Windstar Cruises targets luxury travelers with more all-inclusive fares
Small-ship specialist Windstar Cruises is rolling out a new fare option for cruisers who hate paying for lots of little extras while on ships.
The new “All-In” package, as Windstar is calling it, will bring unlimited Wi-Fi; unlimited drinks such as beer, wine and cocktails; and included gratuities to those sailing on any of the line’s six vessels.
The package will cost a flat $79 per person per day on top of the line’s base fares, which don’t include Wi-Fi, drinks or gratuities.
“You basically don’t have to feel like (you’re being) nickel-and-dimed, for those guests who want to purchase that sort of experience,” Chris Prelog, the president of Windstar Cruises, told TPG Wednesday in a one-on-one interview to discuss the new package and other new developments at the line.
For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter
Prelog spoke with TPG at Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s annual meetup in Miami.
Prelog suggested the new, more-inclusive package option was designed to give would-be Windstar customers more flexibility in how they arrange and experience their trips with the line.
“Some of our Windstar guest enjoy the a la carte experience Windstar offers,” Prelog said. “So we’re really coming around and saying, ‘What if we have both? How would we facilitate that?’”
By offering a more-all-inclusive option on pricing, Windstar can “tap into ... guests who are looking for a luxury experience with luxury amenities without perhaps the formality (of a traditional luxury line’s ships), because Windstar is a more casual brand. It’s a more relaxed atmosphere, and you don’t have to bring your jacket.”
Traditional luxury lines such as Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises include most drinks, gratuities and Wi-Fi in their base fares. But their base fares traditionally have been higher than the base fares at Windstar.
The new All-In package at Windstar Cruises comes as the line is rebuilding and lengthening three of its six vessels to upgrade their offerings.
The overhaul of the three vessels, all motor ships, includes the addition of new eateries, true pools (which the ships haven’t had until now) and expanded sunning areas. The line also is completely revamping every bathroom on the vessels and installing new owner’s suites that are bigger than anything the ships ever has seen.
In all, the vessels -- Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride -- are receiving 50 new cabins that will expand their capacity from 212 to 312 passengers. The additions to the vessels are being accomplished by cutting them in half at a shipyard in Italy and spreading the two halves apart before sliding in new, pre-built sections.
Prelog suggested the changes to the new ships have made them more luxurious, allowing the line to market more to luxury travelers. The three ships are all-suite vessels.
“We will call (the three revamped vessels) our suite class or our suite ships, and they have luxury amenities,” he said.
Windstar Cruises also operates three sailing vessels -- Wind Surf, Wind Star and Wind Spirit -- that have are not being overhauled in the same way.
Two other lines that have added new, more all-inclusive fare options in the past year include Holland America and Celebrity Cruises. The latter brand a year ago unveiled what it is calling Always Included fares that include unlimited drinks (cocktails, wines by the glass, beer and sodas), unlimited Wi-Fi and daily gratuities.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise