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anonymousegirl

Any tips for a Windstar newbie?

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We just booked our first Windstar cruise (August 2nd Istanbul to Athens on the Wind Star).

 

Any tips? We have opted for the laundry package already.

 

Thanks,

Lori

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1. Be on deck for the sail away

2. Have dinner at Candles one night

3. Relax and enjoy!

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Hi R and RD,

looking forward to Candles one night and the deck BBQ. On the big ships we tend to miss sail away, but I think it will be special on Windstar.

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Definitely don't miss sail away..it is special...also visit the bridge

 

My husband is particularly looking for to the bridge visits. is it really open 24/7?

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The bridge is not open while in port or while maneuvering into and out of port or if the seas are particularly difficult to navigate. Safety is the primary concern. There will be a red "bridge closed sign" when you are not allowed on the bridge. But most of the time at sea the bridge is open. The officers are very friendly and happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Yes, do make sure you visit the bridge, especially nice late at night with all the instrument panels glowing and the bright stars above.

 

Also, on your sea day, sign up for the engine room tour, very interesting and fills up fast. If they have a cooking class on the sea day, that is fun, too!

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Make sure to have your pictures taken on the bow sprit and make sure to take a swim of the back of the ship when they lower the marina.

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I love behind-the-scenes tours and my husband will love the engine room tour (being an engineer). I am so glad we have one day at sea. Can we sign up prior to the cruise or once we board? Our day at sea in our second day.

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You cannot sign up for the engine room tour prior to boarding, but I would check at the desk the first night and get your names on the list since it usually fills up fast. My husband (also an engineer) has done the tour twice. The only reason he has not done it more is because he feels a little guilty taking the spot of someone who has never done it - otherwise I think he would take it every cruise!:D

 

If they offer a galley tour on your sea day, that's interesting too (and they usually have some samples to try). On our last cruise, they offered a cooking class on our sea day for $15. Another fun thing to do on the sea day if they have it - doesn't hurt the the class began with a lovely glass of wine.

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Also shopping in port with the chef is a neat diversion. No fee, just get your name in the list and show up at the right time and place.

 

 

Autocorrect responsible for most typos...

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Tips:

 

Don't buy the liquor package unless you're really lushes. On a cruise we tend to be wine in the afternoon and a bottle with dinner folk. They don't care if you bring wine on board with you - just not cases full, and you can easily find wine on shore before or during the cruise. For dinner, they have a good selection of wines, some expensive but some moderately priced.

 

Book the tours carefully. They tend to be expensive, and especially at smaller ports there will be taxis waiting who will gladly drive you around for the day for much less than a tour. In many cases, if you google you'll find agencies who make a living by picking up people on cruises and touring them for the day, often at less than half of what Windstar is charging.

 

Don't plan tours every day, it is also nice to relax on board while in port, walk into town (some of them are quite small) to do some browsing around and shopping.

 

Don't always eat on board because the meal is 'free". If you're in town have a local lunch at a real restaurant. My one complaint about Windstar, at least in the past we haven't cruised in 18 months or so, is that everything comes out of the freezer and is seldom "local" in any way. The food is "adequate banquet" not much more.

 

Sail away is fun, once or twice, but the same music gets old quickly. But, do try to be on deck when the ship is departing and arriving in ports. Especially in the smaller towns there will be people lined up onshore waving you off - one place they all brought lawn chairs - great fun.

 

Breakfast and Lunch is "seat yourself" but at dinner you'll be seated at a table. If you want company they'll seat you at a table with others, if you want to be alone just say "can we have a table by ourselves tonight?" They tend to match up people who they think will be compatible, and the decision seems to be based on age. We're at an, um, transitional age, and after two nights of being seated with people much older than us we politely asked, "can we have people a little younger tonight?" with no problem. The older couples were wonderful to chat with, but not anyone we'd want to spend the next day with.

 

Talk to people. On deck, at dinner, on the tours. We've met some good friends and some semi-good friends on Windstar. In one case we now vacation together, in another we've lost track but spend three full days together after a Windstar cruise in Lisbon when it turned out that my chance we were staying at the same hotel. Had a great time.

 

If you meet people you like, arrange to go to dinner together, you'll likely be seated at a four-top by yourselves.

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We just booked our first Windstar cruise (August 2nd Istanbul to Athens on the Wind Star).

 

Any tips? We have opted for the laundry package already.

 

Thanks,

Lori

My advice Lori (anonymousegirl) is to cancel your Windstar cruise ASAP and rebook with Princess or Royal Caribbean or anyone else - get a balcony cabin and enjoy. Windstars tenders are frightening - the food is just average - breakfast and lunch are less than average. Windstar may go to the small ports where the big ships can't go - the truth is the big ships don't want to go to these ports and you probably will not want to.

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My advice Lori (anonymousegirl) is to cancel your Windstar cruise ASAP and rebook with Princess or Royal Caribbean or anyone else - get a balcony cabin and enjoy. Windstars tenders are frightening - the food is just average - breakfast and lunch are less than average. Windstar may go to the small ports where the big ships can't go - the truth is the big ships don't want to go to these ports and you probably will not want to.

 

Windstar isn't for everyone. If you want to be in a floating hotel that goes to ports that are mobbed with thousands of other cruise-folk, book one of the big lines. If you want a more intimate experience book Windstar. In multiple cruises we've only been to one dud port, and note that they no longer stop there. Can't disagree with the food comment - ordinary at best, but any other non-luxury lines any better? At least you don't need to stand in an endless buffet line!

 

Yes, the cabins are small and don't have balconies, but a Windstar ship is small enough that you can easily find a secluded area on deck where you'll be by yourself enjoying the day.

