Small Ship Cruise vs River Cruisse

My wife and I recently took the "Treasures of Spain and Portugal" eastbound cruise May 2 to May 13. We had taken two previous river cruises with Tauck and loved both river cruises, even posted a great review on one of them in this Forum. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend this small ship cruise. Our cabin leaked and the ship, Windstar Star Breeze was tired and dated, in our opinion. The Tauck tours and the Tauck directors were excellent, but the ship, the ship food and wine, and even the service in some cases, were well below the levels we experienced on the Tauck river cruises.

Comments

  • Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. We traveled with Windstar (and Tauck) back in 2008 and didn't have any problems. Things do change over time.

    You, and others looking at this post, should be aware that Tauck uses Ponant, not Windstar, for the bulk of the small ship cruises. It's a good idea to check cruise review sights, like cruisecritic.com to see what a particular ship is like and when it was last refurbished.

    Hope your next trip is less of a disappointment.
  • I have been on three different Tauck riverboat cruises to date and all of them have been excellent. I have also signed up for two more toward the end of 2018 (including another Christmas Markets one) and I am very much looking forward to all of them. :-)
  • edited June 2018
    Interesting. We are doing the Treasures of Spain and Portugal next year aboard Windstar’s Wind Surf. Windstar was recently voted by Conde Nast Traveler to be the best small ship cruise line in the world. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion so I will offer mine. We have cruised on Windstar ten times, seven on Wind Surf, and one each on Wind Star, Star Legend, and Star Pride. Windstar is our favorite cruise line period ... we have over fifty cruises. We have also cruised on Ponant’s Le Soleal, we intend to go on Ponant’s Le Ponant in 2020, and we have cruised on Taucks MS Savor on the Danube. All very nice. In our opinion they were all top notch experiences, but I would not rate the overall experience any better than what we have experienced on Windstar. We do prefer Wind Surf to the other ships primarily due to the ‘sails’ and the really nice layout of the ship. We did have a cabin on Star Pride where the air conditioning wasn’t working to our satisfaction, and they quickly moved us to another cabin that totally met our expections. We actually intend to be on Wind Surf twice next year ... a back to back in the Caribbean, and the Treasures of Spain and Portugal.
  • @sealord - Windstar won Condé Nast Traveler's 2017 Gold List Award, although I prefer Platinum over Gold.
    Hopefully you and yours will have a most enjoyable trip on the Windstar Wind Surf.
    @Ken from Vegas - thank you for the tip. Although Tauck still lists the Windstar Boats on the small cruise ships listings, we did learn (after our trip on the Star Breeze) that Tauck was moving many of its tours to the Ponant boats. Smart move.
    And things do definitely change in 10 years!
    I honestly will never travel on another Windstar boat after the Tauck Treasures of Spain and Portugal trip aboard the Windstar Star Breeze. The Star Breeze is NOT a Tauck Platinum Ship....it is more comparable to a Carnival Cruise.
    From the moment we stepped on board the Star Breeze, someone wanted to sell us teeth cleaning, athletic shoe inserts, massage packages, etc. If I wanted to be trapped in a moving infomercial, then I could have done that for much cheaper than the Tauck WindStar Star Breeze.
    Has anyone tried Crystal Cruises? I am interested to learn about those boats, too. Thank you,
  • AliVK wrote:
    Although Tauck still lists the Windstar Boats on the small cruise ships listings, we did learn (after our trip on the Star Breeze) that Tauck was moving many of its tours to the Ponant boats. Smart move.

    I don't think that Tauck is changing cruise lines. They just use Ponant for certain trips and Windstar for others. They even use Princess for the Grand Alaska tour (they list this as a land cruise, not a small ship cruise for obvious reasons). They are adding an Alaska cruise only trip on Ponant for 2019.
  • I don't think that Tauck is changing cruise lines. They just use Ponant for certain trips and Windstar for others. They even use Princess for the Grand Alaska tour (they list this as a land cruise, not a small ship cruise for obvious reasons). They are adding an Alaska cruise only trip on Ponant for 2019.

    Thank you for the information!
  • @Sealord My husband and I as well as another couple that we have traveled with via Tauck are also doing the Spain/Portugal trip on October 30th. When are you traveling? We are very much looking forward to our trip - it will be out first small ship sailing. We have done many Tauck riverboat cruises and have enjoyed each one.

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