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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally ... Read More
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally lax. Everyone from the Captain, yes the Captain, on down seemed unhappy with the ship and the itinerary. Rumors circulated that the Captain had complained about being saddled with this route at the Captain's dinner--"what did I do to deserve this...." My sense was that Windstar was just trying to get through a few more cruises on this ship before it enters drydock for a major overhaul in October. The ship's team talked constantly about the need to move on--every complaint was met with a sigh and a promise that the overhaul will fix all bad things. Don't like the broken shower faucets? We're fixing it. Don't like the drink stains on the table? We're replace them all. Wonder about all the repair work? Give us some duct tape and come back a year from now. Windstar did this to itself in many ways. Part of selling future cruises on this Iceland trip was to explain the company's desire to add cabins to every ship--the plans were widely advertised to passengers as a way to keep Windstar in the small-ship category by getting as close to 350 cabins without crossing over. Hence, the conversation was almost always about how tired the ships all are--"we'll be converting staterooms on the Wind Star here and on Star Pride there, etc., but will never go over. The whole dialogue was a distraction and left me wondering why we weren't told that this was a bucket of bolts before booking. And it definitely was a bucket of bolts. It was a great ship ten years ago after it was updated before joining the Windstar fleet, but it has suffered at every turn and the company has spackled its way to the drydock. Food was good, but this ship is not designed for an Iceland itinerary--not easy to eat outside when it is near freezing outside. And the inside amenities were, as noted, aging. Three ancient treadmills and two stationary bikes is not a fitness room and looping the same movies over and over day by day is not an entertainment program. As for ongoing service, reception desk was great but couldn't solve most problems--took us too long to get small things fixed and the ship was confused from time to time with scheduling, in part because Captain Surly was anti-social. The frontline staff was terrific as usual--highly motivated, but worn out by a brutal schedule. Lovely folks out of SE Asia for the most part on short-term contracts and 7-day schedules. Got to love them for their enormous effort. Nothing they could do about the ship's condition so far from the penny-pinchers in Seattle. Would I go on another cruise with the Windstar fleet after this? Absolutely. It's a fine company that cares about quality. I just wouldn't sail with them again this year or next. Give Windstar time to work through the kinks as its fleet goes into the renovations--these are major, major changes that involve cutting ships in half and adding new sections of cabins (see the promotional material at https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/). This is not just a little paint and new beds. I'm of the opinion that how a ship goes out is just as important as how it comes in. This cruise was a joy on many levels, but our satisfaction was IN SPITE of the company, not because of it. They have let this ship decline ever since they decided on the upgrades and it shows. Be careful about this, Windstar. Your own advertising about the upgrades contains the shadow of the neglect you've tolerated as everyone waits for the teardown. It showed on this voyage. If we had known more about it before booking, we would have taken another ship. Once burned, forever shy? (Oh, why does embarkation have to be such a crowded mess on Windstar? Not enough people and too little space to do this right on this ship. A mess and uncomfortable. Is that because the all-you-can-drink package sales-team is trying to make a sale? It's the last stop on this brutal, unhappy welcoming.) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary around Iceland. The scenery is as we have hoped. We were on Star Legend previously and loved the food and lack of lines. Star Breeze delivered on the same strengths. We spent a lot of time on deck ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary around Iceland. The scenery is as we have hoped. We were on Star Legend previously and loved the food and lack of lines. Star Breeze delivered on the same strengths. We spent a lot of time on deck 8 in the Yacht club because of the cold and windy weather, and limited activities. The officers did provide interesting information during our visit to the bridge. We made our own plans for our onshore activities. The local tour guides we found ahead of time were wonderful. The local TI staff are also helpful in directing us to walk paths and hiking trails. In traveling counterclockwise, cabins with even numbers will have the better shore views. We were disappointed in not seeing any puffins. Apparently there has been drastic decline in puffin population. The sea was a little rough the first night but ok after that. Cabin service was outstanding. I wished there is at least one stationary bike with back support in tge Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we found our way to our deck 4 cabin. It was pleasantly large, but definitely needed a good spring clean. The bed seemed hard and sagging, not a good start we felt. We liked the white marble bathroom and noted approvingly that the toiletries were quality Occitan. We explored briefly then went for a buffet lunch in the stern Verandah. It was a very ordinary buffet choice and we were astounded at the cost of the drinks on offer. We learned that many passengers had bought a drinks package, but as the wines were fairly mediocre in our opinion, we decided not to take up the package offer. It was lovely to note the teak decks , a small outdoor pool and hot tub, and plenty of deck lounge seating. We looked through the daily program, but it lacked variety or imagination, so we decided that a comfortable spot with a good book might be a good way to relax. Much ceremony was made of the sail away flag raising to the music of Vangelis’ 1492, used on other cruise lines we recalled. There was a comfortable lounge with busy coffee bar and a tiny library, but little else of note. It was a port intensive cruise with only one sea day, but we had visited all the ports previously, so did not read the excursion offers. In each port the ship laid on a shuttle bus to the centre of town , a useful service for those who wished to be independent . We were happy to wander, sample the local cuisine and bars in each port. We were right in our estimation... the bed was horribly saggy and worn, leaving us both with aching backs! Entertainment was decidedly limited, with a singing duo , but little else, with the exception of a lecturer with a sole topic. Dining was open seating, with varied menus and good service from the friendly Asian servers. It was not gourmet dining, but perfectly adequate. It would not be a ship we’d choose on future occasions, but it was an interesting experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated ... Read More
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated now. The ship is compact. Two staircases so you gain a sense of where everything is quite quickly. The main restaurant is deck 3 and the Veranda (self service/buffet/back of ship area) which at 7pm morphs into 'Candles' grill style restaurant where a dinner reservation is required. Both restaurants served wonderful food and the menus were imaginative and varied. The service was attentive and friendly. Windstar's room service is in our experience always first rate, whether its an early breakfast or a late night snack. Our orders were delivered in a timely fashion by a cheery friendly waiter or waitress. The Compass Rose Bar was our go to destination after dinner where there was always a duo playing together with the crew taking part in Liar or a music quiz. What really works for us is the friendliness of all the crew: they make sure that they call you by your name which everyone appreciates. When we were moored in the Scilly Isles I didn't get off the ship as I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to getting on and off tenders. The ship was almost empty so I sat on deck and over the course of a couple of hours three crew members came to chat, check I was okay and ask if they could get me anything. Windstar is a firm favourite for us and our eight day Star Pride trip was a really great cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The Star Pride is relatively small (abt 250) with everything scaled down to that size. Service was competent & friendly & more than sufficient to handle the guests efficiently. With all of the well publicized problems with virus ... Read More
The Star Pride is relatively small (abt 250) with everything scaled down to that size. Service was competent & friendly & more than sufficient to handle the guests efficiently. With all of the well publicized problems with virus transmission aboard ship, one would have expected a staff more focused on this issue. Although there were hand sanitizer stations available on the ship (e.g. outside of dining areas) the staff was not involved, at all, in encouraging passenger use as was the practice on other cruises. There seemed a fetish to learn every passenger's name by the 2nd day as if that would automatically elevate one's perception that it alone signified personal service. Perhaps that desire to provide personal service motivated some dining & cabin staff to inappropriately address guests by their given name. Food quality was uniformly superior. A free "specialty" restaurant (Candles) was disappointing. It was not special in any sense of the word. The space used for serving breakfast & lunch was utilized. The tables were "on top" of each other. The service was competent but not fine dining. The menu was limited. After our initial experience, we cancelled our future reservations there & chose to dine in the main dining room. The Fitness Center was poorly conceived--mediocre equipment was squeezed in to a too small low 'ceilinged' room that almost always felt crowded & somewhat unsafe because of that. Two different mediocre duos (keyboard & singer) provided the "entertainment." Too many of the shore excursions were excessively priced. For those who did not choose strenuous activities, they generally consisted of long boring bus tours sprinkled with differing quality of attractions. The disembarkation process was flawless as was the transfer to the airport. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
it was recommended as an exclusive luxury style yacht cruise which would provide more time in ports and access to ports other ships could not get to. In fact, we were at ports after all other big ships arrived and disembarked and had to ... Read More
it was recommended as an exclusive luxury style yacht cruise which would provide more time in ports and access to ports other ships could not get to. In fact, we were at ports after all other big ships arrived and disembarked and had to leave prior to the other ships embarked. The upkeep of this ship is extremely disappointing as the upholstery is torn and frayed, some furniture have broken legs and badly stained. the furniture is from the 80's and it has not been refurbished in some time. it is scheduled to go in for a total retrofit. The menu on all 3 restaurants is very limited and mediocre. There is limited entertainment (one duo playing music), no cruise director to create any kind of activity. it is very boring and lacklustre in every way imaginable. This ship is in worst condition than most ferries that transport cars and people. They do not honour the description of their excursions either. Last excursion said that the bus would drop you off at your hotel with your luggage. That never happened and you were left to fend for yourself trying to get a taxi along with all the other passengers that were stranded. All in all, this is the worst experience I have through all my cruise lines and I have cruised all over the world. I would not recommend this ship for any reason. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I can sum up the Star Pride, in a few words, barely adequate. Not a very high mark for a line that charges luxury prices. After 36 days on her, it’s more like Star Rust Bucket. The number of things that have gone amiss is quite long. ... Read More
I can sum up the Star Pride, in a few words, barely adequate. Not a very high mark for a line that charges luxury prices. After 36 days on her, it’s more like Star Rust Bucket. The number of things that have gone amiss is quite long. To put this review in perspective I am not a princess type and I certainly do not expect complete perfection. Too start off, a promised cruise credit of $2400, completely disappeared. I booked directly with Windstar, so can’t blame a TA. I did have some email paperwork, but was told it had to be emailed to the office. We had a hotspot, but it never seemed to go thru properly, even though the copy to myself did. After days of excuses, we were told the credit was $2000 and the first amount was an error. I was just too tired of the whole drama to pursue it farther. A vacation should be fun, not a miserable angry experience. We did get our free laundry package with no problem. The ship is quite tired and desperately needs a complete refurbishment and dry dock. The cabin is spacious, but looks to not have been changed since the 80’s. The chairs and loveseat appear somewhat newer, but the rest of the cabinets, table, desk etc are dinged, scratched and nicked. The carpet is worn. The bed is uncomfortable and overall linens poor quality. The steward does his best to keep things clean. Our bathroom, an accessible with shower only, has been remodeled in a very haphazard manor. A glass doored cabinet in front of the commode has no closer and shattered during a rough night at sea, I asked repeatedly to have the closer fixed to no avail. It stayed in a dangerous shattered state for 2 days before it was replaced. Still no closer after 36 days. A piece of folded paper was stuck in it to keep it closed. The toilet has broken four times. There is mold in shower grout etc. The shower water is often tepid to downright cold, at least 1/3 of the time. The light in the walk-in closet burned out 3 days ago, have asked reception, steward etc to fix. Finally after 4 days it was fixed.The worst has been for 5 days out of 32, there has been no heat and the room was like a meat locker. Repeated attempts to fix the problem, work for a few days, then it’s back to freezing. Other times it was excessively hot. Just today it was announced the HVAC is out shipwide. Finally,after over 3 weeks were offered a different room. I felt that the accessible shower stall was worth keeping the lemon room at this point. I’m onlly 4’10 with knee and back issues and having to step over the side of the tub, did not seem worth the trade off, plus the added work of repacking and unpacking again. The accessible room is what I booked and the expectation of having what I paid for did not seem too much, although evidently it is. We did receive a bottle of wine, as some compensation... The windows on the whole ship including our cabin have been filthy. On day 30 a halfhearted attempt at window cleaning occurred, with water sprayed onto the window. It helped marginally. Every other longer cruise I’ve ever been on, I have noted windows have sporadically been cleaned. Often there is a notice to close draperies etc. The hall on our floor flooded at least 4 times, adding to the general moldy smell. The public rooms are for the most part, equally tired, dingy, often smelling of mold and crammed with too much furniture. The dining room is ok and the Yacht club ok, except for dirty windows. The staff overall is beyond wonderful and the food has been excellent, probably the best of any cruise line we have been on. That pulled the bar from the pits to adequate. there are only two dining venues; the buffet and the main dining room. The “alternate”dining Candles, is just in the same buffet, but served with a slightly different menu. Near the end of the long cruise, the Candles was moved to the Compass Rose area, which was nicer, but seemed a huge amount of work for the staff, bringing food down an outside stairway. Evidently, Windstar used to have special events. That doesn’t seem to be the case any more. There have been Barbecue nights, which basically mean instead of getting served in the dining room, you get to stand in a long line snaking through the kitchen, fill you plates and try to find a free seat to eat. A confusing and not very fun event. Meanwhile,the singer blares Frank Sinatra songs. Most cruisers seem to be in the 50-75 age group and Frank would be appropriate for their parents. This should seriously be rethought. On our 4 b2b they did manage to get the barbecue on deck once, which was pleasant in the beautiful Norwegian fjords. Be advised the ship is quite small, which in most of our past cruises has been a plus, in this long one, there is nothing to do on sea days. Resting and reading are about it. Which is fine and what I anticipated. There are about 4 tv channels, repeating endlessly and some very outdated dvds available in the library. They do a wine tasting ($20) and a few other tiny events. There is one mediocre singer and a pretty good duo. They don’t add much. The crew talent show is cute and they give it their best. The worst thing overall, considering the cold and rough weather has been the many tender ports and the dismal, if not downright extremely dangerous condition of the tenders themselves. One has broken down twice. The front overhead hatch does not seal on either of them, and if a wave washes over, water pours into the tender. Getting on and off has been so hazardous in a few instances, I can only say thanks to the excellent tender crew, no one has been injured. One crossing was so bad I was fearful for my life. Not the most wonderful cruise experience. The few ships excursions we have taken have ranged from good to really awful. They are extremely overpriced, but that is usual with cruise tours. Many of the ports have been in industrial areas and many miles away from the main cruise port. This seems odd and involves taking a shuttle or public transportation to what you want to see. We have been at anchor and tendered many times a docking experience seems available for other ships. I’m not sure if this is a money saving issue.... In 36 days we only missed one port because of weather. So a positive on that. Our previous cruise with Windstar, on the Windsurf was a much better experience, but the ship had recently been refurbished and it was a much shorter cruise. I would not in any way recommend sailing on the Star Pride, in fact I would run the opposite direction as quickly as possible. We have heard there will be a complete dry dock refurbishment in Aug 2020 and perhaps they may add a section onto the ship. It may be a better experience at that time, but extremely doubtful I would give it a second chance. I know there are many cruisers that swear by the casual, small ship Windstar experience that will disagree. In my opinion there are much better options available for the price point ,general style and ambience As for the corporate office, I should not have had to hassle for a cruise credit I was promised and to top it of not receive the promised amount. If you are looking for a casual experience, other lines ,such as Oceania, give a much better value for cost. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from Amsterdam and first off, the 18-20 year olds were not allowed to drink. Now, this isn't a deal killer, but let's be clear, when you are a 19/20 year old college student and you can drink "legally" it's fun. We were finally told we could sign a waiver to allow them to drink, well....OK, I guess. Then, it got worse - they wouldn't allow anyone under 21 to GAMBLE! Now where is this coming from? This is actually the one thing my son did on his 18th birthday just because he COULD! The dealers were rude and obnoxious. One of the stops on our trip was St. Petersburg, Russia (one of the BIG reasons we chose this cruise) and we were going to the ballet as an excursion through Windstar in the evening (we spent the night in SP) and the departure time for the excursion was prior to dinner being served; when we inquired what would be done about it, no one seemed aware that this was even happening. They did make an accommodation for those going on the excursion, but that should have been something they thought about in advance. Now for the worst part, the OTHER CRUISERS. What a bunch of snobs! A bunch of old snobby people who snubbed their noses at us.Nasty! Never again - back to Star Clippers we shall go. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His ... Read More
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His knowledge was outstanding and his delivery humorous. A visit to the Vasa museum in Stockholm is a must. The cruise through the Kiel canal was extraordinarily. The staff were friendly, and efficient. The food was excellent and the bar service outstanding. The cabin was spacious, clean and well maintained. The only downside were the reception and tour staff who had little local knowledge but tried. The company should go for “all inclusive” as the billing process was a pain, bits of paper everywhere. The hidden costs added to the bill at the end were annoying. Lack of taxis at disembarkation was annoying but this was a local issue beyond the control of the company. Beware of the local taxi drivers who will try and rip you off with a flat fee, use the meter. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First off, all the people that work there try real hard. the Captain and his crew tried very hard to make the cruise comfortable despite tropical storm Alieen with 85 miles winds.However this is not a luxary cruise. Princess is must better ... Read More
