5 Venice to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Windstar Wind Surf Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date May 2018
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 June 2012
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 October 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 2010
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
Sail Date June 2009
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 3.5 N/A
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities N/A N/A
Service 3.5 4.7
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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