One of our Cruise Specialists cruise consultants provided us with a recap of her recent cruise on a Windstar yacht. She sailed from Lisbon to Barcelona in April 2013 and here is her review:
Sailing Wind Surf – A Dream Come True!
When asked which cruise was my most favorite, I usually always say the last one! This is no exception! Sailing on the Wind Surf was a dream come true. Back in the late 80’s when my daughter worked at HAL and Windstar was in their offices, she told me we should try to get on. I had just started my cruise career and there were so many options out there. I always wanted to sail Windstar but the itineraries and my time off did not jive until now.
I grew up on Lake Washington in Seattle. Boating and water skiing were all day activities for my family every day. Being on the Wind Surf brought back all those wonderful feelings and memories of being out on the water.
Lisbon – Pestana Palace Hotel
My husband and I flew to Lisbon a day prior to our cruise and stayed one night at the Pestana Palace Hotel and National Monument. That was a treat in itself. If you get a chance to go to Lisbon, I highly recommend this hotel.
After a delicious and complimentary breakfast, we departed the Pestana Palace around noon for a short taxi ride to the pier. There we checked our luggage and joined several other passengers for a few minutes before we boarded. The Wind Spirit was sailing tandem with us the whole cruise and we met guests from both yachts prior to sailing.
Wind Surf Suite
Once onboard we settled into our suite. That’s right we had a suite with two bathrooms, two closets, two vanities and two TV’s. We never turned the TV’s on but they were there. The suite had just been refurbished and was very comfortable. There was lots of storage for our clothes, etc.
Wind Surf Dining
We tried all the dining options and loved having breakfast on the deck in the morning. The buffet was set up in the Verandah and you could eat either inside or outside. There were also made to order options for breakfast. One day I ordered Eggs Benedict and it was perfect! Lunches were served buffet style in the Verandah. The main dining room was continental style with open seating for dinner. The alternate evening dining consisted of two options. Candles (weather permitting) was the restaurant set up around the pool aft on the yacht. It was wonderful! We also loved Stella Bistro, in fact we ate there two times. Every dining option was tasty and delicious. One evening we had a Barbeque on deck. The Paella was the best I have every eaten and there were so many options and selections to go with it.
We did shore excursions in Malaga, Almeria, Valencia and Soller, Spain. All were excellent and had guides who spoke very good English and knew their cities well. Every time, when I rated the tour, I gave all excellent comments and ratings. When we returned from our day, there was a survey waiting for us to make comment. I completed them within minutes and ran them upstairs one flight to the reception desk. I wanted the Shore Excursion people to know what a great job they were doing and how much we enjoyed the tours they set up for us. I do have to say my favorite stop was Valencia because we went to the Llardro factory (no pictures allowed) and learned how the figurines are made and painted. The best part is the purchase we made. My beautiful Spanish girl arrived home one week after we did and she has a prominent spot in our home. Looking at her, we will always remember this memorable adventure and cruise on Wind Surf.
Our two additional ports were Cadiz and Cartagena. There we toured on our own and found these cities to be very easy to get around and very clean and friendly. In fact, we found all of Spain the same.
I had a chance to visit the Wind Spirit in one of the ports. She is very similar to the Surf, only smaller and is now on my “to sail” list. I loved the yacht style!
Fresh Orange Juice
One more comment…you have not had orange juice until you have fresh squeezed juice from Valencia oranges in Spain. We watched them being squeezed one orange at a time and then immediately served to us. It was fantastic!