by Jeff Bollig –
Windstar Cruises slogan tells you almost everything you need to know — “180 Degrees from Ordinary.”
In a world full of choices, Windstar offers perhaps the most unique selection for those looking to enjoy the cruise experience. The fleet includes three luxury powered yachts and three luxury sailing ships, each offering an intimacy of less than 300 guests. The design of these ships and the luxury styling makes it seem as if travelers have their own personal yacht.
The world’s best small cruise line, according to Conde Nast, offers an up close and personal look. You’re closer to secluded coves, tiny villages, misty fjords. To ancient ruins, medieval alleyways, quaint marinas. To unspoiled beaches, unfamiliar cultures, undiscovered atolls. To enlivening your curiosity and awakening your sense of wonder. You’re closer than ever to the kind of authentic and unforgettable experiences that you travel to find in the first place. And you’re closer to all the places that larger ships can’t reach.
So, what specifically differentiates Windstar? Here are four such features:
Open Bridge Policy — Have you ever wondered how a Windstar ship navigates the open seas or docks in a small Mediterranean port? You can discover the secrets by visiting the Bridge. Windstar offers an Open Bridge policy, a rarity in the cruise industry. Weather permitting, the Bridge is open and the Captain and officers welcome guests to watch how it’s all done. No reservations or guided tour are needed, just an abundance of curiosity.
Water Sports Platform — If you want to go snorkeling or paddle boarding from a conventional ship, you need to wait until you’ve docked at a port and gone ashore. On Windstar’s ships, you take off right from the Watersports Platform for a day of fun. Each one of Windstar’s six ships features such a platform, which opens right onto the sea from the vessel’s aft. It allows guests easy access to the ocean for swimming, snorkeling, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and kayaking with complimentary state-of-the-art equipment.
Market Visits With Chefs — Dining on board takes on more meaning if you’ve spent the morning with the chef foraging for produce, spices, herbs and local treats at a foreign market. That’s why the ships of Windstar Cruises offer market tours with the chefs. They offer an opportunity not only to sample local cheeses, discover new produce and see the local catch but also to choose and taste as a chef does and learn firsthand about the culinary roots of another culture. Think of it as a moveable feast.
James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruises — There’s no better way to enhance one’s cooking skills than by watching and learning from a master chef. So who better than a chef who has won or been nominated for a prestigious James Beard award, known as the Oscars of the food world. Windstar Cruises inaugurated the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruises in 2016 and continuing to build an unprecedented travel-culinary partnership in 2017. Cruise guests receive exclusive access to JBF-endorsed cuisine, recipes and culinary demonstrations on every sailing, and can cruise on an epicurean adventure to France, Spain and Portugal with James Beard Award-Winning Chef and Cookbook Author Hugh Acheson; and more award winners and nominees on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection.
So, if you are looking for a different way to cruise — one that takes you away from the crowd — look to Windstar Cruises.