Windstar Cruises: It's All About You (Part One)
In all our years of cruising, one thing is clear: For us and many others, a six-night sailing is never enough. We have met scores of sophisticated travelers who have told us that, with all the stressful pre-planning and advance work required to go away on vacation, six nights and seven days is never long enough to justify all that energy. Typically, cruise passengers spend two days getting acclimated to the ship, then spend two more days enjoying the trip, and before they know it, it’s time to disembark. This can be a frustrating and even anti-climactic experience. The more we sail, the more we discover passengers who take back-to-back sailings in order to make the most of their cruise experience. Having an enjoyable cruise—and making it last as long as possible so that you can relax as much as possible—is what it’s all about.
Related: Four Tips for Stress-Free Travel
The Long and Short of It
We had the rare privilege of taking two back-to-back sailings on the debut voyage of the new Windstar Star Pride, on an extended inaugural itinerary from Barcelona to Rome.
Why an extended itinerary? Windstar passengers Norman and Carol Schindler of Calabasas, Calif., told us that they not only have traveled on 18 Windstar cruises, but that they always book back-to-back itineraries.
“It’s just too far to come for just a week,” said Norman. “It just makes sense for us. All our cruises are back-to-backs. We normally take 12-14 nights, and we make a long trip out of it.”
But before we tell you more about the advantages of extended sailings, here’s some background on Windstar Cruises.
Windstar is a leader in luxury small ship cruising, and for many years it has been famous for its masted sailing vessels. But with the recent addition of the new motor yachts Star Pride—purchased from The Yachts of Seabourn—Windstar now can offer “a private, yacht-like experience” and even more “luxury as you like it,” according to CEO Hans Birkholz. According to Mr. Birkholz, the cruise line asked itself the question, “How can we bring the destination to life? That is always our goal.”
Shoot For the Star Class Yachts
In May 2015, Windstar will also introduce two similar power yachts, the Star Breeze and Star Legend to its fleet. The yachts will spend their inaugural summer seasons in Europe, cruising new regions in Northern Europe such as Iceland, as well as the Mediterranean. With the Star Pride, Windstar now has a collection of three Star Class all-suite yachts.
“With only a maximum of 212 guests on board, these new Star Class yachts are the perfect fit for Windstar’s style of small ship cruising,” added Mr. Birkholz. “All three of the new yachts will receive significant style changes and stem-to-stern upgrades to align with Windstar’s yacht style cruising.”
Windstar’s Unique Advantages
More details on Windstar Cruises include:
- The staterooms are all spacious 240-sq.-ft. suites
- Dress is “casual elegant,” with no formal nights and no jacket-and-tie requirements
- Smaller ships allow for greater access to “hidden harbors” and are usually anchored in harbor, vs. at a cruise terminal
- An “open-bridge experience” offers guests the opportunity to tour the bridge during regularly posted hours, to get to know the Captain and officers.
- All the ships have a watersports platform at the rear of the yacht
- Special private events are included in your fare, such as a Tahitian luau, sherry-tasting in Spain, or French food and entertainment in Monte Carlo
- As to pricing, fares typically start at $2,499 for a Mediterranean cruise. An onboard booking initiative of 5 percent off future cruises is offered, with a $200 credit per cabin if you refer a friend.
Mr. Birkholz added: “We believe that we offer an incredible value and an exceptional product at a great price.”
Stay tuned for Part Two!
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”