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Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises

Home > Reviews > Windstar Cruises

General Information

Windstar Cruises

Diane Moore
Ships in Fleet: 3
Year Established: 1984
Corporate Location: Seattle, WA
The Windstar Cruises Fleet
Destinations & Itineraries
Onboard Experience
Past Passenger Program
Links to Windstar Cruise Ships:

Windstar Overview
Windstar Cruises was sold by the Carnival Corporation to Ambassadors International (for $100 million), the owner of the previously operating Majestic America Line, in March of 2007. Windstar has previously operated as a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation owned Holland America Line. In April of 2011 Ambassadors International filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The resulting flurry of transactions ended with the company being owned by Xanterra Parks and Resort.

There are currently 3 four- and five-masted ships in the Windstar fleet: Wind Spirit, Wind Star, and Wind Surf. In 2002, Wind Song was damaged by an engine room fire. It was declared a total loss and was scuttled in Tahitian waters. Wind Star was the first ship in the Windstar Cruises fleet, launched in 1986 (two years after the 1984 establishment of the company). The Windstar ships are sometimes referred to as motor-sailed-yachts (msy), because of their unique rigging. The eye-catching white sails of the Windstar ships unfurl in only two minutes, with the simple touch of a button.

The Windstar Cruises slogan is "180 Degrees from Ordinary." This is based on their goal of creating a vacation experience unlike any other. Their yacht-like ships are geared towards active adults, seeking five-star dining, top quality service, and interesting itineraries. Windstar is a very popular choice for those seeking the "less than traveled" road of vacationing.

Windstar's recent "Degrees of Difference" program has led to many enhancements throughout the Windstar Cruises fleet. This includes the addition of special amenities such as luxury linens and duvets, wireless internet, Apple iPod Nanos, Rosenthal china, hammocks for two people, and the remodeling of all stateroom and suite bathrooms (on all three Windstar ships).

Windstar Destinations
Because of the small size of their ships, Windstar is able to take its guests to special ports that are rarely visited by larger cruise ships. In fact, Windstar is known for taking its guests to "off the beaten path" destinations. Besides the ports of call that they visit being rare, the departure ports Windstar uses are often times very unique as well. For instance, there are many Windstar cruises that depart from Bridgetown, Barbados; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

Windstar's ships travel to the Mediterranean, the Amalfi Coast, the Greek Isles, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, and Western Europe. Windstar also does a few transatlantic cruises, as they move their ships from Europe to the Caribbean (and vice versa). On a yearly basis, the Windstar cruise ships will visit almost 50 nations, with over 100 ports of call included in their voyages.

Onboard Windstar
On a Windstar cruise you are sure to experience what they call "casual elegance." This refers to the fact that the Windstar ships are elegant, yet have no strict dress codes or dining times. Windstar is known for their casual atmosphere, in combination with excellent dining and service. In fact, in 2011, Windstar was awarded for having the "World's Best Service" by the Travel & Leisure Readers' Choice Poll.

Dining is in an open format, where you can eat at your leisure (rather than on a strict schedule). You have the choice of when to dine, and can decide for yourself whom you'd like to dine with. Jackets, ties, and cocktail dresses are not necessary. Besides the casual dining experience, Windstar is able to provide its guests with excellent menus and food quality. Since 1994, Windstar has collaborated with celebrity chef Joachim Splichal and his progressive Patina Group, in the establishment of their Splichal Signature Cuisines. Windstar also features Jeanne Jones' Sail Lite and Vegetarian Cuisine.

The Windstar ships have lots of open deck space, allowing its guests to have plenty of space for privacy. There are also complimentary water sports available (including water-skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing, ski-tubing, and kayaking), via the water sports platform in the rear (aft) of each ship (at the Marina Deck). Scuba diving is available for an additional fee.

Unfortunately, there are no balcony accommodations onboard any of the three Windstar ships, which is a negative in comparison to some other upscale cruise lines that do have them.

The average age of a Windstar passenger is 51 years old (with a passenger age range from the 20's to 70's), with an average household income of $175,000. Onboard a Windstar cruise you'll find passengers that are seeking active, upscale vacations, with a casual atmosphere. In particular, Windstar attracts many honeymooners, couples celebrating anniversaries, and family reunions. In fact, Windstar averages ten honeymoon and anniversary couples a week on their ships. On average, one-third of the guests onboard a Windstar cruise will be first-time cruisers.

Windstar Past Passenger Program
Windstar's past passenger program is the Foremast Club. As a member of the Foremast Club you will have access to exclusive 5% members-only discount, special onboard events, and more. For more information about this program, view our Foremast Club page.

Windstar Cruises Fleet
There are three ships in the Windstar Cruises fleet: Wind Star, Wind Spirit, and Wind Surf.

Wind Spirit

Wind Spirit
Inaugural Year: 1988
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2012
More Info on Wind Spirit
Wind Star

Wind Star
Inaugural Year: 1986
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2012
More Info on Wind Star
Wind Surf Wind Surf
Inaugural Year: 1990
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2012
More Info on Wind Surf


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