Windstar Cruises is launching a new initiative called Degrees of Difference, featuring added amenities and enhancements to the line’s three motor sailing yachts – the 308-guest Wind Surf and 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit. The Degrees of Difference initiative encompasses the five areas that anchor the line’s overall guest experience—dining, accommodations, service, destinations and activities—with new amenities and enhancements to further Windstar’s position as 180 degrees from ordinary. The initiative will be completed in stages and will be finished in 2007.
“It’s the little details – or the ‘degrees of difference’ – that add up to the Windstar experience, which is 180 degrees from ordinary,” says Diane Moore, Windstar Cruises’ vice president, marketing and sales. “Degrees of Difference continues the tradition and romance of a sailing ship, but with cutting edge amenities and a casual elegance relevant to today’s traveler.”
High-Tech on the High Seas
To address the needs of today’s traveler, Windstar is adding a host of high-tech amenities including Apple iPod Nanos, Bose SoundDocks and personal laptops plus wireless connectivity in public areas on all three ships. The Wind Surf also features an onboard Internet Center with desktop computers for guest use.
Enhanced Signature Cuisine
Building on an industry-leading relationship established more than ten years ago, Windstar is introducing 100 new menu items in collaboration with acclaimed celebrity chef Joachim Splichal of the Patina Group. Chef Splichal created Windstar’s initial Signature Cuisine and has now created an array of new dishes to be served aboard all three ships. The new menu includes such items as spicy tomato soup and fried crab beignets, lamb rack with short-rib-mushroom-risotto stuffed onion, minted zucchini and roasted carrots; and seared snapper with oven dried tomatoes, caperberries, nicoise olives, roasted fennel and creamy rice.
The menu in the Wind Surf’s Bistro has changed. Splichal has created a steak house menu with entrees such as Grilled Marinated Hanger Steak, Crispy Skin Half Chicken rubbed with French mustard and Grilled Herb Marinated Atlantic Salmon. In addition, the Bistro will offer Italian, French and Indonesian menus on rotating nights.
The Bistro will be redecorated with a new burgundy color scheme including new carpet, curtains, and reupholstered chairs. Dishes and glassware will also be new—Rosenthal china and Schott Zwiesel stemware.
Other dining enhancements include the addition of an “Amuse Bouche,” or “little bite” at dinner, compliments of the chef; Riedel stemware to grace the tabletops aboard each ship; Rosenthal china; a new wine list featuring more boutique labels plus the flexibility to purchase wine in ports along the ships’ itineraries; a selection of exotic fine cheeses (many bought fresh in local markets) served tableside from a specially designed cheese cart, and Petit-fours, trays of delicate sweet treats, to be served with coffee at the end of dinner.
More Luxurious Accommodations
Combining the classic luxury of a sailing ship with today’s modern amenities is Windstar’s forte. The sleek yacht-like design of Windstar’s ships feature all outside staterooms, with ample space for rest and relaxation. Additional elements which add even greater comfort to Windstar’s ambiance of casual elegance include custom Sealy Posturepedic Premium Plush Euro-Top mattresses, luxurious cotton bed linens and duvets, Egyptian-cotton towels and waffle terry spa bathrobes. Guests will be treated to Shea Butter bathroom amenities from L’Occitane, maker of fine natural body products manufactured with ingredients from Provence. Amenity baskets include Verbena Shea Butter Soap, Verbena Shower Cream, Shea Body Lotion, Shine Enhancing Shampoo with Shea Extract and Shea Hair Conditioner.
Each stateroom also features flat screen TVs and DVD/CD players. Guests may rent laptops from the reception desk. Apple iPod Nanos fully loaded with a broad selection of music may be checked out from reception complimentary. Bose SoundDocks for use with the iPods will be added to each stateroom. Other new elements include sheer curtains, throw pillows and luggage mats.
Personalized Small Ship Service
Windstar’s international crew specializes in unobtrusive, gracious service with a guest to crew ratio of less than 2 to 1. Returning guests are often surprised to be greeted by name and handed their favorite cocktail—courtesy of a crew member’s memory.
Windstar’s attention to the little details extends to all areas of service. On steamy days, guests may expect to be handed a lemon-scented frozen towel to help keep cool; servers will bring around trays of refreshing sorbet in orange halves for guests on deck. Complimentary 24-hour room service rises to a new level with course-by-course dining. During dinner, guests may elect to dine in the privacy of their own stateroom with each course served separately. This new dining option provides personalized service to couples wishing to maximize their time together.
Relaxation to Exhilaration: Activities the Windstar Way
New hammocks on the flying bridges aboard all three ships will accommodate two for a prime spot to relax under billowing sails. Windstar’s wide, open teak decks serve as guests’ own private verandas to watch the scenery pass, take a nap, or read a book. Further relaxation and rejuvenation may be found in the WindSpa aboard Wind Surf. Trained therapists employ massage techniques from all over the world to ease muscle aches. Other treats include an Aromaspa Ocean Wrap which cocoons guests in seaweed to energize tired muscles, an Oxygen Lifting Facial and an egg-like capsule called the Chakra Balancing Capsule which uses aromatherapy, heat and vibrations to balance the energy center.
At anchor, a water sports platform is lowered from the aft Marina Deck, turning a pristine lagoon into a private water park. Active cruisers can take advantage of Windstar’s complimentary water sports activities: kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, water skiing and snorkeling. Scuba diving adventures are available for both professional and novice divers. Windstar offers a Discover Scuba Diving program for beginners who will then enjoy 30- to 40-foot dives with the onboard dive master, while certified divers join PADI instructors for more challenging excursions.
Windstar is well known for traveling off the beaten path on itineraries from the Mediterranean, Amalfi Coast and Greek Isles to the Aegean Sea, the Caribbean and Costa Rica.
In most destinations, a mixture of non-repeating, seven-day itineraries has been designed to allow for 14-day voyages with no repeating ports of call. Itineraries have also been adjusted for later departures and more overnights in ports, so guests can enjoy more time for shopping, shore excursions and nightlife.
Taking the adventure from ship to shore, Windstar guests may choose to raft down the Corobici River in Costa Rica, take a panoramic flight over Provence, sail a catamaran in the Caribbean, or enjoy a Champagne Sunday Brunch at Caneel Bay Resort, founded by Laurence Rockefeller on the island of St. John.
“At Windstar, our goal is to deliver a cruise experience 180 degrees from ordinary. The Degrees of Difference initiative takes us there by enhancing each of the key areas important to our guests – cuisine, accommodations, service, destinations and activities,” adds Diane Moore. “After all, to be 180 degrees from ordinary, means we must be extraordinary.”
About Windstar Cruises
Seattle-based Windstar Cruises operates three motor sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations. Carrying just 148 to 308 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at more than 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas.
Rates are quoted per person, double occupancy including non-discountable amounts. Government fees and taxes are additional. Windstar offers optional trip cancellation protection that provides cash back when you cancel for any reason prior to 24-hours before departure. For more information including brochures, rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent