25 St. Maarten Romantic Cruise Reviews

First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises ... Read More
First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises on the Wind Star (1) Star Pride (2), Star Legend (1) and Wind Surf (3). What we love about Windstar is the small ships, the fact you can do things independently easily, the relaxed dress code, the food, which keeps getting better, and last but not least the great service staff which goes out of its way to make your cruise memorable. This was our first cruise back on a sail ship after 3 cruises on the motor yachts. We did Classic Caribbean itinerary from Feb 2nd to 9th as we had done the Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary twice already and did not like the fact they had changed some of the stops in the BVI. In the end we really enjoyed this itinerary with Barbuda and Dominica being new stops for us. The weather was just about perfect and seas were the calmest of all our cruises. We noticed the demographics of this cruise were probably a little older than our previous Windstar cruises with a good majority of guests over 70-75 but this did not hinder in any way our enjoyment as fellow Windstar passengers are all fairly active and well travelled. Finally, we travelled with another couple for which this was a first cruise on Windstar and likely not their last. Another great cruise with Windstar Booking: We booked just over 2 months ahead by pure accident as we typically wait for annual Christmas Sale as we feel prices get better closer to sailings (we always go for lowest priced cabin as location is not necessarily important to us). We called the company directly (we do not use a travel agent) to inquire about availability and they said that there was a promotion for Canadian residents with a $500 discount on the cruise price. I could not find this special on their website and the timing of my call was perfect as this special did not last very long. The 4 of us each got the $100 referral OBC which in our case was applied against our drink package purchased when we got onboard. We were assigned room 153 at front of ship and we were “upgraded” to 141 more in the center a few weeks later. Our friends were also upgraded from 103 to 122. Windstar also offered a 20% discount on the price of internet, drink package and laundry if all taken together prior to cruise which we did not take as we did not care for the ship’s slow and expensive internet (we had access to a good roaming package which we used most of time as we were always close to islands). Embarkation Although we typically fly in the day before, our schedule did not allow for such luxury this time around. Our plane landed in SXM at 16h30 on departure day (ship’s departure scheduled at 19h00) and we got out of the terminal around 17h15. Cabs were plentiful and we ended up sharing one with another Canadian couple on same flight that was also boarding the ship. Cab ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took 30 minutes. We boarded the ship at 17h45 and check-in was swift at front desk given our tardiness . Sail away was on schedule at 19h00. Not the ideal situation for travel but things worked out nicely. We were told our cruise was fully booked, so around 310 passengers on board. This was not an issue throughout the cruise as the Wind Surf remains very spacious with nooks and crannies for everyone. Cabin: We were in 141 and our friends in 122 (both added to Wind Surf stateroom sticky forum). Cabins are well designed with plenty of storage if required. 141 was quiet and had no issues although on 3 occasions, we had to call maintenance to fix our toilet as vacuum system had problems and toilet risked overflowing. In all 3 cases (one time at 3 am) the problem was fixed quickly by maintenance staff. Our room attendant was attentive although we did not have any special requirements. Reusable water bottles we refilled every day (one with flat water, the other sparkling) and our ice bucket was kept full with ice every day. Our friends in 122 complained about regular banging noise which we suspect was due to some gangway or tender equipment hanging above their room. We were also wondering how we would find going back to the smaller sail ship staterooms after experiencing the larger suites on the Star ships on our last 3 cruises. Well it wasn’t an issue as the rooms are very well designed and we were really only in our room to sleep or change over for dinner. We did not use room service nor laundry service this time. Bathroom was compact and well designed but starting to show its age. Occitane toiletries are provided in all rooms. Bars and Entertainment: Drinks were mostly taken outside at Compass Rose or Pool Bar. Did not go to Lounge except for Talent Show but band seemed competent. Bar service was always good. Duo at Compass Rose was OK and had guests dancing and when finished around 11pm, guests would come in to plug IPad playlists in system to keep party going a little longer. This happened a few evenings with people dancing a little past midnight. A lot of fun. Food: Again food was a highlight. We ate at Amphora 4 times, one time each Candles and Stella Bistro and Deck BBQ on the late night in St-Kitts. Menu was varied although gluten free items remain limited (our friend suffers from gluten intolerance and we were just more sensitized to his diet challenges throughout the cruise). Breakfast was good with buffet or a la carte items available. Couple of things we noticed were the poor quality of orange juice which in the past was freshly squeezed and now is a watered down Tropicana version and the fact there were no fresh peeled orange slices on the buffet whereas these were always on buffet in the past. We had good lunches at Veranda when we made it back in time from the island as the venue is only open from 12h00 to 14h00. We were late a few times and had to settle for food at Yacht Club. Lunch should be extended to 14h30 to accommodate those with dietary restrictions as the menu at the Yacht Club, while good, remains limited for them. Service in the dining rooms at dinner was fast and efficient (sometimes too fast) with meals lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. We mostly had dinner around 8pm and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table and by the time we were finished, most of the time we were the last table in dining room. Menus were varied with several fish, meat and vegetarian dishes and all 4 of us were impressed by the quality and presentation of food. Deck BBQ food was great although lobster was a little chewy. We did not do the Dining Under The Stars (offered twice on our cruise) as it was not offered to us. This was a bit disappointing. Beach BBQ was held on Pigeon Island, which is our least favourite Windstar Beach BBQ location (the others being Mayreau and Virgin Gorda). While food was good, beach is too small and not necessarily the nicest. A couple of evenings, we were treated to canapés at Compass Rose before dinner. Usually had 2 different types of them but just one tray so these would disappear very fast with literally no chances for seconds. I suspect these were also served in the Lounge but we never went to the Lounge for pre dinner drinks so cannot confirm. We are a bit picky about our coffee and the caffe lattes at Veranda in the morning were good (regular coffee not so much) but even better at Yacht Club. We did try a few of the the latter’s sandwiches and sweets offered in the afternoon on one occasion and all were good. 3 of us were on the recently introduced TopMast Discoveries drink package at $49 while the 4th party was on the CaptainsExclusive package at $59. This created confusion with servers with several drinks (liquor) being charged to our room although drunk by our friend on the full drink package. All charges were reversed but this was a hassle as we needed to check bill daily to ensure charges were being reversed overnight and that no new ones were being added. Drink package probably makes sense if you have 5 or more drinks per day and even though we were drinking our quota, we generally felt that the value proposition of the drink packages had come down markedly from the previous iterations with price of package going up $7 and the wines offered having a price point no higher than $9.50/$10 vs a max of $11.50 under previous package. We will likely need to re-think this aspect on our next cruise. Marina We did not use the marina this time around but it was open in Barbuda, Les Saintes and St Barth. We saw several people using it when available. The water toys were also brought to the beach on Pigeon Island for the Beach BBQ Spa: Our friends each got a $50 spa voucher (good on port days) offered by Windstar to all first time cruisers which they used for a very relaxing hot stone massage. Gym: we did not use gym but it looked clean and well equipped and did not seem overcrowded Tenders: Tenders were used in all ports except Dominica where we were docked at the industrial dock, not the more central cruise ship dock (occupied by Silverseas on that day). While tender service was good, the tenders themselves are in need of a total overhaul. During our cruise we got to see the Seabourn, Club Med 2 and Star Clipper tenders and all of them were in substantially better condition than the Surf’s. They will be changing the tenders on the Motor Yachts, they probably should do the same with the sailing ships. Bridge Did not visit the bridge this time around and whereas in the past there was a photo opportunity at the bow of the ship, we did not see this on this cruise. Stops and excursions: We