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Windstar's Caribbean Season Features New Itineraries,
Two beautifully appointed sailing yachts will ply the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea this winter as Windstar sets its sails on new seasons of romantic, luxury cruising in the islands. New itineraries and shore excursions have been set, and more secluded islands will be visited in the Antilles, Grenadines, U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
In total, Windstar Cruises will offer 18 sailings in the Caribbean this season on six different itineraries. Leading the way with sails unfurled are the Wind Surf, a 308-passenger sailing ship, and the 148-passenger Wind Spirit. On December 12, the Wind Surf will conduct a 7-day round-trip voyage from St. Thomas, calling at Isle des Saintes and St. Barthelemy of the French Antilles, Puerto Rico's Isla Culebra, Nevis and St. John. Cruise-only rates for the December 12 sailing begin at $1,595 per person based on double occupancy.
Both ships are scheduled for extended holiday voyages of 9, 10 and 11 days out of St. Thomas during the 2004 holiday season. The Wind Surf will sail two 9-day holiday cruises departing December 19 and December 28. The Wind Spirit will sail a 10-day holiday cruise on December 18 and an 11-day itinerary on December 28. The extended itineraries allow the ships time to overnight in ports for a more leisurely visit. The longer itineraries also give guests an opportunity to visit unique ports of call not often visited on a seven-day itinerary, such as Saba in the Dutch Antilles and Pigeon Island, St. Lucia. Cruise-only rates for the holiday cruises begin at $2,595 per person based on double occupancy.
Beginning this December and continuing through March, 2005, the Wind Spirit will visit the U.S. and British Virgin Island ports of St. John, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda, as well as the French Antilles islands of St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, on seven-day roundtrip voyages from St. Thomas. Cruise-only rates begin at $1,695 per person based on double occupancy.
"With casual onboard schedules, new shore excursions, a water sports platform with complimentary activities and fabulous ports and beaches to explore, our Caribbean voyages promise to deliver all of the beauty, romance and adventure that the islands have to offer," says Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises.
The ships' water sports platform opens at anchor and allows guests the complimentary use of sailboards, sailboats and kayaks, as well as water-skiing and rides on the ship's "banana boat." Snorkeling equipment can be checked out for the week and is also complimentary. Scuba divers will enjoy the diving adventures led by Windstar's staff of PADI-certified dive instructors. Dives are available for a fee for both novice and experienced divers. A Discover scuba diving program teaches the basics in a classroom and pool session followed by an open water dive with the instructor.
Shore excursions and Water Sports
On the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, for example, guests may choose to join an exclusive five-star tour that includes Champagne Sunday brunch at Caneel Bay Resort which was founded by Laurence Rockefeller. The tour takes time for enjoying the beach and grounds of the resort and offers excellent snorkeling. Golfers have an opportunity to hit the green with a tour to the Island of St. Thomas for a round of golf at the Mahogany Run Course which has recently completed a million-dollar renovation.
At St. Martin, a "Beach Express" tour will take guests on a narrated tour to a private white sand beach at Simpson Bay. A beach chair and welcome drink await. Or maybe a ride on a Harley® seems attractive. "Harleys in Paradise" takes both novice and experienced riders to the Harley shop to pick out a bike -- be it the Fat Boy or the classic Heritage -- before setting off with a guide on a paradise tour which includes lunch and time for swimming at the most popular beach on the island, Orient Bay, known for its "clothing optional" policy.
At St. Barthélemy, the "Independent Explorer" puts guests behind the wheel of a car for their own self-guided tour of the island. A guided tour, "Best of St. Barthélemy," takes guests around the island on a narrated tour and stops at Le Rivage Resort and Restaurant for lunch and a drink. Guests will have access to the pool and beach. "Romance Rekindled" -- dinner at La Case de l'Isle -- offers a romantic dinner at one of the most upscale resorts on the island.
Culinary Master Joachim Splichal Creates 100 New Recipes
This summer, Windstar Cruises is adding 100 new recipes to its Signature Cuisine, a collection of menu items created by acclaimed celebrity chef Joachim Splichal. Prepared exclusively for Windstar's three upscale motor sailing yachts – Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf – Splichal will create 70 new recipes to be served in The Restaurant aboard all three ships and 30 new recipes specially for The Bistro on the Wind Surf.
Splichal and his expertly trained culinary team will spend time aboard each of the ships this summer, alongside Windstar's executive chefs, perfecting new menus and recipes. Similarly, Windstar's culinary team will refresh their training at the Los Angeles-based Patina, Splichal's signature restaurant. Since 1994, Windstar Cruises has collaborated with Joachim Splichal and The Patina Group, his progressive collection of award-winning restaurants. Both Windstar and Patina are recognized for their innovative, fresh and uncompromising style in catering to a very discerning clientele. The bistro-style of the Patina Group restaurants is a perfect match for the casually elegant atmosphere found aboard the intimate ships of Windstar, which carry between 148 and 308 guests.
"We look forward to working with Joachim Splichal and The Patina Group as we further develop Windstar's degrees of difference," states Jim McHugh, vice president of marketing and sales. "Joachim's distinctive approach to cuisine will translate into new and exciting dishes onboard our ships, providing our guests with a culinary experience 180 degrees from ordinary."
"It will be a pleasure creating 100 new recipes in collaboration with the Windstar Cruises team," states chef Joachim Splichal, of famous LA restaurant, Patina. "With an eye toward innovation and imagination, we will create a remarkable dining experience that captures Windstar's sense of casual elegance."
Accolades from Readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Departures Magazine
For the second straight year, Windstar has secured a spot on Condé Nast Traveler magazine's prestigious Gold List, an award that recognizes the top 700 hotels, resorts and cruise lines in the world as voted by the magazine's readers. Windstar was given high marks in a poll of 32,000 readers, who commented on the three ships' singular elegance, food and service. In addition to the Gold List designation, all three of Windstar's motor sailing yachts were named among the Best Cruise Ships in the World by Condé Nast Traveler readers.
Departures presented its second annual survey of reader's favorites in the May/June issue. The travel-savvy readers vote on the best hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines and airlines. Windstar Cruises won high marks on the list of best Small Cruise Lines.
Also, the company secured second place in Recommend Magazine's 7th Annual Reader's Choice Awards for Best Small Ship Cruise Line, and the Wind Spirit was singled out for Best Dining in Cruise Critic's Reader's Choice Awards.
"We are pleased and honored to receive these prestigious awards," says Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. "It is very gratifying to see that the active and discerning travelers who read these publications have singled us out. We will continue to make every effort to help every guest we serve go '180 Degrees From Ordinary' on their cruise."
Among the comments by readers that were published in Condé Nast Traveler's list of top cruise lines were the following:
Seattle-based Windstar Cruises operates four sailing yachts, the 308-passenger Wind Surf, and 148-passenger Wind Star, Wind Song and Wind Spirit. The Windstar fleet sails worldwide to over 40 countries with regularly scheduled cruises to Tahiti, New Zealand, the Mediterranean, the Greek Isles, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Florida Keys, Central America, Panama Canal and Trans-Atlantic.
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