Fodor’s Expert Review
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.Read More
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.
- 6 passenger decks
- specialty restaurant, dining room, buffet
- Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator, DVD
- pool, fitness classes, gym, hot tub, sauna, spa
- 4 bars, casino, dance club, library
- laundry service
- Internet terminal
- no-smoking cabins
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What to expect on board
Staterooms & Cabins
All accommodations are termed suites, although in lower categories only a curtain separates the bed from the sitting area. You have to book one of the top categories to have a bedroom separate from the living and dining area. All feature Egyptian cotton linens, a robe and slippers for use during the cruise, a flat-screen TV with DVD player, a fully stocked minibar, a personal safe, hair dryers, walk-in closets, and ample drawer space. Bathrooms have a granite vanity with a magnifying mirror, a full-size tub, and a shower, plus L’Occitane bath amenities.
Some Ocean View Suites have a French-style “balcony,” which is actually just a sliding door that opens—there is no sitting area. For a true balcony you have to move up to the larger Classic Suite, which also features two walk-in closets. The luxurious Owner’s Suites offer living room and dining areas separate from the bedroom, plus a balcony, two flat-screen TVs and DVD players, and a full master bath and separate powder room.
Four suites are modified-accessible. Bathrooms are shower only with a small lip into the shower, a step into the bathroom with a portable ramp, and standard interior and exterior doorways.
Food & Drink
AmphorA, the main dining room, only serves dinner with open seating. Breakfast and lunch are served in Veranda, the buffet that features indoor seating and open-air dining both at the back of the ship and directly in front of the restaurant in a covered area. Veranda converts in the evening into Candles, a romantic steak and seafood restaurant, where you can dine alfresco. Reservations are required, and passengers are allowed to dine here only once per cruise, unless tables are available for a repeat meal. The Yacht Club offers coffee and Continental breakfast of pastries, fruit, and yogurt parfaits in the morning and sandwiches and sweets in the afternoon.
Few activities are held at night with the exception of live music and dancing in the Lounge, Star Bar, and Compass Rose. The ship’s Voyage Leader gives a short briefing on the evening before every port call to share information on the port, docking position, shuttles, and shore excursions. Windstar brings lecturers onboard for some itineraries. Movies are shown in The Screening Room, which has movie theater-style armchairs. There is also a tiny casino.
Spa & Fitness
The small WindSpa, operated by Steiner Leisure, features Elemis products and treatments ranging from aroma and hot-stone therapy to Swedish massages. There are two treatment rooms. The equally small salon offers hair care, shaves, manicures and pedicures, tooth whitening, and waxing. The fitness center adjacent to the WindSpa is outfitted with exercise equipment such as stationary bikes, free weights, and treadmills. Yoga and Pilates classes are complimentary.