After all the hype leading up to my Spring Break cruise several weeks ago, I’m pleased to report that Windstar and the Caribbean did not disappoint! I’ll highlight some of the destinations in a future post, but for now, here’s why sailing with Windstar is an amazing experience!
The Ship – Unlike some of the mega-ships, you never forget you are on a sailing yacht on the Wind Surf. After all, this boat has actual, glorious sails! While the Wind Surf maintains a small, intimate feel, it still has plenty of space to provide all the amenities you would expect from a premium cruise line, including multiple restaurants and bars, a small pool, a fitness center and a spa. And with just over 300 guests on-board, you never feel crowded, and you never wait in lines. We found that the pool deck got a bit crowded most afternoons, but it was easy to find a lounger in either the sun or shade on another deck. I personally am a huge fan of the deck at the Compass Rose lounge as a perch for the afternoon. If a dip in the water is your pleasure, the water sports platform, which is accessible while anchored, is a lovely place to spend the afternoon swimming in the sea.
The Cabins – We stayed in one of the Wind Surf’s standard cabins, and I found it to be quite lovely and comfortable. Unless you upgrade to one of the suites, all the cabins are the same size, which means the higher-priced cabin classes get you “better” position on the ship. However, there is really no bad location. You won’t find balconies, but each cabin does have an ocean view. As with most cruise cabins, the bathroom is small but functional, and even a high-maintenance cruiser (like myself!) will find it plenty spacious for daily grooming. If you are sensitive to motion, a cabin on the lowest deck is recommended; however, while the ship is quite still while docked or anchored, you will most definitely notice the motion of the sea in all part of the ship during sailing.
The Food – We found all the food in all venues of the ship to very tasty! Buffets were always available for breakfast and lunch, as was a small menu that changed daily. The main dining room also featured a daily menu, and we were never disappointed with the choices. Dining in the specialty restaurants, Candles and Stella Bistro, are included at no extra cost, but each cabin is allotted just one reservation in each venue per week. The crew also hosts an on-deck BBQ one night of the sailing, which we found to be extra delicious.
The Staff – I cannot stress enough how wonderful every member of the staff on the Wind Surf was during our trip! All of the food and beverage servers were attentive and pleasant. Our cabin steward was amazing in every way, always making sure our room was clean and our every need was met. A great staff can really make a difference when you are on a cruise, and the crew of the Wind Surf set the bar extremely high!
- Sailing away from a port with Windstar is a magical experience, and one of my favorite memories from this cruise! The Captain makes a brief announcement (I grew quite fond of Captain John’s British accent during our sailing!), the sails are raised and dramatic music swells as you gently move out to sea. Most days you could find me on the Compass Rose deck with a cocktail for Sail Away!
- I got a massage during an afternoon at sea, and the swaying of the ship accompanied by a great massage made for an extra relaxing experience. I highly recommend scheduling your spa pampering during time at sea.
- We highly enjoyed the evening entertainment in both lounges. The live duo in the Compass Rose lounge (can you tell this was my favorite spot?) hosts a music trivia night, which both Hubby and I especially enjoyed. He knew all the classics, and I knew the modern tunes – we were fierce competition for the other passengers!
- Our day in St Lucia was extra special due to the Windstar Private Beach experience! The crew sets up an amazing beach party on a reserved section of the beach just for Wind Surf passengers. You are greeted with a tropical cocktail served in a coconut, and cocktails and lunch are served right on the beach. You feel like you are a celebrity invited to a private event! After this special beach day, we were treated to a sunset sail past St Lucia’s signature Pitons. It was a perfect day!
- The ship’s professional photographer was fantastic. Not only was Kristi a sweet and wonderful individual to be around, she took some incredible shots from an amazing vacation that we will treasure for years to come. Well worth spending a few bucks to take home our favorite images. Now how can I arrange a professional photographer to follow me around on every trip?
Tum Tum’s Tips:
- The unlimited laundry package is worth every last penny! For just over $100/cabin on a 7-night sailing, you can send your dirty clothes to be washed and pressed every evening. Clean items are returned to you the following afternoon. This service makes it easy to pack less, and it means less laundry when you return home.
- The alcohol package is probably only worth it if you drink a lot. The average cocktail costs around $9 each, and a beverage package for the week runs around $950/cabin for a 7-night sailing. You’ll need to drink 15 cocktails per day to break even. My hubby doesn’t drink much, and since the beverage package is added by the cabin, we decided to skip it. I had a cocktail any time I wanted, and our final bar bill was only around $400.
- Don’t skip the nightly port talks! Each evening at 6:45PM, your destination guide gives an overview of your port-of-call for the next day. These talks were very helpful in creating a plan of attack for each destination. Since they are held in the main lounge, it’s also a fun opportunity for a pre-dinner cocktail!