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46 Windstar Lisbon Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise because : 1. We sailed on this ship in 1996 , originally she was called Club med 1 , we always wanted to cruise again on this sister ship of the Club med 2 on which we are 35 cruises repeaters . Both ships were ... Read More
We choose this cruise because : 1. We sailed on this ship in 1996 , originally she was called Club med 1 , we always wanted to cruise again on this sister ship of the Club med 2 on which we are 35 cruises repeaters . Both ships were built by the same company. 2. we like ship with a lot of space on the deck where it is possible to have all meals on the deck if the weather permit 3. as a wild life photographer , I like to be able to take pictures from the bow of the boat we actually met sea mammals and sea birds different from the sea gulls 4. we new the comfortable size of the cabin on deck 1 and the différent decks 5. we didn know how the cooking was ? We were pleasantly surprised by the refinement of the meals presentation. 6. Each stop was interesting and the access to each city historic center was well managed for an easy acces by shuttles at each stop. We really enjoy this cruise , the two negative points are the cost of the wine and the wifi. A personal wish of my wife would be to have french translation of the daily information sheet 7. we were also attracted by very promotional last minute prices on this cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We originally travelled on the ship nine years ago when it was owned by Seabourn. We decided to revisit the ship for sentimental reasons. The ship is now run by Windstar. All I can say to anyone who is thinking of doing the same not to ... Read More
We originally travelled on the ship nine years ago when it was owned by Seabourn. We decided to revisit the ship for sentimental reasons. The ship is now run by Windstar. All I can say to anyone who is thinking of doing the same not to do so as you will be very disappointed. The experience was a million miles away from the experience we previously had. It was like everything that made the cruise so special with Seabourn had been taken away and the cruise with Windstar was down to the absolute basics. On Seabourn the food is stunning. With Windstar the food was on the whole uninspiring and in many cases tasteless. On Seabourn the wine is of a very high standard and included. With Windstar we had difficulties finding decent bottles worth buying. On Seabourn the courtesy of the staff is exceptional. On Windstar the service was over familiar and some of the staff walk around the ship with their hands in their pockets and some were even entertaining their own family and friends on the ship while leaving guests unattended to. I do not want to recall the number of times I had to re-order food or drinks because the first order never arrives. On Seabourn there is a refined party atmosphere. On Windstar there was no atmosphere and hardly any entertainment provided on an evening. We were in bed most nights by 9.00 p.m. as there was nothing to do. In the main bar for pre-dinner drinks, the bar was closed shortly after 7.00 p.m. so that the staff could help elsewhere. When we complained, there was no offer to redress the position and instead we were asked to complete a complaint form ! A member of the senior staff spoke to us on the last day to ask whether we had enjoyed our holiday. We said not and the lady concerned just walked away and did not dare ask us why or what could have been improved. This came as no surprise since the senior staff appear very complacent and uninterested. The overall standard of the ship when run by Seabourn was exceptional. It was very sad to see how tired the ship has become. I dare not recall how many times I said to my partner "this would not happen on Seabourn" when we encountered a problem. If you treat a cruise on this ship like a bargain basement cruise or a school holiday you will be ok. If you have high expectations this will not be for you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We use cruise ship repositioning trips to avoid air travel rather than for a "cruise" vacation. This was the first time we have crossed the Atlantic on a small ship, previously we have used Holland America and Celebrity and were ... Read More
We use cruise ship repositioning trips to avoid air travel rather than for a "cruise" vacation. This was the first time we have crossed the Atlantic on a small ship, previously we have used Holland America and Celebrity and were interested in the differences. Ship, The Star Pride is a fairly old but well maintained ship formally run by a luxury line, this showed in the cabin size, layout and standard of finish which were all superior to the lines previously mentioned. Being small-+/- 200 passengers the ship had a little more movement and obviously fewer amenities, however the corresponding benefit was a more personal trip. Crew, absolutely great, young, smiling, efficient, courteous,mainly Indonesian and they clearly enjoyed their work , many had completed a number of contracts with this line. The maitre'd Allen and his understudies Adesh and Earl are particularly good at their jobs. Cabins, We had #122 on deck 4, asea view with a separate sitting room and large picture window. Iconography think it inferior to the balcony cabins on the upper decks as the balconies are tiny "Juliette" types and pretty much unusable. Food, better than the larger lines, more "restaurant" , less"hotel" with interesting menues and entrees cooked to order rather than pre played. The two BBQ lunch days were very good and it was a pity that it was not a daily offering. Beverages, Our only area of issue, having purchased an expensive beverage package we were annoyed to find that there were a list of exclusions for which the full, not the incremental , price had to be paid. As this included the spirits which we normally drink I do not think the package is a sensible purchase as even a committed alcoholic would have difficulty in consuming enough to cover the cost. Entertainment/activities, largely centered arround fellow guests the private yacht ambience is a defining factor. The two duos on board were good and generated a night club feeling. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our 2nd Windstar cruise. We are now serious fans of this line. We have been on both the "yachts" and the sail ships now and both, although different were excellent. Service was superb. We were thrilled to have ... Read More
This was our 2nd Windstar cruise. We are now serious fans of this line. We have been on both the "yachts" and the sail ships now and both, although different were excellent. Service was superb. We were thrilled to have the dining room server, Esther, that we had met on our first cruise. She was consistently helpful, accommodating and pleasant. We hope we meet her on our future cruises (and we have booked several others already). Our room Stewart, Iman, also went above and beyond. What ever we needed we got! And strangely, the ship's doctor was the most valuable crew member, as she aggressively treated the bronchitis I came on with and saved the vacation. Only two days lost--and can't say they were lost as I lounged on deck and was treated like a princess. We were fortunate to be on a James Beard cruise and the wine tasting, the special dinner and the learning experience was beyond compare. What fun we had! We had a suite and were very comfortable. The suites are two cabins combined so there is a living room and two bathrooms. Very comfortable. The tours included and those purchased were very good, the wine and food theme was carried on many hours of them. The highlight for me was Granada and the Alhambra. It was a perfect tour capped with an excellent lunch. A must do. And on the ship, we were truly well fed and entertained at the Barbeque. We were very fortunate that the weather was ideal. The sunset magnificent and the whole experience was amazing. And the crew line dances were so much fun. Highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. This was the first of three scheduled JBF cruises and exceeded all expectations. I think it exceeded those of the JBF representatives and the Windstar staff as well. In addition to the 7 ports that we would visit after leaving Lisbon, we had nightly tastings of Spanish wines that were poured and examined at length by Sommelier Steve Olson. He is known as "the wine geek" for good reason. Besides 3 full glass "tastings" each evening, the wines of the night were then served at no charge with dinner. Some of the wines are available in my local stores for upwards of $75 per bottle; some we can't even get here. Then the food! Our chef was Michel Nischan, a three time James Beard awarding winning chef. He had presentations, classes, and shopping tours for guests. There was a final dinner that Chef Michel, Steve Olson, and the Windstar corporate chef collaborated on that was beyond belief. The representative from the JBF left the day before the cruise ended to get to JBF annual awards in Chicago. These guys were personable, approachable, and seemed to be having the time of their lives along with their families. A true once in a lifetime experience for us. As for the rest of the review, it is not possible to find fault with the spectacular Windstar staff, the cleanliness of the ship, the officers availability and the overall willingness to do whatever it takes. We were so happy to see old crew members who are like a big family to one another and to us. The ports on this itinerary were okay; nothing that I was particularly excited about, but interesting and each one different. Lisbon and Barcelona, of course, are two of the great cities of Europe and we were thrilled with each. We did mostly private tours and enjoyed each port. Lots of Roman ruins, etc. One port, Ibiza, has the Sa Cova winery (like we needed more wine) that was lovely and in the same family since the 1500's. Almeria is a seaport that is next to desert sites where many famous movies were filmed, from Lawrence of Arabia, to Exodus, to the spaghetti westerns. All and all, a really memorable 8 days that we will think and talk about for years to come. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary which started in Lisbon, ended in Barcelona, and included ports we were very interested in. It was our first time on Windstar and we had not chosen the line before they purchased the Seabourne ... Read More
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary which started in Lisbon, ended in Barcelona, and included ports we were very interested in. It was our first time on Windstar and we had not chosen the line before they purchased the Seabourne ships because we believed the staterooms on the sailing ships would be quite small. We've stayed in larger rooms than those on Star Legend but none that were more well laid out. We had plenty of drawers, walk-in closet very efficiently arranged, nice-sized sitting area, and spacious enough bathroom. The beds were not particularly comfortable but okay. What made us very happy with this cruise was the staff. They are absolutely top notch. Every single person on that ship provided excellent service with a smile. I even had a medical issue and Dr. Rommel was amazing in doing everything he possibly could. Such excellence starts at the top. When we disembarked, the captain was standing onshore thanking us for sailing with him. I've NEVER seen that before! Other than the beds, there was one other con -- the plumbing. Nothing major wrong with the plumbing but not optimum. It is the reason, however, that I didn't rate the cruise 5-star. Food ranged from average to quite good but that's true on most of the ships we've sailed on which includes Silversea and Regent (before it sold to NCL). However, the staff simply makes up for any relatively minor deficiencies. Windstar also provided two special events that were excellent. They brought flamenco singers/dancers on board for a special show. They also arranged an afternoon private tour with entertainment, tapas, and wine at a palace in Palma de Mallorca. Very impressive. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My wife and I picked this cruise first for the itinerary. When we started to research some more, we got hooked on what we heard was the Windstar experience. After our booking last July we started seeing the reviews about the Star Legend ... Read More
My wife and I picked this cruise first for the itinerary. When we started to research some more, we got hooked on what we heard was the Windstar experience. After our booking last July we started seeing the reviews about the Star Legend and started panicking. Even thought about canceling and are we glad we didn't. Windstar and the Star Legend were magnificent. First, my wife and I are frequent cruisers, living in South Florida and all. We have been on all of the major lines, Princess, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity. We know what to expect and what we want. We were looking forward to the "small ship" experience and Windstar came through with flying colors. We can honestly say that we will never go back to the mega ships with 3K to 5K passengers. Everything that we had heard about Windstar is right on. They make you feel like you on on your own private yacht. From the moment you step on and are greeted by a room steward, handed a glass of champagne and shown to your cabin, you know that this will be a different experience. You never wait in a line for anything. The friendliness that is shown to you by the staff is an awesome feeling. And yes, they do know your name in a very short time and are greeted by it every time a staff member sees you. The officers are out, visible and just as friendly as the the rest of the staff. The cabins on the Legend are amazing. Large, bright and easy to spend time in. We took an S1 class cabin with a large picture window that made us forget about the need for a balcony. The bathroom, ours was shower only, was so large, my wife and I could dress, shower whatever at the same time with room to spare. There is plenty of storage and the room steward was so accommodating with every and any request we made. Then there was the food. The menus were wide and varied, offering something for everyone. The food was very tasty, well presented and the service in both the dining room and the Veranda buffet was outstanding. It was fantastic to come back to the yacht after a day in port and go up to the Yacht Club for a drink, a sandwich, a cappuccino or whatever you liked and just relax, speak to fellow passengers about your day or , whatever. It is just truly the feeling that you are on your own private boat. Yes, there is not much in the way of entertainment, 2 young duos playing at various venues around the yacht, but that is not why you sail on Windstar in my opinion. If you need to be entertained constantly, then this may not be for you but if you are looking for a relaxing, comfortable and amazing experience, Windstar hits a home run. Really, the only negative I can think of is the internet . Windstar uses a "data" oriented package for internet service while on board. First it is always difficult to understand how much data you use, it is not cheap and it was very unreliable. We needed to log on to WiFi when in port to get most things done. This turned out to be longer than I expected so won't go on any longer. The bottom line is, my wife and I, experienced cruisers will be booking Windstar again and will no longer be sailing with the big boys. Once you have sailed Windstar, you can't go back. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
It is probably the main sales argument that Wind Surf only carries around three hundred passengers. And the ship certainly has great potential. Unfortunately, that potential is not used fully. This cruise’s itinerary, the ship being only ... Read More
It is probably the main sales argument that Wind Surf only carries around three hundred passengers. And the ship certainly has great potential. Unfortunately, that potential is not used fully. This cruise’s itinerary, the ship being only 2/3 full, took us from Lisboa to the Canary Islands with 2 stops in Morocco on the way. The small island of La Gomera was probably the highlight of the cruise with an overwhelming display of nature’s forces. On the boat our impressions were quite divided: On the one hand there was excellent service staff, probably one of the most caring staff at sea, very good food and a very relaxing atmosphere. On the other hand the ship really, really needs someone from outside to take a look at all the work that needs to be done. The management, although all of them were nice chaps who were in constant interaction with the passengers have been on the ship for many years. It might just be operational blindness but it appeared to us that they just don’t recognize that many spots onboard need work to be done. Just a tiny example: To keep the door to the Verandah restaurant open staff put napkins into the lock. Not very professional, is it? Want more examples? The lounge: A totally sterile environment which was most of the time deserted. The reason for that might be that the entertainment was non-existent. Why not bring in interesting lecturers or PROFESSIONAL entertainers. The pool: A beautiful spot - but fresh colour, a few flowers and plants and a working whirlpool would be a great idea. The terrasse: A smokers bar that opens at 10pm ?! Why not open it right after dinner (7pm) so people can go up there and enjoy a cognac and a cigar right after their meals? By the time they were open most of the passengers had retreated to the cabins. The sauna: I like going to the sauna after the gym but this part of the boat is a total letdown, not appealing to today’s spa-and-wellness seeking passengers at all. Old installations, worn shower curtains, no relaxation area. And finally THE CABIN: Perfect size, a nicely designed bathroom - but not well kept and not very state of the art. And the BOSE entertainment system doesn’t help here. The fridge had not been installed properly and always had to be pushed back in after one had opened the door. The hair dryer wasn’t working as it should, the toilet seat cover was loose. And no bottle of sparkling wine or champagne upon embarkation? Come on, that is industry standard. Strangely enough the mandatory safety drill took place before all the passengers were on board. Departure was in the evening. If you checked in after 6pm all you got was a letter informing you that you should watch the safety video in the cabin. Also the crew safety drill, which on other ships can take up to an hour, was a matter of about five to ten minutes. We got the impression that they handle safety not exactly the way it should be. All in all, we enjoyed our cruise because of the very good weather and most importantly the waiters, the food and all staff including the captain. It is a very nice feature that you can visit the bridge whenever you wish while the ship is at sea. Also the officers will be dining with the passengers on many opportunities. Not to forget that Windstar invites you to a complimentary event which certainly has its prize. However, if a company wants to attract customers nowadays they need to make sure that all the onboard facilities are working properly, that the cabins shine and that you get the general feeling that the ship (be it an old or a new one) is taken well care of. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Boarding comfortable, cabin more luxuous than the 2 other ships. Bath tub in marble. From deck 5 on the Wind pride easy access to the front of the ship very convenient for sea birds and sea mammals photography. On club med 2 access ... Read More
Boarding comfortable, cabin more luxuous than the 2 other ships. Bath tub in marble. From deck 5 on the Wind pride easy access to the front of the ship very convenient for sea birds and sea mammals photography. On club med 2 access is farer from the sea level . The star pride dining room is basically in the basement deck 3 access to outside dining is limited in size and by meteorological conditions. On the Pride it is not possible to walk around the ship without changing of deck. Club med 2 has larger oudoor facilities. Club med 2 has Wine and bar drinks included this has a tremendous impact on the général ambiance on board. The show Time, dancing and music ambiance on the pride are at the embryogenic state same on the Levant. Club med 2 has 5 * for this expertise. On the Pride The coefficient on the Wine and beer prices appear to me close to 6. The alternative to ground excursions are virtually inexistant . Leaving the ship at the end of the Cruise has no warm good by it looks more like a kick out at 8 in the morning . A positive point in the Pride is the présence of a tourism adviser on board at each Harbor . The club med 2 has a no tip policy. The Pride seems more sensitive than the. Club med 2 to sharing sea. The glass cabinet above the mini bar on the Pride does not seem safe to me in cas of Storm . English only on the Pride. French mainly on the two other ships but english and other linguales on the Club med 2 . Restaurant service on the Club med 2 by mauritians top level barman and waitors. Shuttle service on ground in the different harbors almost inexistant with Windstar Pride . Wifi efficient and free on the club med 2 , very expansive and inefficient on the Pride. Decoration on Club med 2 is "boat like" on the Pride decoration is "hotel like". Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Really, my only complaint is that this ship does not cater for solo travellers. Until I met someone to eat with, I was eating by myself and reading a book! they were shocked when I ask if I could not join with other people. There is a ... Read More
Really, my only complaint is that this ship does not cater for solo travellers. Until I met someone to eat with, I was eating by myself and reading a book! they were shocked when I ask if I could not join with other people. There is a very well equipped gym in a small room so no place to lay on a mat especially as each time I was there, the fitness instructor was giving either a class or personal training. One exercises looking out to the port or the sea. Lovely! Embarkation was at 13:00 hrs. and I got there at 13:30. Hardly a queue. Very easy. Someone showed me to my cabin. I went to the buffet where they were serving lunch. There are three restaurants and managed to get bookings in the two smaller ones. The best was Candles Restaurant...grilled meat and the veal chop was excellent, as were the vegetables. Actually, all of the restaurants were good, though Candles was my favourite. I had the buffet for lunch every day. A tasty selection. I think I and two Australians were the only non-Americans on the ship. Every evening there was a briefing about the following day's tours and the city. Very helpful. I enjoyed the cruise but for the first two days felt very isolated, especially at dinner. And for that reason probably will not cruise on this line again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our cruise was the "Splendors of Southern Spain", embarking from Lisbon, Portugal, ending in Barcelona, Spain. This was our 10th Windstar cruise, most of which have been on the Wind Surf. Highlights of the cruise were the ... Read More
Our cruise was the "Splendors of Southern Spain", embarking from Lisbon, Portugal, ending in Barcelona, Spain. This was our 10th Windstar cruise, most of which have been on the Wind Surf. Highlights of the cruise were the private excursion to see the beautiful Spanish "dancing" stallions, the excursions to The Alhambra and to the Tio Pepe winery, and the fabulous island paradise of Palma de Mallorca. Our cruise began with a 2-night stay at the 5-star Tiara Park Hotel in Lisbon, conveniently located near a small park where the "Hop On, Hop Off" tour buses are located. There were 70 other Windstar cruisers at the hotel, and we met several nice folks before ever boarding the Wind Surf. The hotel itself featured a clean, modern design, with spacious rooms and excellent wi-fi service. We took our meals in the hotel dining room, where the food and service was first rate. Two buses picked up all the Windstar guests and got us to the WInd Surf early in the afternoon. Check in on the ship was seamless, and after a short lunch, we found our bags already delivered to our cabin #224, near the aft of the ship. It wasn't long before we had touched base with several of our favorite crew members, including Nova (waiter) and Angeline (bartender). A few other crew members heard that I was on board, and tracked me down in the Compass Rose just to say hello. It's this kind of warm personal service that sets Windstar 180 degrees from normal, indeed. The ship's captain was Vladimir Delgado from Panama, the youngest captain in Windstar's fleet. We have previously sailed with several excellent captains, such as John Clark and Peter Harris, both now retired. Captain Delgado raised the bar to a new level, with his enthusiasm and gregarious personality. My wife and I had the pleasure of dining with him one evening, along with a few other guests, and greatly enjoyed his company. Unfortunately, our favorite entertainers, Craig and Nikola from the "Rain" duo, were not on board, and apparently we missed them by just a week or so. Their replacements were Erik and Caycie, who were also quite good. There was also a new band on board called "SeaScape" that were a big improvement over "High Society" and others. Even the amateur show put on by the crew was much improved! I have often been critical of the on board entertainment in the past, so this was an encouraging trend. Another aspect of the shipboard entertainment is the music played in the Compass Rose lounge, which can often be wildly uneven. Accordingly, I brought on board an iPod loaded with close to 1000 smooth jazz & vocal offerings, and donated it to the ship's Hotel Manager Nick Bulger. Unlike several earlier cruises, Nick was very supportive of my efforts, and we collaborated on the music for the remainder of the cruise. Many passengers complimented both of us on the music, but perhaps the most appreciative were the bar staff, who saw it as a welcome change. Nick later invited us to join him for dinner, and sent a very nice bottle of wine to my cabin, as well. The Wind Surf was in great shape, as were the cabins and public areas. A big surprise was the internet service, which was greatly improved. If there was any downside at all, it was that some of the shore excursions were rather pricey. As always, it was sad to leave the ship in Barcelona, but we will be back at earliest opportunity. Can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We recently completed our fourth Windstar cruise, an eight day cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona. Our previous cruises over the past four years included the French Riviera, northern Europe, and the Caribbean. The Windsurf, while aging, is in ... Read More
We recently completed our fourth Windstar cruise, an eight day cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona. Our previous cruises over the past four years included the French Riviera, northern Europe, and the Caribbean. The Windsurf, while aging, is in excellent condition. We were impressed by how well maintained this almost thirty year old ship is. As in the past, service was excellent. Crew members knew our names even before we were introduced. Beverage prices were not unreasonable and seemed to not have changed over the past years. Our issue was with the food. Breakfasts, as previously, were very good. I liked them, although my wife was less enthused. We have always felt that the lunches were poor to mediocre. We ate most of our lunches ashore this time, and the few lunches we did have on the ship were no better than in the past. Hamburgers were dry and overcooked. Sandwiches on the special order menu were poor with lots of bread and little meat. Items on the buffet were bland, The major issue was with dinners. The menu always sounded great, but the food was consistently underwhelming. A "filet mignon" appeared to be a sirloin steak. Oysters Rockefeller were served cold. Items usually made with veal (veal Oscar, e.g.) were made with pork. Soups were served lukewarm even when we specifically asked for them to be hot. On several occasions, including the final evening, we could not find any appealing entree to order. On previous cruises, we were permitted to order from either restaurant menu (AmphorA or Stella Bistro) regardless of where we were eating. This time, we were told that that was "against policy." Service was very slow on several occasions. We had the impression that Windstar was just doing too much cost cutting. Nothing was terrible, but it seemed like things were not up to previous Windstar standards. We do not plan to sail with Windstar again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
First off all we really liked the cruise and will sail again if cruise itinerary will match our plans. We liked itinerary, customer service, newly offered cabin, food, how yacht was maintained, officers and specially captain. He was just ... Read More
First off all we really liked the cruise and will sail again if cruise itinerary will match our plans. We liked itinerary, customer service, newly offered cabin, food, how yacht was maintained, officers and specially captain. He was just fantastic. We all loved him. A few small things that can be easily corrected: when we arrived and got in our cabin, in a few hours we realized that air conditioning was broken, cold wind was blowing without stop and temperatures were at 62 F. Stuart tried to place the towels on the register; however, that did not solve the problem. We also contacted reception a many times, they kept sending people, however, they appeared and disappeared without explanation if they can fix the problem. Only at 2 am we were visited by one of officers Margozhata and she offered us to move to different cabin. Actually she saved our cruise (thank you!). Why it was done by customer service at the beginning? Margozhata also helped us to load our stuff on the cart and at 3 am we were moving to different cabin losing almost entire day of cruising. In addition we did not receive keys for a new cabin, contacted reception, were promised to send a stuart; however, we had to call again next day in order to get them. Second - communication problems with travel agent. Very seldom we received answers to our questions on time. We understand, that agent is traveling; however, they have to have a replacement. I believe that in the future we will try to book directly with a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
A wonderful trip on Windstar. Embarkation is so easy and the updated rooms were beautiful. Though smaller than some rooms on larger lines we never felt cramped. Lots of time spent on deck. We left Lisbon to sail the coast of Spain to ... Read More
A wonderful trip on Windstar. Embarkation is so easy and the updated rooms were beautiful. Though smaller than some rooms on larger lines we never felt cramped. Lots of time spent on deck. We left Lisbon to sail the coast of Spain to the Canary Islands. Weather in early November was on the cooler side but never cold. Early November in the Canaries is perfect weather actually. One port was Casablanca for Marrakech. We did our own excursion with another couple we were traveling with and it was very nice, especially as Marrakech is 2 hours inland from Casablanca. Traffic in Casablanca was horrific, ships excursion was very late returning. One this Windstar did was keep the main dining room open a few hours after main seating to accommodate the late arrivals, so they didn't miss dinner. It's those little touches that makes Windstar so special. Disembarkation at Tenerife where we rented a car and stayed in Garachico, a lovely small town on the other side of the island. It all was a spectacular trip and I look forward to my upcoming Star Breeze cruise in October 2015. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on the Windsurf in recent times. We booked a back to back trip, having learned on prior trips that a 7 or 8 day journey simply doesn’t seem enough … Enjoyed the sails and the feel of the yacht, which still makes Windstar so unique in the cruising market. We like the size of the Windsurf – there is always enough space to find a private corner somewhere. There are plenty of dining options and a couple of entertainment options in the evening. All very chilled and relaxing. We also enjoy meeting a lot of the guests on board … many are fellow travellers who are quite low key, but appreciate their luxuries and enjoy exploring the world. Unfortunately, many of the capable crew we were pleased to getting to know on previous trips, had moved on to other newer Windstar ships . They were replaced by lesser-experienced, but still very friendly and helpful crew. What some of the crew lacked in experience, they made up for with tremendous charm and a great willingness to help and serve the guests on board. The officers were very friendly and approachable, regularly mixing with guests. Despite our appreciation of the crew’s efforts, we noticed a deterioration of standards from prior cruises: The embarkation was delayed and the waiting area in Lisbon certainly wasn’t designed with comfort in mind. The Captain managed the situation well by communicating directly to the waiting passengers. The cabins are well designed, but the light colored carpets showed stains - so badly - that we asked the Cabin Steward to have them cleaned, which he promptly did. The chocolates left during turndown service are a nice idea, but do they have to be unwrapped? The quality of the food, never outstanding on past trips either, left much to be desired. It certainly does not pass for a fine dining experience. It is ok – mediocre. Even the specialty restaurants ‘Stella Bistro’ and ‘Candles’ struggle to set themselves apart from the main dining room. The BBQ is quite fun and the freshly grilled food is enjoyable. The bar staff was absolutely wonderful and so was some of the dining room staff. The shore excursions were ok, but tend to be geared towards more mature clientele. With a bit of research beforehand, we managed to have very enjoyable self-guided tours ashore. The fitness offerings are also geared towards an older crowd. What was meant to pass for yoga, had very little to do with yoga. It was held in the midst of the weight machines in the tiny little gym on board, while there was plenty of fabulous open deck space to conduct a yoga session. We would have gladly signed a release if that was the reason an outdoor space wasn’t chosen. If Yoga is advertised, one would expect a certified yoga instructor. The instructor teaching the class couldn’t even name the poses! We became aware of some Windstar HQ related politics … subtle signs that would increase significantly on the second leg of our journey and unfortunately endured for months after our trip. More on this in the review of our second leg on this trip: Dublin to Edinburgh. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I want to state clearly and emphatically that WE LOVE WINDSTAR!! My wife and I have now been on seven Windstar cruises, including five on the Wind Surf. We have frequently recommended Windstar to relatives, friends and sometimes to ... Read More
