From the moment we boarded, we felt like we were returning family, this was our sixth cruise with WS, our first on one of their new motor launches, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but Star Breeze delivers in the same manner as the ... Read More
From the moment we boarded, we felt like we were returning family, this was our sixth cruise with WS, our first on one of their new motor launches, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but Star Breeze delivers in the same manner as the sail-ships. The check-in process went smoothly. Andre, the ship's Bar Manager made it easy for us to choose the Beverage package. Then it was straight to our Balcony Suite and what a lovely surprise, so spacious and our Cabin Steward, Abdul, was there to take care of our immediate laundry/pressing needs. The sail away is always so special and gets everyone to come together at the Star Bar or bow of the ship, the Vangelis music from the 1492 Conquest of Paradise soundtrack is inspiring every time.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED - FOOD & SERVICE
This was our first on STAR BREEZE (well actually, we experienced her when she was a former Seabourn ship). Seabourn it could be argued, were the first to introduce white-glove luxury to cruising. Luxury can take on many different levels; it can be a pretentious lifestyle of the rich and famous, or it can be simply, casual and elegant - a Windstar cruise is the graceful equivalent and as they are fond of saying, “180 degrees from ordinary”. So what does all this mean for the first time WS guest? Extraordinary service, as WS encourages, all you have to do is ask and I did - I like a Bloody Caesar made with Clamato juice, which they didn’t have, but after our next port call voila! Andre brought me one the next day at the appointed hour. Excellent cuisine - They say you eat with your eyes first, it was like eating in a Five Star restaurant.I can’t speak highly enough about the Chef’s presentations at dinner in the Amphora restaurant ( the curry lamb-pops, the beef wellington, the mushroom stuffed vol-au-vents and the light creamy chocolate souffle - all mouth wateringly delicious) Our wine steward, Rod proved very knowledgeable and paired our wines well with each mouth watering course. And at the Veranda for breakfast and lunch the choices were many. Chef’s one-time Indian buffet one day was so delicious, the chic-i-chic chicken with the nan bread down to the Major Grey’s Mango chutney, well let's just say the flavors literally took you on an Indian journey, the only thing missing was Ravi Shankar’s sitar music. We like to think of our cruises with WS,, as our own private yacht vacation, with a familiar ‘family-like’ crew, taking us places to escape the rat race in today’s ever fast paced world.
Our families have always been close to the sea and might be considered sailing enthusiasts, in various locations like, the Royal Sydney, Vancouver, St Lawrence and Waikiki Yacht clubs. So what do yacht clubs and Windstar have in common? “yachties”, people with a sense of adventure. Brands are sometimes difficult to define. If you look closely, the most synonymous with sailing are Ralph Lauren Polo, Docksiders, and Veuve Clicquot, they all dove-tail nicely to Windstar, casual yet stylish, even iconic. What you get on board a Windstar vessel, be it motor launch or motorized-sailer, is a guest list of diverse, successful people, from all around the world, united in one common goal, to relax, explore, dream and discover unique itineraries and ports of call, at the same time wanting for nothing.
For those reading this and other WS Cruise Critic reviews, you’ll already be on the ‘I get it page’ that a Windstar cruise, is for it’s first time and returning guests, you are rather like being a member of a yacht club, where you mingle with fellow guests, with tanned faces, white linens, popped collars, topsiders and an easy going way about them. You are not on a massive floating hotel or even an expedition cruise, you are here to take it easy and at the same time be pampered.
Having done many other WS cruises on WIND SURF (As reviewed in my article, ‘Jewels of the Caribbean’ on two weeks back to back: “All these islands in the sun hold unique memories and history from discoveries past that make them what they are - a flavor for each which makes the Caribbean dance in harmony and yet with such diversity. Our ship strung these jewels of the Caribbean together, clasped by the Wind Surf alone, a precious gem wherever she may sail.”) & WIND STAR, (As reviewed in my ‘Dreams of Tahiti - Tropical Romance’...“for Tahiti is a place unique unto herself, like an unspoiled child, precious in her innocence, like the blessing of true love newly discovered – do Tahiti, for you shall find, tropical beauty and romance in abundance, especially seen from the deck of Wind Star.”)
BOUTIQUE LIKE HOTEL AT SEA
Think for a moment about small boutique hotels (eg: Villa Rolandi - Isla Mujeres, Carl Gustav - St Barts, Chateau Eze, France - Hotel Danieli, Venice). Now think of your own small luxury floating Windstar ship - boutique hotel, taking you to any number of these exotic destinations around the world in the space of week or two. Bathed in one-on-one service at every turn, introducing you to different cultures up close and personal.
Our STAR BREEZE, Secrets of the Southern Caribbean, was no less than sublime in all categories of new ports of call, although we didn’t do many excursions, passengers who did, came back with stories to tell and seemed to have had a great time. We did do the old city tour by horse drawn carriage in Cartagena, which we thoroughly enjoyed - what fascinating history, We discovered new found friends, from the US, Canada, Great Britain some of which we definitely will keep in touch with. In summary, perhaps like BMW, which is hailed as the Ultimate Driving Machine, so to can we say WS is our ultimate cruise line. There are some legendary figures in life I have related to, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Ernest Hemingway. One author who captures my sentiments most closely, Mark Twain, who said it best, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”.
We can only add, treat yourself, give yourself permission and join the Windstar yacht club. We’re thinking our our next WS sojourn, Singapore and Thai Treasures. Like so many like & before us, you’ll soon discover why WS considers themselves to be in the magic moments business - perhaps you might like to consider them, your cultural Ambassador to the world, leaving a softer foot print wherever your Windstar cruise sails.
PS: A personal“Thank You” to crew who went above & beyond in making us feel extra special, Rod, Afrin, One, Noel, Abdul, F&B Mngr, Hubert & Executive Chef, Holvin Read Less