4 St. Thomas Windstar Wind Spirit Cruise Reviews

My husband and I just got back from a seven day cruise on Wind Star. We had not been on the ship before but have cruised on Oceania and Royal Caribbean. As with any cruise there is the good and the bad. The good news was the cabin ... Read More
My husband and I just got back from a seven day cruise on Wind Star. We had not been on the ship before but have cruised on Oceania and Royal Caribbean. As with any cruise there is the good and the bad. The good news was the cabin was nice. The bathrooms were clean and the shower had two heads. The bose ipod speaker was great and the plasma tv was nice. The only really bad thing about the room was that it was so dark! We asked our room attendant about some holes above the mirror in the room where it looked as though there had been a light above. He informed us that yes, there had been a light, but the lights had all been removed because they got too hot. Regardless, lighting was minimal. The bad news is that the ship was rusting away. The outside of the ship and the outside deck was dirty and covered in rust. The plastic lounge chairs had not had a good scrub down in I don't know how long. The sails were very dingy looking. The captain informed us that they would be working on the ship during their two week transatlantic, but it is going to take a lot more than two weeks to get the ship looking good. The service was not even comparable to the Oceania ship. The food during dinner wasn't bad, but we sat outside one night where they grill for you separately and unfortunately the dinner was bad. The lunch buffet was pretty much the same every day, but the salads were good and the breakfast wasn't bad. The other good thing about the ship is because there are only 150 passengers on board, you easily meet one another and everyone seemed to be friendly and happy. My last comment has to do with the noise on board during the early hours. We were on the second level and I heard the first level was worse. Whenever they were preparing to ready the tenders or whatever they were doing, there was this loud noise which would awaken you at 6:00 am. This happened about 2-3 times during the cruise. Anyway, I've never been in a cabin that was noisy, but maybe my cabin was in the wrong spot, which was in the middle of the deck. I enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of the places before, so didn't really do any tours except for a snorkel and the Americas Cup Race, which were good. Oh, the only other thing was that the itinerary stated that you arrive back in St. Thomas at 6:00 am, but we found out later that it was 7:00 am. We had booked a flight for 7:45. I will give great credit to the crew, as they allowed us to leave right at 7:00 and we did manage to get on our flight. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This is a belated review of our marvelous Wind Spirit Caribbean voyage round trip out of St. Thomas in January 2008. It was a wonderful travel experience in all respects. I traveled with my sister, who flew to St. Thomas from her ... Read More
This is a belated review of our marvelous Wind Spirit Caribbean voyage round trip out of St. Thomas in January 2008. It was a wonderful travel experience in all respects. I traveled with my sister, who flew to St. Thomas from her home in Hawaii; I live on Whidbey Island, WA, and flew out of Seattle. We arrived two days before our cruise began in order to have a rest after our long red-eye flights. We stayed at The Green Iguana, a small hotel up on the hill next to Blackbeard's Castle. It was a fine place to stay, from which you can walk into downtown Charlotte Amalie; it's an easy walk DOWN the "99 Steps", much harder back UP those many steps! On our extra day between arrival at STT and our departure on Wind Spirit, we booked a private tour with T.J.'s Terrific Tours, and as it happened we had Thomas's entire safari-type open air vehicle to ourselves. This was great for us (but not so great for his budget, so we tipped him more than the cost of the tour) as he would show us exactly what we wanted to see, and skip what did not interest us. He picked us up at The Green Iguana and returned us there at the end. At our request, he also stopped at a grocery store frequented by locals to buy wine to take on board with us. He's affable and knowledgeable, highly recommended. The Wind Spirit was as wonderful as her sister ship, Wind Star, whose Costa Rica cruise I had loved a year earlier. The ship's size is wonderful, the passenger mix interesting, the food fine, the crew marvelous, and the itinerary is lovely. Our weather was perfect as well, always a big plus! For photos with captions and descriptions, done as a "photo story", go to http://fredasphotos1.shutterfly.com and go down the page until you come to "Caribbean on Wind Spirit"; click on that, then click on "Slideshow" to see photos in large size with captions and explanations. This will give you a feel for the ship, the trip, and the islands we visited, and will tell you more than I can do with words in this report (remembering that a picture is worth a thousand words!). It's a good idea when booking this cruise to plan on one or two hotel overnights in St. Thomas before the cruise, and an additional night after the cruise. This gives you a day for exploring St. Thomas, which is most enjoyable, and also, on the day the ship returns to Charlotte Amalie, saves you from finding yourself off the ship with your luggage, wondering how to amuse yourself until it's time to go to the airport. We solved it by taxiing to the Marriott for a leisurely lunch, after asking the concierge to keep our bags until it was time to go to the airport for our late