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5 Windstar Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We chose this ship because of the reputation of Windstar and the itinerary offered. We were starting out trip with a few days in Lisbon and wanted to experience the southern coast of Spain. The Wind Surf is a small ship and the all ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the reputation of Windstar and the itinerary offered. We were starting out trip with a few days in Lisbon and wanted to experience the southern coast of Spain. The Wind Surf is a small ship and the all aboard was called for 4:00. We arrived at 2:45 and were able to walk right on. Disembarkation was equally easy. What was so disappointing was the condition of our cabin (142). The rug was old and worn. Overall, tired cabin. The third night the air conditioning stopped working. I have a picture of my travel clock showing the temperature was 80 degrees. Sleep was disturbed and fitful. The staff’s reaction when we complained was that they were clearly aware of the situation and had chosen not to address it with the passengers unless we brought it to their attention. Their remedy was a flat $200 credit. The next day, the captain announced we would miss Cartagena because one of the engines had stopped working and since the ship was running slow and the port call was only 5 hours, we would not be stopped. Windstar’s remedy for this was to refund our port fees and free alcohol for the day. The staff was, for the most part, wonderful. They work very hard. There is clearly a preference for return passengers and one night at Candles we waited 20 minutes for a cocktail order but otherwise, no complaints. Similarly, the food, though not exciting, was very good in all the venues. With so many choices, we will not choose Windstar again and we will pay much closer attention to passengers’ reviews. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The old ship with an outdated decor and a very few amenities. The entertainment was limited to an OK band and a duo (husband and wife) singers. The food was OK, but not great. The cabin was small with a peeling wallpaper and some ... Read More
The old ship with an outdated decor and a very few amenities. The entertainment was limited to an OK band and a duo (husband and wife) singers. The food was OK, but not great. The cabin was small with a peeling wallpaper and some rusted spots in the shower. It was also dark with pothole windows which were advertised as the ocean view cabins. A poor quality TV reception, limited to 4-5 channels. Internet is slow and expensive. Wi-Fi was available only close to the reception desk not in our room. The "Fitness Center" was so small that 2 people felt as a crowd. The 24 hours food court (pizza, sandwiches, tea, coffee), typical for all the cruises I've been to, is not available. There is a room service alternative that I've never used. The only positive detail of the cruise was friendly, service-oriented staff. Not a luxury cruise that I've hoped for! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise because of the date, destination and my birthday. Our documentation stated the cruise left from Edinburg and the address on the ticket was for Edinburgh; however, when we gave our ticket and documentation to the cab ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the date, destination and my birthday. Our documentation stated the cruise left from Edinburg and the address on the ticket was for Edinburgh; however, when we gave our ticket and documentation to the cab driver, he took us to the port. When we arrived, we had to find a harbor master to locate ship-then we discovered we were to leave from Dundee. 75 miles away! We were lucky, our driver could take us and we arrived just in time to leave-$290.00 later!! We called the "emergency numbers 3 times-no one returned our phone calls-so don't bother calling them!! Our cabin lacked furniture by the bed and we had to charge phones, iPad and lay them on the floor with reading glasses and other nighttime things! First day, excursions were in chaos and we waited over an hour for the buses to arrive!! First day, we had booked an excursion to see a castle with falconry demonstration. Our guide decided we need to be back early 3 hours for lunch??) so she cut the trip short!! She treated us like we were small children and regaled us with stories of her teaching " dumb" royalty in a private school. The special exhibit for this trip was watching a high school band perform. Seriously!! A part of that trip-we were taken to a battleground with a nice Visitor's center-BUT! Our same guide did not let us go inside!! Instead she led us outside and lectured for 30 minutes! Guess she knew more than the historians!! When we returned, Windstar was contacted-which acted like all was our fault because we were ignorant and did not read our documentation! We are two doctors who travel a great deal and were insulted! We spent 4 days pre cruise in Edinburh-thank goodness-on our own or I do not know I'd we could have seen the city. Their excuse, we did not pay their transportation fee to port! And did not stay at their hotel. We stayed at a beautiful Trip Advisor boutique hotel which we loved!! We were less than impressed with Windstar-this was our second-had it been our first-it would have been our last!!after they have your $$, you are totally written off!! Trying to communicate with their staff before we left was a nightmare as well!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I must confess at the outset that I have never been a fan of "cruising" and that sentiment has been further confirmed as I have watched ever larger, slab-sided monstrosities blot out the vistas of some of the most beautiful bays ... Read More
I must confess at the outset that I have never been a fan of "cruising" and that sentiment has been further confirmed as I have watched ever larger, slab-sided monstrosities blot out the vistas of some of the most beautiful bays and harbors of the world. This feeling perhaps first began when I was invited to lunch on board the SS France when she visited Sydney, Australia on her final voyage before being cast into the role of a floating university, a venture that proved to be folly. Nonetheless, any vessel that could boast twenty three pastry chefs had to be a winner in my book and a testament to the fact that the French would allow a kitchen of any less proportion or caliber to cross an ocean under the Tri-color flag of France. Those are sadly bygone days and the commercial employment of the current-day behemoths to introduce the masses to the joys of travel are a mere shadow of the all but forgotten days of the great ships. However, over recent years I have become quite enamoured of the 100 to 600 passenger vessels of the SeaDream and Azamara brands that have brought new life to my hope for a better quality experience at sea. My exploration of these offerings has proven most satisfactory and the emphasis on melding a superb, all-inclusive on-board experience with longer stays in port and more overnights to allow the traveler to really enjoy local cuisine and culture without the rush on and off for what is often a dissapointing "tour" of the local town. Additionally, the shallower draft of these smaller vessels permits them to transport one to ports and river destinations denied their larger competitors. The true all-inclusive products these lines offer is a refreshing change from the need to always be reaching into your pocket for everything such as gratuities or a glass of wine. It was with this new appreciation for the call of the sea that I was promted to coax some friends to join me in sampling Windstar's newly acquired motor ship, the Windstar Legend for a "Culinary and Wine Delights" voyage from Dover down the coast of France and Spain to Portugal. "Legend" indeed! It might more appropriately be called "Myth" as it has proved to be about one and a half stars short of its perported five. Notwithstanding the comments to follow, I would not wish to take anything away from the largely Indonesian (non-officer) crew who were absolutely wonderful in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere at every point of contact. The kitchen staff also produced a very satisfactory offering at every meal despite the fact that they and the wait staff were as frustrated as we passengers at the daily changes as to where breakfast or lunch would be served. The daily bulletin was invariably wrong and even junior officers, when found, had difficulty in directing us to the correct location! When an investment is made to re-fit a ship one has to bear in mind that the steel structure of the original designer's vision is unchangeable. Thus it is the exterior facade and the interior furnishings and other items of decore that are the focus of any expenditures. In this instance I found it difficult to see beyond the ovbviously new carpet, just where had the $millions been spent? My bathroom fixtures had been re-caulked, although to say it was a shoddy job would be generous. The missed piece around the basin faucet was evidence of the grunge that the new grout was to cover. Our friends found a three legged chair (one broken) propped up against the wall of their cabin and the table at which I sat in the Yacht Club had the surround veneer peeling way. Poor quality choice of furnishing or poor upkeep, take your pick! The steel edge of our balcony already was showing deeply encrusted rust which would indicate a lack of detail in cleaning and painting the exterior. In all, this lady shows her age and is not up to the standard befitting a five-star hotel at sea. All of this pales in comparisonm to the failure of the fresh water system at the start of our first at-sea day. Guests reported being caught in full lather as hot water turned brown and diminshed to a trickle. Toilets ceased to work and even ingenious efforts to flush with bottles of Perrier were thwarted due to the vacuum system also being turned off! Not what one had hoped for and again, perhaps evidence that the re-fit dollars were not fully deployed in support of the mechanical areas either. Hence we were diverted to the port of Brest to have the tanks flushed and repairs made. Disembarkation was not an option but then, Brest harbor did not appear inviting enough to venture out. The price point of our voyage was far from inexpensive which made the nickel and dime-ing plus constant efforts to up-sell (spa) more annoying. The partially inclusive price was certainly five star, the product not so. One clear point of differentiation from either Sea Dream or Azamara has been the officer corp. Aboard the Azamara Quest the officers were constanlty mingling and talking with guests, always ready to answer a question or engage them in a story about the next port of call. On no less that three occassions the captain or another officer would casually stop by and ask if they could join us for breakfast or lunch. Not so aboard the Legend where senior officers have rarely be seen. In speaking of officers, another detail involves the daily bulletin where in the header we are advised that our captain is one, whereas in the body copy another person is introduced as the captain (whom we later learned was the prior captain!). This gave rise to some discussion as to whether our captain might indeed be new to his rank. At every announcement he would commence with "Ah, good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is er (pause) your captain speaking..." He never sounds quite sure that he might only be the first officer, perhaps the most recent rank he occupied? With the notable difference between the Wind Star experience and that of Azamara where very officer from the captain down were constantly visible and mingling with the guests it was clear that the "servant/leader" model was in play as officers set the example in creating a unique on board sense of "family" from the top down. Not so with the WindStar executive team! With little desire to bash the efforts of this crew to work around the product they have been given, there is little point in mentioning the "World Class" gym that isn't, or the morning mystery of where breakfast is being served on any given day. Suffice it to say that this is an okay cruise, but not the five-star experience promised. It certainly is well below the price point charged. Come on Wind Star, take note of what Azamara And Sea Dream are doing and shape up. You can do better than this! If you are getting ready to book this Cruise, don't..... Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
THE GOOD The crew is extraordinarily gracious. This is a ship with a small passenger load (312). We particularly enjoyed Hotel Manager, Nick Berger. He is studying for U.S. citizenship, and the U.S. could do a lot worse than Nick. A ... Read More
THE GOOD The crew is extraordinarily gracious. This is a ship with a small passenger load (312). We particularly enjoyed Hotel Manager, Nick Berger. He is studying for U.S. citizenship, and the U.S. could do a lot worse than Nick. A wonderful gentleman. THE BAD Windstar is the only ship that we have sailed to date that did not offer complimentary wine with dinner. Even Windjammer served wine with dinner--not the greatest wine, but wine. We were ever so surprised when we were asked to sign a charge for our wine with dinner. Check for more on this below. Even though we got a very good rate on the cabin (Military Discount), I cannot say much for the cabin, itself. We were on the lowest level and one should not pay much attention to the picture of the standard cabin in the brochure. Our "panoramic view of the ocean consisted of two (count them, two) portholes. We learned from other passengers, that the two porthole "vista" was not limited to Deck One. You want a vista, reserve a suite. The cabin was the smallest we have had in quite a number of cruises. Windstar considers itself to be a luxury cruise line--NOT. The food is ordinary, the cabins small, and you have already heard my take on the wine charges with dinner. THE UGLY More on drinks. Besides charging for wine with dinner, Windstar also charges you at the time of service for the service, itself. They tack a 15% service charge onto every drink served. Amazing! Although we received a low rate on our cabin, we calculated what a comparable cruise would cost on Regent (a true luxury cruise line). After we shelled out for our round-trip air fare, shore excursions, and drinks, we could have taken a Regent cruise for the same price, and thereby had a true luxury cruise. Frankly, we felt nicked and dimed at nearly every turn. It goes without saying that we will not make the mistake of cruising with Windstar again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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