Marie “Mings” Nicola is Women’s Post’s Community Manager, Social Media Gal & Food Journalist.

What if, for one week, you could cast away your cares and run off to sea? Imagine gentle waves breaking against the side of the yacht. The pristine water changes from turquoise to amber as it sparkles in the sunset. A warm Mediterranean breeze rushes past you before it gets caught in the massive white sails that tower overhead. This isn’t a dream, the experience is real, and it very well could be your next vacation. No longer are luxury cruises reserved for the elite. Lately, small-ship cruises are a rising trend and provide globally savvy travelers a cost-comparable alternative to mega-cruiselines.

Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbours and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations, is such a ship. Far above any other cruise, Windstar’s fleet of four and five-mast sailing yachts offers unparalleled services, passenger space, and activities.

Seventy-four cabins carry only 148 guests (the five-mast boasts 156 cabins holding 312 guests) on weeklong voyages offering an escape from the grind of day-to-day life. Guests indulge in a slower pace of life: Read in the sun, chat with new friends, enjoy a treatment in the spa, take cooking classes, workout in the gym, kayak, sail, windsurf, snorkel and SCUBA directly off the ship’s Marina Deck, or indulge in Windstar’s Signature Collection host series – every service is offered for no other reason than your enjoyment.

When the over 20,000 square feet of sails are raised, the boat skims silently through the water headed towards rare and infrequently traveled ports inaccessible by larger ships. Sail the Baltic, theHoly Land, Europe, Costa Rica, Caribbean, or Transatlantic with itineraries that highlight dramatic landscapes, picturesque villages and ancient ruins. The sleek yacht gives guests a unique perspective of quiet coves and tucked-away harbours free of boisterous crowds. Here, you’re free to explore verdant rainforests, shop indigenous markets, or claim your own part of a pristine beach.

Dining is particularly spectacular: Chefs cater lush meals, including dining al fresco at your own schedule. Formal wear is not required because Windstar prides itself on being a casual cruise, built for your relaxation.

L’Occitane toiletries, flat screen televisions, DVD and iPod docks make each stateroom a comfortable and homey space. There’s rarely anything nicer than slipping between crisp cotton sheets while the silent rocking of the ocean cradles you to sleep.

With so much on offer, it’s impossible to consider ever taking a cruise any other way. On a small-scale yacht everyone knows your name and the experience is built to feel like you’re on your own private escape. With high-end amenities and services offered in between ports of call, Windstarmakes seeing the world an experience out of the ordinary.

For more on Windstar Cruises, visit our favourite cruise resource,


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