(12:44 p.m. EDT) -- Windstar is changing things up with its 2019 and 2020 itineraries in the Caribbean and Latin America. New options for small-ship cruisers include months-long sailings around the Caribbean and Pacific Coast, as well as more destination-focused weeklong cruises. Wind Surf will visit the Panama Canal for the first time, offering a partial transit from the Caribbean to Gatun Lake and back.
All of Windstar's cruises in this region feature the line's signature beach day plus an onboard barbecue, water sports from the ship's marina and an open bridge policy. The line focuses on small or lesser visited ports and late-night or overnight calls.
"The beaches, wildlife and rainforests are a sure draw, but the way we plan and approach itineraries is what sets Windstar apart -- we discover the most authentic cultural experiences a destination has to offer so that adventurous, imaginative travelers can come away with a different view and an enhanced understanding of their ports of call," said Windstar president's John Delaney in a company statement.
Below is a breakdown of what's on offer in 2019-2020:
Windstar is introducing two new Star Collector (i.e. long) itineraries in the Caribbean region. The 56-night Grand Caribbean Adventure departs January 4, 2020, from St. Maarten aboard Wind Surf, and will circumnavigate the Caribbean Sea before returning to St. Maarten. The ship will visit the Greater and Lesser Antilles, and call in Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Belize and Mexico.
The slightly shorter, 39-night 3 Americas cruise on Star Legend departs from Vancouver on September 24, 2019; sails down the Pacific Coast and through the Panama Canal; and finishes in Puerto Rico. This sailing is also a James Beard Foundation culinary cruise, with a particular emphasis on food and drink in the Western U.S.
For those with less vacation time, Windstar is adding new seven- to 11-night sailings in Mexico and the Caribbean. Two active Star Legend sailings in Mexico include a seven-night Sea of Cortez cruise, with options for fishing and snorkeling, and an eight-night Southern Mexico cruise that combines trekking and snorkeling with explorations of Mayan ruins and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
On the Caribbean side, the cruise line is adding seven new routes, featuring regions such as the Gulf of Honduras from Colon to Cozumel, the Greater and Lesser Antilles and the Dutch Caribbean islands. Another traces the influence of the Spanish explorers through the region.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor