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.
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
To allow visitors to safely and responsibly enjoy their trip to Barbados, the island announced streamlined port entry protocols. Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness released the following protocols for all travelers planning on coming to the island.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Mar Del Cabo launched a new luxury beach fishing experience with an interactive paella workshop for guests. The Los Cabos-based hotel offers guests an immersive experience that takes them through the journey of creating paella, starting with a fishing session.
COJE Management Group raised the bar when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. The Boston-based group, founded by Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta, offers guests the ultimate dining experience with old-world hospitality and an array of cuisines for every guest to enjoy. With culinary director Tom Berry incorporating the cuisines he encountered during his travels to South America, Cuba, Japan, Southeast Asia and France, each restaurant has distinguished itself as a must for anyone visiting Boston and each is designed exclusively in-house using inspiration from different regions and countries around the world.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.