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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my ... Read More
We had seen most of the Med on previous cruises but had missed the North Italian coast and the French Riviera. This cruise fit the bill with 3 Italian ports ,Monaco and 3 French Riviera port stops. Unfortunately a week before the cruise my wife became ill and needed a wheelchair temporarily to get around. I considered cancelling all of our excursions but the Destination Manager assured me they would get us on our excursion and get the most out of the cruise as we could. And they did exactly that going way out of their way to insure we saw everything we came for. Only had to cancel one excursion in Monaco that just couldn't be done in a wheelchair. Everywhere we went on the ship they went out of their way to accommodate us and make things easier. I can't say enough good things about the crew. The food on the ship was absolutely delicious and with 3 dining area on a small ship we never had to wait. The wait staff was efficient and quick with a recommendation. With just over 300 passengers the crew and passengers soon became very familiar with each other. I have never seen ship's officers so visible and everywhere on the ship. The Captain and all other senior officers seemed to be greeting passengers all over the ship including when we arrived and disembarked the ship. Staff interacted with guests at a crew talent show, line dancing and other events. The cabin, while not significantly larger than most cruise cabins, had a generous amount of storage. We usually are fighting over hangers and drawers but not this time. The bed was fine and the bathroom adequate. The ship is definitely showing it's age. At almost 30 years old you can tell it has undergone many paint jobs and renovations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it but you could still see many things that would be designed differently today. Still, to be on a sailing ship with all the sails up through the Med was quite an experience. A great feature was the back swimming deck. With all the toys you could want you could swim, snorkel, kayak paddleboard or have the crew tube you around the ship. While the ports were very important and interesting, the ship and crew were the highlights of this cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
we have sailed on many of the standard cruise lines (but will never on those huge 6k passenger ones). we sailed last January on the Windstar windsurf in the Caribbean and thought we'd try one of Windstar's motor- only ships, ... Read More
we have sailed on many of the standard cruise lines (but will never on those huge 6k passenger ones). we sailed last January on the Windstar windsurf in the Caribbean and thought we'd try one of Windstar's motor- only ships, from Barcelona to Lisbon. what a nice trip. the food was great. the ship was very stable even in some rough seas(we missed our last port because of rough weather). we did not hear our neighbors at all (we had deck 4, cabin 132). one deck down to dinner. 3 flights up to bfast. good location. Deadora keeping our room was super. ALL other passengers were very friendly. crew was always friendly, with a good, real smile. the rooms are really large, beds very comfy. bathrooms plenty of room. good bath/shower. on this cruise we always docked. in Seville we actually went up the river to the city til could not get under bridge. always good locations. we took bus tour in most ports, to towns off coast. always clean and neat. very walkable. went to compass rose lounge with duo 'sophistication' often. good music. fun time. not many up for dancing tho. show put on by crew was really good. very talented. note that even tho this ship has a sports platform aft, it was never open as an option. we never minded, but at least one fellow passenger was very disappointed. this cruise was more costly than many. but was a great splurge! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Cruise review Tauck - Small Ship Cruising Treasures of Spain & Portugal (Eastbound - Lisbon to Barcelona) April 19 - May 1, 2017 By Ken Montgomery- Irvine, CA Summary - This was the initial cruise for Tauck with this ... Read More
Cruise review Tauck - Small Ship Cruising Treasures of Spain & Portugal (Eastbound - Lisbon to Barcelona) April 19 - May 1, 2017 By Ken Montgomery- Irvine, CA Summary - This was the initial cruise for Tauck with this itinerary and this Windstar ship. Thus, this trip was a bit of a shake down cruise, but Tauck did their usual up-scale fantastic job. The ship for the cruise portion of the trip was the Windstar Star Pride, a first class smaller cruise ship. Portugal & Spain have great ports for the cruising industry and there is a lot to see within range of their port cities. The itinerary required a moderate amount of walking and a fair amount of stair climbing and bus boardings. The weather was generally cooler and windier than normal for the area, but we didn't have much more than a few sprinkles. Early May might be warmer and more conducive to cruising. Pre-Trip. Landed at Lisbon airport Tuesday morning around 8:00 am, breezed thru Passport Control in under 5 minutes. Tauck met us and 4 other couples at the airport and drove us to Intercontinental Hotel and the rooms were ready! I think Tauck had something to do with that, but no guarantees on the early check-in. The high season in Lisbon hadn’t quite started yet, so the hotel could get us in early. After a nap, we rode the “Hop on- Hop off” bus for a few hours, which was a great introduction to the City. The hotel was very nice and has a great breakfast included. We even had a nice view of the City and river Tagus from our 14th floor room. Wednesday (on our own)- Before we left home, we set up a Viator trip to Fatima and the Atlantic Coast (north). We lucked out, this was a great trip. We walked to the pick up point, the Hard Rock Cafe corner, about a 25 minute downhill walk from the hotel. Our tour was in a nice Mercedes van. There were a total of 7 passengers and a great guide, Pedro Dos Santos. He gave commentary in Spanish and English and drove professionally at the same time. We got back at 7:00pm, so we missed the cocktail party portion of the Welcome Party. The announcements were made after dinner, so we caught that. Viator booked the tour (on-line, very easy) and "Inside Lisbon Tours" operated the tours. There were about 8 tours leaving from the Hard Rock Cafe corner at 9am, so there was a lot of confused customer milling around until a driver showed up and announced the 7 or so names he or she was taking. This was a little bit of a chaotic way to start the tours, but everyone was off on their way within 10 minutes or so. Tauck Tour Day 1 of Tour - Wednesday evening- Intercontinental Hotel - Lisbon - Welcome Cocktail Party & Dinner 6:00 pm at Intercontinental Hotel. Nice dinner and a good way to meet fellow “Tauckies”. Day 2 - Thursday- Lisbon Highlights bus tour - 9:00am to 1:30 - lunch and rest of afternoon & dinner were on your own. The Tauck bus will leave you near in the City Center or take you back to the hotel. Most people left the bus in the City Center and continued on foot. Our tour guide showed us a few restaurants and then left us on our own. We walked down to the Tagus River front and found some nice restaurants with a view of the river Tagus. We then rode a few more routes on the Hop on Hop off bus. There are 3 companies doing this, and they all seam to stop at the same stops. You can buy a ticket on board with Euros. Each company has 2 or 3 routes with each route taking about 90 - 100 minutes. This is a great way to see the City. Bring your own ear phones, the ones they give you are low quality. Day 3 - Friday - Lisbon - Bags out at 6:45m, bus tour to Sintra and other stops west of Lisbon. We got back to Lisbon to board the Windstar Star Pride around 2:30pm. There were 40 Tauck passengers on the 212 passenger boat. On this cruise there were a total of 170 passengers. The check in process was quick and efficient. They kept the restaurant open until 4:00 so the 40 Tauck passengers could eat a late lunch. The bags were in the room when we arrived unless your bag had a bottle in it as shown in an X-Ray. We had a bottle of wine in one of our bags and we received a call to come down to security, they wanted us to open that bag. You can bring 2 bottles of wine with you, but no bottles of liquor. If your bottle turned out to be liquor, they kept the bottle and promised to return it at the end of the cruise. The mandatory safety drill was at 4:15. The Tauck passengers then had their nightly cocktail hour at 6:00 pm in the Compass Rose (deck 6) where you could get free wine or cocktails & peanuts. This was a very nice nightly private party. Announcements were made during the party about the next day's activities. You also received a copy of the Tauck itinerary in your room. You also received the Windstar daily itinerary. Reception distributed a small English language world news summary. Dinner was at 7:00 pm nightly in the main dining room. Windstar has open seating and one upgraded restaurant where the menu is a little nicer. Tauck customers received free house wine at dinner. The wine was excellent. Friday night had rough seas, hard to sleep. Due to the rough seas, we arrived in the next port 2.5 hours late. Day 4 - Saturday: Portimao, Portugal- the Tauck bus tour left the ship at 11:30. We returned to boat for lunch and then boarded the bus again for an afternoon wine tasting trip. Back to boat at 5:20, the boat sailed at 6:00 pm. My wife & I had dinner in the special restaurant, and the food was a notch above the main dining room. Had a table outside in the setting sun, and it was not windy. Saturday night was smooth, no big seas, good sleeping. Day 5 - Sunday - Seville, Spain - we boarded buses in Cadiz and drove to Seville. Due to weather and sea state caused delays, we didn't have time to take the ship up the river up to Seville, which would have been nice, beats a long bus ride. Spent a full day seeing Seville, then back to the Ship by 6:30. The Tauck cocktail hour lasted till 7:30 and then onto dinner. The bus rides were about 2 hours each way including a restroom stop at the halfway point. Weather was cool in the morning and low 80s in the afternoon. Seville is a great City for tourists and the Tauck guides got us to the front of the line - always. Day 6 - Monday -Gibraltar- we docked at noon. We did a 2 hour tour, then back to the boat at 4 pm, or you could stay in the town and walk back. Boat departed at 10 pm. Weather was in the mid 60's. No Cathedrals today! The "Rock Apes", (monkeys) were very cute and photogenic. Windy day! Day 7 - Tuesday - Malaga, Spain. 9:00 am depart for Andalusian Manor Hacienda La Esperanza. Our group of 40 was treated to a private visit, horse show and tapas tasting, back to ship by 1 pm. At 2:30 pm we left on a Malaga sightseeing tour and a walking tour thru the Old Town where you could visit the Picasso art gallery. Temps in the 70's, not much walking. Day 8 - Wednesday. - Almeria, Spain. - Departed at 8:00am for 2.5 hour bus ride, including a bathroom stop, to Granada. We had a tour of the amazing Alhambra Palace and lunch at the Alhambra Palace Hotel. Back by 5:30pm. The Windstar ship crew put on their big BBQ that night on deck 7 despite the wind, with dancing on deck afterwards. Temps in the mid 60's. there were a fair amount of walking and stairs in this visit. Day 9 - Thursday - at sea- cold, windy, rocky, not a lot to do. We were glad we brought some “Great Courses” DVD's with us. Our Tauck tour director gave us a lecture on the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), which was very interesting. There is a lot less to do on days at sea on a small cruise ship compared to large cruise ships. Windstar should work on this. Give us a few lectures or even video presentations about upcoming ports. It was too cold to sit outside for long. If the weather was warm, I’m sure everyone would have been on deck getting sun. Day 10 - Friday - Palma de Majorca - a beautiful city, we had a tour of the city in the morning, lunch on the ship, or stay in the city, then a visit to a private palace with a folk dancing performance with wine & cheese in the afternoon. Great weather, high 60's and sunny. Day 11 - Saturday- Barcelona - disembarkation- bags out before 5 am, which means the night before. We left the ship at 8:45 am and then toured the major sights of Barcelona, an amazing city. I love how Tauck gets the group to the front of the line, we never waited in line. We checked into the El Palace Hotel around 4pm, very nice hotel. Most people walked the Las Ramblas and found a place for dinner. There were lots of choices. Weather was cool and windy. Day 12 - Sunday - Barcelona - met the bus at 8:15 for another day touring Barcelona. We had a private organ recital in the "Music Palace" (Palau de la Musica), another Barcelona architectural masterpiece. We had a walking tour of the old city, then lunch on our own, then bused back to the hotel. Tauck had the farewell cocktail party and dinner at the "Silk Palace", leaving the hotel at 6 pm, back around 9:15. Day 13 - Monday - Barcelona - going home - we had a 10:50am flight to Newark, so Tauck arranged the airport transfer at 7:15 am. The United check-in counters didn't open until after we were standing the airport looking for the United check-in counters. Around 8:00 am, 5 United check-in counters opened. Checking in was easy. A security officer did a short interview with each passenger before they proceeded to check-in. They wanted to know where you had been, so it helps to rattle off a few of your ports and Cities visited. Several passengers stayed a few extra days in Barcelona and Tauck took care of their transfers on their day of departure. Comments on the Windstar Star Pride Beautiful ship, smooth sailing and docking. No tendering on this cruise, the ship tied up at the dock at all the ports on this cruise Security getting back on the ship varied from port to port, some places had airport style inspection, other places a quick visual inspection. Efficient, responsive & friendly crew Some cabins experienced plugged toilets which were repaired by crew Food is very good Entertainment is limited to piano bar type entertainers Each cabin has a DVD player Ship has a library of books and DVD's for lending Ship has a small pool and 2 jacuzzis Wifi is spotty and slow, but you will get your emails and some websites, but don't try to download a Netflix movie or even a U-tube clip Cabin 316 was spacious with a walk in closet, lots of drawers, a safe and small balcony Cabins have one - 110 volt and one - 220 volt outlet. Ships store has a good selection of Windstar logo clothes. They also have sundries at reasonable prices. The store is only open when the ship is moving. Reception also sells toiletries. There is a small casino with 1 poker table and 1 blackjack table and some machines. Gymnasium - outstanding - 5 treadmills, 3 stationary bikes, 1 rowing machine, 1 arm cycling machine, many single purpose weight stack machines, free weights, bar bells, yoga mats. There was also a Personal Trainer available. Spa - full service Comments on Tauck Bus tours were very comfortable, great buses and informative commentary by our guides. Rest stops every 60 to 90 minutes. They have a rotating seat assignment system, which works great. Everyone gets to sit in front once during the trip. Seat assignments are posted outside the bus, so you know where to sit. Water is always provided. The tour directors are amazing people, they handle all the issues and unplanned challenges on the fly without a problem. Thank god for cell phones and the Tauck support staff back at headquarters to help with challenges. Tauck provided unique touring experiences and set up private entertainment performances. There was a private wine tasting & wine education in Portugal, a couple of dance performances, and an organ concert, just for our group. Tauck seems to be sensitive about not taking their guests to too many cathedrals, as many companies seem to do. There was usually free time for people to visit more cathedrals if they wanted to. Wifi was free but slow on the ship. The wifi was good in the hotels. The hotels did not have DVD players. Dress code - about half the men wore sport coats for the welcome & farewell dinners, although this is not required. Most of the time, the dress code on the ship is "Resort Casual” (pants with a colored shirt) We have heard that the Tauck “Treasures of Spain & Portugal” Cruise has been booked up for many months out and I can see why. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We were on the Star Pride sailing on October 7, 2016 from Civitavecchia to Portoferraio, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Nice (nice surprise port), Portofino, and Portovenere. I have sailed on Norwegian, Celebrity, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and ... Read More
We were on the Star Pride sailing on October 7, 2016 from Civitavecchia to Portoferraio, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Nice (nice surprise port), Portofino, and Portovenere. I have sailed on Norwegian, Celebrity, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Costa. This was my first Windstar experience and it did not disappoint. The staff is truly unbelievable with their friendliness, attention to detail, and they clearly try to go out of their way to make your trip enjoyable. It was an amazing cruise, A+ job by the staff. We took a 1 hour regional train from Rome (~7 Euros each) and arrived at the port of Civitavecchia around 12:00pm and they began to board at exactly 1:00pm. With under 200 guests on board it took about 30-45 minutes to board, fill out the necessary paperwork and receive your room cards. After reading the tips on here I carried on 2 bottles of wine to consume in our stateroom and that was not an issue. I should note that this limitation is very relaxed and throughout several other ports I was able to carry on an extra bottle of the local wine with no questions asked. As for the condition of the ship, the public spaces were recently updated and the ship is in as good of condition as you would anticipate at this age. There were some areas of rust and the bathrooms were starting to show their age but that’s about all. Although we had the cheapest stateroom it was very nice. The food was exceptional, probably the best of any cruise I have ever been on. The first thing we did when we got on board was to book a reservation at Candles, the rest of our dinners took place in the dining room and service was quick and attentive. The only option for lunch and breakfast is at the rear of the ship again it was very good with menu items, buffet items, and a made to order bar. We spent quite a bit of time at the “Yacht Club” at the top/front of the ship where you could enjoy cappuccinos, expresso, and tea along with snacks until 5:00pm each day. We were also very impressed by the DVD collection within the library. Due to the itinerary we were always up early and the first ones off the ship so we didn’t spend any time in the evenings listening to the entertainment so I can’t comment on the quality of that. We were docked in Portoferraio, Monte Carlo, and Nice. Cannes, Portofino, and Portovenere had 2 ship tenders running all day long, it was never more than a 10-15 minute wait for a tender and many times we were the only ones on board. We were supposed to spend 2 days in Monte Carlo but after docking the first day we were going to be tendering the 2nd day but the seas were scheduled to be rough and a spot opened up in Nice so the captain moved us down the coast to dock and spend a day in Nice which was a nice surprise. The sports platform was open while we were anchored and we took the opportunity to go swimming in the Mediterranean in October! The water was actually quite pleasant. They had foam swim cushions, individual kayaks, and 2 person kayaks along with a skiing/wakeboard boat. This was our first time on a small ship and we don’t know if we will ever go back to a big ship. The only time we ever waited in a line was when we boarded, that’s it. Definitely worth the slightly higher cost! Please keep in mind that our experience was based on a very affordable room that in October is the same price if not cheaper than many Caribbean cruises so we were not expecting a “luxury” experience, just a fun trip on a small ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
What an incredible experience! This was a special celebration trip for our 25th Anniversary and my birthday. We researched and planned for months and as it got closer I got nervous that perhaps after going on Seaborne and obsessively ... Read More
What an incredible experience! This was a special celebration trip for our 25th Anniversary and my birthday. We researched and planned for months and as it got closer I got nervous that perhaps after going on Seaborne and obsessively planning, it would not meet my expectations. But it exceeded them. The Sicilian Splendors is such a unique itinerary that each port was a new adventure and lovely and enchanting in its own right. I really fell in love with Malta! The food on the ship was good to great at every meal. The staff over all was friendly and attentive and professional and enthusiastic. The cabins (as this is an old Seabourn ship) are big and comfortable. We had a Juliet balcony and I loved being able to open the windows and enjoy the air and the sea. The spa staff were adorable and I had great services. The BEST part of this trip were the people that we met. We usually do not make friends on vacations because we are mostly happy to be away from work and together as a couple. But thanks to the Cruise Critic roll call we met people who I am happy to call my friends now. We were able to share this glorious adventure with our new friends (of all ages) and it was wonderful. The ship is small but it didnt feel too small. So if you want to just be alone, you can do that also. This is not an experience for people who crave the excitement and distraction of the big ships. There is no dancing or real night life...which was fine by us. It is a port intensive itinerary that will allow you to see places that you might not get to on your own. We booked a combination of ship tours and independent tours. Highlights were Valletta and Capri (independent) Pros: People, ports, staff, food, laundry service (this is literally a game changer! I traveled for 2 weeks with just a carry on and still didnt wear everything) Cons: 2 rocky nights because the ship is small, there are 4 pots where you tender. In Gozo we were 2 of only about 40 who made it to shore for the excursion, we loved our cabin but some on other floors had issues with water, I wish the bar was closer to the dining room (I knwo thats kind of silly), the gym is small but we did go everyday Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
My family and I chose this cruise because we wanted to go on a less crowded cruise, a relaxing and well facilitated one. This was perfect, hardly any flaws, impeccable service. Lots of things to do for entertainment- my favourite was ... Read More
My family and I chose this cruise because we wanted to go on a less crowded cruise, a relaxing and well facilitated one. This was perfect, hardly any flaws, impeccable service. Lots of things to do for entertainment- my favourite was working out in the gym. I'd like to give a special thanks to all the staff, especially the waiters and waitresses who worked so hard for so long and the lovely personal trainer onboard, Louis. His workouts kept me in shape even when I thought it was impossible after eating all the amazing food on the cruise! Food was impeccable, absolutely outstanding. Would definitely recommend Candles and The Amphora restaurants, both of high quality. I would say that Amphora is more family-friendly and has a "cosier" setting, one could say; Candles is perfect for couples who want to dine whilst watching the sun set. I went to both with my family as both were suitable, however if you choose not to eat at either and you want something so chilled you can eat in your pajamas, room service is just a phone call away! There were many excursions that were available and swimming in the sea will be a big hit with many people (no, not just the kids) as the sea is absolutely beautiful and the sun is shining and the view is jaw-droppingly amazing, definitely one of the best parts. BBQ night was most likely my favourite nigh onboard- aside from the crew's talent show...that was quite something ;)- there was so much dancing and incredible Mediterranean food, it was bliss. Everything was just lovely. So relaxing and by the end if the week you really felt as if everyone was family, so it broke my heart to have to say goodbye, both to the crew and fellow passengers. I would just like to say thank you so much to all of the Windstar crew who really made my summer memorable and I hope to travel with you all again very soon! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We just disembarked from our Windstar cruise from Barcelona to Rome and were very happy and satisfied with our experience. The number one difference at Windstar is the Personal experience and how it is enhanced by the extraordinary crew! ... Read More
We just disembarked from our Windstar cruise from Barcelona to Rome and were very happy and satisfied with our experience. The number one difference at Windstar is the Personal experience and how it is enhanced by the extraordinary crew! In just 6 days, we knew all of our servers and staff by name and they greeted us by name. It is so much more personal to travel this way and never feel like a cattle call. The cabins were very nice and quite large and again they were clean and refreshed all day long. The food was wonderful and plentiful and the 24 hr room service was a great hit with our constantly eating sons who were traveling with us. The special events and barbecue night were fantastic and though we had to change itinerary due to Italian port alerts, the staff quickly changed excursions to make everyone happy. We will really miss One, Barus, Caroleena and Dody who made our cruise so special and made us sad to say goodbye. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
On one of Star Pride's first cruises coming off of a very long dry-dock to the tune of $4+ million, I must say we found the ship looking great, and it was hard to believe she was first launched in 1988. Lots redone to the public ... Read More
On one of Star Pride's first cruises coming off of a very long dry-dock to the tune of $4+ million, I must say we found the ship looking great, and it was hard to believe she was first launched in 1988. Lots redone to the public areas - besides the new flooring, the designs of the two restaurants were tweaked and improved. Library updated, screening room replaces the old card room, main lounge redone. New pool added, deck above the pool was actually widened to allow for loungers. I didn't see them, but heard that the Classic Suites were totally redone. Service was exemplary, with a high staff-to-guest ratio. Loved our very friendly and engaging crew who made our experience even more personalized. Many remembered our favorite beverages and menu choices. We very much appreciated the ship keeping us hydrated (our ports were very warm and humid), offering bottled water as we went ashore, and setting a large bottle of water and glasses on our nightstand at night. I had heard that many of the crew came from other Windstar ships, along with the new Captain. One day in port, the Executive Chef invited any and all to accompany him to the local markets to shop. Great fun and lots of samples. While the dining choices in the restaurants were delicious enough, he was very open to suggestions. I think Windstar is all about the itinerary and ports, so onboard activities were kept to a minimum. Port talks almost every day, and a small handful of organized amusing activities (games) and two musical duos performing after dinner. But this was an active itinerary (only one sea day) and most of the ship seemed to disappear into their cabins by 10:30 PM. We loved the open dining option, no formal dressy nights, and plenty of two-top tables if you wanted a romantic dinner for two. Otherwise, it was easy to strike up conversations and share tables, as most of our fellow passengers were amiable and well traveled. Shore excursions were low-key, and it seemed that many passengers were well-versed DIY-ers who planned their own independent excursions. We did a mixture of independent and ship tours; big kudos to the Mt. Etna/Taormina excursion that took us part-way up the volcano (unexpected) for a fun lunch and exploration of the craters. Our only criticism - and it is a very small one - is the limited menu offerings between the time lunch service ends (2 PM) and dinner service begins (7 PM). While we generally had a small lunch or snack onshore, if we came back to the ship after 2 PM the only option was a few sandwiches and desserts up in the Yacht Club lounge. Would love to see this expanded to include a few salads (green, veggie, pasta) and maybe some chips with those little sandwiches. Cheese, crackers, fruit would be another idea. This was our first Windstar Cruise and it definitely will not be our last. If you want a solid easy-going, sophisticated cruise, unstuffy, unpretentious, IMHO this is the way to go. And because it's not all-inclusive, you don't feel like you are over-paying for what you don't use (e.g. alcohol). Most of the ship reviews are from 2015 and older; with the new Windstar president/leadership and policy changes, there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel for future Windstar cruisers! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Concerns about Turkey and Istanbul in particular before leaving the US. These concerns were quickly overcome by this 7-day cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Stayed at the Pera Palace for a couple of days prior to departure and toured the ... Read More
Concerns about Turkey and Istanbul in particular before leaving the US. These concerns were quickly overcome by this 7-day cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Stayed at the Pera Palace for a couple of days prior to departure and toured the city. Istanbul is a great mix of history and modern, the hotel spectacular! Embarkation was a breeze and the ship was in great shape following its recent dry dock. The itinerary started off with a day at sea and gave the 80 guests a chance to get to know one another, very easy on Wind Star as it is a small vessel. Enjoyed the time on the open bridge and even got some star identification training from the Watch Officer. The various ports of call were a great recap of history. The top was Ephesis and the private event at the Celsus Library. Windstar does this event right! From the minute you arrive you are taken back in time, no other visitors to be seen or heard, music playing in the library upon arrival, photographer at the ready and they don't charge you for the pictures. Dinner was served, dusk settled in, and then the lights illuminated the library, pathways, and colusium, very SPECIAL! The other stops were also well done though too many other cruise ships were with us in Santorini, you lost some of the intimacy that we experienced elsewhere. Athens was a huge let down, the Parthanon and museum were as expected. However, Athens as a city is a dump, don't bother spending any extra nights here. We got the news of the Istanbul bombing just as we got home and felt fortunate with our timing. Turkey was the unexpected highlight of our trip and would love to return when it settles down again. The Wind Star crew is top notch and looking forward to another Windstar trip soon. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We have sailed Windstar 5 or 6 times in the past and always had a great experience. So when it came to going on a special trip with my Mom the cruise line was an easy choice. I left the cruise itinerary up to Mom to pick. She selected ... Read More
We have sailed Windstar 5 or 6 times in the past and always had a great experience. So when it came to going on a special trip with my Mom the cruise line was an easy choice. I left the cruise itinerary up to Mom to pick. She selected Glitter and Glam of the Riviera. We left from Rome and disembarked in Barcelona, both was very smooth. Great trip! Staff is excellent as is the food. The ports were great; best was Monte Carlo! The ship was Wind Surf their biggest at 310 pax but it wasn't full (sorry Windstar) that week so quite comfortable. It is also the one with elevators which came in very handy since Mom was in a wheelchair. All of the staff is just great but we had exceptional service from Allen and Larry dining room mgrs, Eric, Ruel, Ade, Lilik, Yusef and Nino! Just love Windstar and will cruise with them again... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
It was a smaller ship and the destinations in the French and Italian Rivieras. The service was great and the staff made a point of remembering your name. At the end of the cruise, the entire senior staff was on the pier and thanked ... Read More
It was a smaller ship and the destinations in the French and Italian Rivieras. The service was great and the staff made a point of remembering your name. At the end of the cruise, the entire senior staff was on the pier and thanked everyone for coming. The side trips on shore were very good too. Some of the destinations were better seen by boat: Portofina, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terre, for example. In Monte Carlo, we were able to dock in the inner harbor, which worked out better for the special event at the Casino in the evening. It was a dessert/champagne reception which was on an open rooftop. As the evening progressed the sun set and the town was illuminated with lights. We enjoyed the food but what really made the cruise memorable was the kind and dedicated staff in all parts of the ship. There was no formal dinner on the last night but they did a BBQ dinner on the deck by the pool--lobsters, beef, lamb, suckling pig, ribs, salads, dessert bar--plus music and staff line dancing. Very fun! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our 2nd Windstar cruise. We are now serious fans of this line. We have been on both the "yachts" and the sail ships now and both, although different were excellent. Service was superb. We were thrilled to have ... Read More
This was our 2nd Windstar cruise. We are now serious fans of this line. We have been on both the "yachts" and the sail ships now and both, although different were excellent. Service was superb. We were thrilled to have the dining room server, Esther, that we had met on our first cruise. She was consistently helpful, accommodating and pleasant. We hope we meet her on our future cruises (and we have booked several others already). Our room Stewart, Iman, also went above and beyond. What ever we needed we got! And strangely, the ship's doctor was the most valuable crew member, as she aggressively treated the bronchitis I came on with and saved the vacation. Only two days lost--and can't say they were lost as I lounged on deck and was treated like a princess. We were fortunate to be on a James Beard cruise and the wine tasting, the special dinner and the learning experience was beyond compare. What fun we had! We had a suite and were very comfortable. The suites are two cabins combined so there is a living room and two bathrooms. Very comfortable. The tours included and those purchased were very good, the wine and food theme was carried on many hours of them. The highlight for me was Granada and the Alhambra. It was a perfect tour capped with an excellent lunch. A must do. And on the ship, we were truly well fed and entertained at the Barbeque. We were very fortunate that the weather was ideal. The sunset magnificent and the whole experience was amazing. And the crew line dances were so much fun. Highly recommend this ship. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
My wife and I picked this cruise first for the itinerary. When we started to research some more, we got hooked on what we heard was the Windstar experience. After our booking last July we started seeing the reviews about the Star Legend ... Read More
My wife and I picked this cruise first for the itinerary. When we started to research some more, we got hooked on what we heard was the Windstar experience. After our booking last July we started seeing the reviews about the Star Legend and started panicking. Even thought about canceling and are we glad we didn't. Windstar and the Star Legend were magnificent. First, my wife and I are frequent cruisers, living in South Florida and all. We have been on all of the major lines, Princess, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity. We know what to expect and what we want. We were looking forward to the "small ship" experience and Windstar came through with flying colors. We can honestly say that we will never go back to the mega ships with 3K to 5K passengers. Everything that we had heard about Windstar is right on. They make you feel like you on on your own private yacht. From the moment you step on and are greeted by a room steward, handed a glass of champagne and shown to your cabin, you know that this will be a different experience. You never wait in a line for anything. The friendliness that is shown to you by the staff is an awesome feeling. And yes, they do know your name in a very short time and are greeted by it every time a staff member sees you. The officers are out, visible and just as friendly as the the rest of the staff. The cabins on the Legend are amazing. Large, bright and easy to spend time in. We took an S1 class cabin with a large picture window that made us forget about the need for a balcony. The bathroom, ours was shower only, was so large, my wife and I could dress, shower whatever at the same time with room to spare. There is plenty of storage and the room steward was so accommodating with every and any request we made. Then there was the food. The menus were wide and varied, offering something for everyone. The food was very tasty, well presented and the service in both the dining room and the Veranda buffet was outstanding. It was fantastic to come back to the yacht after a day in port and go up to the Yacht Club for a drink, a sandwich, a cappuccino or whatever you liked and just relax, speak to fellow passengers about your day or , whatever. It is just truly the feeling that you are on your own private boat. Yes, there is not much in the way of entertainment, 2 young duos playing at various venues around the yacht, but that is not why you sail on Windstar in my opinion. If you need to be entertained constantly, then this may not be for you but if you are looking for a relaxing, comfortable and amazing experience, Windstar hits a home run. Really, the only negative I can think of is the internet . Windstar uses a "data" oriented package for internet service while on board. First it is always difficult to understand how much data you use, it is not cheap and it was very unreliable. We needed to log on to WiFi when in port to get most things done. This turned out to be longer than I expected so won't go on any longer. The bottom line is, my wife and I, experienced cruisers will be booking Windstar again and will no longer be sailing with the big boys. Once you have sailed Windstar, you can't go back. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I took the Star Legend cruise from Barcelona to Rome in late September, 2015. It was my first cruise trip and I enjoyed the ship, the crew, the food, the ports, and our excursions (with one blip). The ship is on its inaugural ... Read More
