(11:39 a.m. EDT) -- Windstar has revealed a new partnership with baggage shipping company Luggage Forward to ease the travel process for cruise passengers.
The luggage valet service allows passengers to ship their suitcases directly from their house to the ship, and home again, without having to drag them through the airport and port facilities. Luggage Forward assures bags will be delivered undamaged and on time, and offers a money-back plus $500 on-time guarantee.
"Windstar Cruises is very pleased to add this new luggage forwarding service to our selection of amenities and services," said Windstar President John Delaney in a company statement. "Our guests are pretty intrepid travelers with well-developed packing skills, but whatever size your bag is, not dragging it through the airportenhances the ease and freedomof your travel experience."
According to Luggage Forward's website, any cruise passenger can use the service to ship items to any cruise line in more than 200 countries. However, it partners with cruise lines such as Windstar (as well as Holland America, Princess, Oceania, Viking Ocean and River, Regent Seven Seas and Seabourn) to offer additional benefits.
While the partnership does not offer special rates, Josh Veryser, Luggage Forward's manager of strategic partnerships, told Cruise Critic in an email, it does offer benefits such as instant online booking onboard for return service, Windstar ship information automatically loaded into the online booking system and auto-generated shipping labels and customs documents (avoiding the usual wait for paperwork processing).
In addition, Windstar passengers will have their bags collected directly from the ship (and delivered directly to their cabins), rather than having to disembark and clear customs with their luggage before turning it over to be shipped.
Prices for the luggage value service vary, but start at $104 (to U.S. ports) and $159 (international) for a 25-pound bag, or $124 (U.S.) and $244 (international) for a 50-pound bag. Windstar passengers can learn more and get price quotes through Luggage Forward's Windstar-specific website.
Want to learn more ways to make getting to your cruise ship a breeze? Learn about our favorite travel hacks.
--By Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor