Today marks the start of another exciting Live Voyage Report here on From the Deck Chair: a week of Mediterranean cruise adventure aboard Windstar Cruises’ eponymous Wind Star.

Join us as we sail the Med from Rome to Nice aboard Windstar Cruises' Wind Star. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Join us as we sail the Med from Rome to Nice aboard Windstar Cruises’ Wind Star. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises

We begin with a stay at the InterContinental de la Ville Roma, located literally steps away from Rome’s Spanish Steps. There’s a wonderful beauty about Rome that is unlike any other city I’ve ever visited. Sure, it’s big, busy and filled with tourists during the summer. But, as anyone who’s been to Roma can tell you that really doesn’t matter, because you can’t help but fall in love with this Italian city.

My time in Rome will be short – just a single evening before setting out for the port city of Civitavecchia and the waiting Wind Star.

Rome's beautiful Spanish Steps. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Rome’s beautiful Spanish Steps. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

In the summer of 2011, I sailed aboard the Wind Star’s sister ship, the Wind Spirit, on a voyage from Stockholm to Oslo. It came right at a pivotal moment for Windstar Cruises, which had just undergone a change of ownership following the bankruptcy of their former parent company.

But just before my voyage, Xanterra Parks and Resorts rode in like a knight in shining armour to save the venerable cruise line, which built its name upon offering voyages aboard their combination sail-and-motor-powered cruise yachts.

There's nothing like an early morning arrival into port, particularly aboard a ship like the Wind Spirit, with her gleaming white superstructure and abundance of rich woods. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

There’s nothing like an early morning arrival into port, particularly aboard a ship like the Wind Spirit, with her gleaming white superstructure and abundance of rich woods. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Two years later, a lot has changed for Windstar. The line unveiled sleek, sexy new brochures and marketing materials. They now include soft drinks, bottled and sparkling water, tea and specialty coffees with the cruise fare. They embarked on a multi-million-dollar refurbishment program for Wind Star, Spirit, and Surf that completely reconstructed and refreshed public areas, dining spaces, corridors and staterooms aboard each vessel.

As if to add the icing on the cake, Windstar even purchased three ships from ultra-luxury line Seabourn Cruises; in the fall of 2014, the sleek Seabourn Pride will be renamed Star Pride and will officially set sail under the Windstar banner.

The elegant new Reception Lobby aboard Wind Star and Wind Spirit. Rendering courtesy of Windstar Cruises

The elegant new Reception Lobby aboard Wind Star and Wind Spirit. Rendering courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Two years ago, I thought the Windstar Cruises product – and the potential behind it – was stellar. Wind Spirit was still gorgeous, if a tad rough around the edges. She needed some new carpeting, and a few new pieces of furniture. But the experience of floating along the North Sea under nothing but sail power was exhilarating.

Also exhilarating: the upcoming itinerary, both here and onboard, which sails to some of the most interesting – and off-the-beaten-path – ports in Italy and France.

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Windstar calls this journey, Yachting the Riviera. It’s a pretty appropriate. After all, bigger ships ply the Mediterranean on a near constant-basis, but few offer the same kind of experience that awaits aboard the Wind Star.

So join us here on From the Deck Chair as we sail – literally – from Rome to Nice and discover what a voyage with Windstar Cruises is all about!

Perhaps the most memorable sight aboard a Windstar ship. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Perhaps the most memorable sight aboard a Windstar ship. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report continues tomorrow, as we report from Rome prior to embarking Windstar Cruises’ Wind Star! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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