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Virtuoso - logoIn a remarkable demonstration of the growing allure of luxury cruising, Virtuoso®, the premier global network specializing in luxury and experiential travel, recently hosted 50 of its 2024 Virtuoso Cruise Icons aboard Windstar’s Star Breeze in French Polynesia. This exclusive event highlighted the allure of cruising and underscored Virtuoso’s pivotal role in shaping the future of luxury travel.

An Elite Gathering in Paradise

The hosted experience brought together an elite group of luxury cruise producers on Windstar’s 312-guest, all-suite Star Breeze, sailing through the breathtaking waters of French Polynesia. This event allowed these top-tier advisors to deepen their relationships with one of Virtuoso’s key partners while experiencing one of the world’s most coveted destinations. Virtuoso Cruise Icons represent the pinnacle of luxury travel, comprising 146 advisors from eight countries who collectively lead the network’s cruise sales.

Exclusive Access and Distinguished Recognition

Tahiti. - Photo credit all images - Garry Cohen


The event was a testament to the prestigious status of Virtuoso Cruise Icons. During their weeklong “Dreams of Tahiti” cruise from June 20-27, the advisors were honoured with a private reception at the Presidential Palace, hosted by Moetai Brotherson, the President of French Polynesia. This recognition underscores these advisors’ significant influence within the luxury travel industry.

Cheryl Bunker, Vice President of Global Member Relations at Virtuoso, expressed her admiration for the Cruise Icons, stating, “Virtuoso Cruise Icons are a special group, not only for their impressive sales record but also for their dedication to supporting our preferred partners. We are so appreciative to Windstar for recognizing and celebrating the effort it takes to maintain status as a top-tier cruise producer by hosting this group for a truly iconic experience.”

Cruising’s Bright Future

Virtuoso’s insights reveal promising trends as the cruise industry prepares for a robust resurgence. A substantial 58 percent of Virtuoso’s Cruise Community anticipates cruising as the leading tourism sector in 2024-2025, surpassing even land-based experiences. This optimism is further supported by a dramatic increase in high-value bookings, with cruises exceeding $50,000 per booking having more than doubled compared to the previous year.

The most sought-after cruise categories are Premium Ocean (34 percent), Luxury Ocean (27 percent), River (22 percent), and Expedition (15 percent). These figures highlight a diverse and expanding interest in different cruising experiences.

A Growing Demand for Expertise

Virtuoso Cruise Icons boost luxury cruising in Tahiti, setting trends in 2024-2025 tourism. - Photo credit all images - Garry Cohen

Virtuoso Cruise Icons boost luxury cruising in Tahiti, setting trends in 2024-2025 tourism.

Virtuoso Cruise Icons are witnessing a surge in demand, particularly from the new-to-cruise segment. According to a recent survey, 60 percent of advisors report an increase in first-time cruisers seeking their expertise, with 62 percent of these novices relying on them for bookings and guidance. This growing interest is coupled with noticeable demographic shifts within the industry.

Virtuoso advisors report that 59 percent are seeing a demographic transformation, with increased bookings from Millennials and Gen Z. Additionally, there is a notable rise in family cruising preferences (27 percent) and a growing number of female solo cruisers (27 percent).

Cory Hagopian, Senior Vice President of Global Member & Partner Sales at Virtuoso, commented on these trends, saying, “Cruising is on the rise, and Virtuoso sits at the forefront of this movement with our industry-leading advisors and best-in-class cruise partners like Windstar. We’re seeing shifts driven by new vessels, destination immersion, and expanded seasonality that are exciting for our clients, whether they’re repeat cruisers or first-timers. The relationship between our Cruise Icons and partners ensures that we’re constantly working together to elevate the guest experience and further cruising’s appeal for savvy, luxury-minded travelers.”

Exclusive Benefits for Clients

Through their affiliation with Virtuoso, Cruise Icons can offer exclusive benefits on over 400 select cruises annually across 13 different cruise lines via the Virtuoso Voyages program. These perks include a dedicated onboard host and an additional benefit valued between $500 and several thousand per couple, depending on the cruise. This unique offering further cements Virtuoso’s status as a leader in luxury cruising.

To learn more about Virtuoso and its professional travel advisors, please visit Virtuoso.


Virtuoso® Cruise Icons are revolutionizing luxury cruising, driving its popularity to new heights while setting trends for 2024-2025. This exclusive group of top-tier advisors recently celebrated aboard Windstar’s Star Breeze in Tahiti, exemplifying the dedication and expertise defining luxury travel’s future. With a significant rise in high-value bookings and a growing new-to-cruise segment, Virtuoso is at the forefront of the cruising resurgence, offering unparalleled experiences and exclusive benefits to discerning travellers.




Written by: Yves Thomas