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Why Windstar stands tall as the best small ship cruise line

Embark on a journey like no other with Windstar, the world’s best small ship cruise line. Discover a unique way to experience both the journey and the destination in a way you never imagined possible. With a focus on personalized voyages, unmatched intimacy, and a commitment to sustainability, Windstar stands tall as a leader in the cruising industry.

All cruise ships let you see the world. Only Windstar’s private yacht style cruises brings you close enough so you can truly experience it. Each of our Windstar Cruises yachts serves between 148 and 342 guests. This intimacy provides you with the luxuries of time, space and freedom to immerse yourself in both the journey and the destination — in ways you may never have imagined possible.

Personalized voyages and authentic experiences

Choosing Windstar means embarking on a journey tailored just for you, where your preferences and desires are not just noted but celebrated. The intimate scale of Windstar’s fleet, accommodating fewer than 350 guests, fosters an environment where every aspect of your voyage feels personal and exclusive. From the crew, who quickly become familiar faces, knowing your name and your preferences, to the thoughtful touches that surprise and delight throughout your journey, Windstar’s commitment to a personalized experience shines. Imagine the joy of finding your favorite wine waiting for you at dinner, or the thrill of a customized shore excursion designed around your interests, offering you a deeper, more meaningful connection to the places you visit. This level of personalized attention extends beyond the tangible, creating an atmosphere where you feel genuinely cared for and valued. On a Windstar cruise, you are more than just a passenger; you are a cherished member of a close-knit community where your happiness and satisfaction are paramount. This dedication to personalization is what truly sets Windstar apart, ensuring that your journey is not just memorable, but uniquely yours.

Windstar’s yachts are beautiful, but their real beauty lies in how close they can get you to the kind of authentic, immersive experiences you’re looking for. Banish cliché, toss aside regimen, steer clear of stuffy. Our perfectly sized yachts, fresh from a $250 million renovation, make it possible to flip the script on cruising. Free yourself from crowds and indulge all your senses, especially your sense of awe. Experience cultures in ways that are personal and authentic, with the power to change your perspective. A Windstar yacht is large enough to pamper, yet small enough to explore secluded coves and docks in the heart of charming villages, sparkling cities, and remote islands.


A culinary journey as memorable as the destination

For those who believe that extraordinary meals are a cornerstone of unforgettable travel, Windstar’s onboard dining will not disappoint. Emphasizing culinary excellence, the cruise line takes pride in offering a diverse array of dining options that reflect the rich flavors of the destinations visited. Windstar’s commitment to a spectacular dining experience is evident in the meticulous attention to detail, from the selection of the freshest local ingredients to the presentation of each dish.

Windstar’s chefs are true artisans, expertly blending traditional techniques with innovative approaches to create dishes that are both familiar and thrillingly new. Each menu is thoughtfully curated, offering passengers a taste of the local cuisine alongside international favorites, ensuring every palate is catered to. Dining on Windstar is not just about eating; it’s about embarking on a gastronomic adventure that enhances your overall journey.

Whether you’re indulging in a multi-course gourmet dinner in the ship’s elegant dining room, enjoying a casual outdoor lunch with panoramic views, or partaking in a special themed meal under the stars, Windstar makes every meal an event to remember. The intimate size of Windstar’s ships also means that chefs can personalize meals to meet dietary needs and preferences, further elevating the personalized service that defines the Windstar experience.

Dining on Windstar is as much about the atmosphere as it is about the cuisine. The settings are designed to foster a sense of camaraderie among guests, creating memorable moments over shared meals. This focus on creating a culinary journey as memorable as the destinations visited adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the Windstar experience, making each voyage truly unforgettable.

No matter what destination beckons you, the local flavor of the culture is deliciously captured when you dine onboard your Windstar ship. Fresh, local ingredients — often selected by your ship’s chef on a trip to the local market — along with seasonal produce and culinary ingenuity, go into each perfectly presented dish. And naturally, you have a choice of venues to dine in, all with open seating. Dinner in the exquisite Amphora, lunch alfresco at Veranda, dessert in Stella Bistro. Or drinks and dinner at a magical, moonlit Candles!

