Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wind Star Review 1

Windstar Cruise Line sails only three ships: its flagship Wind Star, her sister ship, Wind Spirit, and the larger Wind Surf. The first two accommodate up to 148 guests, while Wind Surf can hold 312. Hers is one tag line you can can take literally: “180 Degrees From Ordinary,“ for this is not your traditional cruise line.

Don‘t make the mistake of comparing Windstar with the now defunct Windjammer line, nicknamed "barefoot cruises" and on which passengers did some of the work and stayed in shorts and swimsuits.

Quite the contrary. Windstar is a 5-star, more upscale line that just happens to be "resort casual." You won't see any tuxes or gowns, but your fellow passengers will largely be well traveled with a shared preference for small ship cruising. On our cruise were retired doctors, lawyers and other professionals, along with 50-, 40- and 30-something passengers. Windstar repeatedly receives accolades as the "most romantic cruise line," and we understand why. When the captain hoists the sails and music from Vangelis' CD 1492 fills the air, you know you're in for an extraordinary experience!

Windstar ships sail in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, the Greek Isles, and Western Mediterranean, plus a short Baltic run and transatlantic itineraries. Ben and I chose Costa Rica since we'd never visited there. We were not disappointed. We sailed roundtrip from Puerto Caldera, one of two ports cruise ships use on the Pacific, the other being Puntarenas. January is a dry season month--better for touring, even in the rain forests.

There are only two passenger decks, and cabins are all the same size, except for the one suite on this ship. They are quite spacious with ample storage space and a very nice bathroom. Each cabin has two portholes and no private balcony--but this is "yacht," after all.

I will write more about about the ship, food, and our ports of call in my next posts.

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