Wind Spirit Photo Tour

Windstar Cruises' Wind Spirit, seen here at Warnemunde, Germany. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Built in 1988, Windstar Cruises’ Wind Spirit manages to turn heads and make people stop and stare, no matter what port she’s in.  This is largely due to her appearance: at 440 feet in length, she is one of the largest sailing ships in the world, with six computer-assisted sails that tower 204 feet above the waterline.

The Wind Spirit is actually designated as a Motor Ship Yacht. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

If her unique appearance wasn’t enough, the Wind Spirit also boasts a distinctive designation: she is officially known as the msy Wind Spirit, or Motor-Ship-Yacht.

In this respect, the Wind Spirit offers the best of both worlds: the ability to function on nothing but the power of the wind coupled with the convenience of diesel engines that can be engaged should Mother Nature choose to not cooperate.  This dual designation ensures that a true sailing experience can be provided whenever possible, but also assures passengers that the published itinerary will be met.

Real sails! Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

In fact, although the engine may remain engaged in order to meet specific port times, the Wind Spirit’s sails remain up except when arriving to and leaving from ports, giving her an additional speed boost.

But her traditional sailing roots are just the tip of the iceberg.  Inside, all the comforts of modern cruising are present.

Let’s have a look!

DECKS 1 and 2

Passenger corridors continue the nautical theme aboard Wind Spirit. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

These decks are devoted to Wind Spirit’s passenger accommodations, and are also home to the ship’s infirmary and fitness centre, both of which are located on Deck 2.

Accommodations

Our comfortable Category A stateroom, #135, located on Deck 1, Starboard. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

There are three different stateroom types offered aboard Wind Spirit: Category A, Category B, and a single Penthouse Suite located on Deck 1.  Categories A and B are identical, with the only difference being their location aboard the ship.  Category A staterooms are located on Deck 1, while Category B is positioned higher up on Deck 2.

Staterooms offer plenty of room, and ample storage space. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

All staterooms have two porthole windows and measure 188 square feet, with the exception of the Penthouse Suite.  These remarkably well-designed rooms feel even more spacious than that, thanks to a distinctive design that includes an ample wardrobe and a small sitting area, along with the usual desk and sleeping areas.  Additional drawers are built into the desk/vanity area of the stateroom, and are ample enough to provide plenty of space even for guests staying onboard for multiple weeks.

The amazingly-convenient, modular bathrooms aboard Wind Spirit. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

But the real winner here, aside from the wonderfully comfortable beds, is the modular bathrooms.  Larger than many mainstream cruise ships, bathrooms aboard the Wind Spirit feature separate little alcoves for the toilet and sink, and an unusually-large shower.  To top it off, the bathroom is stocked with some fantastic L’Occitane toiletries.

Each stateroom features French-made L'Occitane toiletries. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Fitness Centre

All the way aft on Deck 2 is the Wind Spirit’s Fitness Centre.  Although it may be small, it’s unusually well-stocked, and should be able to accommodate any type of workout.  Of course, you can also opt to take your workout ashore: bicycles can be rented from the ship in most ports at a cost of $35 per half-day.

Located portside, aft on Deck 2, the Fitness Centre may be small, but it still boasts a vast array of equipment. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Fitness Centre, looking inboard towards the passenger corridor. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

DECK 3

Lobby

Deck 3 contains most of Wind Spirit’s public rooms, all of which are anchored amidships with an attractive Lobby and reception area.

The attractive lobby aboard the Wind Spirit is the first thing embarking passengers see, and a focal point throughout your cruise. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Lobby is home to the ship's Reception Desk, and serves as gateway to the Restaurant and Lounge areas. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Attractive wood wall panelling and nautical-blue carpeting give way to a beautiful mural of the sky painted on the centre of the lobby ceiling.  It’s an impressive sight, and a great way to welcome guests onboard for the first time.  Reception and Shore Excursion information can be found here, along with samples from the ship’s boutique and the dinner menu of the day.  Forgot your iPod?  Head on over to Reception where you can rent one, pre-loaded with music, for the duration of the cruise.  Best of all, it fits into the iPod sound system in your stateroom!

The outer deck area of Deck 3, just off of the Reception Lobby. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Port and Starboard-side doors also lead out to a small open deck space that’s commonly used for embarkation and disembarkation, but which also provides access to Deck 4.

The Restaurant

The Restaurant serves up dinner in a cozy, invitingly nautical setting. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Restaurant, facing aft. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Just forward of the Lobby is Wind Spirit’s main dining room.  Done in shades of navy blue and accented with dark wood panelling, The Restaurant has an attractive, “old world” sailing quality about it that is frankly just non-existent on many cruise ships today.  Open for dinner from 7:30pm on, seating here is always open, allowing you to dine when, and with whom, you choose.

What's on the menu in The Restaurant? Fine dining and great service. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Boutique

Heading aft through the lobby, we come to the small but well-stocked Boutique along the port side of the Wind Spirit.  Here, you can buy Windstar Logo wear and other clothing, essential sundry items, and a variety of goods ranging from jewelry to ship models and more.

The Wind Spirit's onboard Boutique. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

We even managed to score some fantastic candies brought aboard the ship from one of her calls in France, fresh from the heart of Provence.

The Library

Just aft of the Boutique is the Wind Spirit’s cozy library.

The main corridor connecting the Lobby with the Boutique, Library and aft lounge. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Books on a wide variety of subjects are included here, and can be checked out for your literary pleasure while onboard.  On the opposite wall is a larger-than-expected DVD library housing new releases and popular classics.

You can check out books, rent a DVD, or browse the Internet in the Library. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

If you enjoy cozying up with a good movie in the evening, you’ll have no difficulties finding one here.  Two computer internet stations are based here, though the ship is fully Wi-Fi equipped for those who bring their own laptops.  Internet access cards can be purchased from Reception, located in the lobby.

 

The aft stairwell, located just outside The Lounge. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

All public washrooms have been completely refitted with modern fixtures and styling. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Lounge

All the way aft on Deck 3 is the Wind Spirit’s attractive Lounge.

The attractive Lounge aboard Wind Spirit, facing aft. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Embarkation registration is held here, providing passengers with ample space to sit down, spread out, and fully relax from the moment they step onboard; a welcome alternative to sweating it out in some stuffy, shoreside terminal.

The Lounge, facing forward. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Relatively quiet during the day, the Lounge comes alive at night, when soft mood lighting and refreshing nightcaps are accompanied by the ship’s resident pianist.

The Casino aboard the Wind Spirit, tucked away in the forward corner of The Lounge, but separated by a walls of glass to keep sounds inside. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

A small casino is located along the port side of the ship, and can provide some great entertainment of its own when someone hits it big.  Be sure to go all the way aft in the lounge; there’s an exterior staircase tucked away behind a door that offers a direct route to the aft pool, located one deck above.

The Aft Exterior Staircase, showing one of two doors that open up to The Lounge. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Spa

Wind Spirit’s spa is tucked away on the starboard side of the lounge, all the way forward.  In fact, it’s remarkably easy to miss, but you’ll want to pay close attention if you’re looking to indulge yourself on your cruise.  While not as elaborate as some of the mega-spas found on the mega-ships, all the popular treatments are available here, from traditional massages to acupuncture to facials and beauty treatments.

DECK 4

Aft Pool & Pool Bar

The Pool Bar aboard Wind Spirit, adjacent to the ship's pool and hot tub. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Located directly above the lounge are the Aft Pool and the Pool Bar. While the pool itself is a touch on the small side, it serves its intended purpose well, and is wonderfully refreshing when sailing to hot climates.  Flanking the pool, the hot tub is also well utilized and features a small waterfall that empties into the pool.

The Aft pool and hot tub aboard the Wind Spirit, refreshing in the day, inviting in the evening. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Finding a comfortable deck chair poolside is rarely an issue.  In the mornings, a continental breakfast buffet is served here, along with tea and sandwiches in the afternoon.  In the evening, enjoy a cigar under the stars and a nightcap from the moodily-lit Pool Bar.

The Pool Bar at night, decked out for cigars and drinks under the stars. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Veranda

One of the prettiest rooms aboard Wind Spirit, The Veranda offers up both breakfast and lunch in an attractive space surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Veranda serves up casual breakfast and lunch, buffet-style or served at your table. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Both meals can be taken as a buffet, or by ordering individual menu items from your dedicated server.  Guests can also sit indoors or at one of the ample tables just outside, within view of the sea and surrounded by the sounds of the ocean and the gentle flapping of the sails in the wind.

Dine in the inviting Veranda, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Or why not take your meals outdoors, within sight of the sea and in the shadow of Wind Spirit's magnificent sails. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

In fact, during the seven days I was aboard her, I only ate inside at The Veranda once; almost all of my meals were taken outdoors.  Great service and excellent food are on the menu here!

At night, the Veranda is transformed into Candles, Windstar's specialty restaurant. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Sitting outdoors aboard the Wind Spirit at night is a truly memorable event. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

During the evenings, The Veranda and its outdoor seating area are transformed into Candles, Windstar’s fantastic, no-surcharge specialty restaurant.

The Navigation Bridge & Forecastle Deck

Walking all the way forward on Deck 4 brings us to the ship’s Navigation Bridge.  Unlike other ships, Windstar has an “open-bridge” policy that allows guests to visit the bridge and chat with the Officers when the ship is at sea and it’s appropriate.

Wind Spirit boast an "open-bridge" policy when appropriate. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

If the bridge is closed, a little “Bridge Closed” sign is placed in the window.  For any maritime geek (and even just the curious passenger), this is a real treat in itself.  Guests are also welcomed to stand on the Bridge Wings that jut out over the sides of the ship, providing some fantastic photo-opportunities.

Standing on the starboard bridge wing provides guests with a remarkable view down the side of the ship. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

There’s also plenty of deck space here for taking photos while entering and exiting port, and when weather allows, deck chairs are placed out here to provide passengers with another sunning option.

Plenty of open deck space forward of the bridge allows guests plenty of room to move about and take photos or simply enjoy departure. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Forward of this deck is a set of stairs that descends to the Wind Spirit’s Forecastle Deck.

Normally off-limits to guests, if weather permits during the voyage, crew escort passengers through the forecastle to the ship’s bowsprit, the farthest point forward, to have their photos taken.  It’s an amazing experience you don’t want to miss!

The Wind Spirit's forecastle deck; normally off-limits to passengers, it might be open on your sailing to allow you to visit the bowspirt. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Looking back at the "face" of Wind Spirit, as seen from her bowsprit. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Ropes aboard Wind Spirit. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

DECK 5

The Flying Bridge

There’s one more deck aboard the Wind Spirit, and it’s tucked away by the aft pool.

Comfortable lounge chairs are plentiful aboard Wind Spirit. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Accessible by a staircase on the port side of the ship near the pool, Deck 5 is also known as The Flying Bridge, and this popular spot is designed to mimic the traditional unsheltered navigation point of the ship as much as possible, to the extent that two “dummy” ship’s wheels have been placed here.

The Flying Bridge, located on Deck 5, offers another fantastic relaxation and viewing point for passengers. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

There are also ample deck chairs, which can be moved to make way for yoga classes outdoors.  For photography buffs, the Flying Bridge is the perfect spot to take that one-of-a-kind shot, with the ship’s sails billowing proudly.

The view from the Flying Bridge at dusk, as the Wind Spirit sails for Warnemunde, Germany. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Windstar’s Wind Spirit won us over with her extraordinary sense of space, gracious crew, wonderful amenities, and her special mix of modern cruising and traditional sailing elegance.  One of the most relaxing ships I’ve ever sailed aboard, this is one cruise experience you don’t want to pass up.

Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

For more information on Wind Spirit, be sure to visit the Windstar Cruises website, or read our entire Live Voyage Report as we sailed from Stockholm Sweden to Oslo, Norway aboard this comfortable, enchanting ship.

 

4 Responses to Wind Spirit

  1. Mike Schindler says:

    Beautiful photos of the Spirit. We are booked on Windstar – Costa Rica in March. Has the Wind Star also gone through updates, as well?

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      My understanding is Wind Star and Wind Spirit will both undergo their updates sometime in the coming year, but no concrete dates have been announced as yet.

  2. Joanna Ross says:

    Hello Aaron, Thanks for these photos and commentary. We’re going to be on Wind Star over Christmas. Although I know that these pictures don’t reflect the recent refurbishments, they are the best and most extensive that I have found anywhere. (…and trust me, I’ve looked almost everywhere.) It was a pleasure to find/see these and show them to my husband. I don’t know how long you’ve been connected with the Avid Cruiser, but I have only recently learned to “scroll down” and I enjoy your articles and your pictures very much. Thanks, Joanna Ross

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Thanks Joanna – glad you found the Photo Tour useful! Before I started this site, I was frustrated by the same thing – the lack of high-quality photos of the interior spaces of different cruise ships. So I decided to do it myself!

      I launched FTDC three years ago, and have been part of Ralph’s Avid Cruiser site for two years now – it’s been a great partnership.

      Please let me know how you Wind Star cuise over Christmas goes!
      -Aaron

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