The Star Legend docks at Vancouver’s Canada Place.
Andrea Mendelsohn, Windstar’s regional sales manager for Canada with Nikola Nincevic, Star Legend’s OCC.
Andrea Mendelsohn, Windstar’s regional sales manager for Canada with Victoria Buhler of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Laurie Jenkins of Hagen’s Travel & Cruise, and Nikola Nincevic, Star Legend’s OCC.
Ian and Margaret Biddlecombe of Vision Travel, Richmond.
Flight Centre’s Ariane Henry checks out the hot tub.
Line welcomes YVR agents ahead of ship’s revamp and “stretching”
Some 38 excited travel agents from across Vancouver and Vancouver Island got an exclusive tour of Windstar’s wonderfulStar Legendwhen she docked in the Port of Vancouver this week.
However, the big news is that the ship, currently operating the Alaska 2019 season, is about to get even bigger and better.
Windstar’s three Star Class ships –Star Legend, Star BreezeandStar Pride-- are undergoing a revamp and “stretching” as part of the US$250 million Star Plus Initiative.
Andrea Mendelsohn, Windstar’s regional sales manager for Canada, couldn’t hide her excitement about the project.
“All of our three Star Class ships are going to be completely renovated. The first ship, Star Breeze, goes in in August, so she’ll be doing Alaska next year.Star Legendwill be going in at the end of the year.
“We’re going to be ‘stretching’ our ships,” she explained. “We’re adding an 84-foot pre-fabricated portion of 50 suites, which gives us capacity for an extra 100 guests per ship,” she explained. “So in a period of about a year we’re going to increase our overall capacity by 24%. It’s basically a very expeditious way of getting an extra ship – of 300 people!
“This increases our capacity from 212 to 312 guests per ship. We currently have a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1.5 -- and that’s going to be extended on as well, so there will be no change in the service level we provide. There’s also going to be two new specialty restaurants and the pool area is going to be expanded.
“And even though we’re expanding our ships, we can still go to the same places. We’re elongating our ships, not widening them, so we can still go into the little ports and the off-the-beaten-track places we go to today.”
Mendelsohn also highlighted the fact that if a travel agent’s client books another cruise while they’re onboard a Windstar ship, the advantages go straight back to the travel agent that the client originally booked with.
“We are absolutely travel advisor-friendly, so if somebody comes onboard and they make a new booking – that new booking immediately goes back to the travel advisor. The benefit goes immediately back to the travel consultant, who will then take over the booking and the full commission.
“It’s lost revenue if you don’t capture these enthusiastic guests as they’re having an amazing time onboard. We’ve got a new itinerary coming 2021 to Australia/New Zealand, which we haven’t done before, and people are making onboard bookings left, right and centre.
“But if your client makes a reservation when they’re onboard with us, that booking is coming directly back to you.”
Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent
Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.