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11 Windstar Lisbon Cruise Reviews

We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is ... Read More
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is in disrepair. There are layers of peeling paint and rust everywhere. The entertainment is pretty lame and the specialty restaurants are nothing more than the main diningroom serves. We experienced two deck side barbecues and the second had few shrimp and no lobster. The bridge was supposed to be open to passengers when not in port and was closed half the time. So what did we like? The great waiters like Hari, Puji an amazing room steward and the Yacht Club where specialty coffees and snacks were served all day. The excursions were excellent although it took four frustrating visits to the excursion desk to get a refund. The guys working the tenders were great as were the crew in the marina. The port visits were on time and the tv offerings were nice. We found the room service to be excellent and very convenient during the 13 day mostly rough crossing. The embarkation was a disaster after sitting in a cold, dirty port in Lisbon six hours because a Windstar rep told us we could leave our luggage secured and there wasn’t anyone there from The ship to assist us. Disembarkay was leisurely and well organized. Despite the many pluses, we won’t be sailing Windstar again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I can sum up the Star Pride, in a few words, barely adequate. Not a very high mark for a line that charges luxury prices. After 36 days on her, it’s more like Star Rust Bucket. The number of things that have gone amiss is quite long. ... Read More
I can sum up the Star Pride, in a few words, barely adequate. Not a very high mark for a line that charges luxury prices. After 36 days on her, it’s more like Star Rust Bucket. The number of things that have gone amiss is quite long. To put this review in perspective I am not a princess type and I certainly do not expect complete perfection. Too start off, a promised cruise credit of $2400, completely disappeared. I booked directly with Windstar, so can’t blame a TA. I did have some email paperwork, but was told it had to be emailed to the office. We had a hotspot, but it never seemed to go thru properly, even though the copy to myself did. After days of excuses, we were told the credit was $2000 and the first amount was an error. I was just too tired of the whole drama to pursue it farther. A vacation should be fun, not a miserable angry experience. We did get our free laundry package with no problem. The ship is quite tired and desperately needs a complete refurbishment and dry dock. The cabin is spacious, but looks to not have been changed since the 80’s. The chairs and loveseat appear somewhat newer, but the rest of the cabinets, table, desk etc are dinged, scratched and nicked. The carpet is worn. The bed is uncomfortable and overall linens poor quality. The steward does his best to keep things clean. Our bathroom, an accessible with shower only, has been remodeled in a very haphazard manor. A glass doored cabinet in front of the commode has no closer and shattered during a rough night at sea, I asked repeatedly to have the closer fixed to no avail. It stayed in a dangerous shattered state for 2 days before it was replaced. Still no closer after 36 days. A piece of folded paper was stuck in it to keep it closed. The toilet has broken four times. There is mold in shower grout etc. The shower water is often tepid to downright cold, at least 1/3 of the time. The light in the walk-in closet burned out 3 days ago, have asked reception, steward etc to fix. Finally after 4 days it was fixed.The worst has been for 5 days out of 32, there has been no heat and the room was like a meat locker. Repeated attempts to fix the problem, work for a few days, then it’s back to freezing. Other times it was excessively hot. Just today it was announced the HVAC is out shipwide. Finally,after over 3 weeks were offered a different room. I felt that the accessible shower stall was worth keeping the lemon room at this point. I’m onlly 4’10 with knee and back issues and having to step over the side of the tub, did not seem worth the trade off, plus the added work of repacking and unpacking again. The accessible room is what I booked and the expectation of having what I paid for did not seem too much, although evidently it is. We did receive a bottle of wine, as some compensation... The windows on the whole ship including our cabin have been filthy. On day 30 a halfhearted attempt at window cleaning occurred, with water sprayed onto the window. It helped marginally. Every other longer cruise I’ve ever been on, I have noted windows have sporadically been cleaned. Often there is a notice to close draperies etc. The hall on our floor flooded at least 4 times, adding to the general moldy smell. The public rooms are for the most part, equally tired, dingy, often smelling of mold and crammed with too much furniture. The dining room is ok and the Yacht club ok, except for dirty windows. The staff overall is beyond wonderful and the food has been excellent, probably the best of any cruise line we have been on. That pulled the bar from the pits to adequate. there are only two dining venues; the buffet and the main dining room. The “alternate”dining Candles, is just in the same buffet, but served with a slightly different menu. Near the end of the long cruise, the Candles was moved to the Compass Rose area, which was nicer, but seemed a huge amount of work for the staff, bringing food down an outside stairway. Evidently, Windstar used to have special events. That doesn’t seem to be the case any more. There have been Barbecue nights, which basically mean instead of getting served in the dining room, you get to stand in a long line snaking through the kitchen, fill you plates and try to find a free seat to eat. A confusing and not very fun event. Meanwhile,the singer blares Frank Sinatra songs. Most cruisers seem to be in the 50-75 age group and Frank would be appropriate for their parents. This should seriously be rethought. On our 4 b2b they did manage to get the barbecue on deck once, which was pleasant in the beautiful Norwegian fjords. Be advised the ship is quite