16 Windstar Star Breeze Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Mediterranean

We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin ... Read More
We were part of a Tauck group that began with a 2 night stay in Lisbon and ended with a 2 night stay in Barcelona. This was our first Windstar cruise, but we've been on quite a few other cruises. Our cabin was the largest cabin we've ever stayed in! It's was great: had a doorbell, a walk-in closet, a full bathtub, and double sinks in the bathroom! Yes, it was older, but it was very comfortable. We had ample storage space! The ship is a little "dated," but otherwise very nice. The food was outstanding! This was the best cruise line food we've ever had. Service from the crew was friendly and many of them learned our names quickly. We really liked the itinerary. We were very anxious to see Gibraltar and it did not disappoint! We also really liked Seville, Malaga, and Mallorca. We would have liked an overnight in one of these cities, so we could explore more. We were blessed with beautiful weather and that enhanced our experience. Except for our two days in Barcelona, it was warm and sunny (with no humidity). Barcelona turned chilly and rainy and we hadn't packed appropriately for the sudden change in weather. Since we were with a Tauck group, all our excursions were separate from the ones offered by the ship (although very similar in most cases). Tauck kept us busy; we either had 2 excursions each day, or one very long one. Consequently, we were away from the ship most of the day and didn't get to do much on the ship. And, we were not encouraged by our Tauck Tour Director to participate in Windstar activities (or mingle with the non-Tauck guests). We had daily meetings in the Compass Rose lounge, and that was where we returned (on our own) at other times. To me, the Star Breeze is like a "shrunken down" cruise ship. It has some of the same amenities as a bigger ship, but on a much smaller scale. There is no specialty restaurant; at night, the breakfast/lunch buffet becomes "Candles" for a small number of passengers, and if the weather cooperates, passengers have the option of dining outside. There wasn't much entertainment offered (there was a good duo in the Compass Rose lounge). There was a very small "casino" but I didn't see anyone in it. We did not use the spa or the fitness room (we had only one sea day and the remaining days, we were on excursions). We discovered the lovely Yacht Club lounge late in the cruise. We probably should have done some exploring on our own early in the cruise! In summary, this was a very nice cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for our 30 th anniversary thinking it was going to be about luxury. The cabins were spacious but outdated. Our cabin steward was great and Maria ( ship consultant) tried to keep customers upbeat with her great ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 30 th anniversary thinking it was going to be about luxury. The cabins were spacious but outdated. Our cabin steward was great and Maria ( ship consultant) tried to keep customers upbeat with her great attitude. At dinner, the food was good and the dining room was nice. The service was usually mediocre. Breakfast and lunch was served at an indoor/outdoor area. The inside could accommodate 30 people and our cruise had 200 passengers. What that meant was that when everyone got off their excursion at the same time, all of us were at the same time. Several meals were spent outside (covered) but sometimes cold and rainy. Oh, they would give you blankets...who wants to wear a blanket or shiver eating a meal ? Not me. We rushed several meals just to get back inside. We did room service a few times so we wouldn’t have to sit in the cold. Most of the excursions were nice but a little pricey. Entertainment was 2 sets of duos, elevator music but they could sing well...just not very upbeat. This was my first Windstar cruise-just average , nothing extravagant. The ship rocked and rolled our last night which gave a lot of passengers motion sickness. I will not be a return customer on Windstar. Many repeat customers said this cruise did not measure up. I was a little disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We choose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary. Very familiar with Windstar but 1st time on one of their power yachts. Service and food was excellent! Every service personnel was pleasant, eager to help, and just as friendly as can ... Read More
We choose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary. Very familiar with Windstar but 1st time on one of their power yachts. Service and food was excellent! Every service personnel was pleasant, eager to help, and just as friendly as can be. Our cabin was to die for as we upgraded to an owner suite. Lots of space! It does need some refurbishment however. The ports were lovely and most were very easy to walk around. Excursions were disappointing. We booked a wine tour and Jeep tour in advance and when on board found out the wine tour started at 8:15a, a little early for us to start wine tasting so canceled. Then found out that the Jeep tour which read like it was a two or four seater jeep turned out to be a Land Rover with bench seats in the back for 10 ppl. Ugh! Not our way to spend 3+ Hours. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We did check out more cities in Spain before the cruise. Arriving into Madrid for. Several nights, day trip to Toledo and a couple nights in Valencia before making our way to Barcelona. Great trip all in all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I took this ship as part of a Tauck-sponsored tour. I was sorely disappointed. In my opinion, this ship is not up to Tauck standards and certainly not up to mine. The Cabin and the Leak. We (like our previous cruises) booked a cabin ... Read More
I took this ship as part of a Tauck-sponsored tour. I was sorely disappointed. In my opinion, this ship is not up to Tauck standards and certainly not up to mine. The Cabin and the Leak. We (like our previous cruises) booked a cabin at the top end of the price range for this cruise (exclusive of the “Owner’s Suites). But, unlike our previous cruises, our cabin (Cabin 319) really wasn’t any different than most of the others, although we paid significantly more for it. True, it did have an outside door and a one foot “balcony”, if you could call it that. But so did a lot of “lesser” cabins, all of which were the same size as ours and significantly less expensive. We assumed that we were paying for something more. We weren’t, unless you consider the leak (more akin to a minor flood actually) that we, along with at least two other cabins that we are aware of, experienced the last night of the cruise. This wasn’t a “drip, drip” type leak but a very large and continuous stream of water that extended along about four feet in a seam of the ceiling. The water flowed within inches of our bed and actually got portions of the bed wet and drenched the carpeting. Since it was 3:30AM, we moved to one end of the bed and tried to sleep as best we could. We know of at least one other couple (room 314) who had to move out of their cabin in the middle of the night as the water fell directly on their bed. The cabin next to ours, 317 (we were in 319) also had severe leaks as well. I suspect other cabins on that deck had similar problems, but I do not know that for a fact. On an earlier day in the cruise, another passenger on deck 4, I believe, (we were deck 6) reported to me that sewage came out of their shower drain. The Ship. Tauck’s marketing materials describes our Windstar ship as follows: “Windstar Cruises’ slogan, “180° From Ordinary,” aptly describes the delights of a voyage aboard one of their new "Pride Class" sister ships, Star Breeze... one of Windstar's sleek, newly renovated, all-suite power yachts….” My view of this ship is very different, although I agree that having a major leak in my cabin is “180° From Ordinary,” but not in the way that Windstar intended that phrase. Also, to me, “newly renovated” implies something that is fresh, like new. Other passengers told me (and I agree) that the ship was “tired” and “dated.” Sewage coming out of a shower drain (see above), several cabins leaking, and the odors emanating from the ship “Library” (see below) would all indicate that “tired” and “dated” are better descriptions of this ship than “sleek, newly renovated”. Tauck’s marketing materials also says of this ship: “You’ll feel like you're aboard your own private yacht almost as soon as you step aboard.” This isn’t even close to being accurate. I felt like I was a part of a large, mid-grade cruise ship. One passenger told me is was more like a Carnival ship. Food and Wine on the Ship. Tauck’s brochure for the Star Breeze ship says: “Dining in The AmphorA Restaurant or in the more casual Candles or Veranda is an epicurean delight.” This statement is also very inaccurate. My opinion, and those of about a dozen passengers who I talked with, was that the food was “average.” I even asked about 10 to 12 passengers who had been on prior Tauck cruises to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, the food on the Star Breeze and the food onboard prior Tauck ship tours. The average rating for the food on prior Tauck ship tours was between 7 and 8. For this ship, the average rating was between 4 and 5. The food wasn’t bad, but it was nothing special and certainly not an “epicurean delight”. The wine was, frankly, far worse. I can describe the “standard” wine on this ship in one word: cheap. I haven’t drunk wine of this low quality since I was a young man. Occasionally on board the ship we upgraded to something more drinkable and were rewarded with a couple hundred dollars of extra charges by the end of the voyage (some we were told about in advance, others not). After paying close to $20,000 for this cruise, that was galling. It was also annoying to have to sign a check every time we ordered a drink, even if it wasn’t an “upgrade”. We were told this was for “inventory control purposes”. We had none of these problems on Tauck river cruises where the wine, food, and service were uniformly excellent. After drinking some of the wines on the Star Breeze I looked them up on the “Vivino” app in my iPhone. Most of the “standard” wines on the ship were between $11 and $13 dollars per bottle. It’s almost impossible to get a good red wine at this price point, in my opinion. As for service aboard ship, I think it was very friendly but not up to the same standards as on Tauck's river cruises. (I do, however, think the housekeeper for our cabin, Katarina, was excellent). I was told, when on the Tauck river cruises, that the staff on the river ships were Tauck-trained. I suspect this crew was Windstar-trained, not Tauck-trained. In any case, there was a big difference. The Ship “Library”. On the way to the Compass Rose, where we met the Tauck directors on a daily basis, there was, a few feet from the entrance to the Compass Rose and to the left, the entrance to the Library. From the first day of the cruise to the last, the Library had a very strong odor emanating from it. You couldn’t miss it and you couldn’t avoid it. Many passengers talked about it. Some thought it was a strong mold or mildew smell. Some thought it was sewer gas. In any case, the smell was there throughout the voyage. Needless to say, I never saw anyone go into the Library, but you couldn’t avoid the smell because the Library was on the way to the Compass Rose. The excursions we took from this ship were uniformly excellent, as they were sponsored by Tauck, not Windstar. Also, Tauck's directors for the cruise were excellent. The land portion of this cruise was excellent. The problem here is with the ship itself, the food, the wine, and in some cases, the staff. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We traveled from Venice to Croatia to Montenegro to Sicily to the Amalfi Coast to Rome. This was our second cruise with Windstar and we were aboard the Star Breeze. The weather was gorgeous. The ship is immaculate. You can see the ... Read More
We traveled from Venice to Croatia to Montenegro to Sicily to the Amalfi Coast to Rome. This was our second cruise with Windstar and we were aboard the Star Breeze. The weather was gorgeous. The ship is immaculate. You can see the staff cleaning and polishing each day. The staff was excellent. They provide a very personalized service. By the second day, they knew our names and the kind of coffee that we liked for breakfast. The cabins are suites and are roomy. There is a walk-in closet, a bathroom with a double vanity, a king size bed and a living area with a TV. The food was very good. From the buffets to the a la carte menu to the BBQ on deck to the Discovery Event, the food was very good. We took a shore excursion each day to learn about the cities and culture. It is an easy way to travel without having to do the planning. Let Windstar do it! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Used Windstar several times over 20 years ago. Recently tried Seabourn and Viking (river). Windstar charges for wine at dinner when others don't. Then they charge outlandish prices for wifi. Food great but also charged very high ... Read More
Used Windstar several times over 20 years ago. Recently tried Seabourn and Viking (river). Windstar charges for wine at dinner when others don't. Then they charge outlandish prices for wifi. Food great but also charged very high prices for shore excursions! The ship size of 100 to 200 cabins is what I am looking for. However, as an earlier respondent said, It was a very"Ala carte" cruise. Nothing included except good food and service. Reminds me of paying 250.00 for a room in a large city and then paying 1.00for phone calls....just leaves a bad taste in your mouth! The crew did a great job but the ship owners tried too hard to make as money as possible. As a last note, first ship I have been nowhere the Captain did not dine with some of the guests-ever. I won't be using them again. . Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our fourth Windstar cruise. This journey took us from Barcelona to Lisbon. Even the before and after cruise days at Windstar selected host hotels are great! Our previous three cruises have been on the Windstar ships with ... Read More
This was our fourth Windstar cruise. This journey took us from Barcelona to Lisbon. Even the before and after cruise days at Windstar selected host hotels are great! Our previous three cruises have been on the Windstar ships with sails. This cruise was on Star Breeze which is an all suite ship without the sails. We miss the sails but greatly enjoyed the extra space in our cabin suite with a balcony. The service, food, excursion experiences and the genuinely friendly support provided by all members of the officers, staff and crew of Windstar makes every cruise an exceptional vacation experience. The small size of the ships allows you to experience your own private sailing yacht at sea! The only trips we have made without Windstar have been due to scheduling or destination choices. If Windstar provided cruises to every place on our "bucket list" we would always choose to travel with Windstar! We are RAVING fans! Everyone knows you by name and quickly learns what you possess for goals and desires that will make your vacation experience an exceptional highlight of your life experiences. The Windstar staff seek to exceed your own expectations and continue to achieve that high level of performance. We continue to be amazed that they keep finding ways to dazzle, amaze, surprise and just treat us in an exceptionally positive manner. We have already booked our next Windstar cruise to Alaska. And we have at least three more cruises planned for 2018 and 2019 including a repositioning cruise that will be a trans-Atlantic crossing. Obviously we love the sea and we love the total Windstar experience! We know that some travelers prefer the additional amenities of very large cruise ships. For us we prefer the smaller sailing ships because of the intimate service and support. We also have experienced the great and special opportunities to visit unique ports, sights, people and cultures that are not available to large ships and their excursion groups. Windstar may not be for everyone but everyone should try the experience! I can't imagine anyone being disappointed in their choice. We live in an amazing time with wonderful opportunities to explore the land and sea of our world. We have unique opportunities to interact with a great variety of people and to learn about their history and their cultures and customs. By doing so in the form of a travel adventure we add value to our lives and the lives of the people who host our visits. Windstar helps us realize that it truly is a SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL! Finally, Windstar guests are generally well educated and well traveled. They have accomplished much in their lives but are mostly humble people. The informal and relaxed atmosphere and culture of a Windstar cruise proves that excellence in service and experiences and a more relaxed style of dress and routines can add up to an exceptional vacation experience that is very special to enjoy, experience and most of all to desire to repeat in the future! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Wonderfull! Al thé Time. The departure city was fantastic and we stained 2 days at a beatyfull hotel that was indicated by "windstar cruises". It was very easy to get on board.the ship was above all speciation! The cabin was ... Read More
Wonderfull! Al thé Time. The departure city was fantastic and we stained 2 days at a beatyfull hotel that was indicated by "windstar cruises". It was very easy to get on board.the ship was above all speciation! The cabin was excellent, The restaurants were perfect. The crew was absolutely friendly. There are some intertainments and activist on board but all the ports were so interesting that we stayed ashore the most part of the time. The travel's highlights were fantastic! Greece is marvelous! All the ports we stopped are one better than the others. The excursions were excellent.The passengers were all Americans, I and my niece were the only Brazilians passengers. If we had a wish, it would be real in one minute.Now my only dream is to do another cruise .I intend to go another time next year. I have already travel with my husband in many bigger boats but Star Breeze is the best one I have known. Sorry for the bad English, I speak Portuguese and French. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise because it was going to a part of the world (Sicily and the Amalfi Coast) we had not yet seen and we had enjoyed our last Windstar experience. This ship accommodates @200 people and that's the size cruise we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to a part of the world (Sicily and the Amalfi Coast) we had not yet seen and we had enjoyed our last Windstar experience. This ship accommodates @200 people and that's the size cruise we thought we would like. We had a wonderful time. Our cabin was very spacious although there were a couple of minor annoyances. The air conditioning controls did not work. The cabin was quite cold or too warm. This was corrected, but only after 4 