The picture on the right is the sports deck on the back of Wind Surf, the ship we are on this week. All three Windstar ships have these sports decks which literally open up the back end of the ship to the sea. From this deck we can banana boat, sea kayak, water ski, take out a sail boat, or even scuba dive.
They even offer "resort dive" certification classes on board for people who have never dived before. After a 90 minute class in the ship pool, a PADI certified scuba diving instructor will lead us on a dive as deep as 40 feet. And there is no additional charge for any of this, it's all included in the cruise fare.
There is open seating for every meal and the guests on this ship are very friendly. You meet new people every day, most of them interested sharing historical information and planning active excursions in the next port. This ship is for travelers, adventurers and connoisseurs. This makes it one of my favorite cruise lines.
The next time I hear anyone tossing the usual cruise ship stereotypes about I will say to them, "Well, let me tell you about Windstar..." It is like owning your own yacht, with the world's most attentive crew, comfortable accomodations and active itineraries to off-the-beaten-path destinations. Those of you who say "I wouldn't be caught dead on a cruise," if you only knew what you were missing.
I recently wrote an editorial about media sensationalism of the cruise industry. I believe these reports focus solely on the few exceptions and ignore the true cruise safety statistics, which include hundreds of millions of people who have cruised safely in the last ten years. To use these few cases to infer there is a larger cruise line crime wave coverup is simply unfounded, despite what some very vociferous people want to the world to believe.
In deference to the people who have to deal with the people who refer to themselves as "cruise victims," I need to state for the record that this piece is solely my OWN opinion, and MY opinion only. Though I mentioned some people whom I interviewed by name, no one should anyone construe their opinion as being the same as mine.
I deeply sympathize with all victims, whether I agree that they are "cruise victims" (by definition) or not. Crime can happen anywhere and does happen everywhere. But, to take a small sampling and say it statistically represents an entirety is simply unfounded, and would get you a flunking grade in any high school science, math or sociology class.
Random Comments from Readers
OK, we know who we are, but do these people? Down to earth and out of this world comments and letters we receive in this crazy business!
Beat the Travel Scammers
What to do when a telemarketer says, "Congratulations, Grand Prize Winner! You've won a Free Cruise!"
Fun and International Flair on Costa
Our Family Editor takes her brood on Costa Magica ship In the Caribbean. Fun and advice.
Interview with John Heald
Carnival's most popular cruise director gives us his experience and opinions about cruising.
Cruise Industry Under Attack - Part 2
Part two. These articles are about MEDIA SENSATIONALISM - hence the title. Don't be alarmed!
NEW YORK TIMES:
"Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exceptions is CruiseMates."
"The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial"
John Heald Blogger Cruise
Carnival Freedom, January 19, 2008.
We have the best prices available, from $532 pp plus a $100 shipboard credit and CruiseMates cocktail party. Click in for details!
A 14-night transatlantic cruise.
April 2008, from Florida to the Caribbean then to Europe including the Canary Islands, Spain, Florence Italy and ending in Rome - starting as low as $699 per person. This one is filling up fast!
7 nights in the Eastern Caribbean.
Carnival Freedom, Thanksgiving, 2007.
Kiplinger's Magazine named CruiseMates to its
Top 25 Best Value Travel Sites for 2006
Cruisemates is the most useful cruise-review site. We especially like its advice columns, which are written for people of different ages and interests.