Windstar Expands Wine and Culinary Experiences

Star Legend
Photo by Windstar Cruises.

Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has hired a team of sommeliers to serve guests on sailings in 270 ports around the world. These wine experts provide a new guest experience as the summer cruise season begins and builds on the trend for ongoing, fleet-wide enhancements to the line’s wine, beverage and culinary programs in 2018. 

Sommelier Program Available on Four Ships in 2018

Four Windstar ships now offer sommeliers on board, a program that just launched on the 310-guest Wind Surf, which arrived in Lisbon on April 14 for the summer season in the Mediterranean. Windstar’s three all-suite ships also offer onboard sommeliers — Star Breeze and Star Pride sailing throughout Europe; and Star Legend that kicked-off the roll-out in Asia in January and will arrive in Alaska for her maiden season in May; offering travelers kayaking adventures by day followed by culinary and wine indulgences each evening.

All Windstar sommeliers were chosen for their training, knowledge, and experience. They have worked in a broad spectrum of wineries, restaurants, travel and hospitality providers such as Celebrity, Disney and Seabourn cruise lines, Hermitage and Radisson hotels, and Le Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux. Justin McAuliffe was the first to offer sommelier services to guests sailing in Asia. Joining McAuliffe on the team are Antony Graz Pradeep, Vitor Da Encarnacao Custodio, Marko Pejic and Slaven Cosic, who will all rotate among the four ships.

Windstar sommeliers lead wine tastings on board, generally one to three are offered depending on the length of the voyage. In addition, the sommeliers may accompany guests on culinary-themed shore excursions to local wineries and restaurants.

Sommeliers Added to James Beard Culinary Cruise Collection Sailings for 2018

Windstar recently announced a multi-year partnership as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation. This year the culinary-themed cruises include James Beard-recognized guest chefs along with beverage experts hand-selected by the James Beard Foundation, including top sommeliers from across the United States.

Sommeliers Belinda Chang and Shelley Lindgren are on the roster in the coming months and will join forces with the onboard sommeliers to provide Windstar’s wine programming. Chang joins Chef Maxime Bilet on June 20 to sail the French Riviera. On the June 27 Spanish Symphony cruise, Sommelier Ashley Santoro, wine director of The Standard East Village, joins Chef Anthony Sasso, one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide for Casa Mono.

In August, Sommelier Jon McDaniel of Gage Hospitality unites with Chef Sarah Gruenberg on discovering culinary gems of the Adriatic on August 7. Also, that month, Sommelier Katie Bell joins Chef Evan Hanczor on a Windstar sailing in Norway on August 17.

Beverage Packages

Windstar is now offering lower daily prices for any beverage package to guests sailing 14-day and longer, back-to-back Star Collector Voyages. The line launched a new beverage package program in fall 2017, allowing for a variety of tiered levels of premium products. The package offerings are available for purchase on a per cruiser basis rather than requiring guests sharing a stateroom to purchase the same package.

The Voyager’s Adventure ($32 per person, per day) and Topmast Discoveries ($42 per person, per day) beer and wine packages include a mix of New and Old World wines. Many of the selections come from regions visited on Windstar itineraries, including Bordeaux and Barcelona. The Captain’s Exclusive ($52 per person, per day) package includes a wide array of wines, beers, and spirits, including Dalmore Single Malt Whisky, distilled just outside of Invergordon, Scotland, a port visited on Windstar’s Gaelic Explorers and Norwegian Fjords & Scottish Isles cruises. 

Plus, Windstar’s “Get Closer” Event is on now through June 15, the promotion offers guests up to $1,000 shipboard credit to spend while cruising, available on new bookings based on sailing, stateroom or suite, with hundreds of cruise departure dates available in 2018 and 2019.

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