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7 Windstar Spain Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise because of the ports and we had never been on Windstar. We assumed it was a sailing ship because of the masts we saw in ports. Shortly after boarding we were told that one of our excursion was canceled due to ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the ports and we had never been on Windstar. We assumed it was a sailing ship because of the masts we saw in ports. Shortly after boarding we were told that one of our excursion was canceled due to Ramadan in Tangier. Did the cruise line not know, because it was advertised on their website for months, and one of the reasons we booked the cruise. The city of Tangier was like a ghost town. So moving on, my husband and I were enjoying the jacuzzi on a beautiful full moon night when we were told that we had to get out, because it was closed. It wasn't even 9 pm. On another night we were sleeping and at 2 in the morning an upholstered tile from the headboard fell on my husbands head. No damage, but surprising . We assumed the the room steward would have it fixed. But no, we called and someone came and fixed it. The next day our room steward said "I thought it was yours", really I brought a headboard tile with me. The food was good, but not regional. There was a BBQ one night with all the food from the region, but I expected to have at least one option a night from the region on the ships menu. Don't get me started about the news letter. Wrong dates, wrong times, wrong cities. Two hour wrong wakeup times, on and on. We've been cruising since 2002 on many different lines and travel many times every year on land and sea. We have never been more disappointed in a cruise line. The staff was wonderful the ports beautiful, but the attention to detail was miserable. The photo we bought is not printable on our email. So disappointed. We also think it really isn't a sailing ship, just a gimmick, because we never sailed and the sports deck was never available. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Really, my only complaint is that this ship does not cater for solo travellers. Until I met someone to eat with, I was eating by myself and reading a book! they were shocked when I ask if I could not join with other people. There is a ... Read More
Really, my only complaint is that this ship does not cater for solo travellers. Until I met someone to eat with, I was eating by myself and reading a book! they were shocked when I ask if I could not join with other people. There is a very well equipped gym in a small room so no place to lay on a mat especially as each time I was there, the fitness instructor was giving either a class or personal training. One exercises looking out to the port or the sea. Lovely! Embarkation was at 13:00 hrs. and I got there at 13:30. Hardly a queue. Very easy. Someone showed me to my cabin. I went to the buffet where they were serving lunch. There are three restaurants and managed to get bookings in the two smaller ones. The best was Candles Restaurant...grilled meat and the veal chop was excellent, as were the vegetables. Actually, all of the restaurants were good, though Candles was my favourite. I had the buffet for lunch every day. A tasty selection. I think I and two Australians were the only non-Americans on the ship. Every evening there was a briefing about the following day's tours and the city. Very helpful. I enjoyed the cruise but for the first two days felt very isolated, especially at dinner. And for that reason probably will not cruise on this line again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our cruise was the "Splendors of Southern Spain", embarking from Lisbon, Portugal, ending in Barcelona, Spain. This was our 10th Windstar cruise, most of which have been on the Wind Surf. Highlights of the cruise were the ... Read More
Our cruise was the "Splendors of Southern Spain", embarking from Lisbon, Portugal, ending in Barcelona, Spain. This was our 10th Windstar cruise, most of which have been on the Wind Surf. Highlights of the cruise were the private excursion to see the beautiful Spanish "dancing" stallions, the excursions to The Alhambra and to the Tio Pepe winery, and the fabulous island paradise of Palma de Mallorca. Our cruise began with a 2-night stay at the 5-star Tiara Park Hotel in Lisbon, conveniently located near a small park where the "Hop On, Hop Off" tour buses are located. There were 70 other Windstar cruisers at the hotel, and we met several nice folks before ever boarding the Wind Surf. The hotel itself featured a clean, modern design, with spacious rooms and excellent wi-fi service. We took our meals in the hotel dining room, where the food and service was first rate. Two buses picked up all the Windstar guests and got us to the WInd Surf early in the afternoon. Check in on the ship was seamless, and after a short lunch, we found our bags already delivered to our cabin #224, near the aft of the ship. It wasn't long before we had touched base with several of our favorite crew members, including Nova (waiter) and Angeline (bartender). A few other crew members heard that I was on board, and tracked me down in the Compass Rose just to say hello. It's this kind of warm personal service that sets Windstar 180 degrees from normal, indeed. The ship's captain was Vladimir Delgado from Panama, the youngest captain in Windstar's fleet. We have previously sailed with several excellent captains, such as John Clark and Peter Harris, both now retired. Captain Delgado raised the bar to a new level, with his enthusiasm and gregarious personality. My wife and I had the pleasure of dining with him one evening, along with a few other guests, and greatly enjoyed his company. Unfortunately, our favorite entertainers, Craig and Nikola from the "Rain" duo, were not on board, and apparently we missed them by just a week or so. Their replacements were Erik and Caycie, who were also quite good. There was also a new band on board called "SeaScape" that were a big improvement over "High Society" and others. Even the amateur show put on by the crew was much improved! I have often been critical of the on board entertainment in the past, so this was an encouraging trend. Another aspect of the shipboard entertainment is the music played in the Compass Rose lounge, which can often be wildly uneven. Accordingly, I brought on board an iPod loaded with close to 1000 smooth jazz & vocal offerings, and donated it to the ship's Hotel Manager Nick Bulger. Unlike several earlier cruises, Nick was very supportive of my efforts, and we collaborated on the music for the remainder of the cruise. Many passengers complimented both of us on the music, but perhaps the most appreciative were the bar staff, who saw it as a welcome change. Nick later invited us to join him for dinner, and sent a very nice bottle of wine to my cabin, as well. The Wind Surf was in great shape, as were the cabins and public areas. A big surprise was the internet service, which was greatly improved. If there was any downside at all, it was that some of the shore excursions were rather pricey. As always, it was sad to leave the ship in Barcelona, but we will be back at earliest opportunity. Can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my first Windstar cruise. Based on the prices and their own marketing material - how they position themselves as a luxury experience for the most discerning traveler - and having been on a whole range of other cruise lines, I ... Read More
This was my first Windstar cruise. Based on the prices and their own marketing material - how they position themselves as a luxury experience for the most discerning traveler - and having been on a whole range of other cruise lines, I expected a good-to-great experience. What I got was more like a poor-to-mediocre one. Disappointment abounded - from the food to the ports of call to excursions to the service to the lack of sleep. POSITIVE - Staterooms: The all-suite staterooms are the largest I've ever stayed in - easily 2x the size of others. They've been recently renovated and are generally nice - additional thoughts under 'Negative' below. - Service: Almost every crew member I encountered was friendly and warm and wanted to help. Unfortunately, that niceness didn't equate to excellent service. 'Nice', 'friendly', 'warm' all go a long way in providing good service - but they don't replace the quality of the actual service provided. E.g. The waiter can be the nicest guy I've ever met, but it only goes so far in making up for the fact that I've asked for iced tea 3x and still don't have it. NEGATIVE - Staterooms: The key word about the ship is that it was 'renovated' - other than most of the public spaces (and not all of them were completely renovated), nothing looked new. In the rooms, you'll see stains in the marble in the bathroom, odd chipping/peeling in the veneers on the furniture, notice the age of the drawers and shelves in the closet, and the ancient tvs and dvd players. - Food: The dinner menus almost always looked good, but the food rarely impressed. Breakfast and lunch actually tasted like bad cafeteria food. At dinner one evening, I was served a pasta with pesto sauce, in which the pesto had been so badly prepared (and this is pesto, folks - not a difficult thing to make) that it was burnt and blackened. The dish was gross, but knowing how long I'd have to wait - and how disappointing another dish could be - I just ate it. - Overflowing toilets: One of the public restrooms, just off one of the main public rooms, overflowed into the public space several times during the cruise. And they kept putting a fan on the carpet to dry it. Well, that fan blew the air into the public room - so you could smell the disgusting scent of sewage mixed with deodorizer in the front half of the room. - Boat vibration and rocking: Yes, these are things that are to be expected on any cruise, and that I've experienced myself. I've never, though, had my bed shake - not just vibrate - so intensely, all night before that I couldn't get any rest. We weren't in the least expensive stateroom offered - not that it would be 'ok' even if we were. When you're paying these prices, no one should have a room that shakes so intensely every night. And the rocking - they rarely extend the stabilizers, and I heard many guests complaining and talking about intense sea sickness. It should be noted that the waters were *not* bad or rough at any point during the cruise. One night a woman was asking reception for some sea-sickness medication, and was told that the doctor couldn't be reached. This was after the poor woman had been up all night prior being sick. Pathetic. - Service: There was absolutely *nothing* excellent, luxurious or even 'good' about the service. I lost count of how many repeated requests - at dinner, with reception, with the maitre'd - were forgotten or had to be repeated several times. I was served the wrong meal numerous times, after having waited far too long to receive it in the 1st place. Our 2nd night, the waiter actually explained the severe delays were due to them being understaffed. !?!? How many times do I need to order iced tea or water or what-have-you before I actually get it? Again, this is supposed to be a higher-end experience - I've gotten better service on a Carnival Cruise back in college. The maitre'd offered, unsolicited - *he* offered - to send the menu for the following day to our room 3 times, but it never appeared. And he was surprised every time that it didn't show up. - Activities: There's really nothing of interest scheduled. - Ports of call: Two of the six ports should never have been part of the itinerary. One was a low-income vacation town and the other was an economically depressed town with literally nothing going on. - Excursion Director: This guy was nice, sure. But had absolutely no personality, gave no opinions or expert advice about any of the ports. All we heard were generalities and bland 'this is great, this is great, that's great' - everything was nice and great. Those words lose their meaning and provide no actual insight into the various options. His powerpoint presentations bordered on being sad. He cancelled our tickets on one of the excursions accidentally, with nothing to say but 'I'm sorry - try visiting the museum on your own'. I thought this was supposed to be a luxurious experience. You make a mistake, make it right - period. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We've sailed on the Legend when she was part of the Seabourn Line, so we know what this ship offers, the plus and minuses. I'm not going to compare my service experience to Seabourn, as this is a totally different line. My review ... Read More
We've sailed on the Legend when she was part of the Seabourn Line, so we know what this ship offers, the plus and minuses. I'm not going to compare my service experience to Seabourn, as this is a totally different line. My review will be based on a line such as Celebrity or Princess Sailing. Positive The refurbished interior is done very good. I'm an Interior Designer and I like what they did with the staterooms and the main dining room looks great. Staff, very friendly and working hard to do what they could to help (For 98%) State room attendant did a fantastic job, we would go to breakfast and when we came back the room was serviced and clean. The ports of call, small ships get you into some of the best kept ports. They allow you two bottles of wine per person to bring on board. Yacht Club, great place for coffee in the morning. Access to the bridge, very cool. And I can't remember her name but there's a women on the bridge was very good at explaining instruments and sailing. The food, was very good. Cables dining at the rear of the ship is set up as a grill, the veal chop was really good. They ask you dine only once at candles as its limited in seating. We were lucky and had dinner here twice, one night the weather was cool and reservations cancelled, we antipcapted this happening and walked up hoping to get a table and scored. The deck party was great, great selection and good tasting. Overall the food, Better than the big lines, but not Seabourn. Negative This ship is sorely under staffed! You would think as this was the second week sailing, they would over staff to handle a new vessel. Dinner was a time consuming affair. Not enough service staff and everyone tends to come to dinner at the same time. Food was good, but surprised they didn't offer more