I can sum up the Star Pride, in a few words, barely adequate. Not a very high mark for a line that charges luxury prices. After 36 days on her, it’s more like Star Rust Bucket. The number of things that have gone amiss is quite long. To put this review in perspective I am not a princess type and I certainly do not expect complete perfection.
Too start off, a promised cruise credit of $2400, completely disappeared. I booked directly with Windstar, so can’t blame a TA. I did have some email paperwork, but was told it had to be emailed to the office. We had a hotspot, but it never seemed to go thru properly, even though the copy to myself did. After days of excuses, we were told the credit was $2000 and the first amount was an error. I was just too tired of the whole drama to pursue it farther. A vacation should be fun, not a miserable angry experience. We did get our free laundry package with no problem.
The ship is quite tired and desperately needs a complete refurbishment and dry dock.
The cabin is spacious, but looks to not have been changed since the 80’s. The chairs and loveseat appear somewhat newer, but the rest of the cabinets, table, desk etc are dinged, scratched and nicked. The carpet is worn. The bed is uncomfortable and overall linens poor quality. The steward does his best to keep things clean. Our bathroom, an accessible with shower only, has been remodeled in a very haphazard manor. A glass doored cabinet in front of the commode has no closer and shattered during a rough night at sea, I asked repeatedly to have the closer fixed to no avail. It stayed in a dangerous shattered state for 2 days before it was replaced. Still no closer after 36 days. A piece of folded paper was stuck in it to keep it closed. The toilet has broken four times. There is mold in shower grout etc. The shower water is often tepid to downright cold, at least 1/3 of the time.
The light in the walk-in closet burned out 3 days ago, have asked reception, steward etc to fix. Finally after 4 days it was fixed.The worst has been for 5 days out of 32, there has been no heat and the room was like a meat locker. Repeated attempts to fix the problem, work for a few days, then it’s back to freezing. Other times it was excessively hot. Just today it was announced the HVAC is out shipwide. Finally,after over 3 weeks were offered a different room. I felt that the accessible shower stall was worth keeping the lemon room at this point. I’m onlly 4’10 with knee and back issues and having to step over the side of the tub, did not seem worth the trade off, plus the added work of repacking and unpacking again. The accessible room is what I booked and the expectation of having what I paid for did not seem too much, although evidently it is. We did receive a bottle of wine, as some compensation...
The windows on the whole ship including our cabin have been filthy. On day 30 a halfhearted attempt at window cleaning occurred, with water sprayed onto the window. It helped marginally.
Every other longer cruise I’ve ever been on, I have noted windows have sporadically been cleaned. Often there is a notice to close draperies etc. The hall on our floor flooded at least 4 times, adding to the general moldy smell.
The public rooms are for the most part, equally tired, dingy, often smelling of mold and crammed with too much furniture. The dining room is ok and the Yacht club ok, except for dirty windows.
The staff overall is beyond wonderful and the food has been excellent, probably the best of any cruise line we have been on. That pulled the bar from the pits to adequate. there are only two dining venues; the buffet and the main dining room. The “alternate”dining Candles, is just in the same buffet, but served with a slightly different menu. Near the end of the long cruise, the Candles was moved to the Compass Rose area, which was nicer, but seemed a huge amount of work for the staff, bringing food down an outside stairway. Evidently, Windstar used to have special events. That doesn’t seem to be the case any more. There have been Barbecue nights, which basically mean instead of getting served in the dining room, you get to stand in a long line snaking through the kitchen, fill you plates and try to find a free seat to eat. A confusing and not very fun event. Meanwhile,the singer blares Frank Sinatra songs. Most cruisers seem to be in the 50-75 age group and Frank would be appropriate for their parents. This should seriously be rethought. On our 4 b2b they did manage to get the barbecue on deck once, which was pleasant in the beautiful Norwegian fjords.
Be advised the ship is quite small, which in most of our past cruises has been a plus, in this long one, there is nothing to do on sea days. Resting and reading are about it. Which is fine and what I anticipated. There are about 4 tv channels, repeating endlessly and some very outdated dvds available in the library. They do a wine tasting ($20) and a few other tiny events. There is one mediocre singer and a pretty good duo. They don’t add much. The crew talent show is cute and they give it their best.
The worst thing overall, considering the cold and rough weather has been the many tender ports and the dismal, if not downright extremely dangerous condition of the tenders themselves. One has broken down twice. The front overhead hatch does not seal on either of them, and if a wave washes over, water pours into the tender. Getting on and off has been so hazardous in a few instances, I can only say thanks to the excellent tender crew, no one has been injured. One crossing was so bad I was fearful for my life. Not the most wonderful cruise experience.
The few ships excursions we have taken have ranged from good to really awful. They are extremely overpriced, but that is usual with cruise tours.
Many of the ports have been in industrial areas and many miles away from the main cruise port. This seems odd and involves taking a shuttle or public transportation to what you want to see. We have been at anchor and tendered many times a docking experience seems available for other ships. I’m not sure if this is a money saving issue.... In 36 days we only missed one port because of weather. So a positive on that.
Our previous cruise with Windstar, on the Windsurf was a much better experience, but the ship had recently been refurbished and it was a much shorter cruise.
I would not in any way recommend sailing on the Star Pride, in fact I would run the opposite direction as quickly as possible. We have heard there will be a complete dry dock refurbishment in Aug 2020 and perhaps they may add a section onto the ship. It may be a better experience at that time, but extremely doubtful I would give it a second chance. I know there are many cruisers that swear by the casual, small ship Windstar experience that will disagree. In my opinion there are much better options available for the price point ,general style and ambience As for the corporate office, I should not have had to hassle for a cruise credit I was promised and to top it of not receive the promised amount. If you are looking for a casual experience, other lines ,such as Oceania, give a much better value for cost.