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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Default Holland America selling Windstar!

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.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:24 AM
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I don't know how many of you HALers have tried Windstar, but it feels like the end of an era to me. Windstar was built upon the idea of bringing rhe best crewpeople over from Holland America. The have a wonderful Indonesian and Filipino crew on these ships. I sure hope they remain financially vialble, it would be a shame to see this beautiful, one of a kind cruise line ever flounder.

The president of Majestic American Lines is David Giersdorf, a no-nonsence former Exec VP with Holland America. They let him go last year, and now it looks like he has taken part of the best pieces of the HAL company with him.

Funny how things happen.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Just my personal opinion I think this is a good move for CCL. This truly is a niche cruise experience that has a loyal following but certainly not in the same categoy as HAL or any other CCL product. I have friends that took a WS cruise last year and while they enjoyed it said they would not do it again despite having a good time. It is an adventure not a cruise. Basically this is something the bean counters at CCL most likely decided that it was costing them more than it was worth to baby sit this division. My guess is the company that purchased WS deals more with this type of product so it becomes a Win-Win for both sides.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 03:07 PM
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I think you are on to something there. My guess is that with all the corporate considerations happening at Holland America that Windstar was too nichy and time-consuming to have to think about for so relatively few passengers.

They will probably be better off on their own where they don't have to worry so much about fitting into the larger corporate mentality.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 03:56 PM
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Paul, this is sad indeed. I must agree with Lisa though. WS is a very adventure oriented line that appeals much more to a very definite demographic. As they are also very small ships in terms of number of passengers and therefore subject to bringing in small amounts of revenue compared to her "big sisters".

I do hate to see them go.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crusin' fool
Paul, this is sad indeed. I must agree with Lisa though. WS is a very adventure oriented line that appeals much more to a very definite demographic. As they are also very small ships in terms of number of passengers and therefore subject to bringing in small amounts of revenue compared to her "big sisters".

I do hate to see them go.
I've never sailed Windstar, though I was hoping to one day. But, I never understood why they were under HAL's umbrella. I would have thought they'd be under the overall Carnival Corp. umbrella since I can't see what HAL and Windstar necessarily had in common. Windstar is much more pricier than HAL, and it is an entirely different experience. Even the smallest HAL ship, the Prinsendam, carries far more passengers than a Windstar vessel ... and therefore offers more in the way of what would be considered "traditional" cruise ship ammenities. Let's face it, the smaller the ship, the less choice ... and for that reason I don't think Windstar ships would necessarily appeal to HAL's demographic. The young people would, for the most part, find Windstar too traditional (not to mention too pricey). They would more than likely flock to Windjammer if they wanted a small ship experience. The older set on HAL would probably not enjoy Windstar because they wouldn't get the traditional array of ammenities they can enjoy on a HAL ship.

I don't think this sale is necessarily a bad thing. We just have to wait and see what the new owners do with the line.

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--rita
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 09:44 PM
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It's true what they say ... "The only thing constant is change." I agree with Lisa on this. It would appear this is too far off beam with the other Carnival Corporation's products to comfortably fit in the stable.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 10:56 PM
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This is fun to bounce the same topic between two boards and see the different tone and response.

I think the fire and eventual sinking of Windsong was the begining of the end. That they did not put another ship back in that market or order a new build, put the writing on the wall. I think Carnival has been looking for a suitable buyer for a long time.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhannah
It's true what they say ... "The only thing constant is change." I agree with Lisa on this. It would appear this is too far off beam with the other Carnival Corporation's products to comfortably fit in the stable.
What about the Yachts of Seabourne, though? Surely that is totally off the norm of what most would consider the "standard" Carnival product? Frankly, I'm surprised that Windstar was sold out of the Carnival brand. I would have thought they would have taken it out from under HAL, and rebranded it for a totally different market segment.

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Old February 24th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Old February 24th, 2007, 09:18 PM
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In 1990 we cruised on Windstar's "Wind Song" to the most beautiful islands on the face of this earth. The cruise was like no other before or since. She was a most magnificent ship and her crew was beyond extraordinary.

The Wind Song burned and now lies at the bottom of the Sea of the Moon between Tahiti and Moorea, a fitting place for her.

I'm sorry to see Windstar leave the Holland America umbrella, but it never felt right that the line was under Carnival's. We often hoped we'd cruise Windstar again one day ... who knows now if that will ever be?
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