Best known for its trio of ships with sails, Windstar Cruises doubled its fleet with the purchase of three small ships from Seabourn it calls “power yachts.” Now, the line offers itineraries around the world. The ships accommodate anywhere from 148 to 310 passengers, and the atmosphere is upscale but relaxed, with an emphasis on service. Sure, the new vessels don't have sails to catch the wind, but they're still intimate spaces.
What We Love
Destination Focus: Small ships can sail into less-visited ports and dock in the middle of town rather than next to a concrete warehouse far from the city center.
Private Events: Complimentary outings offer an in-depth taste of a destination. These might include a dinner with fire dancers on a private motu in Bora Bora or a concert at the Blue Church in Seydisfjordur, Iceland.
Best Known For
Water Sports Platforms: The entire fleet offers retractable marinas that let guests take a dip in a bay, windsurf, or kayak.
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Who It's Best For
Mature Couples: The new ships attract grown-ups who want to be immersed in a destination, while the sailing ships are magnets for honeymooners. Of note: New land-and-sea packages are on offer in Italy through a partnership with sister company VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.
Solo Travelers: Windstar occasionally waives or reduces the dreaded single supplement, which is otherwise 175 percent of the double-occupancy rate.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There Are No Balconies: The six ships were all built in a pre-balcony era, although some suites on the three power yachts do have French balconies.
Theresa Norton Masek is a Chicago-based contributor to ShermansCruise and a longtime cruise writer.