requests. We lost running water on 2 occasions due to a broken pipe. The sailing was very smooth with the exception of one evening. The food was excellent in the dining room and outstanding in Candles (the specialty dining room) Candles specializes in grilled meats and fish … the veal chop is exceptional. For a small ship the recreation area is very nice. Plenty of lounge chars on 2 levels, a hot tub and a small resistance swimming pool. The ship is kept quite clean. The crew is very friendly and dedicated to making sure you have a good time. For us the cruise was enhanced because we met so many wonderful people. The first day of the cruise was at sea and by the end of that day we had met several couples who we continued to spend time throughout the cruise. I think a few of them, will remain friends for a long time to come. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Our family took Star Breeze (our fourth cruise with Windstar cruises) from Rome, to Capri (Italy), Sicily, Kotor (Montenegro), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Split (Croatia) to end in Venice. The Star Breeze is not one of the sail masted ships ... Read More
Our family took Star Breeze (our fourth cruise with Windstar cruises) from Rome, to Capri (Italy), Sicily, Kotor (Montenegro), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Split (Croatia) to end in Venice. The Star Breeze is not one of the sail masted ships (Windsurf and Wind spirit are), however, it has its own charms. Our captain was Roman (from Croatia) and he, along with his entire staff, were just wonderful and accommodating. One day we had a power outage while at sea and it only lasted about 20 minutes. They were able to manage the disruption efficiently right out at sea! The staff pride themselves on getting to know passengers (about 212 of us) on a first name basis. The staff is almost 1 to 1 with passengers. Our room was fabulous - actually, we had four rooms - we traveled with our five adult children ages 20 - 30. We were on deck 4 - rooms 131, 133, 135, 137 and each were equally wonderful. We had every need attended to and were treated with such class. The bathroom was spacious. With the small size of the ship my biggest disappointment was the pool. So so small. It is actually just an oversized whirlpool with a wave pool (jets). We were able to anchor three days and get the waterplatform out. That was fun. We paddle boarded, kayaked, snorkeled and used the trampoline. Absolutely a must. Biggest highlight was the on-deck BBQ which included lobster, crab claws, shrimp, and much much more. Food was amazing, not only at the BBQ, but throughout the cruise. Ports... loved Capri - we took a private boat around the island into all grotto's. Next, Sicily where the ship had a private event and we visited the Gambino vineyard (bought so much wine... can't tell you). It was a highlight. Then, Kotor. Loved the old town - best old town ever! DO the steps to the top - I personally counted 1982 steps up and the same back down (my son counted less, however, he is 6'2 while I am only 5'5). Worth every step. Dubrovnik was our least favorite of them all and then reignited in Split. Do the multi ticket of the Bell Tower, Baptistry, Palace and Crypt. Good shopping for coral bracelets, and leather. Our favorite Windstar trip was the French Riviera, then the Spain and Portugal one, followed by Italy and Greece and lastly, this one (Croatia and Montenegro), even though it was wonderful. We will still do another. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This ship is in need of some TLC particularly to the outside public space. The pool had such a dark brown ring around it it just looked uninviting, even during the hot weather. Management appeared disorganised, for example, when 1 of ... Read More
This ship is in need of some TLC particularly to the outside public space. The pool had such a dark brown ring around it it just looked uninviting, even during the hot weather. Management appeared disorganised, for example, when 1 of the 2 tenders went out of service, passengers had to wait for long periods to disembark, there was no contingency plan for such an occurance. Due to very bad weather on a sea day many passengers spent 36 hours in their cabins - only one public announcement was made. It would not have been too much effort on the part of management to make periodic announcements to reassure those passengers stuck in their cabins. On a positive note, the cabin and restaurant staff were great and the food was quite good and it was definitely a plus to be on a small vessel. Hope that Windstar can fix the issues because this, small ship concept is needed in the cruise industry. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We are well cruised, first and last time with Windstar. The slogan of this company is "180 degrees from ordinary" - believe me there was nothing ordinary at all about the Star Breeze or the crew. We boarded the Star Breeze ... Read More
We are well cruised, first and last time with Windstar. The slogan of this company is "180 degrees from ordinary" - believe me there was nothing ordinary at all about the Star Breeze or the crew. We boarded the Star Breeze in Barcelona, a ghost ship, walked into the theatre where passports were CONFISCATED for the ENTIRE DURATION of the cruise - the only way to get your passport back is curtailing the cruise. There are no border/ immigration/ customs between Spain, France and Italy, plus passports are scanned into Windstar’s system upon boarding, so why confiscate passports? This is only done to deprive people of their freedom. We have had new passports issued post cruise following Consular advice as we do not know what has been done in our name using our passports during the confiscation period (cruise) – possible identity theft – BE WARNED. Would you willingly surrender your passport to a stranger? This Star Breeze is VERY, VERY OLD. The cruise line boasts a mega refit but it is aging badly and rust is visible all over, the refit obviously fell short of a paint job. If this is what you can see then what you cannot see is more of a concern. If you are bothered by motion sickness or the ships movements bother you then please keep in mind that this is a smaller ship with BIG, BIG MOVEMENTS – we had one rougher day at sea (18 hours of rough seas), plates and glasses smashed off tables as the ship tilted and lurched violently in the water day and night. Although it did not bother us, most guests took to their bed as they were unable to stand, sit reading or walk around the Star Breeze. Bathrooms are very clean but old, mirrors badly needing replaced, fixtures covered in long term rust stains. Hot water ran red with rust most days. Cabin was well appointed and very clean. The only TV channel available 24/7 was Fox News. Dining was very poor: food quality poor the service was just PATHETIC. Breakfast and lunch buffet cabinets are not lit so you cannot see just how bad the food actually is. Hot drinks are not available anywhere on board the Star Breeze after 5pm unless you call room service – we did, it took 55 min. to get two cups of coffee. Dining in the main dining room was a sick joke – waiters gave you what they wanted when they wanted and not what we ordered, they then changed tables leaving you to battle it out with a different waiter. Mineral water was not available on board – filtered sea water is bottled on board and passed off as bottled mineral water. We had to buy mineral water when we got ashore; mineral water was only made available to the Star Breeze’s officers and not to guests. If you like ice in your drinks then watch the pool bar staff use their dirty bare hands to serve your ice and a slice in your glass. We ate room service one evening; they took 2h25min to serve a very simple meal. We were told initially that they were busy and still cooking (1 hour after placing the order), they had lost the order (1hour 20 min.), and how about a burger as the chef had finished his shift (1h 30min. after placing the order). Officers were around eating and drinking and enjoying their “vacation” big time, while fare paying guests were suffering BIG TIME on their vacation. The Star Breeze has two tender craft, one of which just happened to be out of service again – read other reviews; we had to wait 3 hours to go ashore in Alghero, Italy to find officers already lazing under a sunshade on the dock. The office who was calling out the tenders as and when they became available went ashore and never called our tender – we are still waiting for our tender to be called today. We had our entire day wasted in Alghero, Italy due to the lack of interest in guests, lack of management and absolute absence of customer service. A whole day lost on a six night cruise. The highlight of this cruise was the stop in Portovenere, Italy and was the reason we purchased this cruise. A special highlight stop still shown on Windstar’s website today as I write this, the Star Breeze was not allowed to tender in Portovenere- a port where only small ships such as the Star Breeze can go: “step into amazing places ….as only a small ship can help you do”, in this case Portovenere, Vernazza and Cinqueterre. The day before we were due to arrive in Portovenere, Italy we were told that the Star Breeze was not able to go there, we were diverted to Livorno which is not a picturesque once in a lifetime cruise stop, it is an industrial roll on roll off ferry port located 2 hours from Portovenere by car. Again another complete day wasted as we never got to the place we had contracted to sail to: Portovenere for Vernazza and Cinqueterre. The taxi drivers in Livorno knew days before that the Star Breeze was due to dock, however, we as passengers were told of the itinerary change the day before we were due to arrive in Portovenere. No compensation was given, no apology. Everyone knew about this itinerary change except the passengers. We had been taken for a ride. If we had known in advance we would have not taken the cruise. Excursions were obviously cancelled, one month later we are still fighting Windstar for this to be refunded. We did not get what we paid for. We took our issues up with Windstar once home, their customer service is similar to that on board. No interest at all. We have very limited vacation time and as most, we look forward to a relaxing enjoyable vacation. Windstar wasted our time, and that unfortunately cannot be replaced. Do not allow these people to waste your time, failing to meet expectations and failing to give you what they advertise, what they sell and failing to give you what you purchase. We had two complete days wasted on a six night cruise on the Star Breeze, we never got to see Alghero, Italy, we never even got to Portovenere, Vernazza or Cinqueterre, Italy. We never got 1/3 of what we contracted with Windstar. Please, before you find a great deal, a last minute discount or a “too good to be true” fare, consider what happened on our cruise. Make an informed choice and an informed purchase. Take a moment to imagine how you will feel if you do not get what you paid for and get nothing in return. Know what to expect on board the Star Breeze before you go ahead and commit to booking, if anything goes wrong you will get nothing on board or post cruise to compensate. They are, indeed, “180 degrees from ordinary”. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
With much anticipation and a positive attitude we boarded the Star Breeze recently. We love the tall ships but thought we would give the Star Breeze a try. Our last cruise was on a bigger Seabourn. The Star Breeze is lovely in many ... Read More
With much anticipation and a positive attitude we boarded the Star Breeze recently. We love the tall ships but thought we would give the Star Breeze a try. Our last cruise was on a bigger Seabourn. The Star Breeze is lovely in many ways but I think Windstar needs to rethink their theme...180 degrees from ordinary. We are talking about two vastly different types of cruise experiences...the tall ships and the cruise ships. Herein lies the problem. Having come off a Seabourn ship it was hard not to compare. (also because the Seaboard logo is still displayed on most cabin doors etc.) The difference between the two was most obvious when it came to housekeeping. Granted Windstar has doubled its fleet as well as staff. Many of the crew on board were welcomed and familiar faces. But most were new to the Windstar line. You know that "Ahh I'm home" feeling you get when you are first shown your new cabin? Sadly that was lacking. I sat on the couch and looked at the mirror behind the 2 opposite chairs. It obviously had not been cleaned in a long time! When I entered the bathroom the same was true of all mirrored surfaces. Left behind were remnants of the previous guest...yuck. Housekeeping issues were also apparent in other public spaces. For the last few days we passed two badly stained dining room chairs left at the entrance of the Amphora restaurant. These were obviously pulled from the restaurant. Enough on housekeeping. I did speak the the head housekeeper at the reception for previous guests. She was speaking to our steward as we returned to the room. Very nice young man but not well trained. He then smeared the mirrored surfaces with a dry cloth. Made it look worse. Enough on housekeeping. The crew really works hard but they greeted us with a smile and many times by our name. A hallmark Windstar experience. They are to be commended. The food was excellent as well. Certainly nothing but praise there. BTW, we were on the cruise where a drunk 43 year old woman went overboard. Fortunately the seas were calm and boat drifting. She was pulled into the rescue boat alive and well about 1:10 minutes later. Kudos to the entire staff! We enjoyed our week aboard the ship. I think the potential is there to make the new vessels shine in the market. However, it is an entirely different cruise experience than the tall ships. The experience will be compared to other "cruise ship" and Windstar needs to look at the competition and step up. Attention to detail is what makes Seabourn stand out. Winstar take notice! This isn't a barefoot cruise any more! Read Less
Sail Date November 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 July 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
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
Sail Date June 2015
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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