On The Top Of The World. Interview With John Delaney.

By Fran Golden

A Day in the Life of John Delaney, President of Windstar Cruises.

You can always count on John Delaney, president of Windstar Cruises, to know what’s going on in the world. He’s an unabashed news junkie. “I have every news app there is on my phone and iPad,” he says. “I have worldwide news and I even have Associated Press news alerts.”

In fact, the first thing he does in the morning on a typical workday is check his email and turn on CNN. He ends his day the same way. And while he admits to being “a horrible workaholic,” he says there’s also a practical reason for his habit.

“We’re a 24-7 international operation,” he says. “Our six ships are deployed all over the world, and I love to stay plugged in.”


John-Delaney-Wind-Surf-cruise shipA well-known and well-respected industry veteran, Delaney was named president of Windstar in July 2016. Raised in Southern California, he’s worked for Walt Disney Company, Seattle-based Holland America Line, and most recently as senior vice president in charge of global marketing, revenue management, and itinerary planning for Seattle-based luxury line Seabourn.

At Windstar, he heads this upscale boutique cruise line with three small sailing ships and three all-suite motor yachts (formally of the Seabourn fleet). It’s a company that’s very much in a reinventing mindset.

“What Windstar has given me is the  opportunity to take all I’ve learned in various aspects of my career and channel them into creating something really wonderful,” Delaney says. “I truly love this business, what we do, and what we offer to guests.”

A bonus of the new job is that Windstar’s office is only a 10-minute walk from his condo at Pike Place. “I literally live at the market,” Delaney says. “I love downtown Seattle. I fell in love with the city when I first came here 13 years ago, and every time I walk out my front door I still feel like a tourist discovering new things. It’s a great feeling.”



Usually up around 5 a.m., Delaney is often on the phone with Windstar’s international operations before he even leaves for the office. Every Tuesday, for instance, he talks to a captain from one of the ships to see what’s on his or her mind. By 8 a.m., he’s at his desk where he might have a conference call with the line’s hotel managers.

“We walk through what’s going on and any challenges they may be having and what we can do here in Seattle to support them,” Delaney explains. He also has one-on-ones with managers and hosts “coffee chats,” which are open to everyone in the company.

“I’m a very collaborative, open, let’s share information, let’s get everybody on the same page type of a person,” he says. Coffee from Seattle based Starbucks is served at these sessions, which tend to attract 15 to 20 employees.John_Delaney_Panama_Canal-cruise

Delaney quickly gained the reputation for being both unflappable and solution oriented.

He’s particularly passionate about itinerary planning, and while he has a computer and monitor in his office, he also keeps a globe and uses it to plot out routes.

“Sometimes nothing works better than a true, old-fashioned globe,” he says. “I will just sit with the itinerary planning team and get the globe out and just start looking at it and say, ‘Well, we know we want to go from here to here. What are the three different ways we can do it?’

Delaney takes credit for coining the phrase “destination authenticity” while at Seabourn, and that’s what he’s planning to deliver at Windstar as well.

“We’re looking for unique itineraries and shore excursions that no one else is offering,” he says. In fact, under his leadership, the line has announced a return to Asia by way of Arabia in late 2017 and a return to Alaska with in depth, soft adventure itineraries in 2018. His workday also involves checking every sailing to see how it’s selling, something he admits he does at least three times a day.

“A lot of my job is email and communicating with the fleet, our travel agent partners around the world, and key business partners,” he says. But he’s also on the road a lot, whether a one-day trip to meet with a charter client in Chicago, to London or Australia to meet with new business partners, or visiting the fleet. By October, he had logged 75 flights in 2016.


Back home, Delaney is on the run most of the day. Nourishment is often takeout, with breakfast and lunch at his desk. For dinner, he tends to go for seafood because, he says, Seattle is one of the best seafood cities in the world.

In his free time he likes walking his favorite loop along the waterfront, and he’s also involved in several civic organizations. He served as vice chair of the Seattle Symphony for five years and currently serves on the Pike Place Market Foundation board. Being part of the community is important, he says.

“What Windstar has given me is the opportunity to take all I’ve learned in various aspects of my career and channel them into creating something really wonderful.”

“I’m passionate about giving back to the city and helping out, and that’s something I spend a lot of my free time working on,” he says.

Travel is another passion. Single and free to go, he’s been known to jump on a plane to meet up with friends in places such as Paris, London, and Rome. Many of those friends he’s met through the industry.

“Travel is in my blood,” he says. “You’d think when I get some time off I’d want to stay at home, but quite the opposite.”

Anyone who has seen Delaney knows he’s also a clotheshorse with impeccable taste.

“I hate shopping, I like clothes,” he says. A favorite is Italian brand Canali, though he also supplements his wardrobe with unique items purchased in his travels. “I try to build in an hour or two when I am traveling to stop in and see what’s new,” he says.

His future plans for Windstar involve a new ship, though not yet. First, his plans may involve construction for his own life.

“I need a bigger closet,” he laughs.

This interview was originally published by Porthole Cruise Magazine on February 16, 2017 in Issue Excerpts, March/April 2017.

The post On The Top Of The World. Interview With John Delaney. appeared first on Windstar Cruises – A Luxury Cruise Blog.

Windstar Cruises – A Luxury Cruise Blog

Panama Canal Transit
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Image by size4riggerboots

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27 Feb. 2017; At Sea.

As was expected we got more wind and thus more swell today; from the moment onwards that  we cleared the Windward Passage and entered the Caribbean Sea. As a result the ship is showing a little movement. No real rolling, the stabilizers will prevent that, but a general jitter as if the ship wants to go one way and it is not allowed to.

Last night we sailed from the Bahamas southward and then this morning we had Cuba on our port side. Clearly visible as we were no more than 4 miles away. The whole Windward Passage is 45 miles wide, but the regular steamer tracks are all close to Cuba.  In the old days when things were not regulated it could be mayhem in this area and a lot of collisions took place here. Ships coming from the Panama Canal and going North would cut as close as possible under the coast to save miles. Ships coming from the north and while going south would hug the Cuban coast as well and on a regular basis, ships were not adhering to the wise rule of port to port and not to cut in front of each other.

This did not only happen near Cuba but in many places in the world which were much busier, such as Dover Strait and Singapore Strait. Eventually the IMO (The International Maritime Organisation) brought regulations into force by creating highways at sea. Simple setups with two lanes, just like a regular road. The rules are simple, if you do not want to be in the Vessel Traffic Separation or VTS, then you have to stay away from it completely but if you want to sail through it, then you have to follow the rules.  Stay in the right lane, stay out of the middle zone and do not cut over at the end of the VTS. Worldwide there was a great reduction in ships playing bumper cars as a result of this, and I have not heard of a single collision around Cabo Maisi since the implementation of the VTS systems since 1974.

Cabo Maisi during day light (Courtesy University of Carolina who had this link.. for some reason)

Cabo Maisi during day light (Courtesy University of Carolina who had this link.. for some reason)

Cabo Maisi is of course the most eastern point of Cuba and I have to say it looks much more impressive at night than during the day time. There is whopping bright light on top of a high lighthouse which shows the Cape and during the night it is visible from a long distance. You can almost feel and touch the sweep when you are standing on the bridge wing. During the day time, with clear weather, you see a beach with a mountain range rising up behind it but that is about it. If we would go much closer than we might see a few more things but the rules are that you stay out of the 3 mile territorial waters unless you have a good reason to be there, like sailing to and from a port.

The Saga Saphhire ex ms Europa.

The Saga Sapphire ex ms Europa.

We have left the Eurodam long time behind us as they had only a speed of 13 knots to make, while we need 19 knots to be on time. But this morning at Cabo Maisi we overtook the Saga Sapphire of the British company Saga. To a certain extent comparable to Holland America on the longer cruises as far as the age group is concerned, but they sail nearly exclusively for the English Market.   What gives this ship a bit of a history is the fact that she used to be the ms Europa of Hapag Lloyd and was once considered the most luxurious cruise ship in the world. Built in 1980 she was of the then standard size of 30,000+ tons and carried between 600 and 758 guests. She was then hailed to be the most luxurious ship afloat. That lasted until 1986 when the Royal Viking Sun came on the scene. She is of course now our ms Prinsendam. But both ships are a credit to their designers, that even after so many years, and with an absolute boom in new cruise ships, these ships still can sail full and keep a faithful audience who returns to them time and time again.


ms Prinsendam as she was in 2002 when she came into the fleet.

ms Prinsendam as she was in 2002 when she came into the fleet.

During the night we will continue crossing the Caribbean Sea and then we should be docked in Oranjestad Aruba by lunch time.

Not much to say about the weather. It is regular Caribbean weather at the moment. Partly Cloudy, a bit breezy and warm.

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Recipe: Greek Summer Salad with Grilled Halloumi

From our kitchen to yours, we will share a delectable recipe from Culinary Arts Kitchen Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly each month on Luxury Goes Exploring™. Today, we are inspired by the warm Aegean weather of Greece and opting for a fresh Greek Summer Salad with Grilled Halloumi – a tasty addition to any meal. This salad is simple, but incredibly sublime.

Serves 2

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup 2-inch watermelon cubes
1 cup 2-inch cucumber cubes
6 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces halloumi, in ½-inch slices
4 paper-thin slices red onion, rings separated
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Greek

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the tomatoes, watermelon and cucumber with the basil. Heat a cast iron grill pan on high heat. When very hot, brush with the oil. Sear the halloumi slices on both sides, creating a black char mark on the surfaces. Plate the salad with the halloumi on the side and garnish with onion rings, extra virgin olive oil and oregano.

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Disney Cruise Line Offers Families a Chance to See the World and Explore Magnificent New Destinations in Summer 2018

New ports and new itineraries in Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean take center stage

CELEBRATION, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2017) – In summer 2018, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to destinations in Italy and Ireland. Disney Cruise Line takes guests on a grand tour of Europe with visits to the Mediterranean, northern Europe, Norway and Iceland. Plus, adventures continue with sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Bookings open to the public on Feb. 23, 2017. More details on 2018 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2018 page of disneycruise.com.

New sailings from Rome and Barcelona

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line guests can experience the rich culture of Barcelona and inspiring history of Rome as bookend experiences in a single cruise.

In Rome, guests can explore the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican, and sample authentic local cuisine. Barcelona offers beautiful beaches, the market streets of Las Ramblas, the artistic architecture of Gaudi and the famed Sagrada Família church.

On June 16, 2018, the Disney Magic will sail a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome). Ports of call include Marseilles and Villefranche, France; and Genoa (Milan), Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Naples, Italy.

On June 23, 2018, the Disney Magic will sail a seven-night itinerary from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Barcelona. Ports visited on this cruise are Naples, Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Genoa (Milan), Italy; and Cannes and Marseilles, France.

First-time visits to Milan, Italy

Disney Cruise Line will call on Genoa, Italy for the first time in 2018, as part of three special sailings from Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome). The historic port town of Genoa, located on the Italian Riviera, is a gateway to the beautiful metropolis of Milan and the picturesque locale of Portofino. Milan is a global capital of fashion and design, featuring top-name designer stores, boutiques, open-air markets and art galleries.

A 10-night Mediterranean itinerary sailing from Barcelona on July 7, 2018, calls on Genoa, as well as other popular ports in Italy, France and Spain.

First-time visit to Cork, Ireland and first seven-night British Isles

The Disney Magic will call on Cork, Ireland for the first time as part of Disney Cruise Line’s first-ever seven-night British Isles cruise, departing on Sept. 2, 2018. Additional ports visited on this sailing include Dublin, Ireland; Greenock, Scotland; and Liverpool, England.

Cork is home to a vibrant culinary scene and a plethora of pubs, shops and cafes. It invites visitors to connect with Ireland’s ancient past, with historic sites like Blarney Castle, where visitors can kiss the famed Blarney Stone.

Throughout the summer, the Disney Magic’s tour of Europe continues with engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, British Isles and the Mediterranean.

Return to Alaska                  

In 2018, the newly re-imagined Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season, opening up a world of breathtaking natural vistas, magnificent glaciers and awe-inspiring wildlife. A variety of five-, seven- and nine-night itineraries will depart from Vancouver, Canada, with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Tracy Arm Fjord.

Southern Caribbean special sailing

The Disney Fantasy will embark on a special 11-night southern Caribbean itinerary departing June 30, 2018, visiting tropical destinations, renowned for beautiful sun-kissed beaches, including Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and the Disney private island, Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay: More opportunities to explore Disney’s exclusive private island

Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, is consistently a top-rated destination. In 2018, the Disney Dream will sail a series of cruises that include two stops at Castaway Cay so guests can have twice the fun in the sun and enjoy even more of the pristine island paradise.

On June 6, 20, and July 4, the Disney Dream will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla., on four-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, plus two stops at Castaway Cay.

On June 1, 10, 15, 24, 29, and July 8, the Disney Dream will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla., on five-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, plus two stops at Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.

Disney Cruise Line News

Light in Royal Court on Disney Fantasy
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Image by ConnieFoggles

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Great American Adventures in Alaska

Big, bold, and beautiful, Alaska is a captivating land of ancient glaciers, majestic wildlife and an enchanting culture that welcomes travelers with open arms. The 49th state also offers myriad opportunities for exciting glacial explorations and kayaking tours, along with more leisurely pursuits such as birding or local ale tastings.


Destination Highlights

In Astoria, the Ale Trail will delight beer lovers – you can discover the amazing variety of local, hand-crafted brews indigenous to this west coast foodie mecca. Not only will there be opportunities for tastings, you’ll gain personal insights into the brewing process with personalized tours of local breweries and interactions with the owners and brew masters.

In Ketchikan, join the Captain and crew for an extraordinary journey of discovery on the Aleutian Ballad, the storied crab boat from Discovery Network’s “Deadliest Catch.” Or, you can partake in a personalized fishing expedition where your catch is prepared by a personal chef as the main course of a gourmet lunch, served around a crackling campfire amidst the centuries-old Alaskan rain forest.

Looking for a good old-fashioned food & wine immersion? Victoria has it all. A food and cultural walking tour will guide you to such legendary establishments as Sticky Wicket, Hanks’s BBQ, 10 Acres bistro and Bon Macaron Patisserie.

Adventures abound in Juneau, where thrill-seekers can go dog-sledding, glacier-trekking on Mendenhall Glacier, or even sea-kayaking through the coastal waterways traveled for centuries by the Aleut Indians. Foodies will enjoy the “Flavors of Juneau” with a visit to the Alaskan Brewing Company and Chez Alaska Cooking School.

Dog sledding tourism


Search for bears, deer, and bald eagles in their natural habitat in the remote Spasski River Valley outside of Hoonah. Get immersed in Tlingit culture, song, and storytelling at the Heritage Center or embark on an adrenaline-fueled ZipRider experience on the world’s largest zip-line.

Wildlife - 105771997 rt2.jpg

Go deep-sea sport fishing for salmon in Sitka. Visit the world-famous Alaska Raptor Center, one of the largest rehabilitation centers for injured eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls, and witness the magnificence of sea otters, whales, sea lions, porpoises and brown bears on a Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest.

Where will your Alaskan adventures take you in 2017?

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