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RobertPierre1

Windstar cruise - a great disappointment

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:(

Thinking of booking a cruise for my hubby's 55th birthday, I stumbled on a perfect itinerary: Athens to Istanbul. Having sailed on Cunard on several occasions, I was ready to try a smaller ship. The Windstar brochures looked good and it promised casual luxury. While on board, I realized that casual, it was. Luxurious? Not so much. Except for our cabin steward, most of the staff were WAAAAAAY too familiar, addressing us by the first name without an invitation and making a nasty habit of touching one's shoulder at every opportunity. Call me old fashioned, but I am a paying (and tipping well) passenger, not their friend. The food was largely good, though not stellar (salty on most occasions) and the wine list.... well,it was wine, to be sure, but I would not call it good.Heavily skewed towards American palate (heavily-oaked or fruit-forward reds, semi-sweet whites) and no alternatives. The couple of decent bottles on the list were soon out of stock, so we have started buying the wine in ports and paying the corking fee ($17) every night - hardly the promised luxury. The house Champagne turned out to be a dreadly sweet Prosecco. To add insult to injury, after I made my observations known to Guest Relations lead at Windstar Cruises, she dismissed me as a wine snob and basically told me to get a life. So the score is: Windstar got my money, to be sure, but will never again get anything from me or my family, friends and associates.:cool:

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:(

Thinking of booking a cruise for my hubby's 55th birthday, I stumbled on a perfect itinerary: Athens to Istanbul. Having sailed on Cunard on several occasions, I was ready to try a smaller ship. The Windstar brochures looked good and it promised casual luxury. While on board, I realized that casual, it was. Luxurious? Not so much. Except for our cabin steward, most of the staff were WAAAAAAY too familiar, addressing us by the first name without an invitation and making a nasty habit of touching one's shoulder at every opportunity. Call me old fashioned, but I am a paying (and tipping well) passenger, not their friend. The food was largely good, though not stellar (salty on most occasions) and the wine list.... well,it was wine, to be sure, but I would not call it good.Heavily skewed towards American palate (heavily-oaked or fruit-forward reds, semi-sweet whites) and no alternatives. The couple of decent bottles on the list were soon out of stock, so we have started buying the wine in ports and paying the corking fee ($17) every night - hardly the promised luxury. The house Champagne turned out to be a dreadly sweet Prosecco. To add insult to injury, after I made my observations known to Guest Relations lead at Windstar Cruises, she dismissed me as a wine snob and basically told me to get a life. So the score is: Windstar got my money, to be sure, but will never again get anything from me or my family, friends and associates.:cool:

 

Windstar ships are casual there is no doubt about that and for those of us that are looking for a small ship experience that are less formal it really works. Our two favorite cruise lines are Seabourn and Windstar there is something unique about each of them, if we are looking for something a little more formal Seabourn can't be beat, but we love sailing on Windstar when we are visiting the Caribbean as casual and relax seems to fit well with the island feeling.

 

As you can see by our name "Wandering Wino's" we too enjoy a glass or two;) of wine with our meals. We normally bring with us a case of mostly California wines when we cruise even on Seabourn which is all inclusive.

 

With so many great cruiselines available I'm sure you will pick one next time that provides you with everything that you expect and enjoy.

 

Happy cruising.

Shirley

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Sorry to hear you did not enjoy your cruise. You may be happier on a true luxury line such as Regent or Silversea, however be prepared to pay much more than on Windstar. Silversea is more formal than Regent, so you might enjoy it more. As suggested Seabourn is a good option as well, however I personally would not sail on it given their smoking policies. I can suffer through a bad bottle of wine, but can't tolerate smoking, especially on a cruise.

Edited by Sunprince

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Sorry to hear you did not enjoy your cruise. You may be happier on a true luxury line such as Regent or Silversea, however be prepared to pay much more than on Windstar. Silversea is more formal than Regent, so you might enjoy it more. As suggested Seabourn is a good option as well, however I personally would not sail on it given their smoking policies. I can suffer through a bad bottle of wine, but can't tolerate smoking, especially on a cruise.

 

Being a forever non-smoker I can certainly appreciate your dislike of smoking. The past cruises on Seabourn the only times I was faced with a smoker was outside on the deck, a cigar smoker was enjoying his time in the sun and I simply moved locations, I never encountered any smoking in the dinning room or any other public area.

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:(

Thinking of booking a cruise for my hubby's 55th birthday, I stumbled on a perfect itinerary: Athens to Istanbul. Having sailed on Cunard on several occasions, I was ready to try a smaller ship. The Windstar brochures looked good and it promised casual luxury. While on board, I realized that casual, it was. Luxurious? Not so much. Except for our cabin steward, most of the staff were WAAAAAAY too familiar, addressing us by the first name without an invitation and making a nasty habit of touching one's shoulder at every opportunity. Call me old fashioned, but I am a paying (and tipping well) passenger, not their friend. The food was largely good, though not stellar (salty on most occasions) and the wine list.... well,it was wine, to be sure, but I would not call it good.Heavily skewed towards American palate (heavily-oaked or fruit-forward reds, semi-sweet whites) and no alternatives. The couple of decent bottles on the list were soon out of stock, so we have started buying the wine in ports and paying the corking fee ($17) every night - hardly the promised luxury. The house Champagne turned out to be a dreadly sweet Prosecco. To add insult to injury, after I made my observations known to Guest Relations lead at Windstar Cruises, she dismissed me as a wine snob and basically told me to get a life. So the score is: Windstar got my money, to be sure, but will never again get anything from me or my family, friends and associates.:cool:

 

Thanks for not being on my next Windstar cruise.:D

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Mrs. RobertPierre1 - There is a reason that there are many different lines with varying cruise experiences and price points. Obviously, Windstar was not a good match for you. I hope that your next cruise on whatever line you choose meets your expectations better.

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Windstar wine list is very good if you compare to what they serve in Cuban resort:p

 

Joking aside, sorry to hear your experience which was not to what you were expecting.

 

I, for one, do not mind being called by my name or being familiar. I think it make it easier to engage in conversation with the staff. I like to stop and talk to them about their work experience in the cruise industry, their country, etc, etc. Most of them are young and eager to please.

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Being a forever non-smoker I can certainly appreciate your dislike of smoking. The past cruises on Seabourn the only times I was faced with a smoker was outside on the deck' date=' a cigar smoker was enjoying his time in the sun and I simply moved locations, I never encountered any smoking in the dinning room or any other public area.[/quote']

 

Thanks Wandering, I would like to try Seaborun but have been hesitant for 2 reasons: 1) the smoking and 2) their pricing. As for smoking, for me it is more than a dislike, I am allergic and will get sick if in a smoking environment. I have been told that on Seabourn, there are no non-smoking staterooms and smoking is allowed within the stateroom etc. This is a definite problem for me personally. As for pricing, I am finding Seabourn to be less inclusive than Regent (i.e. no airfare, excursions etc) and they are charging similar prices as Regent. Both are high, but Seabourn comes out higher when adding in the extras. I do like the look/size of the Seabourn ships and would love to try them, maybe when their smoking policies change.

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Thanks for not being on my next Windstar cruise.:D

Ditto, Airbus Pat, may our paths never cross, since you cannot abide by the single rule of this website: no personal attacks. Tells me a lot about you.:)

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Ditto, Airbus Pat, may our paths never cross, since you cannot abide by the single rule of this website: no personal attacks. Tells me a lot about you.:)

 

Sometimes it takes a little while as a member of CC to get the hang of it as far as posting and since you are brand new with only 2 posts I think you will find that when you start off with your 1st post trashing any cruiseline you will probably have negative responses to your post. Next time you might want to start off somewhat nicer. :)

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I take offense to the claim that all American wines are over oaked plonk. Perhaps the ones you've had, but there are many which offer the same finesse as their Old World counterparts. I'll remind you of Paris, 1976. Frankly the US wines fare far better in international rankings than their Canadian counterparts which tend to be--gasp--sweet (Niagara region) or over-oaked (BC).

Edited by ducklite

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I take offense to the claim that all American wines are over oaked plonk. Perhaps the ones you've had, but there are many which offer the same finesse as their Old World counterparts. I'll remind you of Paris, 1976. Frankly the US wines fare far better in international rankings than their Canadian counterparts which tend to be--gasp--sweet (Niagara region) or over-oaked (BC).

