Windstar for a first cruise?

Old Feb 1st, 2013, 08:22 PM
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Windstar for a first cruise?

Husband and I have not been on a cruise before and are considering one of Windstar's Athens-Istanbul cruises in June or July. What appeals to me are the smaller size of the ships and not having to dress formally.
It seems like a cruise is a good way to see this area.
We'd probably spend a few days in Turkey after the cruise.

What do you think? Is this cruise line a good choice for the first time?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Yes, and you will be very spoiled ... just kick back and relax. There won't be much distraction except for the scenery. Some felt night life is lacking but this is not a mass market cruise line so it will be different.

Since you have not been on a cruise before, make sure you take all precautions re motion sickness (just in case), and read up on any info you can find on cruising.

Below is a link to Fodor's info on Windstar cruise
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 01:35 PM
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Thank you for the information and the link. I just joined cruise critic and imagine that alone will keep me busy and give me good basic info on cruising.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 07:50 AM
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We've sailed on the Windspirit and the Windsurf.
What appeals to you also appealed to us.

The casual dress and small number of passengers is much nicer than the large ships. Also another plus is debarkation at the ports of call. You will be off & on in a flash. We saw long lines of people waiting for a tender to the larger ships. This is key when you only have a few hours in port.

Our first trip was on Windspirit in the Caribbean and we liked it so much we returned a few years later to go on the Windsurf. The food is very good and walking the deck at night is so beautiful. I must admit that we liked the larger (350) passenger Windsurf a little better than the (150) passenger Windspirit just for a bit more variety in restaurants and deck space, but we wouldn't hesitate to go on the smaller Windspirit or Windstar again. Actually it's easier to meet people on the smaller ships.

Another one we liked is
We sailed on the Starflyer in the Caribbean and again on the Starflyer in the Meditteranean. If we go again it would be to try the larger Royal Clipper.

To compare the two:
Windstar-- a little (and I mean just a little) more luxurious and just a little better food. Some small tables if you want to dine alone.
Computerized sails, so a lot of motoring, bit still gorgeous when they put the sails up. It doesn't heel over as much so somewhat more stable.

Starclippers--Full sailing all the time so the sailing part of it is more fun. All large tables so you meet people quickly. A little more fun at night.

Both have outstanding service, they'll know your names by the second day. The crew on both of the cruiselines is exceptionally friendly and helpful which they would have to be because you run into them quite often on the deck.

On all of these ships the first night sailing out when they raise the sails and play the music is a thrilling experience you won't forget.

We've talked about taking one of them on the Atlantic crossing one of these days because we enjoyed the sailing so much.

Happy planning.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 08:45 AM
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TPAYT, thanks for the detailed information.
I like the itineraries of Starclippers a little better than Windstar. It seems like they go to less visited ports perhaps? Which Mediterrean itinerary did you take? Thanks again.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 09:09 AM
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We took Rome to Rome visiting:
Monte Carlo

Elba, Corsica. and Portofino were all so different from the normal places we go. Small and not so crowded, it was a joy wandering around. On Elba we did take a tour of the island that was fun.

Florence--we took a tour but left it for an hour or 2 and then rejoined it.

Monte Carlo--we went on our own. Since then we've been back again twice.

Nice--We went around on our own and have since returned several times.

We love the Riviera and as I said we've returned to drive all over. The towns are charming.

It was this cruise from Rome to Rome that started us on a love affair with Europe and we now go back every year. We saw places that we never would have chosen on our own and also taught us that we could do this without a tour.

We've very seriously been looking at the cruises out of Venice for this Sept. Ideally it would be Rome to Venice stopping on the Amalfi Coast.

Any other questions, I'd be glad to give you our opinions.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 05:27 PM
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Hi, TPayt
I am travelling on the Windstar from Rome to Istanbul by myself. I am trying to figure out whether to take the ship's shore excursions at these ports or discover the following towns on my own. It is hard to judge how far the port is from the sights, how long the tour bus rides are, or if the towns or tours are worth it. For example, I thought I would take some of the ones that are wine tasting or small group tours but one, for example, requires a 2 1/2 hour bus ride for a 1 hour wine tour and tasting.
It would be nice to read other people opinions on the shore excursions. Do you have any advice or suggestions on the following port stops? Thank you very much.
Giardini Naxos/Taoromina
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 08:50 PM
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loved the Windsurf. small but not too small. we have been on ships with 60 people before so windsurf was quite a bit larger in that respect but nothing like the big liners which we do not like..It is Luxury, casual elegance, smooth cruise. We sailed from Lisbon to spain down to Morocco back up to Spain thru the straits of Gibraltar, docking in Malaga. excellent choice for a first cruise. The lack of decent night entertainment did not bother us as we are not into Las Vegas type entertainment. By the time we ate dinner (loved the open seating), after dinner drink, and reading or playing a game, we were ready for bed. Hope you decide to do it.....
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Old Apr 1st, 2014, 05:39 AM
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springstraveler----As we didn't visit any of the ports you mentioned I can't comment on that. Since you are traveling alone I would stick with ship tours. I don't know about a 2 1/2 hr. bus ride for a 1 hr. tour--that doesn't sound like fun. Also, because the ship is small you will meet the other passengers quite easily and maybe join up with some of them. We were happy with all of the ship's tours that we took. They were well run and definitely worth the expense. You may never get to those locations again, so I would take advantage of all that is offered.

I'll be watching for your TR----Bon Voyage!
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Old Apr 1st, 2014, 09:42 AM
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Thanks for the additional information. I have switched gears and it looks like a Windstar cruise to French Polynesia is in my future! WooHoo!
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 08:39 PM
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I'll say WooHoo!! You will love this line..Have been on all 3, Star, Spirit and Surf..Would be ready to go in a second if the occasion arose..Passport, shots, meds, and garments are at the ready, even have new sunscreen!!
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