This cruise was our first one on Windstar and our 15Th overall . We had been to Croatia on a Costa cruise last November but it was pouring rain in Dubrovnik and what we saw of that city decided us to take whatever opportunity to come back . Windstar provided it with a cruise on the Wind Surf at a good price .
Our criteria of selection for a cruise are normally the following : 1) itinerary, 2) value ,3) ship . In this case , cruising on a sailship created an additionnal incentive.
Embarkation port was Venice . We were impressed by the ship even before setting foot on it ! It did look magnificent with its tall five masts and being docked at the San Basilio terminal , on the Canale della Giudecca , did create a romantic effect . The embarkation process was very fast and within 20 minutes, we were in our cabin . At 188 square feet , it is one of the most spacious we have had so far . There is a lot of storage space and it is very easy to circulate in the cabin .
The cabin was on on Deck 1 which means that our portholes were just 6 feet over the water level ! Having been on the Queen Mary 2 on our last cruise with a cabin at more than 60 feet above sea level , this was quite a different perspective and I have to say , much more interesting ! The few times that we had some waves made us appreciate how stable this ship is !
Service and food are well above average,in fact the quality of the preparation of the food is the best we have seen so far in the 8 cruise lines we have sailed with and both my wife and I are good cooks ! We have tried all the 4 restaurants on the ship for dinner and all had excellent quality ! The only minus side and it is a major one , was that 2 specialty restaurants are located outside and eating at 7.30 pm at 5 degrees Celsius ( 41 F ) is really cold even if your Fillet Mignon is perfectly cooked !!!
The itinerary was quite port intensive so after walking for hours in Venice, Rovinj, Opatija , Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik and eating an elaborate dinner everyday , we did not go very often at the lounge for entertainement
but what we saw of the Kool Blend group and the British singer was interesting .
The choice of port of calls was very interesting ! The size of the ship enables it to go to ports that would not be accessible to other ships so Windstar was able to select ports with various points of interest in very different surroundings ! Information provided by the very knowledgeable excursion team also was very helpful to passengers wanting to visit on their own ! The time spent at each port was also more than the average spent by cruise ships ! Leaving the ports with all sails deployed also brought applause from people looking at the ship
The passengers (there were 220 on this cruise) are mostly well travelled , with a majority of Americans but also coming from many different countries!
On a ship of this size, it is very easy to establish contact so , after a few days , one gets the impression to know everyone aboard ! The crew knows most of the passengers by their family name and even the very young looking Captain Alan MacAry is very accessible to everyone.
Disembarkation was very fast, in fact all the passengers were off the ship within 45 minutes !
We would not do a Trans Atlantic crossing on a Windstar sail ship as entertainment and speed are limited but we will definitely consider one of their vessels when we will be looking for an itinerary with original ports of call !