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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. We boarded in Instabul and visited Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine. A bit of the ship was outdated and needed some maintenance, but we thoroughly loved the size of our room and the crew itself. The ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. We boarded in Instabul and visited Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine. A bit of the ship was outdated and needed some maintenance, but we thoroughly loved the size of our room and the crew itself. The meals were very good in the dining room and the dinner in Candles (everyone is entitled to 1 meal) was excellent. It was great not to be nickeled and dimed for things. All non-alcoholic drinks were included, including water. The small ship size allowed you into ports that other ships just cannot access. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. We were unsure if we would enjoy a small ship (we are using to ships from 1200-2800 passengers) but found that this was much more to our liking. The crew is excellent and goes out of their way to make sure everyone enjoys. This might have been our first Windstar cruise, but it won't be our last! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We've traveled on Windstar Sailing ships for 22 years. We've also been on the Pride when it was a Seabourn ship. It is not in top condition under Windstar's operation. Our cabin had rust stains in the window area, around ... Read More
We've traveled on Windstar Sailing ships for 22 years. We've also been on the Pride when it was a Seabourn ship. It is not in top condition under Windstar's operation. Our cabin had rust stains in the window area, around the bathtub and the carpet looked worn. The tub was not draining when we checked in on day one. After reporting that and the stuck shower control those items were fixed. Cabin upkeep was less than perfect and I felt they were short on staff at times. Usually, ships put small wrapped candies on the bed in the evening? Now they put unwrapped candies on a plate? That's a bit tacky. We like small ships and pick cruises by itinerary. The itinerary was as good as could be expected with the situation in the Crimea. But the ship was just not that great. Food was okay. Availability was limited. Although there is always room service, the restaurants are not serving at some times/days. And the ready made sandwiches you can get if you missed lunch are not worth eating. That leaves you with room service. As on most cruise lines the excursions are ridiculously expensive and not as good as tours you can book off the ship. And lastly, the 800 # can't answer questions about ports, tendering, docking or clarify excursion and shuttle information. I tried. They didn't have any answers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
OK so we started out booking Crimea, Odessa, Romania & Bulgaria...Crimea got substituted with two ports in Turkey, for obvious reasons. Amasra was fine, but Samsun was a waste as it's just an industrial city/port. The weather ... Read More
OK so we started out booking Crimea, Odessa, Romania & Bulgaria...Crimea got substituted with two ports in Turkey, for obvious reasons. Amasra was fine, but Samsun was a waste as it's just an industrial city/port. The weather wasn't great the whole week, but Windstar cant control that!. The really nice stop was Odessa. On the maiden voyage we read about joining the chef on his shopping trip in one of the stops/markets. i enquired about that and was pencilled in for Constanta (about Day 5) but is was cancelled...that would have been really good. Generally we enjoyed the Yacht, especially the cabins (size and comfort). Food, service, staff attitude were all great...a few negatives: Embarcation was a shambles...both at the Port side and even worse, check in board took over an hour...for no good reason...they could simply take your passports and completed signature forms...and ask you to visit anytime over the remainder of the day for the photo ID (you aint going anywhere!) real shame there NO stops where we anchored to enjoy the swimming off the back? why not? (even the captain did not know) - at Amasra we had a 45 minute coach transfer to get to the town! There was an element of loud, piped music that started off...on the public deck areas, but thankfully it seemed to peter out! the band/staff activity on the BBQ Deck night was great. Love the sail-off Vangelis 1492 The Conquest of Paradise music, each day when one sails off The drinks package just about made sense price-wise, but i would almost prefer they just include it and grats (as does Regent) into the base price Once again the staff stand out...both the Indonesian & Phillipine (workers) crew and the officers! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
What's Old is New and What's New is Old Windstar Cruise: Star Pride June 20-27, 2014 Istanbul to Istanbul After seven cruises on Windstar's Sailing Vessels, I was curious as to how the unique Windstar culture would be ... Read More
What's Old is New and What's New is Old Windstar Cruise: Star Pride June 20-27, 2014 Istanbul to Istanbul After seven cruises on Windstar's Sailing Vessels, I was curious as to how the unique Windstar culture would be incorporated into the re-born Seaborne Pride. I am happy to say that everything we've liked about Windstar is alive and well on the Pride. That isn't to say there aren't a few drawbacks. But overall, the addition of this new ship, and two others to come in 2015, is a success. One of the things that separates Windstar from all the large, more mass-market ships is the speed of check in. No matter where you travel from, you are tired and worn out by the time you get to the ship. With Windstar, check in took all of ten minutes. Give them your passport, pose for a picture, pick up you room key and your done! In the lobby, or reception area, your cabin steward awaits to escort you to your room. After a quick overview of the room layout and first name introductions, he takes his leave. Less than 10 minutes later, our luggage was delivered. The one time we went on a large ship cruise, it took 2 hours for the luggage to arrive. A quick walk around the Star Pride showed what is new and what is old. The Yacht Club, a large seating area with almost round the clock coffee, tea, latte, etc., smells new. New wood floor, new comfortable chairs and sofas, a few books and magazine abound. AmphorA, the main restaurant also seems refurbished. Everything was clean and new, with good-sized tables (where a party of four can actually feel comfortable), and great service. More on that later. The fitness center is small, but does offer exercise bikes, weight machines and free weights and treadmills. But a warning here: If you are 6 feet tall or more, you will hit your head on the ceiling while on the treadmill. Towels and orange-flavored ice water are available. Right outside the fitness center is the WindSpa. Typical services at typical cruise prices are offered. There are a number of places to sit and read, or get a drink or just be alone. The Compass Rose, Star Bar and Yacht Club offer both inside and outside seating. Drinks are reasonable priced (by my Manhattan standards anyway) and there is a daily "drink of the day". The lounge on the sailing ships has always been a great place to listen to music or drink or just hang out. On the Star Pride, the 4 piece band plays in the small theater, which is set up in rows, very different from the Lounge on the Star, Spirit and Surf. Another highlight of Windstar cruises is the incredible service. We walked into the dining room the first night and were great by name by the assistant restaurant manager, Yogi. We last saw him almost 18 months ago, yet he remembered us. And that's not unusual. After one day our cabin steward new our names, as did the Excursion Coordinator, the wait staff and various other employees around the ship. It's a wonderfully welcoming feeling when you come up for breakfast and almost every server greets you by name. And they remember personal preferences. One of the four of us didn’t drink and after the first meal, the waiters all remembered it and never offered alcohol. The cabins (all suites) are a mixed bag. Ours was called a balcony suite but had only a French balcony - no place to sit. Our friends opted for an Owner's Suite. And while spacious, the view from their windows and balcony was obstructed by beams and equipment. Imagine paying extra money for a huge Owner's Suite and going to sit on your balcony with the hull of a lifeboat in front of you. Two other Owner's Suites midships had unobstructed views - but they all cost the same. Beds are comfortable and closet space is fine. Each bathroom had two sinks and a full bath tub and hand-held shower. But some of the fixtures are worn and were clearly not part of Windstar's refurbishing. The company promises the two other ships they bought from Seaborne will be fully renovated. And the Pride will undergo further upgrades next year. Unlike the bias opposed to bigger ships, there are only a handful of options for dinner. The main restaurant is AmphorA and the menu changes daily. However, grilled salmon, chicken and spaghetti are always available as are side dishes of steamed vegetables and potatoes. The other options are reservation only Candles, an outdoor restaurant that is transformed at night. Eating outside as the sun sets is a magical experience. And with seating for only about 25, it is quiet and slow-paced. And of course, there is room service. The AmphorA menu is available during dinner service and an abbreviated menu is available other times of the day. Entertainment of Windstar has always been low-keyed. That tradition, which Windstar veterans actually prefer, continues on the Pride. A four-piece band plays soft music nightly, starting in the theater and moving to other venues around the ship. Upstairs, is a male/female duo offering pleasant, conversation permitting music as well. There is a small (very small) casino, and that's about it. Windstar guests pride (no pun intended) themselves on amusing themselves. Reading, playing games, napping, listening to music, is about all most of the guests require. Sea days are all about finding a quiet spot to get some sun or read or sleep. Windstar passengers fit into a to a very specific niche. Those who love it are loyal and will vocally voice their allegiance to Windstar, while denouncing the tumult of mega ships. Those who want all the bells and whistles of the larger ships, will likely not be happy on the small Windstar yacht experience. And for Windstar to continue to grow and thrive, positive word of mouth is critical. And based on our experience on this cruise, I am happy to continue to recommend Windstar to anyone who wants a true relaxing, friendly and personal cruise vacation   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
We flew from London to Istanbul the day before the cruise, very excited to be going on our fist small ship or in this case yacht. Arrival in Istanbul was an event in itself as it coincided with a major thunderstorm. As we later discovered ... Read More
We flew from London to Istanbul the day before the cruise, very excited to be going on our fist small ship or in this case yacht. Arrival in Istanbul was an event in itself as it coincided with a major thunderstorm. As we later discovered we were luckier than some who were diverted to an alternative airport. The weather made for a long taxi ride to the Karakoy Port hotel which we had chosen because of it's proximity to the port. We were delighted by the accommodation and service provided at this hotel and would recommend it to anyone who wants to experience a local boutique hotel within walking distance of the cruise terminal. We had a great dinner at Gile, a highly recommended restaurant about a 15 minute taxi ride from the port. Think modern Turkish cuisine with Michelin star worthy presentation and quality with wonderful service and you pretty much have it. The morning of the cruise we hopped on the local tram, a short walk from the hotel to the Tophane stop and took in the sights of Istanbul, a truly memorable city which I'm delighted to say we have an overnight visit to on our next cruise on Celebrity Reflection. After checking out, a 10 minute stroll took us to the cruise terminal, which to be honest has seen better days, but I believe the whole area is work in progress and major refurbishment planned. We checked in our luggage very easily and had to wait approx 20 mins for boarding to commence. We got our first view of the ship from the terminal and it brought home the size of the yacht as compared to one of the Costa behemoth moored behind it. Boarding commenced around 10 minutes late and luckily we were standing in the correct part of the departure lounge and through passport control within another 10 mins or so..... I believe the people behind us must have had a longer wait as it appeared that although there were 2 officers present, only one was processing passengers. And so to the yacht. Walking up the gangway, being greeted with a glass of fizz, we then had to check in and be given our suite keys. This process took place in the lounge and seemed reasonably well organised with 3 of the crew taking passports and the all important credit card details. Soon we were good to go and headed towards our suite. En route we met the Food and Beverage Officer who was promoting the sale of the drinks package on board. We had investigated this on the Windstar website prior to sailing and just needed to check out the wines by the glass which were included before signing up. We were led to believe the package included: wine up to $11.50 a glass, in suite minibar, and premium cocktails with the specific exception of super premium brands eg Louis XIII and XO, perfectly clear and reasonable to me. However after the first night I was told I couldn't have VSOP at the bar although I could have it from my in suite minibar and there were in fact many drinks which were excluded and indeed the house champagne included was prosecco! I made every effort to understand why I could have a cocktail on the drinks menu at $11.50 but couldn't have a Remy Martin VSOP priced at $10.50. No one onboard could explain or fix this and it left me feeling less than satisfied. Don't get me wrong, with a couple of glasses of wine at lunch and dinner and pre and post dinner cocktails, I can't say the package wasn't value for money. However at $125 per suite per day I think the discrepancy with what you can and can't have smacks as a penny pinching and less than transparent practice from Windstar (especially when you consider that all non alcoholic beverages are already included in the fare) Anyway I digress, we did make it to our suite, 301 on deck six forward. I have to say it was one of the nicest cabins we have sailed in. Very roomy and with a great picture window and tasteful furnishings. It was spotless and kept so throughout the week by our cabin attendant. The bathroom reminded me of a smaller version of what you would find in a smart old London hotel, all white marble and mirrors with a nice supply of L'Occitane toiletries . For a week in the Black Sea, it was perfect, however for a hotter climate I would most definitely have missed a balcony to relax on. In my view the only upgrade needed to make the suites perfect would be new mattresses, these remain from Seabourn and though comfy are now a bit saggy in the middle. So onto exploring the yacht and this is where it really becomes a tale of two yachts! The refurbishment is not as extensive as the Windstar marketing led us to believe. There are beautiful areas like the Yacht Club and Compass Rose, and even though the main dining room Amphora hasn't had a full makeover yet, it is a pleasant room. The show lounge is I believe pretty much as it was, not an issue for us as we didn't frequent it. You also need to become re-accustomed to seeing so much brass in one place around the central atrium, but it was the lack of improvement to the deck areas, the verandah restaurant and the pool that completely took the shine off the refurbished yacht pitch for us. The deck is very worn, to be expected I suppose given the age of the yacht, but sun beds look tired, overused and in need of retirement. There were some nice spots for sunbathing, particularly the forward deck with jacuzzi which had about 12 sun beds laid out. The only downside of sitting there was that bar service was rare. Regarding the pool, I think it was the worst I have ever seen. Refilled with seawater daily, it still looked murky, grimy and I only saw one person in it all week. There was one jacuzzi which wasn't heated so that was the only option for a cooling dip. There is another pool onboard of course, part of the much advertised sports platform which extends from the aft of the yacht. Needless to say we didn't see this deployed all cruise, so don't board expecting it and you might just be lucky. It's unfortunate that such a signature activity of this line isn't more carefully scheduled into itineraries so at least it can be experienced once in a cruise. Awnings around the deck were decidely filthy, not I imagine from the want of cleaning, just way past their sail by date for a luxury cruise line. It added to the 'past it's best' feel around the deck space. There was considerable work underway by crew sanding down and re varnishing during the cruise, so I guess it's still work in progress. When I asked about the extent of refurbishment it became obvious that a cosmetic facelift was undertaken by Windstar on acquiring Star Pride from Seabourn, I was told the full refit isn't planned till 2016 ( I must have missed that in the brochure). The most problematic area in our experience was the Verandah Restaurant for breakfast and lunch (which also transforms to Candles by night). It was never easy to fund a table. And tables inside were crowded around the buffet layout with passengers and staff milling around. This detracted from the experience and to be honest I have had easier times navigating this type of casual restaurant on solstice class ships. In fairness the space came into is own in the evening when there are limited reservations and waiter service. Ok now I have got all of the 'so far' from the mark off my chest, what about the 'so near'? Without exception the staff were exceptional. This is where the small ship experience really came to the fore. Believe it or not, when we cruise with Celebrity we always find crew who remember us or go that extra mile to get to know and welcome us. On Star Pride this was true of 100% of the crew, so a big thumbs up there and thanks to each and every one of them for all their hard work. The food was generally excellent with the two senior chefs very visible around the yacht, clearly hands on and at the same time interacting with guests. The deck BBQ and party is great with a winning combo of delicious food and one of a kind entertainment by the crew. Both food and service in Amphora was excellent and dining outside on our last evening at Candles was great too. We settled on Compass Rose as our 'go to' pre and post dinner venue. This was where we met and mingled with some of the great people we met on the cruise. This was also the venue where 'One Night Stand' a talented pianist and singer duet from the UK entertained most nights. All I can say is that Collette & Craig (that is their names) helped make our cruise and that of our onboard friends, so enjoyable! The spa, while small has a great team, and 3 massages later, I left the ship much more relaxed than when I boarded, if you do go, I can recommend the bamboo massage, seaweed wrap and ginger and lime scrub. I should have warned you this wouldn't be much of a port review, review! In short, the sailaway from Istanbul and transit through the Bospherus was awesome, second only in my experience to sailing in and out of Venice. The two Turkish ports on the itinerary were nothing to write home about and the same went for Constantia in Rumania. Odessa in the Ukraine and Nessebar in Bulgarian were definitely worth a visit. So there you have it. I'm glad we tried it, but doubt we will return to Star Pride based in those areas of the ship that need a lot more work done for us to say it ticks all the boxes. Windstar, make your yacht shine like your crew and you might just tempt us. Read Less
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