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Thursday 24 November 2022

The smaller the better when it comes to cruising?

I am not a big fan of those mega-sized cruise ships that are bigger than a shopping mall - particularly in the age of Covid.

I am much more tempted by small ship cruises, or my favourite, river cruises, with small numbers of passengers and no long lines to get on and off board at each port.

One such small craft, Windstar Cruises 312-passenger, all-suite Star Breeze yacht, is making its first-ever visit to Australia. It began in Sydney, embarking on a 13-day privately chartered cruise to Melbourne, arriving on December 4.

The charter cruise kicks off several weeks of Australia-based sailings for the small ship cruise line.

Itineraries include first-time ports in Mooloolaba and Phillip Island.

Windstar will leave Australia on February 7, 2023, returning in December, 2023.

I'll be jumping on board to take a look in a couple of weeks' time.

“In addition to expected Australian tourist highlights like the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef, Windstar strives to take its guests down the road less travelled to immerse them in the region’s history, traditional culture, and incredible wine country,” says Windstar president Christopher Prelog.

“Windstar goes to rarely visited small ports like Thursday and Middle Percy islands, and offers a series of thoughtfully curated shore excursions ranging from meeting with researchers at the Lizard Island Research Station to sampling Tasmania’s finest produce.

"We are all about getting our guests away from the crowds, up close with wildlife, and tasting the best flavours of the region.”

Windstar’s next Australian itinerary Tasman Sea Treasures: New Zealand Fjords & Southern Australia departs Melbourne on December 4, sailing to Auckland over 14 days.

On December 18, the Wildlife & Wines of New Zealand itinerary operates from Auckland to Christchurch, followed by the reverse on December 30.

Another Tasman Sea Treasures cruise departs on January 10 from Auckland to Melbourne, followed by a Melbourne to Cairns journey on January 25 called Deep Dive Down Under: the Great Barrier Reef & Beyond

All sailings take place on Windstar’s newly renovated Star Breeze.

The yacht was cut in half/lengthened with 50 new suites and has two new restaurants, a spa/fitness centre, and more efficient engines, among other improvements.

More details on Windstar’s Australia and New Zealand itineraries can be found here:

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