Windstar Cruises’ second season for the 212-passenger Star Legend in Asia kicks off in the fall of 2018 after her inaugural Alaska season this summer. The return to Asia for Windstar in 2018-19 will bring four new cruises, as well as the recurrence of four of the company’s most popular cruises from its 2017-18 season sailing in the region for a total of 27 sailings.
The new Asia itineraries include an exploration of greater China; an Asian “pop culture” journey from Tokyo to South Korea and Beijing; a Thailand and Malaysia cruise featuring beaches and big cities; and a new itinerary discovering Indonesia, including Bali. Plus, Windstar has increased departures for popular Japan cruises timed with its famous cherry blossom season and fall foliage.
Windstar also offers a variety of pre- and post-cruise packages in Asia, including a trip to Angkor Wat from Bangkok and a visit to Beijing’s Great Wall. In addition, Windstar offers more than 200 shore excursions in Asia in 2018-19, including experiences like visiting a traditional Malay home, exploring Komodo National Park on foot, and participating in a night tour of Shanghai with dinner on The Bund.
The following new 2018-19 Asia cruises are now open for booking:
Comprehensive Indonesia Exploration
The 11-day, Singapore-to-Bali (Benoa) (or reverse) cruise includes stops in Jakarta and Semarang in Indonesia, where guests can explore Dutch trading buildings in the Old Quarter or take a day trip to Borobudur, the Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 8th century. Guests can walk along beaches on Bali or check out the steaming vents on the Mount Bromo volcano.
For relaxing, Windstar offers two “beach days” on two small islands – Pulau Bawean and Pulau Menyawakan, remote locations where only small ships and ferries can visit. The cruise occurs over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, with Christmas Day in Jakarta and New Year’s Eve in Komodo National Park.
Thai Temples, Malaysian Monarchs
The 11-day, Bangkok-to-Singapore cruise sails along the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia, and China. Ports alternate between relaxing and exploring beaches and cities, and an overnight in Phuket means time for dining, dancing, or watching nightlife at the waterfront along Patong Bay. Guests can try Jonkers Walk street food and restaurant fare in Malacca. Travelers can take a double-decker elevator to the observation deck on the 86th floor of Petronas Towers high above Kuala Lumpur, or they can snorkel and swim off at an isolated beach near Langkawi. This cruise concludes in Singapore.
Comprehensive China Exploration
The 11-day cruise from Hong Kong to Beijing (or reverse) visits the four major cities in greater China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taipei, with overnights in both Shanghai and Hong Kong for extra exploration. The cruise also stops at Ishigaki Island, Japan, and Qingdao, China – the home of Tsingtao Beer and a former German outpost/colony. Guest can also climb the Great Wall for a view of China’s past.
Pop Culture Kings of Asia
The 11-day cruise from Tokyo to Beijing (or reverse) is a balance of big, modern cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul (via Busan), and Beijing in addition to smaller and more off-the-beaten path places like Karatsu, Japan and Tamano/Uno port in the Inland Sea of Japan. J-pop, Harajuku culture, and Korean dramas are born from the center of Asian pop culture – Japan and South Korea, and on this sailing, Windstar guests can shop in the largest underground mall in Seoul and then see geishas with overnights in Busan and Osaka. Guests can take in the view cruising the Inland Sea and experience equal parts pop culture and cultural heritage throughout the journey.
Longer sailings, such as the returning Star Collector: The Grandeur of Southeast Asia, a 26-day cruise from Singapore to Bangkok (or reverse), combine Windstar’s most popular itineraries for a more in-depth exploration of each region and multiple country visits. Star Collector Voyages in Asia, ranging from 14 to 47 days, include few repeat ports to hidden harbors and classic cities, guest speakers, free daily laundry and unpacking once, allowing more time to get closer to the diverse places the ship will visit.
New for 2018-19 in Asia for Windstar are Star Collector: Shrines and Cities of Asia, a 22-day cruise from Tokyo to Hong Kong; and Star Collector: Epic East Asia, a 47-day cruise from Bangkok to Tokyo departing February 8, 2019.
This article originally appeared on travelagentcentral.com.