Set sail with the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation

Windstar Cruises and the James Beard Foundation are partnered to bring you culinary experiences that are 180 degrees from ordinary. Through this program, Windstar works with the James Beard Foundation to bring together some of the most talented chefs on themed cruises and in our dining program.

Imagine dining on dishes created by not just one celebrity chef, but a list of all-stars with the likes of Maxime Bilet (The Cooking Lab), Evan Hanzcor (Egg), and Jose Mendin (Pubbelly Noodle Bar, Habitat, Baja Bao) every single night in our main Amphora dining room. For a truly beyond ordinary experience, jump aboard for a themed cruises featuring James Beard Foundation chefs and beverage experts, a foodie’s dream, with chef demos, dishes created by chef themselves, and market tours. And learn their secrets as you watch demos of their recipes on every sailing.

The James Beard Foundation was created to recognize and celebrate the chefs, writers and restaurateurs who advance America’s culinary arts. This emphasis on innovation and excellence pairs perfectly with Windstar’s superior service, intimate ambiance, and drive to constantly innovate its cuisine. The James Beard Foundation nominates and chooses winners of the James Beard Awards, referred to as the Oscars of the restaurant industry.

As the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, we’re able to work with over 20 of the best chefs to create the extraordinary dishes on our nightly menu and in our culinary demos. Windstar is celebrating the 10th anniversary of our partnership in 2025. To mark this special occasion, we’re thrilled to announce the return of several beloved chefs who have sailed with us in the past.


Freedom: No schedule to keep except your own

We don’t have jam-packed onboard programs filled with bingo and blackjack tournaments. Instead, visit local markets with our Chef. Drop by the Open Bridge for an impromptu lesson in chart reading. Share bottles of wine and stories with the couple sitting next to you in Candles. Listen to live music in the Lounge. Jump directly off the yacht from our Watersports Platform. And most of all, do more of the things you want to do when you travel.

The best on land brought to you by the best at sea

Get to the heart of local cultures with Windstar shore excursions. You don’t want to just dip a toe in local culture, you want to dive into the deep end, and that’s exactly what Windstar shore excursions are designed to do. All of the excursions are created to provide authentic local experience, and with more than 2,000 excursions to choose from, you can experience your destination in whatever way is most meaningful to you. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, a history buff or someone who loves to get to know the faces behind the many places we travel.

Windstar’s carefully crafted itineraries are designed to take advantage of the ships’ unique capabilities, bringing passengers to the doorstep of the world’s most exotic locales. From the azure waters of the South Pacific to the historic ports of the Mediterranean, each journey is an opportunity to explore beyond the typical tourist tracks. It’s not just about the places you visit, but how you get there – slipping quietly into a secluded bay under the stars, or arriving at dawn to watch a city wake, provides a perspective few travelers get to experience.

This exclusive access extends to the experiences available ashore, with excursions that are as unique as the destinations themselves. Windstar’s excursions go beyond the ordinary, offering intimate encounters with local cultures, wildlife, and landscapes. Whether it’s a private tour of a family-owned vineyard, a guided hike through remote natural reserves, or a cultural immersion in a village seldom visited by outsiders, Windstar makes each destination an unforgettable part of your journey. The magic of these places is matched only by the way Windstar brings them within reach, offering a window into the world’s most secluded harbors and exotic locales.

All the comforts of Home, all around the world

Windstar’s dedication to creating a serene and intimate atmosphere is evident the moment you board one of their elegant ships. The cruise line’s small vessel size not only allows for unparalleled personal attention but also guarantees a level of comfort and relaxation that larger ships can’t match. The staterooms are designed with luxury and convenience in mind, offering plush accommodations that serve as your private retreat after a day of adventure. Each space is thoughtfully appointed, ensuring every need is met with high-quality amenities and sumptuous decor.

The intimate setting extends beyond the private quarters to the communal areas of the ship, where every space is crafted to foster connections and relaxation. Lounge areas are cozy yet sophisticated, inviting you to unwind with a book or engage in quiet conversation. On deck, the spacious layout ensures you can enjoy the breathtaking vistas without feeling overcrowded, making it easy to find your own peaceful corner of the world.

