Our team at Pique Travel is often asked which cruise lines we prefer. If you’ve worked with us, you know we tend to ask a million questions to get to the “right” answer for our clients. However, we can typically say with confidence that one of our “go-to” small ship luxury cruise lines around the world is Windstar Cruises.
“I’ve sailed on Windstar and can personally attest to the beauty of their ships, the exceptional staff and service on board, and their range of unique itineraries,” says Liz Matassa, cruise specialist at Pique Travel. “I’ve had clients rave about them as they’ve traveled on various itineraries in the Mediterranean, Baltics, Iceland, Alaska and more.”
Whether you are new to cruising, or a seasoned veteran, Windstar offers a more personal, small ship experience (its ships and yachts host from 128 guests up to 348 guests). A size that comes in handy when everyone needs to board and disembark at similar times (limited lines to say the least) and dinner feels a little less hurried than the big ships holding thousands.
When it comes to itineraries, Windstar offers a range of fascinating destinations and sailing durations. Some of our favorites include:
This 8-day sailing highlights some of the iconic sites and experiences in Ireland and Scotland. The itinerary a visit to Iona Abbey, one of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites; walking the Royal Mile up to Edinburgh Castle; music of a traditional Irish band in Portrush, whisky tasting Orkney’s world-famous distillery and so much more. Note: This is one of Liz’s personal favorites!
Iceland continues to attract visitors from around the world, and one of the best ways to enjoy its beauty is from the water. We love this itinerary because you go beyond the tourist hotspots and enjoy many of the island’s most remote fjords and coastlines. Itinerary highlights include taking a polar flight to Grimsey Island to stand half in, half out of the Arctic Circle; visiting the island of Heimaey, the Pompeii of the North, covered in ash by a devastating 1973 eruption; witnessing the rainbow-colored beauty of Godafoss, “Waterfall of the Gods,” outside Akureyri and more.
For those of you seeking a yacht experience, this route sails aboard the Wind Spirit, a sleek, 4-masted sailing ship hosting 148 guests. This itinerary starts and ends in Papeete on the main island of Tahiti, but sails to five other islands including Moorea, Raiatea and Bora Bora. With its modest size, the yacht can explore areas larger ships can’t, giving guests plenty of opportunity to snorkel, dive, soak in local culture and simply relax.
For race enthusiasts, this might just be your best way to get in-demand Grand Prix tickets and lodging to one of the most sought-after races in the world! This itinerary features exciting Monte Carlo and Rome, but also some picturesque small ports including Portofino, Bastia, and Saint Raphael.
This Eastern Mediterranean cruise explores the Peloponnese in ways inaccessible to large-ship cruise lines. And, it will soon be on the newly re-envisioned Star Legend. Among many highlights are a visit to the original site of the Olympic Games, exploring the Turkish architecture of Chania (including the Arabian Lighthouse and the Kioutsouk Hassan Mosque), overnighting in Istanbul (with plenty of time to explore the Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque), and a unique experience as you transit through the narrow Corinth Canal, so close you can almost touch the rock walls.
“Cruisers don’t often realize that booking through Pique Travel is the same price as booking direct,” added Liz. “Yet we add so much more value and insight into which lines (and ships) are best, often doing a side-by-side comparison to the traveler knows they’re making the right decision. Plus we can easily help with a pre or post cruise itinerary in port cities that warrant a couple extra days of touring.”
Want to learn more about cruising with Windstar? Email Liz at LizM@PiqueTravel.com.