14 Windstar Star Legend Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

The Star Legend is truly a small ship. If you like a ship with a lot of options and an active nightlife this is not your ship. If you prefer a laid back personal experience this is a great ship.The maximum it holds is 212 people, so you ... Read More
The Star Legend is truly a small ship. If you like a ship with a lot of options and an active nightlife this is not your ship. If you prefer a laid back personal experience this is a great ship.The maximum it holds is 212 people, so you will soon recognize every face and get to know a lot of the crew. It is small enough that you will rarely use the elevators. Embarkation and debarkation could not be simpler. It was fast and efficient. You are even escorted to your cabin ( a rarity these days). The cabins are good size with a sitting area and sleeping area. A rarity for ships is that have walk in closets. Our cabin came with a french balcony. Most come with just a window. There are no inside cabins. The only drawback to the cabins is not enough electric outlets. There are two dining areas on the ship the Veranda and the main restaurant (Amphora A). The veranda is where breakfast and lunch are served. They are buffet with a la carte options. The buffet options are a bit limited, but the a la carte options make up for it. At night the veranda becomes the reservation only steak house (called Candles), the food was decent, but it does not feel like an elegant dining experience. On the other hand the main restaurant is excellent. They have about five different options per night and often with a fresh catch.They also have chicken breast, salmon, and NY strip steak always available.One night they do a deck barbeque, there are plenty of options and the food is high quality, but on that night there are no other dining rooms open. An area known as the yacht club has a full service coffee bar and small sandwiches from 6:00-6:00, very nice touch. Evenings are quiet on the ship, there are two duos located in different spots on board, but there are no actual shows. Three of the nights the staff entertains and it is entertaining. There is a small casino with two tables and about 12 slot machines. By 11:00 at latest most of the ship is in their cabins.Daytime entertainment is also limited. However, a very nice touch is water sports platform. Everyday of the trip we anchored. Once we do the back of the ship opens up,and all sorts of water sports become available. It Includes water skiing, paddle boats, and kayaks, as well as a floating trampoline for sun bathing. As far as excursions go, they were overpriced, but most cruise lines are so this was no different.You are better off setting them up your self. Overall it was a great experience, and I would definitely sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Our main reason for selecting the Windstar Star Legend was the itinerary of generally smaller out of the way ports. We wanted to visit some small islands that we have not had the chance to explore during previous trips and cruises. ... Read More
Our main reason for selecting the Windstar Star Legend was the itinerary of generally smaller out of the way ports. We wanted to visit some small islands that we have not had the chance to explore during previous trips and cruises. Admittedly we were the folks who had previously loved voyages on larger cruise ships and enjoyed looking down from our lofty perch at the dock at the poor souls who were forced to be on that smaller boat. We will probably try to avoid the larger ships with their hoards of people, long lines, and impersonal service in the future. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Star Legend and wouldn't hesitate to return. We liked that there was no "sea day" and that in some cases the ship stayed in port until late in the evening giving us plenty of opportunity to enjoy our land time. Embarkation: smooth as butter with no queues or hassles. Within moments we were dropping off our things in the cabins and heading out to explore San Juan. Cabins: We booked 2 rooms (227/225) for our family of four. They were adjoined by a common hallway with a door directly off the main central passage. The suites were roomy with nice beds & bedding, large windows, marble baths with quality towels, and a walk in closet. Our steward Yukti did a great job. Everything on the ship is within close proximity and easy to find. The cabins lack the electrical outlets for charging devices. Tip: bring a multi outlet surge protector or USB hub. Also: the unlimited laundry package is amazing. We travelled light and enjoyed fresh clothes during the entire cruise. This is one of the best perks I have ever seen offered on any cruise. Food in the main dining room was excellent. We enjoyed professional and friendly service during every meal. Hayrettin, the restaurant manager, went out of his way on multiple occasions to do anything he could to make our dining experience as fantastic as possible. We enjoyed an excellent breakfast al fresco everyday on the back of the boat. They had an excellent buffet, omelet station, order off the menu choices. We mostly had dinner in main dining room with no awkward set dining time. One evening we did dine at Candles and another at the on deck BBQ party which was excellent. All soft drinks were included which was very nice as our kids often can rack up a bill with juices and sodas. As foodies we appreciated Chef Nilesh who turned out a variety of dishes that was a cut above what we had experienced on other larger boats. We particularly enjoyed the Indian cuisine options that was appeared on a regular basis. On one evening the Chef produced a special favorite indian dish for our son--this never would have happened on a larger boat. While room service is available around the clock there are periods of time when food is not available in venues throughout the boat. Typical cruise ship buffets where around the clock food is served are not found on the Legend. Entertainment on the boat is limited. This is fine for us but if you are looking for a show, comedian or magician every night do not book this cruise. There are 2 duos that frequently appear at various events throughout the ship. Nothing spectacular. We did enjoy the crew talent show. Evening entertainment may be the weakest point of the cruise. Having an open bridge that you can visit was great. The club and deck above the bridge are nice places to hang out and watch as the boat pulls in or out of port. Ports: We loved all of the ports, but particularly Culebra, Jost Van Dyke, and St. Barts. We weren't able to tender at Montserrat due to high seas. On our previous Carnival cruise this lead to an extra day being trapped on the sea. The captain made arrangements to head over to St. Kitts (which happened to be having carnival that day). We appreciated this quick reaction and had a great day at the beach there. Excursions we loved: 12 Metre Sailing in St. Maarten, and the Cruise to Anegada in Virgin Gorda. 2 of our excursions (ATV on Montserrat and Zodiac on JVD were cancelled). The cancelled excursions were a pain. I wish that Windstar was a bit more helpful with concierge type services arranging other activities when their excursions were abruptly cancelled. Fitness/Spa: The spa is small and we enjoyed massages, facials and hair services. The gym is small and limited. My wife loved the daily pilates/yoga classes. One thing I normally enjoy on a cruise is running on deck in the morning. There really isn't a place to do that on the Legend. Note: Internet service is absolutely horrible. It is expensive and far worse than the horrible connectivity than I have experienced on other cruises. This may have been a function of the location of our rooms. If you need to be connected during the trip don't even think about coming on this cruise. I might consider bringing a Sat phone with data service if I really had to be connected. It might be cheaper and much more reliable. We did have US cell phone service in San Juan, Culebra, and for parts of Jost Van Dyke. Also the does move a bit more than the larger boats. Christmas winds in the caribbean often lead to bumpy cruising during the late months of December and early January. While the boat did move around none in our party became motion sick. It you are hyper prone to motion sickness then stick to one of the behemoths. Overall I recommend this cruise for its itinerary and excellent service. We are hooked on the small boat experience and may look to taking their cruises near Tahiti or Iceland. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Wanted to visit numerous islands and picked this one due to the inclusion of St. Bart's. Unfortunately, the captain decided to skip St. Bart's and go to another island instead. The lower on the staff totem poll, the better the ... Read More
Wanted to visit numerous islands and picked this one due to the inclusion of St. Bart's. Unfortunately, the captain decided to skip St. Bart's and go to another island instead. The lower on the staff totem poll, the better the attitude. Everyone wearing an officer costume seemed to have a poor attitude or just did not really care. Never seen anything like that before. The small ship was expected to be a plus, with only 200 guests, but the captain chose to run slowly on only one engine and the ship pitched all night. Many guests got seasick and Dramamine was the number one discussion on deck. Food was sometimes good and sometimes not so great. Windstar has two charges which are not known before boarding. First, no wine or alcohol is included - it is $650 per cabin - usually we expect to upgrade to premiums for a fee. No problem with that, but should be known. 2nd, there is an $84 per person additional charge for "tips". That is just additional ticket charge and does not change the pay of servicers. We tipped maids, waiters and other help - unfortunately most guests think the tip charge is really tipping. To me that is just Windstar being dishonest. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Cruise was supposed to depart from San Juan on 12/9 but the cruise line didn't file proper paperwork with port authority so ship went to St Marteen. Passengers were told to meet at Sheraton hotel in San Juan and wait for shuttle to ... Read More
Cruise was supposed to depart from San Juan on 12/9 but the cruise line didn't file proper paperwork with port authority so ship went to St Marteen. Passengers were told to meet at Sheraton hotel in San Juan and wait for shuttle to airport where two planes were chartered to take us to St. Marteen. A cruise that was supposed to embark at 6pm was clearly not going to start for many hours. The cruise line gave us all a $150 credit for the inconvenience - which was completely inadequate for the late start, extra flight and confusion. Charter on Miami Air wasn't prepared for us when we arrived. long lines in airport - which seemed ridiculous since Windstar knew in advance who was on the plane THEY chartered. Plane left for St. Marteen late and the two people from Windstar did nothing. We arrived in St. Marteen and amateur hour continued. We arrived at cruise terminal and NO ONE from Windstar met the the bus - so the bus driver kept us on board. By now it was after 10pm and we were sitting on a bus in a closed cruise terminal. We finally boarded and filled out paperwork. Why didn't they give us paperwork in San Juan? We were captive for 8 hours already (boarding was supposed to open at 1pm) - but now we were doing routine paperwork. We got to our cabin around 11pm. We went to bar and learned that drinks were free - but there was no announcement at check in. Give free drinks - tell no one to reduce expense. Great strategy! They extended free drinks into 2nd day of cruise with limited communication. On second day we attend Captain's briefing. He announced that this was his last cruise before vacation.......clearly his mind was elsewhere and his "I'm going home" attitude spilled onto crew. There was a persistent and often shocking lack of attention to detail in every aspect of service. I blame the Captain and his senior staff. Around 2am we wondered why the ship was still in port and learned that they were waiting for emergency batteries. Why didn't Windstar communicate anything to the passengers? Was there a mechanical issue with ship all along - and the paperwork story was just a smoke screen? the change in embarkation port shifted the first two days of the itinerary. They made little effort to tell people "excursions planned for Sunday are now on Saturday and excursions for Saturday are now on Sunday".....no announcements. No changes to the tickets. Nothing. So Saturday was a scramble since we didn't sail until well after 3am after having got on board very later. On Sunday, we went to Antigua a day later than planned and learned that basically 90% of everything on port was closed on Sunday. So this stop was a complete waste of time. We went to the watersports dock one day and floated behind ship on water mat. A Zodiac from the ship was hauling in a broken sail boat and apparently didn't see us in the water. The Zodiac ran over the mat and spilled my wife and I off the mat - which was very dangerous to say the least. Room service was comical. After 3 wrong orders we gave up ordering things in the room. Casino had exactly one blackjack table and one poker table.....and exactly one dealer. So basically one game at a time. There was also supposed to be a Roulette wheel but there wasn't one. Slots and one table game at a time......the ship again failed to plan. The spa booked up very quickly - again, very few workers. To their credit, the spa didn't spend the entire treatment trying to sell lotions and potions like on most cruise lines. The ship directory in room was obsolete. None of the phone numbers were correct - so we had to call operator. Leaving ship was just as bad. We were told to be at gangway at 7:30am. They let us off at 7:50am with no explanation of delay. They didn't have enough shuttles to airport (mind you, we all had to declare where we were going on Wednesday so they had an accurate count of the people going to airport) So we stood outside an hour. Then, when the shuttle arrived it couldn't fit everyone's luggage in back - so they filled the aisle with bags. Good thing there wasn't an accident because no one could get to door through the stack of bags. I am sure that I am leaving off lots of details. For a supposedly "high end" private yacht we got impression that they never sailed before. There was limited planning and poor execution in every aspect of service. We won't sail Windstar again Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was the same cruise that dsyoung422 was on, so many comments are similar. The cruise was supposed to start in San Juan and we flew down the night before as independent travelers. I guess that was the first mistake as the first we ... Read More
This was the same cruise that dsyoung422 was on, so many comments are similar. The cruise was supposed to start in San Juan and we flew down the night before as independent travelers. I guess that was the first mistake as the first we knew that the itinerary had changed was when we arrived at Muelle1 (Pier #1) in San Juan at 1:10pm (boarding was at 1:00pm) and there was NO SHIP! I called the main office in Seattle who told me there was a paperwork problem and to go to the Sheraton in Old San Juan to meet some Windstar reps. The kind taxi driver took us about 50 yards to that Sheraton, where the bellmen told him the Windstar people had left and were probably at Muelle 4. He then drove us over to Muelle 4 where two local Windstar people handed us a sheet of paper explaining the change and claiming that the "Vacation Planner team in Seattle contacted all guests and their travel agents to advise of this change"...well, we found out on returning home that they had sent out an email the previous day when we were already in transit. They should know that communication has not occurred until confirmation has been received and when traveling not everyone has access to email. Anyway, the two reps at Muelle 4 told us to go to the Sheraton Convention Center (not the one Seattle had just directed us to) to arrange to get on one of the two charter planes to Sint Maarten. The long suffering taxi driver did just that and we found the Windstar reps in a little office. They advised that we were assigned to the 7:30pm charter and the bus for that would leave at 4:30pm. I expressed my concern at the lack of communication, to which the response was to say that "Mister Ulf" would be along shortly and to take it up with him. Mister Ulf (apparently the customer service manager for the cruise, Ulf Rademaker) duly arrived and when one of the other prospective passengers expressed concern that we would not be on board until very late and whether there were any plans for providing dinner told them "Don't worry, we won't let you go to bed hungry" and proceeded to bury his nose in a laptop. Windstar had provided a "hospitality room", but this had obviously been set up for lunch for the first charter plane and by 2:15pm consisted of unrefrigerated cold cuts and stale bread...really sanitary. When 4:30 rolled around, a scrum formed to get on the one overloaded minibus, leaving some to be abandoned waiting for a replacement minibus. Checkin was not bad to the Miami Air charter, but proceeded very slowly. Then there was a 2-hour wait for the departure time during which most of the passengers found something to eat at their own expense at the airport. Meanwhile Mister Ulf arrived in the departure area and spent his time in conversation with other crew members, avoiding the passengers seemingly at all costs. Arrival and Immigration in Sint Maarten were surprisingly rapid and we were then loaded on another bus to get to the ship. After a long scenic trip across the island, we arrived at the cruise terminal to find that there was nobody to meet us and escort us in and down the pier. Someone finally turned up and escorted us to the ship where we had to go through the usual check-in, which was overloaded as everyone was arriving at once. The customary safety drill was then held, and by the time that was over it was 11:00pm. I asked reception if there was any food available, and they told us that the dining room would be open for another 15 minutes. It was in the dining room that we found out that drinks were being comped for the rest of the day...more good communication, they could have told everyone that at check-in! Now we were finally on board. The itinerary was supposed to be San Juan - Culebra - St Barths - Montserrat - St Maarten - Jost Van Dyke - Virgin Gorda - San Juan. What we got was St Maarten - St Barths - Antigua - Montserrat - St Maarten (again) - Jost Van Dyke - Virgin Gorda - San Juan. Missing Culebra was a disappointment but understandable in the circumstances and moving St Barths from Sunday to Saturday was probably a plus as most of it is closed on a Sunday. Ports in order visited: St Barths - we have always like this island and Saturday was better than Sunday would have been. You are tendered ashore here and we noticed that the tender crews seemed poorly skilled at handling the twin-engined tenders compared to other small ships we have been on. They appeared to be being trained by one of the officers, but did not seem to be paying much attention. The drinks were still being comped on this day...not that any notice was given other than one brief announcement. Antigua - added because of the changed itinerary. This was a docked location, so no tender issues. On a previous visit, we had been anchored off Falmouth near Nelson's Dockyard in the south of the island and that would have been much nicer and less exposed to the incessant "marketing" at the cruise pier in St Johns. Montserrat - If you don't take a tour here (we didn't) this was pretty boring. Sint Maarten - (again) - tied up to the pier, so access is good. The toilets on the ship went out of action for about an hour, but they appeared to be pumping out the black water tanks at the time, so we assumed that was the reason (more on this later). Sint Maarten seems to be all about shopping. Jost Van Dyke - not much to do here as a tender access port. Unfortunately, the toilets went out of action again