An enlarged version of Wind Star and Wind Spirit, the 312-passenger Wind Surf is a sleek, sexy, supersmooth sailing ship with a large spa and lots of suites, along with an intimate, yachtlike ambience.
Typical Per Diems: $230+
Wind Surf sails the Caribbean from Barbados and St. Martin (winter).
Wind Surf is the pumped-up big sister of Windstar's smaller original vessels, the Wind Star and Wind Spirit. Built at French shipyard Societe Nouvelle des Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre, she originally sailed for Club Med Cruises (as Club Med I) until purchased by Windstar in 1997.
Despite a passenger capacity more than double that of her sister ships, Wind Surf maintains the feel of a private yacht, but also something more: Unlike almost any ship today, she mimics the size and flavor of some older, more intimate ocean liners, with a real seagoing feel that's rare among today's breed of cruise ships. In essence, Wind Surf is in a class by herself, offering one of the few cruise experiences that really bridges the gap between casual-luxe and adventure, at prices starting lower than $2,000 per week.
Decor is nearly identical in all cabins and suites, with white walls, varnished wood detailing, patterned upholstery and bedding, and understated carpets. Amenities include flatscreen TVs, DVD/CD players, Bose SoundDocks (usable with preloaded Apple iPod Nanos that you can check out from the reception desk), minifridges, terry-cloth bathrobes, L'Occitane toiletries, large desks with granite tops, and full-length mirrors. At 188 square feet, the standard cabins are as large as some of the largest mainstream megaship cabins, and storage space is adequate, though not overly generous. Refurbished bathrooms sport a contemporary look, with open glass shelves, granite countertops, white porcelain sinks, new custom shower heads, new shower curtains, and an illuminated magnifying mirror. Fortunately, the lovely teak bathroom floors remain intact.
Thirty suites on Deck 3 (created by combining two regular staterooms) have a single large space divided into a comfortable sitting area and a bedroom, with a thick curtain to separate them as needed. They have his-and-hers bathrooms (each with shower and toilet) and two flat-panel TVs and DVD players. No cabins or suites have balconies or even picture windows. Instead, chunky portholes add to the ship's nautical ambience. Go with it. We loved 'em.
Each of the two 500-square-foot plush suites on the Bridge Deck has a living and dining area, a separate bedroom, a walk-in closet, and a marble bathroom with a tub and separate shower. Posh perks for these suites include unpacking service, an invitation to dine with the captain, laundry and pressing service, evening appetizers, complimentary bottled water in the suite, chilled champagne upon arrival, and extra L'Occitane bath amenities.
Wind Surf has two elevators (unlike the other Windstar ships, which have none), but no cabins tailored for wheelchairs. The vessel is not recommended for people with serious mobility problems.
All around, Wind Surf is the roomiest of the three Windstar ships, with an airy layout and a passenger-space ratio to match that of the luxe Seabourn ships.
The vessel's main public room is her nautically decorated main lounge, bright and airy with well-spaced tables for four spread around a decent-size dance floor and bandstand. Passengers gather here in the evening for cocktails, music, and port talks, as well as gambling in the adjoining casino. Aft, the Compass Rose Bar is the most popular spot aboard, with indoor/outdoor seating, a view over the wake, and music in the evenings. A second small stern lounge, the tiny, adorable Terrace Bar, is decorated with classic wood paneling and thick leather couches and bar stools, and has additional seating and tables just outside, on deck. In the evening, it's the spot for Cigars Under the Stars sessions.
Midships on Main Deck, just aft of the lounge, the former library has been transformed into the Yacht Club, the ship's new social hub and Internet cafe, with an espresso bar, eight computers, and Wi-Fi access for your laptop. A large flatscreen TV anchors a cluster of comfy couches and chairs, and there's a library of books, CDs, and DVDs available for checkout. Nearby are four card tables and the ship's one shop, next to the main reception desk.
Pool Fitness & Spa Facilities
Wind Surf has the most elaborate fitness and spa facilities in the Windstar fleet, outclassing most facilities on other similar-size ships. At the spa, therapists dole out a variety of massages and other treatments in rooms that may look suspiciously familiar: They were created out of regular cabins when Windstar expanded the spa. Various spa packages geared to both men and women can be purchased in advance through your travel agent, with appointment times made once you're on board. Poolside spa services are also available.
The ship's glass-walled gym is located on the Top Deck and is surprisingly well stocked for a vessel this size, with four treadmills, four bikes, several step machines and elliptical trainers, a full Cybex weight circuit, dumbbells, a ballet bar, and a rowing machine that uses water resistance. Up on deck, you'll find a schedule of yoga, Pilates, Body Blitz, and self-defense classes for $11 a pop, plus free aerobics, stretching, and abdominals classes.
There are two pools on board: one on the Top Deck, beneath the sails, and another in the stern, alongside two hot tubs. Adjacent to the pools are recently installed Balinese sun beds. For joggers, a full-circuit teak promenade wraps around the Bridge Deck. The flying bridge is strung with two-person hammocks, providing a prime relaxation opportunity under the ship's billowing sails.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.