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Sail Date: April 2011
This was our 8th Wind Star cruise (six on the Wind Surf, two on the Wind Spirit). As Wind Star cruises emerges from bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years, we had some concerns as we boarded the Wind Surf on Easter Sunday in Barcelona. ... Read More
This was our 8th Wind Star cruise (six on the Wind Surf, two on the Wind Spirit). As Wind Star cruises emerges from bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years, we had some concerns as we boarded the Wind Surf on Easter Sunday in Barcelona. Fortunately the cabin stewards, restaurant and bar staff all delivered excellent service throughout our cruise. No complaints. We remain amazed at the staff's level of professionalism, their positive attitude,their enthusiasm and competence.The ship carried 200 passengers(2/3rd occupancy) on our cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia with stops in Majorca, St Tropez, Monte Carlo and Portofino. We were traveling with 2 other couples who had never sailed on a cruise ship before. We enjoyed pleasant weather for most of the cruise.My wife and I sailed on the Wind Surf in the Med previously in September 2010 (Venice to Civitavecchia). On both cruises we noticed a deterioration in the quality of evening meals served. Breakfasts and lunches were excellent, but suppers were hit and miss. Our other criticism revolve around the excursion staff. At our first port of call, Palma (Majorca), the ship arranged for hourly complimentary bus transfers between the ship and town-center. We were given a schedule when we left the ship. On our return many passengers were waiting at the designated pickup location for over an hour because the bus driver was following a less frequent schedule. We showed the driver our schedule but she told us that she would only follow the schedule that her employer gave her. Three of us took an excursion to Le Lavandou, a coastal town in Province, about a 45 drive west of St Tropez. It was a bad $79 per person investment. The trip lacked any significant points of interest. We drove through several interesting villages (such as Bormes-les-Momosas) but we were not allowed to explore them. Lastly the excursion directors on both cruises were of little value to independent travelers. The information provided at the nightly 10 minute lectures was disappointing. Requests for train schedule information and travel info received little attention.Our friends who just completed their 4th Wind Star cruise on the Wind Spirit (Civitavecchia to Anthens), reported to us that evening meals on their cruise were disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
FYIMy husband and I have never gone on a cruise in our lives. We have traveled widely, but never with a group. We have pretty high standards for food, lodging and wine, although we have experienced everything from $5 a night rooms in the ... Read More
FYIMy husband and I have never gone on a cruise in our lives. We have traveled widely, but never with a group. We have pretty high standards for food, lodging and wine, although we have experienced everything from $5 a night rooms in the Third World to Relais and Chateau lodging.  We have also done some bareboating. That said, we give a thumbs up to the Windstar.  It really is an "experience" and is probably vastly different from the large cruise ships.   We loved the idea of the boat being under sail. That means there isn't much deck room and all of the public spaces are tiny. If there is bad weather, the options for hanging out anywhere but your cabin are extremely limited.  The cabins are small, but we felt were efficiently designed so that nothing seemed cluttered. Staff was great and the cabins were quickly cleaned in the mornings. We got used to the port holes, but you will definitely feel the rocking of the ship, particularly in high seas. Wear a patch! The food quality varied. Breakfasts were good and very generousfresh eggs, lots of fruit, croissants and smoked salmon. Lunch (which we had on the ship once) was surprisingly good. I ordered off the menu and had salmon in a buerre blanc sauce with fresh vegetables which was better than any of the evening entrees. There were a few instances when it seemed that the entire ships decided to eat at the same time, but the crew handled it well. We waited for a table (for two) just once. Dinner, with several choices for appetizer, soup, salad, main course and dessert, is slightly above average with some hits on the really good side.  The wine selections were below average (standard California mid-range) that were over-priced. Alcohol in general is expensive, with cocktails in the $10 range. There are "packages" and daily specials. They do allow you to bring wine on board the ship and charge a $15 corkage fee. That seemed a bargain. The type of people on the cruise surprised us. We had hoped it would be a mature but adventure-minded group. However, there were older kids (around 10), party animals (and boy, did you know they were aroundtook up all the lounge chairs and generally made spectacles of themselves) who you would expect would be more at home on a Carnival cruise ship. The "informational" sessions about the ports of call was very minimal. It would have been interesting to have someone with some background in art history to give a quick third-grade level style class on some of the sights, since we were cruising through some important archeological sites in the Greek Isles. We did a variety of things in port. We rented a car and used a map on our own twice and seemed to have done more than anyone else that we talked with. We paid for the cruise excursion once andalthough a bit on the cheesy sidethought it was worth it. We "missed the boat" one day and walked around the port city, which was okay, but not great. We did a private guide that was pre-arranged and felt that it gave us a very unique experience. The "day at sea" was pretty boring and you don't have many options except to eat and read (or watch a dvd in your room) or get up at the crack of dawn and place dibs on a lounge chair on deck and bake in the sun. (The pool is about the size of a large spait fit 2 to 3 comfortably.) We didn't do the water sports from the back of the boat, since the two times they were available, we were on land. We felt the good things about the Windstar definitely outweighed any complaints. With all four sails up as we sliced through the water, the Windstar may not be the biggest and flashiest way to go, but it certainly is the most romantic. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I had a wonderful experience on the Wind Spirit in 2014 going through the Panama Canal. When Windstar advertised a trip to the Italian and French Riviera, stopping for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, I was all in. Expensive, but I expected ... Read More
I had a wonderful experience on the Wind Spirit in 2014 going through the Panama Canal. When Windstar advertised a trip to the Italian and French Riviera, stopping for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, I was all in. Expensive, but I expected it would be worth it. It wasn't. We were on the Star Breeze, one of the three ships they purchased from another cruise company. The room was nice, but the ship is poorly managed, poorly maintained and just not a place you want to be. The officers don't care and make excuses for their failings. Food service is a disaster, tender service is worse. We paid a lot of money ($15,000 for a couple before shore excursions) for a luxury cruise that we did not get. Food was mediocre, availability limited and service very disorganized (other than the lady in the "Yacht Club" where you could get sandwiches and snacks - she was phenomenal!). Tender service was a joke. Poor operation, long waits, rocky rides, crash landings. Rarely anyone on the dock to assist you. We had a pre-arranged, all passengers invited dinner part at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo. When we returned on the bus (arranged 100% by Windstar), there were no tenders to take us to our ship. More than enough to take passengers to the Wind Surf (a sister ship of the original sailing type), but 100 or more of us were stranded in fancy clothes, cold weather, at 11:30 pm. Finally a 24 person tender arrived. I was on the first tender, but I understand that it took more than an hour to get everyone back to the ship. No one from our ship came to help, by the way. We were assisted by the Wind Surf's Hotel Manager. There were many maintenance issues, the staff was nice by untrained, and the officers were unhelpful and largely disinterested. When things did not go well, it was someone else's fault. When we disembarked in Nice (and we were SO READY to disembark) it seemed orderly until we got out and realized everyone that had preceded us to the dock to get their luggage was still there - no ground transportation was available. It took about 90 minutes to get 100 or so people into cabs or vans. We were simply going to a hotel, so it was not such a big deal. But many people were concerned about missing flights or were just unhappy with this final coup de grace. Importantly, the Hotel Manager and other officers were rather disinterested. They passed out water bottles but, par for the course with this ship, took no effort to solve the problems. Fortunately, a couple of energetic young women made continuous phone calls and finally got everyone off of the dock. But it was just a fitting end to an otherwise poorly managed, chaotic, amateurish cruise experience. Avoid this cruise ship. Growing pains is one thing. This is a cultural faux pas. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was a terrible, terrible experience. It was Star Breeze's first full itinerary cruise after it's quick push from Rome to Barcelona. Spanish coast up to Lisbon. To say this ship was not ready for prime-time is an ... Read More
This was a terrible, terrible experience. It was Star Breeze's first full itinerary cruise after it's quick push from Rome to Barcelona. Spanish coast up to Lisbon. To say this ship was not ready for prime-time is an understatement. The guest-relations crew was totally lost--no one, and I mean no one, has prevailed the short excursions, and the ship was jammed with a 70-member party that shared absolutely no space with anyone. Had five shore excursions, but cancelled three because the first was just awful. Sunday morning on Majorca Spain with a complete idiot. History apparently started on the Island in 1700. No Moors, nothing. Luckily, as he told us, there's no tide in the Mediterranean Sea, so no worries about anything. Smart guy. The other shore excursions were pretty bad, too, but I did one more to go horseback riding. I'm pretty good at it--grew up training horses, Brochure said the tour accommodated any level of expertise, but it was nose-to-butt all the way. Received half of the cost back. Boat was just okay. Service terrific as expected. Captain surly. Entirely newly renovated; toilet ventilation very poor. This cruise has been completely redesigned for this summer--no more Majorca on Sunday (not exactly hopping--nothing open), but guide was quite happy to tell off-color jokes about bull testicles. He's off the schedule now. Gibraltar was dropped in favor of Morocco--not bad idea, but caters to ancient passengers who just couldn't deal with crowds and long walk from berth in incredible heat. Also dropped Seville. A real disappointment there--engine failed, or so the ship steward said, so we couldn't make it into the city. 90 minute bus ride from Cadiz, but Cadiz itself was interesting. All in all, a real disappointment at the prize point, and so radically different from Wind Star ships. A real sense of social class differences on this bigger boat that just isn't on the sailing ships. This is a mini-Carnival cruise ship. Very indifferent to passengers and a deer-in-the-headlights attitude. Maybe it will get better. But why not save the money and go on the real Carnival. You won't be able to tell any difference. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
I have been looking forward to the Windstar Cruises "Treasures of Southern France" cruise for about half a year. The minute I saw the photo of the lavender fields on the brochure page of this cruise I knew I just had to go. And ... Read More
I have been looking forward to the Windstar Cruises "Treasures of Southern France" cruise for about half a year. The minute I saw the photo of the lavender fields on the brochure page of this cruise I knew I just had to go. And so we booked the cruise departing Nice on July 13. My husband and I arrived to Nice a day early and spent the first night at a hotel which was great. We then took a cab to the point of embarkation. Windstar tends to select smaller, commercial ports so we were lucky that our taxi driver knew where to drop us. The moment I got on board, Gonzalo, the Destination Manager, welcomed us. I told him I was so excited to be seeing those lavender fields that they had in the brochure. I then asked which tour I could take to see those fields and he told me "they are everywhere! Take any tour." He then tried to sell me on the $1,499 private car and driver which I thought was a ridiculous price and so I signed up for an excursion to Aix en Provence on Tuesday and later the French Impressionists tour that Thursday. When Tuesday morning came around, we were up, dressed, and had breakfast well before 8 a.m. as our departure was at 8:15 for this tour. Gonzalo saw me in the hallway, pulled me aside, and then told me that he checked in with an associate, and the lavender fields are not in bloom now and that I will not see any. He then told me that I could get my money back if I wanted for the tour. Incredibly disappointed, I took the tour anyway as we were already up and ready. It was a really bad tour. The guide had a hard time with English and just "ummed" the entire time. When we got to Aix en Provence, we were dropped off by a flea market and once the guide starting talking about the exterior of some such building, my husband and I just took off on our own. We didn't really like this area at all. It was VERY commercial and touristy and not at all what I had imagined the medieval little towns of Provence to be. Even the waiters in the cafes were surly. The town was so overcrowded, we couldn't wait to get back on the bus. We had heard that the ship was renovated and were surprised when we got on board and our cabin steward took us to our stateroom and proceeded to tell us that they were probably renovating the cabins later this year or early next year. Sure, they had put in some new carpeting (which was already quite dirty) and had new linens, but the room still looked worn. The furniture was the same and our bathroom had rust around the door frame. The cabin steward kept the room very clean and we thought the laundry package was a great deal. But they had this rough, woolen blanket on the bed which I thought was very out of place and not at all luxury. Breakfast on the ship became somewhat of a joke. Every day you had a choice of a different Eggs Benedict. They had a waffle or pancake for good measure and always the same display of meats (many of which were discolored) and fruits. Lunches were also quite horrific. The menu showed hot dogs and hamburgers, perhaps a burrito, they had a greasy Gyro one day. And here we are in the South of France? What about the fresh veggies and fish we saw in the markets each day? We ended up dining ashore for lunch most days. Dinners, while tasty, were the same dinners Windstar serves no matter where in the world you happen to cruise. Here we are in the South of France and there wasn't even a French wine on the wine list! Hungarian Goulash, Turkey and Stuffing? Really? They had one appetizer and one entree that said "local specialty" as a choice each evening and while the food was tasty and the service was excellent, once again, you weren't dining on the specialties you could find ashore. These towns had fabulous markets and when you saw the quality of the foods there, it was disappointing to see what you got on board. Also, Windstar tendered for the first few days into Cannes and Sanary Sur Mer, but then we docked in a horrible area of Marseilles that didn't seem safe (our ship was behind barbed wire with uniformed guards) and other commercial ports so while you were trying to enjoy a relaxing breakfast on deck, all that you heard were jackhammers and construction vehicles. Tendering would have been so much better. The ship also only sailed each evening starting at 10 p.m. and you were usually docked by 7 or 8 a.m. so you hardly got any opportunity to experiencing cruising which is why we were there wasn't it? The rest of the time we were docked at these ugly commercial noisy ports. Windstar always positions itself as a luxury cruise line and that its journeys are 180 degrees from ordinary, but after having completed by third cruise with them and my husband's fourth cruise, they have gone downhill. The type of passenger has gone downhill, and what they try to get away with is incredible. They are not a luxury cruise line anymore. Luxury isn't having hot dogs and hamburgers on the menu. Or no European wines (everything was from the Napa Valley). If you want something really unique and luxurious and you are a foodie, go to a Seabourn or more upscale line. They just don't really care about delivering what they promise. And when you complain, they offer to give you a limited discount on your next cruise! Like why would you cruise with them again?! Most disappointing was that they position this as a cruise to the South of France where you will see the lavender fields they show on the website and in the brochure. Yet the destination manager on board is clueless about the destination (he's from Mexico) and can't even direct you properly to see what they supposedly sell about the destination. This was a very disappointing experience and not at all luxury if you are a true five-star hotel traveler who enjoys luxury and good food and wine. Read Less
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were sold the cruise on the understanding that Windstar had set aside a considerable amount of $ to refurbish the recently purchased Seabourn Ship and that the destinations were amongst the more elite, small ports where larger liners ... Read More
We were sold the cruise on the understanding that Windstar had set aside a considerable amount of $ to refurbish the recently purchased Seabourn Ship and that the destinations were amongst the more elite, small ports where larger liners were unable to dock. The boarding process seemed straightforward, we were very soon in our stateroom, which, to our pleasure seemed, large, well decorated, nice fabrics and a great bed. All seemed very positive, on closer inspection, there were some noticeable shoddy edges, the silicone surrounding the window was badly damaged and we had several "flappy bits" distracting from the view, the bathroom whilst large, was a little dated and may have benefitted from some of the $ set aside for refurbishment. The reception desk, is literally a hole in the wall, whilst the reception staff were absolutely lovely, professional, positive, helpful and strong advocates for customer service, they sadly have to work in a small hole with a very basic table and no filing systems or furniture. not a great impression of a luxury ship. The Food is another highlight, the Restaurant is excellent, very high class, not cramped, table for two no problem, great wine list, well paced service. the new decor is gorgeous and gives the illusion of a top restaurant. We were very impressed every time we ate in there. I wouldn't bother with the Candles restaurant option, too cramped and not particularly romantic.. Oh and the BBQ evening was a bit of a mess too, sadly it was a cold, windy evening, so we didn't bother hanging around too long. We queued patiently with everyone else ate our food which was adequate then went back to our cabin.. The timings of the bars, yacht club and Compass Rose restaurant were all out of sinc, you had to have a pre dinner cocktail on deck, outside, compass Rose didn't open till 9pm, it's a beautifully decorated bar, including a small casino area but was very under used, such a shame that such a focus has been the refurbishment of this part of the ship and its not open till 9pm... The yacht club was also lovely, very quiet, great attentive service and the best coffee on the ship. but closes at 5pm.....I suppose I'll have to go and sit outside in the wind again.... The itinerary was great, Portofino,and St Tropez were favourites, but, the most disappointing part of our week was that every port except Monoco were tendered. We could have forgiven that had the tenders been of a satisfactory standard, however they were both (when they used 2) very old, unsafe and frankly horrible, the experience prevented us from leaving the ship in the evening to explore our ports at night, never mind back to the ship, perhaps we'll go to the bar for a drink.... Oh no hang on it doesn't open till 9pm....aaaaaah. All in all our cruise was relaxing, we enjoyed the ports, we didn't do any excursions as they were all very very expensive but we found our way around very well. Fellow passengers were pleasant, friendly, sociable, sadly we witnessed some arrogance towards the crew who were without exception all amazing, on a smaller ship you do see the same people all the time one or two of them could have done with some manners and a volume control button or even an off switch but sadly you can't chose your fellow passengers, but on the whole everyone seemed to enjoy their trip, even the couple who didn't mind expressing their strong admiration towards each other each morning at breakfast...... Enough to put you off your waffles...... Will being trying celebrity next time... Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
This was our first Windstar Cruise. I must say that I have talked to several folks that have sailed with Windstar multiple times and love it. I can't say I'd been in that category. Would I sail with Windstar again, maybe, based ... Read More
This was our first Windstar Cruise. I must say that I have talked to several folks that have sailed with Windstar multiple times and love it. I can't say I'd been in that category. Would I sail with Windstar again, maybe, based on the route and ports of all.What we liked. The room was very comfortable and there was more than enough room for clothes and toilietries. Our room steward was very polite and took wonderful care of your room and laundry. We got the $99 laundry package for unlimited service. The food was plentiful at breakfast and lunch buffets and the waitstaff was for the most part friendly and most of the time were there to get you whatever you wanted. Diner in the main dining room and Degrees was very nice, but I would have preferred to be seated with some couples rather than the 2 of us by ourselves. That wasn't an option that was presented to us, but on the last night we were asked if we would like to be seated with a gentleman and his daughter and I really enjoyed that. Guess that we could have asked. The food was very good. One dish I had was so over powered with Thyme that I sent it back. The young couple that sang and played guitar were wonderful very talented and knowledgeable...he is just an encyclopedia of modern music. In general the common areas are kept clean and are well appointed.What we didn't like. First impression of the hallways was old needing to be updated. The Veranda, restaurant for breakfast and lunch, old needing to be updated. The dinning rooms indoors could stand a bit of updating as well. Ask to be seated away from the kitchen as the noise can be pretty loud. The big lounge entertainment was too loud and imposing. If you want visit with new friends, this is not the place. The main lounge was usually about the temp. of a meat locker!Don't order lemonade! it is $6.00! and its a lemon juice in sprite. Ask if there is a charge first.Internet service! OMG can you believe $29.50 for 30 minutes! Your computer or theirs! and it is terribly slow. I little disappointing when it is in the Windstar literature that Wifi is available in your cabin and in the common areas...the missing piece is that you l have to pay dearly.OUr next door neighbors had cash taken from their cabin on the first day. A safe is provided for valuables. The other unfortunate experience was to watch someones luggage get put on the conveyor but not all the way and plush, it was in the water. No equipment to retrieve it either. One of the dockworkers fished it out. That was one very unhappy passenger.First day the reception desk personnel was rather curt. It got better. The hotel manager is a Frenchman, so I was expecting wonderful croissants when I saw them on the breakfast buffet. They are dry and tasteless. I called this to his attention and he replied that he doesn't eat breakfast, but thanks for letting me know. Wonder if he will make any improvements? I'm not filled with confidence! So in summary most of the cruise was enjoyable but compared to a recent river cruise we took, I'm underwhelmed. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary which started in Lisbon, ended in Barcelona, and included ports we were very interested in. It was our first time on Windstar and we had not chosen the line before they purchased the Seabourne ... Read More
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary which started in Lisbon, ended in Barcelona, and included ports we were very interested in. It was our first time on Windstar and we had not chosen the line before they purchased the Seabourne ships because we believed the staterooms on the sailing ships would be quite small. We've stayed in larger rooms than those on Star Legend but none that were more well laid out. We had plenty of drawers, walk-in closet very efficiently arranged, nice-sized sitting area, and spacious enough bathroom. The beds were not particularly comfortable but okay. What made us very happy with this cruise was the staff. They are absolutely top notch. Every single person on that ship provided excellent service with a smile. I even had a medical issue and Dr. Rommel was amazing in doing everything he possibly could. Such excellence starts at the top. When we disembarked, the captain was standing onshore thanking us for sailing with him. I've NEVER seen that before! Other than the beds, there was one other con -- the plumbing. Nothing major wrong with the plumbing but not optimum. It is the reason, however, that I didn't rate the cruise 5-star. Food ranged from average to quite good but that's true on most of the ships we've sailed on which includes Silversea and Regent (before it sold to NCL). However, the staff simply makes up for any relatively minor deficiencies. Windstar also provided two special events that were excellent. They brought flamenco singers/dancers on board for a special show. They also arranged an afternoon private tour with entertainment, tapas, and wine at a palace in Palma de Mallorca. Very impressive. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
No children are allowed. Service and food were quite good. Ports were interesting and easy to walk around without an escort. There was a free two night stay in Lisbon which was a lovely way to end the cruise. Low key entertainment after ... Read More
No children are allowed. Service and food were quite good. Ports were interesting and easy to walk around without an escort. There was a free two night stay in Lisbon which was a lovely way to end the cruise. Low key entertainment after dinner consisting of flamenco dancers one night. Every night we enjoyed going to cocktail lounge with friends, chatting and listiening or dancing to a wonderful combo. No glitzy show with 2 thoushand people in attendance. Ambiance just what we like, low key. We booked this same cruise again for June 29th a only this time we are taking our adult children with us to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. When we arrive at Malaga, we booked Spain Day Tours to take us to Granada to see the famous Alhambra. We hope other from our ship will join us on this tour to make it even more memorable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We had just come off a 10 day amazing trip to Morocco so climbing aboard the Star Legend was quite the contrast. They have done a great job renovating the ship (although we did not see it before). Our rooms were fabulous. Lots of ... Read More
We had just come off a 10 day amazing trip to Morocco so climbing aboard the Star Legend was quite the contrast. They have done a great job renovating the ship (although we did not see it before). Our rooms were fabulous. Lots of seating space, closet space and bathroom space. We did get a room with sliding glass doors which we left open numerous nights to enjoy the fresh air. We travelled with another couple and all four of us said at the end of the trip that the trip was more about the yacht than it was about the ports. We had such a wonderful experience with all of the crew and passengers that we were quite happy to spend as much time on board as we were off. This was our third windstar experience and it exceeded our other two. Captain Richard was truly an open door captain and by the end of the trip most passengers were at the bow of the boat around the bridge whenever we were docking or leaving port. We felt very much a part of the experience (felt like we were captaining the ship so to speak). He was very visible and took such pride in his yacht. Clare who headed up the beverage area was also always hands on deck. She was a pure delight and while she was very friendly and particpated with us she also never hesitated to lend a helping hand to the staff if she felt there was a need. All staff on board could not have been more attentive. We were always relaxed and well taken care of and actually tried to stay a few more days into the next cruise (flight schedules worked against us) as we wanted to stay on!!! One comment I would make though, is perhaps instead of two live entertainers you have one live and one DJ so those that like to dance can do so. We cannot wait to return. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
7 day Western Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona to Rome. Ports included: Collioure, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portovenere and Portoferraio. We stayed two nights at the Wilson Boutique hotel in Barcelona prior to the cruise. ... Read More
7 day Western Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona to Rome. Ports included: Collioure, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portovenere and Portoferraio. We stayed two nights at the Wilson Boutique hotel in Barcelona prior to the cruise. This was the hotel that Windstar is affiliated with in Barcelona. Hotel was just ok, from speaking to others it seems like there was a big difference in the rooms in the hotel, some were large and comfortable, others were very small and cramped. Ours was somewhere in between. Really enjoyed the smaller ports, Collioure and Portovenere. This was one big advantage to cruising on a smaller ship, I don't think bigger ships would go into smaller ports like these. Overall we liked the Wind surf, beautiful ship, we were happy with our cabin and the service. We liked the small ship experience and getting to know many other passengers. The food was hit and miss and overall disappointing though. Breakfast and lunch were fine. Dinner was generally disappointing though and didn't compare well to a previous cruise we had done on Holland America. Most ports we anchored offshore and tendered in. This didn't really bother us, but it generally took a little longer to get on and off the ship. We had some rough weather at times which made some of the tender rides a bit of an adventure, but we ended up kind of enjoying it. The ship itself rocked back and forth quite a bit but we had no problems with seasickness and we didn't hear of anyone else who had problems. Because of rough seas we were unable to anchor at Portofino which was the original plan and instead anchored at Portovenere which was a more sheltered harbour. Was disappointing to miss Portofino, but Portovenere was lovely. We did a couple of excursions and enjoyed them all, particularly the Provence Wine Tasting from Cannes. Would consider doing another Windstar cruise, but will probably try a different cruise line next. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Cruised to Palma, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba. OUTSTANDING Windstar-hosted complimentary shore excursion in Palma - wines, tapas, tour of museum - just great - highlight of the cruise! Not to be missed. Walked around on our own at the ... Read More
Cruised to Palma, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba. OUTSTANDING Windstar-hosted complimentary shore excursion in Palma - wines, tapas, tour of museum - just great - highlight of the cruise! Not to be missed. Walked around on our own at the other ports and they were nice with good shuttles, dining, and shopping options. Didn't hear of any other outstanding tours and many were l-o-n-g. Great crew highlighted by hotel mgr Jeffrey Jack who is always all smiles. Nice fellow passengers though the number of smokers was high and trashed the starboard rear deck. Big business incentive group from Australia (half the ship) made it a younger crowd than usual for Windstar. Only serious beef was our cabin midships on Deck 1 was the noisiest cabin we have every had in 14 cruises on 7 lines. We have been on both the Windstar Wind Surf and Wind Spirit and never experience the VERY LOUD whining whenever the ship was underway. It would stop as soon as we docked so it was a generator or turbine. Very difficult to get more than 4 hrs sleep even with earplugs and the bottle of wine they comp'ed us. Many fellow passengers in the same area of the ship experienced same thing (including the free bottle of wine). But wine does not equal sleep. Would not cruise on this ship again until they get it fixed. Add to this the incessant banging and scraping of the crew working on the hull at mid-afternoon after excursions return when everyone is tired. Sounds like constant banging of a ball peen hammer outside your porthole. They can't do it when we're off the ship - has to be at naptime? Food was standard and after over 30 days cruising with Windstar we FINALLY convinced the chef to make some whole wheat, high fiber, multigrain bread to augment the bunny bread and white rolls they serve. Good for him and the baker - bread was great and fellow passengers loved it as well. Outstanding food and new expanded menu at Candles so eat there as often as you can and weather allows. We squeezed in 2 nights. Dining room food very good. The renovated cabins actually allow for a nice in-room dining experience if you are into that or need it because you are not feeling well. Buffet food always seems overdone at lunch - too many strange ethnic dishes and heavy stuff, salty soups, and sweet fruit soups (maybe crew likes these leftovers?). Salad bar could benefit from some riper tomatoes and lighter dressings - very heavy/mayonnaisey dressings. Lunch buffet needs more cold sandwich meats. We had mortadella and mortadella (Italian bologna) so you can make a sandwich. A neat light lunch trick is to order a sandwich or salad from room service and have it delivered to the pool bar/deck. The mid-afternoon/teatime offerings were pretty bleak. Breakfast buffet is good and plentiful though the bacon was consistently overcooked and corned beef hash undercooked (just warmed from can). You have to watch the omelet cook like a hawk to make sure he doesn't burn your omelet. They use way too much oil (like 3 TBSPs) to keep the omelet floating while it cooks without stirring until he flips it in the air. Poor, showy technique that results in an overdone omelet. Fried eggs or excellent scrambled eggs from buffet better and we added our own toppings from omelet station. We brought on 2 bottles of wine to enjoy in the cabin and ordered another. Wines and beer are fairly priced as you would pay in a fairly-priced restaurant or hotel ashore. The liquor packages are crazy expensive and I think you need to be a full-blown alcoholic drinking 10+ drinks a day to make the unlimited alcohol package any kind of value. The unlimited laundry package, on the onther hand, is a super deal and after a multi-day visit in Spain we came on with everything dirty and left with everything clean in Rome for the next 10 days in Italy. Used laundry package in transatlantic before as well and it saves an entire suitcase of packing and schlepping. Watersports platform was down for a couple of hours i Alghero but 59 degree water meant there were few takers. Still, nice they did it. Overall, we will try again if we can get a cabin we can get some sleep in. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
Could be your cruise of a lifetime, but I was expecting a bit more My wife and I recently completed the "Riviera" cruise from Rome to Barcelona during the period of June 19 to 26, 2014. We were celebrating our 5th wedding ... Read More
Could be your cruise of a lifetime, but I was expecting a bit more My wife and I recently completed the "Riviera" cruise from Rome to Barcelona during the period of June 19 to 26, 2014. We were celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary and were doing the trip "first class". As such, we booked one of Wind Surf's suites -- cabin #501 -- at a total cost of $9,000. I can honestly say we have never anticipated a trip more and very much wanted to enjoy every aspect of the Windstar experience and make it our preferred cruise line going forward. There are so many aspects of this cruise line that are really great. - We loved being at port each day of the trip. - We found the food to be quite good (with some exceptions I will note later). - The "on deck" dinner bar-b-q celebration was excellent and a true highlight of the week. - The size of the ship was wonderful for easily meeting new friends and quickly getting around. - The on-ship laundry service was very convenient and fairly priced. - The water sports platform off the back of the boat is fun after exploring a port all day. Note that I used the word “after” here. Despite all of these positives, there are some troubling negatives that really affect whether I will ever cruise with Windstar again. They are: - Suite #501 is unacceptably noisy. At the beginning of the trip we dealt with extreme vibrations from the mounted flat screen TV. While annoying, we solved the problem and were able to fall back to sleep. The last night was absolutely awful though. There is a metal track on the foot of the bed's head board. Extremely loud noises from elsewhere in the ship kept coming up through this metal track. It kept us up all night. For $9,000, there should be no problems with a room. - We had to take tenders at 5 of the 6 stops. This is the exact opposite of the "experience" that Windstar touts of being able to reach ports that other cruise ships cannot. The need for tenders was most annoying in Monaco and Cannes. At Monaco, most people dressed up at night to go to the Grand Casino. Wearing evening clothes on a tender is not very comfortable. At Cannes, our plan was to take a tour to a winery in the day and then go to a beach in the afternoon. I assumed a quick change would be possible if the ship was docked. However, the extra 45-50 minutes it takes to use the tender made this plan impractical. I suppose Windstar could say that tenders were used in order to have the water sports platform opened all day, but I suspect that more passengers would have preferred less time with the water sports platform if it meant being able to avoid tenders at least part of the day. - Further on the docking, the city of Monaco has awful taxi service yet the tenders had to dock a considerable distance from the Grand Casino. It would have been a nice extra touch to have a shuttle bus waiting for people in the evening to take them to the Grand Casino. - The welcome luncheon was very low quality. Our first experience on the ship should be top notch to set the correct tone. Instead, some of the lunch choices were Chicken-Al-a-King and Beef Lasagna. Really? This is what I would expect to see at a budget all-you-can-eat buffet -- not on a cruise ship charging top dollar. - The specialty restaurants -- Stella's and Candles -- had inferior menus to the main dining room. We discussed this with other passengers who shared a similar opinion. The main dining room was very good though. - We were unable to make any of the group talks about the next day's stop due to its scheduled time just when people are getting ready for dinner. However, given how little nearly every member of the Wind Surf staff knew about a stop, I question how much value these meetings could have been. We literally got no guidance on the best beaches to visit or wonderful little towns just outside of the port city. We got lucky to have found out about Eze outside of Monaco and Collioure outside of Port Vendres since the Windstar staff provided no guidance at all. - Port Vendres was definitely the worst stop by far. I have no idea why Windstar chose to tender there instead of Collioure, which was so much more scenic. We all joked that Port Vendres must have paid Windstar to stop versus the other way around (I am not sure it is so far-fetched though). - The explanation of the tipping service was very poor. I asked on the last night about the policy. The main desk gave an answer that suggested the base cruise fare included tips and anything I give specific cruise staff was in addition to this amount. As such, I proceeded to give out about $150 in "extra" tips. You can imagine my surprise (anger?) when I saw that gratuities were added to my on-board expenses. I gave Windstar an opportunity to respond to these criticisms before writing a review. I got a basic form letter response with a modest incentive to cruise with them again by 2015, which I will be unable to use. Despite this long list of “complaints” the ship and cruise experience could be really special if they just learn to pay a little more attention to details. I cannot say for sure I would rule them out for future travel, but I do know they missed the mark a bit too often on this past trip.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
I love cruising. Big boats, barges, small boats all have their pluses and minuses. The Windsurf is the big sister ship to the Windstar and the Wind Spirit. We traveled on the Wind Spirit and it was great. Close to the water, intimate, ... Read More
I love cruising. Big boats, barges, small boats all have their pluses and minuses. The Windsurf is the big sister ship to the Windstar and the Wind Spirit. We traveled on the Wind Spirit and it was great. Close to the water, intimate, a feeling of adventure without danger. The Windsurf felt big by comparison(not by comparison to Allure of the Seas), a little clumsy It had the drawbacks of small ships however. i.e. entertainment limited at best, no balconies, no speakers, not much activity. Windsurf has exceptional staffing and food. The excursions were well run and the ports made every day a new experience. I would recommend taking a cruise on Windstar if it goes where you want to go. I would choose the smaller ships however. They are more like sailboats. When you do book be aware that on board credits cannot be used for gratuities, and may only be used for excursions and items purchased on board (not precruise). Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We just got back from a Windstar cruise from Barcelona to Rome. The ports were amazing - Mahon, St Tropez, Monte Carlo, portofino and Livorno (OK). The ship was OK too, not quite as nice as we expected - we saw wear and looked a bit dated. ... Read More
We just got back from a Windstar cruise from Barcelona to Rome. The ports were amazing - Mahon, St Tropez, Monte Carlo, portofino and Livorno (OK). The ship was OK too, not quite as nice as we expected - we saw wear and looked a bit dated. Everything was clean, tidy and nice, but just wasn't as luxurious as we expected. The food was the biggest dissapointment. Breakfast and Lunch were good, but dinner was awful. We really tried to have good attitudes about it because we wanted to love this cruise, but time after time our food was over cooked and/or side dishes were cold. We sent food back regularly. The only good dinner we had was the night they held a BBQ on deck. One evening I ordered surf and turf, the lobster was hard as a rock and the drawn butter had solidified (obviously left on the plate for a long time). I requested a new plate and they brought me another lobster cooked hard as a rock with two more things of butter that had also solidified. Not sure where these supposed awards for their food came from... I also took a yoga class which was a waste of money - I heard the teacher was also the manicure/pedicurist (which was accompanied by another bad story). The ship also offers a water sports deck which is great idea during some ports. We used the kayak and layed out on the water mat. This was definitely a plus of the ship. The only thing was that they also got us excited about using the wakeboard and water skiis and in the end their little boat was broken and we never got to take advantage of this. The liquor selection was really basic - don't expect to find something as simple as Maker's Mark. Its Jim Beam, Jack Daniels etc... The wine selection was OK too, but lacking creativity. All California. Overall, we had a good vacation. The service was very good, the cabins were nice, the ship size is wonderful and overall it was a really nice vacation... just disappointed that this cruise had the potential to be great and kept missing the mark. Not sure if the recent changeover has something to do with it... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel ... Read More
My first cruise on Windsurf  I have only cruised with the bigger ships before, like NCL so was looking forward to the same freestyle concept on a smaller ship Boarded in Barcelona after one night at the fantastic Le Meridian hotel [recommended!] Caught a cab down the Ramblas to the pier  this cost 12¬ which is a lot cheaper than the $65 that Windstar wanted for the transfer. Boarding started at 2pm  a strange procedure  all the photos and credit card taking was done when we were on board sitting in the lounge. At least they served a glass of champers and some canapEs when we waited. We had a suite #337  port side forward  the suites are basically two back to back cabins with a hole knocked between them. No further alterations have been made so you are left with two vanity units, two cupboards, two fridges, two mini bars, four safes and best of all two bathrooms. New dEcor on the beds is a pretty gold/maroon colour  the beds seemed new and were very very comfortable. However the woodwork in the room was all chipped and scratched and looked rather tired. This was my impression of the whole ship  and I think it is going into dry dock shortly so perhaps they will give it a good revamp as it certainly needs it. On my previous cruises whenever we docked there was always some poor guy dangling over the side with a tin of paint painting the hull but this did not happen at all  and the poor hull was all scratched and marked as if the captain had had a few troubles in the past trying to park the ship!!! I took a peek into a normal cabin and these appeared to be very small with no seating area at all  unless you sat on the bed. Because the windows are portholes all the cabins are always quite dark. Food was generally very good  the breakfasts were vast spreads with separate omelette chef and the waffle chef areas. Lunches were often speciality buffets like Mexican or Greek or Lobster days and these were excellent. There was full afternoon tea at 4pm and on a few evenings they had canapEs at 6:30. Dinners were slightly disappointing  there are two restaurants and we ate every night in the smaller Bistro which requires booking on the day at 8am. Menus were simple. The dEcor in the Bistro was again rather shabby  again I am used to sumptuous dining rooms with chandeliers, ornate paintings, plush carpets, drapes and wallpaper  but the Bistro had faux wood walls, one picture and a few tired looking yucca plants! One evening they had a Indonesian theme evening which was very good and on another there was a Mediterranean themed buffet complete with suckling pigs. This was followed by the crew show which involved a few dances from their local countries [Indonesia and Philippines] and then a few more traditional show numbers like YMCA On board these smaller ships you tend to make your own entertainment. There is a small pool and 2 Jacuzzis - the chair hogs were in force and it was sometimes difficult to find a chair on sea days. In the evening there was a group who played in the lounge  the dance floor is so small though you could not really dance properly, and there was a duo who played in the Compass Rose bar  thought that the volume was rather loud for the size of the room. The ship had a casino and the usual art auctions  didnt try either. Ports of call were Ibiza, Palma, Malaga and Tangiers. I never take the ships tours and tend to do my own thing. In both Ibiza and Palma they laid on a courtesy bus to take you to the town  this ran every ½ hour. In Malaga they did not  caught a cab to El Corte Ingles [the department store] and then walked slowly back to the ship via coffee, the Cathedral and a leisurely lunch. The cathedral is spectacular and well worth a visit. In Tangiers we just took one of the local guides who met the ship  the cost was $20 for all four of us for a ½ day tour which seemed good value to me. Weather was good through out apart from a bit of rain in Palma. Even saw dolphins and a whale....! Read Less
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
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