by Don McCann
I recently returned from Windstar Cruises’ Windsurf on an 8-Night itinerary from Venice to Rome. I’d sailed with Windstar several years ago, but that was on one of their smaller ships (Windsurf is their largest sailing yacht). For those not familiar with the line, Windstar has three “sailing yachts” and three “motor yachts”. They use the term “yacht” because of the small number of guests onboard and the overall experience related to the smaller size.
Windstar’s two smaller sailing yachts each carry 148 guests and the larger Windsurf carries 310 guests. The three motor yachts, recently acquired from the deluxe line Seabourn, each accommodate 212 guests. While each ship offers enough space and amenities to be comparable to a traditional, large cruise ship, the ambiance is definitely more intimate and yacht-like.
Unlike the more expensive ultra-deluxe cruise lines which carry smaller numbers of passengers, Windstar provides a very upscale experience at a much lower rate. They don’t claim to be like Crystal, or Regent, but they deliver a premium level cruise experience which some would put more in league with say Azamara, or perhaps Oceania.
Aside from the advantage of the relaxed and spacious onboard experience, the smaller size of the ship allows Windstar to physically dock, while larger ships have to tender (anchor out and shuttle boat back & fourth) in certain ports. On our cruise this was the case in Kotor, Montenegro and while we had to tender in Dubrovnik, we did so from very close in, while the larger ships were WAY far away from town and not visible from the port.
I’ll post a future blog with photos from the ship itself, but for now, I’d like to share just a few photos of the fantastic ports on this itinerary. We had a port every day (only one day at sea) and we truly loved them all. Take a look and see why…..
Our water taxi enroute to our pre-cruise hotel in Venice
Classic view of Venice!
Windsurf in Venice, ready for embarkation
From the port of Rovinj, our excursion was to Motovun
The Croatian countryside, out from Rovinj
Split, Croatia, as seen from our ship
recently restored Cathedral of St. Duje in Trogir, an excursion from Split
Fortress of Kamerlengo, Trogir, Croatia
“Walking the wall” in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik as seen from the cable car station atop the hill
The stunning ‘fjord-like’ access into Kotor, Montenegro
climbing the 1,350 steps to the top for great views of Kotor!
“Our Lady of Health” church, overlooking Kotor below
We made it! All 1,350 steps to the top at Kotor’s Castle of San Giovanni
Windsurf in the distance, as we drive up to Taormina, Sicily
the square at the entrance to Taormina
colorful, picturesque Taormina
The Gambino Vineyards on Sicily (no, not THAT Gambino!)
The famed Blue Grotto on the isle of Capri
overlooking Capri from atop Anacapri
The Colosseum, of course
Arch of Constantine, Rome
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome
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