Wind Surf seen in Amsterdam on the so-caled French Buoys, fitting for her due to her history. She was unable to dock at the normal cruiseterminal because of the Sail Amsterdam 2015 event, the largest maritime festival in history. The quay was occupied by at least four large Tall Ships and the Dutch naval vessel Zeeland. The picture was taken at the 19th of august, 2015.
In the late 1980's, the reletively new company Windstar Cruises planned two new ships for the line, three times bigger then the first trio of ships that had been introduced between 1986 and 1988. Relying on windpower (although the sails are mechanicly operated) next to dieselengines, those ships had been very different then most modern cruiseliners. The first ships of the line measured some 5300 tons, but the new ships that were ordered were close to 15.000 tons.
Windstar Cruises itself was bought by the Holland America Line in 1988, just before this company was bought itself by Carnival Cruise Lines, reforming as Carnival Corporation. Holland America Line was a large line by then and the real start-up for the Carnival Corporation as we know today. Windstar thus also became absorbed into the Corporation and because Holland America Line and Carnival both did not see the need for two large ships for Windstar, the order was sold to the French company Services et Transports Cruise Line, trading as Club Mediterranee. Carnival had sold the order with one condition, that the ships could be bought back from Club Mediterranee when the need for them arose within the fleet of Windstar.
So the first ship, that originally was planned to become the Wind Surf (its sistership planned to be Wind Saga), was also built at a French yard, the Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre at Le Havre under yardnumber 274. This was the same yard that had built also the earlier trio of ships for Windstar Cruises. When she was launched in january of 1989, the five-mast schooner with six decks measured 14.745 tons. She has a lenght of 187,20 meters, a width of 20 meters and a draft of 5,09 meters. The lenght given is including the bowsprit, without that the ship measures 162 meters in lenght. She was driven by four 6-cylinder diesel engines and two electrical propulsion motors driving two propellers and giving the ship a speed of 15 knots when sailing on enginepower and 10 knots when sailing on windpower. For this, the ship uses seven triangular Dacron self-furled sails at her five masts (that have a lenght of 50 meters) to a total of around 2400 square meters (or 26.000 square foot). Aboard, some 453 passengers could enjoy their holiday in 201 cabins and served by 222 crewmembers. This all in informal luxury style. When launched, the ship was named La Fayette, but when she was completed, she bore the name Club Med 1. This was at the 29th of december 1989. Her sistership was of course named Club Med 2 and was launched from the same yard at the 12th of july 1991.
Her first cruiseseason for Club Med, of course mostly in the Mediterranean Sea was the season of 1990 under the flag of Wallis and Futuna Islands, part of the French Antilles. She sailed for Club Med untill the end of the 1996 season, when she was finally bought for services within the fleet of Windstar Cruises as their largest ship. Her first cruise under her originally planned name of Wind Surf started in april of 1997 and she has been sailing for this line ever since. She now also sails under the flag of the Bahamas, homeported at Nassau. Aboard, there is now space for 310 passengers and 191 crewmembers. The ship offers a retractable watersportsplatform at the aft of the ship, two swimmingpools, a casino and several lounges and of course a restaurant and an outdoor veranda café. Of course there are also severals bars, a fitness center and spa area and a nautical yaughtclub.
Her sistership is still sailing for Club Med as Club Med 2 and now Windstar Cruises enlarged itself with the former three yaughts of Seabourn Cruise Line, it seems that this ship will never be part of Windstar Cruises too.