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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
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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my ... Read More
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my wife became ill and needed a wheelchair temporarily to get around. I considered cancelling all of our excursions but the Destination Manager assured me they would get us on our excursion and get the most out of the cruise as we could. And they did exactly that going way out of their way to insure we saw everything we came for. Only had to cancel one excursion in Monaco that just couldn't be done in a wheelchair. Everywhere we went on the ship they went out of their way to accommodate us and make things easier. I can't say enough good things about the crew. The food on the ship was absolutely delicious and with 3 dining area on a small ship we never had to wait. The wait staff was efficient and quick with a recommendation. With just over 300 passengers the crew and passengers soon became very familiar with each other. I have never seen ship's officers so visible and everywhere on the ship. The Captain and all other senior officers seemed to be greeting passengers all over the ship including when we arrived and disembarked the ship. Staff interacted with guests at a crew talent show, line dancing and other events. The cabin, while not significantly larger than most cruise cabins, had a generous amount of storage. We usually are fighting over hangers and drawers but not this time. The bed was fine and the bathroom adequate. The ship is definitely showing it's age. At almost 30 years old you can tell it has undergone many paint jobs and renovations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it but you could still see many things that would be designed differently today. Still, to be on a sailing ship with all the sails up through the Med was quite an experience. A great feature was the back swimming deck. With all the toys you could want you could swim, snorkel, kayak paddleboard or have the crew tube you around the ship. While the ports were very important and interesting, the ship and crew were the highlights of this cruise. 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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and i sailed on the Wind Surf for 10 days from Civitavecchia to Civitavecchia. The itinerary was good, our cabin was good, the service was good and the food quality was good. We did three cruise shore tours which were very good ... Read More
My wife and i sailed on the Wind Surf for 10 days from Civitavecchia to Civitavecchia. The itinerary was good, our cabin was good, the service was good and the food quality was good. We did three cruise shore tours which were very good and within the price range that cruise companies charge. The whole cruise was to ports in Italy (apart from one day in French Corsica) which, as everyone appreciates, is one of the foundation of many western cultures and languages, has created countless artistic masterpieces, produced wonderful classical and modern music and musicians, and is renowned for its wine and food - we saw and felt evidence of that every time we set foot on shore. BUT once we boarded the ship we found only one officer was Italian; the general crew were primarily Indonesian and Phiiippino/a (which would be great if we were doing a cruse in Asia); the Captain, when addressing the passengers en masse, made no effort to pronounce Italian place names in other than an english accent; there was only one Italian red table wine and one Italian white (neither of which were better than average); there was close to zero Italian food dishes; no Italian live or background music (not even Dean Martin singing Amore); and zero cultural lectures which have been a feature of the other four small ship cruises that we have done over the last decade. For the record, there was an Italian cheese tasting one evening in which blocks of unnamed cheese were placed on cheese boards while the sommelier (who was European but not Italian) encouraged you buy the ship's red wine (one from Italy and the others from California, South Africa and South America). So would we sail Wind Surf and or Windstar Cruises again? Our answer is "NO". We would seek a better experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Hi Adventurers! We recently completed a beautiful trip on board the Windstar Wind Surf across Italy, Montenegro, and Croatia and we fell in love with the boat, its crew and the beautiful port of calls. During our journey, we had the ... Read More
Hi Adventurers! We recently completed a beautiful trip on board the Windstar Wind Surf across Italy, Montenegro, and Croatia and we fell in love with the boat, its crew and the beautiful port of calls. During our journey, we had the opportunity to visit Rome, the famous Amalfi coast, Sicily, Kotor, Montenegro and three port cities in Croatia. Our trip ended in Venice where we continued our vacation. It's evident that Windsurf spends significant resources in training their associates. The Wind Surf crew was able to provide a consistently high level of customer service in all aspects of the trip; onboarding, the restaurants and the cafeteria, boutique, and the cabins, etc. We truly enjoyed the company of the entire staff; however, we fell in love with Nadine, Aditthas, one of the restaurant supervisors and the big smile and sincere disposition of our cabin butler. These three individuals exceeded our expectations consistently during our 8-day trip. The Wind Surf is a fine old dame; a five-mast schooner that brings up memories of a romantic past and pirate encounters. As you look at the Wind Surf from the distance, its beautiful display of white sails become an attractive landmark in any of the ports of call that you visit. This is not the type of cruise experience, where you are expected to be entertained by a troupe of dancers, singers and all sorts of juggling acts. Instead, passengers get intimate dining experiences, the company of other passengers, romantic cocktail hours and impressive views from any spot on the boat. The available options of shore excursions are very interesting and affordable. We thought that crew and their excursions vendors did a great job in adapting the excursions to the American market. The restaurant options are limited; however, they compensate this by providing an exceptional array of breakfast, lunch and dining options for the American palate. Our first experience with Windstar was unforgettable and we know we'll be back next year to enjoy another exciting destination. Perhaps Japan, China or the Brittish Isles. We just want to thank the Wind Surf's crew for their attention to detail and exceptional customer focus. and to Windstar for sticking to their promise of delivering "180-degree-from-the-ordinary" experiences. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My friend and I chose this cruise because we really liked the itinerary and had read the reviews prior to booking. It was expensive, but had been on many cruises with other cruise lines and were happy to pay the cost for a luxury cruise. ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise because we really liked the itinerary and had read the reviews prior to booking. It was expensive, but had been on many cruises with other cruise lines and were happy to pay the cost for a luxury cruise. Ship - It didn't start well as, unlike other cruise lines the embarkation process was awful. At the terminal we had to initially wait off the ship on the quay in the sun for half an hour, then when we got onto the ship we had to wait another half hour in line to be checked in, this was about 2pm. We weren't allowed to register two credit cards (which was to prove to be a major problem later) as we wanted to each pay our own bills. The ship is 'tired' and really needs a refit, stained carpets, worn out chairs in the lounge etc. It just doesn't compare with other companies. Cabin - Our travel agent had booked twin beds and checked the day before that this would happen and was assured that this would be no problem. Nevertheless we didn't have twin beds, we went to reception and they assured us it would be dealt with, eventually at 6.30pm the beds were sorted. The cabin was fine, plenty of storage and clean, but basic. Dining - there are three restaurants, but you can only book to eat out in the French restaurant and the Candles restaurant (that is the only restaurant where you can eat on the deck). The food in all three was good, but not exceptional. The waiting staff were attentive and helpful. Entertainment and activities - The resident band and singer were talented and played a good variety of music, however if you wanted to dance they didn't start playing until 9.30pm which seemed late. We attended the fitness exercise classes at 7am and 5pm with Nathan, who was a lively instructor. We also went to a line-dancing class, that was rather a disaster because of no music and a temporary instructor. Service - though the staff were friendly, it felt that the whole trip was about 'selling' extras, unlike other cruises that we have been on everything was an extra. Drinks were very expensive unless you bought a drinks package! For example - if you wanted to drink wine it was $32 a day per person and with all drinks it was over $50 per day. There is no way that we would we drink that amount each day! The Spa treatments were also very costly and throughout treatments rather than being calm it was all about selling extras, cosmetics etc. Also we weren't aware that a service charge of 15% gets put on automatically everything - your fare, drinks, spa etc. We considered this was completely wrong, other cruise lines suggest what you should 'tip', gives you envelopes for cabin staff and all house keeping and then you can put it in a 'postbox' so that all staff can be included in any disbursements. In the small print when you get your bill they say that staff rely on the service charge money as part of their salary - this is wrong. I have a service business and there is no way would I put a compulsory service charge on my client's invoices. You can if you 'pressure' sign a form to have the service charges removed, which we did. Not having two credit cards registered proved enormously problematic and it took 5 long discussions with reception to try and obtain 2 separate correct bills despite us giving them all the information clearly laid out. It was extremely frustrating. Ports and shore excursions - All the ports were great and it was fun even when we had to use the tender. We did do some of the excursions, again expensive and certainly you could do the same things by going ashore and saving a lot of money. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose this cruise because of their advertising that said they were a luxury cruise line. This is completely false. While the ports their smaller ship was able to visit were magnificent, for the most part, we found the majority of the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of their advertising that said they were a luxury cruise line. This is completely false. While the ports their smaller ship was able to visit were magnificent, for the most part, we found the majority of the staff to be pompous and arragont, the spa services to be far below standards, and the food to be nothing better than a mediocre restaurant buffet. We received a letter from the cruise line a week before departure alerting us to the fact that they were eliminating three port calls (Monte Carlo, Monaco and another intimate port call) with a three day stop in Nice. They did compensate us $250.00 per person for the neccesity to repair the ship for three days; however this did not even cover the difficult to find cabs and the high dollar fare charges. We ordered room service and were delivered moldy food and had to reteurn the food. The gym mats were all torn and gym equpment was not maintained. The casino was closed for the majority of the trip. After I brought my complaints to the Cruise Manager, I was shunned by several officers for the rest of this trip. I came to find out that two of them were married and told everyone on the ship. Very unprofessional and unethical organiation. We had credits from our on board account that were never refunded to our cards and guest relations told me she would repsond to me within 7-10 days and failed to do so. Windstar is only out to take your hard earned dollars and not provide the luxury and attentive srvice that they promise. I saved for this trip for a long time, and was very disappointed. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We spent really good money on this cruise and were sold from the sleek brochures on the Star Pride. It was hailed as "the newest addition" when it is anything but that. It's an old ship that they pulled from the shipyard ... Read More
We spent really good money on this cruise and were sold from the sleek brochures on the Star Pride. It was hailed as "the newest addition" when it is anything but that. It's an old ship that they pulled from the shipyard and then photo-shopped their pics to put in their brochure. Save your money and go on a real luxury and sleek cruise. This is a bad bill of goods! We did the Istanbul to Athen's cruise in September of 2015. We were very excited about the trip as We were on the Wind Star in 2013 that that was fantastic. It's a shame that Wind Star hoodwinked their clients with the Star Pride. Anyway, the destinations were great and the dinner we had at Ephesus was AMAZING. But I could not be more disappointed with the ship. As you can see from the photos I took, it is a very run down ship that is literally falling apart. I was so embarrassed as I convinced 3 other couples to join us on this trip and billed our Wind Star experience in 2013 as so incredibly amazing. All of us had old shoddy rooms with stains and mold and it was just gross. The carpets in the hallways were worn and ripped in some places. It was just terrible! Thankfully the food was good and the staff were "okay". Not as dignified and refined as the staff on the Wind Star. If you're looking for a great ship to enjoy a luxurious, relaxing, and quaint cruise, DO NOT PICK THIS SHIP! It should be sunk in the Bermuda Triangle where it belongs. I have posted many pictures to prove that this ship is old, shoddy, and a piece of crap. Stay away. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was really excited to join as a travel agent onboard the “Star Pride” for the cruise from September 25 until October 3 – going from Rome to Venice. The itinerary was great and while the newly refurbished ship looks very modern, ... Read More
I was really excited to join as a travel agent onboard the “Star Pride” for the cruise from September 25 until October 3 – going from Rome to Venice. The itinerary was great and while the newly refurbished ship looks very modern, sleek and overall fresh it still didn’t deliver the vacation experience that I was hoping for. This review might be a little bit critically as we have cruised many times before on similar cruise lines and are used to a certain standard on board these “ultra luxury small ships”. While I can see that the sailing ships have a unique concept and might fulfill the Windstar promise of “180 degrees from ordinary” I can’t find any clues of that concept on board the Star Pride. Priced at roughly $4000 per person (retail pricing) for this cruise I expected outstanding service from the crew members or something else that would set the ship apart from cheaper and bigger cruise ships. I am not sure if the idea is that the small yacht experience is sufficient to demand such a steep price, since similar cruise lines (think Silversea and Seabourn) are delivering the same small ship experience with an all inclusive concept at this price. I think it is absurd to charge this base price + alcoholic beverages on top of the cruise fare + 15% service charges for each order. The cheapest glass of wine sets one back around $10 (including tax and service charge) while cocktails start at $8.50++. Sure, you are welcome to book the “Ultimate Beverage Package” or a “Wine Package”. The Wine package costs currently $32.00 per person plus 15% service charge and the “all inclusive drink package around $54.00 per person plus the 15% per person/ per day. However, this concept reminds me a lot of Royal Caribbean Cruises, with the difference that on board their ships the passengers from one cabin can actually decide to only purchase that package for just 1 person in the cabin. On board the Star Pride one has to purchase this drink package for 2 people, leaving a $1000 dent in your account, for the duration of the cruise. I can understand those alcoholic beverage prices if we were talking about a similar cruise on board Royal Caribbean or Princess Cruises, with a price of around $1500 for the cruise fare. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers nearly 2 week cruises in an inside cabin for $1500 per person and they include the alcoholic beverages. On top of that there is more entertainment and things to do, while I feel that the only reason the Star Pride is priced at nearly $4000 per person would be the “small ship exclusivity”. Seriously couldn’t find anything else that set this cruise apart from a lower priced bigger ship cruise. Suite The Oceanview Suite (lowest priced category) was fantastic. Very spacious, with clean lines and a nice color palette (beige and blues). This was probably one of the biggest suites in this category that I have stayed in, since you managed to fit a sofa as well as two armchairs. This was a great surprise! Our suite attendant did a great job in the cabin and we were very happy with her! Service As mentioned above one would think that with a maximum of 212 passengers vs. 156 crew members that the service on board would be outstanding. We have cruised with Silversea and Paul Gauguin before and the crew members on board made an effort to learn our names and preferences from day 1. From the bar waiters to the restaurant waiters and everybody in between, they tried to make a personal connection, introduced themselves and seemed to be happy on board. Unfortunately we didn’t get the same impression on this ship. The bars were mainly staffed with just 1 bartender, who apparently also doubled as the waiter. Since I wasn’t offered a coffee for dinner, I figured I would order one in one of the bars. I didn’t have any luck. The only coffee machine on board seems to be in the Yacht Club on Deck 8 and when we finally ended up there we were told that the bar tender didn’t know how to operate the machine. For 15-20 minutes he tried to get somebody to come up to help him to figure out the machine, but to avail. I eventually gave up on the coffee request and retired to the cabin. In general the service on board seemed a bit reluctant. We would ask for something and the crew would say “yes”, just to have this immediately followed up by a “but” and some sort of an explanation on why it couldn’t be done right away or how it would be better if we just did it ourselves. We also had a special request during the cruise and were supposed to have a little tour around the vessel on the last day. However, the confirmation of said tour was only sent to the cabin on the day of the tour at 10 a.m. and requested us to be at the meeting point at 4 p.m. In the meanwhile we had already left the ship to go ashore (as we didn’t think that the tour was still happening) and came back to the cabin around 5 p.m. to find the note. We obviously missed the tour. Amphores Restaurant Most of the time there was no line when we went to the restaurant and we were seated straight away. The waiters were quick in taking the order. However, on the first evening they had a New York Strip Steak on the menu and I decided to order from the “classic menu”. I was advised by the waiter that I could order the Sirloin Steak all the other days of the week and should reconsider to go for the Strip Steak. I personally don’t like this type of steak and insisted on the Sirloin. When it finally arrived it was of course a Strip Steak and looked exactly like the dish that people ordered of the daily menu – with the difference that mine was missing the Windstar Sauce. I ate it as I didn’t want to wait any further, but the steak itself was rather tough. The service is rather hit or miss. The remaining nights we were seated with an outstanding waitress who really delivered great service. Unfortunately even she couldn’t do much more than recommend and not recommend some of the food from the menu. Most of the food was constantly served lukewarm and the food lacked some finesse that we were used to from similar priced cruise lines. Overall it was good, but nothing outstanding. One night a cruise the guests can make a reservation at the “Candles” Restaurant, which is nice as it is outside. It has a steakhouse concept and I finally got a fillet mignon during the cruise. It was a bit more done than ordered, but tasted good. The atmosphere could have been improved with less white lights and maybe some background music to overpower the engine noise. Printing Material Some of the printing material on board looked as if some five year olds went to an arts and crafts class! The menus in the bars and the drink menus in the Restaurants are all different sized and look as if somebody has cut them with scissor or a very dull paper cutter. The edges have the look as if a mouse has chewed a bit on them and no two pages have the same size or the same style. I am also not sure whether the prices in the Amphores Restaurant are supposed to be different or if they are maybe using an older drink menu? In the bars the bottle of champagne goes for $90 plus 15% and in the main dining room the same bottle is then priced at $110 plus 15% in service fees. That same bottle can be found in a US liquor store for $40 plus tax. And yes, I do understand that there is a markup, but it seems to be a bit much if the price is nearly tripled?! The Daily Program is nothing more than a cheaply printed page, nothing compared to the programs available on other cruise lines. Also, the printer quality seems to be rather bad. It all looks a little bit out of focus. Roomservice Got excited about ordering the room service breakfast again, but when we returned for the first evening to the Suite, we were disappointed since one can only order “pastries, coffee and juice” from the room service menu. It took until the next day to find out that there is in fact the option to order a full breakfast from In-Room Dining, if one writes all desired items from the menu list on the “Continental Breakfast Hanger”. It might be easier to simply re-print those door hangers and to include all available items in order to make it easier for the guests. Roomservice was always delivered during the requested time frame and contained all items. Crew While some crew members made a serious effort the majority seemed to be tired and done with their jobs. They didn’t look very joyful, most of them didn’t greet the passengers in the public spaces and in general the ship felt awfully understaffed. Even officers of the ship didn’t deem it necessary to greet passengers first or to ask “How are you?” Entertainment The entertainment on board is literally non-existent. While there is a small lounge and a stage there were no entertainers or guest lecturers on board. The only events that took place during the entire cruise were daily port talks by the Voyage Leader/ Shorex Manager as well as one evening of Liar’s Club and Movie Trivia. On one of the evenings there was a crew show. The far and few “events” were good fun and the crew tried really hard during the crew show. However, this doesn’t make up for the fact that on most evenings, after dinner, there was nothing to do on the entire vessel. Unless we went to the bar to have more drinks, which got pretty lame pretty quickly as well. Windstar should consider to invest into some guest performers. On other small cruise lines we had magicians or musicians or some local show in a port. We weren’t expecting a musical performance, but to offer nothing was just lame. Ports All the ports that we visited were great and we had a good time. Didn’t book any excursions on board and instead booked ourselves rental cars to get around the Med. Most ports were tender ports and the disembarkation and embarkation process were flawless. We never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a tender and the tender duration was short. Tours seemed to be well organized in regards to the coordination with tour groups and independent guests on the tenders. Hotel Service Charge Windstar Cruises will add a $12 per day/ per passenger service charge to your invoice during the cruise. This charge is entirely for the crew and similar to prepaid tips. You are being told that the amount can be removed or lowered, but need to fill in a form and give an explanation why you want to do so. The charge is supposedly a source of income for the crew members, which makes me wonder again why other smaller cruise lines aren’t charging this fee? Apparently it is included in the general cruise fare on the exclusive cruise lines. It made the cruise feel again as if we were on a “cheaper” cruise line, where such procedures and charges are standard. We didn’t understand why this was something that Windstar felt was necessary to do? Over the course of the 8 night cruise we have failed to see the value for money in paying the higher cruise fare. At first we thought that we would clearly go to ports that couldn’t be visited by bigger ships, but learned that the MSC ships and Royal Caribbean ships also fit in most ports that we visited. The ship itself looks new, is very quiet and offers some very big staterooms. If the cruise line would decide to include all their “extra charges” into the cruise fare I believe that there would be a solid concept and more value for money. Currently we don’t think that we will cruise again on any of the Windstar ships and instead go back to the other small cruise lines who have adapted the ultra all inclusive concept. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We weren't sure we would really like a cruise holiday and chose Windstar because we liked the idea of a smaller ship that was more casual and geared to a younger more active clientele. The itinerary which included mainly stops in ... Read More
We weren't sure we would really like a cruise holiday and chose Windstar because we liked the idea of a smaller ship that was more casual and geared to a younger more active clientele. The itinerary which included mainly stops in Croatia was another thing that appealed to us. The yacht is beautiful and well kept and the cabins are a lot larger than we expected. The entire crew were amazing - from day 1 we were greeted by name at every interaction. With almost as many crew members as passengers, the service level is very personal and there is always someone there, ready to serve you with a smile. The officers are also very accessible and interact with guests (loved being able to go up to the bridge any time). The food was fabulous - we ate at the main dining room every night except once where we went to Candles and one night when they had a big outdoor BBQ evening. The meal choices at Candles and Amphora were excellent - we would look forward to checking out the menu to see what we were going to get each night .... Beef Wellington, Lobster tail, fresh fish, Osso Buco, Lamb etc. We also liked the fact that some Indian dishes were on the menu (the head chef is from India) along with some local dishes related to the ports we visited. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style with a great choice of options, and there was also other options that could be ordered from the daily menu (excellent eggs benedict, and lamb burgers that were to to die for). The choice of wine was also very good and there was also a good selection of mixed drinks/cocktails, beer and even cider. Most drinks were average $8.50... We chose to add on the beverage package (all drinks up to $11 each) - it was quite pricey, $108 USD per cabin per day - in hindsight, we would not have purchased it (both people in the cabin have to have quite a few drinks per day to really make it worthwhile). We weren't aware that they had other beverage package options until we boarded the ship on day 1 - there were other packages just for wine that were cheaper, that we would have selected if we had known they were offered. I would suggest waiting until you board and seeing what beverage package options are available instead of booking in advance. We liked the informal style and the laid-back entertainment: There were two music duos who played at the two bars onboard every night - both were pretty good and got people up and dancing a few nights. The crew get involved in the entertainment - The "Liar's Club" and another game, similar to Balderdash were both fun evenings where the guests got involved. The talent show was also a lot of fun .... If you are expecting glitzy professional entertainment each night then you would be disappointed, but we liked the more interactive, intimate approach. Since there are only about 200 guests you also get a chance to meet and chat with a lot of nice people including the staff. Pluses: Excellent service, Fantastic food, Spacious well appointed cabins, nice common areas, easy to get around and on/off the yacht at each port. Lots to keep you from getting bored (library, games, gym, spa, water sports platform). Friendly and accessible