I want to state clearly and emphatically that WE LOVE WINDSTAR!! My wife and I have now been on seven Windstar cruises, including five on the Wind Surf. We have frequently recommended Windstar to relatives, friends and sometimes to complete strangers. The two couples traveling with us on this last voyage have sailed on multiple Windstar cruises with us. We recruited them to Windstar several years ago. These three couples have taken a combined total of eighteen Windstar cruises. We are invested in Windstar and want it to succeed. But we are in agreement that this most recent cruise was the least satisfying and most disappointing by far. Before describing the disappointments, I'll highlight some of the many positives. ** The food service staff was, as always, outstanding. The waiters – many of whom we knew from previous cruises - were friendly, fun and efficient, and worked hard to cater to whatever we needed. After only a day or two, they knew our names and many of our preferences. Abdul did a great job. ** The housekeeping staff was also excellent. Our cabin steward, Darta, was friendly and efficient. Somehow, he always seemed to know when we were gone, because by the time we returned the cabin was always clean and straight. What few requests we had werequickly taken care of. ** Kudos to Klaus, the head chef! The food at all the restaurants was outstanding, perhaps the best we have ever had on a Windstar cruise. Good variety, well-prepared and beautifully presented. (I especially enjoyed the bison steak, which Klaus arranged for me to special order even when it wasn't on the menu.) Portion sizes were just right. ** The senior staff were terrific. Captain Peter Harris is certainly a very capable boat driver, since we regularly sailed from port to port safely and comfortably. But we especially appreciated his friendly, personable demeanor, his on-board visibility, and his willingness and eagerness to interact with passengers. We saw more of Peter, and spoke more with him, than any other ship captain we have encountered in many years of cruising. Likewise with Hotel Manager Ratko Strbac, who I was fortunate to get to know, like and respect. Ratko had only been with Windstar for a few weeks when we met him. He knows his business, and Windstar is fortunate to have him. His approach to guest relations will make the Wind Surf a much better ship on which to cruise. ** The lounge band was quite good; Coco has a terrific voice. But we found ourselves spending most evenings in the Compass Rose listening to Rain Duo. Craig and Niki were awesome! I could listen to Niki's sweet, beautiful, mesmerizing voice all night. And Craig's vocals and guitar playing would give Mark Knopfler a run for his money. (This is a great compliment, by the way.) ** The Wind Surf, and its smaller siblings, are, of course, one of the primary reasons we often sail with Windstar. We love these beautiful ships . . . the ambiance, the comfort and informality, the homey feeling. We enjoy, as well, many of the small, off-the-beaten-track ports of call. Alas, this recent Windstar cruise was fraught with disappointments that tarnished the brand and seriously diminished our enjoyment of this vacation. Most of our concerns can be traced directly back to Windstar headquarters. For example: ** Initial check-in, and the few weeks leading up to it, were a mess. For the first time ever, no embarkation documents were mailed to us . . . instead, Windstar emailed us (through our travel agent) an ”eDOC TICKET”. This document was confusing and contradictory. It stated that check-in began at 1:00 pm; All Aboard was 4:00 pm; and departure was at 2:00 pm !!?? How does that work? We never could get clarification from Windstar, so, to be safe, we arrived at the terminal at 10:30 am, and then sat around for three hours twiddling our thumbs waiting to board. Because of Windstar's communications incompetence, we wasted an entire morning during which we could have been exploring Lisbon. This was an ominous beginning to our 16 day cruise on the Surf. ** On-board, we soon discovered that the Surf no longer has a Cruise Director. It now has what they call a “Destination Manager”, whose primary job seems to be to sell overpriced shore excursions. Her port talks spent precious little time promoting the sights, sounds, attractions and charm of the port city. Instead, she mostly encouraged folks to hop on a bus and go somewhere else. On top of that, information she did share with us was often incorrect or incomplete. Almost never did she discuss or promote any on-board activities. For example, trivia night, line-dancing instruction, market tour with Klaus, wine-tasting etc., etc., are all fine activities, but no one with Windstar, including our destination manager, promoted them. ** Speaking of on-board entertainment, the afternoon of third day, a Folklore song and dance group was brought on board.. They were very good, but passengers wouldn't have known about them unless they carefully read the daily program. The destination manager had said nothing about them the night before, and the lounge was barely half full. Those who did attend, (we did), were given no information at all about the performers. Where were they from? What region, or era, or ethnicity did their music and dance come from? What did their costumes represent? We don't know. The Windstar officer introducing them said little more than “Here's your entertainment”, after which no more words were spoken. What a wasted opportunity. ** Bar service in the lounge, and wine service in Amphora was often poor. We don't blame this on the servers . . . they were uniformly very good, friendly and attentive. There simply weren't enough of them to handle crowd. We can only guess that dictates from headquarters resulted in under-staffing, We were told that many of the more experienced staff had been transferred to the Star Pride. ** WiFi on board was awful! Connections were slow, intermittent or nonexistant. I signed up for access on the first day, and by the third day was so frustrated that I asked them to disconnect me. They did so without argument and with a full refund. ** The Dublin to Edinburgh portion of our back-to-back cruise started on an even worse note than it did in Lisbon. We had never been to Dublin before, so we signed up for the “special” Dublin city tour that would also transfer departing guests to the airport or a hotel. I asked the ladies at the reception desk several times if we would have to go to the airport ourselves. I told Ice that if the tour did require us to accompany the other passengers to the airport, that we would cancel. She checked with Jeff, who reportedly made a call or two, and then confirmed that after the Dublin tour we would be dropped off at the Davenport Hotel at 1:00 pm, and from there would join up with other guests going to the Wind Surf. Because of this promise, we took the tour. It was mostly a waste of time. We were very rushed. There was no expedited ticketing to anything, so we ended up standing in line for forty minutes to see the Book of Kells and then had only fifteen minutes there before we had to move on. We then started a whirlwind tour of St. Patrick's Cathedral at 11:45 am. We were told to be back on the bus at 12:05 pm, at which time our guide told us we were now heading for the airport. I asked “To the airport??!!” Yes, indeed. Precisely what we were promised would NOT happen was happening. I was incredulous – and furious - and told him to stop the bus. My wife and I got off the bus, not where we wanted to be but at a place better than a scenic drive to the airport. When we finally returned to the ship, I described to Jeff what had occurred. Jeff wasn't much help, but ultimately, Ratko, (the aforementioned hotel manager), stepped in and resolved the situation to our satisfaction. My thanks to Ratko for his concern, his empathy and his personal involvement. Windstar is a great brand. We have traveled with Windstar often in the past, and will probably do so in the future. However, we are very concerned about what we felt was a marked deterioration in communications and service from previous Windstar cruises. This last Windstar cruise just didn't seem as special . . . too many corners had been cut. We worry that quality of the Surf, Spirit and Star will continue to suffer as the three Seabourn ships are brought on line and their experienced staff are diluted even more. We will be taking many more ocean cruises in the coming years. For the first time, however, we'll be seriously considering Azamara and Oceana and Viking as viable alternatives to Windstar.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was Windstar's inaugural food and wine cruise of Spain. My girlfriend and I jumped at the chance to book, since we'd been drinking the wines of Spain and enjoying authentic Spanish food at home and at the two local ... Read More
This was Windstar's inaugural food and wine cruise of Spain. My girlfriend and I jumped at the chance to book, since we'd been drinking the wines of Spain and enjoying authentic Spanish food at home and at the two local restaurants in Atlanta that serve it. Bottom line: the cruise delivered. It was just what I was hoping for and I can enthusiasticlly recommend it to others. I had never cruised Windstar or the smaller ships before. I researched extensively online and mostly found comments saying simply "you're going to love it." To help other newbies or those considering future food and wine cruises, I'll try to give the details that stayed with me. We boarded around 5:30 pm in Lisbon after spending a day and a half there on our own (no cruise hotels or transfers). I believe boarding started at 1:00 pm and all aboard was 10:00 pm for a 11:00 pm sail away. I was surprised to see what looked like the majority of passengers already on board and in the middle of the first wine tasting at 5:30 or 6:00. We had missed the muster drill but were pointed to someone from the bridge who gave us our own personal safety demonstration. We had also missed the first wine talk and general introduction of the men and the company who were providing the wine, but we weren't the only ones and we jumped right in. There was a wine tasting and passed hors d'oeuvres every evening from 6:00 to 7:00. The atmosphere was that of a 300-person cocktail party -- festive and enjoyable, but it was challenging to hear the descriptions and discussion of the wines because we never arrived early enough to get a seat up front. The talk lasted about 15 minutes, all the while the hard-working staff circulated with generous samples of the evening's four featured wines. Windstar gave each of us a nifty little notebook to make notes on the wine, with preprinted pages where you could fill in the name, vintage, your thoughts, etc. These same wines were available that evening at dinner or later in the bar at no charge. I read elsewhere on the forum (thanks, r&rd) that there were 450 cases of wine for 320 passengers. It was more than ample! Obviously, I was super glad that I didn't spring for the alcohol package. I sure hope the bartenders and servers were compensated for lost tips, which usually come on the slip you sign for each drink. We tried to do our part. There were a number of things that made this cruise different from the normal Lisbon to Barcelona sailing (I'm guessing here, since I don't have anything to compare it to). We had two wine pairing dinners, both excellent (although the only food complaints I heard all week were about the dry pork on the first pairing dinner. I can't say; I had the fish and it was excellent). Each course was paired with a wine that we had heard about in that evening's wine talk. I honestly couldn't tell if the food itself was Spanish-influenced; it didn't seem so to me, and that would have been a nice touch. There were two excellent cooking demonstrations by chef Seamus Mullen, the first on our day at sea and the second on the final afternoon. I missed the second one but tasted the result -- really good paella. I was so happy they distributed the recipes because we will definitely try our hand at making them. One evening a local flamenco troupe was brought on board, and I enjoyed every moment. They were fabulous. Again, so happy about that extra touch (which I've read happens on other Windstar cruise as well) because we otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to see flamenco shows which are always at night. Another feature of this cruising was two complimentary food/wine-themed shore excursions. These were the only excursions we took, Windstar or otherwise. The rest of the time we explored the port towns on our own. I was pleased with both the sherry cellar tour in Jerez de la Frontera and the vineyard tour outside Valencia. Both included city tours and the guides and buses were first-rate. I had wondered how I would fare on a small ship, in terms of seasickness. I had no problems whatsoever, and we experienced a few high seas here and there but not much. My girlfriend, a more experienced cruiser than I, has always worn the patch but tried going without and she was fine too; didn't ever need the Dramamine we brought. The boat rocked a little but I found it pleasant. Although at times I did have to use the handrails walking around, just briefly. The cabin was roomy and comfortable with plenty of space for our things. Liked the L'Occitane bath products. Our travel agent advised selecting a cabin in the middle of the ship for stability purposes. Our porthole was a few feet above the water and I spent a lot of time (probably too much) just staring out at the waves and being mesmerized. The one maintenance issue we had was fixed within hours. We made use of the Bose speaker, hooking it up to our iPhones. If you have the newer phone with the redesigned pin, you just ask at reception for an adapter. There was one outlet in the cabin (maybe suites have more, I don't know). It had two plugs, one European and one US. Since our cabin was on the lowest level the watertight doors in the hallway were closed when we were coming into or leaving port. These were every 40 feet or so and there is stairway access in each 40-foot section, so we weren't prevented from going up or down. It was just surprising and we always seemed to forget about it, so we'd go up the stairs to the second level and try to estimate where to go down again, since the cabin numbers don't directly correspond. Maybe other folks are familiar with this but it was new to me. Getting on and off the ship at ports of call was always smooth and easy. Sometimes we walked right into town, other times there was a shuttle. Disembarkation in Barcelona was especially painless and well-organized. There was a slight change in our itinerary, which their website or materials prepare you for, and that was docking in Palma, Mallorca instead of tendering to Soller. The seas were evidently too rough to tender, so everybody was pretty happy that the captain made the call. No excursions were harmed in the making of this change. I've never been to either city, but I was delighted with Palma -- probably my favorite port on this itinerary. The service was very good, as other posters have written. I think reading all the other comments had set my expectations very high and the service didn't quite live up to them but was still very good. It's been years since I cruised and that was on a big NCL ship. I imagine the service we received on the Wind Surf was much better than the big ships can offer, but I didn't experience the bit where "the crew addresses you by name early in the cruise." The only ones who addressed us by name were our wonderful cabin steward and, interestingly, the woman in the gift shop. But I'm not complaining in the least. The servers had a huge job to do, with the nightly wine tastings and the two pairing dinners where everyone was seated at the same time. And we never hung out in one area or one bar long enough to really get to know the staff so that's part of it too. Food is such a subjective thing but I'll give my take. The dinners were tasty with a good selection of entrées. There was always the option of ordering salmon, streak, chicken and one other dish if none of the selections appealed. The quality, presentation and portion size were good. My only complaint is a minor one: the bread, butter and coffee were really subpar. Especially since the bread and coffee are so good in Spain, it was disappointing to be served dull bread, low quality butter and weak coffee. I tried the coffee shop for lattes and espressos, but it was the same week coffee in a different form. The drinks were priced well and