Windsurf

Jan 23rd, 2005, 01:33 PM
  #1  
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Windsurf

Has anyone cruised the Windsurf in the Mediterranean? Do you prefer this size ship to larger cruise lines?
bundy is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 02:32 PM
  #2  
 
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Bundy=

WE LOVED the Windsurf in the Med-

Reasons:
great smaller ports that the large ships cannot get into..Portofino and St Tropez were AWESOME!

Dining-open seating and men wore polo shirts and Khakis- women wore slax outfits or sundresses-
There are 2 dining room- one , the regular (very nice) dining room and a reservation only Grill-BOTH were good.

NO large shows at nite- small 3 pc combo in the lounge--where they served hordouerves at happy hour..

Sailing with the sails UP is FANTASTIC!

Hubs LOVED this ship and said he never wanted to take a large ship again--and this one was soooooooooo casual..

It makes it even better, esp.if you are touring Europe pre- or post cruise, as you don't have to carry around evening attire...

FOOD was great!
People were all well-travelled and friendly!

GO! You will love it!
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 03:46 PM
  #3  
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thanks andy! I'd be going on an 11-day cruise and worried that it's a long cruise on a small ship. Did you get bored at night? Did you feel confined w/out a balcony?
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:00 PM
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Bundy-

We had only done 1 balcony and that was on the Celebrity Millenium..and we hardly every used it...

Bored at nite...No--the 3 pc combo in the lounge was excellent--and the teeny tiny casino ( 3 black jac tables and 2 craps and a few slots)..was just large enough and NO pressure to gamble..

It was incredibly relaxing..would have loved having a balcony, but felt the SAILS more than replaced the balcony--it is very romantic to go out of port on full sail watching the city get smaller and smaller--

Pool area is VERY small--but the water sports that are complimentary are used in just about every port--kayaking,sailfishing etc...

I think you will like it..

How old are you?

The average age was about 45--a few 30 somethings and went all the way up to 65--but well travelled people not on the all-you-can eat buffet circuit.
A few had been on Seabourn, and while they liked Seabourn better (due to the size of the cabins)the cost of the WINDSURF was way less..

Where is your cruise going for the 11 days?

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Jan 23rd, 2005, 06:55 PM
  #5  
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andy - we're going on our honeymoon, both of us are 28, younger than the avg age which is somewhat a concern. we like the intimacy of the ship but it's 11 days, from Venice to Croatia to Corfu to southern Italian coast to Rome, and we've only cruised on large ships for 7 days. I think this offers less but is more relaxing w/better food than larger ships. The ports are different also which makes it interesting. did you do the shore excursions offered by Windsurf or your own? thanks.
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Jan 25th, 2005, 11:26 AM
  #6  
 
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We just sailed the Windsurf in October and LOVED it. My husband and I are both 32. We were probably the youngest people on the boat but several veteran Windsurf cruisers told us this was unusual - that there are usually a few more younger people. It did not make any difference to us - we had the most fantastic time. Everyone was so nice. It was like being on a giant floating beach party - relaxed yet festive. There were people on the boat who were on their third consecutive cruise (this was their 3rd week on the ship) so I don't think that you would find 11 days too long. Also, in some of the ports like Dubrovnik and Cephalonia, we stayed in port until late in the evening so we were able to take advantage of evening entertainment in port. We particularly loved Cephalonia if your route stops there. Most of the people on the boat were very well-traveled, interesting and active. These are people who go out and live life, not wait in line for the buffet. My friends had recommended Windstar after their honeymoon cruise on one of Windstar's smaller boats and they were both about 28-29 at the time and loved it. I am looking forward to our next Windstar cruise!!!
alex is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 05:51 AM
  #7  
 
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bundy-
Most of the ports are so small that you can actually do your own research and do your own excursions...

The only excursion that we did was the ships bus into FLORENCE as we did not want to hassle with taxi and hope we got to ship in time--it was over a 2 1/2 hr bus ride ( but worth it!)..They let you off right near the Ponte Vecchio bridge ( about 2 blocks away) and give you a pick up location--VERY easy...

ON the smaller ports , it is sometimes easier to do it by yourselves..Also, since it is your honeymoon, you may want to explore on the little ports by yourselves or maybe with another couple that you meet on board...

Make sure that you ask for a table for 6 the first nite--that way you get to meet at least 2 other couples...then you can decide when you want to dine with just the 2 of you...You have the option of lots or people or just the "honeymooners"...

Also make reservations for the grill on the day you get on board ship, as this reservation rest.on board gets booked up fast...Do a table for 4 ,just in case you meet another couple you want to dine with...you can always turn it into a table for 2.

Which cruise are you lookihg at: Venice Croatia,Greece or what?
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Jan 27th, 2005, 04:44 PM
  #8  
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Andy - thanks for the advice. We're going on the Venice to Rome cruise for 11 days. I will look into the excursions but thought places like Croatia or Corfu might be good for excursions. Can we book the Grill Room before sailing, and can we only eat there once? Any other suggestions/comments are appreciated as we're very much looking forward to this trip, thanks.
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Jan 27th, 2005, 05:55 PM
  #9  
 
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Hi Bundy--

If you are doing Croatia ( ie.old name -Dubronik) , you do NOT need to do a ship excursion as the ship lands within walking distance of the OLD walled city..It is terrific to walk around by yourselves-perfectly safe and full of tons of history..

Be sure you do NOT turn your US dollars into Croatia money as you CANNOT turn it back into US dollars prior to leaving the port and it is worth NOTHING..Takes like a Million of their dollars for one of ours..Sort of makes you feel like a millionare for a day! LOL!

You cannot pre-book the Grill Room--you have to do it when you get on the ship.
You CAN eat at the Grill room more than once, but they allow all the people to at least get a shot at the reservations on the first day..So IF you want the Grill room more than once ( it is Smaller and more intimate)-but actually we liked the MAIN dining room better...Food is the same-just a change of scenery..

Are you going to Venice early? If Not, YOU HAVE to--it is THE most ROMANTIC place my hubs and I have ever been...And don't worry what anyone says about the gondola ride--do it! As you may never be back! In Venice, MAKE SURE you go to Peggy Gugenheim's home which is a MUSEUM ( she collected Contemporary Art and LIVED among it)..It was actually the highlight of our Venice!! It is home ON the Grand Canal and If you are into Picasso,Miro,Calder and Henri Moore, you will flip over this musuem which is NOT on the beaten path and a lot of people do not even know it exists.

A trip to Murano is a joke..esp if you take the hotel's private vaporetto- as all you get is a sales pitch.

And contrary to most opinions, we LOVED sitting in the Plaza San Marco in the evening having a cup of espresso and listening to the 2 tiny orchestras play-you DO pay more for coffee when you sit,but it is worth it for the music and relaxation after you have run around Venice for the day.

Where are you staying in Venice and are you staying over in Rome?

Ohhhhhhh , I am sooooooo jealous!
andy is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 08:18 PM
  #10  
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andy - thanks again for the advice. we're staying in Lake Como for a couple nights then to Venice for a couple nights before the cruise. Any hotel recommendations? We will also stay in Rome for 4 nights after the cruise. Any hotels there? I'm very, very excited and will end up taking a gondola, sitting in San Marco, etc. doing all the touristy stuff, why not? I'll try to check out the museum too, sounds cool. I'd love to hear any other advice because I have time to plan and make it all as fun and interesting as possible. we have the time and will splurge a bit for the honeymoon!!
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Jan 28th, 2005, 07:03 AM
  #11  
 
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I agree - you do not need an excursion in Dubrovnik. Windstar runs a bus back and forth between the boat and the Old Town. You should walk the walls around the old city - admission is only a few dollars and the views are amazing. Dubrovnik was one of my favorite stops. We did do an excursion on Hvar Island, Croatia and we enjoyed it very much - it was a tour of the island with a stop at a winery.

Corfu Town is easy walking distance from the pier. It has a lot of shopping and a fort you can tour. My husband is of Greek descent and loved Corfu, especially just sitting in a cafe and people watching.

We stayed in the Hotel Bauer in Venice and it was beautiful. I also agree - take a gondola ride - it's Venice after all! We really enjoyed the Doges Palace Secret Itinerary tour in Venice. You cannot book this through the ship - search on the Europe board and you will find the number to call. It takes you all through the secret rooms in the Doges Palace, which you do not see on the regular tour.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 09:08 AM
  #12  
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Alex - were you on the Venice-Rome 11 day cruise? if so, which of the southern italy stops did you enjoy most and take excursions? I know they're islands and mostly scenic for relaxing so I'm trying to figure out what to do since there's about 5 of them. also, how was the actually sailing? my fiance is seasick prone and worried because of the small boat size. sounds like you had a great time whatever the itinerary was you went on. thanks.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 10:01 AM
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We did 7 night/8 day Malta to Venice. The stops were Malta, Taormina (Sicily), Cephalonia (Greece), Corfu (Greece), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Hvar Island (Croatia) and Venice. We flew in early and stayed an extra night in Malta, spent an extra night in venice at the Hotel Bauer, and then drove to Florence and spent a week at the Westin Excelsior. The only excursions we did were on Hvar and in Venice. The Venice one was a waste of time and money - we did the canal tour by boat and our guide was awful and we could only hear her about 30% of the time. The winery/island tour in Hvar was really good.

I thought the sailing was great but I did not personally feel that much of a difference between when we were sailing and when we were under motor. I have been sailing all of my life but I think I am just used to much smaller boats where you can really feel the movement. My husband (who has gotten queasy on some of our sailing trips) did remark on the movement of the boat but did not ever say that he felt sick - at least not from the boat - sometimes from happy hour : )

I would be happy to answer any other questions - we really had a great time and, like I said, I cannot wait to book another Windstar cruise.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 01:03 PM
  #14  
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alex - do you recommend the Excelsior and Bauer? I probably won't get a guide in Venice but I'll do the gondola, I'm sure we can walk the city in 2 days. any restaurant recommendations in these cities? we love to eat and I know that's the right country to do it. good to hear there's no seasickness, that's my biggest concern. I would also love to do a wine tour, never been. thanks.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Yes, I would recommend both of these hotels highly. I have to look at home in my trip journal for the names of the places we ate at. We did not go to a lot of "ristorantes" - we ate mostly at enotecas (wine bars) and more casual places that had outside seating. There is a great enoteca right around the corner from the Excelsior in Florence (walk out of the Excelsior and turn right away from the river and then right again at the egde of the piazza, on the left hand side). At happy hour (which is later in Italy - more like 7 or 8), they had tons of free food to eat if you were buying wine (which of course we were). Also, the Excelsior has a huge buffet of free food at happy hour if you are buying drinks in the bar. Really good food too, not bar food. Honestly, we thought all of the food was so good in all of Italy. I could have eaten myself to death. I do remember that we went to Beccofino in Florence - this is more of a nice restaurant. Food was excellent.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Bundy==

If price is NO object, on Lake Como,I would do the Villa D Este...

Which small italian ports will your ship be going to? Maybe I will be able to help...

For Rome-try this link-
http://www.nycerome.com/reservation-...s-in-rome.html

We stayed right across from the Borghese Gardens, and it was right on the Via Venato- a great place to walk around at nite--another great location is near the Spanish Steps..Either of these are ideal locations..
Go on the Fodors EUROPE site and ask this same question as the people on there are VERY well travelled in all price hotels...

If you need a car service to take you to the airport in Rome, Call [email protected] and make to the attention of Andrea--He sends a Mercedes station wagon to pick you up and the drivers are not crazy Italian drivers but wonderful Italian drivers..Ours looked like Sylvester Stallone.
andy is offline  
Jan 29th, 2005, 01:28 AM
  #17  
cat
 
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Sailed on Windsurf from Nice to Rome for 7 days Sept.26-Oct. 2. We were married on board in Monte Carlo. Loved it, Loved it, Loved it! So romantic and casual. We are mid-30's and were among the younger passengers. This was never a problem. Many interesting, well traveled people. Very laid back and private as you want to be, perfect for a honeymoon. A little quiet at night, but we preferred it that way (it was our honeymoon too). We didn't do any excursions because we preferred to do things at our own pace. This was perfect for us. Ship stops in many ports, so I doubt you will be bored. We didn't want to leave. I'm now hesitant to sail any other ship because I'm afraid I'll be disappointed. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Bon Voyage!
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Jan 29th, 2005, 09:30 AM
  #18  
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What type of dress code is there on the ship? I know it's a casual sailing but does that mean jeans or khakis? Also, did anybody use the Windstar's shore excursions for Venice or Rome? How was the diembarkation process for the ports, I imagine pretty easy being a smaller ship? If anybody has restaurant suggestions in ports, I'd love to hear them, thanks.
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Jan 29th, 2005, 01:18 PM
  #19  
cat
 
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Dress is indeed casual. Jeans and khakis are fine during the day. Dinner would be no jeans, but khakis or slacks and shirt would be fine. Disembarkation at most ports for us was by tender. Usually, the first tender out is crowded, after that, no problem. Thwy run every 10-15 mins or so.
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Jan 29th, 2005, 09:01 PM
  #20  
 
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Bundy
You do NOT need any excursions in Venice= it is very easy to do on your own..Just make your itinerary out before you get off the ship and walk around yourselves...

For ROME, you can also plan your own sightseeing itinerary---We did a tour of the Colleseum..and that was great...

But as far as anthing else in Rome, we planned it out ahead of time and did it on our own..

As far as the cruise ship --it is considered Country Club casual..In the dining room for dinner men wore Polo shirts and Khaki pants....A few ( and it really was a FEW) topped it off with a Navy blazer, but THEY were in the minority..

NO jeans in the dining room for dinner..

The women all wore really nice sundresses or nice slax sets..like a silk shirt with a pair of nice slax..

The ONLY place you need a jacket is IN MONTE CARLO for the main casino ( the James Bond movies were filmed there and there is an admission charge but GO- it is AWESOME--very European with handpainted walls and ceiling..
If you do go to the main casino, GO TO THE AMERICAN room--it is roulette and blackjack. The only thing cheap enough to play was Roulette..Blackjack started at $100 a hand...We last for 3 hours on $20 with roulette and had a blast!
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