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The 5 greatest locations you may go to on a Windstar Cruises ship


The place are you able to go on a Windstar Cruises ship? A stunning variety of locations, given the road’s small dimension. Regardless of having simply six vessels, the upscale line operates voyages to a variety of locations around the globe, from North America and Europe to French Polynesia.

Amongst all of the Windstar cruise locations, Europe is likely to be the most well-liked. As is usually the case with higher-end traces, Windstar has a very giant footprint in the case of Europe itineraries. Almost half of the 534 voyages at present on its schedule for 2024 give attention to both the Mediterranean or Northern Europe. In a typical 12 months, the road will deploy 5 of its six ships to Europe for at the very least a part of the 12 months.

Windstar additionally sometimes deploys at the very least certainly one of its vessels year-round to Tahiti for sailings across the islands of French Polynesia. It is a specific specialty of the road.

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Within the winter, at the very least two and generally three Windstar vessels will transfer to the nice and cozy waters of the Caribbean, one other space of focus. Along with traditional Caribbean sailings, these vessels additionally usually do sailings by means of the Panama Canal, one other specialty of the road.

Presently, Windstar’s itinerary lineup gives sailings as brief as six nights and so long as 55 nights. The corporate usually would not do brief sailings of simply three or 4 nights, not like big-ship traces.

Right here, a take a look at TPG’s picks for the 5 greatest locations you may go to on a Windstar Cruises ship.

Mediterranean

Wind Surf in Capri. ROGER PAPERNO/WINDSTAR

Of all of the locations that Windstar ships sail, none will get as a lot focus from the road because the Mediterranean. As of the publishing of this story, a whopping 212 of the 534 voyages on the road’s schedule for the approaching 12 months included calls within the area. That is 40% of all Windstar itineraries.

The Mediterranean journeys supply a variety of port stops and fluctuate tremendously in size. There’s all the pieces from comparatively brief, seven-night sailings across the sunny Greek islands to 23-day voyages that span chunk of the Mediterranean from Montenegro and Croatia to the far western coast of Spain.

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Windstar options voyages targeted particularly on the Western Mediterranean or the Jap portion and voyages that embody days touring past the sides of the Mediterranean to such locations because the Canary Islands.

Typical of the latter is the road’s epic, 18-night “Star Collector: Canaries, Casablanca and the Costa del Sol” routing. It is a one-way journey between Barcelona and the Canary Islands with a mixture of stops in Spain, Portugal, Morocco and the Canary Islands. It is a deep exploration into the western aspect of Europe and North Africa.

Associated: The most effective Mediterranean cruise for each sort of traveler

A few of Windstar’s Mediterranean itineraries additionally embody a go to to Israel, though port stops in Israel have been canceled for the following few months as a result of struggle between Israel and Hamas. For now, Israel stays on itineraries scheduled to depart in April 2024 and past.

Typical of the road’s extra targeted, quickie Mediterranean itineraries are its eight-night “Myths and Marvels of the Aegean” routing out of Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens) that concentrates on the islands of Greece and Turkey with seven stops within the international locations.

Within the Mediterranean, the road’s important hubs are Piraeus, Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) and Barcelona.

Iceland

WINDSTAR

Windstar has been one of many leaders in a development that has swept the cruise world prior to now decade: cruises that focus solely on Iceland.

In 2016, Windstar turned the primary conventional cruise model to function full circumnavigations of the Kentucky-size island nation, becoming a member of a handful of expedition-style cruise operators similar to Lindblad Expeditions and Hurtigruten that had been beginning to add Iceland circlings.

And whereas different cruise manufacturers together with Ponant and Scenic Luxurious Cruises have since adopted Windstar in providing voyages that soak up each nook of Iceland, Windstar stays one of many greatest gamers out there with common summer time sailings.

In a typical 12 months, Windstar will supply seven-night circlings of Iceland each week from June by means of late August.

The journeys start and finish in Reykjavik, Iceland’s important metropolis and capital. The ship will sail in a counterclockwise path across the nation with stops at a few of Iceland’s most distant areas. It is an opportunity to see the complete vary of Iceland’s famously hanging geothermal fields of geysers and fumaroles, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls with out having to navigate the ring street that circles the nation. And it consists of stops in a few of Iceland’s smallest and quirkiest cities.

In 2024, the 312-passenger Star Pleasure will name on locations like Heimaey Island, the place passengers see the frozen-in-place lava flows of a well-known 1973 eruption that coated a 3rd of the city.

One other name at little-visited Grundarfjordur, alongside the distant Snæfellsnes Peninsula, gives the prospect to hike onto the glacier atop close by Snæfellsjökull volcano, the setting for Jules Verne’s Nineteenth-century traditional “Journey to the Middle of the Earth.”

Different stops embody Akureyri, the gateway to the geothermal fields of of Hverir and their effervescent mud pots and whistling steam vents.

French Polynesia

Wind Spirit visiting the French Polynesian island of Moorea. WINDSTAR CRUISES

Windstar has been a longtime chief in French Polynesia cruises, too, working within the area for 37 years. In actual fact, it is certainly one of simply two conventional cruise traces that dominate the marketplace for French Polynesia voyages — the opposite being one-ship line Paul Gauguin Cruises.

Like Paul Gauguin Cruises, Windstar gives French Polynesia sailings year-round out of Papeete, Tahiti, the principle hub for the area. Starting from seven to 18 nights, the journeys soak up such iconic French Polynesian islands as Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahaa and Huahine. They enchantment closely to {couples} in search of a romantic getaway.

For a few years, Windstar has used certainly one of its crusing ships, the 148-passenger Wind Spirit, for its French Polynesia sailings. However in early 2024, it changed that vessel within the area with certainly one of its larger motor-powered vessels, the 312-passenger Star Breeze.

The redeployment greater than doubles Windstar’s capability within the area, an indication of simply how in style these journeys have turn into.

The voyages supply a considerable amount of time in every of the islands which are visited, because of the brief distances between them. Generally, the ship travels between the islands in a single day and ties up or anchors in a brand new beautiful bay every morning.

As is typical for French Polynesian journeys, whether or not on land or water, days are spent exploring sandy tropical seashores, swimming and snorkeling in ridiculously clear water and visiting cultural sights. You will have an opportunity to go to the websites the place locals harvest the aesthetic black pearls that account for greater than half of French Polynesia’s exports.

Diving can be an enormous draw on these journeys. It is a prime tour throughout calls on the islands of Raiatea and Bora Bora. Snorkeling with stingrays and becoming a member of a marine biologist searching for dolphins and whales are different in style excursions.

Caribbean

WINDSTAR

Like many upscale cruise manufacturers working smaller ships, Windstar would not give attention to Caribbean cruises. The Caribbean is extra the area of such big-ship cruise giants as Carnival Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean. Nonetheless, Windstar sometimes sends at the very least two of its six vessels to the Caribbean each winter to function warm-weather-focused getaways to lesser-visited Caribbean ports — normally certainly one of its motor-powered vessels and certainly one of its wind-powered crusing vessels.

For 2024, Windstar’s two important vessels within the Caribbean would be the 312-passenger Star Pleasure, a motor-powered vessel, and the 342-passenger Wind Surf, a crusing vessel. One different Windstar crusing ship, the 148-passenger Wind Spirit, will even make an occasional look within the area.

For probably the most half, WIndstar’s lineup of Caribbean cruises is concentrated on round-trip, seven-night sailings out of St. Martin or Barbados.

When crusing out of St. Martin, the voyages sometimes embody stops in St. Barts, Antigua, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. When crusing out of Barbados, the ships will name at extra southerly Caribbean islands similar to St. Lucia and the Grenadines.

For 2024, many of the line’s sailings out of St. Martin will happen within the first a part of the 12 months, whereas the Barbados-based sailings will come on the finish of the 12 months.

Associated: The most effective Caribbean cruises for each sort of traveler

As well as, the road additionally generally gives Caribbean sailings out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with calls in St. Maarten (the Dutch aspect of the island of St. Martin), Guadeloupe, St. Lucia and the Grenadines.

At occasions, the road will run back-to-back seven-night sailings within the Caribbean with totally different itineraries. The 2 journeys might be paired to create an extended, 14-night voyage with few repeating ports.

Panama Canal

MIKE RIVER PHOTOS/WINDSTAR

Along with Caribbean journeys, Windstar is thought for numerous sailings that start within the Caribbean and finish within the Pacific, or vice versa — voyages that contain a transit between the 2 areas by way of the Panama Canal.

Such journeys supply vacationers an opportunity to see the marvel of contemporary engineering that’s the 48-mile-long Panama Canal up shut. A whole day is spent touring by means of the canal, together with transits of the locks discovered at every finish.

As is the case with many Panama Canal cruises, passengers on Windstar canal cruises additionally get a second likelihood to expertise the canal the day earlier than or after the transit when their ship docks at one aspect or the opposite of the canal. Shore excursions will take them to the locks for an up-close view of the lock chambers that their ship will navigate the following day (or handed by means of the day before today).

In a typical 12 months, Windstar will supply as many as two departures every week by means of the Panama Canal from late November by means of the top of March. It sometimes has two of its six vessels working such journeys in winter — one crusing ship and one motor ship.

Associated: The most effective time to cruise the Panama Canal

The journeys all are one-way, beginning in both Aruba within the Caribbean or the port of Balboa on the Pacific aspect of Panama.

Along with the expertise of touring by means of and visiting the canal, the Pacific-bound sailings go to Colombia, Costa Rica and the Caribbean aspect of Panama.

The Caribbean-bound sailings convey calls alongside the Pacific aspect of Costa Rica and Panama.

Backside line

Windstar is a comparatively small cruise line with simply six ships, however its ships go to a big selection of cruise locations. The road is thought for commonly shifting its vessels around the globe to supply a various lineup of itineraries in all places from North America and Europe to French Polynesia.

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