4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally ... Read More
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally lax. Everyone from the Captain, yes the Captain, on down seemed unhappy with the ship and the itinerary. Rumors circulated that the Captain had complained about being saddled with this route at the Captain's dinner--"what did I do to deserve this...." My sense was that Windstar was just trying to get through a few more cruises on this ship before it enters drydock for a major overhaul in October. The ship's team talked constantly about the need to move on--every complaint was met with a sigh and a promise that the overhaul will fix all bad things. Don't like the broken shower faucets? We're fixing it. Don't like the drink stains on the table? We're replace them all. Wonder about all the repair work? Give us some duct tape and come back a year from now. Windstar did this to itself in many ways. Part of selling future cruises on this Iceland trip was to explain the company's desire to add cabins to every ship--the plans were widely advertised to passengers as a way to keep Windstar in the small-ship category by getting as close to 350 cabins without crossing over. Hence, the conversation was almost always about how tired the ships all are--"we'll be converting staterooms on the Wind Star here and on Star Pride there, etc., but will never go over. The whole dialogue was a distraction and left me wondering why we weren't told that this was a bucket of bolts before booking. And it definitely was a bucket of bolts. It was a great ship ten years ago after it was updated before joining the Windstar fleet, but it has suffered at every turn and the company has spackled its way to the drydock. Food was good, but this ship is not designed for an Iceland itinerary--not easy to eat outside when it is near freezing outside. And the inside amenities were, as noted, aging. Three ancient treadmills and two stationary bikes is not a fitness room and looping the same movies over and over day by day is not an entertainment program. As for ongoing service, reception desk was great but couldn't solve most problems--took us too long to get small things fixed and the ship was confused from time to time with scheduling, in part because Captain Surly was anti-social. The frontline staff was terrific as usual--highly motivated, but worn out by a brutal schedule. Lovely folks out of SE Asia for the most part on short-term contracts and 7-day schedules. Got to love them for their enormous effort. Nothing they could do about the ship's condition so far from the penny-pinchers in Seattle. Would I go on another cruise with the Windstar fleet after this? Absolutely. It's a fine company that cares about quality. I just wouldn't sail with them again this year or next. Give Windstar time to work through the kinks as its fleet goes into the renovations--these are major, major changes that involve cutting ships in half and adding new sections of cabins (see the promotional material at https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/). This is not just a little paint and new beds. I'm of the opinion that how a ship goes out is just as important as how it comes in. This cruise was a joy on many levels, but our satisfaction was IN SPITE of the company, not because of it. They have let this ship decline ever since they decided on the upgrades and it shows. Be careful about this, Windstar. Your own advertising about the upgrades contains the shadow of the neglect you've tolerated as everyone waits for the teardown. It showed on this voyage. If we had known more about it before booking, we would have taken another ship. Once burned, forever shy? (Oh, why does embarkation have to be such a crowded mess on Windstar? Not enough people and too little space to do this right on this ship. A mess and uncomfortable. Is that because the all-you-can-drink package sales-team is trying to make a sale? It's the last stop on this brutal, unhappy welcoming.) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary around Iceland. The scenery is as we have hoped. We were on Star Legend previously and loved the food and lack of lines. Star Breeze delivered on the same strengths. We spent a lot of time on deck ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary around Iceland. The scenery is as we have hoped. We were on Star Legend previously and loved the food and lack of lines. Star Breeze delivered on the same strengths. We spent a lot of time on deck 8 in the Yacht club because of the cold and windy weather, and limited activities. The officers did provide interesting information during our visit to the bridge. We made our own plans for our onshore activities. The local tour guides we found ahead of time were wonderful. The local TI staff are also helpful in directing us to walk paths and hiking trails. In traveling counterclockwise, cabins with even numbers will have the better shore views. We were disappointed in not seeing any puffins. Apparently there has been drastic decline in puffin population. The sea was a little rough the first night but ok after that. Cabin service was outstanding. I wished there is at least one stationary bike with back support in tge Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were tired of the same ports visited by the big cruise ships and wanted to explore other islands, particularly Montserrat. We were not disappointed. While we did visit Antigua and Barbados, which ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were tired of the same ports visited by the big cruise ships and wanted to explore other islands, particularly Montserrat. We were not disappointed. While we did visit Antigua and Barbados, which are visited by the large ships, we also explored other islands and different ports. Anguilla, Montserrat, Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada were also stops. Neither of us are "foodies" but the food was incredible. All meals were very well done. The crew was so friendly and helpful and the officers were very accessible. Each night at 6:30 the Destination officer gave a presentation on the next port that was very insightful. All of the wait staff were versatile and did a great job of learning your name and room number. Anything you needed they could assist with. The ship is smaller obviously and rough seas had an effect but we experienced no big problems. There is some age on the boat but it was very clean and well maintained. There is not much entertainment but we were not seeking full shows. We met so many nice people on the boat too. We will definitely sail on Wind Star again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I just saw one of their ads on a day I was thinking about a trip. I enjoyed the cruise so much I have signed up for another. The staff couldn’t have better. The food was good and the dining room staff in both restaurants were extremely ... Read More
I just saw one of their ads on a day I was thinking about a trip. I enjoyed the cruise so much I have signed up for another. The staff couldn’t have better. The food was good and the dining room staff in both restaurants were extremely attentive. Each evening you had the opportunity to dine as a couple or to sit with others. That was a great way to meet others. Each evening there were “Port Talks” which gave lots of info on the next port. There were many interesting shore excursions for multiple interests and physical abilities. We had a great beach bbq on St Lucia. I never felt that the cruise line was constantly trying to sell you something. The ship was good but the staff in every service is their strength. The airline connections for a group of passengers had changed while sailing and the Captain and crew made changes in docking time to accommodate them. We loved the small boat atmosphere and would highly recommend this cruise line. We were amazed at how many repeat customers they had! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We travel with a group from local travel agency. We had 20 in our group and this was my first time on Windstar. I love the smaller ship. The cabins were spacious and the biggest of any cruise line. There was a walk in closet and large ... Read More
We travel with a group from local travel agency. We had 20 in our group and this was my first time on Windstar. I love the smaller ship. The cabins were spacious and the biggest of any cruise line. There was a walk in closet and large bathroom. Our cabin was clean and well stocked the entire cruise. Our group mostly hung out at the Star Bar during the afternoon. The pool was small and did not really have a spot to all meet up. Sevice at the bars on board was friendly and great at getting items for our group when possible. (Coors Light and Baileys). I enjoyed the Dining room meals and was happy with service, offerings and taste. Some of travelers in our group were not as impressed. We ate at Candles one night and was very impressed. Great food and loved the outside dining experience. The entertainment was a bit slow for our lively group. Enjoyed the one night we spent dancing. Steve did a great Elton John show. We would have liked more dancing upbeat music. There was a small casino open most nights for a few hours. All ports were nice and most days had to tender to shore.There were excursions offered but we did our own thing at each stop. We found the embarkation and disembarkation an easy process without any issues. We were also happy we took the drink package. Overall it was a great time with our group. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The staff were very attentive and accommodating. Most took the time to learn your name. We had a State Room which was spacious and comfortable. A definite plus on a smaller ship which doesn't have a lot of public areas. Ship was ... Read More
The staff were very attentive and accommodating. Most took the time to learn your name. We had a State Room which was spacious and comfortable. A definite plus on a smaller ship which doesn't have a lot of public areas. Ship was very clean and you noticed the effort to keep it that way.The excursions were interesting and efficient. There was a problem with the air conditioning. State rooms could be ice cold or uncomfortably warm. The Veranda was most always too warm to sit and enjoy a meal. At the beginning of the cruise the Yacht Club was ice cold and then after complaints it became too warm....no ability to really regulate the temperature. Food was ok. A couple of nights were very good. Seemed to be a lack of vegetables with the dinners and the quality of fruit was disappointing given our location. If you are Gluten free, you should bring your own bread, crackers, cereal, and snacks. They did have non-wheat pasta and you could get gf sliced bread for dinner, but they ran out after the second night. We've only done a few other cruises, but they seemed to have a larger variety for people with wheat allergies. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Whichever direction your cruise is traveling through the canal, you will be flying into or out of the Pacific Ocean end of the canal, Panama City. Since we were going towards the Pacific, our Embarcation was in Colon, about 1 ½ hours from ... Read More
