Fodor’s Expert Review
Launched in 1986, Windstar Cruises’ Wind Star is one of two nearly identical four-masted sailing megayachts in the fleet. Wind Star 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 a head-to-toe update of the public rooms’ decor. 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.Read More
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.
- 5 passenger decks
- dining room, buffet
- Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator
- pool, fitness classes, gym, hot tub, sauna
- 2 bars, casino, dance club, library
- laundry service
- Internet terminal
- no-smoking cabins
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What to expect on board
Staterooms & Cabins
The ocean-view staterooms are ingeniously designed for efficiency. Hanging lockers (closets) are generous, and contain shoe racks and shelves for gear. A small, enclosed cabinet conceals a safe, and an entertainment center includes a flat-screen TV, DVD, and Bose SoundDock speaker for an iPod, which you can borrow from reception fully loaded with music. The combination vanity-desk and bedside table has drawers for ample storage. A countertop lifts up to reveal a lighted makeup mirror, a locking security compartment, and a shallow cubby. Special touches in each stateroom are fresh flowers, terry robes and slippers for use during the voyage, and bath toiletries. The teak-floor bathrooms are big enough for two. All staterooms and suites are equipped with barware, a minibar, and hair dryer (voltage is standard 110 AC); portholes have deadheads, which can be closed in high seas. Ten staterooms have adjoining doors on Wind Spirit and 12 on Wind Star, and a limited number of standard cabins have upper fold-down Pullman berths for a third passenger.
A single Owner’s suite, the only premium accommodation onboard, has a seating area with a sofa bed to offer a berth for a third passenger.
There are no cabins configured for wheelchair accessibility.
Food & Drink
The formal AmphorA Restaurant offers open seating dinner during scheduled hours and is large enough to serve all passengers at once, so there is seldom a wait for a table. In a more casual setting, the buffet-style Veranda Café has indoor and outdoor seating for breakfast and lunch. A grill whips up cooked-to-order breakfast and lunch choices. Dinner under the stars is available at Candles, the poolside grill with a steak-and-skewers menu (no extra charge, but reservations are suggested). The pool bar has a permanent food station for Continental breakfast, afternoon tea, desserts, and evening canapés. Afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and sweets is served daily. Room service is always available, and will serve selections from the dining-room menu during restaurant hours.
The captain hosts a reception at least one evening during each cruise, and nightly informational sessions regarding ports of call and activities are presented before dinner. Other evening entertainment is informal and social, perhaps a pianist playing in the main lounge. A crew show, showcasing their homeland cultures, is a delight.
Spa & Fitness
The tiny spa consists of only two treatment rooms, but it offers a nice menu of massages and facials. There is a complimentary coed sauna.