generally are not the type to book ship excursions as we feel they are overpriced and like to do things on our own. I typically like to do my own research and do not like to plan too long ahead. Barbuda: Nothing planned. Only tour offered was to view frigate bird sanctuary which did not interest us. We instead took a cab to Princess Diana beach ($30 each way). Very nice pink sand beach with nobody other than a few fellow cruisers on it. No facilities so bring water and some food if you are going to spend a long time. We were there for about 3 hours and got on the ship around 2pm just in time to catch lunch at Veranda. The ship leaves early at 3 pm on this day. Dominica: Again we stepped out of ship and hired a cab to go to Ti-Tou Gorge and Trafalgar Falls. Cost was $160 for the 4 of us and lasted 2.5 hours. Ti-Tou Gorge is not to be missed as you swim in a crystal clear river canyon up to a small waterfall. Very nice. The drive to both these spots is also spectacular as the road sits at the top of a high mountain ridge. We were back on the ship by 1h30 and had lunch at Veranda. Found a chair on deck for the remainder of day and used pool and hot tubs. Although the Island suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Maria in Sept 2017, the island infrastructure and vegetation is recovering nicely. Pigeon Island: This was our 4th time to Pigeon Island and it is our least favourite spot for the Beach BBQ. The beach is small and crowded although the area in the back where they actually serve the BBQ is nice. The water toys were brought to the beach, as well as paddle boards and kayaks. They also offered waterski and wakeboardings runs for those who wanted. Club Med 2 (Wind Surf’s twin) was also in port that day which made for interesting pictures. Les Saintes: This was our third time to Les Saintes and we continue to enjoy this stop. There is a quaint village with some interesting shops and a Fort (Fort Napoleon) from which the views of the bay and our sail ship are simply breathtaking. Note the Fort is only open until 12h30 and bring €5 cash if you want to get in. We rented a 4 seat electric golf cart (cost €75) from Green Car Rental to tour Island but you need to reserve it in advance as these get taken up very quickly (we had learned this the hard way the previous time we were there). Wanted to go to Pain de Sucre Beach but path is somewhat steep and rocky which required shoes we did not have. Instead went to Pompierre beach (no facilities). Nice beach but the palm trees have taken a beating as a result of hurricane Maria last year. Had a good lunch in town at Cafe de la Marina with a nice view of the port while the ladies shopped linen at Mahogany next door. Basseterre St-Kitts: Our initial plan was to get off ship, take the 9h30 ferry to Nevis ($16 each way/pers), hire a cab for a few hours to do tour of island, visit plantation and get dropped off at Pinney’s Beach. However we were a bit tired that morning and thus proceeded to a less intense plan B which was to take a cab ($30 each way) to go to Cockshell Beach at the far South end of the Island. We rented chairs ($5 each) and umbrellas ($10) at the Spice Mill and also had good lunch there. Beach is nice and was somewhat crowded, something rare on a Windstar cruise but there were another 2 ships in port, so this was to be expected. Ship left late at 10pm and this was night of deck BBQ. St-Barth: We had reserved a convertible Mini Cooper to tour Island ahead of time with Sixt Car Rental. Called them up 30 minutes prior to going to shore so they were there to pick us up and take us to airport to fill out docs. Cost was a bit steep at €105 but we had fun touring. Went to Saline and Gouverneurs beaches, did some shopping and had lunch at Nikki Beach in St-Jean. Lunch was good although this is St-Barth and everything is pricey. Returned the car at airport, got shuttled back to port and did some more shopping in Gustavia. Took tender around 6pm back to ship. Debarkation. Debarkation was trouble free. Had breakfast around 8am after picking up our passport and having face to face meeting with Immigration on board ship around 7h30 (this is new as we usually just picked up passport on ship and passed Immigration once on shore). Our flight was late (5pm) so we took a cab to Holland House, took up their day pass offer which for $25 includes 2 chairs, 4 drinks,use of shower, Wifi and facilities. Had good lunch at their restaurant and left at 2h30 for airport. Ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took just under 30 minutes and this concluded another wonderful Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife & I sailed on 1/12/19, Our 6th Windstar cruise, 3rd on Wind Surf. Room 126. The ship – Wind Surf – was built in 1990, and is showing its age in too many areas. Rust, loose planks, paint peeling, bent railings, and I ... Read More
My wife & I sailed on 1/12/19, Our 6th Windstar cruise, 3rd on Wind Surf. Room 126. The ship – Wind Surf – was built in 1990, and is showing its age in too many areas. Rust, loose planks, paint peeling, bent railings, and I could go on. The most odd part is that I didn’t see any maintenance crew guys doing repairs. Which to me means that there is something else, a problem that goes deeper but I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the cruise Captain, or it’s the upper management cutting back on costs, I really have no idea. Also, FYI – Windstar Cruise line is pulling out all the casinos. Which means that in the evening, for entertainment outside of your cabin, your only choice will be the band, or duo. That’s it. Granted the casinos are rarely filled, and are never very lively – but that’s the casino staff’s responsibility and they fail here. And it gives you another form of entertainment. The other crew members – bar, serving, house-keeping staff all seemed to be a little less friendly this trip. What’s going on ? Some were good though – Maria, Ace, Mel, and Eugene were great bar people. Alex was a super room steward. But other than those 5, everyone seemed a bit agitated, or distracted. The people/fellow passengers seem to always consist of “my kind of people” unlike the larger ships. Almost everyone is friendly, classy, and talkative. Again, this was now our 6th cruise and we have never had a problem with our fellow passengers. This sailed of St Maarten, 7 nights, 1 sea day. I didn’t really care for the sea day but I certainly got a great tan. The ports were all good, as always. A bonus I thought was that the normal stop for the beach party was still in ruins, so they parked at a different side of the island. And this stop was a short cab ride to the Baths. No tour needed. All in all, we had a great time. But I expected a little more. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Chose the 7 day Yachtsman Holiday Cruise in the Caribbean aboard Seabourn Odyssey. Booked the Penthouse Suite on 10th floor. Hadn’t sailed with Seabourn in nearly 10 years...However, we’re seasoned cruisers: 14 cruises on Silver Sea, ... Read More
Chose the 7 day Yachtsman Holiday Cruise in the Caribbean aboard Seabourn Odyssey. Booked the Penthouse Suite on 10th floor. Hadn’t sailed with Seabourn in nearly 10 years...However, we’re seasoned cruisers: 14 cruises on Silver Sea, Viking, Holland America, NCL, Regent, QE2...other Cunard line ships, Windstar, Star Clipper, National Grographic, Private charters and cruised our own boat for many years. For this cruise (12/22/2018) We made our own flight reservations and arrived a day early to enjoy some time on St Maarten. Seabourn made the hotel & transfer arrangements. Hotel (Belmont de Samana, St Maarten) was pretty bad (no hot water, messed up the arrangements for transfer to ship, couldn’t sort out the dinner reservations and kept thinking we were different guests in a different room. Even so, beautiful location and we still enjoyed being there (though only being able to take cold showers was not that pleasant.) Embarkation went fairly smoothly- at first they couldn’t find us but then got us onboard and photos and told us our room would be ready in an hour or so. We had the buffet lunch and proceeded to our room. Penthouse suite was nice and roomy. Lots of drawers, big closet, luxurious bath. Room Steward offered champagne. I had arranged a dinner in KT Grill for first night to celebrate my husbands birthday. No mention of his birthday at restaurant or room ( I wasn’t expecting a big deal but perhaps a little candle would have been nice.) Dinner was ok - rather mediocre - very snooty attitude and you could observe disputes between the wait staff which didn’t add much of a pleasant environment. We use to love dining at The French Laundry - TK’s original restaurant in Yountville - I doubt he’d like what they’re doing under his name on this ship!! We won’t return. We also discovered there were no papers in our room with information about internet, itinerary, excursions, spa, in room dining or even a ship map. So, after dinner we went to the square and tried to track down some information. No staff were available and there seemed to be many passengers with the same problems trying to find out info. We gave up and strolled around the various decks trying to get oriented. The second day we were anchored off St Kitts. Planned to go ashore and do some exploring on our own. Stopped by the destination desk to get maps and some tips on taxis in to town, etc. Local woman was at desk and told us the only option was to stay at the Carambola beach club...saying everything was closed, no taxis, no shops, no touring, etc. we found out much later she was working for the Carambola Beach club and was not telling the truth but we never tried to go ashore because it seemed there would be no way to get into town. (She said it was not walkable). We decided to explore the ship and maybe have lunch at Pool Grill. Everything was closed except the buffet. Tried visiting the Spa - all personnel were at beach. In the end we had a quiet reading day in our suite. We got several phone calls in which various ship personnel kept asking my husband if he’d like to celebrate his birthday (since they had forgotten the day before). We decided we’d have his celebration with in room dining that night. So, when it was time to order, we called room service- there was no paperwork with a menu in our room so they couldn’t take an order so we had to track down our room steward to get the current menu. She insisted it was December 22 and gave us that menu (it was actually the 23rd) we called again to try and order. The kitchen said we had to use the menu from December 23rd. So we went back to the room steward and she gave us the menu for the 24th because she didn’t have the menu for the 23rd. Eventually we were able to order a couple of salads, a club sandwich and a cheeseburger. Food arrived about 40 minutes later. Cold burger & fries, barely edible salad, dry sandwich. 2 ice waters. Nothing indicating a birthday...we strolled the decks, nothing going on so returned to our suite, sat and watched the moon and had a quiet reading night. In general, I would say this is a rather boring cruise with very little information available to passengers. No announcements, no help with basics like internet, no orientation and late or nonexistent paperwork in the suite. We are fairly self reliant and creating our own shore excursions (there are NEVER any staff to help with booking). Since almost all the ports are anchor/tenders it is a bit more complicated than simply stepping off the boat on to the dock. We do miss the ship events, lectures, entertainment that we’ve enjoyed on other cruises (they seem to be nonexistent, cancelled at last minute or very badly organized on this cruise). A note on the (Penthouse Suite) on the 10th floor: DON’T BOOK it!!! Above our suite is the outdoor game area (shuffleboard, table tennis, etc. VERY NOISY starting early in the morning and lasting all day!! So in closing we are sticking with Silversea, Viking, Charters and anyone else but the CARNIVAL line and SEABOURN!! Cons: poorly organized, unprofessional staff, mediocre food and waste of time & money!! Pros: quiet, not too many activities, lots of time to yourself, some beautiful sunsets on this itinerary comfortable bed, spacious suite. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first voyage on a small luxury cruiser and it was excellent. The ship, crew, food, venues, cabins and majority of passengers were great. No mega pools, large outdoor TV screens or ice rinks here. I would not suggest this ship ... Read More
This was our first voyage on a small luxury cruiser and it was excellent. The ship, crew, food, venues, cabins and majority of passengers were great. No mega pools, large outdoor TV screens or ice rinks here. I would not suggest this ship for kids under 18 as it is adult oriented and I saw nothing that would entertain younger passengers. There were two 6 yr. olds on board, we saw them at various meal times but at no other time. Ideal for couples of all ages. It is a relaxing cruise ship, where within three to four days you have crossed paths with most of the passengers and as a result you should be the type that enjoy speaking to people. If you want to go on this cruise and be by yourself, you can do it but you'll miss the true spirit of what the experience is. Also, it is not for 'seagulls' - you know the people who grab a lounge chair, throw their towel and hat down and claim it for that day, whether they are using it or not. They scream 'mine, mine. mine' if someone comes near it. If you are, you'll be quickly identified and the rest of the passengers will be talking about you the entire trip. Yes we had a few of them - why do such people exist? Almost all passengers despise the large cruise ships and enjoy the relaxed sociable atmosphere on this ship. Many have cruised with the line many times. The ports of call are varied, some will be near the large cruise ship stops, other will be in smaller ports where the big guys can't get to - this makes the choice most appealing The open bridge policy is very interesting if you like to know how these ships steer and get where they are going. The bridge officers are very welcoming to visitors. When the sails are unfurled and you cast off, it is a great feeling. Be prepared though, in rough seas you'll be tossed around a bit. Entertainment is hit and miss - we had two groups -one was a hit the other most tired of after a night or two. Like all cruise lines, there are expensive add ons if you want them and excursion sales pitches but these are easily ignored. Would I go again - you bet ya ! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We picked this cruise because we are loyal repeat customers, but no longer. It was such a disappointment. The crew were rude and room had no air conditioning. The staff did nothing to help us, the higher up we went with our concerns the ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we are loyal repeat customers, but no longer. It was such a disappointment. The crew were rude and room had no air conditioning. The staff did nothing to help us, the higher up we went with our concerns the worse we were treated. We finally had to get wifi off ship and have the main company help us with the issues. It was so stressful. Many others aboard had similar troubles, poor food, rude comments from staff, poor communication and no maps or names to go with the scenery around us. The ship looked old, dirty and dated and lacked the water equipment they had advertised. With no flippers available, we got stung by sea urchins and cut up on coral. The cruise director said it was our fault for not packing flippers, but the advertisement for this particular cruise promised flippers available for "all". The food was so recycled, it became a bore after the third day. Lots of dry bread at dinner, bread pudding the next day, of course. Very sad experience, last sail for us with this company. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our 3rd time on the Windsurf. The cruise had been scheduled to embark and disembark in St. Martin. However, after Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Martin, the cruise was rescheduled to go RT Barbados. The ports changed again after ... Read More
This was our 3rd time on the Windsurf. The cruise had been scheduled to embark and disembark in St. Martin. However, after Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Martin, the cruise was rescheduled to go RT Barbados. The ports changed again after Hurricane Maria. Windstar cruises was very quick to change their itinerary to ports unaffected by the recent storms. As a result, we visited some new ports. Mayreaux, Bequia, Anse Matin, and Monserrat were all new to us. The excursions were well organized. Guides were excellent. We had a great time exploring small ports that are seldom visited by the big ships. We also enjoyed the included "unexpected OBC". The ship was beautiful. As an older ship, the care to details is amazing. Crew was constantly cleaning, polishing, painting, and fixing everything. The cabins are well arranged. Lots of storage space....drawers, shelves, and double closets were ideal. Cabin had good lighting, beautiful linens, and comfortable chairs. Bathroom had lovely L'Occitane toiletries. There are no cabins with verandas. As a small ship, it is easy and quick to get outside. Lots of public spaces indoor and out. Never had to go hunting for a deck chair. The small pool deck aft was a great place to relax. Non alcoholic drinks were included everywhere on the ship. The fridge in the cabin is restocked daily with your choice of beverages. Room service 24/7 was prompt and free. Dining was superb. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda. Seating at linen covered tables indoor and out. You could select from the buffet or order from the menu. Choices were interesting with daily specials. The Yacht Club was open daily until 6pm serving drinks and small sandwiches and pastry. Yacht Club was my go to place for coffee. Diner was served in 4 places. No surcharge anywhere. The main restaurant Aamphora had different menu each night. The food choices were very good. If you wanted something off the menu, ask and usually it happens. No request was denied. The Stella Bistro had a set menu with a French flair. Candles and Dining Under the Stars were outside. Their menus were mostly grilled items. The fillet at Candles was delicious. The buffet salad bar at Dining Under the Stars was outstanding. Once each week, there is a beach party ashore with food and local entertainment. Once a week the regular restaurants are closed because there is a deck BBQ with fabulous food and entertainment. The highlight is grilled lobsters. We took 3 excursions which were excellent. The best was on the disembarkation day. We put our luggage out at 6:30 the day of disembarkation and enjoyed a full breakfast before leaving the ship. The captain and some staff members were at the gangway to help with hand luggage. Hugs all around. While our luggage was taken to the airport, we took a 4+ hour tour around Barbados in an air conditioned van. Great guide. After enjoying an included lunch at a beautiful plantation, we were driven to the airport. We were met by Windstar reps who assisted us with our luggage and checkin. We had a fabulous time and will return. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose this cruise because DH wanted to cruise on the ship with sails, and there were islands we had not yet experienced in the Caribbean-Barbuda, Isles de Saintes, and St Barths. Our cabin was 222 which was convenient to the stairs, ... Read More
Chose this cruise because DH wanted to cruise on the ship with sails, and there were islands we had not yet experienced in the Caribbean-Barbuda, Isles de Saintes, and St Barths. Our cabin was 222 which was convenient to the stairs, embarking / disembarking. For a small ship, our cabin was very comfortable and our steward was excellent - always had fresh ice and fresh linens. We were greeted with fresh flowers, fruit, and chocolates in our cabin - which were replenished during the cruise. There is no extra charge for the specialty restaurants which we enjoyed. For breakfast in addition to a buffet of great choices and an egg/omelette station, you also had menu items to choose from: tacos, waffles, french toast, a variety every day. Lunch was the same with a buffet, cooking station with a daily offering (roast pork, leg of lamb, salmon, etc) and the freshest ice cream - always an ice cream and a sherbert plus other desserts. The island beach BBQ was my least favorite although the food was plentiful and there was a band playing - nice atmosphere, just crowded feeling. We had lobster two nights; once in the Main Dining Room and once the night the staff grilled on deck. Best part of the cruise: there were no walkers or wheelchairs pushing their way around on deck and shore excursion numbers were small. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose Wind Surf because we wanted a more personalized experience and no children. The embarkation process was not a great experience.Possibly because we arrived on the late side (4:00pm)? The person who registered us was less than ... Read More
We chose Wind Surf because we wanted a more personalized experience and no children. The embarkation process was not a great experience.Possibly because we arrived on the late side (4:00pm)? The person who registered us was less than enthusiastic and actually a bit snarky leaving us feeling unwelcome and without answering some questions regarding options for our disembarkation. I know! Right?! The service was inconsistent and the food was, in all honesty, a disappointment. Nothing was prepared properly and oftentimes we had to order a few different items to find ONE somewhat acceptable. We do not consider ourselves food snobs but come on! Not what you would call "fine dining". Generally, the staff was pleasant but I have had better service on much larger ships. We had hoped for a somewhat more upscale feel but that might be do to the limitations that a ship of this size (with 300 plus passengers) has to deal with. Also, the pool size ( a big bathtub) and area simply were not conducive to just relaxing and chilling out. Again, that's another disadvantage inherent with a smaller vessel. But a beautiful ship (although somewhat dated), nonetheless. I mean the wallpaper was peeling off the stateroom wall! Seriously?!! Anyway, that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
As usual, an excellent sailing experience aboard the Sagitta, with a great itinerary and a comfortable mix of sailing and island visits. It is so nice to be able to work with a crew who are as professional, safety-conscious, attentive, ... Read More
As usual, an excellent sailing experience aboard the Sagitta, with a great itinerary and a comfortable mix of sailing and island visits. It is so nice to be able to work with a crew who are as professional, safety-conscious, attentive, courteous, friendly and helpful as those on the Sagitta. It was truly a pleasure to see old friends again, as well as meeting new members of the team. It is always great to see them all working as one - helping each other with all assignments and always there for the guests as well. Kudos to Captain Patricio and the rest of the crew. The Sagitta is a three masted schooner, with only 24 passengers. Very intimate and comfortable, with excellent service from the crew. Swimming and snorkeling on island beaches or off the ship. Adventurous hikes or lazy days or shopping on a different island every day. The food is delicious - I gain weight on every cruise. This is an annual cruise for me - two back-to-back 12 day cruises - St Maarten to Tortolla and then back to St Maarten. I will be back: already have the same cruises booked for 2018. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
When I received an email that Windstar was offering a sizable discount on certain cruises during the holidays, I investigated their sailings to Tahiti and the Caribbean. Since Tahiti gets a lot of rain in December and January, we opted for ... Read More
When I received an email that Windstar was offering a sizable discount on certain cruises during the holidays, I investigated their sailings to Tahiti and the Caribbean. Since Tahiti gets a lot of rain in December and January, we opted for a Caribbean cruise. The Wind Surf sailing worked well with our schedule. We boarded in St. Maarten and noticed four cruise ships in the cruise terminal - P & O, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and then the Wind Surf. It was the smallest of the ships, yet the only one with masts to set sail. What makes a Windstar ship special is that they visit some ports that the big ships don't, so when you are in port it is not packed with cruise passengers. The embarkation was easy. There were no lines. We walked right up and gave the staff our information. Golf carts were nearby to whisk us to the Wind Surf, however we elected to check out the shops in the terminal before boarding the ship. Once we did, again without a line to wait in, we showed the crew staff our documents and passports. Then we walked over to the waiter staff to make reservations to the more intimate dining at Stella Bistro and Candles. Candles is so cool, because it is steak and seafood al fresco dining. We received our room card to check out our staterooms 255 and 253. Both were identical except 253 had two twin beds and 255 was made into a king. What was different is that 255 was next to the water tight metal door. At arrival to every port and when we sailed away, three buzzing alarms sounded and the doors came down right next to our room. Early in the morning, it woke us up. Another bug-a-boo about 255 was a constant rolling sound and boom when we were at sea. I had to sleep with earplugs and a pillow over my head, yet still would wake up to this sound. I called the reception desk three times. Our room steward Etti did everything she could to help soften the noise. She put pillows near the porthole covers and talked to the room steward who worked above our room. An evening steward checked out the sound and said it was the wake hitting the hull as we sailed. He said it was the sound he heard on the first level. The pound sound could be the waves, but not the rolling sound before the boom. Other than not sleeping well at night, I loved the cruise. Here is what I enjoyed - 1. BBQ lunch in St. Lucia's Pigeon Island. It's quite a spread. Sail, paddle board, snorkel, waterski and hike to the top of the fortress. 2. The yoga class with Jonathan at St. Lucia at the park while listening to the waves crash was memorable. His 6 pm Pilates class was also a good work out. 3. Pink Beach in Barbuda. Others enjoyed Coco Beach. 4. Free motion sickness pills at the reception desk. My daughter needed a pill at least once a day. 5. On Sunday The Veranda offers Brunch from 9 to 1 p.m. There is such a variety. 6. The crew are extremely friendly from Indonesia and the Philippines. Andi, Nova, Uud and Russ in the dining areas were terrific. Etti our room steward was wonderful. There was a blind couple on the ship and the staff were so helpful and accommodating. 7. Two juccuzi tubs on the back of the boat next to the pool. The tubs are small, ideal for two or family of four. At sunset when the ship is ready to set sail is the best time to be out on deck. 8. Taking the River Tubing Adventure in Roseau, Dominica. A bus picks up passengers and takes guests on a 20 minute drive to the forest. Each guest receives a yellow inner tube. There are seven guides that help guide guests down class one and two rapids. The guides sing and tell jokes at various stops. It's a sumner camp feel and fun floating down among bamboo trees, papaya, coconut. At the end of the journey, guests receive a cup of rum punch, water or Soda. They also have a plate of fresh fruit from the area - coconut, grapefruit, papaya and sugarcane. 9. Dining at Stella Bistro for a French dinner. Reservations are required and can be made on the first day of the cruise. The lobster Thermidore, escargot and Creme brûlée are delicious. 10. Popcorn and a movie. Guests can select a DVD from the media library and go back to their room to order room service. There is 24 hour room service. Popcorn comes warm, slightly buttered and salted in two separate bowls. They make crudités and dip and quesadillas too. 11. Be sure to see the crew talent show. It's very entertaining to see your cabin steward sing a Maroon 5 song, your favorite bartender juggle and pour colorful drinks, and the cruise director and four other crew members perform a synchronized swimming skit. 12. Dinner at Candles is quite an elegant al fresco affair. The grilled steak and seafood restaurant. 13. Al fresco BBQ dinner on deck. All the guests sit outdoors on the wood deck under the masts. There is a roasted suckling pig, lobster tails, king crab legs, chicken, salads, and a large dessert table. Sitting under the stars, while listening to a live band, we visited the buffet a few times. After the dinner, the crew encourages the guests to line dance out on the deck. Visiting St. Bart's and anchoring near the millionaire and billionaire yachts. 14. Playing board games after dinner or seeing the musicians perform in the evening. 15. Walking to Shell Beach in St. Barts and snorkeling near million dollar yachts. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open ... Read More
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open seating and you had to make reservations at the other two. The other two were a little better, but wish they would change that policy somehow. I'm not a hospitality manager, so I'm sure there's a reason it's done that way. Some people complained that they were "balcony people" and wouldn't sail again on windstar because of no balconies. Well I don't know why they would have booked this ship in the first place. This is an older crowd and things wind down relatively early. The entertainment somewhat caters to the older crowd (we are in our mid and late 40's and found the entertainment great). This is NOT a cruise for kids or probably even teens. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My husband and I have done the big cruise ship thing before and found it not to be what we were looking for. Sailing on the Vela was exactly what we wanted. We had the comforts of home, but were able to explore the locations we visited. ... Read More
My husband and I have done the big cruise ship thing before and found it not to be what we were looking for. Sailing on the Vela was exactly what we wanted. We had the comforts of home, but were able to explore the locations we visited. Our cruise only had 14 other sailors so our small group got to know each other fast and had a wonderful time together. Everyone was there to have a good time and I can't remember laughing so much. We could do as little or as much as we wanted. My husband was often involved in the ship sailing, while I was found reading a book. The islands we visited had many options, from shopping, to snorkeling, to reconnecting to wifi. or you could just stay on the ship and enjoy the sea. The crew went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we could have possibly wanted. This was the best vacation I have ever had. My husband and I could completely unplug and relax. I am counting the days until we can go on another Island Windjammer cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I just recently returned from a 6 night cruise aboard the Island Windjammer Sagitta. It was everything I expected and more! I travel all of the time so my expectations were high on seeing some great islands, snorkeling, hiking and lots of ... Read More
I just recently returned from a 6 night cruise aboard the Island Windjammer Sagitta. It was everything I expected and more! I travel all of the time so my expectations were high on seeing some great islands, snorkeling, hiking and lots of adventure. I got it all! From the moment I stepped onboard I was greeted with warm welcomes and big smiles. The captain was great and Christine our cruise host was fantastic. She showed her passion of being on the water and made sure we were well taken card of. The crew was great and the food was fantastic. You don't need a big selection with the quality and taste you get onboard. I travel all the time and I am also a Travel Agent. This trip was one of the best ever!!!! If you want to experience a true Caribbean feel look no further than Island Windjammer there are several companies out there but this one sets a new standard in small ship sailing. Thank you!! I will be back soon. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I am delighted to give high marks to the company Island Windjammer, it's ship the Sagitta and the crew! Booked this trip to celebrate my birthday and was not disappointed. The entire experience was amazing! The ship was beautiful, ... Read More
I am delighted to give high marks to the company Island Windjammer, it's ship the Sagitta and the crew! Booked this trip to celebrate my birthday and was not disappointed. The entire experience was amazing! The ship was beautiful, our room was comfortable and the bathroom spacious. But the best part of the trip besides the beautiful locations, was the crew! Each and everyone of them went above and beyond to ensure we were safe, comfortable and well fed. And the food was amazing!! Each crew member was very helpful and friendly. This is a very well run ship. We are not usually the types that do group tours, but we did every excursion the Sagitta offered on this trip and loved each one! We had an amazing time on each island and while simply hanging out on the ship. A huge shout out and thank you to Island Windjammer and the Sagitta's crew! You guys (and gal) are the best! We'll definitely be back!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My girlfriend and I just returned from an incredibly enjoyable and relaxing vacation aboard Island Windjammers' Sagitta Motorsailer. From initial questions about booking the trip until stepping off the vessel at the end of the ... Read More
My girlfriend and I just returned from an incredibly enjoyable and relaxing vacation aboard Island Windjammers' Sagitta Motorsailer. From initial questions about booking the trip until stepping off the vessel at the end of the vacation everyone at Island Windjammers was courteous, service-oriented, friendly and wanted to make sure we had a great experience. Our trip took us from St. Maarten to St. Barths, Nevis, St. Kitts and Anguilla. While the weather was initially a bit unfriendly with some wind, rain and rolling seas (but who can control the weather?), the Sagitta crew was always smiling and helpful and went the extra mile to ensure we had a safe, happy and memorable vacation. The ship was always spotless and cabins were very roomy for a small vessel. The daily snacks and food at every meal were delicious. The shore excursions were interesting and well-planned. When Sagitta was in port one could go ashore to explore or stay aboard and just relax or swim, snorkel, float or swing from the mast rope. This was my girlfriend's first sailing/cruise experience and she loved it so much we are already talking about another booking. It was my sixth vacation of this type (four windjammers and two ocean liners). Island Windjammers is without question the best choice for those who prefer smaller groups and the opportunity to relax, explore, and learn about "the real Caribbean" with others who have similar vacation interests. The quality,service and atmosphere are exceptional. Suggestions for interested parties: - Try to schedule week day flights. Island airports are very, very busy on weekends. Long line and delays are the norm. Having a couple of days at the beginning and end of the sailing trip will simplify your vacation. - Visit the Island Windjammer website. It is very informative and will tell you all you need to know about their vacations. - Pack light - all you need are shorts, T-shirts, swimwear, flip-flops for the beach (go barefoot aboard ship) and comfortable shoes if you do a hiking excursion. A light jacket may be handy as windy nights can be cool. Thanks to Captain Steffen and all his crew we had a fantastic vacation aboard Sagitta and look forward to another Island Windjammers vacation very soon. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
While this was not our first time cruising my wife and I are 51 and 45 both have lived in Europe, the US and South America, it was our first time on Windstar - WindSurf. In short, it was a fantastic cruise and I could not have asked for ... Read More
While this was not our first time cruising my wife and I are 51 and 45 both have lived in Europe, the US and South America, it was our first time on Windstar - WindSurf. In short, it was a fantastic cruise and I could not have asked for anything more. We selected Windstar because of the Conde Naste review articles describing the smaller more intimate ships and also the promise of getting into smaller ports. Our cruise was the "Yachtsman's Caribbean" which sailed out of St Maarten - Philipsburg. We got on the boat around 4pm and set sail at 7pm promptly. First port was Antigua we arrived early in the am and the captain intended to anchor at a smaller port near Shirley Heights but it was too windy for the tender boats to safely load passengers, so we went around the island to the city of St John and docked there in a protected harbour. The island excursions tour was fun - but I suggest taking a taxi on your own over to Shirley Heights for the Sunday BBQ party and stay as late as you can becasue the Sunday party was so much fun, we wanted to stay until they closed the place down. got back on board late around 10pm and were still hungry but the main restaurant had closed and we were sweaty from dancing - the Executive sous chef saw us looking hungry and came out and offered to prepare a meal for us - it was delivered to our room just as we got out of the shower. Just one of many examples of the excellent service we got on the cruise. The cabins appeared to have been recently remodeled and were very well appointed - like staying in a 5 star hotel; wood trim, granite counters in the bath and on the desk. Most of the service staff was Indonesian and they were so intuitive and responsive to anything you wanted, that yo had to be careful wheat you said. Once I casually mentioned to the cabin