Whichever direction your cruise is traveling through the canal, you will be flying into or out of the Pacific Ocean end of the canal, Panama City. Since we were going towards the Pacific, our Embarcation was in Colon, about 1 ½ hours from Panama City. Windstar notified us a couple of weeks in advance that they needed to do some maintenance just before our boarding, so the Embarkation would be delayed from 1PM to 5PM. They arranged for free coffee and free lunch in a ballroom at the company hotel, the Bristol Panama in Panama City. We were told to have our baggage in the lobby by 3:30PM for placement in a truck, and to watch it being loaded onto the truck. We had already independently booked a single night for ourselves there before the cruise. I normally book directly with a hotel, but their website would only permit three-night minimum bookings! So I booked with Expedia-AARP for a single night, which was $248 plus taxes. I used their concierge to book a $40 per car private transfer from the airport. Because the Pope was in town (which Windstar didn't bother to tell us!) this worked out very well, and was charged to our room. Our room, #510, was massive, luxurious, and well air-conditioned. We had a separate huge shower beside our tub. The newish, high-rise hotel has a luxury feel to it, and the desk service was very good. Even though we arrived around 8PM, they gave us paper Windstar baggage tags and the information sheet Windstar had been handing out during the day, before the local Windstar hosts went off-duty. The hotel is in an uninteresting, but very safe-looking corporate area with little to do. The breakfast (included in our price) was fine, but only a step above a good Hilton Garden Inn breakfast. It wasn't at the level of the room, is what I mean. The lunch Windstar had catered for us was very good, a big buffet with hot soup but cold sandwich, salad, and snack platters. We had the whole ballroom to ourselves. You didn't really have to show ID to get in and out of the ballroom. We booked this hotel for the convenience of the Winstar transfer to the port of Colon. The bus transfer was a bargain at $49 p/p. But EVERYONE's transfer was complimentary because of the pre-scheduled delay. (Credit given on our shipboard bill.) Because there were several busses, you had to figure out that there was a second Windstar table in a different part of the lobby from the main Windstar desk. That second table had sign-up sheets for seats on busses, leaving every Fifteen Minutes, I think starting at 4:30PM. This is subjective, but I wasn't impressed with the lobby people in Windstar polo shirts. I had the sensation that they are local contractors who wear a different polo shirt every day. A few people didn't figure out the two tables, and were displeased to be put on the last bus. It didn't really make that much difference, since it turned out that the ship didn't leave the pier until well after we were asleep in bed. (The ship had to be “in line” for the Panama Canal at 4:30AM or something like that.) We were told that the ship had been taken out for routine stability tests, but they ran long and it only tied up at 3 PM. A later version was that the renovation dry-dock company had ordered “location” of the center of gravity, which required an empty ship with no hotel workers! The transfer included a tour guide who talked a little too much. The modern highway wasn't very interesting. We filled out “old” water sports waivers on bus, which were discarded as we signed the new one on checking in aboard ship! Due to lateness there was no hard sell of beverage package, although there was the later drawing for spa discounts. The square mile around the Colon port looked like a dystopian, post-apocalyptic movie set. The gate at the port that led to the paved driveway wasn't open, so we had to drive ¼ mile on a pot-holed gravel parking lot to get to the terminal. I will say that the terminal was clean, comfortable, and air-conditioned. Baggage screening was here, not on the ship. It's difficult to understand the formal itinerary for the Panama Canal days. Windstar pays about $31,000 for the canal, of which some 20% is a guarantee that it will be in daylight. We started into the first lock just before dawn, and finished the transit about 13 hours later. In fact, we missed the final exit, to go to the daily Port Talk in the Lounge. In San Miguel lock, one of the lockside electric locomotives seemed to fail, but (we heard) the Captain told the Canal Pilot that he could hold the center of the lock without that tug and we proceeded. There was a huge Pope-pilgrim-tourist crowd at Miraflores Visitor Center watching us. Because of the Canal passage, the officer's introductions and the Captain's Table (to which we were invited, probably because of 9 Windstar cruises) were put off one night. There were Officer Tables on later nights, but the Captain's Table was empty for the rest of the cruise. Officer Introduction was one of a few nights when there were extensive passed hors d'oeuvres in the Lounge. It's important to pay attention to the daily schedule sheets and verbal announcements. We were pleased to learn that, even though every port (except the start and finish) were Anchorages, two of the landings were NOT “WET [feet]”. We did use Zodiacs for the dry landings, as for the wet ones. There are variations in the hour that the breakfast room (and less-often, the continental breakfast in the Yacht Club) open. These are intended to assist guests with early excursion departures. Honestly, I prefer to travel with a small box of cereal so I can have a substantial breakfast even in the Yacht Club. Food was good, normal for Windstar. I thought the seasoning in Amphora was tastier than my memory of some past cruises. Although it was not technically difficult to create, my favorite dessert was Pineapple Carpaccio, which was light and refreshing. We never bothered to book Candles. I was surprised that there were only two dry cereals at breakfast, but when I asked for a bran cereal, they went and got me a huge bowl of Raisin Bran. In view of the age profile, this was a big change! We thought the table service was not as good as other Windstar Cruises. But the one time we were seated in the far rear of Amphora, we happened to get very attentive, prompt service. I don't mean to sound whiny, but we found that when we offered to share a dinner table (which we are pleased to do), we often ended up at a six or even an eight-top table, with some of the same people again and again. A table for four is the best way to meet new people. I don't know if this was due to carelessness or to save labor. The real issue is that this means you cannot finish eating until after 9PM, even if you come at 7:00. I mention this also because I was diagnosed with Gastric Reflux after our 21-day cruise. I've never had the problem before. We do go to bed early! (Age 67) I'm not judging, but there are a certain number of couples (and quads) on every cruise who will never share a table. Because we're 9-cruise repeaters, we're used to a 5:30PM reception for that. This time, it began at 6PM, which meant we had to rush off to the Port Talk scheduled at 6:30. By the time we left, at 6:32, there had been no welcome speech with a Reality-Television-like show of hands to determine which couple had the most repeats, and award of a bottle of sparking wine to them. Honestly, we didn't miss the sparkling wine, but we did miss the fuss over loyal customers! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Giving a very detailed account of our trip because a similar review VERY MUCH helped me plan a previous trip to Hawaii. Loved having details to help plan days on shore.Bottom line, I can’t recommend this cruise highly enough. Small ship, ... Read More
Giving a very detailed account of our trip because a similar review VERY MUCH helped me plan a previous trip to Hawaii. Loved having details to help plan days on shore.Bottom line, I can’t recommend this cruise highly enough. Small ship, great staff/passenger ratio. Large rooms and wonderful food, service etc etc. Each night there was a short program in the lounge to debrief for the next day and the day. Costa Rica/Panama Canal Wednesday January 16th 2019 overnight in Louisville for 7AM flight to San Jose Thursday January 17th travel day San Jose via Atlanta.Arrived at Restaurante del LaRosa LOS Americas in the afternoon. This was the coolest place. They told us to help ourselves to the fridge and keep tabs to pay later. Had drinks by pool, wonderful dinner with Edwin taking great care of us. Lots of wine and local food Friday January 18th we awoke, at least in our building, to the sound of something scampering across the roof and birds so close they sounded like they were inside. With the warm climate, a metal roof is all that is between you and the great outdoors at this hotel. Today is the trip from San Jose to Caldera where we will meet our ship on Saturday. pick up by Henry from a travel co. I don’t remember at 8am for tour of coffee plantation. Stopped for wine and cheese tasting at roadside store, on toward Caldera with stops at Our Lady of Mercedes (church with exterior made of iron.) Lunch at La Finca, ending with visit to oxcart factory. Wonderful day with lots of fun surprises especially seeing an ox cart man on the side of the road and getting our picture made with him. Arrived at Costa del Sol late afternoon and checked in to a quaint little hotel. We had rooms ranging from large suites to very small and sparse rooms but the whole place had less than 20 rooms. A large open air veranda at the end of the hall provided a view of the ocean and the ship we’d be boarding the next day. We had a wonderful dinner of fresh seafood with a view of the water before retiring. Another long day in the books. January 19th board Star Breeze today. We spent an easy morning at the pool in Caldera. Had to walk down the street to another hotel for this. We were all amazed at how this quaint little hotel was in the middle of such a rough looking area but we are learning that there are lots of metal bars and razor wire here. We boarded the ship around 1:00 with the hotel providing transportation we soon started to get aquatinted with our home for the next week. Cabins on this trip proved to be spacious and the crew is exceptional. During the afternoon, some had naps others had drinks and we met in the main dining room for a delicious dinner. Everyone turned in at that point except for one couple and the nightlife didn’t prove to be enough to keep them up much longer. Sunday January 20th Quepos- early coffee and breakfast for most. We soon learned via social media that we are missing out on a snow and ice storm at home and are all happy to be in sunny Quepos Last night at dinner our waiter Yogi promised us the best coffee in the world at the Star Bar and it didn’t disappoint. We disembarked at 8:30 for a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. After convincing a cab driver that 10 of us couldn’t squeeze into 2 Corollas we finally made it to the park in 3 cars. We thought we could do this walk without a guide but the long wait and the promise of moving to the front of the line prompted us to get one and we were super glad we did. He carried a long lens and knew exactly where to spot sloth, monkeys, iguanas (or something like that) He arranged a van for us to get back to the ship where we engaged in swimming, naps, and drinks. What a life we are living this week. Dinner in the main dining room again tonight. Best part of the day for me today, swimming in the Pacific, seeing white faced monkeys, and marking a National Park of the list. Monday January 21st today we are signed up for afternoon kayaking at port Jimenez. Spent the morning in the Yacht Club having coffee and we grabbed some lunch there before meeting our boat. We booked this tour on our own and were scheduled to be picked up at noon on the beach. A zodiac took us in where we had a “wet landing” meaning you will get your feet wet. The cruise line provided towels that we were advised to take to put over our legs while kayaking as the weather was so hot. We did about a 3 hour excursion seeing some local birds and more monkeys stopping toward the end at a beach to rest, cool down and have some delicious pineapple provided by our guide Jessica. Back on the ship for a few drinks before dinner, followed by some music on deck Tuesday January 22nd Isla Perida cancelled due to high winds near the shore. Day at sea. Not much to report. Time on top deck, a game of scrabble in