Posted June 22nd, 2009, 08:05 AM
Well I finished the first part of the review and wanted to at least post that for the all you guys wanting to know about the ship. I'm reviewing the ports also, but boy it's taking much longer than I expected. First though, I believe I owe some answers haha -
Chicagogal - Pompeii was amazing, but we only saw a little and I definitely want to go back and see more. Pompeii was the one excursion we took from Windstar and overall it was a good tour. Not too big of a group and a good tour guide. The ride there and back was great. We did hear about some people doing it on their own that sounded better though.
mystichill - We made dinner reservations the first day on board and had no trouble at all getting the restaurants and times that we wanted. We even made a change mid-cruise and had no trouble getting into a different restaurant. It is a very casual cruise. Khakis and golf shirts were the most dressed up things we wore. We were on deck 1 and you are right at the waterline, but it was not bad at all. I've been a boater all my life and it reminded me of going out with some of our friends who have large boats.
Rotterdam - The next half will be great for you as I'll go over the ports and the things we did, didn't do and wish we had done.
jen516 - I hope this all helps, it was great!
So here's the first part. Please don't hesitate to ask me to expound on anything. The next part will go over each port.
All I can say is what a trip. After 12 cruises, mostly on Celebrity and Holland America, we finally decided to try Windstar. We are so glad that we did
So let’s talk staterooms. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive as we would have no balcony, sitting area, large bath etc…, but fortunately and surprisingly, I did not miss any of those . The only time I thought about a balcony and wished we had one was after we would return to the ship after a day in port. But we were usually taking a shower or nap and then heading back in anyway since we stayed in most ports until 11pm or overnight so that feeling didn’t last long. The beds and linens were great, our attendant was one of those “stealth” attendants that somehow managed to get everything done but not be obtrusive, the legendary shower water pressure was present and the toiletries were good and always replenished without a need to ask.
Now about the food. I know food is very subjective so here’s my general take -the food was wonderful!
Breakfasts - All breakfasts are served in The Veranda and it was always fresh and plentiful. I can’t think of item that I looked at and thought “what the…” The Veranda has a grill that offers omelets, french toast and pancakes. Service was great and we never had to ask for more coffee.
Lunches – We only had one lunch on board and that was on our one sea day. It was served in The Veranda and was just as good as the breakfast. One thing that really impressed me was the quality of the desserts. They were not the dry, thin layered sponge cake squares served on the other lines we have been on, but actual desserts you would see in a bakery. The cakes were actually round!! There was a big fluffy cheesecake, a real carrot cake and a bunch others I can’t remember. All I do remember is thinking how good it was and how it could be from any good bakery back home.
Dinners – There are four restaurants for dinner. Le Marche is the seafood themed restaurant and is set up on one of the aft decks. We did not have a chance to try Le Marche, but all the reports we heard were good. Candles is a steak themed restaurant set up at the aft pool. We ate here the first night out and we really enjoyed the steaks we were served. Surprisingly, they were served at the temperature ordered and were tender with good flavor. Admittedly not the best steak I have ever had, but it made for a really nice meal. There is only one choice for your appetizer (Insalata Caprese) and dessert (Tiramisu), but the Tiramisu served was so good I had them bring me another, and I think even another. Hey – I was on vacation and those pounds wouldn’t show up until Florence. The Restaurant is the main dining room and we ate there most nights with all meals served being good - excellent. I can’t really think of any misses, but can remember a good veal shank. Degrees is the last restaurant and has more of a tasting menu. Many courses, all with a theme. Our theme was seafood and it was very good. Service at all restaurants was very attentive.
As our first time on such a small ship, I thought I would spend a lot of time comparing it to our other cruises and other cruise ships. To be honest, I found it so different, that I really ended up not doing that at all. And I mean different in a good way. It was more like being a guest on someone’s private yacht. Time on board was spent relaxing and hanging out with new friends. Even a nap or two. We were in Monaco for two days and one day we just stayed on board and hung out by the pool reading, swimming, snacking – just doing what all the other people on the real yachts were doing. We headed back onto shore later in the evening, but it was great to just relax during the day. The ship itself seemed to be in great shape. There were a few spots on the rails that had what seemed to be an excess (ok globs) of paint, but I sure didn’t let that affect my cruise. Everything was kept clean and I didn’t notice any torn carpet of worn fabrics. The ship doesn’t have the wow factor as some others, but I don’t think it is meant to and I really didn’t miss any of that (yeah I was surprised too – and so was other T). The staff was all personable and the one minor issue we had with two drinks we didn’t order being charged to our room was taken care of immediately.