Day 7 – Rovinj, Croatia
My first trip to the Adriatic and the Dalmatian Coast, I had no idea what to expect in Rovinj and it was gorgeous. One of my favourite destinations on the cruise. Our visit was in the early season, so there were no other ships in the bay and very few tourists. Perfect! The market on the quayside sold local natural produce including honey, nuts, fruit-based snacks, oils for cooking and garnishing and even bee pollen.
I walked up to the church via narrow alleyways with their tiny cafes and restaurants perched above rocky outcrops where bathers and swimmers reposed lizard-like on the rocks.
Apparently, Rovinj used to be a tiny island until the channel separating it from the mainland was filled in in the ‘18th Century. It endured 500 years under Venetian rule, so the Italian influence is much in evidence.
Day 8 – Venice
We were due to arrive in Venice at 7am, but fortuitously I awoke at 5.30 and went straight out on deck. To see the sunrise over Venice as we sailed slowly and sedately into the Lagoon is a sight I will never forget. Venice revealing her majesty under a blood-orange sky was breathtaking. We disembarked early and headed for the ideally located Grand Hotel Ambasciatori where I left my luggage (my flight wasn’t until later that day).
I headed for St Mark’s Square and watched the gondola oarsmen waiting for clients, marvelled at the architecture, before heading back in the opposite direction to the Rialto Bridge (wider than I remembered). I hadn’t visited Venice since childhood so returning with a different perspective was magical. It’s still overcrowded and overpriced but that’s to be expected considering its uniqueness.
My water taxi ride to the airport was incredibly exciting. Combining my joint passions of speed and water, I felt very James Bond as we sped out into the Lagoon, the speedboat bouncing in the wake of other taxis. We docked at the new water taxi station just a 10-minute walk from the airport terminal and I was met by a Windstar who kindly walked me to the check-in desk. Superb service all the way with this cruise line, they really do look after their guests.
Travelling by cruise ship is effortless: your floating hotel travels with you – and you are cocooned in luxurious comfort from the outside world. No stressful airline queues, taxis to hail or trains to catch – or miss. I can see why Windstar has been voted the World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveller readers. I’m still missing the ocean, the sense of adventure and waking up to new sights and sounds every morning.
And I’m missing the wonderful warm-hearted crew who contributed so much to making each day so special for me. The Windstar experience provides guests with a much more intimate cruise, thanks to its smaller guest numbers and its 1:1 guest-client ratio.
As John F Kennedy once said: “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” I completely agree.
Windstar Cruises – Where and How
The Wind Surf stats
- CAPACITY: 310 Guests
- STATEROOMS: 122 deluxe ocean view staterooms
- SUITES: 31 deluxe ocean-view suites
- BRIDGE DECK SUITES: 2 deluxe ocean view bridge suites
- DECKS: 6 decks
- CREW: 201 international staff
- SHIP’S REGISTRY: Bahamas
- LENGTH: 535 feet (162 meters) at the waterline; 617 feet (187 meters) including bowsprit
- DRAFT: 16.5 feet (5 meters)
- TONNAGE: 14,745 gross registered tons (grt)
- BEAM: 66 feet (20 meters)
- SAILS: 7 triangular, self-furling, computer-operated sails with 26,881 square feet (or 2,600 square meters) of Dacron surface area
- MASTS: 5 at 221 feet (67.5 meters)
- ENGINES: 4 diesel-electric generating sets, 2 electrical propulsion motor
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