small, which in most of our past cruises has been a plus, in this long one, there is nothing to do on sea days. Resting and reading are about it. Which is fine and what I anticipated. There are about 4 tv channels, repeating endlessly and some very outdated dvds available in the library. They do a wine tasting ($20) and a few other tiny events. There is one mediocre singer and a pretty good duo. They don’t add much. The crew talent show is cute and they give it their best. The worst thing overall, considering the cold and rough weather has been the many tender ports and the dismal, if not downright extremely dangerous condition of the tenders themselves. One has broken down twice. The front overhead hatch does not seal on either of them, and if a wave washes over, water pours into the tender. Getting on and off has been so hazardous in a few instances, I can only say thanks to the excellent tender crew, no one has been injured. One crossing was so bad I was fearful for my life. Not the most wonderful cruise experience. The few ships excursions we have taken have ranged from good to really awful. They are extremely overpriced, but that is usual with cruise tours. Many of the ports have been in industrial areas and many miles away from the main cruise port. This seems odd and involves taking a shuttle or public transportation to what you want to see. We have been at anchor and tendered many times a docking experience seems available for other ships. I’m not sure if this is a money saving issue.... In 36 days we only missed one port because of weather. So a positive on that. Our previous cruise with Windstar, on the Windsurf was a much better experience, but the ship had recently been refurbished and it was a much shorter cruise. I would not in any way recommend sailing on the Star Pride, in fact I would run the opposite direction as quickly as possible. We have heard there will be a complete dry dock refurbishment in Aug 2020 and perhaps they may add a section onto the ship. It may be a better experience at that time, but extremely doubtful I would give it a second chance. I know there are many cruisers that swear by the casual, small ship Windstar experience that will disagree. In my opinion there are much better options available for the price point ,general style and ambience As for the corporate office, I should not have had to hassle for a cruise credit I was promised and to top it of not receive the promised amount. If you are looking for a casual experience, other lines ,such as Oceania, give a much better value for cost. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for ... Read More
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for entertainment! Other than that, the bathrooms were the best part, especially for those of us with an ocean view cabin. We had double sinks and a huge (by ship's standards) walk in shower. The tubs in the French door cabins were dauntingly tall, in my view, particularly at sea. My main goal is to stay upright in a shower and, with a wet hand towel on the shower floor, I achieved that goal since I did not have to try to get into a bathtub. Great amenities, as well. There were two grab bars and plenty of storage. Helpfully, there was a cord for hanging your undies if you did hand wash. We eschewed the heavy duty laundry bill in favor of washing out a few things after each shower. Worked great. I will say that we only showered in port because of the rocking. The negative was that our inept and disinterested cabin boy forgot twice to give us a back up roll of toilet paper. When we ran out the second time, my husband was dispatched to reception. There, he met the captain who was so appalled that HE got us the toilet paper! Really, it was that kind of ship with only 200 passengers. Just how inept was that cabin boy? We were surprised at two things in the room when we arrived. One was that the beds are so low that you cannot put your luggage under them. We parked it on either side of the window. When we went to bed the first night, I found the mattress to be very uncomfortable, with some kind of metal support under my back. That and the rocking boat kept me from sleep most of the night. The next day, we examined the mattress to find that the cabin boy had flipped the mattress and we were sleeping on the supports. That got fixed very quickly. First time ever on a ship. At that, it was not the best mattress we have slept on at sea. However, we did not have issues with the thermostat as some did. The room was huge by our previous standards and having a window was normally just fine. It was quite large, the weather was too cool anyway to want to sit outside, so we were quite content with that kind of room. It would have been nice for someone to wash the window, however. The food. Where to begin? Both lunch and dinner were served up top. You had to cross over from the elevator to the outside to get to your meals. The highly touted bbq was on that deck and we about froze as we were not allowed inside the restaurant. That food was pretty good, however. The breakfasts and lunches were very ordinary for a ship that advertises that it is using James Beard recipes. It is bland, even for spicy ethnic dishes such as adobo. Bread pudding was available at every lunch along side ice cream. The rest of the desserts were mainly mousses as one guest mentioned. At dinner in AurorA, food portions were not only small but were mounded in the middle of the plates unattractively. The headwaiter had a hard time remembering if you asked to be seated with others so you could sit a while and have to send a waiter to remind him. The special Candles meal was in the buffet room so lacked any ambiance. My husband's veal chop was full of gristle, my filet was fine, but the bernaise came out of a can. The Caesar salad was very bland, like most of the food. AND, horror of horrors, we missed lobster night in AurourA! The negative of negatives was that exhaust fumes came into our room several times during the cruise with no way to blow the air out. We spoke to the captain about it and he said it happened all the time when the ship was bouncy. It bounced along the Portuguese coast both coming and going. One night we returned to our cabin after dinner to find it full of fumes which caused our eyes to burn. We ended up having to go to bed before the air cleared. That would keep me from sailing with Windstar until this issue is solved. It was one of the examples of the company not spending its money on things that matter. The ship clearly had been dressed up so the reputed $18 million spend on the 3 Seabourn ships went to superficial decorating, not to keeping its equipment repaired. We are supposed to sail on Legend and that ship had its tender fail. People were ferried by zodiacs with wet landings. That would have done me in as I only brought one pair of shoes. I read a report on Breeze that it also had tendering issues. When you arrive on the ship, there is a big hustle to sell you a laundry package (no self laundry), a booze package, and a wifi package. All very expensive. We did not buy any. I have no experience with the spa or the exercise room. Non- alcoholic beverages are included which I really liked. Fed my Coke addiction. Besides there being no entertainment and few port talks, there was a perfectly good room set up for movies but the equipment was missing or broken. We could set up a card game if we wanted but no one did. The library was pretty good for its size with a couple of shelves for passengers to exchange books. We really missed having something fun to do after dinner. There is a very small casino and a couple of bar areas but we do not drink much. A huge plus on this ship is the Yacht Club which not only provides expansive windows but also has a very nice mini breakfast and small sandwiches and desserts for lunch. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches sometime for our excursions. It shuts down the food at 6 pm when most people trot off to dinner. Excursions were the highlight of the islands. The Canaries and Madeira had amazing, wild mountains. The best excursion was a 4 wheel in the Algarve in Portugal. Because of the fabulous islands, we really were happy we went on this cruise. Most of the issues were not really so big.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Ship was tired. Carpet tired and dirty. Staff was tired/ not energetic. Communication poor between staff and guest about were to be when especially on disembarkation. Had to wait on luggage both on embarkation and on ... Read More
Ship was tired. Carpet tired and dirty. Staff was tired/ not energetic. Communication poor between staff and guest about were to be when especially on disembarkation. Had to wait on luggage both on embarkation and on disembarkation. This wait caused us to miss a tour each time which the staff did not seem to worried about but cut down on our experiences. On disembarkation the wait also caused us to miss our connection to our next destination even. Staff called you by your first name or did not use yes sir or yes ma'am. Very cheap liquor and poor drink selection. Drinks made were weak ? watered? And staff very very careful to about not pouring too much and charging for every drop. Overall the food was excellent . Overall not worth the money or least wait to last minute and get last minute deal. We paid earlyt o reserve the date and got no incentives. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Having taken only two previous cruises, one with Regent and one with Silver seas I don’t claim to be an expert on reviewing cruises. However, here is my opinion of the Windstar Barcelona to Lisbon cruise aboard the Star Breeze. The ... Read More
Having taken only two previous cruises, one with Regent and one with Silver seas I don’t claim to be an expert on reviewing cruises. However, here is my opinion of the Windstar Barcelona to Lisbon cruise aboard the Star Breeze. The appeal of a small ship like the Star Breeze is crowd avoidance. However, The Star breeze feels crowded at times especially when at sea. Most of the cabins have widows that don’t open so people want to be on the decks to get fresh air. Unfortunately, there are not enough lounge chairs on the two outside decks. Consequently, everyone tries to claim a chair early by putting stuff on it. Latecomers move the stuff which causes arguments. The lounge chairs have a one inch pad and are very hard. There are umbrellas over some chairs but usually can’t be open under way due to the wind. So, there is little shaded area on the upper deck when the ship is moving. The cabins that do have a sliding door have a tiny deck you can stand on if you have small feet. In effect, all you get is a window that opens. These cabins sell out early. The cabins with a window that doesn’t open are large enough but claustrophobic in my opinion. There is one pool which resembles an oversize bathtub and two small hot tubs. There is a constant roar from the smoke stacks even when the ship is docked. It is quite annoying on the outside decks including the Candles restaurant. I suggest you bring a noise cancelling headset if you want to read a book on the deck. Compared to the two previous cruise ships I was on the Star Breeze seemed dated and overcrowded. There are two restaurants. One is used for breakfast lunch and dinner. This restaurant at dinner time is called Candles and you can go there once during the 8-day cruise. The outside seating area is subject to the exhaust noise. The main dining room on the lower deck is used for dinner only. The food is quite good in both restaurants. Entertainment. Two musical duos played guitar and sang on and off all day. There was one free flamenco dance show on the ship one evening. The cabin crew sang some songs and danced. Sort of an amateur hour show. Amenities I'm not sure if all Windstar cruises are ala carte but this one was. You can buy drinks for $54/day per person or individually. You have to sign for each drink which is annoying. All tours are extra. Even laundry and WI Fi are extra. There are different Wi FI plans priced by the G bytes you use. Shore Excursions Tours were very good and well organized although none were free. Cost varied for $60 to 250/person Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
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
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
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 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
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