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Star Breeze takes over as Windstar Cruises' year-round French Polynesia ship

French Polynesia President Moetai Brotherson, center left, with Windstar Cruises President Christopher Prelog, center right
The 312-passenger Star Breeze replaced the 148-passenger Wind Spirit as Windstar Cruises' year-round ship in French Polynesia.

This had been announced in September.

Star Breeze began cruising from Tahiti on Sunday, following a ceremony attended by more than 500 guests including dignitaries such as French Polynesia President Moetai Brotherson, Speaker of the House Tony Geros and Papeete Deputy Mayor Manouche Lehartel, along with Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Tourisme partners, port officials, travel advisors, media and Windstar executives.

Local artist Jessie Tiare Manutahi is aboard Star Breeze to reveal an artistic Tahitian-inspired logo made up of symbols representing Windstar in Tahiti.

'This strategic shift in ships not only doubles capacity but also brings new experiences given the Breeze’s multiple dining options, enlarged spa and fitness center and spacious accommodations,' Windstar President Christopher Prelog said at the pierside celebration. 'Travelers aboard Star Breeze still navigate Tahiti’s out-of-the-way harbors, hidden lagoons and pristine beaches in Windstar’s signature, small-ship style.'

French Polynesia was instrumental in Prelog's career, and remains his favorite destination. 

More ports within reach

The Windstar president also noted the vessel change means faster travel to and from the islands of French Polynesia and the greater South Pacific, enabling expansion to the remote Marquesas with the 14-day 'Tahitian Treasures & Magnificent Marquesas' itinerary set to debut in July.

Wind Spirit leaves Tahiti to sail in the Caribbean during the winter season and the Mediterranean and Greek Isles between May and November. It joins sister ship Wind Star in the Greek Isles to double occupancy in this top-selling region.

In French Polynesia, Star Breeze will visit 11 islands and atolls, offering new experiences like an evening of arearea Polynesian fun on deck with local group the Mamas and the Papas to learn how to make a lei, tie a pareo and take part in Tahitian music and dancing.

The ship also will hire local team members in the service department and carry a French Polynesian cultural ambassador on each cruise to organize events such as Tahitian dance and language lessons, crafts, ukulele performance and more.

Supporting corals

New excursions include a cultural catamaran cruise in Raiatea to explore coral nurseries with Windstar's partner, Coral Gardeners. To date, the line and its passengers have adopted more than 2,500 corals with Coral Gardeners, Windstar aims to open a dedicated nursery supporting 5,000 corals in 2025.

It also will be possible for passengers to refresh their PADI certification in Papeete before the cruise.

In additional, local artwork will decorate Star Breeze, and Tahitian movies, music channels, books and board games will be available. Cabin turndown gifts will be made in the islands.

New foodie cruise-tour 

Windstar’s longtime partnerships with island communities, Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Tourisme continue to evolve with new offerings such as extended hotel stays for an enhanced Tahiti experience combining the cruise with hotels and activities on land. Air and hotel packages are offered from Seattle and Los Angeles and a new foodie cruise-tour combines the seven-day 'Dreams of Tahiti' cruise with a three-night stay at Moorea’s Hotel Manava Beach Resort and Spa, a foodie adventure and snorkeling tour.

Windstar will continue to offer Tahiti favorites including its signature Bora Bora Destination Discovery Event on a private Tahitian motu where participants have an alfresco dinner with traditional foods, live music and local fire dancers. Tahiti tattooist, cultural expert and guide Tihoti brings local culture and traditions alive in a 'can't miss' shipboard presentation.

And swimming from Windstar's watersports platform continues, with complimentary paddle boards, kayaks, floating mats and snorkel gear.