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9 Windstar Stockholm Cruise Reviews

We enjoyed our first cruises with Windstar many years ago. Not much has changed in the past 10 years, I'm happy to say. Still all the advantages Windstar has to offer - access to smaller ports, good to excellent service, and a ... Read More
We enjoyed our first cruises with Windstar many years ago. Not much has changed in the past 10 years, I'm happy to say. Still all the advantages Windstar has to offer - access to smaller ports, good to excellent service, and a low-key atmosphere. And a really hard-working crew, who always aimed to give great service. The standard cabins are small but efficiently laid out. The dining rooms are pleasant and strike the right balance between elegant and relaxed. We had good weather nearly every day, so we could spend as much time on deck as we wished; a plus in a small ship like this. The crew was admirable - really hard-working yet always positive and professional. We did wonder if the bars and main dining room were short-staffed when we found ourselves waiting for service on several occasions. But it that's true, we have even more respect for the hard-working crew. The food was often very good. The chef shopped locally when possible and we were treated to delicious arrays of Scandinavian delicacies when we departed from the major cities. The chef's specials in the dining room were memorable and the barbecue was really, really good. But the quality of the food at dinner was inconsistent; and some dishes were merely okay. The few lunches we ate on board were very good. Tea snacks were mediocre (doughy scones, sandwiches made with Kraft singles). The food in the dining rooms tended to be rich, and we would have preferred more vegetables. The food in the alternative restaurants was fine, not as fresh as in the main dining room but hitting the right notes for meat lovers. The wine list had several decent choices available by the glass at acceptable prices for the quality. The itinerary was terrific and a great introduction to Scandinavia. Overnights in Stockholm and Copenhagen allowed more time for sightseeing in those cities. We also stopped at several small towns that were picturesque, historic, and great for aimless walking. The private event was very nice - a canal cruise and after-hours museum visit in Copenhagen. We didn't take any of the ship's excursions. Enrichment activities (aside from the private event) consisted of useful port talks before arrival and some unmemorable lectures about Vikings and the first Windstar ship on sea days. The inconsistency of the food somewhat diminished an otherwise very nice cruise experience. But we enjoy smaller ships and the easy access to ports they provide. We'll keep Windstar in mind in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We have cruised Windstar several times before. We love it! We rate it higher than Regent Seven Seas. The cabins are small, but everything else is great. Crew is very friendly and gets to know you and call you by name quickly. Food is ... Read More
We have cruised Windstar several times before. We love it! We rate it higher than Regent Seven Seas. The cabins are small, but everything else is great. Crew is very friendly and gets to know you and call you by name quickly. Food is fabulous, and like many cruises very plentiful! We liked Candles restaurant the best, great steaks and fresh fish every night. Deck BBQ was wonderful. Ports were interesting and excursions good, except Oslo was too short a time at ski jump and guide was hung up on value of homes. Little evening entertainment which is fine with us. Band is too loud to talk comfortably so we don't stay. Used hot tub several times and weather was good enough to lounge on deck. Our cabin staff was new, but she learned quickly and was friendly and smart. We got special chocolates at turndown service. We have already booked our next Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was the 10 day Baltic Delight Cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen In August 2017. The first port of call was in St. Petersburg where we spent two rainy days absorbing all the beauty of the Czar's magnificent palaces, the ... Read More
This was the 10 day Baltic Delight Cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen In August 2017. The first port of call was in St. Petersburg where we spent two rainy days absorbing all the beauty of the Czar's magnificent palaces, the city's spiraled cathedrals and the fabulous Hermitage Museum. Windstar provided a special treat one night to the ballet. We were schedule to visit Helsinki, Finland but the gods of the seas had different ideas so we arrived early in Tallinn, Estonia. We had a very knowledgeable and funny tour guide who provided the history of the Estonian people before turning us lose in the medieval old town for shopping, lunch, etc. I highly recommend the pastries/coffee and the Olde Hansa Rest. Our next port of call was Klaipeda, Lithuania and a must see "Hill of the Witches". Our next port was Gdynia, Poland for a short ride to Gdansk old town and then to the Oliwa Cathedral for an unscheduled 7000 plus pipe organ concert. The next stop was Bornholm, Denmark for a tour of the island, its wheat fields and historic sights. All good things must come to an end in Stockholm where we said good bye to a wonderful crew that made our trip so enjoyable with a deck barbecue, great service and a crew talent show. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Cruised with Windstar several times in the past. Did the 2017 Baltic cruise on the WindSurf. Began the cruise in Stockholm and ended it in Copenhagen. The WindSurf is in good shape. The staterooms are adequate and the common areas are ... Read More
