We are frequent cruisers on Silversea, Seabourn & have also cruised on Seadream & Azamara but no others. We were curious to try the newly refurbished Star Breeze on account that we had travelled on the same ship when it was owned by Seabourn. We were slightly nervous as we have always stayed away from non all inclusive cruise lines and were slightly nervous given some of the reviews on here.
Windstar in the end far exceeded our expectations. Boarding in Piraeus was swift and easy as always. On boarding the ship the crew were immediately friendly and we were shown straight to our cabin despite it only being 1pm.
The ship itself has clearly had money spent on it but could probably have done with a bit more being spent in the corridors and central stairwell. The public areas are a vast improvement but are incredibly underused. With the exception of the ondeck Yacht Bar, the other bar and other public areas were largely empty.
The best part of the entire cruise was the service which is miles ahead of the competition and reminds me of Silversea back in the day when they were in top form. Our names were quickly memorised by the crew and were always used. Drinks preferences were remembered and the crew really made an effort to engage. It really was very impressive. Officers were very engaging too. It is clear that the ship has a highly visible management team who are on a mission to delight. Sadly as is the usual with high end cruise lines, we saw some appalling behaviour towards crew by our fellow travellers who for some reason do not see the crew as human beings.
We opted for the drinks package which was quite expensive however they had a fantastic selection of wines by the glass with a large selection of them being from California. The Sommelier staff were excellent also.
The food was reasonable though the second restaurant Candles could do with changing their menu. We did like the fact that local produce was frequently featured.
We did not opt for any of the excursions and also declined the Windstar Signature event which is similar to that being offered by Azamara.
The pool area has been remodelled and the pool has been replaced by a lap pool. The whole area still doesn't quite work and few people used it.
The cabin was great (reviewed below) and although there is no self service laundry they have a reasonably priced all inclusive laundry package which was reasonable providing you used it extensively as we did.
The entertainment was a let down. It was two duo's who only did covers. It was really lacking and in my opinion prevented people from going to the main bar after dinner as the male singer in the main bar didn't know how to turn his volume down though his female assistant was very good. By the yacht bar the entertainment was again mediocre with the female vocalist looking bored every night.
The gym was poor. For some reason they have installed treadmills that prevent people over 6ft from using them as you hit your head on the ceiling. The staff said this was a frequent complaint but there were no plans to rectify this which is disappointing.
The spa pricing was expensive however they did great deals in port which we took advantage off.
Disembarkation was the usual relentless "get off the ship" announcements with no room service breakfast available.
All in all it was the best cruise we have done for a long time and I would now look to them ahead of Silversea.
The cabins have had a reasonable refit from Seabourn days though the wood work and bathrooms are the same. Nice linens are used and the new beds are very comfortable. The bathroom products are L'Occitaine and are frequently replenished.
Disappointing to see that they are not using on demand tv. Strangely they don't even have a "moving map" feature on the tv. The housekeeping staff were excellent.