3 Windstar Star Breeze Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled on several cruise lines ranging from the large Royal Caribbean boats to the river cruises such as AMA Waterways and in between on Oceania. We were looking forward to this Windstar cruise to see what they provided on their newer style of motorized cruising. They purchased ships from the Seabourne line. The ship we were on is the Star Breeze. It is about 30 years old and it shows. Embarkation went very smoothly and our luggage appeared in our room in a timely fashion. Our room was quite comfortable and large with a walk in closet, full tub with shower and large sitting area. Very comfortable indeed. The service in the cabin was just what we needed with our cabin staff being very responsive to our needs. The food in the main dining room is average. There is nothing overtly wrong with it but it is not exciting, interesting or especially tasty. The one exception being the 'indoor BBQ' night necessitated by bad weather. On this night the ships galley was our BBQ area and it was fund to walk through the galley and the food was excellent. The service in the main dining room was weak regardless of where we sat and who attended to us. At times it would be difficult to get wait staff to come to the table. Water was poured before we could get the word sparkling out of our mouth and then a look of annoyance appeared when we asked to switch. The food and service in the private dining room was a different story. Both were excellent. Entertainment was practically non-existent. In comparison to river boats where local talent is featured many evenings and lectures on others there was pretty much nothing offered after dinner except a duo then ended early. Shore excursions were good and interesting. Unfortunately we were battling bad weather throughout the journey. In fact, our day in Portrush had to be cancelled as the tenders were not able to run. This was very unfortunate as the cruise had no back up plan for onboard activity this day. We had nothing to do all day. Yes, we did get to the next port that night and were allowed off the boat but the city was shut down by the time we arrived. This seemed to be poor planning. The ship itself clearly shows its age especially in the dining room and stage lounge and is in serious need of a facelift. We will likely not travel this line again as there are too many better options. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was to be my dream vacation. My last vacation was 5 years ago. I work incredibly hard and when I finally chose to take the time I sought out Windstar.  I explained my needs and my concerns. I was a solo traveler and wanted a luxury experience. I explained that bedding and the sleeping arrangements were very important to me. I sleep with a CPAP and require a minimum of a double size bed as I sleep in the center. With proper electrical hookup bedside. I needed a fully equipped gym with cardio equipment so I can run the morning otherwise I get anxious. A well appointed spa.  I was assured that the motor boat class of Windstar had all of this and more. A luxury cruise in every sense of the word filled with pampering amenities. The Windstar Star Breeze boasted of beautifully appointed accommodations, exceptional public areas, 2 luxury dining rooms, full spa and gym facilities.  Upon boarding I quickly surveyed the situation and my heart sank.  My stateroom 226  The bedside plug was damaged. I was unable to get power to the CPAP machine. The adapters would not work it took 3 trips by maintenance until they found a workable solution.  The bed is 2 singles pressed against each other. Something I was specifically was assured was not the case!  The bathroom mirror vanity was cracked and held together with silver tape.  The white Marble was stained completely yellow around the toilet from years of urine on porous stone.  The DVD player did not work. I went to the spa to book services. I was delighted to see acupuncture. Was told that was not a service provided on this ship. Why was it on the menu of services then? I booked 3 massage sessions regardless.  I took a tour of the spa. I recoiled upon opening the steam room door due to the smell of mold that was overwhelming, it was small and musty.  I went to the gym and was shocked to discover outdated equipment. An old rower, a basic exercise bike and 2 treadmills. The ceiling is maybe 6’5 the treadmill is a step up making it impossible to be used without hitting my head. I am 6’.  I went to the buffet. Again dismayed, the food was basic and below anything I was accustomed to. I inquired about the buffet because that was another issue I had and was assured by the booking agent that there were full service restaurants available all day. I assumed that the cafeteria buffet was only because we had not set sail yet.  We left the port and set sail. I asked about internet and that it was imperative that I was able to get basic work done with my home office and was assured that it would work throughout he ship. Upon signing up the reception informed me that it was unlikely to work in my stateroom. That was what came to pass not only did it not work in my stateroom it never worked at all as well as the computers in the library! One computer was out of service. Every passenger I spoke with complained about it.  The library filled with books left behind by other passengers. A selection of DVD’s from the 90’s  There was no real bon voyage celebration - some flag thing with no fanfare or pomp. No champagne toast, no little waving flags nothing.  The lounge singers provided bad renditions of popular songs.  If it weren’t all so sad it would have been funny. It was all like a late night basic cable skit.  I went to dinner in the below deck restaurant. It was all mediocre. The ambiance, the service and food.  I went to bed distraught. The seam in the middle of the bed, the hard pillows, the scratchy sheets. I tried to hold back tears. I was a grown man. Day 1 at sea. More bad lounge singing, a lecture about a detox treatment for sale. I went for my massage in an intensely claustrophobic treatment room. I asked about the overhead florescent tube lights. He informed me that there is no way to shut them off. Florescent lighting trigger my migraines he explained that he puts this eye mask on. I don’t want anything on my face especially something like a beanbag that isnt clean and used by others. The massage was amateur at best.  I went to dinner at Candella - the converted buffet. That stayed exactly the same other then then it being night. Not a candle electric or otherwise, not a flower, not twinkling light. A blank room. The steel buffet set up remained. A night cafeteria with a new name. A lipstick on a pig. This was supposed to be the special steak house?  I went to sleep with stomach pain, sad and frustrated. I prayed that in the morning the excursion would be a bright spot.  I woke up early with mild pain and cramping, nauseous and a little weak. I went to the ships doctor seeking pepto bismol. I wanted to make sure that i wouldn’t be queasy on the off board excursion. He immediately started to question my systems, I explained to the best of my ability the situation. He said in order to continue I would need to pay I think $150. He chose to ignore my request for Pepto and let me know if he were to examine me and he suspected that I might have a bacterial or viral digestive illness that he would immediately quarantine me. Not upon clinical diagnosis but suspicion. That lab results would be sent out and until their return minimum 3 days and an all clear I could be locked in my room. This was a perceived threat. His insistence that I undergo an invasive examination and that results would need to be sent to the CDC for confirmation and clearance a 4 day minimum.  At one point as I attempted to leave his office he stepped in front of me blocking my exit. I told him to move or call security. He moved out of my way. The threat of possibly being locked in the cabin with no open window induced such a state of panic that went into a state of fight or flight. I left the ship immediately. I took a 4 hour taxi from the port of call back to Edinburgh. Any one of the above reason have justifiable cause to leave. I am utterly and totally disgusted. I had to reroute my flights and incur an enormous amount of financial loss. My dream trip ruined.  That aspect of the ships protocol is highly disturbing. After sharing all of this the President of Windstar - John Delaney refused any kind of refund, credit or apology. Nothing. What a disgusting lack of customer service. If considering a cruise look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've ... Read More
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've seen them on cruises and there is no pleasing them. My wife and I and another couple, all in our early 50's, recently completed the cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon. It was superb! We had a basic cabin on a lower level and it was very spacious, clean and well appointed. Our cabin steward was great and friendly. The air conditioning was cold and easy to control. The bed/mattress was very comfortable. Pillows were soft foam and perfect! I heard someone on our cruise literally complain that they had to pick up their own glass of champaign upon boarding the boat, that it wasn't "handed" to them. If that's your biggest issue, you have a great life! We were extremely pleased to find out that the main dinner restaurant was a la carte, and wow, was it ever awesome! The chef visited every table, every day to discuss how their meal was (awesome!). The food progressively got better and better! The oso bucco was stellar as was the prime rib! Each day their were new special salads and soups to start the meal, as well as different entrees and deserts. Was it perfect? No. One day I ordered medium rare beef Wellington and it came out medium well. When the waitress noticed she asked if I'd like something different and I said yes. She brought me another meal within three minutes. Seriously, it was AMAZING service! I don't know what the other people were complaining about regarding excessive vibration and the smell of oil, there was absolutely none of that. It was clean, fancy and delicious. We did dinner one night at the reservations required steak place, Candles. Filet minion, New York strip, Mahi Mahi, all amazing! But I have to say, the main dining room was equally good, but it just didn't serve the same amount of steak. Dinner was from 7-9. With only 200 passengers, and a la carte serving (vs a crappy carnival cruise line buffet) it made complete sense. We never had to wait to get our drinks refilled (with lots of ice) or wine poured for us. The service was truly exceptional, and we found the serving staff really tried to get to know us by name and remember our drink preferences. My wife would go to the Yacht Club in the late afternoon to read and the waitress would bring her a red wine and club soda without her having to ask. Needless to say, she got a great tip! The night of the BBQ was spectacular! The lobster, flank steak, suckling pig, fish, paella and all the amazing accompaniments were outstanding! The biggest issue was finding a shady place to sit. When a server saw us sitting in the sun, she offered us an alternative in the shade just around the corner that we hadn't seen. Breakfast was great too! They had a buffet set up if you wanted to grab something quickly and get on your way, as well as an omelet bar and a la carte menu. It was a great assortment of always great food. We only ate lunch on the boat twice, once on sea day and once when we stopped in Gibraltar for the morning. It was awesome both times as well. You're not going to go hungry on this boat. If you wanted a meal outside of the normal seating times, the boat has 24 hour room service (which includes popcorn if you want to stay in your room one evening and watch a movie) as well as light meals in the Yacht Club until 5:00pm. At 6:00pm they started serving awesome appetizers in the Star Bar. Speaking of the Star Bar, it became our favourite evening hangout. Jesus and Haleigh played great music that was a combo of easy listening during the early hours, to dance music later on in the evening. We closed it down a few time! That's not to take away from the Compass Rose bar. The band there was great as well, but it's inside and we only went there on one particularly cool breezy evening. My wife and I are retired and consider ourselves rather adventurous. Our friends who were with us were equally adventurous. We saw many many couples who were much older than us on the cruise having a great time! It's clearly that this is the cruise line for cool adventurous people! We want to be like them when we get older. We also saw some people who my wife described as "cranky pants". People who needed to be treated like kings and queens or their noses would get out of joint. Fortunately these people were few and far between and we did a good job of avoiding them. I suspect the writers of the negative reviews fell into the category. I'm not going to comment in detail about each port that we stopped at. They were all awesome and unique and we had a great time at each one. If you're interested in reviews on the ports, go to tripadvisor. I will say that we did two tours arranged by Windstar, one that we organized on our own, and the rest we just walked and wondered around (which was awesome). All of them were great, but the nice thing about doing you own thing is that there are fewer people and you get a more personal experience. We will definitely be back on a Windstar boat, and hopefully on Star Breeze! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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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