Cruised with Windstar several times in the past. Did the 2017 Baltic cruise on the WindSurf. Began the cruise in Stockholm and ended it in Copenhagen. The WindSurf is in good shape. The staterooms are adequate and the common areas are fine. This cruise went as planned with the exception of the cancellation of the Bornholm day. I found the WindSurf staff to be business like and well versed in the company line and Windstar "speak." Don't remember the captain's name. He said the right things, promoted Windstar and showcased his staff. Compared to other Windstar cruises, I felt the staff on this cruise was unenthused and did nothing out of the ordinary as service goes. Of course, there were a few that did, but by and large, they did what they were supposed to do and nothing more. After 10 days, the food became monotonous. Food quality is adequate, but certainly not to be confused with fine cuisine. Towards the end of the cruise, several "bugs" made their way throughout the passenger ranks, as many people had colds or GI issues. Hopefully this did not continue on the next cruise. Shore excursions were so-so, with some being well done and others not so. The stop in Lithuania was not good and the concentration camp trip in Poland was awefull. Some of these excursion should be re-evaluated. I would suggest doing your homework and looking into booking your own shore excursions. For example, I would split an 8 hour private car and guide in Russia. You can see all of the sights this way and tailor your own agenda. I would like to try this itinerary on Silver Seas or another luxury line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My brother chose this cruise and invited us to join him. While it wasn't an itinerary we had ever considered, we soon became excited about seeing such a different part of the world. From start to finish, we loved our time on the Wind ... Read More
My brother chose this cruise and invited us to join him. While it wasn't an itinerary we had ever considered, we soon became excited about seeing such a different part of the world. From start to finish, we loved our time on the Wind Surf. Both embarkation and disembarkation were quick and nearly effortless. The personable and attentive staff made us feel special, and the size of the ship (312 passengers) made it a much more intimate cruising experience than we'd previously experienced. The food was excellent and varied, so we looked forward to every meal. My husband is a vegetarian, and the kitchen staff were very attentive to be sure he was happy with his meals (they even gave him a preview of the next night's menu in case he wanted to request that they make him a special entree, which turned out not to be needed). We did not partake in evening entertainment (as we generally had to get up early for tours), but attended a couple of interesting lectures about upcoming ports of call or cultures. We chose some of the excursions offered by the ship, and booked others on our own. We were very pleased with the ports we visited (St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, Klaipeda, and Gdansk), and felt we learned a lot. (The sea was too rough to tender in Bornholm, so we had an unexpected sea day, but it was the loveliest weather and we were under full sail for over three hours.) We spent four nights in Stockholm prior to boarding the ship (at the Grand Central Hotel by Scandic), and another three nights in Copenhagen at the end (at the Hotel Admiral), and very much hope to return to both cities. We very much look forward to traveling with Windstar again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We choose the cruise because we had never seen the Baltic States and we prefer small boats of giant ships. It got good reviews and we had done many riverboat cruises before. We thought this would be like an big river cruise... wrong. We ... Read More
We choose the cruise because we had never seen the Baltic States and we prefer small boats of giant ships. It got good reviews and we had done many riverboat cruises before. We thought this would be like an big river cruise... wrong. We started the cruise by spending three days in Stockholm to get our bodies in the right time zone. We loved Stockholm, found it easy to navigate and the people very pleasant. Our hotel there was on the water and very nice. We did not use the computer that we had with us in Stockholm because we were just exploring the neighborhood and the "hop on hop off" highlights. For that reason, we did not check our email. When we got to the port to leave there was not ship. Panic. Fortunately our cab driver called his home desk and found another set of docks. We went there and found the boat. So we had a scary start. We got all checked in and went to our cabin. The cabin was nice but not Spectacular. It was just a boat cabin. All of the riverboats that we had been on were far superior to this cabin and the carpet clearly needed replacing. The two porthole were sort of grimy looking and filled with big glumps of some kind of glue. The food on this boat, in the dining room, was spectacular but the "Snack" food was sort of dry and uninteresting. The problem that I have with this whole approach to cruising is that, unlike river cruises, they tend to "nickle and dime" you to death. That is a significant charge each day to go on a tour when we were in port. (cheapest being $69.99 most expensive being $700.). There were spa ads and tongue evaluation ads and other ad through out the shop. I found that sort of tacky. The alcohol package was very expensive. The appeal of a small boat cruise is that it becomes like summer camp. You pay up front and put your credit card away until you leave. Not so here. The tours that we took were "okay" at best. None were spectacular. The Russian tours were under planned and did not make rooms for the crowds. Often we were on a bus that just zoomed by places that we would have like to stay longer. The onboard service were great, the crew were very accommodating but the just the plan of the trip left much to be desired. We were very disappointed. The internet on the boat was outrageously expensive. And, even in port, when it was free the boat seemed to block the free internet. This is 2016. Internet should just be there, at least in port. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
BACKGROUND:  We have sailed on the Wind Surf many times, including 3 cruises when it was owned by Club Med, so every new cruise is now like a family reunion of sorts for us. Since our last cruise on the Surf, there have been many changes ... Read More
BACKGROUND:  We have sailed on the Wind Surf many times, including 3 cruises when it was owned by Club Med, so every new cruise is now like a family reunion of sorts for us. Since our last cruise on the Surf, there have been many changes -- new owners (Xanterra), new ships in the fleet, newly refurbished interior decor, and a new itinerary (first time for us in Scandinavia). This May we were delighted to sail on the maiden voyage of the Star Pride, and so I was looking forward to a point-by-point comparison between the two ships. HOTEL INFORMATION: We arrived in Stockholm two days before the cruise, and stayed at the Scandic Hotel in the center of town, conveniently located just a block or so from the train station, with many nearby restaurants, and within an easy walk of the Palace, City Hall, Old Town, and other attractions. Our room was very comfortable, wi-fi service was excellent, and the hotel cafe/bar was lively and attractive, with good food. The breakfast buffet was as good as I have experienced anywhere in Europe, but it did get crowded after 8 AM. There were many other Windstar passengers staying at the hotel, as evidenced by Windstar caps, jackets, and other apparel. EMBARKATION: The ship was conveniently docked in town, so it was a very short bus ride from the hotel to the dock, and we were able to board immediately. Check-in was both smooth and quick, and by the time we got to our cabin, our luggage was already there, as was our cabin steward Christian. CABIN: We were in Cabin 136, which is midship on the lowest deck, arguably the most comfortable location for minimal motion at sea, Although we had great weather for most of the cruise, there was some rocking & rolling on occasion, especially at night. We slept like babies! As always, the cabin was spacious (188 sq ft) and comfortable. Unlike on the Star Pride, the beds were high enough to enable luggage storage underneath. They were also VERY comfortable. As always, the bathroom toiletries were by the upscale French brand L'Occitane, I have fallen in love with the Verbena scent, and so was greatly surprised to find that only the bath soap had that fragrance, while the hand soap, shampoo, and bath oil were the "Milk" variety, with a definite Baby powder aroma. Maybe Windstar got a better deal on it, who knows? SHIP/CREW INFORMATION: We were greeted at the dock by Captain Peter Harris of Britain, with whom we had sailed before. He is charming, affable, very gregarious, and extremely witty. We were pleased to receive an invitation to dine with him one night, and had the opportunity to also meet his beautiful wife and lovely daughter. What a handsome family! But we especially noted and appreciated his on-board visibility, and his effortless ability to chat up the passengers. The Hotel Manager Ratko, and Bar Manager Andrew were fairly new to Windstar, very competent, but lacked that easy manner with the guests. I was very interested to see the new Windstar decor, and to compare the WInd Surf implementation to that of the Star Pride. When cruising, I often get up very early to explore the ship, along with my camera and tripod. Windstar has used some of my photos in their publlcations and blogs, and I recognize a few on my pics in the Cruise Critic photos. Overall, I found the new Wind Surf decor to be very subdued, with a blue/brown/tan color scheme. Sleek and soothing, yes. Dazzling, no. The most noticeable change was replacing much of the carpeting with dark, high gloss oak flooring. However, it seemed to me to be a composite product of some sort, as the surface was a tad lumpy. This was especially noticeable in the transition to the Lounge, which already had