This was the worst cruise experience ever. My husband and I will never take a Windstar cruise again. We love cruises because of the great food, the onboard experiences and the scenic locations we travel to. We expect an occasional excursion to be cancelled, an occasional meal not the be to our liking, etc. We even expect the occasional rude ship employee. But for bad food or no food, rudeness, and cancelled activities to be the norm on the ship? This is just not acceptable. We took this cruise because we wanted to cruise around Iceland and this was the only ship we found doing this itinerary. Big mistake. In the future we will stick to the larger dependable cruise lines.
3 out of 5
Easy to embark, no problems.
Food and Dining
1 out of 5
How disappointing can cruise cuisine be? Lunch and dinner the first day were awesome, and I was ready for the fine dining that Windstar had promised. But that was not to be after the first day. From sirloin that was all fat and grizzle, to the flat fizz-less soda, to the "baked potato" which was really a plain boiled potato and came with nothing, not even butter, to the eggplant dish that tasted like salt - just salt, so much salt. The offerings I tried and then just couldn't stomach were endless. I'd let my husband taste my food to make sure it wasn't just me. But he was having the same problem! Got me wondering if they even knew how to cook. I would have starved if I didn't have cold bread and butter to eat at every meal. I'm just glad this wasn't my first cruise because if it was I might think this is the norm and never cruise again!
The food choices were very limited and so were the dining hours. And if you missed those hours, you got only small premade (not so fresh) sandwiches. There were few vegetables offered, except very bitter salad greens - it appeared they started the cruise with left-overs from their previous cruise and when they ran out, they were not restocking. So everything just seemed to get older and older. I have sailed many times on Carnival, NCL, and Celebrity before this, and the food has always been a highlight of the cruise, so I was quite shocked to find such inferior offerings on a cruise line that was supposed to be deluxe!
And to top it off the coffee bar only had coffee, tea, and expresso. No flavors, so cappuccino but no mocha. And the little deserts there were little very hard and heavy cupcakes - I think they were previously frozen because they were often very very cold.
1 out of 5
Three hot tubs and a pool on the ship. The hot tubs never opened and pool which they said was heated was not. And since we were in Iceland it needed to be heated! So to relax, sauna and exercise room the size of a large closet were it unless you wanted to pay for spa services - they had plenty of spa service rooms of course.
2 out of 5
The entertainment was all ship employee talent - you would need a few drinks to enjoy it for sure. No actual professional entertainment.We spent most of our time watching TV while we were on the ship, and they did have a good selection of movies running. I went to a couple of the port talks and they were OK.
1 out of 5
There were absolutely no children's programs so very few children on the ship.
Service and Staff
2 out of 5
Half of the waiters and room stewards and others working on the ship seemed happy to be there. The other half were pretty grumpy and not so helpful. Example: Step up to coffee bar and ask for coffee, and the attendant says "You know you can go upstairs to the buffet and ask for coffee" and then just stares at you. You step into the dining room and ask for a table for two, and the host looks around (yes, there were empty tables for two) and then says "Why don't the you join the people at this table here?" as he points to a table for 4 with only 2 people sitting there. The number of times we had to actually beg for something was ridiculous - i have never had to beg on a cruise ship before! And these were the people who spoke English, unlike most of the people we needed help from. It was common to ask for one thing and to be given something else. "Hot" was a word that no one appeared to understand - which does explain why we were told the swimming pool was "hot" when it was cold!
3 out of 5
Poorly maintained ship. Glad we never needed the life rafts - so much rust on unused equipment. Caulking repairs everywhere were pulling apart. At least it was clean.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Huge bathroom with bath/shower combo. Huge walk-in closet. Quality complementary bath products. Stateroom had comfy seating and nice size TV you could swivel to watch in bed or in seating area. Only problem we had was that mattress was very hard - definitely a bed for back sleepers and both my husband and I are side sleepers so we both did a lot of tossing and turning.
If you hit a storm, prepare for the amusement park ride of your life! We had a rocking and rolling, dresser drawers opening and closing, hold on to something if you need to get up and walk anywhere night!
Also Windstar insists on calling its ships "yachts" but seriously the Star Pride is just a small cruise ship.
Wish we would have just stayed in Reykjavik and never gotten on the boat! There is so much to do there.
Heimaey, Westman Islands, Iceland
3 out of 5
Walked the mountain of lava which was created when the volcano eruption buried half the town. It was pouring rain and wind gusts of 40 mph so our shore excursion was cancelled. Given how often there is bad weather here, I'm surprised they didn't have some extra options for shore excursions - like more bus rides so you could sightsee and stay dry! They had one bus excursion (totally prebooked) - everything else involved getting soaking wet or was cancelled.
Would have like to have stayed longer in this town - we arrived at night and the small town closed down within hours of our arrival. Stayed overnight in the port and only had a few hours in the morning before we left, no time to do anything.
Enjoyed walking around Akureyri and went on an excellent horse ride excursion after our prebooked excursion - flight to the Arctic Circle - was delayed for two hours and then cancelled because of weather.. Windstar said this hardly ever happens but the tour rep says it happens all the time.
Booked a super jeep ride in town. Just us and another couple and it was half the price of the Windstar excursions. The driver/tour guide was great and told us a lot about the area as we rode to the top of the Westfjords mountains which had amazing views. He also took us to see the ski resort, which is the lowest altitude ski resort in the world!
Walked around town and just for fun asked about a Windstar excursion which had been cancelled as we wondered why. They said the tour had been double booked so the Windstar booking was cancelled. That was a shame because this is a very very small town with really nothing but one coffee shop.
2 out of 5
We were so happy to get off the ship but it was so early in the morning nothing near the port was open yet. It would have been nice to get a little more sleep and/or another cup of coffee. Everyone had to be off the ship by 8:30 am, so we could have caught an early flight home, but when we booked the cruise Windstar couldn't promise we would be off the ship before 11 am. Because of that misinformation, we had booked late flights and were up for over 24 hours traveling home.
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