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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We did not expect such a great experience. Our room was spacious, the service was above and beyond, the food was excellent, and the side trips were exciting. I loved that we didn't have to get dressed up to have dinner. I ... Read More
We did not expect such a great experience. Our room was spacious, the service was above and beyond, the food was excellent, and the side trips were exciting. I loved that we didn't have to get dressed up to have dinner. I appreciated morning room service. My husband enjoyed visiting the Bridge and the entire Panama Canal passing. Being on a cruise with only 147 other people was great. We are truly spoiled. The Dining was open and we could choose to sit alone or with others. No assigned seating. There was a wonderful BBQ on deck and another picnic BBQ on a private Island. No little kids on the cruise. Just one special family. This is a great cruise for active people who enjoy paddle boards and swimming. Getting ashore is on a Zodiac and is not easy. The crew is very attentive and helpful about getting people on and off the boat safely. But it would not be a good cruise for someone who has mobility problems. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We were on the Wind Star, 4-masted sailing yacht . While this is a ship that only holds about 150 guests, it seems like they have about 1 for 1 on the crew. The ship is well taken care of in all regards. The food is at least equal to ... Read More
We were on the Wind Star, 4-masted sailing yacht . While this is a ship that only holds about 150 guests, it seems like they have about 1 for 1 on the crew. The ship is well taken care of in all regards. The food is at least equal to bigger ships. Our Captain was on her first cruise as Captain and was available, friendly and got us where we needed to go. We found the cabins in the middle of the ship had less movement than those in front or back. I have a walking problem and had my walker aboard. While they have no elevators, a crew member offered to carry my walker up any stairs that needed to be traversed. The rails are easy to hold onto and climb the stairs. Dining was available in about three areas. If you are interested in sitting outside, on top, you need to make reservations ASAP. The food was excellent and very accommodative on a needed diet. A lot of showmanship went into the meal. While entertainment on board was limited, there were a couple of times the total crew was involved in entertaining us. The big adventure was raising the sails every night and the music from "1492 conquest of paradise" and the total ship involvement. Most of the time, we were worn out by the evening from all of the daytime activity. Probably the service was as fine as any I have had on a ship (other than the Paul Gauguin, in Tahiti). There was always someone ready to help or fill a need every time I turned around. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
About us: We have been on 18 Windstar sailing yachts and we were leery of trying the motor yachts but we are so glad we did. What we learned: One can not compare motor yachts and sailing yachts, we are happy we tried the motor yacht ... Read More
About us: We have been on 18 Windstar sailing yachts and we were leery of trying the motor yachts but we are so glad we did. What we learned: One can not compare motor yachts and sailing yachts, we are happy we tried the motor yacht and would go again in a minute. Windstar has left their distinctive mark on the new ship and it made it very special. The ship: We enjoyed exploring the new ship and found that it has wonderful outdoor and indoor spaces. There are many nooks and crannies one can enjoy outside, from the bow in the am with shade and great sitting are and viewing, the lounge with a terrific space outside with comfortable couches and chairs with great viewing, the area around to pool is terrific for shade, the Star Bar wonderful again shade and sun and on the stern on deck eight there is a lovely sitting area mostly sun but terrific views. The inside spaces are lovely. The Yacht Club early morning with huge Windows, with an outside observation deck enjoyed terrific coffee at 6 am, we were there every morning, the Amphora restaurant was lovey and it was at the bottom of the ship and was very calm, no rocking and rolling, the Veranda has a great outside space covered by a large tarp to keep it shady as well at the entrance a shady garden space that was lovely to enjoy breakfast of lunch. All the spaces were ship shape. In the corridors going to the rooms there was quiet pipped in classical music which we enjoyed, very civilized. We had a French balcony room which we so enjoyed the fresh air. The rooms were beautifully laid out, spacious, more drawers than my entire house and since I travel with nothing I used one, cute little walk-in closet, great bed for my back, wonderful bathroom with great water pressure and