We enjoyed a lovely welcome in Singapore, cheerfully greeted by the Sports Director Richard who assisted with our immigration process, and moments later by the equally cheerful captain Alan MacAry, who has sailed with Windstar for more than 20 years.
Our first meal was in Le Verandah, which is the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch with indoor and terrace dining. The choice of food was excellent and varied, with a cooking station offering hot cuts and stir fry-style choices.
Our stateroom was very comfortable and spacious at 277 square feet, with a queen size bed and a generous walk in wardrobe. The good sized bathroom contained a tub and shower over the bath. The sitting area was spacious and well equipped. I do love a balcony and was unsure how I would adapt to the Juliette balcony, large enough to stand on but not to sit out. However we were able to leave the doors partially open at night and avoid using the air conditioning, which was a bonus.
Speciality dining was available in Candles, which is the terrace area of Le Verandah, with three choices of starter, main and dessert which do not vary apart from the addition of the chef's dish of the day. The quality was outstanding: we enjoyed the very best fillet steaks, and often had the option of lobster. Windstar Cruises also feature complimentary private events, which include complimentary beers and wine. If you are taking a port-intensive itinerary I wouldn't bother with the drinks package, as we found the costs of drinks very reasonable. The same can be said of the excellent value shore excursions.
Whilst the facts and figures can be found on the Windstar website, what cannot be found there is the warmth of the ship's crew. The friendliness of the staff was genuine and we were quickly on first name terms. Most of the waiting staff were either Indonesian or Filippino, all with an excellent command of English and all with ready smiles. The officers were a mixture of British and European and all adopted a hands on approach. The Captain was always about and even took a turn at the barbecue on sea days, and the ship has an open bridge policy. A rotation of invitations to dine with the officers was in operation.
There were opportunities to accompany the chef when he shopped for local produce and the officers and crew took part in some of the entertainment too, which otherwise was rotated between the resident 'Windsong' band and the duo 'Pure Class'. Some evenings we danced on the pool deck and on other occasions listened to gentler sounds in the tastefully furnished Compass Rose. On the final night of the cruise the crew provided the entertainment, and although some of it was slightly cheesy the participants showed a genuine commitment and enjoyment, and the laugh out loud finale is not to be missed.
Is Windstar luxury? The definition of luxury is: pleasurable, conducive to sumptuous living and of high quality. Windstar was certainly that and I would book again in a heart beat.