2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We are frequent international travelers who grew tired of getting lost driving on trips . However we do like to take as much time as possible exploring sites on our own. The Windstar cruise ship Seabreeze turned out to be a great solution. ... Read More
We are frequent international travelers who grew tired of getting lost driving on trips . However we do like to take as much time as possible exploring sites on our own. The Windstar cruise ship Seabreeze turned out to be a great solution. We had plenty of time each day in port to explore and frequently were docked right at the town we were visiting. The small size of the ship ensured that we met almost all the guests and got well acquainted with the crew. We were also able to go thru the Corinth Canal which was amazing . Highlights of the cruise were: recent refurbishment of the ship (not perfect but really nice) : food that was prepared fresh each day from the local market where we were in port. Amazing staff that would anticipate your needs . Being prone to seasickness I signed us up for a middle- middle cabin (middle of the ship middle deck) which was great I never even put on the patch I brought. The cabin was spacious with a living room and queen size bedroom. We never signed up for the paid excursions which seemed pricey and had no trouble exploring on our own or enlisting a last minute local guide. My husband had taken a bad fall prior to the cruise and even the ships doctor was outstanding and thorough. Fellow passengers were friendly and most of us were in the 50-65 ish range. My favorite spot was the "yacht club" in the late afternoon where we could have a snack or ice tea. There was a small casino and some entertainment each night but we were too tired from our walks to participate. Will definitely do Windstar again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
There are really no words to describe the experience we had on Windstar's StarBreeze! From the moment we arrived at the Port and were greeted by staff welcoming us aboard- taking our luggage to our cabin and taking pictures as we ... Read More
There are really no words to describe the experience we had on Windstar's StarBreeze! From the moment we arrived at the Port and were greeted by staff welcoming us aboard- taking our luggage to our cabin and taking pictures as we arrived....the experience was beyond our wildest dreams. Luxurious, nurturing, welcoming, accommodating, impeccably clean, amazing food, amazing options, amazing staff, crew, chef, tours, fitness center, spa, etc etc. I have never cruised before and so was a little nervous about such a small ship but the ship itself is awesome and big enough and there is always enough space to either be alone if you want or mingle and socialize if that is what you are interested in at any given time. The room (cabin) is large enough with a separate area for the couch/balcony. Our room/cabin was the perfect place to hang out in after spending time on the decks when we were at sea for the day. I can't say enough about the tours (amazing- magical-worth every penny) and the crew!!! I LOVE Windstar and will definitely be booking another. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This was a first cruise for my friend and I and I was surprised I enjoyed it so much. The itinerary was excellent and length of the cruise was perfect. The service was impeccable. I couldn't fault it. All the crew members that ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my friend and I and I was surprised I enjoyed it so much. The itinerary was excellent and length of the cruise was perfect. The service was impeccable. I couldn't fault it. All the crew members that learned my name, greeted me morning noon and night by name. I even had a special dessert made by the executive chef, Eddy. It made me feel so special. The dining room staff were excellent and catered to our every request. Karnik welcomed us to each venue and Larry kept the laughter going with his quick wit and jokes. On our last day, Miko even told us to take care be extra careful of pick pockets in Rome. The staff just treated us like were we close friends. At Amphora, Kyle provided lively conversation whenever he had the chance. And our room attendant Cecep made a towel animal every night at turn down service for my friend. We were well entertained on our second last night of the cruise with a deck BBQ and dancing by the crew. The only critique I have is that our room required a bit more maintanance despite Windstar had spent so much money refurbishing the ship. Our bathroom door almost fell apart and the drapes to separate the room required extra cleaning. All in all, we had a great time. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Confessions of a cruise skeptic DAY 1, Civitavecchia, Italy I’m trying to put my finger on when I last had the feeling I have barely ten minutes into my first cruise, then I remember...it’s when a comedian announces there'll ... Read More
Confessions of a cruise skeptic DAY 1, Civitavecchia, Italy I’m trying to put my finger on when I last had the feeling I have barely ten minutes into my first cruise, then I remember...it’s when a comedian announces there'll be audience participation and I’m in the front row. I’m not exactly sure what’s causing my rising anxiety. Perhaps it’s the low ceilings of the ship I’ve just boarded, or the cacophonous soundtrack vibrating the speakers on the deck as we push away from the dock, or the check-in that’s less five star hotel and more reminiscent of registering for a convention. A fellow traveller grimaces as the music gets louder. "Is that karaoke, or is that actually a band?" he asks. This could be a very long eight days. I've chosen my first cruise carefully: small ship, docking somewhere new every day, reasonable-sized rooms, a reputation for good food, and ports where you can easily do your own thing. I've always had a motto in travel: never get on anything you can't get off. I’ve scorned bus tours and sneered at anyone who sees a place from behind a tour guide holding up an umbrella. But for the next eight days I’m sharing my travel experience with around 200 strangers. I’ve broken my own rules for the convenience of seeing a lot of places in a short time without having to pack, unpack or visit an airport or station. Slowly, things start to look up. First, the room, er cabin, is great. It has a picture window, marble bathroom (with bathtub) stocked with fancy toiletries, walk-in robe, living area with a sofa and armchairs and a queen bed with Egyptian cotton sheets. Secondly, I find an idyllic spot up the pointy end of the boat (ok, the bow)--a timber-decked triangle with banana lounges and bubbling turquoise jacuzzi. And my fellow traveller and I have it to ourselves. By dinner, we are hooked. From our table at the open air restaurant at the back, er stern, of the boat, we watch the sun sink into the ocean past our vessel's fluttering flag. Dolphins cross the moonlit wake as waiters deliver lobster carpaccio, followed by good steak and a glass of montepulciano. The steward suggests we take our unfinished wine back to the cabin, or he’ll hold it for tomorrow’s dinner. That first night I’m lulled to sleep by the gentle seas and distant hum of the engines. DAY 2 Capri, Italy I wake with Capri shimmering and misty on the horizon. Dolphins playfully circle a fishing boat and elegant little tenders line up to take us ashore, 30 at a time. What's not to like? We break into groups for an island tour, skipping queues for the Blue Grotto, and the chairlift to Monte Solaro. As we slip through the tourism bureaucracy, another traveller shrugs and observes: “If you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em”. This is travel with all the kinks ironed out. That evening, watching Capri slip towards the horizon from our virtually private jacuzzi in the bow, I’m already planning the next voyage. DAY 3 Sicily, Italy Early irritations have disappeared. The low ceilings of the little 106-cabin Star Breeze are offset by elegant shared spaces, there are quiet places to get away from livelier bars and groups, the school camp-style processing diminishes once everyone's in the groove. And while the buffet can get buzzy at breakfast, there’s always a quiet table where you can order your eggs benedict a la carte. But by day three I feel we need to set out without a posse. Waiting for cabin 106 to turn up for the morning tour, again, as thirty other adults cool their heels for ten minutes thinking they could have had a second coffee, is wearing thin. A crew member happily delivers a briefing on what cabs should cost, where to eat, and what to see. While most go to the included tour and lunch at a winery on the slopes of Mt Etna, we wander the streets of Taormina, shopping for ceramics after lunch on a terrace high above the ocean. Back in the ship’s main restaurant, a ballroom-like space, the food is American, classic, with a few modern and ethnic flourishes, and sometimes sweetness, like salmon marinated with maple and topped with cranberry orange chutney. There are simple dishes like steak and grilled fish each night, and more elaborate ones like pork tenderloin with bourbon ancho sauce. You can dine when you like with whom you like (or alone). There are no formal nights, so I don't have to travel with clothing I will only wear on board. Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner and 24-hour room service) is included in the price. Drinks are reasonably priced, good wines $US 7-10 per glass. Cocktails are priced similarly, and 15 per cent service is added. I’d considered taking the ‘drinks package’ which gives you alcoholic beverages for $US134 per cabin per day but our actual expenditure is way below this. DAY 4 At sea A fellow Australian admits he woke in the night, and thought, "I didn’t think I'd had that much to drink" before realising the ship was rocking side to side. It's barely noticeable, but it's more movement than we've had so far on the glassy Mediterranean. Today is a full day at sea, from 5pm push off at Messina last night until arrival in Kotor, Montenegro, around 9am tomorrow. Some see this as a necessary evil, and chuckle about the inventions crew have created to pass the time (a demonstration of how to fold towels into little animals; a lecture on mastering digital cameras from the ship’s photographer). For others, a day at sea is bliss, permission to rack up spa treatments, loll on a banana lounge, drink cocktails, read. A few hit the gym, where several men discover they are too tall to use the treadmills without hitting the ceiling. Some opt for the exercise bikes, others slink away in apparent relief. On the open bridge, where the crew show chat with passengers. Somehow it's cocktail hour before I know it. DAY 5 Kotor, Montenegro The 'fjord' in which Kotor rests is known as one of the most beautiful ports to enter. Sadly lovely Kotor is choked by tourists, tacky souvenirs, and touting taxis squabbling over who's legal and who's not. Our hour-long Windstar walking tour traverses from tedious to torturous, so impulsively we rent a tiny Toyota and head to a beach where we hobble across grey pebbles into azure water. With a 10pm sailing, we dine onshore on local mussels, octopus and calamari paired with a dry Montenegran rose. Back on board the Star Breeze the signature Windstar deck barbecue is in full swing, tables laden with prawns and salads and a duo singing Volare. With wine bought on shore I slip quietly past to watch the lights come up just as the duo launch into Pharrell’s Happy, urging everyone to dance. DAY 6, Dubrovnik, Croatia, With five cruise ships in port, we’re advised to walk the walls early. It’s good advice, afterwards, a larger ship’s passengers are lined up for several hundred metres in the hot sun, while only six of us wait for our tender. It’s not the only difference I notice. I see other ships’ passengers wearing stickers to identify them. I never want to wear a sticker to identify me. Our cruise builds time for independent exploration into shore excursions, too. We choose to see what we want, lunch where we want, shop, swim at local beaches, hike and buy local wine to drink in our cabin (free) or with dinner (for a reasonable corkage charge). Day 7, Split, Croatia AFTER a cruise-organised tour an Istrian hill town, I bump into fellow voyagers who've taken the mountain bike tour. They’re red faced, dusty, sweaty. Two fit young Americans say it was “intense”. They'd preferred the previous day’s white-water rafting trip, and the sea kayaking in Dubrovnik. So much for cruising's walking-frame clientele reputation. DAY 8 Rovinj, Croatia After hiking above Rovinj on our own, stopping to swim at a small bay, I realise how much I’ve looked forward to returning to the comforts of our elegant little ship each day. I’ve even started to enjoy the thundering rendition of Vangelis’s 1492 as the Star Breeze sails nightly. DAY 9, Venice, Italy As the ship sails into Venice at sunrise, I remember the words of a stylish acquaintance who surprised me by admitting an addiction to cruising, so much so that “You can see my fingernail marks down the gangplank where they’ve had to drag me off at the end.” I’ve got to admit, I’m starting ro relate...and already wondering how soon I can do this again. A skeptic’s tips for cruising .Use the boat as a floating hotel and explore at least some ports independently. .Choose a ship that appeals to your personality, sensitivity and interests. Formal nights, smoking policy, group activities can be deal breakers or makers. .TheTripAdvisor of cruising, www.cruisecritic.com, is useful for getting inside information from seasoned voyagers. .Register your email address with any cruise lines you’re interested in. You’ll be bombarded by money-saving deals. Between booking and payment our cruise dropped in price. The cruise Windstar Classic Italy and the Dalmatian Coast, The Star Breeze, June 2015. We paid Aus$2667 per person and spent a further $800 per head on drinks, spa treatments and shore excursions. www.windstarcruises.com Read Less
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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