Several recent reviews of the Star Legend are noted below and I won’t repeat their excellent and comprehensive critiques, but I do feel the need to cast my vote since there have been both positive and negative reports. In the way of background, I have lost count of the number of Windstar cruises I have taken, starting in Tahiti on the Windsong in 1988 as a college student and ending in 2013 on the Windstar traveling through the Panama Canal, which was less than stellar in my opinion. My husband and I have also cruised on SeaDream, Celebrity, Oceania, Viking and Uniworld.
On January 16, 2016 we finished our first "power" cruise with Windstar on the Star Legend leaving San Juan and travelling to various ports in the Caribbean. Due to somewhat mixed reviews on CruiseCritic, and the fact that our 2013 experience was way below the usual Windstar standards, we had no expectations and were ready for whatever we found. However, from the moment of embarkation to our departure one week later we were consistently delighted by that old Windstar ambiance of the ship, service and itinerary. Despite it's age, the ship was elegant, the cabins unexpectedly spacious by the sailing vessel standards and the common spaces comfortable and spit shined.
Although everything about our cruise was wonderful, it is always the staff that shines above all. From our cabin steward Jajat to the wait staff and sommeliers, especially Endro and Bobby, we were spoiled rotten by their kind attentions. Particularly memorable were the dinners created by Chef Nilesh and his talented staff. I was not thrilled by the cuisine on my last Windstar cruise but this experience could not have been more different. Interesting, varied choices and outstanding preparation and presentation. It is amazing what Chef Nilesh can accomplish in that small galley, especially when serving nearly 200 diners at once. At our table if one asked for rare filet minion it was rare, not medium or well done.
We also enjoyed Captain Griffiths, for his sense of humor, warm personality and sound judgment in putting our safety above the unreasonable demands of passengers who do not have a healthy respect for the dangers of wind and the sea. When forced by high seas to change our itinerary, he weathered quite a few angry tirades and, in my presence, did it with patience and respect, although, at least in one case, I'm not sure how he managed it. When we were in Montserrat, a port we did make despite the unusually strong winds blowing from an unusual direction, a large swell hit the tender while we were disembarking and I was the person with one foot on the tender and one on the dock when the boat surged forward and broke the lines securing it to the dock. Although I would have liked to visit St. Bart’s and St. Martin as well, I have no doubt that Captain Griffiths made the right and proper choice in seeking harbors safer than those initially planned.
Two more points. Although I have always enjoyed the beach barbecue event that Windstar does on most Caribbean itineraries, it is usually cut short for me by the heat and lack of shade. The Prickly Pear Beach event, however, was done perfectly. Not only were tent umbrellas set up at the water’s edge for everyone on board, there were many comfortable shaded tables to eat lunch without having to balance it on your lap. I can’t even imagine the ton of work it took to set up and disassemble this party and I for one am grateful for their efforts.
Secondly, in Culebra, think about renting a golf cart. A representative from Carlos Jeep Rental met us at the dock and although they really wanted us to take a jeep, the last thing we wanted to do was be “inside” in a car. The representative ran us the short distance to the shop where we rented the cart for $70 - with the six of us it averaged out to $12pp. Since taxis charge $10 round trip pp to Flamenco Beach we were able to see most of the rest of the island “for free” and, more importantly, on our own schedule.
I could go on and on but will conclude by saying I cannot wait for my next Windstar Cruise. They exceeded my expectations by far, and I would venture to say there is no better bargain right now in the small ship category.