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I can't disagree more with Smooth Sailing. The ports we visited over our two weeks in a Windstar back to back were excellent, not a dud in the bunch. We had never cruised without being in a large suite or balcony before, but gave that up for the B2B plus days pre and post-cruise in Europe. We booked the least expensive cabin and couldn't have been more pleased. Because the European sailings are so port intensive, there isn't really time for lounging in a balcony, and we never had a problem funding a quiet, secluded spot on deck.

 

We found the food was quite good. It was not five star, but our dinners were generally very good to excellent. Breakfast, well, I'm not sure what people expect for breakfast. They offer all of the typical breakfast items, and will make other things in request. Lunch is a weak spot in my opinion, but we never went hungry.

 

I didn't have a problem with the tenders, and not sure why they would be considered frightening by anyone.

 

Having sailed in both large, mega, and Windstar, give me a small ship any day. The food and service made Royal Caribbean seem like a jailhouse chow line, and we found better food and service than we got on either Disney cruise--with the exception of the $75 pp upcharge Remy on the Dream.

 

Royal Caribbean sucked. Period. Worst vacation ever. It was a week of bad food, bad service, bad crowds, and a suite with more maintenance issues than you'd find on the entire boat on a Windstar cruise.

 

 

 

 

Autocorrect responsible for most typos...

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Please remember the Winstar experience is a sailing ship therefore no balconies, the rooms are nicely designed for maximin space. As for food, being an excellent cook, interested in natural and organic food I find the food excellent and well prepared, creative and diverse. Our cruise Istanbul to Athens there was ample of local food and menus. I hate buffets but the breakfasts have great fruit and the lunches wonderful salads. As for meats for the Caribbean they are purveyed in Argentina and lamb New Zeeland therefore no hormones and antibiotics. European meats are purveyed in the Netherlands EU again no hormones and antibiotics. As for the sail aways I never get sick of the 1492 music and the beautiful visuals as we sail away no matter where we are ( 13 cruises ) . I think you can not help but have a wonderful time. We love Windstar and are of

to the Trans-Pacific and Tahiti, will report back. Have a great cruise. Susanne

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I, also, agree with Strenz, ducklite and milepig regarding Smooth Sailing's comments.

 

Lori, since you are on the Istanbul-Athens cruise, you might want to check out this thread:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1845456. There is a link to my Shutterfly page reviewing our cruise including some tabs that give menus and food photos. Check down a couple of replies in the same thread and you will find a link to the themutis Shutterfly review of her Istanbul-Athens cruise.

 

Hope that helps!

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My advice Lori (anonymousegirl) is to cancel your Windstar cruise ASAP and rebook with Princess or Royal Caribbean or anyone else - get a balcony cabin and enjoy. Windstars tenders are frightening - the food is just average - breakfast and lunch are less than average. Windstar may go to the small ports where the big ships can't go - the truth is the big ships don't want to go to these ports and you probably will not want to.

 

Smooth Sailing - I see in your tag line that your "future cruises" includes the Windsurf on Jan 4. Is your response based on your recent Windsurf experience? Perhaps it would be helpful to share something about yourself in relation to your experience on the Windsurf. Was it that bad??

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My advice Lori (anonymousegirl) is to cancel your Windstar cruise ASAP and rebook with Princess or Royal Caribbean or anyone else - get a balcony cabin and enjoy. Windstars tenders are frightening - the food is just average - breakfast and lunch are less than average. Windstar may go to the small ports where the big ships can't go - the truth is the big ships don't want to go to these ports and you probably will not want to.

 

Interesting advice. As you can see by my signature we have done quite a few of the more traditional big ship cruises. As for the ports that no one wants to go to, I don't think Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Kusadashi qualify in that category.

 

I am loving the fact that Windstar is the only ship in port at these places on our particular cruise. In Santorini there will be just the 148 of us instead of 6000. I can only think that is going to enhance our day in port to not have to fight the masses of tourists.

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Interesting advice. As you can see by my signature we have done quite a few of the more traditional big ship cruises. As for the ports that no one wants to go to, I don't think Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Kusadashi qualify in that category.

 

I am loving the fact that Windstar is the only ship in port at these places on our particular cruise. In Santorini there will be just the 148 of us instead of 6000. I can only think that is going to enhance our day in port to not have to fight the masses of tourists.

Lori, your right - we just did the Caribbean and I was referring to the ports of Soper's Hole, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda. The senery was fabulous but the ports had nothing - one bar, one restaurant, and 2 shops. Your ports may be much more interesting. I still really missed having a balcony and again the food was no better than average - Windstar just was not for us - I really do hope you enjoy your cruise. I really like that you have already booked a cruise for 2104.

Edited by Smooth Sailing

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I've just realized I can't see my signature on my posts. I checked my profile and it is showing there just fine. Anyone have any idea how I can get it to display?

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If your signature is your cruises and upcoming cruises it is showing to me

Thanks. For some reason, I am not see the signatures for anyone. I think I must have hit hide sigs or some such thing. Must go delve into my profile and change that.

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Interesting advice. As you can see by my signature we have done quite a few of the more traditional big ship cruises. As for the ports that no one wants to go to, I don't think Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Kusadashi qualify in that category.

 

I am loving the fact that Windstar is the only ship in port at these places on our particular cruise. In Santorini there will be just the 148 of us instead of 6000. I can only think that is going to enhance our day in port to not have to fight the masses of tourists.

 

Rhodes was the highlight for us. Not sure if this always happens, but we were in port on our IST-ATH cruise the same day as the ATH-IST ship (in the opposite direction.) We both the sail away at dusk, and it was magical, with each ship circling the other a couple times before we each sailed off in opposite directions. Something for my bucket list, and totally unexpected.

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