Wind Spirit Review

Editor Rating:  4.0

Wind Spirit Ratings

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Why Choose Wind Spirit?
  • Pro: An eye-catching, refurbished ship offering free water sports and private events around idyllic islands.
  • Con: Limited onboard facilities and entertainment may not appeal to fans of big ships.
  • Bottom Line: A yacht-like experience with casual elegance and friendly, attentive service.

Wind Spirit Overview

By Phyllis Steinberg, Cruise Critic contributor; updated by Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor

As chic, trendy and sophisticated as the people who sail on it, Wind Spirit is a four-masted, 148-passenger cruise ship with lovely white sails on deck. It was built in 1988, but when Xanterra Parks and Resorts acquired the Windstar line in 2011, it gave the ship -- along with sisters Wind Star and Wind Surf -- an US$18 million refurbishment the following year to keep it fresh and youthful. In April 2015 the ship was again refreshed before its second season in Tahiti, where it is now based year-round.

In the cabins, carpets, wallpaper and mattresses have been replaced. There's new teak decking on the top deck and fresh coats of varnish on the floors of the lounge and Veranda restaurant, along with new furniture. The pool area has new sunbeds, tables and chairs, and public restrooms were recently upgraded. With the hull repainted in brilliant white, Wind Spirit is looking good inside and out.

These enhancements follow the 2012 makeover, which saw cabin bathrooms spruced up with granite countertops, high-piled towels and fancy showerheads. New Bose speakers for playing your own music from smartphones and tablets upped the ante in the tech toys department, too. The Restaurant was redesigned and renamed AmphorA, The Lounge got new hardwood flooring and a new AV system, and the reception area was updated. The Pool Bar was also revamped to create additional alfresco seating for sunset dining at Candles Grill, with a new awning and deck furniture.

What hasn't changed, however, is the onboard experience. The cruise line has stuck to its core concept: a balance of small-ship features -- low passenger occupancy, high guest-to-crew ratios, personalized service -- and more big-ship ones, particularly where pricing is involved. Excursions and alcoholic beverages are additional charges (drinks packages are now available), though water and soft drinks are included. The onboard atmosphere is just the right mix of upscale and laid-back; Wind Spirit combines the highest levels of food and service with a single open seating and casual attire.

If you're seeking a romantic escape, these ships are sublime. The sails are computerized and not really necessary for navigation or power, but who cares when the effect is exquisite? (When conditions are perfect, the engines are cut, and the ships are completely wind driven.) If your fantasy is making a spectacular entry into some of the best ports of French Polynesia while sipping a glass of bubbly on deck, this may be your cruise experience.

Plus, beyond the romance of cruising on a real sailing vessel, you benefit from the small ship's access to otherwise unreachable ports. Wind Spirit offers unique itineraries that include ports of call both on and off the mainstream grid, as well as plenty of active adventures ashore. Many of Wind Spirit's passengers wouldn't be caught dead on a conventional cruise ship, opting for bonding with other well-traveled couples and enjoying the excellent water sports offered right off the ship.

Wind Spirit Fellow Passengers

Wind Spirit passengers are sophisticated, urbane and well traveled. Many still work full-time, and the year-round Tahiti itineraries attract a younger, more active crowd, largely from the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The average age is about 50, with half of them in the 45 to 65 age range. Many families also travel on the ship with older teens and college-age children. Solo cruisers are very welcome, too, and shouldn't be concerned that Tahiti is only for couples -– that's simply not true.

Wind Spirit Dress Code

During the day, shorts and T-shirts are appropriate. At night, jeans, shorts, T-shirts, tank tops and tennis shoes are "forbidden" in the main dining room. (But we did see a few neat jeans slip through.) The written code is "casual elegance": Men generally don button-down shirts or collared shirts with dress pants, and women wear sundresses or capris with light sweaters or blouses. Bottom line: Leave tuxes and evening gowns at home. Otherwise, pretty much anything goes.

Wind Spirit Gratuity

Windstar now automatically adds a hotel service charge of US$12 per person to each passenger's shipboard account on a daily basis. If service exceeds or fails to meet expectations, you may adjust this amount at the end of the cruise. In addition, a 15 percent service charge is automatically added to bar charges, the beverage package and dining room wine purchases. These charges are paid entirely to Windstar crewmembers -- both crewmembers who serve you directly, such as waitstaff and cabin stewards, and others you may never meet, such as galley and laundry staff -- and represent an important part of their compensation.

Next:  Wind Spirit Cabins

By Phyllis Steinberg, Cruise Critic contributor; updated by Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor

68 Wind Spirit Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
This was our first cruise EVER. We wanted something special to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and boy did we get something special. We stayed at the Intercontinental in Papeete for 3 nights prior and one after the cruise. Coming ... Read more
Member Since 2005
8 reviews
2,275 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed August 2017
Always wanted to see Tahiti and Bora Bora so I decided that Windstar and their Tahiti itinerary would be a pleasant way to do so. In reflection now, after the cruise, I think that perhaps the ship itself was the primary highlight. The ... Read more
Member Since 2016
5 reviews
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
This was our fourth cruise on the Wind Spirit in Tahiti. We chose the Wind Spirit as the itinerary allows full days on four islands and two full days in Bora Bora. There are interesting shore excursions for those who want to be guided ... Read more
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405 Professional Wind Spirit Photos

We spent almost a full week on board the Wind Spirit with multiple photographers and took 405 pictures of the ship.  When you visit our new photo galleries you can be assured that what you see is what you get!

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