33 St. Maarten to Caribbean - Eastern Windstar Wind Surf Cruise Reviews

My wife and I just completed the Windsurf Yachtsman Cruise and it was awesome. First, dress was casual and don't overpack . These are my recommendations and thoughts for anyone taking or thinking about this Cruise. All the stops were ... Read More
My wife and I just completed the Windsurf Yachtsman Cruise and it was awesome. First, dress was casual and don't overpack . These are my recommendations and thoughts for anyone taking or thinking about this Cruise. All the stops were terrific. Antigua, Tortola, Virgin Garda, British Virgin Isles , St. Bart's. Each offered an opportunity to explore on your own or to take excursions. More on that later. My first recommendation when you board is to make a Reservation at Stella's and Candles- for Candle's try to make it last night as you are docked in St. Bart's and view while eating outside is awesome . Next walk around the ship and get familiar with it. The main deck, Amphora restaurant ( excellent ) , the pool, fitness center, reception desk ( Marianne and her co- workers are amazing ). Extremely helpful in everything and always smiling and great disposition. You can pick up daily newspaper, NY Times crossword puzzle, sudoku . Fun stuff. There are plenty of excursions and everyone seemed to enjoy the one's they took. We took only one the 8:30 ( 4 hours) - Jost Van Dyke Catamarran Snorkel and Hiking trip. 5 stars - the owner was our Captain and the whole experience was great ! For $79. Per person it was a real bargain - good snorting, great picture taking and overall perfect experience. Meals- breakfast was buffet or menu ( eggs Benedict , banana pancakes , French toast - all fabulous ---- Lunch - same buffet or off menu - hamburgers, hot dog and grilled chicken were awesome but you had many other choices. Dinner - too many choices to name - all excellent ! Wine list was excellent ! We had a Mossback Pinot Noir and Rutherford Hill Chardonnay all reasonably priced and saved for next meal if you like. Eric was excellent in the Compass Bar and as wine steward in Amphora- very knowledgeable and always had a great smile and it was great having him help us. The sports activities on the back of ship when tendered are great ! Try to take advantage of them if time avails. For exercise there is a fitness center but I walked around deck 11 times ( roughly 2.20 miles) so says Fitbit ! You can order food 24/7 . The beach barbecue was excellent. Fischer Cove had excellent facilities ( wi-fi yeah! ) and food , activities and plenty of chairs to relax. The ship barbecue was excellent. Tremendous preparation done so well. Bring camera to take pictures! You will not believe some of the carvings! Lobster, shrimp and filet were great ! Entertainment on board was fine . There was 2 sets of singers that will keep you occupied if you stay up late. Bed at 9:30 for me . Exhausting fun days ! I really enjoyed the Crew Talent show one night. One of the crew put on the best juggling act with liquor bottles you'll ever see. Also the crew during the barbecue did a fabulous YMCA version which I should post on YouTube. A classic ! The crew was absolutely awesome. So helpful and always smiling and greeting you by name if they recognized you. At 6:45 pm each night Steve ( head of guest services) gives an outstanding presentation of your next day port and excursions. He was excellent along with Jona. I have to give a special shout out to Cecep who took care of our room to perfection and his little towel animals each night. Really nice guy. So if your thinking of this Cruise or taking it enjoy - it really was special and Windstar did there best for us ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open ... Read More
This was my 3rd Windstar cruise. Excellent staff, food, ship etc. I have seen some negative reviews and just don't understand why. Our room was great and always super clean as the whole ship was. They had one restaurant with open seating and you had to make reservations at the other two. The other two were a little better, but wish they would change that policy somehow. I'm not a hospitality manager, so I'm sure there's a reason it's done that way. Some people complained that they were "balcony people" and wouldn't sail again on windstar because of no balconies. Well I don't know why they would have booked this ship in the first place. This is an older crowd and things wind down relatively early. The entertainment somewhat caters to the older crowd (we are in our mid and late 40's and found the entertainment great). This is NOT a cruise for kids or probably even teens. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our third Wind Star cruise on their sailing vessels. My husband were hoping to get much needed rest and relaxation. We went on a back to back. I was surprised on our first week that there were a lot of children. It was the week of ... Read More
This was our third Wind Star cruise on their sailing vessels. My husband were hoping to get much needed rest and relaxation. We went on a back to back. I was surprised on our first week that there were a lot of children. It was the week of Christmas but I had never seen so many unsupervised children on such a small ship. The parents could have done these kids a favor and had them on one of the larger lines with water slides, video games and a large pool. Because the kids had nothing to do and were unsupervised they ran all over and planted themselves in the two whirl pool tubs on the back of the ship and in the very small pool. We had an at sea day for the first leg of the trip and it was beyond horrible as relaxation was no where to be found. The first week of the ship they did not open the back of the ship much. We went off the back one day and it was very rough. They have a blue floating mat and a trampoline that had jumping children on it. The second week was much better. There was not any at sea days, there were less children but the sailing was sold out as was the week before and the ship was crowded. I really regretted my choice for the holidays. I should have went on Oceania as I have done in past years. The chef had a decorated ginger bread house which Oceania does as well. But on Oceania they have lots of different Christmas cookies around the decorations on plates that are kept full of fresh cookies. Not the case on Wind Surf. For both weeks of this back to back on Windsurf dining was consistently frustrating. We arrived on board at a few minutes before three. Embarkation was great and simple. We then asked for the welcome on board buffet and it was closed down. Dinner would be at 7:00 but they have the yacht club that serves cold sandwiches and coffee. What a disappointed. We hadn't eaten because we had been traveling all day and the sandwich choices were fair. I like egg salad but it was served in a pita (Yuk) - the sandwiches are pre-made so there was no choice of bread. I got a tuna salad sandwich that was all bread and very little tuna salad. I would have been better off getting a subway at the airport. Dinner time mediocre at best. I really like fresh fruit and vegetables. The vegetable choices in the main dinning room were frozen broccolli, frozen carrots and peas. They always had a dark green salad with tomatoes that were never ripe and should not have been served. There was always plenty of meats but I am not a big meat eater. I did try the beef wellington but the crust was mush and the meat inside was under cooked. I like medium to medium rare and it was rare. One night I asked for a pasta with marinara sauce which is not on the main dining room menu but is on the room service menu and I was told no I could not get that. I did see other people ordering pasta on different nights but that evening the chef came out and told me it was not possible because it would put them off of their time line. In the evening I like to have a snack but after dinner there is no food service open on board. The Yacht club which has sandwiches and cookies closes at 6:00 pm. So I called room service and asked for a couple of oranges to eat before bed. I was told oranges are only available on the morning room service menu and was not available at that time of the night. Frustration!!! I spent a lot of money on this cruise and was very disappointed by this. Since we were on for two weeks we did have two beach bbq experiences and two evening deck experiences. The food at both of those experiences was very good and I have no complaints. It was disconcerting that at the first week of the beach bbq there were a lot of kids and very few people took advantage of the hand sanitizer. Also I saw people returning to the buffet line with dirty plates. This was also seen at the lunch buffet on board. The one thing I liked about Oceania is that they serve you on the buffet line so you don't have people who don't have sanitary hands touching the buffet. Being we were outside and kids would run up and grab a piece of fruit out of the fruit salad as did some adults I had concerns. I did not get sick and neither did my husband but I was concerned. The second week of the beach bbq someone must of said something because they did have workers serving the food rather than people taking what they wanted and they wore plastic gloves. The first week I suspect there were many cabins with three or more people because at that beach experience it was very difficult to get a chair. Many people put a towel on their chair with a book and then disappeared. At the beach experience they did bring out water toys and the sports team was very busy. My husband and I used to sail a lot in our 30's and he wanted to take one of the hobie cats but the line for that was too long. The second week there were less people and he talked to a woman who was handling the check out. He asked her a few questions and she was somewhat rude but I imagine she was hot and it had been a long day. She briskly told him that they did not teach people to sail. I guess since he asked her about the hobbie cats she assumed he could not sail which was not true. He just walked away and figured it was not going to be a pleasant experience. On the back of the ship there were two men one I believe was named BangBam and they were exceptionally nice and watched over the swimmers. I used to scuba dive when I was younger and I automatically hand signal when I enter the water. To my surprise he hand signaled back. The two men who worked the sports deck were terrific but the girl they had there was not friendly or helpful. The deck BBQ was good. The first night they did not follow the deck BBQ with line dancing but they did the second week. Entertainment for both weeks was lacking. They have a large screen TV by the games and books. Many of the men wanted to see the Rose Bowl game but all that was on the large TV were Wind Star advertisements. A couple of guys were trying to look at a tablet that had the game on it. I dont' think it would have cost much for them to have a movie or a game during the cruise on the large screen. The singers were fine nothing that I cared to sit and listen to for an extended period of time. They do have games but what we found when we went to play them is most are missing pieces. Scrabble was missing 11 tiles. We brought our own games from home and people were circling around us wanting to know about the games and where to get them. I don't mind that there isn't a lot on the ship in the evening because I enjoy relaxing but the movie library is very outdated and the games are old and missing pieces. This is not luxury and I was disappointed that the cruise was touted as a luxury experience. As I mentioned I have traveled on Windstar before when it was owned by Holland America and the management is very different. On the plus side our cabin steward Fauzie was the best we have ever had even better than what we had on Seabourn and Oceania. He did his best. The bed mattress was not good. We were sore every day. When I told Fauzie he put together some makeshift padding. It was no where near as good as beds we have had on Holland America, Oceania, Seabourn or Celebrity. The mattress was like one we had on Carnival. The actual sheets were very soft and of a high quality. I also told Fauzie how upset I was about not being able to get oranges and each night when I came back to the cabin he had a dish of oranges. He was very caring and kept the cabin spotless. Our shoes were lined up and although the carpet was worn he did his best to make the place look great. Waiter service around the ship was variable. We had an excellent server name Udd and then we had some other servers who were also kind but did not understand English very well so if I asked for ice tea with extra lemmon and extra ice I would get an ice tea with no lemon and an extra cup of ice. What I thought was really unforgivable was the higher ranking management on the ship. All the workers seemed to try very hard to please and I thought the were over worked. At dinner one night in the dining room on waitress Ollie was alone in a section with very large tables. That poor woman was running and doing the best she could. There was no one busing her section to pour water. My husband needed some water and she was so busy she could not get to it. There were officers in white uniforms who worked in the dining room who would not pick up a pitcher of water and help serve. The were walking around literally doing nothing while this poor waitress was struggling without assistance. Beside us not getting our drinks and being very thirsty through dinner I asked her for a piece of apple pie for dessert which was available on room service but not on the menu. Ollie said no. Later I grabbed the manager and asked him for the pie and he did get it for me. I did tell him that it appeared they were understaffed and he did admit that indeed this was a very full cruise. The second week the dining room was not as full as it was the week of Christmas. Reservations for the specialty restaurants did not go too well. When we arrived we made our reservations the first week. That whole week we did not receive our invitation so I called. I was told that they did not have them. I made another and when we went up we were not on the list. This happened to several people I spoke to on the cruise. The food in the speciality restarant was better than in the main dinning room but still there was not much in the way of fresh vegetables. They did have brocollini in Candles which was good. The breakfast and the lunch buffets daily were very good. I loved the salad bar each day at lunch. But lunch hours were short and if you left the ship in the morning there was a chance you would miss lunch which was from 12:30 - 2:00 most days. We tended to sleep in so we missed breakfast which ended at 9:00. I really loved it the one day on New Years Day when they did brunch. They had a very good quiche and I was so happy to be able to have fresh fruit and vegetables. I would say if there is a really good price on windstar then it is worth the trip. But don't pay luxury prices or even above average prices or you might be disappointed. We will sail on any major cruise lines and are not disappointed if the price point is ok. We go on Carnival because we love the comedy club and I know not to eat in the dining room and to expect lower quality food and a harder bed. So as long as I am paying an economy price I am ok with it. This was disappointing to me because I expected a higher level of quality than what I got for the money and I feel that I over paid. Even with it being Christmas I don't feel that the dining hours, food quality, the mattress quality and the crowds were what I expected for what is advertised as a luxury experience. We paid about $5400 with taxes and port charges for two people for 15 days and I feel that the trip was worth about $4,000 for two including port charges and taxes - if that. I could have went on Holland America or Celebrity and had a balcony with money left over and it would have been a better experience. At least if there were kids there would have been places to go. We had cabin 211 which is in a good location so if you do decide to take a cruise on Windsurf I would recommend this cabin. Everything in the cabin worked. The carpet was very spotted and looked like it should be cleaned. We did get the laundry service and it was awesome. If you go on Wind Surf I highly recommend paying for the laundry service. You put your dirty clothes in a bag and the next day they are washed and pressed. All of our clothes came out perfect better than at home. We came back to the ship one day and just missed lunch. We asked if we could have room service on the deck so we could eat outside. We were told no that room service was to be eaten in your room. So we ordered to the room and took our food out to a table ourselves. There dining hours are so short that you may have to eat off the room service menu. Room service was pretty fast about 30 minutes. The rooms aren't very comfortable for dining because they do not have a balcony. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the ... Read More
Background: My wife and I have extensive experience on cruise ships of different companies and sizes in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and even ocean crossings. It is a matter of personal taste but we agree that the smaller the ship the better the experience and that puts Windstar at the top of our list. We have been on the 5,000 passenger giants where you are an anonymous part of a city at sea. With 280 passengers and 100 crew, the Windsurf almost feels like you are on a private yacht. Every single crew member treated us like we were the most important people on board and it was wonderful. We are sailors and our favourite curses in the Caribbean are chartering our own yachts. Second to that is the Island Windjammer cruises with real sailing yacht. Our last voyage was 12 passengers and 6 crew on a 90 foot sloop, but that requires a real love of sailing and it is expensive. Windstar cruises are the happy compromise. There is no real sailing sensation on a Windstar other than stirring music when sails are hoisted but the small size of the ship allows anchoring in remote locations that emulates the real sailboat experience. You also trade excitement and danger for luxury and pampering if you go Windstar. Previous Reviews We have never submitted a review before but we disagree so much with a negative review from our cruise that we felt we owed it to the crew of Windsurf to set the record straight. Some specific rebuttals of that review: 1)The dress code for dinner is appropriate and dress code is well documented on the website. 2)The Captain handled the mechanical problems at St Barths admirably. Windstar chartered us a high speed ferry for us so we still got to do St Barts and the company gave us a generous cruise credit to compensate. 3) Our dock in St Maarten was fine and only 100 yards from the regular dock and no one cares what dock you are on. 4) Criticisms of the band were unwarranted. I am a musician and to my professionally tuned ear this was clearly in the top 1% of bands I have ever heard. 5) Criticisms of the tenders were unwarranted. These are the universal lifeboats used on every ship in the world as tenders 6) When other reviews are so overwhelmingly positive this tells you something. OUR REVIEW The Ship Well designed and meticulously cared for, it motors well and sails well. Despite its large size there are so few passengers that there are always lots of places to sit either inside or on deck. We have been on real windjammers and this was ultra luxury in comparison. The water ballast system means the ship sails level even in heavy weather. Bad news for real sailors but a delight for landlubbers. Fake sailing at its best. The Staterooms Small but who cares. We never had time to do anything but sleep in them. The lack of balconies is not an issue because there are so many private sitting areas on the various outside decks. Cleverly designed and visually appealing, the highlight is the full size shower which is far superior to the tubes in the large cruise ships. The Crew Many nationalities but as on all ships mostly Philippine. Every single crew member gave us a full smile and the red carpet treatment and many gave us extra service. The treatment of crew by the officers is exemplary and it was clear this ship was a happy environment. Food Without doubt the best we have ever eaten, and came close to gourmet quality. Despite hours of exercise every day I came home ten pounds heavier. The freedom to sit anywhere is great. We constantly sat with different people and got to know many of the passengers. The Ambience We cannot stress how different the ambiance is from a large ship. The windsurf is like the theme song to Cheers where everyone knows your name. It didn't matter who was beside you passenger or crew, friendly conversation and courteous behaviour was everywhere. We felt part of a community. Ports of Call The Classic itinerary is one of the best in the Caribbean visiting St Marten, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Antigua, St Lucia, Guadaloupe, St Kitts and St Parts. In vacation lingo these are upscale islands with unique features. Most importantly, you are not going ashore at the main dock with thousands of other ants all fighting for position. The Windstar boats mostly anchor offshore and you are tendered in in small groups. We never felt like we were standing in line for anything. Tours We have done these islands and seen the highlights before so we either stayed on board and enjoyed the water sports or just did hunted for a beach. Caribbean tours are largely a waste of money. Most of the things you can do yourself or are overpriced, but if you have a herd mentality and a fat wallet they are okay. Our only tour was zip lining. It was overpriced and the zip lines too short but we got to cross zip lining off our bucket list. On the other hand every free, mostly deserted beach we frequented was a 5 star day. Nothing compares with being plucked onto a private beach. Entertainment We completely lucked out. A new band started the week of our cruise as noted above. They were most impressive and we ended up spending 4 hours a night listening to them. Name of the band is Stage Direction. They are Philippine and have been together for 18 years and spent the last 8 years on Norwegian Cruise Lines on the big ships. Except for requests they never repeated a song the whole voyage. The lead singer should by rights be on America's got talent. She did Whitney Houston, Adele, Pat Benetar and Shania Twain hits as good as the originals and got frequent standing ovations. The lead guitarist could hold his own with Jimmi Hendrix doing riffs and even gave us the Chuck Berry walk. Last night was Beatles tribute and they did credible renditions. I believe if they had work permits in the USA they would be opening acts for the stars. The music on this trip was a true delight. They are only booked until May. Hope you get to hear them. Value for Money and Overall Comment Windstar vacations are pricier than the run of the mill cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian etc,, but you get so much more enjoyment. If you want pampering go to Regent. If you want a great vacation that maximizes sun, wind, water and sand and goes off the beaten path then Windstar is your dream vacation. We will probably alternate Windstar with real sailboats on future Caribbean vacations. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a ... Read More
We chose Wind Star because it is described as a small, intimate and luxury cruise experience. The ship The Wind Surf is old and shows her age with being built in 1989. I believe the ship was originally a Club Med ship. It really needs a total makeover. When we were to board, embarkation was not at its usual dock but more of an industrial dock so check in was chaotic and very long. We sat here until 11:00 pm, sailing was to be at 7:00 pm but divers were underneath the ship repairing a part. Not a good start! We were told by a Wind Star cruise reservations agent that we could snorkel off the sports platform from the Ship since the ship is smaller 310 passengers, so that was a big selling point for us. This was not true as the ship would anchor at a 100 feet or more and snorkeling off the sports platform was not allowed anyway. We were also told no shorts in the main dining room the Amphora and no flip flops of any kind in the lounge in the evenings. We were not informed of this when purchasing the cruise or is not stated in any of the brochures or on the Wind Star web site. I advised the onboard Customer Service Manager of this and she informed me it is stated on the website, but not so.When sailing to the different islands we always tendered in, which we knew we would some of the times but every single time aboard old hot tenders. More like tin sweat boxes. The first day we stood in the hall with a line of people and waited an hour as only one tender was running. On day 7 the captain made an announcement that we would not be going to St Barts our last port because they had scheduled a time to finish the repair that was started on embarkation day so now our 9 day cruise that we paid for was an 8 day. I believe that Wind Star knew about this when we departed on day 1. We asked for a refund for the one night but our request was denied. The passengers stayed aboard the ship sitting at the pier in St. Maartin not what we signed up or paid for. We disembarked and went to a hotel. Very disappointing and not at all what was expected for the money we paid which is quite a bit more than other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from ... Read More
As a senior citizen I was looking for a relaxing, laid back cruise with excellent service and unique ports of call. Having cruised numerous time on mega-ships, the lore of Windstars sailing ships intrigued me. Windstar Surf cruised from St. Maarten to St. Lucia and return at a relaxing 12 knots with her sails billowing. Accommodations, food and service were all excellent. Shore excursions were typical for the Caribbean except for the Frigate bird sanctuary on Barbuda, the only place where nesting birds can be seen up close. Credit must be given to the captain for his timing and navigation when leaving St. Lucia, to catch the setting sun shadow of the Surf with her sails against the Pitons. However, be prepared to spend some time walking from the cruise port gates to the ships mooring. On disembarking, our group, catching an early flight, had to carry our own luggage from the ship to the port entrance, which was the low point of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had ... Read More
This was our 7th Windstar cruise, but first time on the Surf. Travelling with us was my mother (88 years old) and two of her friends (both in their 80's). For that reason, we decided the Surf was the best option since it had elevators. We chose the Yachtsman's itinerary because it was the least likely to experience any roughness. I can report that we only had one evening with slight rolling for a few hours. My mother, who can be prone to sea sickness did just fine! Pre-cruise we stay at Alicia's Inn in Philipsburg for one night. Based on price and only a one night stay, it was fine. Friday evening we ate at Toloula Mangos and Saturday's breakfast was at Barefoot Restaurant. Both had lovely views of the harbor. The breakfast at Barefoot was especially good and reasonably priced. Tip for any future cruisers. Just a short walk will take you to Caribbean Liquors & Tobacco, located at 8 W.G. Buncamper Road, Philipsburg, St.Maarten. Not an extensive selection, but what they did have was nice and very reasonably priced. We purchased five bottles to take on board with us. Boarding Time!!! The port area is just a short taxi ride. Checked in our luggage, wandered the shops, then caught a cart to carry us to the ship. Embarkation was as efficient and easy as expected and before we knew it we were shown to our cabin. Luggage hadn't arrived yet so we took a quick walk around the ship and made our way up to the Veranda for lunch. By the time we made our way back to our cabin the luggage had arrived. Our cabin was clean and comfortable. While I prefer the cabin design of the Wind Star/Spirit, it was very functional with more than sufficient storage space. Bedding was luxurious and the bed very comfortable. Always love the l'Occitane bath products. Our cabin attendant, Dian, was attentive and the best we have ever had on any cruise. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the dining and selections offered. The dishes that didn't totally please were few and far between. In addition to the usual selections, one night there was an Indonesian entree and on another an Indian entree (Biryani). The Biryani was especially good and spicy!! We also dined in Stella Bistro and Candles. Again, both venues were great. While the beach BBQ was fine, the deck BBQ was especially good on this cruise. The daily selections for both breakfast and lunch in the Veranda were varied and fresh. If we had any complaint about the food, for some reason the deserts did not seem as good as we've previously experienced. Not bad - just not as good. The service, overall, was exemplary. The Veranda staff took my mother under their wing and treated her like royalty. This made the trip very special for her. I'd like to give a shout to Nova and Esther for their remarkable attention to my mom. Our cabin attendant Dian was also the best. The only Windstar excursion we participated in was the St. Bart's snorkel. The snorkeling was not very good, but the catamaran ride was great! So no complaint. Disembarkation was too quick and easy - we stayed aboard as long as we could. From there we took a taxi and spent the day at Mary's Boon Resort which is just a short taxi drive from the airport. Had a lovely lunch on the beach while trying to figure out if and when we would be able to get home - we were dealing with the East Coast snowstorm. In summary, we had a fantastic cruise! We were a little worried after our less-than-stellar cruise aboard the Legend last June - but Windstar came through with flying colors!!!!! This cruise showcased the Windstar experience we have come to know and love. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you ... Read More
We have cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (4), and Celebrity (2), including the most modern cruise ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas. This is a very different experience. The ship is small, so they provide you with what you need for your enjoyment, but without redundancy. Unlike the large ships, the WindSurf started from St. Maarten, so each day brought a new island -- there were no dead days at sea. Accordingly, there was no need for on-board entertainment like a rock climbing wall or zipline. The cruise was all about the islands and the people that you met on board. My wife and I went for our 20th anniversary, and we had a terrific time. CABINS: Very comfortable. Well appointed and with more than enough room for two. It was good to have the stocked fridge with soft drinks and ample water. I did not feel nickel and dimed every time I reached for a soda. The only thing missing was a balcony, but it was fine without one. DINING: Excellent food. One the large ships, lavish buffets or other foodstuffs are available 24/7. Not on this ship. You ate during dining hours, maybe picked up a cookie, sweet, or sandwich from the Yacht Club at odd hours, or ordered from room service. Popcorn is available from room service for those nights you decide to get a DVD from their library. Steak at Candles was surprisingly tasty -- I love my steaks, and while filet mignon looked a little thin, it was delicious! The main dining room was very good, with some basics (steak, salmon, chicken), and a rotating menu of other entrees. Stella Bistro was also fine, but I was a bit distracted during dinner there. We had two bbq blow-out meals -- one on pidgeon island, and the other on board. These guys know what they're doing with a grill indeed! Also, a shout out to the special Indian cuisine option one night. Absolutely lovely. MARINA: The stern opens up when the ship anchors at port. It's a great way to spend an afternoon, and you end up meeting other like minded active passengers there. It's one of the best features of the ship, where you can always spend a few hours in the water, whether bouncing on one of the floating mats, or taking out a small sailing catamaran. Only disappointment was that we did not get a chance to waterski or wakeboard. Not sure why it never happened - we were given different reasons. PASSENGERS: With less than 300 passengers on this cruise, we felt that we had met or seen everyone else on the ship at one time or another. Everyone was friendly, and one of the great pleasures was the shared experiences that we had with the other passengers. You cannot imagine how easy it was to make friends on this cruise, as opposed to the big ships where the masses can be overwhelming. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and ... Read More
Want to start by saying our whole vacation was AWESOME! We started early Friday morning traveling to DCA to catch our flight to St. Marten. We managed an upgrade to first class seats between DC and MIA. Our connection was easy in MIA and we arrived in St. Maarten early afternoon. The customs check took a while but went fine. We grabbed a cab and took a leisurely ride to the Holland House in Phillipsburg. We checked in and grabbed quick nap – later that evening we visited the bar and had a few drink and appetizers as our dinner. Departure day I got up early, ran the beach boardwalk for a few laps, and found a way to walk to the ship – yes it was there. We had a great breakfast, around noon checked out, and started our walk to the pier (this was a mistake) – the security folks were nice enough to point us to the Windstar luggage check tent (we found no signage) and we checked our bags and headed toward the ship. We passed though security check on the dock and within minutes, we had our room keys, beverage package and headed to our room. We dropped off the things we were still carrying and headed to the Veranda for some lunch. In spite of some of the reviews and comments on CC about the Veranda lunch, I found it to be more than adequate on departure day as well as for breakfast and lunch every other day – the chefs and the wait staff did a great job. If you wanted something made all you had to do was ask. Dining - The first night we ate our dinner in the Amphora. We walked up and asked for a table for two and within seconds, we were there. The Amphora has a comprehensive menu offering and we ate there three times on our cruise. We found the food, and service to be outstanding. The wait staff had some of the same crew members we had met in the Veranda so they already knew us the first night including our drink choices. Very personal service and we liked the familiarity. We were fortunate to be able to eat in the Stella Bistro twice during our cruise as the experience there was a couple of notches better than Amphora – the food, service was outstanding, and on our second night we invite a new friend we had made on the trip. We all had a great time. The other two nights for dinner, we had the ship wide deck barbecue. We secured a table outside the Compass Rose (one of the aft bars) and had a very good time eating under the stars. There was a wide choice of food including lobster tail, shrimp, snow crab claws, sucking pig, grilled pork, flat iron steaks, and a multitude of salads and veg. We saved the Candles experience for the last night anchored at St. Barts – we ate within the Veranda area on the upper deck because the weather was threatening. It did not detract from the experience and the great food and service. Beverage Package – worked well for us, probably drank too much. We found everything offered in the package was of good quality and very drinkable with the exception of the 187ml Cava, it was just terrible. Laundry package – a must have. We packed light and only one regulation carry-on bag each and did not run out of clothes and went home with most of them clean. Overall – AWESOME Trip, we will sail on the Wind Surf again. We had read it was like being on a private yacht and I can tell you that was our exact experience. The crew did an OUTSTANDING job and are the real driver behind the experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I'm not much for cruise ships that can carry thousands, so when I booked Windstar's cruise I was hoping for a casual vibe, less of a crowd, and good service, with nice ports of call and decent food. Our on-board experience was ... Read More
I'm not much for cruise ships that can carry thousands, so when I booked Windstar's cruise I was hoping for a casual vibe, less of a crowd, and good service, with nice ports of call and decent food. Our on-board experience was terrific all-around, and we will certainly consider them the next time a cruise vacation calls. It's nice that the sails can propel the boat from port to port, and certainly makes for a prettier boat than one of those floating cities. The Veranda breakfast restaurant also doubles as the Candles dinner spot. Loved that place for both the first and last meal of the day. The staff was friendly and attentive--we have nothing but thumbs up when it comes to them. Seriously, beyond wonderful. We had the best massages of our lives on this ship, and that's saying something since we go often at home. If I had a negative, it was the pre-booking experience. Forget getting an answer to any emails. If you want to get info, you must call up and speak to someone on the phone. I had a total of zero responses to 4 different email questions at different times. They need more staff at the home office for that, and also to ensure that your wait time on the phone is not forever! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was the third time we have sailed on the Wind Surf and it proved to be every bit as good as we remembered and maybe even a bit better. This was the first time in the Caribbean on the Wind Surf and we boarded in St. Maarten. We got in ... Read More
This was the third time we have sailed on the Wind Surf and it proved to be every bit as good as we remembered and maybe even a bit better. This was the first time in the Caribbean on the Wind Surf and we boarded in St. Maarten. We got in two days early to avoid any chance of winter weather in the Northeast stopping us from arriving on time. We stayed at the Holland House in Phillipsburg and that was a good choice as it had a beach and we could actually see our ship (along with other ships) as it pulled in. It was a quick $10 ride to the dock but you could actually walk there or take a ferry. We arrived about 2 PM and as always, they made embarkation a breeze. We dropped off our carry on bags and then headed towards the Veranda for lunch. Two servers recognized us from a cruise 1 1/2 years earlier. Thus started the cruise that makes the experience better than being on a big ship. Every single staff member made us feel that they really wanted us to have a wonderful experience. The other couple traveling with us was on their first WindStar cruise and they felt the same way so it was not just due to our being repeat customers. I did later learn that nearly the half of cruisers were repeat customers. Our room was as advertised, small with two portholes but very well organized. There was tons of room to store every thing we brought and our bags were in the room when we returned from lunch. We met our room steward and he said just leave a note for anything we wanted. We only saw him once during the week but he kept the room very clean and delivered an extra set of wine glasses when requested. We appreciated his service. We never used room service as there really is not an appropriate seating area to even have breakfast. We have begun to take the lowest cost room as they all are the same size but cost changes as related to position on the ship. The suites are actually two rooms but we did not feel the need to spend the extra dollars as our goal was to get out of the room and enjoy the sun on the decks of the ship. I am going to throw something in here that maybe corporate could work on. I do not feel that WindStar rewards loyalty. I actually called corporate headquarters to ask about a complimentary upgrade that they say they offer for past guests. The guy said there really were none as the ship was pretty much full but that was not actually the case as the ship sailed with well under 300 passengers. The request might have been complicated by the fact that we had adjoining cabins. Also, aside from a cocktail party for returning guests there really was nothing. How about some perks? Other lines offer things like free laundry or wifi. At any rate, muster was handled very efficiently and professionally and it made us feel that the crew was well equipped to handle any emergency. The crew is where I really saw a bit of a difference. They seem driven to perform at the highest level. It was almost like they want to be known as the most efficient and pleasant staff in the industry and on this cruise, they were. The best example is when on the night of the deck barbecue a storm kicked up about a half hour before the start. The crew quickly moved everything inside, had the grills under cover and made it a terrific experience. It was truly wonderful even though we could not be under the stars. This captain, by the way, is the friendliest and most personable captain I have ever encountered on over a dozen cruises. He is a real delight and it should be noted that public announcements were minimal. His fellow officers seem to reflect his enthusiasm and they all proved to be wonderful during the week. An example was when the announced galley tour filled to capacity, the head chef offered another one and even gave individual tours to two late arriving couples. In every way, he showed pride in his job, his staff and the food throughout the week was uniformly good to excellent. Even though the ship is small they have three dinner options and they all were wonderful. Candles serves grilled fare and a veal chop I had there was truly memorable. The other two dining rooms were beautiful and had wonderful food and beverage service. The reception desk was served by several fabulous young ladies who were always pleasant and willing to serve. They greeted every guest with a smile and tried their hardest to help the guests. Though the amazing Myra was our wonderful facilitator, all the young ladies and their manager, Anthony, were seen providing exemplary service to everyone I saw. The excursion desk also had a professional and helpful staff who took the time to provide good service in any way they could. Our excursions with them were very well done and provided real value for what they charged. It should be noted that since the British Virgins, Antigua and St. Barth's are small islands, the ship has to anchor and tenders are used. The crew made the tender experience as pleasant as it could be as there were some rough sea days. Now, the good part of anchoring off shore is that the Water Sports back deck was lowered and could be used for water activities. You can just swim off the back of the boat or avail yourself of sailing, kayaking or other water activities. The folks there, especially Yuri, Alma and BJ do a super job. On the day of the beach party, they moved all the equipment over to the island so it was available on that beach day. The beach party BBQ was also a special experience with great food and entertainment. Entertainment at night was in two lounges and both the family act in the main lounge and the duo in the Compass Rose were near perfect. By the way, try not to miss the line dancing or the crew show, they are a hoot. Great job by the crew and they really seemed to be enjoying themselves. The casino was small but the staff there was as pleasant as the rest of the crew. The Yacht Club is a wonderful addition. There you can get coffee, snacks and/or sandwiches to take on excursions or eat there. Here is where WindStar saves the passengers a little money as the specialty coffees were included in the fare where other lines charge for expresso, cappuccino or like coffees. Also the cocktail parties hosted by the staff were top notch. Disembarkation was a breeze and there were many cabs ready to take you to the airport or hotels that had day passes. Even though there was a daily charge for gratuities and a tip was included with every drink, we decided to personally tip three servers, our room steward and a few other staff. In actuality, every crew member did a terrific job and I guess we decided to reward those who were our personal favorites. As for the itinerary, it was fabulous, especially the stops in BVI. All in all, the Wind Surf once again proved that sailing with them is money well spent Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My husband and I have been on many cruises. All of our cruises, however, had been on the larger cruise lines. We will most likely never return to the larger cruise ships. We loved the small ship yacht sail on Wind Surf. On our cruise there ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises. All of our cruises, however, had been on the larger cruise lines. We will most likely never return to the larger cruise ships. We loved the small ship yacht sail on Wind Surf. On our cruise there were 224 passengers and 198 service personnel. Needless to say the service was excellent. It was a more intimate experience. The Captain was visible during each day and the Bridge was open to the guests for inspection. It was easier to become familiar with the location of the restaurants and lounges. There was a dinner available at Candles Restaurant "Under the Stars" which was a magnificent experience. There was also an "Under the Stars" barbecue which was a spectacular event. In Virgin Gorda the guests were treated to a beach party which was not only a great lunch event but also a wonderful beach day. We were fortunate to have booked a suite which provided two bathrooms, two TV's, and two dressing areas. The storage space left many drawers empty because there was so much room! I did have an opportunity to see a standard stateroom which did not appear to be too small. However, the extra bathroom was a plus! Overall this was a 10 out of 10 experience! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed the seven days spent on the Wind Surf! Was nervous about being on a smaller boat compared to some of the others but found it to be a delight, especially since we were in a port every day! The crew was simply stellar: ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed the seven days spent on the Wind Surf! Was nervous about being on a smaller boat compared to some of the others but found it to be a delight, especially since we were in a port every day! The crew was simply stellar: quick to respond to any concerns, taking pains to remember you by name and doing all they can to make your sailing spectacular! We selected a suite which was an appreciated luxury although the standard cabins which are exactly half the size would suffice especially since you are in a port each day anyway. It was the itinerary that sold us on this and for the most part, it didn't disappoint. For some strange reason, we docked in Dominica at a freight terminal, miles from town, and were given incorrect maps....walked around aimlessly looking for the town and finally returned to the ship. Not a terribly safe area and that was our only disappointment. We have been to the island before and know that other parts are safer and more beautiful. Barbuda was a delight. Exactly what we expected: remote, a little desolate, but just miles of beautiful pink sand beaches. The other surprise was Il Les Saint. What a lovely little French town and breathtaking beaches and colorful homes and businesses! The tender boats would go back and forth frequently and the crew was attentive and kind. Our cabin steward was friendly, but unobtrusive and kept the suite spotless! Food was varied. We loved Stella Bistro, and Candles. The deck barbecue night was fun! Didn't find it necessary to buy the liquor package. Bottled water and specially coffee included. Bring a little extra to tip these hardworking people, your cabin steward and food servers (bar service includes automatic gratuity)--we did. Their hard work deserves extra recognition! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our cruise was the "Yachtsman's Caribbean", a 7-night round trip voyage to/from St Maarten, with stops in Antigua, Tortola, Virgina Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and St Barths. This was my 10th voyage on the Wind Surf, including 3 ... Read More
Our cruise was the "Yachtsman's Caribbean", a 7-night round trip voyage to/from St Maarten, with stops in Antigua, Tortola, Virgina Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and St Barths. This was my 10th voyage on the Wind Surf, including 3 voyages when the ship was owned by Club Med. I guess I am just a repeat offender? As usual, we flew into St Maarten a few days early (always a wise choice) and spent 2 nights at the Sonesta Beach Resort and Casino at Great Bay, from where we could look across the water at the cruise ship dock. See my review on Trip Advisor for our great stay there. We boarded the ship right after 1 PM, and the check-in was completely seamless. We settled into Cabin 151, located very near the front of the ship, just a few steps from the steps/elevator up to the Veranda and the AmphorA restaurant. Prime location! Only nit was that a few of the pillow shams were slightly frayed. I was also pleased to see that the L'Occitane "Verbena" soap was back, although I missed the shampoo and body wash. Soon we were sailing away to the strains of "Conquest of Paradise", and marveling at the fantastic sunset. First step was to get to know the crew, as they are the heart and soul of Windstar. Several of the crew remembered me from past voyages, and greeted me by name. Even one of the deck hands recognized me! First stop was at the Customer Service desk, where I picked up a Windstar windbreaker that I had bought on a previous voyage, but inadvertently left on the ship. The Wind Surf crew found the windbreaker for me, shipped it to Seattle, then transported it by courier to the Wind Surf so that I could pick it up. I later bought several other articles of Windstar apparel in the ship's boutique. We were invited to have dinner with Savvas, the Restaurant Manager, and also spent some time chatting with Captain Steffen, quite the rakish looking sailor indeed, and very gregarious. He often would take his meals with guests, and was very visible around the ship. Food and service in the restaurants was impeccable, as was the bar service. Kudos to Savvas and his entire team. Later I spent some time working with the Bar Manager Dave, and the General Services Manager Marie. They empowered me to play some of my music (I am a former DJ) during Happy Hours in the Compass Rose lounge. This was fortunate, because the iPod dock on their sound board was out of service, and they only had 2 CD's to play, both of which were wildly inappropriate. I got many favorable comments about the music, and Dave noticed that guests were spending more time in the lounge, and that beverage sales were much improved. This was my second consecutive voyage where I was able to play music, and I greatly enjoyed it. There were some great activities in store for us, including a guest appearance by Olympic champion Mark Spitz, who delivered a charming and informative talk about his athletic career and personal experiences, and then taught a Master swimming class at the beach barbecue at Prickly Pear Beach. I won two bottles of champagne during the cruise, one for joining the team that won the weekly Trivia Contest, and another for my single-handed victory at the "Name That Tune" contest. We also got to see a spectacular rainbow, with the "pot of gold" right in front of the ship, and an exciting off-shore yacht race (REALLY big yachts) that crossed the finish line just ahead of the ship. The entertainment on board was mostly excellent, especially the fabulous and talented "Rain "Duo" (Craig and Nicola) that performed before and after dinner in the Compass Rose. I have gotten to know both of them quite well, and always try to plan my cruises for when they are on board. They packed the lounge every night. and wowed the crowds with their talent, showmanship and musical skills. On the other hand, the "Summer Wind" combo (piano, bass, drums, and vocalist) in the main lounge was very ordinary, to say the least. The lead singer was young, attractive, vivacious, and had a very nice voice. But the band was pretty ragged, and they could have used a guitarist. Their playlist was rather odd, with songs such as the Connie Francis nugget "Stupid Cupid", They also often played many of the same songs that "Rain" played, sometimes in the exact same order! Although some of the guests seemed to like them OK, I heard lots of negative comments. As a result, the main lounge was often completely deserted shortly after dinner. We only took one shore excursion, which was after we disembarked from the ship early Saturday morning, and our return flight home did not depart until 3 PM. The St Maarten Island Tour was the perfect answer, as it included transfer to the airport, and filled the day. Our next Windstar cruise will be in September on the Wind Surf for the "Splendors of Southern Spain". Can't wait. Maybe you can join us!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
we stayed 2 nights in Holland house hotel before cruise (great choice), and were taxied to windsurf. really liked the 'small ship' atmosphere (we have always cruise the main line, carnival, celebrity, etc.) everything was ... Read More
we stayed 2 nights in Holland house hotel before cruise (great choice), and were taxied to windsurf. really liked the 'small ship' atmosphere (we have always cruise the main line, carnival, celebrity, etc.) everything was definitely a step up. friendliness of the staff was very noticeable. loved anchoring and going in to most islands on tenders. locations were mostly smaller without tons of other cruisers. took excursions offered by the ship. frigate bird sanctuary in Barbuda. Trafalgar water falls in Dominica. private beach party at pigeon island st lucia. just went ashore to beach in les saintes. all super. when the sail were unfurled to music at each debarking it was neat, even after 7 days. never ate in the specialty restaurant but many others raved of them. met lots of new friends. smaller ship has you seeing the same folks more often. musician couple playing in rear lounge were very, very good. we spent a lot of time there before and after dinner. cabin on 2nd deck near middle very good. hardly ever felt the ship rolling/rocking.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
While I wish we could have stayed, we have returned to reality! Our March 1 cruise on the Wind Surf was amazing and converted my husband to small ship cruising (as I had hoped!). We flew to St. Maarten a day early and flew through ... Read More
While I wish we could have stayed, we have returned to reality! Our March 1 cruise on the Wind Surf was amazing and converted my husband to small ship cruising (as I had hoped!). We flew to St. Maarten a day early and flew through immigration. I had read stories about horrors at the airport, but we experienced none of it. Soon-to-be friends (we met on the ship) did have issues arriving Saturday. Their plane arrived in plenty of time, but they were held on the tarmac waiting for a gate. I think they were the last to board, and it was quite close to sailing time. If at all possible I recommend heading down a day early. It also allowed us to get in vacation-mode before sailing. We stayed at the Pasanggrahan Hotel in Phillipsburg, and took a quick cab ride over to the dock on Saturday afternoon. We dropped our luggage and headed to the ship. What a difference.....it all felt so personal and friendly. We boarded about 1:30pm (being greeted at the gangway by the Hotel Manager and one of the First Officers) and were dropping our carry-ons in our cabin 30 minutes later. We grabbed lunch, enjoyed the sun and headed out to the deck to experience our first sail-away to the sounds of 1492. It was everything all experienced Windstar sailors promised! We enjoyed the dining options, especially the opportunity to eat by ourselves or join new friends. The food was good bordering on great. We second others' recommendation that you try and book Candles on a night in port. The winds while sailing seemed like they would be an impediment to enjoying the atmosphere on deck. The ports on the Yachtsman's Caribbean itinerary are built for pure relaxation. The only excursion we did was to the Baths and we booked that because it was just easier, transportation-wise, and it deposited us directly at the beach barbeque! On all the other islands we headed to a beach and relaxed. The deck barbeque and the beach barbeque were outstanding...both created environments that felt intimate and special, though not at all contrived. Beaches were plentiful and easy to access. I can't even remember the names, but all were beautiful and cabs were readily available at all the docks. On Jost Van Dyke, a lot of people headed to Foxy's the night we arrived but we had lunch there the next day after enjoying Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar on the beach. If we were to do the same itinerary someday, I'd check out the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. We never made it off the ship in the evening because we were exhausted, in a good way, every day. On the ship, I used the gym (small but very well-appointed), lounged (my husband loved getting coffee every morning at the Compass Rose and just sitting on deck), and relaxed. One of the things that drew us to Windstar was its reputation for attracting friendly, open passengers. From day one that was obvious. We met great people from all over and even became good friends with a few. There were just a couple of younger, single people on our cruise, but they seemed to find each other and have a great time. By younger, I mean 20-25 or so. The crew was AMAZING, and so friendly. It was nice to have our cabin steward greet us by first names in the hallways. As for the cabin, I was concerned about the size and lack of balcony, but it was wonderful. We were on deck three mid-ship and I'd say it was perfect for us. Yes, the cabins are small, but so well-appointed and designed that it didn't feel claustrophobic at all. The mini bar was replenished (without asking) with soda as my husband drank it (!) and the bottled water was used everyday - the choice of still or sparkling was a nice touch. And, on the advice of many on this board, we took the laundry package. What a great convenience. Next time I'll pack 1/2 as much. Departing the ship on Saturday was a breeze. We put our bags out the night before, woke up and had breakfast before departing around 8:45am. We grabbed a group cab at the dock and headed to the airport to check our bags. We then walked over to the Sunset Bar at the end of the runway and met our friends from the ship to watch planes dive bomb the beach on approach to landing! After enjoying a few last drinks we walked back for our 2:25pm flight to NY. The airport was a ZOO. Thank goodness it was close to on-time. On arriving in NY customs/immigration were a breeze and we headed out into the freezing day (by Caribbean standards!) where snow still covered the landscape. There will definitely be a next time. We loved the Windstar experience and look forward to trying the smaller ships or even the new motor yachts. Now to find time to head off again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were ... Read More
We sailed from St. Maarten, March 15th. My wife & I, and this was our 1st Windstar cruise, but maybe our 20th cruise overall. We’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Seven Seas, Oceania, and Princess. The islands we visited were Antigua, Tortola, Jost, St. Barths, and Virgin Gorda. We flew in 1 day early and stayed in Philipsburg, in the center of town (at the Sea View Hotel – not recommended). I would recommend, however, planning to get here at least 1 day early because the airport here is very crowded and unpredictable – all of our flights, in & out, were delayed therefor causing missed connections and re-scheduled flights. It was very hectic. However, once aboard the Wind Surf everything changed. I have nothing to complain about, no negative comments. Checking in was a breeze. We had only a standard room, but it was very comfortable. We were on the 3rd deck which I thought was perfect for this ship – down 1 to get on/off the ship or to get to the water platform, and up 1 flight for the casino, diner, entertainment, reception, and the pool bar. Perfect. The entertainment was very good – 2 choices, the duet who performed at the Compass Rose, or the band who played in the lounge. They were both excellent, but I preferred the duet…they were more than excellent and played songs if requested. The casino was just the right size, and the dealers were friendly and very accommodating. They would open a table for you if asked. It was never too crowded there, so I thought it was perfect. 3 table games (BJ & 3-Card Poker), 1 roulette table, and some slots. Sadly, no Craps table. The gym was very clean, surprisingly a good size for a small ship, and very useable. A trainer is staffed there and is more than willing to assist with questions. He also teaches a few classes – at no charge. The meals were always great. Breakfast & lunch are served up on the top deck. Could either grab something off the buffet or order off the menu. Each day, we’d 1st order room service coffee, then go up to the veranda for something to eat. On the breakfast menu, the chef offered a new daily “chef special Eggs Benedict” along with the standard one. I loved that, they were all very good. And the buffet was great as well. They had 2 Barbeque Parties that were loads of fun. The main room for diner was just as good. Everything was perfect. Once, after a few drinks, I jokingly wished that Crème Brule was on the menu. ….Our waiter went and found it at a different restaurant and brought it to us… Every meal was perfect. We would also order ”late night “ room service, and it was very good too. The bar service was quick & the bar tenders were friendly. At times though it can get crowded at the bar, but unlike other cruise lines – there are not many waiters walking around asking you if you need a drink. Usually you have to go up to the bar yourself, but it’s a short walk. Note/FYI: we did not purchase the drink plan, yet always had a drink in our hand and at times had too much…. Our total ship “bar bill” was $650. The ship “sail-away”, playing the 1942 music…. Was a little less dramatic and inspiring than I thought it would be, I think maybe it was a bit over-hyped to me by everyone to me. For me, maybe the music should be played louder, but I found the best place to get a feel for it was standing under a speaker. But when the sails unravel…it is a little romantic and was nice to watch. It’s a great feeling to be under sail with a ship moving; I’ve never experienced that before. I miss it already. The sports platform was fantastic. It is much better entertainment than any large cruise ship can offer. The guy running it – “PJ” I think – was wonderful. I will say to be careful if you go water-skiing in the ocean….  If you’re getting stiches; request small stitching and additional stiches (this will help reduce the scaring). The port destinations were as good as they could be. Seriously, I would have no problem taking this same itinerary next year. As other reviewers have said – there are always some cabs at each port if needed. Soper’s Hole, Tortola, is one of them – grab a cab and head to a Tortola beach – off the tender there is a nice bar, Pussers, and some shops…but that’s pretty much all. I will cab it next time. Lastly, the crew. I can’t say that they all remembered my name, but many did. Every one of them were personable, friendly, helpful, kind, …. Like the boy scouts… They were truly a great group of employees. I can’t imagine a better vacation. We did get lucky to have perfect weather, and met other couples on the ship with whom we seemed to hang out with. They were all good people and made our trip superb. We met one of the couples on the Cruise Critic forum page (Joymitch) before the cruise then met up with them on the ship. That was awesome in itself and they are great people. Isn’t the internet fantastic!?   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We embarked from St. Maarten in early February on the Windsurf and from the start, it was a fabulous experience! Embarkation was fast and simple and very personalized and we were quickly escorted to our suite accommodations (we splurged), ... Read More
We embarked from St. Maarten in early February on the Windsurf and from the start, it was a fabulous experience! Embarkation was fast and simple and very personalized and we were quickly escorted to our suite accommodations (we splurged), which were very comfortable. We loved the relaxed atmosphere and were surprised at the number of dining options on such a small ship. The ship has all the amenities of a larger ship (pool, hot tubs, library, fitness room, spa, etc.), but the smaller number of passengers meant they were very accessible. The food was wonderful, with plenty of choice for those with dietary restrictions, and the service was excellent. Staff made an exceptional effort to remember our names and our favourite wines. The entertainment was provided by a band that had a very large repertoire and the members were all very talented. The itinerary was very interesting, taking us to places a larger ship wouldn't be able to go. The shore excursions were very well organized, with several choices in each port. We especially loved the trip to the native Carib village in Dominica, Touna Aute. I expected a "touristy" set-up, but this was the real deal - visiting the villagers at their homes and learning about their culture and history. The tour culminated in a visit to the tour leaders' home where we sat down to a lunch of their traditional foods at their table (just 8 people on this tour - can't get that on a big ship!). We were very sorry when the cruise came to an end and we had to return to the frozen north, but we'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Windsurf. We were three couples and we all thought that the cruise was fantastic. It is not a luxury cruise in my opinión but, it is a calm, thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed experience ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Windsurf. We were three couples and we all thought that the cruise was fantastic. It is not a luxury cruise in my opinión but, it is a calm, thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed experience ... No lines, no crowds, soothing old style yacht with lots of wood, sober decoration, nice decks ... The cabin, 121 on deck one, was very nice, everything very well designed, lots of closet room, very nice bathroom and shower. The crew is fabulous, always there to please you, to try to get you something, cabin attendant took wonderful care of our cabin while we were out, room service arrived promptly - not more tan 10 minutes.. Our only complaint was that on the one day that the yacht is sailing all day there were not enough lounge chairs but of course, people have the habit of placing a towel on the chair and then going away. We complained about this to an officer. The food was excellent, high quality, well prepared, wonderful beach bbq, fabulous bbq on deck - amazing lobster, salads, fish ! Everything was delicious !! It is a quiet, relaxing experience. We had a wonderful time with our friends and expect to repeat the experience in the future. We did not however like this itinerary (Dominica, St. Lucia, Les Saintes, Nevis and St. Kitts). There are really no nice beaches on these islands, but we had already visited most of the islands on the alternate itinerary. Our mistake, would have enjoyend going back to Virgin Gorda or St. Barts !! High recommendations for Windstar !!! Excellent cruise experience !! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, ... Read More
Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, travelling together were like a bunch of kids on and off the ship. Anchoring at locations away from the town-sized monster ships gave us a chance to visit local shops in smaller towns, yet get to the bigger "tourist centers" if we wanted to. The food was spectacular, the scenery was incredible, and listening to the music while the sails were unfurled on the 5 masts was thrilling. Seeing the ship at anchor when returning from shore excursions was a wonderful sight. With just under 300 passengers, we were able to get together when we wanted, and go our separate ways when we wanted. The six of us did get together for dinner each evening. All six of us went to a small local bar, the Mad Mongoose, in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua, to watch our Seahawks beat the 49ers. It was a raucous, fun evening with lots of local residents and a few travelers from around the world. We all did many activities together and separately. Some of us went swimming off the watersports platform at the stern of the ship, two went snorkeling at the Baths and another site on Virgin Gorda, four of us enjoyed the swimming and "people" watching at Shell Beach on St. Bart's, two of us went swimming and playing with dolphins on Tortola, and we all spent many hours sitting and reading at many locations all over the ship. Our rooms were luxurious, comfortable, and very well prepared by our Steward, Beny. I cannot possibly imagine a better trip for the price. We will take Windstar trips again !!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to ... Read More
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to delays in our flights, we were late in arriving at St. Maarten and boarded the Windsurf just one hour before it left port. It was supper time so we went to the Amphora restaurant. Too tired to change into more elegant clothes, we were a bit disheveled, and felt that as a result we might be met with a somewhat disdainful attitude on the part of staff. Quite the opposite! We were greeted with smiles and seated at a beautifully set table. My daughter mentioned that she was a vegetarian, at which point the chef and restaurant manager appeared to discuss how they could make meals to best suit her needs. We were encouraged to meet with the chefs on a daily basis so that each delicious meal was made to her specifications. As for myself (I’m not a vegetarian), I thoroughly enjoyed the meals in all the restaurants. Later in our voyage, during a beach picnic on Pigeon Island where a meal was prepared and served on the beach by the Windsurf staff, we made our food choices and were told our food would be brought to us shortly. We had installed ourselves on beach chairs at quite a distance from the cooking area. To our amazement, the chef appeared with a big grin and our two plates in hand. He noticed that the people near us had empty plates and removed the plates for them. This lack of pretentiousness on the part of the chef and the heartfelt pleasure he had in making Windsurf guests have a wonderful eating experience went a long way towards making our holiday extraordinary. As well, we were consistently given friendly and professional service by the staff in all the restaurants and bars. Stateroom Our stateroom was on the lower deck, midship. We barely felt the motion of the ship, and it was such a quiet area that we were able to sleep blissfully each night. We enjoyed hearing the sound of the water lapping against our porthole, lulling us to sleep. The beds were the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in (we have high-end mattresses at home and would happily trade them for the Windsurf mattresses in our stateroom). The shower was great, good water pressure and several choices of showerheads. Our stateroom was small, but we never felt crowded. The young man who did our stateroom housekeeping was friendly and efficient, so that we could always count on a clean and pleasant environment. Room service for meals was also excellent. Smoking My daughter and I are both non-smokers, so it was important to us that to be able to avoid smokers on the ship. Most of the ship, both interior and exterior, is non-smoking, so we were generally able to breathe freely. One disappointment though was that smoking was allowed in the terrace outside the Compass Rose Bar. The Compass Rose had entertainment consisting of a lovely singing duo. We tried on several occasions to listen to them, but the Compass Rose had open doors which allowed cigar and cigarette smoke from the terrace to permeate the room. The smoke also reached the pool and the outdoors Candles restaurant. We finally gave up on going to that area of the ship. There are other designated smoking areas on the ship. I’m hoping Windstar Cruises will change their policy and prohibit smoking on the Compass Rose terrace, since smoking there affects so much of what otherwise would be a very enjoyable section of the ship. Shore excursions We found that the information provided by the Windsurf crew about port excursions was somewhat disappointing. For example, we were told that on the island of Les Saintes we could get a taxi to Pain de Sucre beach. Arriving at Les Saintes, we went to the small tourist information building and were told that there was only one taxi on the island and no other tourist mode of transportation except for scooters (and vans for people staying at hotels). Not having a driving license, scooters weren’t an option for us. We ended up at a dive center in town, where the friendly owners tried hard to contact the one taxi driver as well as finding an alternative mode of transportation, to no avail. Searching for a way to Pain de Sucre beach took us a couple of hours, by which time we had no time for the long walk it would have taken us to get to other beaches. Had we not been misinformed by Windsurf staff about the availability of taxis, we would have made other plans. I should mention that Windsurf offered a guided tour to the Pain de Sucre beach at a cost of $135 per person, which we found to be ridiculously overpriced. One great aspect of travelling with Windstar Cruises is that, due to their ability to go to the smaller ports, there aren’t the huge crowds of tourists who get off the large cruise liners. If Windstar Cruises lowered the prices of their shore excursions and kept their shore excursion agents more informed about the various port activities, it would most likely make a big difference in the enjoyment of these beautiful Caribbean islands. Water sports platform On the one day we planned to use the water sports platform, the currents were dangerous so we weren’t able to use it. On days when it was safe and the water sports equipment was out, Windsurf guests looked like they were having a great time using it. General impressions Very friendly and efficient service. Our fellow guests were friendly and the overall atmosphere was laid back and extremely relaxing. Making new friends was easy, especially when choosing to eat meals at a table with multi-seating. However, for those who want to be less social, there are always places to enjoy this wonderful voyage in privacy, as well as the choice to eat at a table for one or two people. Travelling on a ship with sails was a unique and magical experience. We’re looking forward to our next Windstar vacation!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it ... Read More
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it easy to get to the higher deck levels of the ship. I never experienced a time when I couldn't use an elevator. The ship is clean, tidy and well-maintained and our cabin was nice and with a well thought out design. Liked the overhead Hansgrohe shower head and handheld spray. It had different water pressure settings and patterns. The L'Occitane bath products provided were Lemon Verbana scented. The bed was comfortable, not too hard or too soft. Chairs in the cabin and on the above decks do not have good lower back support though. Our cabin steward was efficient and friendly. There was always a basket of fresh fruit in the cabin and two heart-shaped chocolate candies and also fresh ice in the ice bucket every night with the turndown service. The BBQ on the beach on St. Lucia and also the second BBQ on the ship were highlights of the trip. They did that well! Even had a live steel drum band on the beach. Occasionally the captain of the ship would make an announcement. He sounded just like the British actor Hugh Grant and had a nice sense of humor. We only booked one ship excursion and felt it was worthwhile money spent. Most of the islands we explored a bit on our own. The island itinerary on this trip was St. Maarten, Dominca, St. Lucia, Les Saintes (French West Indies), Nevis and St.Kitts. Nevis was the least interesting island. Taxi drivers there will hound you to use their services. We decided to just go back to the ship instead. Another couple that did take a taxi ride on the island were disappointed and told us it wasn't worth it. Most of the time we had to use a tender boat to get onto an island. It was easy and not scary and the crew is always ready to lend a helping hand to make getting on and off the tender boat simple. The Torment of Love pastries (filled with either coconut, banana or guava) and sold in baskets on the main street of Les Saintes, were delightful and also the French ice cream flavors ( guava, cassis, etc.) Most islands accepted US dollars but I had to pay with euros on Les Saintes. There is an Atm machine in town where you can obtain euro currency. There were several first-run movies available daily on your cabin tv and also a dvd and book library on the ship. I did purchase some wifi bandwidth to use with my ipad. The internet connection worked pretty well in the cabin and had an worked even better on a higher level of the ship. The food on the ship was good but not memorable. There wasn't a meal that made me wish I could eat it again. The dinner service every night was more elaborate and formal than breakfast or lunch. It would be nice if they would offer an optional informal dining venue for dinner other than room service. All in all, this was a nice trip!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus ... Read More
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus (climbing walls, mini golf, basketball, etc) not to mention the 8000 people on the ship. I was pointed in the direction of the Windstar Windsurf. We took two boys ages 17 and 22. The cruise was over Christmas so we figured (and were right) that there would be other young adults on the ship. It was fantastic, from the room (not as big as the last ship) to the food to the crew. I don't have enough time to leave a complete review but we couldn't have been happier. The kids even had a great time. We went swimming and playing in the ocean off the back of the ship every day, something we haven't ever had the opportunity to do before. This was like being on our own private yacht. It's a small ship with only 300 passengers and if you wanted to find a corner and read or listen to music it wasn't a issue. You are going to want to take advantage of the 24 hour open bridge policy, it's fascinating. Everything we did was special and we would do it again and will. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose ... Read More
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose Windstar bc of the itinerary and wanted to give Windstar a try. The highs were the great ports and the marina off the back of the ship. Even though our weather was not great at the beginning of the cruise, it improved and we enjoyed wonderful days in Virgin Gorda, St. Barts and Tortola. The sailing was VERY rocky, but we were not affected by it. The room was good and very well appointed- especially the bathroom which has a very useful lay-out. Our cabin steward could not have been nicer and more helpful. Breakfast and Lunch in the Veranda were perfect- many choices, attentive service and no problem finding a place to sit. The lows outnumbered the highs. There was a big corporate organized group onboard- inferred that it was basically a wine and dine and thank you for media advertising. We had read on previous reviews that if a large group is onboard, it can greatly affect the cruise for others. This is very true. They took over Candles one night, and also hosted a special dinner around the aft pool one evening which precluded anyone else from enjoying that area for the evening. They would congregate at the bars in large, loud groups making it awkward for others to be there. The group was at least 60 people, and on a cruise of 300 people, this constitutes a large group. Smoking was another issue. We are not vigilantly against smoking, but it was overwhelming at times around the pool. Smoking areas were on one side of the ship- we just think that with such a small pool area, maybe move it somewhere else? The crew was friendly and we definitely encountered many who were to be commended ( we always turn in commendation forms as we know that they are important to the crew). But, it seemed as if they were not well trained or were new to Windsurf. Our dinners lasted at least 2.5 hours due to either a slow kitchen or slow wait staff. We would have liked for the Veranda to be open as a buffet in the evenings- dinners became a drawn out affair that we did not look forward to. Room Service was always an option, but we did not come on Windsurf to eat in our room. Th final straw was the fact that crew members (mainly casino and "cadets"- crew members in training) basically took over the Marina and the water trampoline in port and especially at the beach picnic on Prickly Pear. We have never encountered this on any cruise before- we realize that the crew works hard, but shouldn't those amenities be reserved for guests first? Comparing Windstar to comparable lines with comparable prices, Windstar falls short in the area of service. With the exception of our cabin steward, we did not feel like we received the service that we expected. We do not expect to be waited on hand and foot, but with such a strong crew to guest ratio, thought it would be a better experience. To be honest, with the exception of turning in favorable commendations for crew members, we do not post reviews such as this. You have to take all reviews at face value, and everyone has their own opinion. But, there were just too many things about our experience on Windsurf that were not favorable. They truly have the potential to be amazing, and their itineraries are great. We would try them again, but would go into it with lowered expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I hate to sound Californian, but the Windsurf energies were just great. The cabin was basic on deck 2 but great crisp sheets and a design that is not cramped. Windsurf was so small (300 passengers) meant that the tenders are frequent and ... Read More
I hate to sound Californian, but the Windsurf energies were just great. The cabin was basic on deck 2 but great crisp sheets and a design that is not cramped. Windsurf was so small (300 passengers) meant that the tenders are frequent and easy. The BVIs were non-traditional ports, and I don't like large crowds. The on-board BBQ was awesome and now 2 years later I can say the experience as a whole was super, although no individual island or cruise person was memorable. The crew was kind. I thought I wrote a review 2 years ago but seeing that none is in my CruiseCritic history I guess better late than never. More recently I took a Celebrity cruise with an upscale "Aqua" cabin with balcony, but the Windstar experience beat it hands down. Took a nonstop flight from DC and arrived the morning of the cruise - a short taxi ride to the port and easy boarding which I believe was $20 including tip. After the cruise we had a 1/2 day before the flight and rented a car which allowed us a tour of both the French and Dutch sides of St, Martin including a stop at some beach bar whose name I forget - fun and relaxing. And left the day of arrival. We made a full circle - and stopped in a local supermarket. SInce there are only 300 passengers disembarkation is quick. Another plus of this cruise was we spent about 8 hours under sail - which is aesthetically pleasing, We will be back on Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.1
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment N/A 3.5
Service 3.5 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.1

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