the yacht club (which we are sure will be named the redneck yacht club by the time we leave) lunch, naps, drinks, dinner, ending the night with a talent show by the crew which proved to be fun. Wednesday January 23rd Balboa Panama (since day at sea came early we have an extra excursion planned) Indian village. We rode a bus through the outskirts of Panama and couldn’t believe how this part of the world lives. It did not seem to be so impoverished but trash was everywhere. Our guide told us they don’t recycle and it seemed to us that they didn’t have anything to do with garbage. We went down to the Chagres River and took a dugout to a Embera Indian Village where we learned of their customs and saw goods that they make. So glad we had the opportunity to do this. Thursday January 24th Island of monkeys, a long ride through the city with long delays on the way due to a World Youth day and a visit by the Pope to Panama. Once there we took a boat out on an eco tour and saw more monkeys and a couple of crocs. Excursion was ok but glad we had taken the unplanned Embera village tour the day before. It was much better. We ended the tour with a stop at a hotel/resort for a restroom break and some complimentary fruit punch. Back to ship for late lunch left in our cabin by the steward and a nap and drink before dinner. Dinner was a barbecue on deck with a feast of sushi, ribs, lobster tail and on and on....followed by line dancing. This small ship with a big crew does not disappoint in any way. Friday January 25th Panama Canal passage awake and on deck a little after 5 AM. Very interesting going through the locks and seeing how the canal works. The crew brought around champagne and the small nature of the ship provided great viewing.I’ve heard such horror stories of not being able to even see the canal on those mega ships. Later in the day we viewed a video of the history of the Canal. Very interesting. Other than that naps and packing were the order of the day. A nice dinner to top off the trip Saturday January 26th left the ship at 7:15 guided bus trip to airport (blah blah blah) at the airport at 9:30 for a 3:15 flight. Found some Mexican food and free WiFi then on to Atlanta for a late flight home. Great trip with great friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We typically choose active, land-based travel but decided to do a cruise for a special anniversary. We chose the Star Breeze for its mixture of small luxury ship with casual attitude, small ports of call, and availability of water sports. ... Read More
We typically choose active, land-based travel but decided to do a cruise for a special anniversary. We chose the Star Breeze for its mixture of small luxury ship with casual attitude, small ports of call, and availability of water sports. We wanted to have fun, but we did not want the fussiness of formal dinner nights. We were not disappointed. The ports of call included a good mix of those with many tourists and those with very few tourists. (It was helpful to know some Spanish but not necessary). We booked one excursion with the cruise line in Puerto Jimenez, but explored on our own the other days. We were able to do water sports off the ship in one port of call and on the private island day. For some reason, they couldn't offer waterskiing, although the equipment was available. Not a big deal, but it was something we were looking forward to. Otherwise, the crew really worked hard to impress. The cabins were spacious, well appointed, and serviced several times a day. Service was phenomenal and always with a smile. The food was excellent. We liked that they sourced fresh seafood from locals and that the chef made all of his stock on board. No corners were cut! We dined most nights at Amphora, which was consistently excellent. We did take advantage of Candles, which is a romantic steak house offered for free once per voyage. The special BBQ night was a highlight and not to be missed. Breakfast and lunch offered the ability to order a la carte or dine from the buffet. One exception: the coffee at the Veranda had an odor. I typically took my coffee at the Yacht Club (which offered continental breakfasts, non-smelly coffees, and light lunch fare) and then went to the Veranda for a full breakfast. Late afternoon activities included cultural talks and/or performances, with a next day port briefing just before dinner. The ship has a "pool" (it's really just a large, warm bathtub) and 2 hot tubs. We never had a problem finding a poolside lounge chair. The 5th deck hot tub is a great place to stargaze at night (or look for porpoises), but carry a cellphone for the flashlight. We did go to the gym several times, which was better than I expected. The ceiling is low, so tall people would have a problem with the treadmill and one cannot do overhead weights without sitting down. The fitness classes are basic and nice for a good stretch. With the average guest age being in the 60-75 range, there was not a lot of night life. We enjoyed the guitarist, who sang a mix of contemporary slow pop, Latin music and oldies but goodies. He also played great dance music. The other couple, the Radio Stars, were fine for music while you sunbathed but really not good for evening entertainment. The crew also entertained us with a crew talent show one night and line dancing after the outdoor BBQ. A number of activities were offered on our day at sea, including a cooking demo, galley tour, and blackjack tournament. We were saddened to learn that Star Breeze will go into dry dock this year and its size will be increased by 50 suites. We think this will alter the small ship experience significantly. In summary, this ship is great for couples aged 45+ who want some interesting port adventures and some luxurious pampering without the stuffiness of a more formal cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Crew – 5 stars, Food – 4 to 5 stars, Ship – 4 stars EMBARKATION – in Aruba – a long walk from where the cab drops you off to the yacht, because only the big ships get front docking. They have a shuttle, but we elected to walk ... Read More
Crew – 5 stars, Food – 4 to 5 stars, Ship – 4 stars EMBARKATION – in Aruba – a long walk from where the cab drops you off to the yacht, because only the big ships get front docking. They have a shuttle, but we elected to walk our luggage, so that was a bit hot in the blazing sun. Covered tent at the gangway with someone to check off your name and label your bags that the crew will take to your room. Once up the gangway, you’re taken into the lounge to register, get your photo taken and your room key provided, as well as sign up for a beverage package if you haven’t already. There really wasn’t much of an orientation or anything, then you go to your room and wait for your bags (relatively quick). The process was average, but not difficult. There really didn’t seem to be much of an orientation – you could take tour of the common areas that was scheduled within an hour or so after you boarded – otherwise you were pretty much on your own. DISEMBARKATION at the end of the cruise – in Puerto Caldera Costa Rica – one of the worst things they did on this cruise. The good thing was that your bags didn’t have to be outside your room until 6am on disembarkation day (but you were welcome to put them out the night before). And you received colored tags depending on what time you were scheduled to disembark, and that schedule was provided with the program the evening before. Disembarkation morning, they were way behind schedule, and almost every passenger was in the lounge at 815 am (first group was supposed to be off by 7:30am) and no announcements had been made about what was causing the delay and there were no crew around to ask, and there was standing room only in the lounge (and everyone had their carry on bags). The gangway was down, and luggage was out on the pier, but folks weren’t allowed to get off. Finally, a group decided to leave the lounge anyway, which caused a herd mentality to exit into the lobby area, which only got more confusing and congested. When I asked a receptionist to at least make an announcement (because security had finally started letting people off because it was too crazy in the lobby now), she just said they would make one in a few minutes! Anyway, by the time they finally made an announcement (10 minutes after I’d requested), most of the first two groups had disembarked and were trying to find their luggage. Once it was our turn, we got off, identified our bags and they were swiftly put on the bus – we were about an hour behind, and our group was doing a city tour and then airport transfer. More on that when I mention excursions later. SMALL SHIP VS BIG SHIP – doubt we’ll ever do another big ship again. We don’t need an abundance of evening entertainment. We go onshore at every port, and almost always do an excursion. We love not having ridiculous crowds, the ease of getting on and off the yacht in port and by tender, the crew ratio, the personalized cooked to order meals. Liked that there’s an open bridge policy so you can almost always wander in and look at the equipment, see what’s going on (we never did). We felt more motion on this ship than other others in the past, and even had a slight queasiness the first few days; I’m not sure if it was the ship or the seas (weather was good). If you’re susceptible to motion sickness, you might want to be prepared with the bracelets or Dramamine, and make sure your room is in the center of the ship. All that being said, we’ve heard Star Breeze is about to undergo a major refurb where they cut the ship in half and insert another 50 rooms, more restaurants and deck space, all doing a refurb on the rest of the rooms at the same time. I’m sad about that – really loved that there were only 200 passengers on this yacht. Often when the yacht is anchored, they’ll open the back sports deck and put the pool/ocean toys out (noodles, SUP’s, mats, ocean raft/trampoline), so you can swim in the ocean just off the ship. If you're not used to cruising, read your daily program!! You'll find almost everything there; you're responsible for finding things out yourself! There aren't a ton of announcements. Love the Sail Away song and flag raisin on the deck when sailing away from certain locations. INTERNET – really really slow and spotty. The price you pay for an internet package is ridiculously expensive and then it’s too slow to upload anything, often don’t get or can’t see emails and can’t get to many websites. Forget about posting much to Facebook. There are many spots within the yacht that have no service. ROOMS - the room size is excellent! LOVE the big walk-in closet and the bathroom with two sinks. The rooms with the opening French windows have a step-in tub/shower combo, but you can get a walk in shower in rooms with stationary windows. We were SO HAPPY to have upgraded to a room with the opening doors/windows – there’s a tiny platform you can step out on, but the doors open so you have floor to ceiling opening (glass balcony too) that allows in fresh air day or night – well worth the extra spend! The room finishes and many of the common area finishes are dated, and you can tell the ship is old by the many layers of paint, chipped marble/floor tiles, missing/stained grout, etc. The room furniture was dated, sort of beat up and chipped – but the size of the room made it ok. Wish there were more power plugs – only two US ones in the room – one in the bathroom and one at the little desk in front of the bed. We were constantly alternating charging things. There’s a small fridge with stocked mini-bar and a DVD player for your small tv (big enough to see from the bed and the living area). The walk-in closet had shelves, a couple of drawers and plenty of space for hanging clothes (and they brought us extra hangars immediately upon request). There were a couple of drawers in the little desk opposite the bed. The room’s walls are metal, so you can bring your own magnets and put up your daily programs, excursion tickets, etc, and not clutter your desktop with them. There’s plenty of storage in the bathroom, too: open corner shelves on each side adjacent to the mirror, a long shelf under the sink, and a small cabinet where you can put other toiletries. We had more than enough room, and I bring lots of different lotions and sunscreen. There’s shelving in the shower with enough space for your goodies, and a small ledge along the tub. Their L’occitane products are good if you don’t want to bring your own shampoo, conditioner, body gel and soap. We were glad we brought our own air freshener (car-style, paper) for the restroom, though the vacuum system seemed to take a lot of any odor out. We kept our French windows open most of the time, too, so maybe that helped. When you’re choosing your room, think about what direction your yacht will be traveling, and what side you’ll be on so you can choose to see sunrise or sunset from your room. We prefer sunrise, since I’m always up early and don’t necessarily want to go right upstairs at 5:30am (especially since you can’t get fresh coffee/latte until 6am). And with French windows, you can just open the doors wide and see the most amazing sunrises!! For sunset, we’re happy to be on deck having a cocktail, so didn’t care if we could see from our room or not. CREW – the staff is absolutely outstanding! Our cabin steward (Hasan) knew our names the first day, and always used them, even out of context when we saw him around the ship or on a port tender. He was personable, always greeted you with a smile and asked how your day was, was always upbeat and always asked if there was anything he could do to make our trip special. We’re not high maintenance, so didn’t ask for much, but he was quick with ice when requested, provided a spectacularly clean room, and once, when I came back early from dinner to retrieve something, he gave me personal instruction on how to make a towel animal. The wait and bar staff were phenomenal, too! They got to know our names really quickly, and even what our preferred drinks were. Yogi in the Yacht Club coffee bar, knew my preferred drink style and every day when I was up there at 6am, he’d greet me by name and make my Americano just the way I liked it! I still miss his morning greeting and coffee. I had no idea he worked both the dinner service and the 6am coffee service until I saw him at dinner one day (he was usually at tables toward the back, and we were always at the front) – not sure how he managed to keep his amazing attitude with hours like that, but as the first person I saw every day (my husband was usually still asleep when I went for coffee), he really started every day out for me with sunshine! Some of our other stellar crew: Apple, both bartender/waiter in the deck bar and wine steward in the dining room. She’s also phenomenal, again greets you by name, and knows your preferred drinks within a day, and can recommend others based on what you seem to like. She went out of her way to make other things special, too, whether your food, dining table, just anything. And she’d come over and say hi and see how you were doing, even if you weren’t seated in her area. After our first dinner without her, we asked to be seated at one of her tables every other night. We also made that request, because then our waiter would be the same – Deva! He was fun, funny, helpful, entertaining, and always wanting us to enjoy our time. Again, he provided breakfast service on the Verandah and dinner service, and even if he didn’t have our table at breakfast he would come by to say hi and make sure we were being taken care of. Noel was also another of our favorite bartenders/waiters – we mostly saw him only in the deck bar, but he would also always go out of his way to make sure we had everything we needed, could suggest alternative drinks, etc. I must also mention that every other crew member we came across, from people-facing, to kitchen and laundry, to engineering/maintenance – they always greeted you with a smile and wished you a good day! Really, I don’t know how the crew knows your names so quickly (I do know they post the photos in the galley, but still!) and what you like, OR how they keep their amazing friendly and helpful attitudes when they work the hours/days they do – whatever Windstar does to train their staff really makes the trip the absolute best! The funny thing is, the few times we saw officers (pretty rare), they were the least friendly! FOOD – from good/very good to excellent! For dinner, your entrée is cooked when you order. And if everyone goes into the dining room at the same time, there may be a bit of wait. But well worth it. Most of our dinners were excellent! With good variety from meal to meal, plenty of options of different meat, fish and vegetarian. We often chose to split an entrée as a starter and that was never an issue. If you want to blend two entrees – no problem! Two starters – no problem! Portion sizes are good, too, so you can avoid overeating (unless you over-order ). Plenty of greens available. We wished there’d been a pizza place or pizza on the menu – never appeared once and I bet the kitchen could make a mean pizza! Breakfast doesn’t start til 7am, which seems late to me, is outside or inside at the Verandah – buffet eggs, pastries, fruit bar, cold cuts and cheese, with bacon/sausage and potatoes. Fruit smoothies, too. Made to order specials every day (several kinds of benedicts, fruit pancakes, waffles, etc) and you can also order eggs any way you want every day. Full coffee service (brewed, lattes, etc). Another breakfast option, though, is the Yacht Club, which opens at 6am with coffee any way, pastries, smoothies, fruit and yoghurt. Lunch is also in the Verandah, and is full buffet with a huge salad bar, several hot options, a carving station with one different meat/fish every day, dessert bar. Lunch was usually pretty good, you’ll find something there, or you can order the special hot sandwich of the day (reuben, monte cristo, etc) or a grilled chicken sandwich or hamburger. Any pasta on the buffet was usually overcooked, but that’s hard to do. Our least favorite food was usually desserts – the lunch desserts often seemed tastier than the dinner. The sorbets were good, and they would have different ice cream flavors, but the cakes, puddings, etc, usually fell flat. There is one specialty dining restaurant, where you’re guaranteed at least one seating – it’s actually in the breakfast/lunch spot on the verandah (outside, but covered) and they put out tablecloths and candles. Same menu all the time, but they have steak (no lobster), which you don’t get much of in the regular dining. The steak was very good, but nothing else was better than the regular dining room, other than eating outside. We liked the dining room selections better so didn’t go back. They actually offered on-deck dining twice on our cruise – grilled meats and a salad and dessert bar. Food was good, but offerings not as good as the dining room – and since there’s very little seating, you had to book a reservation as soon as it was announced! We loved being able to sit outside as the temperatures were perfect. One night, dinner was a barbeque on the deck – this was AMAZING! The salad bar, cold cuts /cheese and dessert bar were huge with a ton of variety. There was fresh grilled lobster tails and lamb chops (while you waited), chicken, paella, and probably so much more I’m forgetting. Thank goodness again for a small ship, where lines were short and there’s room for everyone to sit outside on deck, once they added more tables and chairs (removed lounge chairs). And, of course, both the single and duo musicians played while you ate – really lovely. And one day there’s a special beach barbeque where the crew moves everything to a private beach and freshly grills hamburgers & specialty hot dogs, and arroz con pollo in the big paella pan, along with providing a veggie/salad and dessert buffet. You can sit in your beach lounge chair, or at one of the dining tables they set up. They also bring along full bar service (pay according to your drink package, if any). BEVERAGE / LAUNDRY PACKAGE – about a week or two prior to the cruise we received a notice of a discount package that would include our tips (they will charge you $13.50/day each no matter what), laundry service, internet service and a premier beverage package (includes all cocktails, all wines by the glass, and full minibar). We chose to do this for each of us. It seemed to make sense if we had 4 alcoholic drinks per day each. Which didn’t seem so unreasonable if you thought you might have a beer at lunch, a cocktail at sunset and two glasses of wine at dinner. And that’s probably about what we averaged. We loved the convenience of turning our laundry over in the morning and having it back by 5pm every day! They handled it all perfectly, including the cold water wash. It allowed us to pack a bit less, and we liked that, too. I would be we about broke even on this discounted deal. ENTERTAINMENT – the crew does a talent show – do not miss it! It takes guts, folks, to get up in front of a crowd and sing, dance, play music, or put on a skit – kudos to them for making it so fun! They appreciated our encouragement and applause before during and after the show. We missed the line dancing they did on deck one night – we hadn’t realized it was the crew starting it off (for 20-30 minutes) and thought only it was music for passengers. The music duo played mostly older music that at least was good background for the lounge and bar, and there was a solo male who played a bit more current music at the bar. One of the at-sea events was a towel animal “seminar” – it was not a convenient time for us, so we missed it – wished they’d had more than just the one. Also, we’d heard their galley tours are fun, but they never did have one on our trip – wish they had! SPA - we didn’t use – prices seemed a bit high for massages, nails, etc. But they did have stretching and yoga classes almost every day, though I heard it was hard to do some with the ship’s movement! There’s basic gym equipment, but it’s older. DECK CHAIRS – there aren’t enough to go around. And unfortunately, people go up early and put stuff on the chairs to hold them, but don’t show up for hours – some seemed to be vacant all day. Windstar should not allow this and should either provide more chairs or move belongings if a chair has been vacant more than an hour. We could usually find a table and upright chair at the bar. SHORE EXCURSIONS – the good thing about going with Windstar’s is that if you’re late, or your port is canceled, etc, Windstar handles the logistics. For most of the ports, you’re a ways away, and not within walking distance of anything interesting, so you’d have to book a private tour or cab if you don’t go with Windstar. However, it always feels like you’re paying too much for Windstar’s, especially when you consider the number of people going (usually 20-30 on the ones we went on). Know that some ports are docked at a pier and some anchored and you’ll need to take a tender. Windstar sometimes uses a zodiac boat (like a blow-up/pontoon) and sometimes local boats and sometimes it can be challenging to get onto the boat and/or out of the water – you definitely want water shoes or sandals – good strong sandals might be best if you plan on leaving them on and hiking/walking in them. CARTAGENA City Highlights – the fort, the dungeons (now artisan craft shops), the cathedral and the old town. We enjoyed this. The amount of time allowed for shopping was plenty. Liked the goods and prices at the dungeons a bit better than in the old town. Old town was pretty and well maintained, with some cools shops and restaurants – we really didn’t need any more time than the extra 40 minutes provided. Our guide provided good narrative. You could always go out on your own ($20-$30 cab ride each way?) and just go to the old town (Bocagrande?), but going with an excursion PANAMA CITY - Best of Old & Modern Panama – they don’t tell you it’s an hour bus ride to get to the city. The first part of “Old” means some boring ruins and a museum with a quick run through – with how Panama City came into being. More boring. You barely see any of the current modern city as you ride through with the bus, just that it’s dirty and uninteresting. Our driver was unaware of the upcoming Christmas parade and we got detoured and delayed. Then to the colonial “old city” with is barely in a gentrification stage – some quaint façades of old homes and buildings, but no time to shop or browse in the few stores. Then on to a marina area and a restaurant for dry fish or pork and rice and overcooked veggies, before the one hour ride back to the yacht. Wouldn’t do this again, though we did figure out we would not come to Panama City if we ever returned to Panama (expats must be going to the countryside – this did not look enticing at all). Also heard the locks and boat tour was not very good. PANAMA CANAL TRANSIT itself (on the yacht, not an excursion) – phenomenal. We were lucky with sunshine and beautiful weather, and our original start was rescheduled from 4am to 8am. They brought a guide onboard to narrate what was happening all the way through, but the ship’s speaker system wasn’t working and you could only hear them in two locations (that didn’t have the best viewing) – so we went through without hearing the details. PEARL ISLANDS – we anchored, they lowered the back exit and discovered the seas were too rough to go out. So we waited another two hours to see if they would calm and they did not. So we raised anchor and headed off to Isla Parida a day early. Somehow the crew managed to pull off landing at Isla Parida a day early, and a new stop in Puerto Jimenez to replace this one! ISLA PARIDA – this is the private beach where the entire crew gets off to set up and pull off a beach barbeque. They did a phenomenal job! They also bring the yacht’s own beach toys and kayaks. And there are plenty of lounge chairs and dining tables. See the food section above for the food. The hike they offer as an excursion is not worth it. You can walk the loop trail yourself, having a guide didn’t offer much benefit; the trail is a bit strenuous in a few parts. If we had known they had the beach barbeque there when we booked our excursions, we might not have booked the hike. PUERTO JIMENEZ - Tropical Gardens & Beach Scape - we were not told before booking it was an hour local boat ride across the gulf to visit the gardens (and that some of us would get soaking wet), nor that we would not have an opportunity to go into town when we did this; based on the port talk we thought we would end up in town and be able to spend an hour there if we wanted. The boat took us over by a bunch of pelicans in trees over the water – really not that interesting. The gardens were interesting, but really no birds (two toucans you could barely see as they flew by, and two scarlet macaws so high you could only tell what they were by their shape) and we were much more interested in seeing birds than the few orchids we actually saw. They should not have included the beach time - it's not a good beach there, and only one person did while the rest of us sat around for over 30 minutes waiting! QUEPOS – Manuel Antonio National Park Nature Walk – this is a quick bus ride from the pier. There weren’t as many varieties of wildlife as we might have expected, but we probably saw 8 to 10 sloths! Several were moving, and the guides have little scopes so you can look through a telephoto lens and see them up close; otherwise they are quite high in the trees and hard to see, much less get a good photo. The guides are also good at spotting other rodents, lizards and crabs. We finally saw a group of capuchin monkeys as we were about to leave the park – and we felt like it’d been a pretty good trip. There’s a break for a beach/swim spot, but it’s a pain to carry your stuff around on the walk, so that was a bit of a waste of time. We left and walked on our own for that 30 minutes until we met back up with the guide again. It’s important this tour is early morning, as only a certain number of visitors are allowed daily and once they reach their limit, they close, only re-opening later once a certain number have left. It’s also nice to walk through when it’s a bit less crowded. The marina where you tender to is a nice little place with a variety of restaurants and bars and a few cute boutiques. We had sushi at the restaurant Sunrice, with fresh tuna from the local fishermen – a much appreciated change of pace from the cruise meals. Town is only a few blocks from the marina, also walkable, for your standard tourist shopping. SAN JOSE – city tour and aiport transfer. As noted above, disembarkation was poor and we were an hour late to start. There were only supposed to be folks with the airport transfer and one hotel transfer on our bus, but somehow a number of people were booked into other hotels and thought they could find their way from either the airport or the other hotel, not really checking to see how far their hotels were from those drop-offs. We had also picked up folks from the Wind Star sailing ship which had docked right next to us, and they had told passengers to get on our bus and they would be dropped off at a downtown hotel – and they weren’t supposed to be. It was all a cluster. The San Jose city tour was worthless. The city is ugly (1960’s/1970’s almost communist-era looking architecture) and crowded and a bit dirty, though there are pedestrian ways for shopping. We went to a gold/currency museum that was half closed (not that interesting) and the Opera House (where we could only get into the lobby), and mostly dealt with traffic. I would have no interest in seeing this city. Waiting at the airport for 4 extra hours would have been preferable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Star Breeze - Ex Rome to Barcelona - we picked the itinerary based on the ports and departure date plus the very special fare our agent could secure, & we wanted to try the small ship experience. Let me be frank I would NOT pay ... Read More
Star Breeze - Ex Rome to Barcelona - we picked the itinerary based on the ports and departure date plus the very special fare our agent could secure, & we wanted to try the small ship experience. Let me be frank I would NOT pay full price for these cruises. when you compare full price against other lines the quality , age & upkeep of the ship, average food etc just doesnt add up. I'm not loyal to on company having cruises on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Oceania & Viking - so have a broad appreciate of what lines can offer. However for the price we paid for our 7 day cruise - 50% off - I felt this was better value cruising at this price. If you find a crusie at $230pp/night - thats good value. One point to note MANY loyal Windstar guests on-board - Windstar has a fan club who keep coming back - again i feel they look for better value than the advertised price & enjoy their time on the ships at a certain price point. For a 30 year old ship it shows and its time either to replace these ships of run them through a tip to tail refurbishment - no expense spared. Ports were fantastic - expect Palamos - not well chosen - town was post its season peak and allot of shops closed and nothing much else to see unless you did an excursion. Highlight was Sannary Sur Mer - beautiful, laid back, great food and friendly locals.....Genoa a surprise visit due to weather - the old town was charming - but all museums closed on a Monday - again not well planned. Food is average at best - despite the partnership the line has with James Beard nothing really stood out. Candles is just a re-purposed morning buffet area with Candles on the table. We had a beverage package that is very good value for money if you have more than 2 glasses of wine per meal - selection of wines was fairly good. Best Meal was the dine around buffett where they set up a great BBQ in the kitchen & you got to meet the kitchen team & have excellent food choices. Public Areas - are in dire need of updating.....30 years young.....plus the attention to detail you see on other lines just isnt there in execution. Staff - all seemed reasonably happy - with a full ship maybe another 5 or 10 staff would lift the service elements a little - best service was in Compass Rose & select staff in Amphore A. Shore excursions - we organised our own as dont like being part of the larger groups. Did see any of the entertainment. Would I cruise with Windstar again - unless the port choices were amazing, price was truly a bargain and the ship had been refurbished I dont think so. I would try other small ships like Seabourn knowing that its a notch up and better value for the quality of the ship and inclusions. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin ... Read More
We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin we've ever stayed in! It's was great: had a doorbell, a walk-in closet, a full bathtub, and double sinks in the bathroom! Yes, it was older, but it was very comfortable. We had ample storage space! The ship is a little "dated," but otherwise very nice. The food was outstanding! This was the best cruise line food we've ever had. Service from the crew was friendly and many of them learned our names quickly. We really liked the itinerary. We were very anxious to see Gibraltar and it did not disappoint! We also really liked Seville, Malaga, and Mallorca. We would have liked an overnight in one of these cities, so we could explore more. We were blessed with beautiful weather and that enhanced our experience. Except for our two days in Barcelona, it was warm and sunny (with no humidity). Barcelona turned chilly and rainy and we hadn't packed appropriately for the sudden change in weather. Since we were with a Tauck group, all our excursions were separate from the ones offered by the ship (although very similar in most cases). Tauck kept us busy; we either had 2 excursions each day, or one very long one. Consequently, we were away from the ship most of the day and didn't get to do much on the ship. And, we were not encouraged by our Tauck Tour Director to participate in Windstar activities (or mingle with the non-Tauck guests). We had daily meetings in the Compass Rose lounge, and that was where we returned (on our own) at other times. To me, the Star Breeze is like a "shrunken down" cruise ship. It has some of the same amenities as a bigger ship, but on a much smaller scale. There is no specialty restaurant; at night, the breakfast/lunch buffet becomes "Candles" for a small number of passengers, and if the weather cooperates, passengers have the option of dining outside. There wasn't much entertainment offered (there was a good duo in the Compass Rose lounge). There was a very small "casino" but I didn't see anyone in it. We did not use the spa or the fitness room (we had only one sea day and the remaining days, we were on excursions). We discovered the lovely Yacht Club lounge late in the cruise. We probably should have done some exploring on our own early in the cruise! In summary, this was a very nice cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise for our 30 th anniversary thinking it was going to be about luxury. The cabins were spacious but outdated. Our cabin steward was great and Maria ( ship consultant) tried to keep customers upbeat with her great ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 30 th anniversary thinking it was going to be about luxury. The cabins were spacious but outdated. Our cabin steward was great and Maria ( ship consultant) tried to keep customers upbeat with her great attitude. At dinner, the food was good and the dining room was nice. The service was usually mediocre. Breakfast and lunch was served at an indoor/outdoor area. The inside could accommodate 30 people and our cruise had 200 passengers. What that meant was that when everyone got off their excursion at the same time, all of us were at the same time. Several meals were spent outside (covered) but sometimes cold and rainy. Oh, they would give you blankets...who wants to wear a blanket or shiver eating a meal ? Not me. We rushed several meals just to get back inside. We did room service a few times so we wouldn’t have to sit in the cold. Most of the excursions were nice but a little pricey. Entertainment was 2 sets of duos, elevator music but they could sing well...just not very upbeat. This was my first Windstar cruise-just average , nothing extravagant. The ship rocked and rolled our last night which gave a lot of passengers motion sickness. I will not be a return customer on Windstar. Many repeat customers said this cruise did not measure up. I was a little disappointed. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they provided on their newer style of motorized cruising. They purchased ships from the Seabourne line. The ship we were on is the Star Breeze. It is about 30 years old and it shows. Embarkation went very smoothly and our luggage appeared in our room in a timely fashion. Our room was quite comfortable and large with a walk in closet, full tub with shower and large sitting area. Very comfortable indeed. The service in the cabin was just what we needed with our cabin staff being very responsive to our needs. The food in the main dining room is average. There is nothing overtly wrong with it but it is not exciting, interesting or especially tasty. The one exception being the 'indoor BBQ' night necessitated by bad weather. On this night the ships galley was our BBQ area and it was fund to walk through the galley and the food was excellent. The service in the main dining room was weak regardless of where we sat and who attended to us. At times it would be difficult to get wait staff to come to the table. Water was poured before we could get the word sparkling out of our mouth and then a look of annoyance appeared when we asked to switch. The food and service in the private dining room was a different story. Both were excellent. Entertainment was practically non-existent. In comparison to river boats where local talent is featured many evenings and lectures on others there was pretty much nothing offered after dinner except a duo then ended early. Shore excursions were good and interesting. Unfortunately we were battling bad weather throughout the journey. In fact, our day in Portrush had to be cancelled as the tenders were not able to run. This was very unfortunate as the cruise had no back up plan for onboard activity this day. We had nothing to do all day. Yes, we did get to the next port that night and were allowed off the boat but the city was shut down by the time we arrived. This seemed to be poor planning. The ship itself clearly shows its age especially in the dining room and stage lounge and is in serious need of a facelift. We will likely not travel this line again as there are too many better options. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo traveler and wanted a luxury experience. I explained that bedding and the sleeping arrangements were very important to me. I sleep with a CPAP and require a minimum of a double size bed as I sleep in the center. With proper electrical hookup bedside. I needed a fully equipped gym with cardio equipment so I can run the morning otherwise I get anxious. A well appointed spa.  I was assured that the motor boat class of Windstar had all of this and more. A luxury cruise in every sense of the word filled with pampering amenities. The Windstar Star Breeze boasted of beautifully appointed accommodations, exceptional public areas, 2 luxury dining rooms, full spa and gym facilities.  Upon boarding I quickly surveyed the situation and my heart sank.  My stateroom 226  The bedside plug was damaged. I was unable to get power to the CPAP machine. The adapters would not work it took 3 trips by maintenance until they found a workable solution.  The bed is 2 singles pressed against each other. Something I was specifically was assured was not the case!  The bathroom mirror vanity was cracked and held together with silver tape.  The white Marble was stained completely yellow around the toilet from years of urine on porous stone.  The DVD player did not work. I went to the spa to book services. I was delighted to see acupuncture. Was told that was not a service provided on this ship. Why was it on the menu of services then? I booked 3 massage sessions regardless.  I took a tour of the spa. I recoiled upon opening the steam room door due to the smell of mold that was overwhelming, it was small and musty.  I went to the gym and was shocked to discover outdated equipment. An old rower, a basic exercise bike and 2 treadmills. The ceiling is maybe 6’5 the treadmill is a step up making it impossible to be used without hitting my head. I am 6’.  I went to the buffet. Again dismayed, the food was basic and below anything I was accustomed to. I inquired about the buffet because that was another issue I had and was assured by the booking agent that there were full service restaurants available all day. I assumed that the cafeteria buffet was only because we had not set sail yet.  We left the port and set sail. I asked about internet and that it was imperative that I was able to get basic work done with my home office and was assured that it would work throughout he ship. Upon signing up the reception informed me that it was unlikely to work in my stateroom. That was what came to pass not only did it not work in my stateroom it never worked at all as well as the computers in the library! One computer was out of service. Every passenger I spoke with complained about it.  The library filled with books left behind by other passengers. A selection of DVD’s from the 90’s  There was no real bon voyage celebration - some flag thing with no fanfare or pomp. No champagne toast, no little waving flags nothing.  The lounge singers provided bad renditions of popular songs.  If it weren’t all so sad it would have been funny. It was all like a late night basic cable skit.  I went to dinner in the below deck restaurant. It was all mediocre. The ambiance, the service and food.  I went to bed distraught. The seam in the middle of the bed, the hard pillows, the scratchy sheets. I tried to hold back tears. I was a grown man. Day 1 at sea. More bad lounge singing, a lecture about a detox treatment for sale. I went for my massage in an intensely claustrophobic treatment room. I asked about the overhead florescent tube lights. He informed me that there is no way to shut them off. Florescent lighting trigger my migraines he explained that he puts this eye mask on. I don’t want anything on my face especially something like a beanbag that isnt clean and used by others. The massage was amateur at best.  I went to dinner at Candella - the converted buffet. That stayed exactly the same other then then it being night. Not a candle electric or otherwise, not a flower, not twinkling light. A blank room. The steel buffet set up remained. A night cafeteria with a new name. A lipstick on a pig. This was supposed to be the special steak house?  I went to sleep with stomach pain, sad and frustrated. I prayed that in the morning the excursion would be a bright spot.  I woke up early with mild pain and cramping, nauseous and a little weak. I went to the ships doctor seeking pepto bismol. I wanted to make sure that i wouldn’t be queasy on the off board excursion. He immediately started to question my systems, I explained to the best of my ability the situation. He said in order to continue I would need to pay I think $150. He chose to ignore my request for Pepto and let me know if he were to examine me and he suspected that I might have a bacterial or viral digestive illness that he would immediately quarantine me. Not upon clinical diagnosis but suspicion. That lab results would be sent out and until their return minimum 3 days and an all clear I could be locked in my room. This was a perceived threat. His insistence that I undergo an invasive examination and that results would need to be sent to the CDC for confirmation and clearance a 4 day minimum.  At one point as I attempted to leave his office he stepped in front of me blocking my exit. I told him to move or call security. He moved out of my way. The threat of possibly being locked in the cabin with no open window induced such a state of panic that went into a state of fight or flight. I left the ship immediately. I took a 4 hour taxi from the port of call back to Edinburgh. Any one of the above reason have justifiable cause to leave. I am utterly and totally disgusted. I had to reroute my flights and incur an enormous amount of financial loss. My dream trip ruined.  That aspect of the ships protocol is highly disturbing. After sharing all of this the President of Windstar - John Delaney refused any kind of refund, credit or apology. Nothing. What a disgusting lack of customer service. If considering a cruise look elsewhere. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
it was recommended as an exclusive luxury style yacht cruise which would provide more time in ports and access to ports other ships could not get to. In fact, we were at ports after all other big ships arrived and disembarked and had to ... Read More
it was recommended as an exclusive luxury style yacht cruise which would provide more time in ports and access to ports other ships could not get to. In fact, we were at ports after all other big ships arrived and disembarked and had to leave prior to the other ships embarked. The upkeep of this ship is extremely disappointing as the upholstery is torn and frayed, some furniture have broken legs and badly stained. the furniture is from the 80's and it has not been refurbished in some time. it is scheduled to go in for a total retrofit. The menu on all 3 restaurants is very limited and mediocre. There is limited entertainment (one duo playing music), no cruise director to create any kind of activity. it is very boring and lacklustre in every way imaginable. This ship is in worst condition than most ferries that transport cars and people. They do not honour the description of their excursions either. Last excursion said that the bus would drop you off at your hotel with your luggage. That never happened and you were left to fend for yourself trying to get a taxi along with all the other passengers that were stranded. All in all, this is the worst experience I have through all my cruise lines and I have cruised all over the world. I would not recommend this ship for any reason. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from Amsterdam and first off, the 18-20 year olds were not allowed to drink. Now, this isn't a deal killer, but let's be clear, when you are a 19/20 year old college student and you can drink "legally" it's fun. We were finally told we could sign a waiver to allow them to drink, well....OK, I guess. Then, it got worse - they wouldn't allow anyone under 21 to GAMBLE! Now where is this coming from? This is actually the one thing my son did on his 18th birthday just because he COULD! The dealers were rude and obnoxious. One of the stops on our trip was St. Petersburg, Russia (one of the BIG reasons we chose this cruise) and we were going to the ballet as an excursion through Windstar in the evening (we spent the night in SP) and the departure time for the excursion was prior to dinner being served; when we inquired what would be done about it, no one seemed aware that this was even happening. They did make an accommodation for those going on the excursion, but that should have been something they thought about in advance. Now for the worst part, the OTHER CRUISERS. What a bunch of snobs! A bunch of old snobby people who snubbed their noses at us.Nasty! Never again - back to Star Clippers we shall go. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His ... Read More
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His knowledge was outstanding and his delivery humorous. A visit to the Vasa museum in Stockholm is a must. The cruise through the Kiel canal was extraordinarily. The staff were friendly, and efficient. The food was excellent and the bar service outstanding. The cabin was spacious, clean and well maintained. The only downside were the reception and tour staff who had little local knowledge but tried. The company should go for “all inclusive” as the billing process was a pain, bits of paper everywhere. The hidden costs added to the bill at the end were annoying. Lack of taxis at disembarkation was annoying but this was a local issue beyond the control of the company. Beware of the local taxi drivers who will try and rip you off with a flat fee, use the meter. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Chose Windstar for second time due to casual nature of cruise and generous size of cabin. Went from Rome to Barcelona. Love the small ship and the advantage of docking right at the town we are visiting. Upgraded one level from last time ... Read More
Chose Windstar for second time due to casual nature of cruise and generous size of cabin. Went from Rome to Barcelona. Love the small ship and the advantage of docking right at the town we are visiting. Upgraded one level from last time to a balcony cabin and appreciated the large glass door. Do wish they had balconies large enough to sit on. Ship very similar to 2 years ago and could use a little spiffing up in the room. Highlights this time was the food which is now amazing. The partnership with the James Beard Foundation has made a huge improvement. Service was excellent as always. Staff members really make an effort to remember your name. Had an opportunity to eat one night at Candles restaurant on the ship. It was very enjoyable. One of best parts of the ship is the lounge behind the bar area where you can go anytime of day and get a drink. in my case Ice Coffee. Even took advantage of room service on the last night of the cruise and it was a great experience. We generally don't do the excursions and prefer to explore the towns on our own but did do the Wine Tasting in Provence which was wonderful. Overall a great easy casual well priced cruise . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We choose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary. Very familiar with Windstar but 1st time on one of their power yachts. Service and food was excellent! Every service personnel was pleasant, eager to help, and just as friendly as can ... Read More
We choose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary. Very familiar with Windstar but 1st time on one of their power yachts. Service and food was excellent! Every service personnel was pleasant, eager to help, and just as friendly as can be. Our cabin was to die for as we upgraded to an owner suite. Lots of space! It does need some refurbishment however. The ports were lovely and most were very easy to walk around. Excursions were disappointing. We booked a wine tour and Jeep tour in advance and when on board found out the wine tour started at 8:15a, a little early for us to start wine tasting so canceled. Then found out that the Jeep tour which read like it was a two or four seater jeep turned out to be a Land Rover with bench seats in the back for 10 ppl. Ugh! Not our way to spend 3+ Hours. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We did check out more cities in Spain before the cruise. Arriving into Madrid for. Several nights, day trip to Toledo and a couple nights in Valencia before making our way to Barcelona. Great trip all in all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
I had written to the CEO a 5 page letter describing in detail many items that were not up to supposed Tauck standards. I received a short 1 page letter addressing only one problem. Their motto' tell us your complaint before they ... Read More
I had written to the CEO a 5 page letter describing in detail many items that were not up to supposed Tauck standards. I received a short 1 page letter addressing only one problem. Their motto' tell us your complaint before they become problems" is a marketing tool. Very disappointed in the cruise Lisbon to Barcelona. For the price we paid, very poor value. we would not recommend small ship cruising with Tauck. Their excursions are rushed and many sites we could have seen we drove past. We chose this cruise based on a good experience in the past with Tauck. We were considering Regent Seven Seas but we presumed a smaller ship would be better, more intimate. Wrong. Cabin was nice. Food and service was excellent . BBQ night was the best! Excursions rushed. Not organized. Seemed as though Tauck was trying to fix things as we went along. Drive by buildings in a bus is worthless. By the time the local guide tells you about a building, it is past. Should have stopped at more places. A tapas food tour was a nice idea. Very enjoyable. Sagrada Familia was very ruched inside church tour. Should have been 2 hours due to so much to take in by Guidi. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first Windstar Cruise. It was a very pleasant cruise, but not extraordinary - although perhaps our expectations were too high. There were many pluses. The cabin was fabulous. The ship itself looked a bit tired, but very clean ... Read More
This was our first Windstar Cruise. It was a very pleasant cruise, but not extraordinary - although perhaps our expectations were too high. There were many pluses. The cabin was fabulous. The ship itself looked a bit tired, but very clean and spacious, and the lounge and bar areas were very comfortable and never felt crowded. The food was delicious, with different options for lunch and dinner each day. The itinerary was very good, we really liked having long days in port so we could see a lot in each place we were visiting. There were no tenders, so we could just walk off the ship and in to town and spend the whole day there if we liked. There was never a queue to get on or off the ship and the ship always docked on time. The staff were friendly and efficient. It was disappointing that the itinerary was changed after we booked - the ship did not go to Seville as planned so we had to make our own arrangements at additional expense. Communication with Windstar head office was very poor, although staff on the ship itself were as helpful as they could be. We took only two shore excursions - to Gibraltar & Grenada - both were very good with smallish groups and excellent guides. Entertainment in the evening was limited but it was fine for us. There were two very good duos performing in the evenings, and the lovely Maria organised quizzes and games in the Compass Bar. We loved the ship bbq night, the spa, our visit to the Bridge and the visiting flamenco troupe. There were no water sports available on this cruise, although there were two small pools and a hot tub I think. We would really have liked free wifi, better coffee and better quality wines in the drinks package. It was also disappointing that even after paying for a drinks package, our preferred brands were no longer available a few days into the cruise and no alternatives were offered. It was also sometimes difficult to book special dinners on deck, and some of the more popular shore excursions, as they were booked out early. It was fabulous taking a small ship cruise, as it meant more time in port, and no queues or crowds. The downside was less activities/ entertainment so I guess it’s a matter of what is more important to you as a cruiser. On a one week itinerary it was fine for us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I took this ship as part of a Tauck-sponsored tour. I was sorely disappointed. In my opinion, this ship is not up to Tauck standards and certainly not up to mine. The Cabin and the Leak. We (like our previous cruises) booked a cabin ... Read More
I took this ship as part of a Tauck-sponsored tour. I was sorely disappointed. In my opinion, this ship is not up to Tauck standards and certainly not up to mine. The Cabin and the Leak. We (like our previous cruises) booked a cabin at the top end of the price range for this cruise (exclusive of the “Owner’s Suites). But, unlike our previous cruises, our cabin (Cabin 319) really wasn’t any different than most of the others, although we paid significantly more for it. True, it did have an outside door and a one foot “balcony”, if you could call it that. But so did a lot of “lesser” cabins, all of which were the same size as ours and significantly less expensive. We assumed that we were paying for something more. We weren’t, unless you consider the leak (more akin to a minor flood actually) that we, along with at least two other cabins that we are aware of, experienced the last night of the cruise. This wasn’t a “drip, drip” type leak but a very large and continuous stream of water that extended along about four feet in a seam of the ceiling. The water flowed within inches of our bed and actually got portions of the bed wet and drenched the carpeting. Since it was 3:30AM, we moved to one end of the bed and tried to sleep as best we could. We know of at least one other couple (room 314) who had to move out of their cabin in the middle of the night as the water fell directly on their bed. The cabin next to ours, 317 (we were in 319) also had severe leaks as well. I suspect other cabins on that deck had similar problems, but I do not know that for a fact. On an earlier day in the cruise, another passenger on deck 4, I believe, (we were deck 6) reported to me that sewage came out of their shower drain. The Ship. Tauck’s marketing materials describes our Windstar ship as follows: “Windstar Cruises’ slogan, “180° From Ordinary,” aptly describes the delights of a voyage aboard one of their new "Pride Class" sister ships, Star Breeze... one of Windstar's sleek, newly renovated, all-suite power yachts….” My view of this ship is very different, although I agree that having a major leak in my cabin is “180° From Ordinary,” but not in the way that Windstar intended that phrase. Also, to me, “newly renovated” implies something that is fresh, like new. Other passengers told me (and I agree) that the ship was “tired” and “dated.” Sewage coming out of a shower drain (see above), several cabins leaking, and the odors emanating from the ship “Library” (see below) would all indicate that “tired” and “dated” are better descriptions of this ship than “sleek, newly renovated”. Tauck’s marketing materials also says of this ship: “You’ll feel like you're aboard your own private yacht almost as soon as you step aboard.” This isn’t even close to being accurate. I felt like I was a part of a large, mid-grade cruise ship. One passenger told me is was more like a Carnival ship. Food and Wine on the Ship. Tauck’s brochure for the Star Breeze ship says: “Dining in The AmphorA Restaurant or in the more casual Candles or Veranda is an epicurean delight.” This statement is also very inaccurate. My opinion, and those of about a dozen passengers who I talked with, was that the food was “average.” I even asked about 10 to 12 passengers who had been on prior Tauck cruises to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, the food on the Star Breeze and the food onboard prior Tauck ship tours. The average rating for the food on prior Tauck ship tours was between 7 and 8. For this ship, the average rating was between 4 and 5. The food wasn’t bad, but it was nothing special and certainly not an “epicurean delight”. The wine was, frankly, far worse. I can describe the “standard” wine on this ship in one word: cheap. I haven’t drunk wine of this low quality since I was a young man. Occasionally on board the ship we upgraded to something more drinkable and were rewarded with a couple hundred dollars of extra charges by the end of the voyage (some we were told about in advance, others not). After paying close to $20,000 for this cruise, that was galling. It was also annoying to have to sign a check every time we ordered a drink, even if it wasn’t an “upgrade”. We were told this was for “inventory control purposes”. We had none of these problems on Tauck river cruises where the wine, food, and service were uniformly excellent. After drinking some of the wines on the Star Breeze I looked them up on the “Vivino” app in my iPhone. Most of the “standard” wines on the ship were between $11 and $13 dollars per bottle. It’s almost impossible to get a good red wine at this price point, in my opinion. As for service aboard ship, I think it was very friendly but not up to the same standards as on Tauck's river cruises. (I do, however, think the housekeeper for our cabin, Katarina, was excellent). I was told, when on the Tauck river cruises, that the staff on the river ships were Tauck-trained. I suspect this crew was Windstar-trained, not Tauck-trained. In any case, there was a big difference. The Ship “Library”. On the way to the Compass Rose, where we met the Tauck directors on a daily basis, there was, a few feet from the entrance to the Compass Rose and to the left, the entrance to the Library. From the first day of the cruise to the last, the Library had a very strong odor emanating from it. You couldn’t miss it and you couldn’t avoid it. Many passengers talked about it. Some thought it was a strong mold or mildew smell. Some thought it was sewer gas. In any case, the smell was there throughout the voyage. Needless to say, I never saw anyone go into the Library, but you couldn’t avoid the smell because the Library was on the way to the Compass Rose. The excursions we took from this ship were uniformly excellent, as they were sponsored by Tauck, not Windstar. Also, Tauck's directors for the cruise were excellent. The land portion of this cruise was excellent. The problem here is with the ship itself, the food, the wine, and in some cases, the staff. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for ... Read More
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for entertainment! Other than that, the bathrooms were the best part, especially for those of us with an ocean view cabin. We had double sinks and a huge (by ship's standards) walk in shower. The tubs in the French door cabins were dauntingly tall, in my view, particularly at sea. My main goal is to stay upright in a shower and, with a wet hand towel on the shower floor, I achieved that goal since I did not have to try to get into a bathtub. Great amenities, as well. There were two grab bars and plenty of storage. Helpfully, there was a cord for hanging your undies if you did hand wash. We eschewed the heavy duty laundry bill in favor of washing out a few things after each shower. Worked great. I will say that we only showered in port because of the rocking. The negative was that our inept and disinterested cabin boy forgot twice to give us a back up roll of toilet paper. When we ran out the second time, my husband was dispatched to reception. There, he met the captain who was so appalled that HE got us the toilet paper! Really, it was that kind of ship with only 200 passengers. Just how inept was that cabin boy? We were surprised at two things in the room when we arrived. One was that the beds are so low that you cannot put your luggage under them. We parked it on either side of the window. When we went to bed the first night, I found the mattress to be very uncomfortable, with some kind of metal support under my back. That and the rocking boat kept me from sleep most of the night. The next day, we examined the mattress to find that the cabin boy had flipped the mattress and we were sleeping on the supports. That got fixed very quickly. First time ever on a ship. At that, it was not the best mattress we have slept on at sea. However, we did not have issues with the thermostat as some did. The room was huge by our previous standards and having a window was normally just fine. It was quite large, the weather was too cool anyway to want to sit outside, so we were quite content with that kind of room. It would have been nice for someone to wash the window, however. The food. Where to begin? Both lunch and dinner were served up top. You had to cross over from the elevator to the outside to get to your meals. The highly touted bbq was on that deck and we about froze as we were not allowed inside the restaurant. That food was pretty good, however. The breakfasts and lunches were very ordinary for a ship that advertises that it is using James Beard recipes. It is bland, even for spicy ethnic dishes such as adobo. Bread pudding was available at every lunch along side ice cream. The rest of the desserts were mainly mousses as one guest mentioned. At dinner in AurorA, food portions were not only small but were mounded in the middle of the plates unattractively. The headwaiter had a hard time remembering if you asked to be seated with others so you could sit a while and have to send a waiter to remind him. The special Candles meal was in the buffet room so lacked any ambiance. My husband's veal chop was full of gristle, my filet was fine, but the bernaise came out of a can. The Caesar salad was very bland, like most of the food. AND, horror of horrors, we missed lobster night in AurourA! The negative of negatives was that exhaust fumes came into our room several times during the cruise with no way to blow the air out. We spoke to the captain about it and he said it happened all the time when the ship was bouncy. It bounced along the Portuguese coast both coming and going. One night we returned to our cabin after dinner to find it full of fumes which caused our eyes to burn. We ended up having to go to bed before the air cleared. That would keep me from sailing with Windstar until this issue is solved. It was one of the examples of the company not spending its money on things that matter. The ship clearly had been dressed up so the reputed $18 million spend on the 3 Seabourn ships went to superficial decorating, not to keeping its equipment repaired. We are supposed to sail on Legend and that ship had its tender fail. People were ferried by zodiacs with wet landings. That would have done me in as I only brought one pair of shoes. I read a report on Breeze that it also had tendering issues. When you arrive on the ship, there is a big hustle to sell you a laundry package (no self laundry), a booze package, and a wifi package. All very expensive. We did not buy any. I have no experience with the spa or the exercise room. Non- alcoholic beverages are included which I really liked. Fed my Coke addiction. Besides there being no entertainment and few port talks, there was a perfectly good room set up for movies but the equipment was missing or broken. We could set up a card game if we wanted but no one did. The library was pretty good for its size with a couple of shelves for passengers to exchange books. We really missed having something fun to do after dinner. There is a very small casino and a couple of bar areas but we do not drink much. A huge plus on this ship is the Yacht Club which not only provides expansive windows but also has a very nice mini breakfast and small sandwiches and desserts for lunch. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches sometime for our excursions. It shuts down the food at 6 pm when most people trot off to dinner. Excursions were the highlight of the islands. The Canaries and Madeira had amazing, wild mountains. The best excursion was a 4 wheel in the Algarve in Portugal. Because of the fabulous islands, we really were happy we went on this cruise. Most of the issues were not really so big.... Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week Windstar ... Read More
This was our first experience on the Breeze since the change of ownership  from Seabourn to  Windstar.  We were catching another ship in Europe for a cruise in the Mediterranean for a month so we decided to do the two week Windstar crossing from Barbados to Lisbon rather than fly.  Having read other reviews, we were pleased to discover the ship was not carrying a contingent of workmen contracted to do maintenance work that would interfere with our enjoyment of the cruise. Comparing the different Windstar ships is  like comparing different champagnes.  Each experience is delightful and different.  The unifying overall enjoyment originates from  the hard working and faithful Windstar officers and crew who make every effort to call you by your name and remember little things from how many towels you want in your bathroom to your personal beverage preferences in the diningrooms. Our suite was mid ship on deck 5 and steps away from the circular stairway and the elevator.  We found ourselves spending more time relaxing in our beautiful, spacious suite than on any other cruise.  Our cabin steward provided the highest, most personalized service we have ever experienced on any cruiseline.   She not only kept our suite spotless, she capitalized on our appreciation for creative towel animals.  For fourteen nights she created different amazing animals or humorous creations;many of them were so unique, she became well known throughout the ship because of the photos we shared with other passengers. The quality and variety of food was the best yet of any Windstar ship, including the freshness and taste of the croissants, rolls and breads. The only disappointment was the ship itself which is in need of some major maintenance.   Hopefully many of the things listed below will be corrected when the Breeze goes into dry dock next week. 1.We saw a number of cloudy Thermo Pane windows with broken seals in the  Yacht Club that need replacement. Similarly the aft window frames in the Compass Rose lounge have been  shoddily repaired. 2. Large sections of teak deck on  decks  7 and 8 need major repair/replacement. 3. The swimming pool heater and the broken electronic control panel for the pool swimming jets need repair/replacement. The pool heater was broken for several days making they pool unusable and the Jets never worked at all the entire cruise.  Others aboard ship who boarded the week before us had already complained about the jets .    4. Rusty areas were visible around many windows. As far as the daily schedule, we would have enjoyed having more than just one lecturer to listen to aboard  during the two week crossing since there weren't a many activities offered. We took advantage of the discount for booking a further cruise on board. Although we are had a great cruise,  we both decided that for ocean crossings especially we prefer the Surf for several reasons: the ship is an additional 100 feet longer and with the sails up and lower center of gravity, there is less ship motion; we prefer the location and open design of the veranda on the Surf as well as the amount of open deck space for lounging and waking ; we prefer the location and adjacencies of the public lounges and diningrooms; there Surf offers a much more extensive fitness center, especially elliptical machines. The Breeze only has treadmill machines. Windstar remains our favorite cruise line by far.  We are fond of many crew we have repeatedly sailed with over the decades.  We think the Anschutz Corporation, owners of Windstar, have the right vision and commitment to maintain and improve this amazing fleet of small vessels. Read Less
Star Breeze Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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