 

ducklite, with all respect...you have just done the same thing that you are accusing the OP of doing. You shouln't broad brush canadian wines as being bad no more than the OP should of california wines. There are many excellent and highly rated wines from both regions. And btw, not all Niagara wines are sweet. Also, don't assume (just because the OP is from Canada) that the she was comparing california wines to canadian ones ...my guess is that she wasn't.

Edited by Sunprince

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dear cool cruiser,i feelsorry for you that your complaint was that the crew was to familiar by calling you by your first name and touching you on the shoulder.Having been on 7 cruises,i have found the crew to be delightfull,and so helpfull.I feel so lucky to meet such warm and interesting human beings from a different part of the world.

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ducklite, with all respect...you have just done the same thing that you are accusing the OP of doing. You shouln't broad brush canadian wines as being bad no more than the OP should of california wines. There are many excellent and highly rated wines from both regions. And btw, not all Niagara wines are sweet. Also, don't assume (just because the OP is from Canada) that the she was comparing california wines to canadian ones ...my guess is that she wasn't.

 

I was being sarcastic to a degree. I realize that there are some exceptional Canadian wines, I have some in my cellar. That said, overall the Canadian wines do not tend to score as well as their American and Old World counterparts. The Niagara ice wines are generally the exception to the rule, and generally considered "best in class" world wide.

 

PS--There are many more wine making regions in the US than "California." Washington, Oregon, New York, and to a lesser degree Virginia, Arizona, and North Carolina. There is at least one winery in every state.

Edited by ducklite

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Apparently, Windstar was not a good fit for the OP. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

 

We've done several Windstar cruises, and loved them. It's a treat to be on a smaller ship, with an attentive and caring crew. No complaints here. :) And we're looking forward to our next one.

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WOW, I'm just looking at this thread and realizing the different perspectives people have. We did the Windstar in late August, and absolutely loved it.

 

This was our second Windstar, so we knew what to expect. Though in reading recent reviews, I was a little concerned about the food/wine etc. We are foodies, and I am very much into wine.

 

A point that perhaps the initial poster did not quite internalize is that Windstar prides itself on the casual country club atmosphere. Therefore, they expect their staff to learn the names of the guests quickly and to have a basic understanding of likes/dislikes. I loved that by the 3nd morning they knew I wanted a double capaccino at breakfast, and just brought it.

 

As to the wine, yes it was geared to US tastes, but there was a range to choose from , and their price point was very fair, only about a 2x upcharge, versus most restaurants charging 3.5 - 4x, and they don't care if we have our own wine in our rooms.

 

I will finally get my review done. We can't wait for our next Windstar.

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Obviously you missed the boat....or took the wrong ship. We all make mistakes. Next time sail on one of those upscale stuffy cruises with formal nights and lots of glitz. Windstar may not be your definition of luxurious. It is definitely 180 degrees different from most cruise lines. I like it. It is casual and classy. I never felt anyone touching my shoulder. However, the friendly smiles and kind offers to serve are certainly a luxury that does not happen on many ships. Windstar also made me rethink what I wanted on a cruise. I used to think that having a veranda was an essential. Windstar cabins do not have verandas. They are average size with a lot of good features. Being on a ship where everyone is happy is the main attraction.

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Obviously you missed the boat....or took the wrong ship. We all make mistakes. Next time sail on one of those upscale stuffy cruises with formal nights and lots of glitz. Windstar may not be your definition of luxurious. It is definitely 180 degrees different from most cruise lines. I like it. It is casual and classy. I never felt anyone touching my shoulder. However, the friendly smiles and kind offers to serve are certainly a luxury that does not happen on many ships. Windstar also made me rethink what I wanted on a cruise. I used to think that having a veranda was an essential. Windstar cabins do not have verandas. They are average size with a lot of good features. Being on a ship where everyone is happy is the main attraction.

 

I couldn't have said this better. We love Windstar and have always found the staff to be both friendly and professional. Love every minute of the experience.

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Booked our third Windstar cruise last month. We fell in love with Windstar when we were sitting around the pool and the head bartender asked if he can clean our sunglasses. That to me was being catered to...and it didn't cost the company much!!! It's the little things that made the past 2 cruises are best cruises ever!

