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Windstar Cruises
Location: Europe
Profile:  CH179
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Hideaways' Review
Sailing under the banner of its appropriate tag line "180° From Ordinary," Windstar was created in the mid-1980's with the vision to offer an alternative to the typical cruise or resort vacation. The Windstar passenger sees the world from a romantic sailing ship with luxurious accommodations, a casual yet elegant atmosphere, and exquisite service and cuisine.

In late 1986, the first commercial sailing vessel built in 60 years slipped out of a French dry-dock in Le Havre. Although the towering sails echoed a bygone era of explorers, the msy Wind Star, with its sleek lines and computerized controls, was revolutionary in concept and design.

Windstar's ships are officially motor-sail-yachts (msy), but the designation belies the vessels unique rigging. Unfurling in two minutes at the push of a button, billowing white sails reach to the sky. All functions are operated from the bridge by computer micro-chips and navigational devices. The unusual "open-bridge" operation allows guests to drop by and acquaint themselves with the veteran captains and officers who demonstrate the ships' intriguing capabilities to modern day explorers.

The 148-passenger Wind Star was joined by sister ships the msy Wind Song in 1987, and msy Wind Spirit in 1988. A new era in luxury cruising was now being pioneered by Windstar Cruises. Nearly a decade later in 1998, the 312-passenger msy Wind Surf was acquired by Windstar. Sailing originally as Club Med I, the Wind Surf was built in 1990 in the same shipyard to strikingly similar specifications as her sister ships, making her a perfect match for the four fleet family.

Windstar's unique concept of sailing has led the cruise industry in the luxury small ship, casual attire, and alternative dining arenas. Pioneering and refining these concepts has earned Windstar an excellent reputation and market niche, winning the allegiance of a new generation of contemporary cruise vacationers, one-third of whom are first-time cruisers.

Teak decking, rich wood interiors, an attentive service staff, intimate surroundings, eclectic artwork, exceptional signature cuisine featuring both light and vegetarian menu selections, and an extensive wine list are some of the extraordinary elements which have become synonymous with Windstar. Features unique to the Wind Surf include 31 deluxe suites, 2 Bridge Deck suites, The Yacht Club, Degrees (formerly The Bistro), The Terrace Bar for small intimate getaways and the nearly 10,000 square foot WindSpa offering a full array of spa treatments, consultative, health and fitness programs.

Passengers are cradled in comfort as all staterooms and suites offer ocean views, sitting area, new LCD flatscreen TV, DVD, CD player, iPod Nanos and Bose SoundDocks systems, safe, mini-bar/refrigerator, international direct-dial phones, bathroom with luxurious pampering toiletries, hair dryer, plush terry cloth robes, and an abundance of closet space. The library on board stocks an array of international newspapers, books and games, as well as a multi-media selection of more than 500 DVD titles and compact discs available for complimentary check-out.

Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, Windstar ships exude a private-yacht-like atmosphere creating camaraderie and lasting friendships between fellow sailors. Every day aboard Windstar brings the promise of new horizons and harbors to explore.

An interesting mix of shore excursions and complimentary water sports activities are available at each destination. Passengers may find themselves slicing through Caribbean waters aboard an actual America's Cup racing yacht, or exploring archaeological ruins in Greece, the "Cradle of Civilization." Water buffs can enjoy complimentary water-skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking from the ship's aft Water Sports Platform.

The company's cruise vacations offer a sea-side window on the world, combining the refinement of a luxury hotel with a moveable feast of cultural experiences.

Seattle-based Windstar Cruises operates the 312-passenger Wind Surf and 148- passenger Wind Star and Wind Spirit. The three sailing yachts cruise to over 47 countries worldwide offering an affordable luxury vacation. The msy Wind Song was retired to the Sea of the Moon in January 2003.
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