For some, trip planning is a chore. They just want to be there, experiencing the destination in all of its glory. For others, the trip begins once their cruise is booked, and the research (plus anticipation) is half the fun. Now, both of these types of travelers will be pleased with a new offering from Windstar Cruises and Utrip, a travel personalization platform that supports Windstar’s strength of bringing guests into small ports of call to discover authentic experiences that celebrate the communities and cultures of each destination.
The new trip-planning software enhances Windstar’s already highly-customized shore-side experience. Interactive filters let guests dial up or down their preferences in seven key areas including: arts and culture, outdoors, adventure, shopping, history, relaxation, and food and wine. The online tool then provides tailored activities in each cruise port, serving up suggestions that best match the interests of cruisers. The software acts as a local resource, also serving up restaurants, parks, museums, attractions and more to help plan one’s dream vacation.
“We are excited to give our guests another great way to personalize their vacation and further enrich their destination experience. The user-friendly platform shares a robust amount of information on activities and places to inspire our well-traveled cruisers so they can discover the absolute perfect shore excursion in every port,” explained Windstar President John Delaney.
Six itineraries are available on the new platform during a six-month pilot program, with plans to expand based on guest feedback and functionality. The advanced system automatically sorts through thousands of activity options at the click of a button, enabling guests to effortlessly plan trips and make the most of their time on shore.
Currently available on select sailings in Europe, the Caribbean and Asia, the trip planning platform includes ports such as Malaga, Spain; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Bangkok, Thailand.
For example, for the active adventurer visiting Halong Bay, Vietnam on Windstar’s Icons of Southeast Asia cruise, the Utrip platform may recommend Windstar’s Halong Bay by Seaplane excursion paired with lesser known options such as lunch on the go at the exotic Bai Chay Market, or a visit to Tuần Châu where “Vietnam: The Island of Mr. Sang” episode of “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” was filmed.
The platform serves up descriptions, photos, maps, menus and more and lets cruisers create a ‘wish list’ of activities to refer back to without having to keep detailed notes. In addition, those favorites can be shared with fellow cruisers, family and friends via email, links and social media.
Port information is currently available on the following Windstar itineraries highlighting excursions and activities in 30 ports of call:
- Icons of Southeast Asia
- Spanish Serenade
- Spanish Symphony
- Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco
- Windward Islands Surf and Sunsets
- San Juan and the Virgin Islands
“We’re thrilled to partner with Windstar and give their cruisers a destination-centric port discovery tool that’s as innovative as it is engaging,” said Utrip CEO Gilad Berenstein. “With the platform, cruisers can dream about destinations and future sailings, be inspired by the on-the-ground experiences that await them, and plan and book shore excursions in a way that is easy, enjoyable and personal.”