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.
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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!