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30 St. Maarten to Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

We did the 7-day Caribbean portion from St. Maarten and remained on board for the transatlantic, disembarking in Lisbon--18 days in total. This was our third Seabourn cruise, and Seabourn was once again spot-on with everything. ... Read More
We did the 7-day Caribbean portion from St. Maarten and remained on board for the transatlantic, disembarking in Lisbon--18 days in total. This was our third Seabourn cruise, and Seabourn was once again spot-on with everything. Embarkation/disembarkation is easy, although St. Maarten hadn't fully recovered from the hurricane. In Lisbon, we just walked off the ship at the time we wanted, and our car and driver was waiting. The famous Caviar in the Surf took place at St. Kitts the first day of the cruise, and once again Seabourn knocked it out of the park. It's an extraordinary event. The officers and crew knock themselves out for you. Food and beverage is terrific. For those interested, the crossing was one of the smoothest the Officers had ever experienced--more like a lake than anything else. On the crossing, there were two shows each evening--one for the early birds at around 6:30 and another later on around 9:45. it's hard to imagine a better cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our third cruise onboard the Odyssey and we loved every moment of it! We embarked in St. Maarten after spending two days unwinding at the Holland House Hotel. The embarkation process was absolutely painless. Everything was run ... Read More
This was our third cruise onboard the Odyssey and we loved every moment of it! We embarked in St. Maarten after spending two days unwinding at the Holland House Hotel. The embarkation process was absolutely painless. Everything was run like a well oiled piece of machinery. We were in PH cabin 918, which was lovely. I'm afraid we were spoiled by the extra room and location of this cabin. We would definitely book a PH suite again. We found the food and service to be top notch and did not have one complaint about either. I did however miss the Patio dining for an occasional evening meal as I always loved their steaks and pork chops. Many passengers really enjoyed the recent change however and the food was quite good. As we have done the Caribbean a number of times, we elected to stay onboard for a number of ports. We preferred to enjoy the comforts of the ship at some of the ports. We did not do any of the ship's excursions so I am unable to comment on those. The beach BBQ was wonderful, as always. On our last day, Jost VanDyke, the water toys were brought out much to the pleasure of many of the passengers. It was great fun! We met some lovely new friends, Martin and Stella and were able to spend some quality time with them and some other friends, Debs and Mikey, that we had met on a previous cruise. We enjoyed this cruise and were not disappointed with anything! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We took a seven day Eastern Carribean cruise on the Ofyssey. Didn’t get off the ship much because we have discovered over the years that most Carribean Island adventures are pretty fungible. We took an upgrade opportunity for one of ... Read More
We took a seven day Eastern Carribean cruise on the Ofyssey. Didn’t get off the ship much because we have discovered over the years that most Carribean Island adventures are pretty fungible. We took an upgrade opportunity for one of the 4 spa suites on 10 accessible only via spiral staircase in the spa- a good pick. Great outdoor deck at the rear, plenty of inside space, huge bath and shower, lots of amenities. BUT broken and unfixed/unfixable blind in the BR and a fridge door actually fell off, but was timely fixed. We found the staff uniformly friendly and accommodating - more so than on the Encore. English not always so good. Lots of trpical drink trays in constant circulation. Top shelf liquor at all bars and restaurants. House wines OK but nothing special. Restaurant decor and some public areas could use refresher. More self-serv launderettes would be helpful. Restaurant/Keller selections good to excellent. Colonnade buffets generally pretty good. Room service- too slow and too cold. The coffee, like virtually every cruise ship we’ve been on, was bad - there must be some special secret and cheap robusto blend they all buy. Espresso sometimes OK and cappuccinos were tolerable. All in all, we liked this ship although my companion thought there too many smoking areas. We liked the Encore better even though it was larger and will probably try other Seabourn ships before we come back here. Wishing you clear skies and calm seas. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We liked this cruise because we don’t typically want days at sea. This was a St. Maartin to Barbados. Cruise was 7 nights which is short but perfect for us, especially on a ship with few entertainment options. The food was outstanding ... Read More
We liked this cruise because we don’t typically want days at sea. This was a St. Maartin to Barbados. Cruise was 7 nights which is short but perfect for us, especially on a ship with few entertainment options. The food was outstanding but selection was pretty much exactly the same each day. Occasionally an extra different main dish was offered in most restaurants. We would have liked to have some local food recipes offered but this was not the case. We could have been sailing anywhere in the world and have the same menus. For example, none of the restaurants offered any spicy food , jerk recipes, etc, EACH OF THE Caribbean ports had beaches. Seabourn did not offer excursions on many of the ports. We did book a third party 7 hour snorkel, hike, swim option with Adventure Antigua which was terrific and less expensive than what was offered by the ship. We were in a V4 room near the bow of the ship. Rm 702. It was a lock off from a large suite at the bow, but we never heard any noise from them. The only noise issue we had was a couple of nights/early morning from raising or lowering the anchor. Obviously that didn’t last long. Even though the ship was fully booked we never felt crowded. There were lots of nooks and places to hang out where we were virtually alone. The only issue around this is that there’s is only one small pool and most of the time it was full of people standing in it with cocktails. Impossible for a swim. One thing that we liked was several hot tubs on different decks. We didn’t see any children on the ship except babes in arms and that would make sense as there was little for young children to do. Entertainment was adequate. The singer and dancers were surprisngly talented but the shows weren’t very well staged and didn’t take advantage of it. Ship staff and management were always available and frequently took the time to stop and chat. The first night we had issues wth getting waited on in a timely manner but on the second day when we were asked for our feedback, mentioned that, and never had a problem again. WiFi was quite good every day. We were offered free WiFi with our cruise price and we were happy to have it. There were also several computers on board in the library/ coffee shop area which were rarely in use but a great option. My husband was always able to get live football games that he didn’t want to miss. We would choose deck 7 again as it was convenient to everything. We would probably choose mid ship or the aft, given a choice again ,as it is closer to access to coffee bar, elevators to other restaurants, library and guest services.. but the ship is so small that the bow of the boat was fine. Room service is available all day and always arrived promptly and the food was hot. On our final day we were planning to stay at the last port. Since we had to,leave the ship early and couldn’t check in until late, we took a Seabourn excursión that ended at the airport that day because they carried our luggage. At the end of the excursion, we simply collected our luggage and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel. This worked really well as we were able to see the island that we were disembarking on during the gap and could just enjoy the beach on our last couple of days of vacation. We felt that there was good value for the money, especially after staying before and after in hotels in the Caribbean. We would take Seaborn again, but would probably stick to their shortest trips due to lack of variety in food and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the ... Read More
The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the engine during the entire seven days in the Caribbean. We motored our way from Saint Maarten's to Barbados sometimes navigating in bad weather. Unfortunately, we succumbed to a lot of rain. When we took the tender to an island beach, either it was Antigua or Dominica, the beach was narrow and the water was murky. We were expecting white sands with turquoise beaches. Perhaps our expectation was a bit unrealistic. We don't fault the captain or the cruise director for the 4 days of bad weather. However, the cruise director, Gabor did not offer us opportunities to learn about the islands that we could not visit on those rainy days. We think it would have been very educational if they had films about the islands in the lounge. We could have learned about the culture, economy, history and what influenced The Royal Clipper to choose these islands to visit. Upon many occasions as we motored in the rain, clear skies and sunshine were only a few miles away, If weather reports showed socked-in conditions at the next port-of-call, a leisurely sail under sunny skies would be monumentally favorable to hovering under the rain tarps provided. When this alliterative was put to the captain, the response was that he was strictly prohibited from deviating his course. Is it more important to stay on a rainy track or to make the passengers happy and comfortable? One of the islands that we did visit was called Saint Barts. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and most of the stores were closed. It would have been great if we had some kind of tour guide to direct us to different landmarks on this island to see. To make matters worse, the captain on the ship wasn't very accessible to many of the guests when asked questions. We would think some public relations officer would be at hand here. Towards the end of the cruise, there was a gentleman walking around with a petition to sign complaining about the excursions and the poor communications between the captain and the guests. We found that very troubling. Overall, the food was very good. The dining room waiters and the cabin stewards worked very hard to help make our trip comfortable. They are the backbone of the Royal Clipper. There is always a possibility on any cruise, that inclement weather will put a damper on the journey. We think it's in the ship owner's interests to anticipate the possibility of inclement weather and provide alternatives to make the trip more enjoyable. After all, we are cooped up on a ship with no alternate activities. Most of the passengers like ourselves were bored and the only highlight of our trip was eating. You could go on any big ship for that! We did not feel we got our moneys worth. Lastly, the intercom system was very poor. Some of the speakers were inaudible, because the intercom system is only in the hallways. Having an effective intercom system allows the passengers to hear important information. Perhaps a closed caption line could be added to the TV to facilitate hearing announcement while in the room. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had been out to the tall ship festival in Green Bay, WIsconsin in August 2016 and got a brochure about the Star Clipper tall ships. When our 1st vacation fell through we decided to do a cruise with Star Clippers. We had never been on ... Read More
We had been out to the tall ship festival in Green Bay, WIsconsin in August 2016 and got a brochure about the Star Clipper tall ships. When our 1st vacation fell through we decided to do a cruise with Star Clippers. We had never been on a cruise before but we wanted to travel with 170 people rather than 3,500 or more. Everything about the Star Flyer was great. The crew knew our names after the 1st day which was really astonishing. The food was very good and we had plenty of choices. The best part of the whole cruise was getting to meet all the different passengers from the 14 different countries. We became very close for only knowing them for 7 days and will stay in touch with them for years to come. We can't wait to go on another cruise with the Star Clipper company. You really need to give them a try. It is totally different from the big cruise lines were you are just a number. If we could change anything about our cruise is that we needed a longer period of time in each port. However, each port of call was outstanding and the choices for shore excursions were great. I can't say enough good things about Star Clippers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My wife and I were on the March 12 Wind Surf cruise. We’re in our early 50s and have cruised over 50 times. This is our second time on Wind Surf. We flew into SXM on the Friday before we sailed. Getting through the airport was ... Read More
My wife and I were on the March 12 Wind Surf cruise. We’re in our early 50s and have cruised over 50 times. This is our second time on Wind Surf. We flew into SXM on the Friday before we sailed. Getting through the airport was relatively easy and we took a cab to our hotel, Divi Little Bay. The hotel is in a beautiful location on Little Bay. We enjoyed our room (had a great view) and the food on the resort was good. Service, however, was terrible. We would not stay again. The Ship We checked out of our hotel at 11 am on Saturday (no late checkout allowed) and arrived at the pier before noon. Windstar has a luggage check in near the entrance to the port but boarding does not start before 1:00 pm. Fortunately, there were plenty of places to sit in the shopping area. When boarding started, we were though security, checked in, and in our cabin very promptly. Check in as well as specialty restaurant reservations takes place onboard. Security does seem to check carry on bags for alcohol…..we had two bottles of wine, which was not a problem. We were in a suite on deck 3. The suites on Wind Surf have been converted from two separate cabins into one suite. This allowed for 2 bathrooms and 2 closets. While the extra space may not have been needed, the extra bathroom was a nice feature. Cabin service was great all week. One afternoon, we heard a banging noise in our cabin. I reported the problem and it was resolved promptly. The reception desk called twice to make sure we had no further problem. The Wind Surf is not large but it has several dining spaces, a nice lounge, a couple of other bars, small casino, Yacht Club, and a gift shop. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tub. Lounge chairs are spread throughout the outdoor spaces. A marina is lowered from the back of the ship when conditions permit. Unfortunately, we didn’t have very good conditions for this feature on our cruise but it’s very nice when available. Snorkel gear is available for check out from this area. Dining We thoroughly enjoy the dining on Wind Surf. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Verandah, which has indoor and outdoor seating. It has a buffet with several a la carte items that are ordered from the menu. Overall, we found the food to be very good. The main dining room, Amphora, is our favorite for dinner. The menus offer a variety of choices, all of which include quality ingredients and excellent preparation. The servers are great. There are two specialty restaurants (no extra charge). We enjoyed our meal in Stella Bistro, even though the AC was malfunctioning and the room was hot. The food was excellent. Candles is the outdoor dinner restaurant (uses Verandah area). This was a disappointment. The menu is limited. I ordered a NY strip steak. I was served a piece of meat so thin that I would call it a minute steak. Everything else was OK but the other venues are better. I’d rather eat inside anyway. Once each week, there is a deck buffet for dinner. Last year, we really enjoyed this event. This time, it seemed to have gone downhill. The lobster tails were small, lamb chops were replaced with some type of lamb t-bone, and there was no chocolate fountain. Additionally, the buffet was scheduled from 7:00-8:30 but the food service ended shortly after 8:00. We tend to eat later so this was disappointing. If they are going to continue this event, they should keep Amphora open for those of us who want to eat a little later and prefer table service. Entertainment Since Wind Surf is a small ship, entertainment is limited. They have a band that plays in the lounge every night. We found them to be very good. Once each cruise, there’s a crew show. It’s very entertaining. There’s also a duo that plays in one of the bars. We never heard them play. Daily activities are limited. On our sea day, there was a galley tour and cooking demo as well as a few other activities. For the most part, passengers simply relax and enjoy a book or movie. There are no children’s activities. This is a positive as it limits the number of children on the ship. Those that were aboard were well behaved. Ports We started in Antigua. We took the Reef Riders excursion. It was very well done. The Reef Rider staff was very good and the snorkeling was good. The only negative was that it was a 45 minute one way trip to/from the harbor. I think most of the excursions required a long ride. Windstar might consider using a different harbor to get passengers closer to activities. Our second stop was Sopers Hole, Tortola. We took a snorkeling trip to Norman Island. The boat was a large catamaran, which was rated for 100 passengers. There were only 40 of us so it was very spacious and comfortable. We stopped at the “Indians,” which is a reef/rock formation off of the island. The snorkeling was great….some of the best we’ve done in the Caribbean. The second stop was supposed to be the “Pirate Caves” but we couldn’t anchor due to too many boats. We diverted to another area, which wasn’t nearly as good as the first stop. There was a third stop at “Pirates Bight,” which is a beach area with a couple of bars/restaurants. It was very nice and also very popular with boats in the area. Jost Van Dyke is a small island with very few options, other than a couple of famous bars. We took the snorkel trip offered by the ship. The catamaran and crew were very nice but it was too crowded. The boat should have been limited to about half the number of passengers that were on it. It was very difficult to move around. The snorkel stop was OK but nothing great. The second stop was at Taboo Bar, near the “bubbly pools.” We stayed way too long at this location. There’s no reason to spend any time at a bar during a snorkeling trip. I wouldn’t recommend this one. The stop at Virgin Gorda is for Prickly Pear Beach. The only way to see Virgin Gorda is to take a ship excursion. We didn’t but enjoyed a nice beach day. The lunch buffet was very good and there were very few people on the beach until the tours got back in the afternoon. It would be nice it some type of boat trip could be added to the Baths. The only way to see them was to take a full island tour. Our last stop was supposed to be St. Barts. Due to wind and swell conditions, we were diverted to St. Kitts. The Captain took the time to explain this during the crew show a couple of nights beforehand. I thought he handled the situation very well and it was appreciated. We just enjoyed the ship on this day. Final Thoughts Disembarkation from Wind Surf couldn’t be easier. Simply retrieve your passports (they keep these at check in) in the lounge and get off. There are no crowds or lines. Luggage is placed near the taxis at the entrance to the port. Windstar will sell you a transfer to the airport for $35pp. Don’t do this….taxis are only $10 pp. SXM is not an easy airport to get through so allow plenty of time. Check in lines can be long as can security. It’s not a US territory so there’s no TSA Pre-check. When we arrived, there was only one security line open for the entire airport. It probably took us an hour to check in (we had priority so our line was short), clear immigration, and pass through security. We enjoy Windstar far more than the larger ships. It’s quiet and relaxing. The crew is outstanding. They remember your names and anticipate your needs. We haven’t been on any other line with this level of service. We will certainly be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
A cruise on a tall mast ship was on my bucket list for some time. I tried to get a friend to go with me but they either were afraid of being seasick or didn't want to spend the money. I am SO glad I went solo - it really was a trip ... Read More
A cruise on a tall mast ship was on my bucket list for some time. I tried to get a friend to go with me but they either were afraid of being seasick or didn't want to spend the money. I am SO glad I went solo - it really was a trip of a lifetime. Islands on this trip (St. Maarten, Nevis, Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua, St. Barts) I flew to St. Maarten and stayed one night at the Holland House Hotel on Front Street. This will put you close to the pier, right on the beach and on Front Street (the main commercial street in Philipsburg). Check in was smooth and organized. There were refreshments/fresh fruit and tents were set up to provide shelter from the sun. It was a short walk to the Star Clipper from check-in. Once welcomed onboard I received my room key. I was in room 325 right off the dining room and across from the gift shop. My room was a Category 2 stateroom with the beds pushed together. The stateroom was very nice with a flat screen TV (which I never turn on) and a safe. I didn't pay a single supplement which was a major incentive for me to go on this cruise. I honestly wasn't in my stateroom that much. I took advantage of the adventure of being on a sailing ship and of the excursions. I was very pleased with the food. There was early bird breakfast (juices and danishes), full breakfast, lunch, 5 pm hors d'oeuvre, dinner and midnight snack. Breakfast and lunch were buffets with a large selection. Dinner had appetizer, soup, sorbet, salad, main course, cheese plate and dessert. Considering that the food was prepared for 150 people that often in a small galley kitchen - I was very impressed with the quality. Excursion Nevis - Hiking: this was a pretty challenging hike made more challenging my rain, but I loved it. Dominica - Rowing on the Indian River: 8 person row boat manned by a local guide. Iles des Saintes (no excursions) I explored the island on my own. Hiked up to Fort Napoleon in the morning and then took the tender to Cabrits and hiked up to the ruins of Fort Josephine. I fell in love with Iles des Saintes - this is why you go on a Star Clipper ship. An island off the tourist radar. Guadeloupe - Solar Power Boat Tour of the Mangrove and Lunch - It poured but we still had a great time. Antigua - Zip Lining - So much fun. St. Barts - ATVing around the island. My favorite. I made sure to get up at 6 am every morning for sunrise and I wasn't disappointed. The sunrise and sunsets were breathtaking. I was in bed most nights between 10 and 11. There really isn't much entertainment on the ship beyond your shipmates and some tunes on a piano. For me that was perfect. I have three minor complaints: one has been mentioned before - there isn't a lot of shade on the top deck. This didn't turn out to be a big issue for me because I was exploring each island so much that I was off the ship in port. This might be an issue if you want to stay onboard. The staff are very reserved to the point of being distant. I'm not sure if this is something to accommodate the large amount of European onboard or if this is a company policy. It did feel at times cold and indifferent. I never could figure out if out. I've been on several cruises and the staff are always so friendly. I missed this very much. Finally there seemed to be tension on my cruise between some of the Europeans and the Americans. Americans are loud. I actually never realized how loud we were until this trip - add alcohol to the mix and we are louder yet. This really seemed to upset some of our European companions. THIS IS NOT A TRIP FOR ANYONE WITH LIMITED MOBILITY. I can't reiterate this enough. I saw people struggling to get in and out of the tenders. The water was quite rough off St. Barts and the tender was really bouncing in the water. If you have any mobility issues - this will be a problem. This was a magical trip: I climbed the mast, I relaxed in the net, I was up for sunrise, I got to sail the Caribbean and I was able to explore new destinations. I would definitely go on another Star Clipper cruise. For solo travelers - go! Take advantage of the lack of a single supplement. I'm 46 so I was at the lower end of the age range and I knew that in advance. Being solo wasn't an issue at all. I met many nice people who included me in their group. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
This was our 4th cruise on Star Clipper so we knew what to expect. This one disappointed us, however. Pros: Food was good. Breakfast Buffett, Lunch Buffett, Dinner service. Cabin was clean. Ship was in great shape. The crew talent ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on Star Clipper so we knew what to expect. This one disappointed us, however. Pros: Food was good. Breakfast Buffett, Lunch Buffett, Dinner service. Cabin was clean. Ship was in great shape. The crew talent show was more fun and varied than usual. Cons: The wait staff and room stewards did not clearly understand English and spoke it with such accents at a such speed that they were very difficult to understand. Wait service at Dinner was slow - in one case we waited 25 minutes between appetizer and entree. Often when you asked someone on the crew a question, he would refer you to someone else. The all-day coffee was left to stand so that in the afternoon it was burnt. The cruise director checked off excursion passengers departing the ship but did not interface with the sponsors on shore. In our one excursion to the Indian River in Dominica, the sponsor was disorganized and left us stranded at one point. Disembarking, our luggage was taken to a tent for pickup but there were no signs off the ship to tell you how to find the tent that was quite a distance away. There were other minor annoyances. It just took away the joy we had sailing with Star Clipper in the past. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
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
After sailing on mainstream cruises for years we decided to try Star Clippers. Wow, what a difference and what an experience. The ship was beautiful, the service was top notch and the food was delicious. The best part of the trip ... Read More
After sailing on mainstream cruises for years we decided to try Star Clippers. Wow, what a difference and what an experience. The ship was beautiful, the service was top notch and the food was delicious. The best part of the trip was the people we met. The ship was booked with about half European guest and half American. The Europeans were mainly from Germany, Italy and Great Britain. The Americans were a nice mixture from coast to coast. WIthin two days you recognized everyone on the ship and the camaraderie was almost instant. A few guests kept to themselves but for most is was one big friendly group. The islands were beautiful and the fact we had them to ourselves really sets Star Clippers apart from the mega ships. Our Cruise Director, Peter, was a font of useful and trivial information. The Sports Team kept us busy in port and entertained on the ship. The cabin was smaller than a standard cruise ship cabin but it was still very comfortable and functional. Loved the open seating dining - sit with who you want when you want!! Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. No long lines, no stress. The evening "entertainment" was cute and fun - it consisted of a passenger/crew talent show, a trivia contest, frog racing (proud to say our frog won!!) a steel drum band or a piano player. Sitting under the stars while under sail was the only entertainment most people needed. We only took one shore excursion (tubing in Dominica) and it was a great value. Nothing on board is overpriced - bottled water (large) and sodas were about $2, beer and cocktails were between $3-5 and good wine at dinner was only $15 a bottle. We had an amazing time and we are already planning our next trip top Asia in 2017!! 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
The Sagitta is a wonderfully design ship for motor sailing. Accommodation are comfortable, areas for lounging and dining are spacious. The ships captain and crew are friendly, knowledgable and provide excellent service. The food is ... Read More
The Sagitta is a wonderfully design ship for motor sailing. Accommodation are comfortable, areas for lounging and dining are spacious. The ships captain and crew are friendly, knowledgable and provide excellent service. The food is expertly prepared and presented in a manner to rival the finest dining restaurant. Activities were posted daily with several as well as being able explore the local cultures on your own. Sailing with Island Windjammers is a very unique and personal experience that when the trade winds blows it will find the sailor in your soul. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My wife and I are in our early 50s and have taken over 50 cruises over the last 25+ years. Frankly, we are tiring of the mass market lines that crowd ever larger numbers of people on their ships and have cut the quality of food, service, ... Read More
My wife and I are in our early 50s and have taken over 50 cruises over the last 25+ years. Frankly, we are tiring of the mass market lines that crowd ever larger numbers of people on their ships and have cut the quality of food, service, and amenities dramatically. For this cruise, we decided to try Windstar…..what a huge improvement! We were on the Wind Surf for the Classic Caribbean itinerary in March. We flew to St. Maarten the day prior and stayed at Mary’s Boon Beach Resort for one night. This property is right next to the airport runway on a very nice stretch of beach. It was a small property with a Caribbean feel. There was a nice restaurant directly on the beach. The hotel offers transportation to the pier ($30) and we arrived shortly after noon on Saturday. Windstar had a tent to take luggage near the taxi stand the then it was through security and onto the ship. Check in was completed along with dining reservations in the lounge. We found that our fellow passengers were close to our age from professional occupations. There were a few children that were very well behaved….the lack of children’s activities pretty much requires that they stay with their parents. Wind Surf is a sailing ship but uses motors for maneuvering and for less than favorable wind conditions. After leaving port, the sails are mechanically raised one at a time, from front to back. It’s an impressive sight. The ship doesn’t move very quickly but this keeps the winds on deck to a tolerable level. Cabin/Ship The cabins were available after checking in. They are standard size and we found plenty of storage in the cabin and bathroom. The bed was very comfortable. We were on deck 2 mid ship. It was quiet and there was only slight motion while we were at sea. We did miss having a balcony but we were in our cabin far less time than on larger ships. Cabin service was excellent. The Wind Surf is not a large ship. It has one main lounge and a couple of other smaller bar areas. There was also a large library with a coffee shop adjacent to the lounge. The main dining room, purser’s desk, and shop were on the same deck. The casual restaurant/buffet was on a higher deck. Entertainment is limited…..there were two small bands with vocalists who performed nightly. They were very good. There are plenty of outer decks with comfortable lounge chairs spread throughout. There is a small pool and two hot tubs on the aft deck. Windstar has an open bridge policy so you can walk right in when the ship is at sea. Although we never had much trouble finding a chair in the shade, it looks like there would be some opportunities to add some. We never sit in the sun so this is important to us. The Wind Surf has a marina that lowers from the back of the ship when it is at anchor. There are kayaks, small sailboats, and water skiing (no charge for any of this) as well as floats and a trampoline in the water. There is always staff available in this area. We found this very enjoyable and took the opportunity to swim directly from the ship on several occasions……much better than a pool. Dining We found the food to be excellent. The ingredients were fresh and high quality, far better than what we’ve had recently on larger ships. We ate in both specialty restaurants (no extra charge) and found them to be very good as well. “Candles” is an outdoor restaurant, which has recently been moved from the pool area to a higher deck. This provides cover if needed and allows for the pool/hot tubs to be available later in the evening. On one evening, a deck barbeque was provided. These make me nervous because they are usually crowded with marginal food. That was not the case on Wind Surf. There were a variety of excellent choices including grilled lobster, lamb chops, ribs, and roast pork. We arrived late and a crew member ensured that we had a table. Breakfast and lunch were served in the casual restaurant. There were a variety of buffet items along with a small made to order menu. Breakfast items included fresh squeezed OJ, quality fruit items, and waffles/pancakes made to order. Lunch always included a hot buffet, salad, and grill items made to order. The only thing we didn’t care for was the pizza. Service in all of the dining areas was very good. Non-alcoholic beverages are included….including soda in the mini-bar. This is very convenient. Ports Because Wind Surf is smaller than most ships, she can call on unique places. We only saw one big ship the entire week (in St. Kitts). We started in Barbuda, which only offered one tour (to a bird sanctuary) otherwise there was nothing but a stretch of beach with no facilities. We also stopped at Pigeon Island (St. Lucia), St. Kitts, Nevis, Isle Des Saintes, Dominica, and St. Barts. The beach party was on Pigeon Island. It’s a nice spot and the barbeque on the beach was very good. It was, however, crowded when everyone got to the beach. Even for a small group, a bigger beach is needed. We took the ship’s excursions (which we rarely do) in several places. The groups were much smaller and the tours were well done. There was generally a crew member with us. We particularly liked the cooking demonstration in St. Kitts. There were only five of us, which was a shame because the grounds of the great house were very pretty and the demonstration/food was excellent. We had great weather all week. We have never had a smoother disembarkation than from Wind Surf. There were no lines, crowds, people sitting all over, or endless announcements. You simply retrieved passports from the staff and walked off the ship. We hired a guide to give us a tour of St. Maarten before our afternoon flight. This worked out well. The airport is crowded but not too bad for the Caribbean. The security line was long but moved fairly well. There was a variety of duty free shops but not much by way of food. Why We Will be Back • No crowds or lines….anywhere! • We did not see an single intoxicated person all week • No crowds of kids running all over the ship • No annoying cruise director and constant sales pitches • NO BINGO • No “stupid passenger trick” shows • No pool games or beer chugging • No constant pressure for up sells or gimmicks • No singing in the dining room • NO FORMAL NIGHTS……virtually all passengers complied with “smart casual” • Excellent service • The most friendly crew we have every experienced • Excellent food (quality ingredients make a difference) • A very relaxing cruise This was our first trip on Wind Star….it won’t be our last! This is what cruising used to be. It is more expensive but you get value for the money spent. I will have a very hard time returning to a mass market line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was the Classic Caribbean, St. Maarten, Barbuda, Pigeon Island, St. Kitts-Nevis, Isle de Saintes, St. Barts It took a couple of years to convince her to go on a sailing ship. I started with the Windjammer and worked my way up. It ... Read More
This was the Classic Caribbean, St. Maarten, Barbuda, Pigeon Island, St. Kitts-Nevis, Isle de Saintes, St. Barts It took a couple of years to convince her to go on a sailing ship. I started with the Windjammer and worked my way up. It was over dinner and a bottle of wine and some reviews and pictures of the Wind Surf that we would give it a try. This was our 15th cruise, the others have been on all the major lines, with Celebrity being our favorite. I like small and she likes big ships. We were able to get a direct flight from O'Hare to St. Maarten, which took the stress out of getting connecting flights or going a day early. We arrive at the dock and they proceeded to check us in very quickly as it looked like we were the last to board. The stateroom was a normal size for a cruise ship, not that you should spend much time in the room anyway. Let's get the only problem we had out of the way. We were in a stateroom mid ship. As we settled in for the night and the yacht had been underway for a few hours. Somewhere below us, in which I assume were the engineering spaces, all night long it sounded like a bowling ball in a metal tube rolling back and forth. Suffice to say I did not get any rest. In the morning I went to reception and asked them to check on what we heard. Of course had to wait till we were underway about lunch time to hear the noise reoccur. They sent an Engineering Officer down to check on the noise. She said she would check on it so we went up on deck to relax and have lunch. When we returned there was A NOTE saying that the noise was normal, but they would move us up one deck to another cabin. We took them up on the offer. Problem solved. Everything for the rest of the cruise was 1st rate, everything from dining, room attendants, etc. was excellent. The excursions we took were 2 snorkeling trips and a kayak trip. The vendors they lined up were great in all aspects of the tours. They paid attention to us when we were in the water, safety was always at the fore front of the trips. The day on the beach at Pigeon Island( actually a peninsula ) at St. Lucia was very well done. Everything was available to us, beach cabanas, chairs, towels, lunch was provided which was very good. From the crowd that was on the beach it looked like most of the passengers took advantage of the day. Being on a ship we did not expect much on the entertainment side. They had two bands, one in the main lounge and one in the bar aft. They split the time so if you went to dinner you could always see one before or after. They were fine, nothing great, be sufficient. The best night was the CREW entertainment night and they packed the lounge with the passengers, they were quite good and entertaining. Dining was above normal. Breakfast and lunch was served on deck either al fresco or you could sit inside. The menus usually consisted of 5/6 thing you could order or go to the buffet. More than enough choices. The fruit and cheeses were always plentiful. You could get omelets to order or roast turkey or beef at the carving station. The main dining room was fine, as were the two specialty restaurants, Stella Bistro and Candles (reservations required). Food and service was excellent. Service was not overwhelming just attentive enough. We wanted to order a bottle of merlot, but the wine steward suggested another brand, it was either a couple of dollars more or less I don't remember. It was an excellent choice, and later during the cruise we stopped at one of the bars and asked the bartender for recommendation and it was the same brand. We also had some port and took the recommendation of the server, which was also fine. We were able to find here at home and the reviews rated it highly. Disembarkation went smoothly as we took a tour before returning to the airport, which helped because we had 6 hours to kill before our flight. The tour was excellent given by an Expat from New York by way of Canada. She was very knowledgeable about St. Maarten. We would plan another cruise on Windstar either Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I would rate this cruise 6 out of 10 which is exactly what I expected having sailed on another Pulmantur ship last year. The line caters to the French & Spanish ( F&S) & I would guess that only 2% were English. Eg.-I spent the ... Read More
I would rate this cruise 6 out of 10 which is exactly what I expected having sailed on another Pulmantur ship last year. The line caters to the French & Spanish ( F&S) & I would guess that only 2% were English. Eg.-I spent the sea day at the pool and never heard a word of English except from the bar tenders & crew who all can speak English to various degrees. If the crew could not get a group of over 20 English people for an excursion with an English guide it was cancelled. The F&S seem to travel in large groups and can be very loud but never pushy or rude as someone else here experienced. We managed to get a table of 6 English people together for dinner which btw is late-7:00 & 9:15. The food imho was mediocre at best but then I’m fussy – like hot food hot & cold food cold which was not the case at the buffets. Buffet lunches were nice salad bars, fish, good pasta dishes, different carved roast everyday- frequently tough. The entertainment was all F&S except for one group who did English songs but it was impossible to know where they would be playing at any time-they didn’t know themselves. Very few activities offered. Ports all received poor reviews on the net except SXM . We had been to the 1st 3 (Guadeloupe, Martinique & Margarita Island ) in better times so just stayed on the ship. We did leave for Wi Fi at each port and also bought very inexpensive pearls on Marguerite Island. Santo Domingo is huge- not what I consider a typical Caribbean port – taxi driver said that the nearest beach was 50 miles away and cost $50.00 one way! It started to rain at this point so another day onboard. I went to mass in La Romana which took some finding as no-one on the ship who I asked including the info desk knew if there was a church. The village was small – combination of beautiful houses and abject poverty beside each other - no beaches. The passage from the D.R. to SXM was very rough-worse than what we experienced crossing the Atlantic. On reading this report it sounds fairly negative but for the price ($490.00) incl. drinks and the convenience of leaving from SXM with no airfare to factor in, it was well worth it if you like cruising. I’m happy to answer any questions that anyone has about this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I have sailed previously on Royal Caribbean and Carnival since I had children and those lines were great for that purpose. My husband and I wanted to do something special for our 10 year anniversary so we booked with Seabourn. I regret ... Read More
I have sailed previously on Royal Caribbean and Carnival since I had children and those lines were great for that purpose. My husband and I wanted to do something special for our 10 year anniversary so we booked with Seabourn. I regret that we had not done this before since these small ships will be going to Windstar. Even though they will be the same ship I can't imagine that they could match the luxury we experienced. We arrived at the St. Maarten cruise port very early and wondered how we were going to deal with our luggage as we wanted to go into town. There were people there that took our luggage and locked it up, we then took a cab into town. When we got on the ship we were treated with Champagne and a small buffet then quickly shown to our room where a bottle of cold champagne was awaiting. Our Steward came and asked what type of soap we desired and I chose my favorite from L'Occitane! The min bar was well stocked and had our requested liquors. I was worried as we had the least desirable room on the boat, cabin 103. It was important to me that I have a bathtub so this is what we ended up with as we were in the GTY category. I had no problem with this cabin, I never felt cramped. This cabin may not be for everyone as you really feel the motion however, we have a sailboat and are used to the movement, so no issue for us. This cabin has a window that is deep and I would put pillows in it and sit, had a great forward view! The cabin was quiet, the bed comfortable. We do take white noise with us so we rarely hear anything at night. We were also right by the self serve laundry which we used over the two weeks, it was nice to be so close. The food was excellent we preferred to eat in Restaurant 2 as we like to be outdoors no matter the weather. One of the great things about this boat is that you meet most everyone on board. There were people from all over, most were Europeans and Canadians, fewer Americans. The drinks were great. Food choice was wonderful. The service was perfect for the most part, there were 2 times we had an issue with room service. Room service was great, I saw many people having glasses of champagne and caviar delivered in the afternoon. The problem I saw with service was during the afternoon tea, they would put out sandwiches which were done in 2 minutes and nothing more put out for 30 minutes. There were never any lines or waits, everything was low key, the entertainment was great, I really enjoyed the music provided by Judy and David along with all the others! Liars club was hysterical! My only suggestion is make your own shore arrangements the excursions offer by the line are limited and not the best options. We did put down a deposit for another trip, can't wait to travel with Seabourn again!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Once again, Windstar out does itself! This time aboard the Wind Surf with another couple (their first). We opted for the beverage package, it suits our needs. We didn't do any excursions since we had been to all the ports previously. ... Read More
Once again, Windstar out does itself! This time aboard the Wind Surf with another couple (their first). We opted for the beverage package, it suits our needs. We didn't do any excursions since we had been to all the ports previously. We used the spa services, which were very good. We toured the galley and the engine room. We did a vow renewal ceremony, which was incredible! But, the best part of the cruise was Captain Harris and his amazing crew. One crew member, Ace, remembered us from our cruise 3 years ago. We were greeted each day by name and a wonderful smile, had many interesting conversations and just enjoyed their company. Our cabin, 222, was located pretty close to the disembarkation area at most ports. It really didn't both us much, except passengers standing in our way when trying to get to and from our room. The passengers on this cruise were about the same age group as the last cruise, but pretty quiet and to themselves (except for a few). While we loved the Wind Surf, I think we like the small Wind Spirit better. Just liked the layout of the ship and the smaller group better. Will we cruise Windstar again, Absolutely! It may be another 2-3 years, but we will be back!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I love a beach. I don’t trust a person that doesn’t love a beach, to me it’s incomprehensible. When I need to go to my happy place when I’m having dental work done, I visualize myself sitting on a beach looking at the water. When ... Read More
I love a beach. I don’t trust a person that doesn’t love a beach, to me it’s incomprehensible. When I need to go to my happy place when I’m having dental work done, I visualize myself sitting on a beach looking at the water. When it’s freezing cold at home, I look at photos of beach vacations to keep me from going over the edge. To me it’s pure relaxation and how I love to spend my vacation time. I’m lucky to be able to travel quite a bit, each year we take a summer vacation to the Outerbanks, NC, we cruise at least once a year on one of the large ships, and visit the Gulf in Florida a few times. But since 2010, the highlight has been a yearly caribbean cruise on SeaDream with my siblings. We have countdown charts, diet challenges, and shopping trips to get prepared. We send emails to each other when we start packing and keep a list all year of cocktails to try onboard (dang we forgot to try the Dirty Banana)! Being a cruise critic junkie, after reading recent posts I was getting a little nervous that “my SeaDream” was a thing of the past. There were some negative reviews mixed in with the positive reviews. There was also talk of engine trouble on SeaDream I. I’m happy to report that our trip erased all my fears. This might rank as my favorite trip on SeaDream so far. The engine is being repaired and there were no delays in getting to any of our ports. The crew was beyond spectacular. Below are some of my favorite memories as well as a few things that could be done to improve SeaDream. ITINERARY Saturday | Philipsburg, St. Martin - Departure 6:00 pm We had booked a hotel for 3 nights pre-cruise at the Radisson Blu on the French side of St. Martin. We really liked the hotel - the grounds/beach/pool were very nice. Service was very good and the food and drinks also good. We would go back without hesitation. Originally, we were supposed to depart from Marigot, but a few weeks before the cruise we were informed that we would be departing from Philipsburg. Since the island is small it wasn’t that big a deal to get to the new port on Saturday. Sunday | Anguilla 8:00 am-3:00pm | St. Barts 6:00 pm - overnight This was our first visit to Anguilla and my favorite beach of the cruise! We took a cab to Shoal Bay and rented lounge chairs and an umbrella. The sand was pure white and powder soft. There were a few beach bars that served cocktails and had restrooms. Weather was perfect, low 80s and no humidity. We stayed at the beach as long as we could and returned to the ship in time to depart for St. Barts. We stayed onboard while anchored at St. Barts in the evening. Monday | St. Barts departs 10:00 pm We’ve done the ATV and the Fast and Furious excursions on previous cruises to St. Bart. This year we started with some obligatory shopping, then headed to St. Jean Beach for lunch at LaPlage - the lobster burger and lobster citrus salad were fabulous, but pricey, which is to be expected in St. Barts! We had our taxi drive come back to pick us up at 2:00 to bring us to Gouverneurs beach. Our cab driver again returned at 5:30 and brought us back to the tender. Another perfect weather day. Tuesday | Antigua 8:00 am-10 pm This was the only day of the week where the weather wasn’t perfect - overcast and scattered showers. We got a half-day pass to the Hawksbill Resort. This was rather disappointing - food was bad, beach not nice, resort looked tired. In the past we’ve gone to Jolly Beach resort and would highly recommend it for a day pass. One of the prettiest beaches I’ve visited. Wednesday | Iles Des Saintes, Guadelope 9:00 am-6:00 pm We visited last year, so decided to make this a pool day. Stayed onboard and enjoyed drinks by the pool. Tristan and Christian treated us fabulously all day - umbrellas were raised and moved when requested, spritzed with water to keep us cool, sunglasses were cleaned, pass-around snacks delivered - weather perfect. Thursday | St. Kitts 8:00 am-6:00 pm We had such a nice time onboard on Wednesday that most of our party stayed onboard again. Once again we were spoiled all day poolside. The energetic couple of our party did the zip-line tour and enjoyed it. Friday | Coconut Grove, Nevis (Champagne & Caviar Splash) 9:00 am-6:00 pm OK, I’ll admit this is my favorite day next to Christmas. And a lot like we used to peek down the stairs when we awoke on Christmas morning, we peeked out our curtains this morning. We were happy to see sunny skies, as last year the weather didn’t cooperate and the Splash was held on the ship. This year we giddily jumped on the Zodiac with Chief Officer Albert as our captain. After a quick and bumpy drive, we were delivered with our wet landing to Coconut Grove for the Champagne & Caviar Splash and arrived on the beach feeling like we were in a James Bond movie (Halle Berry eat your heart out!). We were happy with the location for this years splash. Two other years we were at Jost Van Dyke and though Coconut Grove was different, it was just as much fun. The sand and beach aren’t as nice as Jost, but the facility at Coconut Grove is gorgeous. Thatched roof, beautiful furniture...I even took a photo of the bathroom because it was so pretty. Once again the energetic couple of our group decided to do the seaside morning horseback riding excursion and were happy they did. Saturday | Philipsburg, St. Martin 10:00 am debarkation We enjoyed our last breakfast of crispy bacon and said our goodbyes and thanks to the crew. We didn’t have a flight until the evening so we got a day pass at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort to kill some time. The resort is right next to the airport and was crowded. They did offer changing rooms to take showers and clean up in. We got to the airport and quickly realized our vacation was over. The airport was pure chaos - crowded, unorganized, loud. We were happy to get on the plane and head home. HIGHLIGHTS CREW - all the crew were spectacular, but here are some of our favorites: Captain Smorawski, our favorite SeaDream Captain - always visible and willing to chat. Enes, Maitre ‘d - we never had a meal where he didn’t stop by to check in on us -such a nice guy. Gareth, Activities Director - we were lucky to dine with him one evening. Gareth is a great addition to SeaDream, he was the perfect host and seemed very interested in finding out what we love and what we think could be improved on SeaDream. His activity tours seemed very popular and he was also very visible and willing to answer questions. Concierge Brenda. Waiters Doromas and Olivier (always a gentleman). Bartender Manuel at the Piano Bar. FELLOW PASSENGERS - this cruise had 98 passengers, 50 from the U.S., 20 from Norway and the rest from assorted countries. 50 passengers were returning guests. If you read my review from a few years ago I think the fellow passengers are an important part of making SeaDream stand out from other cruises - always friendly and interesting. This years cruise seemed to be more social than ever. FOOD - delicious. Favorites included the pesto omelet, crispy bacon, mussels for lunch, crab claws, Chateaubriand, pumpkin cappuccino soup, macaroon cookies, crab legs. DRINKS - our favorites included: champagne, peppermint patty, salty chihuahua, lemon drop martinis, espresso martini, B&B - hand mixed by Manuel each evening at the piano bar. COCKTAIL HOUR - my two favorite things, martinis and appetizers. Last year’s cocktail hour was a bit disappointing, seemed like the same thing every night. This years was back to being fabulous, something different every night and the addition of a hot appetizer passed-around each evening. DEGUSTATION MENU - I’m always amazed at how even things I don’t think I like taste good at this dinner. The egg caviar appetizer is fabulous, the Chateaubriand was cooked to perfection. The crab lobster citrus appetizer was new to us and was a hit. PIANO BAR - we usually head to the piano bar after dinner every evening. On many of our cruises, we would be the only ones there. This year there was always a boisterous crowd and it was a hoot. DINNER TOPSIDE - we were only able to eat dinner topside once but it was fabulous, I love the contrast of the casualness of outdoor dining with the waiters dressed in their black t-shirts, with the beautifully set tables and gourmet dinner. We had a table looking over the pool area. It was the night of the dessert extravaganza poolside, so we didn’t have far to go to finish our meal with an assortment of delicious desserts. ABOVE AND BEYOND - the evening of the dessert extravaganza we loaded up our plates and noticed that there wasn’t a table with enough chairs for everyone in our party. Since our plates were really “loaded”, a few of us decided we would eat our dessert at our dinner table that overlooked the pool. Gareth saw us and immediately told us to go join the rest of our family. He then carried a few chairs down the stairs for us, so we would be comfortable. I told you he was good! OVERALL CASUAL AMBIANCE - the pool area, outdoor breakfast and lunch, top-of-the-yacht bar, the casual dress - I didn’t even pack heels for this trip. WATER TOYS - lots of opportunities for swimming off the back of the boat. Jet skis, sailboats, banana boat, water skiing, kayaking. SPECIAL TOUCHES - sunglass cleaning, remembering order from day-to-day, being greeted each and every time by concierge when we entered the lobby, butterfly service at dinner and “voila,” pass-arounds at the pool and cocktail hour, monogrammed PJs, Bulgari toiletries. AHA MOMENT - one afternoon, later is the week as we were lounging poolside, Tristan cam by with a tray of frozen Snicker bars. I turned to my sister and said “This is the best cruise ever!” After a week of fabulous, freshly prepared food - a little processed junk food hit the spot. How did they know?! ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT - The wine at dinner was almost undrinkable. We actually purchased wine at dinner for the first time. - Beer could have been colder (yes I’m knit-picking) - One of our rooms was part of the Commodore Suite. The bed in that cabin was a trundle and very low to the ground, though the mattress seemed the same as the “regular” cabins. Also you could hear what was going on in the connecting cabin in the Commodore Suite. - This was the first time were we had trouble getting chairs at the pool. There were also people “saving” chairs. One day when we went to lunch the crew was removing things from the chairs, we ran down to let them know we were just having lunch, but the hotel manager said they were to remove items if they were left for a half hour. - Could use some general sprucing up, cabins are dated, and the salon was looking a little worn. FINAL THOUGHTS So after becoming nervous hearing all the doom-and-gloom that has been posted on cruise critic recently, our latest experience on SeaDream put our fears to rest. We went ahead and put a deposit for a cruise in 2015 confident that another spectacular vacation is in store. Happily, our countdown clock has started once again, 46 weeks to go.... Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We were enchanted with the ship and the crew from the moment we boarded. We knew that this was not in the true "luxury" class of ships but really wanted something small and intimate, and this was exactly the right trip for us. ... Read More
