Imagine finding the daily roster of activities on your bed each night with barely a thing on it. That's one of the hallmarks of a cruise onboard Wind Surf -- little organized entertainment such as one would find on a more traditional cruise ship.
There's also is no cruise director on Wind Surf; instead, there are a pair of hosts, a relic from the Club Med days, where "gentils organisateurs" ("gracious hosts" in English) performed that function. Each evening, one of the hosts gives a port information talk in the Lounge around 7 p.m. to learn about the next day's port, the shore excursions, the region and its history (unfortunately, since shore excursions close at 10 a.m. the day before, it's too late to book the tour if you're particularly intrigued by one of the host's descriptions). On the other hand, you do at least get a fairly good overview of the region you're visiting, and the talks are a fun and collegial event before dinner.
The Lounge also hosts music, where passengers occasionally will also dance. The once-a-cruise crew show is also held here.
The adjacent casino has approximately 30 slots in denominations from 10 cents to $1, three blackjack tables, one poker table and a roulette wheel. Blackjack was fairly popular on our cruise; most of the slot machines got little use.
Our favorite spot onboard is the Compass Rose bar at the back of the ship. It's an indoor/outdoor venue, furnished with teak tables and woven wickerlike chairs with cushions. During the day it's an excellent hang out spot; at night, when the weather is nice, sitting outside while listening to music is an evening highlight. The chairs and tables are pushed to the side for dancing when appropriate.
There's a pool bar below Compass Rose -- open during the day -- and a cigar bar just above. Hint: If you want to do some quiet chatting on deck in the evenings, choose a table on the aft deck outside of the cigar bar -- the bar is enclosed so you rarely smell smoke. The pool deck area is lovely, but there's a large speaker on either side broadcasting the music from Compass Rose, and it's quite loud.
Wind Surf Public Rooms
We were honestly surprised at the super spacious size of The Lounge, Wind Surf's main indoor salon. It spans the ship from port to starboard and is furnished with comfy, casual furniture so you can really relax. Low pillow-strewn banquettes line the walls under the windows, tables are scattered about, and a stage is set up for the combo that plays most evenings and the crew show, which takes place one night during the cruise.
The centrally located Yacht Club replaces the previous library and provides comfortable seating for socializing, reading, doing puzzles and playing games. This is also where you'll find the aforementioned Yacht Club Sandwich Bar. Eight computers with Internet access are available (these take the place of those formerly in the business center); Wi-Fi is also available in most spots onboard. A large flat-screen television anchors a seating area for group gatherings to watch special events such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl. A library of books, CDs and DVDs are available for checkout at no charge.
Wind Surf Spa & Fitness
The ship, which is marketed to active travelers of whatever age, has a large and well-equipped fitness spa facility, though it was not included in the latest refurbishment; the spa, especially, looks quite dated. The gym features equipment of all types, from treadmills to free weights, which were constantly in use during our cruise (though none of the treadmills have individual flat-screen televisions that are popular in more up-to-date facilities). Pilates and yoga classes are available at $11 per class.
The spa, operated by Steiner of London, is surprisingly large for a ship of this size, with several treatment rooms and even a float capsule. Prices were moderate for a Steiner spa and you could get even better deals if you reserved treatments on port days. And because so much of our itinerary was port intensive, the spa was open late -- to 10 p.m. most nights -- which was a nice convenience for folks who didn't stay onboard during the day.
Wind Surf's best feature, though, is its sports platform, a marine playground right on the ship. Available only when the ship is at anchor (i.e., in tender ports), and depending on the weather, sea conditions and local regulations, passengers can avail themselves of kayaks, windsurfers, Zodiacs, snorkeling equipment and even water skis. A dive program, complete with guides and instructors, is available as well.