for the whole ship at about 10:00am. After lunch, they were still out of action and when my wife asked if there was any progress or projected fix was told about 2 more hours. She remarked that it might be a good idea to have an announcement, the reception staff commented that that was a decision "for the stripes"...amazingly within a few minutes the captain made an announcement that it would be about 2 more hours (it was a bit less in the end)...but why was it not announced right up front instead of just locking all the public access toilets? More non-communication. Virgin Gorda - This is the beach party location that is also used by the older Windstar ships and by Sea Dream. The food at the beach was good, but the 200+ passengers seemed to overload the facilities and the sand fleas and mosquitoes were voracious. Unfortunately, the tender service did not extend to the Bitter End Yacht Club. San Juan - Disembarkation was delayed, presumably by customs/immigration..again no announcements as to what was going on. We were on a late flight, but would have been pretty anxious if we had been on the first batch of passengers with an early flight. Food on the whole was OK, but appeared to "benefit' from the Indian chef's native foods - almost all the menus had a curry flavor choice included. Breakfasts were OK, but the setup of the buffet is not conducive to good flow of people. Lunch is quite limited and the one time I ordered a hamburger, I found out after 25 minutes that the grill was broken and it would take another 10 minutes to arrive...again communicate. The main dining room was pleasant and we had no troubles with being assigned a 2-spot if we wanted it. Wine service was slow (understaffed) and not that helpful. The one night of the deck BBQ was rained out and set up in the dining room instead...the best food of the cruise! We eat in the alternative restaurant (Candles) one night; this is set up as a steakhouse and tries to serve that way. The food was good, but the service was amateurish, with long waits between the main plate arriving and sauces and sides appearing...and one of the sides appeared wrong and cold. Entertainment was two different singing acts, both quite pleasant and one very accomplished (Vice Versa) and to our taste. Service was in general mediocre - not for want of trying by the staff who really wanted to please, but they just seemed to be lacking in supervision, and the supervisors appeared to be taking more time to preen around in their uniforms than pay attention to the actions of their staffs. We had booked on this Windstar (we had been on Wind Spirit many years before) to see how it compares to SeaDream, acknowledging the lower price and fewer inclusions. Unfortunately, the lower price point does not in our minds compensate for the poor performance of the company in communication and supervision, so, absent a compelling itinerary we are unlikely to be back. It's a shame as the ship is a nice size, the cabin comfortable and the low-key entertainment was a pleasant addition. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our first Windstar non-sailing experience and I came back impressed with the week in the Caribbean. With snow making travel more than a little inconvenient for many passengers, it was hard not to be excited at arriving in San ... Read More
This was our first Windstar non-sailing experience and I came back impressed with the week in the Caribbean. With snow making travel more than a little inconvenient for many passengers, it was hard not to be excited at arriving in San Juan and being on the Star Legend an hour after deplaning. We were in our cabin about 15 minutes after arriving at the port terminal with a painless embarkation process. Reviews are accurate that the cabins are much larger than on the WindSurf and it was nice having the extra bathroom, closet and relaxation space. We were happy to see several crew members from previous trips and experienced wonderful service from the eager bar and wait staff. It doesn't take long for the crew to acknowledge you by name and engage you on a daily basis. It's probably one of the things we have found to enjoy most about the line; service and recognition are important and it makes for a very satisfying experience. A quick note about the liquor package. I was wondering if I should order it and a previous guest made a great point about it on a previous cruise, His comment was something like this: " Do you like a Mimosa/screwdriver/bloody sometimes during breakfast? Maybe a beer or glass of wine at lunch? How about a Pina Colada or Mojito in the afternoon by the pool (and if you fall asleep reading, ordering another one because the ice melted and your beverage is watery)? How about Chardonnay with your salad or fish and Cabarnet or Pinot if it pairs well with the rest of your dinner? An after dinner cordial listening to the band at the Star Bar? You broke even around dinner time. The ability to change your mind if you didn't like the "drink of the day" on deck and reverted to your old stand by, the opportunity to try a number of different wines both red and white and not worry about it was great. I know there were a few nights I tried several different wines with dinner having a little of each before settling on the one that I wanted. No problem...there was always a new glass and a new opportunity to find something I liked that I didn't know about. The drink package allowed me to do that. Oh, and the mini bar is included, too. The key was not about getting obliterated on the cruise but about having the opportunity to try a number of different things that I normally wouldn't. The food was very good and we had another beautiful evening at Candles on an evening off of Jost Van Dike. Got to see Montserrat, an island not on many itineraries. The volcanic devastation is remarkable and was an experience for those who took one the tours available from the ship or, as we did, just hiring a taxi at the pier and arranging it yourself. One other island was new to us this year, Culebra, off of Puerto Rico. We didn't do too much but the turtle tour was a big hit, except for some who likely weren't really physically up to it. With some wave action, it was difficult for some moving around. All in all, another great Windstar experience. The crew and quality make the difference. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We just returned home form our 4th Windstar cruise. This was our first on the newly fitted power yacht, Star Legend. I must admit, we were a bit scared by the early reviews of the ship from the summer of 2015 as the ship was newly launched ... Read More
We just returned home form our 4th Windstar cruise. This was our first on the newly fitted power yacht, Star Legend. I must admit, we were a bit scared by the early reviews of the ship from the summer of 2015 as the ship was newly launched into the Windsatr fleet. We went with an open mind and the hope after several "shakedown" cruises, the ship would have it down pat.......That they did! We had the best time on the spacious ship. My wife and I could not decide which ship we liked more...the new power Star Legend or the sail Wind Surf. It was refreshing to be on a newly fitted boat. Yes, the ship is 25 years old, yet it did not feel that way. All the public rooms were fresh and full of nice amenities. The cabins were all much larger than on the Wind Surf . Food was good. My wife just started a restricted gluten free regimen and they were happy to prepare whatever she wanted! The service was fantastic! As repeaters, we remembered several staff members , who remembered us ( or made us feel that way) Indeed, the 170 passengers were well taken care of by the 150 crew. The swim deck is great and the staff there was fun and so helpful. We took a few excursions...you must go to the buried city Plymouth on Monserratt. It was so eerie and interesting. The America's Cup yacht sailing experience was one of the best excursions we've ever taken. My only minor complaint was there was no great "band" in the Compass Rose lounge. It is such a great space with great service (Rod) and was pretty quiet at night. In closing, Windstar has done a nice job getting this ship to deliver a great experience! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have cruised with sea dream 3x and Seabourn twice, so our comparison is to those, not larger ships. We were actually on this ship (star legend) when it was Seabourn legend. A few quick points: - the food is good. Not outstanding ... Read More
We have cruised with sea dream 3x and Seabourn twice, so our comparison is to those, not larger ships. We were actually on this ship (star legend) when it was Seabourn legend. A few quick points: - the food is good. Not outstanding but good overall. Breakfast was great, lunch was ok, dinner was generally good. Drining room was too bright however. - buying the alcohol package is ok but perhaps not worth it. It did not include champagne at all or many of the things we would have preferred. We are not heavy drinkers but like nice wine with dinner and a good cordial. - they are understaffed for beverage service at dinner. We often had to wait through the first course to get a glass of wine. The wine steward was always frenzied trying to catch up. - they are not doing a great job of cleaning. There was a film of scum in their tiny pool (and they took out the old pool that Seabourn had and replaced it with a sitting area no one ever used. We miss the original pool. The cabins are decently clean but yet we found hair that was not ours (dark) in the shower when we arrived. - the average passenger age was older than expected (maybe mid 70's) and I think that factored into their decision to skip two ports based on waves. However sea dream was smaller and on similar itinerary at the same time and made both ports we skipped. We missed the best two - st Bart's and st Martin. - entertainment is two duos. Splash was good but the other one (double malt) belongs in a lounge somewhere. Too dreary for the ship. - there were no snacks when you got back from an excursion. There was no welcome feeling at all. -staff seemed young and not as well trained as the other two lines mentioned. -overall, it gets an average from us and we are not likely to try windstar again. It failed a little in every area when compared to sea dream and Seabourn. And the price is not differ when you add the alcohol package and yet it offered much less. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our 3rd Windstar cruise, the other two on the Wind Surf. I was hooked on Windstar after the 1st cruise. Love the casual, familiar atmosphere of these ships and especially the low passenger count. On this trip, we had 175 ... Read More
This was our 3rd Windstar cruise, the other two on the Wind Surf. I was hooked on Windstar after the 1st cruise. Love the casual, familiar atmosphere of these ships and especially the low passenger count. On this trip, we had 175 passengers(not quite full) and 150 crew. We read some of the bad reviews on the Dec 27th trip and were concerned a little before we left about what to expect. What we got was exactly as expected - plus a little more. Here are specific points to address those negative reviews I read: 1. Some complained about the beds. My understanding is all the mattresses were new in May when they completely remodeled the interior of the ship. I slept like a baby every night and even pulled the sheets back to look at the mattress. Did not look old to me. I am okay with foam pillows. The sheets I had were were not pilled and very silky. 2. Someone complained about not going to the Bitter End in Virgin Gorda. I spoke with them about this and was told the Bitter End was not allowing Windstar to tender there during their peak season. The Bitter End wanted to cater to their regular crowd. Not the ships fault and tenders could resume in February sometime. 3. Someone complained about having to take the Windstar excursion to visit the Baths. Again, I was told that Virgin Gorda was not actually a stop on this trip, rather Prickly Pear was the official stop. Therefore, they did not have privileges to tender to Virgin Gorda other than for a local controlled tour. 4. Food was great overall. Some things better than others, of course, but as good as expected. 5. Don't come on a Windstar cruise if you are not prepared for stairs on the ship. The ship is small and stairs are the easiest way to get around. 6. Someone complained about not embarking in Phillipsburg as said it was because Windstar didn't want to pay to dock in the big ports. I am not sure, but the specific reason we like Windstar is that you tender in to lesser know places and uncrowded ports. You know the stops before you book, so that should not be a surprise and none of these islands are so big that a 30 minute cab ride cannot get you around and the port stops are usually all day long, so there should be time. 7. Tender problems - that did happen on the very last day at Prickly Pear. One tender did go out of service. I realize that is a serious problem and I Windstar knows that as well and is doing whatever they must to get it remedied. The all-suite rooms are spacious, with walk-in closets. Ours had a bathtub, which is typical. They do have some rooms where the bathtub has been replaced with a big shower and if you need that, make sure you ask about that when you pick your room. I don't think there are very many. The service was exceptional throughout the ship. Repeat customers were given a cocktail party and greeted warmly upon arrival, but special treatment. Used the spa for massage and facial and very happy with that. Workout room had weights, bikes, and treadmills- a couple of each - but not huge. Like the extra deck space you get without the sails. Overall, no reason for us not to want to go on another Windstar cruise again - probably on one the Star Legend or one of its sister ships preferred just because of the stateroom. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Windstar Cruise on Star Legend - Jan 2-9, 2016 - Embarkation San Juan Puerto Rico Quick Review Great Cruise! I did not hear any complaints. Food was wonderful. There were 178 passengers and 150 crew and the service was great, very ... Read More
Windstar Cruise on Star Legend - Jan 2-9, 2016 - Embarkation San Juan Puerto Rico Quick Review Great Cruise! I did not hear any complaints. Food was wonderful. There were 178 passengers and 150 crew and the service was great, very friendly staff. Ports were all accessed by tender and the tender service was fine, minimal waiting times. We were the only cruise ship in the ports we stopped at. Snorkeling was not great but the beaches were beautiful and the water was warm. The yacht had a large water sports platform where you could swim or kayak when the ship was at anchor. The gym was well equipped. The entertainment consisted of 2 musical duos which were very good. Dress: "resort casual", no jackets needed for men; pants and a collared shirt for dinner for men. Arranging your own excursions was difficult but not impossible. Weather was typical for the Caribbean in January, high in the low 80's, partly cloudy, nice breezes, occasional showers. We found no bike riding on any of the islands. The yacht is older but was in great shape after its refurbishment in 2015. Detailed Review This was our first cruise on a Windstar yacht. We are veterans of about 15 cruises, ocean and river, large ships and small vessels. Embarkation Pier 4 (sometimes they are at Pier 1) in Old San Juan We boarded the yacht at 1pm. Lunch was served till 4. The yacht left San Juan at 10pm. Windstar’s sail-away song is “Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis, an amazing instrumental you hear every time the yacht leaves port. Staterooms We were in 228, an Ocean View Category 2, no balcony. The room was 275 square feet and felt quite large. It included a nice sitting area with a couch, coffee table and 2 chairs. We had a refrigerator with free bottled water and sodas and beer & wine for purchase. The bar in the room had wine, beer & soda glasses, a wine opener, a bottle opener, and an ice bucket. You can bring 2 bottles of wine on board with you per room per cruise. We opened a bottle of wine in the room and brought glasses of wine with us to dinner, no problem. Other people brought wine to the table and the staff opened them with no corkage fee. Our room had a walk-in closet and plenty of storage space. The room only had only one 110 volt plug. You'll likely need a power strip to charge all your electronics. There also was a 220 plug, so you could bring a converter to double your power supply. The yacht seems set up for Europe more than America. The TV channels had mostly European coverage, lots of soccer, no American sports coverage. You got BBC, Fox News and MSNCB, but no CNN. A Blu-Ray DVD player was included with the flat screen TV and the library had a hundred or so DVDs to check out at no charge. A Bose blue tooth speaker is in the room to play music from your phone or tablet. Internet Coverage The ship sells a $250 per week package per internet device. Windstar tells you the coverage is spotty. I got limited cell data service with T-Mobil in some of the islands but it was also weak. I could get emails and sports scores in some ports, but no downloading a newspaper or ESPN 3 to your device. No service for my wife’s Verizon phone once we left San Juan. Verizon customers may want to buy Verizon’s International Package, which is a good idea if you want to stay connected, especially if you are setting up independent tours. GPS Coverage I like to know where I am when I am touring another country, so I downloaded an App called Google Offline Maps (free) and the maps of the countries we would be visiting when I was on WiFi. Then, when you have no cell service, you open that Country’s map and your GPS feature on your phone will locate you on the map and track you all day, which is great if you are hiking or on a tour. Note The ship supplies you with beach towels, ponchos and snorkeling gear for your excursions. Robes and slippers are in your room. Water bottles are in the room. The bathrooms have good shampoo & conditioners. You Should Bring Good water shoes with a decent sole, not the $6 water slippers, that you can use to walk on hard & soft surfaces and in the water as some days you'll be walking & swimming in the same shoes. A day bag or backpack to tote your stuff to the beach, which are some distance from the tender pier Water proof camera would be very useful, other wise put your camera or phone in a zip lock bag or two. 3 bathing suits, they take a while to dry in your room Drinks to purchase You could purchase an unlimited drink & wine package for $108 per cabin per day. The price was the same even if only one person in the room was drinking. Single beers were $6 or $7, wines were $8.50 to $11. Cocktails were $8 to $11. Bottles of wine were in the $30 to $40 range. Windstar adds 15% gratuity to all of the above prices. The wine selection was good. Dining Dinner was served in Amphora on deck 3 from 7-9pm, open seating. The food was very good and the service was very good. Breakfast and lunch were served on Deck 7 aft, with inside and outside seating. You could order off the menu or choose from the buffet or do both. This restaurant was converted in a specialty restaurant for dinner, no extra charge, you need to book in the morning to eat there. They had a different menu and you could sit outside. The Yacht Club on Deck 8 forward had coffee, sandwiches and treats throughout the day which came in handy when you came in late from an excursion. Water Sports Deck Weather permitting, the crews lowers a huge stern platform where you can kayak, swim, paddle board, go on a short ride in an inflatable motor boat around the harbor. They put some floating devices in the water for you to hang onto when swimming as the current is sometimes strong. It's a good place to cool off quickly, just jump in! Spa/Gym - Deck 7 forward All the usual spa services were offered. Great gym for a small boat - open 24 hours. There are 6 cardio machines and quite a few individual weight machines, not one of those combo weight machines that you see in many small gyms. There were free weights, matts and space for yoga or stretching. Ports 1. Culebra - Sunday. 