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

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

Wind Star

★★★ +

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: 263 out of 400

Overall Score: 1394 out of 2000

Wind Star Statistics

Size: Boutique Ship

Tonnage: 5,350

Lifestyle: Premium

Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 8420878

Builder: Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre

Original Cost: $34.2 million

Entered Service: Dec 1986

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 contemporary sail-cruise ship for smart casual cruising

Overview. Wind Star is suited to youthful couples and singles who want contemporary facilities and some water sports in a relaxed but chic setting.

The Ship. 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 masts were lowered into position, a US silver dollar, dated 1889, was placed under the main mast). The 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 nicely 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 Spirit. This ship received a complete makeover in 2012.

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.

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. Gratuities are charged to your onboard account, and 15 percent is added to bar, wine and spa accounts.

Accommodation. The 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. All cabins all have two portholes. The bathrooms are compact with a teakwood floor. 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 and has both a hand-held as well as a fixed shower unit. L’Occitane bathroom amenities are provided, as are a vanity kit and shower cap.

Dining. The main dining room, the AmphorA Restaurant (its name is derived from a vessel, or container), is chic, and has ocean views, plus a lovely wood ceiling and wood paneled walls. California-style cuisine is served, with attractively presented dishes. Additionally, signature dishes created by master chefs Joachim Splichal and Jeanne Jones are offered. 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 - even bottled water is the highest in the industry, at $7, per liter bottle.

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.

For something quiet and romantic, a ‘Cuisine de l’Amour’ romantic dinner for two can be served to you in your cabin. 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. 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 fitness room and sauna are located at the aft of the ship. Special spa packages can be pre-booked. Wellbeing massages, aromatherapy facials, manicures, pedicures, and hair beautifying treatments all cost extra. The spa is operated by a specialist concession.