It's our second morning aboard the MSY Wind Surf, the largest of the expanding Windstar Cruise Line. Already the ship and her staff have endeared themselves to us in a way no other cruise ship has been able. The crew are not only friendly, but genuinely seem to be enjoying themselves. A smile, a laugh, a friendly good morning delivered without being intrusive.
There is a personal touch here that is lacking on the larger ships -- no disrespect to the crews of the vast Holland America, Cunard or Royal Caribbean vessels which plow these same seas (though usually visitng only the larger ports). You cannot get to know 2500 passengers in a week, the passenger count on the smallest of those leviathans of the sea, while it's a manageable feat if your guest count is 250. The Wind Surf accommodates a little over 300 guests by comparison. Some people prefer the anonymity and grandeur of the bigger ships, but we quickly discovered that it adds so much more to the sense of relaxation to look up at a voice and see that it's Steven or Adam or Riz asking the question, and they, in turn, know your name.
Crowds do not exist on board the Surf. We may gather together for a show or presentation, but at no time is there a feeling of herding. Of lines.
Windstar has completely changed my assessment of cruising as a whole, and converted me to their way of thinking. Cruising done right - or as the company's advertising line points out, they are "180 Degrees from Ordinary".