Wind Spirit - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Wind Spirit

★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 360 out of 500

Accommodation: 160 out of 200

Food: 267 out of 400

Service: 271 out of 400

Entertainment: 73 out of 100

Cruise: 262 out of 400

Overall Score: 1393 out of 2000

Wind Spirit Statistics

Size: Boutique Ship

Tonnage: 5,350

Lifestyle: Premium

Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 8603509

Builder: Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre

Original Cost: $34.2 million

Entered Service: Apr 1988

Registry: Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 439.6/134.0

Beam (ft/m): 51.8/15.8

Draft (ft/m): 13.4/4.1

Propulsion/Propellers: (a) diesel-electric (1,400kW)/1; (b) sails

Passenger Decks: 5

Total Crew: 88

Passengers (lower beds): 148

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 36.1

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.6

Cabins (total): 74

Size Range (sq ft/m): 185.0-220.0/17.0-22.5

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 0

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 0

Wheelchair accessibility: None

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 0

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 1

Hot Tubs (on deck): 1

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A modern sail-cruise ship with chic contemporary style

Overview. This sail-cruise ship is ideally suited to youthful couples and solo travelers seeking contemporary facilities and some water sports in a relaxed but chic setting that’s different from ‘normal’ cruise ships, with good food and service, but with no entertainment, silly parlor games, structured activities, or ship’s photographers to get in the way.

The Ship. Wind Spirit, an identical twin to Wind Star, is a long, sleek-looking craft that is part-yacht, part-cruise ship, with four giant masts that tower 170ft (52m) above the deck, and is fitted with computer-controlled sails. The masts, sails and rigging alone cost $5 million when the ship was built. A computer keeps the ship on an even keel via the movement of a water hydraulic ballast system of 142,653 gallons (540,000 liters), so there is no rolling over 6°. You may be under sail for less than 40 percent of the time, depending on the conditions and cruise area winds prevailing.

Because of the amount of complex sail machinery, there is little open deck space when the ship is full. At the stern is a small water sports platform that can be used when at anchor and only in really calm sea conditions. Water sports facilities include a banana boat, kayaks, sunfish sailboats, windsurf boards, water-ski boat, scuba and snorkel equipment, and four Zodiacs. You will be asked to sign a waiver if you wish to use the water sports equipment.

The ship has a finely crafted interior with pleasing, blond woods, together with soft, complementary colors and decor that is chic, even elegant, but a little cold. Note that the main lounge aboard this ship is of a slightly different design from that aboard Wind Star. Together with Wind Star, this ship had a makeover in 2012 - this included a complete refurbishment of cabins (including new lighting), Owner’s Suite and corridors together with The Restaurant, Veranda, Lounge, WindSpa, Library, Reception, and Pool Bar.

No scheduled activities help to make this a real relaxing, unregimented ‘get away from it all’ vacation. The Windstar ships help you to cruise in very comfortable, contemporary surroundings bordering on the luxurious, yet in an unstructured environment. They are just right for seven idyllic nights in sheltered areas, but can be disturbing when a Windstar vessel is in small ports alongside several gigantic cruise ships.

The swimming pool is really only a tiny ‘dip’ pool. Be prepared for the whine of the vessel’s generators, which are needed to run the air-conditioning and lighting systems 24 hours a day. You’ll hear it at night in your cabin, and it takes most passengers a day or two to get used to.

Beverage prices are a little high. The library is small and needs more hardback fiction. The staff, though friendly, is casual and a little sloppy at times in the finer points of service.

The dress code is casual, with no jackets and ties, even for dinner - the brochure states casual elegance. There are no formal nights or theme nights. Gratuities are charged at about $12 per person, per day, and 15 percent is added to bar and wine accounts.

Accommodation. All cabins are nicely equipped, have crisp, inviting decor and a minibar/refrigerator (stocked when you embark, but all drinks cost extra), 24-hour room service, personal safe, and plenty of storage space. A TV, with CNN when available, rotates so that it is viewable from the bed and the bathroom. There’s also a video player and CD player. All cabins all have two portholes with outside views, and deadlights (steel covers that provide a complete blackout at night and can be closed in poor weather conditions). The decor is a pleasant mix of rich woods, natural fabrics and colorful soft furnishings, and hi-tech yacht-style amenities. A basket of fruit is replenished daily.

The bathrooms are compact units, designed in a figure of eight, with a teakwood floor in the central section. There is a good amount of storage space for toiletries in two cabinets, as well as under-sink cupboard space. A wall-mounted hairdryer is also provided. The shower enclosure (no cabins have bathtubs) is circular - like many of today’s passengers - and has both a hand-held as well as a fixed shower so you can wash your hair without getting the rest of your body wet. L’Occitane bathroom amenities are provided, as are a vanity kit and shower cap.

The lighting is not strong enough for women to apply make-up - this is better applied at the vanity desk in the cabin, which has stronger overhead (halogen) lighting. Bathrobes and towels are 100 percent cotton.

Dining. There is one rather chic and elegant dining room, AmphorA Restaurant (whose name is derived from a vessel, or container), with ocean views from large, picture windows, a lovely wood ceiling and wood paneled walls. California-style nouvelle cuisine is served, with attractively presented dishes. Additionally, signature dishes created by master chefs Joachim Splichal and Jeanne Jones are offered daily. Open seating means you dine when you want and with whomever you wish to.

When the company first started, European waiters provided service with practiced European finesse. However, they have been replaced by Indonesians and Filipinos, whose communication skills at times can prove inadequate, although their service is pleasant enough. The selection of breads, cheeses, and fruits could be better. There is a big push to sell wines, although the prices are extremely high, as they are for most alcoholic drinks, and even bottled water.

There is often casual dinner on the open deck under the stars, with grilled seafood and steaks. At the bars, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres appear at cocktail times.

Fancy something quiet and romantic? At no extra charge, a ‘Cuisine de l’Amour’ romantic dinner for two can be served to you in your cabin, complete with candle. The menu, with seductive-sounding selections, offers a choice of appetizer, a set soup, choice of salad, and two entrée options, and a set dessert to finish.

Entertainment. There is no showlounge, shows, or cabaret. However, none are really needed, because a cruise aboard this high-tech sailing ship provides an opportunity to get away from all that noise and ‘entertainment.’ The main lounge, a corner of which houses a small casino, has a small dance floor, and, typically, a trio is there to play.

The main lounge is also used for cocktail parties and other social functions. Otherwise, it’s down to more personal entertainment, such as a video in your cabin late at night - or, much more romantic, after-dinner hours spent outside strolling or simply lounging on deck.

Spa/Fitness. A gymnasium (with a modicum of muscle-toning equipment, treadmills, and exercycles) and sauna are located at the aft of the ship, adjacent to the water sports platform. Special spa packages can be pre-booked through your travel agent before you arrive at the ship. Wellbeing massages, aromatherapy facials, manicures, pedicures, and hair beautifying treatments all cost extra. The spa is operated by Steiner Leisure, a specialist concession.