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imcpa

Random thoughts on my first WS cruise

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My wife & I sailed Windstar for the first time during Dec 30 – Jan 6 aboard the Wind Surf. We are in our mid 40s from Dallas. We typically travel to Cancun or Las Vegas for NYE, but this was a great opportunity we could not pass up. Since 2010 we have sailed SilverSea three times (Cloud, Spirit & Spirit), Crystal twice (Serenity & Symphony), Regent once (Mariner) and Paul Gauguin once.

1. We arrived to the ship at 12:45 or so. Boarding was abreeze, but after taking our pic and handing over our passport, we had to wait a few minutes for the room keys. The staff had them all on a separate table, but had to wait to release them. Once they did, were good to go. I take it that is the way they announce the cabins are ready.

2. We were prepared for a small cabin and it was…but it was still great. It had plenty of storage and, as opposed to Crystal’s and PG’s standard balcony cabins, the closet was easy to access by both of us since it was not right by the bed. Our cabin was on deck 1, midship. I was little nervous about being close to the water, but it was actually very cool to see and we felt little movement being so low. Keep in mind this itinerary had no sea days, but two or three days we started sailing at 4p or so. The shower was also great, but the sink faucet is way too close to the back of the sink. We brought our own DVDs to enjoy and the TV channels were limited. I wish they would play the announcements on the channel showing the outside camera. Imbang was our attendant and he did a great job and was friendly. He quickly learned our schedule and knew he would not make up our room until after 10am. I was a little freaked out on the first night when water tight doors were shut in the hall, but it only happened the first night.

3. Overall, the food was great, but we wish we would have had more very healthy options at lunch other than salad. We never made breakfast (except the last day) because we would sleep late, then go to the gym every morning. Lunch was our first meal everyday and a few days we were ready to eat at 11:30a or so, but had to wait until noon. As with all of our other luxury cruises, I do wish the dining hours were longer.

4. For the size of the Surf, the gym was great and had amazing views. When we went, it was typically not busy, but we did not go early. It did run out of towels a few times.

5. We ate at Candles once, but it was raining hard, so that hampered it some. We ate Stella once, but that menu was not for us. We ate at Amphora the rest of the nights and enjoyed it very much. Dinner for us is simple…salmon or tuna and veggies, done healthy, although we did enjoy the sweet potato fries a few times and they were great. Mmmm. We ordered room service twice and it was good and quick, but the menu was somewhat limited.

6. The Yacht club was good, but everything is pre-made, so it can’t be custom ordered. It also ran out of a few things on a few days.

7. We did not book any excursions; we just visited each port and walked the small town for a little bit. We docked twice and tendered the rest. The staff was always great, but security coming back to the ship was almost non-existent.

8. The deck BBQ and beach BBQ were both awesome. I wish we could have done the beach BBQ every other day and skipped many of the other stops, but the crew worked so hard that day I’m sure that would wear them down too much.

9. We loved swimming and kayaking from the marina. Unlike the PG, they let you just jump in the water and swim if you want to. The floating mats and trampoline were a lot of fun too.

10. We purchased the beverage package and I’m confident we got our money’s worth. Officially, they have to ask for your cabin number and you have to sign a receipt for every order even though there is no charge, but many times they would “sign for me”. It worked great overall.

11. Overall, service was awesome all over. It was really cool seeing the captain around so much, even at the beach BBQ. The bridge can’topen at port, but we did visit when we could and they were very friendly and open…almost too much. It was very dark and warm in there in the evening.

12. The common areas were bigger and roomier than I expected. Our favorite was the Compass Rose, where we ended every evening with a fun crowd. The British singing duo there was great and the open air environment was awesome, except the few smokers at the two smoking tables. The band at the lounge was OK, so we did not go there much.

13. For NYE, they had a party at the lounge, but we went to the Compass Rose, where the duo also did a countdown. We went down to the lounge after midnight and they had food and the captain was still there. All in all, it was a great and fun night.

14. On this cruise, given the itinerary, the sun lounge chairs were in high demand many times, but we ultimately found some at a good location most days.

15. We never went to the Terrace bar, but all of the others (pool, Compass and the lounge) were great with quick, friendly service. Drink service at lunch and dinner was generally good too.

In summary, it was an amazing cruise. My first choice is still SilverSea followed closely by Crystal, but we definitely hope to sail the Wind Surf again.

I'm happy to answer any questions if you have any for me.

Edited by imcpa

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Sorry for the spacing issues. I copied and pasted from Word and it didn't work as good as I had hoped.

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Thanks imcpa for the review. Sounds like a nice cruise. I was just wondering if the ship was decorated for the holidays and if there were any other things that were done on board for the holidays. Also, what were your ports and where was the BBQ and beach BBQ? Thank you.

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Thanks for the review. It sounds like a good first cruise with Windstar. You may not have known this, but you are able to order anything from the Amphora menu for dinner in addition to the room service menu.

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The ship was decorated for Christmas, but it was not overdone. A few Christmas trees were scattered around, some holly here and there and a few “Happy Holidays” signs were hanging. We were not on for Christmas, just NYE. At dinner, they had Happy New Year hats for men and tiaras for women, which we wore all night.

 

Theitinerary was:

Bridgetown, Barbados

Anse Mitan, Martinique, France

Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia

Castries, St. Lucia

St George's, Grenada

Bequia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Mayreau, St. Vincent & The Grenadies

Bridgetown, Barbados

 

The deck BBQ was at St. Greorge’s as I recall. We were still anchored for the dinner. The beach BBQ was Bequia. It was definitely a highlight.

 

I did not know we could order room service from the Amphora menu, but the first time we ordered was a late breakfast (room service breakfast goes to 11:00 am) and the second was for lunch, so I don’t think the Amphora menu would have been available.

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Thanks for this review! We're doing our first WindStar/ Wind Surf cruise in May and looking forward to any tips!

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Tips:

 

Make your Candles and Stella reservation right after you board. There will be a separate line in the lounge (where you hand over your passport, etc) to do so.

 

Visit the bridge.

 

Get to the deck BBQ early to get a good table (assuming you will have one of these).

 

Get to the beach BBQ as soon as you can if you are a beach person (assuming you will have one of these).

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Tips:

 

Make your Candles and Stella reservation right after you board. There will be a separate line in the lounge (where you hand over your passport, etc) to do so.

 

Visit the bridge.

 

Get to the deck BBQ early to get a good table (assuming you will have one of these).

 

Get to the beach BBQ as soon as you can if you are a beach person (assuming you will have one of these).

 

 

Thanks for the info, we will be on our first WindSurf cruise next month and did not anticipate from what we had previously read that it was necessary to get in line early for things, we didn't realize it would be a competitive situation just like the big ships.

Not what we thought we were paying heavily for but better to know now than have it come as an unpleasant surprise.

It sounds more and more like this might be our one and only WS booking.

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I honestly don’t know what the other poster is talking about, telling you to get to the beach and deck barbeque early.

You should make other restaurant reservations early, but IMO. If you never go, you really aren’t missing anything.

The Wind Surf is my least favorite ship, but it’s still nothing like larger cruise lines.

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I honestly don’t know what the other poster is talking about, telling you to get to the beach and deck barbeque early.

You should make other restaurant reservations early, but IMO. If you never go, you really aren’t missing anything.

The Wind Surf is my least favorite ship, but it’s still nothing like larger cruise lines.

 

Not quite sure what I should understand from that.

 

The restaurants aren't too good so I wont miss anything if I don't make reservations there?

 

Should I just eat in the buffet?

 

We normally enjoy the social aspect of dining at a table for 6 or so.

 

Think I am starting to get the shakes about this, in the beginning we were a little scared of spending 4 times as much as the same number of days would have cost on a mass market line. Maybe we should have not done this.

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Allow me to clarify...

 

The deck BBQ is very popular. I only wish we had gotten there earlier to have my choice of table. We found a table with no problem, but it was a tad crowded. It was a great night with plenty of food, drinks and fun conversation.

 

The beach BBQ was one of my favorite days ever. I say get there early because it's that good. Don't make the same mistake we made thinking we should eat lunch on the ship unaware of how good the food and the great variety of food & drink on the beach were.

 

The Surf and the people are nothing like the big ships. We did those too in our twenties and won't do them again, but we will likely sail the Surf again.

 

Stella was a great restaurant for most; just not for us. The setting and service was great and I assume most people love the menu, just not us.

 

Candles was great and we wanted to dine there again, but could not.

 

Amphora, the main dinner restaurant, was great too. We always had a wonderful dinner there and since it was dark at dinner, we did not mind dinning inside. If it is light and warm, I prefer to dine outside as much as possible.

 

There is no buffet for dinner, other than the deck BBQ.

 

We always dine alone, but there were plenty of large tables that appeared to he have a lot of fun. We joined other people for drinks most evenings at Compass Rose and it was a lot fun. Never crowded, but always fun.

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Allow me to clarify...

 

The deck BBQ is very popular. I only wish we had gotten there earlier to have my choice of table. We found a table with no problem, but it was a tad crowded. It was a great night with plenty of food, drinks and fun conversation.

 

The beach BBQ was one of my favorite days ever. I say get there early because it's that good. Don't make the same mistake we made thinking we should eat lunch on the ship unaware of how good the food and the great variety of food & drink on the beach were.

 

The Surf and the people are nothing like the big ships. We did those too in our twenties and won't do them again, but we will likely sail the Surf again.

 

Stella was a great restaurant for most; just not for us. The setting and service was great and I assume most people love the menu, just not us.

 

Candles was great and we wanted to dine there again, but could not.

 

Amphora, the main dinner restaurant, was great too. We always had a wonderful dinner there and since it was dark at dinner, we did not mind dinning inside. If it is light and warm, I prefer to dine outside as much as possible.

 

There is no buffet for dinner, other than the deck BBQ.

 

We always dine alone, but there were plenty of large tables that appeared to he have a lot of fun. We joined other people for drinks most evenings at Compass Rose and it was a lot fun. Never crowded, but always fun.

Glad you enjoyed The Surf and clarified your comments. We are sitting in port at St Lucia with all happy people except for one couple who walked on with frowns and have never had a good day in their lives. Everyone else is laughing, relaxed and well fed. Excursions have been well attended and the crew amazing. We have been on all 6 ships, the Surf being our favorite, the other 5 right behind it in no particular order. We eat alone some nights, join people others. There are nice quiet spots, comfortable larger spots, lots of deck space, and super comfortable cabins. Food is the best we've had this year, rooms immaculate. The new CEO and his hires appear to be paying new attention to detail. The only downside is my husband's favorite cookies has a new recipe and he is disappointed. LOL. Seriously, we can't think of one thing that would ever put us on a mass market cruise.

 

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

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lots of great info. We will be visitng many of the same island on the star pride at the end of feb. In the ports, could you just go sit on a beach? Did the ship supply beach towels? or should we bring our own? thanks

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in the ports could you walk to a beach? do they supply chairs or beach towels? thanks D

Beach towels always available to take to beach along with water. Most ports have beach access, especially gorgeous Pigeon Island. The Yacht Club has sandwiches available to take with you. Castries you can cab it to the beach. We have done the St Martin sailings several times and changed to Barbados because of hurricanes. It is lovely.