hot water in addition L'Occitaine products. We enjoyed relaxing in the afternoon with our open balcony door. We did not notice any frayed carpets, or rust. We never notice that we just like to keep it positive but we felt the decor was fresh and lovely with the Windstar blues and brown. Pretty and nautical. Food: We felt it was one of the best we have had. We thought Candles was lovely, great food for me especially the lamb. Windstar, in my opinion, has always had outstanding lamb so I usually follow the lamb at the restaurants. Service: Windstar way Flawless,as always. Activities: This was a mini re positioning with 4 days at sea, which we love days at sea. We stopped at Aruba which is not our favorite but we did not care and Cartagena which was fascinating. It is a very poor and very wealthy city, very new and very old, what was remarkable it was so clean, no litter ( litter, hate it and always see it ). Warm, welcoming people, it was very hot that 100 degrees but it was a terrific port. We are not activity people we like to swim, read, nap, lookout over the sea, to us sea days are perfect. We enjoyed the afternoon live music around the pool. My only complaint was during the day around the pool area was dreadful pipped in loud music. I complained and they lowered the sound and I wrote head office about it. This music was not needed we had the sea to listen to. I did join a trivia team we won the first day and lost badly on the others, Fun yes and a nice way to meet nice people. Sail aways: Windstar was able to continue the tradition, which by the way we love. On the motor yacht they had a huge WS flag and 2 officers would get on the roof of the Star Bar and host the flag to the music, the flag would wave in the wind, almost like a sail. Some people thought it was hokey but we thought it was a creative way to continue an important Windstar tradition we liked it. The Captain was a very nice. He is a great cheerleader for the ship. He came over with her from the Seabourne and he loves the Star Breeze he was funny she was like a baby to him. When I mentioned we loved her grace he was impressed. We have sailed out whole life and grace on a ship is important and the Star Breeze has graceful lines. We are happy the motor yachts are carrying on the Windstar traditions with causal elegance and not ostentatious we like that way it is important to us. We like the informal ways. We are very happy we tried a motor yacht and will be on them again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
The Starbreeze was perfect in every way. This cruise was a repositioning of the ship so we had several days at sea. Very relaxing but many activities were available. The crew was friendly and most efficient. Breakfast and lunch ... Read More
The Starbreeze was perfect in every way. This cruise was a repositioning of the ship so we had several days at sea. Very relaxing but many activities were available. The crew was friendly and most efficient. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Veranda restaurant where you could eat inside on on a deck outside shaded with a tarp. Both breakfast and lunch were expansive buffets with cold and hot offerings. Also menu items are offered. Dinner is served in the Amphora dining room. Each meal we had at dinner was remarkable. Any taste or dietary need is accommodated. The Beef Wellingron was the best I've ever had! I can't say enough about the wait staff. They were helpful and always served with a smile. There is a barbecue on deck with each sailing. It is phenomenal! Ribs, lobster tails, steamed shrimp, paella, etc. Top quality all around. My favorite part of sailing on a Windstar cruise is the "Sailaway." As you leave any port, "Conquest of Paradise" (the theme from the movie "1492") is played. On the sailing yachts, the sails are unfurled. On the Star Breeze, two officers raise the Winstar flag as the music plays. It is an amazingly moving experience. This was my second Winstar cruise and it will not be my last. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
First time on a small ship (146 passengers on a ship that holds 212) and did not miss the "floating city" experience of past larger ship cruises. The staff were very friendly, helpful and attentive and the service was 1st class. ... Read More
