Travel Agent is boarding Windstar Cruises’ newly revitalized and “stretched” Star Breeze for its inaugural cruise roundtrip from St. Maarten on Saturday; however, the ship’s originally planned inaugural itinerary has been shelved, given island entry regulations. To date, Windstar—which has a vaccine mandate for both guests and crew members—has been unable to secure vaccines for all crew, something many island destinations require.
The original itinerary included many destinations in the British Virgin Islands such as Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Norman Island, as well as Anguilla and St. Barthelemy. Now, the line is working to create a new itinerary for Star Breeze, has notified travel advisors and guests, and is providing an incentive for guests who opt to sail this week. Alternatively, for those who choose not to sail the updated voyage, they will receive a refund or future cruise credit (FCC).
It’s not yet known what replacement ports might be added. Here’s the situation, as explained in a statement by Sarah Scoltock, Windstar’s director of public relations: “As you know, we are still living in a very dynamic environment. The regulations by country and port remain very fluid at this time. Some ports are now asking for antigen or negative PCR tests even for fully vaccinated guests and crew. Some ports are only open for fully vaccinated guests and crew.
“While all of our guests onboard will be fully vaccinated, despite our best efforts, we will only have access to vaccines for our Star Breeze crew the following week, which may impact our ability to enter certain ports. We are optimistic that some ports will open up to us by the time we all arrive in St Maarten on June 19.
“This inaugural cruise will be very similar to having your own private yacht where the captain will take us to the best available place for that day. So far, our guests are sticking with us and looking forward to the bragging rights of being among the first to experience the brand new Star Plus Class all-suite Star Breeze and be welcomed by our dedicated crew.
“For those guests who decide to join us, they will enjoy a free cruise and we will offer a full refund or reinstatement of their FCC for the cruise fare, port fees and taxes.
“For those guests who choose not to come given the uncertainty of the itinerary, we will offer a full refund or reinstatement of their FCC or a “lift and shift” to another Star Breeze sailing on the same itinerary: plus $250 in cash to offset other costs, such as airline or hotel change fees.”
Stay tuned to Travel Agent next week for a first look at the newly revitalized ship!