Windstar Heads West for Caribbean and Latin America Voyages

Windstar Wind Surf in St Lucia
Windstar Wind Surf in St Lucia/Courtesy of Windstar

Windstar Cruises is setting its sights for a plethora of destinations. That is because the company is creating new sailings for 2019 and 2020 with visits to ports in Mexico, Honduras, Grand Cayman, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Cruisers looking for a trip can pick from 152 departure dates ranging from seven- to 56- days. Departures look at less-frequented tropical ports; onboard, guests can enjoy the line’s signature Open Bridge and watersports platform allowing for landings by Zodiac and handmade excursions.

The boutique line is launching a new Star Collector: Grand Caribbean Adventure on the Wind Surf, the largest sailing ship on Earth. The nearly two-month cruise is a means for travelers to explore the Caribbean’s Greater and Lesser Antilles and Latin America. The itinerary includes a first-time-ever visit to the Panama Canal for Wind Surf where the cruise will take cruise-goers on an excursion through the three-tiered Gatun Locks, the Atlantic connector locks and cruising on Gatun Lake, then back to the Caribbean through the Gatun Locks that afternoon. The journey calls on nearly 40 ports and more than 25 ports in 56 days.

The award-winning small ship cruise line will have four of their six cruises sailing in regions with tiny harbors, like Man-O-War Bay in Tobago, with several programs providing late-night and overnight port calls giving travelers the time to better experience local cultures.

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The whole Windstar fleet offers complimentary water sports and trained sports coordinators. Activities include stand-up paddle boards, small sailboats, floating sun mats, water trampolines, inflatable tows and waterskiing. Shore excursions include a private chocolate-making tour in St. Lucia, allowing guests to make their own dark chocolate bar from cocoa nibs broken down from local, dried trinitario beans. At the same destination, guests could receive instruction in a painting class led by a local artist. Guests can also power cruise to Mustique, a more than 10-acre island off Bequia boasting a coral reef, coves and beaches frequented by prominent people.

Tour favorites let travelers go cave tubing in Belize, windsurf off Bonaire, snorkel with sea turtles and rays in waters as clear as glass, climb the battlements of colonial forts and scale the arrowhead peak of famous Gros Piton in St. Lucia.

Cuisine Meets Culture in the Caribbean: JBF Culinary Cruise Collection

Water is an elemental part of the region’s food and beverage history, and Windstar’s culinary program and affiliation as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation (JBF) is a means for guests to find their way through cultures blending Mayan, European and Afro-Caribbean influences. Upcoming JBF Culinary Collection sailings provide several food and beverage fusions, taking place in the region—on December 15, 2018 round-trip from San Juan; January 5, 2019 from San Juan to Bridgetown; and on February 16, 2019 from Puerto Caldera to Colón; 2020 sailings will be announced at a later date.

New Grand Caribbean Adventure Headlines Star Collectors: Small Ships, Big Adventures

Star Collector Sailings offer longer voyages that can be cut down into smaller segments to suit cruise guest schedules. Star Collector Voyages have few (if any) repeat ports, hand-crafted excursions and complimentary daily laundry service. Voyages include: 

Star Collector: Grand Caribbean Adventure (56 days, 38 ports, 27 countries)

This is a 56-day Grand Caribbean Adventure with 38 ports in 27 countries as Wind Surf travels from Philipsburg, St. Maarten through the Greater and Lesser Antilles heading to dozens of island ports enroute to Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Belize, Mexico and back.

Cruise-goers can pass through the century-old Gatun Locks on the way to a day of sailing Gatun Lake with a visit to the Gatun Lake Yacht Club before returning to the Caribbean. The ship will be first raised and lowered around 85 feet while it goes through the triple flight of the Gatun Locks consisting of three chambers connecting the Atlantic to large Gatun Lake, south of Colón. Wind Surf will travel more than 20 miles of open water across the Isthmus of Panama.

The Grand Caribbean voyage departs from Philipsburg, St. Maarten on January 4, 2020 and completes the circumnavigation of the Caribbean Sea nearly two months later on February 29.

Star Collector: 3 Americas (39 days, 29 ports, eight countries)

The 39-day 3 Americas expedition aboard Star Legend moves from Vancouver down the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Mexico and through the Panama Canal, ending in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A fragment of the cruise is a James Beard Foundation culinary themed cruise, navigating cuisine, wine and beer all down the coast of the Western United States. The cruise departs on September 24, 2019.

Cruises Sail the Pacific Coast, Mexico & the Sea of Cortez on the All-Suite Star Legend

Fishing for the Sea of Cortez (seven days)

Travelers can hop on the Star Legend and go from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta. The Sea of Cortez is encompassed by village culture that was appealing to John Steinbeck an Jacque Cousteau. It is seven-days of seafaring, snorkeling (with sea lions) and fishing.

Southern Mexico: Fish Tails & Mayan Trails (eight days)

Star Legend takes those aboard from Puerto Vallarta to Puerto Caldera on an excursion navigating Mayan ruins, volcanic summits and UNESCO-designated cultural and snorkeling sites. This trip couples trekking and snorkeling with a glimpse into a site in the origin of civilization.

Caribbean and Latin America: Seven New Itineraries Join Popular Favorites

Windstar’s Caribbean season in 2019-20 will get back to islands, including St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and St. Barth’s with itineraries such as Classic Caribbean and Yachtsman’s Caribbean, but the new cruises below reflect additional offerings for the company. 

The Spanish Main: Rise of the New World (seven days)

Windstar Cruises recommends this excursion from Colón, Panama to San Juan, Puerto Rico for history buffs. Star Legend takes its travelers to the San Blas Archipelago, accessible solely by small ship, and Cartagena, a UNESCO site.

In the Wake of the Spanish Armadas (nine days)

Wind Surf moves from Oranjestad, Aruba to Colón, Panama, tracing the history of Spanish exploration in the region and marking the first time Wind Surf has entered the Panama Canal. 

Mayan Legacies (eight days)

In this program, travelers explore the uncommon Caribbean along the Gulf of Honduras from Colón to Cozumel aboard Wind Surf. The voyage is studded with chalk-white beaches, underground waterfalls, up-close encounters with howler monkeys and sea turtles, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and Isla San Andres, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve accessible only to small ships.

Lush & Lovely Islands of the Lesser Antilles (seven days)

Travelers can go from St. Maarten to Barbados and experience a mix of Caribbean towns and harbors not on the usual path while the ships sail the Lesser Antilles Islands. The program features colonial history in pastel waterfronts, weathered forts and former sugar plantations. Windstar Cruises says the program showcases the Caribbean at its most wild and beautiful on Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. Travelers can join jetsetters on St. Barth's and see Montserrat, the “Pompeii of the Caribbean.”

Stars of the Greater Antilles (11 days)

The cruise moves from Cozumel to St. Maarten aboard Wind Surf and takes the people aboard to places off the map, including pirate shipwrecks.

Windward Ways & Tobago Cays (seven days)

The Wind Surf transit from Barbados to Aruba is an adventure for those looking to put watersports and diving first. The program includes stopes at marine parks like Tobago Cays Marine Park and Bonaire National Marine Park

Dutch Treats Steel Drum Beats (11 days)

Wind Star island-hops the colonial confections of the Dutch Caribbean from St. Maarten through Willemstad and on to Colón. The program includes visits to St. Barth’s pink-sand beaches and Bonaire’s blue tangs.

For more information, visit windstarcruises.com 

This story originally appeared on luxurytraveladvisor.com

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