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5 Windstar Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that ... Read More
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that the shower in my cabin was over a bathtub, making it very difficult to get in and out of the shower. Bathtubs on ships don't make a lot of sense to me. And the shower head was placed awkwardly in a corner, making it difficult to get the full force of the shower. Service was very good and so was the food; dinners were elegantly served and there was always good entree choices. The Fitness Center is very well equipped. Generally, Windstar does a good job. My annoyance is that I felt "nickled and dimed" because there are so many extra charges. I would rather pay a little more and have more included (like wine at dinner and laundry). Another annoyance is to arrive at a "briefing" for the next day's activities only to have to sit through half an hour of marketing for future Windstar trips before the "briefing" begins. Another annoyance is Internet access; they sell it but tell you that it will work only intermittently and so much time is used up just trying to log on, plus it's expensive! But all in all, it was a good trip and I would do it again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not ... Read More
We chose the Edinburgh to Dublin itinerary because of the positive experience we had a few years ago on a Windstar cruise that disembarked in Edinburgh, and our desire to visit other interesting stops in Scotland and Ireland. We were not disappointed. Edinburgh is a lovely city, offering fantastic history, architecture, and pub food & drink. Upon arrival, we were pleased to learn that the city was celebrating their annual "Festival Fringe", billed as the world's largest arts festival, spanning 25 days of nonstop music, dance, comedy, and poetry in over 300 venues. The Royal Mile leading up to the Castle was thronged with people, many in costume. Every block had one or more stages, with performances every 30 minutes. What a great time! The cruise got off to a bad start at embarkation, when we arrived at dockside in Edinburgh, only to be informed that the Wind Surf was actually in Dundee, over 60 miles away! After a frantic taxi ride (an extra 160 Euros) we arrived in Dundee, then drove around in circles for a while searching for the "King George V Wharf", which even the local taxi drivers had never heard of. As we got near the water we could see the masts of the ship, but it took quite a while to find the completely unmarked dock entrance. As we go onboard we saw many other taxis pulling up with frustrated looking customers. As we got to the top of the gangway, I was greeted warmly by Nick Bulger, the Wind Surf's Hotel Manager, a good friend from several previous cruises. Soon we were comfortably situated in Cabin 327, our first time in a suite, and certainly not the last. By the time we got to dinner we had already touched base with several of our favorite crew members such as Nova, Casey, Jun, Phillip, Merrick, and Chef Eddy. A few other crew members heard that I was on board, and tracked me down in the Compass Rose just to say hello. It's this kind of warm personal service that sets Windstar 180 degrees from ordinary, indeed. Unfortunately, our favorite entertainers, Craig and Nikki from the "Rain" duo, were not on board (Nikki just had a baby!) Their replacements were a British duo, the "Upbeats" who were very good vocalists. The main band was "High Society", which seems to change lead singers every cruise. They are a family act, and don't offer much energy or showmanship. They play before and after dinner, and seldom can entice anyone onto the dance floor. The only time I saw any dancing at all was after the weekly BBQ, when the crew got everyone up for line dancing. However, the amateur show put on by the crew was greatly improved, including a hysterically funny synchronized swimming act. Contrary to some recent CC reviews, I thought the ship was in great shape, and our cabin was immaculate. The food was excellent, with some local dishes mixed in with the normal Asian-influenced menu. Service, as always, was very attentive and personal. Our cruise itinerary was very interesting, entirely in small ports such as Invergordon, the Orkney Islands, and the Isle of Man. In several ports the ship was anchored out, rather than moored at a pier. On a few occasions when the sea was a bit choppy the tender ride to and from the ship got a little rocky, and on one occasion the Captain had to cut off the tender service entirely. The weather was cool, usually around 60F degrees, and often foggy in the morning. However, there was sunshine almost every day. The last stop was in Dublin, where we visited the fascinating Guinness Museum, and learned how to do the "perfect pour" of Guinness Stout. I am not a big fan of Guinness, but I do like dark beers, and was able to buy several Guinness variants that are not widely available in the U.S., such as Indian Porter, Double Stout and XX. Another great cruise! This was also our first ever back/back cruise, as we continued on to France, Spain and Portugal --- the topic of a second review. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Did a circumnavigation of Iceland. Ship was in very good condition, considering its age (but it did have a refurb last May). A few minor things could have been better, tho. Liked our window stateroom - at 277 sq. ft, it was large for a ... Read More
Did a circumnavigation of Iceland. Ship was in very good condition, considering its age (but it did have a refurb last May). A few minor things could have been better, tho. Liked our window stateroom - at 277 sq. ft, it was large for a very small ship. Everything in good working order. Asked for feather pillows, and our room steward got them for me. Food, for the most part, was very good. My wife had a standard steak in AmphorA that was not very good, but the filet mignon in Candles was excellent. Otherwise, I'd rate it very good. Lots of variety for on-deck BBQ, incl lobster. But did not open Verandah for breakfast or lunch, due to chilly weather. Very pleased with wait staff in restaurants! Gave 3 of them an extra tip. We were on the Star Legend's inaugural voyage last May, and some of the staff remembered us. My wife remembered the casino mgr when she was with another cruise line; they bonded. Shorex varied from Good to Fair; ditto for tour leaders -- primarily English language skills (accent and vocabulary). But remember you're in very small towns (several hundred to a few thousand), so not a lot of population to draw from for tourism. Only truly negative was a local actor who came on board for a one-man show on one of the Icelandic sagas, He was terrible! Overall, a very good experience and I'd go again on one of Windstar's power yachts. Ignore the negative reviews - chalk it up to "learning curve". Give Windstar a try. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our sixth Windstar cruise and our first on the Star Legend. I really wanted to submit a glowing review as I have in the past; unfortunately, this cruise was not quite up to the Windstar standards we have come to expect. ... Read More
This was our sixth Windstar cruise and our first on the Star Legend. I really wanted to submit a glowing review as I have in the past; unfortunately, this cruise was not quite up to the Windstar standards we have come to expect. Embarkation was easy and smooth; however, for the first time in all our cruises we were not greeted by any ship's officers (usually the Captain). This "invisibility" of officers continued throughout the cruise. We have always been amazed in the past with them wandering the ship and getting to know them - not so on this cruise. The renovations of the Legend were very nicely done. All the public areas were comfortable and clean. As time goes by, I’m sure the ship will only get better. The crew were out (weather permitting) cleaning, varnishing, etc. every day. Our suite was great - the bathroom could use a little more attention, nothing bad just looking a little worn. There were two different duos on board performing and they were both excellent. What was strange was there never seemed to be more than four or five couples enjoying the entertainment in the evenings after dinner. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Amphora (except for our last day) due to unpredictable weather. They were buffet-style with an additional menu listing daily specials. Here we encountered a minor peeve - they continually served our Eggs Benedict with solid yolks even after we reported it to the chef. Only once during the entire cruise were the yolks properly done. I know this is a minor thing; however, it is also something that should not have happened to begin with and should have been easily corrected and was not. The evening meals were exceptional as always. Service was not up to par with it taking up to three hours for our meal until we found one server, Esther, who was efficient. We stuck with her for the remainder of the cruise. Not sure exactly what the problem was – training, lack of staff, or the crew not “jelling” yet. Also, found the wine steward service lacking - sometimes difficult to get the wine list. More than once he would come by a table, take an order and then completely ignore other couples seated at the same table. We loved the itinerary and we enjoyed wonderful weather. With the exception of a few showers one day, we experienced “Camelot” weather where it only rained after sundown. We took two ship tours and they were both excellent. In Invergordon, we had rented a car for the day and were so tired that we did not participate in the Fields of Culloden private event but those who did said it was great. All other touring we did was privately arranged. The tendering was another issue. I liked the actual tenders used, but the tender crews needed additional training – it bordered on unsafe when we were in rough waters. We were assured that this matter would be addressed and, hopefully, it will. Overall, this was not a bad cruise – just not a great cruise. I know Windstar is experiencing some growing pains with doubling their capacity in one year. I feel confident that as time goes by, they will appropriately address the various issues and deliver a great cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our fifth cruise with WS lines. While we still enjoy the ambiance, crew, small ship cruising, some of the changes are not for the better. There is now a "harder sell" mentality for the spa, shop and excursions. The port ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with WS lines. While we still enjoy the ambiance, crew, small ship cruising, some of the changes are not for the better. There is now a "harder sell" mentality for the spa, shop and excursions. The port excursion prices are exceptionally high for what they provide, which is most unfortunate. We have been able to book independent excursions that offer more time and sights for the same or even less cost than what WS charges. The new owners of the WS line do not offer the same amenities and discounts for prior travelers, known as ForeMast Club members, as had Holland America and prior owners. This is definitely not good PR and does not encourage loyalty in those of us who have traveled before. That said, the Wind Surf was in good condition, although the refurbished decor looked way too utilitarian for the "casual elegance" of the advertising. The colors were beyond bland, the prints in the carpet and upholstered chairs looked anything but elegant, more in keeping with a 2* hotel. The public areas and cabins were very clean. The cabin and wait staff were as friendly and attentive as in all our other trips. Boon remembered us from a prior trip! The staff learns our names within the first day, an incredible feat. The food was fresh, mostly unimaginative but nicely prepared. Loved the breakfast selections, dinners had good choices, but typically on the bland side and became repetitive. I would suggest that the menu include local specialties of the countries being visited. Local talent was brought on board, one a lovely 16 year old vocalist, Lucy Kelly from Wales, sounding much like Charlotte Church. The other was a harpist. This is a WS feature, to bring aboard local talent, and much appreciated by the passengers. The other talent sailing as part of the crew provided good entertainment in the lounges. The ports of Dublin, Holyhead, Waterford, Fishguard, Scilly Isles/St. Mary's, Falmouth, Dartmouth, and Portsmouth were interesting. The villagers in the smaller ports were wonderfully welcoming, much like those in New Zealand when we sailed "down under". And quite unlike the larger and more touristy ports of France, Italy, Greece and Spain. We will give WS one more try before jumping ship to try another line..... Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
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