Just as a bit of background, we are a Canadian couple in our mid 50’s from Montreal. This was our 13th cruise having sailed 5 times with Celebrity and now 8 times with Windstar on both the Sailing Ships and Motor Yachts, all in the Caribbean. What keeps us coming back to Windstar is the small size of the ships (and contrary to what some people may say, they will still be small by all standards even after the extensions), the great and friendly service, the amazing food, the camaraderie between the guests and staff, the relaxed dress code, the small & interesting ports, the minimal entertainment and a general feeling of freedom aboard these ships as they are geared to both independent (which we are) as well as less independent travelers who can book (expensive) tours through ship. Another notable advantage of visiting the Caribbean by way of a cruise vs a land-based vacation is there are no mosquitoes on deck at night and no need for repellent (we had brought some but never used it).
On this cruise, we travelled with 2 other couples, one of whom was new to Windstar (both got $200 referral OBC) and had never cruised while the other couple had sailed once with us on Star Pride in 2016. We did BTB 14 day Lovely Leeward Cruise out of San Juan on Star Legend Nov 2-16, the first time we had taken a cruise of more than 7 days. The overall feeling from all in our group was this was the perfect vacation we needed and that 2 weeks was definitely not too long and we would have stayed a 3rd week if we’d could. Yes the ship is older (vintage as our Italian friends like to call it), and aside from a few more obvious areas (such as near the Star Bar bathrooms on Deck 8), it is well maintained and certainly a pleasant ship to cruise on (the drydock will certainly help on that front). The food onboard was excellent and just keeps getting better. The company’s partnership with the James Beard Foundation is showing with creative plate presentations, improved seafood offering with fish now sourced locally almost every day and meats that were always cooked perfectly to order (from rare to medium well). Our Italian friends, who are fish aficionados, were very impressed by the quality and cooking of the fish dishes and not one person complained about any plate for the whole 2 weeks. We took the interesting Galley Tour with chef Nilesh and now understand how they can be so consistent in their cooking (everything is done from scratch à la minute) and also accommodate almost any kind of request (there is a list of 10-12 special requests at every meal based on a list I saw). So if you are a picky eater, they should be able to accommodate.
We did not notice any slip in service or food compared to our Feb 2019 cruise and if there is one thing food has improved at all venues. The weather was just about perfect (very little rain which is unusual at this time of year) and seas were fairly calm. We were able to get off at all the stops save for Vieques for obvious reasons (see below for details). Demographics of this cruise were typical of Windstar with most passengers in the 50 to 80 range. They say Windstar is not for kids but during the first week of the cruise, there were 5 young well behaved kids (6-10) onboard (incl. the Captain’s daughter) and judging by their smiling faces, they had a blast onboard and were treated like royalty by the crew…and this did not bother the remaining guests onboard.
Great cabin. No noise. Walk in shower. Bed does not split to make 2 singles. As a result, empty suitcases have to be stored in walk in closet or behind the 2 armchairs in living room
Walked in the old town and did a bit of shopping
White Bay is great. Went to quieter far side of beach
Karakter Beach club for the day. Nice food and quiet location difficult to find
Rented electric cart and roamed around Island. Great stop. Beaches and some fun shopping. Very scenic
We love this port and always look forward to it. Went Pearl Beach hotel for the day
Quiet afternoon at Princess Margaret Beach
Magazine Beach and Aquarium Restaurant. Food good , service slow
Beach BBQ. Beach not greatest, too small and water quality deteriorates quickly. BBQ area in the back is great