Windstar Cruises has announced five new cruise dates in fall 2018 on the 212-guest Star Legend running September to November and has added to its offerings in Asia for 2017 and 2018 on 18 different itineraries with 25 different departure dates spanning 7 to 34 days.
Visiting destinations across Southeast and East Asia, vacation options include a President’s Cruise to the Philippines and Borneo, fresh land tour options, recently added itineraries, and shore excursions that show off the region.
After two itineraries in the Middle East, Windstar’s Asia cruise season begins in December of 2017 and sails through May of 2018, when the ship navigates to Alaska for the summer season. The itinerary offerings range from port calls to small harbors larger destinations including Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo (Yokohama), Singapore and Bangkok.
Windstar has also added four new pre- and post-cruise tours, as well as five longer itineraries via Windstar’s new Star Collector Voyages. The new itineraries and land tours visit places like the Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat, and Mount Fuji, as well as the chance to sail across the Pacific from Anchorage to Yokohama.
A highlight of 2018 in Asia is Windstar's President's Cruise, setting sail on The Best of the Philippines & Borneo itinerary January 6 with Windstar President John Delaney and Star Legend Godmother Gloria Bohan. The cruise is made even more special because many of Windstar's crew is from the Philippines, so it's a homecoming of sorts, Windstar said. Filipino crew will join guests on shore excursions to visit their native landmarks and will share tips on their favorite activities and locations in their homeland.
There are a variety of special events planned on board the 14-day cruise, including time getting to know the president and godmother of the small ship cruise line, and an itinerary with visits to Palawan and Boracay. The voyage includes an overnight in Manila and a stop at the Hundred Islands National Park. A visit to Brunei takes guests inside one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, affording a look at some of the largest and most beautiful mosques in Asia.
New Shore Excursions
Additionally, Asia shore excursions are now live on Windstar’s website. Highlights include Ko Kut Treepod Dining on the Icons of Southeast Asia cruise, in which guests climb up high to a leafy canopy where they are comfortably seated in a bamboo pod. They are then gently hoisted high up onto the tropical foliage of Ko Kut’s ancient rainforest, taking in the shoreline views as a gourmet feast is delivered to them via the zipline acrobatics of a personal waiter.
New Land Tours
On the Angkor Wat Land Tour to/from Bangkok with four pre- and post- cruise options on Windstar, over the course of three days on land, guests will have the chance to marvel over the impressive architecture of religious temples, predominantly Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here guests, who wish, will be driven in the wee hours of the morning to witness a sunrise over this Seventh Wonder of the World. A visit to Wat Atvea Pagoda, located in the Angkor Archeological Park, is also included, where there will be an opportunity to meet monks and receive a traditional Khmer Water Blessing from them.
Similarly, Windstar is offering the Angkor Wat Land Tour to/from Singapore with pre- and post- cruise options on 11 different sail dates/itineraries.
The Beijing and Xian Land Tour can be experienced as a pre- or post-cruise option on three of Windstar’s Asia cruises, with a three-day land journey that begins in Beijing at the Temple of Heaven, providing an authentic look into local city life. From there, the “Forbidden City” will present visitors with some of the best-preserved pieces of classical Chinese architecture before they head to Tiananmen Square, home to Chairman Mao’s remains. Guests will then be taken to a famous Peking duck restaurant in Beijing, and there will also be a chance toexperience the Great Wall before flying to Xian to encounter the Terracotta Warriors and visit the old city.
The Kyoto/Osaka Land Tour is a three-day option pre- or post-cruise on Windstar’s Grand Japan itinerary. Highlights include Osaka Castle, the UNESCO Site of Nijo Castle and Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion and aptly named because the walls and eaves are covered in shimmering gold leaf.
New and Longer Asia Cruises
There are five new sailings in the Asia Collection open for bookings in fall 2018 and five new Star Collector Voyages in Asia, which combine some of Windstar’s itineraries in the region for a more in-depth exploration. Free daily laundry is also included. These sailings range from 14-34 days, below are a few highlights.
Singapore & Siam Holiday is a seven-night itinerary that begins with an overnight stay in Singapore before sailing to Malaysia to Penang’s UNESCO World Heritage Site in Colonial George Town and then ascending on the Langkawi Gondola to get a bird’s-eye-view of the rainforest. Upon arriving in Ko Yao Noi, sea lovers can swim with the colorful butterfly fish or venture inland to scope out the quaint rural villages. An overnight stay in Phuket tops off this itinerary.
Guests can ring in the New Year on a Taste of Siam & Singapore New Year’s Eve cruise, spending seven days sailing from Phuket (Patong Bay), Thailand to Singapore and stopping in Malaysia along the way. This voyage commences in Phuket, famous for its pristine beaches. It continues onto Ko Phi Phi, made popular by the 2000 film The Beach, where guests can celebrate the arrival of 2018. After a day at sea, the cruise visits Ipoh, the fourth-largest city in Malaysia, where evidence of a British colonial past remains, and then take in the 360-degree views from the top of one of the world’s highest towers in Kuala Lumpur. The trip concludes with a visit to the UNESCO city of Malacca and an overnight stay in Singapore.
Aleutians & North Pacific Crossing creates a passage between Seward, Alaska and Tokyo, Japan over the course of 16 days in fall 2018. A cruise that emphasizes the less-frequented ports of call will retrace the route of the Russian-American fur trade, island-hopping along the Aleutian Archipelago. Visitors can sportfish in Kodiak – possibly spotting one of their famous bears – or kayak in the remote waters of Sand Point, catching glimpses of bison. Fans of “The Deadliest Catch” will get the chance to visit Dutch Harbor, which was featured on this TV show for being the only deep-water port in the Aleutians and the main delivery port for king crab. This excursion continues in Japan with Kushiro, home to Japan’s largest marshland and endangered Japanese cranes, and Miyako, a city slowly recovering from the devastating 2011 tsunami and whose Jodogahama Beach has been nationally dubbed a “Place of Scenic Beauty.”
While Windstar’s 10-day Grand Japan itinerary was originally announced solely for the spring of 2018, Windstar has now added two new fall 2018 sailings. Fall colors promise to be spectacular, along with fewer crowds during this less-visited but no less gorgeous time to explore Japan and South Korea.
For another take on Japan with a taste of Korean and Chinese culture, Pop Culture Kings of Asia offers 11 days of uncovering over 17 UNESCO sites, as well as the birthplace of J-Pop and Harajuku culture, in fall 2018. Beginning in Tokyo and ending in Beijing, cruise dwellers can choose to immerse themselves in retail heaven in the largest underground mall in Seoul or meditate in the serenity of Kyoto, Japan’s Bamboo Forest. Other highlights of the trip include Shimizu, home to Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, the nearby 65-foot Shiraito Waterfall, and the Tamano (Uno), a location where very few vessels are able to pass through. Of course, stopping in Hiroshima to sample the Okonomiyaki savory pancakes cannot be overlooked before sailing over to South Korea where the dormant Hallasan Volcano and the world’s longest lava tunnels are also a must-see.
Comprehensive China Exploration is an 11-day experience highlighting the best of China and Taiwan and featuring overnights in Shanghai, Taipei, and Hong Kong in fall 2018. For foodies, this itinerary offers the chance to taste oyster pancakes found in the night markets of Taiwan, sample authentic dim sum in Hong Kong, and sip the local brewed beer in Qingdao.
This story originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.