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:(

Thinking of booking a cruise for my hubby's 55th birthday, I stumbled on a perfect itinerary: Athens to Istanbul. Having sailed on Cunard on several occasions, I was ready to try a smaller ship. The Windstar brochures looked good and it promised casual luxury. While on board, I realized that casual, it was. Luxurious? Not so much. Except for our cabin steward, most of the staff were WAAAAAAY too familiar, addressing us by the first name without an invitation and making a nasty habit of touching one's shoulder at every opportunity. Call me old fashioned, but I am a paying (and tipping well) passenger, not their friend. The food was largely good, though not stellar (salty on most occasions) and the wine list.... well,it was wine, to be sure, but I would not call it good.Heavily skewed towards American palate (heavily-oaked or fruit-forward reds, semi-sweet whites) and no alternatives. The couple of decent bottles on the list were soon out of stock, so we have started buying the wine in ports and paying the corking fee ($17) every night - hardly the promised luxury. The house Champagne turned out to be a dreadly sweet Prosecco. To add insult to injury, after I made my observations known to Guest Relations lead at Windstar Cruises, she dismissed me as a wine snob and basically told me to get a life. So the score is: Windstar got my money, to be sure, but will never again get anything from me or my family, friends and associates.:cool:

 

Since the poster stated they had previously sailed Cundard "on several occasions" I find it odd that they did not peruse CC prior to their Windstar Cruise to either garner some advice or at least get some tips before the cruise. Then to come on the board for the very first time and post a very negative assessment of their Windstar experience focusing in large part on the WINE-this just seems rather odd. The cruise line is the polar opposite of Cunard both in terms of size of the ship and style of cruising. Just saying...

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Since the poster stated they had previously sailed Cundard "on several occasions" I find it odd that they did not peruse CC prior to their Windstar Cruise to either garner some advice or at least get some tips before the cruise. Then to come on the board for the very first time and post a very negative assessment of their Windstar experience focusing in large part on the WINE-this just seems rather odd. The cruise line is the polar opposite of Cunard both in terms of size of the ship and style of cruising. Just saying...

 

OP joined Cruise Critic AFTER his Windstar cruise. Perhaps things would have been different if he had joined earlier and used Cruise Critic as a tool for research instead of a venue for complaining.

 

One thing I noticed was OP's fixation about being called by her first name. I got a hint in the post of "these people are my servants, how dare them act as equals". In many circles that distinction does exist, but I'm sure a quick "Call me Mrs. Jones, please" would have worked miracles and probably circulated quickly around the crew.

 

A little research can do a lot of things but disappointments can slip through. I had a TA on the Celebrity Solistice 18 months ago. I knew their walking facilities were not great but had not quite been prepared for the facilities on a 122,000 ton ship to be inferior to those on the Wind Surf, and was completely unprepared to be treated as a second class citizen because I was a first timer with them.

 

Research helps but in not infallible.

 

Roy

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Having sailed on Silverseas and Seabourn, I still return to Winstar. Best overall experience and value in my book, especially for those prefering casual, friendly, personalized atmosphere on a smaller ship.

We are looking forward to our Morrocan/Canary Island cruise and continuing on for two more weeks across the Atlantic.

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Count us as big Windstar fans, still our favorite, although Seabourn cabins were nicest and Oceania food was best.

 

Given my screen name, the Winegirl always orders nice bottles off the wine list or finds some local gems in port. Corkage fee is fine, the cruise line is in business to make $$$ and is accommodating me by allowing me to bring wine to the DR.

 

When cruising on Seabourn, I never, ever smelled any smoke anywhere. I did not realize they allowed smoking. I am also asthmatic and don't tolerate smoke well, but we did not find it on Seabourn, either in public places or and odor in the cabin.

 

I don't think Canada is known for wine like some other places, but we had dinner at the Sooke Harbor House in the past, which has a very nice, extensive wine list. The couple from TX sitting next to us ordered several of the big CA names. We asked the sommelier for a "big red," and something outside the box. He sold us a Canadian wine, Malivoire Old Vines Foch, which turned out to be one of the best wines we ever drank. From Ontario.

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Count me in as a big fan of Windstar. One of the things I find charming about the staff IS their friendliness. Ditto on the double cappuccino at breakfast, without ever asking.

 

Double bonus is repeat sailing and seeing staff from previous cruise....and they remember you! I love those personal touches in such a seemingly impersonal world.

 

:)

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