8-5pm We thought we could rent bikes by the ferry landing - wrong! No bike shop, and if there was the streets were not wide enough to ride a bike with all the traffic. We just walked around, not much to see. We should have done the snorkeling tour. Shipmates reported it as a good excursion. There were no independent tours being sold on land that we could find. Most people took the $5 p/p each way shuttle to the Flamingo Beach which was beautiful, but there were no restrooms or chairs. So bring 2 towels each. Good day to kayak off the boat's swim deck. 2. St. Bart's - Monday 8am to 10pm We did the sailing catamaran snorkeling excursion. The sailing was great, the water was clear and warm, the snorkeling was fair. Back to the boat for lunch, then back to St Bart's to explore the town of Gustavia. Lots of mega-yachts in harbor. No independent tour operators that we could find. The harbor side walkway is pleasant to walk around. The rest of the streets were very steep and full of traffic. The shops were "high end" and French. 3. Little Bay Montserrat - Tuesday 8 to 5pm We found a private tour for $40/person for 4 people. It lasted 5 hours, great trip. Our guide was David Lee who also runs the Hilltop Restaurant with his wife. David doesn't do many tours, but his son does. I don't have his contact info. Very interesting tour of the volcano devastated island. The ship was selling a similar tour for $139 p/p. There were taxi drivers at the pier available to take you on tours. For the really good hikers, there was a hilly up and down trail with Rendevous Beach waiting on the other end where there was snorkeling - bring your own gear from the boat. Good shoes are a must. The hike was moderate to strenuous and took about 1 hour each way. 4. Marigot-St Martin Wednesday 8 to 10pm Very busy island, way too much traffic for the available roadway network, very few places to safely ride a bicycle although there was a German bicycle group trying to do so. Beautiful bays and beaches. The north half is run by the French, the south half is run by the Dutch. There is no border crossing, just a sign along the road. The small cruise ships like the Star Legend come into Marigot on the French side, while the big cruise ships use the pier in Philipsburg on the Dutch side, about an hour away in the heavy traffic. We did the America's Cup Sailboat racing event down in Philipsburg. There were 3 Americas Cup boats with about 18 people on each boat and we raced an America's Cup windward/leeward course after proper training. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Theses boats are really fast! About half the passengers helped with the sailing, the other half just hung on and enjoyed the ride. We did not get wet although you could if the seas were higher. They stored your bags to keep them dry during the sail. 5. Jost Van Dyke BVI Thursday 8 to Midnight We did the helicopter flight which was quite a thrill. We saw the whole island from the helicopter. The snorkeling on this island was not good due to choppy seas and the lack of coral. Not a lot to do on this island. Foxy' was a good place to buy logo gear including rash guards for snorkeling or taking the high speed boat ride the next day. 6. Virgin Gorda - BVI - Friday 8 to 5pm Great Final Day We took the power boat ride excursion offered by Windstar, it was great. It was a 5 hour tour in a high speed inflatable type host. We stopped at a flock of pink Flamingos in a shallow area along with a swim in an area of stacked conch shells. The water was 3' deep. We stopped at islands of the rich & famous. The trip lasted 5 hours. The ship arranged a "private beach" day on Prickly Pear Island, which was an amazing day from 10-4. Beach bbq, games, all the boats and water toys, beach chairs with huge umbrellas. We got there about 1:30 after our boat ride, still in time for the BBQ. Disembarkation Very smooth, we off the boat by 8:30 and at the airport by 9:00am. You have to go thru customs at the pier, which was very quick. Cab fare was $25. Do not buy the ship transfers which cost triple that and not as convenient. The Rainforest tour from the yacht with drop off at the airport might be worthwhile, although you could probably find a cab driver to do that at the pier in San Juan. There were plenty of drivers who spoke English, although they do drive fast. The TSA line at the airport was very long, causing people to be late for flights, so get there early. We had TSA pre-check, so we breezed thru in 5 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my second Windstar cruise and it did not live up to the first. Two of us sailed on the Windsurf in March and I was very excited to bring my whole family (11 of us) on the Star Legend for Christmas week. It was disappointing. ... Read More
This was my second Windstar cruise and it did not live up to the first. Two of us sailed on the Windsurf in March and I was very excited to bring my whole family (11 of us) on the Star Legend for Christmas week. It was disappointing. The ship should not have been put into service after being purchased until all of the systems were upgraded. One tender broke down and it took us almost 2 hours to get to shore. The sports deck was inoperative much of the time. The staff was embarrassed and apologetic, but little from the Captain. The least the company could have done was buy us a drink. We received inconsistent information regularly. As an example, at one bar we were told that the ship was out of limes and then in the dining room there was no problem getting a lime for our drink. We took a shore excursion and upon checking was told that we did not need our tickets. Upon reaching shore, the tour company needed our tickets. Small things - but consistent. I rarely saw any of the officers, especially the captain. I would have hoped that they would have been more accessible, given some of the problems. Some of the Windstar basics were in place - excellent service from the cabin, bar and dining room staff; roomy staterooms; and well maintained public spaces. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Hello – DH and I recently sailed the December 19 – 26 itinerary of the Star Legend. This was our first cruise on Windstar, having sailed previously with Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. We have sailed ... Read More
Hello – DH and I recently sailed the December 19 – 26 itinerary of the Star Legend. This was our first cruise on Windstar, having sailed previously with Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. We have sailed the most with Celebrity (maybe 10 times in various cabins up to and including Aqua Class) and twice on the PG in French Polynesia. We are in our 40s/50s and enjoy active pursuits including scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing and other water sports. We also enjoy the food and beverage aspect of cruising. The main reason Celebrity became our favorite line 15 or so years ago is its reputation for excellent food. Sadly, the food quality on all of the lines has apparently diminished (in our experience and based on the many comments on Cruise Critic). Since observations about food are very objective, this review will not go into that in any depth. We found the food on the Legend good but with room for improvement. Many of my other comments have already been discussed in recent reviews, so I will try to cover new territory or answer questions that I have seen discussed on the boards recently. We flew directly to San Juan the day of the cruise, arriving about 12:30 pm, and went straight to the ship docked at the Old San Juan pier (not the Pan American pier where the big ships dock). Some information said that we couldn’t board before 5:00 pm but other info said 1:00 pm, so we gave it a try and were one of the first couples to board the ship when it opened shortly after 1:00. The taxi was about $25 with 4 pieces of luggage. Our stateroom 106 was on the fourth floor and it was beautiful – and although it was in the cheapest price category, it was the largest cabin we have ever had on a ship. Other people have discussed whether or not Windstar is a “luxury” line, so without taking a position on that, I can say that our cabin was truly luxurious to us. The appointments in the cabin exceeded the appointments in the rest of the ship IMO. Others have mentioned the firm mattresses and pillows. I did request and receive a softer pillow, and I was comfortable on the mattress. There were plenty of nice, wooden hangers – with normal hooks that can be lifted off and moved around – in the walk-in closet. There was a full-sized bathtub with a Grohe hand shower and brackets to attach it at two different heights. I didn’t have any problem with the shower and thought the water pressure and consistency of water temperature were perfect. We brought on two bottles of Champagne in our checked luggage and we bought a third at a wine store in Old San Juan later that afternoon. The policy is vague – whether it is 2 bottles per stateroom or 2 bottles per person – but in San Juan they are pretty flexible and didn’t even look at the one bottle that we were obviously carrying on. The cabins include a refrigerator and a selection of wine and bar glassware, including Champagne glasses, so we often enjoyed a glass of Champagne in our luxurious stateroom before dinner. Our attempts at room service (one breakfast and one snack after we missed lunch) were not satisfactory but we did not go hungry. The muster drill was at 4:15 pm. (I don’t know what happened to the passengers who obeyed the instructions to board after 5:00.) That was followed by the typical spa raffle at 5:00. DH and I were both happy with the spa treatments we booked. I will give a shout out to Genevieve who gave the best pedicure I have ever had and in addition was lovely and interesting. We walked around the ship to familiarize ourselves, and I can report that the library was well stocked for a ship of this size. We didn’t borrow any books but our visit resulted in meeting a nice couple that we socialized with at various times during the week. Entertainment consisted of two musical duos – an acoustic duo who played mostly indoors and the livelier “Splash” who played