1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises ... Read More
First, we are a French Canadian couple in our early 50’s from Montreal. We sailed 5 times with Celebrity prior to sailing on Wind Surf for the first time in 2013. We have since sailed 7 times with them, all in the Caribbean with cruises on the Wind Star (1) Star Pride (2), Star Legend (1) and Wind Surf (3). What we love about Windstar is the small ships, the fact you can do things independently easily, the relaxed dress code, the food, which keeps getting better, and last but not least the great service staff which goes out of its way to make your cruise memorable. This was our first cruise back on a sail ship after 3 cruises on the motor yachts. We did Classic Caribbean itinerary from Feb 2nd to 9th as we had done the Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary twice already and did not like the fact they had changed some of the stops in the BVI. In the end we really enjoyed this itinerary with Barbuda and Dominica being new stops for us. The weather was just about perfect and seas were the calmest of all our cruises. We noticed the demographics of this cruise were probably a little older than our previous Windstar cruises with a good majority of guests over 70-75 but this did not hinder in any way our enjoyment as fellow Windstar passengers are all fairly active and well travelled. Finally, we travelled with another couple for which this was a first cruise on Windstar and likely not their last. Another great cruise with Windstar Booking: We booked just over 2 months ahead by pure accident as we typically wait for annual Christmas Sale as we feel prices get better closer to sailings (we always go for lowest priced cabin as location is not necessarily important to us). We called the company directly (we do not use a travel agent) to inquire about availability and they said that there was a promotion for Canadian residents with a $500 discount on the cruise price. I could not find this special on their website and the timing of my call was perfect as this special did not last very long. The 4 of us each got the $100 referral OBC which in our case was applied against our drink package purchased when we got onboard. We were assigned room 153 at front of ship and we were “upgraded” to 141 more in the center a few weeks later. Our friends were also upgraded from 103 to 122. Windstar also offered a 20% discount on the price of internet, drink package and laundry if all taken together prior to cruise which we did not take as we did not care for the ship’s slow and expensive internet (we had access to a good roaming package which we used most of time as we were always close to islands). Embarkation Although we typically fly in the day before, our schedule did not allow for such luxury this time around. Our plane landed in SXM at 16h30 on departure day (ship’s departure scheduled at 19h00) and we got out of the terminal around 17h15. Cabs were plentiful and we ended up sharing one with another Canadian couple on same flight that was also boarding the ship. Cab ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took 30 minutes. We boarded the ship at 17h45 and check-in was swift at front desk given our tardiness . Sail away was on schedule at 19h00. Not the ideal situation for travel but things worked out nicely. We were told our cruise was fully booked, so around 310 passengers on board. This was not an issue throughout the cruise as the Wind Surf remains very spacious with nooks and crannies for everyone. Cabin: We were in 141 and our friends in 122 (both added to Wind Surf stateroom sticky forum). Cabins are well designed with plenty of storage if required. 141 was quiet and had no issues although on 3 occasions, we had to call maintenance to fix our toilet as vacuum system had problems and toilet risked overflowing. In all 3 cases (one time at 3 am) the problem was fixed quickly by maintenance staff. Our room attendant was attentive although we did not have any special requirements. Reusable water bottles we refilled every day (one with flat water, the other sparkling) and our ice bucket was kept full with ice every day. Our friends in 122 complained about regular banging noise which we suspect was due to some gangway or tender equipment hanging above their room. We were also wondering how we would find going back to the smaller sail ship staterooms after experiencing the larger suites on the Star ships on our last 3 cruises. Well it wasn’t an issue as the rooms are very well designed and we were really only in our room to sleep or change over for dinner. We did not use room service nor laundry service this time. Bathroom was compact and well designed but starting to show its age. Occitane toiletries are provided in all rooms. Bars and Entertainment: Drinks were mostly taken outside at Compass Rose or Pool Bar. Did not go to Lounge except for Talent Show but band seemed competent. Bar service was always good. Duo at Compass Rose was OK and had guests dancing and when finished around 11pm, guests would come in to plug IPad playlists in system to keep party going a little longer. This happened a few evenings with people dancing a little past midnight. A lot of fun. Food: Again food was a highlight. We ate at Amphora 4 times, one time each Candles and Stella Bistro and Deck BBQ on the late night in St-Kitts. Menu was varied although gluten free items remain limited (our friend suffers from gluten intolerance and we were just more sensitized to his diet challenges throughout the cruise). Breakfast was good with buffet or a la carte items available. Couple of things we noticed were the poor quality of orange juice which in the past was freshly squeezed and now is a watered down Tropicana version and the fact there were no fresh peeled orange slices on the buffet whereas these were always on buffet in the past. We had good lunches at Veranda when we made it back in time from the island as the venue is only open from 12h00 to 14h00. We were late a few times and had to settle for food at Yacht Club. Lunch should be extended to 14h30 to accommodate those with dietary restrictions as the menu at the Yacht Club, while good, remains limited for them. Service in the dining rooms at dinner was fast and efficient (sometimes too fast) with meals lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. We