Windstar Cruises Named “World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line” By Condé Nast Traveler
Written by: Cruise News
October 21, 2014 – Condé Nast Traveler has announced the results of its 27th annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Windstar recognized as #1 in the world in the Small Ship Cruise Line category. Windstar’s winning score of 90.065 also garnered the line the #2 spot among all of small, midsize, and large ocean-going cruise lines.
“We are honored to have our unique style of yacht cruising and warm, personal service recognized by our loyal guests and the discerning readers of Condé Nast Traveler,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “Our teams both on board and on shore continually strive to create memorable experiences for our guests, and it’s an inspiration for us to be acknowledged by the people we serve every day.”
The prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel.” More than 76,600 dedicated readers cast votes for 7,721 hotels, 642 cities, 453 cruise ships, and 148 islands. The result? The 1,182 best travel experiences in the world.
The past few years have seen Windstar Cruises enter into a period of innovation and expansion. Earlier this year the company launched Private Events, a complimentary, exclusive onshore event, crafted to give an in depth and authentic local experience unique to each voyage. Other product enhancements include a series of Cruisetours through Asia; Local Dining Tips Curated by SAVEUR a one-of-a-kind platform to uncover the world’s most delicious destinations for culinary travelers; as well as a fresh Windstar logo.
In 2013, the line announced it was doubling the size of the fleet from three sailing yachts to six ships. Star Pride, the first of the three power yachts, came on board in May of this year in a celebratory christening ceremony in Barcelona, Spain. Star Breeze and Star Legend will join the Windstar fleet in May of 2015 following a $20 million, three-week dry dock.
Windstar also continues to introduce new global itineraries, focusing on smaller ports that large ships can’t visit and voyages that feature trade winds optimal for sailing. In 2014 Windstar returned to the islands of Tahiti with the 148-passenger sailing yacht Wind Spirit. During October Star Pride will begin its transit to Southeast Asia, visiting ports in Arabia and India along the way, a first for the company.
These changes are being recognized among guests and the travel industry alike. Last month Windstar Cruises won a Gold Magellan Award for Market Leader in Small Ship Cruising from Travel Weekly as well as SAVEUR’s Culinary Travel Awards as an Outstanding Culinary Cruise Line. In July, Windstar was recognized as #2 Small Ship Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.