I took a transatlantic cruise solo and I did not like it, I loved it.
For a long time, I wanted to take a cruise by myself (I have cruised before, but always with family and friends), however after endless research on the internet on cruise lines, itineraries and prices, I always ended up not booking because of the price. It turns out that if you cruise solo, you must pay a single supplement, a hefty surcharge for this privilege.
None the less, in the second half of 2017 I spent 3 months in Europe, so after this time, I thought it was the perfect time to take that solo cruise and enjoy some needed time with myself and unwind before landing back into day-to-day life back at home. The timing was perfect as well, I was set leave Europe at the beginning of November and Windstar had several ships repositioning to the Caribbean during this period. I was lucky to book a cruise on Windstar’s Star Breeze Ocean Crossing cruise from Lisbon, Portugal to Bridgetown, Barbados, (and yes, I paid for the single supplement). I chose Windstar Cruises because it sounded very appealing to me, it offered something big cruises cannot: a max of only 212 guests, the promise of outstanding food and personalized one-on-one service.
Small Ship Activities At Sea
If you think 14 days at sea are too many and that you are going to run out of things to do, you are wrong, and so was I. Windstar did not disappoint and it was clear after day one that 14 days at sea where not going to be enough. Even though Star Breeze is a small ship and common areas are not very large, you can always find a place for yourself if you need some space and never feel overwhelmed with crowds or noise.
Every day of a transatlantic crossing there are many activities, including and not limited to: bridge games, conversations with the Captain and staff, exercise classes, health seminars, trivia, cooking demonstrations and these are just a few. Guests usually spend the day reading, catching some sun and or enjoying their time on one of the many lounge chairs around the ship, playing board games, working on a puzzle in the Yacht Club or enjoying a cocktail or demo on the Star Bar courtesy of the Beverage Manager, Doan who was fabulous, funny and incredibly knowledgeable about wine and spirits. Guests can also relax in their room and watching one of the several daily new release movies offered on television or head down to the movie theater and enjoy your own private screening from one of the many movies available in Windstar’s movie library or take in the live music in one of several venues.
180 Degrees From Ordinary
Windstar’s level of service is beyond anything I have experienced in cruising, starting with the staff; I have never met a ship’s crew who made it so easy to have an unforgettable time, they always had a positive attitude, sunny disposition and genuinely seemed happy to serve you and somehow, they all remember your name (even those you do not have direct contact with daily).
One of the unique experiences we had on the 14-day transatlantic crossing from Lisbon to Bridgetown was the conversations with the Capitan and Officers at 9:30 AM every morning. Every day at this time, the Capitan, Hotel General Manager and Dining Room Manager showed up at the Yacht Club and for 30 to 45 minutes, had lively conversations, around subjects ranging from ships speed, differences in the Windstar Fleet, to what was on the menu that evening in AmphorA restaurant. This time was a special treat for the guests, because as we learned, on 7-day sailings they are not able to share this time with guests due to the busy nature of those sailings.
Now, let’s talk about food. The food on Windstar Cruises is unlike any other cruise food service across the industry. Windstar Executive Chefs and Star Breeze’s own Executive Chef Olven, pay a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the food they serve on board. They choose, use and serve, high quality ingredients, many sourced locally (like Serrano Ham and charcuterie from Spain to morel mushrooms from Italy), that make all the difference when it comes to an unforgettable dining experience.
Food quality is undoubtedly apparent every single day as you enjoy a fresh, cooked-to-order breakfast including baked-on-ship breads and pastries, a succulent lunch and feast on a multi-course dinner. You can see and taste the fresh ingredients. If you are a foodie, you will love and appreciate Windstar’s premium ingredients like, New Zealand lamb, morrel mushrooms, and aged beef, to name a few.
On Windstar Cruises, there are no endless food displays, midnight buffets and other wasteful food extravaganzas. Windstar cares about the environment and guest safety, therefore food is served during specific windows of time from breakfast to dinner. If a guest gets hungry in between, they can order room service or head to the Yacht Club where they can find snacks in between meal services.
This transatlantic cruise was a wonderful place for me as a single traveler to meet people and make new friends. One of the best experiences I had on board started on the second day when I was working on my blog in the Yacht Club when afternoon trivia started and I found out that the prize for winning was a bottle of sparkling wine. So along with 4 other passengers, we formed a team we named “Do not mess with our sparkling wine” and not only were we undefeated, we had the best time playing and enjoying our sparkling wine victory every afternoon.
I had an amazing time meeting people every day and getting to learn about them. For example, I had a chance to meet a guest from Portland, Oregon who had a very positive experience on board and I was lucky to meet her and have her share a great anecdote with me. As an avid reader, she went to the library looking for a book to read, to her surprise, she found a book written by her son in Windstar’s library collection, “The Watchers, The Rise of America’s Surveillance State” by Shane Harris. She was beside herself, feeling proud and beaming with joy. This is an experience she will remember, cherish and share with many, I am sure, for years to come.
To conclude, Windstar Cruises made a positive, lasting and I dare to say, life altering impression on me. I wish I could have continued cruising beyond the 14 days, so I could still be enjoying one of the best crews, service, food and attention at sea. For now, I find myself daydreaming about the perfect days spent at sea and planning my next transatlantic adventure.
When You Go
I hope I have piqued your curiosity about ocean crossing or solo cruising, if so, visit Windstar Cruises website at www.windstarcruises.com and explore the many options they have, as well as to take advantage of current deals. Occasionally Windstar waives or reduces single supplement on select voyages, so make sure you are subscribed to special offers.
About The Author
Myriam was born in Colombia but has lived in the US most of her life. Her passions are travel and food. She is a 100% citizen of the world and solo traveler. She loves travel so much, she has a travel blog www.thiscolombianeatsandtravels.com that she uses to document her travels in hopes to inspire others to travel alone , or together. Myriam recently took her first solo transatlantic cruise on board Windstar Star Breeze and it was one of the best travel experiences she has ever had. She can’t wait to cruise again with Windstar.