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Windstar Cruises: Wind Spirit

Wind Spirit Review

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 art work, 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.

Are they cruise ships with sails or sailing ships designed for cruises? Since 1986, these masted sailing yachts have filled an upscale niche. They often visit ports of call inaccessible to huge, traditional cruise ships and offer a unique perspective of any cruising region. Though Windstar ships seldom depend on wind alone to sail, if you're fortunate and conditions are perfect, as they sometimes are, the complete silence of pure sailing is heavenly. Stabilizers and computer-controlled ballast systems ensure no more than a mere few degrees of lean.

When you can tear yourself away from the sight of thousands of yards of Dacron sail overhead, 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 with a fully loaded iPod, which you can check out on board.

Multimillion-dollar upgrades in 2012 enhanced each ship from stern to stern with chic new decor that mimics the colors of the sky and sandy beaches. The Yacht Club, which replaced the library on Wind Surf, is designed to be the social hub of the ship, with computer stations, a coffee bar, and a more expansive feel than the room it replaced. You will be able to join other passengers in comfortable seating around a large flat-screen TV to cheer on your favorite team during sporting events. In addition, all accommodations and bathrooms have been remodeled with updated materials; new weights and televisions were added to the gym; a couples massage room enhances the Wind Surf spa; the casual Veranda was expanded; the decks now have Balinese sun beds; and cooling mist sprayers are near the pools.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Tahiti

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

Wind Star was Five Star on Land as well as Sea....A hotel fire can ruin your whole vacation. If something goes drastically amiss, be sure to be on a Wind Star cruise. We were booked into the G.H. Parco dei Prinipi in Rome, Italy, on May 1, 2004, when there was a horrible fire. We escaped the smoke and fire by going from balcony to balcony on the 7th Floor (US would have be 8th) until we reached a sloping roof that got us to within 10'

of the 6th Floor (where fire evacuation equipment could reach us), droping into a chaise lounge. Andy Roddick, tennis star, was on that floor and he kept us from falling forward. We eventually were rescued. My husband was injured in the drop and had severe hematomas on his shins and right foot trauma. Wind Star's Italian liasion land company, Inter Trav. found us in the ambulance before we were sent to a Rome hospital. Wind Star had interpreters and representatives at the hospital immediately. They also provided new hotel rooms, interpreters, morale support, cleaning of smoke damaged clothes, meals, etc., throughout our week's ordeal of dealing with Italian hospital staff, private doctors, visit to American embassy, replacement of luggage (smoke damage), filing of police report, etc. They even flew out their Guest Relations Manager from Seattle who was a very caring professional who gave us so much needed support. When my husband was well enough to travel, although we had missed the first week of the cruise, we did join the Wind Spirit from Athens to Istanbul. What a great ship. A lovely sailing ship, small, with only 148 passengers, great crew and helpful staff. The cabin was very sell designed - plenty of room for everything. The Philippino room and restaurant/bar staff were very friendly. Great food, ambience, and a very interesting itinerary. It also had the only email computer system (and we have sailed on many other ships)that was hassle free and worked easily in all our trafvels. We hope to do the same cruise next year - but starting from Rome to Istanbul! My husband's feet did not heal enough to take advantage of all the wonderful shore excursions but next year....!

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By HPS_CR

  • 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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