WINDSTAR; UPPING THE ANTE

After many years of being seen as a niche operator of up market sailing yachts, Windstar Cruises has really gone for the big top this year, doubling in size with the addition of the second and third former, original Seabourn yachts to its fleet.

Star Breeze and Star Legend will both join the brand in May, after extensive refurbishments. What follows is an inaugural season in Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

Reunited with former fleetmate, Star Pride, the trio of sympathetically updated ships add a massive global reach to the Windstar portfolio. Part of the winter season sees one of the sisters out in the Far East, while the other ships head for the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, the giant, sail assisted Wind Surf- at 14,000 tons the largest ship in the fleet- is back in Europe. And, for the first time in many a long year, Wind Spirit will return to cruising the gorgeous waters around French Polynesia with a series of seven night cruises, based out of Papeete.

Although soft drinks, speciality tea and coffess and welcome champagne are provided aboard all the ships, the line is not as all inclusive as others in the top end market.

That said, the Windstar product is an excellent overall choice for those wanting exclusivity, a great deal of elegant intimacy, and the handy knack of being able to cruise into the smaller, less visited yacht harbours in the Mediterranean. And the nautical ambiance is not exactly hard on the eyes, either.

And, with the ‘new’ additions due to be christened in May, expect Windstar to become more of a player in the niche global cruising market in the next few years.

As ever, stay tuned.

Windstar's intimate ships allow access to the more hidden Mediterranean gems, such as Lipari

Windstar’s intimate ships allow access to the more hidden Mediterranean gems, such as Lipari

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