December 2, 2002
While damage assessments to Windstar’s Wind Song -- whose fire yesterday off the coast of Bora Bora resulted in the evacuation of passengers and crew -- have not been announced, the cruise line has made a decision to replace that ship with Wind Star. Even so, the company still has to cancel its next seven French Polynesia voyages -- through January 17. The identical 148-passenger Wind Star was slated to sail a winter season in Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Belize. Wind Star begins its Papeete-based week-long voyages on January 24 and the itinerary will be identical to that of Wind Song. In the meantime, passengers booked on those seven canceled trips are being offered rebookings on cruises on any of Windstar’s three other ships or parent company Holland America’s fleet. Those who rebook will get a $250 shipboard credit; travelers who opt for a full refund will get a ten percent credit on a future trip. Travelers thinking about making a quick switch to Windstar’s primary competitor -- Radisson Seven Seas -- in the French Polynesia region are pretty much out-of-luck with regards to that line’s Paul Gauguin. While Radisson says it’s working on “special rates” in January and February, there’s no immediate relief. Paul Gauguin is currently in a scheduled drydock, returning December 14, and is then sold out through the holidays. The first cruise with open cabins departs Papeete on January 11.