afternoon flights. If you have a late morning flight, no problem, then just go to the airport from the ship. But it seems most flights out of STT leave mid- to late afternoon. My plan for all future cruises is to have one or two overnights before the cruise (important to guard against your incoming flight being delayed, which could result in your missing your cruise), and one or two more after the cruise to avoid the problem of being stuck toting your luggage around between disembarkation and time for your flight. Other specific recommendations from our experience: TJ's Terrific Tours on St. Thomas; Joyce Prince's private tour on St. Maarten/St. Martin; the ship's excursion to The Baths (it's very difficult to get there on your own, and it's a highlight site to visit); White Bay Beach for snorkeling on Yost Van Dyke. St. Barths was a favorite port, especially Shell Beach, an easy walk from the dock and a nice place for swimming and a GRAND place for hunting through the infinite number of shells on that beach, huge swathes of shells, sometimes 2 feet deep. Spend a lot of time on deck with those glorious sails! Enjoy the crew, the sights, the sun, the sand, the cuisine, all of it! I loved the experience so much that I'm booked on Wind Surf's southbound itinerary out of Barbados for January 2009, and as well, a cruise leaving just a week from today, on November 1 2008, from Barcelona to Lisbon. As you can see, I love Windstar ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We posted this last year but trip advisor didn't have a "cruise review". I happened to still have this saved, so I thought I'd try to save other travelers from wasting money! The caribbean is beautiful and we'd ... Read More
We posted this last year but trip advisor didn't have a "cruise review". I happened to still have this saved, so I thought I'd try to save other travelers from wasting money! The caribbean is beautiful and we'd definitely try another cruise there, but this time on Royal Caribbean (see my Mexico Monarch of the Seas review).... We went on a one week St. Thomas cruise to 7 other little islands in the Caribbean in Feb. 2007. Overall: 1.5 stars/D-. The only reason it even got 1.5/D- rating is because the Caribbean is so beautiful- great destination (but the beauty of the destination has nothing to do w/ Windstar...you can do this on your own w/ either a "regular" big cruise or all-inclusive land vacation. If you want to save yourself a big waste of your hard earned money (an all inclusive land package would've been half the cost if not less), read this. Also, during our trip they announced Windstar had been sold (which helps explain the crappy management on board). The current owner is Holland America and they will complete the sale in April 2007. TIP: don't buy the "whole travel package" from Windstar...big rip off. Better off taking taxi ($5-10 vs. Windstar's $64), and booking your own airline. They market themselves as "180 degrees from ordinary" and 5 star/first class. Their brochure shows everything under the sun...but unless the only vacation you've ever been on has been a $29 special to Vegas, you will be sorely disappointed when you get on board (others on our cruise said the same thing). We asked some other cruisers how this compared vs. a "regular big cruise line" and they reacted this way "Uh, well...dead silence"...enough said. I just wish I would've known this before wasting so much money. We wanted to try a cruise so badly and decided to start w/ "the best" which is what they proclaimed to be...not so!! Read on. Airport customs at St. Thomas: great; very efficient & short both ways. Workers: Since they nickel & dime you for everything ($2.50 for a can of soda + 15% service charge on every single drink purchase + a daily tip fee of $11 per day PER PASSENGER )...unless you are buying booze or soda, hard to get them to wait on you (which makes sense since the workers don't get "paid" for serving the free drinks which is only tea and water). Water sports are supposed to be all included, but we found that they didn't really have any water sports except for one kayak & a little boat thing (and snorkeling gear)...all weather depending of course. You can only check out the snorkeling gear when they say so which is typically 7-8 am- so much for sleeping in (whatever happened to focusing on customers?) However, the sports platform is pretty cool whenever they were open (this is where all this stuff takes place). We got to swim in the ocean from the boat...but they were only open for a few hours twice in a one week cruise. Very different from Sandals (where we typically go for vacation), where everything is truly all inclusive. Rooms: Standard, very small (it's a cruise ship so we weren't surprised). But there's nothing 5 star about it. Equivalent to Days Inn. You get two HARD twin beds pushed together. Very uncomfortable. Bathrooms (both in cabin & throughout ship) are like being in a port-o-potty...no ventilation...smells horrible!! Restaurants: The only "saving grace". Gourmet like- the 2 restaurants are great. You won't be disappointed w/ the food...if you can manage to get in a meal...since the dining hours are TERRIBLE! e.g.,. one day, b'fast was 7-9 am (hello, you're on vacation), lunch was 1-2:30, and dinners are always 7:30-9:30. It was so sad, people are literally waiting for the doors to open to get their lunch & dinner. Many of us on board were disappointed and irritated at the extreme limited dining hours. WARNING: don't do the shore excursions. Alot of pple. on our cruise said what a rip off they were (overpriced, misleading descriptions). We paid $260 for a catamaran snorkeling trip and saw one fish! Another couple paid $400 for a "beach