New Itineraries Fuel Windstar Sales

Romantic luxury under sail sees strong advance bookings By: Marilyn Green
Itineraries, Sales Guests have multiple dining  options from which to choose onboard Windstar Cruises. // © Windstar Cruises
Itineraries, Sales Guests have multiple dining  options from which to choose onboard Windstar Cruises. // © Windstar Cruises

The Details

Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises is seeing strong advance bookings for 2011 with a high rate of repeat guests, and both charter and FIT bookings are continuing to increase compared to the same time last year, according to CEO Hans Birkholz.

“We are optimistic about 2011,” said Birkholz. “Our strategy is to continue to highlight our brand’s value proposition and deliver strong offers in the marketplace.”

Windstar’s target market is aimed toward the sophisticated, discerning traveler who responds to the opportunity to sail to both unusual and well-known cruise destinations.

Windstar continues to invest in its luxurious ships, with the last phase of its Degrees of Difference program just completed this summer. The program has added amenities and enhancements in dining, accommodations, entertainment, spa, fitness and shore excursions.

“Guests have been raving about the new enhancements, and our guest satisfaction ratings are at an all-time high,” Birkholz said.

Brand-New Itineraries in Store
New itineraries, additional sought-after ports and a captivating Signature Collection lineup are all part of Windstar’s offerings for 2011.

New itineraries include the Baltic, the Holy Land, Europe, Costa Rica, the Caribbean and trans-Atlantic voyages. In addition, the Wind Surf will be returning to the Greek Isles for the first time in six years, offering seven-day sailings between Athens and Istanbul. 

Windstar’s Baltic voyages feature architectural wonders, monuments, picturesque villages and dramatic landscapes with seven-day sailings from Le Havre, France, to Oslo, Norway; Oslo to Stockholm, Sweden; roundtrip from Stockholm; Stockholm to Oslo;  and Oslo to Le Havre.

The company’s new Holy Land cruises showcase the history, ancient ruins, museums and archeological sites of some of the most fascinating places in the world. Windstar’s 10-day sailing on Wind Star from Athens to Ashdod, Israel, departs Oct. 15, 2011, and visits Santorini, Greece; Alanya, Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; and Port Said, Egypt (overnight). An 11-day sailing cruises from Ashdod to Athens, departing Oct. 25, 2011, and visits Haifa, Port Said (overnight) as well as Limassol, Cyprus; Marmaris, Turkey; Patmos, Greece; and Idra, Greece.

European sailings between Lisbon, Portugal, and Le Havre highlight World War II sites, picturesque towns, castles and fishing villages, as well as offering an optional post tour to Paris.

There are also new Costa Rica voyages between Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, and Colon, Panama, bringing guests to jungles, pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and a Panama Canal Transit — all in seven days.

Vibrant ports, white-sand beaches and azure waters are some of the elements that make up the new seven-day Caribbean cruises between Barbados and St. Martin.

And, in November 2011, Wind Spirit will offer a new transatlantic voyage: 13 days from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, to St. Martin, F.W.I.

Signature Collection Host Series Windstar’s 2011 Signature Collection
Host Series allows guests to taste and learn about wines from top winemakers Daniel Baron of Silver Oak Cellars, Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellar and Figgins Family Wine Estates, Tor and Susan Kenward of Tor Kenward Family Wines, Bob Iantosca of Gloria Ferrer and Julia Iantosca of Lasseter Family Winery, as well as David Gianulias and Todd Rustman of
Levendi Winery.

Chef Fabio Viviani of Firenze Osteria and fan favorite of “Top Chef” season five will please food connoisseurs, and guests can discover the art of photography with celebrity and travel photographer John Russo. Garden designer Anthea Guthrie will share her passion for gardening and design tips, and Todd Rustman will discuss the principles of wealth management.

Windstar continues to engage travel professionals, educating them about the line’s product, ship enhancements and new offerings. The line also works with agents to identify Windstar prospects in their client bases, providing them with turnkey marketing solutions to grow their businesses.

New for 2011 and 2012 is a program for group bookings that includes early booking savings and bonus commission for travel professionals. Windstar also has a team dedicated to charters and incentives that allows the ship to become an extension of a company or group. The line has sailed more than 400 full-ship charters and several hundred group sailings by companies around the world.

For 2011, Windstar is increasing promotional efforts and will be aggressively promoting the product through special offers and destination-focused campaigns as well as educating consumers about the Windstar difference. They will also be expanding their sales reach to increase opportunities with travel professionals.  

“Windstar remains a strong, award-winning product, and we look forward to continuing to provide our valued travel partners and guests with the great product and great service that the line is known for,” Birkholz said.
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