14 Windstar Star Breeze Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Chose Windstar for second time due to casual nature of cruise and generous size of cabin. Went from Rome to Barcelona. Love the small ship and the advantage of docking right at the town we are visiting. Upgraded one level from last time ... Read More
Chose Windstar for second time due to casual nature of cruise and generous size of cabin. Went from Rome to Barcelona. Love the small ship and the advantage of docking right at the town we are visiting. Upgraded one level from last time to a balcony cabin and appreciated the large glass door. Do wish they had balconies large enough to sit on. Ship very similar to 2 years ago and could use a little spiffing up in the room. Highlights this time was the food which is now amazing. The partnership with the James Beard Foundation has made a huge improvement. Service was excellent as always. Staff members really make an effort to remember your name. Had an opportunity to eat one night at Candles restaurant on the ship. It was very enjoyable. One of best parts of the ship is the lounge behind the bar area where you can go anytime of day and get a drink. in my case Ice Coffee. Even took advantage of room service on the last night of the cruise and it was a great experience. We generally don't do the excursions and prefer to explore the towns on our own but did do the Wine Tasting in Provence which was wonderful. Overall a great easy casual well priced cruise . Read Less
Sail Date May 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
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
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
We are frequent travelers, but not frequent cruisers. Our only other cruise was a couple of years back on the Norwegian Jade in the Western Caribbean. We enjoyed it enough to want to cruise again, but wanted a smaller-boat experience. ... Read More
We are frequent travelers, but not frequent cruisers. Our only other cruise was a couple of years back on the Norwegian Jade in the Western Caribbean. We enjoyed it enough to want to cruise again, but wanted a smaller-boat experience. We're so glad we chose Windstar for this cruise, and we will definitely sail with them again if we have the opportunity. The plusses: The size. The cruise experience on a small boat if definitely the one for us. With about 180 passengers and about 150 crew, the feel of the ship and the great service really suited us. We are active, mid-60's and travelling with another couple. It was relaxed but with enough activities to keep us interested. Embarcation. Smooth, easy, efficient. We were in our rooms within an hour of boarding. Dining. We were very happy with the quality of food and drink as well as with the service from dining room personnel, wine steward, and all involved. People could not have been more helpful or attentive. The quality of the food at dinner was fine dining all the way. The menus were varied and interesting. Usual choice was among at least 5 appetizers, 5 entrees, 5 deserts. The chef was wonderful - we ended up walking with him into town at one of the ports as he and his assistants walked to the market for fresh fresh fish and produce. He makes an effort to include local product, and the effort shows. Delicious food all around. People used to larger ships might not be happy with the lack of many dining venues, but we were never bored. Cabin. Seemed very large to us for a cruise ship. Well-appointed. Our steward was stellar. Crew. Everyone - captain, chef, maître d, bar staff, wait staff - made us feel like part of the family. They could not have been nicer. Itinerary - Lisbon to Barcelona. We had never been to Portugal or Spain before, so we didn't know what to expect. We loved this itinerary. Definitely plan to spend extra days in both Lisbon and Barcelona if you can - loved both cities. We took several of the cruise port trips and we were glad we did. The local guides were excellent and the tours interesting. We particularly enjoyed Malaga, Seville, and Palma. Minuses - hardly any. The exterior of the ship is showing a bit of age and needs some TLC. The casino is teeny-tiny (not surprising for a ship that size), but my husband enjoyed losing money there anyhow. :) Couple of glitches with the heating/air at the beginning, but they worked them out quickly. If I were on the ship for a longer cruise, I might miss the lack of varied dining venues, but not on an 8-night. As I said, we're now Windstar fans and looking forward to our next opportunity to cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Choose because it's a small yacht. This cruise is great. Went to several ports Portoferraio , portofino, Monaco, Cannes, sanary sur mur, port vendres and Barcelona. The ship is refurbished and especially nice in public areas. ... Read More
Choose because it's a small yacht. This cruise is great. Went to several ports Portoferraio , portofino, Monaco, Cannes, sanary sur mur, port vendres and Barcelona. The ship is refurbished and especially nice in public areas. The service and staff and officers were very professional and visible. The food from breakfast to dinner and yacht club choices were amazing. If you have any special requests all you have to do if ask. The BBQ onboard is a treat don't miss it. The entertainment in the lounge is nice but there is no bar...but u can order from the staff. I like the lounge on windsurf because you can sit at bar and mingle and there is a nice dance floor. It has a more inviting atmosphere for socializing. We used room service for breakfast twice when we wanted to get off ship by 9:30. Service and food are great. The tours are expensive so choose carefully. We were 4 people so we arranged 3 private tours with a driver who showed us the sites for 7-8 hours each tour and cost less than through WS. We played the slots in a small casino two nights and did a little onboard shopping. This cruise is the best way to experience the Italian and French Riviera. Your hotel floats with you. Good food, beautiful yacht with all the amenities and NO CROWDS, PS...I lost my medication and the ship physician was able to write scripts and also had on handa few meds to hold me over.( charge was very reasonable ). This was very helpful when you rely on daily medication. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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
This was our 4th Windstar cruise and first time one of the motor yachts. While we love the sailing ships, the motor yachts are perfect for port intensive European trips. Cabins were large and comfortable. Loved the big TV and window. There ... Read More
This was our 4th Windstar cruise and first time one of the motor yachts. While we love the sailing ships, the motor yachts are perfect for port intensive European trips. Cabins were large and comfortable. Loved the big TV and window. There was even a walk in closet! Food and service were spectacular.The chef on board is very talented. We had so many amazing meals. Many were made with fresh ingredients bought that day in local markets. There was basically no entertainment onboard other than a few duo's singing and trivia. Rather than sitting at shows after dinner, passengers spent time talking to each other. A nice break from the 24/7 news cycle! There was an atmosphere on board which is hard to but into words. The staff worked very hard to make sure everyone was happy. Even an unexpected strike threat in Athens was handled extremely well. This was one of the best cruises we have ever been on! Read Less
Sail Date September 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
We cruise every year and this, by far, was the most memorable trip. Last year we did a trip with Oceana and loved it. Their ship was about 800 people. This time we decided to go even smaller, and it was a great decision. Yes, the ship ... Read More
We cruise every year and this, by far, was the most memorable trip. Last year we did a trip with Oceana and loved it. Their ship was about 800 people. This time we decided to go even smaller, and it was a great decision. Yes, the ship does need TLC, I agree. They claim they put a ton of money in refurb, but we did not notice. Rooms, spa/gym are, and public space was a little ancient to our taste. Having said that, it did not bother us a bit, because everything else was fabulous - food, service, attention to details and, of course, beautiful ports of call. We had our 9 year old son with us, who had a BLAST! He spent 50% of his time on the bridge, learning how sail. The captain and bridge officers were so amazing that my son was crying when it was time to leave. Room attendant did a great job. By the way, rooms are huge! Three of us felt very comfortable. The food and the restaurant staff was super attentive and friendly. In fact, by the second day on the ship they all knew our names. The food and the wine was good (although the chef really likes potatoes....everything comes with potatoes...and we don't eat them:( The night entertainment is definitely lacking, but that was not a problem for us. We were so tired by the end of the day with the all the walking, swimming, etc, that our bedtime was 10 pm at the latest. The fellow passengers were great, a mix of different ages, but all very friendly (we are in our early 40s). The sports platform is really cool, but unfortunately it was only open 1 day. Wish they had a better pool. We were so excited to try out current pool, but it was not good. Plus the water there was so warm all the time that people use it as a hot tub. Nevertheless, we did quite a bit of swimming during our stops. Finally, wish they didn't do a day at sea. The ship is too small for it, especially with a lack of pool on a hot day. But, our son was super happy, because it meant more time on the bridge! We will definitely come back to Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date August 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
I would recommend exploring Barcelona before embarking on the cruise. Barcelona is a city not to miss. As with the other cruises we have taken with Windstar, embarkation and disembarkation is quick, efficient, with no hassles or long ... Read More
I would recommend exploring Barcelona before embarking on the cruise. Barcelona is a city not to miss. As with the other cruises we have taken with Windstar, embarkation and disembarkation is quick, efficient, with no hassles or long waiting lines. You are greeted with a drink and hors d’oeuvres for completing paperwork and getting your suite's key. All the rooms are suites so there is plenty of room including a bathroom with 2 sinks and a full-size tub with shower. I can't say enough good things about the cruise...great accommodations, fantastic food (expertly prepared and presented), were able to dine when we were ready and where we wanted to sit in the dining rooms. The outdoor barbeque was great and a lot of fun. I always like to see the staff also enjoying themselves, even learned a few line dances! As with the dining, the service was exceptional - everyone knew your name and preferences and were always there to assist and please. Had some fun activities like a mixology class, trivia games, and good music and dancing. Shore excursions were great and the guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. We enjoyed every excursion - the 4 wheel drive in the countryside in Portimão was not only interesting but fun! We got to try their "Fire Water". The special event planned by Windstar was special! Because we were a smaller ship or yacht, we were able to get into all the ports without any tenders. Can't say enough good about our cruise with Windstar! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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
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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