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Sail Date: August 2019
We had been on a cruise with 600 passengers and decided it wasn’t for us. Wind Spirit has only 130 passengers and 100 crew and our experience was so different - we loved it. The crew was charming, helpful, knowledgeable and attentive and ... Read More
We had been on a cruise with 600 passengers and decided it wasn’t for us. Wind Spirit has only 130 passengers and 100 crew and our experience was so different - we loved it. The crew was charming, helpful, knowledgeable and attentive and our cabin was very comfortable and kept spotless. We enjoyed the most delicious food with lots of fresh tropical fruit, an amazing variety of salads and superbly cooked meats with a large selection of desserts. For dinner there were two fine dining restaurants and a wide ranging and interesting menu. The shore excursions were well run - since this cruise was round Tahiti there was snorkelling, diving, picnics on beautiful little “motus” or tiny islands, tours with local historians around the islands and visits to pearl farms and vanilla plantations. But what made it for us was the charm of the Captain and his crew - they were all friendly, approachable and made everyone feel very much at home. We recommend this cruise so very warmly. There is nothing we didn’t love about it.... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we found our way to our deck 4 cabin. It was pleasantly large, but definitely needed a good spring clean. The bed seemed hard and sagging, not a good start we felt. We liked the white marble bathroom and noted approvingly that the toiletries were quality Occitan. We explored briefly then went for a buffet lunch in the stern Verandah. It was a very ordinary buffet choice and we were astounded at the cost of the drinks on offer. We learned that many passengers had bought a drinks package, but as the wines were fairly mediocre in our opinion, we decided not to take up the package offer. It was lovely to note the teak decks , a small outdoor pool and hot tub, and plenty of deck lounge seating. We looked through the daily program, but it lacked variety or imagination, so we decided that a comfortable spot with a good book might be a good way to relax. Much ceremony was made of the sail away flag raising to the music of Vangelis’ 1492, used on other cruise lines we recalled. There was a comfortable lounge with busy coffee bar and a tiny library, but little else of note. It was a port intensive cruise with only one sea day, but we had visited all the ports previously, so did not read the excursion offers. In each port the ship laid on a shuttle bus to the centre of town , a useful service for those who wished to be independent . We were happy to wander, sample the local cuisine and bars in each port. We were right in our estimation... the bed was horribly saggy and worn, leaving us both with aching backs! Entertainment was decidedly limited, with a singing duo , but little else, with the exception of a lecturer with a sole topic. Dining was open seating, with varied menus and good service from the friendly Asian servers. It was not gourmet dining, but perfectly adequate. It would not be a ship we’d choose on future occasions, but it was an interesting experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We spent our 25th anniversary on Moorea 27 years ago and decided it was time to revisit our memories. We had never been on a smaller ship and decided this was the way to see the other islands. It didn't disappoint. There were 142 ... Read More
We spent our 25th anniversary on Moorea 27 years ago and decided it was time to revisit our memories. We had never been on a smaller ship and decided this was the way to see the other islands. It didn't disappoint. There were 142 passengers to 101 staff. It made it seem quite intimate and friendly. The staff make a point to remember everyone by name. Some of the small things I appreciated were no poised photos every time you got on or off the ship. There is no pressure to sign up for a future cruise. Plus it's all very relaxed with few dress codes (no dress up nights). The majority of the people were between 60-75 with about 5 honeymoon couples. We met some of the nicest people on this cruise. Our room was adequate with plenty of storage, comfortable bed, porthole view and nice toiletries. There are no elevators so all rooms have stairs. There is one dining room & the outdoors deck, Candles. We found the food to be very good. The special moments were the deck BBQ plus the special BBQ at Bora Bora on a private motu. The pool is very small & there is a hot tub. The deck had adequate chairs but without shade it was just too hot to set in the sun. Moorea is a lovely island. Best excursion is through Alberts Transport Lagoon where you get to snorkel with sharks & rays & have a great BBQ on a private motu. Siki was a great guide. Also went snorkeling at Temae Beach which was great. At Raiatea we wandered around town & then found an excursion up the Faaroa river, the only navigable river. At TaHa'a we did the cruise ship excursion of the coral drift snorkel. It was fun but definitely not for someone who hasn't snorkeled. The current was strong the day we went & if you didn't have flippers I'm not sure what you would do. It's important to keep up with the person in front so you don't get caught on the coral. We did this three times. Bora Bora is very pretty. It's all about over the water bungalows. We went on an excursion we found at the dock. It turned out to be great. We snorkeled with lots of sharks & rays & got to go around the whole island. We had a private tour around the island learning of the history of the US building the airport to protect the island during WW2. The ship put on a superb BBQ complete with fire dancers & Tahitian dancers. Great food. Our last stop was Huahine. We joined 7 others from the ship & hired a private boat to take us snorkeling. It was some of the best snorkeling we've ever done. But really wished we had more time there to explore the island which most people thought was the most unspoiled. We loved the small ship, meeting great people & having a relaxed atmosphere. Tahiti is living the dream. Absolutely stunning. We'd definitely sail with Windstar again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I love Windstar’s small-boat (148 passengers) approach to cruising, but I found this particular boat, their flagship, to be lacking and I was also dismayed by several avoidable missteps by the ship’s management. The destinations ... Read More
I love Windstar’s small-boat (148 passengers) approach to cruising, but I found this particular boat, their flagship, to be lacking and I was also dismayed by several avoidable missteps by the ship’s management. The destinations are a wonderful experience. The Panama Canal, Panama City and Costa Rica in January are absolutely must-do experiences. The destinations are 5+. Windstar (really Xanterra, the same folks who service many of the U.S National Parks), on the other hand, was disappointingly lacking in some ways that compromised an otherwise fabulous cruising experience. The ship Wind Star (the initial ship in their fleet) was commissioned in 1987 and is showing a lot of age. I find most complainers to be boorish, and, all-in-all I want to like Wind Star for the many positives they bring to a cruise; however, it seemed like this particular ship brought with it a number of issues due to age and lack of attention at the management level. Throughout much of the cruise, the deck spa was broken and leaky, requiring days of repair work. It appeared to be working toward the end, but it continued to make a loud ghastly belching noise every minute or so. The cabins are small and manageable, but even the premium cabins have only two dirty portholes for an outside view. Each cabin has its own thermostat, but they don’t work. Our first night on board, our cabin (221) was very stuffy. We prefer about 20 Celsius, but when I adjusted the thermostat there was no