Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships known for its intimate yacht style experience and unique voyages to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbours.
The best of Mediterranean tall ship cruising. This fleet of six yachts carry just 148 to 310 guests and cruise to 50 nations, calling at 150 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America. Windstar Cruises has been named World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler.
Cast off from Lisbon, the extreme western edge of Europe, and sail away to Rome, the center of Ancient Western Civilization during this 18-day cruise that touches on ports in Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, France, Monaco, and Italy.
Mediterranean tall ship cruising makes for a memorable and romantic journey packed with multitudes of options like panoramic cable car rides to the upper rock of Gibraltar and the Neolithic artefacts of St. Michael’s Cave.
Sample award-winning local wines at the family-owned Bodegas Valle de Laujar Winery near Almeria, Spain. Or board a private chartered boat that follows the coastline of Italy’s famed Cinque Terra and lands at the rustic, vehicle-free village of Vernazza.
Mediterranean Tall Ship Cruising – Popular Highlights
- Explore Málaga, Picasso’s home town and see his art at the museum
- Don’t miss the Gothic Quarter and Gaudi’s UNESCO site La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
- Taste authentic seafood plancha tapas in Almeria
- Visit with monkeys on Gibraltar
- Find the unique cuisine of Corsica sampling their wild boar casserole
- Discover the wonders of Rome, the hidden piazzas, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain
- Find the Belem Tower in Lisbon, a UNESCO monument
- Pack light with complimentary daily laundry service
DAY 1 LISBON, PORTUGAL
The rhythm of Lisbon invites you to join its captivating dance. This splendid capital city on the banks of the Rio Teja offers a warm welcome and an unparalleled blend of architectural styles. Elegant outdoor cafés line the cobbled sidewalks. Turn-of-the-century funiculars climb the scenic hills. Find the UNESCO sites of the Tower of Belem and the Monastery of the Hieronymites. And, everywhere, the city engages you with its easy style and remarkable charm.
DAY 3 CÁDIZ, SPAIN
Cádiz is the most southern province of the Iberian Peninsula. It is extremely rich in natural beauty and some of the most important Natural Parks of Spain and Europe are found here including Sierra de Grazalema and los Alcornocales. Both are rich in flora and fauna, including species under threat of extinction. Many birds find their resting and feeding place here just after or before making the jump from or to Africa.
DAY 4 GIBRALTAR, BRITISH TERRITORY
It’s an odd bit of Britain here at the toe of Spain, with Barbary apes and miles of tunnels as well as traditional red phone boxes. Legend says Gibraltar was one of the two pillars erected by Hercules to mark the edge of the world. Take the cable car to the top to see if you can see it from here. No, that’s not it. That’s just Africa. What a view.
DAY 5 MÁLAGA, SPAIN
Here, on the shores of Costa del Sol, the Andalusian spirit thrives. Be sure to include an optional visit to see the brilliant and comprehensive collection of Picasso’s work at Museo Picasso Málaga, a tribute to this artistic genius in the city of his birth. Or you may choose to opt for a visit to the beautiful village of Mijas, where picturesque Andalusian country life creates some of the world’s best wines.
DAY 6 ALMERIA (GRANADA), SPAIN
Enjoy a walking tour of this ancient city. If you prefer, opt for a beautiful drive through the Andalusian countryside to Granada and the magnificent UNESCO site, the Alhambra Palace. Built in the 14th century, this breathtaking example of Moorish architecture combines intricate mosaics and stone-cast latticework in a tapestry of grace and sophistication unparalleled in western civilization. Or take an optional excursion into nature at one of three UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
Cuba has a population of 11.4 million. Havana, the capital city has a population of 2.2 million.
DAY 7 CARTAGENA, SPAIN
The walled town of Cartagena is a popular seaport with a large naval shipyard. The seashore offers a wide range of activities from windsurfing to good snorkeling to sailing. From Cartagena you can easily explore the ancient city of Murcia, the coastal resorts of Mazarrón, Cala Cortina, and Cabo de Palos or a little further north, the world famous resort of Mar Menor.
DAY 8 PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN
Mallorca is steep, green, and fringed with enticing coves and more than 200 lush beaches. But all that natural beauty is just the beginning. Stroll along the tree-shaded Paseo de Born in search of tapas. Shop for a Siurell; a traditional red, green, and white clay whistle dating back to the time of the Moors. Watch the street performers on the piazza around the church, or cross the island to beautiful Sóller. Not to be missed is the cultural landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DAY 9 BARCELONA, SPAIN
The old meets the new in this sunny Catalan metropolis, where narrow alleyways contrast with grand boulevards, trendy cuisine meets homemade tapas, and everywhere you’re greeted by the warm, welcoming smiles of the fashionable locals. Don’t miss UNESCO sites like the mind-boggling architecture of Antoni Gaudí or La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, with its eight decorative spires soaring hundreds of feet into the sky.
DAY 10 MARSEILLE, FRANCE
France’s oldest city was named the 2013 European Capital of Culture by the European Union. Head in to the old heart of the city for a bowl of the city’s signature bouillabaisse or drive into the Provençal countryside for a look at the timeless landscapes that inspired Cézanne and other greats.
DAY 11 SANARY-SUR-MER, FRANCE
France’s sunniest city, located on the French Riviera, was originally a small fishing village and still is adorned by a large collection of traditional wooden fishing boats. This is the home of a group of local artisan fisherman who sell their catch daily on the pier and where Jacques Cousteau had a residence, the Villa Baobab.
DAY 12 LE LAVANDOU, FRANCE
Le Lavandou is a very popular area for getaways and is known as one of the prettiest towns in France with spectacular beaches. There are several lovely pine-shaded coves, each with a different color of sand. Water sports here include windsurfing, snorkelling, swimming and kayaking. Le Lavandou is also popular for the delicious rosé wine of the region. You don’t have to travel far to find a local vineyard for a wine tasting or to visit the charming medieval village of Bormes Les Mimosas.
DAY 13 MONTE CARLO, MONACO
Glide into port in one of Europe’s most exclusive harbors. Mingle with other privileged yachtsmen or step ashore and start walking. The glittering Grand Casino, legendary for its exotic setting on screen and off, is a must see, as is the royal family’s palace and the tomb of Philadelphia-born Princess Grace in the Cathedral.
DAY 14 SAN REMO, ITALY
The mild climate of San Remo, considered the capital of Italian flower markets, makes for ideal flower growing. Indeed, it is full of lovely gardens, great architecture and beautiful vistas. One of the largest public gardens is found at Villa Ormond, filled with pathways of oleander, bougainvillea, jasmine and roses, fountains and a Japanese garden. The La Pigna District dating back to the 11th century is a labyrinth of stacked houses, secret shortcuts, narrow passageways and wonderful little shops, cafes and churches.
DAY 15 PORTOFINO, ITALY
With its golden ochre and terracotta buildings, designer shops, and chic cafés, Portofino represents the height of Italian artistry and sophistication. Sip a cappuccino along the fabled marina or enjoy a day of shopping in one of the town’s tempting little boutiques. As you look out over the harbour from the famous Hotel Splendido, it’s hard not to admire the sleek, streamlined beauty of your Windstar ship.
DAY 16 PORTOVENERE, ITALY
Stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites beckon you. Select an optional excursion to Pisa, known for its bell tower with its unintended tilt. Tour the beautiful city of Florence, or the historic San Gimegnano. Or step back into Tuscany’s rustic tradition to visit the charming villages of Cinque Terre (Five Lands) by boat.
DAY 17 BASTIA, CORSICA, FRANCE
As the principal port of Corsica, Bastia has vibrant historical neighborhoods with narrow streets and alleys between ancient shuttered buildings of the 18th century. One of the main squares is the Place du Marche, home of a morning market and the impressive 16th century Saint-Jean-Baptiste church. On the other side of the harbor sits the substantial citadel, the beautiful gardens of Jardin Romieu and the once very-elegant houses of the Terra Nova district.
DAY 18 PORTOFERRAIO, ITALY
Pine-scented forests and miles of sandy beach await your arrival on the tranquil island of Elba. Enjoy a glass of local Moscato with the fresh catch of the day before pondering your next move. Perhaps you’ll visit the nearby countryside with its small fishing villages and dramatic mountain passes. Or see the calming beauty of Tuscan Archipelago National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Or maybe you’ll decide to walk to the nearest beach and dip your toes into the warm Mediterranean.
DAY 19 ROME, ITALY
In this enchanting city the past and present intersect in perfect harmony. Casually intermingled among ancient ruins and majestic cathedrals are the trappings of a modern metropolis: Skyscrapers, Internet cafes, boutiques selling designer footwear. But of course what you seek first in the heart of Rome is its breath taking history. A good place to begin is the Vatican, with its Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Works by Bernini, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Raphael are just a few of those on display, any one of which is worth hours of contemplation. Then the ancient ruins—Colosseum, Forum, Circus Maximus. And of course, the Trevi Fountain for the obligatory coins promising your return to the Eternal City.
10 things you need to know about Windstar Cruises if you are thinking of cruising with them.
Cruise expert and Author Gary Bembridge shares ten key things you need to understand about Windstar and their ships, on-board service and ambience, types of passengers, fares and more. Selecting the right cruise line is key to a successful cruise vacation and this video will help you navigate around that choice and understand if Windstar is right for you.