steward that the bed was a bit more firm than I liked and when we came back from lunch, they had swapped the mattress and put a pillow top on it. A rare level of luxury and care. next stop was Sopers Hole a very small harbor and a wonderful little island with long empty beaches straight out of the magazines THIS is what we came for ! The excursion tour guide was Donovan and he had lots of fun toting us around in the back of a 4x4 from beach to beach. He sidetracked to a local Rum distillery and we all got lubricated. next day was Jost Van Dyke which is a smaller island and the captain said there were more people on the ship than live on the island ! Another perfect score. The tender boats ran every 20 mins so you could come and go as you pleased and explore the island. That night while anchored nearby, The staff prepared a huge on deck bbg with lobster, ribeyes, ribs, paella and of course deserts. the dinner was followed by a line dancing party on the top deck and all the crew, officers and service staff (including some of the cabin stewards ) came out and did the Whip and watched me nay nay. : -) it was BIG FUN and it was a level of intimacy with the other passengers and crew that you just don't find many places. Nexts ports were Virgin Gorda - definitely go see the Baths and swim on the beach there, and then while there, the crew went over to the uninhabited island of Prickly Pear Beach and set up another bbq beach party for us and also some volleyball nets and took all the watersports stuff: kayaks, sailboats, etc etc so we could spend the day on the beach. Volleyball was crew and passengers again. One day/night was spent sailing at sea and we thought it might be a bit boring but the crew had plenty of activities if we were up for it or you could just hang out by the pool/hot tub and sip on a cocktail. We did both :-) The second to last port was a stop at St Barts and while the refined paris of the Caribbean was certainly beautiful and impressive, after spending a week on small undeveloped beaches and tiny ports, we were a bit disoriented by the sight of million dollar yachts, celebrities, hotels for $3200 a night and topless french models parading up and down the beaches. Many of us agreed, we would have traded that for a second day at Jost Van Dyke. If you do go to St Barts, and want to experience it, then head over to Nikki Beach which is a beach and 4 star restaurant by the Eden Hotel. For lunch at Nikki Beach, we spent about $125 per person - and I might offer that the food on the ship was every bit as good or better and the service was WAAAY better on board. Another place to go on St Barts is La Plage which is walking distance from Eden Rock as well. Overall I will say that Windstar is now our favorite and we will be returning for another cruise as soon as possible. I would describe it as an affordable luxury cruise for those who are looking for a more intimate or romantic experience and who want to see smaller ports with fewer people. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and ... Read More
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and we arrived in St. Maarten early afternoon. The customs check took a while but went fine. We grabbed a cab and took a leisurely ride to the Holland House in Phillipsburg. We checked in and grabbed quick nap – later that evening we visited the bar and had a few drink and appetizers as our dinner. Departure day I got up early, ran the beach boardwalk for a few laps, and found a way to walk to the ship – yes it was there. We had a great breakfast, around noon checked out, and started our walk to the pier (this was a mistake) – the security folks were nice enough to point us to the Windstar luggage check tent (we found no signage) and we checked our bags and headed toward the ship. We passed though security check on the dock and within minutes, we had our room keys, beverage package and headed to our room. We dropped off the things we were still carrying and headed to the Veranda for some lunch. In spite of some of the reviews and comments on CC about the Veranda lunch, I found it to be more than adequate on departure day as well as for breakfast and lunch every other day – the chefs and the wait staff did a great job. If you wanted something made all you had to do was ask. Dining - The first night we ate our dinner in the Amphora. We walked up and asked for a table for two and within seconds, we were there. The Amphora has a comprehensive menu offering and we ate there three times on our cruise. We found the food, and service to be outstanding. The wait staff had some of the same crew members we had met in the Veranda so they already knew us the first night including our drink choices. Very personal service and we liked the familiarity. We were fortunate to be able to eat in the Stella Bistro twice during our cruise as the experience there was a couple of notches better than Amphora – the food, service was outstanding, and on our second night we invite a new friend we had made on the trip. We all had a great time. The other two nights for dinner, we had the ship wide deck barbecue. We secured a table outside the Compass Rose (one of the aft bars) and had a very good time eating under the stars. There was a wide choice of food including lobster tail, shrimp, snow crab claws, sucking pig, grilled pork, flat iron steaks, and a multitude of salads and veg. We saved the Candles experience for the last night anchored at St. Barts – we ate within the Veranda area on the upper deck because the weather was threatening. It did not detract from the experience and the great food and service. Beverage Package – worked well for us, probably drank too much. We found everything offered in the package was of good quality and very drinkable with the exception of the 187ml Cava, it was just terrible. Laundry package – a must have. We packed light and only one regulation carry-on bag each and did not run out of clothes and went home with most of them clean. Overall – AWESOME Trip, we will sail on the Wind Surf again. We had read it was like being on a private yacht and I can tell you that was our exact experience. The crew did an OUTSTANDING job and are the real driver behind the experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
You might notice that I have written several (read as "a lot") of cruise reviews, having been traveling with RCCL and Celebrity for years. We're fans of the "modern luxury" approach to cruising but have wanted to ... Read More
You might notice that I have written several (read as "a lot") of cruise reviews, having been traveling with RCCL and Celebrity for years. We're fans of the "modern luxury" approach to cruising but have wanted to try Windstar for years. So if you're like us and enjoy the amenities provided by larger ships but want to dip your toe into waters of smaller ships then read on...(WARNING: long review!) [I'm not going into the blow-by-blow detailed description of what we did every day (phew!), but instead will offer my opinion of how Windsurf differs from her significantly larger counterparts.] A (very little) background: We're in our 50's and work in the hospitality business. We cruise for the food, relaxation, itinerary and - most importantly - service, always booking a suite category cabin. We usually find the beverage packages a good value, but lately have been happy to find that our level of cabin includes a complimentary beverage package. We don't care much for the onboard entertainment, lectures, classes, art auctions, trivia, etc. We are nitpickers - we're on vacation - so if something is awry here and there we don't stress about it. We were sent an email offer from Windstar in the early Spring that we simply couldn't pass up. I booked over the telephone, which was easy and quick. Closer to our sailing date I also booked our shore excursions directly with Windstar as well, having the same positive experience. One of us was celebrating a birthday, which I let the booking agent know, and was informed that the information would be passed on to the ship (more on that later). Overall a very good experience with Windstar over the phone (note: the WS website is not great, so don't hesitate to contact them the old fashioned way). Less people means a better, more personalized vacation. Embarkation was a simple no muss, no hassle affair, and from the moment you board Windsurf every staff member (Windsurf features an almost exclusively Filipino crew) learns your name and greets you with it throughout the journey and every effort is made to provide you with a customized vacation tailored to your preferences. The service was exceptional. Unlike a lot of people who complain that the food on the large ships is not hot enough or well seasoned or too small, we find the food on the ships we have sailed to be good to excellent. The food on Windsurf is in another category altogether. There was not one single meal - breakfast, lunch, or dinner - that was not freshly prepared, visually well presented, and amazingly delicious. [I lie: The pizza at lunch in the Verandah sucks. Don't order it, it's a waste of calories and just, well, sucks!] The two "specialty restaurants" (included in your cruise fare) are equally excellent but dining in the main dining room AmphorA (yes, that's how Windstar spells it with the uppercase "A" at the end, and - no - I don't know why) is not a step down, more like a step to the side. Food on Windsurf was hands down superior to any "specialty" restaurant (that you pay for) on the bigger ships. For us this was a HUGE positive. There are two entertainment venues one (Compass Rose) featured a duet, the other (the Lounge) featured a band. We had cocktails before dinner each evening at the CR (lovely, outdoor seating). The duet there was good, but their playlist was bit outdated (no kidding, Tom Jones and the Carpenters!) but they were playing to their audience (average age on this trip was mid-60's). Again, entertainment isn't our thing so they could have had a CD playing and we would have been happy. Point is you don't cruise on Windsurf for the entertainment. A previous reviewer suggested guest lecturers, etc. If I'm on a sailing ship in the Caribbean (or Mediterranean) I don't want to sit inside listening to someone drone on about the history of pirates unless it's Johnny Depp talking about the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. Seriously. Big ships are known for the (mostly mediocre) entertainment so if that's your thing stick with them. We booked a Suite at an awesome price and loved it! The suites are two cabins combined into one. The standard cabin might have been ok, but we preferred having the extra space. Love the L'Occitane bath amenities (yes, I stole some to take home) and our cabin was always spotless. For the size of cabin to ship ratio the Suite was on par with the big ships, albeit maybe a bit smaller. We thought we would miss having a balcony, but we didn't as there are tons of public areas inside and out to take advantage of. Again, who wants to sit inside when your sailing the beautiful seas? We didn't use the Spa or the Fitness Center. Both looked lovely: the Spa offered the same menu of services you would find in the big ships and the Fitness Center was state of the art, but our dance card was filled with snorkeling and zip-lining. An amenity you will NEVER find on the big ships is the Marina, Windsurf's water activities platform at the stern (that means back) of the ship that is opened for guests' use including kayaks, floating mats, sailboats, and more. It's awesome! As I mentioned earlier we booked our shore excursions through Windstar (i will review each port separately) and were very happy with each one. The price/value was much better than you would find on the big ships because you're not with 1000 others and having to wait for hours while this one finds the perfect tchotchke to take home and that one needs the bathroom for the bazillionth time. Smaller excursions meant more personalized attention from the tour operators as well and you got to meet and chat with more of your fellow cruisers, enhancing the fun factor of the excursion. The "Special Event" in St. Lucia (Windstar's signature event) was okay. We took a zip-lining trip that was a little far away, so we got back with a 1/2 to spare before lunch was taken away. However, the effort that went into putting on the event was clearly evident and the officers and staff are to be highly commended and congratulated for doing such a fantastic job of pulling it off. Herculean really. Two days later the second signature event, the on deck barbecue, was held and again the staff of the Windsurf hit it out of the park. Honestly there was more food than the 250+ guests could ever eat. This event, too, was phenomenal. [If you need to refill your coffee, now is a good time.] It's the little things on Windsurf, like learning your name and what soda you like, that differentiate this cruise from the larger ships. I mentioned earlier that one of us was celebrating a birthday. When we returned to our cabin after an amazing snorkeling trip we found a note wishing him Happy Birthday and signed by the Captain and Hotel Director. Later than evening (at the on deck BBQ) he was presented with a birthday cake (freshly made strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream and berries) and sung to (you've never lived until you've heard "Happy Birthday" with a Philippine accent!). So in the midst of putting on the event they took the time to recognize one guest's special day. For us that was priceless. Windsurf is 26 years old. Yes, she is showing her age here and there, but who cares? After 26 years on the open seas you would too, and when the Captain raises the sails to the dramatic music from Vangelis' "1492" (got goosebumps every time) and you set sail for your next port you realize it really just doesn't matter. You want brand new? Go to the bigger ships. You want authentic? With Windsurf you got it. When you go to bed and realize you don't hear the thrum of engines because the ship is actually sailing you understand THAT'S the reason you booked the trip in the first place. OK. Enough. We're hooked. Will we go back to the bigger ships? Sure. They serve their purpose too, but any concern we had of the Windsurf being "too small" were for naught. Windstar's motto "180 degrees from Ordinary" is spot on. You won't find an experience like this anywhere. Anywhere. p.s. - WiFi? Don't bother. No one has the technology yet. The big ships don't. Windstar doesn't. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Wanting something special to celebrate our 40th anniversary we chose the Star Clipper. We could not have made a better choice. There were only 100 passengers (out of a possible 170) on the first Caribbean sailing of the season so we felt ... Read More
Wanting something special to celebrate our 40th anniversary we chose the Star Clipper. We could not have made a better choice. There were only 100 passengers (out of a possible 170) on the first Caribbean sailing of the season so we felt very pampered by the staff of over 70. We upgraded to one of the 6 deck cabins on the main deck near the bow. The cabin has a large picture window and direct access to the deck. We had plenty of closet and drawer space. The bathroom is quite spacious and has a whirlpool tub. The bed was quite comfortable and the cabin steward took excellent care of our needs. The food and service was excellent. We had a very large breakfast buffet with the usual options plus meats, cheeses, hot entrees and made to order eggs and more. Lunch was usually themed, again with many hot and cold options and great desserts to choose from. Dinner is served from an extensive menu with several options for appetizers, salads, soup, cheese course, entrees and desserts. Wine pairings are suggested for each course. Coffee and teas, as well as fresh fruit, are available all day in the piano bar. The entertainment is generally silly (in a good way) and interactive with the crew and passengers providing most of the fun. One night we had a steel drum band on board. Peter, our cruise director, is an amazing storyteller who captivated the passengers once or twice a day with tales of the sea, tall ships and the islands we were visiting. He is fluent in English and German and tells the stories in both languages quite easily. Since about half of the passengers were from Germany this was most appreciated. The islands we visited were almost secondary to the sailing adventure. Raising the sails each day was accompanied by stirring music and many passengers took advantage of enjoying time on deck while sailing. The captain prides himself on sailing whenever possible vs using power so we were able to truly enjoy a sailing trip. There is plenty of room on the sun deck to enjoy the sunshine and cool off with quick dip in one of the two small pools. the sunrises and sunsets were memorable and the bonus of a full moon during our cruise was a real treat. A few of the excursions were not quite as advertised and I wish we had just made our own arrangements to tour some of the islands vs paying to join the tour. There is a sports crew that provides snorkel equipment, sailboards, laser sailing, water skiing and trips to some gorgeous beaches. They also lead a 30 minute fitness session each morning that was a nice way to start the day. There were several on our cruise that had just sailed the ocean crossing from Spain and a few who opted to stay on another week rather than get off after one week. I wish we could have done that. We will definitely take another cruise on a Clipper line ship - hopefully in the Mediterranean - maybe for our 45th anniversary. This was the only vacation we've been on where the getting there was better than the destination. We loved the sailing adventure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed the seven days spent on the Wind Surf! Was nervous about being on a smaller boat compared to some of the others but found it to be a delight, especially since we were in a port every day! The crew was simply stellar: ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed the seven days spent on the Wind Surf! Was nervous about being on a smaller boat compared to some of the others but found it to be a delight, especially since we were in a port every day! The crew was simply stellar: quick to respond to any concerns, taking pains to remember you by name and doing all they can to make your sailing spectacular! We selected a suite which was an appreciated luxury although the standard cabins which are exactly half the size would suffice especially since you are in a port each day anyway. It was the itinerary that sold us on this and for the most part, it didn't disappoint. For some strange reason, we docked in Dominica at a freight terminal, miles from town, and were given incorrect maps....walked around aimlessly looking for the town and finally returned to the ship. Not a terribly safe area and that was our only disappointment. We have been to the island before and know that other parts are safer and more beautiful. Barbuda was a delight. Exactly what we expected: remote, a little desolate, but just miles of beautiful pink sand beaches. The other surprise was Il Les Saint. What a lovely little French town and breathtaking beaches and colorful homes and businesses! The tender boats would go back and forth frequently and the crew was attentive and kind. Our cabin steward was friendly, but unobtrusive and kept the suite spotless! Food was varied. We loved Stella Bistro, and Candles. The deck barbecue night was fun! Didn't find it necessary to buy the liquor package. Bottled water and specially coffee included. Bring a little extra to tip these hardworking people, your cabin steward and food servers (bar service includes automatic gratuity)--we did. Their hard work deserves extra recognition! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were ... Read More