mostly had dinner around 8pm and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table and by the time we were finished, most of the time we were the last table in dining room. Menus were varied with several fish, meat and vegetarian dishes and all 4 of us were impressed by the quality and presentation of food. Deck BBQ food was great although lobster was a little chewy. We did not do the Dining Under The Stars (offered twice on our cruise) as it was not offered to us. This was a bit disappointing. Beach BBQ was held on Pigeon Island, which is our least favourite Windstar Beach BBQ location (the others being Mayreau and Virgin Gorda). While food was good, beach is too small and not necessarily the nicest. A couple of evenings, we were treated to canapés at Compass Rose before dinner. Usually had 2 different types of them but just one tray so these would disappear very fast with literally no chances for seconds. I suspect these were also served in the Lounge but we never went to the Lounge for pre dinner drinks so cannot confirm. We are a bit picky about our coffee and the caffe lattes at Veranda in the morning were good (regular coffee not so much) but even better at Yacht Club. We did try a few of the the latter’s sandwiches and sweets offered in the afternoon on one occasion and all were good. 3 of us were on the recently introduced TopMast Discoveries drink package at $49 while the 4th party was on the CaptainsExclusive package at $59. This created confusion with servers with several drinks (liquor) being charged to our room although drunk by our friend on the full drink package. All charges were reversed but this was a hassle as we needed to check bill daily to ensure charges were being reversed overnight and that no new ones were being added. Drink package probably makes sense if you have 5 or more drinks per day and even though we were drinking our quota, we generally felt that the value proposition of the drink packages had come down markedly from the previous iterations with price of package going up $7 and the wines offered having a price point no higher than $9.50/$10 vs a max of $11.50 under previous package. We will likely need to re-think this aspect on our next cruise. Marina We did not use the marina this time around but it was open in Barbuda, Les Saintes and St Barth. We saw several people using it when available. The water toys were also brought to the beach on Pigeon Island for the Beach BBQ Spa: Our friends each got a $50 spa voucher (good on port days) offered by Windstar to all first time cruisers which they used for a very relaxing hot stone massage. Gym: we did not use gym but it looked clean and well equipped and did not seem overcrowded Tenders: Tenders were used in all ports except Dominica where we were docked at the industrial dock, not the more central cruise ship dock (occupied by Silverseas on that day). While tender service was good, the tenders themselves are in need of a total overhaul. During our cruise we got to see the Seabourn, Club Med 2 and Star Clipper tenders and all of them were in substantially better condition than the Surf’s. They will be changing the tenders on the Motor Yachts, they probably should do the same with the sailing ships. Bridge Did not visit the bridge this time around and whereas in the past there was a photo opportunity at the bow of the ship, we did not see this on this cruise. Stops and excursions: We generally are not the type to book ship excursions as we feel they are overpriced and like to do things on our own. I typically like to do my own research and do not like to plan too long ahead. Barbuda: Nothing planned. Only tour offered was to view frigate bird sanctuary which did not interest us. We instead took a cab to Princess Diana beach ($30 each way). Very nice pink sand beach with nobody other than a few fellow cruisers on it. No facilities so bring water and some food if you are going to spend a long time. We were there for about 3 hours and got on the ship around 2pm just in time to catch lunch at Veranda. The ship leaves early at 3 pm on this day. Dominica: Again we stepped out of ship and hired a cab to go to Ti-Tou Gorge and Trafalgar Falls. Cost was $160 for the 4 of us and lasted 2.5 hours. Ti-Tou Gorge is not to be missed as you swim in a crystal clear river canyon up to a small waterfall. Very nice. The drive to both these spots is also spectacular as the road sits at the top of a high mountain ridge. We were back on the ship by 1h30 and had lunch at Veranda. Found a chair on deck for the remainder of day and used pool and hot tubs. Although the Island suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Maria in Sept 2017, the island infrastructure and vegetation is recovering nicely. Pigeon Island: This was our 4th time to Pigeon Island and it is our least favourite spot for the Beach BBQ. The beach is small and crowded although the area in the back where they actually serve the BBQ is nice. The water toys were brought to the beach, as well as paddle boards and kayaks. They also offered waterski and wakeboardings runs for those who wanted. Club Med 2 (Wind Surf’s twin) was also in port that day which made for interesting pictures. Les Saintes: This was our third time to Les Saintes and we continue to enjoy this stop. There is a quaint village with some interesting shops and a Fort (Fort Napoleon) from which the views of the bay and our sail ship are simply breathtaking. Note the Fort is only open until 12h30 and bring €5 cash if you want to get in. We rented a 4 seat electric golf cart (cost €75) from Green Car Rental to tour Island but you need to reserve it in advance as these get taken up very quickly (we had learned this the hard way the previous time we were there). Wanted to go to Pain de Sucre Beach but path is somewhat steep and rocky which required shoes we did not have. Instead went to Pompierre beach (no facilities). Nice beach but the palm trees have taken a beating as a result of hurricane Maria last year. Had a good lunch in town at Cafe de la Marina with a nice view of the port while the ladies shopped linen at Mahogany next door. Basseterre St-Kitts: Our initial plan was to get off ship, take the 9h30 ferry to Nevis ($16 each way/pers), hire a cab for a few hours to do tour of island, visit plantation and get dropped off