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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Our first cruise and the most expensive per day we have had. Traveled extensively to South America, UK, Europe, Australia, the Pacific Islands and Madagascar. The "balcony" cabin we had was clean and well serviced with the ... Read More
Our first cruise and the most expensive per day we have had. Traveled extensively to South America, UK, Europe, Australia, the Pacific Islands and Madagascar. The "balcony" cabin we had was clean and well serviced with the exception of toiletries which we had to from time to time ask for. The en-suite was a bit tired and could use a face-lift. My gripe with the cabin is that is a joke to call it a balcony cabin. There are two sliding door that open to a foot wide board and a hand rail to lean on - no table and two chairs that you would expect with a balcony cabin. Service throughout the ship was on the whole reasonable which is more than I can say about the food. I rate the food as being only average as there was virtually nothing that I, or most reasonable cooks, couldn't have prepared themselves. The food the first three nights was dreadful - way overcooked steak and salmon and vegetables that were hot and raw (not cooked at all). This did improve afterwards but not to the level one would expect from a 5 star operation. The food at Club Med Mauritius or Princess Bora Resort and Spa in Madagascar I would rate at a good 8.5 Star Legend's at 3 out of 10 - very disappointed. As far as the wines were concerned (and I have had years of being a wine-broker); I had expected and hoped that there would be a good selection of Italian wines considering the cruise was from this area and considering that Italy produces great wines as well as great value-for-money wines but alas mostly cheap American supermarket wines at high prices and a very poor selection of local wines again at high prices for what they were. All in all beverage rating 2 out of 10. Excursions; Grossly over priced, sometimes with guides with poor English and sometimes with guides that don't have a stop button (They talk non-stop often repeating themselves). If you do book with Windstar and you don't want to use their excursions don't expect any help from them other than a very basic map of the city your visiting - do your homework first. I have held off on writing this review because out travel consultant said the Windstar agent wanted to talk to me regarding my concerns. As expected that hasn't happened so all in all I strongly suggest before paying good money to Windstar do your homework first. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
I was particularly excited about the evaluations mentioning the uniqueness of the Wind Star ships. Wind Surf is indeed a pretty sailing ship, small yet very comfortable and with 300 guests and 200 crew. Very promising! Stateroom / ... Read More
I was particularly excited about the evaluations mentioning the uniqueness of the Wind Star ships. Wind Surf is indeed a pretty sailing ship, small yet very comfortable and with 300 guests and 200 crew. Very promising! Stateroom / bathroom were very good, comfortable, well designed and with enough cabinets and small storage places to organize your goods. However, the safe is too small. It was generally well kept, but occasionally we found empty water carafes (they do not keep water bottles in the minibar) and used glasses at bed time. Wifi never worked, but at least we were properly refunded. What really bothered me was the lack a lounge to stay protected against the sun and wind in the upper deck with expanded forward and side views. The internal lounges were not comfortable and had no view. The pool area – aft – is too small, with limited view and always packed. In my previous cruises I always enjoyed such a lounge for reading or enjoying a drink with a nice view, specifically when departing, approaching the port or sundown. Outside in the top deck there is a very limited space – or not at all – to enjoy an open shaded area with some protection against the wind. We always had pretty sunny days, but I wonder where to stay in a day at sea in a rainy day. Breakfast and lunch at the Veranda were very nice, a lot of buffet and a la carte options and great service. Dinner had a lot of high and lows: the Amphora - the standard, daily restaurant – was reasonable, but occasionally we found some food – such as the Alfredo pasta – totally tasteless. Candles – the small outside restaurant that must be booked – was the best option, with good main courses and great service (they even provided blankets when it was too chilly). Seafood spear and steak were superb, but the “shrimp and salmon carpaccio” was simply a thin, round smear of paté. The biggest disappointment is the supposedly top French bistro, Stella’s: portions were ridiculously small: the escargot appetizer was small and we got just a few in a big pastry; the scallops were only 4 small ones, smaller and less than any regular seafood restaurant; rack of lamb was small (the rack and the lamb itself). I know one can order more, but it was never offered. I know what a French restaurant is and how small their portions may be (not in a bistro, usually more generous), but Stella was simply ridiculous! The menu also did not reflect what the food was, fancy names and poor food. The espresso and sandwiches bar was nice and a good option for a drink or snack. Entertainment was poor: a small band with a singer also with high and lows, but she really improved during the cruise. No other decent options, on top of 1 evening with a crew show: entertaining and funny, even when they performed poorly! Shore excursions were limited and expensive for what they delivered. Many were cancelled due to lack of attendees. They made daily presentations of the next port of calls in the evening. It would be nice, but they presented the port of the day after, and it was confusing: even the presenter said “tomorrow” when she meant “the day after tomorrow”. Probably they wanted to give some more time for guests to think about and buy packages, but at the end of the day a presentation and a vrief recap of the last one was simply confusing. Services, generically speaking, were great: the waiters and supervisors, reception, tender, and so on. To my great disappointment, the last dinner – survey had been delivered and tips settled – was simply awful: no one paid attention to us, the smiling faces were gone, the beverage steward never showed up and I had to order cocktails to the waiter. After a long, long time they arrived: wrong order and exactly when they served dinner and the bottle of wine I had in storage. Even the waiter we had dearly recommended in the survey could not manage to keep our water glasses filled. Even with the “Ups” we experienced more “Downs”, and it was certainly the worst cruise we experienced. WindStar, never again!   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
My husband and I embarked on our Venice to Rome cruise last fall with high expectations. As third time guests of Windstar, we felt we knew what to expect and were prepared for an enjoyable cruise. The ship itself was well appointed and we ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on our Venice to Rome cruise last fall with high expectations. As third time guests of Windstar, we felt we knew what to expect and were prepared for an enjoyable cruise. The ship itself was well appointed and we were very pleased with the beautiful accommodations. But what Windstar failed to disclose when we booked our cruise (almost a year out) was that our sailing was essentially a charter cruise. More than half the guests on board were media advertising groups cruising on a corporate junket. I knew from previous reviews that if a large group is onboard, it can negatively impact the cruise for other guests. Sadly, this was very true in our case. These large groups took over the Terrace Bar and deck each evening for a private reception, which precluded anyone else from enjoying that area. They congregated at the bars in large, loud groups making it impossible for others to be in the same space. But the worst behavior was reserved for the dining room each evening, when large groups, dressed down in jeans, would drink their way through dinner, often shouting to friends at nearby tables and in one unbelievable incident, eating with their hands from platters of food they had ordered for the table. The noise level made it impossible to have conversation and twice we left the restaurant early without finishing our dinner. The party-like atmosphere that dominated the cruise really devalued the Windstar experience for us. We will not cruise with Windstar again.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2011
Though we liked a lot about our cruise and the ship, the disappointment with some of the aspects outweighed the desire to ever take another cruise with Windstar. The good: 1. Small ship/yacht with only 148 well-traveled and friendly ... Read More
Though we liked a lot about our cruise and the ship, the disappointment with some of the aspects outweighed the desire to ever take another cruise with Windstar. The good: 1. Small ship/yacht with only 148 well-traveled and friendly passengers. 2. Early bird breakfast buffet (cold cuts, pastry and coffee/tea) on a desk at 6am on an open deck - feels like a yacht. 3. Staying in some ports later than big ships. 4. Breakfast and lunch buffet on a deck. 5. Boutique with useful items with the outstanding saleswoman. The bad: 1. Dinners started late at 7:30pm and took a very long time. Their kitchen is very small and can handle only 3 orders at a time. Each table counted as one order and all dishes in the order were cooked at the same time and then placed under a heating lamp for the duration of the dinner. The tables are for 8 and 4 people. Since each table counts as one order, it means that if you have three tables of 8 ahead of you, we have to wait for 24 full dinners ahead of you to be fully prepared before they start on your order. By the time you finish your dinner it is around 10pm and you go to bed on a full stomach. There was also no way to take a walk on this ship. Our stomachs rebelled and we had to skip dinners all together. Their room service for dinners was set up the same way - took long time and you had to wait in your cabin. 2. We used room service once. It took 40 minutes for the order to arrive and the food was not what we have ordered and not good at all. We could not eat it. 3. The cabin was small and dark with pothole windows which were advertised as the ocean view cabins. BWY, the cabins were BELOW the sea level and should never be advertised as the ocean view, pothole windows or not. It is a a false advertisement. 4. Their "Fitness Center" was so small that 2 people was a crowd. 5. We tendered at most of ports, even the ports where bigger ships where docked. Tendering so much was inconvenient. 6. Based on a high cost I expected much more decent experience and I would not return even for a small fraction of a cost. After this so-so trip we booked with another cruise company on a mid-size ship and had such an outstanding experience that we booked with them again while still on-board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2010
As veteran cruisers we're always looking for new ports & new cruising "experiences". Sure, we'd been to Rome before, but how much can you see in 8 hours... this time things would be different... maybe even a little ... Read More
As veteran cruisers we're always looking for new ports & new cruising "experiences". Sure, we'd been to Rome before, but how much can you see in 8 hours... this time things would be different... maybe even a little "too" different in some respects. Admittedly our 3 day days our Athens Greece "pre-cruise" was anticipated as a "warm-up" to the real thing... a seven night sailing adventure aboard a small wind-powered schooner... the sails billowing overhead, and the smell of the salt air conjuring up what would have to surely be an image of "Capt. Jack Sparrow" at the helm of our very own sailing adventure ! Sounds cool doesn't it ? While much of the anticipated trip was up to expectations, some of it was, well, a little less than we had hoped for ! The "Windstar" is one of three ships sailing under the "Windstar" brand name... it's not the largest one... and doesn't hold many guests... but that's kinda what attracted us to it. A sleek white vessel in need of some minor maintainence, this vessel would spend the next 7 days transporting us, feeding us, and yes... even boring us. While there are many of us that would like nothing more than to curl up with a good book and sail off into the sunset, I'm more of the "let's get going and explore unchartered territories" kind of guy, and so follows my observations of our cruise. Boarding the Windstar was effortless, the ship is staffed by a marvelous crew who seemed to be just about everywhere at once. From our waithers to our room steward the courtesy and efficiency of the crew was as good as any we've encountered. The food on the ship was plentiful and above average... sometimes even great ! Any of you that are used to food on Holland America or Norwegian are in for a real treat if you should take a Windstar cruise... if you're use to Celebrity you'll be dealing with a similiar kind of fare. The cabins are top notch... ingenious attention to cabin design has turned these modestly sized abodes into something very unique and dare I say it ?... "nautical". The closed space was ample, the bathroom was out & out "cool", and the room stewards were top notch. We encountered some fairly rough seas on our journey and were grateful we'd book the upper of the two cabin decks on the ship. The public rooms were clean, spacious, uncluttered, and neatly efficient. There was one lounge/entertainment area on the ship... one piano... one pianist... and two bars available. We all want a good "deal" when booking a cruise, and Windstar had been working on only a marginal profit (when it's not losing money) to provide us all with an affordable vacation experience. For the folks at Windstar:... PLEASE, charge us a little extra and hire professional entertainment ! When only one "entertainer" is on board (in this case a pianist by the name of Roy who spends half of his year digging irrigation ditches in South Africa) it better be a good one! Electronic music "enhancing" devices, minimal musical skills, and marginal stage presence just doesn't cut it ! THIS is supposed to be "Windstar".. THIS is suppose to be something "special". THIS ISN'T !!!!!!!! THE JOURNEY... This is a tough one to talk about, so I'll try to make it brief. After departing the Greek island we embarked on our trip to Messina... a sea day was involved and we encounted 10-foot seas. Rocky... sure, but no problem. THE PROBLEM IS the top speed of the ship (supposedly about 10-11 knots on an ideal sea) was not up to the challenges of a mildy-rough seas journey. YES... we had the scheduled day at sea... but the next day we had nothing to do but wave at "Messina" (Sicily) Italy as we had fallen so far behind we had to skip the port... now we were up to 2 days at sea during a 7 day cruise... the next day?,,, Scheduled for a 9am arrival we actually made it to Capri (an incredible place) at 10:30 and were permitted to de-bark at 11 am. The last tender back (and all ports were tendered) was at 2:30 pm... so after 2 1/2 days at sea we were granted 3 1/2 hours on land before heading to Rome ! WHAT HAPPENED TO ITALY ?... WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR PORTS ?... here we were, like a bunch of over-fed prisoners on a ship that in effect had morphed almost into a "cruise-to-nowhere" !!!! Look, I know this doesn't happen on every cruise... but I also know that I'll probably never make another trip to Sicily, or be able to afford to see Capri in the way it should be. A simple observation... WINDSTAR... If you folks can't predictably visit ports don't advertise them ! There's more to this... but enough already. Would I take Windstar again... maybe... but not likely. I was really expecting so much more, so much much more. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
We flew into Frankfurt from San Francisco and then to Istanbul. We stayed at the Four Seasons for one night and loved the hotel. The girls hired a professional shopper gal for about 5 hrs. in the morning and took us on a wonderful walking ... Read More
We flew into Frankfurt from San Francisco and then to Istanbul. We stayed at the Four Seasons for one night and loved the hotel. The girls hired a professional shopper gal for about 5 hrs. in the morning and took us on a wonderful walking tour through the bazaar and other areas. It had been 8 years since we have been on the Wind Star so we kinda new what to expect. We did a 14 day double cruise this time rather than the 7 days as before. Upon arrival everything went well and the check in went rather smoothly even though we got there the same time a "tuck" group got there at the same time. Our cabin was what we expected as have been there before but still it is so small when compared to other lines we have been on like Crystal and Oceania. As we set sail we were surprised at how run down the ship was. They were getting ready to completely remodel the ship and it was very obvious that they were not going to spend any money and keeping the appearance in first class manor. All the woodwork needed re-finishing and rust was very apparent throughout the ship. Our first port was Kusadasi, then in order Rhodes, Bodrum, Santonrini, Mykonos, and then Athens. We loved all these ports. WE did Kusadasi, Rodes, Bodrum, and Santorini on our own. We rented a car in Santorini and toured the whole island. My advise would be to get off the ship as early as possible as it is a nightmare to get on the tram with all the other cruise ship passengers. Took well over an hour standing in line. Our first tour from the ship was in Mykonos to the island of Delos. We had a great guide and loved the trip. Very windy so bring a wind breaker. About 80% of ship passengers got off at the port in Athens. We rented a taxi to take us into Athens and would recommend that rather than the train as it is so much faster and worth the extra money. We had been in Athens 3 times before so we shopped and had a great lunch. Would recommend having lunch in all the ports of call as you can go to small local restaurants and pubs and experience the local food and wines. Our next week our stopping ports were Nalplion, Gythion, Messina, Amalfi,Ponza, and the ending in Rome. We have been to these ports before and loved them. Recommend going to the Diros Caves in Gythion. It is NOT on the cruise line agenda, don't even mention them, and they are truly unbelievable. Took a local taxi to the caves and recommend using them not the bus. The bus stays for ever and the taxi again is well worth the extra money. Had a great local fish lunch after the caves. You can Google the Diros Caves. Out of Messina we took the tour to Taormina and loved the little city. The tour was only 4 hours and we could have spent the day as it is a great little city and did not have time to see it after the touring the Ruins. We loved Amalfi and would go back and use the city as a base. The ship advertised boats going to Capri at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 so we thought we would walk the little town in the morning and take a later boat. When we got to the dock we found out that they cancelled the later boats 2 weeks ago as the season had ended. The ship should have known this. So no Capri. The last port, Ponza, was not worth the stop. Nothing and I mean nothing there. It would have been much better to stop in Capri. Have no idea why they stop there and all the other passengers agreed. Over all the ports were great and the couple of sea days were wonderful. Now for the cruising experience. Wind Star advertises as a 4 and 5 star cruise line. They are anything but that. The ship is run down, the rooms are small, and the food barely pass's as average. The breakfast buffet is good and the lunch's are very good but who has time to eat lunch when in port. We love to eat lunch at the local ports. The dinner's were truly bad. I could go into more detail but it would take way to much time. They were just bad. The wine list barely pass's as being a "fair" rating. We ended up buying some very good local wines and took advantage of the $15 corkage charge. What made this trip truly enjoyable was the service and help. They are all well trained and truly great. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful the service is. The tipping policy is $22.00 per day per couple and then an additional 18% added on for bar drinks and wine service. We did additional tipping to the help as the employees and service were the best of the best. It will be a long time until we do another Wind Star. Fourteen days in that small room was just a little to much and then looking forward to a poor dinner was not much fun after the first week. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2006
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, ... Read More
I am a married 55 year old professional who cruised with Windstar line on three or four prior occasions. I love this line. Well, I loved this line until this recent cruise. Maybe it was because the ship was a bit larger than their others, or maybe it was due to cost considerations by the cruise line. However, the quality and approach slipped considerably. It became ordinary. PORTS: There was no need to have two sea days. We had wonderful ports, and by using two sea days, especially when the portage in Abiza was changed to an inconvenient location with an arrival at siesta, or when a lovely local like Majorca is shorted in time, the quality of the experience is lost. Indeed timing changes caused us to miss the ability to see the Rock of Gibraltar as well! Now the food. Windstar food is top notch and 5 star - at least it was. This cruise featured the best one would expect from Dennys or COCO, NOT from a Splichel (Pinot restaurants) designed menu. Shore excursions sold out. The line made no effort to line up backup guides - leaving clients to fend for themselves in places like Tangier! While the dining room and bar staff were, as always, terrific, room service was not accommodating, food was average, ports were shortened, coke was $2.50 and beer $7.50 and one wonders: Why bother with Windstar? I doubt that I will sail them again and I was a committed Windstar booster. Read Less
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