regional offerings. Indian food was offered a couple of nights, interesting but not for Spain & Portugal. They did not have enough wine on board , the previous sailing had consumed most of the offerings and our first night the wine selection was limited. The bar staff would close the deck bar at 7:30 because he needed to go down to the restaurant, and there's 14 people drinking at the bar. As drinks are not included you would think they would have a well staffed bar. Forget about ordering food at the bar. You need to go to the stateroom and place a room service order? I know sounds weird but it's the only way to get a plate of cheese or appetizer at the bar. Midnight, bars close! So who cares if your hanging out with new friends and it's just taken you 2 1/2 hours to eat dinner and you sat down at 8:30. And, if you have a liquor you like and they don't have it, well too bad. Really, we are paying by the glass get some XO Patron Cafe. A couple of pours you've paid for the bottle. I think this is a Windstar issue, they should allow managers to handle simple issues as picking up a bottle. Internet- when we came on board they recommended we not sign on for the internet packages. The reception said it was slow. Well, it's not super fast but when you are at sea you should expect this kind of issue. We found if only one of us used the service at one time it worked pretty good. Another couple didn't sign up and half way through the trip they received a call from the cellular provider they had a $1200 cellular bill. Buy the intent packages and turn off the cellular data roaming so this won't happen to you. Laundry offer, this one I have to say REALLY! They put a laundry offer for $98 have your laundry done, all week! But they turn around and tell you it was a mistake offer, should be $125. I had to laugh at this one, why would you even tell guests you screwed up and ask them to pay the difference. Eat it! Don't even ask your guests this kind of thing! A crew member called us three times on our 8 day cruise between 3:00-5:30 AM looking for the boss. We were in room 125, and I expect "The Boss" had a similar stateroom number. When we called reception on the 3rd occasion, to see if the issue could be resolved you would have thought I was speaking in Latin. She was of no help, and if she didn't get the problem she should have had the Hotel manager contact us. Shore Excursion we landed in Gilbrator and had a limited amount if time. I had booked our shore excursion online prior to boarding the ship. Tickets were in our stateroom upon our arrival, so everyday we pulled them out and arrived at our designated area. We hoped on our bus and realized they put us and three other couple on the wrong tour. Very disappointing, as this will be a port we will never be in again. We didn't make it to the top of the rock! Check your tickets carefully. And, the other is due wax finding out you can get off the boat and do the same tour at 1/2 the price. Pool Redesign, not a fan. They have pulled out the pool and installed a once piece pool or over sized hot tub up on a large deck. Plus, they chose to clean the pool when we at sea. I feel this should be done when we are at port. The staff was using pool towels from the deck to clean the pool. Strange, latter I started wondering if a guest had an accident in the pool :( We docked in Palma, other cruise ships provided transpiration into the city. When we docked, we couldn't even find a cab to take. Nor could the other 20 guests standing around. Rooms, I love the rooms and the bathrooms. Our room the sound system wasn't working after the second day. We called reception but no one showed up to look at it. I thought this was dangerous, we couldn't hear any of the announcements. And we were lucky, some people lost hot water. I guess our timing for showers worked as we didn't have this problem. Pillows, they offered fiber pillows only. Entertainment- they had 2. Two piece bands this was Ok. A real band would have been nice. Flamingo dancers one late afternoon, but the timing was off. It was around the time everyone was returning from shore. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First off all we really liked the cruise and will sail again if cruise itinerary will match our plans. We liked itinerary, customer service, newly offered cabin, food, how yacht was maintained, officers and specially captain. He was just ... Read More
First off all we really liked the cruise and will sail again if cruise itinerary will match our plans. We liked itinerary, customer service, newly offered cabin, food, how yacht was maintained, officers and specially captain. He was just fantastic. We all loved him. A few small things that can be easily corrected: when we arrived and got in our cabin, in a few hours we realized that air conditioning was broken, cold wind was blowing without stop and temperatures were at 62 F. Stuart tried to place the towels on the register; however, that did not solve the problem. We also contacted reception a many times, they kept sending people, however, they appeared and disappeared without explanation if they can fix the problem. Only at 2 am we were visited by one of officers Margozhata and she offered us to move to different cabin. Actually she saved our cruise (thank you!). Why it was done by customer service at the beginning? Margozhata also helped us to load our stuff on the cart and at 3 am we were moving to different cabin losing almost entire day of cruising. In addition we did not receive keys for a new cabin, contacted reception, were promised to send a stuart; however, we had to call again next day in order to get them. Second - communication problems with travel agent. Very seldom we received answers to our questions on time. We understand, that agent is traveling; however, they have to have a replacement. I believe that in the future we will try to book directly with a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This is the first review of the newest ship in Windstar's fleet, the 212-passenger motor yacht "Star Pride", This 6-night inaugural cruise sailed on May 5, 2014 from Barcelona, with stops in Sete, Sanary sur Mer, Monte ... Read More
This is the first review of the newest ship in Windstar's fleet, the 212-passenger motor yacht "Star Pride", This 6-night inaugural cruise sailed on May 5, 2014 from Barcelona, with stops in Sete, Sanary sur Mer, Monte Carlo, Portofino, and Portoferraio, ending at Civitavecchia (Rome). Most of the passengers were Windstar alumni cruisers, as well as many travel industry & media representatives. Also in attendance were owners Philip and Nancy Anschutz, Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz, and several members of his executive team. The ship's Captain was 15-year WIndstar veteran Alan MacAry, with whom I have sailed on several other occasions. The cruise started with a gala pier-side fiesta, with music and dancers by a colorful and energetic Catalonian Rumba band. The dancers were very skillful in enticing some of the passengers to join in. Free-flowing Champagne, wine, and tasty tapas contributed greatly to a festive atmosphere. The ceremony culminated when Father Marto Rodriquez blessed the ship, its passengers and crew, and "Godmother" Nancy Anschutz snipped the ribbon releasing the bottle of champagne, which smashed against the bow to great acclaim from all, including the shipboard crew lining the decks. Later in the cruise, there was another gala shipboard party in Monte Carlo, with a dazzling guest violinist, and a Cabaret styled dance troupe. Again, complimentary champagne, wine, and tasty nibbles get everyone in a party mood. SHIP INFORMATION: The Star Pride one of three (3) new motor yachts purchased from Seabourn Cruise Lines, and the first to enter service after an intensive 18-day refurbishment. Two more sister ships, the Star Breeze and Star Legend, will join the fleet next May. The interior decor received new furnishings, upholstery, carpeting, wall and window treatments, with a definite nautical theme. 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. The Veranda restaurant has both indoor and open-air seating (with a lovely new awning), 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 However, a common complaint was that there are no restrooms on the bottom deck, so diners must go up one deck to find one. I did not find this to be a real issue, but for someone with limited mobility, it could be more important. The Show Lounge was completely redone, and features a large bandstand for combos such as Top Society (whom I have seen on several previous Wind Surf cruises. Oddly enough, there is no bar in the Show Lounge, in my opinion a major shortcoming. The Compass Rose is located 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 other ships. EMBARKATION: Getting on board the ship was delayed by close to an hour. Once we got on board, none of the electronic room keys worked, so everyone had to wait a short time. Many small little glitches during the first few days, but Windstar managed to fix almost every issue very quickly. ACTIVITIES: All the Windstar yachts have a minimal approach to onboard activities, and the Star Pride was no exception. There are no Zumba parties, glass blowing exhibitions, or bridge tournaments such as might be found on larger vessels. Bravo!! One traditional activity that was not highlighted was the afternoon tea time in the Compass Rose. Doesn't have the same appeal indoors.... Another was the Blackjack tournament, which just wasn't featured. Maybe on future cruises. One activity that was highlighted was the opportunity to go shopping with the chef(s) --- there were actually two on board. One was the new Corporate Executive