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Cruise Ship Information
The Wind Star is a beautiful vessel known for its six, billowing, computer-controlled sails. The vessel provides 148 passengers with the atmosphere and amenities of any high-end luxury yacht. The Wind Star divides its time between Mediterranean itineraries calling at Adriatic ports, trans-Atlantic crossings, trans-Canal cruises, and eco-focused tours of Costa Rica's Pacific shores.
 
Windstar's namesake ship -- Wind Star, a sleek, four-masted, motorized sailing yacht that's one of three in the casual-yet-upscale line's fleet -- was built in 1986. Yet, continuous upkeep and recent refurbishments have kept it fresh and youthful. In the cabins, creaky old bathrooms have been spruced up with granite countertops, high-piled towels and fancy shower sprayers; and new combination DVD/CD/iPod players have upped the ante in the tech toys department. Public rooms and restaurants have been updated, too.
 
Windstar was acquired in 2011 by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, and all three ships underwent an $18 million refurbishment in 2012.Wind Star's Restaurant was redesigned and renamed AmphorA, and a new menu was implemented. The Pool Bar was revamped to create additional alfresco seating for sunset dining at Candles Grill, with a new awning and deck furniture. The reception area was updated, and The Lounge got new hardwood flooring and a new AV system.
 

Wind Star is intimate and romantic, and it's a treat to cruise on a real sailing ship. But its small size means you also benefit from access to otherwise unreachable ports. Wind Spirit offers unique itineraries that include ports of call both on and off the mainstream grid, as well as plenty of active adventures ashore. On our cruise, we were the only ship in port for the majority of the destinations, allowing passengers to explore without being harangued by thousands of passengers from competing mega-ships.
 
Atmosphere on board 
What hasn't changed, however, is the onboard experience. The cruise line has stuck to its core concept: a balance of small-ship features -- low passenger occupancy, high passenger-to-crew ratios, personalized service -- and more big-ship ones, particularly where pricing is involved. Excursions and alcoholic beverages levy additional charges, though water and soft drinks are included.
 
Family with Kids/Teens
No children's program or babysitting available. Children, especially infants and toddlers, are not encouraged aboard Windstar cruises. The intimate ship size and unregimented atmosphere are adult in orientation and do not provide for the care, supervision, or entertainment of children. Children occupying staterooms as the third person are charged the applicable "third person" rate, which is available on request. Travel for Children under 24 months is limited -
 
Windstar operates four sailing yachts known for their ability to visit harbors and ports larger ships can’t reach. The ships carry fewer than 300 guests and call on ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas with a complimentary water sports platform available when the ship is in anchor – subject to weather of course—featuring water skiing, kayaking, and windsurfing. The ambiance is relaxed (no jackets or ties needed) but upscale. While these yachts aren’t meant for kids, they’re ideal for parents who want a getaway without the kids or a special trip with grown kids.
 
Past Passenger Programs
Windstar. Multi-tiered programs provide all repeat guests with newsletters and a "welcome onboard" cocktail reception or free drink but then set milestones for additional awards. Most of the major lines among others -- Windstar offer this type of past passenger setup.
 
The Foremast Club is Windstar Cruises' past passenger loyalty program. Please see below for Foremast Club member benefits.
 
Foremast Club Benefits (you become a member after your first cruise):
 5% member-only discount on all voyages
 Private cocktail reception with ship officers and Foremast members
Invitations to dine with the Captain and officers
Exclusive member-only private sales throughout the year
Members-only onboard events and private receptions
 
Fitness And Spa
Because Windstar's itineraries emphasize days in port over days at sea (most cruises hit a port every day or spend just 1 day at sea per week), its ships have few organized activities, leaving days relaxed and unregimented -- the way guests prefer it. The handful of scheduled diversions usually include casino gaming lessons, walk-a-mile and stretch classes on deck, and an occasional vegetable-carving or food-decorating demonstration. A watersports platform can be lowered from the stern to allow kayaking, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing, and ski tubing when the ship anchors offshore. Up top, the Pool Deck has a small pool and hot tub, deck chairs, and an open-air bar.
 
Food & Dining
Windstar's cuisine is tops in the small-ship category and is a high point of the cruise, the ship's main dining room, previously called The Restaurant, was transformed into Amphora Restaurant. Still located on Deck 3, the space has been completely redesigned, as has the menu. The venue is accented with warm wood finishes and has luxurious and comfy booths, with many tables for two and four passengers. Dinner is all open seating, and it's served there nightly between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Each night, the menu includes at least one meat entree (steak, lamb), fresh fish, poultry and a vegetarian option. In fact, vegetarian selections in all categories (appetizers, salads, etc.) are highlighted daily in a special area of the menu and are always plentiful -- not just piles of whatever side dishes were left over from creating the other entrees, but unique creations like Vegetable Wellington, layered roasted vegetables baked in puff pastry and served with shallot cream sauce, and a steamed bok choy wedge. Many cruise lines serve only frozen fish, but Windstar brings local catch onboard whenever it can. Dietary restrictions are also well addressed;  If you are a sugar free, gluten free or additive allergies, low-cholesterol, salt or fat free and other special dietary needs can be accommodated if Cruise Line notified in advance Windstar head chef  will create a special menu with his team create meals just for you.
 
Breakfast and lunch are served on Deck 4 in the Veranda, an airy dining space with some floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the outer deck and the sea. During a recent refurbishment, the outdoor portion of the Veranda was expanded to create room for more alfresco dining. Breakfast is served from about 7:30 until 9:30 a.m. each morning, but the times can vary slightly, depending on tour departures, so check the daily program. A buffet bar includes pastries, tasty fresh smoothies (different flavors every day -- don't miss the honey and melon), fresh fruit, and cheeses and meats. There's an omelet station; warmed buffet trays containing sausage, bacon and hash browns; and a communal toaster next to piles of bagels, bread and English muffins. You can also order waiter-service breakfast items from a printed menu that includes eggs made to order, French toast, pancakes and eggs Benedict. Staff members are available to pour coffee and carry and clear plates.
 
Passengers have two options for lunch, which is served only in this venue. One is to order a waiter-service entree off a set menu. (Items change daily, but there are also some always-available items, such as grilled salmon and hamburgers.) Most folks opted for option two, the buffet, which centered on a different cuisine (Italian, Mexican, etc.) each day. Some of the best meals we had onboard were lunches in the Veranda.
 
Candles, the ship's alternative dining option; tables are set for alfresco dining outside the Veranda in the evenings between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. The menu includes grilled meats (like filet mignon), rack of lamb and fish (fresh mahi mahi). There's no charge to eat there; reservations are available until 6 p.m. the same day. Candles is a wonderful way to watch the sunset as you dine.
 
There is always a special poolside BBQ one night of the cruise, during which all other dining facilities are closed down (except for room service). The BBQ was a highlight of the trip. Tables were set and dressed with colorful cloths and faux candles. A buffet of salad, bread, shrimp cocktail, cheese and pate prefaced rice and beans, grilled steak and chicken, roasted pork and lobster tails, plus regional dishes. The anchor of the dessert buffet was a bananas foster station with amply poured rum and Grand Marnier as a topping or "floater."
 
Finally, room service is available 24 hours a day. During lunch or dinner hours, you can order off the daily menu for the Veranda or the AmphorA Restaurant. Continental breakfast -- coffee, tea, juice, pastries -- is available between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. You can call in your order or leave a hanging card on your doorknob the night before. Orders were delivered quickly, and the food was always hot and impressive.
 
Entertainment
For the most part, passengers entertain themselves, though each ship does carry a number of musicians who provide tunes for evening dancing and background music. Most evenings, passengers either retire to their cabins, head for the modest casino with its table games and slots, or go up to the Compass Rose Bar (and also the indoor/outdoor Terrace Bar on the Surf) for a nightcap under the stars. Sometimes after 10 or 11pm, disco/pop music is played in the lounge if guests are in a dancing mood, and once per cruise, the ship's Indonesian and Filipino crewmembers put on a crew show featuring traditional and contemporary music and dance. It's always a crowd pleaser.
 
Staterooms
Staterooms: 74 total staterooms: 73 deluxe ocean-view staterooms and 1 deluxe owner’s cabin with queen beds (converts to 2 twins), and dining/sitting area. Some staterooms offer a 3rd berth and some side-by-side staterooms offer an adjoining private door .
 
Cabin Amenities: Closed circuit color television, videocassette and CD players, personal safe, refrigerator, mini-bar, international direct-dial phones, private bathrooms with shower toiletries, hair dryer, vanity and plush robes. Each stateroom is equipped with one standard U.S. 110 and European 220 volt (converter recommended), 60 cycle AC electric outlets.
 
Tipping
A $12 service charge is automatically added to passenger accounts each day. A gratuity of 15 percent is automatically added to beverage tabs and spa service charges (though you have the option to specify a smaller or greater amount for the latter if you'd prefer). Some passengers choose to recognize outstanding staff members with extra tips at the end of the cruise.
 
Fellow Passengers
The average age on most voyages is about 50, though passengers (mostly couples) range in age from 30's to 70's. The youngest passenger on our cruise was 11, and many families were traveling with older teenagers and college-age children. Passengers are well-traveled, well-heeled and generally active, particularly on Caribbean and Costa Rican itineraries that offer adventurous shore tours like hiking and zip-lining. Interestingly, a good number of Windstar passengers are first-time cruisers -- about one-third. On our sailing, the remainder seemed to be an even split of both Windstar repeaters and cruise veterans who were new to the line.
 
Our recommendation
During the day, shorts and T-shirts are appropriate. At night, jeans, shorts, T-shirts, tank tops and tennis shoes are "forbidden" in the main dining room. (But we did see a few neat jeans slip through.) The written code is "casual elegance": Men generally don button-down shirts or collared shirts with dress pants, and women wear sundresses or capris with light sweaters or blouses. Bottom line: Leave tuxes and evening gowns at home. Otherwise, pretty much anything goes.