To be purchased from Seabourn, another luxury cruise operator, the three ships each sleep up to 208 passengers in 104 suites. Deliveries will be in 2014 and 2015.
WindStar's present fleet consists of three recently renovated “sailing yachts” carrying 148 to 310 guests. Its cruises stop at 100 ports in 50 countries in Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Central America.
The fleet expansion will allow Windstar to sail to additional destinations such as points in Asia and South America. The line is known for calls at hidden harbors and secluded coves, spots typically bypassed by the big cruise ships.
Acquisition of the three ships from Seabourn – the Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit – will leave three other ships in the Seabourn fleet, officials said.
Andy Todd, CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, said: “Windstar Cruises has experienced four straight years of revenue growth. This expansion is the perfect way to build on the momentum following our recent fleet-wide renovation, providing us with the much needed capacity to match the accelerating demand for our intimate style of yacht cruising.”
Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz added: “Windstar is proud of its heritage in sailing, but what our guests are most enthusiastic about is our intimate, yacht style of cruising. This style is the core of our brand experience and the new ships are a perfect fit to build on that foundation.”
Official said the purchase will make Windstar “the market leader in small-ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers.” Other recent acquisitions by Xanterra include VBT, an adventure travel company, and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., adjoining the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
After being renovated to Windstar's brand, the Seabourn Pride will begin sailing under Windstar's colors in May 2014, to be followed by the other two ships in May 2015.