Windstar Cruises

Wind Spirit

Overall Editor Rating
Molly O'Brien June 14, 2023

Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Windstar Cruises
Cruise StyleLuxury
Ship SizeSmall
Prince Range$$$
Sails To Papeete
Papeete
Sails From Papeete
Papeete
Duration7 days

Windstar prides itself on offering smaller, luxurious, intimate cruises to a number of stunning global destinations. Wind Spirit, part of the brand’s wind class series of vessels, is a 4-masted sailing yacht that dates back to 1988. Its capacity is just 148 Guests, with 73 deluxe, ocean-view staterooms, and one owner’s suite onboard mirrored by 101 international staff (a ratio of 1:1.5). All staterooms feature ocean views. A popular itinerary sails around the Islands of Tahiti on a port-to-port trip, departing from Papeete and stopping at five different destinations, Moorea, Raiatea, Motu Mahaea on Tahaa, Bora Bora, and Huahine, before circling back to Papeete. Standout amenities include the World Spa by Windstar, an onboard watersports platform, a lounge, a library, a small pool, a hot tub, and a small fitness center.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Guests will enjoy an extremely attentive and caring staff who create an inclusive community onboard for guests  
Exciting, authentic excursion opportunities are organized by a helpful crew  
The unique watersports platform onboard offers guests the chance to kayak and paddleboard during days anchored offshore    
Both the fitness center and pool are very small
The excursions are pricey, and given the remote nature of many onshore location stops, it’s not easy for guests to make arrangements independently  
Smooth sailing isn’t always guaranteed due to the ship’s small size

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Editor Rating
Cabins
Accessibility

Polished staterooms are bright, thanks to plenty of natural light blanketing the room from the porthole windows. The cabins offer 188 square feet of space and feature a queen bed or two twin beds. There are no single occupancy accommodations at the moment (though sometimes Windstar waives the single supplement or offers a reduced rate).  

For the Wind Spirit, all the suites are essentially the same—location is the only difference. Mid-ship suites are generally considered the best (less rocking motion is generally felt here), so they sell at a premium and are labeled deluxe.

In all of the cabins, the bathrooms feature luxurious amenities like granite countertops and L’Occitane bath products. Rooms are turned over each morning and each evening by housekeeping, who leave a creative array of towel animals over the course of the week. There’s ample storage in each room, including a closet with hangers, waffle-weave robes and slippers, and a full dresser. Rooms feature 110/220 outlets and USB socket plug-ins. There’s a flatscreen TV and a DVD player (guests can pick up DVDs at reception) and a seating area with a table with a fold-out extension option.

Windstar’s Wind Spirit ship is unfortunately one of the fleet’s least accessible vessels for those with mobility issues and disabilities. There are no dedicated accessible cabins, no elevators (just stairs) and there are no modified accessible suites for the visually or hearing impaired. It would be challenging for someone with mobility issues to navigate the steep stairs on this ship, and the steps to get to the tenders or zodiacs for shore excursions.

Any passenger with disabilities or special needs must complete an SRI form to ensure a plan for their safety in the event of an emergency. Passengers who don’t notify the ship of their specific needs or their need to bring specific medical equipment, or a pre-approved recognized service dog on board the ship could be refused passage.

Food & Drink

Editor Rating
Dining
Bars

The Windstar voyage experience includes all meals, all non-alcoholic beverages, and a complimentary welcome drink upon embarkation. There are two primary dining venues on Wind Spirit, and room service is available at any time.

For breakfast, guests can either stop by the Yacht Club Cafe for a quick latte, drip coffee, tea, or pastry. There’s also Veranda restaurant on the top deck which offers a casual sit-down buffet and full-service breakfast, al fresco style, from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.; find  open seating here. Lunch is also served at Veranda in a similar fashion but guests should check the daily program for specific times of lunch service depending on the day.

