Windstar Cruises’ 148-passenger Wind Star became the first of the line’s three ships to complete a stem-to-stern refit Insightunder the company’s Full Sail Ahead renovation campaign.

By year’s end, upgrades will be finished onboard the 312-passenger Wind Surf and the 148-passenger Wind Spirit.  
Changes to the Wind Star, which debuted this month following its refit at the Lisanave Shipyard in Lisbon, included a makeover of The Restaurant, now called AmphorA Restaurant.

The venue features a new layout, wine display and a revamped menu that offers dishes such as Dover sole, duck a l'orange and lobster ravioli.

The outdoor seating area in the ship’s Veranda, which serves breakfast and lunch, was expanded. It also has a new buffet, lighting fixtures and display counters.  The Compass Rose lounge, the focal point for evening entertainment aboard all three ships, was reconfigured to open onto an outdoor deck.

A redesign of the reception area includes new artwork and color schemes, and the pool area was redecorated with new furniture. In the evenings, the pool deck becomes Candles Grill, an alfresco dining venue that was introduced last year on the Wind Surf.

Windstar president and CEO Hans Birkholz said last week that passengers have offered high praise about the Wind Star’s refit.

"We really wanted to enhance the guest experience, starting with the fleetwide stateroom renovations, which have been very well received. We've received an overwhelming amount of positive onboard comments,” he said, adding, “Guests are especially enjoying the new AmphorA Restaurant.”

The Full Sail Ahead program was unveiled about a year ago, shortly after the line was sold to Xanterra Resorts
Seattle-based Windstar's former owner, Ambassadors International, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2011. It initially had agreed to sell Windstar and other assets to the firm's biggest creditor, a private equity firm in New York.

But Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Xanterra, through its subsidiary TAC Cruise, surprised the industry with a $39 million cash offer in May 2011, as the bankruptcy proceeding was unfolding.WindStar-pooldeck 

Xanterra operates hotels and restaurants in several national parks. Last fall it earmarked $18 million to refurbish the Windstar ships in stages. All three are marketed as sailing yachts and have mechanically operated sails along with engines.

"We have a company-wide commitment to ensuring our yachts are in excellent condition," said Birkholz. "The vision for the renovation is a classic, stylish luxury that dramatizes the unique thrill of sailing and a private yacht experience."

The Wind Surf underwent a partial restoration last fall, when cabins and suites were redesigned. Further upgrades to the Wind Surf and a full restoration of the Wind Spirit will be completed in December, before they begin a winter series of Caribbean cruises. The ships will undergo their refits at a shipyard in Portugal, said a spokeswoman, possibly at Lisanave, where the Wind Star was drydocked.

All three vessels are sailing in Europe this fall.

The Wind Spirit is operating seven-night Greek Isles and Turkish Delights cruises between Athens and Istanbul, with port calls including Mykonos, Santorini and Kusadasi.  In the Caribbean next winter the yacht will sail seven-night Jewels of the Windward Islands cruises roundtrip from Barbados.

The Wind Star also is operating seven-night Greek Isles and Turkish Delights cruises, along with some six- to eight-night Western Mediterranean sailings this fall. Its winter Caribbean schedule will feature seven-night cruises to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal.

The Wind Surf this fall is offering six- to eight-night Western Mediterranean cruises departing from Venice, Rome or Barcelona. The ship will repeat last year’s winter cruise schedule, operating seven-night Yachtman's Caribbean Voyage sailings roundtrip from St. Maarten.


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