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Karl

Age: 53

Occupation:Technical Manager - Retired

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Wind Star

Ship: Wind Surf

Sailing Date: N/A

Itinerary: Bahamas

We had a definite "180 degrees from the ordinary" kinda cruise on Wind Surf this past week. This was our second cruise on Wind Surf, and she and her crew were just as excellent as before, and the new friends we met on board were the best!

Because of high winds and seas every day, our itinerary was somewhat modified, (even from the newly published "subtract Green Turtle Cay and substitute Port Lucaya" itinerary posted on Windstar's web site).

First day out we docked in Nassau instead of being anchored in the bay and being tendered ashore. Sunny, warm, and breezy, and all the excursions went out. Tuesday at Half Moon Cay was overcast/windy/high waves. We tendered ashore, but the excursions were cancelled because of the weather and churned-up surf. So was the evening BBQ. We did enjoy some broken clouds/sunshine in the hammocks on the beach in the afternoon. Last tender back to the ship was at 6:00PM instead of previously planned 11:00PM. Wednesday we awoke to sunshine and winds, and we saw HAL's Westerdam tied up in the lagoon near us, with her passengers' tenders bobbing ashore. (We chose to stay aboard Wind Surf and enjoy the sheltered sun). Mid-morning, the Westie started blowing her ship's horn and her sirens went off. Seems it was so windy she couldn't keep her anchors secured, so she gathered everyone from ashore and took off 6 hours early. (We were told 3rd-hand that the Westie's passengers already ashore and snorkeling thought the horn and sirens were shark-sighting warnings, which caused them to race out of the water just in case). Thursday, we were in Freeport instead of Port Lucaya, because of the winds/seas. Sunny skies and pleasant temps. Freeport is not the most attractive port, for sure, with the cement plant, the oil refineries, container ships, and all the mothballed Big Red Boats and the Rembrandt. Most excursions went, but from Freeport. Friday in Bimini it was sunny, but, again, high seas and winds. Excursions cancelled because of the seas and the resultant stirring-up of the bottom, (bad for us snorkelers). Saturday in Key West it started out somewhat cool and breezy and drizzling, but by early afternoon we had sustained 40+ mph winds with higher gusts. A 35' sailing yacht tied up in the adjoining bay broke its moorings, and the winds pushed it into the seawall just aft of Wind Surf. A tug pulled it off the seawall and towed it away, just like it was an everyday event. We were 2 hrs late leaving Key West because of high winds. Captain Bridge did his usual excellent job skillfully easing us into the harbor while the local pilot stood beside him and looked-on anxiously, and off we went around 7PM. We had 30+ foot high seas (according to the Captain) all the way home to Ft. Lauderdale overnight and Sunday morning. We got into port several hours late, but that was to be expected with the late departure from Key West and the sea conditions. Sunny and beautiful in the sheltered harbor of Ft. Lauderdale. (Of course). We were able to disembark at 11:00, and had no troubles getting on our 2:30 flight out of FLL.

In spite of the winds this week, we had sails set every day! Quite a sight!

The passenger mix (full ship with 318) seemed heavily weighted (well, I guess that's from all the good food) with folks our age (early 50s) and an obvious percentage of folks in their later years. We saw a sprinkling of young couples, and very very few kids or teenagers (since Windstar does a pretty good job in their literature notifying potential passengers there are no children/teens programs aboard). Evenings, post-supper, were quiet around the ship after 10:00 PM, although the more lively folks were in the main lounge with the live music and the bar, back in the Compass Rose lounge, or in the small casino off the main lounge. Wind Surf has a well-stocked videotape and book library, so many of us must've retired to our cabins after a stroll on deck after supper. There's a well-equipped Internet room off the conference room, with eight terminals. Access is $1 a minute or $129 for all-you-can-use access for the week, and the satellite response times are very fast.

The food was excellent, as it was a year ago when we first sailed Wind Surf. We tried the Bistro this year, and although the menus still seemed like subsets of the main dining room's menus, the service was slightly more attentive. Of course, when we ate in the Bistro it was the first time, (from our eight cruises), that we have ever sat at a table for two, so the service difference might have just been because we weren't at a large table.

Would we sail Wind Surf again? In a heartbeat! Would we cruise in the Bahamas again in February? Probably not. Weather/winds were too unpredictable, and we didn't get but one chance to snorkel during our week. We can't sing enough praises for Wind Surf and her beautiful condition and for the many truly wonderful crew and staff. The Captain is extremely competent, personable, approachable, and highly visible during the week, although some of our fellow passengers were affectionately referring to him at the end of the week as, "Your Captain Speaking", since he always began his once-daily ship-wide announcements as, "This is your Captain speaking...". Except in U.S. waters, the bridge is open to passengers 24x7. Geert, the main dining room manager, is cordial, accommodating, a super-quick wit, and one of the hardest working staff we saw all week. And the new friends we met were priceless.

Of course, our experience with the weather last week may be unusual, so your mileage may vary! Enjoy!!

...Karl

Emerald Seas, Nordic Prince, Song of America, Westerdam, Splendour, Statendam, Wind Surf (twice)

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