Cruise the stunning Adriatic Sea on one of the best boutique lines

By Joanne DiBona,
Venice, the queen of the Adriatic
There’s no better way to experience the magical city of Venice than from a small ship cruise. This late afternoon view on the Piazza San Marco (the heart and soul of Venice) from the upper deck of Windstar Cruise line's 212-passenger Star Legend affords a unique perspective on this iconic square.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Color is everywhere on the island of Burano
The quaint fishing village of Burano is located on an island four miles from Venice and is a popular cruise shore excursion. You’ll stand in awe of the brightly painted houses that line the canals and squares of the town. Burano rose in importance in the 16th century for its exquisite handmade lace, which is still available in specialty shops today.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
An epic launch
No sea approach in the Adriatic raises goose bumps like Venice. The experience of sailing past this ancient city, down the Grand Canal and out to sea, from the heights of the ship’s deck is one that will be forever etched in your travel memories.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Welcome aboard
Cruise passengers enjoy a festive welcome dinner as the Star Legend sails out of Venice towards Croatia. You’ll experience exceptional service with a smile, with dedicated staff ready to accommodate your every request.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Majestic view over the island of Hvar
Croatia’s island of Hvar, purported as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world, has two sides. One is the go-to place for glitterati and celebrities from Prince Harry to Beyoncé; the other is an island of unspoiled natural beauty and centuries-old history. For an unforgettable view of Hvar’s magnificent bay and islands, visit the 16th-century Spanish fortress above the town.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Bike through heavenly scenery
Cruise guests who wish to experience Hvar's backcountry biking trails, with its picturesque lakes, vineyards and quaint villages, can easily arrange for a bike tour option at the ship's hospitality desk.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
A taste of the sea
Seafood lovers will delight in the number of fresh fish choices on the ship's menu, as each stop in port brings the opportunity to stock the kitchen with the catch of the day. Carnivores and vegetarians needn't fear their culinary needs won’t be met, as an extensive menu featuring all types of dining options is available daily.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
This view was worth the ride
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Kotor in Montenegro is the next stop on Windstar's "Venetian Passageways" cruise itinerary. Stroll through Stari Grad, the city's enchanting Old Town. For a truly stunning view of one of the world’s most spectacular inlets, take the bus tour to the mountain peak. There are 25 hairpin switchbacks on the way up, so this is not for the faint-of-heart, but it's definitely worth it for the amazing panorama that awaits you at the peak.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Soaking in the views
There are many ways to relax on the Star Legend, and one of them is enjoying a dip in the ship's hot tub as you sail along the glorious Adriatic coast.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
People watching at its best
Seasoned travelers will tell you that to truly immerse yourself in a destination, you need to look into the faces of its inhabitants. There is plenty of opportunity to do that while touring the mountain towns of Montenegro.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
A scenic sip
There's no better place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink than at the Star Bar on the top deck of the Star Legend, while watching medieval fortresses and sparkling seaside towns roll by.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Seeing the light
Imagine enjoying this oh-so-romantic view of Kotor from the comfort of your cabin, as your ship gently sails away to your next destination.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
A bird's-eye view
Dubrovnik, Croatia is another magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site. Its Old Town is one of the largest open-air museum towns in existence and served as backdrop for some of the most memorable scenes from the ongoing cultural phenomenon, Game of Thrones. For an amazing panoramic view of this historic city, make a point to take the short cable car ride to the top of Mount Srd.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
A shopper's delight
Not only will Game of Thrones aficionados delight in the many stores selling themed items, but avid souvenir collectors will find a wide range of specialty stops in Old Town to satisfy every taste.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Decadently delicious desserts
Lovers of fine pastries and desserts will delight in the variety of confections that are available on the Star Legend. Meticulously made by hand daily, these culinary masterpieces will definitely sweeten your already-sweet cruise!
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Island magic
Go to sleep in Dubrovnik and wake up the next morning on the lush and historic island of Corfu, Greece. That's the magic of sailing on a cruise! You’ll have an entire day to discover the sites of Corfu town, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll along the seaside promenade for views on the 16th century Venetian fortress. Get lost in this picturesque medieval town, where winding streets and cobblestone alleyways peel off from the main square.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Go for the gold
This field could be anywhere in the world, but it's actually in a special place. Just nine miles from the cruise’s next port of call, Katakolon, is the city of Olympia, birthplace of the modern Olympic Games. The ancient Olympic field, with some remnants of the original stadium intact, inspires modern runners to retrace the steps of athletes who tread the same path back in the 6th century BC.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
And shop for some gold, too
If you're a lover of gold jewelry, you’ve come to the right place. Handmade Grecian gold jewelry is unique, inspired by ancient designs.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Sailing through a world wonder
The joy of sailing on a small cruise ship has many advantages, one of which is its ability to navigate through passages that large ships cannot. One of the most exciting moments on board the Star Legend was the experience of threading through the 4-mile-long Corinth Canal, which connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Aegean Sea.  Since the 7th century BC, rulers have dreamed about cutting through the isthmus, but only in 1893 was this monumental goal finally achieved. 
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Flavors of Greece
No, this isn’t a scene from a Zorba the Greek remake, but part of a Windstar event on a local farm outside the seaport town of Nafplio, next stop on the cruise. After a traditional, multi-course Greek luncheon (all organically produced on the farm), you’ll have a chance to watch a traditional Syrtaki dance – and try a few steps yourself!
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Step up to a view
The ancient city of Napflio is considered one of the most romantic towns in Greece. Its city center includes ancient walls, medieval castles, Turkish mosques, Ottoman fountains and Venetian buildings. Climb up the 999 steps, carved into the rock from the center of town, to the Palamidi Castle for a rewarding panorama of this ancient place. 
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Refreshing welcome
After a vigorous day of sightseeing, it's always a pleasure to be greeted by Windstar’s gracious staff, with refreshments always in hand.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Come face-to-face with ancient history
The final destination on the Windstar Cruise is Athens. The Parthenon was constructed in 447 BC, when the Athenian Empire was at its peak. We’ve all seen photos of the Acropolis, but only until you physically stand in front of these ancient temples will you feel the thrill (and awe) of gazing upon a significant part of ancient history. 
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Porch of the Maidens
The Parthenon is not the only magnificent ancient temple on the Acropolis. Just a few steps away, you can marvel at the Temple of Erechtheion, constructed in 406 BC.  The Porch of the Maidens, with six draped female figures (caryatids) serving as supporting columns, is world-famous.  The original maidens, replaced on site by replicas to preserve them from modern pollution, can be seen in the nearby New Acropolis Museum, another must-see during your visit.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
The sun sets on an incredible journey
A cruise passenger snaps a sunset shot from the deck of the Star Legend, a lasting memory of a remarkable journey through the many ports of call that represent the heart and soul of this ancient part of Europe.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona