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Windstar Cruises: Wind Spirit

Wind Spirit Cruise Review

Insider Take


One of the two identical smaller 200-passenger ships - a sail ship with nautical features and friendly service.

Best For People Who Want

Lot of fraternization between passengers and staff; casual attire; great food and service in a single open seating; water sports; long stays in ports.

Onboard Experience

Those who enjoy informal attire at night, single open seating, and exemplary food and service will almost certainly revel in their experiences on these ships, which spend lots of time in ports inaccessible to bigger ships. Intimidated by the sails? Don't be; they're mostly just for show, though they may add three or four knots to the motorized speed if the wind is right. Given that the casino's approximately the size of a large beach towel, and that there's no glitzy entertainment in a main show lounge, many passengers happily head back to their comfortable cabins after dinner to phone room service for some popcorn with which to enjoy a movie.

Public Rooms

Aside from the restaurant and a tiny lounge big enough for a combo and a small dance floor, there really isn't much to do. Nighttime is great for sitting outside at the tiny bar and making new friends. These are some of the most congenial ships afloat and people do make friends quite easily.


The kitchen is small enough that everything arrives warm. The main courses and desserts are delectable - the salads and appetizers are a bit lacking in imagination. But the service is what it makes the most pleasing, as the staff is aware enough to quickly learn who on board has made acquaintances and seat them at the same tables. The outside barbecues are events, with big steel drums rolled out to barbecue shrimp, steaks and even lobster tails.


The cozy, wood-paneled main restaurant has plenty of tables for two and views of the sea. Single, open seating allows you to dine when and with whom you please, except that the maitre 'd will select a table for you, and if you do not like the company it may be too late to say so. Invite your tablemates to join you before you arrive at his station, or tell him in advance if you prefer to dine alone. Breakfast and luncheon are also served in the Bistro, but the Veranda buffet is a cozy, glass-enclosed room serving table-service dinners and buffet at lunch is where you will want to be. There is an awning covered food station poolside with burgers, hot dogs.


The lounge is pretty well deserted most nights; the best show in town is watching the ship leave port from the large aft deck. Heading to your cabin with a DVD from the library is the best bet.


Staterooms are large - a standard 180 sq. feet - and handsomely decorated. Standard amenities include two large portholes, TV/DVD and CD player, large closets, and a desk/vanity. Bathrooms have showers, hair dryers, and ample space for toiletries. There is 24-hour room service.


The fitness center is tiny. Of far greater importance is the water sports platform, aft, that lies flat in port while passengers jet-ski and snorkel.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Extensive nightlife, dressing up at night; children's programs; two seating dining; a formal atmosphere; balcony cabins, ships with elevators.


With lots of dark wood paneling and blue fabrics, what the decor says, over and over again, is, "Nautical."


Even though the line is now owned by Ambassadors International, crew members will still come from the same Indonesian and Philippine sources as they did before. The mostly Dutch officers have sailed with Windstar for years; they're especially delighted by the sight of repeat customers. There's an unusual amount of fraternization between crew and passengers. At one time, passengers were allowed to walk into the bridge whenever you pleased, and the officer on board typically would give you a long lesson on charts and compasses. That privilege has been modified to the point where it is now best to seek permission to enter the bridge before you go there.


A hotel service charge of $11 per passenger per day is automatically added to your shipboard account. You are free to adjust this amount at the end of the cruise. A 15% bar service charge is added to all bar orders and dining room wine purchases.


Windstar's brochure calls for "casual elegance" in the evening, which means pants and skirts for women and polo shirts for men at night. Daytime clothing is strictly casual.

Ship Overview

Introduced in 1988, Windstar Cruises’ Wind Spirit is one of two virtually identical four-masted sailing megayachts in the fleet. Wind Spirit features wide open, teak decks—over 10,000 square feet of space—quite generous for a ship this size—and 21,500 square feet of new sail overhead. Renovations in 2012 included an update of the public rooms’ décor with new furnishings, upholstery, art, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, and floor coverings. Newly enhanced staterooms have chic leather headboards, arm chairs, linen wall coverings, new lighting features, window coverings, carpeting, new artwork, and stylish bed cushions and bed throws.

