5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have sailed on all of the Windstar ships at least once and some more than once and this was one of the worst sailing experiences we encountered on any cruise line including Princess, NCL, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean. The deck crew was ... Read More
We have sailed on all of the Windstar ships at least once and some more than once and this was one of the worst sailing experiences we encountered on any cruise line including Princess, NCL, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean. The deck crew was there but almost non-existent. When able to get their attention, they were curt/rude. Tables at breakfast most days were left un-cleaned while guest stood waiting for a place to sit. Getting a refill on coffee...non-existent...had to fend for yourself. The food was average at best. The rear deck & bar were closed about 5 - 6 each evening. This should have been the "hot spot" on the ship! Great venue went unused. Tours were "fair" at best. A couple of them a waste of time and money. Our experience on past Windstar cruise was that within two days most of the principle staff knew us by our names. On this cruise, only our room steward could address us by out names. We'll look for other small ships for future cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do enough for us. The ship was beautiful, especially during the times the sails were up. The food was out of this world. It was the best we had during our entire European vacation. I really can’t think of anything that Windstar could have improved on as far as the onboard experience was concerned. The only downfall was that some of the ports weren’t as picturesque as we’d imagined. If we would have done our research beforehand, we would have booked excursions at those stops. Windstar lives up to its reputation and I met many passengers who were experienced travellers with the cruise lineIt wasn’t an inexpensive vacation but it was worth every penny. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
WindStar WindSurf, booked 5/18, Dalmatian Coast and Italy. Terrific itinerary and lousy cruise. Staff was earnest at best and let's call it unresponsive at worst. Lack of planning at embarcations usually led to chaos. By all means, ... Read More
WindStar WindSurf, booked 5/18, Dalmatian Coast and Italy. Terrific itinerary and lousy cruise. Staff was earnest at best and let's call it unresponsive at worst. Lack of planning at embarcations usually led to chaos. By all means, do not purchase any of the excursions; as on so many cruises, these are considerably overpriced. On our trip, they were, well, rip-offs. Incompetent or disinterested tour guides (vendors) consistnetly failed to provide even the minimum offered in excursion descriptions. Worst of all on our cruise, and most surprisingly, service in main diningroom was more than once the worst we have experienced in almost 20 years of cruising up and down the price range: vanishing waiters, failures to deliver, missing follow-ups. Finally, we just left. Try another luxury line instead - even if, you guessed it, it costs a bit more. Based on our experience on this one trip, I'm disappointed to say: avoid WindStar. Service was so bad that I am motivated to post this review - my first anywhere, any place, about anything. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I have always loved Venice and my dream was to leave Venice by a sailing ship. We chose the May 17 th date because we wanted to sail out in the early evening when the light of Venice is what you see in the magical paintings. . We were so ... Read More
I have always loved Venice and my dream was to leave Venice by a sailing ship. We chose the May 17 th date because we wanted to sail out in the early evening when the light of Venice is what you see in the magical paintings. . We were so fortunate because we had the perfect evening, clear, warm with a red sunset. Needless to say it could not have been more perfect. The reflections in the water especially when we saw the La Salute Church, across from St. Marks was, it remarkable. The Wind Surf docked at the Sam Bascilio terminal and could not be easier to get to, take the # 2 vaparotto from almost any stop, from the stop at San Bascillio go over a tiny bridge and you are at the terminal. Easy and does not break the bank by using a wAter taxi. As described above not only was the the sail away beautiful the entire cruise was full of sensual delights. Our first stop being Rovinj a beautiful seaside village with incredible Italian influence, lovely harbor, friendly people. Split was stop #2 with the palace and on the outside a beautiful market. I love markets because I do believe they are the heart and soul of a culture. We choose not to go to the unusual beach because it was 70 and sunny but not warm enough to swim. Dubrovnik was our least favorite stop because it was loaded with touists, imagine when it is quieter it must be lovely. The Destination Event was there and it was lovely. We were bussed to a hilltop outside the city, offered a lovely selection of wine and appetizers and then went to an ancient outside arena to see a song and dance cultural show which was very entertaining. The view from the hilltop was beautiful with spectuacular views of the Adriatic with the Windsurf floating below. Great evening well planned and managed by Windstar. Kotor was our favorite stop the sail in and out was spectacular with the hills and mountains. Lovely, historic town. We went to the market with the chef which was really fun, the venders were very generous. The chef bought many items for the ship including the best honey we have ever eaten and fantastic cheeses and olives.Again, our sail out we had the beautiful red sunset. Day at sea calm and warm what could be better. Sicily is where the port was changed due to security and the G7. We had a private guide and went to the historic market in Catania. Great authebtic day. That night was a highlight of the cruise for us. We chose Candles that night and to our delight we again had a red sunset that sat over the Aeolian Islands that was beyond georgeous as well as a thrilling sail near Stromboli watching the smoke come out of the volcano. That evening was something we will never forget. Since we only had 5 hours in Almafi at the last stop we chose the ship's excursion, a boat trip to Positano, beautiful ride along the coast and we spent a lovely time in Positano. Very well organized excursion. The sail away beautiful following the coast. The food on this trip exemplary, healthy, varied, interesting, delicious and beautifully presented. The crew and service always the best. The ship looked great, she is really beautiful especially from those hill towns along the Dalmation Coast, looking down on her. We were very fortunate to have had nearly perfect weather and calm seas for relaxing and touring. Since were were in Italy 10 days before the cruise I really appreciated the laundry service so I could be comfortable with just using a small carry on. I hate checking and lugging. Dream come true again with Windstar. They made it easy, beautiful and exciting for us. Perhaps I should say " red sunset at night a sailor's delight" . That was this cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Up until this cruise, I would have said that the best cruise I ever took was in French Polynesia on the Paul Gauguin, back when that ship was part of the Regents Seven Seas line. This cruise, however (from Venice to Rome, with stops in ... Read More
Up until this cruise, I would have said that the best cruise I ever took was in French Polynesia on the Paul Gauguin, back when that ship was part of the Regents Seven Seas line. This cruise, however (from Venice to Rome, with stops in Croatia, Montenegro, Sicily and the Amalfi coast), may well have topped that one. This cruise was not inexpensive, but you definitely get what you pay for. EMBARKATION was smooth and painless. Since we were not using Windstar’s transfer offer, we did have a little bit of difficulty getting information about where and how to board. You do so at the San Basilio port, easily reached by the vaporetto, or water bus (riding this from the Rialto stop, as we did, is itself a pleasant and scenic experience). Once on board we had to spend about 45 minutes filling out forms, but then we were free to explore; an excellent lunch (carved prime rib) was already being served. THE SHIP is relatively small (a bit more than 300 passengers) and very nicely laid out. Cabins do not have balconies, but all have portholes, are spacious (by cruise ship standards) and are beautifully arranged for maximum flexibility. Every cabin has a TV with DVD player; DVDs are available for free checkout in the ship’s library. The TV has a variety of satellite news channels, both for liberals (MSNBC) and conservatives (Fox News); several movies also play repeatedly throughout the day. We never actually saw our cabin steward, but he was very accommodating when we left him notes. On our first day, he replaced, at our request, all the beer and other alcoholic beverages in our refrigerator and replaced them with complimentary cans of coke and diet coke. Our cabin was always kept spotlessly clean and of course there were the inevitable towel animals waiting us for when we came back from dinner. The ship has sails (a huge plus for my wife, who loves sailing) and although they are mostly for show, they are occasionally used. When they are unfurled, stirring music plays. Another huge plus: There is a marina at the rear of the ship from which you can check out kayaks and even a small Hobie sailboat (all for free). The marina is open (weather permitting) whenever you are in a port that requires tendering to shore, but my wife absolutely loved sailing on the Adriatic. There is also a huge float that makes for fun swimming. This is a high-end cruise and therefore attracts an older crowd; I’d say the vast majority of passengers were at least 50 and there were plenty of people over 70, though we did see a few honeymooners and other folks in their 30s and 40s. There are no youth or childcare facilities; the ship makes very clear that young children and teenagers are not preferred passengers. This was fine with us. DINING is superb. The principal breakfast and lunch venue is the Veranda, where you can eat either indoors or outdoors. The arrangement is “buffet plus”: a good buffet (in the indoors part), with a smallish menu from which you can order extra items if necessary. (One thing I appreciated at every breakfast was freshly squeezed orange juice, which was excellent.) Dinner is served primarily in the main dining room, the AmphorA, though one evening during the cruise there is an on-deck barbeque, including not only things like paella, ribs and steak but also lobster (and of course a ton of salads, appetizers, breads and desserts). All non-alcoholic beverages are always free at every venue (including the bars); a charge is made for alcoholic beverages. Food at dinner was usually first-rate, with a choice of five or six entrees. My favorites were the prime rib and beef Wellington. Dinner is open seating (just come when you feel like it; there may be a line), but on the second night we sat at a table with a great view and excellent waiters, so my wife and I made a point of requesting that table (#7) every night from then on, and always got it. In addition to AmphorA, there are a couple of specialty restaurants, for which a reservation is required (but there is no extra charge). We ate at only one, Candles. During the check-in, we were asked if we wanted to make reservations there that night, and after looking at the AmphorA menu and seeing nothing that we had to have, we said yes. This was a great decision, since Candles is outdoor seating and the views as we sailed away from Venice were wonderful. There is also complimentary room service, but as we never took advantage of this option, I can’t comment on its quality. THE PORTS ranged from satisfactory to memorable. Our three top ports were Dubrovnik, Kotor (in Montenegro) and Amalfi, all of which had great scenery. Gettting to Kotor requires sailing down a beautiful passage ringed by mountains; unfortunately we were a little late departing so we didn’t get the spectacular mountain views a second time, as the sun had already set. The captain did a good job of pointing out points of interest as we sailed, and one evening (I think it was after departing Sicily) he mentioned we would be passing Stromboli, which I had never heard of, but found out was an active volcano. We were lucky enough at one point to see lava not just glowing from the top of the volcano but actually shooting out in a spectacular eruption; sadly, neither my wife nor I got a photo of this. We were a little annoyed that the ship’s photographer did not have the foresight to set up her camera for the possibility of something like this happening; we would have been more than willing to pay for a photo of this event. If we were to do it all over again, we would book, in Messina, Sicily, the shore excursion to Mt. Etna. It’s expensive and time-consuming but Messina didn’t offer a lot of stuff to do; we spent about three hours walking around and then found a gelato place where we could get free wifi as well as gelato. (For some reason, gelato was not served on board, but regular ice cream was. I think it should be a law that a ship in or even near Italy must serve gelato.) ENTERTAINMENT on board is pretty minimal. That suited us fine; we are early-to-bed, early-to-rise types and wouldn’t have been able to partake of it in any event. Don’t count, though, on the typical comedian/impressionist/audience participation games that you find on the larger ships. DISEMBARKATION was mildly problematic, but that’s not the ship’s fault. Getting from the port where we docked to Rome takes some doing; we decided to kill two birds with one stone and booked a shore excursion to Rome, which left us off a short taxi-ride away from the Spanish steps, where our hotel (booked by us independently of the cruise) was. There was also a miscommunication between us and the shore excursion lady about what stops were made; both my wife and I were sure that at least one additional stop was promised, but the tour leader said no. As it is we stopped only at St. Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls, and getting there on the tour bus took forever (traffic jams here are murder); there was no bathroom on the tour bus and I was in considerable distress when we finally arrived. I don’t know of any other reasonable and inexpensive way to get from the port to Rome, though. SUMMARY One or two minor glitches to the contrary, this was a great cruise. Both my wife and I will look forward to traveling with Windstar Cruises in the future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be ... Read More
Even though everything didn't go perfectly on this cruise, the staff on Wind Surf did everything in their power to make it memorable and special. There's just a feeling on Windstar cruises--the crew seem genuinely happy to be there, the views are so gorgeous, the other passengers so pleasant. There's no fighting over deck chairs, no scrambling to get the best seats, no worry you'll get reservations to the restaurant of your choice. There's a feeling like, "Relax. Chill. There's enough of everything and they have it all planned out." From the time I arrived at the airport at Venice and a Windstar agent was waiting to take us to our hotel, I just feel relaxed and taken care of. The food on t his cruise was even better than the food on Windstar, the last ship on this line I cruised, and that's really saying something! There was more variety, I think, more food from local markets featured in all three meals. I honestly couldn't have imagined fresher, more appealing meals than all of those that were offered--I can't think of one that wasn't really delicious. In the city where I live, I can't get food anywhere this good! Yes, the entertainment isn't great (although I liked the duo Splash). But really, the entertainment is in the vistas all around you and the conversations with other passengers. We didn't get to have our signature event, which was supposed to be a cocktail party with folk dancing in Dubrovnik. The lead dancer died that day, so you couldn't fault Windstar for that. And they brought in some folk singers on to the ship instead (not the same, though; I didn't care for them much). Our deck barbeque had to be moved indoors because of weather, but it was delicious and brilliant all the same--they work so hard on this! And we missed one of our ports, Capri, one of the ones I was most looking forward to, because it wasn't safe to tender (seas were too rough). The usual captain of Wind Surf was on vacation, and the substitute captain had an emergency, so the first officer became captain for his first time ever. Even with all of this, though, there was such sincere desire to please the passengers and make their vacations memorable that I think the crew cared more about the things we missed than we did. The ports of call were great, the available tours were outstanding, our cabin was comfortable and so well taken care of during our voyage (thanks, Azhar!) that it was just overall a really great vacation. Windstar, you've spoiled me! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Sixth Windstar Cruise, 3rd on Windsurf. Older ship (they will never build another like this) but it has been well maintained and the mostly Indonesian crew works hard to keep the guests happy. Food is above the average cruise line food ... Read More
Sixth Windstar Cruise, 3rd on Windsurf. Older ship (they will never build another like this) but it has been well maintained and the mostly Indonesian crew works hard to keep the guests happy. Food is above the average cruise line food but nothing like the food available in Italy before or after the cruise. They don't push their shore excursions too hard and we have found that we can arrange for excellent private guides in many ports for the same or less cost. The problem as Windstar has gotten bigger appears to be the Seattle corporate office. Our recent cruise had a change of itinerary before departure and only a few passengers were notified of it. This affected our shore plans and nobody in the home office wants to take ownership of the problem. In addition, we booked a post cruise transfer hotel stay in Rome through Windstar and it appeared that the hotel was totally unprepared for our arrival. The local agent for Windstar was useless. We are seasoned travelers and generally go with the flow so we probably will cruise with Windstar again. Would never book a pre or post cruise stay through them again. A high % of guests are repeat customers who know that they will meet other older affluent people. This is not a ship for solo travelers or anyone under 50. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party ... Read More
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party until late at night. We would listen to music, and may I add...the duo Casey and Erick were stunning. Man...what a lovely voice. Cannot believe SA Idols let her slip through their hands. If ever you come across them, ask them to do Purple Rain and Bed of Roses. They absolutely made our tour. Well done Windstar!! Let me also not forget Harry our waiter at the restaurants. What a guy. The whole ship was talking about him. He should be the communications leader. He was witty, quick to assist, quick to let you feel welcome and even special. The rooms were excellent. Enough space and what a big bathroom. I am a big, very big guy and did not have any problem at all in the shower. The food at all the restaurants were superb. We will be going again and again and again...this I promised myself. I stayed in Room 243. When that door was closed during day or night it was peaceful and quiet. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
My husband and I embarked on our Venice to Rome cruise last fall with high expectations. As third time guests of Windstar, we felt we knew what to expect and were prepared for an enjoyable cruise. The ship itself was well appointed and we ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on our Venice to Rome cruise last fall with high expectations. As third time guests of Windstar, we felt we knew what to expect and were prepared for an enjoyable cruise. The ship itself was well appointed and we were very pleased with the beautiful accommodations. But what Windstar failed to disclose when we booked our cruise (almost a year out) was that our sailing was essentially a charter cruise. More than half the guests on board were media advertising groups cruising on a corporate junket. I knew from previous reviews that if a large group is onboard, it can negatively impact the cruise for other guests. Sadly, this was very true in our case. These large groups took over the Terrace Bar and deck each evening for a private reception, which precluded anyone else from enjoying that area. They congregated at the bars in large, loud groups making it impossible for others to be in the same space. But the worst behavior was reserved for the dining room each evening, when large groups, dressed down in jeans, would drink their way through dinner, often shouting to friends at nearby tables and in one unbelievable incident, eating with their hands from platters of food they had ordered for the table. The noise level made it impossible to have conversation and twice we left the restaurant early without finishing our dinner. The party-like atmosphere that dominated the cruise really devalued the Windstar experience for us. We will not cruise with Windstar again.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We loved almost everything about the Wind Surf and we would recommend it to anyone who does not suffer a food allergy or intolerance. But for the celiac passenger in particular we strongly recommend looking elsewhere for a cruise. If you ... Read More
We loved almost everything about the Wind Surf and we would recommend it to anyone who does not suffer a food allergy or intolerance. But for the celiac passenger in particular we strongly recommend looking elsewhere for a cruise. If you don't have allergies or intolerances you will love the casual atmosphere, the friendly crew members, and the fabulous water activities at the back of the boat. Unfortunately several in our party have celiac disease/gluten intolerance. One family member is type 1 diabetic with celiac and for him it is essential not to be in an environment where he might be "glutened" (and he is very careful as a result). There were many problems with how gf was handled for our group on this cruise. First problem is that much of the food is served buffet style and there is an apparent lack of understanding how this presentation can easily cause cross contamination. On the first day at lunch we asked for some cold cuts and cheese to be brought out for 3 passengers who were gf and they brought out two thin slices of cheese, and two thin slices of meat. That set the tone (we were expected to use the buffet) but unfortunately there were other issues as well, such as learning after the fact that certain grilled meats had been marinated in something that may or may not have had soy sauce (which some did not seem to realize usually contains wheat -- particularly with the brand they referred to which was Kikkoman). They made a bigger effort with dinner but at none of the other meals was there really much confirmable "safe" food for our celiac family members much of the time. Whenever we asked about items during lunch or high tea they would start asking if we had ordered our gf dinner (as if this was the only meal they needed to provide gf offerings for). In theory since they grill there should be food available but in practice unless you are willing to eat grilled meat and rice for all meals (and skip offerings in between) it might be an issue. They rarely offered to bring substitute items when most or all offerings on the buffet were not ok for us, instead bringing the conversation around to whether we had ordered our dinner yet (again, as if the one meal a day was supposed to do it for us). Near the end they started to do more, particularly when we told them one party member had celiac and type 1 diabetes and he was having a big problem on board getting adequate food or being assured it was safe in terms of possible gluten contamination (which makes him sick and messes his blood sugar management). On the last night the chef made brownies for us, which was nice. Previous nights the dinner and dessert options mainly seemed to involve us selecting from the existing menu by guessing which items they could make for us with least difficulty. Incidentally, there is supposed to be a sandwich bar open most of the day where they offer freshly made sandwiches, but when one visits that venue the sandwiches are pre-made inside a glass display case and we did not feel that we could get a comparable gf sandwich made up on the gf sliced bread we had brought on from port. It always felt to us like we were imposing if we asked for something not in their buffet offerings, and then there was also the sense that the person asked might not know what he was doing in terms of keeping things safe from cross-contamination. They seemed to mean well but in our experience they really had no idea what we were up against in terms of trying to find safe food with what was offered. One family member lost weight on the cruise. Our overall impression is that they have not yet developed a full awareness of the needs of passengers like us, and in the future we will look elsewhere for holiday and cruise planning. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
This was my sixth cruise on the Wind Surf, and in many ways the most enjoyable. My wife Linda and I celebrated not only our 44th wedding anniversary, but also my 67th birthday. We traveled with a high school friend from California and ... Read More
This was my sixth cruise on the Wind Surf, and in many ways the most enjoyable. My wife Linda and I celebrated not only our 44th wedding anniversary, but also my 67th birthday. We traveled with a high school friend from California and her niece (first time cruiser), and had a wonderful time. Boarding the Wind Surf for me is always a "homecoming" experience. It seemed that the entire crew knew me by name within a few hours! Since I was traveling with 3 women, our favorite waiter "One" started referring to us as "Charlie and the Angels". I was pleased to see that the ship was not nearly in as bad shape as I had read about in some recent reviews. True, the carpet in the Yacht Club area was stained, and the "guide book" in our room was frayed. But overall, I saw few visible signs of deterioration. There were new rattan lounges on the pool deck, replacing the previous white plastic lounges --- a nice upgrade. The exercise equipment also looked new, and I used it every morning. I have seen the renderings of the new decor that is planned for the Wind Surf, & can't wait to see it in reality. Entertainment was mostly excellent. Our friends Craig and Nikola (aka "Rain") were in the Compass Rose, and I spent many hours listening to their musical offerings. Craig is a big fan of Dire Straits, and he uses their songs to showcase his prodigious guitar skills. Nik was also in great voice, and they have some CDs for sale in the ship's boutique. The Filipino band in the main lounge was competent, but lacked a bit in the energy department. Fortunately, there was also a British guest vocalist on board named Andrea Whitfield, who was very polished, professional, and skilled. She really knew how to "work" the room. I am hoping to seem more entertainment of this caliber on future cruises. Our cruise featured a full night and following day in Venice prior to setting sail, which was very nice. We normally fly into our embarkation port a full day ahead of time, just to allow for unforeseen travel delays. No such need on this cruise. We were able to stroll around Venice during the morning, return to the ship for lunch, then go out again in the afternoon. Lots of walking, but with a nice respite during lunch. As always, the food and service was impeccable. My only complaint was with the red wine, which was served at room temperature --- too warm. My wife and I were invited to have dinner with the restaurant manager, so I was able to voice my opinion to him. He agreed with my observation, said it was an area they were "working on". I thought the wine offerings were somewhat better than on some of my previous cruises, if perhaps a bit pricey. We enjoyed spectacular weather throughout the cruise, albeit a bit on the warm side. There was also a full moon on several nights, with the moon arising over the horizon right at dinnertime. Spectacular! The itinerary featured several small Croatian ports such as Korcula and Trogir, ending in Dubrovnik. We took two excursions. The first was the "Hilltops of Istria", featuring several very small hilltop towns --- very scenic. The second was in the port of Trogir, a bus trip to the nearby waterfront city of Split, site of the Diocletian Palace. Again, very scenic and informative. Can't for my next Windstar cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2010
This cruise was our first one on Windstar and our 15Th overall . We had been to Croatia on a Costa cruise last November but it was pouring rain in Dubrovnik and what we saw of that city decided us to take whatever opportunity to come back ... Read More
This cruise was our first one on Windstar and our 15Th overall . We had been to Croatia on a Costa cruise last November but it was pouring rain in Dubrovnik and what we saw of that city decided us to take whatever opportunity to come back . Windstar provided it with a cruise on the Wind Surf at a good price . Our criteria of selection for a cruise are normally the following : 1) itinerary, 2) value ,3) ship . In this case , cruising on a sailship created an additionnal incentive. Embarkation port was Venice . We were impressed by the ship even before setting foot on it ! It did look magnificent with its tall five masts and being docked at the San Basilio terminal , on the Canale della Giudecca , did create a romantic effect . The embarkation process was very fast and within 20 minutes, we were in our cabin . At 188 square feet , it is one of the most spacious we have had so far . There is a lot of storage space and it is very easy to circulate in the cabin . The cabin was on on Deck 1 which means that our portholes were just 6 feet over the water level ! Having been on the Queen Mary 2 on our last cruise with a cabin at more than 60 feet above sea level , this was quite a different perspective and I have to say , much more interesting ! The few times that we had some waves made us appreciate how stable this ship is ! Service and food are well above average,in fact the quality of the preparation of the food is the best we have seen so far in the 8 cruise lines we have sailed with and both my wife and I are good cooks ! We have tried all the 4 restaurants on the ship for dinner and all had excellent quality ! The only minus side and it is a major one , was that 2 specialty restaurants are located outside and eating at 7.30 pm at 5 degrees Celsius ( 41 F ) is really cold even if your Fillet Mignon is perfectly cooked !!! The itinerary was quite port intensive so after walking for hours in Venice, Rovinj, Opatija , Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik and eating an elaborate dinner everyday , we did not go very often at the lounge for entertainement but what we saw of the Kool Blend group and the British singer was interesting . The choice of port of calls was very interesting ! The size of the ship enables it to go to ports that would not be accessible to other ships so Windstar was able to select ports with various points of interest in very different surroundings ! Information provided by the very knowledgeable excursion team also was very helpful to passengers wanting to visit on their own ! The time spent at each port was also more than the average spent by cruise ships ! Leaving the ports with all sails deployed also brought applause from people looking at the ship The passengers (there were 220 on this cruise) are mostly well travelled , with a majority of Americans but also coming from many different countries! On a ship of this size, it is very easy to establish contact so , after a few days , one gets the impression to know everyone aboard ! The crew knows most of the passengers by their family name and even the very young looking Captain Alan MacAry is very accessible to everyone. Disembarkation was very fast, in fact all the passengers were off the ship within 45 minutes ! We would not do a Trans Atlantic crossing on a Windstar sail ship as entertainment and speed are limited but we will definitely consider one of their vessels when we will be looking for an itinerary with original ports of call ! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
This was our 5th cruise on Windstar and 10th cruise overall. We had sailed on Windsurf twice before and once of Wind Song (RIP) and Wind Spirit. Windstar appeals to a unique niche. If you want rock climbing, 30 restaurant and ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on Windstar and 10th cruise overall. We had sailed on Windsurf twice before and once of Wind Song (RIP) and Wind Spirit. Windstar appeals to a unique niche. If you want rock climbing, 30 restaurant and pseudo-Broadway shows, this is NOT the ship for you. However, if you want a cruise to relax, meet people from all over the globe, eat very good food and go to ports many large ships cannot access, then Windstar is perfect. We embarked in Venice. Checking in and getting our Stateroom keys could not have been easier. It took us less than 15 minutes from the time we got on line to the time we stepped into our cabin. Luggage came about 10 minutes after that. Because Windstar is so small, it's easy to recognize the familiar faces of returning crew. As we boarded, there was a bit of a hard sell for spa services, but the staff was pleasant and it was not unlike other pitches on other cruises. It's easier to familiarize oneself with the ship. Walking the entire ship, on all decks takes maybe 20 minutes. I was pleased to see renovations and the addition of the "Yacht Club". Big screen TV where many watched the early rounds of the World Cup, a new free sandwich bar, library and great luxurious seats with headphones and ipod docs. The staterooms were pretty much the same, thought we were upgraded to a suite. In retrospect, we really appreciate the extra space and my wife loved the 2 bathrooms! There are not a ton of activities to describe on Windstar ships.Reading and talking are the main things to do. However, the rear sports deck is open when possible and kayaking and windsurfing are options. The Windsurf, the bigger of the 3 ships, added "specialty" restaurants. Degrees, was our least favorite. It says it is Mediterranean but it seemed more American/Continental and the menu doesn't really change during the week. the regular Restaurant offered more variety and was excellent. We also dined in Candles, a steak place. It was outside and accommodated only about 20 guests. Very nice setting and service. Our favorite was Le Marche, a seafood restaurant also for about 20 guests outside on the rear of the ship. Watching the sun set as you eat and drink wine was quite an experience. Service on Windstar has always been well-above average. The mostly Philippine and Indonesian staff work hard yet are always smiling. Our cabin steward, Agus, was friendly and charming and did a great job. The captain, John Clark, was very visible. Sort of the David Letterman of ships. Henri Lemay (?), the hotel manager is a long time Windstar veteran and was very attentive. Eric, in charge of entertainment, is new to Windstar. He actually performed a couple fo times and was absolutely charming. We stopped at Rovinj, Trogir and Dubrovnik in Croatia. All were wonderful and I'd strongly recommend doing these small towns on your own rather than paying for excursions. We had lunch in Trogir on a tethered barge that was absolutely romantic and charming and special. The next ports were Messina and Sorrento. Amongst the passengers, Messina got poor reviews. We didn't go to the town; rather we took the tour to Mt. Etna. We spent way too much time in the bus, but once there, it was very good. For some reason, the ship had to leave Sorrento early -at 2:30 in the afternoon. So all those who went on various tours just made it back in time. This was disappointing to all who had hoped to do the tour and get some shopping in. The traffic was unbearable (Italian roads were not built for tour buses). But our trip to Herculaneum was excellent. But again, 3 hours on the bus was not fun.Steve, the excursion director could have been more knowledgeable about the excursions, but he and his wife Amanda, were also new so I'd give him a pass. Disembarkation was as smooth as can be. The only complaint I had, and a did write directly to the company HQ, was that Windstar strangely does not acknowledge returning guests. I got a letter of apology in our room with a free bottle of wine, which was nice, but I still think a note on the computer when you check in should let the staff know who are returning guests and how often they've sailed with the cruise line. A simple, "Welcome back, we appreciate your business", would go a long way. Other than that, we will most likely sail with Windstar again. For our tastes, few other cruise lines offer what Windstar does. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We took a 7 day cruise on WindStar's Wind Surf, our 6th cruise but first on this cruise line. This was the smallest ship we have ever cruised on, with only 215 passengers on a ship holding 315. Since we live in Italy and would be ... Read More
We took a 7 day cruise on WindStar's Wind Surf, our 6th cruise but first on this cruise line. This was the smallest ship we have ever cruised on, with only 215 passengers on a ship holding 315. Since we live in Italy and would be arriving by train, we skipped the ship's transfer service and opted to do it on our own. The only "hiccup" of our entire trip came as we tried to find the proper dock for the Wind Surf. We rec'd no written confirmation or email from Wind Star prior to the trip and unfortunately our TA was unresponsive when we inquired about the ship's location. We mistakenly rode the port's free shuttle bus, only to arrive in the main port for larger cruise ships. We could see the Wind Surf but had difficulty reaching it. We finally arrived at the Wind Surf 2.5 hours after arriving in Venice, and after taking the vaporetto water bus and walking about 1/3 mile. In retrospect, maybe we should have paid 60E ($90 US) for a water taxi directly to the ship and avoided all the hassle, but we use public transport often and didn't realize it would be so challenging to find the ship.Check-in and embarkation were easy and quick, more laid-back than on other large 3,000 passenger ships we've cruised. I guess with only 215 guests onboard, all the procedures were faster and simpler. The entire ship was scaled down size-wise from our previous ships, but space was always roomy to adequate and we never felt cramped in any public or private areas. In the lounge where check-in occured, we were offered snacks, drinks, and info about the spa. We were escorted to our cabin & unpacked within 30 minutes of arriving at the port terminal. The ship was beautiful and well-maintained, with teak decks, two hottubs, adequate sun lounges for relaxing, and a small pool (one pool was under maintenance the entire trip). There were plenty of small tables with umbrellas on the rear decks, perfect for reading, enjoying a drink, or just watching the view as we sailed. The main level of the ship also had a large lounge with entertainment and free snacks from 6-7pm, large book and DVD library, free IPOD rental, plenty of comfortable leather chairs for reading, the shore excursion desk, reception area, and small shop for souvenirs and toiletry items. There was a small casino but it was never busy. Our cabin was a simple ocean-view stateroom. The first day I smelled a gas or diesel odor on that level when we first entered, but it wasn't overwhelming or constant throughout the cruise. Since we were at the bottom & rear of the ship, maybe cabins on higher, central or front decks would be completely free of fumes. Our cabin was very spacious, light and provided plenty of storage. There were more cubby holes, shelves, & drawers for storage than we needed. The bed was extremely comfortable and the pillows were soft but supportive. We never heard any noise and I slept like a baby. The room contained a flat screen TV, DVD-CD player with IPOD dock, underpowered hairdryer, individual room AC controls, roomy granite bath with plenty of storage, powerful handheld shower, and nice L'Occitane toiletries from France. WindStar seemed to include lots of nice amenities even though this was one of the simplest and least expensive rooms on the ship (bought last-minute at a great price!). The room was well-designed and made maximum use of the space available, and it never felt cramped. The sailing was smooth and we never felt excessive motion from the seas. Sails were unfurled via computer most days although the engine was also used to provide power. We enjoyed all the ports and could easily walk from the ship to important historic sights within 5-10 minutes. We did not take any shore excursions because we enjoy traveling independently and it was super easy to explore all the ports (no docking 50 miles from town as on large ships). Ports included Venice (overnight), Koper Slovenia, Rovinj Croatia, Split Croatia, and Dubrovnik Croatia. Port time was adequate and leaving/entering the ship, even on the tenders, was quick & easy. On 2 out of 5 ports we used tenders to reach shore, but there were no long waits and the tenders had plenty of space since they weren't full. Food aboard the ship was above average and better than Princess & Norweigan ships we've cruised on. We ordered room service twice, and the food was good and service was prompt. Breakfast & lunch buffets in the Veranda were plentiful and included lots of fresh fruit, salads, and a grill station for eggs, french toast, or sandwiches. Dinners in the main dining room were very good, and special outdoor tables were set up on the rear decks near the pool for 2 theme restaurants: one offered steaks, the other seafood. A smaller indoor dining room offered a themed menu that rotated every couple of days, from asian fusion to continental/italian. We ate there on the asian fusion night and enjoyed it. The wine/beer list was adequate but naturally smaller than on larger ships; prices were reasonable and several under $60 US bottles were offered. Service was consistently good throughout the cruise in both dining room and cabin areas. Staff members were friendly, attentive, and professional without being overbearing, and they brought extra touches around like cold towels while we lounged in the sun.The Wind Surf is not the ship for you if you like big Las Vegas-style shows, plenty of nighttime entertainment, extensive casino games, lots of shipboard activities, have limited mobility, love formal nights, or plan to bring small children under 12 years old. If you want to focus on seeing the ports, enjoy a smaller ship with no crowds, and want to enjoy a nice meal while cruising, the Wind Surf might be perfect for you. We enjoyed it and would definitely return for another 7 day cruise. Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.1
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment N/A 3.6
Service 3.5 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.1

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