In the evening, Veranda transforms into the reservation-only restaurant, Candles, which features a robust menu of steaks and skewers with top-quality wine pairings, all served in open-air seating underneath the stars. Downstairs, Amphora restaurant serves a plated dinner where the manager seats each guest wherever they want, with no pressure to join pre-assigned tables or first or second seating assignments. At Amphora, diners will enjoy gourmet, course-by-course cuisine that rotates depending on the day, including featured specials by acclaimed national James Beard Chefs. 

Guests can choose from a variety of beverage packages from the  all-inclusive package, which also includes WiFi and gratuities for $79 per person per day. There’s also the Topmast Discoveries Beer & Wine Package for $49 per person, per day which includes domestic and imported beer and multiple varieties of wine by the glass (cocktails not included). Finally, the Captain’s Exclusive Beverage Package for $59 per person includes all domestic and imported beers, multiple varieties of wine and champagne by the glass, and cordials, liqueurs, aperitifs, cocktails, and minibar items. Passengers are also allowed to bring aboard their own two bottles of wine or champagne (750ml) per cabin on a 7-day Cruise. 

There are two bars onboard Wind Spirit. The pool bar, serving a variety of drinks and light snacks either a la carte or included within a designated drink package, is open from the morning into the night.  The bar located in the lounge gets going at night. 

Entertainment

Editor Rating

 The ship has a library that interchanges daily crosswords for guest entertainment, as well as a desktop computer for those who purchased WiFi access, puzzles, games, and literary publications ranging from light beach reads to educational tourism books.

On certain days, local Tahitian entertainers will come aboard and teach passengers about traditional Tahitian crafts and dancing. There’s mellow live music every night either via guitar or piano and on one special evening, the crew joins guests on the deck after dinner for a DJ-hosted dancing session.

There’s also a “crew talent show” night when staff members from all departments of the ship from housekeeping to culinary to spa managers showcase their personal talent, which is not to be missed. Travelers should be forewarned that this cruise is not particularly geared toward entertaining children, and the minimum age limit for passengers is eight years old. Guests under 21 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or chaperone in their stateroom or suite who is at least 25 years old. One adult (age 25 or older) chaperone is required for every five people under 21.

Spa & Fitness

Editor Rating

The fitness center is very small but does offer cycling equipment, treadmills, free weights, yoga mats, and a bench press station. Group fitness classes are free, and spots can be reserved in advance.

The option to jog around the entirety of the deck outside seven times will have you clocking a mile, but because there’s no real runner’s path, this exercise will require navigating the on-deck tables full of passengers.

There’s a small but mighty spa on board, with an impressive selection of treatments ranging from massages, nail services, hair services, skin treatments, and more.

Key cruising tips

Health & Safety

At the cruise terminal prior to embarkation, guests must show proof of vaccination. Currently, masks are optional, but staff wears masks for the entirety of the cruise both indoors and outdoors.

Current COVID-19 rules on Windstar require all passengers to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to embarkation.  For some countries in Europe and Tahiti, the last COVID-19 shot must be within a specified time period. 

 

Dress Code

The dress code is informal from 7am-6pm, but calls for casually elegant country club-style clothing in the evening, which means sundresses, skirts, and pants for women and nice slacks, polo shirts, button-down shirts, shoes other than athletic shoes for men.

Junior Cruisers

This cruise is not particularly child-friendly, and children under eight are not allowed on board. Activities are catered toward an adult clientele and there are no dedicated junior entertainment activities or services.

Service

The Wind Spirit team offers phenomenal service. The crew is extremely attentive and makes a real effort to remember your name.

Tipping

A hotel service charge of $14.50 per passenger per day is automatically added to each guest’s onboard account. A 15 percent Beverage Service Charge is factored into each bar charge and dining room wine purchase for those who don’t purchase the all-inclusive model.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
1988
Refurbished
2020
Number of Cabins
73
Passenger Capacity
148
Crew Members
101
Passengers to Crew Ratio
1.47
Gross Tons
5703
Width
52.1 feet
Length
360 feet

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