Maybe you go on a cruise every year, or maybe you’re going on a cruise for the first time. No matter your experience, knowing what to expect on a cruise can get you excited for a trip and ease any stress you have about traveling. A cruise should be relaxing, after all, so a bit of preparation beforehand will ensure that you go into your trip knowing what to expect.
At Windstar Cruises, we offer an experience that’s different from other large ships, so we want to provide some Windstar cruise advice for first-timers. If you’re preparing for your first cruise with us, here’s what to expect on a Windstar voyage.
What to Expect From Your First Windstar Cruise
If you’re deciding on a cruise that’s right for you or you’ve booked your Windstar cruise already, you want to know what to expect. We want travelers to be prepared and excited for their excursions, whether or not they’ve sailed with us before. First-timers might be especially curious, so we’ve got some tips and insight about our voyages to share with you. Below you’ll find what to expect when you travel with Windstar.
From the moment you board our intimate ships to when you step off to explore various ports and locations, you’ll find fewer crowds than you would if you were to travel with a bigger cruise line. How is it possible to travel the world in such a crowdless comfort? At Windstar, we achieve this in a few ways:
- Smaller ships: We sail with smaller ships that travel with only hundreds of guests compared to the multiple thousands that large cruise ships host. Our largest ship, Wind Surf, is still an intimate size and sails with just over 300 pampered guests. Our other ships sail with between 148 and 212 guests. The public spaces onboard our ships won’t be crowded like they would be on other cruise ships, so you can enjoy every aspect of your trip.
- Unique ports: Because of our smaller ships, we can access ports the large cruise ships can’t. We also understand world travelers. You have a desire to experience the unique and see the unexpected. You want to come back from your cruise with unbelievable stories, beautiful photos and unforgettable memories. You don’t always want to be surrounded by tourists in bustling ports, so we take you to peaceful destinations where those other ships can’t go.
- Remote destinations: Some locations we visit are remote and only accessible by air or sea. With no roads leading to these locations, there are fewer visitors. You can enjoy a traveling experience surrounded by nature and wildlife rather than being crowded in with tourists. Experience the extraordinary and enjoy it with no crowds — sounds like a traveler’s paradise, right? It’s all possible when you travel with us.
On a Windstar cruise, you can expect peace and quiet when you need it most, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some exciting experiences in store for you.
Traveling is just as much about experiencing new cultures as it is seeing new places. While you can take photos of monuments and walk around tourist sites for a travel experience, nothing compares to immersing yourself in a new culture. At Windstar, we offer various enrichment programs to educate you about and immerse you into cultures around the world that you may have never heard of before. To enrich our guests, we offer programs such as:
- Guest lecturers: Select voyages feature a guest lecturer to speak about the local culture. You’ll get an insider’s perspective on the location you’ll spend time in to add depth to your trip and make it all the more enriching. Learn about the daily life, history, cultural differences and more of your destination.
- 180 degrees onboard magazine: Read up on the local culture with our onboard magazine. Learn about the history of some of our most popular locations. You can plan what you want to see on your cruise or get ideas for future trips. Unwind while you’re on board and learn something new.
- On-shore excursions: We meticulously plan professional, safe, fun and all-around high-quality tours to enhance your vacation experience. While you could wander an area, you get much more out of a trip if you join in on a tour or other excursion. These options are perfect for solo travelers looking for safe experiences that teach them about local culture. Couples and other travelers will also find fun on some of our over 2,000 unique tours and activities, so be sure to check them out as you plan your first cruise.
- Private tours: For a more intimate excursion, take a private tour. Some locations offer an exclusive, customized tour that includes a private vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. This is an excellent cultural experience for independent and curious travelers who enjoy one-on-one time with guides and lecturers. Ask all the questions you want as you take in the tour by yourself or with your traveling partner.
Because a Windstar voyage is less crowded than larger alternatives, we can adapt these excursions based on the needs and interests of different groups. You won’t get that custom experience or attention to detail on a large cruise ship.
With our cultural experiences, you can expect to be taken into a culture, not just to it. Your Windstar voyage will grow from a cruise vacation to beautiful destinations into an enriching learning experience. Come back from your trip with new knowledge and experiences that you’ll be eager to share with friends and family.
On a Windstar cruise, we provide attentive service to each and every one of our guests. Our staff-to-guest ratio is 1:1.5, meaning there is always someone ready and willing to help you with anything you want or need. Our attention and care are why we were awarded Best Service in the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards. Expect to be pampered and cared for on your relaxing tour of the world.
We also offer a variety of optional packages that fulfill any traveler’s needs, including:
- All-in packages
- Beverage packages
- Luggage shipping
- Personal onboard laundry service
- Internet packages
We know traveling can be overwhelming, especially on a cruise and especially for a first-timer. Our attentive staff and amenities packages will take that stress away. You’ll be able to unwind and enjoy the experience from relaxing on the ship between ports to stepping off to enjoy a destination.
Fresh and Local Meals
Get a taste of the world when you travel with Windstar. Expect to taste local and seasonal favorites of your destination even when you’re on board to prepare your palate for the delicious flavors to come when you step off our ships and head off into your destination. Our onboard dining experiences include:
- Nightly menus that highlight regional cuisine
- Cooked to order meals with sustainable selections
- The ability to dine when you like, where you like and with whomever you like, with all-day room service
- Cooking demonstrations so you can learn more about local cuisine
- In most regions, the chance to join the chef on a market tour to pick out fresh ingredients for the night’s meal
Those options are available with our various onboard dining choices, which include these venues:
- Veranda: Enjoy full-service or buffet-style breakfast until 9:30 a.m. or dine with us between 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to sample our lunch menu.
- Amphora: Indulge in dinner served course-by-course with a fine selection of vintage wines. Enjoy seating wherever you like as we forgo assigned seating so you can enjoy your dining experience to your liking.
- Stella Bistro: Find this option on our Wind Surf ship. You’ll enjoy French-inspired café cuisine or indulge in desserts accompanied by the perfect wine pairing.
- Candles: Our outdoor restaurant is transformed at night into the perfect romantic venue. Dine with your partner under the stars as you plan for the memories to come.
- Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso: Coming soon to our Star Class ships is a dining experience that encourages sharing and community. Michelin-starred Chef Anthony Sasso offers savory Spanish flavors in this intimate setting.
- Star Grill by Steven Raichlen: Satisfy cravings for grilled favorites or get a taste of local and worldly offerings at this casual alternative.
- Deck BBQ: Enjoy the fresh and local flavors you’ve come to expect paired with entertainment by your crew. Take in the fun, food and views under the stars with this experience.
How does this compare to the usual fare? Large cruise ships can’t offer such attention to detail. They may not provide fresh and locally-inspired meals to their guests, instead offering whatever they can to feed the masses. With Windstar, you’ll feel the love and care that goes into every dish, and you’ll experience local flavors.
Some of the best cruise advice for first-timers? Talk to people! Meet fellow travelers or befriend the locals — either way, you’re sure to leave your Windstar cruise experience with new friends. Many of our guests end their cruise with plenty of new friends, and that only enhances a traveling experience.
Dine with fellow passengers and share stories of your other travels as you prepare for new ones. Our intimate ships allow you to meet new people easily compared to large ships. On a large cruise, you may keep to yourself or your circle of family and friends. With Windstar, it isn’t necessary to get to know your fellow travelers, attentive crew or the locals, but you sure will want to. Solo travelers can ease their way into new friendships, and couples traveling together can meet other couples who share the same affinity for experiencing the world.
You’ll also find yourself making friends with locals and the Windstar crew. Chat with the Captain on the Open Bridge, dance with the crew at our Signature Onboard Barbecue, and meet locals on your excursions. Expect never to feel lonely on a Windstar cruise, but when you need to recharge, you’ll have a comfortable space to be alone in.
When you’re traveling, you want to come back to comfortable accommodations to relax and refresh yourself for tomorrow’s adventures. A cruise should feel like a vacation, but you still crave the comforts of home when you travel.
We provide you with a thoughtfully designed, private space to unwind. Rest on fine Egyptian linens and refresh with L’Occitane en Provence® bath products as you enjoy the relaxing ambiance of your room’s soothing, seascape color scheme. We also provide plenty of storage, meaning you won’t feel overwhelmed by your luggage while you’re trying to relax. Unpack when you arrive to feel at home for your voyage.
Our various ships feature different types of comfortable accommodations, perfect for any traveler. Prepare for your first Windstar cruise by reading up on our ships, which offer a variety of accommodation options:
- Wind Surffeatures 154 total staterooms. Of those rooms, there are 31 ocean-view suites, two bridge suites and 123 deluxe ocean-view staterooms. After renovations in 2019, Wind Surf will feature 171 staterooms and suites, a new spa, new restaurants and more accommodations to make your trip even more comfortable.
- Wind Spirit and Wind Starboth include 74 staterooms each. Those rooms include 73 deluxe, ocean-view staterooms. You can also stay in the ships’ luxurious Owner’s Suite, which you’ll find one of on each ship. This suite features comfortable queen beds along with a dining and sitting area.
- Star Pride, Star Breeze and Star Legendall include 106 suites each. Of those rooms, there are two deluxe Owners’ Suites and four Classic Suites. The other 100 rooms are stunning balcony and ocean-view suites.
Put on a cozy robe and end your day of adventure relaxing with peaceful ocean views. Expect to feel pampered on your Windstar voyage from the moment you step on board, but look for an extra touch of comfort as you enter your accommodations. Of course, we know that not every traveler is looking to relax all the time, and that’s why we offer plenty of entertainment.
On-Ship or On-Water Entertainment
The fun doesn’t have to stop once you’ve experienced your destination. At Windstar, we offer onboard entertainment that will keep the good times rolling throughout your voyage. Whether you take your fun with a dash of adventure or prefer to relax with your entertainment, we have something you’ll enjoy.
After your shore excursion, head back on board to enjoy some on-ship and on-water entertainment. Many of our trips offer:
- A champagne welcome reception
- Local performances onboard
- Learning how to sail and enjoying the view with the Captain or officers on our Open Bridge
- All you need for adventure on the water like complimentary kayaks and paddleboards
- The chance to unwind with a massage in WindSpa
- A workout opportunity in the Fitness Center
When you take a cruise, you get to enjoy much more than the destination. At Windstar, we offer plenty to do onboard your cruise ship and on the water, filling every day with excitement or relaxation that are sure to create wonderful memories.
Plan Your Voyage With Windstar Cruises Today
Now that you know what amazing things you can expect on a voyage with us, it’s time to plan your trip. You already know that our intimate ships can take you to remote locations and lesser-visited ports, but you’ve yet to see just how many destinations we visit.
Take a look at the list of destinations we can take you to, from warm climates to fascinating cultures. Find a cruise today that will take you to your dream destinations, all with comfortable accommodations, delicious dining, enriching experiences and more onboard. Call us at 1-888-645-1860 or request a call, and we’d be happy to assist you with questions you have about our cruises. Experience the world with us at Windstar Cruises!