mostly at the outdoor bar. Both were good, but Tori, the female singer of “Splash,” fulfilled the dynamic role on the ship that is normally filled by a cruise director (talking between songs about their experiences in port, narrating the sailaways, engaging with the crew and passengers nearby, etc.). There was an organized presentation each evening about the next day’s port. We had purchased the laundry package at $109 per cabin for a 7-night itinerary, and we used it daily. It does not include dry cleaning but everything (including a linen shirt that was labeled dry clean only) came back fine. If you put the bag out by 9:00 am the clothes will be back by 5:00 pm the same day. We considered that a nice luxury and even sent bathing suits. Unfortunately, we had a blustery, rainy week but we didn’t let it spoil our otherwise nice vacation. The first stop being a good example. It was probably my favorite port even though we were subject to two downpours. I overheard both crew and passengers (just one of each) complaining that this was not a good port, so it depends what you are looking for. Culebra This was maybe the third sailing of this itinerary for the Star Legend which started sailing for Windstar in May. We had read unfortunate reports about the tenders before we left home. For those to whom this may be news, the Star Legend only docks in San Juan. All of the other ports are accessed by tenders that ferry the passengers from the ship to a dock on the island. The Legend is equipped with two tenders that are stored inside the rear of the ship. They were apparently designed to fit tightly inside that space and it appears they are the same age as the ship, or approximately 25 years old. They do not appear to have been maintained as well as the Legend herself. There were numerous problems with the tenders in the two sailings prior to ours and some problems on our sailing too. We were able to reach all of the advertised ports, unlike some of the prior sailings, however we consider ourselves lucky, and it is the tender situation alone that will prevent us from booking another Windstar cruise in the near future. We suspect and hope that management is squeezing the last drops of utility from those tenders and will purchase replacements in the near future. We were really looking forward to Culebra, which had been cancelled the previous week due to the tender problems, so we were happy upon boarding to see that Culebra was on the agenda for the first stop the next day. Culebra is the home of Flamenco Beach which is on most lists of best beaches so we were planning a self-guided beach day. I still recommend this. There is no need to rent a car or book an excursion. It is a small island with numerous taxi buses that cruise around looking for passengers. We paid $3 pp each way to Flamenco Beach and back. The taxis hold about 15 people so if they are not full the drivers call out to people on the road to and from the beach and in the little town (and this was the Sunday before Christmas). The beach is advertised as walking distance but it would be a pretty long and boring walk. The beach itself has restrooms and concessions, as well as life guards and picnic tables. We didn’t buy any food but my pina colada was about $7 and I think DH’s beer was $4. Two different downpours found us huddling with strangers under covered picnic tables but we enjoyed that. We did not enjoy the sand flies or similar biting creatures that left our legs covered in itchy red dots for 3 or 4 days. I highly recommend bug repellent for this location. The itching was so bad that both DH and I were awakened by it during the night and had to slather on more hydrocortisone. On about the third day I paid a visit to the ship’s doctor for alcohol swabs. He was nice and helpful, and there was no charge for a little thing like that. That evening was the welcome reception by the captain, so this may be a good time to let you know that our captain was James Griffiths. I believe he just came on for this cruise and had not captained the previous versions of this itinerary. Some other reviewers mentioned that they didn’t see enough of the officers, but I saw Captain Griffiths out and about plenty. We don’t seek out the officers or try to sit at the Captain’s table so maybe it is a matter of perception. It was a small ship, and I certainly saw officers. There is an open bridge policy (we did not visit) so anyone wanting to see the officers could certainly do so. There was also a galley tour but we did not take that either. Captain Griffiths was very personable during the welcome reception and I saw (and overheard) him eating meals with and chatting with passengers in a pleasant way. If he had joined us for a meal I would have welcomed him, but we were normally seated at a table for two. St Barth’s The first night we “sailed” to St. Barth’s which was probably the longest sailing of the week so that brings me to the motion. There was some. We don’t usually get seasick and we didn’t this time either. For those who needed it, there was a supply of meclizine out on the Reception desk for the taking. Since we were at anchor every day, the only motoring was at night and the motion was enough to wake us a number of times. We were in the lowest category and in the forward category so there were probably just a few less rocky cabins closer to the center of the ship. I don’t think I would pay extra to be in that low, center category if we had it to do over again, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be any higher either. I took extra sleeping aides (more than my usual) after the first night and they helped. Although when a crew member said they don’t take sleeping pills so they can respond in the event of an emergency, and then we had the news of the grounding of the Star Pride in Panama, I began to think that I should reassess my coping strategy of ear plugs, eye mask and two different OTC sleeping aides. We were happy to see St. Barth’s but it is now off the checklist. We rented a car and drove the whole island. We thought we might windsurf at a place known for windsurfing but it didn’t look interesting so we kept going. The tender made it back to the ship but just barely. The engine cut off 5 or 6 times during the pretty short trip. It was interesting to see all of the super yachts in the harbor. Montserrat We were advised the previous evening that our excursion was cancelled. This was the only Windstar excursion that we booked, and apparently we were the only two who booked it, so they cancelled due to lack of participation. It was a “Coastal Boat Tour” down the coast to see the volcano and the volcano damage from the water. After the full day in the rental car on St. Barth’s we did not have any interest in a bus tour so we took advantage of this morning to have our spa treatments. After lunch we took the tender to the island and walked around a little. There is not much to see where the ship tenders on the north side of the island but we wanted to support the tourism efforts by purchasing some souvenirs and drinks. Then we returned to the ship and were happy that the captain did a sail-by along the coast to see as much as we could through the clouds and fog. It is a desolate place. St. Martin The ship anchors in the harbor at Marigot, on the French side of the island. We have been to both the Dutch and French sides so for this day we had reserved a rental car to go to a windsurfing beach. On a previous cruise we did the America’s Cup excursion and we do recommend that as great fun. Unfortunately, our plans this day were disrupted by the tender problems. I think they were only running one tender this morning due to problems with the second tender. That led to back-ups of people trying to get off the ship. That was compounded by them using the one working tender to ferry groceries onto the ship. Then the tender ran out of fuel and had to be refueled – a “Keystone Cops” exercise of trying one side and then another to see how far the hose would reach - before we were finally able to make it to the island, at which time the rental car agency was closed and there were no cars available at the other agencies. We had waited for our tender in the Lounge for 1.5 hours – from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. When we finally got to the island and had no car we had a drink in the port area and went back to the ship for lunch and for our first (and only) use of the watersports platform. You can probably piece this together from other reviews if you are really interested but this day may have been the only day on this cruise that the watersports platform was open. Even on this day they only allowed swimming as the wind and current were too great for sailing, kayaking, and waterskiing. We heard various explanations for the closures on other days including wind, current and mechanical issues. The mechanical issue was not new as they supposedly encountered it in Europe also. Something about the hinge where the platform raises to the back of the boat to close it before they get underway. We were told that at some point in Europe it didn’t close and posed enough of a safety hazard that an itinerary was impacted. But we had a nice time frolicking in the warm water and lingering on the large foam floats that they fasten to the back, and we would not have had that opportunity if the tenders had been running properly! So all in all a nice day. (I am even shopping for a foam float like that to keep on our boat.) That evening (Wednesday) was the outdoor BBQ, which I understand is a Windstar highlight. It did not disappoint. The rain held off until almost the very end. In addition to the elaborate spread, including grilled lobster tails by the truck full, the evening featured music by both duos as well as music by various crew members, and then more music and dancing – specifically line dancing to many popular songs (think YMCA). It reminded me a little of the “crazy signs” that are a unique element of Club Med vacations. Both officers and crew led the dancing. Another shoutout to Tori of the duo “Splash” for acting as emcee. Jost Van Dyke We were here Christmas Eve and it was different than I had