Windstar Cruises has a diverse fleet of small ships that ply the waters of the world carrying as few as 140 travelers. Its six yachts carry just 148 to 310 guests and cruise to 50 nations, calling at 150 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America.
Traveling with Windstar on the 2018 Windstar President’s Cruise, we sailed from Singapore to Hong Kong on a 14-night itinerary that took a look at a part of the world where many cruise line crew members come from. Unique to this particular sailing and a first as far as we know: Windstar was host to crew families both on and off Star Legend over a two-day stay in Manila.
Cruise one time and travelers have an idea of what it is like to work at sea: pretty much like working at a large hotel on land but it floats. Dig a little deeper and we know crew leaves home for months at at time, just to be able to do jobs those land-based counterparts do during the work day before returning home each night. The big difference at sea: they don’t come home. It’s a lifestyle crew is fully aware of before contracting with the cruise line. Still, leaving loved ones behind has to be difficult. Just how difficult, I did not really understand until those two days in Manila.
The first day brought crew families on to Star Legend where they could see exactly where it is their family crew member works. They met other crew who may have just been a name mentioned in passing, much like we might mention someone at work to our family. This day those names and people talked about in photos became real and everyone wanted their image captured on the great big cruise ship.
Windstar could have stopped right there and been ahead of most other cruise lines when it comes to the topic of embracing and appreciating the hard-working crew. But they didn’t. Going further as Windstar does, they brought all the crew and family ashore for a banquet in their honor at the historic Manila hotel.
In the shadow of the same place General Douglas MacArthur called home after WWII, Windstar crew and family met each other, many for the first time.
Plans for the future include replicating the same event at some place in Indonesia, another part of the world where many crew come from. It was nice to see a cruise line do more than just talk about how much they value the hard work of the crew. This idea was a great example of how ‘actions speak louder than words” and one we hope all cruise lines embrace in the future.
Windstar Cruises is known for being 180° From Ordinary. This is one reason why.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com
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