Windstar Cruises Launches Deckside Festival on the Panama Canal

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Renowned fleet of luxury yachts celebrates Panamanian culture with newly introduced guest program

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Today, Windstar Cruises announces a new program for guests traveling on Costa Rica & Panama Canal itineraries. The Canal Celebration, a deckside festival, invites guests to experience the sights and sounds of the Panama Canal while enjoying amenities and activities that highlight the Panamanian culture.

New for 2015/16, Windstar guests can enjoy a cool and breezy nighttime passage through the Panama Canal, during which lights illuminate the inner workings of the waterway. The Canal Celebration takes place as the yacht traverses the 40-mile passage. As the ship approaches the first locks in the late afternoon, a speaker from the Panama Port Authority comes on board to introduce guests to the complex and ingenious lock system, a modern world wonder.

As the yacht navigates the passage, guests are invited to stroll along the deck and sip on local beverages, beers, and cocktails from a mobile drink cart while listening to local festive music from various regions around the country.

As evening falls, the deck is transformed with local decor as guests dine on a custom-made Panamanian menu, curated by Windstar’s Executive Chef Michael Sabourin. Upon completion of the passage, guests find in their stateroom a certification of The Order of the Ditch, a Navy tradition that recognizes “sailors” who have passed through the Panama Canal.

Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal itinerary stops in Drake Bay, Balboa, Puerto Jimenez, Quepos, and more. Itinerary highlights include stops near several national parks, including the notoriously isolated Corcovado National Park, an ecological gem that is home to Scarlet Macaws, howler monkeys and sloths; and Isla de Coiba, where Windstar Cruises holds the Island Experience Private Event, a unique event on Panama’s Isla de Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers guests a chance to view wildlife in their natural environment. Additionally, guests can enjoy beach and sport activities such as volleyball, snorkeling, and bocce ball, as well as a full beach barbecue.

For those guests looking to experience Costa Rica by both land and sea, Windstar Cruises offers a series of new land tours, including the following Cruise-Tour Packages:

Arenal Volcano 3-day/2-night Pre/Post-Cruise
The imposing Arenal Volcano, an active volcano located 56 miles (90km) outside of San Jose, is a must-see for visitors to Costa Rica. The volcano and surrounding area is full of spectacular views, sounds, and activities that are not to be missed. Guests have the opportunity to experience a bird's-eye-view over the biologically diverse rainforest and lunch at a local restaurant. Starting at $1,149 per person.

Monteverde 3-day/2-night Pre/Post-Cruise
Guests have the opportunity to explore the stunning private biological reserve and cloudforests of Monteverde, Costa Rica, one of the best examples of sustainable tourism in the world. The package includes hiking through through the clouds in this wildlife sanctuary and learning about local culture during a sugar mill tour. Starting at $999 per person.

Tortuguero 5-day/4-night Pre/Post-Cruise
Tortuguero National Park’s gorgeous waterways offer a uniquely intimate nature study. Guests booking this tour experience a private journey through the canals of Tortuguero (or “Land of Turtles”) coming within a whisper of leatherback and green turtle nesting sites. Although turtle sightings are not guaranteed, the experience is not to be missed. Starting at $1,699 per person.

Jeff Corwin Joins Windstar Cruise
Windstar Cruises recently announced TV personality and conservationist Jeff Corwin as Windstar’s first Private Event host of 2016. Corwin will host the Isla de Coiba: Island Experience Private Event on Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal itinerary on the March 5, 2016 voyage. Corwin shares his thoughts on the upcoming cruise here.

About Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships known for its intimate yacht style experience and unique voyages to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbors. Its three recently renovated sailing 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. In May 2014, Star Pride, the first of three newly acquired power yachts, joined the fleet. In May 2015, the company launched Star Breeze and Star Legend. The power yachts, with a capacity of 212 guests each, double the size of Windstar’s fleet, making the company the market leader in small ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,242 berths. Windstar Cruises is a part of Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, which is known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint.” Xanterra’s entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks, as well as resorts, a cruise line, railway and tour companies.

For more information including rates and itineraries, contact a travel professional or call Windstar Cruises at 800.258.7245, or visit http://www.windstarcruises.com.
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Amanda Graham
Windstar Cruises
206-733-2970
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