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 Caribbean Cruise with Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises in the Caribbean
Pure Bred Sails In The Sunset
(A Wind Surf Cruise)

by Susan R Norton

Waves rock to a mariners' lullaby

Sails flutter a one word mantra,

nuzzle of wind against my cheek urges

My frazzled mind grabs hold
these murmurings, and as I inhale
their essence, Wind Surf  pulls up
her spinnaker dress, turns starboard
and heads out towards

If you are looking for the pomp and circumstance of the mega cruise ships, those endless parades of waiters brandishing Baked Alaska and Cherries Jubilee, Las Vegas style shows, six meals a day, theme nights, a formal dress code, assigned dinner times, and a general feeling of high starched sophistication over casual elegance then a Windstar Cruise may not be for you.

On the other hand, have you ever fantasized about being catered to aboard a luxurious private yacht, stealing away to cozy places for romantic tête à têtes where the mega ships cannot go to, finishing that novel you bought last year, finding no elevators a plus for healthy exercise or simply unwinding with each inhale of ocean air, each gentle surge of the ship, each rhythmic flap of a sail? Do you appreciate truly creative cuisine in both inside and outside venues? Are exercising and pampering your mind, body and taste buds a high priority for you? Do yourself a favor, consider Windstar Cruises!

In 1997, they adopted a big sister ship from Club Med, sent her to a reconditioning spa in Le Havre, France for a complete, multimillion dollar makeover, renamed her the Wind Surf, and then, in May of '98, sent her out to strut her stuff in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. She had a major "fluffing up" in 2007, and the addition of Bose SoundDock speakers in all staterooms, wireless Internet access throughout the ship, AppleIPods Nanos preloaded and complimentary for check-out, and even laptops for rent. Whew! No more carting laptops through airports and security lines!

I recently met up with her for a seven day tryst in the Southern Caribbean. She was crisp, clean and confident. She oozed understated luxury and the crew was well trained and dedicated to meeting every need of her 312 passengers, a capacity of twice the number as her sisters (Wind Song, Wind Spirit and Wind Star). At the hint of a breeze combined with sophisticated computer technology, she can unfurl over 26,000 feet of sails in two minutes. I only wish I could get dressed that fast!

The Wind Surf is one classy lady. She met all my expectations and then some. There is a sports platform with complimentary water skiing, kayaking, wind surfing, sailing, and snorkeling. Scuba diving and instruction can also be arranged. On the top deck is a state of the art fitness center with the most advanced Cybex equipment (treadmills, stair masters, bicycles, weight bearing machines), the old fashioned weights that scare me, televisions and floor to ceiling windows to help your mind wander away from what you are doing. There are also Pilates and aerobic classes and personal trainers. To top off a day of exercise or island hopping, you can always unwind with yoga or meditation classes.

The "piece de resistance" for me was the SPA. It provided every indulgence known to man or woman. How about a "fire and ice ancient stone massage". I opted for the Synergistic Therapy. It was 105 minutes of total body de-stressing using Shiatsu, pressure point and scalp massage, reflexology, and two facials (one, exfoliating, one, hydrating). I was in heaven and literally floated back to my cabin.

Speaking of cabins, they are all outside, 188 sq. feet, well designed and paneled in teak. There are 31 deluxe suites that are actually two cabins combined, and, therefore, have two bathrooms for a total of 376 sq. feet. All rooms have luxury items: complimentary toiletries by L'Occitaine, hair dryers, terry cloth robes, cable televisions, DVD/ CD players, safes and mini-bars/refrigerators. The ship's library has hundreds of books, games, compact discs and dvds to borrow. For those feeling exceptionally lucky, there is also a casino.

A big advantage of these smaller, shallow draft, cruise ships is that they can visit islands the bigger ships must pass up. The Wind Surf began its cruise in Bridgetown (Barbados) and sailed to the Bequla (Grenadines), Roseau (Dominica), Pigeon Island (St. Lucia), Mayreau (Grenadines), St. George's (Grenada), Charoletteville (Tobago), then back to Barbados. She repeats this cruise from November to March when she moves to the Mediterranean.

Shore excursions are a major part of any cruise and the Wind Surf's selection varies from easy sightseeing to moderately challenging. I chose a hike on Tobago. I walked into a rain forest, traveled along a river bed, and climbed up to the three tiered Argyle Waterfall. I saw rare palm trees with rows of porcupine-like needles wrapped around their trunks to protect themselves from potential climbers, brightly colored Bromeliads, attaching themselves to tree branches, a fern that closed up it's leaves at the slightest touch, termite mounds, and a discarded boa snake skin. At the waterfall, I swam in the cool pond below, while braver souls jumped from slippery rock ledges. Later in the week at St. Lucia, I selected a helicopter tour. We flew over varying scenes from craggy cliffs to gentle coves, to the fishing village of Soufriere, to eighteenth century fortifications and tropical rain forests. The only word I could use to describe it was "spectacular."

Every night I wandered up on deck to watch the sun compete with itself, showing off with another incredible sunset, while listening to piano music drift up from the Compass Rose Bar. My eyes were always drawn upwards towards those magnificent sails. They seemed to be made of a special blend of Dacron and magic. Watching them billow and stretch, I could almost hear them whisper to me, "Breathe."

For more information visit Windstar Cruises' web site at


Susan R. Norton (“Have Laptop, Will Travel”) is a travel writer who has been published in a wide range of magazines, newspapers and Internet sites. She is the recipient of 10 writing awards.

Her poetry has been published in over 70 literary journals, magazines, anthologies, newspapers, greeting cards, two art exhibits, a cruise brochure, a tear off calendar, fortune cookies and book reviews.

Susan and co-author Susan Dawson have written a seven-book Easy Reader series for children, titled “Pyramid Pal’s Adventures In Eating” . It teaches and encourages healthy eating habits in kids through the introduction of fun cartoon food characters. Written in rhymed couplets, the book has sold over 40,000 copies and has now been published in a coloring book format.

Susan can be reached at [email protected]

Photo courtesy Windstar Cruises

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