Mediterranean Cruise Travel Guide – From Barcelona to Rome
Welcome to my Mediterranean Cruise Travel Guide – From Barcelona to Rome! In this post I’m sharing my thoughts on our cruise, the ports of call and adding TONS of photos. We had an incredible time and can’t wait to share all with you!
For years, our friends have harped on us for not going on a cruise. Nothing against cruising – we just never really looked into it as a vacation option for us. I was a flight attendant for years so we were able to fly anywhere and everywhere for next to nothing.. the thought of being on a boat for many days never really appealed to us.. that is until our friends told us about all of their amazing cruise adventures at dinner one night. I don’t think we ever realized the many reasons why cruising is so convenient and worth researching..
Looking at our travel plans for the Spring & Summer seasons we decided to look into trying our first cruise with our friends. At dinner over a toast one night we all committed to going and looked into a Mediterranean cruise for May! We were so excited!
Our friends have cruised 4 different times on Windstar and loved all. They wanted our first experience to be special so they felt the Wind Surf ship, which is one of the largest sailing cruise ships in the world would be the best choice. It holds just 310 passengers and has an intimate vibe.
Windstar has many options on places to cruise.. we ultimately decided that the 7 night, 8-day Barcelona to Rome cruise on the Wind Surf would be the perfect trip for all of us. It stops in picturesque French and Italian ports which are dreamy, romantic, and beautiful.
We originally booked a standard room on the Midship (level 2), but luckily for us, Windstar reached out a few weeks before we left and asked if we would like to upgrade to a suite for a nominal fee. We all jumped at the chance! A suite is actually the size of two standard rooms with a large bed, two bathrooms, two closet/dressing areas, and a large seating area. It made the cruise THAT much better and we felt so lucky.
Now – on to the ship & amenities:
The Wind Surf Ship
The ship itself was absolutely beautiful. The sails are grand. Our friends have been on this exact ship, and one thing I took note of was that they had mentioned that it needed a little updating. Like all places revamping is important. Come to find that Windstar is renovating a majority of their fleet this year. While I definitely think it’s needed… we still loved our cruise and the ship.
This is what made the difference! Customer service matters a great deal to us, and the staff who worked the ship.. from the Captain to the sweet gentleman, Puji, who serviced our room.. all were incredibly kind, warm-hearted, and welcoming. I was blown away by the personalized service that we received.. People remembered our names and no request was turned away or frowned upon.
As to the food service – we loved the fact that all our meals were covered and we’re talking HIGH-end meals. The dinners were 5-course plated services and we also had access to a 24-hour room service. Loved that! The menus for all meals always gave you multiple options for each food category, which was helpful for different taste palettes. Plus, we loved the fact that they took very serious consideration to Jeff’s tree-nut allergy.
We opted out of the beverage plan (alcohol) because we knew we wouldn’t be drinking enough to cover the cost. You have an option to purchase any alcoholic beverages you would like, so we had a glass or two of wine at dinner and that was plenty for us!
The ship offers a wide variety of spa services from hair and nails, to massages and more. I took full advantage of the hair salon and had my hair blown-out 3 different times by stylist, James! So spoiling! Surprisingly, it was pretty inexpensive for the service – under $50 and worth every minute.
The ship had a nice fitness center which was free to use at any point! It’s on the top floor with views all-around. We never made it there because we walked miles every day and instead took the time back on the ship to relax before dinner each night.
They have nightly entertainment and different activities going on to keep the atmosphere going. Once again, we had so much fun with our friends that we didn’t attend much of this.
I loved that Windstar offers laundry services onboard for a mere $8 a person per day! Jeff and I took full advantage and had our clothes cleaned daily. We went home with clean laundry which was so nice!
Ports of Call
By far my favorite part was waking up somewhere new each and every morning. That is one of the nice things about the cruise we chose. We never had a day dedicated to only being at sea! The Wind Surf cruised from port to port each night while we slept – opening our drapes in the morning was always a fun surprise.
I’m not sure how much I would love cruising on the open sea – I’m not against it, but for now I’m perfectly happy cruising this way. Thankfully because of the lack of open water, the boat barely felt like it was moving. No one in our party ever felt sea sick.
The ports of call:
- Barcelona, Spain – We boarded the ship here. One of our new favorite European cities! We spent a couple of nights here at the H10 Madison prior to boarding our ship and I’m so glad we did. It was perfectly situated and beautiful. Barcelona travel guide coming soon.
- Port Vendres, France/ Collioure, France – As soon as we arrived we hopped on a little open train/tram that took us to Collioure which is the cutest fishing village with cobblestone lanes and little shops everywhere you look. It felt like we were in a movie scene walking through the picturesque alleyways.
- Sanary-sur-Mer, France – When we first arrived, we were welcomed by their weekly market. A band was playing, a sweet carousel was spinning, and the townspeople were out and about enjoying the weather. A wonderful wine shop called ‘Epicerie des Saveurs’ pours yummy wine with the owner, Fred, providing the best conversation. If you stop in make sure to tell him we say hello!
- Cannes, France – The city was preparing for the Cannes International Film Festival so there was a lot of activity going on. We ventured off the main area and walked up to a beautiful cathedral on a hill overlooking the entire city. A very picturesque afternoon! Venture down random streets and you’ll find hidden gems. We also went to the place the film festival is held and took a few pictures of the walk of fame. Lots of shopping here.
- Monte Carlo, France – Beautiful harbor filled with amazing yachts, great restaurants for people-watching, the casino is a must, & high-end shopping galore. We spent hours at a little cafe called “Cafe de Paris” watching the luxury cars drive up to the casino! On our way back to the ship we ran into Princess Caroline! She literally got out of a car at the casino right in front of us. So fun!!
- Portofino, Italy – By far my favorite port of call – the beautiful colors of the houses and buildings surrounding the harbor gave a magical feeling from the minute we arrived. The cove-like shape makes the village seem more intimate and we loved every minute there. Restaurants had sofas outside where you could have lunch and enjoy the view. We hiked to the top of Castle Brown which was incredible! I did it in mules but would not suggest this for others. ;)
- Portoferraio, Italy/ Island of Elba – This town on the island of Elba was so special because the minute we walked off the ship, we met a taxi driver (Celeste!) who drove us around the island all day long. She has lived on the island for 30 years and made the best guide. We went to Napoleon’s Summer House which was very cool to see. Luckily for us, her daughter worked at a great restaurant on the water – MOM Food Drink & Soul. We had the best fresh fish lunch ever!
- Rome, Italy – This was our last port of call and the city holds so much meaning for us. Rome is one of the European cities that Jeff and I visited when we were first married. We love everything about this city from the history to the architecture, people, restaurants, shops and more. We spent 3 nights here after our cruise at the beautiful Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel. The hotel opened just a year ago and it’s amazing! We’re writing a Rome Travel Guide soon which will include more details and pics of our stay.
All of the different towns we visited were amazing. None disappointed us. We decided not to go on any official excursions that Windstar offered.. We felt that with the four of us, we would have more than enough fun ‘winging it’ each day!
9/10 is the rating for this trip! I would say that the one thing that would have made this trip even better is if the boat and rooms were recently renovated. Besides that fact – everything was incredible. Our chosen cruise with the port selections were great, especially because we had never been to all of these different coastal towns before. It would have been time consuming had we tried to venture to all on our own. Cruising made it an effortless trip.
I highly recommend this cruise if you are looking into traveling to multiple countries in a short period of time in the Mediterranean.
Hope this post helped you if you were on the fence about cruising! What do you think of cruises? Have you taken any before? If so, who with and where and do you recommend it? Where should Jeff and I cruise next year?
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