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My Dream Vacation
by Anne Campbell

We each have our own idea of the perfect vacation and cruising style. Mine is leaving the high heels and dress-up clothes at home, dining on food that excites the palate while indulging in warm, pampered service. Oh, and it would be nice to pretend I owned a very elegant yacht with tall sails, arriving majestically in a stunning port like Monaco or Venice.

Sailing aboard the yacht-like vessels of Windstar Cruises is my personal idea of bliss. The Indonesian and Philippine staff are warm and friendly, but completely attentive (and, that's with a "no tipping required" policy). Camaraderie with other passengers develops quickly aboard these small (WindSong, WindStar and WindSpirit carry 148 passengers, the larger WindSurf, 312 passengers) vessels when you dine in the unrestricted style of single, open seatings and I've met more people on these small ships than any other. The only time I've dined alfresco beneath twinkling stars on grilled lobster and steak is aboard these ships. In my 188-square foot cabin with perfectly nautical decor, there's enough closet space for month-long voyage.

If the thought of anything with sails makes you cringe, fear not. These are really small cruise ships with motorized sails used to increase speed. The emphasis is on passenger comfort, not to compete in the Americas Cup! But it's still a thrill when the sails are raised when leaving port as one sips a glass of wine and watches the sun sink below the horizon.

When it comes to ports, size does matter. You'll only be able to snorkel off Bequia, to visit the verdant rain forests of Costa Rica and the most stunning parts of new Zealand aboard a small ship like Windstar Cruises' ships. Or, you may prefer a charming ports on the Riviera, like Corsica and Portofino. And, you won't run into large ships in beautiful Bequia or Tobago -- just beautiful yachts, like yours.

The"Windstar � Casual Elegance." Windstar's fine cuisine, highly professional no tipping required personalized service, relaxed onboard atmosphere of casual dress requirements and open seating at dinner creates an atmosphere aboard Windstar ships like no other in the cruise industry. The wind-blown sails on Windstar ships personify the experience: the ultimate in luxury without the often-intrusive dress requirements of other cruise lines.

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