Windstar's new president and a fantastic price guarantee

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Everyone loves 'new'. New companies, new ships, new itineraries - these are the things that excite us and get us talking. So if a cruise line has been around for a while without any news, just carrying on, doing what it always did, perfectly well but without pizzazz, it tends to fall below the radar. One such company is Windstar. 'Oh yes, I loved my Windstar cruise', people say if pushed, but those who know keep it quiet, and for everyone else it is not front of mind.

But things may be about to change, because there is something new at Windstar, and it is their president, industry veteran John Delaney. Now you may think that the President doesn't really matter to the guests on board, but believe you me, nothing could be more significant than this announcement. The press release refers to him as a 'seasoned cruise veteran', but more importantly to me, John comes from Seabourn, where he knew the three little Seabourn ships inside out and back to front, and his role in international sales means that he understands the needs of the UK consumer, and will transform the way that Windstar does business - a much needed breath of fresh air.

Windstar's parent company, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, is neither short of vision nor shallow of pocket. And in selecting John Delaney to drive the company forward, they have chosen an experienced executive who understands the mentality of the luxury buyer, as well as recognising the nature of a luxury product. The company acquired Windstar in 2011, and since then has invested more than $40 million into the three sailing yachts and three motorized all-suite yachts (the former small Seabourn yachts). The time has come for this fleet to become far more visible, and for the company to start to shout about its appeal.

Windstar's six ships can be found in many locations. Whilst one sails year round in French Polynesia, the rest winter in the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, before relocating to their summer homes in Europe, both the Mediterranean and to the north. All small enough to operate unique itineraries, they enjoy exclusive access to the world's best small ports and hidden harbours. And with a capacity of 1,242 passenger berths, the company is a significant operator of small luxury ships in the world fleet.

Following an accident early this year, Star Pride has rejoined the fleet with significant upgrades, particularly to the Owner's Suites, as well as significant work to the public spaces, dining venues and more. As on her sisters Star Breeze and Star Legend, the top outdoor deck has been expanded to give additional space for loungers.

Every Windstar cruise includes a private signature event which guests often refer to as the highlight of their cruise, from beach barbecues to exclusive musical performances and cultural experiences.

The company also has an appealing price promise, stating that guests who purchase a cruise on Windstar will be eligible for reimbursement upon request if the fare published by Windstar for their specific departure and cabin class is reduced after they have made a booking and paid a deposit, provided that the request is received by Windstar at least 7 days prior to sailing. The reimbursement will be provided in the form of a shipboard credit, upgrade, fare reduction, or a future cruise credit.

So watch this space. Windstar Cruises may not be new, but it is still a force to be reckoned with.

Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising.

More about Edwina

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