escapade" to be pampered at a 5 star resort and they came back irritated at having spent so much for "swimming at a hotel and getting a crappy lunch"... BTW, at a land all inclusive vacation, you get snorkeling, catamaran, etc. all w/o any add'l costs! They NICKEL & DIME you for EVERYTHING! Food is the only thing included (when you can get food). They had a special "Captains Sailaway" and "Beach BBQ" event and charged for all drinks...we figure that the average cabin paid an extra $1000-$2000 on excursions and beverages. From what I hear from the "big cruises" at least you can eat 24 hrs/ and get free sodas. They have NO amenities. The "pool" & jacuzzi...seats 4-5 people (yes I'm talking about the pool). They're not heated. Jacuzzi is like warm bath water at best. If more than a few pple. got in the pool or jacuzzi, forget about using it...no room for you. Nothing to do on the ship unless you're on the excursion b/c the ports they take you to have nothing to do. One port we went to was literally you get dropped off and walk up & down a sandy road w/ 2-3 stores and that's it...so you go back on board and there's nothing to do b/c they don't feed you til 1pm! Their "wind spa" that they brag about is in reality a teeny, tiny cabin w/ a massage bed in a small room. We did get a massage to try and recover from the plane ride, and it was good, but she doesn't massage your arms or front of your legs (all other 50 min massages I've gotten is full body). Fitness center has one treadmill (the other one broken), one elliptical & stairmaster & 2 bikes, & some weights. But if you're a man taller than 5'7 forget about using them, the ceilings are so low you'll hit your head. Management: TERRIBLE! But since they've sold the company, it doesn't surprise me. We brought up a couple of issues and they didn't resolve anything. Basically, even reasonable customer requests are ignored and you're told "this is our policy"... I kid you not, they will only replace your shampoo if they have proof that it's used up EMPTY and in your trash can (so I guess they rummage thru guests' trash cans, which is kind of scary). One day, since they didn't replenish our toiletries b/c our existing set wasn't 100% empty (and I had left it in the shower, instead of the trash), I had to call 3 times and beg them for more shampoo so I could was the gritty sand out of my hair! Yes, this is a true experience. Geez, even Holiday Inn & Motel 6 gives free shampoo!! The best comparison I can make is that they're like the Northwest Airlines of cruises (yes, quite an insult). NWA charges you extra if you want to sit next to your travelling companion. Here, they charge for every little thing. And on the last day, once they have gotten all your money they turn off the air conditioner and 150 passengers are sweating in the lobby going thru customs for over 1 hr! Overall, I guess it's to each his/her own. Some pple on board thought this was the greatest vaca. ever...go figure. But there were enough "negative" comments on board that I felt I should post this to warn other travellers. I would give anything to get my money back. The only saving grace was that the destination/scenery of the Caribbean is so gorgeous, and perfect weather nearly everyday (but again, this has nothing to do w/ Windstar)...you could get the exact same thing on a big cruiseline for about 1/3 of what we paid...also, to be fair...the food was very good (but it's comparable to Sandals resorts, which includes all beverages (non & alcoholic) and all activities. I wish Trip Advisor had some reviews on Windstar B4 we booked, so I decided to be the first. Anyone who is a discerning traveller who is accustomed to really nice vacations will be very disappointed by this. We don't mind paying more, if we actually get something for it. This is so overpriced, that even if they offered me $1,000-$2,000 off a future cruise w/ them, I wouldn't do it. Do yourself a favor...just book any all inclusive vacation....you'll pay less and get more w/ better service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Having cruised a number of times before (10+) and having cruised on Wind Star previously (two times), we approach this review with a non-biased and (hopefully) open mind. We made our reservations through Cruises of Distinction which ... Read More
Having cruised a number of times before (10+) and having cruised on Wind Star previously (two times), we approach this review with a non-biased and (hopefully) open mind. We made our reservations through Cruises of Distinction which doesn't really have an interactive web site, but, rather, relies on telephone service. They are great to work with and have rates that match or beat any we could find on the internet. We were with two other couples, one of whom was on our Wind Star cruise in Tahiti and the other who had never cruised on Wind Star previously. We all flew into St. Thomas one day ahead of the cruise and stayed at The Green Iguana. The cruise departed from Crown Bay March 11, 2006, and took us to St. John, St. Martin, St. Barths, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda. Our embarkation at 3:00 pm on Saturday was typical Wind Star ... smooth, personal and enjoyable (the Captain was even there to greet us). All the cabins on the Wind Star and Wind Spirit, save the owner's cabin, are identical in layout and appointments. We were pleasantly surprised at the changes that have been made since our last Wind Star cruise ... flat screen T.V., comfortable beds, DVD/CD players, and even iPod docking stations (you can check out a pre-programmed iPod at the desk). We immediately noticed that our itinerary had changed somewhat so that our arrival and departure times on some of the islands was shortened considerably. Many of the excursions originally offered had been eliminated with no explanation given so this meant that we would be "on our own" more than anticipated if we didn't choose to participate in the one or two excursions offered. We arrived in St. John on Sunday which wasn't conducive to shopping as most stores are closed; however, we had opted for a bus tour and snorkeling so that didn't bother us. Our tour guide was interesting enough, but he felt he had to stop at every rock and tree to explain something or another ... to the point where the passengers revolted when he tried to cut our snorkeling short with "just one more stop". We managed to get in about an hour's worth of snorkeling at Trunk Bay which was very nice but I'm not sure I'd put it on the "world's top 10 beach list" touted by National Geographic. It's a National Park so it's well maintained and has a concession stand, nice restrooms and a great shower area (even though the water was cold). Our St. Maarten tour was actually quite nice. The bus took us around the entire island and our guide gave us insight into the pros and cons of living on both the French side (St. Martin) and Dutch side (St. Maarten) of the island (I think I'd take the French side). On St. Barths, my husband and I opted for the "Independent Explorer" which gave us a car and a map and sent us on our way. St. Barths has a number of steep, windy roads and many interesting beaches. We didn't spend the entire five hours driving and swimming (the water was a little rough that day), but we did enjoy seeing the island. (However, for the price, I wouldn't do it again.) Having spent time on Tortola during a previous trip, we weren't thrilled with the prospect of driving around yet again. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find we were anchoring at the West End, just off Sopers Hole. We strolled through the charming shops (not many of them) and enjoyed a few Painkillers at Pusser's. Had anchored off Jost Van Dyke on a previous small ship sailing but never made in on shore. Found out that I hadn't missed a thing! Foxy's was the "highlight", and that isn't saying much. We had also previously visited (and stayed on) Virgin Gorda but we took the tour/snorkeling trip with the rest of our friends anyway ... and fell in love with Virgin Gorda all over again. The Baths were magnificent (calm waters so we were able to swim and snorkel) and the area around the Baths had been cleaned up considerably. We have always found the food on our Wind Star cruises to be far better than any of the other cruises we've taken. The wait room staff was friendly and very attentive (and, yes, we were in Daddy's area). We did bring our own wine and were quite thankful since we found that the prices on the wine list had increased significantly since our last Wind Star cruise (Note: we paid a $10 corkage fee for each bottle). Our cabin was fine; however, this was the first time I had booked a cabin on the "B" deck and I probably won't do it again. We encountered some pretty severe weather one night and the splashing of the waves against the hull was quite loud. (Not to mention our friends who were in the cabin next to us were a bit unnerved by the fact you could look out your porthole and actually be "under" water at times.) Now for the few cons ... and I am writing a letter to Wind Star. - We were disappointed in the docking time changes and the elimination of most of the tours. - The drinks were a bit overpriced. $5.00 for a can of coke was "over the top". - The meager excursions were overpriced and, for the most part, boring. It would be better if they just offered buses to take you to and from popular snorkeling areas. - The much-touted "swim platform" at the back of the ship is rarely ever lowered due to "weather" conditions. In fact, on all three of our trips on these ships, it was only lowered once during each cruise. - We were never really under sail until the last day when a substitute Captain came on board while our regular Captain attended a meeting offshore. Being under sail on a Wind Star is a wonderful experience and, I'm convinced, our substitute Captain was less "leery" of turning off the engines and letting this magnificent ship "do her thing". - The disembarkation was horrid. During our Tahitian cruise, we were able to eat a leisurely breakfast and disembark at around 10:00 am. This cruise we were told to have our bags ready by 6:00 am and present ourselves to the customs officials by 6:15 am. Even though our bags were ready to go the night before, this meant getting up by 5:00 am to get ready to go. Breakfast was rushed and there was no service to speak of. We had to chase down servers to get coffee and, except for a few exceptions, there wasn't a smile or "good morning" to be had. - But, to top it off, we found out, by talking to several passengers standing around waiting for taxis, that there had been an outbreak of an intestinal virus on board that left a number of passengers ill and one cabin "quarantined". Luckily, none of our party became ill but, had we known there was a threat, you can be sure that we would have been more diligent in taking our Airborne and vitamins. Will we take another Wind Star cruise? Probably, but there are many other ships to try and other places to see. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
Wind Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 2.5 4.4
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family N/A 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.5 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.8
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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