Gina Baksa Boards the Largest Yacht in the World for a Rome to Venice Cruise with Windstar
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The casino –helmed by Casino Manager Andrea – had sufficient one-armed bandits to keep everyone happy. BlackJack, American Roulette and Three Card Poker were just some of the card games at the tables. For retail therapy head to the Signature Shop – a treasure trove of Windstar-branded merchandise (baseball caps to sweatshirts) in addition to high-end jewellery and watches. There was also a selection of daily live entertainment daily, from superb professional singers and backing bands, as well as hilarious offerings from the Captain and crew.

Watersports platform

Weather permitting, there are plenty of toys to be enjoyed at the back of ship: a trampoline, water mat, single and double kayaks and a speed boat for water skiing. I took the single kayak out for a paddle and loved the sensation of freedom on the water
bobbing about next to the giant Wind Surf was so exciting.

Spa services

Cruising is all about relaxation, especially after a walking tour during the day. To ease sore muscles from a vigorous gym workout, I booked a superb Elemis seaweed wrap with deep tissue massage. Extremely relaxing and detoxifying, I had the best night’s sleep for weeks. The Spa also offers facials, acupuncture, scrubs, reflexology and a selection of hair and nail treatments.

Destinations and Excursions

The beauty of a yacht the size of the Wind Surf is her ability to visit smaller ports in the Adriatic that many larger cruise ships cannot reach. Every evening we had a superb talk from Voyage Leader Gonzalo about the following day’s port of call and excursions. Not only are the excursions fun, I also found the English-speaking guides shared useful information about each location. At anchor, lifeboats were used as tenders to ferry us to and from the dock. Surprisingly comfortable and fun, Windstar has a canopied area at each dock with refreshments to cool you while waiting for your return to the ship.

My 8-day magical sail from Rome to Venice was outstanding. Here are just some of the highlights:

Day 1 – Rome

This incredible city needs no introduction. I stayed at the Ambasciatori Hotel. Colonna Palace Hotel opposite the Parliament building.

Boarding the Largest Yacht in the World for a Rome to Venice Cruise with Windstar 3

Arriving just 24 hours before we set sail, I had time to throw a euro into the Trevi Fountains, walk around the Ancient Forum, visit the Colosseum (outstanding), eat ice cream on the Corso, dinner at the xxx restaurant at xx hotel (superb), visit the wedding cake (aka the Altare della Patria) and the Pantheon. If you’re short of time, get a Rome Pass and enjoy a hop-on-hop-off double-decker bus to explore the city.

Day 2 – Amalfi Coast and Positano

We anchored at 9am in the at Amalfi in the Gulf of Salerno. Stunning coastal mountains drop vertiginously into azure seas. It was a dream made manifest to visit this incredible UNESCO World Heritage site. Amalfi, together with its neighbour Positano and the inland Ravello are the jewels in the crown of this famous coastline. I took a pre-booked excursion from Amalfi to Positano by boat. Positano’s Moorish-style houses cling to the slopes around a charming bay.

Boarding the Largest Yacht in the World for a Rome to Venice Cruise with Windstar 4

Our group climbed up the steep streets shepherded by our ebullient guide Michelangelo to see the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which contains the relics of apostle St Andrew. You can’t miss it, yellow façade and green, yellow and blue tiled domed-tiled roof is short climb up from the black sands of Marina Grande beach. The narrow streets are teeming with clothes and jewellery shops, together with art galleries and B&Bs. And luxury hotels like the Le Sirenuse, with its shady pool terrace affording beautiful views of the bougainvillea streets, beach and port below. It’s the perfect location for a wonderful Italian coffee and the chance to take in the dreamlike quality of this uniquely charming town.

There was also an option for a coach tour to Ravello, a drive up the winding Dragon Valley in the mountains behind Positano. Visit Villas Rufolo and Cimbrone for spectacular views. Other excursions were visits to Ravello and Amalfi and the spectacular ruins of Pompeii.

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