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Wind Spirit Photo Tour
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Deck 3 contains most of Wind Spirit’s public rooms, all of which are anchored amidships with an attractive Lobby and reception area.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just aft of the Boutique is the Wind Spirit’s cozy library.
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.
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.
All the way aft on Deck 3 is the Wind Spirit’s attractive Lounge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aft Pool & Pool Bar
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Flying Bridge
There’s one more deck aboard the Wind Spirit, and it’s tucked away by the aft pool.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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