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.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.
European hotel brand Kempinski is expanding into the Americas with a new luxury property in Dominica. Slated for an Oct. 14 opening, the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski will be Dominica’s first 5-star hotel on the island and the brand’s second in the Caribbean.