Carnival Corp. PLC. the parent company of seattle-based Windstar Cruises and its sister company, Holland America Lines, announced today the sale of Windstar Cruises to Ambassador International, the parent company of Majestic American Lines, based in Newport Beach, California. Majestic American Lines is the company that acquired the Delta Queen and several other riverboat lines in 2005.
Windstar Cruises is comprised of a three ship fleet which includes the 312-passenger Wind Surf, and the sister 148-passenger ships Wind Star and Wind Spirit. The three ships are all motor-sail-yachts that have been providing a unique sail yacht experience to their guests featuring itineraries in the Mediterranean during the Spring, Summer and Fall, and Winter cruises in the Caribbean and Costa Rica since its launch in 1986.
Promising an experience that is "180 Degrees From Ordinary," Windstar pioneered the concept of non-formal dress codes elegance and yacht-like customer with luxury-style food and service. At the end of 2006 the Wind Surf completed an extensive enhancement and renovation program that elevates her as one of the top ships in the luxury segment. Both the Wind Star and Wind Spirit are scheduled to undergo significant renovations in 2007.
A CruiseMates note: For many Holland America employees, and other cruise enthusiasts, Windstar was the apple of their eye. The line virtually "owned" the Tahiti market during the late 1980s and early 1990s and for those years it was the choice of many cruise industry people for their own vacations away from whatever cruise line they may work for.
The line is closely aligned with Holland America, sharing the same training schools in the Philipines and Indonesia to train staff, and Holland America will continue to manage the Windstar ship through a transition period which includes vessel, reservations and other operational functions.
The largest of the three ships, Wind Surf, recently underwent a large scale upgrade as part of the "Degrees of Difference" program Windstar had recently undertaken in step with Holland America's "Signature of Excellence". No changes have been announced to the plans for the similar upgrade of the two smaller 148-passenger Wind Star and Wind Surf sister ships in the near future.