officers, intimate, casual atmosphere. Minuses: The small pool ended up being out of service for most of the cruise (but there were 2 hot tubs open in the afternoon/evenings). Many of the shore excursions are quite expensive - we would have liked to see more options for active travellers at each stop (there were some, such as the mountain bike tour in Rovinj which was a lot of fun, but not offered everywhere). We found that the tour/excursion prices were a lot higher than what you could book yourself through Viator or other online websites. The private event was supposed to be held in Sicily but it ended up being changed to a cultural show in Dubrovnik (it was okay but the original one sounded more interesting). The onboard internet package is also very expensive and not worth it - just get a roaming package from your own mobile provider since most of the time on this cruise we were close enough to shore to have mobile service. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We have been on 20 cruises over the past many years and decided it was time to try sailing on a small ship. Star Legend holds 212 passengers and on our sailing there were 194, so almost full. We met many lovely passengers and the crew ... Read More
We have been on 20 cruises over the past many years and decided it was time to try sailing on a small ship. Star Legend holds 212 passengers and on our sailing there were 194, so almost full. We met many lovely passengers and the crew were the best we've ever had. As others have said, some of them know your name within a day or two. Our favourite crew members were Tristan and Dwi (yes that's how he spells his name) who served us on many occasions at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We enjoyed every meal and everything we ate. The buffet at breakfast and again at lunch time had plenty to choose from, plus you could order from a small menu as well. There was always a different warm bread pudding each day at lunch. We ate at Candles out on the back deck one evening and it was lovely, but we had no complaints about eating in the MDR either. The buffet outdoors on deck 7 the evening we stayed late in Kotor was wonderful - salads, breads, shrimp, charcuterie tray, steak, roast suckling pig, ribs, lamb, paella, veggies, fresh fish, lobster with drawn butter, desserts. It was delicious! Our stateroom at 277 square feet was the largest we have ever had and we had lots of room for our clothes and plenty of room for things in the bathroom. I love L'Occitane bath products so that was a treat. We found our room quiet. We hardly ever heard the people on either side of us and while we were very close to the reception desk and an elevator, we never heard a thing. Our ports of call were Rome, Amalfi, Sicily, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj and ended in Venice. Because of the seas, we were unable to tender at Amalfi so as soon as we got into our room we knew that wasn't going to happen. They were going to try tendering into Sorrento, which we love, but that didn't work out either so we ended up docking in Naples just before lunch. Our tour to Ravello was cancelled so we wandered around Naples for an hour or two and then went back to the ship. The only disappointing day for us. All our other tours were great, but beware, if you choose to take the tour from Kotor that involves 25 switchbacks up to a lookout, be forewarned. It's very nerve wracking! but the view is wonderful. The sail in through the Bay of Kotor in the morning is lovely, so do get up early to enjoy being outside and the views. When we were anchored at Dubronik, the tenders were constantly going back and forth to the port and we never had long to wait. They opened up the back of the ship at sea level and my husband went for a swim in the Adriatic in beautiful warm blue water. Others went kayaking and paddle boarding. Later that afternoon they brought a Klapa singing group on board to entertain us and they sang beautifully, both in English and Croatian. We really appreciated that the Captain took the time to personally greet us (and all the passengers) as we boarded the ship and to say goodbye and thank us for sailing with them at disembarkation. We thought it was a very nice touch. We were very impressed with Windstar and will sail with them again when the right itinerary comes available. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Let me start off by saying this was our 5th Windstar Cruise and was one of " the best". I did a lot of due diligence before our trip on Viator, TripAdvisor, NY Times Travel etc.regarding our cities we were visiting. You should ... Read More
Let me start off by saying this was our 5th Windstar Cruise and was one of " the best". I did a lot of due diligence before our trip on Viator, TripAdvisor, NY Times Travel etc.regarding our cities we were visiting. You should probably do this but the Yacht provides a write up on each stop ( places of interest, history etc.) which was fabulous information. You can pick these up as soon as you board near excursion desk. OK let's get started. I hope the information I provide you will make your trip easier and you take advantage of all my tips. We flew into FCO ( ROME) and I had contracted thru Viator a car ( 69 EUROS plus tip) to take us to Port of Civitavecchia. It was a pleasant hour ride and our driver gave us a history lesson on all the little towns we passed . We arrived before 1 pm check in so your options are to wait in lobby, walk around Port or take a free bus 10 minute bus ride to city. Once you can go onboard you fill out a few forms, have your picture taken, and give credit card for incidentals. My recommendation is to make your "special night" dinner reservations at Stella and Candles immediately after checking in. We love Stella and were able to go back 2 nights. Our "favorite restaurant" . Gede is the maitre' de and excellent in running the restaurant. For Candles ,I recommend at