at Pinney’s Beach. However we were a bit tired that morning and thus proceeded to a less intense plan B which was to take a cab ($30 each way) to go to Cockshell Beach at the far South end of the Island. We rented chairs ($5 each) and umbrellas ($10) at the Spice Mill and also had good lunch there. Beach is nice and was somewhat crowded, something rare on a Windstar cruise but there were another 2 ships in port, so this was to be expected. Ship left late at 10pm and this was night of deck BBQ. St-Barth: We had reserved a convertible Mini Cooper to tour Island ahead of time with Sixt Car Rental. Called them up 30 minutes prior to going to shore so they were there to pick us up and take us to airport to fill out docs. Cost was a bit steep at €105 but we had fun touring. Went to Saline and Gouverneurs beaches, did some shopping and had lunch at Nikki Beach in St-Jean. Lunch was good although this is St-Barth and everything is pricey. Returned the car at airport, got shuttled back to port and did some more shopping in Gustavia. Took tender around 6pm back to ship. Debarkation. Debarkation was trouble free. Had breakfast around 8am after picking up our passport and having face to face meeting with Immigration on board ship around 7h30 (this is new as we usually just picked up passport on ship and passed Immigration once on shore). Our flight was late (5pm) so we took a cab to Holland House, took up their day pass offer which for $25 includes 2 chairs, 4 drinks,use of shower, Wifi and facilities. Had good lunch at their restaurant and left at 2h30 for airport. Ride was $30 for the 4 of us and took just under 30 minutes and this concluded another wonderful Windstar cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We took the 14 day cruise on the Wind Surf Caribbean Exploration Cruise. We left from St. Martin and were very thrilled to see that the island is coming back so nicely. We have only sailed on Wind Star in the Caribbean for we love the ... Read More
We took the 14 day cruise on the Wind Surf Caribbean Exploration Cruise. We left from St. Martin and were very thrilled to see that the island is coming back so nicely. We have only sailed on Wind Star in the Caribbean for we love the sails and the experience that Windstar Cruises offers their guests. The embarkation this time was the easiest and quickest. Drop you bags at the Wind Star tent at the cruise port, they give you luggage tags, walk to the ship or take a little golf cart van, go through security with your hand luggage, get on the ship , go directly to get your picture taken, give them your credit card, voila done. Drop your hand luggage in your room, have a delightful and delicious lunch, after lunch your luggage should be in your room. You are on and ready to go. I think that the hot water and water pressure can not be beaten and of any hotel I have been in the showers on the Surf are the best. We are neatniks so the storage in the cabins is perfect for us. We love the water splashing against the portholes. We feel thisnship is our home in the Caribbean. We have been cruising on Wind Star Cruises since 1999 and we think that the food continues to improve. We think the James Beard experience has really enhanced the food and the selection. We are not big meat eaters but we do love the steaks especially the filet mignon at Candles the outside dining grille venue. The Stella Bistro is authentic French, which we also love. The Yacht Club serves delicious Italian coffee, authentic. That is good for us because we do not drink regular coffee. We appreciate that it is open early for we are eary risers and we love our coffee with the sunrise. The Wind Surf visited many islands that were destroyed during the hurricane. We were so happy to see Dominica coming back, Barbuda coming back and happy to say Jost Van Dyke is back. We are not group tour people but took our own tours in Dominican and Barbuda. We love to swim and beach. Weather is always great in January in the Caribbean, this year it was especially great: Dramatic sunrises, more dramatic sunsets, rainbows after a few 10 minute showers, the breeze was great not to windy but perfect to keep one cooler. We can not imagine going to the Caribbean and not being on the Wind Surf. The service is the best, the deck space is emormous and you never feel crowded,you can always find your own nook, the Sail Aways never get old to the music of 1492 as the sails unfurl leaving the harbors, healthy and delicios food, generous drinks and wine at a fair price, the laundry service superb. It is a perfect way to discover the beauty of the Caribbean for the first time or to revisit the beauty time and again which is what we do. The Wind Surf is a gracious, beautiful old lady, high maintenance but very well kept. She is generous and graceful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife & I sailed on 1/12/19, Our 6th Windstar cruise, 3rd on Wind Surf. Room 126. The ship – Wind Surf – was built in 1990, and is showing its age in too many areas. Rust, loose planks, paint peeling, bent railings, and I ... Read More
My wife & I sailed on 1/12/19, Our 6th Windstar cruise, 3rd on Wind Surf. Room 126. The ship – Wind Surf – was built in 1990, and is showing its age in too many areas. Rust, loose planks, paint peeling, bent railings, and I could go on. The most odd part is that I didn’t see any maintenance crew guys doing repairs. Which to me means that there is something else, a problem that goes deeper but I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the cruise Captain, or it’s the upper management cutting back on costs, I really have no idea. Also, FYI – Windstar Cruise line is pulling out all the casinos. Which means that in the evening, for entertainment outside of your cabin, your only choice will be the band, or duo. That’s it. Granted the casinos are rarely filled, and are never very lively – but that’s the casino staff’s responsibility and they fail here. And it gives you another form of entertainment. The other crew members – bar, serving, house-keeping staff all seemed to be a little less friendly this trip. What’s going on ? Some were good though – Maria, Ace, Mel, and Eugene were great bar people. Alex was a super room steward. But other than those 5, everyone seemed a bit agitated, or distracted. The people/fellow passengers seem to always consist of “my kind of people” unlike the larger ships. Almost everyone is friendly, classy, and talkative. Again, this was now our 6th cruise and we have never had a problem with our fellow passengers. This sailed of St Maarten, 7 nights, 1 sea day. I didn’t really care for the sea day but I certainly got a great tan. The ports were all good, as always. A bonus I thought was that the normal stop for the beach party was still in ruins, so they parked at a different side of the island. And this stop was a short cab ride to the Baths. No tour needed. All in all, we had a great time. But I expected a little more. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is ... Read More
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is in disrepair. There are layers of peeling paint and rust everywhere. The entertainment is pretty lame and the specialty restaurants are nothing more than the main diningroom serves. We experienced two deck side barbecues and the second had few shrimp and no lobster. The bridge was supposed to be open to passengers when not in port and was closed half the time. So what did we like? The great waiters like Hari, Puji an amazing room steward and the Yacht Club where specialty coffees and snacks were served all day. The excursions were excellent although it took four frustrating visits to the excursion desk to get a refund. The guys working the tenders were great as were the crew in the marina. The port visits were on time and the tv offerings were nice. We found the room service to be excellent and very convenient during the 13 day mostly rough crossing. The embarkation was a disaster after sitting in a cold, dirty port in Lisbon six hours because a Windstar rep told us we could leave our luggage secured and there wasn’t anyone there from The ship to assist us. Disembarkay was leisurely and well organized. Despite the many pluses, we won’t be sailing Windstar again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. ... Read More
I really wanted to love this cruise. My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are often willing to pay extra for a little luxury and ease. Windstar promised that, but only partially delivered. The value was just not there. Pros: --Small ship with sails: we don’t enjoy large ships anymore and the sails were beautiful --Excellent service: from the Captain on down, everyone was charming with just a very few exceptions (see cons) —Good food: Mostly excellent. No fails! --Nice fitness room Cons: —Aging ship that needs total re-furbishing: Formica EVERYWHERE, stained carpets, lots of thick, painted-over rust. Small porthole windows and no balconies. —We felt nickeled and dimed: expensive beer and wine prices made us buy the package. Then they tried to up-sell us to the fine wines and mixed drinks. WIFI package was $60 and data ran out in just one day of checking email. So slow! Shore excursions are very pricey—none are included. —Itinerary should have been tweaked for this late-in-the-season cruise. Ibiza was a ghost town—should have been replaced. We did not get Windstar’s usual on-shore special event. Why not? —Docking: the line advertises its ability to dock in small towns and ports, however, we were always docked in a large, industrial port. —Staffing: the front desk staff was cold and dismissive. Everyone else was warm and tried very hard. However, the lounge is terribly understaffed at cocktail hour. Table service was almost non-exisistent! You had to fight your way to the bar and wait. I guess we were hoping for more of a river cruise experience, but perhaps that was unreasonable. I doubt that we will try Windstar again. We will try other small, high-end lines and hope for a better value. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Booked the Rome to Venice cruise on the recommendation of some friends and enjoyed it. Pre-cruise Windstar reps were readily available to answer questions with details and options. We utilized the well appointed gym most days and thought ... Read More
Booked the Rome to Venice cruise on the recommendation of some friends and enjoyed it. Pre-cruise Windstar reps were readily available to answer questions with details and options. We utilized the well appointed gym most days and thought the staterooms were as described with plenty of storage and a comfortable bed. Service and food was excellent throughout the ship. We elected to sign up for two excursions through Windstar and did others on our own, which was the right combination for us. There was a glitch with an engine communication issue that added a day at sea, but they made some adjustments to try to alleviate the impact—we were glad the issue was resolved. The onboard internet did not work as advertised. To Windstar’s credit, we were refunded charges we had paid in advance, but would have made other arrangements had we known onboard connectivity would be fairly nonexistent. We travelled as a couple, and it was nice to have options to either share a table at dinner or dine as a couple and enjoyed meeting fellow guests. We like a variety of modes of travel, but Windstar is a very good option for a small luxury cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Sicilian Splendors was our final leg of our back2back2back cruise celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband's 65th birthday. Our first leg of our journey was Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco (Lisbon to ... Read More
Sicilian Splendors was our final leg of our back2back2back cruise celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband's 65th birthday. Our first leg of our journey was Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco (Lisbon to Barcelona); the second Yachtsman's Harbors of the Rivieras (Barcelona to Rome/Civitavecchia) and now Sicilian Splendors, our third and final leg of our 25 day cruise. Because this was our third leg of our journey, we already had our keys and used the embarkation day as a regular port day. And since we were staying on board we had been able to book our Candles and Stella Bistro reservations the night before. We wandered around Civitavecchia on our own and took in the local market and stopped for pastries and coffee at a local place. It's definitely a working man's port but we saw lots of families out and about too. It wasn't as scenic as some of our other stops but it is a big city. We walked the waterway and stopped for a beer and free WiFi before heading back to the ship. The next day was our one day at sea on this itinerary. Unfortunately the seas were rough and I was pretty happy I hadn't booked a massage for the day! We relaxed and just hung out. Catania, Sicily On our roll call, I had met another couple that wanted to tour on their own out of Catania so the four of us booked Sicily Life tour's "Taormina and Winery on the slopes of Etna" and off we went. We enjoyed our tour and it was fun meeting new friends. Gozo/Xlendi, Malta We were suppose to anchor here the following day but because of more rough seas, the captain felt it was best to skip this port and head directly to Valletta, Malta. Sadly, due to the extreme rough seas we were unable to dock in Valletta that evening (as our itinerary had said) and we spent it at sea waiting until morning to continue on. Valletta, Malta We docked in the morning and we headed off on our own. What a lovely port this is and so doable on your own! We wandered all over and stumbled upon a bar called The Pub which was made famous by the fact that during the filming of Gladiator, Oliver Reed had drank his last drink there and died shortly afterwards. We had to stop and have a pint with all the English tourists who had stopped there as well. Afterwards we found a fantastic Italian restaurant where we shared lunch and a lovely bottle of wine. The architecture is beautiful and there is a large British influence. We saw the firing of the cannons but too quickly our time was over. (How I wish the weather had cooperated so we had had our overnight here!) We stopped for a drink and to use the restaurants WiFi close to the dock and ran into a lot of the crew. Once back on board, we realized over the loud speaker they kept calling two names. Turns out, there was a couple that didn't get back to the ship on time and they were attempting to find them. It must have been almost an hour before this couple reappeared. They had been at a close by store buying jewelry and hadn't noticed the time nor heard the loudspeaker. We think they got lucky the ship didn't leave them since there was another ship ahead of us. It is a very small opening you have to sail through with bumpy seas. Because we were late leaving we had the most spectacular sunset over Valletta we won't soon forget. Porto Empedocle, Sicily We joined the WS excursion "Temples Valley" and ended up with blue skies, a lovely guide and some fascinating ruins. It was a short bus ride to the valley and then lots of ruins to see. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. And because it was only 3 hours, we had time to walk around the port on our own. We weren't sure how far it was to find the shops and restaurants so we waited for the shore bus to take us. The joke was on us since we rode less than 5 minutes! We did found a quiet restaurant where we had lunch and then we walked back to the ship. There weren't very many shops in the area close to the ship and it wasn't the prettiest port either but we felt safe and enjoyed our time there. Trapani, Sicily Another fabulous day on our own! We wanted to head to Erice and as we wandered off the ship, another couple was looking for a taxi so we finally found one (not the easiest thing) and headed to the cable car station. Now, our taxi driver wanted to give us a tour and drive us to Erice but we insisted he just take us to the cable car station. It took a bit of convincing but after telling him we would call when we were ready to come back to the ship, he dropped us at the cable car station. We purchased a round trip ticket and up we went. It was a Sunday and we weren't sure how much would be opened but just about all the restaurants and shops were. We walked all around and saw the sights. We stopped for some delicious pizza and wine. We visited several bakeries and ate some yummy Sicilian cookies and pastries. We shopped and purchased a ceramic pasta bowl for our son. Finally, we found a bar with WiFi and had a beer. After church the families wandered around and it was just a lovely feeling, being a part of this unique town. When we arrived back to the cable car station at the top, I spoke to a taxi driver and he called a taxi to meet us at the bottom. We hopped on the cable car and the taxi was waiting for us at the bottom. It was a good thing we had called because another group was trying to get in our taxi! Back to the ship and another wonderful day in the books. That evening, we ate at Stella Bistro and brought along some of the pastries we had purchased that day. Lipari, Italy Lipari was another day we spent on our own. We anchored at this port and was immediately in the thick of the shops and restaurants. I found several cute shops where I bought some trinkets to bring home. We wandered up a hill to one of the basilicas with the most beautiful ceiling. We stopped for pizza (not as good as in Erice) and some beer and WiFi. We found some streets that had more locals than tourists and enjoyed our wanderings. We also got some great photos of Wind Surf in the harbor. We set sail and cruised past Mt Stromboli which was magnificent and we even got a show from the volcano! Sorrento, Italy/Salerno, Italy We had big plans in Sorrento. I had booked a private tour and we were so looking forward to it when the weather and rough seas interfered with our quest. We were suppose to anchor in Sorrento, but due to rough seas, we were unable to make it to Sorrento. Naples was all booked up so the captain made the decision to take us to Salerno, Italy. We were told of the change the night before so we had some time to attempt to get a hold of our tour company and see if they would be able to pick us up in Salerno instead of Sorrento. They were so lovely and really wanted to accommodate us but due to the fires above Positano, they couldn't do it. So, what to do? We got together with some new friends and wandered from the dock and found a nice man who called his friend the taxi driver who agreed to take the 6 of us to Ravello for the day. The drive was crazy with lots of twists and turns. When we arrived in Ravello it started to rain but we found a restaurant and had lunch and afterwards, the sun came out. Ravello is known for ceramics and we found a place that made us some special pieces and shipped them home to us. They arrived in about 6 weeks and we couldn't be happier! Our taxi took us back to Salerno and because we had until midnight to be back on board, we decided to venture out on our own. We found some streets filled with locals enjoying the evening; we had dinner, shopped and finished with some gelato before heading back to the ship. I'm so happy we headed out in the evening and could experience Salerno by night. That evening was the deck BBQ and we made it back just in time for the dancing. All our favorite crew entertained us and I had fun joining in too. Amalfi, Italy Today was a short day so we headed right off the ship and purchased tickets for the local ferry to take us to Positano. We arrived in Positano before any other tourists and enjoyed the quiet. The beach is pretty and we started wandering up the hill. Just as we got close to the top, the tourists from the daily buses started making their way down. It got too crazy after that so we headed back to the ferryboat and back to Amalfi. We had just enough time in Amalfi to find a limoncello shop where the owners let us taste the limoncello (we had to purchase some too!) and told us their story. This is what it's all about for us. Finding the hidden gems and chatting with the locals. All too soon it was time to board and we had to say goodbye to Amalfi. I really wish we had had more time to explore this cute town. As we sailed out of Amalfi, we passed Positano, the island of Capri and Mt Etna. The sun set on what would be our final night of our back2back2back cruise. We had an amazing time and when asked, we couldn't pick our favorite cruise out of the three; they were all memorable and fantastic in their own way. Upon docking in Civitavecchia, we shared a taxi to the airport with the new friends off our roll call. It was easy and fast and too soon we were traveling back to the US. A few notes about our total Wind Surf experience on our back2back2back... We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. We love Windstar and the port intensive itineraries. We love the smallness of the ships and the fact that you actually get to know other travelers and the crew on board. And after all the time we spent on board Wind Surf, she really became our home away from home. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was the middle portion of our back2back2back cruise aboard Wind Surf celebrating my husband's 65th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. Originally we were going to do the first cruise (Treasures of Southern Spain & ... Read More
This was the middle portion of our back2back2back cruise aboard Wind Surf celebrating my husband's 65th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. Originally we were going to do the first cruise (Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco) and then rent a car and travel through the south of France but when we realized this was the next cruise, we booked it! We love Windstar cruises and the port intensive itineraries. We also love the small ship experience and the amazing crew on board. This was our 4th cruise on Windstar and it just gets better and better. Yachtsman's Harbors of the Rivieras was a lovely itinerary and all the stops could easily be done DIY. Since we were already on board, Barcelona was really a stop on our itinerary rather than a boarding day. And since we were staying on board, the day before we had made reservations for Candles and Stella Bistro and found out our key cards would still be valid. Barcelona: We booked tickets ahead of time at Sagrada Familia and Park Guell and walked off the yacht and took a taxi to Sagrada Familia. We had the 9 am tour and were one of the first folks in that morning. We opted for the audio tour which allowed us to go at our own pace. At the end of our visit, we hopped a taxi and headed to Park Guell for our 12 noon group tour. I'm glad we had a tour guide and the views were spectacular but the park was so crowded. One more taxi ride to the market at Las Rambles, a few tapas and a walk back to the yacht put us back on board just prior to our 4 pm all aboard. It was a quick day but we were able to see the sights we had wanted to see. Would more time had been nicer? Of course but it was time for sail away and rest of the Riviera! Port Vendres, France - We had no idea what to do at this port but some friends that were on the first cruise with us suggested we hike to Collioure along the path by the water so we did. It took us awhile but the views were beautiful and Collioure was an adorable town. We wandered throughout and found a wonderful restaurant for lunch run by a mother and daughter team. Shopping afterwards and then we hopped on the small tourist train to take us through the vineyards and back to Port Vendres. Sanary-sur-Mer, France - The market in Sanary-sur-Mer is very large and on Wednesday's it has even more to offer. This was also the day of the Chef's Market Tour so we signed up the night before and away we went. The market was filled with vendors and so many shoppers! We were told people come from all around for this market and I believe it! We stopped at several meat and cheese places and tasted several different kinds of cheese and meats. But quickly the tour was over and we hadn't even seen the chef purchase anything! He told we would see the new items in the next day or so but to be honest, we never could figure out what he might have purchased. We walked around for a bit more and then went and found a meat, cheese and wine shop in town and proceeded to have a lovely, impromptu wine tasting with the owner! We left with several new bottles of wine and a new friend. Monte Carlo, Monaco - Prior to booking this cruise our plan was to rent a car and tour the south of France and stay in Nice for a few days. Hence, the decision to take the train to Nice from Monte Carlo. It was easy to find the train station but trying to purchase a train ticket from the automated machine not so easy. We ended up finding the live person selling tickets to make sure we understood which train to take to Nice and more importantly, how to get back to Monte Carlo. We had just missed a train so it was lunch time by the time we got on. We arrived in Nice in time for a quick walk through the Flower Market which was filled with the most beautiful flowers! We walked to the beach (lots of pebbles) and then found a place for lunch. After a leisurely lunch, we had enough time to wander through some shops and buy some wine at a grocery store (inexpensive and delicious!) before catching the train back to Monte Carlo. We did a bit more shopping in Monte Carlo and then headed back to our yacht. I have to say we were SO thankful to be on Wind Surf that day in Monte Carlo. There was one of those monster ships with hoards of people trying to get back on board. We got caught up in their madness for a brief moment before the port staff realized we were on Wind Surf and got us right through security. It looked like a nightmare on the other side! Cannes, France - Our next stop was in Cannes and we had booked the WS tour Provence Wine Tasting with Chateau Saint Roseline. I had tried to book a private wine tasting tour through several companies prior to boarding but they were so expensive (over 500 euros for the 2 of us) that when we saw this one for $129 each, we went ahead and joined the tour. It turned out to be a wonderful day with 2 different wineries, 7 bottles of wine purchased, and good friends to share the experience. The history of both wineries was interesting and the tour guides well versed. Overall a delightful day tasting wine in Provence! Portofino, Italy - We couldn't make up our minds what to do here so my DH decided we should take the WS tour Cinque Terra by Boat Tour for $189 per person. I would hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone that loves to explore on their own. Here's our experience... The swells were pretty high as we pulled into Portofino which meant a hairy experience boarding the tenders. Because of the weather, it took over an hour to get all the folks on this tour over on the tenders. We then boarded a ferry boat (filled only with the WS tour) to take us to Cinque Terra. Well, you can imagine if the swells were bad on the tenders, they were just as bad on the ferry boat. What was suppose to take about an hour turned into almost double that amount of time. It was a rough morning but the best part was that we were able to see by sea, the 5 villages of the Cinque Terra. (My DH jokes those 5 photographs were the most expensive photographs I ever took!) By the time we finally landed at Monterooso (no other landings available that day due to the waves) we were so far behind we were told we had only 2 hours before we had to board again to go back to Portofino and the yacht! Well, I wasn't the least bit happy about that and I told my DH and the Aussies we were traveling with that day that I was taking the train to Riomaggiore for lunch and I'd figure out how to get back to Portofino later. They all agreed and we told the tour guide we were heading out on our own, found the train station and hopped the next train to Riomaggiore. It was one of the best decisions we made the entire trip! After walking up the one main street in Riomaggiore, we stopped for the most fabulous lunch at the most delightful restaurant! After several courses, many bottles of wine and some limoncello, we ad to say good-bye to our new friends/owners of the place, and litearlly had to run back to catch the train to Santa Margherita. There was an art festival along the water we checked out and then grabbed a taxi back to Portofino in time for pizza, beer and wine. The sunset was glorious over Portofino and we were the last ones on the last tender at 8:30 back to the yacht. It was a most memorable day! We missed the Deck BBQ because we stayed in Portofino so late but we didn't really care since we had such a great day with our Aussie friends. Portoferraio, Italy - Another day without a real plan so we did what we had been doing for 15 days and wandered around Elba on our own. We hiked up to the fort and checked out the views; we found a sidewalk cafe and joined all the locals having Sunday dinner out; we sat back and just relaxed. Easy and delicious! And that brought us to Civitavecchia. A turnaround day for us but a sad day too since we had to now say good-bye to our friends we had met while boarding in Lisbon on cruise #1. Originally I had thought to take a cooking class on our own here but we wandered around instead and took in the local market and stopped for pastries and coffee at a local place. It's definitely a working man's port but we saw lots of families out and about too. It wasn't as scenic as some of our other stops but it is a big city compared to the last few ports of call. We walked the waterway and stopped for a beer and free WiFi before boarding to continue on to our next Wind Surf adventure...Sicilian Splendors! A few notes about our total Wind Surf experience on our back2back2back... We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. Overall, we love Windstar cruises because it suits us. We love port intensive cruises. We love the smallness of the ships and that it affords you the opportunity to get to know your fellow cruisers as well as the officers and staff and they get to know you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise because it worked with my schedule and I got a great price on it. I have cruised multiple times on both oceans and rivers, but this was the smallest ocean ship I have ever sailed on. I was a bit nervous about the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it worked with my schedule and I got a great price on it. I have cruised multiple times on both oceans and rivers, but this was the smallest ocean ship I have ever sailed on. I was a bit nervous about the size and the possibility of waves, but it was smooth sailing the whole time. From the time we embarked until the time we disembarked, the staff did everything in their power to make our cruise great. They learned our names, drink preferences, etc. They were receptive to checking inventory for beer I asked for that was not immediately available. They room steward answered promptly when called. Cannot say enough about the great service and the bright, smiling faces of the crew. The ports of call were very interesting. I had been to Lisbon and Barcelona before, so we did not do any exploring there. Tangier, Malaga, Cartagena, Tarragona, Almeria, and Ibiza were very interesting. I did not expect the weather to be as hot as it was and consequently we could have packed extra clothes this time and would have used them. I had to wash in my sink a couple of times. The shore excursions we took from Wind Star were pretty good for the most part, but I do believe that they are rather pricey. I was able to book some private ones of my own for much less money. The food was very good. The menu could have had some other non-beef or fish options but I managed to find things to eat. The nightlife was okay - we were tired from all the walking and the heat so we didn't need anything too strenuous. The highlight was the Crew Talent show. What an amazing and talented bunch of employees the Wind Surf has. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my DH 65th birthday. We have cruised 2x prior with WS (once on Wind Star, once on Wind Surf) and decided to do a back2back2back which meant 25 glorious days aboard Wind Surf! Our ... Read More
We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my DH 65th birthday. We have cruised 2x prior with WS (once on Wind Star, once on Wind Surf) and decided to do a back2back2back which meant 25 glorious days aboard Wind Surf! Our favorite thing about WS is the port intensive cruises with little or no sea days. We love waking up in a new port every day and exploring as long as possible. Come back to the ship, change clothes, grab a drink, meet friends for dinner, and maybe have a night cap or maybe just close down the dining room (that happened almost every night). Go to sleep and repeat. Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco was a great itinerary. We arrived into Lisbon 4 days early to see that sights. So happy we had time to do this and enjoy this beautiful city. Boarding was so easy and we got so so lucky while standing in line we met 2 other couples that will now be life long friends! And on board we met several other couples to make our cruise one of the best we have been on! Our first day was actually a sea day (which we try to avoid whenever possible). We hung out with new friends and got our sea legs. The sun was out and it was a lovely day. Tangiers: We hired a private guide prior to our cruise to take us around the Casbah and the Mdina. We have friends in the Peace Corps living in Morocco who came and joined us on our tour. We loved Tangiers and the people were so kind. I will say the Wind Surf destination manager at the time (didn't get his name) spoke about the horrors of Tangiers and scared several people from wanting to go ashore. I think he did a major disservice to people of Tangiers. While you should always be vigilant when in a foreign country, he went way overboard in his warnings. While many areas (not just Tangiers) have beggars and pickpockets, we felt very safe and would recommend this port to all of our friends. Malaga Spain: We decided to do Malaga on our own and walked off the ship and started walking. We found many pedestrian streets filled with beautiful architecture. We looked for the Picasso Museum but by the time we arrived, the line was too long and we didn't want to waste the time in line so we continued on our way. Our friends did the Hop on Hop off bus and enjoyed it. Granada: We booked the WS tour to the Alhambra and it was amazing! Definitely book this tour but do so months prior to your cruise. It does (and did) sell out prior to our sail date. We had a delightful guide at the Alhambra who just made the tour. A lunch following was fun and we got back in plenty of time. While you could do this on your own, I wouldn't risk it. Cartagena Spain: Once again, we DIY the day and walked the old city. Lots of interesting buildings and architecture and shopping too. Our friends did WS Tapas Tour and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Ibiza Spain: We had signed up for the Jeep Tour a few days before and were looking forward to fun. We loaded up into the jeeps (we got together a group we had met on board) and off we went. Unfortunately, the rain started and there was lightening and they turned the tour around. We did get a refund but we were so disappointed it rained! But 2 hours later, the sun came out and we ventured out on our own and walked through the town. Ibiza is such a night town that even at noon, there weren't a lot of folks up and about. We had a delightful lunch and did some major shopping. Tarragona Spain: It was a Sunday and we were unsure what there might be to do but we boarded the free port bus that took us about 20 minutes to the old city. What a glorious day we had! There was some kind of music festival with groups of kids marching down the streets playing all sorts of musical instruments. There was also the Human Pyramid festival happening where groups of people build a pyramid, sometimes up to 9 people high! And of course, what comes up, must come down! We wandered the cute streets and found beautiful shops and restaurants all opened. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were one of the only tourists and were surrounded by the locals enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Lunch of tapas and sangria and then dipping our toes in the Mediterranean rounded out our day. And that bought us to Barcelona and the end of our first of our back2back2back cruises. We had booked tickets to Sagrada Familia and Park Guell so we got off early and took a taxi and enjoyed our time at those fabulous places. We also walked down Las Rambles and then back to the ship in time for our next sail away. We were sad to see some of our new friends leave but we were so happy we had more cruising to do! We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. Overall, we love Windstar cruises because it suits us. We love port intensive cruises. We love the smallness of the ships and that it affords you the opportunity to get to know your fellow cruisers as well as the officers and staff and they get to know you. Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco was filled with sunshine and towns you could easily do on your own. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this itinerary to those of you who like that type of cruise! Read Less
Wind Surf Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.1
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment N/A 3.6
Service 3.5 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.1

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