Cruise With Olympic Gold Medalist Rafer Johnson on Windstar

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SEATTLE, Dec. 16 — Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations, offers guests a unique opportunity to cruise with Olympian Rafer Johnson aboard a Barcelona to Rome cruise on Wind Surf, departing April 26, 2009.

Windstar’s Signature Collection Host Series features distinguished guests and lecturers throughout the 2009 season including Rafer Johnson. Each stateroom will receive an autographed copy by Johnson of “Rome 1960: The Olympics that Changed the World” that profiles athletes, including Johnson, competing in the historic 1960 Olympics, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author David Maraniss. During the cruise, Johnson will speak and offer a question and answer session on his experience in the 1960 Olympics, host a table of guests at dinner on selected evenings and accompany guests on an exclusive Rome shore excursion.

Johnson set a new Olympic record to win a Gold Medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. He went on to be named Associated Press Athlete of the Year and Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Johnson had the honor of lighting the torch at the opening ceremonies. Johnson also was a World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame inductee, one of ESPN’s 100 Greatest North American Athletes of the 20th Century and among the 100 Most Influential Student Athletes named by the NCAA. After winning his gold medal, he acted in films, was a sportscaster and worked on the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy. Johnson is a founding member of the Special Olympics of Southern California.

Wind Surf’s 7-day Barcelona to Rome includes ports in Mahon, Spain; Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Alghero, Italy; Porto-Vecchio, France; and Portoferraio, Italy. Cruise rates start at $1,799 per person, based on double occupancy. To compliment this sailing, Windstar is offering guests a special Rome shore excursion with Johnson. The shore excursion begins with a panoramic drive through the main sites of the 1960 Rome Olympics including views of the Olympic Stadium, Stadio Flaminio, Olympic Village, Stadio dei Marmi, Piazza do Siena, Colosseum, Bath of Caracalla, Palazzo dei Congressi and Pala Lottomatica. Lunch will follow in a restaurant in Via Appia. The 7-hour excursion can be purchased online at www.windstarcruises.com