response, just the same weak movement of slightly cool air through an overhead vent. I then moved the thermostat down as far as it would go and no response. I reported the problem to the onboard reception desk where I was promised that someone would come by and check out the problem. No one ever arrived. Finally, once the ship began to move, the room cooled slowly to a reasonably tolerable temperature, but, the thermostat was never inspect and we had no in-room temperature control for the entire cruise. We witnessed at least three water leakages within the first week of our voyage, one of which flooded a cabin and out into the hall. Another occurred in our own cabin (221). The toilet wouldn’t stop running at 11:00 p.m. and began flooding the bathroom. No one answered when we tried to phone for help, so, my wife kept flushing the stool while I went out and found help. Once found, both crew members were very attentive and repaired the problem via a hallway access panel, allowing us to go back to bed and sleep. Finally, Cabin 221 is midship upper deck and I selected it months in advance. It is directly beneath the entrance to the main dining room, which was no problem except one night at 10:00 p.m. when the management directed staff to strip the wooden floor of the dining room entrance and wax it. I was in bed trying to sleep, and I assumed the movement of furniture and associated noises directly overhead were temporary and would subside, but after an hour, I decided to go upstairs to investigate and found out what was going on. I apologized, I knew the workers had a job to do but I told them that the noise from their work was keeping us awake. They apologized and said they would tell their boss. Apparently, they did, and the noise stopped, only to wake me up when it restarted at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. Most disappointing was the fact that the original itinerary called for a day of snorkeling on an island just off the Panama coast. This was cancelled a couple of months before our sailing date. When I phoned about this, I was assured that Windstar would find a suitable and equal substitute. However, the day that we boarded, we were told the alternate landing site had not worked out, and we would be staying in the Panama City port of Balboa a second day. Just about every passenger had arrived in Panama City for the trip and many had already seen Panama City prior to the cruise, so adding a second cruise day in Panama City WITHOUT any excursion was a true breach of contract on behalf of Windstar. The weather was beautiful and the sailing conditions excellent, but Windstar had not done its due diligence over the months prior, leaving their guests to fend for themselves during Day 2 in Panama City. What was the compensation offered by Windstar? An open bar one evening. My wife and I don’t drink. Thanks very much. To further compound Windstar’s negligence, they offered no suggestions of how their passengers might spend the extra day, despite the fact that a wonderful Smithsonian wildlife refuge and a fantastic Frank Gehry-designed Bio Museum were both within walking distance of the port. We did both and ended up having a day well-spent, but no thanks to Windstar! Some excursion descriptions appeared to be intentionally misleading. For example, the descriptions for both Corcovado and Carara National Parks led guests to anticipate hikes through trails plentiful with some of the most diverse fauna (birds, mammal, reptiles, etc.) in the world, when, in fact, Windstar personnel know full well that the chances of such sightings are very low. I understand the disclaimers not guaranteeing sightings, but the descriptions are written to infer that no sightings are the exception, not the rule. The diverse wildlife does exist within these two parks, but primarily in the interior, not as commonly along the perimeter trails that are open to the public, and certainly not at mid-day! Prime time for wildlife sightings in these parks is within 1-2 hours of sunrise or sunset (5:45 am. and 5:10 pm. in January. When were we present in the park? 9:45 am – noon. The absolute worst times to see wildlife, and we indeed SAW NOTHING except for a couple of lizards at Carara. We did see a Macaw at both Corcovado and Carara, and in both cases the bird was too far away to see well even with a sighting scope. During the dry season, the hours of operation for Costa Rican national parks are 7 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., so, even though these hours prevent Windstar from having guests at the parks during prime sighting times, to fulfill the expectations Windstar creates with its customers, their excursions should be at the parks at 7:00 a.m. ready to go. Windstar’s current approach is intentionally deceptive and misleading and certainly not worthy of a company that wants to be regarded as a step above their competition. Old ship needing work, a last-minute downgrade to the itinerary and a failure to provide useful information to their customers are all marks of a cruise company with some serious management flaws. On the good side: Windstar offers small boat sailing catered to older customers. Their waitstaff and room attendants are first class. Of course, staff members are standard cruise personnel comprised of young people from economically-deprived countries who are worked to the bone, but they each work as hard as they can to provide the highest quality personalized service possible. I have now sailed Windstar twice. Will I cruise with them again? Quite possible, but I would not want to return the ship Wind Star, and, if I return, it will be with a jaundiced eye and less loyalty than I felt when we agreed to cruise the second time following a very pleasant initial cruise in the Caribbean. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is ... Read More
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is in disrepair. There are layers of peeling paint and rust everywhere. The entertainment is pretty lame and the specialty restaurants are nothing more than the main diningroom serves. We experienced two deck side barbecues and the second had few shrimp and no lobster. The bridge was supposed to be open to passengers when not in port and was closed half the time. So what did we like? The great waiters like Hari, Puji an amazing room steward and the Yacht Club where specialty coffees and snacks were served all day. The excursions were excellent although it took four frustrating visits to the excursion desk to get a refund. The guys working the tenders were great as were the crew in the marina. The port visits were on time and the tv offerings were nice. We found the room service to be excellent and very convenient during the 13 day mostly rough crossing. The embarkation was a disaster after sitting in a cold, dirty port in Lisbon six hours because a Windstar rep told us we could leave our luggage secured and there wasn’t anyone there from The ship to assist us. Disembarkay was leisurely and well organized. Despite the many pluses, we won’t be sailing Windstar again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Just got off the wind star legend....wow...good thing they are taking this ship into reparations... It has seen better days... No thermostats work in the suites, 1 ply toilet tissue, main dining room a/c stuck on coldest setting, so low ... Read More
