I love cruises.
Not in a “I have to do this every time I vacation sorta way” but more in a “I want to put my feet up and not think of a damn thing sorta way”. Cruising lets me do that to my utmost ability.
The hubby and I were worn out and tired earlier this year and were thinking of something quick, easy and not too expensive that I didn’t have to plan much for and cruising was at the top of the list.
We were thinking of warm locations and ideally a line that had fewer children. Now let me preface this by saying that I don’t know of any kid free cruise line. If you do, let me know! But there are lines that are, in general, geared more towards adults by way of activities offered, formality, etc.
In the past I’ve sailed on Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Holland America (which I really enjoy). This time around I was curious about a smaller ship experience and found Windstar.
We were pretty open about destination but after a bit of digging decided to go with a Caribbean cruise so that we could soak up some sun and play in the water (no one said I wasn’t a kid at heart!)
Windstar still had availability for a pretty quick turn around (I booked within 2 months of the trip) and had plenty of options for the Caribbean. The most appealing was their Classic Caribbean route which offered the ability to check out 6 different islands with some pretty decent dock times at all of them. Bonus points for the Flash Sale which brought the price down to $1200 pp.
Windstar ships (they call them yachts) have no more than 300 people on board. Consider the stark differences between that and a mega ship like the new Carnival Vista that has over 3900! The ships are a great deal smaller and look more like large yachts than cruise ships. The benefit to this size is that there are is a great staff to guest ratio, more personalized service, and most important to us: the ability to go to ports that would be inaccessible to bigger ships.
Amenities on the ships are also more limited due to size constraints but in our case it was fine.They had a small casino but we don’t gamble, they didn’t have a movie area but I can watch tv at home, the onboard pool was small but never too crowded, and they had a hot tub.
The biggest downside for me was that there are no balconies. I’m the type of girl that packs up my Kindle and lounges on the balcony all day watching the waves go by. I had never been on a cruise where I did not have a balcony so this was definitely an experiment. In all honesty, I did miss the balcony a bit. But I sat out on the deck tables nearly all day every day and enjoyed my reading time so it worked.
All in all I’d recommend checking out Windstar Cruises if you’re interested in a smaller ship experience with less people (and children). We really enjoyed ourselves and although I’d love to see some excursions and alcohol included I’d certainly do a Windstar again.
Small intimate ships
Less people and better staff to guest ratio
Ability to get to know staff and vice versa
Ability to go to smaller ports and islands
Ability to get to know other passengers
Fewer onboard activities
Smaller ship pool
Harder to navigate if you have mobility issues (there are elevators but I can see it being difficult for folks in wheelchairs/walkers)
You feel the ocean much more than on a large ship
What is your favorite cruise line?