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31 Windstar Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

Dublin to Lisbon cruise started with ship not being in port where it was supposed to be, high winds, first night staying in port, first port of call cancelled, grey skies. Sounds bad? No it wasn´t bad at all. Ship incoming had to ... Read More
Dublin to Lisbon cruise started with ship not being in port where it was supposed to be, high winds, first night staying in port, first port of call cancelled, grey skies. Sounds bad? No it wasn´t bad at all. Ship incoming had to divert to Dublin City ( from originally Dún Laoghaire, small village south of Dublin) which we did not know about. Check in and Transfer to ship and it´s new location was painless and seamless though in Dan Laoghaire with bus transfer to ship. Arrival at ship was met by an all smiling and super friendly, mostly Indonesian crew, which set the tone for the duration of the cruise. The Crew were just outstanding and turned the whole voyage into a lovely experience, much better than even anticipated. This was my first Windstar cruise, surely not my last. Ship is in very good condition, I found the staterooms lovely and cosy in great modern condition, absolutely big enough (normally never say No to a Suite when price is right), super comfortable beds with super comfy pillows. Deck 2 selection midship turned out to be the best selection we could have made. High enough to overlook the water and as stable as possible. The size of the cabin turned out to be a big plus in high seas, which we had indeed. First port of call then was Isles of Scilly. Never thought we would be able to stop and tneder, but we did, as winds came down a bit. We had our scheduled half day in a lovely corner of South of England. Then we crossed over to Brest. Quite a ride as the winds had picked up again which also resulted in higher waves. Not a good night for everyone on board, even for quite a few Crew members. Still they were smiling and joking and assisting and serving drinks and Food. Restaurant was never really empty, so a lot of people coped quite well with the ship dancing on the waves. Weather in Brest unfortunately did not cooperate at all. It rained all day, just untill exactly when we left the port in the evening for our 2 night/1 full day crossing of the Bay of Biscayne. You guessed it, the waves got worse. It was quite a ride and quite a few passeners had a very difficult time. Sill many had no problem and enjoyed the ride, like we did. Wether only improved once we reached Spain in El Ferrol, followed by Vigo, both very nice ports with a beautiful back countryside. Next and final stop short stop in Porto was all sunny and just piccture perfect. The whole voyage was perfect, despite th weather. Ports great, excursion good, food good, ship just perfect. I really had no complaints at all. Passenger were mostly Americans, I guess 95 %, lovely as we all know them, as well as occasionally noisy, but always fun to be around. Crew as mentioned is truly exceptional !Looking forward to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had sailed on the Windsurf in the Caribbean. We decided to choose a really different itinerary.......Dublin to Lisbon. And different it was. Originally 1st stop was Waterford, Ireland but the Irish Seas were in turmoil so the ship ... Read More
We had sailed on the Windsurf in the Caribbean. We decided to choose a really different itinerary.......Dublin to Lisbon. And different it was. Originally 1st stop was Waterford, Ireland but the Irish Seas were in turmoil so the ship couldn't visit. So we stayed in Dublin overnight. No loss, as we had been to Ireland many times. The northern stops were a bit cool, southern stops hot and sunny. The Windsurf is a beautiful sailing vessel, just the right size. With approx. three hundred passengers and two hundred crew the service is outstanding. Friendly and personal, the crew goes above and beyond to make your journey a memorable one. Highlight of the trip was the deck BBQ in Vigo, Spain. Hard to call it a BBQ with the high end food offered.. Vigo is a gorgeous harbor and sailing out of there at sunset with the sails all lit up was something dreams are made of. The captain and officers were around constantly interacting with the guests and being able to go on the bridge anytime at sea was an interesting experience. Hats off to Windstar Cruises for offering a more intimate setting than the large ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Being welcomed back to the Wind Surf by our Captain Gerry Hogan and his spectacular crew made us feel as if we were being welcomed home. This particular cruise from Dublin to Edinburgh was a dream for us and almost unattainable after a ... Read More
Being welcomed back to the Wind Surf by our Captain Gerry Hogan and his spectacular crew made us feel as if we were being welcomed home. This particular cruise from Dublin to Edinburgh was a dream for us and almost unattainable after a sudden serious health issue earlier in the year. Seeing "the Surf" tied up at the dock brought tears to our eyes. Being greeted by staff who remembered us from other sailings not only made us feel instantly at home, it is also a testament to a company that must be great to work for as the crew members have choices in employers and they keep coming back. There is so much to say about this cruise starting with the ports which were all interesting with each one very different in landscape and culture. Going to Isle of Man and learning the history of this country and its part in WWII was enlightening. Kirkwall and all of the Orkney Islands, going to Scapa Flow feel like a step back into history, both modern and ancient. Portree, Isle of Skye, is one of the most beautiful places on earth; Tobermory charming and Portrush all of these rolled into one. Disembarking in Edinburgh was easy and it's understandable why people fall in love with this charming city and continue to return. The Wind Surf is in wonderful shape with excellent services, continuous smiles and a true effort to make every guest feel special. The reception staff and dining room staff are eager to do whatever it takes to satisfy each request. We eat anything an everything but met lots of people with specific food needs and all were exceedingly happy with the abundance of choices. The cabin stewards are the best in the business, keeping the cabins immaculate and will appear at a moments notice to take care of any personal need. We are always amazed that our names are remembered from day one. This particular itinerary is one that should not be missed. There were lots of fellow passengers who were interested in these countries as part of their ancestry. And if one isn't into ancestry and/or the history of Ireland and Scotland, there are always the breweries and distilleries! Great trip! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in ... Read More
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in lounge, interesting historical lectures by a very informed historian. Wonderful service and extremely friendly and kind crew. Captain always actively engaged with passengers. Ability of all to remember passenger names was astounding and never experienced on any other line. Mixed age groupings, kids with grandparents and so forth, and younger crowd than Vantage or Viking get made it nice too. Ship is gorgeous under sail. We had foggy conditions and missed one port of call but no one seemed to mind and felt securely cared for by the senior staff and crew. Great land excursions, though somewhat expensive. Wonderful cruise director, who was very caring with anyone who was unsteady or needed extra time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Before reviewing a wonderful five-star cruise, let me dispense with my booking frustrations with the Windstar office. Without burdening you, may I simply say that the powers-that-be in Seattle need to properly train their representatives, ... Read More
Before reviewing a wonderful five-star cruise, let me dispense with my booking frustrations with the Windstar office. Without burdening you, may I simply say that the powers-that-be in Seattle need to properly train their representatives, empower them to answer concerns and questions, and then abide by their answers. Should anyone want details, please contact me. Now for the Star Legend cruise from Lisbon to Dublin with port calls in Porto, El Ferrol, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, and St Malo. First, my wife and I have been enjoying cruises for 25 years on both larger and smaller ships. As in the Goldilocks story, we found the Star Legend to be just right. Boarding was seamless and pleasant at about 1:00 in the afternoon. After having a glass of Champagne, providing our passports and receiving our boarding cards, we were escorted to our “suite” which was in order and immaculate. We were then invited to enjoy lunch on the Veranda. From that point on, for the next 10 days, service from every member of the staff was always with a sincere smile and immediate. From laundry service to in-room meals, from tour escorts to bartenders, from the personable Captain to the fellow polishing brass, everyone was willing and able to be of service. Yes this ship has some age, but I have learned to appreciate the workmanship in older vessels. The walls of our spacious cabin were solid, constructed of wood, mirrors and padded fabric. We did not hear our neighbors and I doubt they heard us. All meals were outstanding in all of the venues, with a great variety of menu selections. The wine list was more than adequate. Here I must give special kudos to the wonderful young lady who served us three meal per day, almost without exception, (not that she was assigned to us, but because we sought her, or she looked for us). Trisna, from Bali, was the most caring, attentive, friendly individual imaginable, and able to do all that she did with the graciousness of a prima ballerina. Thank you so very much Trisna! Our ports of call were unique, and great launching points for some very interesting tours. It was so nice to dock at every port. No tendering. Before wrapping this up, I must mention two tiny aspects which did not please us. One, the music provided by the entertainers included amplified computer accompaniment. In some places this was bearable, but in the Compass Rose room it was not. We entered this room on two different occasions after dinner and the volume was so loud we turned around and left. My only other gripe would be that I bristled at having time taken from my 50 min. massage to pitch my need for additional massages and a $55.00 “cooling gel.” Yes, we would do it again, and recommend it highly. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've ... Read More
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've seen them on cruises and there is no pleasing them. My wife and I and another couple, all in our early 50's, recently completed the cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon. It was superb! We had a basic cabin on a lower level and it was very spacious, clean and well appointed. Our cabin steward was great and friendly. The air conditioning was cold and easy to control. The bed/mattress was very comfortable. Pillows were soft foam and perfect! I heard someone on our cruise literally complain that they had to pick up their own glass of champaign upon boarding the boat, that it wasn't "handed" to them. If that's your biggest issue, you have a great life! We were extremely pleased to find out that the main dinner restaurant was a la carte, and wow, was it ever awesome! The chef visited every table, every day to discuss how their meal was (awesome!). The food progressively got better and better! The oso bucco was stellar as was the prime rib! Each day their were new special salads and soups to start the meal, as well as different entrees and deserts. Was it perfect? No. One day I ordered medium rare beef Wellington and it came out medium well. When the waitress noticed she asked if I'd like something different and I said yes. She brought me another meal within three minutes. Seriously, it was AMAZING service! I don't know what the other people were complaining about regarding excessive vibration and the smell of oil, there was absolutely none of that. It was clean, fancy and delicious. We did dinner one night at the reservations required steak place, Candles. Filet minion, New York strip, Mahi Mahi, all amazing! But I have to say, the main dining room was equally good, but it just didn't serve the same amount of steak. Dinner was from 7-9. With only 200 passengers, and a la carte serving (vs a crappy carnival cruise line buffet) it made complete sense. We never had to wait to get our drinks refilled (with lots of ice) or wine poured for us. The service was truly exceptional, and we found the serving staff really tried to get to know us by name and remember our drink preferences. My wife would go to the Yacht Club in the late afternoon to read and the waitress would bring her a red wine and club soda without her having to ask. Needless to say, she got a great tip! The night of the BBQ was spectacular! The lobster, flank steak, suckling pig, fish, paella and all the amazing accompaniments were outstanding! The biggest issue was finding a shady place to sit. When a server saw us sitting in the sun, she offered us an alternative in the shade just around the corner that we hadn't seen. Breakfast was great too! They had a buffet set up if you wanted to grab something quickly and get on your way, as well as an omelet bar and a la carte menu. It was a great assortment of always great food. We only ate lunch on the boat twice, once on sea day and once when we stopped in Gibraltar for the morning. It was awesome both times as well. You're not going to go hungry on this boat. If you wanted a meal outside of the normal seating times, the boat has 24 hour room service (which includes popcorn if you want to stay in your room one evening and watch a movie) as well as light meals in the Yacht Club until 5:00pm. At 6:00pm they started serving awesome appetizers in the Star Bar. Speaking of the Star Bar, it became our favourite evening hangout. Jesus and Haleigh played great music that was a combo of easy listening during the early hours, to dance music later on in the evening. We closed it down a few time! That's not to take away from the Compass Rose bar. The band there was great as well, but it's inside and we only went there on one particularly cool breezy evening. My wife and I are retired and consider ourselves rather adventurous. Our friends who were with us were equally adventurous. We saw many many couples who were much older than us on the cruise having a great time! It's clearly that this is the cruise line for cool adventurous people! We want to be like them when we get older. We also saw some people who my wife described as "cranky pants". People who needed to be treated like kings and queens or their noses would get out of joint. Fortunately these people were few and far between and we did a good job of avoiding them. I suspect the writers of the negative reviews fell into the category. I'm not going to comment in detail about each port that we stopped at. They were all awesome and unique and we had a great time at each one. If you're interested in reviews on the ports, go to tripadvisor. I will say that we did two tours arranged by Windstar, one that we organized on our own, and the rest we just walked and wondered around (which was awesome). All of them were great, but the nice thing about doing you own thing is that there are fewer people and you get a more personal experience. We will definitely be back on a Windstar boat, and hopefully on Star Breeze! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Along with 12 members of family and friends we took the Windsurf to the Tall Ship parade in Amsterdam. All of us were repeaters from 2nd Time cruisers to 18th with the exception of one couple. We boarded in Oslo which was efficient and ... Read More
Along with 12 members of family and friends we took the Windsurf to the Tall Ship parade in Amsterdam. All of us were repeaters from 2nd Time cruisers to 18th with the exception of one couple. We boarded in Oslo which was efficient and beautiful. Our first night we choose to eat outside at Candles which was glorious. We spend our dinner gazing out over the Oslo Fiord as we sailed along, clear, lovely night, it did not get dark until 9:45, delicious food what a way to begin a cruise. We had great weather, lovey sail into Kristiansand where we docked. I was able to buy at the famous fish market the Baltic Shrimps and bring them aboard to our friends to enjoy for lunch. Our day at sea was crossing the North Sea where it behaved, calm, a bit of rain, for those of us who wanted a bit of sea rock and roll not to be. The highlight was The Tall Ship Parade. We rose at 5 am to go through the lock. We anchored across from Java Island a beautiful spot right across the waterway which partially parallels Central Station in Amsterdam. The Tall Ships were a bit delayed and we certainly could see the sails as they came into the harbor to dock. Some people were disappointed that they were not closer or the we were actually not " in" the parade but the logistics for all ships especially our huge sail boat part must have been a nightmare. The tenders immediately began the easy five minute ride to Java Island. All day and all night thousands of small ships, barks and brigantines, schooners, pleasure craft circled us, it was memorizing. We were about 500 yards from the fireworks barge and for two nights we enjoyed 30 minutes of Grande Finale. Glorious! The Wind Surf had surprises for us as the day went by: hats with Sail Amsterdam on them, sips of special typical liquors, special food treats, a men's chorus singing sea shanteys, etc. Very surprising and generous. It was a great two days on the ship being the center of attention. The other ports were also interesting and in Vlissingen and Zeebruge Windstar provided buses to take us the the towns of Middleburg and to the rail station to get to Bruges. Very convenient and well appreciated. Service was impeccable as usual, food was delicious, creative and varied. It was a busy cruise with plenty to see and do and then come back to the ship to relax. Docking in Dover was efficient and easy. I hope in five years Windstar will repeat this cruise. It was different, totally enjoyable, a wonderful way to experience a great event. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
BACKGROUND:  We have sailed on the Wind Surf many times, including 3 cruises when it was owned by Club Med, so every new cruise is now like a family reunion of sorts for us. Since our last cruise on the Surf, there have been many changes ... Read More
BACKGROUND:  We have sailed on the Wind Surf many times, including 3 cruises when it was owned by Club Med, so every new cruise is now like a family reunion of sorts for us. Since our last cruise on the Surf, there have been many changes -- new owners (Xanterra), new ships in the fleet, newly refurbished interior decor, and a new itinerary (first time for us in Scandinavia). This May we were delighted to sail on the maiden voyage of the Star Pride, and so I was looking forward to a point-by-point comparison between the two ships. HOTEL INFORMATION: We arrived in Stockholm two days before the cruise, and stayed at the Scandic Hotel in the center of town, conveniently located just a block or so from the train station, with many nearby restaurants, and within an easy walk of the Palace, City Hall, Old Town, and other attractions. Our room was very comfortable, wi-fi service was excellent, and the hotel cafe/bar was lively and attractive, with good food. The breakfast buffet was as good as I have experienced anywhere in Europe, but it did get crowded after 8 AM. There were many other Windstar passengers staying at the hotel, as evidenced by Windstar caps, jackets, and other apparel. EMBARKATION: The ship was conveniently docked in town, so it was a very short bus ride from the hotel to the dock, and we were able to board immediately. Check-in was both smooth and quick, and by the time we got to our cabin, our luggage was already there, as was our cabin steward Christian. CABIN: We were in Cabin 136, which is midship on the lowest deck, arguably the most comfortable location for minimal motion at sea, Although we had great weather for most of the cruise, there was some rocking & rolling on occasion, especially at night. We slept like babies! As always, the cabin was spacious (188 sq ft) and comfortable. Unlike on the Star Pride, the beds were high enough to enable luggage storage underneath. They were also VERY comfortable. As always, the bathroom toiletries were by the upscale French brand L'Occitane, I have fallen in love with the Verbena scent, and so was greatly surprised to find that only the bath soap had that fragrance, while the hand soap, shampoo, and bath oil were the "Milk" variety, with a definite Baby powder aroma. Maybe Windstar got a better deal on it, who knows? SHIP/CREW INFORMATION: We were greeted at the dock by Captain Peter Harris of Britain, with whom we had sailed before. He is charming, affable, very gregarious, and extremely witty. We were pleased to receive an invitation to dine with him one night, and had the opportunity to also meet his beautiful wife and lovely daughter. What a handsome family! But we especially noted and appreciated his on-board visibility, and his effortless ability to chat up the passengers. The Hotel Manager Ratko, and Bar Manager Andrew were fairly new to Windstar, very competent, but lacked that easy manner with the guests. I was very interested to see the new Windstar decor, and to compare the WInd Surf implementation to that of the Star Pride. When cruising, I often get up very early to explore the ship, along with my camera and tripod. Windstar has used some of my photos in their publlcations and blogs, and I recognize a few on my pics in the Cruise Critic photos. Overall, I found the new Wind Surf decor to be very subdued, with a blue/brown/tan color scheme. Sleek and soothing, yes. Dazzling, no. The most noticeable change was replacing much of the carpeting with dark, high gloss oak flooring. However, it seemed to me to be a composite product of some sort, as the surface was a tad lumpy. This was especially noticeable in the transition to the Lounge, which already had real wood flooring, which was (to coin a phrase) "flat as a board." The new carpeting has a plush, almost shag-like pile to it. This worked great in the public rooms like the Yacht Club, but not so well on the stairs, where it tended to mash down on the edges, and thus looked worn even though it is still very new. ACTIVITIES/EXCURSIONS: As has been noted in almost every review I have read about Windstar cruises, planned activities are not their forte'. First, they do not really have a Cruise Director on board, and the daily activity sheet is almost identical from day to day. They do offer "Port Talks" in the late afternoon to discuss the next day's port of call, and the excursions that are available. In general, I very seldom sign up for excursions, as I find them to be overpriced, and often somewhat boring. My wife did sign up for a tour in Oslo, which she enjoyed. In my opinion, Windstar would do well to consider adopting the Viking river cruise model, and offer a complimentary walking tour at each port of call. Instead, most of their tour offerings involve climbing on a bus (or even a train) to go somewhere else. I much prefer to wander around town and take pictures. However, there ARE two planned activities that occur on almost every cruise: the deck BBQ and the crew show. The deck BBQ is OK, but I find it to be overrated, crowded (especially when the weather does not allow al fresco dining), and with just average food. The main attraction is grilled lobster or lamb chops (mine were almost raw). Big deal. The other traditional activity is the crew show, which can be pretty good if there is some talent on board, but once you've a bunch of waiters line dancing, the appeal dwindles with repeated iterations. Most of the passengers AND the crew seem to like it though, and that's what counts. Another activity that Windstar doesn't really promote at all is the popular "Name That Tune" contest that occurs twice a week in the Compass Rose after dinner. The "Rain" duo always does this, and before them, Callen & Joyce would also do it. It's VERY popular, and never fails to fill the room, with passengers forming large teams for competition. Great fun! SERVICE: What brings passengers back to Windstar again and again is the intimacy and ambiance of small ship cruising, combined with the highly personalized service provided the wait staff. They are just terrific. They greet everyone by name, quickly learn where you like to sit, and what you like to eat and drink. It's very easy to start thinking of them as personal friends instead of ships' crew. For many such as myself, the favorite dining experience is at breakfast and lunch in the Veranda, where it is not so crowded, the pace is relaxed and informal, and there is more interaction with the wait staff. On our cruise, the senior guy at lunch was "Boon", but the favorite waiter was "One", Of course, everyone had their personal favorites, which is why the result is such a pleasant experience. I only had one service complaint, which was that food service in AmphorA could be quite slow, especially when a majority of the passengers decided they wanted to be seated immediately after the dining room opened. DInner should not have to take over two hours! This was not nearly such a problem in the Candles or Stella Bistro venues. The other service complaint that comes up time and again is with the internet. It is so crummy that Windstar should just forget about it, at least while away from port. DINING: Head Chef Klaus created some great food for us throughout the cruise. No complaints whatsoever. Perhaps the one area where I would look for improvement would be to offer more European style whole grain breads. The breads offered at the Scandic hotel were better than what was served on board. The wine service on board. was VERY good. I did not opt for the premium beverage package, as it costs over $100/day per cabin, and I just can't drink that much and walk straight. Also, I stick to beer and wine, and seldom if ever order a mixed drink or cocktail The wines offered on board were of very good quality, at very reasonable prices (good selection at $7-9/glass or $26-35/bottle). Again, in my opinion WIndstar should consider the Viking Cruise model, which is to include beer, wine & soft drinks with meals, with premium beverages available from the bar. ENTERTAINMENT: Let's start with the good. "Rain" (Craig & Nicola WIlloughby) are simply outstanding, miles better than any other entertainers I have heard on any cruise ship, regardless of size. Craig is a brilliant guitarist, and Nicola has a beautiful voice. They are very versatile and entertaining, and bring a lot of energy and passion into their delivery. They usually pack the Compass Rose, with the crowds increasing every night. The main problem is that the Compass Rose room is just too small. The "Cool Breeze" band appearing in the main Lounge was mediocre at best, very much like the "Top Society" combo that appeared on the Star Pride. Vocalists were OK, but the musicians were just average at best, no energy or passion in their delivery, tired arrangements, lackluster repertoire, etc. Some nights there were only a few folks in the Lounge at 10 PM! Meanwhile, the Compass Rose was jammed. Main asset for both bands is that all the band members are Filipino, which means they can share quarters with the crew. My advice would be to dump the bands, put "Rain" (or a similar duo like "One Night Stand") in the main lounge, put a DJ or piano player in the Compass Rose. I am betting that bar sales would pick up significantly, while costs would go down. Passengers would be better served. DISEMBARKATION: Hard part is getting off the ship by 8:30 AM or so. However, it all went smoothly EXCEPT for the monster big line of folks waiting for a taxi. Luckily, we were one of the first passengers off, and we still had to wait almost 30 minutes. Lots of passengers were really unhappy, I'm sure. When meeting people, first impressions are very important. With a cruise, the last impression is often what sticks in your mind. SUMMARY: While we were on our previous cruise on the Star Pride in May, we booked another cruise on the Wind Surf to Spain for September 2015, took advantage if the on-board booking discount. Much to my surprise, Windstar apparently no longer offers a discount for an on-board booking, nor was their any on-board sales effort at all. What I did notice was cruise information displayed on the on-board computers --- but for the 2013 season! Oooooops! We are dedicated Windstar aficianados, and I am sure we will be back for many more cruises in future. I just wish Windstar would get their act together to address some of these vexing issues that would be SO easy to fix. I wish better things for them. Gary (The Hitman)   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
"Gaelic Explorer" Itinerary - Dublin to Edinburgh - July 12-20, 2014 We'd cruised on Wind Surf three times, but always on warm weather itineraries in the Caribbean or Bahamas, and it'd been ten years since our last ... Read More
"Gaelic Explorer" Itinerary - Dublin to Edinburgh - July 12-20, 2014 We'd cruised on Wind Surf three times, but always on warm weather itineraries in the Caribbean or Bahamas, and it'd been ten years since our last sailing. We were curious how she had held up after going through three owners since the last time we were aboard. We were not disappointed. We chose to purchase Windstar's 2-night pre-cruise Dublin hotel package. We took a cab (27 Euros) from the airport to the O'Callaghan Davenport Hotel, which was centrally located within walking distance of Trinity College, shops and eateries on Grafton Street, Book of Kells, Temple Bar, museums, parks, and a hop-on-hop-off bus stop. Although rated four-stars, the Davenport was a bit frayed around the edges. Our 5th floor room was nice, although the air conditioning was so weak we had to open the window. That turned out to be problematic at bedtime because of the very popular outdoor pub just below the window. The hotel staff was friendly, and the included morning breakfast buffet was tasty. Windstar's coach transfer to the ship together with all of the other Windstar passengers staying at the Davenport was disorganized, with a lot of standing around with luggage waiting for the coaches. The Windstar on-site rep seemed to be doing the best she could. It was an easy coach ride to the ship at Dún Laoghaire. There was a several blocks hike with carryons from the cruise terminal checked-baggage drop-off to the ship. No problems the day we were there because it was a beautiful day, but it could've been problematic if it had been raining or the ferry was there. Wind Surf looked terrific, not showing her age at all. We were a bit distracted walking aboard in Dún Laoghaire because Captain Harris happened to be one of the staff greeting passengers at the bottom of the boarding ramp, and he actually carried one of our carryons inside. The major total ship refit not too long ago was quite evident on first impression. The decks, passageways, stairways, lounge, bars, dining areas, and our suite midship on deck three all looked brand-new. Smiling staff was everywhere. Check-in was easily accomplished in the lounge. Food, (always a subjective topic because everyone has individual expectations), was very good in our opinion. Better than we remember from our prior cruises, and certainly much higher quality and taste (and service) than what we usually experience on Royal Caribbean. Always fresh and tasty buffet options on the Star Deck Veranda for breakfast and lunch, plus you could order from a brief menu if you chose. When the Veranda was crowded, the adjacent Bistro was open as overflow. The reservations-required supper in the Stella Bistro was very good, although we thought the food quality and service was just as good in the Amphora main dining room. We didn't get a chance to eat at the alternative reservations-required served-outdoors Candles at supper, but because of the weather on this cruise, all Candles meals were moved into the Veranda. The Deck BBQ was also moved indoors, and the main lounge was converted into a dining room. The Yacht Club midships on Main deck had tasty sandwiches, snacks, and coffees from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM. We were somewhat disappointed the Purell hand sanitizer dispensers installed around the ship and on the gang plank were almost always empty, and there was never any mention anywhere asking passengers to use them to help prevent the spread of norovirus. The weather. We always overpack. This time, though, what we brought home un-worn were all of our short-sleeve, warm-weather clothes. There’s a reason why the photos we all see of Ireland and Scotland show amazing greenery. It rains. Whether the weather was sunny and bright, or chilly and rainy, the temps never got much above the low 60s F. We had some very beautiful, clear blue skies days, some days when there was rain interspersed with brief periods of beautiful blue skies, and a few days when it rained most of the day. When it rained, it was mostly that horizontal rain, making umbrellas powerless. Just pack thinking when you’re out and about off the ship you’ll layer, bring a light water-resistant windbreaker, and bring an umbrella that pops back into shape when the winds turn it inside-out. Evening wear aboard was “casually elegant”. Some men wore sport coats in the Bistro and the dining room, but most wore nice slacks with collared shirts. The women looked great, as usual, but they weren’t overly dressy or wearing anything formal. The main lounge band, “Cool Breeze”, was good and the singer excellent, and the duo in the Compass Rose bar, “Rain Duo” was good, too. Don’t miss the crew talent show in the main lounge. The ports of call. We have always liked Wind Surf’s niche, being able to drop anchor in the small ports and marinas where the mega ships can’t go. For all of our stops, except our last day in Invergordon, Scotland, (where we shared our day tied up near the 3100-passenger Ruby Princess and two oil platforms), we were the largest vessel to be seen. We tendered in/out each day except at Invergordon. The trade-off being able to visit smaller ports of call is not being able to do a whole lot of online research for planning exploration on our own or pre-arrange private excursions. Although several cruisecritic.com contributors on our cruise had made their own plans, we opted to purchase Windstar’s (excessively-priced) excursions. Even with the poor Euro and British Pound Sterling exchange rates with the US dollar, the ship’s excursion prices seemed way out of line based upon the individual entry fees we saw posted at the places we visited. We did enjoy all of our daily excursions with the exception of the day at Invergordon, where our group found itself at Urquhart Castle with six or more coaches from the Ruby Princess plus many land-based tourist groups. All of our local guides were very good, and easy to understand. The excursions we chose were: Isle of Man – “Vintage Steam Train & Magnificent Castle Rushen” (excellent! - sunny) Portrush – “The Giant’s Causeway and Old Bushmills Distillery” (stormy, but beautiful) Tobermory – “Mull’s Duart Castle with Tea” (excellent! - sunny) Portree – “Dunvegan Castle & The Cullins” (stormy, crowded, but sunny late) Kirkwall – “Ancient Treasures” (rainy/cold/blowing, some sun late) Invergordon – “Loch Ness & Historic Urquhart Castle” (sunny, crowded, interesting, although didn’t stop at Loch Ness visitor’s center as described) At the end of the cruise in Leith/Edinburgh, disembarkation was easy. Our bags were waiting for us in the terminal, and there were cabs lined up outside once we'd claimed our luggage. The easy (Sunday morning) ride to the airport in a very clean local cab with a nice driver was only 26 British Pounds Sterling (compared to Windstar's $95/person airport transfer fee). In summary, we had a terrific fourth cruise aboard Wind Surf, and we agreed we’ll sail on her again in the not too distant future.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was a wonderful itinerary and a memorable voyage for many reasons. After 2 days at a well-located hotel in London, we were transferred by motorcoach to Wind Surf at her dock at Portsmouth. Our ports in France were Cherbourg, St. ... Read More
This was a wonderful itinerary and a memorable voyage for many reasons. After 2 days at a well-located hotel in London, we were transferred by motorcoach to Wind Surf at her dock at Portsmouth. Our ports in France were Cherbourg, St. Malo, and Brest. Cherbourg was the departure point for seeing the D-Day beaches and Sainte Mere Eglise, a very moving day. St. Malo is a great place to explore, and then explore more. Brest was my least favorite port on this itinerary; I enjoyed the castle, now open as a museum. Our ports in Spain, La Coruna and Vigo, were both interesting with lovely walking and/or excursion opportunities. Walking La Coruna's 14 km. waterfront promenade is a great way to enjoy that lovely city. Our half-day in Porto, Portugal, allowed time to walk in the central city and along the Douro River. From Porto, we sailed onward to Lisbon. I was met at the dock by Pedro of Sintra Private Tours to start our excellent tour which ended with my being taken to my hotel. The next day I used a hop-on-hop-off bus for an overview of Lisbon that included an afternoon at the excellent Lisbon Oceanarium. Wind Surf and her crew are exceptional in every way. The food was the best ever on any of my cruises. I love the size of the ship, and, as in the past (this was my 5th Windstar cruise), watching the sails unfurl as we continue on towards a new port is an exhilarating experience. The best way I can share this fine travel experience is to direct you to my just-finished on-line photo album, which I am about to post in top position on my Shutterfly travel photo site: https://fredasphotos1.shutterfly.com. After you've opened the site, click on the top album, "Wind Surf London to Lisbon". Next click on SLIDESHOW, then at upper right click on FULL SCREEN. I think it works best then to click the button at the top center to disable auto-forward of photos, after which you can click on the right-arrow when you want to go to the next photo. There are captions and text so you can view and read it as a travelogue. It was a memorable journey. I hope you'll enjoy it vicariously! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My husband and I had never been on a cruise - and this was our first. We have traveled - just never on a ship. We chose this particular cruise because the ship looked interesting - a sailing cruise ship with five sails! The ports were ... Read More
My husband and I had never been on a cruise - and this was our first. We have traveled - just never on a ship. We chose this particular cruise because the ship looked interesting - a sailing cruise ship with five sails! The ports were also intriguing and different - southwestern England, two ports in Wales, and two ports in Ireland. I had done my homework and had found that the Windstar has very positive reports. We started in Portsmouth, England and ended in Dublin, Ireland. We docked or moored every morning in a new port. And - by the way - it did not rain, anywhere. Our cruise turned out to be an amazing experience; exceeding every expectation. The ship was very well appointed - it had the swimming pool, the hot tubs, the recreational water equipment for warm water cruising, Spa, well-equipped exercise room, bars, and a multitude of dining rooms. It was also comforting to travel in the designated rescue boats at times to transport passengers from ship to shore. It was nice to know that they are in working order! Our cabin was comfortable, well organized, and oddly spacious. It had lots of closet space and places to secure things - all within 188 sq feet. All of the staff were exceedingly helpful and friendly at all times. The food was great and well presented; even more than I expected. The ports of call were eclectic - most were places I had never heard of. They were all fascinating in their own right - lots of history, great local food and very friendly people. They were glad to see us and curious about our five-masted sailing cruise ship. A few had not seen a cruise ship in a while. Our ship was small enough to be able to come into ports that the larger ships cannot. The shore excursions were well thought out. This was the first time our ship had ever been to these ports - and the first time in a long time that some of the ports had experienced a cruise ship. Although excellent, the shore excurions were understood by all to be too pricey. This was an incredible trip and my husband and I have had really great experiences on this ship. port #1 Portsmouth, England - departed from here We did not go on any tour here - independently took the train from tak London's Waterloo station to the "Portsmouth Harbor" station. It was an easy trip - and a short cab ride from the Portsmouth station to the ship. port #2 Dartmouth, England - We went on a Windstar shore excursion here. We got our first taste of the history of southwestern England and the small towns/ports of England here - and it was fascinating - from the castles to the architectural details of the housing and buildings. The landscape was spectacular. The transition from tender to tour and back was seamless and easy. Went on a tour boat up the River Dart to Totnes, took a steam train back to Dartmouth, and a ferry across the harbor. This was a good place to take an excursion from Windstar, because we could not have arranged it all, independently. port #4 Isles of Scilly, England - T This was our favorite port. We went out on our own here, with some of our shipmates. We set up our own tour with the boat association at the harbor. We ended up visiting three of the many Scilly Isles, all sparsely populated: Bryher (pop 92), Tresco (pop 180), St. Mary's (pop 1,666). It was all very walkable; easy. Tresco's Abbey garden was beautiful. Lots of history. It is easy to see why people from Great Britain vacation here. The weather while we were there was lovely, almost Carribean weather. We visited on a Sunday, and few stores were open on St Mary's,although I did find one where I bought a sailing shirt! I bought a book of Scilly Tales in a small little store on Bryher. Both stores opened for the cruise visitors. port #5 Pembrokeshire/Fishguard, Wales - We went out on our own here with some of our shipmates. In Fishguard, we saw the lovely and locally created "tapestry" that re-tells the story of the signing of the Peace Treaty after the last invasion of Britain in 1797. It was located in a municipal building, upstairs, near/in their library. We took a local bus from Fishguard to St. Davids - and it was really fun. We traveled on one-lane Welsh country roads with local people. They were friendly and asked us repeatedly "Are you on the cruise ship we read about in the newspaper?" Traveled back to Fishguard with youth out of school - who were very well-mannered. In St. Davids we had lunch at a local pub - full of Welsh character. We took a tour of the exterior of St. David's Cathedral - very impressive. It is a functioning cathedral and there was a funeral happening at that time we were there. port #6 Waterford/Dunmore East, Ireland - We went out on our own, visiting both the Waterford Factory and the Waterford Museum of Treasures. The Waterford Factory had a fascinating tour - and the Waterford Museum of Treasures was a small but important look at Ireland/Waterford history. We ate lunch at a local restaurant - where the proprietress knew all of her customers by their first name; great food. I believe that small children were not encouraged to travel on this ship. I did not see any programs for them, and the ship was not outfitted to protect them.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
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
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they provided on their newer style of motorized cruising. They purchased ships from the Seabourne line. The ship we were on is the Star Breeze. It is about 30 years old and it shows. Embarkation went very smoothly and our luggage appeared in our room in a timely fashion. Our room was quite comfortable and large with a walk in closet, full tub with shower and large sitting area. Very comfortable indeed. The service in the cabin was just what we needed with our cabin staff being very responsive to our needs. The food in the main dining room is average. There is nothing overtly wrong with it but it is not exciting, interesting or especially tasty. The one exception being the 'indoor BBQ' night necessitated by bad weather. On this night the ships galley was our BBQ area and it was fund to walk through the galley and the food was excellent. The service in the main dining room was weak regardless of where we sat and who attended to us. At times it would be difficult to get wait staff to come to the table. Water was poured before we could get the word sparkling out of our mouth and then a look of annoyance appeared when we asked to switch. The food and service in the private dining room was a different story. Both were excellent. Entertainment was practically non-existent. In comparison to river boats where local talent is featured many evenings and lectures on others there was pretty much nothing offered after dinner except a duo then ended early. Shore excursions were good and interesting. Unfortunately we were battling bad weather throughout the journey. In fact, our day in Portrush had to be cancelled as the tenders were not able to run. This was very unfortunate as the cruise had no back up plan for onboard activity this day. We had nothing to do all day. Yes, we did get to the next port that night and were allowed off the boat but the city was shut down by the time we arrived. This seemed to be poor planning. The ship itself clearly shows its age especially in the dining room and stage lounge and is in serious need of a facelift. We will likely not travel this line again as there are too many better options. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I took this cruise because it was a James Beard Food Cruise. The suite offered very little I wouldn't pay extra for it. This is the second time I booked on this cruise line and was disappionted both times.The communication was ... Read More
I took this cruise because it was a James Beard Food Cruise. The suite offered very little I wouldn't pay extra for it. This is the second time I booked on this cruise line and was disappionted both times.The communication was not good aboard the boat. There were activities that were not listed except if you found something in small print so you had to make sure you kept up. Examples the chefs on shore food purchases were not communicated, the galley tour was orly communicate and so was the star light dinner. So for a person who paid top dollar did not get any benefits. Other lines provide a person that takes care of the suites . I think they should adopt that practice. Food on the ship was ok even though it was such a small boat and a special James Beard cruise. Entertainment was limited but acceptable. This is an al carte cruise so everything is extra. While annoying we knew that going in. The staff was great . Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This small yacht has one of the better cabins than Regents, Celebrity, Paul Gauguin, etc. The cabins have no balcony but an open space for double doors. The interior design includes a walk-in closet. That is a WOW. The trip sailed ... Read More
This small yacht has one of the better cabins than Regents, Celebrity, Paul Gauguin, etc. The cabins have no balcony but an open space for double doors. The interior design includes a walk-in closet. That is a WOW. The trip sailed around Iceland and the shore excursions were plentiful. Perhaps the cost of living in Iceland is high, it appears that the shore excursions are more expensive than the other cruises. Not a great deal of travelers heard of WindStar. But if this cruise line is going to Asia, their WIFI program needs to work at a better level than at the present. Entertainment is very low key. Most of all, confusions with communications appeared quite often, resulting in conflicts with travelers. On the whole, it is a pleasant, cold and windy cruise in the midst of summer so that I can say I crossed the Article Circle in style. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My wife and I and another couple chose this cruise for the timing, the itinerary, the small ship and the food/wine theme. We had all used Windstar before (Windsurf) and loved it. As other reviewers have testified, this cruise was ... Read More
My wife and I and another couple chose this cruise for the timing, the itinerary, the small ship and the food/wine theme. We had all used Windstar before (Windsurf) and loved it. As other reviewers have testified, this cruise was marred by engineering malfunctions, and was less organized than one would expect on a luxury cruise. The pre-cruise experience was mixed; we booked over a year in advance, and were told we would be able to benefit from any subsequent price reductions. I had to be very alert and very assertive to get these, though. Had I waited until the last minute to book, I would have saved some money (but that is not really practical because of the need to plan ahead for this major a vacation). We enjoyed most of the places we visited (especially St. Malo, Bordeaux, El Ferrol, and Lisbon, where we stayed an extra 3 days). We also enjoyed meeting and spending time with many other passengers. The food was excellent for the most part, and the wine was pretty good. The deck layout is not as functional as on other cruise ships of this size. The cabin was fine (when the plumbing worked). The front line staff members were very nice. Some of the shore excursions were poorly planned with too much time in a bus and not enough time to explore or have a meal. The special evening at the Bordeaux wine estate was disappointing. We enjoyed exploring the cities of St. Malo, Bordeaux, El Ferrol and Lisbon on our own. I, especially, loved the two oyster farm tours (Cancale and La Rochelle). We enjoyed the on board entertainment (small lounge, Fado singer), but this was not a major feature of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My husband and I went on the Star Breeze for a trip around Ireland and Scotland. The itinerary was wonderful and we enjoyed the excursions that the cruise ship laid on ; they were VERY expensive but well run and first class all the way. ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Star Breeze for a trip around Ireland and Scotland. The itinerary was wonderful and we enjoyed the excursions that the cruise ship laid on ; they were VERY expensive but well run and first class all the way. We stayed in Suite 6. It was a two room suite, not too bad until you went to the windows. Outside our bedroom was a very restricted view ( lifeboat hanging there). Outside one living room window the curtains were never opened because the view out there was just a mess of steel supports, beams, ropes and general mess. The sliding balcony was another story. Half of the overhead space was taken up by an old "rescue" boat. Heaven forbid if they ever have to use it. It was held together ( barely) with black tar and tape that was hanging off. Really unsightly. Needless to say we were not out on our balcony very often. If you go on this ship stay away from Suite 6! Also the ceiling above the bed had rust stains on as though there had once been a leak in there. I know that they spent money refurbishing this ship but certainly a lot of areas were left completely untouched. It really could use a thorough inspection. I can't really say that the food was all that great. Some nights good, some nights just okay. To much sodium in most dishes. Lunch time looked more like a cheap cafeteria. There was no imagination used in the salads whatsoever and it was the same old thing every day. ( Raw broccoli or cauliflower anyone) . Also on some nights the waiters had no idea how to explain the food that was on the menu. One item I asked about was described as a Spanish rice - it was actually and awful colored sauce, full of peppers and spices that was poured all over the fish. Sad, to say- all of the best meals that we had were off the ship as we decided to eat lunch out on most days that we were on shore. Staff were really nice and friendly. All in all - good cruise just a little more attention needed to the menus, the food in general and the items around the ship that still needed attention. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which still makes Windstar so unique in the cruising market. We like the size of the Windsurf – there is always enough space to find a private corner somewhere. There are plenty of dining options and a couple of entertainment options in the evening. All very chilled and relaxing. We also enjoy meeting a lot of the guests on board … many are fellow travellers who are quite low key, but appreciate their luxuries and enjoy exploring the world. Unfortunately, many of the capable crew we were pleased to getting to know on previous trips, had moved on to other newer Windstar ships . They were replaced by lesser-experienced, but still very friendly and helpful crew. What some of the crew lacked in experience, they made up for with tremendous charm and a great willingness to help and serve the guests on board. The officers were very friendly and approachable, regularly mixing with guests. Despite our appreciation of the crew’s efforts, we noticed a deterioration of standards from prior cruises: The embarkation was delayed and the waiting area in Lisbon certainly wasn’t designed with comfort in mind. The Captain managed the situation well by communicating directly to the waiting passengers. The cabins are well designed, but the light colored carpets showed stains - so badly - that we asked the Cabin Steward to have them cleaned, which he promptly did. The chocolates left during turndown service are a nice idea, but do they have to be unwrapped? The quality of the food, never outstanding on past trips either, left much to be desired. It certainly does not pass for a fine dining experience. It is ok – mediocre. Even the specialty restaurants ‘Stella Bistro’ and ‘Candles’ struggle to set themselves apart from the main dining room. The BBQ is quite fun and the freshly grilled food is enjoyable. The bar staff was absolutely wonderful and so was some of the dining room staff. The shore excursions were ok, but tend to be geared towards more mature clientele. With a bit of research beforehand, we managed to have very enjoyable self-guided tours ashore. The fitness offerings are also geared towards an older crowd. What was meant to pass for yoga, had very little to do with yoga. It was held in the midst of the weight machines in the tiny little gym on board, while there was plenty of fabulous open deck space to conduct a yoga session. We would have gladly signed a release if that was the reason an outdoor space wasn’t chosen. If Yoga is advertised, one would expect a certified yoga instructor. The instructor teaching the class couldn’t even name the poses! We became aware of some Windstar HQ related politics … subtle signs that would increase significantly on the second leg of our journey and unfortunately endured for months after our trip. More on this in the review of our second leg on this trip: Dublin to Edinburgh. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I want to state clearly and emphatically that WE LOVE WINDSTAR!! My wife and I have now been on seven Windstar cruises, including five on the Wind Surf. We have frequently recommended Windstar to relatives, friends and sometimes to ... Read More
I want to state clearly and emphatically that WE LOVE WINDSTAR!! My wife and I have now been on seven Windstar cruises, including five on the Wind Surf. We have frequently recommended Windstar to relatives, friends and sometimes to complete strangers. The two couples traveling with us on this last voyage have sailed on multiple Windstar cruises with us. We recruited them to Windstar several years ago. These three couples have taken a combined total of eighteen Windstar cruises. We are invested in Windstar and want it to succeed. But we are in agreement that this most recent cruise was the least satisfying and most disappointing by far. Before describing the disappointments, I'll highlight some of the many positives. ** The food service staff was, as always, outstanding. The waiters – many of whom we knew from previous cruises - were friendly, fun and efficient, and worked hard to cater to whatever we needed. After only a day or two, they knew our names and many of our preferences. Abdul did a great job. ** The housekeeping staff was also excellent. Our cabin steward, Darta, was friendly and efficient. Somehow, he always seemed to know when we were gone, because by the time we returned the cabin was always clean and straight. What few requests we had werequickly taken care of. ** Kudos to Klaus, the head chef! The food at all the restaurants was outstanding, perhaps the best we have ever had on a Windstar cruise. Good variety, well-prepared and beautifully presented. (I especially enjoyed the bison steak, which Klaus arranged for me to special order even when it wasn't on the menu.) Portion sizes were just right. ** The senior staff were terrific. Captain Peter Harris is certainly a very capable boat driver, since we regularly sailed from port to port safely and comfortably. But we especially appreciated his friendly, personable demeanor, his on-board visibility, and his willingness and eagerness to interact with passengers. We saw more of Peter, and spoke more with him, than any other ship captain we have encountered in many years of cruising. Likewise with Hotel Manager Ratko Strbac, who I was fortunate to get to know, like and respect. Ratko had only been with Windstar for a few weeks when we met him. He knows his business, and Windstar is fortunate to have him. His approach to guest relations will make the Wind Surf a much better ship on which to cruise. ** The lounge band was quite good; Coco has a terrific voice. But we found ourselves spending most evenings in the Compass Rose listening to Rain Duo. Craig and Niki were awesome! I could listen to Niki's sweet, beautiful, mesmerizing voice all night. And Craig's vocals and guitar playing would give Mark Knopfler a run for his money. (This is a great compliment, by the way.) ** The Wind Surf, and its smaller siblings, are, of course, one of the primary reasons we often sail with Windstar. We love these beautiful ships . . . the ambiance, the comfort and informality, the homey feeling. We enjoy, as well, many of the small, off-the-beaten-track ports of call. Alas, this recent Windstar cruise was fraught with disappointments that tarnished the brand and seriously diminished our enjoyment of this vacation. Most of our concerns can be traced directly back to Windstar headquarters. For example: ** Initial check-in, and the few weeks leading up to it, were a mess. For the first time ever, no embarkation documents were mailed to us . . . instead, Windstar emailed us (through our travel agent) an ”eDOC TICKET”. This document was confusing and contradictory. It stated that check-in began at 1:00 pm; All Aboard was 4:00 pm; and departure was at 2:00 pm !!?? How does that work? We never could get clarification from Windstar, so, to be safe, we arrived at the terminal at 10:30 am, and then sat around for three hours twiddling our thumbs waiting to board. Because of Windstar's communications incompetence, we wasted an entire morning during which we could have been exploring Lisbon. This was an ominous beginning to our 16 day cruise on the Surf. ** On-board, we soon discovered that the Surf no longer has a Cruise Director. It now has what they call a “Destination Manager”, whose primary job seems to be to sell overpriced shore excursions. Her port talks spent precious little time promoting the sights, sounds, attractions and charm of the port city. Instead, she mostly encouraged folks to hop on a bus and go somewhere else. On top of that, information she did share with us was often incorrect or incomplete. Almost never did she discuss or promote any on-board activities. For example, trivia night, line-dancing instruction, market tour with Klaus, wine-tasting etc., etc., are all fine activities, but no one with Windstar, including our destination manager, promoted them. ** Speaking of on-board entertainment, the afternoon of third day, a Folklore song and dance group was brought on board.. They were very good, but passengers wouldn't have known about them unless they carefully read the daily program. The destination manager had said nothing about them the night before, and the lounge was barely half full. Those who did attend, (we did), were given no information at all about the performers. Where were they from? What region, or era, or ethnicity did their music and dance come from? What did their costumes represent? We don't know. The Windstar officer introducing them said little more than “Here's your entertainment”, after which no more words were spoken. What a wasted opportunity. ** Bar service in the lounge, and wine service in Amphora was often poor. We don't blame this on the servers . . . they were uniformly very good, friendly and attentive. There simply weren't enough of them to handle crowd. We can only guess that dictates from headquarters resulted in under-staffing, We were told that many of the more experienced staff had been transferred to the Star Pride. ** WiFi on board was awful! Connections were slow, intermittent or nonexistant. I signed up for access on the first day, and by the third day was so frustrated that I asked them to disconnect me. They did so without argument and with a full refund. ** The Dublin to Edinburgh portion of our back-to-back cruise started on an even worse note than it did in Lisbon. We had never been to Dublin before, so we signed up for the “special” Dublin city tour that would also transfer departing guests to the airport or a hotel. I asked the ladies at the reception desk several times if we would have to go to the airport ourselves. I told Ice that if the tour did require us to accompany the other passengers to the airport, that we would cancel. She checked with Jeff, who reportedly made a call or two, and then confirmed that after the Dublin tour we would be dropped off at the Davenport Hotel at 1:00 pm, and from there would join up with other guests going to the Wind Surf. Because of this promise, we took the tour. It was mostly a waste of time. We were very rushed. There was no expedited ticketing to anything, so we ended up standing in line for forty minutes to see the Book of Kells and then had only fifteen minutes there before we had to move on. We then started a whirlwind tour of St. Patrick's Cathedral at 11:45 am. We were told to be back on the bus at 12:05 pm, at which time our guide told us we were now heading for the airport. I asked “To the airport??!!” Yes, indeed. Precisely what we were promised would NOT happen was happening. I was incredulous – and furious - and told him to stop the bus. My wife and I got off the bus, not where we wanted to be but at a place better than a scenic drive to the airport. When we finally returned to the ship, I described to Jeff what had occurred. Jeff wasn't much help, but ultimately, Ratko, (the aforementioned hotel manager), stepped in and resolved the situation to our satisfaction. My thanks to Ratko for his concern, his empathy and his personal involvement. Windstar is a great brand. We have traveled with Windstar often in the past, and will probably do so in the future. However, we are very concerned about what we felt was a marked deterioration in communications and service from previous Windstar cruises. This last Windstar cruise just didn't seem as special . . . too many corners had been cut. We worry that quality of the Surf, Spirit and Star will continue to suffer as the three Seabourn ships are brought on line and their experienced staff are diluted even more. We will be taking many more ocean cruises in the coming years. For the first time, however, we'll be seriously considering Azamara and Oceana and Viking as viable alternatives to Windstar.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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
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