We were enchanted with the ship and the crew from the moment we boarded. We knew that this was not in the true "luxury" class of ships but really wanted something small and intimate, and this was exactly the right trip for us. The trip was advertised as the "Yachtman's Caribbean" and truly, it was. Basically, it's island hopping with swimming and snorkeling during the day, drinks and food at night. The entire week was relaxed. No shorts or t-shirts in the dining room at night but totally casual with men wearing golf shirts or Tommy Bahama type shirts at night, women capri's or little strappy dresses - depending on age. Daytime is bathing suits, shorts, capri's. Leave the dressy stuff at home! The passengers ranged from early 30's (honeymooners) to late 70's with everything inbetween plus a couple of teenagers who were world travelers. Mostly professonal people, teachers, small business owners, etc., from all around the world although it was mostly American's, Canadians, and several Dutch that made up the bulk. The ship is small so there is opportunity to meet everyone and friendships were made all the way around. The staff is unbelievably kind an competent. The service staff is mostly from the Phillipines and have worked onboard together for many years. They cook, they clean, they entertain, they do it all and always with a smile. The food was outstanding. Breakfast and lunch served either on deck in a cool breeze or in a restaurant on the top deck. The choices are vast and nobody was hungry - ever - but never had that "stuffed" feeling of the large ships. Dinner is served either in the newly decorated and very elegant dining room or on the back deck where there is a small pool and hot tub. This area at night turns into Candles, an outdoor restaurant that features grilled steak, chops, etc. The most amazing part of this ship is that every square foot is multi-purpose and transitions from one use to another in minutes. We never felt crowed or cramped in the public areas or in our cabin. The cabin itself is sailing ship small but very efficient. The bathroom is amazing in that there is more than adequate room for everything and, I mean everything! Same with the two closets. The TV is pretty boring if you are a night watcher in bed but there is a library full of DVD's. The beds are two twins pushed together (or apart if you want). They were wonderfully comfortable and the pillows were awesome. BTW, there is 110v power so if you need a CPAP not to worry, plug is right next to the bed. We brought a travel multi-power outlet with usb charger that fit right into the wall plug so we could charge two cell phones and use the hair dryer (they supply). It's a Belkin that we found at Bed Bath & Beyond and really will be in our travel bag from now on. Also, we stayed a couple of nights in St. Maarten at the Westin Dawn Beach. Great hotel and they are also 110v as they are on the Dutch side. The French side has 220 so beware if you need anything like a CPAP plugged in. Back to the Wind Spirit. The itinerary is typical Caribbean. We fell in love with The Bitter End Yacht Club at Virgin Gorda and would love to go back and stay there. Virgin Gorda and St. Barths had world class yachts anchored out near us and it was fun to watch how the "other half" (1%) lives! The boat provides lots of watersports and opportunities for shore excursions from certified dives to land tours for those that are not into diving. Great beach party, wonderful BBQ on board one night. Just lots of fun, privacy, no hassle cruising. All of the islands are relatively small with taxi driver's willing to take passengers in safety and comfort. No begging in the streets of these small ports. Lovely change from the big ships again! We bought the $109 laundry package and I LOVED not coming home suitcases of dirty clothes. If you buy this package it's for washable clothing only, not dry cleaning. If I had really factored it in we could have taken half the clothes and will next time. We DID NOT by the booze package. We went to islands and had a rum or two in local bars during the day. We each drank wine at night, a cocktail or beer here and there, no lack of drinks, and our bill for the week was about $350. The booze package would have been about $750 and we noticed that people who bought it were almost forcing themselves to drink more because it was "paid for". The wines by the glass or bottle are very reasonable, same for mixed drinks. No more than any of our local nice bars. There is an exercise person who leads yoga and stretching in the morning. Gym is small but very well equipped. Salon has some nice deals. Prices in the little ship's store are very reasonable. We NEVER felt like we were being taken advantage of because we were a captive audience! Nice little lounge at night with some "theme" evenings. A little hokey but again, people are so nice that we made it all fun. If you're looking for glitz and glamour, this is not it! The seas were a little rocky a couple of nights. If you want a reservation at Candles on deck, make it for a night when the ship is anchored rather than a night when it's moving. Each room can only eat at Candles one night during the trip because it's small - so plan your night and make a reservation when you first board. Just call the reception desk and they'll take care of it for you. The sails - they are beautiful when they go up and there is dramatic music that accompanies the hoisting of sails. The captain and officers are eager to tell everyone all that they can about the ship itself. The stairs - there are stairways leading up and down to the decks so if you are unable to climb stairs, this may be a stretch for you. Also, we tendered off in each place which is an outside stairway going from the 3rd deck to the waterline. If it's raining or blowing it can be a bit tricky, so again, make sure you're up for this. The crew is very attentive and will help anyone getting off or on. There are also towels available when you leave the ship in case you want to go to a beach or are doing one of the water "adventures". The crew is the best part of this cruise. They are a group of wonderful men and women who genuinely love what they do. There are no big name entertainers on board but their talent show the 4th night out was the most fun we've ever experienced on a vacation. We can't wait for the next one! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
3.16.13 -- St. Marten Took a (very) early morning flight from JFK to St. Marten. DW and I arrived around 11:30am. Customs was painless -- one small note -- the FAs on Delta insisted that the Immigration cards for SXM were one per family ... Read More
3.16.13 -- St. Marten Took a (very) early morning flight from JFK to St. Marten. DW and I arrived around 11:30am. Customs was painless -- one small note -- the FAs on Delta insisted that the Immigration cards for SXM were one per family -- they are really one per passenger. Only place I know where the immigration officer says, "it's no problem -- just remember for the next time." Ahhh, already know we're on vacation. The reps for Windstar were waiting right outside Customs for us. The drive from SXM to the port took about 25 minutes. We got to the pier at about 12:20 -- about 40 minutes before boarding. Dropped our luggage off at the Windstar tent, then went to grab $5 margaritas at a pier bar. Turns out the Windstar was docked right next to the ill-fated Carnival Dream. Based on our conversations with Dream passengers at the pier, the Dream trip didn't seem too ill-fated. Yes, the toilets did back up for a bit. Carnival fixed that pretty quickly and the ship (outside of being able to move) is fully functioning. To boot, they've gotten to stay on the ship and everything is free! While I'm sure I wouldn't be pleased, all in all could be worse. Boarded the Windsurf right at 1pm. Sign-on was a breeze -- maybe took 10 minutes. You pick up paperwork, fill out forms in the lounge, have some rum punch, turn in paperwork, and then voila -- you're being escorted to your cabin. Walking through the yacht, it's clear it just went through a facelift. The modern-nautical theme really works -- that said, it's clear the upgrades were purely cosmetic. Some of the carpet is worn, porthole sealing is decaying, etc. To be fair, you'll have to look really hard to find this stuff. Our cabin on Deck 2 is surprisingly large -- the bathroom is definitely the best layout I've seen at sea. Shower is quite spacious. After dropping off our stuff, we headed upstairs for lunch at the Veranda and to make dinner reservations. Based on what we read on the CC boards, we were expecting something terrible -- it wasn't bad at all! The salad bar is quite delicious. Beyond lunch, I strongly suggest making specialty dinner reservations ASAP. It was quite obvious that the line for dinner reservations got much larger as the day went on. For us -- Candles on night 2, and Stella Bistro on night 6. After lunch our luggage had been delivered to our cabin (quite fast!), so we unpacked and then headed up to the pool deck to get some sun and read. This is when we noticed we were on a yacht and not a ship -- the staff actually recognizes you -- already. They would say things like "Hello, again," etc. I could get used to this. Hung out by the pool until about 5, then back to cabin to shower and get ready for the muster drill. Post muster drill, went to the Compass Rose for appetizers and drinks. Dinner at AmorphA was quite good -- DW had butternut squash soup and veggie napoleon for dinner. For myself, the snapper special appetizer and seafood risotto. Our mains were definitely better than the apps -- soup was too watery, snapper was a bit bland. AmorphA itself is incredible -- really feels like a high-end NYC restaurant. Highlight of tonight was definitely our sail-away from SXM. The minute we pulled out of the port, Captain Alan unleashed the sails. I'll admit -- I was VERY skeptical that we would ever sail under the full power of sails without the engines. I was wrong. Totally. Night 1 and we we're sailing under the power of seven sails. Another tip -- we highly recommend walking up to front of the bridge deck for sailaway. For one, you can watch the happenings of the bridge firsthand and two, the sight of the sails unraveling are incredible! Post watching the sails unravel, we hung out on the loungers by the Veranda. Spent 45 minutes on deck and saw not a soul. Really felt like our own ship. Night 1 and I've already sipped the Windstar cool-aid. This is very easy to get used to! 3.17.13 - Antigua Awoke early and went upstairs just in time to see the captain and his crew rolling in the last of the sails for our entry into Antigua. There is something magnificent about seeing the sun rise at sea -- it never gets old. Had breakfast this morning at the Veranda -- DW and I treated ourselves to the buffet of lox and fresh backed breads, all of which were quite good. Unbeknownst to us, there is also a breakfast menu you can order off of -- we'll save that for tomorrow. Breakfast on deck was capped off with a cappuccino -- delicious! After breakfast, we ventured out on the tender to the port of Falmouth. We passed many a yacht on the tender! The port itself was nothing special. The minute we got off the tender, we took a taxi to Pigeon Point -- the closest beach. While it looked nice, we knew it wasn't for us -- it's right on a road, no chairs to rent, etc. Realizing we weren't thrilled, the cab driver drove us to his favorite beach -- Valley Church Beach -- about 35 minutes from the port. It was amazing -- I have never seen such pristine water! We spent five hours at Valley Church and maybe saw 15 other people in total. You can rent beach chairs for $5 each at the beach as well as umbrellas and towels. Towels at the beach are $7, but the ship gives them to you for free -- so remember to grab them on your way out. We returned to the Wind Surf around 3pm and grabbed sandwiches from The Lounge and ate poolside (try the French -- brie and onion compote on a fresh baguette -- very good!). We lounged poolside until sunset, when the pool closed for Candles setup. One small annoyance at the pool -- the towels at the pool were completely out for most of the afternoon and the towel return was overflowing -- it wasn't addressed until I went till the guest services desk and mentioned it to them. I found this a bit surprising, but by no means was it terrible. Upon returning to the cabin to ready ourselves for dinner, there was a bottle of champagne and appetizers in our cabin for our anniversary -- a very nice treat! Dinner tonight was at Candles. On the recommendation of the crew, we chose to eat at Candles on a night when we were in port because there is less wind. Dinner again was very good. DW had caprese salad and lamb chops (very tender!) and I had a caesar salad and marinated sea bass. At the end of dinner the ship surprised us with a cake and sang to us -- definitely got the DW blushing. Ended the night by listening to the duo in the compass rose. Another great day! 3.18.13 -- Antigua/At Sea Although we were still docked in Antigua, DW and I spent most of the day on the aft of the Star Deck lounging in the sun. We had breakfast again at the Veranda -- DW had the California Benedict and myself a Breakfast Burrito -- both were just okay. Her poached eggs were overcooked and mine was just bland. I think we'll stick to the buffet in the morning. As I was lounging, I realized -- I think we're one of the few on board who enjoy "big ship" cruising too -- many people we talk to shun it and I certainly understand why. I am loving Windstar, but this isn't a cruise -- it's an "anti-cruise" cruise. Days are passed by relaxing in the sun -- no activity list to follow, no announcements about an art auction, just you, the sea, and (maybe) a good book. Lunch again was on the Veranda and it was very, very good. With all passengers back on board with our impending departure, it got very crowded. DW and I actually sat in Stella. I had a delicious chicken caesar salad and DW had a turkey sandwich that was out of the world. Our sail away from Antigua from phenomenal too -- once again, under the full power of sails. After an afternoon of sun, we attended the captain's welcome gala in the lounge at 6pm (side note -- I found it ironic that on the same night as the welcome gala we received our departure questionnaire at turn down. Really Windstar? Can't you just wait one more night...). Dinner followed in AmorphA. DW and I agree -- tonight's dinner was one of the best meals we've had at sea -- not just on this cruise. DW and I both started with the beef carpaccio. For dinner, DW had duck a l'orange and I had the lobster ravioli -- both were superb. One other tip -- at some point during the trip you must try the french fries with truffle oil and parmesan as a side dish. YUM. We shared a cheese plate for dessert. A great way to top off a wonderful meal. We visited the bridge post-dinner, then on to the casino and the compass rose. It was a very relaxing day/evening. All that said, the ship was very rocky tonight -- we overheard many people talking about their battles with sea sickness. Lucky for us, we weren't affected. If you are one to battle sea-sickness, remember to bring your remedies. According to the captain, the seas were calm tonight -- boy, were we rocking! 3.19.13 -- Torola/Jost Van Dyke The seas calmed early this morning. Finally! Stuck with some lox and bread for breakfast, then on to the first tender to Tortola. Soper's itself is a very small port -- a few stores -- you can walk the entire port in 10 minutes. After we walked the port, we jumped in a taxi with some others from the ship and headed towards Roadtown. For me, Tortola was a bit of let down -- I thought Roadtown would be a nice quaint town to walk around. While it's a perfectly fine and safe place to walk around, it's not very picturesque. After about an hour, we had enough and went back to the ship. After a quick lunch, DW and I ventured out to the watersports deck -- lots of fun! We probably made a fool of ourselves on the water trampoline, but luckily no one was around to see us. On our way back in from the watersports deck, we made appointments at the spa for foot massages later in the day -- there was a special in today's program, 30 minutes for $39. We pretty much had the ship to ourselves this afternoon. It was great! Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in and it rained a bit. Oh well, time for our massages anyway. The massages were wonderful. After our massages, the ship made the 5 nautical mile journey to Jost Van Dyke. Along the way, an incredible rainbow appeared. Very cool. Tonight was the big barbeque on board. The rain forced the ship to move the event inside to the lounge. It was still lots of fun though (and delicious!). Lobster tails, shrimp, roast pig, skirt steak, seafood jambalaya. One suggestion -- definitely try the grilled bananas for dessert. Yum. The Wind Surf is anchored in JVD tonight. It seems like many passengers on the ship are heading to Foxy's tonight for some libations and good times. DW and I are enjoying life on the ship and just don't feel like getting ourselves on another tender. We're quite content hanging out reading our books. 3.20.13 -- Jost Van Dyke/Virgin Gorda After a quick breakfast, we hopped the first tender to Jost Van Dyke and took a cab to White Bay/Soggy Dollar Beach. JVD is a VERY small island -- no banks, no ATMs, only five cab drivers -- truly unspoiled Caribbean. Once on the beach, I wrote to our family "I've never really been searching for Heaven, but I've found it." JVD is incredible -- the water, the sand, the view, the drinks from the bar -- everything about it was euphoric. The beach is small, but delivers a big punch. Just grab a towel on your way off the boat, buy a drink at the bar and you're all set. As long as you buy stuff from one of the bars, you can use the chairs on the beach. In terms of drinks, you have to try a Painkiller, but we liked the Nilla Killa better. We ate lunch at the Soggy Dollar, but we heard the restaurant One Love was very good too -- it's just down the beach from Soggy Dollar. As the afternoon goes on, the beach gets more crowded as the hotels from St. Thomas bring their guests for the day, but the whole experience is just fantastic. Once we left the soggy dollar, we took a quick cab ride back to our pier and quickly walked into Foxy's. To be honest, I didn't get the hype -- it's a bit of tourist trap. I know I'm in the minority hear, but Soggy Dollar was more my style. Back on the ship, we hung out the pool as the ship readied to sail to Virgin Gorda. I left JVD praying we'll return soon. The sail to Virgin Gorda takes about three hours. We stood on the bridge as the ship headed into the Bitter End Yacht Club (where it docks). Sailing in, we passed the Seabourn Legend. It was quite exciting to be on the bridge as this all happened. The captain took a ton of care to make sure all went well. The passage into Bitter End is very, very narrow and filled with yachts. I imagine it's one of the captain's more nerve-wracking moments of the itinerary. At dinner, we ended up being seated right next to the Captain's Table (lots of eavesdropping ensued) and learned lots. He said that on an average cruise 40-60% of guests are repeat cruisers -- on TAs that number jumps to 96%! Dinner itself was amazing tonight. DW had bruschetta caprese, lobster bisque, and the most succulent lamb chops ever. I had shrimp cocktail, the bisque, and an out-of-this-world stir-fried Thai shrimp. We split a piece of banana cream pie for dessert -- also very good. Today was truly a day in heaven. I'd happily repeat it again and again and again. 3.21.13 -- Virgin Gorda We had to get up early today because of our shore excursion to The Baths. I would guess about 45% of the ship went on the tour. Since there were a lot of shore excursions going out today, they started breakfast service early. The shore excursion meeting process was very seamless -- I guess it helps when you don't have to corral thousands of passengers at once. The Baths were stunning. There are parts of the climb that do get a little hairy (ie -- you need to use a rope at some points), but it's not like you are hiking Mount Everest. I thought climbing Dunn's River Falls was much harder (and a lot scarier) than this. We heard some people on our ship complain that they thought The Baths were too crowded (the Carnival Breeze was docked in Tortola and had a shore excursion going too), but we didn't experience this. One tip -- our ship gets you there earlier than the big ships -- don't dilly dally at the first beach -- go through The Baths right away. This will help you avoid the crowds and you'll get to enjoy Devil's Bay Beach at the end. The tender from the shore excursion took us right to Prickly Pear, where the beach barbeque was being held. The food was very good -- burgers, dogs, brats, salads, noodles, etc. The queue for the salads builds up for some reason -- if you don't want a salad just go straight to the bbq line. Many people didn't realize this (including us) -- we were starving having just gotten done with The Baths and spent 15 minutes waiting in line for something we didn't even want. As we ate Captain Alan unfurled the sails on the ship so passengers could take photos. The ship looked beautiful with its sails out. After sunning a bit, we headed back on to the ship to watch our sail out. This time the captain kept the bridge closed -- I certainly understand why. Dinner tonight was at Stella. The DW really liked it, I thought it was good, but certainly not the best meal I've had onboard. DW had duck pate, mushroom soup, and the steak frites. Her pate was extremely dry. I had the goat cheese souffle and the poached salmon with asparagus. My souffle was very good. Overall, I'm glad we only went once. While the service was impeccable, I preferred Candles. Tonight was the crew talent show. It was great to see the crew in a whole different environment. Tomorrow is St. Barth's and we are very excited! 3.22.13 -- St. Barth This morning breakfast was to the scenic view of our sail in to St. Barth. A lot of ships appear to be in port this morning -- Holland America, Star Clipper, and Paul Gauguin. We ordered off the menu again -- DW had poached eggs with salmon hash and I had southwest steak and eggs. We quite enjoyed both -- much better than our first attempt at the menu. Once again, we were the first tender off the ship. Town was crowded, but nonetheless we enjoyed our walk around the ship. Following our walk around the downtown, we took a cab to Nikki Beach in St. Jean where we had reserved an umbrella and a beach bed. Nikki Beach was tons of fun -- certainly something we wouldn't do on most our vacations. It's definitely a place to see and be seen. Our lunch at Nikki Beach was good -- steak tartar and a pesto chicken wrap. Their mojitos were very good -- they claim to have the best in the world, but I wouldn't go that far. We returned to the ship and packed up. We booked transfers through the ship and our disembarkation time is 8:30am. Post packing, we headed upstairs, grabbed a drink and listened to a few tunes from the guest singer. It was another solid night in the dining room -- DW had caprese salad and porcini mushrooms with fettuccini. I had escargot and the grilled snapper with a mango salsa. I would say my dinner was better on the whole, but both were very good. For dessert, we split the chocolate banana tarte and highly recommend it. It's hard to believe that our seven nights has come to a close. Luckily, our trip has felt much longer than seven nights. Both the DW and I agree that Windstar has exceeded our expectation in every way imaginable. We look forward to returning in the very near future. Some Final Thoughts The Ship: Quite honestly, it's hard to believe the ship is over 30 years old. They have kept very good care of it. Although we we've never been on it before, DW and I both agree the refurbishment did the ship well -- it's really stunning. As the days went on, it really did feel like more of yacht than a ship. As we got familiar with the layout it felt smaller and smaller -- something we both really enjoyed. We loved the amount of deck space the ship has -- never once do you have to fight for a lounger. To sum up, it's simplistic yet elegant. The Crew: Amazing. Every single crewmember works incredibly hard (as they do on all ships). However, something was different on Windstar -- the crew seems to genuinely enjoy their job and it's shows in their service. By the end of the cruise, most of the crew we interacted with on the ship knew our names. They always remembered my wife's drink order -- iced tea with sweet and low -- and would have one ready for her promptly. The officers of the ship are the friendliest bunch of ships' officers we've met. They do not carry a pompous air like most of the big ships. One small note -- we were surprised we never met our cabin steward -- not once. I wouldn't be able to recognize him if I walked right into him. He took excellent care of our cabin, so perhaps this is intentional. However, it would have been nice to meet him at least once. All that said, the crew is really what made the trip special. Special thanks to the bartender Ed, Ziggy the dining room steward, and Harry the dining room steward. These three gentlemen went out of their way to make our trip special. The Food: I won't go into great detail here as I feel the trip report pretty much sums it up. The cuisine ranged from good to excellent and I would say averaged out at very good. Needless to say, you won't be disappointed with the cuisine. Go with an empty stomach and enjoy. We enjoyed that the focus of this cruise was not food -- we did not walk out of any one meal overly stuffed. It's clear great attention is put on quality not quantity. If you are looking for the twenty-four hour lido buffet, pick another cruise. Tips for Future Cruisers: - Always grab towels when you disembark - Tenders are usually ready to go thirty minutes before the published time - Eat at candles on a night when the ship is docked -- it can get very windy otherwise - Make reservations for dining right when you embark - There is only one American outlet in the Windsurf cabins, if you need more bring an extender. - Be careful using powerful blow dryers -- they will blow the fuse in your cabin. - If the lights don't turn on in your cabin, try pressing the "general" button near your cabin door -- this controls the overall power - Make a point to visit the bridge at least once when entering/exiting a port -- it's a very neat experience Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My overall thoughts on the ship are that it was a 4 star experience with a 5 star price. We had such a good experience on our Tahiti Cruise that we actually signed up as soon as the Tere Moana came on line. We wanted to see the Caribbean ... Read More
