One week ago I stepped off of our Windstar Cruises Dreams of Tahiti cruise, and I’m still smiling. Throughout the week I’ve been reflecting on my journey, wondering how I can possibly sum it up for you. A voyage like no other, it’s challenging to put the experience into words, but I’ll do my best. As such, here are 5 things I loved about my cruise on Windstar's Wind Spirit.
1. The Intimate and Luxurious Setting
Windstar Cruises are renowned for their small, elegant ships that offer an intimate and personalized experience. The Dreams of Tahiti cruise is no exception. We sailed on the beautiful Wind Spirit, a 5 masted sailing ship with 4 decks and a capacity for only 148 guests. (120 on our particular voyage).
The small size of the ship made it easy to navigate, and to run back to the room to grab a forgotten item. It was also easy to roam around and find our travel companions, as there is one main lounge, a small library, and the top deck. Each public space is beautifully appointed yet cozy, perfect for relaxing and chatting with other passengers. We found ourselves chatting with many new friends, as the small size means we saw the same people regularly.
While the vessel is compact the rooms are comfortable. All staterooms on the ship are virtually the same, just varying in location. Our room was spacious with ample storage, a seating area, roomy bathroom and 2 porthole windows for natural light.
2.The Fabulous, Attentive Crew
With 120 guests onboard, and 109 staff, there was almost a 1:1 ratio on our voyage. The staff went out of their way to introduce themselves, ask our names, and then remembered them. They took notice of who we were traveling with, and that we wanted a table for 4. They worked hard, but made it look easy. Their cordiality seemed genuine, and many spoke of how much they enjoy their job.
The crew seemed to magically pop up everywhere to bring joy to the guests. When we arrived at a motu (small island), they were there to greet us with a cup of cold water and fresh fruit. When we got back on the ship at the end of the evening, they were there with a smile and cheer. However, the absolute highlight was the crew talent show, where 8 different acts (both individual and group) performed for the guests. These folks weren’t the singing duo that entertained us all week. They were the tender boat drivers, the watersports platform team, the maitre d, the bar staff, etc. To see them up on stage, enjoying themselves, having fun, being cheered on by the guests, was incredible. We laughed until we cried and talked about the evening for the rest of the voyage. It ended up being one of my favorite ship entertainment experiences ever.
3. Exceptional Cuisine
Windstar Cruises are renowned for their culinary excellence, and the Dreams of Tahiti cruise held to that standard. I am not an exotic eater, but I do enjoy quality food. Sometimes, cruise menus are a bit too “off the beaten path” for me, but Windstar provided a nice balance. There was an array of seafood options available, especially appropriate given the destination, but I always found another option or two that appealed to me. For a small ship, there were plenty of options for breakfast and lunch, and everything was served freshly prepared and hot.
A specialty dining meal is included on Windstar, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Candles. It is a seafood and steak experience, served by candlelight on the top deck. The meats were delicious and tender, served with 3 specialized salts and 4 savory sauces for complete customization. The best dessert of the week was served here, a scrumptious lemon tart.
A signature event on every Windstar Cruise is the deck barbecue.The main dining room is closed for the evening and everyone gathers on the top deck for an evening filled with a huge selection of grilled meats, salads, and dessert buffet, followed by line dancing. Set under twinkle lights and the moonlight, it is a meal to remember for both its delightful offerings and ambiance. Fabulous!
4. Cultural Immersion
Windstar excels in bringing the destination to life for their guests. Instead of traditional main stage productions that are created to entertain guests, Windstar strives to educate guests about the destinations and expand their understanding of local culture. For us, that meant a vibrant native storyteller coming onboard and sharing the meaning of tattoos, past and present. Another time, a group of mamas and papas joined us on the ship to sing their native songs and demonstrate traditional dance, followed by lessons in weaving.
On every voyage, Windstar includes a Destination Discovery event, a complimentary activity to enhance the guest experience in a meaningful way. In French Polynesia, this is an evening at another private motu, complete with barbecue dinner, live music, and a Polynesian fire dancers. Our evening ashore was perfect, with the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, and a small glimpse into the celebrations of the Polynesian people.
5. Breathtaking Islands
French Polynesia is a tropical paradise, and the Dreams of Tahiti cruise took us on a journey to some of the region's most breathtaking islands. From the iconic beauty of Bora Bora to the secluded charm of Raiatea and Huahine, each island offered its own unique allure. Some of the smaller islands are off limits to big cruise ships, but the Wind Spirit was able to take us there.
Anchored in crystal clear waters, we indulged in swimming, snorkeling, and jetskiing, surrounded by vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life. Swimming with rays, sharks, and sea turtles, in addition to a vast array of fish, was a highlight, as was seeing a large pod of spinner dolphins. The beauty and serenity of these pristine waters and their inhabitants is so incredibly accessible, even for non-swimmers like me.
One of our favorite days was spent on a tiny motu off of Taha’a. Motu Mahaea is a tiny island, where only guests of Windstar are invited to spend the day. It is a tranquil, gorgeous place to soak up the sun and snorkel with abundant sea life just off shore (literally, just walk out and look down!), all while being fueled up with the included barbecue lunch and bar service. This island defines tropical paradise.
I truly loved our experience with Windstar in beautiful French Polynesia. The people, the ship, the islands themselves were warm and welcoming. They will live on in my heart for many years as I replay the wonderful memories made there.
If you are ready to experience Windstar, French Polynesia, or any other destination around our beautiful planet, I would love to be of assistance. Click here to schedule your complimentary vacation planning session.
Lisa is the travel loving, animal adoring, Mickey Mouse hugging owner of Dreams Delivered Travel.