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Windstar Cruises

Plan Your Windstar Cruises Vacation

Are they cruise ships with sails or sailing ships designed for cruises? Since 1986, these masted sailing yachts have filled an upscale niche. They often visit ports of call inaccessible to huge, traditional cruise ships and offer a unique perspective of any cruising region. Though Windstar ships seldom depend on wind alone to sail, if you're fortunate and conditions are perfect, as they sometimes are, the complete silence of pure sailing is heavenly. Stabilizers and computer-controlled ballast systems ensure no more than a mere few degrees of lean.

When you can tear yourself away from the sight of thousands of yards of Dacron sail overhead, it doesn't take long to read the daily schedule of activities on a typical Windstar cruise. Simply put, there are few scheduled activities. Diversions are for the most part social, laid-back, and impromptu. You can choose to take part in the short list of daily activities; borrow a book, game, or DVD from the library; or do nothing at all. There's never pressure to join in or participate if you simply prefer relaxing with a fully loaded iPod, which you can check out on board.

Multimillion-dollar upgrades in 2012 enhanced each ship from stern to stern with chic new decor that mimics the colors of the sky and sandy beaches. The Yacht Club, which replaced the library on Wind Surf, is designed to be the social hub of the ship, with computer stations, a coffee bar, and a more expansive feel than the room it replaced. You will be able to join other passengers in comfortable seating around a large flat-screen TV to cheer on your favorite team during sporting events. In addition, all accommodations and bathrooms have been remodeled with updated materials; new weights and televisions were added to the gym; a couples massage room enhances the Wind Surf spa; the casual Veranda was expanded; the decks now have Balinese sun beds; and cooling mist sprayers are near the pools.

Key Windstar Cruises Tips

Are you a first-time cruiser? View our helpful hints and tips on Your Shipmates, Dress Code, Junior Cruisers, and much more! See Tips

Top Reasons To Cruise

  1. Smaller Ports The size of Windstar’s motor-sailing ships allows them to call at ports that large ships simply cannot visit.
  2. Not All-Inclusive Windstar cruises are luxurious but far less inclusive than other luxury cruise lines.
  3. Fine Dining Windstar combines fine cuisine and superb service with a single open seating at dinner.
  4. Just the Right Size The graceful sailing ships are large enough to offer a few big ship features, yet small enough to give the feel of a private yacht.
  5. The Romance of the Sea With their sails billowing overhead, Windstar ships are among the most romantic at sea.

Is This Line Right For You?

Choose This Line If

  • You want a high-end experience yet prefer to dress casually every night of your vacation.
  • You love water sports, particularly scuba diving, kayaking, and windsurfing.
  • You're a romantic: tables for two are plentiful in the dining rooms.

Don't Choose This Line If

  • You must have a spacious private balcony. There are none.
  • You're bored unless surrounded by constant stimulation. Activities are purposely low-key.
  • You have mobility problems. These ships are simply not very good for passengers in wheelchairs.

What To Expect On Board


Dining on Windstar ships is as casually elegant as the dress code. There’s seldom a wait for a table in open seating dining rooms where tables for two are plentiful. Whether meals are taken in the open and airy top-deck buffet, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and adjacent

tables outside, or in the formal dining room, dishes are as creative as the surroundings. Expect traditional entrées but also items that incorporate regional ingredients, such as plantains, for added interest. Save room for petits fours with coffee and a taste of the fine cheeses from the after-dinner cheese cart.

In a nod to healthy dining, low-calorie and low-fat spa cuisine alternatives for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are prepared to American Heart Association guidelines. Additional choices are offered from the vegetarian menu.

A midcruise deck barbecue featuring grilled seafood and other favorites is fine dining in an elegantly casual alfresco setting. Desserts are uniformly delightful, and you'll want to try the bread pudding, a Windstar tradition available at the luncheon buffet. With daily tea and hot and cold hors d'oeuvres served several times during the afternoon and evening, no one goes hungry. Room service is always available, and you can place your order for dinner from the restaurant's menu during scheduled dining hours.

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Evening entertainment is informal, with a small dance combo playing in the main lounges. Compact casinos offer games of chance and slot machines, but don't look for bingo or other organized games. A weekly show by the crew is delightful; attired in the traditional costumes

of their homelands, they present music and dance highlighting their cultures. You may find occasional movies in the main lounges, which are outfitted with state-of-the-art video and sound equipment. Most passengers prefer socializing, either in the main lounge or an outdoor bar where Cigars Under the Stars attracts not only cigar aficionados but stargazers as well.

Welcome-aboard and farewell parties are hosted by the captain, and most passengers attend those as well as the nightly informational sessions regarding ports of call and activities that are presented by the staff during predinner cocktails.

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Fitness and Recreation

Most of the line's massage and exercise facilities are quite small, as would be expected on a ship that carries fewer than 150 passengers; however, Wind Surf's WindSpa and fitness areas are unexpectedly huge. An array of exercise equipment, free weights, and

basic fitness classes are available in the gym and Nautilus room. There is an extra charge for Pilates and yoga classes. A wide variety of massages, body wraps, and facial treatments are offered in the spa, while hair and nail services are available for women and men in the salon. Both spa and salon are operated by Steiner Leisure.

Stern-mounted water-sports marinas are popular with active passengers who want to kayak, windsurf, and water-ski. Watery activities are free, including the use of snorkel gear that can be checked out for the entire cruise. The only charge is for diving; PADI-certified instructors offer a two-hour course for noncertified divers who want to try scuba, and are also available to lead experienced certified divers on underwater expeditions. The dive teams take care of everything, even prepping and washing down the gear. If you prefer exploring on solid ground, sports coordinators are often at hand to lead an early-morning guided walk in port.

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Windstar Cruises

Key Cruising Tips

  • Windstar’s luxury sailing ships were completely transformed in late 2012 in a major stem to stern renovation.

  • Expansive white sails are hoisted on the ships, but they are mostly for show; most sailing is done under engine power.

  • All nonalcoholic beverages are included in the fare, but there is a charge for beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks.

  • Each Windstar ship has a water sports platform with complimentary water sports, including snorkeling, windsailing, paddleboating and even water skiing.

  • Hotel or hotel and tour packages are available to extend your trip pre- or post-cruise.

Your Shipmates

Windstar Cruises appeal to upscale professional couples in their late-thirties to sixties who enjoy the unpretentious, yet casually sophisticated atmosphere, creative cuisine, and refined service.

Windstar's ships were not designed for accessibility, and are not

a good choice for the physically challenged. Although every attempt is made to accommodate passengers with disabilities, Wind Surf has only two elevators, and the smaller ships have none. There are no staterooms or bathrooms with wheelchair accessibility, and gangways can be difficult to navigate, depending on the tide and angle of ascent. Service animals are permitted to sail if arrangements are made at the time of booking.

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Dress Code

All evenings are country-club casual, and slacks with a jacket over a sweater or shirt for men, and sundresses, skirts, or pants with a sweater or blouse for women are suggested. Coats and ties for men are not necessary, but some male passengers prefer to wear a jacket with

open-collar shirt to dinner.

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Junior Cruisers

Windstar Cruises' unregimented atmosphere is adult-oriented, and children are not encouraged. Children less than two years of age are not allowed at all; older children traveling as the third passenger in a stateroom with their parents incur the applicable third-person

fare. No dedicated children's facilities are available, so parents are responsible for the behavior and entertainment of their children.

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Personal service and attention by the professional staff is the order of the day. Your preferences are noted and fulfilled without the necessity of reminders. Expect to be addressed by name within a short time of embarking.


A service charge of $12 per guest per day (including children) is added to each shipboard account. A 15% service charge is added to all bar bills. All these proceeds are paid directly to the crew.

Past Passengers

Windstar guests who cruise once with the line are automatically enrolled in the complimentary Foremast Club. Member benefits include savings on many sailings in addition to the Advance Savings Advantage Program discounts, Internet specials, and a free subscription to the Foremast

Club magazine.

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