First time on a small ship (146 passengers on a ship that holds 212) and did not miss the "floating city" experience of past larger ship cruises. The staff were very friendly, helpful and attentive and the service was 1st class. Very much enjoyed the population size of the small cruise ship and the opportunity to get to know many of our fellow passengers. The cabins were very comfortable and we enjoyed spending a lot of time just enjoying the ocean breeze and sounds from the open window of the Juliet balcony in our suite. 24hr room service is AWESOME! Some of the Ports on the "Best of the ABC Islands" cruise were not much to look at when waking up in the morning. Unless you signed up for a ship excursion, trying to find some Island hideaway beach was difficult if not impossible. Even some of the excursions left folks wishing for some clearer waters to swim and snorkel and soft Caribbean sand under their feet. None of the ports allowed to do any swimming, sports and such from the much touted "sports deck". I had imagined being anchored in some bay by a lovely sand trimmed beach and hopping into a kayak from the ship's sport deck and paddling about looking at a dreamy beach. They did have the sports stuff all onshore in Mayreau; which was what I had imagined for a secluded beach that only a small ship could get to. They had plenty of chairs, shade and set up a bar from the ship. Contrast that with the dreadful and depressing oil field lined dock we woke up to in Curacao ... yuck! Barbados and Aruba are picturesque, but theses two ports start are bookends, so you do have to arrive at least a day before and stay at least a day after to enjoy them. The food and dining was less than expected. Not 5 star; very similar to what I have had on the many other cruises aboard the large ships. However, there was an on-deck BBQ which was, by far, the best food of the trip (accompanied by an AWESOME steel drum band that came onboard from shore). Also, the coffee bar in the Yacht Club aboard ship was very nice; the coffee, the treats and the club itself. The entertainment was half great and half OMG, take the mic away from that woman. One duo was perfect for this ship, clientele and ambiance. They were funny, had a diverse and enjoyable repertoire of songs and instruments and sounded great. The woman that sang after the on-board BBQ was, well, let's just say no-one heard from her again for the rest of the cruise. (I need to thank the person that took her microphone away). The special event "An Antillean Evening" fell way short. The venue was very nice, but could not handle the 140 or so folks from the ship that attended. I would hate to see what it would be like if a full ship of 212 passengers attended. First, you had to go stand in lines at each "station" to get food on very small plates; which is the antithesis of the beauty of sailing a small ship – no lines! Second, once you got to the "station" half of the items were gone, not yet replenished, so more standing and waiting. All the while standing in line, I am trying not to bump my backside into the face of someone sitting at a table (this was, alas, quite a challenge for me and my backside). All this for so-so food and roasted meat you couldn't cut even if you borrowed a freshly sharpened jungle machete. Props to the Steel Drum Duo as they provided some Jazzy music that was wonderful. I wish the ship would have held a beach BBQ on Mayreau instead. All in all, I am glad to have experienced a small ship and the Start Pride was nice and Windstar staff was superb. I would not revisit this particular itinerary and do wish I selected a different trip. Not sure if I will travel Windstar again .... this trip left me hankering for a weeklong stay on a great beach with soft sand, calm waters, snorkeling, great food, some live music and a pool with a swim-up bar. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
All the five star+ reviews of Windstar cruises were right on. It is a unique and wonderful experience. None of the reviews addressed the fantastic value of the optional premium beverage package. It was one of the best parts of the cruise. ... Read More
All the five star+ reviews of Windstar cruises were right on. It is a unique and wonderful experience. None of the reviews addressed the fantastic value of the optional premium beverage package. It was one of the best parts of the cruise. The Bartenders (yes, they do learn your name), give smiling, happy, friendly service. All liquor is top shelf and they make any specialty drink you want. Also, soda, bottled water, juice, hot tea is all presented with a smile. Combined this with the knowledge that you can drink whatever, whenever you want for a reasonable daily price including tips, made the trip even more wonderful. Champagne under the stars with the wind rattling the ships massive sails is an experience no one should miss. Brandy nightcaps taste better while sitting in a lounge chair built for two with moonglow over the water. We bought the package upfront, with our cabin. Windstar give you the option of deciding to purchase it within the first 12 hours of the cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2008
This is a belated review of our marvelous Wind Spirit Caribbean voyage round trip out of St. Thomas in January 2008. It was a wonderful travel experience in all respects. I traveled with my sister, who flew to St. Thomas from her ... Read More
This is a belated review of our marvelous Wind Spirit Caribbean voyage round trip out of St. Thomas in January 2008. It was a wonderful travel experience in all respects. I traveled with my sister, who flew to St. Thomas from her home in Hawaii; I live on Whidbey Island, WA, and flew out of Seattle. We arrived two days before our cruise began in order to have a rest after our long red-eye flights. We stayed at The Green Iguana, a small hotel up on the hill next to Blackbeard's Castle. It was a fine place to stay, from which you can walk into downtown Charlotte Amalie; it's an easy walk DOWN the "99 Steps", much harder back UP those many steps! On our extra day between arrival at STT and our departure on Wind Spirit, we booked a private tour with T.J.'s Terrific Tours, and as it happened we had Thomas's entire safari-type open air vehicle to ourselves. This was great for us (but not so great for his budget, so we tipped him more than the cost of the tour) as he would show us exactly what we wanted to see, and skip what did not interest us. He picked us up at The Green Iguana and returned us there at the end. At our request, he also stopped at a grocery store frequented by locals to buy wine to take on board with us. He's affable and knowledgeable, highly recommended. The Wind Spirit was as wonderful as her sister ship, Wind Star, whose Costa Rica cruise I had loved a year earlier. The ship's size is wonderful, the passenger mix interesting, the food fine, the crew marvelous, and the itinerary is lovely. Our weather was perfect as well, always a big plus! For photos with captions and descriptions, done as a "photo story", go to http://fredasphotos1.shutterfly.com and go down the page until you come to "Caribbean on Wind Spirit"; click on that, then click on "Slideshow" to see photos in large size with captions and explanations. This will give you a feel for the ship, the trip, and the islands we visited, and will tell you more than I can do with words in this report (remembering that a picture is worth a thousand words!). It's a good idea when booking this cruise to plan on one or two hotel overnights in St. Thomas before the cruise, and an additional night after the cruise. This gives you a day for exploring St. Thomas, which is most enjoyable, and also, on the day the ship returns to Charlotte Amalie, saves you from finding yourself off the ship with your luggage, wondering how to amuse yourself until it's time to go to the airport. We solved it by taxiing to the Marriott for a leisurely lunch, after asking the concierge to keep our bags until it was time to go to the airport for our late afternoon flights. If you have a late morning flight, no problem, then just go to the airport from the ship. But it seems most flights out of STT leave mid- to late afternoon. My plan for all future cruises is to have one or two overnights before the cruise (important to guard against your incoming flight being delayed, which could result in your missing your cruise), and one or two more after the cruise to avoid the problem of being stuck toting your luggage around between disembarkation and time for your flight. Other specific recommendations from our experience: TJ's Terrific Tours on St. Thomas; Joyce Prince's private tour on St. Maarten/St. Martin; the ship's excursion to The Baths (it's very difficult to get there on your own, and it's a highlight site to visit); White Bay Beach for snorkeling on Yost Van Dyke. St. Barths was a favorite port, especially Shell Beach, an easy walk from the dock and a nice place for swimming and a GRAND place for hunting through the infinite number of shells on that beach, huge swathes of shells, sometimes 2 feet deep. Spend a lot of time on deck with those glorious sails! Enjoy the crew, the sights, the sun, the sand, the cuisine, all of it! I loved the experience so much that I'm booked on Wind Surf's southbound itinerary out of Barbados for January 2009, and as well, a cruise leaving just a week from today, on November 1 2008, from Barcelona to Lisbon. As you can see, I love Windstar ships. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2007
We posted this last year but trip advisor didn't have a "cruise review". I happened to still have this saved, so I thought I'd try to save other travelers from wasting money! The caribbean is beautiful and we'd ... Read More
We posted this last year but trip advisor didn't have a "cruise review". I happened to still have this saved, so I thought I'd try to save other travelers from wasting money! The caribbean is beautiful and we'd definitely try another cruise there, but this time on Royal Caribbean (see my Mexico Monarch of the Seas review).... We went on a one week St. Thomas cruise to 7 other little islands in the Caribbean in Feb. 2007. Overall: 1.5 stars/D-. The only reason it even got 1.5/D- rating is because the Caribbean is so beautiful- great destination (but the beauty of the destination has nothing to do w/ Windstar...you can do this on your own w/ either a "regular" big cruise or all-inclusive land vacation. If you want to save yourself a big waste of your hard earned money (an all inclusive land package would've been half the cost if not less), read this. Also, during our trip they announced Windstar had been sold (which helps explain the crappy management on board). The current owner is Holland America and they will complete the sale in April 2007. TIP: don't buy the "whole travel package" from Windstar...big rip off. Better off taking taxi ($5-10 vs. Windstar's $64), and booking your own airline. They market themselves as "180 degrees from ordinary" and 5 star/first class. Their brochure shows everything under the sun...but unless the only vacation you've ever been on has been a $29 special to Vegas, you will be sorely disappointed when you get on board (others on our cruise said the same thing). We asked some other cruisers how this compared vs. a "regular big cruise line" and they reacted this way "Uh, well...dead silence"...enough said. I just wish I would've known this before wasting so much money. We wanted to try a cruise so badly and decided to start w/ "the best" which is what they proclaimed to be...not so!! Read on. Airport customs at St. Thomas: great; very efficient & short both ways. Workers: Since they nickel & dime you for everything ($2.50 for a can of soda + 15% service charge on every single drink purchase + a daily tip fee of $11 per day PER PASSENGER )...unless you are buying booze or soda, hard to get them to wait on you (which makes sense since the workers don't get "paid" for serving the free drinks which is only tea and water). Water sports are supposed to be all included, but we found that they didn't really have any water sports except for one kayak & a little boat thing (and snorkeling gear)...all weather depending of course. You can only check out the snorkeling gear when they say so which is typically 7-8 am- so much for sleeping in (whatever happened to focusing on customers?) However, the sports platform is pretty cool whenever they were open (this is where all this stuff takes place). We got to swim in the ocean from the boat...but they were only open for a few hours twice in a one week cruise. Very different from Sandals (where we typically go for vacation), where everything is truly all inclusive. Rooms: Standard, very small (it's a cruise ship so we weren't surprised). But there's nothing 5 star about it. Equivalent to Days Inn. You get two HARD twin beds pushed together. Very uncomfortable. Bathrooms (both in cabin & throughout ship) are like being in a port-o-potty...no ventilation...smells horrible!! Restaurants: The only "saving grace". Gourmet like- the 2 restaurants are great. You won't be disappointed w/ the food...if you can manage to get in a meal...since the dining hours are TERRIBLE! e.g.,. one day, b'fast was 7-9 am (hello, you're on vacation), lunch was 1-2:30, and dinners are always 7:30-9:30. It was so sad, people are literally waiting for the doors to open to get their lunch & dinner. Many of us on board were disappointed and irritated at the extreme limited dining hours. WARNING: don't do the shore excursions. Alot of pple. on our cruise said what a rip off they were (overpriced, misleading descriptions). We paid $260 for a catamaran snorkeling trip and saw one fish! Another couple paid $400 for a "beach escapade" to be pampered at a 5 star resort and they came back irritated at having spent so much for "swimming at a hotel and getting a crappy lunch"... BTW, at a land all inclusive vacation, you get snorkeling, catamaran, etc. all w/o any add'l costs! They NICKEL & DIME you for EVERYTHING! Food is the only thing included (when you can get food). They had a special "Captains Sailaway" and "Beach BBQ" event and charged for all drinks...we figure that the average cabin paid an extra $1000-$2000 on excursions and beverages. From what I hear from the "big cruises" at least you can eat 24 hrs/ and get free sodas. They have NO amenities. The "pool" & jacuzzi...seats 4-5 people (yes I'm talking about the pool). They're not heated. Jacuzzi is like warm bath water at best. If more than a few pple. got in the pool or jacuzzi, forget about using it...no room for you. Nothing to do on the ship unless you're on the excursion b/c the ports they take you to have nothing to do. One port we went to was literally you get dropped off and walk up & down a sandy road w/ 2-3 stores and that's it...so you go back on board and there's nothing to do b/c they don't feed you til 1pm! Their "wind spa" that they brag about is in reality a teeny, tiny cabin w/ a massage bed in a small room. We did get a massage to try and recover from the plane ride, and it was good, but she doesn't massage your arms or front of your legs (all other 50 min massages I've gotten is full body). Fitness center has one treadmill (the other one broken), one elliptical & stairmaster & 2 bikes, & some weights. But if you're a man taller than 5'7 forget about using them, the ceilings are so low you'll hit your head. Management: TERRIBLE! But since they've sold the company, it doesn't surprise me. We brought up a couple of issues and they didn't resolve anything. Basically, even reasonable customer requests are ignored and you're told "this is our policy"... I kid you not, they will only replace your shampoo if they have proof that it's used up EMPTY and in your trash can (so I guess they rummage thru guests' trash cans, which is kind of scary). One day, since they didn't replenish our toiletries b/c our existing set wasn't 100% empty (and I had left it in the shower, instead of the trash), I had to call 3 times and beg them for more shampoo so I could was the gritty sand out of my hair! Yes, this is a true experience. Geez, even Holiday Inn & Motel 6 gives free shampoo!! The best comparison I can make is that they're like the Northwest Airlines of cruises (yes, quite an insult). NWA charges you extra if you want to sit next to your travelling companion. Here, they charge for every little thing. And on the last day, once they have gotten all your money they turn off the air conditioner and 150 passengers are sweating in the lobby going thru customs for over 1 hr! Overall, I guess it's to each his/her own. Some pple on board thought this was the greatest vaca. ever...go figure. But there were enough "negative" comments on board that I felt I should post this to warn other travellers. I would give anything to get my money back. The only saving grace was that the destination/scenery of the Caribbean is so gorgeous, and perfect weather nearly everyday (but again, this has nothing to do w/ Windstar)...you could get the exact same thing on a big cruiseline for about 1/3 of what we paid...also, to be fair...the food was very good (but it's comparable to Sandals resorts, which includes all beverages (non & alcoholic) and all activities. I wish Trip Advisor had some reviews on Windstar B4 we booked, so I decided to be the first. Anyone who is a discerning traveller who is accustomed to really nice vacations will be very disappointed by this. We don't mind paying more, if we actually get something for it. This is so overpriced, that even if they offered me $1,000-$2,000 off a future cruise w/ them, I wouldn't do it. Do yourself a favor...just book any all inclusive vacation....you'll pay less and get more w/ better service. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
A Solid 8.5-9.0 Just returned from the Wind Surf, traveling from Cozumel to Honduras and Belize. A good mix of mostly US passengers, where average age was around 55 or so. This was a very good mid-level to semi-luxury cruise, with ... Read More
A Solid 8.5-9.0 Just returned from the Wind Surf, traveling from Cozumel to Honduras and Belize. A good mix of mostly US passengers, where average age was around 55 or so. This was a very good mid-level to semi-luxury cruise, with exceptional food and service from a continually smiling crew. With two restaurants, they served excellent tasting food (a solid 10), with a flair for presentation and options. The Bistro offers a nice alternative, although somewhat difficult to get a reservation there since some passengers book there every night on their first day, leaving few daily openings per the posted regulations. Also, it seemed to us and others that starting dinner service at 7:30 was a little late since it took about 2 hours to complete. Rooms were larger than expected, with plenty of closet and bathroom space, and well appointed. The bed was fairly hard, although we slept well most nights. The hot tubs were great, but the pools were small and rarely used. Exercise room was very functional and the spa was nice. Several bars to choose from and great food during happy hour. Main complaints were around the shore excursions, as the ship enjoys charging about double what you can book them for on your own. Also, choices were limited in Honduras, or very expensive ($400 pp for one tour to see some Mayan ruins that included air). Diving was $120 for most 2-tank dives ($200 for some specialty dives), although local operators typically charged $50-60. Some passengers seemed irked by traveling to a 3rd world country like Honduras, but we thought it to be interesting. Also, if you are not on one of their pricey shore excursions, you are not allowed on the first tender to shore each day, even if you are waiting first in line. Also, we left port each day around 5:00, meaning we had limited time to visit a port after an excursion, and were constantly looking at the watch. Drinks were also fairly pricey ($5 for a US beer), small and some tasted watered down. Room service was very fast with same great food as the restaurants. The Internet service only worked for one day, which presented other inconveniences. A nicely laid out ship with two elevators for the elderly or tired. Casino was nice but not used much. Some of the senior level crew seemed to have an attitude to passengers, but others were truly great and made it clear they enjoyed their job. Made lots of new friends and did enjoy our vacation, but will likely try their smaller ships or Star Clippers as that is more our style. But, this is a good value to those looking for an enjoyable ship, experience and itinerary. Read Less
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