Wind Spirit exterior

(4 p.m. EST) -- Windstar is joining the majority of cruise lines by bringing onboard cruise consultants to its ships and selling future cruises aboard.

Previously, Windstar cruisers could not book a cruise on their current sailing; instead, they had 60 days after their cruise to book their next one and receive a 5 percent discount. With the new onboard program, passengers can book a cruise while sailing and pay a fully refundable reduced deposit (starting at $200 rather than 15 percent of the cruise fare), and receive 5 percent off the cruise fare plus an additional 5 percent if they're already Yacht Club loyalty program members. Plus, the onboard consultants can educate them about the best itinerary and ship choices for their next vacation.

Onboard bookings will be automatically assigned to the travel agent affiliated with the passenger's current booking, so that agent can receive full commission.

The onboard cruise consultant program begins on the February 3 departure of Star Legend. Within the next few months, Star Breeze, Star Pride and Wind Surf will all receive their own onboard cruise consultants. The line is currently evaluating whether to bring consultants to its smallest ships, Wind Star and Wind Spirit.

According to Windstar's press release, to become onboard cruise consultants, candidates must be "seasoned cruise industry veterans; have impressive ship experience and tenure; possess knowledge of the ships and itineraries; and excel at guest interaction (both to provide better overall service and contribute to safety on board)."

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor