Recommend had the opportunity to chat with Chris Prelog, president of Windstar Cruises, to get the 4-1-1 on what’s new for the cruise line.
One of the main focuses is Star Pride, which will be coming out of dry dock and sailing this summer. Prelog says, this is “a new ship. We have touched every surface and area on the ship. We are completely redoing all the corridors, all the steel, all the teak work.”
Star Pride—Ready to Sail
Though the Star Pride is undergoing a reimagining, Prelog stresses that travel advisors should view these as a “completely new ship.” All the transformed ships, he says, are perfect in size—they’re small enough to get into the ports we have been going to for years; they’re small enough to allow personalization of your client’s vacation experience, which is unrivaled, to be honest.
“That’s the beauty of Windstar,” he adds. “It’s not a highly structured experience your clients are purchasing. It’s the way you want it. Whether you’re buying it as all-inclusive—and it’s all included—or a la carte.”
Advisors, keep in mind that the all-inclusive option is fully commissionable to you, but Prelog says know your client and sell them what fits them. “There are guests who like to be in control of their expenses, and that’s ok,” he notes. “When we were deciding to go all-inclusive, we got feedback from guests who said, ‘No, I don’t want to pay for someone else’s alcohol,’ but, we heard very clearly from our travel advisors, who said, ‘Yes, we want all-inclusive.’ So, we said let’s do both. You’ve got more flexibility and luxury of choice.”
Red Sea & Tahiti Sailings
Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride are all identical ships, but offer a variety of itinerary options. This includes, says Prelog, a Red Sea itinerary in 2024. For the Red Sea, he says, “we’ll go to the typical ports in Emirates and Oman, and we’re also looking to have a number of smaller ports where our small yachts will be able to have access.”
Windstar will also be sailing to another destination, which Prelog says, “we have been focusing on for over 35 years—Tahiti. We are going to be celebrating our 35th anniversary later this year and we’ll have a bigger ship in Tahiti.”
This bigger ship sailing in Tahiti will be the Star Breeze, which will replace Wind Spirit and will be deployed year-round in the destination starting February 2024. Wind Spirit will then head to the Greek Isles and the Caribbean. In addition, this also means that Windstar will not be sailing to Alaska and Asia in 2024.
To celebrate the 35-year milestone, there will be a special 7-day Dreams of Tahiti sailing on Oct. 20 aboard Wind Spirit, which will include events with Tahitian government officials and tourism partners, daily local entertainment, a motu celebration in Bora Bora, plus other special programming.
Advisors, stay tuned, as more information on the new Tahiti sailings will be shared soon. Additionally, a “new group program will be launched with a revamp; more details will be shared soon,” says Prelog.
Prelog also notes that Windstar renewed its partnership with James Beard for the cruise line’s renowned culinary sailings. In addition, Windstar has partnered with Fountain Head Arts, a Miami-based arts organization, to commission local artists to paint murals on each of the three Star Plus Class yachts. For more information on this partnership, which Prelog notes is “very unique,” check out Windstar Cruises Partners with Arts Organization.
Prelog wants travel advisors to remember that “we are a small ship cruise company with two distinct products—we have our sail ships and our Star Class ships. There are many things they have in common such as lots of open backspace, watersports marina, the crew and the service. But there are differences between the ships’ physical pieces like walk-in closets on the all-suites yachts, and suites only, and staterooms on Wind Class. We are trying to differentiate the company with two different cruising products.
“That’s what I think separates Windstar from any other player—we can do things a little different, rather quickly—it’s 180 degrees from ordinary,” he points out with a smile.
For more information on Windstar Cruises, visit windstarcruises.com.
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