Windstar Wind Surf Report from the Med: October, 2009
Barcelona to Lisbon
Our first time aboard Wind Surf. We had been told that people either prefer the smaller ships, Wind Spirit or Wind Star (148 guests) or the larger Surf (309) – but we confess to being equally pleased by both. We sailed from Barcelona on a balmy Mediterranean evening and before dinner had met several couples who became our sea buddies for the rest of the trip. That seems to happen aboard the intimate Windstar with its casual atmosphere. The next day found us in Ibiza – a quaint, walled Mediterranean city by day and a fairy tale setting at night with outside dining, romantic lights and candles, street performers and a laid back party atmosphere. Palma de Mallorca was next – more elegant – equally enticing.
We enjoyed a day at sea then it was onto Malaga. Malaga is a jumping off point for shore excursions to Granada and the Alhambra, but if you have been to the Alhambra before and opt to stay in Malaga you won’t be disappointed. The main pedestrian walkway was so attractive – I half-way expected to see Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire appear out of nowhere and dance the length of the street. An ancient fortress guards the city – nice if you like walled terraces, fountains, stone pathways and those wonderful arched doorways that always seem to frame a view of the sea.
Another day at sea – this one a bit brisk as we were in the Atlantic. A day for reading, a spa treatment, a visit to the gym or time to check out a DVD and watch a movie.
We disembarked in Lisbon and were grateful to have allowed two days before returning home. What a picturesque city – cobblestone streets, red tile roofs, ancient cable cars, good restaurants and friendly locals. The best view in town? The Ritz Hotel now under Four Seasons management. Take in the view of both old and new Lisbon from the rooftop or if you are fortunate enough to stay, enjoy the suites and the award-winning spa. Following our Rick Steves’ Guide To Portugal, we used local transportation to explore Sintra, a resort town just outside of Lisbon. Crowning the hill, the Pena Palace, built by a cousin of the mad King Ludwig – it must run in the family… You have to see it to believe it and it’s worth the steep climb.
We loved this itinerary and would do it again, but probably won’t, as Windstar has an itinerary that covers the enticing Dalmatian coast or there’s that other option that goes to Valletta….