I am seeing more folks booking relatively last-minute cruises and journeys for this summer and fall. I guess this kinda includes me, as I was just invited on the June 9, 2022 Inaugural Cruise of the Stretched Windstar Star Pride sailing for eight nights from Athens to Barcelona. (If you want to join me, French Balcony suites start at only $5,499 + $245 taxes per person, double occupancy.)
The Star Pride holds a special place in my heart as it, when it was the Seabourn Pride, was my first Seabourn cruise and, of course, it was at a time when I was first establishing my personal and professional relationship with that brand. The Pride taught me some of the nuances of delivering a luxury experience through the software as complimented by the hardware; not the other way around.
Years later, after a few of my Culinary & Cultural and other cruises on her, and many internal conversations about how to save the triplets, The Pride, Spirit, and Legend were sold to Windstar. And there I was in 2014 sailing the Black Sea on the Star Pride soon after that happened. It was a wonderful cruise overall but, sadly, the ship was hurting with rust and other issues that haunted her during her last neglected years with Seabourn (under Holland America). Nonetheless, I have always been pulling for the Star Pride to be, once again, something to be proud of.
Aside from my personal romance with the ship, and my ever-increasing appreciation of not only the Windstar power yachts, but the “Windstar Family”, I really like this itinerary – which visits ports I haven’t been to – and, let’s face it, I am very interested to see the consistency between Windstar’s ships.
This will be yet another attempt for me to sail through the Corinth Canal. It has been closed since February 2021 due to landslides. Due to environmental concerns, covid, and, well Greek timing, work to restore the canal only started in January 2022. Hopefully, it will be completed before June. There are only a few cruise ships that can make this transit and the Star Pride is one of them!
One of the ports I have been to, I truly love: Corfu, Greece! It is home to one of my favorite Culinary & Cultural events: Goldring Travel’s 2018 Culinary & Cultural Cruise – Part VI (Corfu, Greece – A Culinary & Cultural Day to Remember!). Fortunately, I will be reconnecting with my friend, and co-owner of Corfu Walking & Food Tours, Nausica and her sister Ariti. Whatever I wind up doing it will be fun and delicious!
Another port I’ve been to, but as a lecturer for the Italian government – so I couldn’t engage in my normal exploration is Cagliari, Sardinia. What I can tell you is the local cuisine is absolutely amazing from fresh grouper and other seafood to barbecued piglets to amazing pastas.
To be honest, the Greek ports of Gythion and Argostoli can be filled with as much history or culinary joy as one desires…or even lazy days on the beach. The Star Pride will have her marina open in Gythion so swimming, kayaking, waterskiing, etc. are all possible.
The Sicilian ports of Messina and Trapani also have much to offer from tours of the locations used in the Godfather movies to architecture to some of the most delicious markets and cuisine anywhere! (Cooking classes are, of course, available.)
Interested in joining me onboard? This is a wonderful itinerary on a wonderful ship at a wonderful price!