The exclusive yacht-line officially begins reinventing its image and offerings
We have been reporting that Windstar, the cruise line with three beautiful five-masted sail ships, will soon also begin operation of the three 200-passenger former “small sisters” that Seabourn just sold to Windstar. These small ships are the ones that originally defined the Seabourn “yacht-experience.”
The Wind Surf - the largest of the three sailships operated by Windstar
The first of these three yachts, the former Seabourn Pride, was handed over to Windstar April 17 and is due to be renamed Star Pride at a May 5 ceremony in Barcelona. The following two 200-passengers ships coming from Seabourn to Windstar will arrive in early 2015.
The line is also launching a completely new Web site in June to reflect the changes at the small but distinctive cruise line.
A New Look for the Logo
One small part of the $17-million upgrade the fleet is making in these small ships is a new logo for the entire Windstar brand. According to Windstar, the new logo reflects the line’s unique style of elegant, yet casual yacht experiences and lifestyle. It is a large deep sea-blue “W” with lofty serif tables floating above a light aqua-marine wave pointing to a single star. This small blue wave in the background is said to be indicative of the line’s sailing yacht experience.
“We wanted a refreshed look that keeps pace with the company as we enter into a new era of growth as the market leader in small ship cruising, yet still reflects our heritage of sailing,” said Hans Birkholz, president and chief executive officer of Windstar Cruises.
Windstar’s new brand image is intentionally timed to coincide with two pivotal events in this small cruise line’s new approach to intimate cruising: the launch of the new “Star Pride,” the line’s name for the newly acquired and refurbished Seabourn Pride; and the line’s return to the popular and intimate Tahiti region for one of their sailing yachts in within the coming week.
Background on Windstar
For those who may not be familiar with this small but definitive cruise line – Windstar was originally created as a cruise line to features the world’s largest sail-assisted motor ships. The largest ship can carry 380 passengers and has five masts well over 100 feet tall. The ships can sail with motor power alone, but the sails are capable of adding an extra five knots of speed under ideal wind conditions.
The fleet was originally built in Le Havre, France in the late 1980s with three smaller sail vessels with just 200 berths. The larger ships were built in the early 1990s. Within a few years the ships were acquired by Holland America Line and Windstar became the elite and exotic little sister to the larger cruise line which had originally been founded as an ocean liner company in Holland. At that time (and still today) Holland America was a part of the much larger Carnival Corp. family of cruise lines.
Carnival Corp. decided to sell off Windstar in March of 2007 – and the company was acquired by a group of Seattle-based investors under the name Ambassadors International. The company filed chapter 11 and it was expected that the Windstar ships would be returned to the lien holders and taken out of service. But at the last minute Denver Colorado-based Xanterra (a small division of the larger Anschutz Entertainment Group; AEG) stepped in and purchased Windstar for $39-million. The surprise bid was offered and accepted within just two days.
Windstar just agreed to acquire the former Seabourn yachts in February 2013, and will have full ownership of them by mid 2015.