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Sail Date: July 2019
We waited for months for our amazing cruise adventure, and spent quite a bit more than the "average" cruise to experience Windstar. The ship was great, and the itinerary was as expected. The service, however, really suffered. ... Read More
We waited for months for our amazing cruise adventure, and spent quite a bit more than the "average" cruise to experience Windstar. The ship was great, and the itinerary was as expected. The service, however, really suffered. I don't know who wrote the other review for our ship (July, 2019), but for the $ spent, the crew's attention to guests in the dining/bar area was inexperienced. Didn't know how to un-foil a bottle of wine, or make drinks. Used a powered mix for margaritas... come on! We expected more with regard to drinks and service. Food was as expected, but again, it seemed that this ship was in transition with their crew, and struggling to have a cohesive team. We appreciated being told this by many new management level staff there. Not sure we would sail on this ship again. I do need to add that the management there was super good, and also was aware there were problems. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
A lovely cruise on a fantastic ship. It’s so impressive to see the sails unfurl. The ship was at capacity but never felt crowded. The pool and sports deck/marina were delightful. Service was friendly and efficient. The staff greets you ... Read More
A lovely cruise on a fantastic ship. It’s so impressive to see the sails unfurl. The ship was at capacity but never felt crowded. The pool and sports deck/marina were delightful. Service was friendly and efficient. The staff greets you by name and knows your preferred morning beverage. The excursions were well planned and executed. Onboard dining was great! A very satisfying experience. Lovely ship, lovely service, fantastic ports of call, and great weather! Cruised from Barcelona to Athens, stopping in Mallorca, Menorca, Sardinia, Amalfi, Sicily, Malta, and Greece. Local delicacies were available at meal services. Attentive and enthusiastic crew. Beautiful views of ports, sunsets and dawns. Local entertainment/dancers brought on in Malta and Greece. Very smooth embarkation and disembarkation. Water pressure in the shower was the best I’ve ever had at sea. L’Occitane amenities. Bright and airy cabin with great climate control. I would definitely sail with Wind Star again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the intimacy of the ship. We might have sacrificed all of the bells and whistle of a larger ship, but being on a smaller ship was well worth it. Embarkation was done in a very smooth and orderly fashion ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the intimacy of the ship. We might have sacrificed all of the bells and whistle of a larger ship, but being on a smaller ship was well worth it. Embarkation was done in a very smooth and orderly fashion and we were in our cabin within 15 minutes of boarding the ship. After ready some of the previous reviews, I was nervous about the age of the ship and it's condition, but our balcony cabin was clean and extremely spacious Yes, the cabins do need some updating, which they are planning a full refurbishment in the next year or so, but we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as bad as I had read. One of the things that makes this cruise line special are it's crew. They are so welcoming and friendly. They know your name with in the first day or so. The service level is amazing. Before you even take your last sip, they are right there asking if you would like another. Never a dirty glass or plate is sitting in front of you. And the FOOD!! Every night they offered their James Beard Foundation specialties along with other gourmet dishes and for those who are picky, they offer steak and chicken every night. Everything was done to perfection. The Executive Chef went over and above when we asked for a special dessert that was not being offered that night. The breakfasts were very good also. You can have made to order omelets along with a buffet. Or you can order something off the menu like waffles or pancakes or Egg Benedict. Same goes for the lunches where you can order a hamburger or chicken sandwich along with the buffet selections. Also the deck BBQ that they offered the evening we were in Cannes was spectacular! They bought fresh Sea bass that day and cooked it right there on the spot. Also, they had lobster and roasted pig, shrimp, carved beef, BBQ chicken and so much more. Then afterwards, they had line dancing that was so much fun! The crew really makes it a special night. The entertainment was what you might expect from a smaller ship. They had a duo singing every night up on the pool deck. And usually a special event in the Compass Lounge with fun things like a "Name that Tune" trivia game or the "Liars Club" where you had to guess which of the crew was telling the truth, and the crew talent show, which was very entertaining. But if you are expecting a big production show like what is on a large cruise ship, you will not see that here. We arrived in Rome a few days before the cruise and explored the city. We had Rome Cabs pick us up at the airport and give us a mini 1 hour tour of the city where we go out and visited the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. We had never been to Italy and we went to the usual touristy spots. The next day we went to The Colluseum where an archaeologist gave us a tour of the underground parts of the Colluseum then we had our regular tour guide take us round the rest of the Colluseum and the Forum. Very informative tour of these spectacular historical wonders. And on our last day in Rome, we went to the first entry to the Vatican, then it was off to our ship. The ports of call were very good. We did take a shore excursion through Windstar in Portofierro, Elba. It was well organized, even though it was supposed to be a morning departure and they had to change it to afternoon due to work being done on Napoleon's summer house. But our guide was very knowledgeable and got us back to our ship in time. We especially loved Portofino and Sanary Sur Mer probably because we like how small and quaint these ports were and their beauty! In Portofino, we walked to the top of Castle Brown, were the views were spectacular. Then we just walked around the beautiful little village. And Sanary Sur Mer was the prettiest little fishing village. There was a farmers market at the time where they had the fisherman, who just came in from the sea, put their fish on display along with fresh fruit and vegetables and lots of other items. Cannes and Monte Carlo, we just did our own thing, but the they are beautiful cities. The Grand Prix was just the week before, and they had an exotic car show going on the day we were in port. We saw many high end luxury sports cars being displayed and driven around the streets. Fun to see! We stopped in the small fishing village of Palermo, Spain where we did a lot of shopping. The prices were much more reasonable there and enjoyed our stay there. Our last stop was Barcelona where we disembarked. Again, this went very smoothly. We had a driver and guide waiting to pick us up for a private tour of Barcelona. Barcelona is a beautiful city with amazing architecture. We enjoyed our tour very much. I enjoyed our trip so much and was so sad to see it end. This is an older ship, but Windstar has kept it looking nice and clean. The service, food and overall experience was top notch! I would not hesitate to return to Windstar and am looking forward to our next cruise with them! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We cruised on Windsurf about 10 years ago and enjoyed it. This time was also good. Food was generally very good and occasionally excellent - we had some vegetables which were not hot but usually OK. Drinks are free if soft, ... Read More
We cruised on Windsurf about 10 years ago and enjoyed it. This time was also good. Food was generally very good and occasionally excellent - we had some vegetables which were not hot but usually OK. Drinks are free if soft, including coffees, and quite expensive if they have alcohol. Activities and entertainments are poor, though there was a band in the lounge and a duo upstairs. However when we could not go ashore owing to the wind, there was no Plan B to look after the customers. There could be silly games, lectures, quizzes etc but nothing until we beat up a manager. Captain avoided the issue. We had a cabin which looked out onto the tender boats when in port which some people would not like - noisy and too public. They need to put a nightlight in the bathrooms. Not cheap but fairly upmarket. Remember this is a small ship, 300 pax, with portholes only. They often had the sails up which was a pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Choose the Star Pride predominately for the race and then the wonderful different ports of call. Food was some of the best cruise food ever and the staff were wonderful. The rooms are a good size, but don't bother with the balcony ... Read More
Choose the Star Pride predominately for the race and then the wonderful different ports of call. Food was some of the best cruise food ever and the staff were wonderful. The rooms are a good size, but don't bother with the balcony upgrade. The size of the ship makes it easy to get around without needing a map. If you get the opportunity check out the bridge when it is open as the crew is very informative about the ship and navigation. All the staff are very friendly and a joy to be around. The dinner selections are excellent and it feels like you are dining in a five star restaurant. Before buying the drink package take into consideration your on board credit as well as how much you plan on drinking, we skipped the package and didn't come close to using our credit. Same for the wi-fi package it was easy to find free hot spots at each port of call to catch-up and send photos. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was a "Star Collector" cruise, featuring two 9-day back to back itineraries. We chose the itinerary because the first leg featured visits to Madeira and the Canary Islands, neither of which are offered very often. The ... Read More
This was a "Star Collector" cruise, featuring two 9-day back to back itineraries. We chose the itinerary because the first leg featured visits to Madeira and the Canary Islands, neither of which are offered very often. The second leg featured the Channel Islands, Cherbourg, and Bruges, none of which we had previously visited. One of the nice features offered by Windstar on these longer itineraries is free laundry service, greatly appreciated. Windstar loyalists such as us keep returning again and again because of the great personalized service. 56% of the passengers were Yacht Club members, and we won a bottle of champagne for having the most previous cruises. Captain Dmitri was extremely personable, and could often be found in the forward "Yacht Club" lounge chatting with passengers. The bar and dining room teams were excellent. However, the star of the show was Olga, who was in charge of signing up passengers for future cruises. She had a truly encyclopedic knowledge of every Windstar itinerary and details of every ship. We signed up for two cruises in 2020 (at a nice discount)! Something new this year was Windstar's partnership with the James Beard Foundation, including customized recipes from award-winning chefs that were incorporated into the daily menus. The food was outstanding, as was the wine list. Some of the wines by the glass were a bit pedestrian, but the overall selection was great. The onboard entertainment was average at best. There was a pianist/singer who lost his voice immediately after his Elton John "tribute" performance, and a Spanish duo (guitarist & vocalist) who made us long for the return of our all-time favorites "Rain". At least there was no dance band, as is often the case on the Wind Surf. There was also a couple on board who were professional photographers and who gave instructive talks every day about tips and techniques. However, Windstar no longer has a resident photographer, and they have also removed all of the casinos. No loss there... The itinerary was very good, but the excursions were just OK. Madeira was gorgeous, with absolutely mind-boggling topography unlike anything I have ever seen before. One of our future trips will be in March, 2020 for the inaugural cruise of the refurbished and lengthened Star Legend. Can't wait to see the improvements. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I just came home from the Lisbon to Barcelona cruise in April. It is our third cruise with Windstar. Pros: The staff is wonderful. They know your name by the second day. The food is good particularly the barbeque ... Read More
My husband and I just came home from the Lisbon to Barcelona cruise in April. It is our third cruise with Windstar. Pros: The staff is wonderful. They know your name by the second day. The food is good particularly the barbeque on the deck. There is a nice variety of food to please everyone. The suites are spacious. King size beds, a sitting area, a double variety bathroom, and a walk-in closet. The ship is very clean. The security on and off the ship is good. The shore excursions to Gibraltar, Alhambra and Seville were very good. The daily programs and nightly talks are very helpful for background information. Embarkment and disembarkment are quick and efficient. We extended our stay at the end of the trip to Barcelona. It was wonderful! Cons: The shore excursions are expensive. WiFi is not included and should be. Wine and beer should be included not an additional charge. A lovely vacation! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. ... Read More
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. Pros: --Small ship with sails: we don’t enjoy large ships anymore and the sails were beautiful --Excellent service: from the Captain on down, everyone was charming with just a very few exceptions (see cons) —Good food: Mostly excellent. No fails! --Nice fitness room Cons: —Aging ship that needs total re-furbishing: Formica EVERYWHERE, stained carpets, lots of thick, painted-over rust. Small porthole windows and no balconies. —We felt nickeled and dimed: expensive beer and wine prices made us buy the package. Then they tried to up-sell us to the fine wines and mixed drinks. WIFI package was $60 and data ran out in just one day of checking email. So slow! Shore excursions are very pricey—none are included. —Itinerary should have been tweaked for this late-in-the-season cruise. Ibiza was a ghost town—should have been replaced. We did not get Windstar’s usual on-shore special event. Why not? —Docking: the line advertises its ability to dock in small towns and ports, however, we were always docked in a large, industrial port. —Staffing: the front desk staff was cold and dismissive. Everyone else was warm and tried very hard. However, the lounge is terribly understaffed at cocktail hour. Table service was almost non-exisistent! You had to fight your way to the bar and wait. I guess we were hoping for more of a river cruise experience, but perhaps that was unreasonable. I doubt that we will try Windstar again. We will try other small, high-end lines and hope for a better value. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Star Breeze - Ex Rome to Barcelona - we picked the itinerary based on the ports and departure date plus the very special fare our agent could secure, & we wanted to try the small ship experience. Let me be frank I would NOT pay ... Read More
Star Breeze - Ex Rome to Barcelona - we picked the itinerary based on the ports and departure date plus the very special fare our agent could secure, & we wanted to try the small ship experience. Let me be frank I would NOT pay full price for these cruises. when you compare full price against other lines the quality , age & upkeep of the ship, average food etc just doesnt add up. I'm not loyal to on company having cruises on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Oceania & Viking - so have a broad appreciate of what lines can offer. However for the price we paid for our 7 day cruise - 50% off - I felt this was better value cruising at this price. If you find a crusie at $230pp/night - thats good value. One point to note MANY loyal Windstar guests on-board - Windstar has a fan club who keep coming back - again i feel they look for better value than the advertised price & enjoy their time on the ships at a certain price point. For a 30 year old ship it shows and its time either to replace these ships of run them through a tip to tail refurbishment - no expense spared. Ports were fantastic - expect Palamos - not well chosen - town was post its season peak and allot of shops closed and nothing much else to see unless you did an excursion. Highlight was Sannary Sur Mer - beautiful, laid back, great food and friendly locals.....Genoa a surprise visit due to weather - the old town was charming - but all museums closed on a Monday - again not well planned. Food is average at best - despite the partnership the line has with James Beard nothing really stood out. Candles is just a re-purposed morning buffet area with Candles on the table. We had a beverage package that is very good value for money if you have more than 2 glasses of wine per meal - selection of wines was fairly good. Best Meal was the dine around buffett where they set up a great BBQ in the kitchen & you got to meet the kitchen team & have excellent food choices. Public Areas - are in dire need of updating.....30 years young.....plus the attention to detail you see on other lines just isnt there in execution. Staff - all seemed reasonably happy - with a full ship maybe another 5 or 10 staff would lift the service elements a little - best service was in Compass Rose & select staff in Amphore A. Shore excursions - we organised our own as dont like being part of the larger groups. Did see any of the entertainment. Would I cruise with Windstar again - unless the port choices were amazing, price was truly a bargain and the ship had been refurbished I dont think so. I would try other small ships like Seabourn knowing that its a notch up and better value for the quality of the ship and inclusions. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin ... Read More
We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin we've ever stayed in! It's was great: had a doorbell, a walk-in closet, a full bathtub, and double sinks in the bathroom! Yes, it was older, but it was very comfortable. We had ample storage space! The ship is a little "dated," but otherwise very nice. The food was outstanding! This was the best cruise line food we've ever had. Service from the crew was friendly and many of them learned our names quickly. We really liked the itinerary. We were very anxious to see Gibraltar and it did not disappoint! We also really liked Seville, Malaga, and Mallorca. We would have liked an overnight in one of these cities, so we could explore more. We were blessed with beautiful weather and that enhanced our experience. Except for our two days in Barcelona, it was warm and sunny (with no humidity). Barcelona turned chilly and rainy and we hadn't packed appropriately for the sudden change in weather. Since we were with a Tauck group, all our excursions were separate from the ones offered by the ship (although very similar in most cases). Tauck kept us busy; we either had 2 excursions each day, or one very long one. Consequently, we were away from the ship most of the day and didn't get to do much on the ship. And, we were not encouraged by our Tauck Tour Director to participate in Windstar activities (or mingle with the non-Tauck guests). We had daily meetings in the Compass Rose lounge, and that was where we returned (on our own) at other times. To me, the Star Breeze is like a "shrunken down" cruise ship. It has some of the same amenities as a bigger ship, but on a much smaller scale. There is no specialty restaurant; at night, the breakfast/lunch buffet becomes "Candles" for a small number of passengers, and if the weather cooperates, passengers have the option of dining outside. There wasn't much entertainment offered (there was a good duo in the Compass Rose lounge). There was a very small "casino" but I didn't see anyone in it. We did not use the spa or the fitness room (we had only one sea day and the remaining days, we were on excursions). We discovered the lovely Yacht Club lounge late in the cruise. We probably should have done some exploring on our own early in the cruise! In summary, this was a very nice cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise for our 30 th anniversary thinking it was going to be about luxury. The cabins were spacious but outdated. Our cabin steward was great and Maria ( ship consultant) tried to keep customers upbeat with her great ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 30 th anniversary thinking it was going to be about luxury. The cabins were spacious but outdated. Our cabin steward was great and Maria ( ship consultant) tried to keep customers upbeat with her great attitude. At dinner, the food was good and the dining room was nice. The service was usually mediocre. Breakfast and lunch was served at an indoor/outdoor area. The inside could accommodate 30 people and our cruise had 200 passengers. What that meant was that when everyone got off their excursion at the same time, all of us were at the same time. Several meals were spent outside (covered) but sometimes cold and rainy. Oh, they would give you blankets...who wants to wear a blanket or shiver eating a meal ? Not me. We rushed several meals just to get back inside. We did room service a few times so we wouldn’t have to sit in the cold. Most of the excursions were nice but a little pricey. Entertainment was 2 sets of duos, elevator music but they could sing well...just not very upbeat. This was my first Windstar cruise-just average , nothing extravagant. The ship rocked and rolled our last night which gave a lot of passengers motion sickness. I will not be a return customer on Windstar. Many repeat customers said this cruise did not measure up. I was a little disappointed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Booked the Rome to Venice cruise on the recommendation of some friends and enjoyed it. Pre-cruise Windstar reps were readily available to answer questions with details and options. We utilized the well appointed gym most days and thought ... Read More
Booked the Rome to Venice cruise on the recommendation of some friends and enjoyed it. Pre-cruise Windstar reps were readily available to answer questions with details and options. We utilized the well appointed gym most days and thought the staterooms were as described with plenty of storage and a comfortable bed. Service and food was excellent throughout the ship. We elected to sign up for two excursions through Windstar and did others on our own, which was the right combination for us. There was a glitch with an engine communication issue that added a day at sea, but they made some adjustments to try to alleviate the impact—we were glad the issue was resolved. The onboard internet did not work as advertised. To Windstar’s credit, we were refunded charges we had paid in advance, but would have made other arrangements had we known onboard connectivity would be fairly nonexistent. We travelled as a couple, and it was nice to have options to either share a table at dinner or dine as a couple and enjoyed meeting fellow guests. We like a variety of modes of travel, but Windstar is a very good option for a small luxury cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Sicilian Splendors was our final leg of our back2back2back cruise celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband's 65th birthday. Our first leg of our journey was Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco (Lisbon to ... Read More
Sicilian Splendors was our final leg of our back2back2back cruise celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband's 65th birthday. Our first leg of our journey was Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco (Lisbon to Barcelona); the second Yachtsman's Harbors of the Rivieras (Barcelona to Rome/Civitavecchia) and now Sicilian Splendors, our third and final leg of our 25 day cruise. Because this was our third leg of our journey, we already had our keys and used the embarkation day as a regular port day. And since we were staying on board we had been able to book our Candles and Stella Bistro reservations the night before. We wandered around Civitavecchia on our own and took in the local market and stopped for pastries and coffee at a local place. It's definitely a working man's port but we saw lots of families out and about too. It wasn't as scenic as some of our other stops but it is a big city. We walked the waterway and stopped for a beer and free WiFi before heading back to the ship. The next day was our one day at sea on this itinerary. Unfortunately the seas were rough and I was pretty happy I hadn't booked a massage for the day! We relaxed and just hung out. Catania, Sicily On our roll call, I had met another couple that wanted to tour on their own out of Catania so the four of us booked Sicily Life tour's "Taormina and Winery on the slopes of Etna" and off we went. We enjoyed our tour and it was fun meeting new friends. Gozo/Xlendi, Malta We were suppose to anchor here the following day but because of more rough seas, the captain felt it was best to skip this port and head directly to Valletta, Malta. Sadly, due to the extreme rough seas we were unable to dock in Valletta that evening (as our itinerary had said) and we spent it at sea waiting until morning to continue on. Valletta, Malta We docked in the morning and we headed off on our own. What a lovely port this is and so doable on your own! We wandered all over and stumbled upon a bar called The Pub which was made famous by the fact that during the filming of Gladiator, Oliver Reed had drank his last drink there and died shortly afterwards. We had to stop and have a pint with all the English tourists who had stopped there as well. Afterwards we found a fantastic Italian restaurant where we shared lunch and a lovely bottle of wine. The architecture is beautiful and there is a large British influence. We saw the firing of the cannons but too quickly our time was over. (How I wish the weather had cooperated so we had had our overnight here!) We stopped for a drink and to use the restaurants WiFi close to the dock and ran into a lot of the crew. Once back on board, we realized over the loud speaker they kept calling two names. Turns out, there was a couple that didn't get back to the ship on time and they were attempting to find them. It must have been almost an hour before this couple reappeared. They had been at a close by store buying jewelry and hadn't noticed the time nor heard the loudspeaker. We think they got lucky the ship didn't leave them since there was another ship ahead of us. It is a very small opening you have to sail through with bumpy seas. Because we were late leaving we had the most spectacular sunset over Valletta we won't soon forget. Porto Empedocle, Sicily We joined the WS excursion "Temples Valley" and ended up with blue skies, a lovely guide and some fascinating ruins. It was a short bus ride to the valley and then lots of ruins to see. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. And because it was only 3 hours, we had time to walk around the port on our own. We weren't sure how far it was to find the shops and restaurants so we waited for the shore bus to take us. The joke was on us since we rode less than 5 minutes! We did found a quiet restaurant where we had lunch and then we walked back to the ship. There weren't very many shops in the area close to the ship and it wasn't the prettiest port either but we felt safe and enjoyed our time there. Trapani, Sicily Another fabulous day on our own! We wanted to head to Erice and as we wandered off the ship, another couple was looking for a taxi so we finally found one (not the easiest thing) and headed to the cable car station. Now, our taxi driver wanted to give us a tour and drive us to Erice but we insisted he just take us to the cable car station. It took a bit of convincing but after telling him we would call when we were ready to come back to the ship, he dropped us at the cable car station. We purchased a round trip ticket and up we went. It was a Sunday and we weren't sure how much would be opened but just about all the restaurants and shops were. We walked all around and saw the sights. We stopped for some delicious pizza and wine. We visited several bakeries and ate some yummy Sicilian cookies and pastries. We shopped and purchased a ceramic pasta bowl for our son. Finally, we found a bar with WiFi and had a beer. After church the families wandered around and it was just a lovely feeling, being a part of this unique town. When we arrived back to the cable car station at the top, I spoke to a taxi driver and he called a taxi to meet us at the bottom. We hopped on the cable car and the taxi was waiting for us at the bottom. It was a good thing we had called because another group was trying to get in our taxi! Back to the ship and another wonderful day in the books. That evening, we ate at Stella Bistro and brought along some of the pastries we had purchased that day. Lipari, Italy Lipari was another day we spent on our own. We anchored at this port and was immediately in the thick of the shops and restaurants. I found several cute shops where I bought some trinkets to bring home. We wandered up a hill to one of the basilicas with the most beautiful ceiling. We stopped for pizza (not as good as in Erice) and some beer and WiFi. We found some streets that had more locals than tourists and enjoyed our wanderings. We also got some great photos of Wind Surf in the harbor. We set sail and cruised past Mt Stromboli which was magnificent and we even got a show from the volcano! Sorrento, Italy/Salerno, Italy We had big plans in Sorrento. I had booked a private tour and we were so looking forward to it when the weather and rough seas interfered with our quest. We were suppose to anchor in Sorrento, but due to rough seas, we were unable to make it to Sorrento. Naples was all booked up so the captain made the decision to take us to Salerno, Italy. We were told of the change the night before so we had some time to attempt to get a hold of our tour company and see if they would be able to pick us up in Salerno instead of Sorrento. They were so lovely and really wanted to accommodate us but due to the fires above Positano, they couldn't do it. So, what to do? We got together with some new friends and wandered from the dock and found a nice man who called his friend the taxi driver who agreed to take the 6 of us to Ravello for the day. The drive was crazy with lots of twists and turns. When we arrived in Ravello it started to rain but we found a restaurant and had lunch and afterwards, the sun came out. Ravello is known for ceramics and we found a place that made us some special pieces and shipped them home to us. They arrived in about 6 weeks and we couldn't be happier! Our taxi took us back to Salerno and because we had until midnight to be back on board, we decided to venture out on our own. We found some streets filled with locals enjoying the evening; we had dinner, shopped and finished with some gelato before heading back to the ship. I'm so happy we headed out in the evening and could experience Salerno by night. That evening was the deck BBQ and we made it back just in time for the dancing. All our favorite crew entertained us and I had fun joining in too. Amalfi, Italy Today was a short day so we headed right off the ship and purchased tickets for the local ferry to take us to Positano. We arrived in Positano before any other tourists and enjoyed the quiet. The beach is pretty and we started wandering up the hill. Just as we got close to the top, the tourists from the daily buses started making their way down. It got too crazy after that so we headed back to the ferryboat and back to Amalfi. We had just enough time in Amalfi to find a limoncello shop where the owners let us taste the limoncello (we had to purchase some too!) and told us their story. This is what it's all about for us. Finding the hidden gems and chatting with the locals. All too soon it was time to board and we had to say goodbye to Amalfi. I really wish we had had more time to explore this cute town. As we sailed out of Amalfi, we passed Positano, the island of Capri and Mt Etna. The sun set on what would be our final night of our back2back2back cruise. We had an amazing time and when asked, we couldn't pick our favorite cruise out of the three; they were all memorable and fantastic in their own way. Upon docking in Civitavecchia, we shared a taxi to the airport with the new friends off our roll call. It was easy and fast and too soon we were traveling back to the US. A few notes about our total Wind Surf experience on our back2back2back... We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. We love Windstar and the port intensive itineraries. We love the smallness of the ships and the fact that you actually get to know other travelers and the crew on board. And after all the time we spent on board Wind Surf, she really became our home away from home. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was the middle portion of our back2back2back cruise aboard Wind Surf celebrating my husband's 65th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. Originally we were going to do the first cruise (Treasures of Southern Spain & ... Read More
This was the middle portion of our back2back2back cruise aboard Wind Surf celebrating my husband's 65th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. Originally we were going to do the first cruise (Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco) and then rent a car and travel through the south of France but when we realized this was the next cruise, we booked it! We love Windstar cruises and the port intensive itineraries. We also love the small ship experience and the amazing crew on board. This was our 4th cruise on Windstar and it just gets better and better. Yachtsman's Harbors of the Rivieras was a lovely itinerary and all the stops could easily be done DIY. Since we were already on board, Barcelona was really a stop on our itinerary rather than a boarding day. And since we were staying on board, the day before we had made reservations for Candles and Stella Bistro and found out our key cards would still be valid. Barcelona: We booked tickets ahead of time at Sagrada Familia and Park Guell and walked off the yacht and took a taxi to Sagrada Familia. We had the 9 am tour and were one of the first folks in that morning. We opted for the audio tour which allowed us to go at our own pace. At the end of our visit, we hopped a taxi and headed to Park Guell for our 12 noon group tour. I'm glad we had a tour guide and the views were spectacular but the park was so crowded. One more taxi ride to the market at Las Rambles, a few tapas and a walk back to the yacht put us back on board just prior to our 4 pm all aboard. It was a quick day but we were able to see the sights we had wanted to see. Would more time had been nicer? Of course but it was time for sail away and rest of the Riviera! Port Vendres, France - We had no idea what to do at this port but some friends that were on the first cruise with us suggested we hike to Collioure along the path by the water so we did. It took us awhile but the views were beautiful and Collioure was an adorable town. We wandered throughout and found a wonderful restaurant for lunch run by a mother and daughter team. Shopping afterwards and then we hopped on the small tourist train to take us through the vineyards and back to Port Vendres. Sanary-sur-Mer, France - The market in Sanary-sur-Mer is very large and on Wednesday's it has even more to offer. This was also the day of the Chef's Market Tour so we signed up the night before and away we went. The market was filled with vendors and so many shoppers! We were told people come from all around for this market and I believe it! We stopped at several meat and cheese places and tasted several different kinds of cheese and meats. But quickly the tour was over and we hadn't even seen the chef purchase anything! He told we would see the new items in the next day or so but to be honest, we never could figure out what he might have purchased. We walked around for a bit more and then went and found a meat, cheese and wine shop in town and proceeded to have a lovely, impromptu wine tasting with the owner! We left with several new bottles of wine and a new friend. Monte Carlo, Monaco - Prior to booking this cruise our plan was to rent a car and tour the south of France and stay in Nice for a few days. Hence, the decision to take the train to Nice from Monte Carlo. It was easy to find the train station but trying to purchase a train ticket from the automated machine not so easy. We ended up finding the live person selling tickets to make sure we understood which train to take to Nice and more importantly, how to get back to Monte Carlo. We had just missed a train so it was lunch time by the time we got on. We arrived in Nice in time for a quick walk through the Flower Market which was filled with the most beautiful flowers! We walked to the beach (lots of pebbles) and then found a place for lunch. After a leisurely lunch, we had enough time to wander through some shops and buy some wine at a grocery store (inexpensive and delicious!) before catching the train back to Monte Carlo. We did a bit more shopping in Monte Carlo and then headed back to our yacht. I have to say we were SO thankful to be on Wind Surf that day in Monte Carlo. There was one of those monster ships with hoards of people trying to get back on board. We got caught up in their madness for a brief moment before the port staff realized we were on Wind Surf and got us right through security. It looked like a nightmare on the other side! Cannes, France - Our next stop was in Cannes and we had booked the WS tour Provence Wine Tasting with Chateau Saint Roseline. I had tried to book a private wine tasting tour through several companies prior to boarding but they were so expensive (over 500 euros for the 2 of us) that when we saw this one for $129 each, we went ahead and joined the tour. It turned out to be a wonderful day with 2 different wineries, 7 bottles of wine purchased, and good friends to share the experience. The history of both wineries was interesting and the tour guides well versed. Overall a delightful day tasting wine in Provence! Portofino, Italy - We couldn't make up our minds what to do here so my DH decided we should take the WS tour Cinque Terra by Boat Tour for $189 per person. I would hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone that loves to explore on their own. Here's our experience... The swells were pretty high as we pulled into Portofino which meant a hairy experience boarding the tenders. Because of the weather, it took over an hour to get all the folks on this tour over on the tenders. We then boarded a ferry boat (filled only with the WS tour) to take us to Cinque Terra. Well, you can imagine if the swells were bad on the tenders, they were just as bad on the ferry boat. What was suppose to take about an hour turned into almost double that amount of time. It was a rough morning but the best part was that we were able to see by sea, the 5 villages of the Cinque Terra. (My DH jokes those 5 photographs were the most expensive photographs I ever took!) By the time we finally landed at Monterooso (no other landings available that day due to the waves) we were so far behind we were told we had only 2 hours before we had to board again to go back to Portofino and the yacht! Well, I wasn't the least bit happy about that and I told my DH and the Aussies we were traveling with that day that I was taking the train to Riomaggiore for lunch and I'd figure out how to get back to Portofino later. They all agreed and we told the tour guide we were heading out on our own, found the train station and hopped the next train to Riomaggiore. It was one of the best decisions we made the entire trip! After walking up the one main street in Riomaggiore, we stopped for the most fabulous lunch at the most delightful restaurant! After several courses, many bottles of wine and some limoncello, we ad to say good-bye to our new friends/owners of the place, and litearlly had to run back to catch the train to Santa Margherita. There was an art festival along the water we checked out and then grabbed a taxi back to Portofino in time for pizza, beer and wine. The sunset was glorious over Portofino and we were the last ones on the last tender at 8:30 back to the yacht. It was a most memorable day! We missed the Deck BBQ because we stayed in Portofino so late but we didn't really care since we had such a great day with our Aussie friends. Portoferraio, Italy - Another day without a real plan so we did what we had been doing for 15 days and wandered around Elba on our own. We hiked up to the fort and checked out the views; we found a sidewalk cafe and joined all the locals having Sunday dinner out; we sat back and just relaxed. Easy and delicious! And that brought us to Civitavecchia. A turnaround day for us but a sad day too since we had to now say good-bye to our friends we had met while boarding in Lisbon on cruise #1. Originally I had thought to take a cooking class on our own here but we wandered around instead and took in the local market and stopped for pastries and coffee at a local place. It's definitely a working man's port but we saw lots of families out and about too. It wasn't as scenic as some of our other stops but it is a big city compared to the last few ports of call. We walked the waterway and stopped for a beer and free WiFi before boarding to continue on to our next Wind Surf adventure...Sicilian Splendors! A few notes about our total Wind Surf experience on our back2back2back... We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. Overall, we love Windstar cruises because it suits us. We love port intensive cruises. We love the smallness of the ships and that it affords you the opportunity to get to know your fellow cruisers as well as the officers and staff and they get to know you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise because it worked with my schedule and I got a great price on it. I have cruised multiple times on both oceans and rivers, but this was the smallest ocean ship I have ever sailed on. I was a bit nervous about the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it worked with my schedule and I got a great price on it. I have cruised multiple times on both oceans and rivers, but this was the smallest ocean ship I have ever sailed on. I was a bit nervous about the size and the possibility of waves, but it was smooth sailing the whole time. From the time we embarked until the time we disembarked, the staff did everything in their power to make our cruise great. They learned our names, drink preferences, etc. They were receptive to checking inventory for beer I asked for that was not immediately available. They room steward answered promptly when called. Cannot say enough about the great service and the bright, smiling faces of the crew. The ports of call were very interesting. I had been to Lisbon and Barcelona before, so we did not do any exploring there. Tangier, Malaga, Cartagena, Tarragona, Almeria, and Ibiza were very interesting. I did not expect the weather to be as hot as it was and consequently we could have packed extra clothes this time and would have used them. I had to wash in my sink a couple of times. The shore excursions we took from Wind Star were pretty good for the most part, but I do believe that they are rather pricey. I was able to book some private ones of my own for much less money. The food was very good. The menu could have had some other non-beef or fish options but I managed to find things to eat. The nightlife was okay - we were tired from all the walking and the heat so we didn't need anything too strenuous. The highlight was the Crew Talent show. What an amazing and talented bunch of employees the Wind Surf has. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my DH 65th birthday. We have cruised 2x prior with WS (once on Wind Star, once on Wind Surf) and decided to do a back2back2back which meant 25 glorious days aboard Wind Surf! Our ... Read More
We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my DH 65th birthday. We have cruised 2x prior with WS (once on Wind Star, once on Wind Surf) and decided to do a back2back2back which meant 25 glorious days aboard Wind Surf! Our favorite thing about WS is the port intensive cruises with little or no sea days. We love waking up in a new port every day and exploring as long as possible. Come back to the ship, change clothes, grab a drink, meet friends for dinner, and maybe have a night cap or maybe just close down the dining room (that happened almost every night). Go to sleep and repeat. Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco was a great itinerary. We arrived into Lisbon 4 days early to see that sights. So happy we had time to do this and enjoy this beautiful city. Boarding was so easy and we got so so lucky while standing in line we met 2 other couples that will now be life long friends! And on board we met several other couples to make our cruise one of the best we have been on! Our first day was actually a sea day (which we try to avoid whenever possible). We hung out with new friends and got our sea legs. The sun was out and it was a lovely day. Tangiers: We hired a private guide prior to our cruise to take us around the Casbah and the Mdina. We have friends in the Peace Corps living in Morocco who came and joined us on our tour. We loved Tangiers and the people were so kind. I will say the Wind Surf destination manager at the time (didn't get his name) spoke about the horrors of Tangiers and scared several people from wanting to go ashore. I think he did a major disservice to people of Tangiers. While you should always be vigilant when in a foreign country, he went way overboard in his warnings. While many areas (not just Tangiers) have beggars and pickpockets, we felt very safe and would recommend this port to all of our friends. Malaga Spain: We decided to do Malaga on our own and walked off the ship and started walking. We found many pedestrian streets filled with beautiful architecture. We