The ships’ smaller size also contributes to a smoother sailing experience, with less motion than you might find on larger vessels. This attention to passenger comfort is part of what makes a journey with Windstar not just a trip, but a soothing escape. As you sail from one extraordinary destination to the next, the calm and welcoming atmosphere onboard makes it easy to fully immerse yourself in the joys of travel. Windstar’s commitment to unmatched intimacy and comfort transforms your cruise into an unparalleled experience of luxury and ease.

The Windstar Community: A Family of Adventurous Spirits

At the heart of Windstar’s unique charm is its vibrant community, a dynamic tapestry woven from the diverse threads of its adventurous passengers. Within this close-knit family, connections are easily forged over shared experiences and the mutual thrill of discovery. It’s common to find guests exchanging stories of past voyages or tips for upcoming excursions, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual respect. This sense of belonging is facilitated by the intimate scale of Windstar cruises, where faces become familiar, and friendships are fostered not just among fellow travelers but with the crew as well. The inclusive environment welcomes everyone from solo voyagers seeking solitude and reflection, to couples celebrating milestones, and families creating unforgettable memories together.

Engagement is a key part of the Windstar experience, with social gatherings like the Captain’s reception providing the perfect backdrop for meeting new friends or reconnecting with past travel companions. These interactions are further enriched by the shared sense of purpose and passion for exploration, characteristics that define the Windstar community. Whether it’s a lively discussion about a day’s adventures or quiet reflections on a stunning sunset, the moments shared on board a Windstar cruise deepen the travel experience, creating bonds that often extend beyond the voyage. This unique community, bound by the joy of discovery and a love for the sea’s untold stories, is a fundamental part of what makes a journey with Windstar truly exceptional.

Windstar Knows the Way to Romance

Windstar and romance go together as naturally as beaches and sunshine. The romance of being under sail, the intimate yachts. Open deck space to find your own private nook. Windstar is continually recognized as the most romantic cruise line. So naturally we crafted romance packages that let you set the mood in alluring surroundings like enchanting and ethereal Tahiti.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a first or second honeymoon, a vow renewal, an anniversary, or a vacation surprise, Windstar’s Romance Packages provide romantic moments and special amenities. Depending on your destination, excursion add-ons can be purchased for those seeking ultra-romantic moments.

A romantic cruise vacation should be exclusively about you and your loved one, so you’re free to fully customize from two main packages—one with a vow exchange ceremony and one without. Invite friends or keep every moment between the two of you. If you’re planning a wedding, note it’s a symbolic ceremony on board and plan to do the legal part pre- or post-cruise to tie the knot.

How to make the most of your windstar journey

Embarking on a Windstar journey unlocks a plethora of unique opportunities designed to enrich your travel experience. To fully immerse yourself in the Windstar way of life, consider diving into the array of activities tailored to enhance your exploration both onboard and ashore. Engage with the local cultures through Windstar’s exclusive shore excursions that promise intimate, enlightening experiences far from the beaten path. Whether it’s a cooking class using local ingredients or a private tour led by a knowledgeable local guide, these adventures promise a deeper understanding and appreciation of your destinations.

Onboard, elevate your relaxation and wellness with Windstar’s world-class spa offerings. Treat yourself to a massage that draws on traditions from the regions you visit, or participate in a yoga class against the backdrop of an ocean sunrise. These moments of serenity are balanced by the lively social atmosphere found in the evenings. Participating in themed dinners or attending a live performance can transform a simple night at sea into a memorable celebration of your journey’s discoveries.

Encouraging a blend of relaxation, discovery, and engagement, Windstar crafts an environment where every moment is ripe with potential. By stepping out of your comfort zone and joining in on these curated experiences, you’re not just a spectator but an active participant in the storied tapestry of travel that Windstar weaves. Each activity, designed with thoughtfulness and care, ensures that your journey transcends the ordinary, offering stories and memories that resonate long after your voyage concludes.

Are you ready for your Windstar journey today? 

Talk to a 1000 Mile Travel Vacations Travel Advisor today!