Windstar Cruises is a luxury cruise line with a fleet of sailing cruise ships and conventional powered cruise ships, cruising to the world’s more exotic ports.
Windstar Cruises is a six-ship cruise line founded in 1986. For the first two-and-a-half decades of its life, Windstar offered a traditional cruise experience aboard sailing cruise ships.
The identical Wind Star and Wind Spirit were joined by the much larger Wind Surf in 1998. In 2014, the line expanded significantly with the acquisition of Seabourn’s trio of sister ships Star Pride, Star Breeze and Star Legend.
From 2011 onwards, all three of the sailing ships have also been significantly refurbished and modernised. They offer the most modern and contemporary of sailing cruise experiences in the industry.
Each of the sailing ships is essentially a full-fledged cruise ship, that happens to have sails. They feature spas, libraries, multiple lounges and several dining venues.
The new motor-powered cruise ships from Seabourn broaden Windstar’s reach while remaining true to the easygoing, casually elegant cruise style for which its sailing vessels are known.
It has also expanded Windstar’s itineraries to include Asia, the Middle East, Alaska, New England and Canada. When they were purchased by Windstar, the former Seabourn trio were totally refurbished.
Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride now sport upgraded cabins and Windstar’s signature dining and lounge venues have been added, such as the AmphorA main restaurant and Compass Rose lounge.
The pool and sun decks have also been completely redesigned.
While Windstar is certainly a premium cruise line, it follows an a la carte pricing strategy, so cruise fares are competitive, but they don’t include gratuities, cocktails, shore excursions, Wi-Fi, airfare or spa treatments.
The Windstar cruise experience
Whether aboard one of the sailing fleet, or the engine-only cruise ships, all feature itineraries that mix exotic ports with a variety of dining venues with top-notch cuisine, and great service.
All are cruise ships that embody the intimacy of small ship cruising.
Each of these vessels also has a sports marina at the stern where passengers can engage in water sports like kayaking, snorkelling, swimming, windsailing, paddle-boating and water skiing.
Across the fleet, dining options and menus have been upgraded. The line’s cuisine now better reflects the local fare of the regions visited, including the Mediterranean, Costa Rica, Asia, Tahiti and the Caribbean.
Dining aboard Windstar Cruises
Food aboard Windstar is high-quality, along with the service and the line prides itself on paying attention to those passengers with special dietary needs.
The main dining room, AmphorA, serves Continental-focused cuisine in an open-seating setting, while Candles Grill offers a steakhouse-style menu, and Stella Bistro, available only on Wind Surf, is a reservation-only French inspired eatery.
The Veranda, Windstar Cruises’ buffet venue with indoor and outdoor seating, combines made-to-order grilled items with food stations for breakfast and lunch.
Windstar Cruises accomodation
The cabins aboard the sailing ships versus the mainstream cruise ships is where passengers will see the biggest difference.
Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf feature accommodation measuring 188 square feet, with ocean views from portholes, but no balconies.
Ensuites are very small and only have showers. Aboard the larger Wind Surf, you can stay in a 360-square foot suite with a living room and bedroom combo.
Types of passengers on a Windstar cruise
Windstar passengers, although predominantly retirees, are active, well-travelled, well-educated cruisers, with an interest in the more exotic, adventurous cruise itineraries and destinations.
North Americans, British, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans are the main cruise markets the cruise line attracts.
Cruise ships in the Windstar fleet:
Categories: Cruise Line Focus