Just got off the wind star legend....wow...good thing they are taking this ship into reparations... It has seen better days... No thermostats work in the suites, 1 ply toilet tissue, main dining room a/c stuck on coldest setting, so low , a large % of passengers got a cold in the first 3 days and passed it around for a week. Outdoor seating on upper deck fine dining area had incredibly uncomfortable chairs, the skinny legs of the cheap seating kept getting stuck in the grates of the floor tipping them sideways. The 'Candles' experience was 'filled" with reservations and when you got one ,you noticed very few people there because they were so understaffed... Fillet mignonette was precut to 6 ounces , served medium to medium well no matter what you requested. Service was spotty, some nights good, some you had to ask for water. Servers would often approach table interrupting guests in middle of a sentence.. Dining hours reflected the understaffing, very limited hours it became necessary to plan around so as not to run out of certain selections. Room service menu was a set menu devoid of nightly specials... Seldom could you make a selection where to eat... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted a smaller, less crowded ship, as we are not fans of the 3000 person ships. This had an itinerary that was heavy in ports with many overnight stays in bigger cities. We do not prefer so many "at sea" days. The ... Read More
Wanted a smaller, less crowded ship, as we are not fans of the 3000 person ships. This had an itinerary that was heavy in ports with many overnight stays in bigger cities. We do not prefer so many "at sea" days. The smaller ship has less amenities, so "at sea" days are not as enjoyable. This smaller ship was able to dock closer the many of the downtown areas, since it could navigate the rivers to get closer to towns, making exploring independently easier. The staff on this ship was very competent and responsive to all the guest's needs. There were reviews the evening before each port, providing information about that port, as well as promoting the ship's excursions. This information was helpful, although sometimes not totally accurate on dress requirements of temples, etc. The cabins are very spacious, although they are getting somewhat dated. We were told that Windstar is remodeling and expanding their fleet, one ship at a time. We will definitely cruise again on a Windstar ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
First cruise and probably the last. The list of problems on this ship are too numerous to elaborate. Briefly - no hot water some days, no self serve coffee/tea available - only available with room service after 6:00 pm, inadequate ... Read More
First cruise and probably the last. The list of problems on this ship are too numerous to elaborate. Briefly - no hot water some days, no self serve coffee/tea available - only available with room service after 6:00 pm, inadequate seating spaces for breakfast and lunch during inclement weather, options for meals are severely limited, old and outdated stateroom, poorly coordinated and overpriced excursions, movie room had seating for about 8 people. At embarkation they lost 2 of our 3 pieces of luggage so that we had to track them down. Three full days at sea with nothing to do - what a waste of time and money. TV program listings on the daily activity sheet were for the day before. They cleaned the brass handrails on the stairs with Brasso and failed to wipe it down thoroughly. Got black on our hands when we used them. Service providers were overly friendly but many did not understand English. One redeeming quality was the workout room was well equipped. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Bucket list item was the Greek isles and since we prefer the smaller ships, opted for a Windstar cruise. Only 135 or so guests so no crowds or lines. Ship is a little old but well maintained and except for the air conditioning and the ... Read More
Bucket list item was the Greek isles and since we prefer the smaller ships, opted for a Windstar cruise. Only 135 or so guests so no crowds or lines. Ship is a little old but well maintained and except for the air conditioning and the internet, very comfortable and enjoyable. Except for Monemvassia, there were no big buses for the tours which was nice but that may be dependent on the number of folks that signed up. All vehicles were comfortable.Crew was hospitable except for one wine steward and when brought to the attention of management, things changed promptly. Ports were all very enjoyable though I was pretty tired of ruins once everything was over. Stayed in the Electra Hotel for a few nights in Athens and it was nice with a rooftop dining area with views of the Acropolis. Just avoid room 211 which had a toilet so close to the wall and shower one had to be a contortionist to use. Last night we moved to the Grand Bretagne and it was a beautiful old hotel but probably not worth the extra money. Tried to get reservations for our group of 8 several weeks before for dinner on the rooftop but they were full. Could not even find space to have a cocktail that evening as most of the space was closed off for some reason. Went next door to King George hotel and had a wonderful meal on the top floor with even better views of the Acropolis. Highly recommend this! Crew was polite and accommodating but not as nice as Crystal Esprit. Food in the dining room was good but not exceptional. Candles was better and especially the on-deck barbecue...that was amazing. Dinner at the Celsus Library was also amazing. Went to the opera afterwards in the old theatre and sitting on stone, even for an hour, was awful. Delos and Turkey were wonderful stops but all were excellent. Chartered a private catamaran in Santorini instead of the ships cat tour and it was fantastic. Breakfasts were nice with a wide selection of food on the buffet with the opportunity to order off the menu if desired. Bridge tour was nice and informative. 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: 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for ... Read More
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for entertainment! Other than that, the bathrooms were the best part, especially for those of us with an ocean view cabin. We had double sinks and a huge (by ship's standards) walk in shower. The tubs in the French door cabins were dauntingly tall, in my view, particularly at sea. My main goal is to stay upright in a shower and, with a wet hand towel on the shower floor, I achieved that goal since I did not have to try to get into a bathtub. Great amenities, as well. There were two grab bars and plenty of storage. Helpfully, there was a cord for hanging your undies if you did hand wash. We eschewed the heavy duty laundry bill in favor of washing out a few things after each shower. Worked great. I will say that we only showered in port because of the rocking. The negative was that our inept and disinterested cabin boy forgot twice to give us a back up roll of toilet paper. When we ran out the second time, my husband was dispatched to reception. There, he met the captain who was so appalled that HE got us the toilet paper! Really, it was that kind of ship with only 200 passengers. Just how inept was that cabin boy? We were surprised at two things in the room when we arrived. One was that the beds are so low that you cannot put your luggage under them. We parked it on either side of the window. When we went to bed the first night, I found the mattress to be very uncomfortable, with some kind of metal support under my back. That and the rocking boat kept me from sleep most of the night. The next day, we examined the mattress to find that the cabin boy had flipped the mattress and we were sleeping on the supports. That got fixed very quickly. First time ever on a ship. At that, it was not the best mattress we have slept on at sea. However, we did not have issues with the thermostat as some did. The room was huge by our previous standards and having a window was normally just fine. It was quite large, the weather was too cool anyway to want to sit outside, so we were quite content with that kind of room. It would have been nice for someone to wash the window, however. The food. Where to begin? Both lunch and dinner were served up top. You had to cross over from the elevator to the outside to get to your meals. The highly touted bbq was on that deck and we about froze as we were not allowed inside the restaurant. That food was pretty good, however. The breakfasts and lunches were very ordinary for a ship that advertises that it is using James Beard recipes. It is bland, even for spicy ethnic dishes such as adobo. Bread pudding was available at every lunch along side ice cream. The rest of the desserts were mainly mousses as one guest mentioned. At dinner in AurorA, food portions were not only small but were mounded in the middle of the plates unattractively. The headwaiter had a hard time remembering if you asked to be seated with others so you could sit a while and have to send a waiter to remind him. The special Candles meal was in the buffet room so lacked any ambiance. My husband's veal chop was full of gristle, my filet was fine, but the bernaise came out of a can. The Caesar salad was very bland, like most of the food. AND, horror of horrors, we missed lobster night in AurourA! The negative of negatives was that exhaust fumes came into our room several times during the cruise with no way to blow the air out. We spoke to the captain about it and he said it happened all the time when the ship was bouncy. It bounced along the Portuguese coast both coming and going. One night we returned to our cabin after dinner to find it full of fumes which caused our eyes to burn. We ended up having to go to bed before the air cleared. That would keep me from sailing with Windstar until this issue is solved. It was one of the examples of the company not spending its money on things that matter. The ship clearly had been dressed up so the reputed $18 million spend on the 3 Seabourn ships went to superficial decorating, not to keeping its equipment repaired. We are supposed to sail on Legend and that ship had its tender fail. People were ferried by zodiacs with wet landings. That would have done me in as I only brought one pair of shoes. I read a report on Breeze that it also had tendering issues. When you arrive on the ship, there is a big hustle to sell you a laundry package (no self laundry), a booze package, and a wifi package. All very expensive. We did not buy any. I have no experience with the spa or the exercise room. Non- alcoholic beverages are included which I really liked. Fed my Coke addiction. Besides there being no entertainment and few port talks, there was a perfectly good room set up for movies but the equipment was missing or broken. We could set up a card game if we wanted but no one did. The library was pretty good for its size with a couple of shelves for passengers to exchange books. We really missed having something fun to do after dinner. There is a very small casino and a couple of bar areas but we do not drink much. A huge plus on this ship is the Yacht Club which not only provides expansive windows but also has a very nice mini breakfast and small sandwiches and desserts for lunch. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches sometime for our excursions. It shuts down the food at 6 pm when most people trot off to dinner. Excursions were the highlight of the islands. The Canaries and Madeira had amazing, wild mountains. The best excursion was a 4 wheel in the Algarve in Portugal. Because of the fabulous islands, we really were happy we went on this cruise. Most of the issues were not really so big.... Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
If you are seeking a cruise with Tahitian culture, history and dancing, this one is not for you. We have taken two other Polynesian cruises and the crews were Polynesian. We learned a lot about the islands and their culture and history. ... Read More
If you are seeking a cruise with Tahitian culture, history and dancing, this one is not for you. We have taken two other Polynesian cruises and the crews were Polynesian. We learned a lot about the islands and their culture and history. The shows featured Polynesians and their dancing. The crew on the Wind Spirit is Asian and Eastern European and knew nothing about the islands. It seemed the cruise director learned everything he knew of the islands from books.This ship should have been sailing in the Caribbean. The entertainment every night was Hot, Hot, Hot, YMCA, and rock, nothing Polynesian. Even the music on the speaker systems was devoid of anything Polynesian. The crew was exceptional in all other respects. the food was good but not great. You pay $9 for a small glass of wine. Tours were excellent but expensive. On two occasions we contacted local tour operators for equivalent tours at less than half the price. The sports platform included a small swimming area and a couple of kayaks. On first and last day we had rooms at the Meridien hotel in Tahiti. Breakfast was included but nothing else. A better choice is the Paul Gaugin where everything except tours is included. We would not take another Windstar cruise. There is much better value to your money elsewhere. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We were looking to go through the Panama Canal on a small ship and not have to visit various Caribbean islands that we have already seen. We had not visited Costa Rica or Panama so the itinerary on this ship fit our requirement. ... Read More
We were looking to go through the Panama Canal on a small ship and not have to visit various Caribbean islands that we have already seen. We had not visited Costa Rica or Panama so the itinerary on this ship fit our requirement. Embarkation was terrible and almost had us worrying what we got ourselves into. We took an independent tour from a hotel we booked on our own, which was cheaper than their transfer. We got to the port and they did not tell you that for security purposes your taxi cannot take you directly to the ship. You transfer into another van, which our tour guide seemed to know. Inside the port we were dropped off at a building stating we had to go through immigration. A porter took our bags inside the building and no one was there except a person at a table offering us cookies and lemonade. We asked what do we do and he ran out of the building to find someone. We are now standing waiting with a porter who does not speak English. The person comes back and says someone will be with us shortly. We waited 10 minutes and my husband goes out to find someone. A bus just arrived to the ship so they were busy but not having someone to great you and tell you what to do was crazy. My husband comes back with someone who provides us luggage tags (they do not provide a package in advance) and says to board they ship. We board after the bus load of people and it is a bit chaotic. You go through a metal screener, someone does a peripheral look through your carry on bags. You are asked to take your traditional picture and given some forms and go into a lounge with a number to be called. Once our number was called they state we don’t have all the forms. They ran to get us others and we had more to fill out. So confusing. Finally everything was filled in and we gave them the forms and you need to surrender your passports as they clear customs for you from Costa Rica to Panama. Once you get your key, you are escorted to your cabin and they show you around. Not the best way to start a cruise but it got better from there. There were about 190 guests with 150 crew so there were very attentive. Staff was very friendly as you met the same servers at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was a pleasure to eat breakfast and lunch without waiting on long buffet lines and trying to find a seat that is an issue on some of the larger ship. Dinner is open seating and you have a choice to eat with other people or on your own each night. Dress is very casual and no formal nights - thank goodness! They have a specialty restaurant, Candles, where they dress up the veranda cafe used for breakfast and lunch. It is very pretty and the menu is excellent. You get to eat their once for no extra fee and if you get lucky, like we did, we ate their twice. The downside is it is a small ship with a small hot tub and circulating pool to get wet. They could not get the hot tub to the right temperature, on certain days it was too hot to go in. There is also a lack of outdoor seating in the shade. The upper deck has lots of lounge chairs but they will