we enjoyed the daily cocktail, an interesting concoction named after a city we'd recently visited. We only ate one or two breakfasts and lunches on board, preferring to eat those meals in port. But the ones we ate had a good selection of fresh food. We ordered room service one night and were very pleased with it. Stella Bistro was a nice change of pace (or menu, anyway) from the dining room. After the first night, dining at Candles was moved inside due to windy conditions. That was a-okay with me, because it did not look pleasant for the diners (or the waitstaff) that first night on deck. One thing that stood out and really exceeded my expectations was the deck barbecue. I wanted to eat one of everything (and maybe five servings of lobster) and then go back for seconds and thirds. On everything. It was a gorgeous evening, the band from the lounge was playing, Spanish wine was flowing -- a stellar night. As far as activities and entertainment, I like the idea of Windstar's low-key approach of not having a lot of planned events. This cruise may have been a little different because it *did* feel like there were a number of activities, with the daily wine talks and tastings and the two cooking demonstrations. I enjoyed the two singing groups in the evening, and there was a guest entertainer as well. The engine room tour felt special; I wouldn't expect to get to go behind the scenes like that and walk through the engine room on any other ship. We missed the shopping trip in port with the chef because of an excursion, and they didn't seem to offer the galley tour on this cruise. I like how Windstar doesn't make many announcements over the intercom. There was generally one each day, usually as we were leaving port. It became a running joke between my girlfriend and I that the captain always apologized for making the announcement -- politeness is always welcome, but it's okay, one announcement a day is nothing to apologize for. I think an officer on the bridge got in a bit of trouble for announcing that there was a pod of whales to be seen; I was glad he told us! But I think it was at the tail end of the last dinner seating so I can understand not wanting everyone in the the dining room to rush to the windows. We used the fitness center twice. I loved watching the sea as I rode the bike or used the elliptical. I was rewarded for my attempts at fitness by a dolphin sighting! We didn't use the laundry service so I can't comment on that. There was hardly any smoking on deck. Very rare and not a bother at all. The passengers ranged in age a good bit. The majority seemed to be late 50s or 60 and older. Being in my mid-40s I was curious how many near-ish my age there were, and I estimated 30 or so people under 50, which is more than I had expected. The other passengers were friendly, no stuffiness at all. The casual evening attire (as compared to coat and tie or black tie) was welcome. Some dressed more elegantly than others but really, anything other than jeans was fine. Overall, an excellent experience on board. Very good service, a stunning vessel, an emphasis on the local food and drink, enchanting ports of call -- I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I love cruising. Big boats, barges, small boats all have their pluses and minuses. The Windsurf is the big sister ship to the Windstar and the Wind Spirit. We traveled on the Wind Spirit and it was great. Close to the water, intimate, ... Read More
I love cruising. Big boats, barges, small boats all have their pluses and minuses. The Windsurf is the big sister ship to the Windstar and the Wind Spirit. We traveled on the Wind Spirit and it was great. Close to the water, intimate, a feeling of adventure without danger. The Windsurf felt big by comparison(not by comparison to Allure of the Seas), a little clumsy It had the drawbacks of small ships however. i.e. entertainment limited at best, no balconies, no speakers, not much activity. Windsurf has exceptional staffing and food. The excursions were well run and the ports made every day a new experience. I would recommend taking a cruise on Windstar if it goes where you want to go. I would choose the smaller ships however. They are more like sailboats. When you do book be aware that on board credits cannot be used for gratuities, and may only be used for excursions and items purchased on board (not precruise). Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our first Windstar cruise and we were somewhat disappointed. The main problem seems to be that Windstar are not sure what market they are aiming for. We booked a suite (two cabins knocked into one) and paid considerably more ... Read More
This was our first Windstar cruise and we were somewhat disappointed. The main problem seems to be that Windstar are not sure what market they are aiming for. We booked a suite (two cabins knocked into one) and paid considerably more than for A or B grade cabins. Apart from the space, there were no privileges whatsoever. Internet access, in suite drinks, laundry were all 'extras'. There was a single rose on the coffee table (which looked as though it had been round the Med on previous cruises). It wilted and, hopefully, would have to be replaced for the next cruise. There was a bowl of not very fresh fruit - this was withdrawn after two days. We mainly used Degrees for dinner. The food was always perfectly presented but sometimes lacked flavor. Escargo Provinciale was served with no garlic. This was immediately rectified and we thoroughly enjoyed our snails thereafter. One old rose decorated our table for the 10 days. Candles (on the aft deck) was brilliant. The food simple and well cooked. The setting was perfect. The highlight of the cruise was the staff. They were brilliant and the last two nights aboard - Crew Show and Deck BBQ were great fun. Embarkation was quick and simple. No problems. The pre-cruise hype talked of small ships visiting small ports, etc. Our first stop was Le Harve - the second biggest commercial port in France. We have visited Le Harve many times. It's a huge commercial and ferry port. I think that we were the only cruise ship there. We berthed a considerable distance from the town. No shuttle bus was provided. Honfleur is nearby and other possibilities would have been Corunna and/or Brest. The Channel Islands would also have been an alternative. Our next stop was Britain's busiest ferry port - Dover. Luckily, the local council provided a courtesy bus. The stops in Antwerp and Amsterdam were excellent and it was quite moving when we left Antwerp. It seemed the whole city had turned out to see us off. The vessel made a tremendous impression where ever we went and the sight of the sails leaves a special memory.Rachael Roberts (Soprano) gave two excellent performances. Apart from the two groups playing in The Lounge and The Compass Rose, the only other activity was a trivia quiz which took place in The Compass Rose whilst we were having afternoon tea. We really looked forward to this cruise. We very much liked the vessel itself which soon will complete it's 'refurb'. The staff were outstanding. If Windstar are aiming for 'high-end' patrons, it may be that they will need to concentrate on the detail - ports, obvious money saving touches (fruit, flowers, etc), shuttle buses, etc. Would we do it again? Probably not and certainly not in a suite. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Background: This was my 8th Atlantic crossing, after one on a freighter, 4 on Cunard, and 2 on Crystal. Wind Surf was a very different experience, but the one it most resembled was the freighter. Arrival and embarkation: As is ... Read More