Chef Michael Sabourin, and the other was the Star Pride Executive Chef Rohit Dimri. Tom Steghorn of Travel Weekly wrote a great column about this experience, can be viewed here: http://www.travelweekly.com/Cruise-Travel/Shopping-with-the-chefs-from-the-Star-Pride/. NOTE TO CC: HOPE THIS EXTERNAL LINK IS OK! I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with Chef Michael, and since the day before I had taken a gourmet walking tour of the local food markets in Sete, France, I had some inside knowledge to share. Chef Michael was just terrific! He actually listened to what I had to say, and based a few of his purchases on my input (or so I would like to think). Biggest event of the week was the Deck Barbecue, featuring the dance review by the wait staff. Most dancing I saw all week! INTERNET ACCESS: Always a sore point, especially at sea. Windstar charges $50 for 100MB 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. Connectivity was painfully slow, but not a lot different than on other cruise ships I have been on. SERVICE: As always, the personalized service was terrific. Waiters and bartenders made an effort to address passengers by name, and were genuinely enthusiastic about posing for pictures. The star of the show was Lilla, the vivacious and glamorous restaurant manager. What a treat! She seemed to be everywhere all the time, always smiling, laughing, and "working the room" like a seasoned performer. First time I have seen a female restaurant manager on WIndstar, or any female wait staff. In contrast, there was another restaurant manager on board (not sure of titles) who seemed to roam around looking at things, but who never interacted with the guests at all. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS: We took an excursion from Monte Carlo to the ancient village of Eze, and then to the Rothschild Estate. VERY photogenic, and thoroughly enjoyable. We also took a boat excursion from Portofino to the tiny fishing village of San Fruttuoso, and then on the the larger village of Comigli. My wife later took an excursion to the island of Elba, which she found to be very interesting. All the excursions were well organized. What was missing was the normal daily presentation of excursions, which I would have expected to be done by Travis, the Excursions Manager. I was told that this was a temporary omission, and the briefings would be provided on future cruises. OUR CABIN #136: Great location almost amidships, directly adjacent to the Atrium, so just one deck and a few steps from Guest Services, and the disembarkation ramp. Our cabin was on the lowest of the three passenger decks, and the least expensive. We had a nice large window (albeit a bit scratched), 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, even a carry-on. 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: Food on board was 99% outstanding. I had venison one night that was the best I have ever had in my life. All the food was great, with very few misses. I had duck one night that was slightly dry, but it was still very tasty. Biggest complaint I heard was that the indoor seating at the Veranda restaurant was a little limited, with 6-7 tables of 6, 3 tables of 4, so total seating was around 50. If the weather is a little cool, windy, or rainy, seating could be a problem. No problem to go downstairs to the AmphorA restaurant, but most passengers like the ocean view. ENTERTAINMENT: The primary band is a 4-piece (guitar, bass, drums, piano) Filipino combo called Top Society, whom I have seen perform on several different Wind Surf cruises. They have a new female lead singer this year who is quite good, and who also plays violin (!). Some of the passengers just loved them, but I did not. While they are versatile, and capable of some good performances, I found them to be mediocre.at best. Their playlist is quite stodgy --- how many times can you hear "Fly Me To The Moon" and "Beyond The Sea" on one cruise? A much better choice was the duo appearing in the Compass Rose, "One Night Stand", comprised of Craig & Collette from the UK. Collette has a beautiful voice, and does most of the lead vocals, while Craig plays the piano and does background vocals and duets, They use a lot of computerized instrumental background arrangements, and are very versatile. I heard them do a dance medley that included "Disco Heat" (originally performed by Sylvester) that had everyone in the room dancing. Despite this success, they are not really oriented towards dance music. A smaller venue, such as the Compass Rose rooms on other Windstar ships, would suit them better, I think. DISEMBARKATION: Very straightforward. We arranged a private car with another couple for travel to Rome from Civitavecchia. About half the price.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
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