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SEATTLE — For the first time in its history, Windstar Cruises is offering immersive itineraries to Australia and New Zealand, departing in 2020/2021 aboard the newly renovated Star Breeze.
“We’ve had a tremendous focus on adding new destinations in recent years, with an 85% increase in new ports of call,” said Windstar President John Delaney. “Announcing cruises to an entirely new continent on small ship voyages, as only Windstar does them, is a major move for the company and exciting news for our guests who are seeking out new places to explore.”
A total of six new itineraries will sail throughout Australia and New Zealand on the transformed 312-passenger Star Breeze, an all-suite ship that will soon undergo a comprehensive renovation as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Dollar Star Plus Initiative for all three of its Star Class ships. The Star Breeze will boast a new pool and surrounding deck area, two new dining venues for a total of five, a redesigned world-class spa and fitness centre, and 50 new suites.
There’s also the Cairns to Melbourne itinerary featuring stops in some of the country’s most iconic destinations, including the Great Barrier Reef. On what to expect while aboard an Australia cruise, Melissa Witsoe, Product Manager of Windstar Cruises, said: “Our cruises in Australia will deliver both the wild and sophisticated sides, exploring remote reaches like Middle Percy Island, as well as offering an overnight in cosmopolitan Sydney with time to see the famous sites there including the UNESCO Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach.”
Witsoe, who along with her team scouted many of the new ports personally, added that Cairns to Melbourne is really rare as an itinerary: “It’s a unique offering in the cruise world, and one of the ways Windstar will approach sailing in this region different.”
Itineraries such as a roundtrip Auckland sailing will provide overnights in Wellington and Christchurch, as well as visits to smaller places such as the wine-producing region of Hawke’s Bay. Guests will enjoy such highlights as an authentic Hāngi meal, a Maori show in Rotorua in the Hells Gate region, and a wildlife cruise in Dunedin.
For guests looking to enjoy and experience both countries, Star Breeze will offer two cruises sailing between Auckland and Sydney with sightings of kiwis, koalas, and kangaroos. This cruise will feature classic locations like Melbourne, and also take in smaller ports such as Phillip Island. Guests can also enjoy a high-speed Catamaran cruise to Whitehaven Beach in Whitsunday Islands National Park.
The Australia and New Zealand cruises will be the second region where the cruise line launches its award-winning Signature Expeditions, which are currently available on its Alaska itineraries. The Signature Expeditions program provides in-depth insight with active enrichment for travellers to develop an understanding of the destination from beginning to end. For example, in Tasmania expedition leaders will lead guests on a guided hike to scenic Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park.
Bookings are now open for Windstar’s Australia and New Zealand sailings in 2020 and 2021 with a total of nine departure dates available. Six new cruises Down Under will set sail aboard Star Breeze and run from November 2020 to February 2021 beginning at US$4,599 per guest, double occupancy.
Additionally, the 148-passenger Wind Spirit is expanding its South Pacific reach in winter/spring 2020 and will also be visiting Australia.
To learn more about cruising with Windstar, visit windstarcruises.com.