Background: This was my 8th Atlantic crossing, after one on a freighter, 4 on Cunard, and 2 on Crystal. Wind Surf was a very different experience, but the one it most resembled was the freighter. Arrival and embarkation: As is strongly recommended, I flew into Lisbon a day early. Having been there previously, I opted to stay in Sintra (Tivoli Sintra), a charming town about 40 minutes away by train. There are 2 terminals in Lisbon. The primary one is right at the Alacantra Mer train station and is used primarily by the megaships. We were docked at the Cais da Rocha Conde do Obidios, about towards town from the station. The police there told me it was 3 km and gave me misleading directions, so I took a cab for the final leg to the ship. The cruise documents said "Boarding 10:00am, All aboard 1:00" for a 2:30 departure. When I arrived about 12 the only thing they were doing was accepting baggage; a number of people were hanging around the terminal, mostly standing, and we were told check-in would not begin until 1. I went back out of the terminal and found that we were only an easy 10-minute walk from where I had boarded the cab. Check-in did not begin until 1:00 and it was after 1:30 when I stepped on board the ship. Ship info: The Wind Surf is a "Motor Sailing Yacht". It has sails, but they appear to be more for show than functional, as the ship is really not designed to maximize their benefit. We did sail about 70 miles without the engines at about 5 knots, but it appeared we were getting at least as much push from the current as we did from the sails. My observation was that when we were under sail power, the motion of the ship was quite evident as there was little water flowing past the stabilizers. The ship is small at 312 passengers and 6 decks, and has some really odd quirks. The cabin numbering starts from the stern of the ship, while the stairways are numbered from the bow, and start with stairway 2. Unlike Windstar's 2 smaller ship, the Wind Surf has 2 elevators. A final oddity is that the bottom 2 decks have a series of waterproof doors that must be closed when the ship enters of leaves a port. There was no warning of this before we started our muster drill making it a real "Chinese Fire Drill" finding the right stairway down to my cabin to retrieve my life jacket for the drill. Windstar was formerly affiliated with Holland America and has changed ownership in the recent past. The opinions I heard from veteran passengers was that the line has either changed little or gotten somewhat better after the change in ownership. Staterooms: The rooms are fairly large (188 square feet minimum), comfortable, and generally well laid out. The exceptions are having the life jackets in a ceiling compartment, not obvious to find, and not easily reached, and having all the electrical outlets in an awkward spot under the desk. I also found the 110 volt outlet not working when I arrived; I reported the matter to my room steward and it was corrected within 4 hours. With the exception of these minor issues, the room (the lowest category on the ship) was superb. The Wind Surf has no cabins with balconies. Dining: The Restaurant (Deck 4, forward) is the primary location for dinner, and has an open seating policy. I generally prefer early seating, and the 7:00pm opening was a bit late for my tastes, but was a pleasant surprise from the 7:30 opening published in Windstar literature. It was generally 7:30 by the time my table filled up and an order was taken. It was open seating but I generally dined with the same people since there was a fairly small number of early diners willing to share a table. The menu was varied and the service was excellent. There were 3 alternate dinner venues. Degrees (Deck 6, forward) served a 6-course fixed menu (with a vegetarian option) with 4 menus rotating by day of the week. The other 2 venues were actually parts of the deck with tables set up for dinner. Le Marche was a seafood restaurant on deck 6 aft is set up with service provided from the Terrace Bar. I do not eat seafood and thus did not try Le Marche. Candles is set up around the pool on deck 4 aft and offered a limited menu, mostly charcoal grilled meats baked potatoes, and corn on the cob, supplemented by an excellent Tiramisu. Le Marche and Candles used the same staff as Degrees, so when they were open Degrees was closed. The alternative venues required reservations but did not impose a supplemental fee. The Verandah (Deck 6, midship) was the primary venue for breakfast and lunch. It is set up as a buffet, but is well staffed with waiters eager to make the trip through the buffet line and bring passengers whatever they want. The seating is about half inside and half on deck. The outside portion has a grill booth where eggs are prepared for breakfast and burgers for lunch. Other items such as pancakes and waffles are also prepared to order from the galley. The Compass Rose bar (deck 5, aft) serves a continental breakfast 6-11am and is the site for afternoon tea. Activities and entertainment: Not much to speak of. There is no cruise director in the traditional sense. A "hostess" (actually a couple in this case) organizes a few activities, including a daily trivia contest and a cruise-long shipbuilding contest. They appeared to be volunteers cruising for free in exchange for their services and the results were pretty amateur, but they took a genuine interest in the passengers. The sports team had some activities and classes and wii tournaments were a big draw as were near-daily cooking demonstrations. Mostly, though activities consisted of reading, knitting, and relaxing. In the evening, there were small bands in two of the lounges, and one night there was a combined crew-passenger talent show. On one evening each of the passengers received an invitation to dinner from one of the staff. Some came from departments like the casino and gift shop, others from ships officers. One issue with this event was it was poorly publicized and many passengers declined the invitation thinking it was a sales pitch or other come-on. The groups were re-shuffled and combined to form full tables. I ended up with a Cadet (officer in training near the end of maritime school) and a Junior Officer who were very gracious hosts and enjoyed a wonderful evening. As on most repositioning cruises there was an emphasis on crew training and one day they did an abandon ship exercise where they set up a life raft in the swimming pool. At the conclusion of the drill there was an opportunity for the passengers to board the raft. It was a very interesting experience and gave me a real desire not to ever have to go through for real. There were walking decks around the ship on both decks 5 and 6, although deck 5 was closed for most of the voyage for maintenance of the teak. The deck 6 track was labeled 5.5 laps per mile, although most walkers thought it was mislabeled and actually about 6.5 laps per mile. There were DVD players in the rooms and a good selection of movies in the library but entertainment was distinctively do it yourself. Service: The service was excellent, friendly and attentive without hovering. Like many of the small, premium lines the staff at reception knew everybody's name by about day 2. Captain Mark Boylin was out around the ship and very approachable. He knew many of the repeat passengers and was always willing to stop and chat even with the newcomers. Children: There were no specific childrens' facilities on the ship. While port intensive Windstar cruises may be ok for children, the transatlantic voyage would certainly not. Ports: Disembarkation: Disembarkation was smooth and finished by about 9am. The taxis in Barbados were all about 12-passenger vans, and waited for a nearly full van before leaving. My taxi took a group to another hotel on the way to my hotel. Summary: Ratings are a very subjective matter. What is good really depends on the individual's point of view. I would have preferred a few more activities, especially the enrichment programs offered by the likes of Cunard and Crystal on their transatlantic voyages, but still immensely enjoyed my crossing. The biggest disadvantage of Windstar for me is really that they do not return to the US, so extensive air travel is required at both ends of the cruise. I have booked a Mediterranean Voyage for fall 2010 and will then get a feel for Windstar on a port intensive itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, ... Read More
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, or maybe it was due to cost considerations by the cruise line. However, the quality and approach slipped considerably. It became ordinary. PORTS: There was no need to have two sea days. We had wonderful ports, and by using two sea days, especially when the portage in Abiza was changed to an inconvenient location with an arrival at siesta, or when a lovely local like Majorca is shorted in time, the quality of the experience is lost. Indeed timing changes caused us to miss the ability to see the Rock of Gibraltar as well! Now the food. Windstar food is top notch and 5 star - at least it was. This cruise featured the best one would expect from Dennys or COCO, NOT from a Splichel (Pinot restaurants) designed menu. Shore excursions sold out. The line made no effort to line up backup guides - leaving clients to fend for themselves in places like Tangier! While the dining room and bar staff were, as always, terrific, room service was not accommodating, food was average, ports were shortened, coke was $2.50 and beer $7.50 and one wonders: Why bother with Windstar? I doubt that I will sail them again and I was a committed Windstar booster. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
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