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Windstar Cruises

Has anyone gone on a cruise on one of their ships/yachts? I've never been on a cruise, but I like the idea of the Windstar ship having only 148 passengers on the ship, anboats ip that uses it's sails as often as they can. The idea of packing 4,000+ people on a boat doesn't appeal to me, sounds too claustrophobic, and the idea of traveling to a lot of ports but only having 8 hours there doesn't sound like too fun. My boyfriend has gone on a lot of cruises and wants to go on a smaller cruise ship. I'm thinking of buying tickets for us to go on their cruise in French Polynesia for his birthday.

Any advice is appreciated

by Anonymousreply 2905/27/2013

The Paul Gauguin is based in French Polynesia providing a small ship luxury experience. It's one of the best cruises I've ever taken.

by Anonymousreply 105/26/2013

My parents were considering it, but my mother gets seasick so she opted for a bigger ship. In hindsight I think they'd wished they'd risked it, since exploring Ephesus and other places with thousands of other passengers wasn't pleasant.

So I can't help with any cruise feedback, but French Polynesia is amazing. I flew from island to island, but I think a cruise would be a great way to explore. Almost everything about the islands is focused on the lagoons, so if you have a cabin with a view, it would be a very convenient way to travel. As hotels and internal flights are expensive, it's probably more cost effective too.

by Anonymousreply 205/26/2013

Yes, I did a Windjammer cruise throughout the Med. Awesome experience.

They cater to you, the food is good, and the spots they stop were awesome (boat is smaller).

Do it.

by Anonymousreply 305/26/2013

They've been sold twice since I was in the industry, so I don't know what their current operations are like, but they were very popular with my high end clients.

[quote]The Paul Gauguin is based in French Polynesia providing a small ship luxury experience. It's one of the best cruises I've ever taken.

The Paul Gauguin was owned by Regent Seven Seas, not Windstar, but it is not any longer.

Word of advice, if you're going all the way to Tahiti for a seven day cruise make sure you schedule some downtime on the backend. It's an almost 9-hour flight on Air Tahiti Nui from LAX, so give yourself a couple of extra days and stay in an over-water bungalow.

by Anonymousreply 405/26/2013

I went on a 7-day cruise and did not enjoy the experience. It's just not for me. The first couple of days were exciting: the food, the shows, and being in the middle of the ocean.

But as the days wore on, I did feel trapped and bored. Unless you love cruise entertainment, the experience isn't so great. It's great for retirees, honeymooners, and children, but not for someone who has the need to be on the go and see and do things.

It's like being in Paris, but you're stuck in your 4-star hotel with all its amenities and fine dining and you're only allowed to see the city through your window.

I would rather fly to a destination and do my thing. Be a real traveler.

by Anonymousreply 505/26/2013

It's a little different on the small ships than the big ships.

Especially in French Polynesia. You're in a port each day, and for the most part, you get to the next port the same night you leave the previous one.

by Anonymousreply 605/26/2013

Aren't passengers expected to work on the Windstar Cruises? The idea of cooking my own meals, or raising and lowering the sails does not appeal to me. I want to pampered while on vacation.

by Anonymousreply 705/26/2013

but what about the buffets?

by Anonymousreply 805/26/2013

Not on Windstar.


by Anonymousreply 905/26/2013

[quote]Aren't passengers expected to work on the Windstar Cruises? The idea of cooking my own meals, or raising and lowering the sails does not appeal to me. I want to pampered while on vacation.

Windstar is a luxury line of boutique ships.

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises were the ones where passengers were expected to work, and that's been out of business for years.

by Anonymousreply 1005/26/2013

Also, OP, if you give me a time frame and a budget, I can put together a sample itinerary for you.

Just tell me where you'd be flying from. Consider it my final use of my mad travel agent skills.

by Anonymousreply 1105/26/2013

You have to work on the Windstar cruise ships? Clean the toilets? Scrub the deck? No thanks.

by Anonymousreply 1205/26/2013

[quote]You have to work on the Windstar cruise ships? Clean the toilets? Scrub the deck? No thanks.

Oh, for Pete's sake...

by Anonymousreply 1305/26/2013

Even if you do a small ship you're still stopping at touristy places, no? Anyway, this looks appealing. I hate the idea of a hotel on the sea like Norwegian Cruises or something like that. I would do it but the Cyclades are really choppy in summer. Bring your dramamine.

by Anonymousreply 1405/26/2013

Is everybody naked on these tours? I thought they did big naked cruises for fatties and their admirers.

by Anonymousreply 1505/26/2013

Here you go, OP.

These have no casinos, no shows, no pools. They do have lectures by people with I.Q.s

Rich people wouldn't be caught dead on a "vegas on a ship" cruise.

by Anonymousreply 1605/26/2013

Windstar recently purchased Seabourn's three smallest ships. They should be going over to Windstar in a year or two.

by Anonymousreply 1705/26/2013

[quote]These have no casinos, no shows, no pools.

The Wind Star and Wind Spirit have plunge pools. There's a plunge pool on the Wind Surf and it also has a platform in the stern that folds down that they can launch different small watercraft from.

The Star Pride, formerly the Seabourn Pride, has the same kind of thing.

by Anonymousreply 1805/26/2013

The truly rich own or charter private yachts to see French Polynesia

by Anonymousreply 1905/26/2013

Also, it's the Wind Star they've got doing their Tahiti season next year.

by Anonymousreply 2005/27/2013

Thank you all for your advice and opinions.

Thank you VoTN. IMO your advice usually is pretty good, and I will take all the advice I can get for this.

The page at the link is the cruise I'd like us to go on. The days I'd like to go on the cruise are May 2nd thru the 9th (2014) My boyfriend's birthday is May 5th and over the last couple of years he's hinted that he'd love to be on a cruise on the day of his birthday. Also the date of our 10 year anniversary is the 10th, the day after we leave the cruise. So staying somewhere really nice would be great for our anniversary

I hadn't figured in the exhaustion that will probably start kicking in and kicking our asses after the cruise and then adding to our crabbiness the 9 hour flight back. If we end up flying right back after the cruise I'm pretty sure we won't be speaking by the time our plane lands at San Francisco.

As you can see at the link that cruise begins and ends in Papeete. I'm thinking of maybe spending a week in Tahiti after the cruise, but it doesn't have to be in Papeete. I've only just started reading about the islands and the different areas of the islands, so I have no idea what area and hotels to consider staying at and which areas, and hotels that should be avoided.

Can anyone recomend good hotels? I would definitely want a hotel on a beach and I really prefer the smaller hotels, not B&B type places but more like a hotel with 50, or less, rooms.

Would it be cheaper to rent a house or condo for the week? Or do most of the houses rent out only by the month?

A friend suggested that instead of us staying a week in Tahiti or flying right home after the cruise we should fly to Hawaii and stay there a week before flying back. I'd love to go to Hawaii but it seems like a very long flight and my boyfriend has a lot of back problems so sitting in those airplane seats (even business or first class) for any long amount time isn't always good for for him, tho the last few trips we took he got some shot from his pain management doctor and was fine.

by Anonymousreply 2105/27/2013

I went on a Windstar cruise in the Mediterranean. One of my favorite trips ever. Great accommodations, great ports of call, fantastic experience overall.

Yeah, if you need a 24-hour buffet, you won't like it. But for the rest of us, the food was ample and delicious.

Mind you, this is not like a sailboat. It is a ship with sails, so you don't get tossed about like you would in a normal sailboat.

I highly recommend it for those who want to take a cruise but don't want the typical cruise ship experience.

by Anonymousreply 2205/27/2013

Thanks R22. The way you described your cruise is exactly what I'm looking for. Several people that I work with have gone on big ship cruises and they talked more about the giant buffet meals than about the ports they visited. I like good food as much as the next person, but if I'm going on a cruise I don't want the food to be the most memorable part of it.

by Anonymousreply 2305/27/2013

Okay, bad news out of the way first: There aren't any direct flights between San Francisco and Papeete, so it looks like you're going to have to connect through LAX regardless.

I can only look at air rates 11 months out, so you're just shy of my being able to give you a full price, but I can ball-park it pretty well.

Cruise leaves on a Sunday. Since you'll cross the date line, you'll probably want to fly out on Friday to give yourself a day to acclimate to the time difference. Air from SFO-PPT is about $10K for business class, because Air Tahiti Nui doesn't have a first class. Unfortunately, the business class seats don't recline flat.

Arrive in Papeete. Best hotel there is probably the InterContinental Tahiti, and a night there in a standard room (since you're just going to want to crash) is about $250.

Cruise goes Sunday-Sunday. I'd spring for at least a midship cabin (although the South Pacific should be pretty calm that time of year), and figure that with taxes, that'll be in the neighborhood of $7500.

Get back on Sunday. I would say skip Hawaii and take an inter-island flight to somewhere near to Tahiti. Air Tahiti (different airline) handles those kind of flights, prop planes, last about an hour. Figure about $1000 round trip. My suggestion would be the Sofitel Bora Bora, which is one of the nicest hotels in French Polynesia, and it's not huge. Two nights in a standard room, would be about $1300, two nights in an overwater bungalow would be about $2300.

Also, I'd caution against Hawaii for the simple fact that you'd have to fly back to LA to get a flight there. Air Tahiti Nui's only stop in the US is LAX, so you'd have to take a 9 hour flight and turn around and then take a 6 hour flight.

by Anonymousreply 2405/27/2013

Wow. Thank you VoTN. So much great advice. I really appreciate that you took the time to figure all of that out for me.

I was talking to one of the doctors I work with and she said to look into staying on the island Moorea after the cruise. She's been there several times and says it's one of her favorite vacation spots. I haven't had time yet to look into the hotels there but just looking thru pictures of the island it looks amazing. Any advice on staying in Moorea?

by Anonymousreply 2505/27/2013

I just like the Sofitel in Bora Bora because it was built originally by Dino De Laurentiis. But it's a great hotel.

There's a Sofitel in Moorea as well. It's bigger, but it's probably the nicest hotel there. It's also a tick cheaper.

by Anonymousreply 2605/27/2013

I went on a very small (130 people) Windstar ship. It was an amazing experience sailing the seas. Wonderful. Of course, what made it the best is that I was on a client trip, so everything was gratis.

by Anonymousreply 2705/27/2013

All About Moorea, "Tahiti's Magical Isle"

What you need to know to plan a visit to Tahiti's lush, heart-shaped island From Donna Heiderstadt

Moorea, located just a few miles from Tahiti's capital and gateway, Papeete, is lush, mountainous and home to two beautiful bays, including Cook's Bay.

Visiting Moorea couldn't be easier: It's just a 10-minute flight or a 30-minute ride by high-speed catamaran from the international gateway at Papeete on Tahiti, but its striking, spire-topped landscape and meandering, underdeveloped shoreline lined with simple villages make it feel miles removed from modern civilization.

That's not to say it lacks infrastructure - far from it. Moorea is home to an impressive selection of world-class resorts, a wide range of sights and activities and some of the most easily accessible adventure in Tahiti. This means it is equally ideal for couples on a romantic getaway/honeymoon or families seeking ease and convenience. Plus, its accessible location translates into room rates that are a bit easier on the wallet than on some of Tahiti's more far-flung islands.

A few things truly set Moorea, known as "the Magical Island," apart: It has lovely beaches, Tahiti's only golf course and a vast and incredibly lush interior, including the Opunohu Valley filled with every tropical plant and fruit imaginable. With its eight mountain ridges, Moorea also boasts some of the most stunning panoramas in the South Pacific, enjoyed from viewpoints reached either by rental car, 4X4 tour or your own two feet.

While overshadowed by the world-renowned lagoon of its more famous sibling, Bora Bora, Moorea's waters teem with life. Some of its more popular and memorable activities involve getting up-close and personal with sharks, stingrays and dolphins. Plus, the island's twin bays are not only geographic markers, but also gathering spots for the cruise ships and pleasure boaters that congregate to enjoy Moorea's many natural splendors.

Size and Population: At 80 square miles, Moorea is part of Tahiti's frequently visited Society Islands and is home to about 16,000 people. It is located just 10 nautical miles from the main island of Tahiti.

Airport: The small airport on Moorea is located on the northeast coast and is served by Air Tahiti and Air Moorea flights from Tahiti's Faa'a International Aiport. Flights take 10 minutes and depart about every half hour. It is also possible to fly from Moorea on Air Tahiti to Bora Bora, Huahine and Raiatea.

Transportation: A more affordable alternative to flying, high-speed ferries make the trip from the wharf in Papeete's waterfront to the passenger dock on Moorea at Vaiare six times daily and take about 30 minutes.

Upon arrival, most resorts provide transportation from the airport or the passenger dock at Vaiare (arrange this in advance with your hotel or tour company). Taxis are available and the public transport service, known as Le Truck, operates between the ferry dock and the island's main villages along its circle-island road.

Rentals cars are available for hire, as are helicopters for sightseeing excursions. A variety of tourism companies operate 4X4 trips into the mountainous interior. It is also possible to sightsee by water via motorboat tours or outrigger canoe (which can be arranged by your resort, tour company or cruise ship).

Cities: Moorea has no urban center, but rather the island is home to a series of small villages, such as Paopao and Haapiti, that line it shores. It is easy to visit them during a circle-island self-drive or tour, stopping off to taste many "made in Moorea" products, such as pineapple- and coconut-flavored rums and liqueurs, mango and passion fruit jams and other farm-fresh agricultural bounty.

Geography: Moorea is not an exceptionally large island, but its heart shape is endearingly unique and its topography is among the most memorable in Tahiti. Its interior is a patchwork of bright green valleys stuffed with working plantations and pineapple fields - all surrounded by eight sweeping mountain ridges. Its iconic viewpoint at Belvedere Overlook is a must. Stand here to enjoy sweeping views of Moorea's two massive side-by-side bays, Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay, which dominate the island's north shore. Reachable via 4X4 drives or hikes, Moorea also has several interior waterfalls located deep within its green and scenic valleys.

Retail Hours: Shops are generally open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with long lunch breaks taken at midday, and until around noon on Saturdays. The only shops open on Sunday are located in hotels and resorts. There is no sales tax.

by Anonymousreply 2805/27/2013

These are three great hotels in Moorea; all of them have over the water bungalows. I've stayed at the Moorea Pearl Resort and visited friends at the other hotels. They are all beautiful and I would definitely recommend them, especially the Moorea Pearl.

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa

Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa

Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort

by Anonymousreply 2905/27/2013
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