Windstar Still Afloat?

May 26, 2009 on 5:00 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, cruise travel, things travelers need to know, travel | Comments Off

I apologize for the delay in posting this story.  When I attempted to post it over a week ago, I found that our Wordpress installation was dysfunctional.  It took several days to repair, but now we are back up and the blog is operating thanks to the help of our friends at HostMySite.com.  The reference to dates in the text is off, but I think you will understand my message.

One of the saddest stories in the travel provider world surrounds the problems that Ambassadors International is having maintaining the Windstar line of ocean cruisers.  Windstar is our favorite small-ship cruise line, as we like the ship-size, the itineraries and the type and level of service that Windstar provides.  Although the cruises are not “cheap”, neither are they pretentious.  You generally get great, though unobtrusive service and mix with a crowd of people small enough to make meaningful friends and life-long acquaintances.

A few years ago, Ambassadors, which then  ran an travel-based event management company, purchased Windstar to accompany its venture of US river cruising called the Majestic Line (now defunct).  Unfortunately, Ambassadors appears not to have had the wherewithal to manage a complex business and began shedding units to continue its operations.  It now appears to be solely focused on Windstar.

Today, Travel Weekly  posted an article that confirmed industry rumors -  Ambassadors may need more cash to stay afloat, I guess that’s the industry phrasing for avoiding bankruptcy, which for many companies is a prelude to financial default and ceasing operations.  A few weeks ago we saw another report that indicated that Ambassador’s accounting firm believed that the company was close to no longer being a “going concern”.

In turn, we have noticed that Windstar is really reducing fees for some of their current cruises and have a suggestion for you.  If you are booked on a future Windstar cruise, be sure to purchase trip insurance that covers a company ceasing operations during your travels.  Some travel insurance companies cover default but not bankruptcy.  What you need to do is explain the situation to your agent and ask them to arrange coverage that will get you home if the cruise line is unable to operate due to financial problems.

Windstar provides a great vacation experience.  We hope they make it.

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