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

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lots of great info. We will be visitng many of the same island on the star pride at the end of feb. In the ports, could you just go sit on a beach? Did the ship supply beach towels? or should we bring our own? thanks

 

I am not familiar with all of the ports but Windstar does provide beach towels. At the beach BBQ they have provided chairs and shade. The towels were also at the beach so you did not have to take one from the ship. The only beach BBQ we have been to were on Prickly Pear.

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St Lucia had a beach we could walk to, but we didn't say long. We walked along the beach in front of Sandals to see as much of Sandals as we could, but didn't stay long.

 

Other stops had a beach you could take a taxi to, but we did not want to be in a car.

 

Other than the beach BBQ, we walked off the ship/tender, had a local beer at a close bar, then went back to the ship to find a lounge chair and relax. Some times we were by the pool and others we were up a deck on the side. All times were great and relaxing. We did get in the pool a few times to cool off.

 

The beach BBQ was the best beach of the trip. As I said earlier, it was a definite highlight and extremely well done. Wish I was there now.

 

I read you can bring two bottles of wine on board, but we bought the beverage package, so we were good. They had a pinot noir from GA that my wife loved and I enjoyed the champagne and prosecco. The champagne was not the best (plastic cork), but it was good enough for me and was free flowing with the beverage package. The prosecco was better, so I switched back and forth. Other than that, we had plenty of bottles of water and a few diet cokes. We requested lots of water for the cabin and our attendant did a good job of keeping up.

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Glad you enjoyed The Surf and clarified your comments. We are sitting in port at St Lucia with all happy people except for one couple who walked on with frowns and have never had a good day in their lives. Everyone else is laughing, relaxed and well fed. Excursions have been well attended and the crew amazing. We have been on all 6 ships, the Surf being our favorite, the other 5 right behind it in no particular order. We eat alone some nights, join people others. There are nice quiet spots, comfortable larger spots, lots of deck space, and super comfortable cabins. Food is the best we've had this year, rooms immaculate. The new CEO and his hires appear to be paying new attention to detail. The only downside is my husband's favorite cookies has a new recipe and he is disappointed. LOL. Seriously, we can't think of one thing that would ever put us on a mass market cruise.

 

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

 

S-Sounds like you're having a blast! Happy sailing!

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thanks everyone for your responses. Anyone know about bringing wine onto the cruise?

I brought 2 bottles of wine on board (and was given another on by guest services due to a cabin switch). We enjoyed a drink in our room but we did bring 2 bottles to the dining room and we weren't charged a corking fee.

 

I was surprised how generous they were with the alcohol. This was only our 2nd WS cruise but from the drink when you board, to the captain's welcome, there was a lot of free drinks! Also, on NYE in the Lounge, the champagne was free and flowing!

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That's interesting that the champagne was free flowing in the lounge on NYE; it was not at Compass Rose, but because we had the bev package, it didn't matter to us.

 

When we boarded, the welcome drink was a rum punch, not champagne, that I did not particularly like. I think it should always be champagne.

 

The champagne was free flowing at the Captain's reception. That was a great time and I hope to sail with Captain Gerry again in the future.

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When we boarded, the welcome drink was a rum punch, not champagne, that I did not particularly like. I think it should always be champagne.

It’s been rum punch on our last three cruises (Med & Caribbean). Yuck.

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I read you can bring two bottles of wine on board, but we bought the beverage package, so we were good. They had a pinot noir from GA that my wife loved and I enjoyed the champagne and prosecco. The champagne was not the best (plastic cork), but it was good enough for me and was free flowing with the beverage package. The prosecco was better, so I switched back and forth. Other than that, we had plenty of bottles of water and a few diet cokes. We requested lots of water for the cabin and our attendant did a good job of keeping up.

 

 

Champagne wouldn't ever have a plastic cork.

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Our last cruise on the Windsurf was almost two years ago. It that time, we were impressed that the quality of the food had gone considerably downhill compared to our previous Windstar cruises. On that basis, plus issues with cigarette smoke that appeared to arise from the crew area, we have stopped sailing with Windstar.

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