We are thrilled to have recently received three Gold Magellan Awards in the 2016 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards. Voted on by travel professionals in the know, the awards recognized Windstar Cruises as a leader in small ship cruising with the top level gold award. Gold accolades were also bestowed upon the Windstar team for having the best shore excursions, crating inventive itineraries, and showcasing unique advertising and marketing campaigns.
The Travel Weekly Magellan Awards honor the best in travel and salute the outstanding travel professionals at sea and on land that stand behind it all. The awards are judged by a panel consisting of top-notch travel experts, bringing more weight to the award than the five-pound gold and silver statuettes that accompany the titles.
“I’m particularly proud of these awards, as they are all at the heart of our business and what makes us unique in the cruise industry. We are all about small ship cruising – focusing on unique destinations and itineraries that only a small yacht can access. By recognizing Windstar as a leader in the Small Cruise Ship category, highlighting our one-of-a-kind Around Iceland itinerary, tipping their hat at our complimentary Destination Discovery events, and giving note to our new travel-agent marketing initiative Star Promise, Travel Weekly has honored the very core programs and values of Windstar that truly set us apart.” said Windstar’s President John Delaney.
“Windstar Cruises is our exclusive way to escape, to enjoy casual, yet elegant food & service and meet other interesting like-minded yachties.”
– Windstar Yacht Club Member Chips W.
2016 Gold Magellan Award Winner – Small Cruise Ship (500 Passengers or Under)
Windstar Cruises prides itself on a casually elegant approach to cruising — “180 Degrees from Ordinary.” Visiting 150-plus smaller harbors and classic ports in 50 countries, guests enjoy in-port overnights, adventures ashore with local experts, personalized experiences and world-class cuisine. Known for delivering exemplary service and charming staff, the line’s sleek yachts offer ample open decks, watersports, and modern, nautical décor coupled with rare travel opportunities: dine al fresco with Ibiza as your backdrop, talk shop with the captain on the bridge, boast VIP status at Monaco’s famed Grand Prix.
Windstar continues to innovate and shake up small ship cruising by doubling the iconic fleet to six in the last two years, naming seasoned cruise executive John Delaney as president of the boutique line in July, and wrapping up a $27 million transformation of three all-suite mega yachts, added to three elegant sailing ships.
“We typically stay in five star hotels and found our suite comparable to any place we’ve stayed. We were in the owner’s suite which was spectacular but looked at the other cabins which were all beautiful and well appointed. The staff could not have been more welcoming and friendly and there was nothing they wouldn’t do to make our voyage more pleasant. The food was the real surprise. It was different every night, often with specials from the local market and served by friendly, highly professional wait staff. ”
– Windstar Guest B R S (Cruise Critic) ”
“The “yacht” being about a 200 passenger ship it could go to places other larger passenger ships could not get into such as going up the river to Seville. Our docking locations were always “front row seat docking,” and very convenient to off loading.”
– Windstar Guest ranchomiragecalifornia (Cruise Critic)
“Just got home from our Greek Island cruise on Wind Star! Thank you Captain Belinda Bennett and all your crew for our best cruise ever! Can not believe that Natasha knew everyone’s name by the first evening..It just doesn’t get any better than that !! It was all the little special things that made the trip so memorable ..”
– MSY Wind Star Guest June Steinvorth
2016 Gold Magellan Award Winner – Itinerary (Around Iceland)
Windstar has always been known for cruising to less-visited ports and smaller harbors, and the popular Around Iceland itinerary is a prime example. The 212-passenger Star Legend departed on the 7-night itinerary’s first-ever sailing in July 2016. The itinerary is a unique circumnavigation of Iceland from Reykjavik that takes guests beyond the tourist hotspots to remote fjords and tiny fishing villages. Among other points of interest, cruisers pass one of the world’s youngest islands, Surtsey, which rose from the sea in the 1960s, and visit Heimaey Island where a 1973 volcanic eruption left behind a modern-day Pompeii. The itinerary includes an overnight stay in colorful Seydisfjordur, a gateway to some of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls.
The itinerary has in fact proven so popular that Windstar has doubled the number of sailings planned for 2017, adding Star Pride to the region along with sister yacht Star Legend to help accommodate traveler demand.
“Just returned from the first ‘round Iceland week on Legend. Was apprehensive because we knew and loved the ship from Seabourn, and knew Windstar was not the same… The staff was great, the food good and the renovations are a nice touch. Always some room for improvement or change, but, overall, we loved the trip and recommend it! It exceeded our expectations!”
– Star Legend Cruise Guest Risa D. on Facebook
2016 Gold Magellan Award Winner – Shore Excursion (Destination Discovery Events)
Destination Discovery events are spectacular onshore events giving cruise guests an in-depth and original local experience that is both exclusive and complimentary. The bespoke events are carefully crafted with each detail carefully planned. Offered on many Windstar cruises, the events are always held in an evocative setting representing the cultural theme, ranging from Roman ruins to secluded beaches. For example, in St. Petersburg on Windstar’s Baltic Delights cruise, guests enjoy a performance of a well-known ballet in one of the best theaters of St. Petersburg, the Ballet Capital of Russia. Intermission brings champagne and history from a local guide.
In 2017, Destination Discovery events offer dozens of individually-curated events entertain and nourish guests with local musical and dance performers and fresh regional culinary specialties. These culturally enriching experiences tie to Windstar’s greater philosophy of surprising and delighting the line’s sophisticated travelers each day of their journey.
“Windstar also provided two special events that were excellent. They brought flamenco singers/dancers on board for a special show. They also arranged an afternoon private tour with entertainment, tapas, and wine at a palace in Palma de Mallorca. Very impressive.”
– Windstar Guest TexasGrown
FAN POLL: What is your favorite Windstar small ship, destination or shore excursion? Let us know in comments!