Cruise Diva's CRUISE
~ Lisbon to Barcelona ~
Surf - The Veranda
May 5, 2002
- Our journey ended in one of our favorite European cities. After a final breakfast in the
Veranda, our debarkation and hotel transfer were another seamless
Too early for check-in, we dropped
off the luggage, bought tickets for the Tourist Bus, and hopped on to
make the circuit. The bus passes all the major sites of interest and
riders can jump on and off at whim. Interest in modernist architect
Antoni Gaudi is very high this year (the 150th anniversary of his
birth) and lines were extremely long to view the interiors of his most
important buildings. Inspired by nature, his work is as intriguing to
locals as it is to visitors. All waited for hours to get a glimpse at
private rooms previously closed to the public.
a celebration of Gaudi - Casa Milá
We simply didn't have the time to go
inside Gaudi's fanciful buildings. Nevertheless, we delight in finding
new details in the facades each time we pass through Barcelona. After
leaving the Tourist Bus, we strolled through the Ramblas from
Catalunya Square to Port Vell and caught the elevator to the top of
the Christopher Columbus monument. The panorama of the city and harbor
is spectacular, but the viewing area is quite compact. On a windy day,
the sensation isn't dissimilar to being at sea.
Wind Surf's in-transit passengers had
a Barcelona tour available to them that sounded very comprehensive. By
staying over, we were able to take in a high energy flamenco show--Tablao
Flamenco Cordobes in the Ramblas. An excellent way to round out an interlude in Barcelona
before returning home.
When Wind Surf arrived in Lisbon, she
went into dry dock for a major remodeling of the Signature Shop.
Traffic flow through the store is much improved and the warm wood
cabinetry is visually appealing. New items are being added to the
inventory, from plush stuffed animals to high-end jewelry and art
The entire ship's interior was spotless and work outside was ongoing, with deck crews
constantly scraping and painting. Wind Surf's sails were blindingly
white. Items that could use a bit of work
are the wood trim and desks in the staterooms. Real wood, it could
stand to be sanded and varnished.
Wind Surf has a large conference room
and Internet Center with swift online connections. The normal per minute rate is 75 cents; however, packages of 100 minutes ($55)
and 250 minutes ($100) drop the rates per minute considerably.
Windstar Cruises have several
signature features in common with their parent company, Holland
America Line. Beautiful fresh flower arrangements are found
throughout Wind Surf, including all staterooms. Each day of our cruise
bread pudding with vanilla sauce was available for luncheon
dessert--my favorite. Windstar also has a "tipping not
required" policy. With open seating dining, gratuities are pooled
for the waitstaff. That was efficient for us as we never had the same
dining room waiter twice. We tipped cabin stewards and bar servers
Speaking of open seating dinner... we
never waited for a table in the dining room. There was no pressure to
join other diners who'd just been seated. Our requests for tables for
two were immediately granted.
Special dining experiences were a
treat--grilled lobster for lunch, the Mediterranean Buffet, afternoon
tea, hot and cold hors d'oeuvres several times during the afternoon
and evening. When we didn't feel like "dressing" to go out
until later in the evening, we ordered room service dinners from the
Restaurant menu and they were served promptly. Unfortunately, Wind
Surf staterooms don't have the slide out tables for dining that are
found in her smaller fleet mates' cabins. No problem... when you're
having dinner in your robe, who cares?
To work off those tasty meals and
snacks, Wind Surf has a well-equipped gym. And the sauna and spa!
The watersports program and marina
were somewhat underutilized on our cruise; however, that had as much
to do with the weather and those Gale Force Eight winds as anything. I
would love to try a banana boat ride or learn to wind surf some day.
Maybe next time.
Planning for independent days ashore
was a snap with information and maps from the Shore Excursion staff.
Their handouts supplemented my research very nicely and filled in some
gaps. The shuttle in Portimao was appreciated. Ship's tours were well
planned and executed. We felt they were a good value, particularly the
tour to the Alhambra.
I can't commend the crew and staff of
Wind Surf enough. All went out of their way to be helpful and
friendly, especially the Filipino and Indonesian wait staff. By
breakfast the first morning on board it was evident they strove to
address every passenger by name as quickly as possible. The service we
received was professional, gracious, and delivered with a sincere
Above all, we enjoyed the informality
of the Wind Surf. No dress code, other than yacht-club casual in the
evening (no shorts). We felt very much at home and at ease with our
fellow passengers. We were a diverse, yet congenial complement of
mostly North Americans, with several South Americans and Japanese
guests. A few couples were traveling together but most were on
their own--very much travelers, not tourists. The youngest passenger
on board was 17; a lovely sophisticated young woman with her mother.
go on a Windstar cruise? Although Wind Surf has two
elevators, this is not a ship for the physically challenged. There are
no staterooms/bathrooms with wheelchair accessibility and the gangway
can be difficult, depending on the tide and angle of ascent. A Wind
Surf cruise is also inappropriate for babies and most children.
Itineraries are port intensive and there are no facilities on board
designed for children or their amusement.
select a Windstar cruise? Romantic couples of all ages.
Singles, mostly traveling together, and other passengers who don't
need constant organized, programmed recreation. Diversions are for the most part
social, laid back, and impromptu. Choose to take part in the short
list of daily activities, borrow a book, game, video, or CD from the
extensive library or do nothing at all. There's no pressure.
Degrees from Ordinary®
I fully appreciate the Windstar
Cruises' slogan now. Never have I returned from a cruise vacation
feeling so pampered and rested.
I want to go back and read another
good book in the shade of the sails. I want to spend another week
without bothering to pack a curling iron. I got about 90° from ordinary
and I'm ready to complete the transformation.
Back to the Lisbon
to Barcelona Cruise Diary Index
Review -- WIND
Find out more about the Med in Mediterranean
Ports of Call
Cruise Line Profile - Windstar
Tahiti! ~ Once again, Windstar Cruises' WIND SONG is
"Sailing 180° From Ordinary" through Tahiti & Her
Eyewitness Travel Cruise Guide to Europe & the Mediterranean
Cruise Diva's comments:
The most useful guidebook I've found for multiple European ports of call
Onboard Internet Cafe
"The earth is
mostly water... somebody has to wire it."™
Courtesy of Windstar Cruises