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Windstar Cruise Review - Wind Surf
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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

 

WIND SURF

Let's go to sea, come sail with me...

By Linda Coffman

On any given weekend, Port Everglades is a beehive of cruise ship activity. Surely the best vantage point for ship spotting is the observation deck atop Pier 66 and that's where we headed for our first glimpse of the Wind Surf

Making her first time call at Fort Lauderdale, her five masts towered over even the mega-size cruise liners berthed nearby. Dock-side, the sleek "masted sail-yacht" MSY Wind Surf appeared much larger than we expected. Even so, she is diminutive in comparison to other cruise ships. Think royal yacht and come aboard.

Staterooms & Suites

Wind Surf StateroomStill thinking "yacht," our stateroom was a delightful surprise. Wind Surf's 123 ocean view staterooms are a study in efficiency. Thanks to their clever design, at 188 square feet they appear even more spacious. On one wall, the hanging lockers ("closets" to land-lubbers) are large enough for even the most aggressive over-packer and contain shoe racks and shelves for gear. Next to open shelves containing the stereo and VCR are three small enclosed cabinets; behind the bottom door is a personal safe. On the opposite wall, the television is mounted on a swivel base, with more shelves above it, and the vanity/desk contains drawers for ample storage. Even the bedside table contains drawers. After a full day ashore, there's plenty of space to accommodate the two chairs and table for a quiet room service dinner en suite.

The bathroom (okay... we're sailing, so it's called a "head") is amazing—I can honestly say that two people can comfortably share it and the shower is roomy enough for two. 

Double the size of standard staterooms, at 376 square feet, the 31 Wind Surf suites have twice as much storage, two bathrooms, and a generous sitting area. Three guests are easily accommodated and the bedroom can be separated by a curtain for privacy.

Special touches in each stateroom are fresh flowers in a Rosenthal china vase, plush terrycloth robes for use during the voyage, and bath amenities. All staterooms and suites are equipped with a refrigerator/mini-bar and hairdryer.

Wind Surf

Soothing sea, sky, and earth tones dominate the Wind Surf's yacht club décor. Nautical touches are found throughout, even woven into subtle carpet patterns. The ingenious use of plants and unobtrusive partitions create intimate spaces in the Wind Surf Lounge and adjacent Casino, yet leave sea views unobstructed. Even more intimate and decidedly more romantic is dancing under the stars on the deck adjoining the Compass Rose Bar.

Wind Surf Ship's WheelDay or night, the most enticing spaces on board are outdoors. What could be more invigorating than standing on a sun-warmed teak deck with billowing sails overhead and the sea rushing by? Perhaps sipping a cool drink or unwinding in the hot tub if that's your preference, but let's not quibble here. As much as I admire the wood trimmed interiors, ship models, and fun and funky artwork, I love the open decks and lacy shadows cast by the intricate masts and rigging above even more.

"The ocean wind is therapeutic and the experience is nothing like that of a large cruise ship, which towers above the ocean more than it sails on it." Anita Potter of SmarterLiving.com

With only 308 guests on board, life is easy and sociable on Wind Surf. The ship's size and atmosphere are conducive to friendly conversation. This is unpretentious, laid-back cruising with style and flair. Leave all your preconceived notions about "sailing" at home. 

Dining

Windstar Cruises innovated the celebrity chef concept and has featured restaurateur Joachim Splichal's creative cuisine for the past eight years. Dinner takes on a new dimension for passengers accustomed to traditional cruise ship practices—evening attire is always casually elegant in the Wind Surf Restaurant and Bistro and open-seating dining mirrors the unstructured ambiance of a private club. Select one of numerous tables for two or join new friends to compare the day's experiences over a sumptuous meal prepared à la minute.

As an alternative, the Sail Light selections created by chef Jeanne Jones are tempting. Fewer calories and lower fat grams does not mean less satisfying.

Whatever your fancy, may I suggest the Crème Brûlée for dessert... it's the best I have ever tasted—on land or at sea.

Entertainment & Activities

Active by day and relaxed at night, Wind Surf guests enjoy exotic ports of call, active adventures, and watersport activities followed by restful evening pursuits. Attend a port lecture, enjoy cocktail and dance music ranging from low-key to lively, and savor an after-dinner cigar and brandy before retiring. Or do nothing at all, it's entirely up to you.

The WindSpa

Heady scents and soothing sounds immediately put me in a mood to indulge myself. WindSpa is an incredible 10,000 square feet devoted to sensuous pleasure, featuring treatments from head (Indian Scalp Massage) to toe (Reflexology). In addition to the pampering facials and massages, a full range of salon services are offered by Steiner Leisure of London.

And if you just can't leave your exercise routine at home, head to the fitness center where there's a variety of equipment for a workout with a view.

What you WILL find:

  • Polished, professional service

  • Low-key activities and entertainment

  • Fellow passengers in all age groups; primarily active couples

  • Gratuities are not "required" but the service is so attentive that passengers tip as they deem appropriate

  • Luxury cruises to popular destinations near and far

  • Stabilized sailing with a mere 2° lean

  • A Business Center for group meetings

  • Internet access

  • A library well stocked with books, CDs, games, and videos

  • An "open bridge" policy—guests are encouraged to join the Captain and his officers at any time

  • Two swimming pools and twin jacuzzis

What you WON'T find:

  • Formal nights

  • A lack of choice—this is a small ship with some big ship options

  • Facilities for the physically challenged

  • Programs and activities for children

  • Glitz and glitter

  • High energy stage shows

Saving the BEST for last... ssshhhh!!!

Who needs a beach when your ship carries her own private island? The best-kept secret on Wind Surf is her elaborate water sports marina. Tucked away aft, when Wind Surf anchors and the Water Sports Platform is lowered the fun begins. Save your suitcase room for souvenirs, there's no need to pack bulky snorkel gear—it's provided for your use during the cruise. Water babies can participate in complimentary water skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, and "banana boat" rides. The only additional charge is for SCUBA diving.

The Windstar Experience

A Windstar cruise is a uniquely suited for couples who want to get away from it all at sea without leaving shoreside comforts behind. It offers the very best of both worlds.

Wind Surf Photo Tour -->
(Click above for more than two dozen photos)

Wind Surf Fast Facts

~ Seven self-furling, computer operated sails contain 26,881 square feet of Dacron surface area and open in a mere two minutes

~ At 14,745 gross registered tons, Wind Surf measures 535 feet in length, 66 feet in breadth, and her five masts reach 222 feet above sea level

More... Wind Surf Fun Facts

Windstar Cruises Profile

Foremast Club


Copyright © 2002 Linda Coffman
Photos--Courtesy Windstar Cruises & Mel Coffman