My wife and I took the Star Legend cruise from Barcelona to Rome in late September, 2015. It was my first cruise trip and I enjoyed the ship, the crew, the food, the ports, and our excursions (with one blip). The ship is on its inaugural trips this summer after a refurbishment. Our room (277 sq. ft.) on Deck 6 was ample sized and well laid out. Virtually all the rooms are the same size with the exception of a couple of suites. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style with a normal food selection. Most dinners are in a more formal dining room called Amphora which is very attractive. The menu changes every day and features very well prepared seafood, poultry and meat dishes along with many choices for appetizers and salads. The quality matched high end level restaurants in our home town of Seattle. One night is a special barbeque which was well done and fun. There is also a smaller intimate restaurant called Candles for excellent outside dining. All restaurants had well priced and well selected wine options -- and a good wine steward. There is a fitness room and a spa. Our maid staff was excellent and our room was always spotless. Most activities are those you select during the port calls -- sight-seeing, biking, hiking, shopping, etc. Our ports were different and interesting -- Port Vendres, Marsailles, Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Portofino (tops!) and Elba. While we booked a couple of guided shore excursions, most ports can be managed without a formal tour. One glitch occurred on a evening event in Monte Carlo where the weather worsened and our tender was unable to return the ship and we bussed to Nice to catch up with it in the early morning -- an adventure anyway. In summary, I would take another Windstar cruise to visit other ports in Europe. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I sailed on the Star Legend leaving Dover and going to Lisbon. We stayed on the next cruise which was Lisbon to Barcelona. The first leg was a food and wine cruise which featured wine tastings every night and free wine with ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Star Legend leaving Dover and going to Lisbon. We stayed on the next cruise which was Lisbon to Barcelona. The first leg was a food and wine cruise which featured wine tastings every night and free wine with dinner. In addition there were free special events such as a fancy dinner at a top winery. The second leg also had special events as well. My wife and I have had over 30 cruises on many ships including Windstar and several luxury lines. We chose the Star Legend because of its itinerary, its small size, and we wanted to see how Windstar handled the Star Legend. There was a hiccup or two but in the end we felt it one of the best cruises we have ever taken. Guests on each leg of our trip were extremely friendly and the cruise staff were excellent. In particular, the Voyage Leader (Windstar's name for cruise director) Alina Moroz was excellent. She had an abundance of energy and made every guest feel special. If you sign up for a Star Legend Cruise make sure she is your Voyage Leader. Ram, our room steward was superb, as were the two ladies at the Reception Desk (who could handle any problem). Every one serving food and drinks were also great. A special shout out for Daddy, one of the senior food serving staff, who could always find your special foods. We enjoyed each port and the history that went with it. The deck BBQ's and dancing with the Officers were real treats. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We recently completed our first cruise with Windstar and we will definitely be back. We were on the newly acquired/renovated Star Breeze Yacht. The Yacht is beautiful and all suite (277sf) rooms were spacious and comfortable. We booked a ... Read More
We recently completed our first cruise with Windstar and we will definitely be back. We were on the newly acquired/renovated Star Breeze Yacht. The Yacht is beautiful and all suite (277sf) rooms were spacious and comfortable. We booked a regular room on deck-4 mid ship and did not feel much motion. Embarkation and Disembarkation were easy! Both dinner restaurants were great. Food was equally good at both but candles was slightly better IMO because it is at the back of the ship and we enjoyed the sunset. Amphora also had a nice atmosphere but it is inside. StarBar was nice during the day and after dinner. Amazing views from here. After dinner a band played but most nights we were in our room by 10:30 or so. They also have a casino and another entertainment room where the band played each evening. We never took advantage of these 2 areas as we preferred to be outside on deck or relaxing in our room. Breakfast and lunch were at candles each day with great views off of the back of the boat. Food was great and plenty of selection. They also have Yacht club which has sandwich and snacks available throughout the day. Great place to grab a quick bite to eat. We also took advantage of room service each morning for cappuccinos, snacks and dinner one evening. As mentioned in previous reviews the staff was wonderful. They were all so friendly and all smiles. Truly a GREAT group of people! We tendered in a few of the ports. This to me was no big deal and never took longer than 10-15 minutes. The nice things about the days we were in ports we tendered too was the water sports platform was down. We enjoyed Kayaking one afternoon off of the water platform. Very cool being in the large ocean just the 2 of us. Really wish we had another open day so we could have paddle boarded. We enjoyed each of the ports for different reasons but it was always refreshing to walk back onto our peaceful yacht. The pool area was nice. With the recently expanded deck upstairs their was plenty of seating. The ship has one pool very small but enough to dip into and cool off. They have 2 hot tubs. One next to the pool in the middle of the ship and one at the front of the ship. We enjoyed the one at the front of the ship at night. Very quiet here! Work out facility was nice with 2 bikes, a few treadmills, some weight machines and free weights. We absolutely loved our cruise and cannot wait to book another with WindStar! Highly recommend!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
This was our fifth Windstar cruise and definitely not our last.  The Islands of the Western Mediterranean is only offered once each year, but for those of us who have cruised the Riviera coast from Barcelona to Rome in the past it is a ... Read More
This was our fifth Windstar cruise and definitely not our last.  The Islands of the Western Mediterranean is only offered once each year, but for those of us who have cruised the Riviera coast from Barcelona to Rome in the past it is a wonderful alternative. It is also an opportunity to visit Spain, Italy and France in one cruise. For some reason, embarkation seemed more congested than usual. It still was very quick compared to large cruise lines, just more chaotic than we’ve experienced previously. Maybe there were more people arriving by plane that morning (like us) and not really having enough time to do anything in Barcelona other than head to the port. We were really happy to see so many familiar faces upon boarding – Gusman, Ragam, Erwin, Daddy, Robert. Our cabin attendant, Anang was one of the best we have ever had. After a second cruise with the new cabin design, I can still say I absolutely love it! Very well planned with more storage than we ever need. The only problem with our cabin, 106, was that there was some engine noise. It never really bothered us until the last night when we also started experiencing a very noticeable loud humming sound around 3AM which did disrupt our sleep. I could see the cabin noise as being a problem if the occupants were light sleepers. Whether ordering off the menu or choosing buffet items, both breakfast and lunch provided great selections. My main complaint (as it has been from our very first cruise) is that I really dislike the coffee. I wish they would do something about it since I frequently hear others complaining as well. This cruise I elected to just bypass the coffee and go straight to cappuccinos for both breakfast and dinner. The evening meal selections varied from good to excellent – in fact, Tom enjoyed one fish entrée so much that he declared it was one of the best meals he’s ever had on any cruise ship. Dining room service was outstanding as always. We decided not to partake of Candles on this cruise since the weather was a little chilly in the evenings. The on-deck BBQ was fun and Tom declared that the paella was better than what we had in Soller, Spain. Our fellow cruisers ranged in age from two well-behaved children around eight to ten years old to a lovely woman in her 90’s travelling with her grandchildren. Average age was probably 40-60, and many on this cruise seemed to be the adventurous type ready to explore and go off on their own. This may explain why some of the shore excursions were cancelled – not enough people signing up. We took two ship excursions – one in Alghero and one in Portoferraio, one was good and the other just OK. We ventured out on our own in Soller and Porto Vecchio. The one disadvantage to visiting ports that are not frequently visited is that the usual hints you can get from crew members is more limited. But because of that, it seemed we saw more crew members out and about experiencing the port with us. We’ve enjoyed all our cruises with Windstar, but I think this itinerary proved to be the best well-rounded one for us. Just the right amount of sightseeing, relaxation and great fellow cruisers.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
This was Windstar's inaugural food and wine cruise of Spain. My girlfriend and I jumped at the chance to book, since we'd been drinking the wines of Spain and enjoying authentic Spanish food at home and at the two local ... Read More
This was Windstar's inaugural food and wine cruise of Spain. My girlfriend and I jumped at the chance to book, since we'd been drinking the wines of Spain and enjoying authentic Spanish food at home and at the two local restaurants in Atlanta that serve it. Bottom line: the cruise delivered. It was just what I was hoping for and I can enthusiasticlly recommend it to others. I had never cruised Windstar or the smaller ships before. I researched extensively online and mostly found comments saying simply "you're going to love it." To help other newbies or those considering future food and wine cruises, I'll try to give the details that stayed with me. We boarded around 5:30 pm in Lisbon after spending a day and a half there on our own (no cruise hotels or transfers). I believe boarding started at 1:00 pm and all aboard was 10:00 pm for a 11:00 pm sail away. I was surprised to see what looked like the majority of passengers already on board and in the middle of the first wine tasting at 5:30 or 6:00. We had missed the muster drill but were pointed to someone from the bridge who gave us our own personal safety demonstration. We had also missed the first wine talk and general introduction of the men and the company who were providing the wine, but we weren't the only ones and we jumped right in. There was a wine tasting and passed hors d'oeuvres every evening from 6:00 to 7:00. The atmosphere was that of a 300-person cocktail party -- festive and enjoyable, but it was challenging to hear the descriptions and discussion of the wines because we never arrived early enough to get a seat up front. The talk lasted about 15 minutes, all the while the hard-working staff circulated with generous samples of the evening's four featured wines. Windstar gave each of us a nifty little notebook to make notes on the wine, with preprinted pages where you could fill in the name, vintage, your thoughts, etc. These same wines were available that evening at dinner or later in the bar at no charge. I read elsewhere on the forum (thanks, r&rd) that there were 450 cases of wine for 320 passengers. It was more than ample! Obviously, I was super glad that I didn't spring for the alcohol package. I sure hope the bartenders and servers were compensated for lost tips, which usually come on the slip you sign for each drink. We tried to do our part. There were a number of things that made this cruise different from the normal Lisbon to Barcelona sailing (I'm guessing here, since I don't have anything to compare it to). We had two wine pairing dinners, both excellent (although the only food complaints I heard all week were about the dry pork on the first pairing dinner. I can't say; I had the fish and it was excellent). Each course was paired with a wine that we had heard about in that evening's wine talk. I honestly couldn't tell if the food itself was Spanish-influenced; it didn't seem so to me, and that would have been a nice touch. There were two excellent cooking demonstrations by chef Seamus Mullen, the first on our day at sea and the second on the final afternoon. I missed the second one but tasted the result -- really good paella. I was so happy they distributed the recipes because we will definitely try our hand at making them. One evening a local flamenco troupe was brought on board, and I enjoyed every moment. They were fabulous. Again, so happy about that extra touch (which I've read happens on other Windstar cruise as well) because we otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to see flamenco shows which are always at night. Another feature of this cruising was two complimentary food/wine-themed shore excursions. These were the only excursions we took, Windstar or otherwise. The rest of the time we explored the port towns on our own. I was pleased with both the sherry cellar tour in Jerez de la Frontera and the vineyard tour outside Valencia. Both included city tours and the guides and buses were first-rate. I had wondered how I would fare on a small ship, in terms of seasickness. I had no problems whatsoever, and we experienced a few high seas here and there but not much. My girlfriend, a more experienced cruiser than I, has always worn the patch but tried going without and she was fine too; didn't ever need the Dramamine we brought. The boat rocked a little but I found it pleasant. Although at times I did have to use the handrails walking around, just briefly. The cabin was roomy and comfortable with plenty of space for our things. Liked the L'Occitane bath products. Our travel agent advised selecting a cabin in the middle of the ship for stability purposes. Our porthole was a few feet above the water and I spent a lot of time (probably too much) just staring out at the waves and being mesmerized. The one maintenance issue we had was fixed within hours. We made use of the Bose speaker, hooking it up to our iPhones. If you have the newer phone with the redesigned pin, you just ask at reception for an adapter. There was one outlet in the cabin (maybe suites have more, I don't know). It had two plugs, one European and one US. Since our cabin was on the lowest level the watertight doors in the hallway were closed when we were coming into or leaving port. These were every 40 feet or so and there is stairway access in each 40-foot section, so we weren't prevented from going up or down. It was just surprising and we always seemed to forget about it, so we'd go up the stairs to the second level and try to estimate where to go down again, since the cabin numbers don't directly correspond. Maybe other folks are familiar with this but it was new to me. Getting on and off the ship at ports of call was always smooth and easy. Sometimes we walked right into town, other times there was a shuttle. Disembarkation in Barcelona was especially painless and well-organized. There was a slight change in our itinerary, which their website or materials prepare you for, and that was docking in Palma, Mallorca instead of tendering to Soller. The seas were evidently too rough to tender, so everybody was pretty happy that the captain made the call. No excursions were harmed in the making of this change. I've never been to either city, but I was delighted with Palma -- probably my favorite port on this itinerary. The service was very good, as other posters have written. I think reading all the other comments had set my expectations very high and the service didn't quite live up to them but was still very good. It's been years since I cruised and that was on a big NCL ship. I imagine the service we received on the Wind Surf was much better than the big ships can offer, but I didn't experience the bit where "the crew addresses you by name early in the cruise." The only ones who addressed us by name were our wonderful cabin steward and, interestingly, the woman in the gift shop. But I'm not complaining in the least. The servers had a huge job to do, with the nightly wine tastings and the two pairing dinners where everyone was seated at the same time. And we never hung out in one area or one bar long enough to really get to know the staff so that's part of it too. Food is such a subjective thing but I'll give my take. The dinners were tasty with a good selection of entrées. There was always the option of ordering salmon, streak, chicken and one other dish if none of the selections appealed. The quality, presentation and portion size were good. My only complaint is a minor one: the bread, butter and coffee were really subpar. Especially since the bread and coffee are so good in Spain, it was disappointing to be served dull bread, low quality butter and weak coffee. I tried the coffee shop for lattes and espressos, but it was the same week coffee in a different form. The drinks were priced well and we enjoyed the daily cocktail, an interesting concoction named after a city we'd recently visited. We only ate one or two breakfasts and lunches on board, preferring to eat those meals in port. But the ones we ate had a good selection of fresh food. We ordered room service one night and were very pleased with it. Stella Bistro was a nice change of pace (or menu, anyway) from the dining room. After the first night, dining at Candles was moved inside due to windy conditions. That was a-okay with me, because it did not look pleasant for the diners (or the waitstaff) that first night on deck. One thing that stood out and really exceeded my expectations was the deck barbecue. I wanted to eat one of everything (and maybe five servings of lobster) and then go back for seconds and thirds. On everything. It was a gorgeous evening, the band from the lounge was playing, Spanish wine was flowing -- a stellar night. As far as activities and entertainment, I like the idea of Windstar's low-key approach of not having a lot of planned events. This cruise may have been a little different because it *did* feel like there were a number of activities, with the daily wine talks and tastings and the two cooking demonstrations. I enjoyed the two singing groups in the evening, and there was a guest entertainer as well. The engine room tour felt special; I wouldn't expect to get to go behind the scenes like that and walk through the engine room on any other ship. We missed the shopping trip in port with the chef because of an excursion, and they didn't seem to offer the galley tour on this cruise. I like how Windstar doesn't make many announcements over the intercom. There was generally one each day, usually as we were leaving port. It became a running joke between my girlfriend and I that the captain always apologized for making the announcement -- politeness is always welcome, but it's okay, one announcement a day is nothing to apologize for. I think an officer on the bridge got in a bit of trouble for announcing that there was a pod of whales to be seen; I was glad he told us! But I think it was at the tail end of the last dinner seating so I can understand not wanting everyone in the the dining room to rush to the windows. We used the fitness center twice. I loved watching the sea as I rode the bike or used the elliptical. I was rewarded for my attempts at fitness by a dolphin sighting! We didn't use the laundry service so I can't comment on that. There was hardly any smoking on deck. Very rare and not a bother at all. The passengers ranged in age a good bit. The majority seemed to be late 50s or 60 and older. Being in my mid-40s I was curious how many near-ish my age there were, and I estimated 30 or so people under 50, which is more than I had expected. The other passengers were friendly, no stuffiness at all. The casual evening attire (as compared to coat and tie or black tie) was welcome. Some dressed more elegantly than others but really, anything other than jeans was fine. Overall, an excellent experience on board. Very good service, a stunning vessel, an emphasis on the local food and drink, enchanting ports of call -- I highly recommend it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
I will be a Windstar cruiser for life after our 2nd voyage with them. After a wonderful week on board the Windstar going from Istanbul to Athens with 5 stops in between it got even better. I had left my University of Florida Football ... Read More
I will be a Windstar cruiser for life after our 2nd voyage with them. After a wonderful week on board the Windstar going from Istanbul to Athens with 5 stops in between it got even better. I had left my University of Florida Football National Championship ring in our stateroom when it fell out of my backpack. Our wonderful steward, Cecep, found it and had it forwarded to our Athens hotel before I even knew I had lost it. I will be forever grateful to Cecep for his honesty and integrity. The week started well when several crew members remembered my wife and me from a cruise we took last year. By the 2nd day of the cruise every food and beverage service member would know all 140 of us by name. It's amazing how they do that on Windstar cruises. The food and service was excellent and the crew could not have been nicer. The Captain and I were discussing the Costa tragedy and without my asking he had a good magazine article sent to our room for me to enjoy. The refurbished ship was beautiful and the afternoon treats on deck never failed to cool us off. As did the ice wash cloths waiting for us when we returned from our tours every day. If you are looking for comfort and personal service, on a ship that makes you feel like you are really on a boat, Windstar is the cruise line for you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