looked for the Picasso Museum but by the time we arrived, the line was too long and we didn't want to waste the time in line so we continued on our way. Our friends did the Hop on Hop off bus and enjoyed it. Granada: We booked the WS tour to the Alhambra and it was amazing! Definitely book this tour but do so months prior to your cruise. It does (and did) sell out prior to our sail date. We had a delightful guide at the Alhambra who just made the tour. A lunch following was fun and we got back in plenty of time. While you could do this on your own, I wouldn't risk it. Cartagena Spain: Once again, we DIY the day and walked the old city. Lots of interesting buildings and architecture and shopping too. Our friends did WS Tapas Tour and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Ibiza Spain: We had signed up for the Jeep Tour a few days before and were looking forward to fun. We loaded up into the jeeps (we got together a group we had met on board) and off we went. Unfortunately, the rain started and there was lightening and they turned the tour around. We did get a refund but we were so disappointed it rained! But 2 hours later, the sun came out and we ventured out on our own and walked through the town. Ibiza is such a night town that even at noon, there weren't a lot of folks up and about. We had a delightful lunch and did some major shopping. Tarragona Spain: It was a Sunday and we were unsure what there might be to do but we boarded the free port bus that took us about 20 minutes to the old city. What a glorious day we had! There was some kind of music festival with groups of kids marching down the streets playing all sorts of musical instruments. There was also the Human Pyramid festival happening where groups of people build a pyramid, sometimes up to 9 people high! And of course, what comes up, must come down! We wandered the cute streets and found beautiful shops and restaurants all opened. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were one of the only tourists and were surrounded by the locals enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Lunch of tapas and sangria and then dipping our toes in the Mediterranean rounded out our day. And that bought us to Barcelona and the end of our first of our back2back2back cruises. We had booked tickets to Sagrada Familia and Park Guell so we got off early and took a taxi and enjoyed our time at those fabulous places. We also walked down Las Rambles and then back to the ship in time for our next sail away. We were sad to see some of our new friends leave but we were so happy we had more cruising to do! We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. Overall, we love Windstar cruises because it suits us. We love port intensive cruises. We love the smallness of the ships and that it affords you the opportunity to get to know your fellow cruisers as well as the officers and staff and they get to know you. Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco was filled with sunshine and towns you could easily do on your own. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this itinerary to those of you who like that type of cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had been on three Wind Star cruises before but all were on the smaller Wind Song and Wind Spirit ships so we weren't exactly sure on what to expect with the larger Wind Surf. We loved it. Our cruise had 296 guests on board but you ... Read More
We had been on three Wind Star cruises before but all were on the smaller Wind Song and Wind Spirit ships so we weren't exactly sure on what to expect with the larger Wind Surf. We loved it. Our cruise had 296 guests on board but you never seemed to see any crowds at all except perhaps during dinner in the main dining room. As like all Wind Star cruises the crew were so friendly and helpful. Cruises typically make or break themselves on the food, our food was exceptional, both in quality and variety and having 2 other dining options besides the main dining room was great. Our stateroom was not overly large but was very well laid out and had all the amenities we had come to expect from Wind Star. It was great having 2 options to dance and listen to live music after dinner in both the lounge and the Compass Rose bar. We left ports quite late each night so rarely saw the casino open or very busy, they could use a craps table to give us dice players an option. The ports of call were amazing, each one different and offering great options to do and see. If I was to get picky my 2 negatives were the cost of the shore excursions and the beverage packages. Shore excursions seem to have become a major profit center for the cruise line. On past cruises our nightly introduction to the next day's port was more a general discussion of the history/culture while now it's more of a run through of all the shore excursions that can be bought. We booked 2 shore excursions on our own prior to travelling that were identical to the ship's version and paid less than half the price. The shore excursions we did do through the ship were very well run, professional and insightful. The beverage package is pricey and sort of mickey mouse for an upscale cruise line. Why not just add $300 to the price of the cruise and make it all drinks included, minus the high end stuff. Bartenders always needing to determine what package you have or if you even have one, it was annoying and unnecessary. Overall, a great cruise with great people, love the Casual Elegance atmosphere. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have sailed on all of the Windstar ships at least once and some more than once and this was one of the worst sailing experiences we encountered on any cruise line including Princess, NCL, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean. The deck crew was ... Read More
We have sailed on all of the Windstar ships at least once and some more than once and this was one of the worst sailing experiences we encountered on any cruise line including Princess, NCL, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean. The deck crew was there but almost non-existent. When able to get their attention, they were curt/rude. Tables at breakfast most days were left un-cleaned while guest stood waiting for a place to sit. Getting a refill on coffee...non-existent...had to fend for yourself. The food was average at best. The rear deck & bar were closed about 5 - 6 each evening. This should have been the "hot spot" on the ship! Great venue went unused. Tours were "fair" at best. A couple of them a waste of time and money. Our experience on past Windstar cruise was that within two days most of the principle staff knew us by our names. On this cruise, only our room steward could address us by out names. We'll look for other small ships for future cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we were more interested in the destinations it sailed to than the onboard amenities. This was our first cruise and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t do enough for us. The ship was beautiful, especially during the times the sails were up. The food was out of this world. It was the best we had during our entire European vacation. I really can’t think of anything that Windstar could have improved on as far as the onboard experience was concerned. The only downfall was that some of the ports weren’t as picturesque as we’d imagined. If we would have done our research beforehand, we would have booked excursions at those stops. Windstar lives up to its reputation and I met many passengers who were experienced travellers with the cruise lineIt wasn’t an inexpensive vacation but it was worth every penny. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I chose to sail with Windstar to celebrate my 50th Birthday accompanied by both my parents and sister. Below is an honest and unbiased review of what was a very positive experience. It is obvious on boarding the Wind Surf that she is ... Read More
I chose to sail with Windstar to celebrate my 50th Birthday accompanied by both my parents and sister. Below is an honest and unbiased review of what was a very positive experience. It is obvious on boarding the Wind Surf that she is not just any cruise ship and that Captain Gerry Hogan is very proud her. Quite rightly so. Wind Surf is the flagship of the Windstar fleet and she is a beautiful sailing motor yacht. Captain Hogan is there to welcome his guests onboard and he is there at the end the journey to bid you farewell. It’s a personal touch that sets the tone for a cruise that is truly different. As she sails from destination to destination you’ll feel immersed in the experience, rather than just a passenger travelling upon a ship. The Staterooms might be more functional than they are luxurious, but they are nicely appointed with comfy beds, quality bathroom products and lots of storage space. The Staterooms give you the feel that you are actually on a sailing yacht rather than some grandiose floating hotel. The quality of the food throughout the ship is excellent and there are some lovely dinning options, with two speciality restaurants located on deck and a ship’s BBQ night which none of us will forget! AmphorA is the main dining room. It is sophisticated and elegant with service to match, without being over stuffy. However it is customer service where Wind Surf really excels and without doubt it has to be said, it is second to none! The ship’s crew are beyond outstanding and work tirelessly to ensure your cruise will be an unforgettable one. They have a sense of camaraderie that will make you feel you’re amongst friends and not just there as a paying guest. Windstar deserve every accolade they win. Congratulations! Our thanks go to all the Wind Surf crew for making our trip so memorable. They say Windstar is “180 degrees from ordinary” … “that she will feel like your own sailing yacht.” They are bold claims, but when her sails go up on your last sail away, you’ll know what they mean. Wind Surf … She is is special ship that none of us will forget. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had a wonderful time on the wind surf. We didn’t expect to.... We’re not “cruise people” - The idea of a cruise ship is just gross to us. We tried the Windstar cruise because a sailboat charter wasn’t able to get us to all ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the wind surf. We didn’t expect to.... We’re not “cruise people” - The idea of a cruise ship is just gross to us. We tried the Windstar cruise because a sailboat charter wasn’t able to get us to all the places we wanted to go. What we found was the WindSurf was a lot more enjoyable than a sailboat charter. Much less work, great food, great staff. In terms of value, it was a really affordable way to go to some of our favorite places. What really set this ship apart was the staff. They were just amazing. It was delightful to have a room steward - thank you Bayu – who would clean up our cabin and even do our laundry every day. We got really spoiled. The bartenders were also great especially Maria. And the service staff for the onboard meals were just delightful especially Charlie. The itinerary for this cruise was great. It started in Rome, then went to Ellba, then Portovenere in the Cinque Terra, then Portofino, then Monaco, St Tropez, La Lavandou and ending up in Nice. These are great yachting destinations. The key thing about the WindSurf was the value proposition. We could’ve chartered our own yacht and spent 20 times more for the same itinerary, but this let us pretend we were Billioaires for a few days on a budget. Our fellow passengers were nearly all American and generally retired but we also met some people that were closer to our age (30s) and more active. The ship itself was very beautiful and interesting. It clearly is in need of an update, but don’t let that scare you away as it’s really something special to experience. The food was much better than we could’ve imagined. But we were a little disappointed with the wine selection. It would’ve been nice if they would have had more local Italian and French wines versus the California-centric wine list. (Especially because we couldn’t really bring any wine into the ship). But now I’m just sounding snobby. We must send a big aloha and thank you to the team members who made this trip so fun. Captain Gerry was great and we enjoyed our chats in the bridge with him. The bar and dining team was great with Naria and Charlie deserving special recognition and of course Bayu our room steward who completely spoiled us. Thank you WindSurf team for a great week in the Med. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The staff and quality of food was outstanding. The suite was large and never felt confining. Double sink vanity, large tub, walk-in closet all made the 8 day experience just like home! Every evening after dinner and drinks, we came back ... Read More
The staff and quality of food was outstanding. The suite was large and never felt confining. Double sink vanity, large tub, walk-in closet all made the 8 day experience just like home! Every evening after dinner and drinks, we came back to a cabin that had been picked up and a bed folded down. Fresh water and a filled ice bucket everyday. The wine selection and knowledgeable wine steward was first class! The barbecue out on the deck was beyond anything we expected. The staff always made sure we had a drink. Deck chairs were plentiful and blankets were brought out for those chilly evenings. The duo that sang and played music were very good and entertained our requests making for fun evenings after dinner. The shore excursions were extremely organized and getting on and off the ship was easy and streamlined. Our only criticism, and this is very minor, was that the cabins could use a little updating, especially the bathrooms. But, storage was plentiful, and the laundry service was super and worth the extra money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I have sailed on 7 different cruise lines on multiple cruises to the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Russia, Alaska, and Europe. Wind Surf was launched for Club Med in 1989 (30 years old). Dry dock and total renovation and redesign cannot ... Read More
I have sailed on 7 different cruise lines on multiple cruises to the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Russia, Alaska, and Europe. Wind Surf was launched for Club Med in 1989 (30 years old). Dry dock and total renovation and redesign cannot come soon enough! This is an old boat and feeling rundown and shabby (not chic). And the sails may wow folks in port, but there is a lot of hoopla over the "unfurling" of sails and playing the same Vangelis music every evening. First time was interesting, but come on folks, what's the big deal. The passenger demographic of this cruise line is well-healed seniors in their 70's who have more money than travel experience and are easily impressed. Overall, the value simply wasn't here. Some may feel they are part of an exclusive guest list of 300 passengers, but the ship is small, staterooms are very small, food service is adequate but average and entertainment is virtually nonexistent. Staff is under pressure to do their jobs and wanted little to do with passenger's requests or comfort. Overall the promise of Windstar's promotional website and literature does not match the promise of a personal and unique experience, an engaging staff, or amazing luxury cruise yachting experience. Boarding the ship in Rome (Civitavecchia), I was astounded that only one of the two elevator was functional at embarkation and the crew had that elevator tied up for hours delivering luggage to state rooms. No staff elevators on board this ship. I spoke with the Reception Desk and they promised each day that the second elevator would be fixed anytime. It took 3 days and constant reminding the desk that there are a lot of very senior passengers who have mobility issues and need the elevator. After repair and elevator started functioning again, they shut down the elevators several times during the cruise and placed an "out of order" sign on the doors. This old ship should never have left port without both elevators functioning. Our cabin was the smallest stateroom ever, with minimal closet and storage space. Bed linens were nice, but the beds were broken down and should have been replaced a year ago. But the bathroom was downright difficult and out dated. I'm 5'11", 185 lbs and it was close for me. Cannot imagine how some on board managed to shower or use the toilets as the space was so tight. Luxury Yacht? Not in my book. Each evening as passengers returned to the ship after a day of excursions, we would congregate on the pool deck expecting to watch the exit from ports during sunsets, relax, swim, chat and enjoy some bar beverages. At 6:00 pm, staff beginning removing all umbrellas, closing pool and jacuzzis, collecting all towels and bar glasses and shutting down the Pool Bar and Deck. Fresh towel bins were empty. Many passengers voiced their objections at this untimely closing of the large pool deck of the ship but staff had their orders and ignored the passengers requests. While reclining in swim wear, we were told to go upstairs and order our drinks at that bar. Then they collected and stacked the chaises to clear the deck. Stupid Ship and Bar Policy. After while, passengers gave up requesting to leave the Pool Bar and Deck open while we sail out of ports. The cruise itinerary was a major draw for us; visiting ports of east and west coasts of Italy, and the Dalmatian coast. Visiting the cruise ports was great fun, but certainly there were the other "mega ships" in port, also. So the idea that the ship is so "small" (700 ft isn't really small), we could sail into ports restricted to larger ships was false. And unfortunately for some, the rear ship "marina" was only lowered twice on the cruise. Many were disappointed that equipment was not in good condition and the kayaks were not available as they posed competition to the local businesses. Shore excursions? Unless you have money to burn, take time to research the cruise ports and figure out what interest you, rather than pay outrageous fees for Windstar excursions (yes, were talking several thousands extra for excursions). It seemed every time you turned around, there were extra charges, overpriced drinks, extra gratuity for staff (I'm glad to tip for extraordinary service), staff saying "no", not possible, cannot do that, sir. Certainly not the promise of the Windstar Cruises. One bright spot in the ships staff was the Gym Facilitor, Nathan from South Africa. Very knowledgeable in fitness and exercise and very aware of the age of his passengers. Well done! I will definitely sail more cruises in the future, but definitely not on Windstar ships. As a matter of fact, we've already booked a Viking River Cruise for 2019. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our third Windstar cruise, our second on Wind Surf. We chose the cruise for the itinerary, Italy, Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia. The ports did not disappoint! We enjoyed a wonderful variety of experiences, from discovering ... Read More
This was our third Windstar cruise, our second on Wind Surf. We chose the cruise for the itinerary, Italy, Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia. The ports did not disappoint! We enjoyed a wonderful variety of experiences, from discovering ancient history to sailing and exploring caves. The primary draw of Windstar’s small ships is the sense of community and friendship that develops over the cruise. The groups seems to come together after 3-4 days and, for this reason, we loved the longer duration of this trip - 11 days. We had a real sense of making friends and enjoying each other’s company. The ship is scheduled for a makeover in a few months and it will benefit from this. However nothing about the state of ship detracted from the cruise. The cabins and public rooms were all clean and welcoming. We booked the basic cabin for this trip, but were pleasantly surprised with the amount of storage available. We didn’t feel crowded at all. The staff on Windstar excels. Everyone onboard was friendly, knowledgeable, and easy to approach. All crew members, from cabin stewards to the captain himself, were out and available for any questions or requests. We really enjoyed seeing some people from past cruises who remembered us and treated us as long lost friends. Well done! Food was great! We appreciated the offerings and the portion sizes. Entertainment was great in one venue (Compass Rose) but OK in the other. Still fine for what we wanted. Only criticism - the Windstar has been acquired recently by a new company and many of us noticed a decline in some of the things that made the brand special. The new ownership seems quite focused on the bottom line and thus has cut back on lots of little things, like the welcome aboard gift for returning passengers, and the refreshing of bathroom amenities. But more frustrating to us was the lack of response to customer concerns from the home office. We had booked early and were assured a “best rate” but, when the inevitable price drops occurred, the customer service team were indifferent to our disappointment and didn’t offer any compensation. (In the past we’d been offered wi-fi or laundry services to offset the price drop) Other passengers we spoke to had similar experiences. Luggage tags, hors d’oeuvres etc. are small things, but with all the cruise offerings available, it is the Windstar experience that keeps people coming back. Let’s hope they return to their roots. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Taking a Windstar cruse has always been a “bucket list” adventure for me. My husband has never been to Italy and I always wanted a reason to return, so the itinerary sold us and we could cross many travels off our list. So this is a ... Read More
Taking a Windstar cruse has always been a “bucket list” adventure for me. My husband has never been to Italy and I always wanted a reason to return, so the itinerary sold us and we could cross many travels off our list. So this is a first-time Wind Star cruiser review. I loved the idea of sailing on a smaller ship. I’m 49 and my husband is 59, so we weren’t looking for a large ship, nor all the hoopla of the large ship offerings. We knew going in the entertainment at night was limited, and the general age population was going to be a bit older and were okay with this. Upon getting to the port, the embarkation process was quick. We signed waivers for the water sports deck, a health questionnaire and shook hands with the captain and onboard we went! They collected our passports (they hold onto them for the duration of the cruise and provided us with our key cards. We were able to sign up for dining options (a couple of restaurants require reservations) at that time and then headed off to our room to drop off our hand luggage. The veranda was already opened for lunch, which was welcoming and had a good variety. The ship: The Windsurf holds 300 passengers and almost 200 crew. Good ratios for personalized service. The ship is beautiful, but you can see it’s going to need to be dry docked soon. Little things like seeing deep scratches in the wood floor, frayed carpet in areas, and rust and barnacles on the keel indicated this ship needs a bit of TLC. That being said, all these issues also leant itself to the charm of there’s no overdone grand staircase, neon lighting, grandiose or brass railings that you would see with the uber-larger ships, and we were perfectly okay with that. The deck chairs are in good condition, the bars are orderly (although I noticed the mirrors are in desperate need of cleaning) and the dining rooms are gorgeous. One of the best parts is the open door policy the bridge has for passengers to come in and see the controls and talk with the crew. They’ll close the bridge when going into port or leaving, for safety, but we went in at midnight one night and talked with the crew. They were just as inviting then as in the middle of the day. The room: We got a deck 1 room (room 129) mid ship. It was comfortable and tastefully decorated. There’s plenty of storage space, taking advantage of every nook and cranny. The bathroom is larger than most cruise ship bathrooms for a standard sized cabin. There was a double closet with plenty of hangers, a safe, a mini bar and fridge stocked with sodas and beer and a tray of fresh fruit. There were bathrobes and slippers for us, as well as L’Occitane bath products and soaps. Our room attendant was sweet and turndown and make up service was always quick. One day, I had to leave a note for additional soap and shower caps, which in my opinion should be automatic, but otherwise, she was pretty attentive. The dining experience: We didn’t eat in the French restaurant, the Stella Rose, so it wouldn’t be fair to comment, except to say the dining room is classily decorated. The AmphorA is the main dining room. The food was always outstanding and well proportioned. It’s open seating, so you have the ability to show up and either dine by yourself or join others at a larger table. My husband and I are pretty social, so we opted to join others on most nights and found ourselves meeting new people and making some great friends. They serve specialized courses each night, but also have some standards every night, in the event you didn’t like any of the specials. If you want a specific wait staff, you can ask the matre’d and they’ll seat you in that server’s section. If you have allergies, all you have to do is let them know and they’ll provide you with a menu for the following night’s meal and you choose your options. They’ll prepare that meal selection with respect to your allergies. The Veranda is the restaurant for breakfast and lunch. We only had a couple of lunches on the boat, so I won’t give a large review on this, but the breakfasts were amazing! There’s a full buffet, a omelet bar and an a la carte order menu where you can get eat waffles, pancakes, eggs Benedict and more. At night, the Veranda is converted to the reservation-based restaurant for dinner. Candles is Serves lots of specialized choices. We had filet mignonette or chicken and seafood skewers. Everything was delicious and prepared to perfection! Entertainment: By day, The Windsurf has a platform water deck and on certain days, the staff will open it up, for water sports like kayaking, water skiing and just swimming in the open water. By night, the entertainment is limited, but you make it your own. There is a small casino with tables and slots. The main lounge had a 4-person band, but their song choice was “sappy” so we headed over to a deck bar, the Compass Rose, where a duo, “Marci Gras” rocked the place until they closed every night. There’s a crew talent show one night, which is silly fun. We didn’t do any shore excursions. We researched the ports and did our own thing. Some ports we just walked around and explored, in other ports, I hired private guides (for much less than the private tours offered by WindStar) so we could get a customized taste of the ports. Many people we met did take the shore excursions and the reviews were mixed based on the expectations versus the reality, but overall, they seemed to have a good time. If you would like to know about our excursions, feel free to contact me directly. We had such a great time that we were saddened to disembark in Venice. There was nothing we would change about this cruise, and I haven’t been able to say that on most cruises. My husband and I agree that after this experience, we don’t ever see ourselves on a large cruise ship again. The experience of getting to know most of the passengers, the crew and the intimacy of it all really appealed to us. We would definitely consider another Windstar cruise and now that we’ve done the largest of the fleet, I’d be interested in trying the yacht/liner fleet as well....of course, it’s all dependent upon the itinerary. Read Less
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