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The retractable marina platform on Wind Surf offers passengers a bevy of water sports choices.

JD Lasica / Special to Cruiseable

The retractable marina platform on Wind Surf offers passengers a bevy of water sports choices.

Windstar's superb water sports marina

This is part 3 in a series about our March-April 2017 sailing on Windstar's Wind Surf. Also see:
 
The Windstar Island Experience in St. Lucia.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe Windstar Island Experience beach party in St. Lucia.

During our cruise on Wind Surf last week, one of the top highlights during the weeklong sun-splashed Classic Caribbean itinerary turned out to be the water sports activities. All six of Windstar Cruises' intimate ships come with a water sports platform and a bevy of toys that can be deployed from the back of the ship or launched from a tropical beach. 

On one morning and afternoon on Pigeon Island in St. Lucia, the beachfront became a water sports paradise with a collection of watercraft for active travelers who love the water. 

In this 3-minute iPhone video, I chatted with Catarina (“Cat”) Amorim and Saifullah (“B.J.”) bin Bajuri, certified open water lifeguards who coordinate the water sports activities on Wind Surf (apologies for the lack of lavalier mikes and lights!): 

On Pigeon Island, my Cruiseable colleague Janet Fullwood and I took to a two-person kayak to explore nearby Sandals, while other passengers made use of solo kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, wakeboards, windsurfing boards, Hobie Cats (small sailboats), waterskis and snorkel equipment. 

On other afternoons, while the ship was anchored in a bay, guests headed to the marina platform at the back of the ship to revel in the warm-water playground. Enjoying these activities from the comfort of the ship turns an average afternoon into an exciting, energizing experience.

A nice side benefit: It's all included in your cruise fare and you can leave your own mask, snorkel and fins at home.

A Windstar passenger tries stand-up paddleboarding during the Windstar Island Experience beach party in St. Lucia.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableA Windstar passenger tries stand-up paddleboarding during the Windstar Island Experience beach party in St. Lucia.

Putting down the platform depends on weather conditions (we had clear skies every day) as well as on each port's policy, so we enjoyed the marina platform while the ship was at anchor in Guadeloupe and St. Barts but not St. Kitts

In St. Barts, Cat drove me around the ship in a speedboat, while others headed out to the giant water trampoline — a large rubber-foam flotation island that lets guests jump or lounge on it. 

float
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe giant floating water trampoline that lets passengers bounce or just kick back.

For divers, the water sports platform serves as the base for PADI-certified diving in the Caribbean, Central America and French Polynesia. If you'll be sailing on the smaller Wind Spirit to Tahiti, the water sports platform rolls out (weather permitting) in the French Polynesia ports of Cook's Bay, Taha'a, Vaitape and Fare.

Besides Windstar, only a handful of other cruise lines offer water sports platforms: Paul Gauguin CruisesSeabourn and SeaDream. In each case, the water activities often turn out to be an unexpected highlight of the cruise, prompting guests to vow to return. 

There's nothing else quite like it. 

Caterina at the helm of a speedboat from Wind Surf in St. Bart's.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableCaterina at the helm of a speedboat launched from Wind Surf in St. Barts.

JD Lasica
I'm co-founder, Editor and chief cat herder at Cruiseable. Follow your cruise bliss to any land where it may lead. Let's connect! I'm @jdlasica on Twitter.

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