the end of the trip when your in a Port late and you sit outside for beautiful views and romantic dinner. The main restaurant is Amphora. It was very very good. Our maitre'ed was Hayruttin and a really nice guy. Our outstanding waiter was Andi ( hardest working guy on Yacht). Always smiling and so friendly. He was also our waiter for breakfast and lunch along with Aqil ( great smile and very hard worker). Eric was our Wine Steward. Extremely knowledgeable and a great guy. We've had Eric and Andi on 3 of our cruises and they are AWESOME. Look and ask for them. They really are the best at what they do. I have to tell you that ALL THE STAFF ( 192 people) are just terrific. So friendly and always looking to help out. It speaks volumes to Windstar for having such a great staff. There is a very full menu for all 3 meals but if you desire something else they will bend over backwards to accommodate you. One night there is the ' most incredible" BBQ on deck at night. You name they have it. Lobster, shrimp, fish, roast beef etc. Bring your camera . You won't regret it. Our cabin #320 : If you like 2 bathrooms, 2 TV'S, 2 large closets, plenty of great amenities with a sitting room then I highly recommend the Windsurf. Our room was awesome. Perfect location. Middle of yacht and completely accessible to main bridge and everywhere else. Our previous cruise we had Cabin #331 which was really good also. The bed, sheets and pillows are all first class. The rooms are cleaned in the morning and at night. On this Classic Italy trip being on the even side gave us great views of the coastline and Ports the whole trip. The Information desk is manned by 4 outstanding workers. I remember Mary and Kareem and apologize can't remember other 2 but all were extremely helpful answering any questions, wake-up or if there was a problem they were extremely attentive to passengers needs. In the morning there are 2-3 pages of current news everyday from Times Digest, USA Today and British News along with NY Times crossword puzzle, Suduko and Jumble. These are a lot of fun to do if you have time. Near the information desk is the Yachtsman Club where you can get coffee ( also specialty coffees), fruit, desserts , sandwiches and outstanding peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Don't expect to lose any weight . After the 5th day it was getting embarrassing. I needed to wear all my shirts out I was eating so much. Again the food was really good . So if you have time there is a full "state of the art" workout facility. I walked around the ship 11 times ( 2.2 miles) and when your sailing on the Adriatic Sea it's like a bath tub. There a plenty of lounge chairs on 2 decks for just reading and relaxing and taking in the views. There is also the Compass Bar where you can lounge or get served awesome drinks by Eric. There are 2 hot tubs ( did not use) and small pool. When ship is docked in a Port you can use any of the water sports activities at back of Yacht which is run by BJ. He is a really cool guy, very athletic and runs a really good operation in water activities. These are not available if weather is inclement. Entertainment- There is entertainment starting at 9:15 pm in the main lounge. Wonderful singer and back up band( the guys are pretty good singers also ). they have Beatles Night and 50/60/70"s Night. There is a duo singing in the Compass Bar each night. One of the highlights of the trip is Crew entertainment night. You have no idea how talented some of the crew are. Wonderful singers but my favorite group was Men's Synchronized Swim group led by BJ. I couldn't stop laughing at the incredible performance these 8 guys did. There is also a Casino on board . Ports and Excursions- I did a lot of research thru Viator and TripAdvisor re: excursions. I will be honest with you. Don't waste your time. Every evening, Gonsalvo would give us a brief scenario of our next Port. He was extremely thorough and he and his assistant Joha were very helpful. First, the excursions the Yacht offers are fabulous. Prices vary but you should be able to find a price point for your needs. Second, the guides the Yacht provided at each Port were outstanding. Third, but most important the Yacht will provide you with the BEST DRIVERS anywhere. If you've been to Italy ( especially Sicily- the road to Mt. Etna is unbelievable) and all their drivers were the consummate professional and just outstanding. When you see them make impossible turns hairpin turns with these big buses you'll thank me. Plus if you should incur any trip problems it's mush easier dealing with Windstar than these other small travel companies. One word of advice: foreign buses do not have bathrooms . We took 5 excursions: (1) Boat to Positano ( view are magnificent and bring 2-3 credit cards you'll need it- great shopping)- (2) trip to Mt. Etna- the cruise line provides you with a free activity and after Mt. Etna we went to the Gambino Winery where we had a wonderful meal, sampled 4 good wines and serenaded with nice music. Also a wine cellar tour. All your morning excursions will end up at Gambino Winery so you don't have to worry about missing anything. (3) Historic Kotor on foot- wonderful excursion and town (4) Dubrovnik City Sights and Cable Car- awesome (5) Krka National Park Highlights- it's not Niagara Falls but pleasant trip. The last day was Rovinj and we did our own tour and it worked out well. This was a perfect city to just walk and walk. We stayed in Venice for 2 extra nights and there's nothing I can tell you about Venice that you don't know . I contracted thru Viator for pick up from Port in Venice to our Hotel ( Baglioni Hotel Luna- place is like a palace- highly recommend- it's magnificent ) and it ran 80 Euros. From hotel to airport it ran 120 Euros. I think I pretty much covered everything you'll need for this trip. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. Enjoy your next cruise . Ciao !!!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have been on the Windstar Line's smaller wind yachts and wanted to experience the larger Wind Surf. With about 190 crew and 350 passengers the facilities and service were above and beyond what we expected. The slightly larger ... Read More
We have been on the Windstar Line's smaller wind yachts and wanted to experience the larger Wind Surf. With about 190 crew and 350 passengers the facilities and service were above and beyond what we expected. The slightly larger format allowed a little more space and enabled the provision of three distinctly different dining experiences. The small size of the ship allowed it to anchor close to all the ports visited. The tender service was adequate with short trips due to the proximity to the docks. The cabins are typical Windstar pattern designed by the French in 1986 and seemed to have been recently refurbished. They have plenty of storage and a small desk. The unique bathrooms had all new plumbing fittings with a thermostat that actually worked on the shower. Entertainment was limited but adequate with two groups, one in the lounge and one on the back deck. The crew show was very good! Special functions such as a lunch at a winery in Taormina and the deck BBQ went well. Especially the BBQ which offered such a large variety of food from Lobster through Paella to Skirt Steak that it was impossible to try everything. Held as the sun set in the valley like space of Kotor it was a very special evening. As the port cities on the itinerary were interesting enough we declined the excursions. However we got good reports from those who took them. The meals in all restaurants were superb. Head Chef Eddie took about 10 of us to the markets in Kotor where he purchased some wonderful cured meats, olives and fruit which he served at the BBQ. He also arranged a tasting of meats and cheeses together with a sample of the local red wine Vranac. (not so good before lunch!) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Wanted to see Sicily, great experience but though the ship could do with some updating, carpets need replacing. Bathrooms a very good design. Plenty of storage space in the cabin. Food very good. Restaurant management and staff with a few ... Read More
Wanted to see Sicily, great experience but though the ship could do with some updating, carpets need replacing. Bathrooms a very good design. Plenty of storage space in the cabin. Food very good. Restaurant management and staff with a few exceptions could do with additional training. The BBQ dinner was exceptional heaps of lobster tails and prawns. We booked early and no consideration was given when the fares were dramatically reduced, trying to contact the shipping company for any kind of advice was like pulling teeth for us and our travel agent. Not a very easy company to deal with. I would not sail again on this ship as I believe the standard and service is better on other ships although the food was first class. Most ships these days provide wine with meals they did not. They wanted $54 US per day per person in a wine package, cheaper to buy wine by the glass US$10 approximately. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this trip as it went to ports that we had never been to before. Yes the Windsurf is old but the inside is really nice in every detail. The cabin is small compared to other cruises we have taken but there is adequate storage space ... Read More
We chose this trip as it went to ports that we had never been to before. Yes the Windsurf is old but the inside is really nice in every detail. The cabin is small compared to other cruises we have taken but there is adequate storage space for everything. The crew is truly wonderful. They know you name from the first day and what you liked and didn't like. Just loved everything. The trip skipped Gozo but we were still able to do the planned excursion. It also missed another port but we were able to make the best of it. There was also a free excursion to the Valley of the Temples which was great and included a free lunch at a hotel near by. Also had a free open bar. Not too shabby. Only one suggestion and I probably know it is not possible. Windstar should cut out the portholes and replace with a large window. Probably the cost ios too great Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Rome to Barcelona with stops in Corsica, Sardinia, Elba, Majorica - each island magical with history, ruins, great food, and friendly people. Our cabin was large with efficient storage and bed was very comfortable. We were mid-ship ... Read More
Rome to Barcelona with stops in Corsica, Sardinia, Elba, Majorica - each island magical with history, ruins, great food, and friendly people. Our cabin was large with efficient storage and bed was very comfortable. We were mid-ship on lower level and felt no rocking at night. High recommend lower and mid-ship room. The food was delightful and customized as per diet restrictions. Seafood buffet was amazing with plenty of lobster, shrimp, and salads. Breakfast on deck in a new port with new views was special. We booked special dinner on back deck, but it was a bit windy and chilly to stay long. The sails were up as much as they could be and was beautiful to see them wave. Weather was ideal and seas calm (except for one evening) and the sea was so calm the stars were a perfect reflection in the water. Romantic to be at the bow watching the island lights and stars. Crew knew our names almost immediately which is impressive. The breakfast crew brought me my cappuccino without asking - perfect. Morning yoga on deck was great. Instructor was knowledgable but was not teaching to the target audience (i.e., no one on our cruise should be doing shoulder stands ON A MOVING SHIP!). I suggest they focus on stretching legs and backs to allow ease of daytime walking. Would definitely travel on Wind Star again. Read Less
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