On our Caribbean cruise aboard the sleek Wind Surf, which ended 10 days ago, one of the highlights came when I spent a few minutes chatting up the ship's captain on the bridge. Capt. Pedro Pinto, who hails from Portugal, has risen through the ranks of Windstar Cruises over the past four years to helm the cruise line's flagship.
Windstar is the only cruise line I know of with an “open bridge” policy, which allows guests to wander up to the bridge and interact with the captain and crew when the ship is at sea. It's a great way to connect passengers with the people running the ship and as a way to demystify some of the cruise experience.
Here's my 7-minute video interview with Wind Surf Capt. Pedro Pinto, which I edited for brevity:
A few quick highlights of our conversation and a few photos from our cruise:
• On Windstar's open bridge policy: "This becomes like a small family," Pinto says, with frequent interactions between crew members and passengers.
• The size of the Windstar flagship, with 300 guests, is a big selling point of Wind Surf (her sister ships are even smaller). "It's really like a group of friends sailing around the world," Pinto says.
• What kind of passengers does Windstar attract? Those who prefer a calm atmosphere with open decks and high quality service and dining, rather than the crowds and frenetic atmosphere found on larger ships, he says.
• Pinto does get to leave the ship while in port. His favorite destinations are Norway, Iceland and the culture- and history-rich seaports of the Mediterranean.
Some more photos from the bridge