First off, all the people that work there try real hard. the Captain and his crew tried very hard to make the cruise comfortable despite tropical storm Alieen with 85 miles winds.However this is not a luxary cruise. Princess is must better and it is not in the class of Oceanic. This is about getting room service 1/2 hour late. taking over 30 minutes to get a workable hairdryer, losing dining reservation for 18 at their special restaurant, despite confiming it the day before. Knowing what is jasmine tea vis green tea. Not getting a wheel chair, when requesting it. Little stuffs that relates to communication and the failure to delivery. The cabin was great and have lots of places for storages. The shower was huge with plenty of hot water. Cabin size was excellent. Love the one price cleaning and delivery within 24 hours. Love the idea of free soda and coffee. The $12 per day crew service charge was very reasonable and we got good service. Entertaiment was enjoyable. Port excursions by the cruise company was first class and having lunch at great places helps. Recommend it highly. Dining was so-so at best. Desserts was not good, not even ice creams. Worst roast beef i ever have. The specialize restaurant is much better, but you only get to it only once. The best was when they did a barbecue dinner with all the choices. Since the ship is smaller, it limited dining options. It can use a buffet.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Windstar Cruises maintains that they are 180 Degrees from Ordinary. After sailing with them four times, I cannot refute that statement. In fact, they are extraordinary. Recently my husband and I set off from Dublin, bound for Lisbon, on ... Read More
Windstar Cruises maintains that they are 180 Degrees from Ordinary. After sailing with them four times, I cannot refute that statement. In fact, they are extraordinary. Recently my husband and I set off from Dublin, bound for Lisbon, on their flagship vessel the Wind Surf. Cruising with Windstar is more akin to sailing on a large luxury yacht. As soon as the 1492: Conquest of Paradise Theme song begins to play, while the seven massive sails unfurl during sail away, you will know why. With room for only 310 passengers, the ship never feels crowded. Throughout your voyage, you can expect 5-star service with a personal touch from the crew. They are attentive and friendly and by the second day on board expect them to address you by name. Although Windstar Cruises have options for all-day dining, you won’t find any mega cruise ship style buffets on board. Rather, 24/7 dining comes only in the form of room service. We took advantage of this by having fresh coffee and croissants delivered to our room daily. It is the best kind of alarm clock I can think of using while on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
We enjoyed our first cruises with Windstar many years ago. Not much has changed in the past 10 years, I'm happy to say. Still all the advantages Windstar has to offer - access to smaller ports, good to excellent service, and a ... Read More
We enjoyed our first cruises with Windstar many years ago. Not much has changed in the past 10 years, I'm happy to say. Still all the advantages Windstar has to offer - access to smaller ports, good to excellent service, and a low-key atmosphere. And a really hard-working crew, who always aimed to give great service. The standard cabins are small but efficiently laid out. The dining rooms are pleasant and strike the right balance between elegant and relaxed. We had good weather nearly every day, so we could spend as much time on deck as we wished; a plus in a small ship like this. The crew was admirable - really hard-working yet always positive and professional. We did wonder if the bars and main dining room were short-staffed when we found ourselves waiting for service on several occasions. But it that's true, we have even more respect for the hard-working crew. The food was often very good. The chef shopped locally when possible and we were treated to delicious arrays of Scandinavian delicacies when we departed from the major cities. The chef's specials in the dining room were memorable and the barbecue was really, really good. But the quality of the food at dinner was inconsistent; and some dishes were merely okay. The few lunches we ate on board were very good. Tea snacks were mediocre (doughy scones, sandwiches made with Kraft singles). The food in the dining rooms tended to be rich, and we would have preferred more vegetables. The food in the alternative restaurants was fine, not as fresh as in the main dining room but hitting the right notes for meat lovers. The wine list had several decent choices available by the glass at acceptable prices for the quality. The itinerary was terrific and a great introduction to Scandinavia. Overnights in Stockholm and Copenhagen allowed more time for sightseeing in those cities. We also stopped at several small towns that were picturesque, historic, and great for aimless walking. The private event was very nice - a canal cruise and after-hours museum visit in Copenhagen. We didn't take any of the ship's excursions. Enrichment activities (aside from the private event) consisted of useful port talks before arrival and some unmemorable lectures about Vikings and the first Windstar ship on sea days. The inconsistency of the food somewhat diminished an otherwise very nice cruise experience. But we enjoy smaller ships and the easy access to ports they provide. We'll keep Windstar in mind in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We have cruised Windstar several times before. We love it! We rate it higher than Regent Seven Seas. The cabins are small, but everything else is great. Crew is very friendly and gets to know you and call you by name quickly. Food is ... Read More
We have cruised Windstar several times before. We love it! We rate it higher than Regent Seven Seas. The cabins are small, but everything else is great. Crew is very friendly and gets to know you and call you by name quickly. Food is fabulous, and like many cruises very plentiful! We liked Candles restaurant the best, great steaks and fresh fish every night. Deck BBQ was wonderful. Ports were interesting and excursions good, except Oslo was too short a time at ski jump and guide was hung up on value of homes. Little evening entertainment which is fine with us. Band is too loud to talk comfortably so we don't stay. Used hot tub several times and weather was good enough to lounge on deck. Our cabin staff was new, but she learned quickly and was friendly and smart. We got special chocolates at turndown service. We have already booked our next Windstar cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was the 10 day Baltic Delight Cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen In August 2017. The first port of call was in St. Petersburg where we spent two rainy days absorbing all the beauty of the Czar's magnificent palaces, the ... Read More
This was the 10 day Baltic Delight Cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen In August 2017. The first port of call was in St. Petersburg where we spent two rainy days absorbing all the beauty of the Czar's magnificent palaces, the city's spiraled cathedrals and the fabulous Hermitage Museum. Windstar provided a special treat one night to the ballet. We were schedule to visit Helsinki, Finland but the gods of the seas had different ideas so we arrived early in Tallinn, Estonia. We had a very knowledgeable and funny tour guide who provided the history of the Estonian people before turning us lose in the medieval old town for shopping, lunch, etc. I highly recommend the pastries/coffee and the Olde Hansa Rest. Our next port of call was Klaipeda, Lithuania and a must see "Hill of the Witches". Our next port was Gdynia, Poland for a short ride to Gdansk old town and then to the Oliwa Cathedral for an unscheduled 7000 plus pipe organ concert. The next stop was Bornholm, Denmark for a tour of the island, its wheat fields and historic sights. All good things must come to an end in Stockholm where we said good bye to a wonderful crew that made our trip so enjoyable with a deck barbecue, great service and a crew talent show. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Cruised with Windstar several times in the past. Did the 2017 Baltic cruise on the WindSurf. Began the cruise in Stockholm and ended it in Copenhagen. The WindSurf is in good shape. The staterooms are adequate and the common areas are ... Read More
Cruised with Windstar several times in the past. Did the 2017 Baltic cruise on the WindSurf. Began the cruise in Stockholm and ended it in Copenhagen. The WindSurf is in good shape. The staterooms are adequate and the common areas are fine. This cruise went as planned with the exception of the cancellation of the Bornholm day. I found the WindSurf staff to be business like and well versed in the company line and Windstar "speak." Don't remember the captain's name. He said the right things, promoted Windstar and showcased his staff. Compared to other Windstar cruises, I felt the staff on this cruise was unenthused and did nothing out of the ordinary as service goes. Of course, there were a few that did, but by and large, they did what they were supposed to do and nothing more. After 10 days, the food became monotonous. Food quality is adequate, but certainly not to be confused with fine cuisine. Towards the end of the cruise, several "bugs" made their way throughout the passenger ranks, as many people had colds or GI issues. Hopefully this did not continue on the next cruise. Shore excursions were so-so, with some being well done and others not so. The stop in Lithuania was not good and the concentration camp trip in Poland was awefull. Some of these excursion should be re-evaluated. I would suggest doing your homework and looking into booking your own shore excursions. For example, I would split an 8 hour private car and guide in Russia. You can see all of the sights this way and tailor your own agenda. I would like to try this itinerary on Silver Seas or another luxury line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
My brother chose this cruise and invited us to join him. While it wasn't an itinerary we had ever considered, we soon became excited about seeing such a different part of the world. From start to finish, we loved our time on the Wind ... Read More
My brother chose this cruise and invited us to join him. While it wasn't an itinerary we had ever considered, we soon became excited about seeing such a different part of the world. From start to finish, we loved our time on the Wind Surf. Both embarkation and disembarkation were quick and nearly effortless. The personable and attentive staff made us feel special, and the size of the ship (312 passengers) made it a much more intimate cruising experience than we'd previously experienced. The food was excellent and varied, so we looked forward to every meal. My husband is a vegetarian, and the kitchen staff were very attentive to be sure he was happy with his meals (they even gave him a preview of the next night's menu in case he wanted to request that they make him a special entree, which turned out not to be needed). We did not partake in evening entertainment (as we generally had to get up early for tours), but attended a couple of interesting lectures about upcoming ports of call or cultures. We chose some of the excursions offered by the ship, and booked others on our own. We were very pleased with the ports we visited (St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, Klaipeda, and Gdansk), and felt we learned a lot. (The sea was too rough to tender in Bornholm, so we had an unexpected sea day, but it was the loveliest weather and we were under full sail for over three hours.) We spent four nights in Stockholm prior to boarding the ship (at the Grand Central Hotel by Scandic), and another three nights in Copenhagen at the end (at the Hotel Admiral), and very much hope to return to both cities. We very much look forward to traveling with Windstar again. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Windsurf. My husband and I are a well traveled couple in our early 60s. We have only taken one "big" cruise boat tour which was to Alaska on another line. I just don't care for ... Read More
We just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Windsurf. My husband and I are a well traveled couple in our early 60s. We have only taken one "big" cruise boat tour which was to Alaska on another line. I just don't care for ships with 3,000 passengers and all that those crowds entail. The Windstar cruise line fits our needs perfectly. This was our 2nd cruise with Windstar, the first on the Surf. We aren't looking for a lot of onboard entertainment options and appreciate good food and the casual atmosphere. We always choose to have dinner with other passengers and have met some very interesting, well traveled people. On this trip, Windstar had invited a guest lecturer who spoke to the passengers on , "The Romanov Dynasty" and "Deception in WII". (all pertinent in Norther Europe and Russia) These lectures were extremely interesting and very well attended. The 3 excursions we took were enjoyable with knowledgable guides. We did hire a private guide in St. Petersburg (not through Windstar) and were very happy that we did. I heard positives regarding Windstar's St. Pete's tours however they did not go into a few of the sites that the private tour did. Our special event evening was a Russian ballet, "Swan Lake". What a memorable opportunity! Our cabin had been upgraded to a suite (321) which was spacious and we definitely appreciated. Our previous experience was on the Star Pride which was an all suite vessel. (Pride is smaller than the Surf and we actually like the smaller size better) All in all, a very good experience and we plan to travel this line in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chosse this cruise because we wanted to see a lot of Iceland. We met 2 fellow Cruisers on the Cruise Critic Roll Call, and we arranged two private tours together for the two days preceding the cruise. Embarkation and Disembarkation ... Read More
We chosse this cruise because we wanted to see a lot of Iceland. We met 2 fellow Cruisers on the Cruise Critic Roll Call, and we arranged two private tours together for the two days preceding the cruise. Embarkation and Disembarkation iwent smoothly because we were only about 250 passengers. The cabin was comfortable. The crew was great. I was greeted with hugs by Liani and Kristen who were crew members on the Star Pride and remembered us from our previous cruise last year. The food was consistently good. The night of the barbecue dinner was very cold and and windy, so we were dining wrapped in blankets. If you want to see Iceland, this is a great way to do it, The country is beautiful and the Icelanders are wonderful. The shore excursions were all very good. my only complaint would be that the special event, a church concert and cocktail party, were nothing special. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in Northern Europe without a stop in St. Petersburg. Most Baltic cruises go to Russia. Since I do not agree with Putin's politics, I didn't want to go to Russia. Starting in Edinburgh was also an attraction. We stayed in Edinburgh for 2 nights before the cruise. The cruise left from the port of Lieth which is very close to Old town Edinburgh. We arrived at the dock at 1 pm to check in. We were met by the cruise director that told us that boarding was delayed until 3 pm because the ship was being deep cleaned as the last cruise had noro virus. We were able to check our bags at the dock. We were also told that we would recieve $25pp OBC for the inconvience. Instead of just waiting at the dock, we visited the Queen's yacht, The Britania. It was berthed next to the Windsurf. The self guided audio tour was excellent. It was about 4pm when we returned to the dock. At that time, we boarded the ship, checked in, and booked times at Candles and Stella Bistro. Checking in was quick. We were told not to unpack since as Yacht Club members we were on the upgrade list. Since we liked pur cabin location and all cabins are the same, we declined an upgrade. We were on deck one slightly forward. It was a great location. When the sea doors are shut when the ship is arriving or departing, being forward allowed us access to the elevator. Our previous time on the Windstar we were midship and were closed off from access to the elevators. We enjoyed the casual atmosphere. No lines, dine whenever you want, unlimited non-alcohlic drinks, fabulous food, outstanding service, etc. being on the Windsurf was wonderful. We enjoyed breakfasts and most lunches in the Veranda. We enjoyed dinners in Aamphora. We also liked our 2 dinners in the specialty venues. Candles used to be aft on the pool deck. It is now on the star deck near the veranda. It has wind/rain shields allowing you to eat outside most of the time. The fliet at Candles is fantastic. The menus in the veranda and Aamphora change daily. Often, the chef adds local items. We enjoyed the Norwegian salmon, smoked items, fresh fruits, and local cheeses and sausages. The deck bbq was outstanding.. We enjoyed quick snacks at the Yacht Club and tea in the Compass Rose. Room service was excellent. Call, order, and it arrived quickly. Want something that wasn't on a menu, usually no problem. If the ingredients are on the ship, they will make it for you. We especially enjoyed the special event which included a canal boat tour in Copenhagen, an after hours tour at a museum with a private reception of delicious local cuisine and drinks. In most ports we did our own thing. We did buy 2 excursions from the ship. In Copenhagen, we went on the Dragor fishing village tour. It was mostly a bus tour of Copenhagen with a short stop at Dragor. Description misrepresented the tour. Having been in Copenhagen twice before, we were expecting a tour completely outside the city. In Visby, we took the West Coast drive and city tour. It was excellent. We also enjoyed having the unlimited same day laundry service. It was a pleasure to arrive home. Instead of spending time doing laundry, I unpacked my clean clothes. Entertainment was very limited. The band in the main lounge was excellent. The duo in Compass Rose was poor. The guest lecturer was ok. In one port, there was a men's chior singing local songs. The crew put on a show one night. Not much else doing on the ship. I spent a lot of time reading or talking with guests. Each night before we arrived at a port, cruise director gave a short presentation about the port. I was happy that I had researched the port before the cruise. The info on the ship was very basic. They kept trying to persuade guests to buy expensive excursions. The ship excursions were overpriced. Aside from pushing the excursions, there was no real hard sell like you get on the large mass market cruises. weather was good. It was warm enough on most days to enjoy being on the outside deck areas. Went into the pool. The sport platform did not open. We enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Although this was our first experience with Windstar (and last), we have sailed many times. When a cruise line advertises a "luxury cruise experience" and charges accordingly, my wife and I have a certain level of expectation ... Read More
Although this was our first experience with Windstar (and last), we have sailed many times. When a cruise line advertises a "luxury cruise experience" and charges accordingly, my wife and I have a certain level of expectation that comes from traveling with the likes of Regent Seven Seas. Windstar is NOT Regent! (Not even close) While we had a nice time/interesting itinerary and the crew and officers were great, we simply paid way too much for what was billed as a "luxury cruise". The ship (Windsurf) and the pre-cruise/on board communications also left a lot to be desired. The ship is clearly "long in the tooth" and poorly maintained........the ceilings in the lounge were water stained and the windows were so dirty that they were difficult to see through.........the carpet in the cabin and the common area was stained and worn......the standard cabin was small and Formica was everywhere. Windstar is NOT a luxury line and should not advertise as such, nor should they command the prices they charge. In addition, the the transfers purchased from the cruise line were 4 times the going rate and the hotels were twice the going rate, as were their port excursions. The internet service was the worst I have ever experienced. Their drink package was $108/day/cabin! By the time we were finished, we had spent more for the total package than we would have with the "all inclusive" Regent Seven Seas AND our cabin would have been twice as big, along with a balcony, dressing room and marble bathroom, instead of 2 port holes that were so corroded that photos I took through them would be embarrassing to share. Our advise would be to select another "luxury cruise line", because when it is all said an done, Windstar's exorbitant and ubiquitous a la-carte charges would put their cost in the range of "real" luxury cruise. Having said that, IF they charged less and charged reasonable for their "extras", their crew would be a joy for anyone to experience...... Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
My wife and I and two other couples met in Edinburgh, where we spent three days getting over jet lag and enjoying this fun city (we highly recommend the food tour Eat Walk Edinburgh). The cruise terminal in Edinburgh was small with few ... Read More
My wife and I and two other couples met in Edinburgh, where we spent three days getting over jet lag and enjoying this fun city (we highly recommend the food tour Eat Walk Edinburgh). The cruise terminal in Edinburgh was small with few amenities, but the boarding process went smoothly enough. From the start, the Wind Surf staff were friendly and welcoming. Our cabin (one of the standard cabins, but upgraded to be on the 2nd level midship) was compact and efficient, with two porthole windows, and we found it quite comfortable. There is an elevator, but we used the stairs, which gave us a lot of exercise during the 11-day cruise. The public areas were nice, and we ate dinner a few times each in the upscale restaurant, in the main dining room, and (our favorite during good weather) on the poolside deck. We also spent several evenings in the main lounge where we enjoyed pop music (Cool Breeze band) and dancing. There was live entertainment also in a smaller bar area, but we did not go there. I enjoyed using the hot tub (there are two) and also the small pool several times. Few guests used the pool, which made it that much easier and less crowded for me. I also used the exercise room a couple of times, and it seemed to be pretty available. I did not try the spa. People seemed to enjoy the game room and my wife and I shopped in the ship store. Open deck space and lounge chairs were in short supply at times, but compared with some ships, there was adequate outdoor space to enjoy and walk around. One time in the Baltic Sea we swam off the ship's swimming area, and enjoyed that (but water temp was 62 degrees!). Throughout the cruise, staff were very nice and competent. An especially positive feature is the open door policy on the bridge and in most areas of the ship. We took a very interesting galley tour. The captain and hotel manger could not have been nicer or more open to conversation, and this set an open and friendly tone throughout. The food was very good in all restaurants onboard. Alcohol choices were good and prices comparable to restaurants at home. We chose to eat a few lunches on land, just to get a better feel for the areas we visited. We loved the choice of port stops - a good mix of cities and smaller towns. In every case the ship docked in a convenient location. The shore excursions offered by Windstar seemed to be over-priced, so we did not take any of them. Instead, we did a little advance planning and arranged tours and activities on our own, including a food tour in Copenhagen (excellent). We rented bikes in Skagen and arranged a guided walking tour in Warnemunde. We explored Oslo, Visby and Sandhamn on our own. We also purchased the two day hotel extension in Stockholm, and explored that on our own (from the Scandic Anglais Hotel, which was nice and had an excellent location). In Copenhagen and Stockholm we used the hop-on/off boats, and recommend them (but not the buses). Although the cruise was wonderful, my one suggestion for improvement is that the quality of handouts and information given prior to each port stop be more complete, more up to date, and more professional (such as using real maps, in English; and providing information about where to eat, shop, and get cash, as well as transportation tips). The port information lectures were not well done and seemed aimed at marketing the shore excursions (which is necessary, but not sufficient).   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2012
On these back-to-back cruises, there were 215-20 passengers or 70% occupancy. The positives are: 70% repeat passengers who only travel on small, luxury ships; superior service (waiters address you by name); you get to know other passengers ... Read More
On these back-to-back cruises, there were 215-20 passengers or 70% occupancy. The positives are: 70% repeat passengers who only travel on small, luxury ships; superior service (waiters address you by name); you get to know other passengers as there are no balconies and people socialize on deck; food is very good to excellent; ship may visit small, isolated ports; the five masts project a fine image; and the ship is great for relaxation. All suites have two bathrooms and more than enough storage space. There is over 300 sq. ft. We were in two cabins and 326 was superior to 318 as to ability to control temperature, quality of linens, and attendant service. There are no verandahs on this ship as it is over 20 years old although rooms were renovated in 2012. However, for a small ship entertainment and number of activities are limited, ship speed is about 10 knots so that time in port can suffer, the cruise line only owns three ships so it may not get competitive airline fares, it outsources planning of excursions, and parent company doesn't understand the industry. A greater concern is that at 70% occupancy in Europe during August, these cruises did not meet financial break even. I am concerned that this means Wind Star may cut expenses and mitigate a great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
This was our first Windstar cruise and we were somewhat disappointed. The main problem seems to be that Windstar are not sure what market they are aiming for. We booked a suite (two cabins knocked into one) and paid considerably more ... Read More
This was our first Windstar cruise and we were somewhat disappointed. The main problem seems to be that Windstar are not sure what market they are aiming for. We booked a suite (two cabins knocked into one) and paid considerably more than for A or B grade cabins. Apart from the space, there were no privileges whatsoever. Internet access, in suite drinks, laundry were all 'extras'. There was a single rose on the coffee table (which looked as though it had been round the Med on previous cruises). It wilted and, hopefully, would have to be replaced for the next cruise. There was a bowl of not very fresh fruit - this was withdrawn after two days. We mainly used Degrees for dinner. The food was always perfectly presented but sometimes lacked flavor. Escargo Provinciale was served with no garlic. This was immediately rectified and we thoroughly enjoyed our snails thereafter. One old rose decorated our table for the 10 days. Candles (on the aft deck) was brilliant. The food simple and well cooked. The setting was perfect. The highlight of the cruise was the staff. They were brilliant and the last two nights aboard - Crew Show and Deck BBQ were great fun. Embarkation was quick and simple. No problems. The pre-cruise hype talked of small ships visiting small ports, etc. Our first stop was Le Harve - the second biggest commercial port in France. We have visited Le Harve many times. It's a huge commercial and ferry port. I think that we were the only cruise ship there. We berthed a considerable distance from the town. No shuttle bus was provided. Honfleur is nearby and other possibilities would have been Corunna and/or Brest. The Channel Islands would also have been an alternative. Our next stop was Britain's busiest ferry port - Dover. Luckily, the local council provided a courtesy bus. The stops in Antwerp and Amsterdam were excellent and it was quite moving when we left Antwerp. It seemed the whole city had turned out to see us off. The vessel made a tremendous impression where ever we went and the sight of the sails leaves a special memory.Rachael Roberts (Soprano) gave two excellent performances. Apart from the two groups playing in The Lounge and The Compass Rose, the only other activity was a trivia quiz which took place in The Compass Rose whilst we were having afternoon tea. We really looked forward to this cruise. We very much liked the vessel itself which soon will complete it's 'refurb'. The staff were outstanding. If Windstar are aiming for 'high-end' patrons, it may be that they will need to concentrate on the detail - ports, obvious money saving touches (fruit, flowers, etc), shuttle buses, etc. Would we do it again? Probably not and certainly not in a suite. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2003
My husband and I just completed this cruise (may 18 - 25th) and had a wonderful time. we arrived in athens a day early and were able to wander around the plaza and have dinner at a scenic taverna that evening, spend the night, go on a ... Read More
My husband and I just completed this cruise (may 18 - 25th) and had a wonderful time. we arrived in athens a day early and were able to wander around the plaza and have dinner at a scenic taverna that evening, spend the night, go on a city tour of athens (including the acropolis/parthenon) that morning and then board the windspirit after lunch. we had been told that was all we needed to do in order to see the best of athens and i believe it. some people on our cruise had spent more time there but they had used it as a base to travel to neighboring sites. some advice about the ports (and the tours offered by the ship): mykonos: the tour to nearby delos is worth it. delos was revered by both the greeks and the romans as the birthplace of apollo and served as a major trading port to several ancient civilizations. wear sunscreen and a hat ---no shade. the tour goes until lunchtime and you can either return to the ship for lunch or eat out. we had already decided to eat "local" whenever possible to get as much of the experience as possible (btw the food on the ship is excellent). afterwards, there is time to visit the shops or the beach; the ship doesn't sail until late. santorini: because this route arrives here on monday, the ruins at akrotiri are closed. the only tour available takes you to the picturesque town of ia (or oia in some books). visit the town on your own --- don't bother with the tour. this is one of the two big regrets of our cruise (the other was not staying longer in istanbul). this tour took us to the highest point of the island, the profitis illas mountain, where you can see both sides of the island, which was not uninteresting but it was a big time-waster considering that the ship has to set sail at 4:30 pm in order to make rhodes by the next morning (shortest port time on the cruise) by the time we arrived in ia, we only had an hour and a half to see it. another couple invited us to rent a taxi with them to go directly to ia instead of the tour and we declined. big mistake on our part; they had time to see the whole town and do some shopping as well. rhodes: we took the tour to the acropolis at lindos and enjoyed it. the tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the area and from what i heard later had good advice about places to eat and shop in the town after the tour. once on our own, we paid the admission so we could walk on the top of the walls around the old fortress (again, no shade, need good sunscreen and a hat) and visited the "palace of the grand master" at the fortress -- probably the worst of the sites we visited because the pamplet and the signs explained little about the displays and the docents (if you could call them that) just said "i don't know" about everything we asked. perhaps they didn't speak english but if so, they were among the few people we met who didn't. btw: we shared rhodes and bodrum with the passengers on the sister ship windstar (the istanbul-to-athens route). we didn't have many opportunities to interact with them, but it was neat to see the two ships side-by-side in the ports. bodrum: the most relaxing and longest tour of the cruise. we hesitated taking this tour because it takes up the whole time the ship is in port and is the most expensive but it was worth it. we were broken up into groups of only 10 and taken to the port-side museum of underwater archeology. very few of the artifacts there are reproductions and span several centuries and civilizations. then, we were escorted on board a small sailboat (called a "gullet") and taken to a quiet cove where we were invited to change into bathing suits and swim (water was a little too cold for me though) and sunbathe while the crew fixed us a wonderful lunch of local dishes. we spent the rest of the day relaxing and sunning on the gullet. we needed that after 3 days of sight-seeing. when we got back to the ship, we were entertained by a troupe of local dancers along with a belly dancer in the ship's lounge and then it was time for the pooldeck bbq. tons of fun and great food and dancing under the stars. we also got the see the windstar put up her sails and head to santorini; good picture taking opportunity since you can't really get a good picture of the windspirit with sails up. many of us agreed that this was the best day of our trip. kusadasi & ephesus: before starting the cruise we booked a tour from a local company called byzance. we can't say enough great things about them and the tours they provided. guide was waiting for us at the port, ready to begin our day. i requested that we try to avoid the ship's buses, and they did everything possible to make sure this occurred! it was a pleasure to enjoy the same places that the ship offered at our own pace, staying as long or as short as we wanted for a fraction of the cost! the fact that we were "alone" made it much more personalized. on most of our tours, we had around 30 people and each and every one of them raved about the great time they had. it always seems there is usually someone who may have a concern or complaint, however this was not the case with byzance. our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. we will most definitely use them on future cruises and from comments made from our group, i can assure you they will also! their web site is http://more.at/byzance the sea day: we needed this time off at this point. we were just about "ruin-ed out" and needed a break. we took the tour of the galley that the chef offered and had massages in the beauty salon. the dinner that night included beef tenderloin and lamb chops --- both were excellent and we celebrated over a bottle of champagne our last evening on board with two other couples we had become fast friends with. istanbul: you will regret it as we did if you do not spend a couple of days here. we used byzance here too. i could not be happier with the service we received from guide, i have never had a more positive experience with any company of any kind -- ever! i don't know what more i could say. we had to leave very early the next morning after our arrival so we only had time to see the blue mosque and the hagia sophia and walk through a small part of the grand bazaar. that means we missed topkapi palace entirely (it takes 4-5 hours to tour properly) and several other places we wanted to see. this is definitely on our list of places we wish to re-visit one day. we later debated "what if we had taken the istanbul-to-athens cruise instead?". the other route no doubt saw more port time at santorini (& would have been there when akrotiri was open) but on the other hand, their sea day came early in the trip instead of at the end when we felt we really needed it to recover and appreciate istanbul. the choice is yours. i hope this helps anyone considering this cruise. it was the trip of a lifetime for us and we have wonderful memories of the people we met and places we visited. 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