not open the umbrellas when the ship is moving as they will fly away. The Yacht club is very nice on the upper floor with large windows and you can find a quiet space to read or play board games that they provide. The Yacht club serves light food all day until 5 or 6 PM but after that time, you only have the main dining room or room service. I was looking for ice cream when we came back from a shore excursion but the only place to get ice cream is room service. Really? Room service is free as is all soft drinks and types of coffee and teas. There is limited evening entertainment, a piano player who was pretty poor and a duet who were talented. Select evenings they had music and movie trivia as well as Liar’s Club which were fun. Other nights they only had music. This is not a cruise for you if you want shows or late night entertainment. The ship has a very small fitness area - three treadmills, two bikes and a few weight machines. The ceiling was so low you could not stretch your arms straight up. Person giving some of the evening fitness classes seemed more interested in talking with friends than giving the class. I stopped into the spa for a manicure and they had limited nail polish colors and no drying machine. Sitting still for over an hour did not work to keep the manicure without crinkles. Bring your own nail polish remover and polish. Ship needs some TLC as it showed signs of rust and wear and tear. Rooms were very nice overall, see my cabin review. The Destination Manager, Steve, was very good and he gave a short port talk every day to give you an overview of what to expect the next day He was available throughout the day to answer questions and was very helpful. He also told you whether you were doing a wet landing or dry. They go to small ports so they use a zodiac to transport guests. It takes 18 people and 2 crew and they get the tours off first so you may have to wait if your doing something independently. The staff are great guiding you on and off and you need to bring shoes, water socks or sandles that will get wet. You usually get off in ankle or higher water on the beach on wet landings. There were people who had canes or some walking challenges who were able to make the transition but it is not comfortable especially if there is rolling waves which we had on two days. Staff do whatever they need to help. The ship opens a bay in the back which becomes a swimming platform and they place out floating mats to lay on, a trampoline with a slide, noodles as well as kayaks, paddle boards and you can sign up for water skiing and tubing - an adult playground. It is only open when the water is calm from about 10 to 2 or 3. The ship does a barbecue lunch on a beach on an island which is a national park so it has limited people visiting. You can only get there by boat. They set up lounge chairs with umbrellas or half tents, tables and chairs in a shaded area for eating, a full bar, barbecue with tons of food, a tent from the spa to sign up for massages as well as all the “toys” from the swimming platform. Great day and very well done. They also have an evening barbecue and they pulled out all the stops. They transform the open decks with tables and chairs with tablecloths and soft lighting. Food choices were everything from cold shrimp and crab legs to grilled lobster, steak, chicken, grouper, paella, salads, cheese board, desserts, etc. After they cleared the deck, they had line dancing with guests and staff, it was lots of fun. Excursions were hit or miss and I thought some were overpriced and others they did not tell you the proper travel time so you spent 3 hours on a bus for a 8 hour tour. We found some tours repetitive since the descriptions they provide are incomplete. They go to different islands, it was hard to find independent tours. The one at sea day, they had various activities, including a wine tasting, culinary demonstration and a galley tour escorted by the executive chef, various movies and documentaries and other activities. Again it is a small ship so you are not going to find sports or pool activities. I thought the sommelier, Nitish (sp?), who led the wine tasting did an excellent job, giving you information on the area where the wine was made and types of grapes. He is well informed. This was a red wine tasting so we asked if we could have a white wine tasting. He organized one after dinner one evening but because the ship was hitting some rough waters, it had to be canceled. Staff tried very hard to accommodate requests. Disembarkation went very smoothly and we booked a post cruise tour of Old and New Panama, which was good. It dropped you off at the airport but a number of us were staying overnight at the Riande Aeroport Hotel and the driver dropped us off on the way back - again very accomodating. This may not be a cruise for everyone but I very much appreciated their efforts. They have a slogan of 180 degrees from ordinary, they certainly achieved a good part of it but still have work to do. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our 3rd time on the Windsurf. The cruise had been scheduled to embark and disembark in St. Martin. However, after Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Martin, the cruise was rescheduled to go RT Barbados. The ports changed again after ... Read More
This was our 3rd time on the Windsurf. The cruise had been scheduled to embark and disembark in St. Martin. However, after Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Martin, the cruise was rescheduled to go RT Barbados. The ports changed again after Hurricane Maria. Windstar cruises was very quick to change their itinerary to ports unaffected by the recent storms. As a result, we visited some new ports. Mayreaux, Bequia, Anse Matin, and Monserrat were all new to us. The excursions were well organized. Guides were excellent. We had a great time exploring small ports that are seldom visited by the big ships. We also enjoyed the included "unexpected OBC". The ship was beautiful. As an older ship, the care to details is amazing. Crew was constantly cleaning, polishing, painting, and fixing everything. The cabins are well arranged. Lots of storage space....drawers, shelves, and double closets were ideal. Cabin had good lighting, beautiful linens, and comfortable chairs. Bathroom had lovely L'Occitane toiletries. There are no cabins with verandas. As a small ship, it is easy and quick to get outside. Lots of public spaces indoor and out. Never had to go hunting for a deck chair. The small pool deck aft was a great place to relax. Non alcoholic drinks were included everywhere on the ship. The fridge in the cabin is restocked daily with your choice of beverages. Room service 24/7 was prompt and free. Dining was superb. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda. Seating at linen covered tables indoor and out. You could select from the buffet or order from the menu. Choices were interesting with daily specials. The Yacht Club was open daily until 6pm serving drinks and small sandwiches and pastry. Yacht Club was my go to place for coffee. Diner was served in 4 places. No surcharge anywhere. The main restaurant Aamphora had different menu each night. The food choices were very good. If you wanted something off the menu, ask and usually it happens. No request was denied. The Stella Bistro had a set menu with a French flair. Candles and Dining Under the Stars were outside. Their menus were mostly grilled items. The fillet at Candles was delicious. The buffet salad bar at Dining Under the Stars was outstanding. Once each week, there is a beach party ashore with food and local entertainment. Once a week the regular restaurants are closed because there is a deck BBQ with fabulous food and entertainment. The highlight is grilled lobsters. We took 3 excursions which were excellent. The best was on the disembarkation day. We put our luggage out at 6:30 the day of disembarkation and enjoyed a full breakfast before leaving the ship. The captain and some staff members were at the gangway to help with hand luggage. Hugs all around. While our luggage was taken to the airport, we took a 4+ hour tour around Barbados in an air conditioned van. Great guide. After enjoying an included lunch at a beautiful plantation, we were driven to the airport. We were met by Windstar reps who assisted us with our luggage and checkin. We had a fabulous time and will return. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This is our third and likely last Windstar cruise. There are many reasons we feel this way. First, the Windsurf is need of serious updates. There is surface rust visible throughout the exterior decks. Several warped deckboards, metal ... Read More
This is our third and likely last Windstar cruise. There are many reasons we feel this way. First, the Windsurf is need of serious updates. There is surface rust visible throughout the exterior decks. Several warped deckboards, metal step treads almost rusted through near the pool area. Interior wise carpets and fabrics are in very worn condition. Beds are uncomfortable and left us with back aches. The food quality is sub-par for the price. The excursions offered were super limited and overpriced. We had to do our own research and planning and found much better island experiences independently. Overall, the bar staff were the friendliest folks on the boat. The cabin stewards and food service were a close second. Other than that, no one else really spoke to us, except Andrew the beverage manager who tracked us down 2 different nights around 8:30 - 9:30pm (once sat down at our dinner table) to inquire bar charges on our beverage plan, which we had disputed. His tone and demeanor were accusatory and offensive to us which let to me raising my voice at him. It was definitely the straw that broke the camels back and made us decide to try new cruise lines going forward. We three out of four family members on the unlimited beverage package. The two family members sharing another cabin and one was not on it because he hardly ever drinks alcohol. The root of the problem is there systems can’t seem to keep straight who is buying what and charged a lot of drinks to the person not on the plan that we had to dispute. The whole situation was handled poorly, and you should not interrupt a guest in the middle of dinner to discuss these matters. The beverage package is pretty expensive at around $418 pp per week. You have to sign for every drink and many days you are in port most of the day, so you may think twice before signing up for this. One would think on an unlimited beverage package that you should be able to get any wine on the menu. However with this plan, only wines by the glass under 11.50 a glass are included (no bottles). We are wine people and were not happy to be served from a bottle opened the previous night, every day. The bar staff was pretty much very friendly with a few minor exceptions. In retrospect, we should not have got the beverage package at all. The appearance of the yacht, as I said above, was worn and tired. It's time to dry dock and overhaul this vessel asap. There is no way I would get back onboard the Windsurf until many changes were made. The Windstar in contrast, is in overall better condition, although not perfect, seems about 5 years fresher in terms of wear, tear and rust. The food quality is typical cruise fare. The plates were always too hot to touch indicating they had been under a heat lamp for an extended period of time and that was reflected in the taste and texture of the food. Getting reservations at any of the specialty restaurants is a frustrating game. The first day we went to guest services to make dinner reservations. We waited in a line. The couple of front of us high-fived that they got three reservations for the week. We called immediately after they hung up and were told all the reservations for the week were taken. We walked by 2 hours later and heard another guest securing reservations on the same phone. After that we complained to several staff members who referred us a dining room manager, he put us on a waiting list. We had to wait all week to see and were notified on very short notice that they were able to fit us in due to a cancellation. Having been a prior suite guest being able to come and go as we please, I know that there are always several extra tables and that are never used. I was happy that we got to eventually dine at Candles, but not happy with the process and level of frustration involved in simply making a dinner reservation. I said to one of them, maybe this wouldn't be so hard if we had booked in time to get the suite, which is the way it felt we were being treated, again 2nd class. Additionally, none of the ship's officers recognized us at all and we sailed on the same ship less than 6 months ago. The was our 3rd and likely last Windstar cruise. The first cruise was in Greece on the Windstar in the Owner's suite and it was great. The second one was on the Windsurf in the Bridge suite to the BVI’s and it was also good, but we had the best category cabin on the boat. This time we booked at the last minute and took the last 2 rooms available on the boat, which were on lower levels. Wow, what a difference not having a suite makes! It was like we were 2nd class citizens compared to the way we were treated before. We were also surprised and disappointed that we were not invited to the private party for returning guests. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We have been on the wind surf twice before on their 2 cruises out of st maarten. But this ‘jewels’ cruise was out of barbados and to mostly different islands, and over new years. We did excursions (by windstar) on all but one ... Read More
We have been on the wind surf twice before on their 2 cruises out of st maarten. But this ‘jewels’ cruise was out of barbados and to mostly different islands, and over new years. We did excursions (by windstar) on all but one island: all good. Tendered most of the time and did alot of walking in the stops. Played golf on st lucia which was neat. Nice rented clubs. Not crowded and only 3 others from the ship besides we 2. Cabin on lower deck very good, as remembered. Helda kept it nice. Ate in main dining every dinner. Tried to often sit in same area to have same good waiters(Wayme and Diana). Food always good to my taste. Met many new travellers/friends. Good weather; only one partly rainy day. Really like the no coat and tie casual dress on windstar. We wish that wind surf went a 4th route in the caribbean! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sail through the Panama Canal, do a little snorkeling, and get away from crowds. Our prior experience with large cruise lines, left us feeling uncomfortable with cruising. We ran across ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sail through the Panama Canal, do a little snorkeling, and get away from crowds. Our prior experience with large cruise lines, left us feeling uncomfortable with cruising. We ran across Windstar's much smaller ship, and decided that it might be just right for us. Because we weren't interested in shows, socializing too much, visiting crowded ports with T shirt shops, and waiting in long lines, Windstar was perfect. The Star Breeze surprised us by offering beautiful Oceanview suites as their smallest cabins. We also took advantage of the free 24 hour room service. The food was plentiful, and delicious. Our crew was always eager to please. We arrived at each port on schedule. For a tropical cruise on Windstar, I would recommend packing clothing that dries quickly (fishing shirts, etc.), 1 or 2 country club outfits for dinner, and 3 pairs of shoes (water, hiking, and resort casual for dinner.) Aside from that, get the laundry service. We regretted our decision to overpack and not order laundry service. Highlights included: Manuel Antonio National Park with Odyssey Tours, Beach BBQ and snorkelinig on Isle Parida (don't give up, the fish are by the rocks), lobster one night, and actually going all the way through the Panama Canal, and relaxing in the yacht club at the front of the ship. We are already talking about a future Windstar Trip. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First off, all the people that work there try real hard. the Captain and his crew tried very hard to make the cruise comfortable despite tropical storm Alieen with 85 miles winds.However this is not a luxary cruise. Princess is must better ... Read More
First off, all the people that work there try real hard. the Captain and his crew tried very hard to make the cruise comfortable despite tropical storm Alieen with 85 miles winds.However this is not a luxary cruise. Princess is must better and it is not in the class of Oceanic. This is about getting room service 1/2 hour late. taking over 30 minutes to get a workable hairdryer, losing dining reservation for 18 at their special restaurant, despite confiming it the day before. Knowing what is jasmine tea vis green tea. Not getting a wheel chair, when requesting it. Little stuffs that relates to communication and the failure to delivery. The cabin was great and have lots of places for storages. The shower was huge with plenty of hot water. Cabin size was excellent. Love the one price cleaning and delivery within 24 hours. Love the idea of free soda and coffee. The $12 per day crew service charge was very reasonable and we got good service. Entertaiment was enjoyable. Port excursions by the cruise company was first class and having lunch at great places helps. Recommend it highly. Dining was so-so at best. Desserts was not good, not even ice creams. Worst roast beef i ever have. The specialize restaurant is much better, but you only get to it only once. The best was when they did a barbecue dinner with all the choices. Since the ship is smaller, it limited dining options. It can use a buffet.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that ... Read More
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland, which was a very good way to see more remote parts of the country. Cabins very comfortable with plenty of closet, drawer, and shelf space and cabin service was excellent. I was disappointed that the shower in my cabin was over a bathtub, making it very difficult to get in and out of the shower. Bathtubs on ships don't make a lot of sense to me. And the shower head was placed awkwardly in a corner, making it difficult to get the full force of the shower. Service was very good and so was the food; dinners were elegantly served and there was always good entree choices. The Fitness Center is very well equipped. Generally, Windstar does a good job. My annoyance is that I felt "nickled and dimed" because there are so many extra charges. I would rather pay a little more and have more included (like wine at dinner and laundry). Another annoyance is to arrive at a "briefing" for the next day's activities only to have to sit through half an hour of marketing for future Windstar trips before the "briefing" begins. Another annoyance is Internet access; they sell it but tell you that it will work only intermittently and so much time is used up just trying to log on, plus it's expensive! But all in all, it was a good trip and I would do it again! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Having taken only two previous cruises, one with Regent and one with Silver seas I don’t claim to be an expert on reviewing cruises. However, here is my opinion of the Windstar Barcelona to Lisbon cruise aboard the Star Breeze. The ... Read More
Having taken only two previous cruises, one with Regent and one with Silver seas I don’t claim to be an expert on reviewing cruises. However, here is my opinion of the Windstar Barcelona to Lisbon cruise aboard the Star Breeze. The appeal of a small ship like the Star Breeze is crowd avoidance. However, The Star breeze feels crowded at times especially when at sea. Most of the cabins have widows that don’t open so people want to be on the decks to get fresh air. Unfortunately, there are not enough lounge chairs on the two outside decks. Consequently, everyone tries to claim a chair early by putting stuff on it. Latecomers move the stuff which causes arguments. The lounge chairs have a one inch pad and are very hard. There are umbrellas over some chairs but usually can’t be open under way due to the wind. So, there is little shaded area on the upper deck when the ship is moving. The cabins that do have a sliding door have a tiny deck you can stand on if you have small feet. In effect, all you get is a window that opens. These cabins sell out early. The cabins with a window that doesn’t open are large enough but claustrophobic in my opinion. There is one pool which resembles an oversize bathtub and two small hot tubs. There is a constant roar from the smoke stacks even when the ship is docked. It is quite annoying on the outside decks including the Candles restaurant. I suggest you bring a noise cancelling headset if you want to read a book on the deck. Compared to the two previous cruise ships I was on the Star Breeze seemed dated and overcrowded. There are two restaurants. One is used for breakfast lunch and dinner. This restaurant at dinner time is called Candles and you can go there once during the 8-day cruise. The outside seating area is subject to the exhaust noise. The main dining room on the lower deck is used for dinner only. The food is quite good in both restaurants. Entertainment. Two musical duos played guitar and sang on and off all day. There was one free flamenco dance show on the ship one evening. The cabin crew sang some songs and danced. Sort of an amateur hour show. Amenities I'm not sure if all Windstar cruises are ala carte but this one was. You can buy drinks for $54/day per person or individually. You have to sign for each drink which is annoying. All tours are extra. Even laundry and WI Fi are extra. There are different Wi FI plans priced by the G bytes you use. Shore Excursions Tours were very good and well organized although none were free. Cost varied for $60 to 250/person Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We did the 7 day Tahiti experience two years ago and enjoyed it very much. We did the extended version to experience the Wind Spirit in Full Sail in the open sea. It didn't happen. The saile were never all put up and only a token part ... Read More
We did the 7 day Tahiti experience two years ago and enjoyed it very much. We did the extended version to experience the Wind Spirit in Full Sail in the open sea. It didn't happen. The saile were never all put up and only a token part sail went up briefly. Additional to this Windstar have cut back in many areas. The so called Watersports platform showing Skiing, Sailing ang Kyaking is no more. They have cut staff and the Sailboats never hit the water as they did every day on the last cruise the reason for this is not enough staff to man the area. The Kyaks are in a Pauling condition. The Dining experience is now reduced because Windstar Head Office have decreed that White Wine Glasses are to be removed and all Wine served in Red Wine Glasses. Refrigerators were broken so hot White Wine was served. Urns were broken so Tea was Luke warm at best. No Shampoo was available. Paid for Transferrs were forgotten and Passengers left stranded. Tenders were in poor condition with broken seats. I don't know how Certificates were obtained recently with the Tenders in this condition. The Past Cruisers drinks night was spent wondering where this line is going. The opinion was overwhelmingly down. Unfortunately a great cruise line in decline. 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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This is my second review of the "Star Pride" --- my first was the maiden voyage in 2014, immediately after the ship was acquired from Seabourn. I noticed several changes, almost all of which were positive. This 7-night cruise ... Read More
This is my second review of the "Star Pride" --- my first was the maiden voyage in 2014, immediately after the ship was acquired from Seabourn. I noticed several changes, almost all of which were positive. This 7-night cruise sailed on February 25, 2017 from Colon, with stops in several small ports in Costa Rica. Some recent passengers have complained that the ports are relatively unknown, but I really liked seeing the smaller venues that feature local culture and wildlife. Like us (13 previous cruises), over half of the passengers were Windstar alumni cruisers. Also in attendance were the new Windstar President John Delaney, and several members of his executive team. I had the opportunity to spend some “quality time” with John, and found him to be attentive, engaging, and passionate about small ship cruising, with many ideas for improving the Windstar brand. Prior to our embarkation, we flew into Panama City and stayed at the Bristol Hotel, located in the middle of the banking/financial district. Panama City is located on the Pacific coast, so we took an hour-long bus ride over to Colon’ on the Atlantic coast before boarding the ship. This might seem a bit odd, until you see that Panama City is a modern metropolis dominated by skyscraper hotels and high-rise office buildings, while Colon’ is mostly industrial, with little to offer tourists. SHIP INFORMATION: The Star Pride one of three (3) motor yachts purchased in late 2013 from Seabourn Cruise Lines. Most of my previous cruises have been on board the Wind Surf, which has smaller cabins, but much larger public spaces. I confess that I am very partial to the Wind Surf, but I am warming up to the Star class vessels --- they each have their charms. The ship has many features familiar to Windstar regulars: intimate "private yacht" ambiance, country club casual dress policy, attentive wait staff who learn guests' names seemingly overnight, and the open bridge policy. Cabins are all suites, with a minimum 50% larger footprint, larger marble bath, and a walk-in closet. The ship also features an aft sports platform for water activities, a small casino, and spa. Originally, the ship had two whirlpools (hot tubs) side by side on deck 7, plus an adjacent small pool, all covered by an awning. Recently Windstar removed the pool, and replaced one of the whirlpools with a slightly larger “jet” pool. When the jet is on you can actually swim against the current, and when it’s off, 6-8 people can fit in comfort. The Veranda restaurant has both indoor and open-air seating, and transforms into the Candles alternative dinner restaurant at night. The AmphorA restaurant is on the lower deck, and is handsomely decorated, spacious and comfortable, but also can be quite noisy at dinner time. Best to ask for a window table, rather than one in the middle of the room. The Lounge features a stage for entertainers and speakers, with theater type seating. Oddly enough, there is no bar in the Lounge, and so it is mostly used as a theater. The Compass Rose is located one deck higher, adjacent to the Casino, and has a very nice bar area and large dance floor. Unfortunately, it is completely indoors --- I really missed the aft ocean view from the Compass Rose on the Wind Surf. The Yacht Club is located on the top deck in front of the Star Bar. It is a handsome room with great views and comfortable seating, and a large TV for viewing photos from the ship’s photographer. Coffee, tea and pastries are offered in the morning, with light sandwiches and snacks available later in the day. EMBARKATION: With such a small number of passengers, getting on board is a brief and painless process. Passengers must fill out a few forms, surrender their passports, receive a photo ID card, and are then shown to their cabins. ACTIVITIES: All the Windstar yachts have a minimal approach to onboard activities, and the Star Pride was no exception. There are no Zumba classes, glass blowing exhibitions, or bridge tournaments such as might be found on larger vessels. Bravo! One traditional Wind Surf activity that was not offered was the afternoon tea time in the Compass Rose --- just doesn't have the same appeal indoors. The two biggest events of the week are the Beach Party (on a private island) and the Deck Barbecue, featuring line dancing afterwards. Most dancing I saw all week! The Crew Show is also a favorite, as well as the Yacht Club reception for past Windstar guests. INTERNET ACCESS: Always a sore point, especially at sea. Windstar charges $60 for 200MB of bandwidth, as opposed to a fixed number of minutes. This is a wise pricing model, in my view. Otherwise, everyone would be clogging up the works sending selfies home to their friends. Having said that, I used up my 200 MB in just two days. In hindsight, I should have scanned my email Inbox and only viewed important messages (no attachments), sent as few emails as possible, spent no time deleting messages. SERVICE: As always, the personalized service was terrific. Wait staff addressed passengers by name, and were genuinely enthusiastic about posing for pictures. Bartenders quickly learned everyone’s favorite wines or drinks. I have learned that it is almost always best to buy wine by the bottle instead of by the glass, as the wait staff are happy to store it for later use. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS: We took a great Dolphin Watch excursion, which was truly spectacular. After a 30 minute ride in a medium sized boat with an upper viewing deck, we saw dozens of dolphins up close and personal for over an hour. When the boat was moving slowly, the dolphins were right alongside us, and when we speeded up, they would ride the wake and leap completely out of the water time and time again. Afterwards we stopped to view a bird sanctuary, and saw frigate birds stealing fish from each other, as well as egrets, herons, green turtles and other wildlife. It was like being in a National Geographic nature show! All of the ports were quite small, which I liked. No jewelry stores, trinket shops, or tourist traps! OUR CABIN #133: Great location almost amidships, directly adjacent to the Atrium, so just one deck and a few steps from Reception. Our cabin was on the lowest of the three passenger decks, and the least expensive. We had a nice large window, but no balcony. The cabin was spacious, and seemed even larger because of the very low bed. However, the low bed also made it impossible to use for luggage storage (other than a carry-on). Although the cabins are at least 100 sq. feet larger than on the Wind Surf, the bed still sits very closely to the desk, making it a squeeze to get by. A nice feature is a curtain that can be drawn between the bed and the sitting area --- very convenient if I wanted to read after my wife went to bed. DINING: All the food was great, with very few misses. I had Eggs Benedict every morning, along with a fruit smoothy, fresh-squeezed OJ, and some smoked salmon. For lunch, it took much will power to not over indulge myself on the bread pudding with vanilla sauce. One item that we missed from previous Windstar cruises was the daily chilled soup --- much appreciated in tropical climes. Dinners were consistently delicious. One secret I have learned over the years is that if you don’t like the daily dessert offerings, you can always get Crème Brulee from Candles. Indoor seating at the Veranda restaurant was a little limited, so we always ate outdoors. Since our first cruise on the Star Pride, Windstar has added a second covered seating area (where the pool used to be) to handle a larger crowd. ENTERTAINMENT: On previous Windstar cruises, the entertainment always included a 4-5 piece combo such as “Top Society”, plus a second duo, usually a vocalist and guitarist or keyboard player. Thankfully, on this cruise there was no large combo. Instead, there were two duos – D’Harmony and Mardi Gras. D’Harmony (guitarist Eric and vocalist Monique) were our favorites, by far. DISEMBARKATION: Very straightforward. We arranged a transfer from the ship to the Marriott Hotel in San Jose, from which a driver took us to a post-cruise hotel destination. Read Less
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