Christopher Prelog has been named president of Windstar Cruises, filling a role that opened in March when John Delaney stepped down.
Prelog was promoted to COO from vice president of fleet functions when Delaney remaining and has taken on the day-to-day functions of the business about the last 6 months, according to Andrew Todd, CEO of Windstar and its dad or mum corporation, Xanterra Journey Assortment.
“I quite swiftly knew he was executing incredibly well and that there was no explanation to glance exterior,” Todd said. “We had the suitable man in the firm.
“He’s accomplished a good job, and with his encounter, commencing as a waiter and doing the job his way up, he is familiar with the operations within out. He is a quite collaborative male, and he has enhanced communication a ton inside of Windstar and Xanterra. He is a great leader and a intelligent guy and we’re tremendous fired up to have him at the helm.”
For Prelog, the task brings him full circle in a 22-year cruise marketplace vocation that started off in 1998 on what was then the Seabourn Legend, which at the time was aspect of Seabourn and owned by Carnival Corp. He left Austria to get the job done as a waiter on the then-Sydney-dependent vessel, which at to start with did not go pretty perfectly.
“I called home and claimed, it is not going to do the job out for me. And my father reported, ‘suck it up, you signed up for four months,'” Prelog said.
From there, he fell in like with the business, helped in section by the ship’s stop by to Bora Bora in French Polynesia, where he was “blown absent by the natural beauty.” By the close of 2002 he was in Seabourn’s Miami headquarters primary its resort functions. When Seabourn marketed the Legend, as well as its two sister ships, to Windstar in 2013, he claimed he required to cry simply because he’d miss the Legend so considerably.
“As fortune had it, the possibility to be part of fleet functions at Windstar permitted me to perform with people ships once again,” he said.
Prelog has been with Windstar for four decades and has overseen the line’s $250 million Star In addition Initiative to extend and up grade people a few ships (now regarded as the Star Legend, Star Breeze and Star Delight) a project underway at Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard. The Star Breeze is scheduled to be the 1st of the three ships to emerge from the improve this fall, adopted by the Star Legend and Star Delight in 2021.
When the line ends its pandemic pause, offering the Star As well as task will be a central concentrate for Prelog.
“It is such a significant financial investment, and the ships are likely to search so amazing when they come out,” he claimed, introducing that the new Star Plus features, such as new cafe concepts and suites, will at some point be worked into Windstar’s masted ships as nicely. “We are unquestionably upping our culinary choices and our selection.”
Amid them is a new alfresco cafe in collaboration with Steven Raichlen, the grilling expert, that Prelog mentioned will be the form of addition in high need when individuals start cruising once again and component of the “considerable edge” Windstar’s modest ships will have when business resumes: that they carry fewer persons than the greater ships, give more space for each guest and “have a remarkable amount of deck space and alfresco dining.”
“We really believe that will be the most popular alternative of the upcoming,” he reported.
Windstar’s reserving information indicates this may perhaps be true: 40% of its recent 2021 bookings are initially-to-model buyers that Windstar discerns have cruised with other strains.
And even though the minimal range of cruise ships in operation in Europe are controlling shore excursions, and the U.S. dependent traces have recently committed to undertaking the identical, the character of lots of of Windstar’s small-ship itineraries develop what Prelog calls a “shielded bubble by default.”
“In Tahiti, for illustration, almost everything is actually near by, and you is not going to sit in crowded regions or buses at all, frankly,” he reported, including that the routines provided off the sports platforms on the again of Windstar ships and the beach barbecues on private islands build “a protecting bubble by default. There is a natural social distancing, but there will also be protocols in place as portion of our programming.”
Windstar designed that programing in July, lengthy ahead of most cruise lines, with a multilayered technique to well being and basic safety that incorporates employing UV-C light that kills viruses.
For now, Prelog is joyful to reverse the course he was on for the aspect of his tenure as COO — figuring out how to get crew house and laying up ships — to the start out-up stage he is getting into as president.
“The change is really marketplace-large,” he said. “The last 6 months were being incredibly substantially focused on hunkering down and slowing down, and now it can be performing toward ramping up.”
As of now, the line is scheduled to resume company in January, one thing Prelog says the company opinions on a daily basis.
“We are likely to get healthful and protection as our guiding ideas and perform with CLIA and the authorities to figure out the greatest date to arrive back,” he stated. “Nations require to open up, airlines need to open up so U.S. company can vacation to the locations. There is a entire bundle of assistance we are using into consideration to aid us uncover the time and place to resume providers.”
Prelog has remained optimistic in the course of what he claims has been a complicated time.
“It can be this sort of a beautiful industry, and we are likely through rough seas ideal now,” he mentioned. “But it is really also a incredibly resilient sector and a extremely passionate field. If you adore vacation and observing the planet and assembly so numerous unique people, it can be a beautiful marketplace to get the job done in.”