Small ship specialist Windstar Cruises operates three sail-assisted ships and three sleek motor yachts (formerly of Seabourn). These are exciting times for small ship lovers, particularly as the investment in Windstar's three motor yachts Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride brings a whole new lease of life to these much loved ships.
The Star Plus Initiative is a US$250 million investment to transform these classic but elderly ships and ensure another lifetime's service to lovers of small ship destination-focused cruising. An additional 84 feet added to the middle of each ship allows for 50 new suites, an upgraded pool and Jacuzzi and additional dining options.
In addition to the spacious main dining room, with varied menus developed in partnership with the acclaimed James Beard Foundation, and the lovely casual indoor/outdoor venue at the back of the ship, guests will love the outdoor grill area next to the Sky Bar, not to mention Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, a fresh Mediterranean space focused on Catalan specialities. As always, open seating dining enables guests to eat when and with whom they choose, underlining the easy-going social style for which Windstar is renowned.
The attraction of small ship cruising is the ability to access small ports and harbours, and create in-depth port-intensive itineraries that allow you to explore a specific area in depth. Whilst the ships will be longer, and accommodate 300 rather than the current 200 guests, the difference is of course in the length not the width, so you can still enjoy extraordinary experiences such as travelling through the Corinth Canal, with just inches to spare on either side.
Historically Windstar has been known for its island-hopping itineraries in the Caribbean, explorations of Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, and investigations of the many options in the Western Mediterranean and Adriatic. Now additional wide-ranging opportunities mean that if you enjoy the Windstar style, you can return year after year to visit somewhere new.
For lovers of scenery, wildlife and wilderness exploration we love the Alaska itineraries, enhanced by kayak excursions from the marina; the unusual circumnavigations of Iceland; and serene sailings through the Norwegian Fjords.
In the Mediterranean we see a welcome return to the Greek islands and Turkey, enhanced by calls in the Holy Land and a Black Sea adventure, whilst in the Western Mediterranean there are opportunities to explore the Iberian Peninsula and exotic North Africa.
Further afield, look out for the journeys around New Zealand, and the exploration of Tasmania and the Australian coastline. Especially close to Windstar's very DNA, the voyages through the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines are heart-warming homecomings for many of their most loyal and long-serving crew. Magical Japan, on many bucket lists, is a perfect destination to visit by sea, roaming from the far north to the tiny islands of the south.
The first refurbishment is currently underway and will be complete in February 2020. By November, the work on all three ships will be finished. If you would like to be one of the first to see the transformation, call us for more information on the first post-refurbishment voyages, including a great value Mediterranean option in February followed by a leisurely transatlantic cruise.