I'm an avid, frequent, and very guilty cruiser. I'm guilty in that I often read reviews, but seldom write or contribute. I'm in my mid 40's and recently travelled on the New Year's sailing of the Star Legend with my wife, 18 year old son, 16 year old daughter and my parents. By way of background, we are very experienced cruises. I'm fortunate to be approaching 80 cruises under my belt and spend about 8 weeks a year at sea. Over the years my taste in cruising has changed for a variety of reasons including maturity and unfortunately the commercialization of the cruise industry. Years ago (i.e. 1982) I loved the food, service and traditional service on lines like Princess and Sitmar. In fact, those early life cruise experiences are what ultimately conditioned my brain to subconsciously always be on the hunt for a vintage cruising experience of days gone by. The introduction of mega ships which are built with every square inch and second on board designed to be profit centers has cheapened and ruined the cruise experience in my opinion. Upcharges for eating, peeing, standing in the grand atrium etc. while fighting large crowds and eating poor quality food seems to have become the norm for many of the large mass market lines.
Over the years as my taste in cruising has changed so has my consideration of what lines I will and won't spend my hard earned dollars and vacation time on cruising. In recent years, I have really enjoyed Oceania, Regent, and Azamara as to me these lines have recreated the magic of cruising and done it so well. The two mass market lines I still think do a "good" job compared to the others are Celebrity & Holland America - especially in their suite class (I see that's a topic of many other threads).
So...for the New Year I booked my family on the Summit 7 night Caribbean cruise out of San Juan. After securing non-refundable airline tickets from Los Angeles to San Juan I learned that he Summit was due for a major refurbishment in early 2016 and was not keen on sailing on a ship about to go into dry dock. Enter the Star Legend of Windstar Cruises. It turned out the Star Legend was sailing the exact same day from San Juan as the Celebrity Summit on a 7 night itinerary so I decided to take a risk - cruising on a ship and line that non of my family had sailed on before and more worrisome had really bad reviews. I was determined to go have a great time no matter what. A new experience awaited.