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A Mark Spitz Experience For Windstar

Mark SpitzBefore Michael Phelps, there was Mark Spitz.

Seven swimming gold medals at an Olympics the world almost wished had never happened…Munich, 1972. At the Games where 11 men of his faith perished at the hands of terrorists, Spitz set world records in all his events, an achievement which surely would have dominated Munich.

Spitz parlayed his fame into becoming a motivational speaker. An actor on TV and in the movies. An ongoing spokesman for any number of products. A real-estate tycoon of sorts.

And now, an exclusive host with an exclusive cruise line.

Spitz is the first celebrity host Windstar Cruises has signed up for its “Private Event” program. In two weeks, shortly before his 65th birthday, he’ll be in the Caribbean on a Windstar ship, entertaining and educating the Wind Surf’s 310 guests. It’s the launch of an itinerary called Yachtsman’s Caribbean.

The 7-day cruise begins, and ends, at Philipsburg, St. Maarten. It takes in ports none of the world’s big ships can get close to, such as Prickly Pear Beach in the British Virgin Islands and the site of his signature event. He’ll conduct swimming classes for guests who want to improve their (you name it) stroke. He’ll do a lecture on the Wind Surf. He’llWind Surfdine with some guests. And he’ll just be there, being Mark Spitz, for passengers who want to rub shoulders with a great Olympian.

Michael Phelps, not long retired and still dabbling with the idea of a comeback, might take note.

Forty years down the road…

Today at portsandbows.com: Greatest of all luxury ships?

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
February 28, 2015
San Juan (return): St. Croix, St. Kitts, Roseau, Grenada, St. Thomas
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64
www.celebritycruises.com

Covering The Caribbean From One Ship

– map by cartographer Karl Musser

When taking a Caribbean cruise — the most popular cruises anywhere — sometimes the trick can be to find ports less-visited. That's less-visited by you.

As interesting as places like Nassau and Cozumel and Barbados are, how many visits are too many?

Carnival has an interesting twist, set for late next year and early 2016.

You can take a cruise from the "heartland" of American cruising, Galveston, to the heart of the Caribbean, San Juan. It's an 11-day trip with six port stops. And then you can cruise back, with six more ports in 10 days.

That's three weeks on the ship, which will be the Triumph, and 12 ports. And here's the best part: Only one port is a repeat. In other words, you can see 11 places in the Caribbean on the same trip…okay, a two-in-one cruise.

The concept is not all that's new for Carnival. So are many of the ports. Carnival ships have never been to Bonaire and have rarely taken passengers to Antigua, Grenada and Martinique. Also on the port agenda are Aruba, Grand Cayman, St. Maarten (once each way), Grand Turk, St. Thomas, St. Kitts and Half Moon Cay.

Get out your map and take a look. Draw a line through the Caribbean from Miami and around the east end of the world's most famous islands and back via Grand Cayman and you'll see that you'll see a generous part of the entire Caribbean.

There are only two opportunities. The Triumph will leave Galveston in October (2015) and again in January (2016), with the return trips in October and late January, respectively.

You can do one of the two, of course, but that means flying to or from San Juan. Double up, and forget the air fare.

Oh yes, you do need a three-week vacation.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam
12 nights
May 24, 2014
Venice (return): OlympiaAthensIstanbulLesbosEphesusSantoriniArgostoli
Inside: $929
Cost per day: $77
www.hollandamerica.com

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