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The Windstar Difference - Small Ships and Real Value


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In Miami last month, I visited the bright and airy offices of Windstar Cruises, relocated from their former home in Seattle. In a relaxed and friendly environment, the passionate Windstar team rush to articulate the Windstar difference.

Small ship cruising away from the crowds make Windstar the perfect choice for active travellers with a passion to explore the world, and Windstar's six little sail and motor yachts perfectly meet the brief. Unpretentious, welcoming, and offering great value for money, Windstar appeals to easygoing travel aficionados motivated by unusual itineraries and lots of time ashore.

In the winter, Windstar vessels sail the Caribbean, calling at smaller ports and less-visited bays, the ships so small you can swim in the sea right off the back of the yacht. The Caribbean is such an expensive travel option, as anyone who has priced out the cost of a week's land stay in the region will tell you, especially when you start adding in all the extras. With islands like Tortola, Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Barts, Virgin Gorda, and Antigua on your itinerary, and attractive all inclusive pricing, Windstar is a very appealing alternative. The yachts' water sports platforms are operational every day of these cruises, except for embarkation/disembarkation days, so these sailings are very focused on beaches, swimming, watersports, snorkeling - all the things we want to do in paradise. And on Windstar, snorkeling equipment, paddle boards and kayaks are all complimentary.

Windstar Cruises - Wind Surf watersports platform

Whilst on board, enjoy great food including a plant-based menu with no salt, fat, oil, or flour - this offering is fleet wide from the end of March. Alongside the vegan options, vegetarian dishes feature as well as daily menu selections from Windstar's James Beard Foundation chefs, and on the motor yachts you will also enjoy the amazing new Spanish restaurant, Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, and the Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, the most inventive, modern grill at sea. Food is important to the sophisticated traveller, and in certain areas guests can join the chef on his market trips ashore: help him select the ingredients, and be sure to enjoy them the self-same evening back on board.

Windstar - Star Class - Cuadro 44

Itineraries are key to the Windstar experience, and this year they are expanding to the Middle East, with impressive UNESCO sights, beautiful beaches and wildlife, top-rated golf courses, amazing snorkeling/diving, and great shopping, whilst in February of 2024, the all-suite, 312-passenger Star Breeze will start to sail in Tahiti year-round, replacing 148-passenger classic sailing yacht Wind Spirit which will position to the Mediterranean to sail the Greek Islands.

Windstar Cruises - Win

Windstar ships are also small enough to sail up the Giudecca Canal and dock within easy walking distance of the heart of Venice, a luxury no longer available to larger ships, and to anchor in the heart of Old Town Dubrovnik.

A new, seven-day roundtrip Costa Rica itinerary from Puerto Caldera includes the beautiful and unspoiled Pacific coastline in San Juan del Sur and Corinto in Nicaragua. Windstar's roaming itineraries mean there are plenty of opportunities to combine a series of two, three or more cruises, and to spend up to 85 nights on board without repeating a port. Look out for these back to back cruises because the value is amazing.

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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