This was our first time cruise on Wind Star and we were very pleased. The cabins are very well designed, the service is excellent, the food great.For adults who wish to enjoy a relaxing trip, Wind Star is the answer. While the ... Read More
This was our first time cruise on Wind Star and we were very pleased. The cabins are very well designed, the service is excellent, the food great.For adults who wish to enjoy a relaxing trip, Wind Star is the answer. While the entertainment isn't on a par with a 2000-3000 passenger ship, and the casino is quite small, these are not important for us. The dining room has open seating so you do not have to sit with the same people each night. Just wander in when you feel like it and sit where you wish. The food is excellent with an on deck BBQ with lobster, ribs, steak etc. being a highlight of the trip. On board life is very casual, no one wears a jacket to dinner and many wear shorts to most meals.I found this ship to meet all our cruising needs and then some. I would definitely take this line again.. My wife and I look forward to our next cruise and meeting more cruise critic members during the meet and greet. Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Overall, the Islands of Italy cruise on the Wind Surf can count as a true travel experience highlight. The ship, the itinerary, the food and most of all, the service are excellent. Reminder, the WindStar experience is not for those who ... Read More
Overall, the Islands of Italy cruise on the Wind Surf can count as a true travel experience highlight. The ship, the itinerary, the food and most of all, the service are excellent. Reminder, the WindStar experience is not for those who need climbing walls, ice rinks, big shows and large casinos, although there is nothing wrong with those large cruise ships. With that in mind, I will try to provide an overall picture of our truly excellent cruise on the Wind Surf in October, 2012 to the Italian (and one French) islands. Pre-cruise: WindStar Cruises offers pre-cruise hotels and in some cities they are excellent choices. In Rome, we thought it was overpriced and booked our own hotel. With WindStar, however, they meet you at the airport and transfer you back and forth from the ship. Even with the additional costs of transfers added, we found a less inexpensive approach by going to a travel agent and showing her what they offered and she was able to beat the price. One advantage of the WindStar pre-cruise package is that they take very good care of you and you have to do no follow up like re-confirming or guessing what time you will leave the ship. It may well be worth the difference in plain comfort and security. Also, check out the final excursion which may take you to Rome so you can avoid that transfer. Embarkation: Even though this is a small ship with about 300 passengers, if everyone appears at the exact hour of embarkation, you will have to wait in a line to enter the ship. So, if for example, the embarkation time is 1 PM, go at 2 PM and you will have no wait to get on board and your luggage will get to you almost immediately anyway and the buffet will still be open. Ship: The ship is every bit as elegant as we remembered it from 4 years ago. We choose the lowest level cabin since there really is no difference in the size of the non-suite cabins and the ship has two elevators. The stateroom is lovely and though small, amazingly well organized. There is plenty of storage. I am not sure whether the Surf has been totally renovated as the public areas and corridors seemed fresh and up to date. Our stateroom did show some minor signs of needed maintenance, two small carpet stains, a balky storage drawer, some marks on the cabinets. Also we did hear engine noises at night so maybe the even number cabins in the B level might be worth investigating. They leave fruit and a single rose in your cabin. If these observations appear picayune, remember this is a line that is striving for at least luxury-lite status and so many other aspects of the cruise experience are of such a high level. Staff: This is the strength of the Wind Surf. Every single staff member is terrific. Their ability to remember passengers names and preferences is almost uncanny. They strike the perfect balance of professionalism and familiarity. I repeat this is the asset that takes Wind Surf above so many other ships (yachts as they call them). There were far too many pleasant experiences to pick out one or two, but trust me, from the Captain and Chef down to the room stewards, this is a fabulous crew. Food: Uniformly very good to excellent depending on your choice of meal, though I must admit every appetizer and dessert was terrific. There is a great attention to detail and as stated before the service is terrific. As an example, one of the dinner companions was only having soup while others were enjoying their entrees, so the staff supplied her with a far larger serving to compensate. The main dining room is as good as the other restaurants (which charge no extra fees) but the dinner on the deck at Candles is worth making the reservation just to eat outside in a truly beautiful setting. The fact that you can always get a table for two is just delightful. Bobby, the wine steward can even find wines not on the list. The casual cafe for breakfast and lunch is just great! Entertainment: The lounge band was a family that were excellent, there was another couple that were also wonderful. A featured singer also was very talented. Do not miss the crew's show, talent sometimes questionable, enthusiasm fabulous. A real hoot! Excursions: We only took one and it was good and worth the money. Some others seemed expensive so we struck out on our own and did just fine. Cool thing: swimming and kayaking off the back of the ship while in ports where there are tenders. Disembarkation: Excellent, easy and there is an area to wait for your rides and the Wind Surf staff stayed with us and called the car service to get updates. A nice touch that made us feel very comfortable. Ports: Capri -- As corny and crowded as it is, GO TO THE BLUE GROTTO! The excursion can be booked right at the dock. The whole thing is a true Italian experience with loud, off key singing in the Grotto and loads of fun watching the chaos outside the entrance. Capri can be crowded so we took the funicular ride to Anacapri, visited the museum and a church and found several charming cafes offering inexpensive lunches. Busses had lines so if you can find another couple to share a taxi, do it. Sorrento -- lovely tourist town and a jumping off point for a drive down the Amalfi coast. We actually arranged to share a drive from a couple on a Cruise Critic role call. Positano, Amalfi and Ravello are lovely. Lipari -- small lovely island where we went to a beach. Negotiate the taxi fare down or take the bus. Stromboli -- an active volcano that is spectacular at night especially from the deck side extravagant bbq Corsica -- interesting island, wroth walking about Elba -- turned out to be our favorite! My suspicion is it is mobbed in summer but when we were there it was just terrific. Note: we used the internet cafes at several stops for mere 2 or 3 Euro as opposed to the ships internet that we found frustrating. Enjoy lunch in the ports. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Having sailed three times on the Windsurf we were slightly apprehensive about how it would be on a smaller ship.Windsurf had always felt 'just right' in terms of size and passengers.Well,we were in for a surprise.There were just ... Read More
Having sailed three times on the Windsurf we were slightly apprehensive about how it would be on a smaller ship.Windsurf had always felt 'just right' in terms of size and passengers.Well,we were in for a surprise.There were just 118 passengers on board this sailing and it felt almost like being on a private yacht. The boarding process was the easiest ever.We arrived at the port of Pireaus via the bus 040 from Athens as we like a bit of a challenge rather than the easy option of ship transfer or taxi.Yes,we had to walk for 5 mins or so along the front and round to the terminal but it was not a problem with wheely luggage.As we entered the terminal at around 1pm (the earliest boarding time) we were approached by a Windstar rep asking if we were cruising with Windstar.We were told that we were good to board and went straight through security and out the door to the waiting ship.I was actually the first passenger to board.Boarding early like this gives you a whole afternoon on board to unpack and relax a little before life boat drill.There was a limited buffet lunch available for early boarders. The cabin was a little different to what I recall on the Windsurf but not much.There were new linens on the bed. The public areas had all been re-fitted and the lounge and dining room looked very nice. The food was good but not always excellent.There was not as much choice for breakfast or lunch as on the Windsurf (as far as I recall) but it was always nicely presented.Dinner,was usually very good. My husband declared his steak in Candles to be excellent and my grilled fish was very tasty.I think there is room for improvement with the afternoon tea selection.It was mostly the same selection every day and the little open rolls left on the tray soon became very dry.There were always loads left over.The cookies were the same each day and the cake selection was not very appetising.I think they should just have a cookie selection and one very nice type of cake plus some closed sandwiches.People are not usually very hungry at this time of day but it is nice to be tempted by something special. On this cruise we needed tenders every day.One day there was a bit of a swell and they had to take the tender to the other side of the ship to try there.Whilst we were waiting for this,trays of orange juice appeared to refresh us.Another day,because of the swell,we had to use the Capri port tenders. I had my birthday on board and had a card from the captain and crew and a birthday cake in the dining room. The barbecue evening was really fun.A good selection of grilled meats and plenty of salads.There was a 'mini' crew's show and line dancing.We all had a great time. The water sports platform was down just about every day we were in port and we well used as it was extremely hot. We really loved the little exra things which made this cruise so special.Like the Windsurf,there is an open bridge policy so it was interesting to be able to call in there to get your bearings.The stars were wonderful.One day there was an opportunity to have your photo taken with your own camera on the bow spit.This was really special,not something you would get on a larger ship.By the second day we knew so many people by name and the crew knew ours,along with our breakfast and drink preferences.One day when a large number of passengers were still on shore on a tour there were only a couple of dozen of us on board.On the open deck by the bar we were just eight.Suddenly,cocktails appeared,courtesy of the captain.These are little things you remember. The crew was outstanding.We had so much fun with Yen and Uus who served us at breakfast and lunch.Gusman and Wahid too,Anthony,the 3rd officer,Montse and Gonzalo, and Jenny on reception.I miss you all and wish I were back on board with you.Our captain,Aristeidis Mertzanis was such fun and mingled freely with the guests and kept us abreast of anything happening with the ship. This cruise has converted us.Our next one will be on one of the smaller ships for the friendliness and personal service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
Having sailed on all of the Windstar ships many times since 1987, from places like Malaysia, the South Pacific, Tahiti, Europe, Caribbean, Belize and Costa Rica, I confess to being somewhat biased in my long love affair with these unique ... Read More
Having sailed on all of the Windstar ships many times since 1987, from places like Malaysia, the South Pacific, Tahiti, Europe, Caribbean, Belize and Costa Rica, I confess to being somewhat biased in my long love affair with these unique and special ships and the outstanding, personal service by their dedicated crew. We just returned home from another fantastic 14 day crossing on the Wind Surf from St Maartin to Lisbon. (March 2012) The cabins and suites have all been remodeled since last year and the new furnishings fabrics and colors are stunning. The new hallway carpeting, plus carpet pad and dramatic lighting (pictured) are beautiful. (Both smaller ships are currently undergoing similar refittings). In regard to the remodeled cabins, I particularly appreciated the plush new mattress and the new, soft, all cotton, bed linens. The individual directional reading lights over each bed are a nice addition, making it possible to read without disturbing anyone. Our suite (320). The new furniture (2012) is a big improvement, much nicer as well as more usable and comfortable. The only quirk we experienced with our cabin was that an engineer had to be make adjustments behind the HVAC grill to fit our particular room temperature preference after we were sailing. The new carpeting is luxurious, but with it's textured pile, is a curious choice. While the carpet remains perfectly clean, the textured pile shows all scuff marks from shoes on it's textured surfaces. For those with engineering backgrounds, the ship's vacuum septic system which services all the cabins has been upgraded as well. This Fall (November 2012) the remaining public areas, including the three dining facilities, are scheduled to be refitted. THE Officers and CREW continue to be the OUTSTANDING attribute. It is the high standards they maintain and the level of personal service makes sailing on Windstar so special. In addition to the usual daytime activities, for the first time ever, an introduction to TAP dance was offered for free. The passenger participation was so enthusiastic and everyone worked so diligently learning their steps, a TAP dance FINALE was performed at the end of the cruise in the Windstar Lounge and everyone in the show received a standing ovation. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
This was my sixth cruise on the Wind Surf, and in many ways the most enjoyable. My wife Linda and I celebrated not only our 44th wedding anniversary, but also my 67th birthday. We traveled with a high school friend from California and ... Read More
This was my sixth cruise on the Wind Surf, and in many ways the most enjoyable. My wife Linda and I celebrated not only our 44th wedding anniversary, but also my 67th birthday. We traveled with a high school friend from California and her niece (first time cruiser), and had a wonderful time. Boarding the Wind Surf for me is always a "homecoming" experience. It seemed that the entire crew knew me by name within a few hours! Since I was traveling with 3 women, our favorite waiter "One" started referring to us as "Charlie and the Angels". I was pleased to see that the ship was not nearly in as bad shape as I had read about in some recent reviews. True, the carpet in the Yacht Club area was stained, and the "guide book" in our room was frayed. But overall, I saw few visible signs of deterioration. There were new rattan lounges on the pool deck, replacing the previous white plastic lounges --- a nice upgrade. The exercise equipment also looked new, and I used it every morning. I have seen the renderings of the new decor that is planned for the Wind Surf, & can't wait to see it in reality. Entertainment was mostly excellent. Our friends Craig and Nikola (aka "Rain") were in the Compass Rose, and I spent many hours listening to their musical offerings. Craig is a big fan of Dire Straits, and he uses their songs to showcase his prodigious guitar skills. Nik was also in great voice, and they have some CDs for sale in the ship's boutique. The Filipino band in the main lounge was competent, but lacked a bit in the energy department. Fortunately, there was also a British guest vocalist on board named Andrea Whitfield, who was very polished, professional, and skilled. She really knew how to "work" the room. I am hoping to seem more entertainment of this caliber on future cruises. Our cruise featured a full night and following day in Venice prior to setting sail, which was very nice. We normally fly into our embarkation port a full day ahead of time, just to allow for unforeseen travel delays. No such need on this cruise. We were able to stroll around Venice during the morning, return to the ship for lunch, then go out again in the afternoon. Lots of walking, but with a nice respite during lunch. As always, the food and service was impeccable. My only complaint was with the red wine, which was served at room temperature --- too warm. My wife and I were invited to have dinner with the restaurant manager, so I was able to voice my opinion to him. He agreed with my observation, said it was an area they were "working on". I thought the wine offerings were somewhat better than on some of my previous cruises, if perhaps a bit pricey. We enjoyed spectacular weather throughout the cruise, albeit a bit on the warm side. There was also a full moon on several nights, with the moon arising over the horizon right at dinnertime. Spectacular! The itinerary featured several small Croatian ports such as Korcula and Trogir, ending in Dubrovnik. We took two excursions. The first was the "Hilltops of Istria", featuring several very small hilltop towns --- very scenic. The second was in the port of Trogir, a bus trip to the nearby waterfront city of Split, site of the Diocletian Palace. Again, very scenic and informative. Can't for my next Windstar cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
My wife and I just finished a 7-day Rome/Rome cruise on Wind Spirit. The ship is gorgeous. In spite of a dry-dock and extensive refit this past spring, the crew was constantly busy scrubbing, painting and polishing. Although the ship is ... Read More
My wife and I just finished a 7-day Rome/Rome cruise on Wind Spirit. The ship is gorgeous. In spite of a dry-dock and extensive refit this past spring, the crew was constantly busy scrubbing, painting and polishing. Although the ship is over 20 years old, she's aging beautifully. We saw neither a spec of grime nor any signs of deferred maintenance. Cabin was wonderful. Extremely comfortable bedding and pillows. Lots of storage. 110v and 220v power. Great bathroom layout. Plenty of light once we finally figured out the switches. That plus the hideaway table we didn't discover until day six causes me to recommend that you ask the room steward to show you the features of your cabin! Food was absolutely top notch (a Dutch chef with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America). The service was even better. In spite of open seating, the dining staff knew our names by day 3. The bar staff knew our names AND favorite drinks in the same period. A majority of the waitstaff we talked to started on big ships, and have been with Windstar for over a dozen years. Professional and attentive service in a relaxed setting. My wife enjoyed the watersports platform (she tried the kayaks and the small sailboat). We both thought the piano player was great --- an accomplished musician with a quick wit. My favorite feature? An open bridge with friendly officers! We are in our 50s. This was our 15th cruise. Have tried the bigger boats and don't much care for the crowds. It was interesting to arrive in a small port with the Wind Spirit. The quaint places we visited (Italian coast and Corsica) were only charming until one of the big cruise ships arrived to share it with us. As soon as their swarm of passengers descended, we found ourselves retreating inland or back to the ship. (When I was on one of those bigger ships, I never realized their profound effect on small ports.) We fell in love with the Wind Spirit, and have already booked another cruise on her next fall. Read Less
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