We took a cruise with Windstar on the Wind Star to visit the Greek Isles. It was our first time with this cruise line. Every single aspect of the cruise exceeded my expectations! From start to finish, (nearly) everything was perfect. The yacht, the food, drinks, the crew members (especially the crew members!) all made for a wonderful vacation. We could not be happier!
The food was some of the best I've had while traveling, including at luxury all inclusive resorts. It's amazing how they can create such delicious and creative meals, at sea nonetheless! The menu varied each night, and included a nice variety of dishes from different cuisines and with meat, fish, seafood, vegetarian, etc. The dining service was also exceptional. We ate on the deck on night, and that was also an excellent experience!
The crew in particular is amazing. They come from all over the world, with a large majority from Indonesia and the Philippines. We made friends with so many of the crew members, who went above and beyond to make us feel special. To mention just a few who really stood out: Joel, Rene, Noel, Marco, Philip, Endro, Asep and Saka (our cabin steward). They are always approachable, friendly and willing to please, all with a smile on their faces (even when having to deal with rude guests). We decided to double our gratuities, and also tipped cash to those we got to know best by the end of our 7 night cruise. They work extremely hard to make your cruise vacation spectacular, and deserve special recognition. I also have to mention the musical team, Duality (Marni and Chooi) who were outstanding and entertained us each afternoon and night!
The only problem (if I'm being picky) was that our cabin was too hot. We asked about it twice, but it stayed hot for the duration of the cruise. I suspect this has more to do with the architecture of the ship (the cold air comes from front of the ship, and warms up before it gets to aft cabins). But apart from that, perfection!
We took a few excursions with Windstar, and they were all very well planned and a good value. One excursion, however, seemed a little crowded. I looked at the excursions head of time and booked private tours guides through tours by locals at some ports. It ended up costing the same or just slightly more than the cost of an excursion booked through the ship for 2 people. One day, we decided to take a break and stayed aboard, enjoying the lounge chairs on the deck by the pool.
I am definitely planning on taking many, many more cruises with Windstar. One of the major advantage is the small ship size. I would never want to travel on a "megaship" with thousands of people. A smaller "yacht" makes it a more personal experience, and there are no lines anywhere. We are looking at Tahiti next year, on the Wind Spirit, which features the same layout as the Wind Star.
I've researched beforehand which cabin would be best. I chose 104 because of previous positive comments. It was the perfect size, had port hole windows and little noise. The location was good as well: close to the stairs and we didn't mind having to walk up 2-3 flights of stairs - the exercise was welcome :) We will choose the same cabin on future voyages.