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79 Windstar Caribbean Cruise Reviews

I am writing this as I go through my mandatory quarantine following another great cruise on the Wind Surf (the last one before operations were halted). This was our second Windstar cruise in less than 4 months after having done a 14-day ... Read More
I am writing this as I go through my mandatory quarantine following another great cruise on the Wind Surf (the last one before operations were halted). This was our second Windstar cruise in less than 4 months after having done a 14-day BTB Caribbean cruise with some friends on Star Legend in November. This time we were travelling as a couple and met 2 other couples from our hometown of Montreal on the ship during the trip. We flew in same day from Montreal as there was a direct flight to Sint-Maarten that arrived around 12h30 giving us plenty of time for our scheduled 7pm departure. We are in our mid 50's and this was our 9th Windstar cruise (all in the Caribbean) and 4th on the Windsurf. We also sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to switching to Windstar in 2013. This was again a great cruise although there were a few hiccups along the way (especially with the tender operations). We continue to enjoy Windstar's small ships despite the fact capacity was increased by 32 pax on the Wind Surf's recent dry dock (more on this later but we did not feel the increase was noticeable). What we enjoy is the fact you can do things independently easily (we only took one snorkeling excursion from the ship), there is a relaxed dress code at dinner, the food is excellent and last but not least the great service staff who go out of their way to make your cruise memorable. This was the 3rd time we did Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary as we love all the stops along the way (BVI's, St Barth, Antigua) although the reason we chose this particular one is the fact it had a twist with no sea day and an extra stop on our favorite island, Anguilla. The weather was a bit challenging during our first 2 stops (Tortola and Jost Van Dyke) with gray skies, strong winds and regular showers. Although weather had begun to clear when in JVD, Captain decided to cancel Virgin Gorda and Beach BBQ in Fischer's Cove and instead go back to Road Town and spend the night docked and remain there the following day. This was disappointing for people that wanted to see the Baths. The crossing from Road Town to Anguilla was very rocky with several guest not able to sleep (incl. myself). The rest of the week was calmer and much sunnier. Another great but not perfect cruise with Windstar Booking: We booked 45 days in advance (we always go for lowest priced cabin as location is not necessarily important to us). We called the company directly (we did not use a travel agent) under the Canadian resident promotion with a $300 discount on the cruise price. This special is not on their website. We booked a guarantee cabin and got upgraded 3 categories to an AX room 255. Windstar also offered a 20% discount on the price of internet, drink package and laundry if all taken together prior to cruise which we did not take as we did not care for the ship’s slow and expensive internet (we had access to a good roaming package which we used most of time as we were always close to islands). Embarkation We flew in same day with an early direct flight out of Montreal which arrived in SXM at 12h20 and we arrived quickly at the ship at 13h30 vs our 19h00 departure as we were, for the first time, travelling with only carry-on luggage which made for speedier exit of busy temporary SXM temporary airport terminal. Cabs were plentiful. Cab ride was $25 for the 2 of us and took 40 minutes (we stopped at Carrefour to pick up a couple bottles of wine which we took onboard). Check-in was swift at front desk given most of the initial rush had passed. Sail away was on schedule at 19h00. We were told our cruise was almost fully booked, so around 325 passengers on board. This was not an issue throughout the cruise as the Wind Surf remains very spacious with nooks and crannies for everyone. Stateroom: We were in stateroom #255 (added to Wind Surf stateroom sticky forum). Staterooms are well designed with plenty of storage if required. The cabin was quiet and had no issues although we understand that at least on 2 occasions during the trip, staterooms located towards the back of the ship (not us) had vacuum issues with toilets not functional for several hours. Our room steward was attentive although we did not have any special requirements. Reusable water bottles we refilled every day with flat water and our ice bucket was kept full with ice every day. Despite being much smaller than on the ones on motor yachts, the rooms are very well designed and we were really only in our room to sleep or change over for dinner. We did not use room service but did use laundry service with no issues. Bathroom is compact and well-designed but starting to show its age. No issues with hot water or water pressure throughout the trip. L’Occitane toiletries are provided in all rooms. Bars and Entertainment: Drinks were mostly taken outside at Compass Rose or Pool Bar. Did not have drinks in the Lounge as we like to be outside although it looked fairly busy in the evening. Bar service was always good. Duo at Compass Rose (D’Harmony) was OK and sometimes had guests dancing but generally it was pretty quiet compared to other Windstar cruises we have taken. We did not attend the crew show Sail Aways were nice and the sails were up more often than in past cruises with our short hop from Anguilla to St Barth done on sail power only (3.5knots) Dry Dock Improvements: Although Wind Surf went into dry dock last November, changes to the ship remain minimal but include a totally renovated (incl. all furniture) and expanded Lounge (no more casino) which is much brighter than previously, the relocation of the Spa from deck 2 to deck 5 (in former Nautilus Room) and which is much larger and nicer than in the past when it was located at the back of deck 2, new chairs in Stella Bistro, a small waiting area near Amphora and new mattresses (firm) in all staterooms plus the addition of 16 new staterooms on deck 3 by reducing the number of suites. We heard onboard that the Wind Surf would get a total overhaul in 2023 Food: Again food was a highlight. We ate at Amphora 4 times, one time each Candles and Stella Bistro and Deck BBQ on the late night in St-Barth. Dinner restaurant hours have been modified from 19h00-21h00 to 18h30-20h30. Given we are late eaters, it seemed we were always racing to meet this deadline. We preferred when restaurants closed at 21h00. Menu at Amphora changes daily and was varied with vegetarian and gluten free options available. Breakfast was good with buffet or a la carte items (waffles, eggs, pancakes, eggs benedict) available. Fresh squeezed OJ, lots of fruits, pastries, smoked salmon, cereal, oatmeal as well as several hot items (love their bacon) were available on the buffet. We had good lunches at Veranda when we made it back in time from the island as the venue is only open from 12h00 to 14h00. Like breakfast, lunch consists of a buffet with hot/cold items, a carving station, pasta bar, burgers and other à la carte items that change every day. We were late a few times and had to “settle” for food at Yacht Club (very good sandwiches and energy bars). Lunch should be extended to 14h30 to accommodate those with dietary restrictions as the menu at the Yacht Club, while good, remains limited for them. Service in the dining rooms at dinner was fast and efficient with meals lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. We mostly had dinner around 8pm and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table and by the time we were finished, most of the time we were the last table in dining room. Menus were varied with several fish, meat and vegetarian dishes and again were impressed by the quality and presentation of the food. Deck BBQ food was great although they ran out of lobster tails for those who came late which we thought was unacceptable. The Dining Under The Stars option which was offered twice on our Feb 2019 Wind Surf cruise not offered this time around. They had a burger bar lunch from 14h00-15h00 one afternoon but did not get to it as we were still on the island. Beach BBQ was supposed to be held in Fischer’s Cove Virgin Gorda but was cancelled due to strong winds preventing the ship form having a sheltered anchorage so we spent the previous night and following day docked in Road Town for the day. 2 or 3 times during the week (maybe these were every night but I can’t confirm), we were treated to canapés at Compass Rose before dinner. Usually had 2 different types of canapés and staff did a few rounds so plenty to go around. We also saw these served in the Lounge. Had dinner one night at Candles and everything was fine with tender filet mignon cooked to order. Don’t miss the prosciutto/parmesan potatoes. Note they no longer have Red Velvet cake on dessert menu. It had been a staple for several years. We like the Stella Bistro and the French inspired food was excellent when we went We are a bit picky about our coffee and the caffe lattes at Veranda in the morning were good (regular coffee not so much) but even better at Yacht Club (The barista on the Wind Surf however was not as good as Yogi on our November Star Legend cruise). We also did try a few of the sandwiches and sweets offered in the afternoon and all were excellent (try the Tuna and Greek sandwiches and the energy bars). Also new was a tea station set up in Compass Rose in the afternoon which includes cucumber sandwiches and scones… and various teas. A good initiative that seemed to be popular with some guests Although we do like our wine and drinks, for the second time in a row, we did not take any of the beverage packages available including a new one which allows you to purchases 5 bottles of wines in 2 price point categories at a 10-15% discount (several of the wines we liked were not on these lists). In the end it was cheaper, we drank better wines by the bottle and brought a couple of bottles we had bought on shore in St Barth (which they did not confiscate), to Candles and Deck BBQ and both times they did not charge the regular $17 corkage fee (they probably forgot, just too busy). Unfinished bottles were kept for next day and one time they could not find our bottle which had about a third left so they poured us 2 huge glasses of the same wine instead. Being a bit of wine buff, I find the wine list has a varied selection and decent prices. I posted wine and drink lists on Windstar forum last November and another cruiser recently posted them also. Marina We picked up our snorkel gear on Saturday night for our Sunday morning snorkel tour to the Indians although the tour provides its own gear if you forget. Due to the strong winds we did not see the marina open although a couple of times we saw them preparing it, just don’t know if they ever got to opening it formally as we were away on the islands and always came back too late Spa: We visited the new spa but did not use it. Much better location and the spa itself looks very nice. Gym: We did not use gym but it looked clean and well equipped and did not seem overcrowded. Tenders: Tender service was the only issue we had on this cruise. In St Barth, several people had to wait over an hour to 75 minutes for tenders going to and coming back from St Barth (was the case for the 2 couples we met on the ship). On our last day in Antigua, last tender was scheduled at 16h30. 12 of us were there at 16h15 when tender showed up but there were 12 other guests still on the island and instead of taking the 12 back to the ship as scheduled at 16h30 and come back for the remaining ones, we waited until 17h15 for all the late guests. They had plenty of time to have another tender run but for reasons unknown, the Bridge did not let the tender go. Guests were furious because we were kept in the dark and the Bridge’s decision did not seem to make sense from a customer service perspective. I have added more details on this on the Windstar Board under “Wind Surf Poor Tender Service” Tenders were also used in Jost Van Dyke and Anguilla and we did not hear of any issues at those ports. The tenders themselves are also in need of a total overhaul. When compared to Seabourn, Club Med 2 and Star Clipper tenders, the Windstar tenders really look shabby. They will be changing the tenders on the Motor Yachts, they probably should do the same with the sailing ships. Bridge We visited Bridge a few times and the on duty officer was nice and answered our questions. Stops and excursions: We generally are not the type to book ship excursions as we feel they are overpriced and like to do things on our own. I typically like to do my own research and do not like to plan too long ahead. On this trip, we had already been several times to all of the stops and were familiar with all of them so we knew exactly what we wanted to do. Tortola (Road Town, docked): Cloudy/rainy morning, overcast afternoon, light wind. Did ship sponsored snorkeling excursion to Norman Island. Good tour, not too expensive at $69. Snorkeling was ok at the Indians, better than the Norman Island Caves. Got back to shore around noon, had lunch onboard and went back to town and went shopping to Pussers. Town was quiet as it was Sunday and there was no other ship in town. Came back early and spent rest of afternoon on deck. This was our first time in Road Town and we liked it better when the Tortola stop was in Soper's Hole which I understand is being re-instated next year. Nice partial sunset cruise to Jost Van Dyke. They also ran tenders to JVD that evening until 12h30AM for guests that wanted to go to Foxy’s Jost Van Dyke (Great Bay, tender) Strong winds from the Northeast picked up during the night with heavy rains in the morning. Left ship around 10h30 under drizzle and headed to White Bay via taxi ($5/pers. each way 7 minute drive). Weather cleared up a bit by midday but was not great with some rain and some sun. Came back and had a few drinks at Foxy’s which has been rebuilt. Given the strong winds, Captain advised we would not be going to Virgin Gorda the following day (Beach BBQ cancelled) and instead would sail back to Road Town and dock for the night and next day. Tortola Take 2 (Road Town, docked): Finally a nice sunny day. We intended to go to Long Bay (West End) but were told by locals that the 20 ft seas offshore made for precarious swimming on all North Shore beaches so we opted to go Long Bay near Trellis Bay and airport which was sheltered. Taxi was $12/pers. each way (30 minute drive). Given there was also a Disney ship in town and that Long Bay seemed to be the only sheltered beach, it was a bit busy. It is a nice beach with chairs and all services. We went to quieter far end of beach and had lovely day. Came back to ship around 16h00. Overnight sail to Anguilla was very rocky with 12-15 ft waves. Several people including myself had a lousy night sleeping, the only one on this cruise. Anguilla (Road Bay/Sandy Ground, tender): Beautiful sunny day. We chose this cruise because it had this stop which Windstar only started doing this year and only appeared on 2 of the Yachtsman’s itineraries in 2019-2020 (normally replaced by a sea day). We have been to Anguilla several times and it remains one of the least developed islands in the Caribbean which is why we love it so much. It is renowned for its amazing soft white sand beaches which are considered by many (including myself) as some of the finest in the Caribbean if not the world. Given we had been to all of the most popular ones (Shoal Bay East, Rendez-Vous Bay, Meads Bay, Cove Bay or Crocus Bay), we decided to try lesser known Shoal Bay West (taxi $30 for the 2 of us each way 20 minute ride) which has nice beach restaurant called Trattoria Tramonto (free chairs if you have lunch). Very quiet (20 people max on a very nice and long sandy beach facing St. Martin). Came back to ship around 16h00 and had dinner at Candles that evening. Captain advised that because our sail from Anguilla to St Barth was so short (40nm) we would be under sail only most of the time with engines cut off. St Barth (Gustavia, tender): Beautiful sunny day spent at Pearl Beach Hotel on St Jean beach (Taxi 10 minutes, 20 Euros each way for 2). Rented chairs (30 Euros). Had lunch at small sandwich place later in St Jean Village (Kikiémoi). Did some shopping in St Jean. Took cab back to Gustavia where we did a bit of shopping (including wine at Cellier des Gouverneurs which we brought back on ship with no issues) and tender back to ship around 17h15. Our friends who took the tender a little later had to wait over an hour to get back and were late getting to deck BBQ which was held that night. Left St Barth at 22h00. Smooth sailing to Antigua that evening. Antigua (Falmouth Harbour, tender) Nice sunny day. Left ship around 9h30. 6 of us took a cab to Half Moon Bay, one of the nicest and least crowded (due to its remoteness) beaches in Antigua. Cab was $25 return/pers. 40 minute drive). A small restaurant/bar is now on the beach and they also rent chairs which is something new. Great sheltered beach (far end is nicer, less surf). On the way back, taxi took us up to Shirley Heights (part of Nelson Dockyards Park $5 entry fee) to take in the beautiful vista of Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour. Well worth the detour. Taxi dropped us off at the Dockyards where we spent an hour walking around and watching the racing sailboats coming in after their regatta. Got back to the ship only around 17h30 due to aforementioned tender issue. Debarkation. Debarkation was trouble free. Had breakfast around 8am after picking up our passport and having face to face meeting with Immigration on board ship in the morning. Our flight was at 13h45 so we left ship around 9AM and went directly to airport (taxi was $10/pers. as there were 10 of us in the van. Despite all the complaints on the temporary terminal’s cramped spaces, we were through security and immigration in 40 minutes as we had no bags to check. Terminal was cramped but not as bad as last year. Flight back was uneventful and we made it back to Canada just as travelling restrictions were getting tighter due COVID 19. This concluded another wonderful Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Sis is allergic to mold, fragrance and chemicals and our diet requires No salt: Windstar met and exceeded our highest hopes! The snorkel gear was great so in most ports we walked, took a water taxi or regular taxi to a beach, all ... Read More
Sis is allergic to mold, fragrance and chemicals and our diet requires No salt: Windstar met and exceeded our highest hopes! The snorkel gear was great so in most ports we walked, took a water taxi or regular taxi to a beach, all beautiful! We booked an excursion with Joy’s tours Saint Lucia, an amazing boat ride to snorkel at the Pitons. Also stopped at Anse Chastenet, famous beach. Can’t wait to return! The Chef’s market tour in Grenada and cooking demonstration the sea day were fun. Yoga/pilates in the morning, the Talent Show and Barbeque all great. Very friendly crew and guests. Terre-de-Haut (Iles des Saintes) was great; book a golf cart in advance to see all the beaches. Great French restaurants, fun shopping. All the islands are fun. Saint Martin the stores are closed on Sunday; Bimini Beach was neat. We loved BBC beach on Grenada. Old San Juan terrific; eat at Caillo Caribe. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were looking for a small ship and Wind Star seemed the best choice. We don't care for the mega ships. Star Pride cabins are suites nearly 400 as ft with living area, walk in closet, bathtub mini bar. Lovely lounges are spacious. ... Read More
We were looking for a small ship and Wind Star seemed the best choice. We don't care for the mega ships. Star Pride cabins are suites nearly 400 as ft with living area, walk in closet, bathtub mini bar. Lovely lounges are spacious. Entertainment is live music and port talks, a few receptions. Crowd is mellow. No kids. Long days in port with easy on and off as there are only 200 passengers. Wonderful staff and gourmet meals complete a memorable vacation. There is a full gym open 24 hours and yoga or Pilates every morning. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Veranda. Complete buffet breakfast including smoked salmon every day and cold and hot items or order eggs Benedict or eggs any way. Servers are at your beckon call. Luncheon always includes special item like roast beef or grilled fish and always 3 or 4 hot dishes and many salads, grilled veggies. Dinner served in the lively dining room. Moderate dress code applies. Gourmet dinner always. 4 or 5 choices of appetizer, main course and dessert. Beautiful presentation and impeccable service. Meals are served at specific hours and unlike mega ships, you only eat 3 times a day. Quality not quantity but I still managed to put on 8 pounds in 2 weeks! All in all, highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We love Windstar's other ships and wanted to try their large sailing ship for the itinerary Yachtsman Caribbean. Sadly this ship strongly disappointed. Ironically the ship had just come out of dry dock three weeks earlier but two of ... Read More
We love Windstar's other ships and wanted to try their large sailing ship for the itinerary Yachtsman Caribbean. Sadly this ship strongly disappointed. Ironically the ship had just come out of dry dock three weeks earlier but two of the sails were broken and couldn't unfurl each night. Also they refurbished the lounge and half of the cabins and left all the garbage piled up on the ship in plane view. Disgusting. Unlike previous cruises with Windstar where you felt like the crew was quite attentive to you and seemed to know you already by name, the crew on this itinerary (a Christmas sailing) was more involved with their families then with catering to the clientele-not one yacht club member even got a special invite dinner with a senior crew. The ship as a whole was old looking and just dirty. We often saw glasses strewn all over the place, dishes left out, towels left, etc. Never ever saw that on other ships by Windstar in fact normally there would be a staff swooping in to clean it up. The floors on the ship were dirty all the time. It just seemed like this cruise itinerary did not have enough crew-nothing was painted, cleaned, or polished daily unlike other Windstar cruises where we always see crew bustling around doing that. The excursions were poor and we had to wait a lot to get on tinders or our excursions were over booked and we were dropped. The ship also had never been in certain ports before so we had to wait 2 hrs to get off the ship due to customs hang ups and it delayed our Windstar excursions and then the excursions were shortened by them and we still paid the same price. To us it seemed that whoever set up our ship itinerary didn't allot for that customs processing time and then the crew didn't try to adjust their timings to come into port earlier so that clientele was able to do what they had paid for. Communication was very poor among ship staff we noticed unlike other Windstar cruises we have taken with them. The front desk staff seemed understaffed and clueless. When we called room service or to make a reservation for a restaurant 4 out of the 7 times we got an answering service and half the time they never called back. So one time our room service food came to us half wrong. We HATED the way the tinder location was set up. On all other ships you went out the back and got to sit in the lounge prior. Not this ship. You were crammed into the stairwell/elevator area and then when that over flowed we stood in the cabin hallways and blocked and clogged up everyone. It would have been a disaster if there was a fire. There were zero enrichment activities on this cruise itinerary which was unusual. We met none of the locals, heard none of their songs, learned nothing really of their culture that I couldn't google on my own. Way different than other trips. We love Windstar so we really hope this is just a fluke as our previous 5 cruises with them had none of these issues (we did Tahiti, Iceland, and 3 Caribbean before this). However with them making the Star yacht ships bigger and we saw their new layouts we are concerned. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Windstar has only 6 ships so and they are small ships focused on going to areas the bigger ships cannot get to. While the ship itself is a little dated, it is slated for a big makeover this summer which is explained here: ... Read More
Windstar has only 6 ships so and they are small ships focused on going to areas the bigger ships cannot get to. While the ship itself is a little dated, it is slated for a big makeover this summer which is explained here: https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/. The cabins are suites with a sofa, chairs, a desk, a full bathtub and a walk-in closet – plenty of room for the 2 of us. There is a spa which we did not use and a decent fitness room, which I admit, I intended to use, but did not. I had too much fun doing the excursions. The best part about Windstar is the service. All the staff are friendly and really try to make the passengers have a good experience. There was a challenge with the first port so as we were boarding we learned we would not be going to an island off Puerto Rico but to St. Thomas instead. We were given new excursions to pick from. The last two days we were feeling the effects of a storm, so we couldn’t tender to Virgin Gorda. I was extremely bummed as I wanted to go back to The Baths, but the captain and team rallied and took us to Tortola where they quickly assembled 2 excursions for us. The food is decent. You have 3 choices for dinner – either the big dining room, the area where you have breakfast & lunch that they convert to a ‘romantic dining experience’ or room service. We did all 3 options. Yes, we got a little bored with the food selections but at least we didn’t overeat too much. We also bought the Package which included a full liquor selection, WiFi and Laundry Service. If you are looking for nightlife, this is NOT the ship for you. On our ship, they had 2 different 2-person bands playing during sunset and after dinner and I saw they had a small casino set up at night but we never went to see it. There was a show put on by the crew Thursday evening but we skipped it. Also, the only child we saw was the captain’s daughter. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is basically a wonderful ship, with a few glitches. It was recently bought by Windstar and is due to a major renovation/refit in 2020, so these comments might not apply to later sailings. This is a small ship with huge cabins. The ... Read More
This is basically a wonderful ship, with a few glitches. It was recently bought by Windstar and is due to a major renovation/refit in 2020, so these comments might not apply to later sailings. This is a small ship with huge cabins. The staff and officers are very competent and caring. Food was somewhat variable, ranging from OK to very good. Prices were affordable considering the size and staffing ratio. (We got a last-minute cruise for $999 each in the lowest cabin category, which was just fine for us.) The ship was surprisingly stable and quiet, given how small it is. Embarcation and debarcation were flawless and fast. Passengers were almost all English-speaker, mostly from the US and Canada. Their ages ran from 30's to 70's. None of them seemed like serious party animals. There were a few glitches: 1. There was very little ability to sit on deck in the shade. We understand that some umbrellas had been washed overboard during a previous storm. However, the crew should have explained to passengers that they should not put a book on one of the few available chaise lounges and then walk away--this is unfair to other passengers. A related issue is that this ship would be at a disadvantage in bad weather, such as what one might encounter in their Alaska cruises. 2. Water was an issue: no hot water for a few hours, and then a couple of days later, no water at all. None of these were major issues. 3. Linens were a bit tired. 4. Bar prices were high, though not ridiculously so. We recommend buying wine at the CVS across from the San Juan dock and paying the $15/bottle corkage fee. They don't allow you to carry on hard liquor, although I doubt a few miniatures would cause problems. 5. The all-inclusive bar-WiFi-laundry package is ridiculously overpriced. Anybody other than a really serious drinker would have a very hard time making it worthwhile. 6. This ship is not handicapped accessible. Nobody who needs anything more than a cane should be on this ship. It is not suitable for children as there's nothing for them to do (the only child on board was the Captain's daughter, who was a delight.) 7. The base price ($999 in our case) is a bit misleading, as you must add port taxes, basically-mandatory service charge, and bar bills. Our total came to a bit over $3,000 after all these items, plus air fare to San Juan. 8. WiFi is slow and not totally reliable. I appreciate that they warn up-front not to expect too much. We got the unlimited plan ($240) which, however, doesn't allow more than one device per cabin to be logged on. Consider one of the individual plans. 9. Shore excursions were very mixed. Because of their cost and the lack of interest in most of the ports, we only took two of them: 9a. Historic Tastes and Treasures of Fort Napoleon (Les Saintes): well worth the money. We learned a lot about the history of the French Caribbean, and saw a really good little museum at the fort. The tour ended with a tasting of various Caribbean finger-foods and 5 types of rum, which was a good way to end the tour. Our leader, Jean (I believe) was very well informed and fluent in English. 9b: Clear Bottom Kayaking (St Georges,Grenada): eminently forgettable. After paddling a mile to where we should have seen lots of fishes, there were absolutely none to be found ... until one minnow literally landed in our kayak. (I threw it back.) Basically, clear bottom kayaks are no substitute for snorkeling or scuba diving--the view was very poor. The rum punch at the end was pretty awful. 9c: The company wanted entirely too much money for pre- and post-cruise accommodations and transportation. My suggestion is to take a cab (regular cab or Uber) to the Sheraton hotel across the street from the cruise terminal, for a fraction of the cost of what Windstar wanted. The Sheraton was a rather nice, modern, business-class hotel, and not terribly overpriced. 10. Some people have complained about being pressured to spend additional money. This complaint is basically correct. The evening "shows" were mostly commercials for shore excursions and repeat cruises. I could have done with less of that stuff. 11. No real "shows" in such a small ship, through the crew put on an evening program that was a lot of fun. 12. The "swimming pool" was basically a large hot tub with underwater jets to supposedly allow one to swim up-current. Too small to be useful. 13. The sports platform was open a lot less than promised because the slightest wave action caused it to be closed. 14. The food was never less than good and sometimes excellent. One common complaint was that red meats tended to be over salted. A couple of their pork roasts were mostly fat. Finally: YES, we look forward to another Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Just as a bit of background, we are a Canadian couple in our mid 50’s from Montreal. This was our 13th cruise having sailed 5 times with Celebrity and now 8 times with Windstar on both the Sailing Ships and Motor Yachts, all in the ... Read More
Just as a bit of background, we are a Canadian couple in our mid 50’s from Montreal. This was our 13th cruise having sailed 5 times with Celebrity and now 8 times with Windstar on both the Sailing Ships and Motor Yachts, all in the Caribbean. What keeps us coming back to Windstar is the small size of the ships (and contrary to what some people may say, they will still be small by all standards even after the extensions), the great and friendly service, the amazing food, the camaraderie between the guests and staff, the relaxed dress code, the small & interesting ports, the minimal entertainment and a general feeling of freedom aboard these ships as they are geared to both independent (which we are) as well as less independent travelers who can book (expensive) tours through ship. Another notable advantage of visiting the Caribbean by way of a cruise vs a land-based vacation is there are no mosquitoes on deck at night and no need for repellent (we had brought some but never used it). On this cruise, we travelled with 2 other couples, one of whom was new to Windstar (both got $200 referral OBC) and had never cruised while the other couple had sailed once with us on Star Pride in 2016. We did BTB 14 day Lovely Leeward Cruise out of San Juan on Star Legend Nov 2-16, the first time we had taken a cruise of more than 7 days. The overall feeling from all in our group was this was the perfect vacation we needed and that 2 weeks was definitely not too long and we would have stayed a 3rd week if we’d could. Yes the ship is older (vintage as our Italian friends like to call it), and aside from a few more obvious areas (such as near the Star Bar bathrooms on Deck 8), it is well maintained and certainly a pleasant ship to cruise on (the drydock will certainly help on that front). The food onboard was excellent and just keeps getting better. The company’s partnership with the James Beard Foundation is showing with creative plate presentations, improved seafood offering with fish now sourced locally almost every day and meats that were always cooked perfectly to order (from rare to medium well). Our Italian friends, who are fish aficionados, were very impressed by the quality and cooking of the fish dishes and not one person complained about any plate for the whole 2 weeks. We took the interesting Galley Tour with chef Nilesh and now understand how they can be so consistent in their cooking (everything is done from scratch à la minute) and also accommodate almost any kind of request (there is a list of 10-12 special requests at every meal based on a list I saw). So if you are a picky eater, they should be able to accommodate. We did not notice any slip in service or food compared to our Feb 2019 cruise and if there is one thing food has improved at all venues. The weather was just about perfect (very little rain which is unusual at this time of year) and seas were fairly calm. We were able to get off at all the stops save for Vieques for obvious reasons (see below for details). Demographics of this cruise were typical of Windstar with most passengers in the 50 to 80 range. They say Windstar is not for kids but during the first week of the cruise, there were 5 young well behaved kids (6-10) onboard (incl. the Captain’s daughter) and judging by their smiling faces, they had a blast onboard and were treated like royalty by the crew…and this did not bother the remaining guests onboard. On a minor negative note, we did notice on a regular basis, foul sewer smells from one side of the ship (and also near the Star Bar washrooms) but this was usually temporary. There was also a lack of loungers and umbrellas on the Pool and Star decks (and also at the bow hot tub area) which made it difficult to find a spot to lounge in the sun or shade. We spoke to staff who said new chairs and umbrellas were on their way in the coming weeks. Overall another fantastic cruise with Windstar. Now for the details Booking: We booked approx. 2 months ahead and found the price of this 14-day cruise to be very attractive at $1,799 (Canadian Special) (the price went as low as $1,599 a little later). We see no need to book far in advances as prices generally come down once within 90-day price guarantee period and usually get upgraded anyway. We and another couple went for lowest priced cabin S1 (112-116) and got upgraded to Balcony Suites BS1 (304-306) which was nice while the third couple had booked the highest non balcony category S3 (325) and got upgraded to a 530 sq ft Classic Suite (suite 06) mid ship deck 6, wow!. Again, Windstar offered the All-In Package (a 20% discount on the price of internet, drink package and laundry if all taken together prior to cruise) which we did not take as we did not care for the ship’s slow and expensive internet (we had access to a good roaming package which we used most of time as we were always close to islands). Given we had booked a 2 week cruise, we enjoyed complimentary laundry for the full 2 weeks which we used every other day. Embarkation: Although we typically fly in the day before, given departure was only at 10PM we flew in on same day. Took cab from SJU airport ($25 approx 20 minutes) and arrived on ship at around 3h15pm. Check-in was swift as 1PM check-in rush was over and we booked the Candles dinner for our group of 6 right away with no issues. Sail away was on schedule at 10h00pm. There were approx. 200 passengers on board with 25% booked for the same 2 week cruise. Our friends had some luggage issues so they went and bought a few items right across from cruise pier at the Polo Ralph Lauren outlet prior to our 10PM departure (very convenient). Cabin: We were in 304 and our friends in 306 and Suite 6 (all added to Star Legend stateroom sticky forum). Cabins are large and comfortable with 304 having a walk-in shower (no tub) while 306 and 06 have bath tubs. Note that the bed in 304 does not split to make 2 singles and as a result the bedframe does not allow you to put large suitcases underneath the bed as is the case normally (we put ours behind the 2 arm chairs in living room). Ship had a hot water issue on one day with no hot water from 10am to 6pm. This was fixed by end of day and was not a problem for us. All cabins were quiet with no maintenance issues. Our room attendants Luis and Ben were attentive and always had smiles on their faces although we did not have any special requirements. Reusable water bottles and ice bucket were refilled every day. Asked for mini bar to include more soda water and this was done for rest of cruise. We used complimentary laundry (offered on all BTB cruises) and had no issues (you can write instructions to do cold wash, no dryer etc on the order form). Occitane toiletries were replenished every 4 days. We did not use room service Bars and Entertainment: Drinks were mostly taken outside at Star Bar. Did not go to Lounge or Compass Rose as we like to be outside on a Caribbean cruise. Bar service was always good. Entertainment is limited but this is fine with us. There were 2 music duos alternating at each venues. Latino duo was better and had some guests dancing at Star Bar. Sometimes during breaks, guests would plug IPad playlists in system to keep party going a little longer. This happened a few evenings with people dancing until midnight. A lot of fun. Windstar should consider having a DJ instead of second duo onboard. Unlike the last time we sailed, none of us were on any drink package. We all mostly drank beer (Red Stripe, Stella, Heineken) and wine (we tried at least 20-25 different wines with prices varying from $40 to $65) with the occasional cocktail or nightcap and in the end our bill was almost the same as basic bev. package but ended up drinking better quality wines by the bottle. The wines on the beverage package are OK with 12 whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling), 15 reds (Cab, Merlot, Zin, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese), 4 sparklers and 2 rosés but the bottle selection is much better and priced decently (bottles that go unfinished are held until the following day) Approximately 25% of guests were on a drink package. I have posted the wine and cocktail list on the Windstar forum. We did not attend the Captains Welcome/Departure Cocktails nor the Yacht Club Members Cocktail as these were typically held too early for us. There were always seats at the Star Bar and one evening before dinner, our Italian friends could not believe we were the only ones on the Star deck and had the bar to ourselves as if we were on our own yacht…for 15 minutes. It was a great Windstar moment. Sail Aways under the music of Vangelis and sometimes Andrea Bocelli were nice and moving but not as spectacular as on the sailing ships. This being said they remain a very popular and well attended event with plenty of smiles on everybody’s faces. Food: What to say. The food was fantastic. We had dinner at Amphora every evening save for 2 times at Candles and 2 times at Deck BBQ on the late nights in Sint-Maarten and Bequia. Did not use room service. Although we were told the dinner menu at Amphora is on a one week rotation, there were several new dishes on the menu the second week so plenty of variety with no one eating the same thing twice throughout the 2 week cruise. Note there are vegetarian and gluten free options (more limited but possible if requested ahead). Breakfast was excellent with buffet or a la carte items available (French toast eggs benedict, waffles, pancakes, omelets or eggs any style always a hit especially with great crispy bacon and real maple syrup, after all, we are Canadian). After seeing the freshly squeezed OJ go away on our last Windsurf cruise in Feb 2019, I am glad to report that orange/grapefruit slices and freshly squeezed OJ were back on the buffet. Also a great improvement with the pastries in the AM as well desserts at night. We had good lunches at Veranda when we made it back in time from the island as the venue is only open from 12h00 to 14h00. Good selection of a la carte items and buffet. We were late a few times and had to “settle” for sandwiches and cookies from Yacht Club which were excellent. Lunch should be extended to 14h30 to accommodate those with dietary restrictions as the menu at the Yacht Club, while good, remains limited for them. Service in the dining rooms at dinner was well paced with meals usually lasting 2 hours (or sometimes more, our choice) but I am sure someone could probably have a 3 course meal in less than an hour if that’s what they wanted, just not our style as we like to linger with the cheese plate and wine before having drinks at Star Bar while listening to one of the music duos. We mostly had dinner around 8pm and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table and by the time we were finished around 10-10h30PM, we were often the last table in the room. Deck BBQ food was great with lobster and suckling pig a highlight. A couple of times they arranged a small buffet lunch next to Star Bar at lunch time (once was a curry bar and the other one was Mumbai meets Caribbean), both proved to be popular with guests. Dinner at Amphora was always excellent (don’t miss the Beef Wellington or Chocolate Soufflé). Kudos to chef Nilesh Kanvinde and his crew for all the fabulous meals and to Maitre D’ Mr Santos and his waiters for the good service. Candles was very good both times with good quality meats and fish done to everyone’s order. The veal chop and red wine sauce is always a winner and make sure not to miss the side of prosciutto/parmesan potatoes. Beach BBQ was held in Fischer’s Cove Virgin Gorda in week 1 and Pigeon Island in week 2 (both just OK locations as we prefer Prickly Pear and Mayreau). While food was good both times (mac&cheese is great), the small size of the beach in St Lucia coupled with 200 people going in and out of water constantly means that the water turns cloudy pretty quickly and was not really appealing by 2PM (BBQ ended at 4). Not an issue in Fischer’s Cove as beach is wider. A couple of evenings, we were treated to very good canapés at Star Bar before dinner. Contrary to previous cruises, there seemed to be more selections and greater quantities of canapés so that people did get seconds. I suspect these were also served in the Compass Rose but we never attended this venue so cannot confirm. Some in our group are a bit picky about their coffee and their verdict was that caffe lattes at the Veranda in the morning were good (regular coffee not so much) but the best were the ones from the Yacht Club (Yogi was our favorite barista for the 2 weeks). Croissants/muffins and fresh squeezed OJ are also offered at the venue for early risers (6AM) while sandwiches and sweet treats are offered in the afternoon until 6PM. Note the sandwiches are very much improved (try the Greek sandwich) from our last cruise with greater selections (at least 8-10 types of sandwiches) and quantities available. Reception Natasha at Reception was excellent and helpful as much as she could as one in our party did not get their luggage. She accommodated us with internet access and satellite phone access to talk to the airline and her team went to airport to see if luggage had arrived. Marina: We used the marina a few times and it was open probably 4 or 5 times during the 2 week cruise. Several people were using it when available. The water toys were also brought to the beach on Pigeon Island and Fischer’s Cove for the Beach BBQ but the large trampoline was out of action for the full 2 weeks as staff said it was a different model that was too long to set up and were waiting for a smaller one. Spa: One person in our party enjoyed a 75minute massage at the spa and was satisfied with the treatment but beware of the product push at the end. Gym: Some people in our group used the gym and were satisfied with the equipment and personnel. Note the gym is small and may be busy during certain peak morning times depending on itinerary Tenders: Tenders were used in all ports except St. Martin and Grenada. While tender service was good and timely, the tenders themselves are in need of a total overhaul which I understand is happening with the extension of the ship. Bridge: Visited the bridge a couple of times (it was closed more often than expected) and officers were accommodating and helpful. Stops and excursions: We generally are not the type to book ship excursions as we feel they are overpriced and like to do things on our own. I typically like to do my own research and do not like to plan too long ahead. Vieques: We had planned to go to Sun Beach and were getting ready to tender to shore when Captain came on to advise that there had been a shooting incident in the tender landing area in the morning (no passengers were present in the area at the time) in which a targeted local resident was killed and a Windstar employee shot in the leg by a stray bullet. As a result, the Captain cancelled the stop and pulled the anchor early around 3PM (vs 9PM scheduled) meaning we would arrive in St Barth’s around 6AM, earlier than the 11AM expected. Given most passengers were onboard, they quickly set up a Curry Bar buffet for lunch which was appreciated by guests. The injured employee was flown to San Juan where he received treatment and is now OK. This could have been far worse and was handled properly by the Captain. We understand this stop has now been replaced by St-Thomas. St-Barth: Left ship around 10AM. Took a 10 minute cab ride (30 EUR each way for the 6 of us) from the pier to Pearl Beach Hotel (formerly Tom Beach) in St-Jean. The hotel has changed hands, been expanded and totally renovated following Irma with very nice results. Rented nice and comfortable loungers and umbrellas EUR20 p.p. (Eden Roc next door at EUR50, beach chair vendor next door (EUR10) or bring your towel ($0) but the last 2 options have no bathroom access). We all had lunch & rosé wine at their La Plage beach restaurant. Food and service were good but be prepared to spend upwards of US$100/$150 p.p. for lunch and chairs as this is St Barth. Did some shopping in St Jean and Gustavia. Boarded the tender back to the ship around 7PM. Had dinner at around 8h30 at Amphora Montserrat: 2 couples took the ship excursion to Buried City and we stayed onboard as we had done the same excursion 2 years prior. While they found the excursion interesting, they also thought it was a bit drawn out (4hrs) with the luncheon at the end of the tour. Note that the tour no longer goes inside an abandoned hotel for security reasons (this was an interesting stop in the tour because it was as if time had stopped everywhere around the property). The ship was quiet while most guests were out and had the staff just to ourselves. St. Martin: Beach day. Took a cab ($25 each way) to Karakter Bar & Restaurant on Simpsons Bay (Dutch side) on far side of the airport (not easy to find). Chairs free if you have lunch there but get there early, which we did. Food & service good with quite a large menu offering. Nice Beach with some wave action. Back on the ship by 6PM. Deck BBQ was held this evening. Great food (lobster, suckling pig, striploin, paella, lamb, lots of salads, flambéed bananas and a much improved dessert selection) and great time with some dancing interrupted by a short drizzle. No problem Jost Van Dyke: Took safari cab ($5p.p.) to White Bay and went to quieter One Love beach bar at far end of beach. Nice cold drinks but food certainly basic. Soggy Dollar looked busy and loud so we were perfectly happy where we were. Took taxi and tender back to ship around 4PM. Given our late departure, we had the intent of coming back onshore to Foxy’s. However after having a great dinner at Candles, we were all pretty tired and went to bed around 11pm. Virgin Gorda: We first took the Exploring VG and Baths Tour organized by ship. Simon of Speedy’s was our tour guide and was very entertaining and knowledgeable. The ride provides great views of the North Sound (the northern route however remains closed since Irma). Baths were great, not too crowded. This was our friends’ first time at The Baths and they were all impressed. Walked through the boulders and back up to restaurant. The tour comes back to Fischer’s Cove near Spanishtown at around 12h30, in time for lunch at the Beach BBQ. This was our first beach BBQ at this location (normally it’s held at Prickly Pear in Virgin Gorda’s North Sound but the park infrastructure has not been rebuilt since Irma) and while it is not bad, the scenery and surroundings are just not as nice. Food was good as usual. San Juan: After a great week, one couple in our party went back home today (as were another 150 passengers) while 4 of us are staying for a second week (there were 43 passengers staying for 2 weeks). This is when it all hit: Thank God we were staying for another week, just felt sad for our friends who could not stay on. Wandered in Old San Juan in the morning and did a bit of shopping. Came back on uncrowded ship before 1PM check-in of second week guests, had lunch on Veranda, secured priority reservations for Candles before new guests boarded and then spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening at the bow of the ship taking advantage of hot tub and watched sunset while drinking the complimentary Collet Brut Champagne provided in our friends’ suite. A great relaxing afternoon Windstar style. Note, there were only 2 lounge chairs in this area when there used to be a dozen in the past. They also used to have a cooler with all sorts of soft drinks and water for client use but we did not see any this time around (it is a long walk to the bar). St.Martin Take 2: Given this was a short stop (12h00-17h00), the 4 of us decided we wanted to do a bit of surveying on how St Martin (especially the French side which has been struggling) was recovering from Irma 2 years on. Good news, the Captain made up some time during the night and we arrived an hour early at the dock. Left ship around 11h30, 4 of us hired a van for $100 to do 3hr tour of island (with stops in Orient Bay and Grand Case). Orient Bay is slowly coming back with a few new restaurants (Kontiki, Kakao, Bikini) and some of the shops in the back having reopened. That being said, the nudist resort part of the beach at far end still looks abandoned with only the restaurant having reopened. Grand Case and Marigot are a different story as they still have a lot of placated buildings and empty lots and just a few restaurants opened. Taxi dropped us off on Front St. in Philipsburg where we did some shopping at the Longchamps store in Philipsburg (good prices) and had a few drinks at the nearby Holland House before heading back to cruise pier by using the water taxi ($5p.p.) Les Saintes: This was our 4th time to Les Saintes and we continue to enjoy this stop. The tender drops passengers off at the quaint village of Terre de Haut which has some interesting shops and courtyard restaurants as well as a well preserved fort & museum (Fort Napoleon) from which the views of the bay and our ship are simply breathtaking. Note the Fort is only open until 12h30 and bring €5 cash if you want to get in. We again rented a 4 seat electric golf cart (cost €70) from Green Car Rental to tour Island but you need to reserve it in advance and come early as these get taken up very quickly (we had learned this the hard way the first times we were there). Alternatively, the company also rents electric bicycles which we saw all around this hilly island. Went to Pompierre Beach (no entry fees but no services with a few restaurants just outside the beach area) and Fort Napoléon. Also visited newly renovated and expanded Hotel Bois-Joli near Pain de Sucre beach. Very nice & quiet. Did some shopping in the village (Mahogany Linen) and had a drink at Café de la Marine overlooking the harbor. This was our friends’ first time in Les Saintes and they enjoyed this charming stop so much that they are going back for the Christmas holidays Bequia: This was our 4th time in Bequia, an island we love for its tranquility and nice beaches. Given there was a bit of rain early on, we left the ship late. Once onshore we took a water taxi ($5 each) to far end of Princess Margaret Beach to a small beach chair vendor. Rented chairs ($6 p.p. no need for umbrella, palm trees everywhere), very nice quiet beach. Vendor also had snacks and cold drinks. Walked back to town by using the very nice & scenic Belmont walkway passing by Jack’s Bar which was busy as usual when a ship is in town. Deck BBQ was held this evening with ship leaving around 9h45pm. Another great evening under the stars and a full moon. Magical Grenada: Our ship was docked in old harbor which is more attractive than the large cruise ship dock on other side of town. As we have already done tours on this island, we decided this was a beach day. Most taxis will want to take you to Grande Anse Beach but we go to the less crowded Morne Rouge or Magazine Beaches. Cab ride to Magazine Beach was $35 for the 4 of us. This was our second time there and we continue to enjoy this beach. It is very picturesque, not too crowded compared to Grande Anse with very few people trying to sell you stuff on the beach. It also has some nice wave action. Our friends had never been and really enjoyed the spot. We rented beach chairs ($5 each) no umbrellas, plenty of trees and shade. Had lunch on the beach at the Aquarium Restaurant nearby. Food good but service was slow. Back on the ship around 4h30 and watched the sunset while enjoying our friends’ second complimentary Collet Brut Champagne bottle at Star Bar (no corkage fee) during happy hour and sail away. Pigeon Island: This was our 5th time to Pigeon Island and it is not necessarily our favorite beach as the beach area is small and crowded with the water getting cloudy by early afternoon. The back area of the park, where they actually serve the BBQ is very nice with lots of shade. The water toys were brought to the beach (excluding the trampoline), as well as paddle boards and kayaks. They did not offer waterski and wakeboardings runs for those who wanted as on previous trips. BBQ food again was excellent Day at Sea: Our final day was a sea day. Beautiful weather and gentle breeze. Spent the day on deck in and out of pool. Good idea to be up on deck early (around 8AM) if you want to secure loungers as there were a much smaller number of them than usual (probably only 35 chairs vs 70 normally). San Juan Debarkation.: All good things have to come to an end. Debarkation was trouble free. Picked up passports the previous night, left luggage outside around 6h30 in the morning and had breakfast around 8am. Our flight was late (4h30pm) so we left the ship and our friends (who had an earlier flight) at around 8h45 after going through immigration and took a cab ($17 for the 2 of us, 10 minutes) to Marriott Stellaris Resort and took up their day pass offer which for $60 p.p. includes the holding of your luggage in a secure area, access to facilities, beach chairs & umbrellas, towels, Wifi, access to shower and changing room and a $20 p.p. F&B voucher which we used for lunch (food OK). The hotel has been completely renovated and property looks great. Service was excellent from bell hop to beach attendants. Got access to changing rooms and shower. We left at 1h45 for the airport. Ride was $20 for the 2 of us and took just under 15 minutes. Given we were flying to Canada and not connecting through a US airport, we did not have to go through the additional USDA bag screening that’s required at San Juan airport. And this concluded another amazing Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were tired of the same ports visited by the big cruise ships and wanted to explore other islands, particularly Montserrat. We were not disappointed. While we did visit Antigua and Barbados, which ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were tired of the same ports visited by the big cruise ships and wanted to explore other islands, particularly Montserrat. We were not disappointed. While we did visit Antigua and Barbados, which are visited by the large ships, we also explored other islands and different ports. Anguilla, Montserrat, Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada were also stops. Neither of us are "foodies" but the food was incredible. All meals were very well done. The crew was so friendly and helpful and the officers were very accessible. Each night at 6:30 the Destination officer gave a presentation on the next port that was very insightful. All of the wait staff were versatile and did a great job of learning your name and room number. Anything you needed they could assist with. The ship is smaller obviously and rough seas had an effect but we experienced no big problems. There is some age on the boat but it was very clean and well maintained. There is not much entertainment but we were not seeking full shows. We met so many nice people on the boat too. We will definitely sail on Wind Star again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I just saw one of their ads on a day I was thinking about a trip. I enjoyed the cruise so much I have signed up for another. The staff couldn’t have better. The food was good and the dining room staff in both restaurants were extremely ... Read More
I just saw one of their ads on a day I was thinking about a trip. I enjoyed the cruise so much I have signed up for another. The staff couldn’t have better. The food was good and the dining room staff in both restaurants were extremely attentive. Each evening you had the opportunity to dine as a couple or to sit with others. That was a great way to meet others. Each evening there were “Port Talks” which gave lots of info on the next port. There were many interesting shore excursions for multiple interests and physical abilities. We had a great beach bbq on St Lucia. I never felt that the cruise line was constantly trying to sell you something. The ship was good but the staff in every service is their strength. The airline connections for a group of passengers had changed while sailing and the Captain and crew made changes in docking time to accommodate them. We loved the small boat atmosphere and would highly recommend this cruise line. We were amazed at how many repeat customers they had! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our first Windstar cruise, based on a recommendation from a friend who knows that we like smart and engaging people, don't like rowdy drunk crowds, and want a genuine experience. We learned a lot and immediately signed back up for ... Read More
Our first Windstar cruise, based on a recommendation from a friend who knows that we like smart and engaging people, don't like rowdy drunk crowds, and want a genuine experience. We learned a lot and immediately signed back up for more Windstar! What can I say other than "amazing!". While the large ship experiences bring their own attributes, this ship size, itinerary, and staff have us sold on Windstar, since they brought so many terrific benefits. I could go on forever, but I'll limit it to a few key topics, and a story of special coverage by the crew that was exceptional. SHIP: small, as cruise ships go, but never felt crowded, never waited in lines (except for the topside cookout in which everyone rushed the line but ten minutes later was cleared). There are plenty of places to get alone by yourself, do morning stretches, have a quiet moment with a loved one, etc. BARS: the outdoor topside bar was by far the most popular given weather, ability to spread out, but also to meet nice and interesting folks. FOOD: Terrific all around! Main dining Amphora was stellar every night. Candles night was intimate, delicious, and fantastic! Breakfast and lunch buffets are great, fresh, and the staff is totally focused on making your meal ideal, so just ask for anything special. All-day breakfast and sandwich counter made a great fill-in when we got back from sightseeing. OFFICERS, CREW, & STAFF: This is where I have to focus most. Incredibly nice, friendly, accommodating, and professional from top to bottom. Every individual we met was terrific. But the real story was about a bad situation that they made infinitely better. Just prior to the cruise, a family friend passed away, who was not only my godfather but also as much a father to me as my own, and in recent decades more so, and a dear friend. Our families consider each other extended family. The funeral had to occur during our cruise, on Day 8 of 10, so we worked with Windstar to allow us to disembark in Grenada, fly home to make the funeral, of which i was to officiate and sing. Needless to say, a very emotional situation. We had shared the fact that we were leaving early with staff that would be affected or those that simply asked and expressed condolences. We disembarked, went to the airport, and long story short, found that our flight was cancelled, and at 5pm found out that we would NOT be able to leave the island until the following afternoon, thereby missing the funeral we worked so hard to coordinate to make. With literally NO time to spare, we called the ship, asked if we could reboard, sailed through customs with the help of American Airlines staff, had a cab fly through town, and we made it to the pier with just minutes before Sail Away. Although devastated by the events so far, the next 24 hours were incredible. The Chief Pursor, front desk staff, Hotel Manager all met us and assured a smooth process, even to the extent of them asking if there was anything at all they could do to help. They were amazingly empathetic, and genuinely worked that day and the next to give us every assistance we could want, including calls, Internet, etc. The Dining staff gave us special attention, delivered us a wonderful in-room meal, and the bar staff brought us wine as we "licked our wounds". The next day, every staff member we came into contact expressed genuine concern, and went out of their way to help us enjoy this day at sea with tons of kindnesses and support. We were incredibly moved at the empathy and wonderfulness of the entire crew including officers, the bar team, the dining team, the breakfast cooks, and so on. While they may have forgotten us as they move forward to accommodate every guest every day, we will never forget them. Thank you Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We travel with a group from local travel agency. We had 20 in our group and this was my first time on Windstar. I love the smaller ship. The cabins were spacious and the biggest of any cruise line. There was a walk in closet and large ... Read More
We travel with a group from local travel agency. We had 20 in our group and this was my first time on Windstar. I love the smaller ship. The cabins were spacious and the biggest of any cruise line. There was a walk in closet and large bathroom. Our cabin was clean and well stocked the entire cruise. Our group mostly hung out at the Star Bar during the afternoon. The pool was small and did not really have a spot to all meet up. Sevice at the bars on board was friendly and great at getting items for our group when possible. (Coors Light and Baileys). I enjoyed the Dining room meals and was happy with service, offerings and taste. Some of travelers in our group were not as impressed. We ate at Candles one night and was very impressed. Great food and loved the outside dining experience. The entertainment was a bit slow for our lively group. Enjoyed the one night we spent dancing. Steve did a great Elton John show. We would have liked more dancing upbeat music. There was a small casino open most nights for a few hours. All ports were nice and most days had to tender to shore.There were excursions offered but we did our own thing at each stop. We found the embarkation and disembarkation an easy process without any issues. We were also happy we took the drink package. Overall it was a great time with our group. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises ... Read More
First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises on the Wind Star (1) Star Pride (2), Star Legend (1) and Wind Surf (3). What we love about Windstar is the small ships, the fact you can do things independently easily, the relaxed dress code, the food, which keeps getting better, and last but not least the great service staff which goes out of its way to make your cruise memorable. This was our first cruise back on a sail ship after 3 cruises on the motor yachts. We did Classic Caribbean itinerary from Feb 2nd to 9th as we had done the Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary twice already and did not like the fact they had changed some of the stops in the BVI. In the end we really enjoyed this itinerary with Barbuda and Dominica being new stops for us. The weather was just about perfect and seas were the calmest of all our cruises. We noticed the demographics of this cruise were probably a little older than our previous Windstar cruises with a good majority of guests over 70-75 but this did not hinder in any way our enjoyment as fellow Windstar passengers are all fairly active and well travelled. Finally, we travelled with another couple for which this was a first cruise on Windstar and likely not their last. Another great cruise with Windstar Booking: We booked just over 2 months ahead by pure accident as we typically wait for annual Christmas Sale as we feel prices get better closer to sailings (we always go for lowest priced cabin as location is not necessarily important to us). We called the company directly (we do not use a travel agent) to inquire about availability and they said that there was a promotion for Canadian residents with a $500 discount on the cruise price. I could not find this special on their website and the timing of my call was perfect as this special did not last very long. The 4 of us each got the $100 referral OBC which in our case was applied against our drink package purchased when we got onboard. We were assigned room 153 at front of ship and we were “upgraded” to 141 more in the center a few weeks later. Our friends were also upgraded from 103 to 122. Windstar also offered a 20% discount on the price of internet, drink package and laundry if all taken together prior to cruise which we did not take as we did not care for the ship’s slow and expensive internet (we had access to a good roaming package which we used most of time as we were always close to islands). Embarkation Although we typically fly in the day before, our schedule did not allow for such luxury this time around. Our plane landed in SXM at 16h30 on departure day (ship’s departure scheduled at 19h00) and we got out of the terminal around 17h15. Cabs were plentiful and we ended up sharing one with another Canadian couple on same flight that was also boarding the ship. Cab ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took 30 minutes. We boarded the ship at 17h45 and check-in was swift at front desk given our tardiness . Sail away was on schedule at 19h00. Not the ideal situation for travel but things worked out nicely. We were told our cruise was fully booked, so around 310 passengers on board. This was not an issue throughout the cruise as the Wind Surf remains very spacious with nooks and crannies for everyone. Cabin: We were in 141 and our friends in 122 (both added to Wind Surf stateroom sticky forum). Cabins are well designed with plenty of storage if required. 141 was quiet and had no issues although on 3 occasions, we had to call maintenance to fix our toilet as vacuum system had problems and toilet risked overflowing. In all 3 cases (one time at 3 am) the problem was fixed quickly by maintenance staff. Our room attendant was attentive although we did not have any special requirements. Reusable water bottles we refilled every day (one with flat water, the other sparkling) and our ice bucket was kept full with ice every day. Our friends in 122 complained about regular banging noise which we suspect was due to some gangway or tender equipment hanging above their room. We were also wondering how we would find going back to the smaller sail ship staterooms after experiencing the larger suites on the Star ships on our last 3 cruises. Well it wasn’t an issue as the rooms are very well designed and we were really only in our room to sleep or change over for dinner. We did not use room service nor laundry service this time. Bathroom was compact and well designed but starting to show its age. Occitane toiletries are provided in all rooms. Bars and Entertainment: Drinks were mostly taken outside at Compass Rose or Pool Bar. Did not go to Lounge except for Talent Show but band seemed competent. Bar service was always good. Duo at Compass Rose was OK and had guests dancing and when finished around 11pm, guests would come in to plug IPad playlists in system to keep party going a little longer. This happened a few evenings with people dancing a little past midnight. A lot of fun. Food: Again food was a highlight. We ate at Amphora 4 times, one time each Candles and Stella Bistro and Deck BBQ on the late night in St-Kitts. Menu was varied although gluten free items remain limited (our friend suffers from gluten intolerance and we were just more sensitized to his diet challenges throughout the cruise). Breakfast was good with buffet or a la carte items available. Couple of things we noticed were the poor quality of orange juice which in the past was freshly squeezed and now is a watered down Tropicana version and the fact there were no fresh peeled orange slices on the buffet whereas these were always on buffet in the past. We had good lunches at Veranda when we made it back in time from the island as the venue is only open from 12h00 to 14h00. We were late a few times and had to settle for food at Yacht Club. Lunch should be extended to 14h30 to accommodate those with dietary restrictions as the menu at the Yacht Club, while good, remains limited for them. Service in the dining rooms at dinner was fast and efficient (sometimes too fast) with meals lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. We mostly had dinner around 8pm and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table and by the time we were finished, most of the time we were the last table in dining room. Menus were varied with several fish, meat and vegetarian dishes and all 4 of us were impressed by the quality and presentation of food. Deck BBQ food was great although lobster was a little chewy. We did not do the Dining Under The Stars (offered twice on our cruise) as it was not offered to us. This was a bit disappointing. Beach BBQ was held on Pigeon Island, which is our least favourite Windstar Beach BBQ location (the others being Mayreau and Virgin Gorda). While food was good, beach is too small and not necessarily the nicest. A couple of evenings, we were treated to canapés at Compass Rose before dinner. Usually had 2 different types of them but just one tray so these would disappear very fast with literally no chances for seconds. I suspect these were also served in the Lounge but we never went to the Lounge for pre dinner drinks so cannot confirm. We are a bit picky about our coffee and the caffe lattes at Veranda in the morning were good (regular coffee not so much) but even better at Yacht Club. We did try a few of the the latter’s sandwiches and sweets offered in the afternoon on one occasion and all were good. 3 of us were on the recently introduced TopMast Discoveries drink package at $49 while the 4th party was on the CaptainsExclusive package at $59. This created confusion with servers with several drinks (liquor) being charged to our room although drunk by our friend on the full drink package. All charges were reversed but this was a hassle as we needed to check bill daily to ensure charges were being reversed overnight and that no new ones were being added. Drink package probably makes sense if you have 5 or more drinks per day and even though we were drinking our quota, we generally felt that the value proposition of the drink packages had come down markedly from the previous iterations with price of package going up $7 and the wines offered having a price point no higher than $9.50/$10 vs a max of $11.50 under previous package. We will likely need to re-think this aspect on our next cruise. Marina We did not use the marina this time around but it was open in Barbuda, Les Saintes and St Barth. We saw several people using it when available. The water toys were also brought to the beach on Pigeon Island for the Beach BBQ Spa: Our friends each got a $50 spa voucher (good on port days) offered by Windstar to all first time cruisers which they used for a very relaxing hot stone massage. Gym: we did not use gym but it looked clean and well equipped and did not seem overcrowded Tenders: Tenders were used in all ports except Dominica where we were docked at the industrial dock, not the more central cruise ship dock (occupied by Silverseas on that day). While tender service was good, the tenders themselves are in need of a total overhaul. During our cruise we got to see the Seabourn, Club Med 2 and Star Clipper tenders and all of them were in substantially better condition than the Surf’s. They will be changing the tenders on the Motor Yachts, they probably should do the same with the sailing ships. Bridge Did not visit the bridge this time around and whereas in the past there was a photo opportunity at the bow of the ship, we did not see this on this cruise. Stops and excursions: We generally are not the type to book ship excursions as we feel they are overpriced and like to do things on our own. I typically like to do my own research and do not like to plan too long ahead. Barbuda: Nothing planned. Only tour offered was to view frigate bird sanctuary which did not interest us. We instead took a cab to Princess Diana beach ($30 each way). Very nice pink sand beach with nobody other than a few fellow cruisers on it. No facilities so bring water and some food if you are going to spend a long time. We were there for about 3 hours and got on the ship around 2pm just in time to catch lunch at Veranda. The ship leaves early at 3 pm on this day. Dominica: Again we stepped out of ship and hired a cab to go to Ti-Tou Gorge and Trafalgar Falls. Cost was $160 for the 4 of us and lasted 2.5 hours. Ti-Tou Gorge is not to be missed as you swim in a crystal clear river canyon up to a small waterfall. Very nice. The drive to both these spots is also spectacular as the road sits at the top of a high mountain ridge. We were back on the ship by 1h30 and had lunch at Veranda. Found a chair on deck for the remainder of day and used pool and hot tubs. Although the Island suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Maria in Sept 2017, the island infrastructure and vegetation is recovering nicely. Pigeon Island: This was our 4th time to Pigeon Island and it is our least favourite spot for the Beach BBQ. The beach is small and crowded although the area in the back where they actually serve the BBQ is nice. The water toys were brought to the beach, as well as paddle boards and kayaks. They also offered waterski and wakeboardings runs for those who wanted. Club Med 2 (Wind Surf’s twin) was also in port that day which made for interesting pictures. Les Saintes: This was our third time to Les Saintes and we continue to enjoy this stop. There is a quaint village with some interesting shops and a Fort (Fort Napoleon) from which the views of the bay and our sail ship are simply breathtaking. Note the Fort is only open until 12h30 and bring €5 cash if you want to get in. We rented a 4 seat electric golf cart (cost €75) from Green Car Rental to tour Island but you need to reserve it in advance as these get taken up very quickly (we had learned this the hard way the previous time we were there). Wanted to go to Pain de Sucre Beach but path is somewhat steep and rocky which required shoes we did not have. Instead went to Pompierre beach (no facilities). Nice beach but the palm trees have taken a beating as a result of hurricane Maria last year. Had a good lunch in town at Cafe de la Marina with a nice view of the port while the ladies shopped linen at Mahogany next door. Basseterre St-Kitts: Our initial plan was to get off ship, take the 9h30 ferry to Nevis ($16 each way/pers), hire a cab for a few hours to do tour of island, visit plantation and get dropped off at Pinney’s Beach. However we were a bit tired that morning and thus proceeded to a less intense plan B which was to take a cab ($30 each way) to go to Cockshell Beach at the far South end of the Island. We rented chairs ($5 each) and umbrellas ($10) at the Spice Mill and also had good lunch there. Beach is nice and was somewhat crowded, something rare on a Windstar cruise but there were another 2 ships in port, so this was to be expected. Ship left late at 10pm and this was night of deck BBQ. St-Barth: We had reserved a convertible Mini Cooper to tour Island ahead of time with Sixt Car Rental. Called them up 30 minutes prior to going to shore so they were there to pick us up and take us to airport to fill out docs. Cost was a bit steep at €105 but we had fun touring. Went to Saline and Gouverneurs beaches, did some shopping and had lunch at Nikki Beach in St-Jean. Lunch was good although this is St-Barth and everything is pricey. Returned the car at airport, got shuttled back to port and did some more shopping in Gustavia. Took tender around 6pm back to ship. Debarkation. Debarkation was trouble free. Had breakfast around 8am after picking up our passport and having face to face meeting with Immigration on board ship around 7h30 (this is new as we usually just picked up passport on ship and passed Immigration once on shore). Our flight was late (5pm) so we took a cab to Holland House, took up their day pass offer which for $25 includes 2 chairs, 4 drinks,use of shower, Wifi and facilities. Had good lunch at their restaurant and left at 2h30 for airport. Ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took just under 30 minutes and this concluded another wonderful Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
As a sailor, I always wanted to go on Windstar; it far exceeded my expectations. Kudos to Gede, assistant Maitre D, his boss Santos and Chef Oman for delicious meals that met our dietary restrictions. Kudos to Lufi, Cabin Steward, for a ... Read More
As a sailor, I always wanted to go on Windstar; it far exceeded my expectations. Kudos to Gede, assistant Maitre D, his boss Santos and Chef Oman for delicious meals that met our dietary restrictions. Kudos to Lufi, Cabin Steward, for a fragrance free chemical free cabin. Loved the marina, thanks to Jose for taking us each out for a sail on the Hobie cat. Enjoyed having the snorkel mask and fins provided by the marina; excellent fit. The itinerary is excellent, with long days on shore at each port. Very friendly people, engaging and well traveled, plenty of deck chairs, great crew show, Excellent gym with a recumbent bike and many classes.would definitely go on Windstar again. The cabin is small but very compact. Be sure you sign up for dinner at candles and Stella and for the barbecue and dining under the stars the last three nights. Pigeon Island, St Lucia is a luncheon barbecue on the beach. Sorry we did not sign up for the Wi-Fi package as it was a hassle to find Wi-Fi in the ports, and when we did it was usually spotty. Ports: St Maarten: We stayed at the DIvi the night before; just terrific. Barbuda: call walk on the beach. Dominica: very mountainous tropical one lane roads so be prepared to spend a lot of time driving around. We booked privately with Antours to see the indigenous Carib, Annison himself was very interesting. Also did hot springs. Need to walk out of the port area, follow the yellow lines, if you want to do an excursion not part of the ship. Pigeon Island St Lucia: The ship does a beach barbecue at this port, probably due to the miserable traffic. We took a private tour with James Touring Service in his 4 wheel Jeep, necessary if you want to go snorkeling at Ti Kaye resort as the driveway is extremely steep.Excellent snorkeling, lots of beautiful fish, clear water, pleasant lunch. James is very sweet, knowledgeable and excellent driver. He will get you back on time, no worries. Terre du Haut, Les Saintes, FWI: Reportedly the best snorkeling here. great crepes at Crepes Galette immediacy next to the tourist office. Sorry we did not get off early and snag a golf cart; if you do, bring a credit card for the deposit. Nice lunch on the water at Cafe de la Marine, has WiFi. Basseterre St Kitts: When we got off the tender we noticed Bluewater safaris and so went on a catamaran snorkeling trip, lots of fun. Snorkeling ok. St Bart’s: Very charming, very French great shopping, St Maarten; Must be off the ship by 8:45 am. Many people go to Holland House, pay $25 for 2 lounge chairs on the beach, we went back to the DIvi. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife & I sailed on 1/12/19, Our 6th Windstar cruise, 3rd on Wind Surf. Room 126. The ship – Wind Surf – was built in 1990, and is showing its age in too many areas. Rust, loose planks, paint peeling, bent railings, and I ... Read More
My wife & I sailed on 1/12/19, Our 6th Windstar cruise, 3rd on Wind Surf. Room 126. The ship – Wind Surf – was built in 1990, and is showing its age in too many areas. Rust, loose planks, paint peeling, bent railings, and I could go on. The most odd part is that I didn’t see any maintenance crew guys doing repairs. Which to me means that there is something else, a problem that goes deeper but I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the cruise Captain, or it’s the upper management cutting back on costs, I really have no idea. Also, FYI – Windstar Cruise line is pulling out all the casinos. Which means that in the evening, for entertainment outside of your cabin, your only choice will be the band, or duo. That’s it. Granted the casinos are rarely filled, and are never very lively – but that’s the casino staff’s responsibility and they fail here. And it gives you another form of entertainment. The other crew members – bar, serving, house-keeping staff all seemed to be a little less friendly this trip. What’s going on ? Some were good though – Maria, Ace, Mel, and Eugene were great bar people. Alex was a super room steward. But other than those 5, everyone seemed a bit agitated, or distracted. The people/fellow passengers seem to always consist of “my kind of people” unlike the larger ships. Almost everyone is friendly, classy, and talkative. Again, this was now our 6th cruise and we have never had a problem with our fellow passengers. This sailed of St Maarten, 7 nights, 1 sea day. I didn’t really care for the sea day but I certainly got a great tan. The ports were all good, as always. A bonus I thought was that the normal stop for the beach party was still in ruins, so they parked at a different side of the island. And this stop was a short cab ride to the Baths. No tour needed. All in all, we had a great time. But I expected a little more. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We took the 14 day cruise on the Wind Surf Caribbean Exploration Cruise. We left from St. Martin and were very thrilled to see that the island is coming back so nicely. We have only sailed on Wind Star in the Caribbean for we love the ... Read More
We took the 14 day cruise on the Wind Surf Caribbean Exploration Cruise. We left from St. Martin and were very thrilled to see that the island is coming back so nicely. We have only sailed on Wind Star in the Caribbean for we love the sails and the experience that Windstar Cruises offers their guests. The embarkation this time was the easiest and quickest. Drop you bags at the Wind Star tent at the cruise port, they give you luggage tags, walk to the ship or take a little golf cart van, go through security with your hand luggage, get on the ship , go directly to get your picture taken, give them your credit card, voila done. Drop your hand luggage in your room, have a delightful and delicious lunch, after lunch your luggage should be in your room. You are on and ready to go. I think that the hot water and water pressure can not be beaten and of any hotel I have been in the showers on the Surf are the best. We are neatniks so the storage in the cabins is perfect for us. We love the water splashing against the portholes. We feel thisnship is our home in the Caribbean. We have been cruising on Wind Star Cruises since 1999 and we think that the food continues to improve. We think the James Beard experience has really enhanced the food and the selection. We are not big meat eaters but we do love the steaks especially the filet mignon at Candles the outside dining grille venue. The Stella Bistro is authentic French, which we also love. The Yacht Club serves delicious Italian coffee, authentic. That is good for us because we do not drink regular coffee. We appreciate that it is open early for we are eary risers and we love our coffee with the sunrise. The Wind Surf visited many islands that were destroyed during the hurricane. We were so happy to see Dominica coming back, Barbuda coming back and happy to say Jost Van Dyke is back. We are not group tour people but took our own tours in Dominican and Barbuda. We love to swim and beach. Weather is always great in January in the Caribbean, this year it was especially great: Dramatic sunrises, more dramatic sunsets, rainbows after a few 10 minute showers, the breeze was great not to windy but perfect to keep one cooler. We can not imagine going to the Caribbean and not being on the Wind Surf. The service is the best, the deck space is emormous and you never feel crowded,you can always find your own nook, the Sail Aways never get old to the music of 1492 as the sails unfurl leaving the harbors, healthy and delicios food, generous drinks and wine at a fair price, the laundry service superb. It is a perfect way to discover the beauty of the Caribbean for the first time or to revisit the beauty time and again which is what we do. The Wind Surf is a gracious, beautiful old lady, high maintenance but very well kept. She is generous and graceful. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I’ve been on one of windstars Mediterranean sailing cruises and it was wonderful, but the star pride Caribbean cruse has been a horrible waist of money. Not a nice experience at all. Unlike the sailing ships the star pride is run down. ... Read More
I’ve been on one of windstars Mediterranean sailing cruises and it was wonderful, but the star pride Caribbean cruse has been a horrible waist of money. Not a nice experience at all. Unlike the sailing ships the star pride is run down. They run the engine so hard at night we can’t sleep because our bed shakes so bad. Not rocking of the boat or poor weather but engine rattling that makes your teeth chatter. Our shower has a back flow issue and we come back to find it filled with mearky water even when we haven’t been using it. The worst part is that the cruise is full of drunk rude and rowdy teenagers. They will keep serving the 16 year olds alcohol as long as the parents say it’s ok. But the parents don’t watch them and let them have the run of the ship. I didn’t pay $2000pp for the spring break in Tijuana experience. If I wanted that I’d go on a cheaper large cruse. This makes it a terrible cruse for couples dealing a quite nice experience. Communication with the crew is poor. Many of them don’t speak much English. I also get the feeling many of them are unhappy and probably live in terrible conditions from our interactions. The excursions are really disappointing for the money. We landed in Monserrat and they didn’t tell us until the night before there is no was of getting around the island and nothing to do unless you had booked one of the booked out excursions. We paid $100 per person to book the last remaining activity and it was just a drive to a place where you can see a few posters explaining the volcano and watch a 30 minute video. You couldn’t even see anything else. Then you get driven to a very small garden and told it’s another $10 to go in. The other “snokeling” excursion at St. Thomas was just a booze cruse. The boat is crowded and eating onboard for breakfast and lunch is fine because it’s a buffet but dinner is very slow. We wait on average an hour for our entrees. My husband has a special diet due to a very serious health condition but the crew we interact with don’t have strong enough English to understand what he needs. They run out of things constantly. Imagine being on a cruise where you can’t get any olive oil, only dressings with sugar on your salad. We tried ordering inadvance but it does no good. He still gets the wrong things when it comes time for dinner. Also it’s very hard to eat healthy on board we’ve found a lot of things have corn starch in them. The food it’s self is still pretty good for someone with no dietary needs. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We picked this cruise for the ports, price and small ship experience. With 210 passengers it was a clear change from the 23 previous cruises we have had on nearly all the major brands, sans Carnival. The week after Thanksgiving is a ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the ports, price and small ship experience. With 210 passengers it was a clear change from the 23 previous cruises we have had on nearly all the major brands, sans Carnival. The week after Thanksgiving is a more affordable time to cruise the Caribbean. You WILL pay more to sail on Windstar. The price we paid is what made this particular cruise appealing, plus the fact there were no sea days. Be warned - sea days on the Star Pride would prove quite boring. Our entertainment at night was limited to four musicians performing in two separate groups. Nothing more. Most folks are in bed after dinner. Our cabin was quite spacious and of course clean as a whistle. We did miss having a balcony, but we would not have used it much anyway since we were busy in port during the day and the sun sets early in November.. The food and service were the best we've had a cruise - bar none. It is a major focus for Windstar. Can't say enough about how great it is. Fellow guests were for the most part quite sociable. You see the same folks at different venues and that results in pleasant shared experiences. Bottom line: If you find a cruise you like on a Windstar ship at the price you are willing to pay - go for it. But beware of sea days! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My husband and I had an excellent time on our 14 day southern Caribbean cruise. We spent one night pre-cruise in San Juan. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. The ports of call were fun and new places to explore. We especially ... Read More
My husband and I had an excellent time on our 14 day southern Caribbean cruise. We spent one night pre-cruise in San Juan. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. The ports of call were fun and new places to explore. We especially enjoyed our time at Maho beach in Saint Martin, Princess Margaret beach in Bequia and Grand Anse Beach in Grenada. The weather was great but the highlight of the ship was the service and the food. The staff are so well-trained to provide very personalized service without being in your space. The food was by far the best food I’ve had in 80 cruises. We loved the sailaway ceremony in each port. Swimming off the back water sport deck is a fun way to end the day’s activities. WindStar has become our new top cruise line after having sailed many mainline larger cruise ships. The decor and the flexibility of being on a smaller ship fit our cruising lifestyle perfectly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Embarkation is a walk right on, and too long of a wait. They have different stations to visit, port excursions, spa, drink package, etc. They take your credit card and give you your key and you are free to go to your room and wait for your ... Read More
Embarkation is a walk right on, and too long of a wait. They have different stations to visit, port excursions, spa, drink package, etc. They take your credit card and give you your key and you are free to go to your room and wait for your luggage or go to lunch. Our bags came just as we were about to go to lunch, so we unpacked and barely made lunch. We chose this cruise for the islands. It left and returned to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and stopped in St. Maarten, Guadaloupe, Bequia, Grenada, and St. Lucia. The food was amazing, and the service is impeccable. They really do anything they can to make you feel like family. So genuine. The entertainment is not that of a larger ship, but there was usually one or two places you could go hang out with live music, dancing, or a hilarious game. The staff puts on a dance/singing show one night, also. It's a bit quieter than a large ship because there are not as many people on board. We enjoy being able to get on and off the ship without ever waiting in a long line. Even on days where they tender you off. We really enjoyed St. Maarten, Bequa, and Grenada the most for the beaches. In Guadaloupe we rented a scooter. Very small island! Just know that they close for siesta between 12 and 2:30, so don't expect to turn your golf cart or scooter in during those times. We were hunting for a rental place during that time and found one still open. Good way to go to the top of the fort, but they were closed too! We found a beach for the day. We got chairs on Bequia at Fay's and had rum punch all afternoon. We walked over to Jack's and had a delicious lunch. Walked back to the ship after a lazy day in the water and on the beach. Some friends took a cab back. The day we were supposed to have a shore excursion on Grenada through Windstar, it got cancelled the night before due to not enough people. You would think they would've said something earlier so we could recruit, but we enjoyed our beach day. We took a cab to the beach and a guy was delivering rum punch to us on the beach. Grand Anse is beautiful! St. Lucia (Pigeon Island) was lovely. It rained off and on, but there was a wonderful beach party bbq lunch. The property is next door to one of The Sandals Resorts. We had a fun day in the water, and floating lilly pads and trampoline. You can walk up to a fort but we didn't because we thought it would be too slippery with the heavy rain. It was beautiful! There are locals with jewelry set up as you are walking to the private beach. Windstar also was selling bug spray, sunscreen, sweatshirts. They had steel drum music being played, too. At Disembarkation, we signed up for a Windstar Old San Juan Walking Tour. Could have done that on our own for way less and seen more because our tour got cut short due to someone not able to walk any further and the van picked us all up and took us to our hotel or airport depending where you were going. Oh well! This was our 2nd Windstar Cruise, as we did Tahiti last year and loved it! Yes we are hooked. I don't love waiting in lines or crowds. I enjoy finding a lounger at the pool when I feel like going out on the deck. Nobody hogging them with their towels all day long and nowhere to be seen. We had a fun time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
