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Now known for a splashy "180º From Ordinary" tag line, Seattle-based Windstar Cruises – owned by Holland America Line under the Carnival Corporation portfolio – first made waves in the mid-1980s as a radical alternative to typical cruising. Passengers aboard Windstar vessels see the world from under billowing sails with cushy accommodations, exquisite cuisine, and attentive service, all combining for casual yet elegant sojourns at sea. Avoiding hackneyed routes and itineraries, Windstar’s sleek ships sail to exotic locales and hidden harbors that larger vessels often can’t access. And wherever they go, Windstar sailing vessels turn heads -- from the Caribbean, Europe, and Far East to the South Pacific. Pages of Windstar history started unfolding in 1986 when Wind Star, the first commercial sailing vessel built in 60 years, slipped out of a French dry-dock in Le Havre. Towering sails echoed a bygone era of exploration, yet the msy Wind Star was revolutionary in concept with computerized controls. Windstar ships are officially masted-sail-yachts (msy), although the designation belies the rigging. Unfurling in two minutes at the push of a button, white sails head quickly for the sky, snapping smartly in the breeze. An "open-bridge" operation allows passengers to drop by at a whim to watch officers demonstrate ship capabilities and sailing functions operated by computer micro-chips and navigational devices. The 148-passenger Wind Star was joined by sister ships the msy Wind Song in 1987, and msy Wind Spirit in 1988. A decade later, the 308-passenger msy Wind Surf was acquired by Windstar. Originally sailing as the Club Med I, Wind Surf was built in 1990 in the same shipyard to similar specifications as Windstar’s smaller ships. Among the line’s original three vessels, Wind Song was retired in January, 2003. Carrying from 148 to 308 guests, Windstar’s four- and five-masted ships provide a private yacht-like atmosphere creating camaraderie and sometimes lasting friendships among fellow sailors. Windstar vessels cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at more than 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Tahiti.
In 2004, the 148-passenger Wind Star continues year-round adventure in Tahiti with its trademark voyages through the famed Society Islands, making 46 voyages of 7-days that begin and end in Papeete and call on renowned islands of Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea. Overnight stays in Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete allow passengers to experience lingering sunsets, nightlife and around-the-clock atmosphere. For truly exotic South Pacific sailing, the ship embarks from Papeete in June and September on 14-day voyages to the remote Marquesan islands of Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa, among others, as well as stopping at the Tuamotu group island of Rangiroa on one of the world’s largest natural lagoons.
Year entering service: 1986
Teak decking, eclectic artwork, wood-trimmed interiors, an attentive service staff, intimate surroundings, exceptional signature cuisine featuring both light and vegetarian menu selections, and an extensive wine list are among elements synonymous with Windstar’s Wind Star, built at the Sociéte Nouvelle de Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre. Four masts at 204 feet have six triangular, self-furling, computer operated sails with 21,500 square feet of Dacron surface area. The ship’s beam is 52.1 feet and the length is 360 feet at water line, and 440 feet at bowsprit. The draft is 14 feet. Also aboard for smooth sailing are two sets of stabilizers, a sails control system and a seawater hydraulic ballast system to limit heel. There are three diesel electric generating sets, and one electrical propulsion motor.
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