Windstar plots 56-day 'Grand Caribbean Voyage'

Wind Surf is pictured off St. Lucia, where new excursions include chocolate-making and a painting class led by a local artist Wind Surf is pictured off St. Lucia, where new excursions include chocolate-making and a painting class led by a local artist PHOTO: Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises' 2019 and 2020 Caribbean and Latin America sailings include new visits to ports in Mexico, Honduras, Grand Cayman, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. In a first for the line, 2020 features a new 'Star Collector: Grand Caribbean Adventure' aboard Wind Surf, the world’s largest sailing ship.

Wind Surf's first Panama Canal visit

This nearly two-month cruise offers an encyclopedic exploration of the Caribbean’s Greater and Lesser Antilles and Latin America. It will be Wind Surf's first visit to the Panama Canal, for a partial transit that goes through the Gatun Locks and the historic Atlantic connector locks before scenic cruising on Gatun Lake. The ship returns to the Caribbean through the Gatun Locks that afternoon.

The journey visits 38 ports and 27 countries in 56 days and operates round-trip Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Rates start at $11,924 per person, double occupancy, and include free daily laundry service.

Another Star Collector voyage, 'Three Americas,' stretches 39 days and visits 29 ports in eight countries. This journey aboard Star Legend takes the full measure of the Americas, from Vancouver down the Pacific Coast of the US and Mexico and through the Panama Canal, concluding in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A portion is designated as a James Beard Foundation culinary-themed cruise.

Hidden harbors

Windstar’s Sea of Cortez, coastal, Panama Canal and Caribbean voyages emphasize hidden harbors on smaller islands and inland coves like Bequia and Mayreau in the Grenadines and Bahia Herradura, Costa Rica. Four of the six ships will access tiny harbors like Man-O-War Bay in Tobago, with many itineraries offering late-night and overnight port stays.

The line's tropical sailings provide a day of beach play and island food during the once-a-cruise Signature Beach Barbecue along with an extravagant Signature On-board Barbecue featuring perhaps the largest paella pan at sea followed by a crew-led deck dance party.

New shore excursion standouts for the coming seasons include a private chocolate-making tour and a painting class led by a local artist, both in St. Lucia. Another new option is power cruising to Mustique, a 14-acre island off Bequia that's frequented by the rich and famous, with lunch at a chic island restaurant.

James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection

As the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, Windstar offers special sailings including a San Juan round-trip this Dec. 15, the Jan. 5 cruise from San Juan to Bridgetown and the Feb. 16 voyage from Puerto Caldera to Colón. 2020 sailings will be announced at a later date.

New Pacific itineraries include Star Legend's sailing from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, featuring the Sea of Cortez, and the ship's Puerto Vallarta to Puerto Caldera journey, that affords exploration of Mayan ruins, volcanic summits and UNESCO-designated cultural and snorkeling sites.

More Caribbean and Latin America

Windstar’s 2019/20 Caribbean season sees a return to islands including St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and St. Bart’s with established itineraries like 'Classic Caribbean' and 'Yachtsman’s Caribbean.'

In addition, some of the numerous new voyages include 'The Spanish Main: Rise of the New World' (Colón to San Juan, with a focus on history and a stop at Cartagena), 'In the Wake of the Spanish Armadas' (Aruba to Colón, including the Panama Canal), 'Mayan Legacies' (Colón to Cozumel, with a nature/adventure focus) and 'Lush & Lovely Islands of the Lesser Antilles' (St. Maarten to Barbados, including a rare visit to Montserrat, the 'Pompeii of the Caribbean').

Posted 10 October 2018

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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