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2004 Trip - Cruise - Port Vendres & Ceret, France

After bidding a fond farewell to our Barcelona "home", we were transported to our cruise ship port. Yes, we were finally on the cruise ship! After filling out the required paperwork and turning over our passports, we were shown to our stateroom. I remember how small our staterooms have been in the past on other cruises, and I was pleasantly surprised by the size of this one. Not that it was large - it wasn't. But, it was a very nicely laid out space with two portholes next to the bed. The bathroom (again pretty small) had a round shower that you could actually move around in, so it seemed larger. It had a nice flat screen TV and a DVD/CD player. You could check out DVD's or CD's in the ship's library. They also had four movies on the TV each day, all fairly recent, that played continuously the entire day.

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Below, the dark door to the left is the bathroom, and the light-colored door to the right is the closet. It was very cozy!
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The Wind Spirit is part of the Windstar fleet - they are all very small ships. Ours held only 148 passengers. It had four sails which were used for partial power while we were at sea. Windstar also has another identical ship and a "larger" ship called the Wind Surf, which holds 300 passengers. We might try that someday, but I think I can say that I will never go on the mega-liners again. They are just too big! I get lost on them!

After unpacking, we had the mandatory lifeboat drill and rested a little bit before dressing for dinner. No specific seating on this ship - you can come to dinner when you wish and eat with whom you choose.

Oh! I guess I should tell you that the reason we were on this particular cruise was that it was sponsored by the Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, CA. There were about 50 Eberle people aboard - we could identify each other by the very nice shirts that we were each given.

We got to know several members of the ship's crew pretty well. They were all Indonesian. Bill made friends with the bartenders on the pool deck, so you know they took good care of him! I made friends with the wine steward - we brought wine to dinner nearly every night, and he only charged us the corkage fee the first night. His name was Erwin, and he was a real character. We always saved him a little of our wine to taste, so he was happy.

For all of you "Foodies", I will show the dinner menu for each day. In case you think this is a bit of overkill, just skip that part! Breakfast and lunch each day was a nice buffet plus a couple of additional made to order items. Always plenty of food, of course! Appetizers were also served each evening in the Lounge, and the head chef was usually there to serve them. I thought that was a nice touch.

Saturday Night Dinner Menu:

Appetizers: Crispy Filo Cup with Field Mushrooms, Glazed Pearly Onions and Wilted Spinach Stuffed Roma Tomato with Bay Shrimp and Corn

Soups: Celery Soup with Curried Apple and Celery Salad, Chilled Red Beet Soup with Creme Fraiche

Salads: Asparagus and Shitaki Salad with Crispy Parmesan Chips, Wind Spirit House Salad with Chablis Dressing

Entrees: Seared Tuna served on Asian Vegetables with Peppercorn and Ponzu Sauce, Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb served with Provencal, Vegetable Tart and Herb Jus, New York Sirloin Steak with Duo of Potatoes and Three Mustard Sauce, Champagne Risotto with Scallops and Lobster Nage

One of our favorite waiters saved all of the nightly menus for me - gosh, you don't really think I could remember all of them, do you???


Wind Spirit Day #1 - Port Vendres, France

We docked in Port Vendres, France, and the shore excursion we chose was to Ceret, France, where they have a lovely modern art museum called Musee d'Art Moderne. It was one of the highlight days of our trip! For such a small town, this museum was excellent! It was having a special Picasso exhibit of all kinds artwork he had done, not only paintings, but ceramic bowls, jugs, silver items, etc. etc. etc. We liked this museum much better than the Picasso Museum that we had just seen in Barcelona. It showed a much broader perspective of the artist.

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This was a special exhibit, so I don't know what the regular exhibit is like - they had only a few pieces of it displayed. But, I would highly recommend checking it out to anyone who is going to be in that area.

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The village of Ceret is quite picturesque, with Sycamore-lined streets. We had a British guide, and she told us that the water running down the streets ran from the mountains all year long. It was particularly clear and cool (Bill went to check it out). We would definitely like to go back there some day and spend more time!

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Unfortunately, my camera batteries decided to run out of juice, so I did not get any pictures of Ceret. Bummer! I had to "borrow" the ones I am showing from the internet.

Sunday Night Dinner Menu:

Appetizers: Mango and Scotch Bonnet Glazed Scallops with Black Bean and Corn Salsa, Roasted Beets, Arugula and Prosciutto with Orange Olive Oil

Soups: Carrot and Lemongrass Soup with Coriander, Creme Fraiche Chilled Tomato and Fennel Soup with Pickled Fennel and Shrimp

Salads: Chinese Chicken Salad with Crispy Wontons, Wind Spirit House Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette

Entrees: Grilled Fish of the Day with Mashed Potatoes and a Garlic Chive Sauce, Osso Bucco, Braised Slices of Veal Shank with Sauteed Onions on a Bed of Al Dente Noodles, Moroccan Chicken Breast with Toasted Almond Couscous and Date Jus, Gratin of Gnocchi, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta and Asparagus

Comments (3)

Marcia:

I rather like the idea of small ship cruising and I remain totally impressed by your detailed memory.

The idea of being on a small boat is nice. I bet the Eberle folks were a fun lot.

I have never been on a cruise but if I ever do go on one, I would definitely choose a smaller boat.

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