We would like to take a 7 day Windstar cruise around the Greek Isles and Turkey next summer. We have never cruised before and are typically unattracted to the idea of a cruise with large numbers of people moving from one place to another. We enjoy a laid back but comfortable travel style, without Vegas style entertainment but rather emphaisis on experiencing the local sights, the local people and their culture. It has been suggested by cruise experienced friends that cruising is a good way to see the Greek Isles, and that Windstar offers a format that we would enjoy. One friend in particular, mentioned the casual elegence on board and the time they give you in each port of call to enjoy the local sights and sounds. Here is the catch though, we will be travelling with our 22 month old daughter. I am aware that Windstar does not recommend children under 12 yrs of age and that they have no children activities and facilities. We would not be looking to have our daughter entertained by others but rather take her with us wherever we go and visit. She is quiet yet interacts easily with people, is well behaved, and is very easy to please. Therefore my question is, considering our circumstances do you think a Windstar Cruise is a sensible idea ?
Based on your preferences, Windstar does sound like the perfect cruise for you and your husband. I did one of their Caribbean trips last year and it was the best cruise experience I've had thus far. I much preferred these small, intimate ships and the laid back atmosphere they provide to the larger ships.
However, I think you may feel out of place if you bring your 2-year-old along. Though it sounds like she's well-behaved, we all know that children can be unpredictable. Your fellow passengers, most of whom will be couples seeking a quiet, adult experience, may not appreciate your daughter's presence, particularly if she decides to act up at dinner or on a shore excursion.
I can remember several vitriolic exchanges on another message board a few years ago with frequent Windstar passengers blasting someone who wanted to take her small children on a Windstar cruise. And these people weren't even going to be on the same sailing! I personally wouldn't want to set myself up for possible friction and derision when I'm spending that much money on a special vacation, but you may be made of sturdier stuff than I am!
Other things to consider are the long flight, multiple airports and transfers, and the fact that European shore excursions tend to be long, tiring and lacking much of anything to entertain such a young child.
Only you can decide if this would work for your family, but I can assure you that Windstar makes no provisions at all for children. No supplies in the sundries shop, no kid's videos in the library, no playroom, etc. In fact, I'm not even sure if they would have any high chairs on board. I would definitely recommend that you discuss this with a travel agent who is knowledgeable about Windstar before you book.
I agree with what Dawn wrote. From my experiences on Windstar, I would say that you might feel a little out of place. According to a reservationist that I spoke with at Windstar, they do have high chairs on board all ships. (limited number). Their brochure does state "Children, especially infants and toddlers, are not encouraged aboard our cruises. The intimate ship size and unregimented atmosphere are adult in orientation and do not provide for the care, supervision, or entertainment of children."