imagined. White Bay was very busy, very crowded with people and boats. I knew it was a favorite of cruisers but based on webcams that I had watched a few years ago it was nothing like this. Oh well, checked this off the checklist too. We were lucky to find a nice, quiet place that I will mention since we probably won’t be going back any time soon. The ship anchors in Great Harbor, and from the tender pier you can walk to the right to Foxy’s Beach Bar (closest) or walk up a hill (8 minutes) to the left and see White Bay spreading out below you. White Bay is the home of the famous Soggy Dollar Bar, but we stopped at the first beach bar we came to while walking, Ivan’s No Stress Bar, and had a lovely, clean beach with chairs for the price of a drink. We could have stayed there all day but wanted to see what all the fuss was about farther up the beach so after a couple of drinks at Ivan’s we walked over to Gertrude’s (beyond Soggy Dollar) for lunch. We took a taxi back over the hill to Foxy’s ($5 pp) for a souvenir and then went back to the ship. Foxy’s was dead by then because it was Christmas Eve. The ship was running Zodiac rides to Foxy’s that evening until 11:30 pm (not the tenders but a rubber Zodiac from the ship), but we didn’t feel the need to go back out. We had dinner in the main restaurant where we ate every night. We ate in Veranda for breakfast and lunch and were happy to have an alternative for dinner. Since this was Christmas Eve they had a traditional turkey meal, and although this probably won’t benefit anyone else at this point, I can report that the Christmas turkey was the best of any Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey that I have had on a ship (maybe off a ship too). Virgin Gorda (Windstar “Private Event”) This was not a stop at Virgin Gorda, but a stop at an island across from the Bitter End Yacht Club on the far end of Virgin Gorda, where Windstar presumably leased space for a private event. We have been to Virgin Gorda before so we didn’t mind, but I don’t think there was a way to get there if you wanted to go (other than taking the excursion offered to the Baths on the opposite end of Virgin Gorda that left at 7:30 am). This was a nice day, punctuated by two blustery downpours that had us hunkering under and holding onto the large beach umbrellas that Windstar brings onshore for the guests. We came over on one of the first tenders and did not have a hard time getting a shady spot for the day. We took advantage of snorkeling and kayaking, and also lounging on those floating foam pads. The lunch was adequate but not as elaborate as the Wednesday BBQ. Windstar offered a welcome rum punch but further libations had to be signed for. I understand the beach volleyball was exciting because we had a lot of young people onboard with their parents for Christmas. For anyone familiar with the private island experience of Paul Gauguin on Taha’a, this was not as elaborate but still a nice day. Disembarkation in San Juan There was no problem with our invoice so we needed only to pick-up our passports at reception and exit the ship about 8:30 am, last call for disembarkation. Veranda was open for breakfast until 8:30. There were no lines or crowds. We caught a taxi to the airport just outside the ship ($25 total vs $35 pp for a transfer). The only problem was the long wait at the airport and a flight that was delayed. We took advantage of the Global Lounge through Priority Pass, but the food was horrible so I bought snacks in the airport. Drinks were free and they were make-them-yourself. An alternative strategy, which we did on a prior cruise, is to check your bags at a restaurant in Old San Juan for the day and explore the city. There are a couple places that do this for a few dollars per bag. In hindsight this would have been better than the airport lounge, but arriving early meant we were through check-in in a flash. Hope this helps others considering the same itinerary! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Hello! My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Caribbean cruise aboard the Star Legend. We're fairly experienced cruisers, having been on a total of about 8 others, all on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. In fact, we've run ... Read More
Hello! My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Caribbean cruise aboard the Star Legend. We're fairly experienced cruisers, having been on a total of about 8 others, all on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. In fact, we've run out of itineraries on the big ships. It was either try a smaller line or start repeating - hence our first Windstar cruise. A bit about us. We're late thirty/early forty-somethings who, while not really athletes, tend to be active do-ers on our vacations. We like exploring, drinking cocktails and collecting experiences, not t-shirts. For the sake of space, I'm not going to discuss ports here. Instead, I'm going to focus on the cruise, ship and staff. Here are some notes about our experience. First impressions: Wow. From our hotel on the beach in the Condado area of San Juan to our stateroom took about 45 minutes. I brought 3 bottles of wine aboard in my carry-on (for two people) and no eyebrows were raised. The gangway was truly a gangway, complete with wooden stairs to climb. I didn't ask, as it wasn't relevant to us, but I would assume there must be a provision in place for those with mobility issues as the stairs are a bit narrow and steep. In less than 5 minutes we'd been handed a glass of complimentary rum punch, checked in and traded our passports for room keys. We were then greeted by a steward who walked us to our room and opened the door for us. Inside we found a plate of fresh food, a vase of orchids, and...SPACE. A full sitting area with a couch, coffee table and two chairs separated by draw curtains from a sleeping area with a bed, end tables and dressing vanity. There was a backlit cabinet of various wine and cocktail glasses that contained a concealed mini-fridge. There was a Bose sound dock and a flat screen tv. (Tip: bring an auxillary cord to connect the sound dock to your particular device. We had to go back out to CVS to buy one.) There was a WALK-IN CLOSET with more than enough hangers and hanging space. It contained storage shelves, a few small drawers and the safe, which had a digital combination lock. The bathroom had decent storage space and a full tub. (Tip: Despite improved bathroom storage space I was still grateful for my over-door shoe holder to keep the sunscreen, stain sticks, etc. No comments from our steward about their not being allowed.) Overall, the room felt spacious and luxurious. The neutral tan/grey interior was a vast improvement over Carnival's inexplicable orange theme. We were in a basic room on deck four - the lowest guest room deck. We had no noise from above or below. There were no odors or moisture issues. Our window was huge so the room was bright and cheery during the day. We book balcony rooms on the big ships and our door is never closed. I thought I'd miss that, but justified it with the old "but you're never really in your room," excuse. As it turns out, no, I didn't miss the balcony and to my pleasant surprise, the room was so nice and spacious that I enjoyed spending time in it. Throughout the week we noticed dozens of little touches that separate Windstar from the Big Box lines. For example, drinks came in glasses. Everywhere - even on deck. No cheesy plastic cups or giant pineapples with straws through them. Wine came in wine glasses. Cocktails came in cocktail glasses, etc. There are no paper towels in the public bathrooms - just cloth hand towels. All drinks but alcohol are included. I inquired about a "soda package" on day one, which garnered gentle chuckles. We didn't purchase the alcohol package so I can't comment as to its value. The pool deck area was an oasis. No hairy chest contests, belly-flop duels or blaring hip-hop. The loungers were all cushioned and there was an unlimited supply of oversized towels. The loungers on the upper deck were all paired with oversized umbrellas, which was nice. While I thoroughly enjoyed the peace of the pool deck, I do think that perhaps Windstar could lighten up a bit on the music. I appreciated not hearing the Wobble or Cupid Shuffle twice per day, but the deck tunes definitely skewed a bit old for my taste. Four Barry Manilow songs in 1.5 hours? Remember, if we're all asleep we're not buying drinks! The two hot tubs were comfortably hot, and while the pool was small, it was one of those "swimmer" pools, in which the push of a button created a current against which one could swim for exercise. The food was exquisite. Nothing tastes mass produced. We ate in the Veranda for breakfast each morning. I always ordered a custom omelet, and never waited more than 5 minutes for it, at the most. We were never on board for lunch. We ate dinner in Amphora most nights. The menu was varied and we tried a bit of everything. The staff were gracious when my husband, a bottomless pit of an eater, ordered double appetizers or even two entrees. Our only complaint, re: food, is that there are periods through the day, such as late afternoon/early evening, and after 9 pm, when room service is the only option. We would return to the ship around 5 pm after busy days in port, starving, and there wouldn't really be much available. On St. Martin night we almost skipped dinner on board as we'd been advised that all the restaurants would be closed in favor of a top deck barbecue. We chose to go to it at the last minute and were so glad we did. Delicious! Best meal of the trip. Don't miss it. We also did eat at Candles one night. The food was excellent, as expected, and the breeze was nice, but its located at the very back of the ship. The engine noise was surprisingly loud. We decided that we liked the main dining room better. My husband, who hates to iron only slightly more than he hates to pack, has a habit of shoving all his dinner shirts into the suitcase then sending them for pressing on the first day. He's also a clothes guy, who likes options. On Carnival and RC, this combination has led to pressing bills of $60 to $75 to start our cruise. Surprisingly, he sent 8 shirts for pressing on day one and our total bill was less than $20. The other major difference I noticed on this cruise was the crew. Naturally, on a smaller vessel one gets to know both crew and fellow passengers better than when there are 5000 others aboard. But the Windstar crew were around a lot. We saw them at port. We drank with them at the bar (off duty, of course.) Even the Captain, when he was off duty, would come and have a drink and mingle. They were delightful, accessible and very much part of the Windstar experience. Our fellow cruisers appeared to range in age from 20 to 80+. There were no children. (I received mixed reports about this. Not sure if its a Windstar policy or just a gentle recommendation. But another Tip: This ship is just not for kids. They would have been bored to death.) Everyone I met was pleasant. Most were very well-traveled. Multiple US states and nationalities were represented. As has probably been reported, we learned upon arrival that a broken tender vessel meant that we would be unable to go to Culebra. Instead we went to St. Thomas. I appreciate the fact that the ship made provisions to find us an alternate port, rather than just skipping a port day entirely. I do believe that the problem must have been fixed by the end of St. Thomas day, as for the rest of the cruise we appeared to be using just ship tenders with no issues. We had two small problems while on board. The first, involved our plans for St Martin port day. We'd planned to take the ferry to Anguilla for the day, which required our passports. I made a mental note to stop by guest services the night before to ask for them - then promptly forgot to do so. The next morning, we went there first thing to retrieve them, and learned that both the purser and the assistant purser had gone ashore early to process some new crew. The guest services staff tried several times to reach them via walkie-talkie and were unable to do so. We ultimately had two choices - wait an indeterminate amount of time - perhaps two hours or more - for them to return, or switch gears and find something to do in Marigot instead. We opted for the latter option. As we exited out to the tender area, we chanced upon the first officer. He stopped us and apologized, stating that he'd heard what was going on. He was trying to reach the purser to get permission to go into the safe without her. He said that if we wanted to wait, he'd find us onboard as soon as he heard something. At this point, we'd resigned ourselves to the change of plans, so we simply thanked him profusely for his attention and left the boat. The second problem occurred on Jost Van Dyke. We were up bright and early and ready for the first tender. Upon reaching the tender deck, we were informed that the first few tenders were going to be full of guests who'd booked ship-sponsored excursions. It would be about an hour until one was available for "independents." I've learned that one can always catch more flies with honey, as they say, so I simply smiled and said, "No problem. We'll wait. Maybe we can squeeze onto one." Sixty seconds later he was on his walkie-talkie and arranged for the Zodiac raft to bring us to shore. Instead of waiting an hour, we were literally the first two guests onto Jost Van Dyke by about 30 minutes. The point of those two stories is simply to illustrate that the customer service on Windstar is outstanding. In both cases, we had problems (one entirely of my own making, I might add) that staff went out of their way to try to solve for us. Would this have happened if the officers in question didn't know us by name after seeing us around the boat for the past few days? I doubt it. Evening entertainment options are limited. There are a few bars on board - all of which were well staffed. There was a duo that sang in the lounge, and one that sang at the pool deck bar. The casino is limited to a few slot machines and two tables. I'd browsed the single store through in about 20 minutes. As I mentioned, we're do-ers. We're up early and go all day. Usually, one after dinner drink, a walk up to the front for some star-gazing and we were ready to go to sleep. But those who enjoy shows and lots of evening action might be a bit bored in the evenings. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation. We awoke, cleaned up, and went to the veranda for breakfast. Afterward, we scanned our keys "out" one last time and walked back down the steps. Our luggage was right there, as were porters. The customs line was very short. From breakfast to cab in about 6 minutes. Amazing. I cannot compare Windstar to lines like Seabourne, as I've not sailed them, but they were definitely a luxurious upgrade in comparison to the big boat lines. The minute our steward escorted us into our room I was ruined for life for the big ships. Our Windstar cruise was simply delightful. We felt pampered, relaxed and loved darn-near every second of it. We're already researching our next one. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
First of all, we are big fans of Windstar's sailing yachts and were a bit skeptical about the Legend, especially after reading some of the less than stellar reviews. We've done most of the islands on this itinerary but were very ... Read More
First of all, we are big fans of Windstar's sailing yachts and were a bit skeptical about the Legend, especially after reading some of the less than stellar reviews. We've done most of the islands on this itinerary but were very interested in returning to Montserrat as we were there in 1984 (on the old Yankee Clipper), and followed the devastation from the volcano very closely over the years. This was our first opportunity to return so we decided that the Legend was the way to go. As usual with Windstar, our embarkation was flawless although there was a bit of a discrepancy between the website information and the final boarding information that was sent to us. We did make it onboard at 1:00 p.m. even though we were not departing San Juan until 10:00 p.m. When we were shown to our suite I was blown away. We have reserved suites on the Surf for a lot more money and were stunned at the value in the Legend's suites. The walk in closet was amazing, large sitting area by the window, bathroom with full tub, etc. Everything was immaculate and our room steward, Eddy, was the best we've had on any cruise. This is not a brand new ship so there were signs of that but no more than a hotel room that was renovated 1 - 2 years before. We explored the ship and found all of the public rooms to be in excellent condition. Everything was immaculate, and in true Windstar style, a smiling and friendly crew. We ran into some crew that we had sailed with on the Surf and the warm greetings made us feel like we were home. Now - as for the sails and the sail away! It IS different than the Surf, Spirit, etc., and there were a few people on board who could just not get over it. Please people, it IS a different type of ship and hoisting the flag is NOT the same as the sails unfurling. But after the first night it was a non issue for us. We would suggest different sail away music though. It just doesn't feel right. Back to the public areas. The Yacht Club is lovely and quiet - great for reading a book. AmphorA had the best food we've had on Windstar which is saying a lot as it's always good. Candles is on the Verandah. My only quibble is that it feels more enclosed than the Surf or the Spirit but the food was excellent. Yougi runs the Verandah and Candles like a total pro. Bobby was the barman in Candles and we knew him from the Surf. A great guy! Breakfast and lunch was outstanding with lots of fresh fruits, omelets made to order, all of the "usual" that we expect from Windstar. Excursions were similar to the other Caribbean sailings. Lots of water things but we did get the opportunity for a French cooking class (more of a demonstration) on St. Martin in a lovely restaurant overlooking the water. Food was excellent, lots of wine, fun company. Loved it! My husband did the Stars & Stripes America's cup and had a blast. The highlight of our trip though was Montserrat and a private tour that we booked on our own. The ones that went from the ship were shorter in duration and we wanted to spend the day seeing what was and what is. The residents are excited that finally, after all of these years, some tourism is coming back to their island. They are resilient and hopefully they will make it. There are only 5,000 people left living there and they need our support. Jimmy Buffet made the island famous with his Volcano Song. We wish he would do one about their survival and encourage tourists to return. If anyone knows him (hahaha), please make the suggestion! We had a port change from Culebra to St. Thomas as one of the tenders was on the fritz. A bit of a disappointment but things like that can happen. Windstar did provide lots of opportunities for things to do that day so it seemed to work out okay. Probably our biggest disappointment was being unable to disembark on Virgin Gorda unless we took a Windstar tour. We were especially looking forward to this stop as we love the Bitter End and Pussers and going there each year has become kind of a tradition for us. Since we had already done the usual tours on this island, I stayed aboard and read a great book, my husband went to the beach BBQ. This is the big "private event" on this trip but I had enough sun and beach by the last day. Our fellow passengers who had not done this itinerary before loved it. The crew works hard and does a great job out there. Disembarkation was almost too easy! We were off the ship and on our way very early in the morning. Since we had a late flight we did the ship's rainforest tour outside of San Juan. It was worth the money and the experience. Included was a drop off at the airport so it all worked out. In summary - we would go on one of the sailing yachts again in a heartbeat. No hesitation - none! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Star Legend Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.6

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