Comfort is the element that ties these ship’s interiors together. Blue and cream, echoing hues of the sea and sandy beaches, predominate in the cozy main lounge, where you'll find a tiny casino tucked into a corner. With its large windows and a skylight, the lounge is flooded with natural light during daytime hours.

Public spaces are proportionately small on such a diminutive vessel and feature yacht-like touches of polished wood shipwide, as well as abundant fresh flower arrangements. The library contains books, movies to play in your cabin, and a computer center.

Passenger accommodations and public areas are all found in the aft two-thirds of the ship, with dining and entertainment located on the top two decks.

For years, Windstar Cruises' fleet traditionally consisted of three majestic motor-sail yachts with billowing sails, but in 2015 the line doubled in size with a trio of 212-passenger luxury yachts. All of the upscale yachts often visit ports of call inaccessible to huge, traditional cruise ships and offer a unique perspective of any cruising region. Windstar's sailing ships seldom depend on wind alone to sail, but if conditions are perfect, as they sometimes are, the complete silence of pure sailing is heavenly.

Whether on the sailing ships or megayachts, it doesn't take long to read the daily schedule of activities on a typical Windstar cruise. Simply put, there are few scheduled activities. Diversions are for the most part social, laid-back, and impromptu. You can choose to take part in the short list of daily activities; borrow a book, game, or DVD from the library; or do nothing at all. There's never pressure to join in or participate if you simply prefer relaxing.

Multimillion-dollar upgrades last took place in 2012, when each sailing ship was enhanced from bow to stern with chic decor that mimics the colors of the sky and sandy beaches. The Yacht Club is designed to be the social hub of the ship, with computer stations, a coffee bar, and an expansive feel. The yachts Windstar acquired in 2015 from Seabourn were substantially renovated before they entered the fleet. The all-suite accommodations, restaurants, pool deck, and public spaces were upgraded in the move.

What You Should Know


  • Ships have an extensive DVD collection
  • Socializing is effortless on these intimate ships
  • Mist sprayers near the pool offer a refreshing way to keep cool


  • The aft pool and hot tub are popular and apt to feel crowded
  • The water-sports marina can open only when the ship is at anchor
  • Ways to entertain yourself are sparse—the gym and library are tiny, and the casino is small
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 90
  • Entered Service 1988
  • Gross Tons 5,350
  • Length 440 feet
  • Number of Cabins 74
  • Passenger Capacity 148
  • Width 52 feet
  • New

Apr 1, 2016


This cruise to 6 French Polynesian Islands was fantastic. The weather was great and the staff and service was excellent. They went all out to make us happy and even knew our names. The excursions were abundant and most always available. We cancelled some of them two days prior and we were refunded. The only issue I have is with the entertainment team, a couple, who offered programs in the lounge for fun. If they would have established rules like:

no repeat consecutive winners, no use of electronic devices that might have been more fair for those who wanted to win the prize. Also, it took a while for the singer to come up with some good entertaining songs. At the beginning, she was really boring in her repertoire of vocals. They could have been a livelier team for the audience. The captain was wonderful and there really isn't anything to complain about. We would cruise with Wind Spirit again maybe in the Mediterranean next time. Abundant, fresh and flavourful food. Pleasant cabin. It was renovated nicely and we had decent space. We don't really participate in activities but on sea days, they are necessary to have. The Glass Bottom Boat is for those who are handicapped or don't like snorkelling. The glass was dirty and scratchy and it was hard to view the sea life. It went well until past the middle of the trip when there was an emotional upset in the lounge. People won "name that tune" twice in a row and won champagne twice in a row. It would have been fair if the entertainment team applied rules like people can only win once and not use google for answers. This might seem trivial but there were many people on the ship who couldn't afford to buy alcohol packages and would have loved to have won the champagne. What I have learned from this is to avoid lounge games as people bring their teenage children in to play these adult games and this is a place for adults to drink alcohol. Children should not be in the lounge at night when adults are drinking there.

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  • New

Oct 25, 2013

Greece Turkey Israel

Great cruise salvaged from a difficult situation in Egypt where we were originally scheduled to finish. The 11 day cruise was thus extended to 14 days with Crete added. We finished back in Athens. The ports in the Greek Islands, Turkey & Crete were really nice, but the 3 days in Israel were beyond belief. Just Wonderful. The Spirit was our home for 14 days and everything was perfect. The crew could not be better and the entertainment by "Cloud 9

" made each evening lovely and intimate . By the end of the cruise, you are like a big family, fellow passengers and crew .Every one knows your name, and you know theirs. There were 109 passengers aboard. We really wanted to see Egypt and its cancellation brought us hardships in rearranging our schedule and flights, but two weeks on the Spirit got us over our Egyptian travel disappointment excellent food. My wife loves different cuisines, so although not on the menu, the staff provided Indonesian and other Asian fare almost every night especially for her. As other have stated, very comfortable cabins, but for us it is a place to sleep and dress, not a place to hang out in. Their motto is "180degrees from ordinary." And it is. Unlike big ships with many choices, the entertainment on the Spirit was a married couple. She sang and he played keyboard and Sax. They were great. And you got to really know them, as they became part of our social group after a few nights. Of all the ports, Cypress was the least interesting. Israel, by far the best. Wish they weren't sending the Spirit to Tahiti, We would sail on it every year if it summered in Europe.

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  • New

Jul 22, 2013

Athens to Istanbul

The Wind Spirit is a beautiful yacht and my husband and I loved every moment of our Mediterranean cruise ending a few days ago. My husband is allergic to crowds so a 'floating apartment block' does not appeal to him and it was not so easy to persuade him to take even this trip with only 148 passengers maximum. The ship is beautifully spacious and the cabins are well designed. Breakfast, lunch and supper offered great variety of delicious food

every day. Wind Spirit's absolute highlight is a happy and caring crew who looked after our every wish. Nothing was ever too much trouble and always done with a smile and enthusiasm. The 'sail away' from each port is dramatic with the sails unfurling and must look beautiful from the shore. Excellent food, with plenty of variety Well designed cabins, immaculately clean, plenty of space for clothes, luggage and toiletries We did not want a hugely busy schedule, but enjoyed all that wad offered. Excursion itinerary has variety and well designed for all ages I our view.

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  • New

Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Mediterranean

p class="MsoNormal" align="justify"> The weather could not have been more favorable on September 7th, 2002, in departing Piraeus, Greece to ports of call in the Greek Isles and Turkey. Ending the cruise when we arrived in Istanbul on the 14th seemed far too short of time to spend on such a beautiful ship. To have begun this odyssey on the day following the celebration of the 50th anniversary of our marriage is part of why my wife and I

