. We turned in early because we had to have our luggage ready at 6am, in our cabins. Disembarking was easy as pie. Breakfast was open from 6-8am, and the first groups of people started getting off around 8:10. You'll be issued tags to put onto your luggage of a specific color, and that's how you know when it's your turn to get off. Just go pickup your passport, sign out one more time (guess they don't want stowaways) and go down the gangplank. The luggage is under a tent right there, and you just go pick it up. We caught a cab from there, and had it take us to Marigot (the main port area, the Wind Spirit docks at a smaller port) and we caught a ferry to Anguilla for a few days. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011

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