Windstar and James Beard: The Luxury Cruise for Foodies
Are you passionate about seeing the world through its cuisines? Then Windstar's James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection Cruises were made for you.
Since 2016, Windstar has partnered with the James Beard Foundation -- the New York-based organization famed for restaurant and chef awards -- to produce culinary-focused cruises. These ocean experiences offer the best in food, drink, and gourmet events, and visit ports that are celebrated for their good food and drink.
Every Windstar James Beard cruise features a major Beard-award-winning guest chef and his or her dishes. Passengers can hobnob with the chef in daily cooking demos, tastings, and cocktail parties, plus in chef-led excursions like shopping in the port's farmer's market.
On the following pages, you'll find out more about Windstar James Beard cruises: their chefs, their routes, their ships. If you're hungry for a foodie vacation, climb aboard Windstar's James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection Cruises.
Where Will You Go Aboard a Windstar James Beard Cruise?
Nine Culinary Cruises Let You Follow Your Appetite Around the World
In 2017, Windstar and the James Beard Foundation are masterminding nine cruises that celebrate the world's best food and wine. See which cruise captures your foodie fantasies.
May 6, 2017: Islands of the West Med with Chef Jennifer Jasinski of Ultreia and Rioja in Denver, the James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Southwest. This week-long cruise on Star Pride, Windstar's 212-passenger yacht, is bookended by the culinary capitals of Rome and Barcelona. Your flavorful ports in-between: the beautiful islands of Corsica, Elba, Sardinia, and Mallorca (where guests will enjoy a private visit to a palace, complete with food, drink, and entertainment).
June 16, 2017: Cuisines & Cultures of Spain, Portugal, and France with the popular Top Chef contestant, Annie Pettry of Decca restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. The Star Legend yacht will transport 212 passengers on a 10-day gustatory journey from Lisbon to Dublin, stopping in culinary meccas like Porto and Bordeaux. One highlight of the cruise is an exclusive Bordeaux wine experience.
August 4, 2017: Lands of the Midnight Sun with James Beard Award winner (Best Chef: Midwest) Paul Berglund of Bachelor Farmer restaurant in Minneapolis. This cruise aboard the 212-guest Star Legend yacht celebrates the culinary heritage of Scandinavia in an 11-day journey from Iceland to Norway and finally to Ireland.
August 15, 2017: James Beard Foundation Epicurean Explorations of France, Spain, and Portugal with acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author Hugh Acheson. Over 10 glorious days cruising from Dublin to Lisbon aboard the Star Legend yacht, passengers will revel in great food and wine onboard and in port, exploring the food and wine cultures of Atlantic Europe. The itinerary offers two full days in France's current must-visit city, Bordeaux.
September 2, 2017: Gaelic Explorers with James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Northwest, Seattle's Renee Erickson, known for her innovative approach to seafood. Chef Erickson will lead guests from Edinburgh to Dublin, sampling the word's finest salmon, whiskey, and Scotch over eight memorable days aboard tall-masted Wind Surf.
October 18, 2017: Islands of the West Med with Chef Amy Brandwein of Capitolina in Washington, D.C. This acclaimed European-trained chef will escort lovers of sunny Mediterranean cuisine to proud, historic islands including Sicily, Sardinia, Mallorca, and Ibiza, where the creation of some of the world's most exciting food and wine is an enduring art. Windstar's 212-passenger Star Pride yacht will host this classic adventure.
November 10, 2017: Jewels of the Windward Islands of the Caribbean with James Beard Award semifinalist Keith Rhodes, from Catch restaurant in Wilmington, North Carolina and also a Top Chef personality. Rhodes, a seafood specialist, will accompany passengers on this eight-day sailing exploring the multicultural cuisine of Barbados, Saint Lucia, Trinidad, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The ship is Wind Star, a tall-masted power sailboat carrying just 148 guests.
December 9, 2017: San Juan and the Virgin Islands with Mario Pagán, one of Puerto Rico’s best chefs. Chef Mario will spend a week aboard the Star Pride yacht with 148 passengers, exploring the culinary wonders of the Caribbean: his Spanish-influenced home island, plus French-governed St. Barth's and the English-heritage Virgin Islands.
January 20, 2018: Icons of Southeast Asia with Honolulu chef Lee Anne Wong, an original contestant on Top Chef and author of the cookbook “Dumplings All Day Wong." She will chaperone 212 gourmet guests on a 14-day dining journey from Hong Kong to Vietnam to Bangkok aboard the elegant Star Legend.
Next: why consider cruising on a Windstar yacht or sailing ship?