My overall thoughts on the ship are that it was a 4 star experience with a 5 star price. We had such a good experience on our Tahiti Cruise that we actually signed up as soon as the Tere Moana came on line. We wanted to see the Caribbean and felt that the small ship experience would best meet our needs. That being said, there is a lot of work to be done to get the Tere Moana up to the standards of the Paul Gauguin. Sometimes it felt like there was an identity crisis going on, was this a luxury ship or an adventure cruise? Sometimes it was hard to tell. I would say that the itinerary was the other thing that drew us to the Tere Moana. We loved the idea of being able to visit small islands and places that the big ships don't cruise to. I did really appreciate the fact that PG did the research on when the bigger ships were in port and changed their itinerary to give us a better experience. One of my concerns was I was not notified of the changes. I only found out because I was in contact with other cruisers via Cruise Critic. I ended up having to call PG and verify because we had booked an off-ship excursion on Tortolla and had to make sure that we had booked for the correct day. The check-in process was painless after we were aboard the ship but the actual process to get on the ship was unpleasant. We had to make our way through two separate passport checks and had to wait for someone to escort us to the ship. It would have been better to have a ship's representative waiting at the Port Entrance to make sure that people were assured that they were actually at the right place and were briefed on the process to get through French Customs. We weren't even sure we were in the right place and the Customs Officer spoke no english. We truly only knew we were in the right place because we had seen the ship earlier as we drove down the mountain towards the port. Dining was an area that left a lot to be desired. Food ranged from very good to inedible. In L'Etoile we had several dinners that were terrible. The filet mignon was so tough that we could barely chew it and the Creme Brule was curdled. On the other hand, every fish dish I had was wonderful and the mushroom soup from the first night was to die for. We came expecting 5 star food like on the Paul Gauguin and ended up with food that, at times, was 1 or 2 star at best. The food was not well presented on the plates, where was the art? On the PG we took pictures of our food because it was so beautiful. Twice the restaurant ran out of the wines we liked and the selection they had was very limited. If we wanted something better we had to pay for it. This is unacceptable when you consider the price we paid for the cruise. The menu was also confusing. It appeared that you could order off menu, but when we asked we were told that the only items available were what was already on the menu for the evening. We had great service from Allen, Johnny and Gede, but there were times that they were overwhelmed and the service suffered. They were the standouts who truly understood what it meant to be part of the "Paul Gauguin Family". The food in La Veranda was ok, but it was buffet food and it showed. There should have been at least two omelet stations because it was the one thing that almost everyone wanted every day. I also missed having the level of service that I have grown to expect from Paul Gauguin where I couldn't even carry my own plate to my table before a waiter had taken it. The bartenders, Vishal and Chris, were wonderful. We had fantastic service at the pool bar as well as the main bar. Vishal had to be one of the hardest working people on the ship. He was always checking to see if we needed anything else and was always smiling. Chris was extremely personable and made sure we had whatever we asked for. The quality of the wine was just ok, which makes it even worse when there are so many good inexpensive wines out there. The choices were pretty uninspired and if you wanted something better you had to pay for it. Even the wines on the paid list were pretty uninspired. I felt like the buyer really didn't put a lot of thought into the wine selection. The other thing we missed a lot was the drink of the day. It was always listed on the daily newsletter on the Paul Gauguin and we had a lot of fun trying new things. Our room attendant, Citi, was great! She was always right there with everything we needed and always greeted us with a friendly smile and hello. She made sure that we had fresh beach towels each day and our bed was turned down every evening. The best night was when we walked in at the end of the evening to find a life-size towel monkey hanging on the closet door. The room was spacious and we felt like we had plenty of room for all of our clothing and toiletries. The staff was another area where I felt like the Tere Moana has a lot of growing to do. Overall, the staff was ok, but I came on board expecting a Paul Gauguin experience and didn't quite get it. Some of the staff, like Allen, Gede, Citi and Vishal were outstanding and did the little things that make us feel special like remembering our names and going out of their way to make sure we had what we needed. Other staff ranged from somewhat friendly to non-communicative. A suggestion for future would be to set up some kind of mentoring exchange between the Paul Gauguin and the Tere Moana. The cruise director, Manuel needed a lot more work before he could be considered PG worthy. His evening briefings were not great and there was a lack of on-board entertainment. The few events we did have were very well attended. The steel drum band was great and the Staff Musical was so much fun. We really missed the Gauguins... they were so special and I felt like the Tere Moana needed that type of ambassadors. Off Ship excursions are an area that needs a lot of improvement. The excursions that were offered were not worth the cost. I wish there had been more information about each port, especially with the rich history in each port. There could have been walking tours or other types of tours that highlighted the history. One of our best excursions was getting off the ship in St Kitts and setting up a taxi tour of the island. For $20 per person we got an excellent tour and visited the Batik Factory and the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. We only booked one off ship activity through the ship because the prices were so ridiculously high. We booked the Baths Tour. The vendor was not so great. Before we started down to the Baths he briefed us about what we would be doing. He walked down to the water with us and then disappeared. We all stood around waiting for him to lead us through the rocks and finally gave up and went on our own. He didn't show up for almost an hour and never once came over to ask how we were doing. In our briefing he told everyone to be back at the top by 1100. We were all up there waiting and looked around to find him eating his lunch in the restaurant. We waited almost 30 minutes for him to be done. Once we got back on the buses he stopped twice at overlooks and gave us a good talk about the islands and their history. I heard from several people that the snorkel tours were not good, especially for the price. We were able to book one for less money than the one on the ship and got a 6 1/2 hour excursion to Norman Island and the Indians that was fantastic! I think there needs to be more research into the off-ship activities. I was able to find mine with the help of some cruise critic members plus a few hours research and then checked it through Trip Advisor where it had great reviews. The zodiacs were fine for what they were, but they weren't the best when the seas were even a little bit rough. The staff needs to be better briefed on the proper way of getting people on and off the zodiacs. We were told the first day what the proper grip was and quite often the crew was just grabbing my hand instead of grasping my forearm. What made this cruise for us were the other cruisers. We met some wonderful people and built friendships that will last far beyond this cruise. Will any of this stop us from cruising with PG again? Absolutely not! We are already booked for our next cruise in Tahiti. But, it will be a few years before we go back on the Tere Moana. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
After sailing on several other cruise lines, I finally tried Windsurf. I have enjoyed most of my previous cruises....large or small. What attracted me to the Windsurf was the sailing feature. It was also very convenient sailing out/into ... Read More
After sailing on several other cruise lines, I finally tried Windsurf. I have enjoyed most of my previous cruises....large or small. What attracted me to the Windsurf was the sailing feature. It was also very convenient sailing out/into St. Martin. We vacation in St. Martin often. This time we stayed in St. Martin and then cruised...best of both worlds. Boarding was so easy. As stated, boarding started at 1pm. Our bags were given cabin tags and quickly delivered to our cabin. Unlike other ships, the bags were placed inside the cabin on the bed. No need to lift. We unpacked and went to lunch at the Veranda. The Veranda was a combo of buffet/menu service for lunch and breakfast. There were tables inside and on on the deck. Service was outstanding. Food was excellent. For dinner, we could choose from 3 venues. Main room was AmphorA, french bistro Stella Bistro, and outdoor Candles. Also, room service was available 24/7. Compass Rose, a aft bar, served continental breakfast and afternoon tea. Yacht Club served light breakfast and sandwiches. Bars were located all around the ship. All non alcoholic drinks were free. Wine and other alcoholic drinks were fairly priced...and they poured heavy. For those huge drinkers, there was a beverage package. We did not buy that package. We also enjoyed the bbq dinner on deck with lobsters. Cabin was well organized. Bed was very comfortable. Linens were good. The soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc. were L occitane.....very nice. We opted for the unlimited laundry package at $109/week. Same day service. I loved it. Entertainment was simple. No big productions or loud games. Outdoor pool and hot tubs, water sports platform, and beautiful water views were excellent. We also enjoyed the time sailing with the sails hoisted....quiet and beautiful. In most ports we tendered. Tenders were frequent....no lines Unlike other cruises which seem to close down a few days before you depart, the Windsurf continued operating everything until midnight of the last day. Disembarkation was easy. We left at 8:45 am and easily found our luggage which was in a tent next to the taxi stand. Within minutes we were on our way to the airport. $10 per person including luggage. Windsurf was fantastic. Everything worked, service was superb, and I came home with a suitcase full of clean clothes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013

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