Windstar Cruises embodies a unique culture among the vast array of cruise options available today. The first, most obvious characteristic that influences your cruise experience aboard Windstar is their small ships. With each of the six Windstar vessels carrying under 350 passengers and attentive service with a staff-to-guest ratio of 1:1.5, friendships develop quite naturally. Half of Windstar guests have sailed with the line before, attesting to the personal connections that the small ships create. While staying true to its small-ship culture, Windstar is not resting on its laurels (Windstar awards are many). The latest Windstar Cruises updates will enhance your small ship cruising experience even farther.
Windstar Cruises Updates to Star Class Ships
Windstar Cruises has undertaken a record $250 million Star Plus Initiative to “stretch” its three Star-class motor ships. Star Pride, Star Breeze, and Star Legend will undergo complete renovations with new public areas including a new restaurant, and a new spa, infinity pool, and fitness area. The all-suite ships with get new bathrooms in every suite plus 50 new Star Suites featuring an open floor plan.
“The Star Plus Initiative is not about getting bigger, it’s about offering our guests more of what they love about Windstar. Each ship will carry 312 guests total. The additional capacity keeps us squarely in the under 350 category. We will continue to offer the world’s best small ship experience but with more amenities that our guests have been asking us for like additional dining and a world-class spa and fitness center. We are making these improvements to ensure these beloved ships may continue to operate well into the future.”
— John Delaney, President, Windstar Cruises
To accomplish this, each ship will be cut in half and a new 84-foot section will be inserted. The work will be done from October 2019 to November 2020 at Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, one ship at a time. Additionally, all-new environmentally friendlier engines running cleaner fuel will make the ships more fuel-efficient and reduce the impact on sailing regions.
A New Officer’s Suite on Windstar Flagship
In addition to the three Star Class motor ships, the Windstar fleet includes three Wind Class sailing ships powered by motor and sails. The four-masted sailing ships Wind Spirit and Wind Star carry only 148 pampered guests each. Windstar’s flagship, the five-masted Wind Surf – also the world’s largest sailing ship – carries 342 guests.
Wind Surf emerged from a significant renovation in November 2019. All public spaces and suites underwent refurbishment but it also got a one-of-a-kind addition. A new Officer’s Suite for guests is tucked right behind the Bridge in the exclusive officers’ quarters. The new 242 square foot Officer’s Suite sports a nautical theme with a bedroom, full bath with Jacuzzi tub, and a living room with a widescreen television.
Delaney said, “Guests in this suite share exclusive company with the Captain, Chief Officer, Hotel Manager, and Chief Engineer. It’s absolutely 180 degrees from ordinary with nothing else like it in the industry.”
Not Everything is Updated
Many guest experiences on Windstar are decidedly not in need of any updating. The casually elegant ambiance is perfect for the relaxation and comfort you seek on vacation. The unfailingly thoughtful service by the crew makes you feel pampered and special. Special touches such as L’Occitane toiletries and waffle weave robes in your cabin create your private haven of indulgence.
The Bridge is always open on Windstar ships, so you can drop in for a chat with the Captain. A watersports platform at the stern offers plenty of complementary equipment that encourages fun right at sea level.
Windstar is the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, so you can expect high-end culinary experiences from some of America’s most talented chefs. You’ll get an immersive view of your destinations through food, guest lectures, and signature excursions.
In short, Windstar Cruises’ motto of “180° from Ordinary” is the perfect description of this small ship experience. And once you try it, you’ll very likely become one of those 50 percent repeat guests.
Disclaimer: We are pleased to recognize Windstar Cruises as a valued partner and sponsor of this post. All photos courtesy of Windstar Cruises.