Background: We booked this cruise in Feb. 2007. We are a retired couple, mid 50s in age. It was one of those trips that we always wanted to take. We are glad we finally did it, it was wonderful. We are not new to Wind Star. We had sailed on the Wind Surf in 2001, the Wind Spirit in 1995 and the Wind Star in 1993 so we had some idea what to expect. Regarding the new ownership, we did not find anything that detracted from our enjoyment of the cruise.
Pre cruise: We took Wind Star air, from Vancouver to Lisbon with British Airways. A Wind Star rep met us and one other couple when we landed, and we were each given a taxi voucher for the trip to the hotel. We stayed at the Meridien Park Atlantic Lisbon for 3 nights. A Wind Star rep was available at the hotel during our stay. A wonderful hotel, if a bit out of the way. Along with a number of other passengers, we were taken by bus to the ship on Nov 11.
Embarkation: As ever, Wind Star embarkation is smooth and quick. We had some bottles of wine in our carry on, no problem getting them thru the security, they did not even open our bag. (These were for use in our cabin, though one night we did bring one to the restaurant, the corkage fee is $15.) After filling out the paperwork in the lounge – while enjoying champagne and appies, we were in our cabin in no time at all.
While the ship can accommodate 312 passengers, we were told at the Captains Cocktail Party that there were only 189 passengers on board. And, there were 190 crew to look after us! Service was just fine. Our steward introduced himself when we boarded. He never failed to greet us by name each time he saw us. All crew members would greet you as you passed them on your travels around the ship. Captain Mark Boylin and other senior crew members would take time to stop to chat with passengers.
Sailing away: We boarded shortly after 1PM on Nov 11 and we sailed just after 9PM. To pass under the April 25th bridge in Lisbon, sailing must be timed to low tide. We were on deck, and to the music of Vangelis and cheers from the passengers, we watched as the masts barely cleared the bottom of the bridge.
The crossing: The weather was fantastic. The temperature ranged from 20C/68F to 27C/80F for the entire cruise. Except for the first day which seemed a bit cool, we were on deck all day. We had clear, sunny skies most days, with a tiny bit of rain on a couple of occasions – but there were wonderful rainbows as a result. The seas were so calm we could not believe it! There were many repeat passengers and a common comment was how calm it was, possibly the smoothest crossing ever. After we sailed by Madeira, we did not see land until Barbados was in sight on Nov 24. As well, we saw only one freighter and one other cruise ship during the crossing. Otherwise, sea – lots of it. We did see a whale breaching way off in the distance one day.
While the sails are up most of the time, it was not until Nov 21 that the engines were off and we were under 100% sail power for a while. We were meant to meet the pilot in Barbados on Nov 25 at 4:30AM, however due to a medical emergency, we arrived sooner and anchored off the island at 1:30PM on Nov 24 so that the passenger could be taken off the ship. We docked later (midnight?) when a slip was available in port.
Cabin: We booked cabin 124 on deck one, and after one night we found it very noisy. Since the ship was not full, we were able to move to 246, on deck two, and it was very quiet. Our only experience on Wind Star is regular cabins, and we find they meet our needs. There is plenty of storage space and the bed was very comfortable. Toiletries were always restocked, so we never ran out of anything. The steward kept our fruit basket filled. There was a flat screen TV, and DVD player and iPod Bose docking station. Extra hangars were available for the asking.
Dining: We have no complaints with the food, we thought it great, lots of selection at each meal. Breakfast (8-10AM) and lunch (12:30 – 2PM) were buffets in The Veranda, though there were always made to order dishes available. For supper (7-9PM), we ate in The Restaurant most nights, and at Degrees a few times. We had no problems making reservations for Degrees, possibly due to fewer passengers. The menu is different between the two restaurants and the presentation is a bit different. Always lots of selection, whatever your taste. There was lobster served one night each week. There was a BBQ lunch each week, and one of those also featured lobster. The wine list is good, with some reasonably priced choices. We purchased a bottle every other night, and the wine steward stored our unfinished bottle for the next evening. Always something available to eat, whether 7/24 cabin service, continental breakfast, snacks, afternoon tea and appies during the cocktail hour.
We were invited one evening, along with another couple, to have dinner with the ship’s doctor. We’re not sure, but given the number of senior crew, and the number of passengers, that many had a similar invite over the 2 weeks.
To be continued ...
Regent Voyager Rome to Singapore Oct 2017
Regent Voyager Singapore to Beijing Dec 2017
Celebrity Summit Independence Day Cruise June 2018
Celebrity Summit Bermuda Cruise July 2018
Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Passage TA Nov 2016
Viking Baldur Amsterdam - Budapest Oct 2016
Celebrity Infinity Pacific Coastal May 2016
Celebrity Infinity Chile & Argentina Dec 2015
Celebrity Infinity Panama Canal & South America Dec 2015
Celebrity Constellation TA Nov 2014
Celebrity Constellation Holy Land Oct 2014
Celebrity Constellation Black Sea Oct 2014
Celebrity Constellation Scandinavia & Russia May 2013
Celebrity Constellation Transatlantic May 2013
Celebrity Millennium Solar Eclipse Cruise Nov 2012
Celebrity Solstice TA Nov 2011
Celebrity Solstice Venice Mediterranean Nov 2011
Celebrity Infinity Panama Canal Sept 2010
Celebrity Mercury Alaska May 2010
Wind Surf Transatlantic Nov 2007
Celebrity Mercury Seattle RT Sept 2007
NCL Jewel Caribbean Mar 2007
Wind Surf Bahamas Mar 2002
Windjammer Mandalay Caribbean Dec 2001
Moorings 'Samara' Tahiti Jan 2001
Moorings 'Add to Life' BVI Dec 1997
Wind Spirit Caribbean Dec 1995
Wind Star Caribbean Dec 1993