Guests Will Receive an Adopted Coral in Their Name
Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has partnered with the Coral Gardeners, a Mo’orea (French Polynesia)-based organization determined to revolutionize ocean conservation and create a global movement to save the coral reefs through reef restoration, awareness activities, and innovative solutions. The team works to grow, plant, and monitor thousands of heat-resilient corals with the goal of bringing life back to the ocean.
The three-year partnership begins this month with Windstar’s $35,000 donation to Coral Gardeners to adopt coral for all guests sailing with Windstar in French Polynesia for the remainder of 2022.
2022 is Windstar’s 35th anniversary of sailing in Tahiti/French Polynesia – the longest of any operator in the region. (It’s also the only destination where the U.S.-based cruise line sails year-round, giving guests ample opportunity to plan a once-in-a-lifetime visit in any season.) With two ships sailing French Polynesia throughout October, Windstar has been celebrating its 35th season all month long with special events, integration with local dignitaries and artists, and a heightened infusion of local culture both on board and ashore.
“This new partnership is a wonderful way for us to celebrate Tahiti during our 35th anniversary season, but more importantly to make a positive impact for the future of these incredible islands,” said Windstar President Christopher Prelog. “We’ve been focused on reducing our carbon footprint via updating our fleet’s engines and operations, and this next step in climate action at sea is to partner with Coral Gardeners to protect the environment in French Polynesia and beyond.”
Guests on the remaining 2022 sailings will receive a small card in their guest room, alerting them to the adoption of coral in their name. In 2023 and 2024, each guest booked on a Windstar cruise in French Polynesia will be presented with the option to adopt a coral for a donation of $35 per person. Unique coral adoption cards for those participating will be placed in their guest room on board.
Prelog is confident the majority of guests will choose to donate to help save the reef they are enjoying on their Tahiti cruise.
For more information on Windstar Cruises and all of its itineraries, visit www.windstarcruises.com.
Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has announced its lineup of James Beard Foundation®-affiliated guest chefs for its series of three themed culinary cruises in 2023. The trio of acclaimed visiting chefs include D.C.’s Jerome Grant; New York’s Ayesha Nurdjaja; and Boston’s Tracy Chang.
Windstar is the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation (JBF). The nonprofit organization’s mission is to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability. The Foundation firmly aligns with Windstar’s commitment to fresh and local epicurean experiences around the world, as well as efforts to reduce food waste.
All three themed cruises in 2023, detailed at the links below, include two on-board cooking demonstrations, as well as four dishes by the JBF visiting chef at a hosted dinner with wine pairings. Each chef will also lead a market tour, gathering fresh and local ingredients for dishes served on board. In addition, all three chefs will provide multiple recipes to be featured on Windstar’s menus across all cruises—adding to a growing menu of James Beard Foundation-affiliated chefs’ special menu items, served across the fleet on every sailing.
“As the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, we’ve hosted dozens of top chefs over the years. One of the best byproducts possible is a delicious and constantly rotating section of JBF dishes on our menu – on all of our sailings,” explains Windstar President Christopher Prelog. „It doesn’t get any better than sailing with a James Beard Foundation guest chef on a special culinary cruise. Not only will you get to eat their food—you’ll get to know them. You may even learn a few tips and tricks for being a better cook yourself, and you’ll definitely have a richer and deeper travel experience because of it.”
3/4-11, 2023 on Star Legend in the Caribbean, from Panama City to Oranjestad with Chef Jerome Grant
Jerome Grant grew up mostly in the United States—New York, Oklahoma, California, Maryland—and picked up the basics of Filipino cuisine from his mother and the Caribbean flavors of his Jamaican heritage from his paternal grandparents. After graduating from Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Grant moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he gained his first critical notice while helming the Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort. Back stateside, Grant accepted an executive sous chef position at Urbana Restaurant in Washington, D.C. before workingas executive chef of the Mitsitam Native Foods Café inside the National Museum of American Indian. Grant then became the inaugural chef of the Sweet Home Café inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture. His recipes and menus took the café from a simple concept to becoming a James Beard Award recognized restaurant and cookbook. Since 2020, Grant has been with Dacha Restaurant Group in D.C., including Jackie Restaurant, which pays homage to Grant’s Filipino-American roots, and Dacha Beer Gardens. He’s also preparing for the upcoming launch of Mahal, an open-fire kitchen.
Grant is a 2019 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalist for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. Sweet Home Café is a 2017 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and the restaurant is inspiration for the 2019 James Beard Media Award Nominated “Sweet Home Café Cookbook.”
Grant is excited to join Windstar in the Caribbean, reconnecting with the Caribbean flavors of his Jamaican heritage along the way.
6/17-26, 2023 on Wind Surf in the Mediterranean, from Venice to Athens withAyesha Nurdjaja
Ayesha Nurdjaja is the executive chef at Shuka in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, as well as sibling restaurant Shukette. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she is the daughter of an Indonesian father and Italian mother. Nurdjaja graduated from culinary school in 2006 and, after watching chef Lidia Bastianich cook on PBS, walked into Lidia’s restaurant, Felidia, and asked for a job. They brought her on as a line cook and she worked her way up the ranks to become sous chef. Since then, Nurdjaja has helped lead the kitchen teams at Bar Artisanal, Michelin-starred Picholine, and at Michelin-starred A Voce under chef Missy Robbins. She also spent time as executive chef at Il Bordello and most recently at Brooklyn neighborhood favorite Red Gravy, where she offered her take on modern southern Italian cuisine. In 2015, Nurdjaja joined with restaurateurs Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer to create Shuka, with a menu that draws on the vibrant flavors found throughout Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia. Shukette followed to great acclaim in 2021.
Nurdjaja is a 2022 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award Nominee for Best Chef: New York State.
Nurdjaja is a frequent traveler to the Aegean Sea and is thrilled to lead Windstar guests on a culinary journey in one of her most favorite places on the planet.
9/21-30, 2023 on Star Breeze in Asia, from Tokyo to Osaka, Japan with Chef Tracy Chang
Tracy Chang is the chef/owner of PAGU restaurant in Cambridge, MA, celebrating Spanish and Japanese style tapas paired with natural wines, sakes, sherry, and more. Chang’s love for the restaurant industry began at an early age—her grandmother immigrated to Boston in the 1980s and opened several Japanese restaurants. Prior to PAGU, Chang founded a pop-up restaurant, Guchi’s Midnight Ramen, and hosted events with restaurants, startups, nonprofits, and universities, including Harvard, where she is a teaching fellow. During Covid-19, she co-founded two nonprofit initiatives, Off Their Plate (OTP) and Project Restore Us (PRU), to provide essential worker communities with food and groceries. The standard operating procedures she created for her restaurant PAGU, as well as for Off Their Plate, have been compiled into a comprehensive guide by the James Beard Foundation, World Central Kitchen, and the Aspen Institute.
Chang is an alumna of the James Beard Foundation Chef Bootcamp for Policy & Change, James Beard Foundation Women’s Entrepreneurship Leadership Program, and a 2020 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Northeast.
Chang looks forward to sailing in Japan—exploring her family’s roots and celebrating her grandmother’s culinary legacy in the process.
Text: PM Windstar Cruises, Fotos: via Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises has just the thing to shake off the winter blahs. The small ship cruise line has drawn up a new beach bum’s delight of an itinerary beginning winter of 2023. Beach Fun & Sun: A Remote Caribbean Getaway has seven days on some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean including stops in St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Barts, Anguilla, Jost Van Dyke (overnight), Virgin Gorda, and Tortola. The November 4 sailing only will take place on Windstar’s all-suite Star Pride and the other eight departures are aboard the 342-guest classic sailing yacht Wind Surf.
Both yachts’ Watersports Platforms (which allow guests to jump from the yacht into the sea) will be operational daily on these cruises, except for embarkation/disembarkation days, so the sailings will be very focused on beaches, swimming, watersports, and snorkeling – all the things we want to do in paradise. Current rates are from $2,599 per guest. Beach Fun & Sun can easily be combined with Windstar’s Classic Caribbean for a two-week cruise, as the itineraries alternate and both depart from St. Maarten. Classic Caribbean includes stops in Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, and Nevis, as well as a repeat in St. Barts (and who could complain about that).
“We created this itinerary specifically for people who like to spend time enjoying some of the best tropical beaches, swimming and watersports activities,” said Windstar Cruises’ President Christopher Prelog. Our small yachts visit scenic Caribbean islands for a peaceful, relaxing vacation away from crowds.”
Also new in the Caribbean: Windstar will be sailing from Miami for the first time in December, 2022.
The small ship cruise line just relocated its offices to Miami from Seattle, with a grand opening in June, which makes the sailings particularly meaningful to Windstar staff and crew. Jungles & Jewels of the Central American Coast stops in Key West before heading to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, then returning to Miami. The new Central America & the Panama Canal Revealed cruise brings guests from Miami to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Starting winter 2023, Windstar is introducing a new, seven-day round trip Costa Rica cruise itinerary (from Puerto Caldera) called Naturally Costa Rica, including inaugural calls in San Juan del Sur and Corinto in Nicaragua. Current rates start at $2,699 per guest. The new option easily combines with a Windstar Panama Canal itinerary for a 14-day adventure in the region.
Other returning Caribbean itineraries includeWindward Island Surfs & Sunsets, a seven-day roundtrip San Juan sailing that’s a quick escape up and down the Windward Islands; Windward Ways & Tobago Cays, sailing through the Windward and ABC Islands; Yachtsman’s Caribbean, a classic voyage to the Caribbean’s private yachting scene; and more – full Caribbean listings can be found here: https://www.windstarcruises.com/destinations/caribbean/.
U.S. headquartered Windstar Cruises has hired Cristienne (Cris) De Souza as the small ship cruise line’s director of revenue planning.
The new position reports to Windstar’s Vice President of Revenue and Itinerary Planning Kristin Badgett and is based in Miami, Florida – Windstar’s official new headquarters beginning June of 2022.
De Souza will work with Badgett to determine strategy and implement pricing for the Windstar fleet, including all six yachts. She will collaborate closely with Windstar’s parent company, Xanterra Travel Collection, to review strategies for achieving optimal pricing on all of Windstar’s itineraries and for all on-board amenities. She also will assist with analytics and recommendations on new deployment for future Windstar sailing destinations and offerings.
Most recently De Souza was head of business development at Advance Your Reach, a company that helps people grow their businesses and spread their message through stages. Before that, she was vice president of sales and marketing at Nexion Travel Group. Other notable positions/employers throughout her career include director of national account sales and marketing at Ama Waterways; 14 years at Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd, including roles as director of national accounts for Celebrity and Azamara and senior revenue management analyst; and a financial analyst with Coca-Cola Enterprises.
De Souza holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree of business administration from Florida Atlantic University, as well as a master of liberal arts in sustainability and environmental management from Harvard University. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is a three-time national barefoot waterski champion who was once ranked 8th in the world. Her Windstar colleagues can’t wait to see her waterski as part of the line’s unique activities available on the yachts’ Watersports Platform.
U.S. headquartered Windstar Cruises launched its new ad campaign today touting that “The Wind and Stars Know the Way.”
The campaign advertises Windstar as a unique, small ship cruise product, more clearly conveying the two classes of small yachts the company operates under one definable brand experience.
Guests can choose between Windstar’s classic sailing yachts (three Wind Class yachts) and luxury all-suite yachts (three newly renovated Star Plus Class yachts) – ergo, “The Stars Know the Way” and “The Wind Knows the Way” in the new campaign materials, together forming the brand name WindStar.
“We believe in giving guests the power to choose how they sail and then delivering the benefits of small ship cruising in ways that boldly claim a competitive advantage,” says Windstar President Christopher Prelog. “With this new messaging, we have the opportunity to share the personalized approach and perspective each of our ship classes inspire, including visualizing key off-ship and onboard attributes of Windstar, such as feeling like you’re on your own private yacht with only 148 to 342 guests on board.”
Prelog believes the messaging will resonate with existing guests who know the brand well and inspire new potential customers and convert them into first time cruisers on Windstar. Look for the new messaging in print and digital ads, social, and video, as well as a new landing page on Windstar’s website.
And on the heels of a successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday “Book Your Bucket List” sale, Windstar is gearing up for its 12 Ways of Windstar holiday sale, running December 14-28. Cruise rates will be reduced on select departures with a lead rate of $1,499 per person, based on double occupancy. Travelers will find great deals on cruises in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Black Sea and Holy Lands, U.S. Coastal, Tahiti and Trans-Ocean.
Windstar Cruises has officially found its new home in Miami, the epicenter of the cruise industry, at 8400 NW 36 St.
The small ship cruise line is moving its headquarters from Seattle to Miami by June of 2022 and has signed a lease on the 5th floor in the Doral Concourse. Work will begin outfitting the office to accommodate Windstar’s needs within the coming weeks.
Next door to the CityPlace Doral mixed-use project and with easy access to the Palmetto Expressway, Dolphin Expressway, Florida Turnpike, and minutes to Miami International Airport, the new office is an ideal location for the company. The office is in close proximity to many other cruise companies and associated services.
“Miami is the center of the cruise industry in the U.S., and this new office will help us build industry relationships and attract new talent. It will also let operations employees in Miami be closer to our yachts and crew, as well as shorten our flight times to Europe and the Caribbean, where so much of our operations take place,” said Windstar President Christopher Prelog.
Windstar recently hired Stijn Creupelandt as the new vice president of hotel operations and product development, while Paul Barrett was promoted to vice president of marine & technical operations. Both report to Prelog, and all will be based in the new office. As part of the headquarters transition, some Windstar corporate positions are moving to Denver, where the cruise line’s parent company is based, while others will be operating remotely primarily from the Seattle area.
“The pandemic has taught us that with the right technology, many of our roles can be effective from anywhere, so we’re not requiring every Windstar employee to make this move to Miami,” Prelog explained. “However, most new hires will be based in the Miami office.”
Prelog, as well as many key members of Windstar’s team, have already moved to Miami to assist with the logistics and coordination of the new office for Windstar.
Five of the line’s six yachts are now back in the water cruising while requiring vaccines of all passengers and crew amongst a host of health and safety precautions including testing, social distancing, masks, and high-tech air filtration.
For more details on Windstar Cruises, visit www.windstarcruises.com.
U.S. headquartered Windstar Cruises now has two of its six yachts in French Polynesia, making it the biggest small ship cruise line in the region.
Windstar resumed cruising in French Polynesia and the Islands of Tahiti in July with vaccinated guests + crew aboard the line’s 148-passenger Wind Spirit sailing yacht, which was specifically designed for the region, capturing the South Pacific trade winds in its billowing sails. Windstar has established roots in Tahiti and amongst the local community while operating in the region for four decades.
Wind Spirit typically sails year-round from Tahiti; however, Windstar’s reimagined, new all-suite Star Breeze yacht carrying 312 guests will begin sailings from Papeete on October 17, remaining on a limited engagement until the end of March, 2022.
“It gives guests a unique chance to sail in Tahiti on the larger, more amenity-intensive yacht in spacious ocean-view suites,” explained Windstar President Christopher Prelog. “Tahiti and the local Tahitian community are a big part of Windstar’s family, and we are thrilled to have two ships in this amazingly beautiful part of the world for the first time in the company’s history. I am looking forward to a visit soon.
“In addition, Star Breeze’s presence will allow Wind Spirit to receive some planned maintenance and updates from mid-November through February without interrupting options for our guests to celebrate milestones, rekindle a romance, or just spend time with friends and family in this spectacular location,” added Prelog.
The line’s three all-suite Star Plus Class yachts (Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride) have been undergoing major transformations, with Star Breeze as the first to launch in June. It has two additional dining experiences (one is an outdoor barbecue concept with grilling guru Steven Raichlen and the other a Spanish small plates restaurant from Anthony Sasso, one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide), a true spa and fitness center, an elegant infinity pool, and more outdoor deck and dining areas.
Windstar offers a complimentary private event on their Tahiti cruises: an exclusive beach party and locally sourced feast on one of Bora Bora’s tiny motus, followed by a kinetic fire-dancing performance. It is available on all sailings/both yachts. An aft Watersports Platform lowers into the water on both yachts to allow swimming from the yacht. Guests have free access to use all watersports activities including snorkeling gear, floating mats, kayaks, paddle boards, waterskiing and tubing.
Pride is the third and final all-suite Star Plus Class yacht to emerge from a multi-year, $250 million renovation project
U.S. headquartered Windstar Cruises has taken delivery of its all-suite Star Plus Class Star Pride today at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. The yacht is the third and final of the line’s Star Plus Class yachts to be stretched and transformed over a multi-year, $250 million project that is considered to be the most complex and comprehensive renovation project ever undertaken in small ship cruising.
“We are thrilled to have all three of our yachts completely reimagined, from the new, more environmentally-friendly engines to the gorgeous new restaurant spaces, spacious suites, and romantic spas,” said Windstar President Christopher Prelog. “We couldn’t be happier with the results. Our passengers who are already sailing with us on these transformed yachts are raving, giving us higher customer experience scores than we’ve ever received in our company’s history.”
Star Pride will remain in Italy until the yacht resumes guest operations in April in the Mediterranean. Sister yacht Star Breeze begins sailing in Tahiti next week, while Star Legend is completing a short season in the Mediterranean before sailing to the Caribbean in November.
All three yachts increased in maximum capacity from 212 guests to 312 and now provide more of what Windstar’s customers want, like additional dining experiences (one is an outdoor barbecue concept with grilling guru Steven Raichlen and the other a Spanish small plates restaurant from Anthony Sasso, one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide), a true spa and fitness center, an elegant infinity pool, and more outdoor deck areas. These three all-suite yachts, together with Windstar’s three classic sailing yachts, remain small enough to continue to visit the special small ports and waterways of the world.
In addition, due to the pandemic, Star Pride and all of Windstar’s yachts received renovations to update HVAC systems, adding new hospital grade high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters along with a UV-C air zapping process (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) to clean the air on board.
Gut ein Jahr nach ihrem Eintreffen beim Fincantieri-Werftbetrieb in Palermo konnte die Star Breeze nach einem komplexen Umbau mit rd. neunmonatiger Verspätung am 17. November an Windstar Cruises zurückgeliefert werden. Das sich mit neuer Motorisierung in frischem Glanz präsentierende Schiff leitet das von der Reederei initiierte Star Plus-Programm ein, in dessen Rahmen auch die Schwesterschiffe Star Legend und Star Pride für insgesamt 250 Mio. Dollar verlängert und modernisiert werden. Die drei zwischen 1988 und 1992 in Bremerhaven für Seabourn Cruise Lines erbauten Schiffe waren 2015 von Windstar Cruises übernommen worden. Durch die Einfügung eines 25,6 m langen vorgefertigten Mittelteils hat sich die Länge der 1989 erbauten Star Breeze (ex Seabourn Spirit) auf 159,6 m vergrössert, die Vermessung von ca. 9975 auf 12969 BRZ und die Passagierkapazität um 100 auf nunmehr 312 Gäste erhöht.
Der gegenüber seinem Vorgänger fünffach grössere neue Pool wurde auf einem erhöhten Deck mit freier Aussicht platziert, das auch zusätzliche Bereiche zum Entspannen und Sonnenbaden bietet. Ebenfalls neu sind ein Grill-Restaurant im Freien und ein spanisches Restaurant für maximal 38 Gäste. Zu den 50 neuen Suiten der Star-Kategorie gehören zwei „Owner Suites“ mit jeweils drei Schlafräumen und zwei Balkonen – nach Reedereiangaben die ersten ihrer Art in der Kreuzfahrtbranche. In den vorhandenen Kabinen bzw. Suiten wurden 156 neue Bäder installiert.
Zudem gibt es ein neu gestaltetes und erweitertes Spa- und Fitnesscenter mit Produkten von Elemis. Außerdem wurde die Werftzeit genutzt, effizientere Motoren und Dieselgeneratoren, 79 neue HEPA-Filter für die Klimaanlage mit UV-C-Lichttechnologie gegen Corona-Viren, einen neuen Aufzug in der Mitte des Schiffes zu installieren. Zudem gibt es einen neuen Tender-Zugangsbereich einschließlich zweier neuer Tender für jeweils 90 Passagieren. Auch der Crew-Bereich wurde erweitert und aufgewertet.
Die Star Breeze war im Oktober letzten Jahres in Palermo eingetroffen, wo nach der Trockenstellung im Dock zunächst die Trennung des Schiffskörpers erfolgte. Da im Dezember 2019 während der Arbeiten Asbest entdeckt worden war, konnte die für Februar dieses Jahres geplante Rücklieferung nicht mehr garantiert werden, so dass man 20 Reisen absagen musste. Die zu nächst auf Mai dieses Jahre verschobene Wiederinfahrtsetzung war dann wegen der zwischenzeitlich ausgebrochenen Covid-19-Pandemie nicht möglich. JPM
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