A soft breeze rustles the billowing sails above as we tuck into a
breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice, eggs on smoked salmon
and complimentary cappuccino served on china on the teak deck
outside. Later, we drop anchor off the island of Capri; hop aboard
a small tender to the picturesque dock lined with souvenir shops
and cafes; then catch the funicular, just steps from where we land,
up the rocky mountain to Capri town.
Small idyllic ports and big style. That’s how we remembered
Windstar Cruises from a previous cruise on one of the line’s two,
148-passenger, motor-sailing yachts. The same was true of this
cruise along Italy’s fabled Amalfi Coast from Rome to Malta aboard
the larger, 308-passenger Wind Surf. Since the Wind Surf is three
times the size of the Wind Star and Wind Spirit, she features more
For example, the Wind Surf has 31 suites with two bathrooms, a
larger sitting area and plusher furnishings. But the cabins (188
square feet in size) are the same on all three ships. All are
outside with two portholes and feature a modern nautical decor,
wood cabinets with curved edges (so passengers don’t bruise
themselves if they bump into them), flat-screen TVs and DVD
players. The cleverly designed bathrooms have two circular pods off
the central vanity area.
The Wind Surf also has the Bistro restaurant, in addition to the
glass-enclosed inside/outside Verandah restaurant for breakfast and
lunch and the main dinner restaurant found on all three ships.
Acclaimed celebrity chef Joachim Splichal has created a steakhouse
offering for the Bistro, plus rotating French-, Italian- and
When it comes to taking passengers to hidden harbors that larger
ships can’t access, the Wind Surf is no different than her sister
ships. And small ports translate to more independent exploring for
Take Capri on our Amalfi Coast itinerary. After riding the
funicular up to the whitewashed buildings that make up the town, my
husband and I wandered along the cobblestone paths connecting the
designer boutiques, deluxe hotels and fashionable outdoor
restaurants. We walked beyond the town, past groves of lemon trees
and along the cliffs, first to a splendid natural rock arch
formation known as the Arco Naturale and then to the ruins of Villa
Jovis, where the depraved Emperor Tiberius once ruled the Roman
In Sorrento, after disembarking the Wind Surf’s tender at the
pier, we bought tickets on a passenger ferry for the 40-minute ride
to Positano. In this fairytale-like village of pastel-colored
villas and boutiques clinging to the mountainside, we bought a
bottle of Limoncello (a delicious lemon liqueur made here, best
served ice-cold) and strolled the pebble beach, peopled with
bikini-clad sun worshippers.
Windstar’s European and Mediterranean itineraries have proven
popular this summer. Wind Surf will sail a series of Nice-Rome,
Rome-Barcelona and Barcelona-Lisbon cruises before repositioning
for the winter in the Caribbean. The line has also increased the
number of its Greek Islands cruises for 2006 from 27 to 38. And a
new Istanbul-Athens itinerary is offered on the Wind Spirit, with
visits to Canakkale and Izmir (Turkey) and Patmos, Agios, Kos,
Naxos and the village of Nikolaos, Crete (Greece).
In most destinations, different seven-day itineraries allow
Windstar passengers on all three ships to sail 14-day voyages
without repeating ports. On our cruise, 70 guests were staying on
for the next cruise.
But for all the interesting and exotic places Windstar Cruises
showed us, what I like best is lounging on deck in the late
afternoon sun; listening to the quiet luffing sounds of the vast
white sails and watching the turquoise seas ripple under the bow,
as the elegant vessel sails to our next port of adventure.
|WHAT'S NEW ON WINDSTAR|
“It’s the little details or the ‘degrees of difference’ that add
up to the Windstar experience, which is 180 degrees from ordinary,”
said Diane Moore, Windstar’s vice president, marketing and
Unusual itineraries, the feeling of sailing when the sails are up,
gourmet cuisine, the watersports platform and the relaxed dress
code are all hallmarks of Windstar. New features and amenities
include Sealy Posturepedic Plush Euro-Top mattresses, L’Occitane
toiletries and Apple iPod docking stations in staterooms; 100 new
Joachim Splichal-created menu items in the main dining room, plus a
new “Vinter’s Reserve” wine list.
A COASTAL VOYAGE TO GREENLAND
Norwegian Coastal Voyage is introducing a 12-day, air-inclusive
expedition program to Greenland, the world’s largest island, on the
newly rebuilt MS Disco II beginning in June. Cruising during the
polar summer on the 56-berth vessel, which is small enough to stay
close to the rugged coast, is a comfortable and convenient way to
view spectacular scenery and wildlife in the remote wilderness
above the Arctic Circle. Weekly departures are scheduled June
15-Aug. 8 from New York to Kangerlussuaq via Copenhagen.
The eight-day voyage will feature naturalist guides, lectures and
Zodiac landings and begins in Kangerlussuaq Fjord, one of the
world’s longest fjords. From there, it sails along Greenland’s west
coast to Disko Bay amid ice floes and icebergs of all shapes and
sizes; many species of whales, seals, sea eagles and other birds;
and a changing landscape of mountains, waterfalls, walls of ice and
calving glaciers. The Midnight Sun can be seen in Ilulissat on
Disko Bay until July 25.
Built in Denmark in 1992 for Greenland service as the Saqqit Ittuk
and converted to an expedition ship in 2004, the Disco II has a
panoramic lounge with bar, restaurant and 26 outside cabins with
Cruise rates start at $6,740-$8,065 per person, double occupancy,
including roundtrip SAS flights from New York to Copenhagen, flight
to Kangerlussuaq and back and two nights at a first-class
Copenhagen hotel with breakfast.
PRINCESS EXPANDS INSIDE
PASSAGE OFFERINGS FOR 2007
Princess Cruises plans to expand capacity in its popular Inside
Passage Alaska program in 2007 when Golden Princess will make her
Alaska debut. The 2,600-passenger Golden Princess features more
than 700 balcony staterooms, providing a perfect vantage point for
observing the stunning scenery of Southeast Alaska. Both Golden
Princess and the 1,950-passenger Sun Princess will offer seven-day
roundtrip sailings from Seattle with an itinerary that features
Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, plus the opportunity to
cruise through the dramatic glaciers, rock walls and waterfalls of
Tracy Arm and the twin Sawyer Glaciers. Golden Princess will offer
20 voyages departing on Saturdays between May 5 and Sept. 15, 2007,
while Sun Princess sails on 20 cruises with Sunday departures
beginning on May 6 and continuing through Sept. 16.
Additionally, the 1,950-passenger Dawn Princess will offer 10-day
roundtrips from San Francisco between May 11 and Sept. 8. The
ship’s itinerary from San Francisco features calls in Juneau and
Victoria with two additional ports that rotate between Ketchikan,
Skagway, Sitka and Icy Strait Point, plus premiere glacier viewing
with cruising through Tracy Arm. Two special voyages on May 11 and
Sept. 8 feature daylight cruising of Glacier Bay National Park in
place of Tracy Arm.
Early booking fares for Inside Passage voyages start at $749 per
person, based on double occupancy.
NEW EXOTIC VOYAGES
Discovery World Cruises has unveiled 26 cruise vacations for
2007 that will showcase the history, cultures and architecture of
Northern Europe, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Guests can choose itineraries that range from 10 to 33 nights,
calling at ports as diverse as Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, and
Tartous, Syria, on the 650-passenger mv Discovery. The liner offers
a host of comforts and amenities, yet her size enables her to visit
out-of-the-way ports larger vessels cannot reach.
Rates for the voyages begin at $1,995 per person, double
occupancy. Guests who book early will enjoy savings of up to 50
percent on selected sailings.
In addition, the line is offering complimentary economy-class air
to Europe from select East Coast gateway cities. Travelers from
other parts of the U.S. may take advantage of deeply discounted air
add-on fares of $99 from the Midwest, and $199 from West Coast
Additionally, Discovery’s cruisetour program offers a two-night,
pre-cruise hotel stay in London prior to many of the summer and
fall voyages and includes an orientation sightseeing tour of the