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QuirkyCruise reader review

Reviewer: Laura Holman.

Cruise Line: Sail in Greece.

Ship: M/S Alexia.

Destination: The CycladesGreek Isles.

# of Nights: 7.

Departure Date & Ports: July 23, 2016, round-trip from Mykonos.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 stars.

Have you been on a small ship cruise before? I’ve been on 2 small ship cruises.

Review: Sail Greece for under 35s.

We joined a cruise called YOLO to sail around the Greek Islands with a company called Sail in Greece. We were 25 people on board and had great time. Well priced and ideal for young people.

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QuirkyCruise reader review

Reviewer: Don from Toronto.

Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises.

Ship: Wind Star.

Destination: Greek Isles.

# of Nights: 7.

Departure Date & Ports: July 23, 2016, round-trip from Athens/Piraeus, visiting Mykonos (replaced by Milos), Santorini, Rhodes, Kalymnos/Myrties and Nafplio.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Have you been on a small ship cruise before? Yes, 10+ with Windstar.

Review: Great itinerary that included two ports we’ve never been to before.

We had initially booked a 7-day Windstar cruise entitled “Greek Isles and Turkish Delights,” but two weeks before departure Windstar cancelled that itinerary because of the situation in Turkey and replaced it with one that included only the Greek Isles. As this was a special itinerary put together at the last minute, it is no longer available. However, Windstar’s “Treasures of the Greek Isles,” now on offer for 2017, is almost identical.

While disappointed that we couldn’t visit Turkey, this revised itinerary was great nonetheless as it included a couple of places that we hadn’t visited previously including Nafplio, a pleasant seaside town famous for the UNESCO site of Mycenea, and the Isle of Milos, another last-minute switch as the sea was too rough to operate the ship’s tenders in Mykonos.

Wind Star is not a typical cruise ship. It is described more aptly as a yacht, as it has functioning sails and accommodates only 149 passengers (with almost the same number of crew.) Service is consistently excellent, as is the food, which is served either on deck or in the larger dining room. Cabins are approximately 190 square feet but are designed well so that they seem larger. Bathrooms are nicely appointed with granite counters and high-end toiletries. All cabins have 2 portholes. Cabins are situated on the first and second decks. We always book a cabin on the first deck as they’re identical anyway, slightly less expensive, and more stable should seas be rough. Passengers were about 60% American, with a remaining mix of Europeans, Canadians and Australians. Age range was between 30 years to late 60s, early 70s. As the ship does not have elevators and does not offer much in the way of entertainment it tends to attract an active clientele who are more interested in exploring the ports of call. One of my favourite features of the ship is the watersports platform that is extended when the ship is anchored off shore — great when cruising the Greek Isles.  Overall, a wonderful experience. Highly recommended.

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QuirkyCruise reader review

Reviewer: Sheila from New York City.

Cruise Line: Pandaw River Cruises.

Ship: Kalaw Pandaw.

Destination: Southeast Asia.

# of Nights: 7.

Departure Date & Ports: April 2015, upstream Irrawaddy River cruise between Bagan and Mandalay.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars.   (5=excellent; 4=very good; 3=good; 2=poor; 1=terrible)

Have you been on a small ship cruise before? Yes, in Borneo.

Review: The ease of a river cruise makes for a great introduction to Burma.

Rooms were small, but clean and efficient. The crew were attentive and friendly and wanted to please — and our guide San was a wealth of information in a difficult country to understand and navigate. Overall, the tour was perfect! It was truly stepping back in time — no cash machines — so bring loads of clean crisp dollars! And very little Internet, which I am sure is changing as I write this review! Visiting Bagan and its hundreds of temples was awe inspiring; and waking up in the morning to find a village or monastery outside the boat was wonderful and at times noisy — part of River Life!  Highly recommend this trip to those with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to explore a country not easy to navigate, with the ease of a river cruise. It was a wonderful way to begin a relationship with Burma.

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QuirkyCruise reader review

Reviewer: Don from Toronto.

Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises.

Ship: Wind Surf.

Destination: Caribbean.

# of Nights: 7.

Departure Date & Ports: January 2016, round-trip from St. Maarten to St. Bart’s, Antiqua, Jost Van Dyke, Soper’s Hole/Tortola, Virgin Gorda.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Have you been on a small ship cruise before? Yes, many.

Review: A great week cruising around islands we wouldn’t have thought of visiting.

Wind Surf is one of three Windstar sailing yachts. While the other two vessels (Wind Star and Wind Spirit) accommodate 148 passengers each, the Wind Surf holds approximately 300 passengers. The sails are a major feature of these ships and are used as much as possible as long as the weather permits and the destinations can be reached in time. I’ve taken more than 10 cruises with Windstar and consider the service to be excellent with a high passenger/crew ratio. The food is of a very high standard, and passengers have a number of dining options including AmphorA, the ship’s main dining room, Stella Bistro (French cuisine), Candles (situated on the deck —steak, skewers, etc.), The Veranda (breakfast and lunch on the upper deck), and room service. There are three types of staterooms: ocean view, ocean view suites spread over three decks (essentially the size of two ocean view cabins, with two washrooms, as well), and two large ocean view bridge deck suites. Cabins are well-appointed with deluxe toiletries and Bose docking stations, and are configured so that every inch of space is used. The ship has a small pool and a hot tub in the bar area on the rear deck, as well as a watersports platform that is lowered when the ship is anchored off-shore, which was the case for most of this cruise. As with other Windstar yachts, the age of the passengers ranges from the mid-thirties to the early seventies — generally an active group that enjoys exploring the sites, wandering beaches, and doing all the other things you do in the Caribbean. That said, this ship has two elevators, which makes it more accessible than the other two Windstar yachts. A great feature of the Windstar yachts is that they’re small enough to visit ports and islands that can’t accommodate larger ships. Cruising on the Wind Surf is a perfect way to island hop in the Caribbean. On a number of nights we wouldn’t depart in the evening until 11:00 p.m. or so, which allowed us to have dinner on shore or hang out in local beach bars. A great week cruising around islands we wouldn’t have thought of visiting.

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QuirkyCruise reader review
Reviewer

Suvir from Singapore

Cruise Line

Viking River Cruises

Ship

Viking Prestige

Destination

Europe

# of Nights

7

Departure Date & Ports

September 2016 from Budapest, Hungary, visiting Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.

OVERALL RATING

4 out of 5 stars

Have you been on a small ship cruise before?

Yes, many years ago

Review

A Great Europe Overview

Overall – this was a great way to cover many countries (Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic (Optional Excursion), Austria and Germany) in a week. The ship stops at both quaint smaller towns as well as capitals like Budapest and Vienna. Upgrading to a suite was a decision well worth the extra money given the significantly larger space and amenities (like free laundry). The clientele were generally older Americans who did not have much cruising experience. Staff were personable and both the hotel manager (Zoltan) and the Cruise Director (Daniella) were excellent). The premium wine package was unnecessary so I would not pay extra for that. The ship was well laid and we spent much of the time on board in the lounge or on the upper sun deck. All in all – a worthwhile experience.

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