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When walking is too slow and motor coach tours seem too fast, a bike tour may be just right.
Cruising isn’t just for tottering old seniors anymore. The difference is that these days the seniors (and I’m one of them, yikes!) on ocean and river cruises are more active and have more vitality than ever before. Especially when it comes to their shore excursions.
Enter Windstar Cruises.
Like most cruise lines today, Windstar is pointing their marketing strategy at the younger cruise guest and the active older cruise guest. It’s a strategy that has to happen with the aging of the majority of today’s cruise passenger.
Enter the bicycle.
European river cruise lines have had bicycles on board for several years. Being difficult to maintain and repair, storage space at a premium and with an older clientele, river cruise lines except AmaWaterways have eliminated their complimentary bike rentals.
Windstar, an ocean-going boutique cruise line, has outfitted their three-ship fleet of luxury sailing yachts with brand new silver bicycles. I’m still pedaling a seven year old beach bike around my neighborhood, so when I saw the photo of Windstar’s new bicycles, I immediately had to investigate.
Not just any old bikes
These new bikes are state of the art folding bikes. Specifically, the 7000-series aluminum frame Dragon Marine Folding Bikes. Makes sense when you think of the amount of space needed to store bicycles.
Just as it is an additional cost for a Windstar shore excursion, there is a small fee to rent a bicycle. The bikes are available for a half day or full day rental in most of the ports. Considering that Windstar can maneuver into remote harbors and secluded ports, a bicycle is a perfect mode of transport to tour these destinations.
What’s the price?
The rental cost is a reasonable $39 for a half-day of exploring (four hours) and $59 for a full day’s sojourn about town (8 hours). The Wind Surf will have eight bicycles onboard while the smaller Wind Spirit and Wind Star will each have four bikes for rent.
Bike helmets, locks and chains are included. Bicycle rentals can be arranged through the Destination Manager aboard each ship. The larger Wind Surf will carry eight of these new cycles while the smaller Wind Spirit and Wind Star will have four available.
The opportunity to step ashore and hop on your bike is a great way to see a new city, town or village. Think about pedaling around, finding a local restaurant for lunch, getting back on your bike and visiting some of the places that the tour buses don’t include.
Enjoy your time in new destinations, up close and personal from your bicycle. Or put a fresh perspective on a revisited port and see the sights from the seat of your bike.