This cruise line will now let you book a cabin in a crew area

Feb 2, 2020

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Call it the ultimate in behind-the-scenes access.

In what is believed to be a first, Windstar Cruises unveiled a new suite on one of its ships this week that’s within a crew-only area.

The new Officer’s Suite, found on the line’s 342-passenger Wind Surf, is just behind the ship’s bridge in a section of the vessel reserved for officer’s quarters.

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Labeled “crew only,” the area is home to cabins for the ship’s captain, chief officer, hotel manager and chief engineer.

Windstar said it believed the new accommodation was the only one of its kind in the cruise industry. Personally, I don’t recall seeing anything like it, either, in my many years writing about cruising. Cruise lines typically are very restrictive about access to crew areas on ships.

The new Officer's Suite on Windstar Cruises' 342-passenger Wind Surf is just behind the ship's bridge. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises.
The new Officer’s Suite on Windstar Cruises’ 342-passenger Wind Surf is just behind the ship’s bridge. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises.


Among the perks of the new suite is the ability to walk right into the ship’s bridge, which is just steps away. Windstar is one of a handful of major lines that has an open bridge policy. Sea Cloud Cruises, Quark Expeditions, Star Clippers and UnCruise Adventures are among other small ship and expedition lines with similar policies.

Under Windstar’s open bridge policy, passengers can visit ship bridges and chat with officers while vessels are underway (access sometimes will be limited when ships are in the midst of tricky maneuvers).

The new Officer’s Suite is one of the bigger cabins on Wind Surf at 242 square feet. It has a bedroom, full bath with Jacuzzi tub and living room with a widescreen television.

It also has a bit of a nautical theme, with such maritime decor as a sextant, a Wind Surf print and a model of a sailing ship.

You can also grab a pair of binoculars from the room, in case you want to help the captain scan the horizon for obstacles.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Windstar Cruises ships have an "open bridge" policy that allows for passenger visits. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises.
Windstar ships have an “open bridge” policy that allows for passenger visits. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises.


“We [designed] this very unique suite with more of a nautical theme to reflect its exclusive location, tucked away just behind the bridge,” Windstar president John Delaney said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

The addition of the suite came during a recent overhaul of Wind Surf, a five-masted sailing ship. Wind Surf is one of three sailing ships operated by Windstar. The line specializes in small ships and also operates three motor vessels. The Wind Surf overhaul included a revamp of every single cabin and public space on the ship.

Planning a cruise for 2020? Our planning guide starts here:

Featured image courtesy of Windstar Cruises

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