By Patti Pietschmann Pavlus BlogMaster
One of the most breathtaking moments on a Windstar cruise is when the captain does a ‘sail around’ while passengers are off to shore. This was especially awesome in Bora Bora where we watched the Wind Star sail by in her billowing glory. It’s quite an exhilarating experience sailing on a four masted Windstar ship in French Polynesia, the Caribbean and the Med. Which we’ve done with 148 or so other passengers.
The Anschutz-owned Windstar Cruises operates six ships. But the masted vessels are the most popular with passengers who want a true sailing sensation of billowy self-furling, computer-operated sails. And, the ships’ diminutive size allow the captain to navigate into hidden coves and areas where mega ships can’t fit.
Windstar attracts seafarers such as Glenn Bozarth. The active Newport Beach, California resident has taken more than a dozen voyages with the line. Glenn brings his own wet suit and gear. But all the nautical equipment you need from snorkels to scuba tanks (which cost extra) is provided. The main attractions are the retractable marina at the back of the ship where you can dive off and snorkel, swim, jet ski, go for a banana boat ride or simply float in the sea.
Those retractable marinas, which the captain opens when he anchors the ship off small coves and inlets, are a water baby’s delight. You can snorkel, swim or ride a zodiac right from the boat. There is a popular bar and a lounge that becomes an entertainment venue for singers or musicians. Local entertainers climb aboard in some ports like Tahiti. For most guests the watersports are the main events. And the line provides it all. There’s complimentary water-skiing, wakeboarding, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, ski-tubing, and snorkel gear.
The experiences on the Star, Spirit and Surf are virtually identical. I prefer the Surf. It sports slightly larger staterooms and public areas. The spa is larger, too.
That’s it for entertainment, as stated above this is not a biggie on Windstar. After dinner most passengers either hit the bar or go to bed.
The ships are equipped with computers, WiFi and other mobile device services. Staterooms and suites have LCD flatscreens, DVD/CD players and safes. There are also mini-bars stocked with complimentary soft drinks, vanity desk with chair, magnifying mirrors, robes, slippers, and a handy alarm clock.
The food is often excellent and served in open seating on beautifully-set tables. The Stella Bistro is my favorite for fare with a French twist and so is the open air dining areas on the top deck. The lunch buffets are a cut over many offered at sea, always attractively presented and usually eagerly attacked by passengers hungry after active mornings.
Booking a Windstar cruise with Pavlus ensures you get the right price and cabin. Travel agents are the way to go. Call one at 1.800.528.9300. If only we got help for that Polynesia voyage. We did it ourselves and were assigned a stateroom in the bowels of the ‘boat’. It was so cramped I kept hitting my head on the overhead TV when climbing out of our ‘queen’ size bed that was smack against the port hole. After several complaints we were relocated to bigger digs and placated with bottles of wine and chocolate-covered strawberries sent to the suit plus free wine at dinner and even a bonus ride in the hotel manager’s zodiac around Bora Bora.