Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises offers an in-depth exploration of Europe in 2020, featuring a variety of itineraries sailing through the Baltic, Norwegian, North, Tyrrhenian, and Mediterranean seas visiting hidden harbors and small ports of call not accessible by larger cruise ships. With new and returning ports in Greece, Turkey (plus overnights in Istanbul), Israel, and Egypt – along with new ports of call in Cyprus, France, and Iceland – 2020 promises to be a chance to discover Europe like never before. Windstar’s 312-passenger Star Legend will debut in Europe in July of 2020 and sail in the region through November after an extensive renovation as part of the line’s comprehensive $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, featuring the addition of 50 new suites, two restaurants, an enhanced spa and fitness center, an elevated pool, and several other upgrades on board each of the line’s three Star Class ships.
Despite the diverse array of new European ports and the sure-to-be-stunning reimagined ship, Windstar’s Director of Itinerary Planning Jess Peterson is most excited for the Sail Amsterdam Celebration in 2020. “Windstar’s Wind Surf, the largest sailing cruise ship in the world, will be anchored in the company of legendary sailing ships over three days at Sail Amsterdam, a global event that only occurs every five years,” Peterson explained, adding that Windstar is the only commercial cruise line to offer this one-of-a-kind experience at the oh-so-Instagrammable event. “The ship will be in Amsterdam proper, which allows guests to view the event from on land and on board and will be the ultimate viewing location for the parade of dozens of unique sailing vessels, with fireworks displays overhead.”
Also of note in 2020, is not one but two epic European voyages. These 60+ day itineraries are port-intensive journeys with few days spent at sea. Star Collector: Comprehensive Europe Flagship Sailing aboard Wind Surf will include the Sail Amsterdam experience outlined above. It begins in Sweden and ends in Italy, visiting 48 total ports in 20 countries over 62 days in Northern Europe and the western and central Mediterranean. Star Collector: Grand European Tour will sail from Iceland to Greece over 66 days aboard the newly reimagined Star Legend, visiting 53 ports in Iceland, Faroe Islands, Scotland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Wales, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Malta, Greece, and Turkey. Cruise fares for both of these voyages start at $21,699 per person and offer the convenience of unpacking just once with the perk of complimentary laundry service.
Other new itinerary highlights for Windstar’s Europe 2020 Season include:
• Rome & Grand Prix of Monaco returns onboard Wind Surf. Because the ship is the largest commercial sailing ship in the world, she’ll make a scene-stealing arrival in glamorous Monte Carlo. The itinerary will explore unique small ports like Portofino, Bastia, and Saint Raphael. For the first time in 2020, this themed cruise will also be a portion of a longer Star Collector sailing, meaning guests can pair the experience with another cruise.
• Quintessential Croatia on October 16 will be a James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection sailing, with eight days aboard Wind Surf from Venice to Venice. Chef and beverage expert to be announced soon.
• Autumn on the Atlantic Coast will boast the cultural ports of Bilbao, Spain; Bordeaux, France; and Honfleur, France – a maiden port for Windstar that has been heralded as “the prettiest harbor in all of France.” This cruise will also be a James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection offering on September 19. Chef and beverage expert to be announced soon.
• Autumn Revelries on the French Riviera will feature Windstar’s maiden call to Toulon, France.
• Greece, Israel & Egypt: Footsteps of Faith in the Holy Lands will include Windstar’s return to Cypress; Haifa and Ashdod in Israel; and Alexandria and Port Said in Egypt after a several-year absence from each. Late nights/overnights mean that guests can arrange overland tours to Petra, Jerusalem, and even Cairo and the Egyptian Pyramids.
• Greece via the Corinth Canal & Turkey: The Marvels of Ancient Rivals will witness the first-ever Windstar visit to Lemnos, Greece, the return of Windstar to Istanbul after a several-year absence (and an overnight), as well as the lovely “old Venetian harbor” of Chania on Crete. Also notable is the transit of the Corinth Canal – a legendary passage only small ships like Windstar’s Star Legend can negotiate.
• Ancient Epicenters in Autumn via the Corinth Canal will be an interesting journey from Athens to Rome with stops in Delphi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Valletta, Malta; and transit of the famed Corinth Canal.
• Eire with Fire & Ice: Ireland and Iceland’s Overlooked Treasures will access natural destinations inaccessible to larger ships as well as make a first-ever stop in Djupivogur, Iceland (the gateway to the Jokulsarion Glacier Lagoon, one of Iceland’s most popular attractions).
• Fado Folksongs, Tapas & Crystal: Portugal, Spain, Britain & Ireland promises unique stops in Isles of Scilly, England (known for the best and most unspoiled beaches in Cornwall), along with Fishguard, Whales and Waterford, Ireland.
Along with the new additions outlined above, Windstar will be bringing back popular itineraries like Around Iceland, Treasures of the Greek Isles, and Spanish Serenade, to name a few.
Booking is now open for Europe 2020 on more than 80 itineraries on 116 cruise dates throughout the season, with rates starting at $2,399 per person, double occupancy. The majority of cruise departures in Europe are aboard Wind Surf, Wind Star, and Star Legend, with a limited number of sailings available as early as February 20 and as late as November 20, 2020 on board the Star-Plus renovated Star Breeze and Star Pride.
All Windstar ships offer small ship cruising with a 1.5-to-1 guest-to-staff ratio with fewer than 350 guests on board. With hundreds of personally-curated shore excursions showcasing authentic destination experiences with local guides and hosts, ultra-personalized service, innovative culinary programming as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, and access to smaller, more exciting ports that larger ships can’t reach, Windstar has all the ingredients for the most memorable European vacation ever.
To learn more about authentic small ship cruising with Windstar in Europe and beyond, or to book a cruise, contact a travel advisor or Windstar Cruises by phone at 1-800-258-7245, or visit www.windstarcruises.com.