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melissa wilsoe and debbie summers
Melissa Witsoe, left, with NZ Cruise Association’s Chairman Debbie Summers at the ACA 2019 welcome function PHOTO: Helen Hutcheon

Windstar outlines plans for Australasia at ACA 2019

‘Our guests don’t say “I want to go on a cruise,” they say “I want to go to Australia,” Windstar Cruises’ product manager for Australia and New Zealand Melissa Witsoe told delegates at the 2019 annual conference of the Australian Cruise Association in Geelong.

Top three

‘We surveyed our guests on where they would travel with WSC in the future and Australia continually came out in the top three destinations,’ Witsoe said.

‘Our guests want to visit new destinations and want experiences beyond the ordinary. They want local experiences.’

The four-masted 148-passenger Wind Spirit, currently based year-round in Tahiti, will visit Australia in March 2020 en route to Singapore for dry dock upgrades, calling at Cairns, Port Douglas, Thursday Island, Yirrkala and Darwin.

Best of both countries

The 312-passenger Star Breeze will be in Australasia from November 2020 until March 2021. Her calls include Cairns, Fraser Island, Mooloolaba (the venue for ACA 2017), Melbourne, Sydney, Eden, Phillip Island, Portland, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and ports in Tasmania, before crossing the Tasman for a programme in New Zealand.

Witsoe said Windstar’s passengers are typically well-educated, affluent 45- to 70-year-olds who don’t like crowds or standing in a line.

‘Our tagline “No tie required” is particularly appealing to the more relaxed Australian traveller,’ she said.

More time in port

There is an emphasis on full day calls, late departures and overnights.

‘We don’t like to provide something a guest can buy off the shelf,’ she said. ‘We take the time to procure something special.’