booked a tour to Greece and Turkey. In arranging for this I went to a local travel agent, Cruise Vacations International, Inc., which booked us for The Treasures of the Aegean offered by TAUCK WORLD DISCOVERY. So therein lay the reason for having sailed on the Wind Spirit. The ship presented an awesome sight as she came into view when the bus rounded a street corner in Piraeus. As we ascended the gangplank and each passenger set foot onto the main deck there was Captain Chris Turner, wearing a very friendly smile while in his casual dress-white uniform and having a bit of a British accent, warmly greeted each ,saying: “ Welcome Aboard.” If I recall correctly I believe that Hotel Manager, Herman Souffree, also in white uniform, greeted us. We were then directed to the dining room to take care of some necessary paper work and to turn over our passports for keeping aboard the ship until we finally departed in Istanbul. We were also given two card keys to our cabin. And before getting underway all were summoned to a designated assembly location as an emergency drill. Each were required to appear wearing a life preserver and then each person checked to assure of  it being worn properly. We also learned that it had an attached whistle to use in the event we were to ever be in the water and needed to attract attention. Roll call was taken and then we listened to brief welcoming remarks by Captain Turner over the P.A. system. About an hour after initially boarding Wind Spirit in the afternoon our voyage began on an overnight passage to Mykonos. It was somewhat spell binding to stand at the stern rail watching the turbulence of the sea water being created by the props when under engine power. Any significant change in course could easily be detected by looking at the prop wash astern. At times  the engines would be placed on standby, leaving the sails alone for propulsion. It was delightful during the several times this occurred while having dinner, which was great fun and usually lasted until around 10 o’clock. Breakfast and lunch was available at the Veranda on the upper deck where we always had the option of eating on deck or inside. Only once at breakfast did we have the need for wearing a light windbreaker. The variety and quantity of food available throughout every meal was mind-boggling. The cabin was quite spacious, the mattress on the king-sized bed was firm and most comfortable, and the head with shower stall was roomy. Two large portholes allowed for plenty of daylight and good viewing of the sea. I found it interesting during the night, whenever I had to arise, to take a moment and draw apart the drapes for a quick peek at how well we were cruising. Often I could see lights along shorelines. There were more than an ample number of dresser drawers and a nice sized pull out desk for use that we left extended for the entire time of cruising at sea. With all of these comforts, we still had ample room to move about the cabin. The desk proved quite handy for laying upon it the various things we collected each day. Among these were ships newspaper, the Wind Spirit U.S.A.Times, the daily schedule issued by TAUCK WORLD DISCOVERY, postal cards, books and other odd and ends. And lastly, we had a large clothing closet, Acting on  the suggestion of our tour director, we found ample storage for empty luggage under the bed. That was nice in that it was clearly out of sight, out of the way and not having it as a reminder that the odyssey would too soon end.    We had a bit of confusion learning to adjust the water flow of the shower but after two days we had no further trouble. I just hate to ask for help until absolutely necessary. However, I think it would be helpful to have an instruction sheet on the water control system of the shower. Perhaps there was an instruction somewhere and I simply missed it. The one thing I had most trouble with was use of the television. I was interested only in CNN. While I did get it at times, there were other times that I couldn’t seem to get it tuned in because of something I apparently was not doing correctly. That was only a minor irritation as we were not really there to watch television or to use the VCR, even though ample videos were available at the aboard reception desk.  Mykonos was the first of three islands in Greece we visited, the others being Santorini and Rhodes. Upon leaving Rhodes we stopped at the Turkish ports of Bodrum and Kusadasi. The cruise ended at Istanbul.          While this review covers our overall experience aboard Wind Spirit, it also includes touching briefly on excursions to ports of call. The total distance covered by sea from Piraeus in Greece to Istanbul was somewhat in excess of 700 miles. Wind Spirit is a four mast “sailing” ship having four decks, an overall length of 440 feet, with a capacity of 148 guests and carrying a crew of 90. Consequently, it proved to be comfortable and rewarding experience with a very friendly crew. For those wanting to exercise there was a nicely equipped facility available. Early morning walkers could take a certain number of strolls around the upper deck which would constitute a mile. Sails were roller furling in design and therefore could easily be set. In fact all sail control was implemented by the push of a button or two in the bridge, including traveler adjustment. Much credit should also go to the “black hole gang” (the engine room crew) in sustaining reliable  engine power for the entire needs of Wind Spirit, including a rated cruising speed of 9 knots, and never allowing us to experience a lack of hot water for showering.  It’s my judgement that about half the guests on board were with TAUCK tour. The others aboard apparently were absent a pre booked tour but certainly had the option, at separate cost, to book shore excursions at the service desk. For the most part these were not necessarily the same as TAUCK’s auspices but I believe that some of the excursions were somewhat similar, although not as extensive. There were many aspects that pleased us. It’s difficult to rank them in any order of preference. Certainly one of the first ones was a bottle of Pouilly Fuissue we found in our cabin as we entered. It had been sent as a bon voyage gift by our travel agency, Cruise Vacations International, Inc Presentation and variety of food at all meals was outstanding, including crepes with chocolate ice cream at tea time on the afterdeck.  The quality and friendliness in service by all of the stewards could not have been better. The night we spent aboard Wind Spirit while in the Rhodes Harbor, a Greek Folkloric dance group known as the Rhodian Ballet entertained us. It was very lively and was introduced to the basics of performing a Greek dance or two, at least for those brave enough to try it. A Turkish Folkloric group with an Exotic Belly Dancer followed this the next night in Bodrum. It was indeed very enjoyable entertainment. And then all enjoyed a sumptuous buffet BBQ on the afterdeck.  I visited the bridge several times. It was especially interesting at night to look at the large radar screen showing, in yellow, nearby islands and other ships under way, the intended course of Wind Spirit in red and her actual track through the Aegean Sea in green. A myriad of other navigational data was also displayed on the screen, such as the gyro compass heading, latitude and longitude, distance and bearing to targets chosen to be monitored closely, a pop up collision warning message when appropriate, a green circle set for any desired radar range, etc. Several times I noted cruising speed on the radar screen to be about 8 to 9 knots, and one time it was a tad over 11.5 knots. I suppose that we were having a favorable current and possibly a little additional help from the sails. One early morning when the Captain and Chief Officer were there I visited the bridge. On approaching I said, “Good morning Captain .... here comes the pest again.” As I said that, one of them jokingly responded by saying to the other, “Perhaps we should pitch him over the side.” With that said we all had a very hearty laugh. Late one night when the Second Officer was in command on the bridge I, with another in our tour, went to the bridge to watch the radar screen. It happened to be during somewhat of an intense time while the Second Officer was concentrating on navigating Wind Spirit through a very tight passage. We stood in rapt silence to watch the screen as Wind Sprit made her way through the tight spot. I must say that the Second Officer was calm and collected as he did an excellent job of navigating. I knew then, without a doubt, that I could go to sleep without any worry so ever for the night and then some.  As a security measure we were required to show a ship’s pass each time we returned from having been ashore. And you certainly should not lose it for otherwise it might be a long swim home. Well, really not quite that stringent though, but nevertheless quite comforting to have security as a measure of safety. I can’t single out everyone on the ship who made the experience so comfortable and enjoyable, for everyone of the management staff and crew could not have performed better. Live music in the lounge in the evening was very nice but I’m afraid that for the most part it was more for the younger crowd. Consequently we had only passing interest in it, and since we had no interest in the casino we never stepped foot near it. There is no doubt that all services provided under the management of the Wind Spirit are due to their combined dedication to excellence and leadership of these persons. The food and drink stewards provided prompt and friendly responses to our needs, always dressed smartly in their white uniforms. They were all from the Philippines and Indonesia. They were a great delight to be around. Overall the ship looked to be in fine shape. I judge this to the credit of Captain Turner, his officers, engineering department and deck hands. I couldn’t help but note several deck hands busy while we lay at anchor in Bodrum as they engaged in replacing several burned out light bulbs in the string of lights strung from the stern then over top of each mast to the bow. These were later lit, near to dusk, as a brilliant show to sister ship Wind Star, also with her stern to bow lights lit as she circled around Wind Spirit. That was a fantastic sight to behold as her passengers crowded against the rail, waving bon voyage to us, and then sounding her horn as she sailed away for the next port of call. Mykonos has a lovely inner harbor. Many architecturally beautiful windmills, no longer used except for offices and homes, sit on a hill over looking out to sea. Mykonos seemed to be a rather popular island with a very nice harbor front and being a busy host to quite large frequently arriving  ships. Wind Spirit’s tender took us into the harbor where we were to catch a ferry for a visit to the ancient ruins of Delos, said to have been established 1,000 BC. But we also had time in the afternoon, while being at anchor, to take advantage of some water sport activity off of the stern of Wind Spirit. As to my wife and I, we opted to kayak into Mykonos but not go ashore. After reconortering the waterfront we paddled back to Wind Spirit and exchanged it for use of a small sailboat, something not unlike the well known Sunfish and Lasers. For close to an hour we sailed in light wind and with enough of a troublesome current to require many tacks to get back to Wind Spirit. To cap off an hour or two of great fun I took a plunge into the clear blue salty water of the Aegean Sea. And what an extreme delight it was! The following morning, with the sun just peeking over the high cliff of Santorini, we entered the waters of the caldera. The name Santorini is from the Byzantine name of Saint Irene. Some maps also designate the island area by its original name: Thira or Thera. The dictionary defines a caldera as “a broad, crater-like basin of a volcano formed by an explosion or by the collapse of the cone.” As to the caldera at Santorini, history tells us that the volcano exploded about 1,500 BC. It is believed that the explosion was so great that it was the culprit that destroyed the Mineon civilization on the island of Crete, about 60 miles to the south and oldest civilization in Europe. Our excursion on Santorini took us to the far northern tip to the town of Oia. It offered an outstanding view of the caldera and for an easy stroll through the village. We also visited a historic winery just a short distance south of the main town of Fira, and then to Fira for lunch on our own.  It was a most beautiful sight to look down from high atop Santorini to see Wind Spirit secured to a buoy in the harbor. There was also ample time to stroll along the streets of Fira before opting to take the cable car to the dockside of the harbor and catch the tender. There was also the option of riding a donkey down to dockside, but since the donkeys know that feeding is the at the bottom of the long steeply descending series of steps, it can be a wild ride and one to be avoided for a novice donkey rider. Departing Santorini in late afternoon we sailed on a southerly course in leaving the caldera. The passing close by many sheer cliffs on the port side of Wind Spirit provided a scene of incredibly beautiful colors in the extraordinary geological formations left over from the eons of past volcanic activity.  But not to be outdone by such marvel, all of a sudden a Greek Air Force fighter jet came from astern, passing with a roar at seemingly about 100 meters above sea level and about the same distance to starboard. The pilot waggled the wings in a gesture of friendship and the distinct marking of country showed clearly on the fuselage. It was a solid blue dot set within a blue circle, very much like the bull’s eye on a target. And then 10 seconds later, another jet came roaring past  port side. I felt that the Wind Spirit must have looked so beautifully to those pilots that they just couldn’t contain their inclinations for a closer look, probably to catch a glimpse of the women sun bathers on the afterdeck. And from what I couldn’t help but obliquely observe, why not? Sometime later we detected an impressive looking island in the distant haze. Checking a map we determined that it was Anafi. Getting closer it appeared that the top of the island was snow capped. But how could an island in the Aegean Sea, with a height of just 700 meters, be snow capped? And at even a closer look I judged the white to be the color of the exposed rock, probably marble for we saw that stone to be quite commonly used in that part of the world. If it was not marble then it could have been the ubiquitous white housing found on the islands of Greece.   Early the next morning Wind Spirit entered the port of Rhodes; site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was interesting to see so many tugboats and other vessels in the harbor as Captain Turner and the harbor pilot directed the operation in bringing the port side of Wind Spirit to dock. Not that it is important to most but a dock is like a bulkhead built along a shoreline, whereas a pier is a structure extending out from the shoreline. And we would not be secured to a pier until Kusadasi, our next port of call. Tour on Rhodes began with a bus trip to the village of Lindos, 30 miles distant from Rhodes Town. We rode the donkey to up to the acropolis and looked out upon cliffs where the motion picture, The Guns of Navarone, was filmed. Only one of our group opted to take the donkey express back to the center of the town. We returned to Wind Spirit for lunch and were off again to for a walking tour through the ancient fortress of Rhodes Town. That night we sailed away for the  Bodrum, the next port in Turkey. In the old fortress in Bodrum we saw many names of Crusaders carved into the stones. Afterward our bus took us to the Divan Palmira Hotel at Turkbuku Bay for a delightful lunch. We also had time to just laze about a beautiful swimming pool in a delightfully landscaped setting until around 4:00 P.M. The harbor of Bodrum was very colorful with a vast number of good size boats ready for anyone wanting to charter, with a crew, for a day, week, month or whatever. And best of all, they do all the cooking. The vicinity around Bodrum is the resort area of Turkey. In the evening the Turkish dance group entertained us and this was followed a bit later with Chef Henri’s famous BBQ buffet, held on the afterdeck, or pool deck as it is also called. The event was very party like, with music and heavily festooned with an array of colorful signal flags strung overhead. It was an exquisite event indeed, with all-you-can-eat of barbecued lobster tails or whatever else, and then with the stewards and several other important members of the staff putting on a fun display of line dancing, it could only be described as a blast! Kusadasi was the next port of call. As we approached the harbor I went to the bridge to observe as Captain Turner orchestrated a tight 180-degree turn of Wind Spirit. I wondered at the moment why, but then it became apparent as the Captain backed her down to lay the port side of Wind Spirit up to the pier. It was a fascinating and orderly display of seamanship, having performed it without the aid of a tugboat. As the Captain put her aside the pier with pinpoint control, Chief Officer Ian Wardhaugh was on the bow, leaning against the bulwark while directing the foredeck crew as well as the local Turkish line handler on the pier. I watched intently as the monkey fist on the end of the tag or signal line was tossed with precision to the Turkish line handler on the pier far below. And then the hawser was payed out and secured to a bollard on the pier. Once secured and at the command of the Chief Officer the foredeck crew began to quickly take in slack and snub the hawser around enormous sized bollards on the bow. This was all nicely accomplished under the voice command of the Chief Officer. All during the operation Captain Turner stood on the port side extension of the bridge directing the operation, while the Turkish harbor pilot and port control officer stood next to him. The Captain and Chief Officer were also in constant contact by walkie-talkies. After going ashore we toured the remains of another site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. It was dedicated to the satrap Mausolus, hence the name mausoleum. We later visited the extensive remains of the ancient city of Ephesus, where the Apostle Paul preached and saw on a distant mountain top the remains of the building in which Paul had been imprisoned. Later we visited a Turkish rug merchant an learned about the technique of weaving rugs and of knots used in Turkish rug making. Rugs with the fringes tied in knots was a signal that the weaver is ready for marriage, hence to tie the knot is to marry.   Upon leaving Kusadasi, on Friday the 13th of all things, we were in for a full day and night at sea,  arriving the next morning in Istanbul. As we passed along the Turkish shoreline of the Trojan War site our tour director assembled us onto the afterdeck and told us the story of that event. It was in an extremely riveting and enjoyable fashion. As he completed the story we entered the famous waterway of the Dardanelles whereupon the voice of Captain Turner was heard over the P.A. system. The Gallipoli Peninsula lay to port and he went on to explain the significance of the Peninsula and the war monuments to the soldiers then clearly in view. These memorialize the British, French and Turkish soldiers that lost their lives in that battle during World War I. The ancient name for the Dardanelles is Hellespont, which in Greek legend is where Helle, while fleeing with her brother on the ram with the Golden Fleece fell off and drowned. Upon passing through the narrowest point of the Dardanelles, where old stone forts prominently overlook the waterway from both sides, we entered the Sea of Marmara. It is an enormous body of water and Captain Turner sailed the Wind Spirit close by towering cliffs. He announced that he did so because he thought it to be more scenic than staying in the shipping channel where we would not see anything but seawater. The following morning we docked in Istanbul. In summary, the weather held good for the entire cruise and the comfort aboard the Wind Spirit could not have been better. It was always a nice sight to see the Greek flag with its distinct blue and white stripes and single white cross fluttering on a halyard high above the bridge. When we entered Turkish waters the Greek flag was struck and the Turkish flag hoisted, with its distinct crescent and star in white on a field of bright red. This is done as a gesture of etiquette to signify recognition of the country which controls the waters, while the flag or ensign of the country in which the ship is registered is displayed astern. In our case, Wind Sprit was out of Nassau and therefore the flag at the stern was that of the Bahamas.

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  • New

Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Okay – here’s the REAL deal – if you’re not already committed to taking this cruise, DON’T! If you are – here’s how to enjoy it the best you can. First the positive things. The Wind Spirit itself is wonderful – we lived mostly on the deck. The itinerary was fabulous – although it was changed a bit for our cruise – we would have preferred a half day at Jost Van Dyke (By the way – use the restrooms near the Soggy

Dollar – NOT One Love – the owner was very unpleasant) and a full day on Tortola. The excursions – if you love to snorkel or dive, definitely do the Tortola snorkeling excursion at the Indians and Benure Bay on Norman Island. It was the highlight of the entire cruise! Do the Regatta in St. Martin if you haven’t before but don’t waste time and money on the snorkeling in St. Barth. Wasn’t worth the $52/pp. On St. John we rented a jeep from Spencer’s and toured the island on our own. Loved Trunk Bay – and Hawksnest Bay. On Virgin Gorda you must do the Baths – the caves are for people who have a sense of balance and upper body strength. You are rewarded by the beach on the other side but during our cruise 12/14/02 – the water was very rough for snorkeling or swimming. If you like to jump waves – it’s great. There were gorgeous views on the bus ride to and from the baths. The Food – on Wed night they served a barbecue on deck that was out of this world. The surf & turf on the menu is great too. Otherwise the food was lousy! Tasted the same day after day – especially breakfast. In the dining room, ask for Daddy’s section – he was the ultimate! The only crew member who delivered 5- star service. The Cabin – was small but with plenty of storage. Bathroom was great and mattress very comfy. Now for the Negatives. Several key crewmembers were rude toward the guests, the water sports director refusing to answer questions and yelling at passengers. We were misinformed several times by the hostess (cruise director) – like the supposed 10-minute walk from the ship to Pussers on Tortola (it was 2 ½ miles!). We almost missed the ship – thank God a taxi driver came along and rescued us! ZERO pampering as advertised in the brochure (exception was Daddy, of course). Too expensive for what you get. No 24-hour bar service – the deck bar closes ½ hour before dinner – forcing people to go down to the lounge for the host’s announcements. She should just do it on the deck where people prefer to be. Or do it twice for our convenience – not hers. The music was awful – a passenger had to donate a Bahama Breeze CD just to hear island tunes. The live entertainers were lovely Brits – but totally inappropriate for a Caribbean cruise. We thought we’d have more of an island experience. There was a steel pan band on Virgin Gorda for the beach bbq but they were mediocre at best. On the Regatta excursion in St. Martin – boxed lunches were handed out to us prior to sailing (not a good idea) and in a filthy dock area with no place to sit. This wasn’t thought out for the convenience of the guest. Disembarkation was the last straw and the deciding factor to not take this cruise again. First, at 6 am (prior to sunrise) there’s banging on your door for you to give them your luggage. And strobe lights coming thru the portholes of the customs/police as they approach the ship. They recently changed their policy about putting it outside in the hall for pick up due to fire hazards (Wind Song had fire and is being sunk within the next 2 weeks). We were told that no one leaves the ship until everyone clears customs – how inconvenient! If you wanted breakfast you were rushed with everyone else within an hour period. On a previous cruise, my husband I and woke up at a reasonable hour. Dined at our leisure and disembarked late morning. What we don’t understand is this – the ship doesn’t sail until midnight – certainly they could put of embarkation for new passengers off till 6pm (instead of 3pm) to allow a more leisurely exit for disembarking passengers (like 10 or 11 am)…or much earlier if the passenger wants to do so. There would still be ample time to prepare the ship for the next sailing. The toilets in several cabins stopped working at the same time all this was going on! We spoke to many guests as we were preparing to disembark who said, “never again!” Another guest told me she was just on the Wind Surf and it was filthy (except for her cabin). Suffice it to say we took them up on their no tipping required policy. All in all we’re surprised that Windstar is associated with the likes of Holland America & Seabourn – which are known for great service, food and suchlike. Perhaps we’ll try them next.

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