health & safety

Health And Safety

Here at Windstar Cruises, the health and safety of everyone on board is a top priority. We are connected to industry experts and following guidelines by the regulatory authorities in every area of the world. Our team is implementing additional technologies that go beyond these requirements as part of our new Beyond Ordinary Care program.

New COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement - UPDATED April 1, 2021

Windstar Cruises will require proof of a current COVID-19 vaccination for all guests sailing aboard Windstar’s yachts. The cruise line arrived at the decision in the best health and wellness interests of its guests, crew, and the places the yachts visit.

At the cruise terminal prior to embarkation, guests will be required to provide proof of a completed current vaccine course (one or two shots, depending on the brand) finished at least 14 days prior to the guest’s embarkation date.

NEW: No COVID-19 PCR test is required at pier. Windstar will require and administer a free COVID-19 antigen test at pier prior to boarding. A negative test result is required to board.

The Beyond Ordinary Care program is a multi-layered strategy with key hospital-grade elements: HEPA filters and UV-C ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect the air, plus electrostatic sprayers to sanitize all surfaces throughout the yacht.

We are making a multi-million dollar investment in our fleet to provide a healthy environment while sailing on a Windstar yacht. Hospital grade high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters along with a UV-C air zapping process (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) are being installed on board all Windstar yachts.

Our Beyond Ordinary Care program was developed with consultation and review by the Senior Medical Director at the UC Health Infection Control and Prevention Department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and implements a rigorous multi-layered approach of science-led best practices aimed at keeping everyone aboard healthy.

Beyond Ordinary Care

A Message On Health & Safety from our President, Christopher Prelog

Pre-Departure

A healthy environment is a collaboration. Guests are asked to wear masks when traveling to the yachts. No COVID-19 PCR test will be required at the pier. Windstar will require and administer a free COVID-19 antigen test pier-side prior to embarkation and a negative result is required to board. The test is a minimally intrusive nose swab (which is less intrusive than a PCR test), unless local health authorities require a PCR test. Social distance will be maintained at embarkation.


The US State Department advises travelers to review the CDC’s latest guidance on travel restrictions or research country specific travel advisories on their website. We recommend you check both sources before traveling internationally. The CDC keeps a list of specific groups of people who may be at higher risk of severe illness; check with your doctor before traveling if you fall into this category. Guests are responsible for complying with any COVID-19 test requirement or standard imposed by any country visited during travel. Some countries are requiring travel insurance to cover COVID-19 related costs. Windstar recommends guests research each country and its requirements and highly recommends purchasing travel insurance to cover COVID-19 services.

On Board

A layered approach to cleaning and sanitizing includes an increased frequency of cleaning public spaces and high touch points, hospital grade HEPA filters and UV-C light to disinfect the air, and electrostatic sprayers using a hospital-grade, EPA-approved sanitizing solution on surfaces and in public spaces.

Upgrades to the HVAC systems on board the ships include two different components. The first is the installation of HEPA filters proven to filter out illness and allergy causing components. The second component is the UV-C light which is proven to kill many different types of bacteria and viruses, including norovirus and coronavirus. Together, the components filter and sanitize the air for a high level of disinfection of the air supply. Learn more about these HVAC components and the electrostatic sprayers on the blog.

Additional medical staff will be on board. Crew will wear masks and be given a COVID-19 PCR test weekly. Guests will also wear masks indoors and outdoors when unable to social distance. Onboard functions will be conducted without handshakes by our officers and crew, but do look out for our new “Windstar Wave.” Meals will be served by crew, eliminating the need for self-serve buffets. We expect our guests to participate by adopting best hygiene and social distancing practices while on board to keep themselves and the larger community protected.

Flexible Dining

Restaurant operations will be further personalized by our crew during every meal and tables will be spaced apart for social distance. A variety of restaurant choices include outdoor dining on deck at Candles, Veranda, and new aboard the Star Plus Class yachts, Star Grill by Steven Raichlen.

Shore Excursions

All shore excursions will be vetted by our expert team to ensure best practices in health and safety protocols are followed. Shore excursions will operate at a reduced capacity and masks will be worn according to local regulations and when unable to social distance. For the near term as required by the Cruise Lines International Association, guests will need to book a Windstar shore excursion to go ashore. Changes in shore excursions offered may occur due to evolving regulations and conditions in a destination. Tenders, motor coaches and smaller boats will operate at a reduced capacity and be cleaned between each use. Staggered departures in port will aid in social distancing.

Before Boarding Flights to US

On January 12, 2021 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that all air passengers entering the United States must present a negative Covid-19 test prior to boarding planes to the United States. The test must be taken within three days of the flight and written documentation of the lab result is to be provided to the airline. If the traveler has been previously infected, they may provide documentation that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 90 days. The CDC also recommends travelers be tested again three to five days after arrival and stay home seven days post-travel.

Windstar will offer optional COVID-19 tests for purchase on board for those guests who’d like the convenience of taking a test on board prior to disembarkation and flight home.

Windstar's Multi-Layered Beyond Ordinary Care Program

Summary of Key Points

Pre-boarding

  • All guests are required to have completed a full course of COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to embarkation. Proof of vaccination required at cruise terminal.
  • Receive updated communications about COVID-19 policies from Windstar
  • Research COVID-19 test requirements and standards for any countries visited during travel
  • Windstar recommends purchasing travel insurance to cover COVID-19 related costs
  • Wear masks during travel to ship
  • Health screening at terminal prior to embarkation
  • No COVID-19 PCR test required at pier; Windstar will require and administer a free COVID-19 antigen test prior to boarding
  • Negative antigen test result required to board
  • Socially distanced embarkation


On board
  • HEPA filters and UV-C lights in HVAC system are a double whammy to clean the air of microbes on board ships
  • Electrostatic sprayers sanitize spaces and surfaces with a powerful, EPA-approved, hospital-grade sanitizing solution
  • Ultraviolet-C light emitting wands will be used to disinfect public items
  • Increase frequency of cleaning public spaces and high-touch points
  • Dining venues operate at reduced capacity with tables spaced apart
  • Additional medical staff on board
  • Masks must be worn indoors in public spaces except when eating and drinking
  • Masks must be worn on deck when unable to social distance except when swimming
  • Sail with reduced capacity
  • Crew wear masks and undergo COVID-19 specific training
  • Capability to test crew and guests for COVID-19 with PCR test
  • Ability to care for and treat guests if they become ill
  • Designated isolation cabins set aside


Shore excursions
  • Excursions will be reviewed and offered only if they meet appropriate standards
  • For the near term as required by the Cruise Lines International Association, guests will need to book a Windstar shore excursion to go ashore.
  • All shore excursions have been vetted for health and safety protocols
  • Tenders, motor coaches, and smaller boats will operate at reduced capacity and will be cleaned between each use
  • Shore excursions to operate at reduced capacity
  • Masks will be required according to local regulations and when unable to social distance
  • Staggered arrivals and departures in port

FAQs

About Covid-19

ARE YOU SAILING NOW?
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO OPERATE YOUR YACHTS SAFELY?
SO WHAT, SPECIFICALLY, IS NOTABLE ABOUT YOUR APPROACH?
WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT ON BOARD?
WILL THERE BE SHORE EXCURSIONS?
WHAT ELSE WILL BE DIFFERENT ON BOARD?
HOW WILL YOU HANDLE TESTING FOR THE VIRUS?
HOW ARE YOU HANDLING STAFFING?
WHICH VACCINES ARE YOU ACCEPTING?
IS THE CREW VACCINATED?
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A COVID-19 CASE?
ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THE VACCINATION RULE?
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BOOKING IF I DON’T GET THE VACCINE?
IF GUESTS ARE EXPOSED PRIOR TO TRAVEL WILL THEY BE ALLOWED TO EMBARK?
WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M DENIED BOARDING?