Checking In: Wind Surf's New Suites

With a capacity for only 312 guests, Wind Surf's embarkation procedure was a breeze. Thirty minutes after boarding, I was in stateroom 117B. More on that in just a moment. I was traveling with a group of journalists, and we stopped off to take a look at the two new Bridge Deck Suites before the suites' occupants arrived on board. First off, the suites are huge. With a living and dining area, separate bedroom with walk-in closet and a marble bathroom with whirlpool tub, separate shower and two sinks, these luxurious suites measure approximately 500-square foot each. Our host was surprised when I told him that I had played Ping Pong in one of the suites two years ago. Of course, back then the areas were an internet center and a conference room (which had a Ping Pong table when not being used for conferences). The suites certainly make better use of the space. There's no Ping Pong table, but the suites do feature two 42-inch LG Electronics flat-screen TVS, a Bose Sound system with remote control, a WiFi-enabled laptop and more. Suite guests get extras heaped upon them: unpacking service, dinner with the Captain, laundry and pressing, evening appetizers, high tea service, complimentary bottled water, chilled champagne upon arrival and additional L'Occitane bath amenities. Leaving the suite, I expected my standard stateroom could be a letdown. What a surprise. No, my room did not measure 500 square feet, but it was spacious and well-appointed. High quality white-on-white linens adorned the queen-sized bed (my stateroom also featured a retractable bunk bed). Lots of storage space in the many drawers, two large closets and two safes. Before unpacking, I slipped my iPod into the Bose Sound System and launched a Barry White playlist. "Love's Theme" was the first song on the list. What a pity to be here in such a romantic setting alone. Apple iPod Nanos pre-loaded with music are available for complimentary check-out. I then plugged in my laptop (this is a working trip after all) and found wireless internet. How convenient to be able to check e-mail from my stateroom (laptops are available for a rental fee; internet stations are also available in The Yacht Club). I noted quite a few changes since my cruise on Wind Surf two years ago. The stateroom desk had been resurfaced with granite; full length mirrors were added, and in addition to the Bose SoundDock was a flat-panel TV and DVD player. The bathrooms also had been remodeled with new fixtures, new cabinets, granite countertops, porcelain sinks and a magnifying mirror. There was plenty of storage space. Well, as mentioned, the stateroom was occupied only by me - and Barry White. Even so, I think two-to-a-stateroom would find sufficient room to relax and enjoy. Next stop: Wind Surf's new Yacht Club.

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The Avid Cruiser - helping you make informed cruise vacation choices. Hosted by Ralph Grizzle, editor of The Avid Cruiser,