OMGosh what a trip!!!!. Windstar is a total dream vacation. We felt welcome and safe from the get go. Our driver and a Windstar Representative met us at the Athens airport with welcoming smiles and our ride to the hotel was informative as our driver proceeded to tell us all kinds of facts about Athens. The hotel in Athens was perfect right in the heart of a lovely area. We were able to walk to restaurants and shops giving us access to explore the immediate area with ease. The hotel its self was clean and comfortable with a terrific view of the Parthenon from our balcony. Taking taxis to get around out side of hotel area was also a snap since the hotel always ensured our safety by calling taxis they were familiar with. We went to the National Archeological and the Acropolis museums....must see plus we took a tour of the Acropolis and Parthenon which of course were highlights. We left Athens wanting to see more but we were excited to move on to the next part of our trip. Again the transfers from the hotel to the Windstar ship were non-issue and very comfortable. There was always a Windstar Rep with us and in fact a Rep was stationed in our hotel over the 2 day stay to answer any questions or concerns.
The ship itself was fantastic especially the sail away out of Athens port; all four sails were out and we all felt we've embarked on a wonderful week ahead. We chose the 1st floor stateroom to save some money and we found that after talking with others there was really was no significant difference except we had one extra flight of stairs (good exercise if you ask me). The staterooms were spacious with all the amenities and then some. Our Steward, Ben, had us in chuckles most of the time and he took very good care of us and our room. I must admit the entire Staff of the Windstar was delightful some more quick witted than others but always there to assist and provide us with top notch service. Of course we took advantage of any ship board tours such as seeing the Bridge and the Galley which gave us opportunity to personally meet the Captain and Head Chef. But really being on such a small ship we had access to any crew member and officer as they wandered about meeting and greeting the passengers. The food was fabu as we ate our way through the week on basically everything and anything from Lamb shank to fresh fish of the day. Never left room for dessert but they looked wonderful. No problem there....our stomachs were pleasantly full as we started out on daily tours. Which I may add were some of the best. Windstar definitely employs some of the most knowledgeable guides for their excursions; each one was better than the one before. We even had a resident Tour guide aboard all week to discuss optional tours which was fantastic. We heard nothing but great reviews on different tours offered from the other passengers so I guess it didn't matter which tour you chose; good experiences all around.
We loved the idea of cruise casual so no fuss with packing gowns or suits and pretty much every one dressed appropriately in sun dresses and nice slacks for dinner. We also liked being able to sit with and where ever you chose...no pressure to entertain or be entertained. But we met some great folks which we stuck with all week. Also, we didn't' miss the big shows that larger cruise lines offer. There was usually something going on at night if you so desired but by the end of a full day of fun in the sun going to bed early was what most preferred.
I took advantage of the water sports platform at the aft of the ship. It was most fun to swim in the Aegean Sea, tube or just lounge on the oversized rafts that were tied to the ship. The Sports crew was a lot of fun and coaxed many timid people in to enjoying the experience of swimming in the Sea. I never laughed so hard as a speed boat pulled me in tube around the port of Bodrum waving to people and other ships as I flew by. YIPPEE....is all I can say. The only negative was the platform was only open 2 times during the week and one of those days the water was too choppy so we really only got one day to play. Oh well....
My mom and I also met a delightful couple who were renewing their vows by the Captain and we were invited. So we closed out our last night aboard the Windstar witnessing a vow renewal at the bow of the ship. The Captain said some beautiful words and the first mate offered his charm. We toasted with champagne and enjoyed a piece of cake. It was awesome!!!!
So if you want to know if I would ever take another cruise with Windstar the answer is DEFINITELY YES. As far as cruises go if you're looking for a smaller ship with a lot of cruise than there's no need to go else where. LOVED IT!!!!!
The only and I mean the only thing I would have done differently is stay a couple of days longer at the end to explore Istanbul but who knew at the time of planning. And perhaps I would have flown 1st Class...yeah right only if I win the lottery.
Ok, so you may hear from me soon cause I'm looking at the Panama/Costa Rica cruise in March....LOL
Thanks again for all your planning and arranging to ensure the best trip ever.
Enough of my blah blah blah...you did ask for it....LOL I could go on and on......LOL
P.s. my pictures just don't do the places we saw justice.