Star Breeze - Ex Rome to Barcelona - we picked the itinerary based on the ports and departure date plus the very special fare our agent could secure, & we wanted to try the small ship experience.
Let me be frank I would NOT pay full price for these cruises. when you compare full price against other lines the quality , age & upkeep of the ship, average food etc just doesnt add up. I'm not loyal to on company having cruises on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Oceania & Viking - so have a broad appreciate of what lines can offer.
However for the price we paid for our 7 day cruise - 50% off - I felt this was better value cruising at this price. If you find a crusie at $230pp/night - thats good value.
One point to note MANY loyal Windstar guests on-board - Windstar has a fan club who keep coming back - again i feel they look for better value than the advertised price & enjoy their time on the ships at a certain price point.
For a 30 year old ship it shows and its time either to replace these ships of run them through a tip to tail refurbishment - no expense spared.
Ports were fantastic - expect Palamos - not well chosen - town was post its season peak and allot of shops closed and nothing much else to see unless you did an excursion.
Highlight was Sannary Sur Mer - beautiful, laid back, great food and friendly locals.....Genoa a surprise visit due to weather - the old town was charming - but all museums closed on a Monday - again not well planned.
Food is average at best - despite the partnership the line has with James Beard nothing really stood out. Candles is just a re-purposed morning buffet area with Candles on the table. We had a beverage package that is very good value for money if you have more than 2 glasses of wine per meal - selection of wines was fairly good. Best Meal was the dine around buffett where they set up a great BBQ in the kitchen & you got to meet the kitchen team & have excellent food choices.
Public Areas - are in dire need of updating.....30 years young.....plus the attention to detail you see on other lines just isnt there in execution.
Staff - all seemed reasonably happy - with a full ship maybe another 5 or 10 staff would lift the service elements a little - best service was in Compass Rose & select staff in Amphore A.
Shore excursions - we organised our own as dont like being part of the larger groups.
Did see any of the entertainment.
Would I cruise with Windstar again - unless the port choices were amazing, price was truly a bargain and the ship had been refurbished I dont think so. I would try other small ships like Seabourn knowing that its a notch up and better value for the quality of the ship and inclusions.
Very Large Cabins - well above the average size of regular cruises lines
Cabin was clean but need some TLC as these ships are 30 years old & show their age.
A simple refurbishment update was undertaken several years back but this was more cosmetic. A serious overhaul is required before it costs too much to update rather than replace the ship.
Large walk in robe. Double sink in bathroom. Shower over bath, with a curtain.
Tons of storage - if you cant put everything away - you have packed too much.
Loved the huge window - one not great weather days nice to curl up on to read a book & watch the world go by
Wonderful Old town worth exploring - Meusuems close don Mondays
Small laid back town that had a lovely local buzz - amazing food at Brise Restaurant for lunch