My journey with Windstar Cruises took me upon an outstanding French Riviera tour aboard the Star Legend cruise ship. The itinerary I sailed on is called and for 7 days I would experience luxury yacht cruising from France to Italy. Visiting some of the small, intimate out of the way ports are perfectly suited for a small luxury yacht. I think that is one of the greatest appeals of a Windstar cruise other than the beautiful small ships themselves.
I started my journey with a pre-cruise stay at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee, a luxury 5 star hotel located on a prime spot across from the seafront of Lido beach. I was able to take the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and walk around the town to explore the shops, restaurants, casino and the beach. Lido Beach is unique as it has pebbles instead of sand.
I joined the Star Legend at port and my first impression of the luxury yacht was that it seemed a little large, but a beautiful sight standing before my eyes. Other passengers started to arrive and we all stood admiring the sleek white ship standing proud waiting for us to go board. At 6pm it was time for the Star Legend signature sail away event featuring live music by Splash on the top deck. The yacht slowly started gliding out of port to the Vangelis theme from the movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise and the Windstar flag was being raised, before our eyes. It was official we were sailing towards St. Tropez, France.
The Yachting the Riviera itinerary was for 7 days and we arrived at a different port each day. Guests were able to book shore excursions or arrange their own day activities.
Day 1 NICE, FRANCE
Day 2 ST. TROPEZ, FRANCE 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Day 3 MONTE CARLO, MONACO 8:00 AM 11:59 PM
Day 4 CANNES, FRANCE 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Day 5 PORTOFINO, ITALY 8:00 AM 11:59 PM
Day 6 PORTOVENERE, ITALY 8:00 AM 9:00 PM
Day 7 PORTOFERRAIO, ITALY 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
End of Cruise ROME, ITALY 7:00 AM
The crown jewel of the Yachting the Riviera itinerary is the on board dining experience, the Yacht deck barbecue. This isn’t just your standard, every day bbq meal served on the pool deck, Windstar goes all out with a lavish presentation serving grilled lobster, roasted pig, salads, steaks, ribs, oysters and so much more luxurious foods. A feast fit for the kings and queens on board. Nothing spared!
On the Star Legend, the watersports platform that drops down from the stern nearly every time the ship is at anchor and conditions are favorable is a great way to enjoy some sports. I recommend a ride in the Zodiac it’s a great deal of fun!
If you’re an individual that enjoys nightlife on board cruise ships, Yachting the Riviera on Star Legend isn’t the ship for you. Nightlife is typically a handful of guests, the live singers, and bartender keeping each other entertained in the Compass Rose. Occasionally 2 or 3 guests play the casino table but leave by 10pm.
Early to bed and early to rise if you book any of the optional shore excursions that are offered by Windstar Cruises. I selected Grimaud & Port Grimaud in St. Tropez, Portofino Bay and the Cinque Terre boat ride. We explored the winding alleyways of the villages, admired the superbly renovated old houses, breathtaking landscapes, and enjoyed a wonderful boat ride on a canal much like Venice but on a smaller scale. If you want to explore by yourself, most of the ports have a Hop on Hop Off Bus or a small cute train that takes you around. Prices are excellent and well worth experiencing.
My favorite self-guided tour was in Monaco. I took the hop on hop off bus located right outside the port for 19 Euros and visited the interior of the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, then walked the narrow streets enjoying the spectacular views. One of the things to do in Monaco is to have to stroll around the square and admire the many designer boutiques or try your luck on the slot machines at the Café de Paris Casino. There was so much to see, in the beautiful area, but I had to go and visit the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the destination of Princess Grace and Prince Rainer’s wedding ceremony and sadly their resting place as well. Quick tip: If you’re a traveler with any walking disabilities, I highly recommend you check with Windstar Cruises before booking.
If you like luxury cruise lines or river cruising, chances are you’ll like Windstar Cruises. Bicycles are available for the use of guests in port and the ship’s watersports platform is also available for use free of charge. Windstar Cruises attracts the guest who wants an intimate yacht style experience. It’s a small ship cruise line, so there are less people and a crew that knows you by your first name.
My journey on board Star Legend was adventurous, relaxing, and entertaining. A voyage where I made new friends that I hope to keep in touch with. A vacation where I mattered to the Captain and crew, and a journey to the world’s best small ports, places I would not of seen on larger ships. Yachting the Riviera with Windstar Cruises was quite the journey and I look forward to sailing on another one of their small luxury cruise ships again very soon.here I come!!!
Have a look at our video of our Yachting the Riviera Windstar experience.
If you enjoyed watching the highlight video and reading my recap of my Yachting the Riviera Windstar vacation, please let me know! If you’re planning a 2016 vacation and are interested in a small ship cruise, definitely contact DJs Destinations to Windstar Cruises luxury vacation packages.or any one of