5 Windstar Star Breeze Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally ... Read More
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally lax. Everyone from the Captain, yes the Captain, on down seemed unhappy with the ship and the itinerary. Rumors circulated that the Captain had complained about being saddled with this route at the Captain's dinner--"what did I do to deserve this...." My sense was that Windstar was just trying to get through a few more cruises on this ship before it enters drydock for a major overhaul in October. The ship's team talked constantly about the need to move on--every complaint was met with a sigh and a promise that the overhaul will fix all bad things. Don't like the broken shower faucets? We're fixing it. Don't like the drink stains on the table? We're replace them all. Wonder about all the repair work? Give us some duct tape and come back a year from now. Windstar did this to itself in many ways. Part of selling future cruises on this Iceland trip was to explain the company's desire to add cabins to every ship--the plans were widely advertised to passengers as a way to keep Windstar in the small-ship category by getting as close to 350 cabins without crossing over. Hence, the conversation was almost always about how tired the ships all are--"we'll be converting staterooms on the Wind Star here and on Star Pride there, etc., but will never go over. The whole dialogue was a distraction and left me wondering why we weren't told that this was a bucket of bolts before booking. And it definitely was a bucket of bolts. It was a great ship ten years ago after it was updated before joining the Windstar fleet, but it has suffered at every turn and the company has spackled its way to the drydock. Food was good, but this ship is not designed for an Iceland itinerary--not easy to eat outside when it is near freezing outside. And the inside amenities were, as noted, aging. Three ancient treadmills and two stationary bikes is not a fitness room and looping the same movies over and over day by day is not an entertainment program. As for ongoing service, reception desk was great but couldn't solve most problems--took us too long to get small things fixed and the ship was confused from time to time with scheduling, in part because Captain Surly was anti-social. The frontline staff was terrific as usual--highly motivated, but worn out by a brutal schedule. Lovely folks out of SE Asia for the most part on short-term contracts and 7-day schedules. Got to love them for their enormous effort. Nothing they could do about the ship's condition so far from the penny-pinchers in Seattle. Would I go on another cruise with the Windstar fleet after this? Absolutely. It's a fine company that cares about quality. I just wouldn't sail with them again this year or next. Give Windstar time to work through the kinks as its fleet goes into the renovations--these are major, major changes that involve cutting ships in half and adding new sections of cabins (see the promotional material at https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/). This is not just a little paint and new beds. I'm of the opinion that how a ship goes out is just as important as how it comes in. This cruise was a joy on many levels, but our satisfaction was IN SPITE of the company, not because of it. They have let this ship decline ever since they decided on the upgrades and it shows. Be careful about this, Windstar. Your own advertising about the upgrades contains the shadow of the neglect you've tolerated as everyone waits for the teardown. It showed on this voyage. If we had known more about it before booking, we would have taken another ship. Once burned, forever shy? (Oh, why does embarkation have to be such a crowded mess on Windstar? Not enough people and too little space to do this right on this ship. A mess and uncomfortable. Is that because the all-you-can-drink package sales-team is trying to make a sale? It's the last stop on this brutal, unhappy welcoming.) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary around Iceland. The scenery is as we have hoped. We were on Star Legend previously and loved the food and lack of lines. Star Breeze delivered on the same strengths. We spent a lot of time on deck ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary around Iceland. The scenery is as we have hoped. We were on Star Legend previously and loved the food and lack of lines. Star Breeze delivered on the same strengths. We spent a lot of time on deck 8 in the Yacht club because of the cold and windy weather, and limited activities. The officers did provide interesting information during our visit to the bridge. We made our own plans for our onshore activities. The local tour guides we found ahead of time were wonderful. The local TI staff are also helpful in directing us to walk paths and hiking trails. In traveling counterclockwise, cabins with even numbers will have the better shore views. We were disappointed in not seeing any puffins. Apparently there has been drastic decline in puffin population. The sea was a little rough the first night but ok after that. Cabin service was outstanding. I wished there is at least one stationary bike with back support in tge Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
it was recommended as an exclusive luxury style yacht cruise which would provide more time in ports and access to ports other ships could not get to. In fact, we were at ports after all other big ships arrived and disembarked and had to ... Read More
it was recommended as an exclusive luxury style yacht cruise which would provide more time in ports and access to ports other ships could not get to. In fact, we were at ports after all other big ships arrived and disembarked and had to leave prior to the other ships embarked. The upkeep of this ship is extremely disappointing as the upholstery is torn and frayed, some furniture have broken legs and badly stained. the furniture is from the 80's and it has not been refurbished in some time. it is scheduled to go in for a total retrofit. The menu on all 3 restaurants is very limited and mediocre. There is limited entertainment (one duo playing music), no cruise director to create any kind of activity. it is very boring and lacklustre in every way imaginable. This ship is in worst condition than most ferries that transport cars and people. They do not honour the description of their excursions either. Last excursion said that the bus would drop you off at your hotel with your luggage. That never happened and you were left to fend for yourself trying to get a taxi along with all the other passengers that were stranded. All in all, this is the worst experience I have through all my cruise lines and I have cruised all over the world. I would not recommend this ship for any reason. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We were a group of 18, parents in their 50's, with "children" from teens to twenty-somethings. How disappointing. First off, Windstar policies were over the top. We sailed from Amsterdam and first off, the 18-20 year olds were not allowed to drink. Now, this isn't a deal killer, but let's be clear, when you are a 19/20 year old college student and you can drink "legally" it's fun. We were finally told we could sign a waiver to allow them to drink, well....OK, I guess. Then, it got worse - they wouldn't allow anyone under 21 to GAMBLE! Now where is this coming from? This is actually the one thing my son did on his 18th birthday just because he COULD! The dealers were rude and obnoxious. One of the stops on our trip was St. Petersburg, Russia (one of the BIG reasons we chose this cruise) and we were going to the ballet as an excursion through Windstar in the evening (we spent the night in SP) and the departure time for the excursion was prior to dinner being served; when we inquired what would be done about it, no one seemed aware that this was even happening. They did make an accommodation for those going on the excursion, but that should have been something they thought about in advance. Now for the worst part, the OTHER CRUISERS. What a bunch of snobs! A bunch of old snobby people who snubbed their noses at us.Nasty! Never again - back to Star Clippers we shall go. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His ... Read More
Overall, a very pleasant cruise. Exceptional ports to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. The Hermitage, Peterhof and Peter and Paul fortress were superb. Our guide, Alex was great and we were able to avoid all the queues, His knowledge was outstanding and his delivery humorous. A visit to the Vasa museum in Stockholm is a must. The cruise through the Kiel canal was extraordinarily. The staff were friendly, and efficient. The food was excellent and the bar service outstanding. The cabin was spacious, clean and well maintained. The only downside were the reception and tour staff who had little local knowledge but tried. The company should go for “all inclusive” as the billing process was a pain, bits of paper everywhere. The hidden costs added to the bill at the end were annoying. Lack of taxis at disembarkation was annoying but this was a local issue beyond the control of the company. Beware of the local taxi drivers who will try and rip you off with a flat fee, use the meter. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Star Breeze Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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