This past December my husband and I enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary on a remarkable Windstar cruise to the Caribbean. What makes Windstar Cruises so special? First of all you’re treated to the “small ship”advantage. With fewer than 300 passengers, their gorgeous yachts are able to tuck into tiny harbors and hidden coves that the larger ships simply can’t visit. Pampering guests with extraordinary service and equally magnificent cuisine throughout the cruise, one realizes this is a very special cruise company indeed.
We sailed on Windstar’s flagship yacht, The Wind Surf, and what a beauty. Having sailed several times in the past on large cruise ships we were unprepared for the joy engendered by the stunning and elegant nautical-themed décor throughout the ship. When our cabin attendant ushered us into our huge 376 square feet suite on Deck 3 we truly gasped with delight. Chilled champagne, red roses and fresh fruit beckoned as we were introduced to our two bathrooms, 2 large closets and dressing areas, and a large sitting area with a sofa and chairs. Women will love having their own bath and dressing area…I know I did!
Our first night was the “sail away” party on the Fly Bridge. Majestic with her 7 sails flapping in the breeze, the Wind Surf gently sailed out of Philipsburg, St. Maarten, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture playing in the background. My husband and I are pretty experienced and savvy travelers, but this was a unique experience to us, and only a preview for what lay ahead in days to come.
We sailed overnight to Antigua, and it was a fairly rough night at sea. Arriving that morning at Falmouth Harbor, the sea was too rough for us to safely disembark on the tenders. Our excellent Captain kept in constant touch with updates on landing spots that would be safe, and he prevailed after a couple of hours, and all guests were so appreciative since we all wanted to visit Antigua. This “bump in the road” too was different from past experiences on larger ships where docking simply would not have been possible, hence a lost day at a special destination.
The following day, still in Antiqua, with improved weather, our Captain moved us to a new area and dropped anchor where we were able to tender from the ship directly onto a nearby beach with gleaming white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Local islanders steered us to a nearby restaurant, where we sipped mojitos from a beach chair, and admired our yacht rocking gently off-shore as fantastic fresh-seared tuna was served. Tonight we attended the Captain’s Cocktail Party in the quaint Main Lounge, where a lovely band played every night.
Onward to day 4 and Soper’s Hole in Tortola, BVI. This morning we were gleeful as we embarked on the catamaran excursion to encounter some amazing snorkeling. Back to port and the famous Marina (voted #1 Marina in all of British Virgin Islands) filled with picturesque shops and dining venues. Kicking back with new friends we’d met onboard we sipped our very first “painkiller” drink at the famous Pusser’s landing before returning to the ship where we indulged in Windstar’s signature deck BBQ, serving delicious grilled lobster among many other delightful dishes.
Sailing right on time next day, we arrived at Jost Van Dyke, a tiny island measuring only 4 by 3 miles, but noted for its truly gorgeous beach and Foxy’s Bar, where lively parties are a nightly routine. Surrounded by views of lush mountains, the powder soft sand beach is just wonderful. The next morning we rode to Soggy Dollar and perched on a relaxing hammock, reveling in the slapping waves and peacefulness of gentle sea breezes. This was our favorite day, thinking we’d really reached paradise or as close as we’re likely to come to it on this Earth.
Moving into Day 6 it’s on to Virgin Gorda, BVI, where we encountered the obligatory “The Baths”, an unusual geological formation of rocks, with huge granite boulders forming covered tunnels we could explore. This was evidence of the island’s volcanic origins and what an amazing sight. Following this excursion we joined Windstar’s staff and fellow guests on Windstar’s private island on Prickly Pear Beach for a private BBQ, which was delicious and we had a blast with new friends, tapping our toes to a steel drum band.
That night Windstar’s staff performed some of the best entertainment shows I’ve ever experienced at sea. Singing, dancing and being comedians as well, these remarkable individuals work so hard each day to keep their Windstar guests happy that it’s hard to imagine how their hidden talents can blossom and entertain too. The entire crew was simply outstanding in providing exemplary service to the Wind Surf’s guests every minute of every day.
Our last day was spent on the French island of St. Barthelemy (St. Barths). Strolling the streets and shopping in designer boutiques, which St. Barths is known for, we also indulged in coffee that afternoon with new friends at a lovely little café. The following day we returned to St. Maarten early morning for our flight home.
We definitely enjoyed our first experience on Windstar’s Wind Surf, small ship (yacht) extraordinaire, making great new friends we know we’ll see again. Windstar is truly a fantastic cruise product that I highly recommend to anyone looking for a luxurious, port intensive, private yacht experience with impeccable service. The casual and elegant atmosphere pervading the yacht was delightful and I report with confidence this was a genuinely amazing experience all-round!
About the Author
Lin Fernandez Humble
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