46 Windstar Wind Surf Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, ... Read More
Our first cruise was an absolute dream. The Wind Surf staff, from the Captain to the laundry workers, could not have been more friendly, professional, and caring. Three couples, "senior citizens" from the Pacific Northwest, travelling together were like a bunch of kids on and off the ship. Anchoring at locations away from the town-sized monster ships gave us a chance to visit local shops in smaller towns, yet get to the bigger "tourist centers" if we wanted to. The food was spectacular, the scenery was incredible, and listening to the music while the sails were unfurled on the 5 masts was thrilling. Seeing the ship at anchor when returning from shore excursions was a wonderful sight. With just under 300 passengers, we were able to get together when we wanted, and go our separate ways when we wanted. The six of us did get together for dinner each evening. All six of us went to a small local bar, the Mad Mongoose, in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua, to watch our Seahawks beat the 49ers. It was a raucous, fun evening with lots of local residents and a few travelers from around the world. We all did many activities together and separately. Some of us went swimming off the watersports platform at the stern of the ship, two went snorkeling at the Baths and another site on Virgin Gorda, four of us enjoyed the swimming and "people" watching at Shell Beach on St. Bart's, two of us went swimming and playing with dolphins on Tortola, and we all spent many hours sitting and reading at many locations all over the ship. Our rooms were luxurious, comfortable, and very well prepared by our Steward, Beny. I cannot possibly imagine a better trip for the price. We will take Windstar trips again !!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My wife and I just completed an 8 day 7 night cruise on Windstar's Wind Surf. What an incredible performance by the entire crew. This is the easiest boarding experience of the many cruises we have taken. We were actually greeted by ... Read More
My wife and I just completed an 8 day 7 night cruise on Windstar's Wind Surf. What an incredible performance by the entire crew. This is the easiest boarding experience of the many cruises we have taken. We were actually greeted by Captain Harris as we embarked. The Wind Surf is essentially a large yacht, which is engine powered but that also raises it gorgeous sails. When it departs a port, it plays "1492", which is very cool when your sitting on the aft deck of the yacht watching the departure, sipping a drink. The yacht is classy and understated. You can tell that everything is finely made, but not overstated or gaudy in its decoration. The crew from top to bottom is Windstar's greatest asset. They are the nicest, most decent people around who will do anything to help you relax and have a good time. Captain Harris is frequently available to chat with, as well as Jeffrey, the yacht manager. Props to Panos, Kristi, the Spa Manager who recently finished her contract; the girls at the reception desk, Lai Rachelle and Nieva, Clara, the ship store manager, Iman, our cabin steward and the myriad of servers who treated us so well: Daddy, Sunu, Anjur, Sony, Hans and many, many more. Since passenger capacity is only 300, many of the crew remember your names. Breakfast is either buffet or sit down, on the Veranda, which has an inside and an outside.There are three restaurants for dinner: Amphora, Stella's, a French Restaurant and Candles, the Steakhouse. They all have changing, creative and tasty cuisine. And, if it's not on the menu, they will go find it for you. If something tastes particularly good, you can have another. The wine stewards are helpful and liquor is very reasonably priced. They have some great wines that won't dent your budget. There is a nice fitness center too, along with a small casino with blackjack, roulette and machines. There is a pop/rock band every night called Top Society, a family band from the Phillipines that covers many songs from the 50's to the present. After they perform, the come out to the audience to greet you and introduce themselves. A special musical guest was Niki Evans from the UK. She is starring in Blood Brothers in the West End and was a semi-finalist in the UK on American Idol. She is a powerhouse vocalist that is amazingly talented and very friendly. She is a "human jukebox. We give Windstar our highest recommendation and we look forward to returning soon.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to ... Read More
This is a late review of our January 2014 vacation to the Caribbean on the Windsurf. My daughter and I had looked forward for months to our Caribbean adventure, and our Windsurf voyage met almost all of our expectations. Meals Due to delays in our flights, we were late in arriving at St. Maarten and boarded the Windsurf just one hour before it left port. It was supper time so we went to the Amphora restaurant. Too tired to change into more elegant clothes, we were a bit disheveled, and felt that as a result we might be met with a somewhat disdainful attitude on the part of staff. Quite the opposite! We were greeted with smiles and seated at a beautifully set table. My daughter mentioned that she was a vegetarian, at which point the chef and restaurant manager appeared to discuss how they could make meals to best suit her needs. We were encouraged to meet with the chefs on a daily basis so that each delicious meal was made to her specifications. As for myself (I’m not a vegetarian), I thoroughly enjoyed the meals in all the restaurants. Later in our voyage, during a beach picnic on Pigeon Island where a meal was prepared and served on the beach by the Windsurf staff, we made our food choices and were told our food would be brought to us shortly. We had installed ourselves on beach chairs at quite a distance from the cooking area. To our amazement, the chef appeared with a big grin and our two plates in hand. He noticed that the people near us had empty plates and removed the plates for them. This lack of pretentiousness on the part of the chef and the heartfelt pleasure he had in making Windsurf guests have a wonderful eating experience went a long way towards making our holiday extraordinary. As well, we were consistently given friendly and professional service by the staff in all the restaurants and bars. Stateroom Our stateroom was on the lower deck, midship. We barely felt the motion of the ship, and it was such a quiet area that we were able to sleep blissfully each night. We enjoyed hearing the sound of the water lapping against our porthole, lulling us to sleep. The beds were the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in (we have high-end mattresses at home and would happily trade them for the Windsurf mattresses in our stateroom). The shower was great, good water pressure and several choices of showerheads. Our stateroom was small, but we never felt crowded. The young man who did our stateroom housekeeping was friendly and efficient, so that we could always count on a clean and pleasant environment. Room service for meals was also excellent. Smoking My daughter and I are both non-smokers, so it was important to us that to be able to avoid smokers on the ship. Most of the ship, both interior and exterior, is non-smoking, so we were generally able to breathe freely. One disappointment though was that smoking was allowed in the terrace outside the Compass Rose Bar. The Compass Rose had entertainment consisting of a lovely singing duo. We tried on several occasions to listen to them, but the Compass Rose had open doors which allowed cigar and cigarette smoke from the terrace to permeate the room. The smoke also reached the pool and the outdoors Candles restaurant. We finally gave up on going to that area of the ship. There are other designated smoking areas on the ship. I’m hoping Windstar Cruises will change their policy and prohibit smoking on the Compass Rose terrace, since smoking there affects so much of what otherwise would be a very enjoyable section of the ship. Shore excursions We found that the information provided by the Windsurf crew about port excursions was somewhat disappointing. For example, we were told that on the island of Les Saintes we could get a taxi to Pain de Sucre beach. Arriving at Les Saintes, we went to the small tourist information building and were told that there was only one taxi on the island and no other tourist mode of transportation except for scooters (and vans for people staying at hotels). Not having a driving license, scooters weren’t an option for us. We ended up at a dive center in town, where the friendly owners tried hard to contact the one taxi driver as well as finding an alternative mode of transportation, to no avail. Searching for a way to Pain de Sucre beach took us a couple of hours, by which time we had no time for the long walk it would have taken us to get to other beaches. Had we not been misinformed by Windsurf staff about the availability of taxis, we would have made other plans. I should mention that Windsurf offered a guided tour to the Pain de Sucre beach at a cost of $135 per person, which we found to be ridiculously overpriced. One great aspect of travelling with Windstar Cruises is that, due to their ability to go to the smaller ports, there aren’t the huge crowds of tourists who get off the large cruise liners. If Windstar Cruises lowered the prices of their shore excursions and kept their shore excursion agents more informed about the various port activities, it would most likely make a big difference in the enjoyment of these beautiful Caribbean islands. Water sports platform On the one day we planned to use the water sports platform, the currents were dangerous so we weren’t able to use it. On days when it was safe and the water sports equipment was out, Windsurf guests looked like they were having a great time using it. General impressions Very friendly and efficient service. Our fellow guests were friendly and the overall atmosphere was laid back and extremely relaxing. Making new friends was easy, especially when choosing to eat meals at a table with multi-seating. However, for those who want to be less social, there are always places to enjoy this wonderful voyage in privacy, as well as the choice to eat at a table for one or two people. Travelling on a ship with sails was a unique and magical experience. We’re looking forward to our next Windstar vacation!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it ... Read More
My husband and I enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Surf. We purposely choise a cabin on the lowest deck so we could watch the waves and passing scenery at eye level through our two cabin portholes. That was fun! Elevators made it easy to get to the higher deck levels of the ship. I never experienced a time when I couldn't use an elevator. The ship is clean, tidy and well-maintained and our cabin was nice and with a well thought out design. Liked the overhead Hansgrohe shower head and handheld spray. It had different water pressure settings and patterns. The L'Occitane bath products provided were Lemon Verbana scented. The bed was comfortable, not too hard or too soft. Chairs in the cabin and on the above decks do not have good lower back support though. Our cabin steward was efficient and friendly. There was always a basket of fresh fruit in the cabin and two heart-shaped chocolate candies and also fresh ice in the ice bucket every night with the turndown service. The BBQ on the beach on St. Lucia and also the second BBQ on the ship were highlights of the trip. They did that well! Even had a live steel drum band on the beach. Occasionally the captain of the ship would make an announcement. He sounded just like the British actor Hugh Grant and had a nice sense of humor. We only booked one ship excursion and felt it was worthwhile money spent. Most of the islands we explored a bit on our own. The island itinerary on this trip was St. Maarten, Dominca, St. Lucia, Les Saintes (French West Indies), Nevis and St.Kitts. Nevis was the least interesting island. Taxi drivers there will hound you to use their services. We decided to just go back to the ship instead. Another couple that did take a taxi ride on the island were disappointed and told us it wasn't worth it. Most of the time we had to use a tender boat to get onto an island. It was easy and not scary and the crew is always ready to lend a helping hand to make getting on and off the tender boat simple. The Torment of Love pastries (filled with either coconut, banana or guava) and sold in baskets on the main street of Les Saintes, were delightful and also the French ice cream flavors ( guava, cassis, etc.) Most islands accepted US dollars but I had to pay with euros on Les Saintes. There is an Atm machine in town where you can obtain euro currency. There were several first-run movies available daily on your cabin tv and also a dvd and book library on the ship. I did purchase some wifi bandwidth to use with my ipad. The internet connection worked pretty well in the cabin and had an worked even better on a higher level of the ship. The food on the ship was good but not memorable. There wasn't a meal that made me wish I could eat it again. The dinner service every night was more elaborate and formal than breakfast or lunch. It would be nice if they would offer an optional informal dining venue for dinner other than room service. All in all, this was a nice trip!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus ... Read More
First off let me just say that the last cruise we were on was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and I had a two story suite that was fantastic. That being said my wife told me she had a great time but the ship was too much of a circus (climbing walls, mini golf, basketball, etc) not to mention the 8000 people on the ship. I was pointed in the direction of the Windstar Windsurf. We took two boys ages 17 and 22. The cruise was over Christmas so we figured (and were right) that there would be other young adults on the ship. It was fantastic, from the room (not as big as the last ship) to the food to the crew. I don't have enough time to leave a complete review but we couldn't have been happier. The kids even had a great time. We went swimming and playing in the ocean off the back of the ship every day, something we haven't ever had the opportunity to do before. This was like being on our own private yacht. It's a small ship with only 300 passengers and if you wanted to find a corner and read or listen to music it wasn't a issue. You are going to want to take advantage of the 24 hour open bridge policy, it's fascinating. Everything we did was special and we would do it again and will. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We cruised Dec. 14 - 21, 2014 from St. Martin to Dominique, St. Lucia, des Santes, St. Kitts/Nevis, BasseTerre. I have to begin this by saying that I give Windstar high marks for its interest in providing a good cruise. Everything you ... Read More
We cruised Dec. 14 - 21, 2014 from St. Martin to Dominique, St. Lucia, des Santes, St. Kitts/Nevis, BasseTerre. I have to begin this by saying that I give Windstar high marks for its interest in providing a good cruise. Everything you read here I put in a letter to Mr. Birkholz, president of Windstar. He called me to follow up and thank me for the letter, apologize for the shortcomings, take action to fix them, and offer an incentive to cruise again with Windstar. You can't do better than that. The staff is great. They were always smiling, cheerful, and helpful. Our cabin steward, Suki, was a gem. It has to be a challenge to keep everyone that way cruise after cruise and my hat is off to the management staff who makes that happen. Among the staff, the captain is a standout for his comedic wit and could probably have his own show. The band we had (High Society) did a fine job of playing songs we could enjoy and dance to (we are over 65). We appreciated the security arrangements for leaving and returning to the ship and the card scan made it easy. The tender service to shore ran often and smoothly. The quietness of our cabin was remarkable. Rarely did we hear anything from outside or next door or even the ocean for that matter (we were mid ships on deck 1). The TV/DVD/Boise system worked smoothly and enjoyably (but we did miss CNN or a major US network). Our cabin was a decent size and nicely furnished with a comfortable bed. However, the mini-fridge would not chill very much at all and the cabin was 80 degree when we arrived the first day and it took half a day to cool down. The overall maintenance and cleanliness of the ship was excellent. The BBQ on the beach was very nice and the swimming area pleasant. The food service and food were very good with a few exceptions. The small number of passengers also makes for a more enjoyable cruise experience. It can be hard to find a shady spot on deck during the day if you are not a sun worshipper. There were small issues that clouded our enjoyment. First among those was our confusion over the application of a $200 credit we got through the travel agent. We assumed it would go against anything on our bill including the $12/day per person gratuity charge. Nope. Maybe it would pay for an island tour we had prebooked prior to the cruise. Nope. We did not discover the limits of the credit until I inquired about 4 days into the cruise. The money went toward drinks and items in the gift shop - neither would have been expenses we would have incurred otherwise. The staff tried to resolve our request but bureaucracy got the best of us. The water provided in the rooms had a baking soda taste to it. Not so bad you couldn't drink it, but you would never look forward to having a glass of water. No bottled water in the minifridge either. We eventually discovered we could get it at the bar and sandwich shop after we bought some onshore. The ports of call were nice, but sadly these little islands do not have much to offer with their tiny economies. The good news is the big ships don't stop at them (at least not when we were there) so you don't have crowds. We had a nice tour on Dominique to the waterfall and gorge, but not much fun snorkeling. As far as we could tell, the reefs you may find along the trip are not thriving and hardly scenic. Don't expect much. This is not the fault of Windstar, just something you should know. BasseTerre is nothing but a tacky tourist trap. des Santes is a quaint little town worth a stroll. You can find cheap WiFi in one of the cafes there. Shipboard WiFi is expensive and slow. Your biggest headache won't be on the cruise. It will be what to do after you depart in the morning when it is over and before you catch your plane if it leaves later in the day. There is NO service to check your luggage so you can leave it and wander the town. Windstar offers a "tour" that lasts until about noon before it drops you at the airport. That costs about $70/person. A taxi to the airport costs $20/person. We solved the problem by taking a taxi to "Mary's Boon" hotel/restaurant near the airport and hanging out for four hours including getting lunch. I recommend it highly for that purpose. The airport itself is nice and clean, but it is still an airport terminal. (Note: US Airways requires 3 hr. arrival before departure - don't believe it. We were there on a very busy day and 2 hours was way more than enough. I wouldn't arrive less than 90 minutes before because things are not handled efficiently.) You can get food to eat in the terminal gate waiting area.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose ... Read More
We just returned from our first Windstar cruise and have mixed feelings about our experience. We have cruised on many lines and travel extensively. We prefer smaller resorts and appreciate all that a smaller ship can offer. We chose Windstar bc of the itinerary and wanted to give Windstar a try. The highs were the great ports and the marina off the back of the ship. Even though our weather was not great at the beginning of the cruise, it improved and we enjoyed wonderful days in Virgin Gorda, St. Barts and Tortola. The sailing was VERY rocky, but we were not affected by it. The room was good and very well appointed- especially the bathroom which has a very useful lay-out. Our cabin steward could not have been nicer and more helpful. Breakfast and Lunch in the Veranda were perfect- many choices, attentive service and no problem finding a place to sit. The lows outnumbered the highs. There was a big corporate organized group onboard- inferred that it was basically a wine and dine and thank you for media advertising. We had read on previous reviews that if a large group is onboard, it can greatly affect the cruise for others. This is very true. They took over Candles one night, and also hosted a special dinner around the aft pool one evening which precluded anyone else from enjoying that area for the evening. They would congregate at the bars in large, loud groups making it awkward for others to be there. The group was at least 60 people, and on a cruise of 300 people, this constitutes a large group. Smoking was another issue. We are not vigilantly against smoking, but it was overwhelming at times around the pool. Smoking areas were on one side of the ship- we just think that with such a small pool area, maybe move it somewhere else? The crew was friendly and we definitely encountered many who were to be commended ( we always turn in commendation forms as we know that they are important to the crew). But, it seemed as if they were not well trained or were new to Windsurf. Our dinners lasted at least 2.5 hours due to either a slow kitchen or slow wait staff. We would have liked for the Veranda to be open as a buffet in the evenings- dinners became a drawn out affair that we did not look forward to. Room Service was always an option, but we did not come on Windsurf to eat in our room. Th final straw was the fact that crew members (mainly casino and "cadets"- crew members in training) basically took over the Marina and the water trampoline in port and especially at the beach picnic on Prickly Pear. We have never encountered this on any cruise before- we realize that the crew works hard, but shouldn't those amenities be reserved for guests first? Comparing Windstar to comparable lines with comparable prices, Windstar falls short in the area of service. With the exception of our cabin steward, we did not feel like we received the service that we expected. We do not expect to be waited on hand and foot, but with such a strong crew to guest ratio, thought it would be a better experience. To be honest, with the exception of turning in favorable commendations for crew members, we do not post reviews such as this. You have to take all reviews at face value, and everyone has their own opinion. But, there were just too many things about our experience on Windsurf that were not favorable. They truly have the potential to be amazing, and their itineraries are great. We would try them again, but would go into it with lowered expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I hate to sound Californian, but the Windsurf energies were just great. The cabin was basic on deck 2 but great crisp sheets and a design that is not cramped. Windsurf was so small (300 passengers) meant that the tenders are frequent and ... Read More
I hate to sound Californian, but the Windsurf energies were just great. The cabin was basic on deck 2 but great crisp sheets and a design that is not cramped. Windsurf was so small (300 passengers) meant that the tenders are frequent and easy. The BVIs were non-traditional ports, and I don't like large crowds. The on-board BBQ was awesome and now 2 years later I can say the experience as a whole was super, although no individual island or cruise person was memorable. The crew was kind. I thought I wrote a review 2 years ago but seeing that none is in my CruiseCritic history I guess better late than never. More recently I took a Celebrity cruise with an upscale "Aqua" cabin with balcony, but the Windstar experience beat it hands down. Took a nonstop flight from DC and arrived the morning of the cruise - a short taxi ride to the port and easy boarding which I believe was $20 including tip. After the cruise we had a 1/2 day before the flight and rented a car which allowed us a tour of both the French and Dutch sides of St, Martin including a stop at some beach bar whose name I forget - fun and relaxing. And left the day of arrival. We made a full circle - and stopped in a local supermarket. SInce there are only 300 passengers disembarkation is quick. Another plus of this cruise was we spent about 8 hours under sail - which is aesthetically pleasing, We will be back on Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We just returned from our 9th Windstar cruise in the last 12 years, and our 5th on the Windsurf. We traveled with 4 other couples, all of whom are Windstar alumni. Our last trip was the same itinerary, with one change this time. They ... Read More
We just returned from our 9th Windstar cruise in the last 12 years, and our 5th on the Windsurf. We traveled with 4 other couples, all of whom are Windstar alumni. Our last trip was the same itinerary, with one change this time. They replaced St Kitts with Antigua...a good idea, although we all felt we didn't need 2 days in Antigua. More time in Virgin Gorda would be great. Since our last trip, 11 months ago on the Windsurf, the company has refurbished all of the public rooms, and the cabins as well. The public rooms are stunning. We found the cabin to be lovely, except for the carpet....if it had been changed, it was dirty and tattered on the edges. Surprising! Like the other review, we felt that the room needed more electrical outlets...there was only one in the cabin, and with all of the chargers that we carry for phones, ipads, etc, we could use another. The main dining room, AmphorA is beautiful. A much more sophisticated look. We were accommodated with a round table for 10...a nice way to converse with a large group. The Stella Bistro is equally beautiful. The food in these restaurants, while good, was not the quality that we have had in the past. The fish was dry, and steaks just OK. The staff in the dining rooms were as wonderful as always, cheerful and friendly, although it appeared as though there were fewer of them, and they were working a lot harder. But they always smile, and remember your name! Remarkable! We did not get the beverage package. We found the drinks reasonably priced, as always. The Veranda was also refurbished, but we found it to be crowded, as they have a added a large salad station which was difficult to maneuver around. The breakfast and lunch are both served here buffet style, with seating inside and out. We have always loved sitting outside to dine, and there seemed to be less tables there, while the addition of tables inside added to the crowding. The lunch buffet salad selection was always a favorite....but the variety is no longer there, and was disappointing. You can still order from a menu for breakfast and lunch if you desire, and the food is very nice. The staff, again is wonderful. There were 2 exceptions to the change in food quality. The barbeque held outside on the deck is as fabulous as ever...with lobster, shrimp and salads in abundance. And of course, the beach barbeque, on Prickly Pear Beach in Virgin Gorda (a fabulous spot) This is a highlight of the trip. The Yacht Club has become the location for morning coffee and pastry, as well as sandwiches throughout the day, and afternoon tea. Nicely done. However, one of the features that we loved was changed. Early morning coffee outside at the Compass Rose. My husband would pick up a cup of coffee and walk about watching us come into port. A simple thing that we miss, and could easily be changed. We do like the new awning at the Compass Rose. I have to mention the group who entertained us, both on this trip and the last. They are called Top Society, a family of musicians and singers...and are talented and delightful. As far as the excursions are concerned, we took a high speed catamaran to Anegada, the northernmost virgin island. It was a beautiful trip, with time on the beach as well as a tour of the island, and the crew on that ship were terrific. We have gone to The Baths on past trips. A previous reviewer felt the excursions were not very interesting. We take this cruise for r and r...so the excursions are not that important. Each island has its own beauty, and we just enjoy being there. The open bridge is a highlight of Windstar cruises for us. We are boaters, and enjoy meandering up to the bridge during the day, and in the evening. The navigation officers were always very pleasant and knowledgeable, and enthusiastically explained the dynamics of navigation and the workings of this magnificent sailing vessel. They made us feel that we were part of a great experience. Regarding the embarkation process. We waited in line for ½ hour in the noon day sun, with only one check in agent, who while friendly, obviously needed assistance. They did provide a cold beverage. Our luggage was transported to the ship very quickly by vehicle, while the passengers walked about ½ mile to the ship. It would be nice if some form of transportation could have been provided to individuals who needed it Once we were aboard, we knew why we always return....year after year, after year. Thanks for the memories, Windstar!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
After searching for months my husband and I decided on a Windstar cruise for our first one. From the moment we boarded the ship until the time departed it was an amazing trip! The ship itself was beautiful and well maintained, a few places ... Read More
After searching for months my husband and I decided on a Windstar cruise for our first one. From the moment we boarded the ship until the time departed it was an amazing trip! The ship itself was beautiful and well maintained, a few places of rust on the ship here and there...but you are in salt water, bound to happen. The crew was constantly cleaning and maintaining the ship. My favorite part of the ship were the sails and Compass Rose. Most of our evenings were spent there listening to the duo that was playing. Great talent. The service and staff were very accommodating, and yes they do know your name after day one! Everything I ate on board rated from very good to awesome! My only complaint was the coffee, if you are a coffee drinker you might not enjoy the coffee. I heard the expresso and cappuccinos were great though. Next trip I will just take a small French press and make my own. My husband really enjoyed the water platform off of the back of the ship, he used that several times. Our favorite parts were the beach day with the BBQ and the BBQ on the ship, both were lots of fun and food amazing ( and we are used to fine dining). We were on the beverage plan and the drinks were not watered down at all, and always had excellent service. We also purchased the laundry package and used it several times. However, the prices per piece are very reasonable so if you only need a few things laundered then I wouldn't get the package. As far as excursions we did our on and didn't book through the ship. We loved Smugglers Cove, we borrowed snorkeling stuff from the ship and went on our own! Beautiful beaches at each port, just ask the locals were to go. And, you can negotiate cheaper cab prices. We can't wait to go on our next cruise, we have decided to do at least 2 on Windstar a year! This was our favorite vacation ever! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Windstar cruise is a very nice ship with excellent staff,but not 5 star. We have traveled on Silversea, Reagent, and Tauck river cruises which do a better job pampering you and earn a 5 star. Windstar says they recently renovated but the ... Read More
Windstar cruise is a very nice ship with excellent staff,but not 5 star. We have traveled on Silversea, Reagent, and Tauck river cruises which do a better job pampering you and earn a 5 star. Windstar says they recently renovated but the carpets in the cabins has not been changed. The ships cruise director is not very informed nor does the font desk have much information on the ports .We never had internet connection which has been a chronic problem for this cruise line. The TV selection is bare minimum with no US news station.Also the ship wants to charge for everything even a wine tasting event which I thought they could use to promote some of their on board wines. One small problem especially for elderly guest is a lot of the doorways have a ledge and often you kick it with your foot or trip. It takes a little while to get use to the ledge.Though it sounds like a lot of negatives my family age 14, 16 18 and 20 all had a great time and I would recommend the cruise to my friends and would travel with them again if I found an enticing destination. The food was very good and seemed to get better as the week went on. We ate in all of the restaurants but felt the main dining room was excellent and enjoyed having the same waiter every night. The crew really does a great job. The wines are reasonable priced and a good selection of moderately priced wines. We did not pay for the drink packaged and came out ok. Just remember to budget a 12% fee for tip and 15% fee for drinks. Water and soda included. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 2nd sailing on this refurbished ship which was an amazing return after 12 years. The ship is a beautiful as ever. From the captain who was very informative, entertaining and "good looking" to the incredible service ... Read More
This was our 2nd sailing on this refurbished ship which was an amazing return after 12 years. The ship is a beautiful as ever. From the captain who was very informative, entertaining and "good looking" to the incredible service from all the staff, it ranks as one of the best of over 15 sailings I've been on. I published various public videos on you tube which show the ship and some of the destinations. This is not a cruise for youngsters or the weak/infirm. *Cabins - renovated and enough space and enjoyed the free soda and water throughout. The steward, who were rarely saw, kept the place top notch. *Food dining - we ate at the Restaurant most of the time because they had the best variety but we loved dining under the stars in Candles and on the BBQ night. Breakfast was always delicious and the filet mignon was very good but some of the other beef dishes were tough. The pork and chicken were very good as were the fish dishes and the side dishes and app/dessert. The wait staff went overboard to please and make sure everything went well and you were a happy customer. *Nightlife - the family band playing in the lounge was perfect as was the duo who played on the Compass Rose. Unfortunately we were generally so wiped out that we went to be early many times. *Excursions - well run and complemented to ports. The staff were informative but did not seem to have the detailed kowledge with "inside tips" if you wanted to deviate from their excursions. ** Overall, we will definitely sail this ship, or maybe try another, in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This is as good as it gets. An amazing ship, amazing staff, fantastic itinerary, wonderful guests. Plus look out for our next, (complete contrast), review as we were on the ship for 2 weeks. It's hard to know where to start. A ... Read More
This is as good as it gets. An amazing ship, amazing staff, fantastic itinerary, wonderful guests. Plus look out for our next, (complete contrast), review as we were on the ship for 2 weeks. It's hard to know where to start. A truly stunning week. We arrived in St Maarten from the UK on Friday and boarded on Saturday. Our cabin was lovely. Boarding was fairly seamless. We started to feel our way around. Checked out the restaurants, gym etc. Had a beer by the pool bar looking forward to setting sail that evening. We ate at the fish restaurant the first night. It was good but not as good as the main restaurant which we loved. We thought the main restaurant was really special. Leaving St Maarten was dramatic. We soon learned that every night we set sail they play the tune used in Hunt For Red October, (Hymn to the red army), as the sails unwind. All about the experience. We loved the fact that as this was a smaller sailing ship we could get into the more quaint smaller ports. I've noted the ports of call below. We did a few trips, we explored some gorgeous places, we had lots of sun, enjoyed the beers and wines on board, enjoyed the food on board, and loved the sailing. As the days went by we gradually met more and more people, got to know the staff, (they get to know you), and had a stunning stunning time. 10 out of 10. As good as it gets. A huge huge huge thank you to Captain John and all the staff and guests on board for creating an amazing week. A fantastic bunch of staff with at least 30 that were worth naming plus all the sailors who work tirelessly in the background to make this all happen. So so many special people like Bobby, Kennedy, Raul, Harry, January, Captain John himself, Sam who drives the boat, and so so many more. The efforts of these people, a good crowd onboard, the gorgeous gorgeous boat and the very carefully planned schedule of beautiful places to stop made this exquisite. We were onboard the following week too. Wind Star booking rules allowed a group of 30 business people to book. I'm sorry but small boats are for small parties. It changed the feel of the week dramatically and I'm sorry to say we are unlikely to go back. Wind Star - you've gone for what looked like a good money booking and ignored the fact that you've lost as much money as many of the people on the boat the second week will never come back. Everyone was complaining about these rude rude ignorant people Schedule as follows:- 2012 March 17 Saturday Philipsburg, St. Maarten 2012 March 18 Sunday Soper'S Hole, Tortola, B.V.I. 2012 March 18 Sunday Jost Van Dyke Great Harbour, B.V.I 2012 March 19 Monday Jost Van Dyke Great Harbour, B.V.I 2012 March 19 Monday Virgin Gorda, Prickly Pear Beach, B.V.I. 2012 March 20 Tuesday Virgin Gorda, Prickly Pear Beach, B.V.I. 2012 March 21 Wednesday Basseterre, St. Kitts 2012 March 22 Thursday Les Saintes, F.W.I. 2012 March 23 Friday Gustavia, St. Barthelemy 2012 March 24 Saturday Philipsburg, St. Maarten Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
First off, let me say that this was as perfect as I remember WindSurf being since 2007 which was our last cruise on her. Embarkation was easier than pie. DH has trouble walking long distances, so the check in people found a golf cart to ... Read More
First off, let me say that this was as perfect as I remember WindSurf being since 2007 which was our last cruise on her. Embarkation was easier than pie. DH has trouble walking long distances, so the check in people found a golf cart to deliver him to the gangplank. We arrived around 1:30 and were on board within 10 minutes and in our cabin within another 20. The Captain, who is a comedian, met us at the gangplank with a welcome. We were due to sail at 7. Muster was at 5:30 and was different than the last time. You can muster inside the doors of your station in the ac. That was a lovely experience!! Sail Away was as fun and memorable as I still had in my dreams! The music, the sails...Perfect. It was a little different for us to arrive/depart St Maarten as last time we left from Barbados. We spent the night before at the Holland House Beach Resort, which allowed us to see the ship first thing that morning. Amazing the difference of sizes between WS and a Celebrity... We did try out all of the restaurants at dinner (these were all new since we were on in 07). Restaurant was nice and service was good. Degrees, to me, was just a smaller regular restaurant and the service was questionable. Le Marche was ok....we didn't think it was any better seafood than in the dining room. Candles was definitely great; however, the wind was blowing and the food was cold in short order. The ambiance, however, was wonderful! Breakfast and lunch in the Veranda were great and the servers all went out of their way to get you what you wanted, help find seats, etc. First day was at sea. Unfortunately, we had a gentleman who got sick on sea day and we made a medical stop at Guadaloupe which was no being deal for the passengers. Good news is he was ok and the captain reported almost daily on his progress. We did sail by Montserrat which was fascinating! We sailed very slowly past it so you could see the destruction from the volcano and still see the 'phosphorus cloud' around the top of the volcano. Then Martinique. We were scheduled to dock at Le Marin. That didn't happen. It would appear that they let another yacht dock there overnight and there was no room for us. The captain was less than pleased and expressed himself so. But, that was not at all the cruise lines fault. We docked at Fort De France instead. We were scheduled for a ship sponsored 4x4 jeep ride. We were given the opportunity to cancel or go. Having never been to Martinique we decided to continue on. Well, done with Martinique. We were supremely disappointed with the rain forest and really didn't see anything very redeeming. Then to St Lucia and Beach Barbecue. We did not go to this. Everyone said it was really nice, although, a little difficult to manage your plate and sit in a beach chair. There was limited shade which is what kept us from going. But, we love St Lucia so we didn't really feel like we missed anything as we have done this in the past. They had lots of water toys available for the people who did go. the crew really does a top notch job with this! Dominica next. My best opinion of this was 'been there, done that'. That is really an unfair comment for me to make since we didn't do any tours. After getting car sick in Martinique, I really wasn't up to another venture. We had friends who did the aerial tram and suspension bridge. They said the island was beautiful, so I think we were just disappointed with the port and didn't explore further. Antigua. We have been here before and were looking forward to docking at Nelson dockyard, but we docked at Falmouth. There really wasn't anything there, but we did find a Yacht club that had a great lunch while looking over the marina. St Barts. How can you not love this place. We had greasy burgers at Le Select and did some shopping. Most of our days were spent on board, just sitting outside of Compass Rose reading books, taking naps, etc. It was so nice for the servers to not ask you every 30 seconds if you wanted another drink like they do on the large lines. Sometime around 2-3 p.m. in the afternoon, they came around with coolers...orange sherbert in half orange peels, frozen watermelon shooters. etc. Our ship was not full. There were around 260 people on board. I still saw people getting off that I had never seen while we were on board. We were under sail probably more than I can ever remember...about 60-70% of the time. Some of that could have been the closeness of the islands, but whatever works!! There was never a problem finding a chaise wherever you wanted to perch... It was fun to see Rene who was on the Spirit our 1st (and 2nd) sailing, and Raul and Segung from our last trip on the Surf. It was relatively interesting to only see ladies at the front desk and in the gift shop. Otherwise, as far as I could tell, the rest were men. The new sandwich spot was very nice. It was lovely to be able to get a sandwich to to--with water--if you had an excursion or just wanted to get off the ship and go to a beach. The upgrade to the rooms were lovely and certainly gave the ship a fresh look. It does need more refurbish to the decks, but that didn't bother me at all!! The staff show was a riot and the Dr. on board is quite the entertainer. They also had a deck barbecue our last night at sea. Lots of salads, grilled lobster, a whole pig, desserts. I wasn't overly impressed, but that was just me. It was very festive, but the food was barely even warm. After dinner, some of the servers---and the Dr--put on a dance show with lots of line dances. The Dr was definitely cutting a rug!! And, he was a very nice man to boot!! Daddy was wonderful...as was Bambang. We had a short conversation with Daddy one night about service in Degrees and he looked so hurt. We explained we were not fussing...just making him aware. He definitely takes his job seriously!! Captains cocktail party was nice as usual. We cannot comment on the overview of the next day's events from the lounge since we sailed almost every night around that time and I opted to be on deck for sail-away. Tea time was not quite as festive as I remembered...they used to do banana's foster or cheeries jubilee one day. Again, didn't ruin my trip! They used to also, on some nights, sort of make it a real party on deck for sail away with special drinks. But, the flip side is we never felt pressured about anything. Disembarkation was just as easy as embarkation. We did stay over one extra night at the Hotel Beach Plaza in Marigot. I would suggest you find another stay over hotel...even though it was one of the ship's 'sail/stay' program. I wish I could find something negative to say. However, I really don't have anything. It was as near perfect a vacation as one could possibly have!! Everyone from the gentlemen who helped us on/off the tenders (and they really helped my DH) to the maintenance people working were friendly, helpful and made you feel like you were the only one on the ship. Here's hoping I can go again next year and not wait 5 more!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This is cruise #30 and cruise line #8 for us. We are in our mid-40s, professionals DINK. We've been sailing for 16 years but this was one of the best experiences ever. Here's why. Service: the word gracious is on the website. ... Read More
This is cruise #30 and cruise line #8 for us. We are in our mid-40s, professionals DINK. We've been sailing for 16 years but this was one of the best experiences ever. Here's why. Service: the word gracious is on the website. It is a true definition of how we were treated. We were called by name almost immediately and felt as though all staff were genuinely concerned that we were cared for and having a good time. Because of only having 270 pax there was ample time for them to get to know us and us to get to know them. It seems silly to say, but I felt like I was on my own yacht. Not once did I hear the words called out to no one in particular "Bar Service?" It was, "Miss Barbara, can I get you something to drink?" Crew: the open bridge policy is unique. Wander up there when you want (not during port times). Ask anything and prepared to be informed and entertained. Capt Clark has missed his calling as a comedian. He kept us entertained more than once during the welcome aboard and the farewell party. Funny, intelligent man. All other staff friendly and unobtrusive. Sails: this was the reason I wanted to go on Windstar. I got goose bumps on sail away from St Maarten when the music started and the first sail got unfurled. It never got old for the other 6 nights either. We were on sail power for 39% of our cruise. So beautiful. Too bad we only saw the sails up while we were on board - but otherwise we would have missed the boat! We did bust a sail on the first night, the forward sail caught too much wind and let go, but it wasn't noticeable. Venues: I was thinking I might be bored, since I'm pretty active, but I wasn't. I was so relaxed that it never occurred to me that I wasn't doing a lot. We went in to some ports, but truly I couldn't care less where we went so that's why there will be no reviews of the ports except maybe a small comment or two. The Compass Rose seemed to be the place to be. It was the only place where finding a spot to sit at times was difficult. Once they revamp the space they may address the seating arrangements. Afternoon tea, before and after drinks were all popular times. The Lounge became like a family room, a place to gather for the port talk before dinner, have a drink and fabulous hot/cold hors d'oeuvres. The band was just right, playing a good mix and not too loud. Plenty of space for all and very cozy. I loved that room. The Yacht Club is the rest of deck 4 (Main) and has reception (Ladies were so helpful and friendly), the sandwich bar and coffee station, library and DVD library (all free and readily available). Lots of comfy leather chairs for lounging. Dining: Well. I like food. The first night we found a great little table for two at The Restaurant which suited us just fine. Great choices on the menu, and very well presented. Staff seemed to know the menu very well and were completely able to adjust without "checking". Good for the fussy eater my DH is. The first night though, our waiter Steven seemed to disappear after the main course was served. My pork was not cooked and I wasn't at all happy, but he nor any other staff were anywhere to be found, and when they came close I couldn't get their attention. Finally, he did come back and I explained my problem. It was too late to fix it although he was genuinely sorry he'd disappointed me. Needless to say at that point I wasn't hopeful for the rest of the cruise if the first dinner was such a poor experience. Well, I needn't have worried. It was an absolute anomaly, and the service and food was outstanding, truly outstanding for the rest of the week. We also tried Degrees for one meal, and found it wonderful as well. We just liked the Restaurant and our table a bit better. Degrees is on Deck 5 and adjacent to the Veranda restaurant and used as overflow seating for lunch and breakfast. We had reservations one night at Candles, unfortunately one of the two nights it decided to rain during the evening. We missed out but heard good things. The last night we ate at Le Marche, on deck 6 right under the sails. It was the seafood restaurant, and they served a starter including shrimp and tuna something, a wonderful greek salad, and about 5 entrees. We had the seafood trio and it was wonderful. Dessert was okay too, but by then I was so full... Breakfast and Lunch were both buffet/A la Carte. Walk in, pick what you want from the buffet and the waiter will come along to see if you want pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict etc etc etc or at lunch a variety of grill items. There was never any lobster at lunch, despite rumours we'd heard. Oh well. BBQ - two of these, one on the beach at lunch, the other on deck in the evening. The beach one was at St Lucia. The amount of work that went into this preparation was amazing. Everything carried over by tender. Okay. China plates and real cutlery. The complete bar from the ship. Ice cream. Ribs, chicken, salads, dessert, tea, coffee. It was like eating on the ship except you were on the beach. The organization was incredible. Fantastic. The BBQ on the ship looked as amazing, although we chose to eat in the dining room just because it was a little too dark and windy for our tastes. Glad we did too, because my filet mignon was perhaps the best I have had IN MY LIFE. I also had creme brulee at some point during the week - not usually a favourite, but hey, I tried. Chef Ronald's creme brulee must be the reason that people eat creme brulee. Wow. Okay, enough about the food. You won't go hungry and you will love it. Did I mention the specialty coffee and the cheese plate and the plentiful choices of yummy things? German choc cake, also not a favourite, OMG So Good. LOL One complaint: regular coffee in the morning was horrible. Pool Area: one pool, despite evidence of a pool on Deck 6 at one point in the design. Salt water. Chilly. But for some reason lovely and warm on the last day. Two hot tubs. Here's something: 3 pm Friday. sitting in the hot tub. Why, who knows since it's hot outside. Along comes a server with a plate of frozen lemon sorbet, fancy lemon sorbet in real glass dishes, on a china plate with a silver spoon. I'm in heaven. I'm on a yacht, in the hot tub, looking over the beautiful Caribbean, and eating lemon sorbet off a china plate. Is that the reason we cruise, or what? LOL There are lots of loungers, especially since we were in port most days, and lots of places to sit with an iPad or kindle to read. Books too :) Shade was at a premium, but could be found with a little effort. Embarkation: we were late. 6 pm in fact. Among the last to board. We took a Windstar transfer (only the two of us with a company rep and driver in a very nice Jeep). Met at the port entrance and escorted to the ship, and eventually met by someone who took our luggage down to the ship for us. We quickly found our way to check in, filling out a few docs and then being escorted to our stateroom by the chief steward, and shown around the stateroom and its amenities. Nice touch. Debarkation. Everyone off within 40 minutes. Nice leisurely breakfast, then maybe 3 announcements saying come get your passports and off you go. All luggage was at the top of the pier near the tour buses and taxis. Couldn't be simpler. We took the island tour through the cruise line since our flight wasn't until 430. It was a good option rather than sitting in the airport, although too much time driving around the island and not enough time downtown shopping. We've been there many times so I knew which stores were where and made a beeline for what I wanted. And time for a .99 cent beer at the Barefoot Terrance on the beach before heading to the airport. Personalities: My favourite bar staff: Bobby. Always smiled, called me by name, knew what I wanted and made sure I kept hydrated in the sun. I called him Roberto he was that good. Gino: Best hair at sea. Great dancer. Smile to launch a thousand ships. Makes a great martini. My favourite wait staff: Steven. Gentle, funny and gracious. We were well looked after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Daddy: the maitre d'hotel. Funny guy. Great for crew morale, not afraid to pitch in and serve or clean up. Always patting the staff on the back and smiling. A true leader. Captain Clark: what a guy. Sail with him anywhere. Great Costa jokes :) Other things to note: Abilio is the port guy. The Port Guy has to be somebody's nephew. He was as one guest pointed out "not useful". Vicki is the guest services manager. Didn't have to deal with her, but her voice would make you want to jump overboard. The Ship. She's a little rough around the edges, but hey she's not a fancy new mega ship. There were lots of crew giving touch ups here and there as you would see on any sea-going vessel. We had a very rough cruise. If you were prone to sea sickness, you would not have been a happy person. I haven't been tossed around that much in a long time, and I never get sick, but there was one point when I wished it would just stop. Most people said that. However, the Doc wasn't too busy, because he was front and centre at the Crew Talent show (a highlight) giving his all in a Whitney Houston Tribute. Ports: Who remembers from ports? St Barts - busy and expensive. Good for yacht watching. The rest I heard people suggest that even though they weren't crawling with other ships, there wasn't much to see or do. Organized tours to snorkle or swim seemed to be the best bet. Like I said, I've been to most islands and they've blended a long time ago. Gym. Small and at times very busy. Although there were at least 10 cardio machines and several weight machines. Ample supply of free weights and stability balls. Two tvs to watch. Some space for stretching. It was nicely air conditioned. There were classes avail to do yoga on the deck, but for a fee. Fellow passengers: They say 40-60. Our cruise more like 60-75. No herd mentality, but there was no reason to rush for anything because there was enough of whatever you wanted for everyone who wanted it. Lots of couples travelling together and plenty of mixing with strangers if that's what you wanted to do too. DH and I are kind of shy, but Bobby, our bar guy, introduced us to another Canadian couple and took credit all week for it :) 4 kids, 3 teen girls and one 8 year old boy. They kept busy reading, swimming from the marina on deck 2 and were very well-behaved. I think the crew enjoyed having them there. Speaking of fees: pop, juice, coffee, tea and bottled water all included and no problem for the bar staff to bring it promptly. Alcohol has the standard %15 gratuity. To bring your own bottle onboard from any of the ports no problem, but a charge of $17.50 for uncorking in the dining room applied. Compared to Carnival or Princess the wine choices were a bit more high end, and about $10 more for the cheapest bottle. Expect to pay minimum $37 US for a bottle and up from there. Thankfully for me, DH won the equivalent of my bar bill in the casino and a bit more :). Overall: a total winner. I would recommend this hand over heart. I will return. If you're even thinking about it - do it. You won't regret the experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our third Windstar cruise, but we had not been on the Windsurf since 1998. I'm going to tag along with another review here by "c5Marine," because they did such a nice job of describing their cruise. First the ... Read More
This was our third Windstar cruise, but we had not been on the Windsurf since 1998. I'm going to tag along with another review here by "c5Marine," because they did such a nice job of describing their cruise. First the "BAD"... NONE Second the "GOOD"... Everything Even though we had been on the Windsurf in 1998 in the Mediterranean, my expectations were exceeded on this cruise. The ship had a recent refit, and the cabins and public rooms were beautiful. The food was off-the-charts, and even the coffee was great. We had done this same itinerary with Star Clipper a few years ago, and we just love the ports-of-call. The best part of this cruise, for us, was the crew. From Captain John to our cabin steward, Puji -- everyone was so pleasant and friendly. I never once felt like it was a front or a put-on, as I've seen on some of our other cruises. I feel the Windsurf was a very good value. We didn't get nickled-and-dimed for everything. Soft drinks, juice, sparking water, and fancy coffees were all included. Also there are very few ships that offer a galley and engine-room tour. Of course, the bridge is always open while at sea -- which is fantastic. In addition to the two music groups which were very good, the Windsurf also put on a great Superbowl party. After this Windstar cruise, I don't think we'll ever be on a large cruise ship again. Windstar has really upped their game and with the new ownership, I think they have a great future ahead. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I must say I disagree with some of the previous review - a cruise like this is what you make of it. As a first-timer, my expectations were slightly different. I was glad to see a mixture of ages aboard - more younger people than normal, I ... Read More
I must say I disagree with some of the previous review - a cruise like this is what you make of it. As a first-timer, my expectations were slightly different. I was glad to see a mixture of ages aboard - more younger people than normal, I was told, which added some energy. The ship is a beautiful vessel with a maximum of 300 or so passengers - a perfect size. Pre-cruise, we stayed at Little Arches, a wonderful boutique hotel on the south coast across the mesmerising Enterprise/Miami beach, one of the most impressive stretches of white sand in Barbados. In my opinion, this is a better choice than Windstar's preferred hotel (although rooms are limited). Our first impressions of Windsurf were good. When the sails were out it was very romantic. On the first port of call to St George's Grenada, we lined up next to a big Thomson ship with capacity for 1000 passengers. Everyone was glad to be on Windsurf - a much more elegant ship. One of the strengths of Windsurf is the ports of call and excursions - many bigger ships do not offer the same interesting itineraries. We started off with a sea day which was good to get accustomed to the ship. Someone had a heart-attack through the night and another had overdosed on pills - a dramatic start to the holiday, although somewhat unusual. I was impressed with how Windsurf dealt with these incidents and simply swapped over the sea day supposed to take place later on in the cruise. Very efficient and no fuss at all. St George's, Grenada, the first port of call was a beautiful harbour and the ship offered several excursions. We chose the essential sight seeing tour which gave a superb overview of the island with some great photograph opportunities over the lush green island. We visited a cocoa making house where a man showed how cocoa was made and explained differences between spices such as nutmeg. At Fort Frederick we enjoyed paronamic views to the sound of a steel drum. Later on, we visited the dream-like white sand Grand Anse beach. The next stop was Bequia, Grenadines - a stunning island with a walkway surrounded by yachts and turquoise water, where we enjoyed lobster pizza and took another excellent excursion. Princess Margaret beach and Lower Bay were charming rustic beaches. Mayreau, Grenadines, was another highlight. We visited the sublime Salt Whistle Bay, a perfect picture postcard beach - a Caribbean hideaway. After that we took a catamaran to Tobago Cays - we thought we had died and woken up in heaven! The waters were a mixture of cyan, turquoise and marine blue. Portsmouth, Dominica was a bit of a disappointment - it was raining and we didn't get to see much of the beautiful rainforest or the rare parrots inhabiting the island. This was the only occasion that the nature trail excursion we chose fell short. Pigeon Island, St Lucia though was fantastic - a windswept beach with the Atlantic ocean bashing against rocks and an excellent barbecue. The ship also visited the magnificent pitons near soufriere. On board the ship, we made reservations at Le Marche - the outdoor restaurant serving delicious sea-food and Candles, the romantic steak restaurant. We dined at The Restaurant, the main eaterie, which was more of what you would expect of a mass market cruise experience. Degrees, the mediterranean restaurant, was much better with a good standard of food, although not matching what you would probably find on the high end luxury cruises. In terms of entertainment, there was always something going on. A special treat was a member of Kool and the Gang performing for New Year's Eve! Otherwise, the house band was not bad. Most surprisingly an excellent classical pianist was also on board. The lecture by Sir Harold Evans on the sea day on American innovators was extremely interesting - we certainly did not expect to learn anything new on our cruise. Post-cruise, we opted for the Hilton Barbados - a beautifully located hotel, although lacking in basic customer service. In summary, Windsurf is an excellent choice for a first-time cruiser. We are already contemplating our next trip to the Caribbean aboard the capable hands of Windsurf. We met many interesting well travelled people on board. The majority of passengers were American with a sprinkling of British and other European couples. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was our 6th Windstar cruise and out 3rd on the Surf. No surprises - which is a good thing. Check in and registration was easy and fast and we were greeted by the captain before boarding. Inside, there were two women checking people in ... Read More
This was our 6th Windstar cruise and out 3rd on the Surf. No surprises - which is a good thing. Check in and registration was easy and fast and we were greeted by the captain before boarding. Inside, there were two women checking people in along with the Hotel Manager, Henri Lemay, greeting people. It took less than 15 minutes from the time we walked onto the ship until we were in our cabin. Since we had just been on this ship last summmer, we didn't expect much in the way of change. The cabins were spotless, the beds comfortable and the staff friendly and welcoming. We recognized many of the waiters, and bar staff from previous trips and they knew us. I'd guess more than 40% of the passengers were alumni. We left Barbados on time and headed to our sea day. The itinerary had to be changed around a bit due to an unforeseen illness, but personally I don't think it took away from the trip. For the first time, there were two "lectures" during the sea day. I don't recall any of the Windstar ships offering this before. I think it's a great idea and I'd encourage them to keep doing it. The ship was about 95% filled, but you still have no trouble finding quiet places inside our outside to read or sleep. The Surf is a beautiful ship and the crew keeps it amazingly clean. The food was the same - good, but not great. The addition within the last few years to add La Marche and Candles was a good one and making reservations for either or both was simple. No lines. The ports of call were okay. Perhaps my wife and I have had enough of the Caribbean, but to me they all begin to look the same. One issue everyone had was the decision to dock at Portsmouth instead of Roseau on Dominica. Many people complained because the former is a depressed, dirty little town with no stores and no shops, and virtually no beach. So we quickly went back to the ship and spent the bulk of the day there. We also went to Granada (very nice), Bequia (good to visit, but not much to see our do), Mayreau, (not road, no stores). Unless one was very adventurous, there was little to see or do. The traditional picnic on the beach was nice, but the lounges were too close together and there was very little shade. We again opted to go back to the ship. (Seriously, we're not people who really want to just hang out on the ship!). I think the highlight of this cruise was New Year's Eve. Nearly everyone on board came into the lounge to hear two very good bands. They played continuously for several hours and a bit before midnight the entire crew joined in. People seemed to have a great time, but noboday got out of hand Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My husband and I cruised between Barbados and St Martin and back on the Windsurf the last week of November. I agonized over our choice before we went, not being able to find that many reviews for this particular cruise line. I have to say ... Read More
My husband and I cruised between Barbados and St Martin and back on the Windsurf the last week of November. I agonized over our choice before we went, not being able to find that many reviews for this particular cruise line. I have to say that I was not disappointed, the cruise was one of the best and most memorable vacation that my husband and I have taken. The ship is in good shape, the state rooms are very nice, beds are comfortable and the common rooms are well laid out. When we first entered the ship I was a little wary as the carpets in the lounge appeared to be quite stained. Well they could use an upgrade there, that was about the only place that the ships appearance wasn't great. The embarkation process was quick and easy and we were in our stateroom in no time. It took my husband's luggage a while to make it to our room, but the ladies at the guest services were attentive and tried to keep my husband calm. We spent our first night dining on the deck as we left port - it was beautiful. We spent some days anchored at different ports in the Western Antilles. The water sports platform was a very nice break from poolside if you wanted to take a dive in the ocean. The pool on deck was nice for cooling off, but not really meant for swimming. The only port we docked in was Guadeloupe, other than that you had to take tenders to the ports. Not really that bad as they ran regularly and there was very little wait. What I liked the best was that they also left from the port to the ship on a regular basis, meaning that you never got the huge cruise ship line ups that you find when trying to get back to the larger ships on tenders. Perhaps it was because we were before the real big cruise season, but I didn't find alot of excursions available at the ports. If you wanted to see something on the islands you could hail a taxi and go it on your own or use the excursions through the ship. Our cruise hosts did a great job of giving you good information about each of the ports and if you are more adventuresome you can probably find some real neat spots. My husband and I are a bit more tentative so in the end we booked some excursions through the ship and were pleased with how they were managed. We haven't done a lot of cruising but on the last Carnival cruise we took it was always a chore to get a spot around the pool. Not so here, there are plenty of loungers available for the passengers and it was easy to move around if you wanted a spot in the shade for a while. There was always spots available either in the sun by the pool or on the deck in the shade. Every afternoon they would bring you frozen sorbet and a cold towel to wipe your hands and face - never had that kind of attention before. As with all ships the extras add up so you have to be careful. My husband and I enjoy wine with our meals and cocktails by the pool. After a week on the ship and with 2 excursions our bill was $1,500 US. A bit expensive, but not unexpected. Overall it was a great experience, we will definitely be back on board with the Windstar Cruise Line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good ... Read More
Did Barbados South 12/4 and Barbados North 12/11. To keep it simple: the wait staff is great (food service, bartenders, steward). A/C broke the first week. Offered onboard credit, and a chance to cancel the next week's cruise (good pr, and a much deserved plus). For scuba divers, they advertise as a 'liveaboard' in mags such as Rodale's Scuba...NOT!!!. PLUS: Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) was great. Open bridge while sailing. Sails unfurled in the evening and mid morning. Room service seemed better than actual set meals. Minus: After midnite, you can't get a glass of water, let alone a simple snack (ie a simple sandwich), unless you request room service. A cup of coffee can't be found until 6am. In between lunch and dinner (keep in mind you may have missed breakfast or lunch for an excursion you booked with the ship), you get cookies!. Communication between departments was non-existent. If you booked an excursion, and it ran past lunch, you didn't get lunch. To their credit, the second week they did try to reconcile this problem. Excursions are hit and miss. They may be cancelled, they may not. They may be on time, they may be 2 hours late. Finally, and if anyone from the company actually reads this stuff: Never, and I say NEVER give your product away. We booked at a reasonable (at the time) rate to my wife and I. Then took advantage of their advertised policy of a steep discount for a back to back. Only to find out that if you went to a discount website, we could have gotten the first week for almost half off. Overall: Taking into account the weather the first week and it being the first time this company did this specific itinerary, they did a commendable job. However, by their own admission, by offering such a steep discount on those 'last minute' sites, I felt we well overpaid, and probably won't sail again with them. If you work for the company and read this, consider the following: NEWER give up your front gate!! Offer free drinks, discounts on shipboard stuff, etc., but NEVER give up your front gate!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a ... Read More
Overview: I guess the most important question is, What is it like to sail on the Wind Surf? Nancy and I have very different answers to that question. Mine is that it was very nice, but it wasnt at all what they said it was, and that a 7 day trip was quite enough. I didnt have any wishes for a longer voyage. Going to smaller ports on a smaller ship left me feeling like the out of the way, back woods ports were pretty much the same. If you have seen 4, you have seen them all. Yes, they have differences, but the differences dont matter so much in the grand scheme of things. Windstar, the company that owns the 3 sail cruise ships, is owned by Holland America, which is owned by Carnival. All of the descriptions of the cruise experience from the Windstar web site describe each of the ships as small, luxury sail/motor ships: Sailing under the banner of its appropriate tag line "180º From Ordinary," Windstar was created in the mid-1980's with the vision to offer an alternative to the typical cruise or resort vacation. The Windstar passenger sees the world from a romantic sailing ship with luxurious accommodations, a casual yet elegant atmosphere, and exquisite service and cuisine. The Wind Surf, at 308 passengers, is twice the size of the other two ships. I havent been on the smaller ships, but from what I have heard, they are different in feel (i.e. better) than the Wind Surf. The bottom line for me is that the Wind Surfs dEcor was utilitarian: nice, but utilitarian. The food ranged from good to very good, the service from the staff was very good, while the service from management was poor. What the Wind Surf has to offer is small, out of the way ports that the big ships cant get into. Can you imagine 3,200 passengers storming the beach at Mayreau (population 212)? Instead, our 308 passengers fit in just fine. Moreover, with so few passengers, we saw the same people day after day, and that was a delightful experience. I dont think I would take Wind Surf again unless it were going to a destination that was absolutely compelling, that no one else was going to, and (a big and) the price was more in line with what I was actually receiving. So, lets start at the beginning: The Wind Surf is a 5 masted sailing cruise ship. Like all sailboats, the design of everything is subordinated to making room for the masts, lines, supports etc. It is hard to take a picture without running afoul of sailing apparatus. In the Wind Surfs case, that makes for a long skinny ship; so rather than your typical cruise ship configuration of two outside corridors with lounges in the middle, you often have only one corridor and an L shaped room, like the 1960s combination living/dining rooms of a suburban ranch house. None of that is bad, and in fact, it is downright pleasant. Or, it would be if the ship actually functioned as a sailboat. There were two lengthy periods when the motor was disconnected (not, shut off), and the ship proceeded under sail power. The idea was that it was a sailing experience, but the reality was that the motor was needed for electrical power, and I could still hear it vibrating away. The ship never heeled over into the wind. In short, the Wind Surf struck me as a motorized cruise ship with a gimmick. True enough, a nice gimmick, but my body wasnt fooled even for a moment. As for luxury, forget it: thats my opinion, anyway. The cabin and elsewhere was nicely utilitarian, but both Celebrity (nouveau upscale) and Holland American (pretend old money, i.e. quieter upscale) were far, far, far more luxurious. Wind Surf claims to be a 5 star ship like Celebrity and Holland American, but the reality is closer to a very pleasant 3 or 4 stars but for the much smaller number of passengers. This year, Holland American costs about $120 per person per day in the Caribbean, and Celebrity checks in at $142, while Wind Surf averages $264. What you have to do is decide if the smaller number of passengers and the unusual ports are worth paying the extra money. It probably is worth it once or twice, but dont spend the money thinking you are getting luxury in your surroundings. You arent. Dining: Breakfast and lunch on the Wind Surf are in the Veranda Cafe, which is an indoor-outdoor buffet experience. I found both to be great, but Nancy fought with the menu. Breakfast included real granola, fruit, European cold cuts, smoked salmon, a rotating exhibit of eggs on English muffins, i.e. Benedict, Florentine, etc., an omelet / scrambled egg station  no powdered eggs, which most other cruise lines try to palm off on passengers too old to remember being at camp, and a pancake / waffle station. Lunch consisted of more buffets than you could ever imagine: Mexican day, Indonesian day etc. Also there was a carving station, sandwich creation ingredients etc. Nancy kept wanting some of the breakfast ingredients like mozzarella cheese to put on her lunch salad. She was happiest the day she ordered room service and got a Caesar salad and a piece of plain grilled salmon. Of course, she would have been even happier if our room had had a table that she could have eaten it from. There were two locations for dinner: the main dining room called The Restaurant and the Bistro cafe. The Bistro did not seem to be thought of (by the passengers, anyway) as a gourmet location as compared to The Restaurant. Rather, it was simply an alternative venue. Consequently, reservations were fairly easy to come by. Both the Restaurant and the Bistro featured open seating from 7:30 to 9:30. We always told the headwaiter that we wanted company and were seated at tables for 4 or 6. It was a nice way to meet folks. Before dinner, a live band played in the lounge, appetizers were served, and at 7:15, the cruise director would give a short talk about the next days port. All in all, it was quite civilized. I must compliment Wind Surf on providing more port information than any other cruise line I have been on to help the non-excursion passengers plan their day. This was the first cruise I have ever been on where I actually gained weight (a pound and a half, thank you), and I attribute that to the fact that the desserts were tasty rather than consisting of imitation 3-Musketeer-fluff sandwiched in between allegedly choco-like substances. If you are a dark chocolate fan like me, the flourless chocolate cake with hazelnut puree accompanied by pistachio brittle was worth holding back on the green beans in order to save room. On the other hand, on French night in the Bistro, I doubt that a real French person would have recognized the meal: the strawberry tart, for example, had chocolate pudding underneath the strawberries. French night wasnt very French, but Indonesian night had the best lobster Ive ever been served. Since there were no assigned tables, the dining staff (all male) had to work harder to keep everybody serviced. They were the same folks who ran the tables in the breakfast & lunch buffets, and with 308 passengers, it wasnt too hard to keep track of the passengers foibles. Nevertheless, it was still surprising to have a waiter come all the way across the room to bring me an ice tea because he knew I liked iced tea, and my waiter for that night hadnt learned my preferences yet. Susan, one of the wine stewards, once bought (not, brought, but bought as in paid for) me a coke because she had noticed that I didnt drink alcohol. I never had that happen before. One day, I asked for blueberries the next day at breakfast. Requests like that are usually routine on the larger cruise ships. On the Wind Surf, the response was, We will have to see what is on the menu. Public Rooms: There are really only three public rooms of any consequence: the library, the lounge, and the Compass Rose bar. The library has some reference and travel books plus several bookcases of left-behind books that, fortunately, had reading material worth reading. It also had tables and chairs plus two non-internet computers. Every afternoon, I would discover a plate of cookies and a couple of pitchers of juice had been set out for bookworms like me. It rained 5 out of 7 days on our cruise, and we discovered that one of the shortcomings of the Wind Surf is that there are few, if any, comfortable indoor reading locations. The best seats are the couches in the hallway near the library. Other than those, you are pretty much on your own. We didnt use the lounge nearly as much as we thought we would. It is the main assembly room, the entertainment room, and it contained one of the bars that was used for the two cocktail parties that the ship hosted to make us feel better about the broken air conditioning. They never did figure out a way to make us feel better about the fact that our cabin had no cold water in our shower for 2 and a half days. It was so hot in our cabin that the sweat was just pouring off us, and we couldnt even shower due to the scalding water. Grrrr. Anyway, here is a picture of the lounge: We came here most nights about 7:00 to hear the lecture before dinner about the next days port. In addition, we could sample the appetizers that were served to tide us over until dinner at 7:30 and listen to the music played by a 4 person group that we had heard on a previous cruise with another cruise line in one of their small, out of the way, secondary lounges. In other words, the live music was okay, but barely that. We never came back after dinner for a night of dancing, but we did come for the crews talent night which was very enjoyable. The Compass Rose Bar is the main bar, if you happen to need a stool to hang out on. If you dont need a stool, then the extended Compass Rose is still the place to be since the tables spill out onto the deck. If you wake up too early to eat breakfast, there is always a continental bite to eat in the Compass before moving on to pancakes, waffles etc. In addition to the main public rooms, there is also the Terrace Bar on the next deck up that was touted as the cigar spot. There was quite a bit of sympathy expressed by the cruise director for the cigar smokers who never had a spot for themselves. Windstars solution was to use the Terrace Bar to create that spot. Unfortunately, they never enforced their own rules about smoking elsewhere. The net result was that the three rear decks were overrun by smokers. Basically, the smoking rules were unworkable in the first place. The idea was that half of each of the three decks was for smoking. Even if that had been followed, it never would have worked because the decks were so small that the wind blew the smoke everywhere. In short, it was like the bad old days where there was a smoking section in each restaurant (or airplane) that never isolated the smoke in the first place. That was the theory. The reality was worse. There was no enforcement, and the smokers smoked everywhere, although I must admit that there wasnt much smoking inside. I put on my California hat and tried to complain. They just couldnt get it. It never was their responsibility any more than it would have been in a restaurant in 1954. Fitness and Recreation: The Wind Surf positively excelled in the fitness department. The gym is on the top deck with views all around and more than enough machines for the number of passengers. It never felt crowded. Some of the fitness classes were free, including the one that I went to where I was the only one there. It was like having a fitness trainer for free rather than paying $75 per hour. In addition to the gym and the aerobics room, the Wind Surf also had a water sports platform that dropped down from the rear of the ship. We picked the largest of the three ships for our cruise because it had a larger sports platform with more toys. The sports platform can only be used in ports where the ship tenders rather than docks and when the waters are calm enough. On the Wind Surf (as opposed to the 2 smaller ships), you cannot swim off of the platform since the platform floats on the water rather than being above the surface. The net result is that the water sports platform is best for kayaking, sailing and not much else. They did hand out (free) snorkeling gear at the start of the cruise that we used for our excursions. There were about 35 divers out of the 308 passengers plus numerous snorkelers and water people. If you go, you are in the midst of an active crowd. There is one swimming pool on the top deck that I never saw occupied, even once. The one on the rear deck did get some use, although the hot tubs were vastly more popular. There is also a spa for those who like to spend double the price of a land massage. We tried it with the on-board credit that went along with our tickets. My favorite part was the questionnaire that they wanted us to fill out in the beginning. The whole purpose of the questionnaire was to set them up to offer us products to buy at the end of the massage. One part of the questionnaire asked: What home cleansing routine do you follow? I answered that I vacuumed weekly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.1
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment N/A 3.5
Service 3.5 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.1

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