May 5, 2014
A company clearly in growth mode, Windstar welcomed the 206-passenger Star Pride, which formerly sailed as Seabourn Pride. Two other Seabourn ships will join the Windstar Fleet in May 2015; they'll be called Star Breeze and Star Legend.
A crowd of 200 people, including numerous Windstar past passengers, attended the ceremony, which took place on an auspiciously gorgeous day, with rich blue skies and balmy temperatures. Godmother Nancy Anschutz, wife of Phillip Anschutz, owner of Windstar's parent company, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, successfully smashed the bottle of Champagne against the hull on the first try, a sign of good luck in maritime tradition.
At the christening ceremony, Hans Birkholz, the company's president, emphasized the line's commitment to covering more of the world with the larger fleet, including a resumption of French Polynesia cruises, and a significant presence in Southeast Asia, Arabia, Iceland and beyond.
“In the 16 years since Wind Surf joined our fleet, the cruise industry has grown up, Birkholz said. "At Windstar, though, some things have not changed, and in a world that's increasingly impersonal, we intend to do the opposite.”
Windstar took possession of Star Pride 18 days ago, Birkholz said, and “we tried to fit 36 hours of work into 24 for 18 straight days.”
Star Pride is the first ship in Windstar's fleet that doesn't have the company's trademark sails. It is being marketed as a yacht-like experience.
Since Xanterra Parks and Resorts acquired the company in 2011, it has pumped $18 million into refurbishing the cruise line's trio of ships, Wind Surf, Wind Star and Wind Spirit.
--By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief