This month I would like to focus on a different type of cruise ship that recently visited Cartagena; the luxurious Wind Surf, one of the largest motor sailing cruise ships in the world.
The Wind Surf has a capacity of up to 310 passengers and a crew of 214, resulting in an extraordinarily high ratio of crew to passengers. My experience of larger ships is an average of 1 crew member per 2 passengers.
There are 154 staterooms - note, cruise ships have 'staterooms' these days, not cabins. The difference? None! (31 ocean view and 122 deluxe). Another modern term these days is that passengers are 'guests'!
Though just 310 'guests', on board and although I have not had the privilege of cruising on this ship, I have been informed that it is surprisingly expansive, feeling much bigger inside than one would expect.
Guests tend to be well travelled and active in mind (count me out then most people would say, unless the subject is maritime related), with age ranges from 30 to 80. The Wind Surf tends to appeal to those that prefer a traditional cruise ship, but want to try a more exotic experience; allegedly appealing to honeymooners. Open to offers!!!
During the day dress on board is decidedly casual. Evenings, 'country club casual' prevails with men wearing collared shirts (no ties) and ladies in pant-suits or coordinates. There are no formal nights, but bathing suits or tank-tops are not allowed in the restaurant at dinner.
Built in 1990 as "Club Med 1" and refurbished in 2013, the Wind Surf has 5 masts, 7 sails, (computerised operation so no fear of guests being required to 'haul the mainsail') with an average speed of 11.4 knots. It is large enough to entertain, but small enough to navigate into small harbours which results in a difference with the majority of larger cruise ships.
Facilities on board include, casino, library, wind spa, pool, fitness centre and a restaurant serving excellent cuisine. Being a vessel with a smaller number of 'guests', there is great interaction with officers and crew including a welcome by the Captain to the bridge.
As an indication to itinerary, the current cruise commenced in Barcelona with calls at Tarragona, Ibiza, Cartagena and departed for Almeria, Malaga and Tangier, completing in Lisbon.
In summary, this is a different type of cruising both luxurious and relaxing.