real wood flooring, which was (to coin a phrase) "flat as a board." The new carpeting has a plush, almost shag-like pile to it. This worked great in the public rooms like the Yacht Club, but not so well on the stairs, where it tended to mash down on the edges, and thus looked worn even though it is still very new. ACTIVITIES/EXCURSIONS: As has been noted in almost every review I have read about Windstar cruises, planned activities are not their forte'. First, they do not really have a Cruise Director on board, and the daily activity sheet is almost identical from day to day. They do offer "Port Talks" in the late afternoon to discuss the next day's port of call, and the excursions that are available. In general, I very seldom sign up for excursions, as I find them to be overpriced, and often somewhat boring. My wife did sign up for a tour in Oslo, which she enjoyed. In my opinion, Windstar would do well to consider adopting the Viking river cruise model, and offer a complimentary walking tour at each port of call. Instead, most of their tour offerings involve climbing on a bus (or even a train) to go somewhere else. I much prefer to wander around town and take pictures. However, there ARE two planned activities that occur on almost every cruise: the deck BBQ and the crew show. The deck BBQ is OK, but I find it to be overrated, crowded (especially when the weather does not allow al fresco dining), and with just average food. The main attraction is grilled lobster or lamb chops (mine were almost raw). Big deal. The other traditional activity is the crew show, which can be pretty good if there is some talent on board, but once you've a bunch of waiters line dancing, the appeal dwindles with repeated iterations. Most of the passengers AND the crew seem to like it though, and that's what counts. Another activity that Windstar doesn't really promote at all is the popular "Name That Tune" contest that occurs twice a week in the Compass Rose after dinner. The "Rain" duo always does this, and before them, Callen & Joyce would also do it. It's VERY popular, and never fails to fill the room, with passengers forming large teams for competition. Great fun! SERVICE: What brings passengers back to Windstar again and again is the intimacy and ambiance of small ship cruising, combined with the highly personalized service provided the wait staff. They are just terrific. They greet everyone by name, quickly learn where you like to sit, and what you like to eat and drink. It's very easy to start thinking of them as personal friends instead of ships' crew. For many such as myself, the favorite dining experience is at breakfast and lunch in the Veranda, where it is not so crowded, the pace is relaxed and informal, and there is more interaction with the wait staff. On our cruise, the senior guy at lunch was "Boon", but the favorite waiter was "One", Of course, everyone had their personal favorites, which is why the result is such a pleasant experience. I only had one service complaint, which was that food service in AmphorA could be quite slow, especially when a majority of the passengers decided they wanted to be seated immediately after the dining room opened. DInner should not have to take over two hours! This was not nearly such a problem in the Candles or Stella Bistro venues. The other service complaint that comes up time and again is with the internet. It is so crummy that Windstar should just forget about it, at least while away from port. DINING: Head Chef Klaus created some great food for us throughout the cruise. No complaints whatsoever. Perhaps the one area where I would look for improvement would be to offer more European style whole grain breads. The breads offered at the Scandic hotel were better than what was served on board. The wine service on board. was VERY good. I did not opt for the premium beverage package, as it costs over $100/day per cabin, and I just can't drink that much and walk straight. Also, I stick to beer and wine, and seldom if ever order a mixed drink or cocktail The wines offered on board were of very good quality, at very reasonable prices (good selection at $7-9/glass or $26-35/bottle). Again, in my opinion WIndstar should consider the Viking Cruise model, which is to include beer, wine & soft drinks with meals, with premium beverages available from the bar. ENTERTAINMENT: Let's start with the good. "Rain" (Craig & Nicola WIlloughby) are simply outstanding, miles better than any other entertainers I have heard on any cruise ship, regardless of size. Craig is a brilliant guitarist, and Nicola has a beautiful voice. They are very versatile and entertaining, and bring a lot of energy and passion into their delivery. They usually pack the Compass Rose, with the crowds increasing every night. The main problem is that the Compass Rose room is just too small. The "Cool Breeze" band appearing in the main Lounge was mediocre at best, very much like the "Top Society" combo that appeared on the Star Pride. Vocalists were OK, but the musicians were just average at best, no energy or passion in their delivery, tired arrangements, lackluster repertoire, etc. Some nights there were only a few folks in the Lounge at 10 PM! Meanwhile, the Compass Rose was jammed. Main asset for both bands is that all the band members are Filipino, which means they can share quarters with the crew. My advice would be to dump the bands, put "Rain" (or a similar duo like "One Night Stand") in the main lounge, put a DJ or piano player in the Compass Rose. I am betting that bar sales would pick up significantly, while costs would go down. Passengers would be better served. DISEMBARKATION: Hard part is getting off the ship by 8:30 AM or so. However, it all went smoothly EXCEPT for the monster big line of folks waiting for a taxi. Luckily, we were one of the first passengers off, and we still had to wait almost 30 minutes. Lots of passengers were really unhappy, I'm sure. When meeting people, first impressions are very important. With a cruise, the last impression is often what sticks in your mind. SUMMARY: While we were on our previous cruise on the Star Pride in May, we booked another cruise on the Wind Surf to Spain for September 2015, took advantage if the on-board booking discount. Much to my surprise, Windstar apparently no longer offers a discount for an on-board booking, nor was their any on-board sales effort at all. What I did notice was cruise information displayed on the on-board computers --- but for the 2013 season! Oooooops! We are dedicated Windstar aficianados, and I am sure we will be back for many more cruises in future. I just wish Windstar would get their act together to address some of these vexing issues that would be SO easy to fix. I wish better things for them. Gary (The Hitman)   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Although this was our first experience with Windstar (and last), we have sailed many times. When a cruise line advertises a "luxury cruise experience" and charges accordingly, my wife and I have a certain level of expectation ... Read More
Although this was our first experience with Windstar (and last), we have sailed many times. When a cruise line advertises a "luxury cruise experience" and charges accordingly, my wife and I have a certain level of expectation that comes from traveling with the likes of Regent Seven Seas. Windstar is NOT Regent! (Not even close) While we had a nice time/interesting itinerary and the crew and officers were great, we simply paid way too much for what was billed as a "luxury cruise". The ship (Windsurf) and the pre-cruise/on board communications also left a lot to be desired. The ship is clearly "long in the tooth" and poorly maintained........the ceilings in the lounge were water stained and the windows were so dirty that they were difficult to see through.........the carpet in the cabin and the common area was stained and worn......the standard cabin was small and Formica was everywhere. Windstar is NOT a luxury line and should not advertise as such, nor should they command the prices they charge. In addition, the the transfers purchased from the cruise line were 4 times the going rate and the hotels were twice the going rate, as were their port excursions. The internet service was the worst I have ever experienced. Their drink package was $108/day/cabin! By the time we were finished, we had spent more for the total package than we would have with the "all inclusive" Regent Seven Seas AND our cabin would have been twice as big, along with a balcony, dressing room and marble bathroom, instead of 2 port holes that were so corroded that photos I took through them would be embarrassing to share. Our advise would be to select another "luxury cruise line", because when it is all said an done, Windstar's exorbitant and ubiquitous a la-carte charges would put their cost in the range of "real" luxury cruise. Having said that, IF they charged less and charged reasonable for their "extras", their crew would be a joy for anyone to experience...... Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
On these back-to-back cruises, there were 215-20 passengers or 70% occupancy. The positives are: 70% repeat passengers who only travel on small, luxury ships; superior service (waiters address you by name); you get to know other passengers ... Read More
On these back-to-back cruises, there were 215-20 passengers or 70% occupancy. The positives are: 70% repeat passengers who only travel on small, luxury ships; superior service (waiters address you by name); you get to know other passengers as there are no balconies and people socialize on deck; food is very good to excellent; ship may visit small, isolated ports; the five masts project a fine image; and the ship is great for relaxation. All suites have two bathrooms and more than enough storage space. There is over 300 sq. ft. We were in two cabins and 326 was superior to 318 as to ability to control temperature, quality of linens, and attendant service. There are no verandahs on this ship as it is over 20 years old although rooms were renovated in 2012. However, for a small ship entertainment and number of activities are limited, ship speed is about 10 knots so that time in port can suffer, the cruise line only owns three ships so it may not get competitive airline fares, it outsources planning of excursions, and parent company doesn't understand the industry. A greater concern is that at 70% occupancy in Europe during August, these cruises did not meet financial break even. I am concerned that this means Wind Star may cut expenses and mitigate a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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