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On one of Star Pride's first cruises coming off of a very long dry-dock to the tune of $4+ million, I must say we found the ship looking great, and it was hard to believe she was first launched in 1988. Lots redone to the public areas - besides the new flooring, the designs of the two restaurants were tweaked and improved. Library updated, screening room replaces the old card room, main lounge redone. New pool added, deck above the pool was actually widened to allow for loungers. I didn't see them, but heard that the Classic Suites were totally redone. Service was exemplary, with a high staff-to-guest ratio. Loved our very friendly and engaging crew who made our experience even more personalized. Many remembered our favorite beverages and menu choices. We very much appreciated the ship keeping us hydrated (our ports were very warm and humid), offering bottled water as we went ashore, and setting a large bottle of water and glasses on our nightstand at night. I had heard that many of the crew came from other Windstar ships, along with the new Captain. One day in port, the Executive Chef invited any and all to accompany him to the local markets to shop. Great fun and lots of samples. While the dining choices in the restaurants were delicious enough, he was very open to suggestions. I think Windstar is all about the itinerary and ports, so onboard activities were kept to a minimum. Port talks almost every day, and a small handful of organized amusing activities (games) and two musical duos performing after dinner. But this was an active itinerary (only one sea day) and most of the ship seemed to disappear into their cabins by 10:30 PM. We loved the open dining option, no formal dressy nights, and plenty of two-top tables if you wanted a romantic dinner for two. Otherwise, it was easy to strike up conversations and share tables, as most of our fellow passengers were amiable and well traveled. Shore excursions were low-key, and it seemed that many passengers were well-versed DIY-ers who planned their own independent excursions. We did a mixture of independent and ship tours; big kudos to the Mt. Etna/Taormina excursion that took us part-way up the volcano (unexpected) for a fun lunch and exploration of the craters. Our only criticism - and it is a very small one - is the limited menu offerings between the time lunch service ends (2 PM) and dinner service begins (7 PM). While we generally had a small lunch or snack onshore, if we came back to the ship after 2 PM the only option was a few sandwiches and desserts up in the Yacht Club lounge. Would love to see this expanded to include a few salads (green, veggie, pasta) and maybe some chips with those little sandwiches. Cheese, crackers, fruit would be another idea. This was our first Windstar Cruise and it definitely will not be our last. If you want a solid easy-going, sophisticated cruise, unstuffy, unpretentious, IMHO this is the way to go. And because it's not all-inclusive, you don't feel like you are over-paying for what you don't use (e.g. alcohol). Most of the ship reviews are from 2015 and older; with the new Windstar president/leadership and policy changes, there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel for future Windstar cruisers!

One of Our Best Cruises Yet

Star Pride Cruise Review by KikiKruiser

19 people found this helpful
Trip Details
On one of Star Pride's first cruises coming off of a very long dry-dock to the tune of $4+ million, I must say we found the ship looking great, and it was hard to believe she was first launched in 1988. Lots redone to the public areas - besides the new flooring, the designs of the two restaurants were tweaked and improved. Library updated, screening room replaces the old card room, main lounge redone. New pool added, deck above the pool was actually widened to allow for loungers. I didn't see them, but heard that the Classic Suites were totally redone.

Service was exemplary, with a high staff-to-guest ratio. Loved our very friendly and engaging crew who made our experience even more personalized. Many remembered our favorite beverages and menu choices. We very much appreciated the ship keeping us hydrated (our ports were very warm and humid), offering bottled water as we went ashore, and setting a large bottle of water and glasses on our nightstand at night. I had heard that many of the crew came from other Windstar ships, along with the new Captain. One day in port, the Executive Chef invited any and all to accompany him to the local markets to shop. Great fun and lots of samples. While the dining choices in the restaurants were delicious enough, he was very open to suggestions.

I think Windstar is all about the itinerary and ports, so onboard activities were kept to a minimum. Port talks almost every day, and a small handful of organized amusing activities (games) and two musical duos performing after dinner. But this was an active itinerary (only one sea day) and most of the ship seemed to disappear into their cabins by 10:30 PM.

We loved the open dining option, no formal dressy nights, and plenty of two-top tables if you wanted a romantic dinner for two. Otherwise, it was easy to strike up conversations and share tables, as most of our fellow passengers were amiable and well traveled.

Shore excursions were low-key, and it seemed that many passengers were well-versed DIY-ers who planned their own independent excursions. We did a mixture of independent and ship tours; big kudos to the Mt. Etna/Taormina excursion that took us part-way up the volcano (unexpected) for a fun lunch and exploration of the craters.

Our only criticism - and it is a very small one - is the limited menu offerings between the time lunch service ends (2 PM) and dinner service begins (7 PM). While we generally had a small lunch or snack onshore, if we came back to the ship after 2 PM the only option was a few sandwiches and desserts up in the Yacht Club lounge. Would love to see this expanded to include a few salads (green, veggie, pasta) and maybe some chips with those little sandwiches. Cheese, crackers, fruit would be another idea.

This was our first Windstar Cruise and it definitely will not be our last. If you want a solid easy-going, sophisticated cruise, unstuffy, unpretentious, IMHO this is the way to go. And because it's not all-inclusive, you don't feel like you are over-paying for what you don't use (e.g. alcohol). Most of the ship reviews are from 2015 and older; with the new Windstar president/leadership and policy changes, there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel for future Windstar cruisers!
KikiKruiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Suite
Cabin S1 118
Very roomy, with a separate seating area with sofa and two chairs. Walk in closet. Two sinks in the bathroom, and they were generous with the bathroom toiletries and paper goods. Loved the large porthole, and the ledge under it so you could sit and look out. Bose speaker and DVD player (lots of DVD's available in the library).
Deck 4 Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    One of those must-do's going into the Blue Grotto, but the group was split into two buses and we only had one guide, so it would've been better if there was one guide per bus.
    View All 4 City Tour Reviews
  • Mount Etna
    Fantastic touring Taormina first, then having lunch on the side of Mt. Etna, surrounded by craters.
    View All 80 Mount Etna Reviews