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were Antigua, Tortola, Jost, St. Barths, and Virgin Gorda. We flew in 1 day early and stayed in Philipsburg, in the center of town (at the Sea View Hotel – not recommended). I would recommend, however, planning to get here at least 1 day early because the airport here is very crowded and unpredictable – all of our flights, in & out, were delayed therefor causing missed connections and re-scheduled flights. It was very hectic. However, once aboard the Wind Surf everything changed. I have nothing to complain about, no negative comments. Checking in was a breeze. We had only a standard room, but it was very comfortable. We were on the 3rd deck which I thought was perfect for this ship – down 1 to get on/off the ship or to get to the water platform, and up 1 flight for the casino, diner, entertainment, reception, and the pool bar. Perfect. The entertainment was very good – 2 choices, the duet who performed at the Compass Rose, or the band who played in the lounge. They were both excellent, but I preferred the duet…they were more than excellent and played songs if requested. The casino was just the right size, and the dealers were friendly and very accommodating. They would open a table for you if asked. It was never too crowded there, so I thought it was perfect. 3 table games (BJ & 3-Card Poker), 1 roulette table, and some slots. Sadly, no Craps table. The gym was very clean, surprisingly a good size for a small ship, and very useable. A trainer is staffed there and is more than willing to assist with questions. He also teaches a few classes – at no charge. The meals were always great. Breakfast & lunch are served up on the top deck. Could either grab something off the buffet or order off the menu. Each day, we’d 1st order room service coffee, then go up to the veranda for something to eat. On the breakfast menu, the chef offered a new daily “chef special Eggs Benedict” along with the standard one. I loved that, they were all very good. And the buffet was great as well. They had 2 Barbeque Parties that were loads of fun. The main room for diner was just as good. Everything was perfect. Once, after a few drinks, I jokingly wished that Crème Brule was on the menu. ….Our waiter went and found it at a different restaurant and brought it to us… Every meal was perfect. We would also order ”late night “ room service, and it was very good too. The bar service was quick & the bar tenders were friendly. At times though it can get crowded at the bar, but unlike other cruise lines – there are not many waiters walking around asking you if you need a drink. Usually you have to go up to the bar yourself, but it’s a short walk. Note/FYI: we did not purchase the drink plan, yet always had a drink in our hand and at times had too much…. Our total ship “bar bill” was $650. The ship “sail-away”, playing the 1942 music…. Was a little less dramatic and inspiring than I thought it would be, I think maybe it was a bit over-hyped to me by everyone to me. For me, maybe the music should be played louder, but I found the best place to get a feel for it was standing under a speaker. But when the sails unravel…it is a little romantic and was nice to watch. It’s a great feeling to be under sail with a ship moving; I’ve never experienced that before. I miss it already. The sports platform was fantastic. It is much better entertainment than any large cruise ship can offer. The guy running it – “PJ” I think – was wonderful. I will say to be careful if you go water-skiing in the ocean….  If you’re getting stiches; request small stitching and additional stiches (this will help reduce the scaring). The port destinations were as good as they could be. Seriously, I would have no problem taking this same itinerary next year. As other reviewers have said – there are always some cabs at each port if needed. Soper’s Hole, Tortola, is one of them – grab a cab and head to a Tortola beach – off the tender there is a nice bar, Pussers, and some shops…but that’s pretty much all. I will cab it next time. Lastly, the crew. I can’t say that they all remembered my name, but many did. Every one of them were personable, friendly, helpful, kind, …. Like the boy scouts… They were truly a great group of employees. I can’t imagine a better vacation. We did get lucky to have perfect weather, and met other couples on the ship with whom we seemed to hang out with. They were all good people and made our trip superb. We met one of the couples on the Cruise Critic forum page (Joymitch) before the cruise then met up with them on the ship. That was awesome in itself and they are great people. Isn’t the internet fantastic!?   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I've read the previous reviews of this ship and will not repeat the positive remarks as I agree with all from staterooms to dining and ports. We are looking forward to another future sailing! We are avid cruisers but usually on ... Read More
I've read the previous reviews of this ship and will not repeat the positive remarks as I agree with all from staterooms to dining and ports. We are looking forward to another future sailing! We are avid cruisers but usually on larger ships. This was a new experience and a very pleasant surprise, primarily due the people on board! At first I thought it was the crew to guest ratio. That does make a difference, there was always someone there smiling and happy to offer you anything you need. BUT. The personalities of everyone on board is very rare. I am not sure how they managed to hire such an exceptional group of people, wow! We felt like we were saying good bye to family as we were disembarking. I wish I remembered everyones name so I could commend them here as they magically remembered ours after a few short hours. I am sorry, I was so relaxed, I've lost my memory! Vishal, Jony and Druv....what can I say? I felt like they each had clones, they were everywhere all day long, our bar tending ninjas! It doesn't matter where the ship is sailing, I want to come on board just to enjoy their happy faces, wonderful company and great conversations! These guys really made our trip special, their smiles infectious. Even taking their time to say good bye and helped me with my luggage to the bus. Merci beaucoup! Muchas gracias!!! Yukti, our superstar Stweardess! What a sweet person, and how she was so stealth-like in keeping our stateroom immaculate is beyond me! Thank you! Christine (I hope I have that right) and Ana at the welcome desk were always there happy to answer our questions:) Also super sweet! Joey and......oooooh, now I have forgotten everyones names, not cool......the team who served ALL of our meals. Incredible, I am wondering when they had time to breathe as it seemed we were dining every hour someone was always there, a different uniform and set up every meal. Their service and smiles were always such a treat and seamless. Next cruise, I am bringing a pen so I can get all of their names and write thank you notes:) hehe! Honestly, this was a trip I will remember for a very long time to come. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again, hopefully sooner than later. Thank you, thank you! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
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
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
We have cruised on carnival several times, first time on the miracle the lay out of the ship was like no other carnival ships we were on. this ship is small but intimate.. ( missed the two hot tubs for adults, tub was small) aside from the ... Read More
We have cruised on carnival several times, first time on the miracle the lay out of the ship was like no other carnival ships we were on. this ship is small but intimate.. ( missed the two hot tubs for adults, tub was small) aside from the hot tub issue this was one of best cruises. Visited three ports of calls St. Marteen, St. Lucia and St. Kitts all the islands are beautiful. Used the guides from the islands for our tours all were very knowledgable and took pride in the island by telling you history of each island we visited.. The shows were fanstastic!! Generation, Tribute to Frank Sinastra and Sammy Davis Jr.was great on three nighs kids were used from the audience, they were fantastic!! made you laugh and smile.. Oh yes the Cruise Director Malcom -( was the man in the middle) funny!! Ticket to ride..Tribute to the Beatles!!! great What can i say about the food... In the dining room service was great food was hot, all the meats were tender, soups great, deserts fantastic.  Lido Deck.. same as the dining room great pizza chicken figers,hamburgers ice cream, breakfast. (wish i were there now) cold here in NJ snow!! There is a stong possibility we may take the same cruise in January 2012 to celebrate our anniversary.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011

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