Having taken only two previous cruises, one with Regent and one with Silver seas I don’t claim to be an expert on reviewing cruises. However, here is my opinion of the Windstar Barcelona to Lisbon cruise aboard the Star Breeze.
The appeal of a small ship like the Star Breeze is crowd avoidance. However, The Star breeze feels crowded at times especially when at sea. Most of the cabins have widows that don’t open so people want to be on the decks to get fresh air. Unfortunately, there are not enough lounge chairs on the two outside decks. Consequently, everyone tries to claim a chair early by putting stuff on it. Latecomers move the stuff which causes arguments. The lounge chairs have a one inch pad and are very hard. There are umbrellas over some chairs but usually can’t be open under way due to the wind. So, there is little shaded area on the upper deck when the ship is moving. The cabins that do have a sliding door have a tiny deck you can stand on if you have small feet. In effect, all you get is a window that opens. These cabins sell out early. The cabins with a window that doesn’t open are large enough but claustrophobic in my opinion. There is one pool which resembles an oversize bathtub and two small hot tubs. There is a constant roar from the smoke stacks even when the ship is docked. It is quite annoying on the outside decks including the Candles restaurant. I suggest you bring a noise cancelling headset if you want to read a book on the deck. Compared to the two previous cruise ships I was on the Star Breeze seemed dated and overcrowded.
There are two restaurants. One is used for breakfast lunch and dinner. This restaurant at dinner time is called Candles and you can go there once during the 8-day cruise. The outside seating area is subject to the exhaust noise. The main dining room on the lower deck is used for dinner only. The food is quite good in both restaurants.