LONG REGARDED AS AMONG the finest small-ship cruise lines, Windstar made its name with its first three ships, the 148-passenger Wind Star and Wind Spirit and the 312-passenger Wind Surf, each featuring computer-controlled sails. Three more conventional 212-passenger boutique ships were recently added to the fleet: Star Pride (2014), Star Legend (2015) and Star Breeze (2015). Together, the six ships now call on some 300 ports in 80 countries, taking passengers to places larger luxury ships do not go, from Little Bay on Montserrat to Surtsey Island in Iceland, while remaining true to the Windstar motto, “180 degrees from ordinary.”
The ambience is stylish but smart and casual, yacht-like, relaxed and intimate. The 1.5-to-1 guest-to-staff ratio ensures attentive, personalized service. The Bridge is always open and the captain on hand to field questions. A water sports platform provides free equipment, as the weather and seas permit, from kayaks, paddleboards, sailboats and sailboards to water trampolines and even water skis. The cuisine reflects that of top American bistros. Windstar, the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, often features its award-winning chefs aboard, especially on the numerous special culinary cruises offered each year.
Worldwide destinations include Alaska, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Northern Europe; Asia and the South Pacific; and the American West Coast, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. While not an “all-inclusive” luxury cruise line, Windstar now offers an All-in Package that covers gratuities, WiFi access, laundry service and beverages (all wines by glass, minibar drinks and many cocktails) for $89 per person, per day.
In a novel twist, Windstar Cruises expanded its fleet this year not by number, but by length. Come November 2020, Windstar will have stretched three of its existing vessels (Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride) 84 feet each at midships, increasing capacity from 212 to 312 passengers and adding 50 new suites, an infinity pool, a spa and fitness center, new bathrooms all around, a central elevator and two 90-passenger tenders. If you can do without sails, these expanded ships will do nicely indeed.
The newly lengthened Star Breeze hits the water March 20, 2020, with a Miami-to-Panama cruise, followed by three Costa Rica/Panama trips; a Baja cruise; a James Beard Foundation culinary cruise from San Diego to Vancouver; 10 Alaska cruises May through August; and, closing out 2020, voyages to China, Korea and Japan. The “new” Star Legend debuts July 2, 2020, with a Barcelona-to-Lisbon voyage. It then heads up Europe’s Atlantic Coast to Iceland and ends up exploring the Mediterranean with cruises to Greece, Venice, the French Riviera, İstanbul, Alexandria and the less-visited Corinth Canal.
A handful of historic towns in Texas Hill Country reinvented themselves as upscale food, wine and culture destinations. Fredericksburg is the shining star among them, transcending its historic German underpinnings to the point where it’s drawing a more cosmopolitan group of visitors, including many from outside Texas.
In an exclusive partnership, Lufthansa Group teams with Viking Cruises to offer the cruise line’s travelers direct, non-stop flights from the New York City area to Malta (MLA), beginning June 30. Flights will operate three times weekly on Lufthansa’s Airbus A350-900, departing from Newark Liberty International Airport.
Indianapolis International Airport officially opened its first-ever art gallery, The KIND Gallery, named after the airport’s international airport code. It is initially featuring artists from Harrison Center for the Arts.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Allianz Partners USA’s 13th annual Vacation Confidence Index estimates Americans’ total spend for summer vacation travel will cross the $150 billion mark for the first time in the Index’s 10-year history, a 160 percent increase over spend in summer 2020 and 50 percent over spend in a robust 2019.
Boca Raton Resort & Club recently announced a new partnership with Major Food Groups, creating one of the best culinary destinations in the United States. Major Food Groups is the company behind some of the hottest restaurants, including Carbone, The Grill and Parm. This partnership will launch multiple dining concepts as part of the resort's $150 million transformation.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.