Windstar fan and longtime cruiser Mary Youngman shares her memories of cruising with Windstar during the last 22 years. Mary and her husband Frank have taken eight cruises with Windstar and will depart on their ninth next July onboard the new Star Pride.
Cruising with Windstar started long ago – 1991 to be exact. Our first of many trips on what we now know is the only way to cruise. My now husband and I boarded Wind Star without any luggage going round trip from Nice – somehow our luggage didn’t make it to Venice where we spent several days before boarding the ship in Nice. Can you imagine boarding a yacht with a couple of plastic bags from street vendors who you bought a couple t-shirts and a dress from? Well, I’m here to tell you our first experience with the staff and crew of the ship was unbelievable and they joined in on our search for our missing luggage by contacting the airline daily. We took the words casual elegance for dining to a whole different level on our first trip – and no one blinked an eye at us. I still have the photos from that trip on my office wall, as sometimes the first time is something you never forget! We did finally get our luggage the last day of the voyage and treated everyone to a fashion show of different outfits almost hourly.
We had the privilege on being married on Wind Song two years later in 1993 while cruising Tahiti – another truly memorable spot. For those of you who haven’t gone on this voyage, it’s amazing and it’s true, the water is bluer than the Caribbean – which we also have cruised.
I love this shot of us with the Captain – what is it about all the captains of all the voyages that makes them all so charming?
When you like something this much of course you have to share it with friends, and several years ago ten of us left sunny Coronado, California, for Colón, Panama. Many in the group had never been on a Windstar cruise, and by the end of the trip everyone was ready for their next adventure. The cruise took us to Costa Rica where we went zip lining with friends and crew members. Another definite must when you do this trip!
In the evenings, having ten people for dinner who all want to eat together meant the Captain of Wind Spirit graciously lent his center table to us most evenings – thank you Captain Mark Boylin. We all loved your nightly tales in the Lounge and eagerly waited for these. This photo dubbed blue birds at the bar by the bartender Tata shows just what fun we had – nothing but smiles for miles.
Every trip we have ever taken on Windstar has its own individual best points, so it’s very hard to come up with what was the best time or what was the best trip. However, getting the rare opportunity this past April to sail side by side, port to port, alongside Wind Surf was pretty cool. As we boarded Wind Star, four of our good friends boarded Wind Surf in Lisbon. We met amazing people, got to see staff we knew from prior trips – and how they recognized us after years is beyond me. Daddy and Tata both of which were serving on Wind Surf came over to say hi to me and my husband and we told them all about our friends on their ship, as well as another set of friends they knew from our past trips and were due to sail back-to-back voyages with them one week later! The crew, especially Hotel Manager Jeffrey Jack, were all top notch. Thank you for allowing us to dine on each other’s yachts for lunch – that was a treat to get to see the only yacht we have yet to sail on. Every day we met our four friends from Wind Surf on the dock for a day of touring Spain’s coastal cities. It was most entertaining to leave first nightly and wave goodbye to Wind Surf.
So what’s next for the Youngmans? Why of course another cruise – July 2014 on the new Star Pride’s Glitter & Glam of the Riviera – which will take us back to a couple ports where it all started – Monte Carlo, Portofino and Portoferraio. Do you think it’s time to update my 23-year-old photos? I’d like to think that the framed shot of Portofino and the outside café is still the same with those marvelous Bellini’s just waiting for us to return.
Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane along with photos of great times. Here’s to everyone wishing you fair winds and smooth sailing.
Mary and Frank Youngman
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