Windstar Cruises Launches Online Treasure Hunt For Free Cruise To Mystery Destination

By Ramsey Qubein, Contributor
A Windstar Cruises sailing ship in French Polynesia Windstar Cruises

As cruise ships begin to successfully sail back along the horizon with updated Covid-19 protocols and testing measures, cruise lines are planning ahead for a busy 2022. Windstar Cruises’ new online treasure hunt sweepstakes may help spur interest in its small ship cruising itineraries that trade casinos and mega buffets for smaller ports of call and specialty dining options.

To begin the “quest,” online participants must watch 11 videos available on social media (Facebook and Instagram) or the dedicated sweepstakes website.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JUN 12: MS Star Pride, a cruise ship registered in Nassau, Bahamas, and operated by Windstar Cruises, sails under the 25 de Abril bridge and Christ the King monument on the Tagus River while leaving harbor on her way to Leixoes, on June 12, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon receives cruises all year around and it is considered an important cruise-related hub for tourism. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images) Corbis via Getty Images

Each video reveals a clue hidden in the background that leads to the grand prize treasure. The clues are in the form of a number, letter or symbol, that when put together in the correct order after all 11 videos, forms a Google Plus code that unveils the treasure’s location.

Everyone that “cracks the code” will be entered to win a free cruise with a companion to the destination revealed via the treasure code as well as a $200 onboard credit. While on the winning cruise, another big prize is “geo-cached” at the destination for the winner to uncover.

Today, Windstar posted its first video on the sweepstakes website explaining the contest. All of the remaining videos will appear online Sept. 10. In addition, each of those videos will also be released daily on social media between now and Sept. 20. The contest, which runs through Sept. 30, is open to U.S. citizens with the grand prize winner announced in mid-October.

A Windstar ship sails past a glacier in Alaska Windstar Cruises

Like other cruise lines, Windstar has implemented onboard testing of passengers, mask requirements and modified cleaning and social distancing standards in the wake of Covid-19, which initially halted Windstar ships in the spring of 2020. When the company relaunched its ships earlier this summer, they sailed with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing measures.

The company has a fleet of three sailing ships and three small cruise yachts with its largest ship carrying 342 passengers. The smallest sailing ship carries 148.

A redesigned balcony cabin on a Windstar ship Windstar Cruises

Windstar Yacht Club Members, the company’s loyalty program, were among the first to show interest in sailing again when the company restarted operations in June. The program lets passengers accrue points for every night they sail with the opportunity to earn nightly bonus points when reserving a higher stateroom category. Points translate to elite levels that bring future cruise discounts, onboard credits, and other onboard perks based on each tier members achieve.

The treasure hunt and sweepstakes are free to everyone, not just Yacht Club members. Travel brands in every sector are turning to sweepstakes and promotions to rebuild interest for an eventual post-pandemic economy. Consumers that register or take part in these promotions stand to benefit the most, even if they are just cautiously planning future 2022 travel.

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