For those of you who want 'the scoop' and are waffling whether to cruise on this type of ship - here's a summary: 1. Don't book if you're disabled, seriously. There's elevators, but they don't go ... Read More
For those of you who want 'the scoop' and are waffling whether to cruise on this type of ship - here's a summary: 1. Don't book if you're disabled, seriously. There's elevators, but they don't go everywhere, and ALL PORTS were TENDERED. The tender at times is a challenge to get into/out of. And a lot of the ports require walking, have hills, or focus on water sports. Also, the captain did an incredible job in keeping that vessel stable in the swells that we had, but it's not a 130k ship, so of course there's more movement. 2. Don't book if you're looking to nag at everything that's less than perfect and 5-star - they do an awesome job but it's not Regent or whoever they are. Also no formal gowns here. The destination talks will not be done by highflying scientists. 3. Don't book if you need constant entertainment, shopping, exotic stuff to do and if you must spend your time using wifi.. They make many stops so the shop is often closed (-by law-), many people are active and go to bed early, and there's no flowrider, climbing wall or ice rink :] Wifi is expensive and slow, TV very limited. Perfect if you love reading or watching DVD's or lie out on deck and relax. 4. While not formal, they WILL send you to your room to change if you wear shorts to dinner. They let the flip-flops slide... 5. Smoking is very limited (thank God!) - so if you are a smoking-in-casino type, probably not the ship for you. We booked this Windstar cruise just a few months prior to departure since our planned St. Maarten vacation had to be changed due to the hurricane damage. Due to the date, the price was right and we wanted to try a small ship. Went from the airport directly to the pier since we had seen San Juan before. We had not booked a transfer with Windstar which was probably a good idea since we would have waited at the airport for everyone to arrive, and instead we could embark and enjoy our cabin. Of course embarkation in San Juan is a breeze (it even was on the 960-passenger Viking Star), more so on a ship with only 212 passengers. It took all of 10 minutes to walk to the check-in area, get our ship's card and our photo taken at the gangway. Our room (lowest category) was incredible - the largest we've had, a true suite with comfortable sofa, a window sill you can sit in/on, 2 more chairs and accent tables.. the bathroom...! double sinks, marble, deep tub/shower... wow. TV turns to sofa or the bed. We don't do much drinking or entertainment, so can't comment on bars etc, but the library was great, you can take books or DVDs to watch in your cabin. Service is unsurpassed - everybody knew our name by day 2 or 3, and nothing was too much of a bother. Even though breakfast/lunch are buffet, they will bring you anything you ask for that could be available. Very mixed bunch of passengers, age, backgrounds and otherwise, from kids, to boozing rednecks , to gay couples, families, groups, elderly, people from US, Canada, Australia, Fiji, India, Cuba... even an autistic girl who was just a joy to be around. Everyone was lovely with her. We didn't do their shore excursions since (except for the unplanned St.Kitt's stop) they were quite expensive - perhaps due to the small group sizes. Ports, see below. Several of us became "Windstar converts" others will probably not return. That depends whether it's a good fit for you or not. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We booked this trip at very much the last minute, deciding to go someplace warm for my wife's spring break about a week before departing. Clearly, we were fortunate to find a vacancy on board this ship. This was our first time on a ... Read More
We booked this trip at very much the last minute, deciding to go someplace warm for my wife's spring break about a week before departing. Clearly, we were fortunate to find a vacancy on board this ship. This was our first time on a Windstar cruise. Suffice to say, it will not be our last. We love the opportunities and ambiance of a small ship. This itinerary was magical and in a part of the Caribbean where we had not traveled. If you can't find relaxation in places like Martinique, St. Lucia, Grenada and the Grenadines, then you have bigger problems. The entire ship was well-outfitted without being overdone. Excellent taste. Our cabin was very comfortable. Clearly, one of the few downsides of such small ships is that there are no balconies, just good-sized portholes. But as someone who occasionally wrestles with claustrophobia, the cabin was plenty spacious and open, and I had no problem. The service was impeccable in every department. A special shout-out to Aimee. one of the staff at the main desk, who was exceedingly friendly and able to quickly solve any issue, no matter how small. Food was superb in all restaurants. We wish we could have dined at Candles (the outdoor steakhouse) more than once, but understand that is the norm. Each stop was in a superb location. We didn't partake of a lot of the ship-based excursions. Except for a nutmeg and chocolate-making tour that my wife enjoyed in Grenada. In St. Lucia, we independently booked a full-day tour with John Nestor of Paradise Excursions. Highly recommended. The beach day in Mayreau was well-organized and so perfect. Our suggestions for improvement are limited and rather minor. Three, in particular. 1) It would be nice to have some offerings of local Caribbean food on the menu. Perhaps one such local item on each dinner menu. 2) Really minor, but there was often a shortage of towels available late in the day by the pool and hot tubs. 3) The Windstar website could use some increased functionality and more user-friendliness. And a couple of calls in the days before the trip to the company offices in Seattle did not always yield the best information. We heard comments from other passengers as well that the service on board the ship was very far superior to some of the home office issues. But I don't want to focus on criticisms or suggestions as they are truly rather minor. All in all, this was a superlative experience which we were so lucky to find at the last minute. We will be back on board a Windstar ship, and hopefully before too long. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I chose this cruise based on my previous experience with Windstar (The Windstar). I was hoping to have the same or similar experience but quite honestly was disappointed. Perhaps I am spoiled being from the Northeast of the US where ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on my previous experience with Windstar (The Windstar). I was hoping to have the same or similar experience but quite honestly was disappointed. Perhaps I am spoiled being from the Northeast of the US where great food is common place and easily obtained. The food on the Starbreeze never stood out in a positive way in my mind. This particular cruise was more a "Sailing" cruise which is not the typical Windstar style of stopping at a different harbor on a daily basis. This leaves the on board experience the number one thing that the cruise line should get right! Food is one of those things. The only small port we stopped at was totally botched, everyone waited over 2 hrs to get off the boat, and when we did the tenders were sub standard and broken. I still do not understand why Windstar did not simply lower more tenders to handle the back log, the Windsurf was in the same port and was using the tender/lifeboats. This left an unforgivable BIG cruise taste in my mouth and simply ruined the last day. Sorry Windstar, I hope that you address these shortcomings and take to heart what I say. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We had been looking forward to something really special on this "Bucket List" cruise, and for the most part, we were not disappointed. Quality of food, service, ship, cabin and excursions was generally excellent. We ... Read More
We had been looking forward to something really special on this "Bucket List" cruise, and for the most part, we were not disappointed. Quality of food, service, ship, cabin and excursions was generally excellent. We especially loved the beach party and the deck BBQ (I love lobster!). Was it the definitive, earth shattering, "OMG, I'm never cruising mainstream again" experience? Probably not. In fact, I doubt we would go to the extra trouble and expense of sailing with Windstar again. For example: We live on the West coast of the US - Oregon to be specific. It was a long day flying to Miami (where we stayed for two nights for fun), then another 6 hour flight to Barbados. The return trip was very hard on us - long flight to Miami, then overnight, then early flight from MIA, transfer in DFW, then a three hour drive home from PDX. As far as I can tell, all of Windstar cruises involve a similar amount of air travel. If the Windward Islands had been an amazing paradise, it might have been worth the trouble, but they were just...more lovely Caribbean Islands. Very much uphill and downhill, with long bus rides to get to the places of interest. Snorkeling trips were just OK (maybe even less than that), and although the gardens were fabulous, we could have experienced a similar amount of beauty without going nearly so far. The small ship size SHOULD have resulted in happy social contacts, and to some extent it did (tip of the hat to the many lovely people whose company we really enjoyed - I hope you know who you are). Less positive is that the people we didn't enjoy (and there were a surprisingly high number of those) were pretty hard to stay away from. The least enjoyable part of our cruise was actually our stateroom. We had a lovely double room-suite that was spacious, comfortable and well appointed. Trouble is, we couldn't spend any real time reading and relaxing because there was a loud blower that ran constantly. We asked maintenance, and they said it couldn't be turned off, and other passengers mentioned similar situations in their staterooms and in staterooms on other Windstar ships. There were two thermostats in the room, but adjusting them made no impact on the actual climate in the room. There seemed to be a daytime temperature of too cold, and a night time temperature of too hot. One afternoon, we actually had to go on deck when we began shivering after an hour of reading in our lovely, but very much refrigerated, cabin. And on deck we found...the pervasive howling buzz of whatever equipment resides in that big stack on deck. You can't get away from it. So much for peaceful relaxation. So I gave five stars, but maybe don't really mean it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
To celebrate my 60th birthday with my family, we booked the Wind Surf cruise and set sail on March 3rd. I had done a lot of research for the trip, and tried to find information of anyone who found that they were sea sick, as I do suffer ... Read More
To celebrate my 60th birthday with my family, we booked the Wind Surf cruise and set sail on March 3rd. I had done a lot of research for the trip, and tried to find information of anyone who found that they were sea sick, as I do suffer from motion sickness from time to time. I wore the patch behind my ear, and was prepared with the bands on my wrists, but by the second day I was pretty sick. The rest of my family had a blast - the food was amazing, the crew so accommodating and friendly, but I was suffering quite badly. So much so that the ship doctor had to give me a needle to settle my stomach. In the end, I was unable to partake in any of the planned excursions, and was mostly in the cabin in bed. I would highly recommend this cruise, however if you suffer at all from any kind of motion sickness or vertigo give it a pass. I tried to find information before booking the trip but everything I read was positive for smooth sailing. Suffice to say, if I had read about any sort of sway or rocking of the boat, I would not have booked this holiday! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We are frequent Windstar cruisers especially in the Caribbean although our connection with Windstar began in the Med about 9 years ago. We have also cruised on Sea Dream Seabourn, and Silversea so we have experience with quality small ... Read More
We are frequent Windstar cruisers especially in the Caribbean although our connection with Windstar began in the Med about 9 years ago. We have also cruised on Sea Dream Seabourn, and Silversea so we have experience with quality small ship cruise lines.. Noted improvements on this cruise were the quality and variety of the food, the level and friendliness of the service, and the big improvement in the quality of the entertainment both in the main lounge and the bar. The on deck barbeque was fantastic. The food was terrific and amongst the best that we have ever experienced on any cruise line. The staff and the band provided great entertainment during the meal with the cooks dancing and adding to the festiveness of the occasion. We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed this cruise. Added to all of this the captain and crew did their best to make sure that we could tender safely into the various ports notwithstanding the sometimes choppy water. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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