Boutique cruise line Windstar Cruises is thrilled to receive three Gold Magellans and one Silver Magellan in the 2016 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards which recognized the travel company as a leader in small ship cruising, and also drawing accolades for its winning shore excursions, inventive itineraries, and unique advertising and marketing campaigns.
Officially announced in the October 31 issue of the magazine, the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards honor the best in travel and salute the outstanding travel professionals behind it all. The awards are judged by a panel consisting of top-notch travel experts, bringing more weight to the award than the five-pound gold and silver statuettes that accompany the titles.
“I’m particularly proud of these awards, as they are all at the heart of our business and what makes us unique in the cruise industry,” said Windstar’s President John Delaney. “We are all about small ship cruising – focusing on unique destinations and itineraries that only a small yacht can access. By recognizing Windstar as a leader in the Small Cruise Ship category, highlighting our one-of-a-kind Around Iceland itinerary, tipping their hat at our complimentary Destination Discovery events, and giving note to our new travel-agent marketing initiative Star Promise, Travel Weekly has honored the very core programs and values of Windstar that truly set us apart.”
2016 Gold Magellan Award Winner – Small Cruise Ship (500 Passengers or Under)
Windstar Cruises prides itself on a casually elegant approach to cruising — “180 Degrees from Ordinary.” Visiting 150-plus smaller harbors and classic ports in 50 countries, guests enjoy in-port overnights, adventures ashore with local experts, personalized experiences and world-class cuisine. Known for delivering exemplary service and charming staff, the line’s sleek yachts offer ample open decks, watersports, and modern, nautical décor coupled with rare travel opportunities: dine al fresco with Ibiza as your backdrop, talk shop with the captain on the bridge, boast VIP status at Monaco’s famed Grand Prix.
Windstar continues to innovate and shake up small ship cruising by doubling the iconic fleet to six in the last two years, naming seasoned cruise executive John Delaney as president of the boutique line in July, and wrapping up a $27 million transformation of three all-suite mega yachts, added to three elegant sailing ships.
2016 Gold Magellan Award Winner – Itinerary (Around Iceland)
Windstar has always been known for cruising to less-visited ports and hidden harbors, and its Around Iceland itinerary is a prime example. The 212-passenger Star Legend departed on the 7-night itinerary’s first-ever sailing in July 2016. The itinerary is a unique circumnavigation of Iceland from Reykjavik that takes guests beyond the tourist hotspots to remote fjords and tiny fishing villages. Among other points of interest, cruisers pass one of the world’s youngest islands, Surtsey, which rose from the sea in the 1960s, and visit Heimaey Island where a 1973 volcanic eruption left behind a modern-day Pompeii. The itinerary includes an overnight stay in colorful Seydisfjordur, a gateway to some of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls.
The itinerary has in fact proven so popular that Windstar has doubled the number of sailings planned for 2017, adding the Star Pride to the region along with sister yacht Star Legend to help accommodate traveler demand.
2016 Gold Magellan Award Winner – Shore Excursion (Destination Discovery Events)
Destination Discovery events are spectacular onshore events giving cruise guests an in-depth and original local experience that is both exclusive and complimentary. The bespoke events are carefully crafted with each detail carefully planned. Offered on many Windstar cruises, the events are always held in an evocative setting representing the cultural theme, ranging from Roman ruins to secluded beaches. For example, in St. Petersburg on Windstar’s Baltic Delights cruise, guests enjoy a performance of a well-known ballet in one of the best theaters of St. Petersburg, the Ballet Capital of Russia. Intermission brings champagne and history from a local guide.
In 2017, Destination Discovery events offer dozens of individually-curated events entertain and nourish guests with local musical and dance performers and fresh regional culinary specialties. These culturally enriching experiences tie to Windstar’s greater philosophy of surprising and delighting the line’s sophisticated travelers each day of their journey.
2016 Silver Magellan Award Winner – Advertising/Marketing Campaign (Star Promise Trade Initiative)
Windstar’s overarching travel agent initiative, Star Promise launched in June of 2016, has made waves in the travel industry, creating a new framework for Windstar’s trade partners and travel agents to engage with the leading small ship cruise line. The program provides both cruisers and travel agents peace of mind booking Windstar with a new Price Assurance Policy. Other components include fresh sales tools and support by way of the new Star Groups program, which makes it easier for group leaders and pied pipers to earn a free stateroom and also includes new bonus commission opportunities. Outstanding educational programs like the Star FAM program give agents the “star treatment” with free cruises to experience the iconic ships firsthand. Travel agents also learn useful tips about Windstar with the newly expanded Star Specialist training program. The Star Promise initiative as a whole promises travel agents more support and resources so they may best assist their clients to make an informed vacation choice that delivers a “180 degrees from ordinary” cultural travel adventure.
A complete list of this year’s Magellan Award winners can be found at http://www.travelweeklyawards.com/winners/.