The Windstar Cruise Difference
When It Comes to Cruise Ships, Small Is Beautiful
Windstar Cruises' small luxury ships are well known in the cruise world for their yacht-style experience. These are not megaships where passengers get lost and never see the same face twice. These are true yachts that carry just 148 to 310 guests, making a Windstar cruise feel almost like sailing on your very own yacht.
The Windstar fleet includes three "power yachts"-- Star Pride, Star Breeze, and Star Legend -- all with a capacity of 212 guests. The fleet's three other ships -- Wind Surf, Wind Star, and Wind Spirit -- carry between 148 and 310 guests. The ships feel private, but not cramped. They are the perfect blend of cozy and exciting, and Windstar has been honored with every cruise award there is.
Along with their sociable feeling, Windstar ships deliver another great benefit to passengers: they are sleek enough to slip into small port towns that bigger cruise ships cannot.As a result, Windstar passengers can and do explore the world's lesser-known exotic ports. The fleet's ships cal at 150 ports in 50 nations throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America.
Next: a typical day of luxury and leisure aboard a Windstar cruise
Day-by-Day Aboard a Windstar James Beard Cruise
What Do You Do on a Windstar James Beard Cruise?
In a few words: eat, drink, relax, explore a port, then eat, drink, and relax some more. In a few more words...
On sailaway day, you board in the afternoon, settle into your comfy cabin, and join in the safety drill on deck. Then the fun starts with a gathering for a drink with the captain and an introduction to your James Bead Foundation guest chef and sommelier.
Afterward, you head to your welcome dinner, with wine a-flowing and recipes created by the James Beard chef. You can sit at a romantic table for two or join a larger table and get to know some friendly fellow gourmets. After dinner, your ship offers social experiences like a casino, piano bar, dance club, movie screenings, and more.
Every day onboard follows a pleasant general pattern. You awaken and either head for breakfast (Continental or full menu) or enjoy your morning meal in your cabin via room service. Once your ship pulls into its port of the day, you join a small group for the excursion you've chosen. Among your choices will be a cultural experience that immerses you in your port's historic heritage -- or a foodie experience along the lines of a chef-led shopping trip to the port's farmer's market, or to a local brewery for a tour and tasting. Your excursion often includes lunch, but if you're back on the ship, the lunch spread at Candles cafe always overflows with cheese, charcuterie, and fresh produce from the mornign market.
Back onboard in late afternoon, you have man options: an indulgent beauty or health treatment in the spa, a dip in the shipboard pool, an email catchup, a nap, a workout in the shipboard gym, a drink on your cabin balcony, or a snack in the Yacht Club. Sailaway is usually around 5 P.M. The day's wine event happens at six: an ample and entertaining tasting of the port region's wines led by your cruise's James Beard Foundation-chosen guest sommelier. Afterward, there's a short presentation about the next day's port town. Then passengers begin to drift toward dinner at AmphorA, which is served all evening.
There's no dress code aboard Windstar. But most passengers put their best foot forward for dinner in the glamorous restaurant, featuring white-glove service and deluxe multi-course dinners. Dining in AmphorA is like going out to an elegant bistro. The menu changes nightly, with intriguing offerings of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Passengers can expect various main courses of beef, poultry, local seafood, pasta, Asian-style, and vegetarian. And there's always an entree created by the James Beard chef aboard. The food is uniformly fresh, creative, and expertly cooked, and the wine that flows is very good wine. And for variety, passengers may also dine in Candles perched on the rear deck or with in their private suite.
After dinner, passengers socialize or relax in their cabin, slumber to the gentle sway of the ship, and awaken in a new port, facing a day filled with fresh adventures and delicious food and wine.
Next: see what your Windstar cabin will be like
Your Cabin Suite Aboard Windstar Cruises
Your Windstar Cabin Is an Oasis of Comfort
There's so much to do, see, and taste on a Windstar James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection Cruise. But sometimes you just want to enjoy the privacy of your cabin. Windstar staterooms are all suites, and all offer ocean views. (About a third of suites have verandas or French balconies.) Suites are very much like luxury hotel suites, with marvelous beds, full bathrooms, big TV screens, and plenty of room to stretch out and to store your things.
Service aboard Windstar is exceptional. Every cabin has a dedicated butler who makes shipboard life easy, plus a thorough housekeeping team and assistance and advice at every turn. Windstar guests feel pampered because they are.
Next: for more info
Find Out More About the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection
Hungry for Adventure?
To find out more about the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection and private yacht-style cruising with Windstar, contact a travel professional or Windstar Cruises by phone at 877.958.7718, or visit www.windstarcruises.com, or Windstar's blog, with fun articles about its culinary cruises.
As is common in the travel industry, the author was provided with a complimentary cruise for the purpose of describing the experience. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.