2 Windstar Star Breeze Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

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
This is the WORST boat ever. There was no greeting. They would tell us to have a "magical day" on the PA... that would have been a real trick! The sliding doors on the balcony did not work. The wait staff in the restaurants ... Read More
This is the WORST boat ever. There was no greeting. They would tell us to have a "magical day" on the PA... that would have been a real trick! The sliding doors on the balcony did not work. The wait staff in the restaurants couldn't get a job in a diner because they do not have a clue about getting the orders straight or on time. The restaurant at the stern suffers from engine noise, serious vibration and cooking oil smells so they add loud music to the clattering of plates and silverware. Since it is so confined you can look straight into the kitchen and see the dishes being washed.They would always apologize for how long the order was taking so I only ate there a few times before abandoning the idea. As we would come aboard in the afternoon after being ashore and there would not be any food available until 7 PM unless you called room service. REALLY?!? Nothing?!? How is this possible? There was one dining room for dinner room and we went there one night starving at 6:30 and the staff was all there just sitting around waiting for 7 pm. We concluded they were cutting back the food to save money. After all if you ate at 5:30 then you might be hungry again later and that would cost more to feed us. And room service could screw up anything too! We ordered a Caesar salad and got three including a chicken. A scary tuna salad sandwich which was warm and inedible (over the side with it.) You never got ice with a soda... who drinks hot cokes? A glass of white wine had $1.78 tax on it so it was always $10. tax?!? The HVAC was weird and would blow really loud if you adjusted it so we ended up leaving the sliding doors ajar so outside air would come in to keep the room fresher. I noticed the first night and confirmed the second night someone previously in the room had a meal like spaghetti and threw up because I could smell it without the sliding doors being open. So one night I discovered the deck washing was dripping down the side of the boat each night (It sounded like some one peeing over the side) streaking the glass balcony: it hit the wood railing and splashed into the room onto the carpet. Perhaps this is why I had a headache the whole week: mold in the room? The night the whole cruise (200 people) went to the Cafe de Paris in Monte Carlo for dinner was great and then they left us all on the dock for 90 minutes without any way to get back to the ship. At the same time Wind Surf (with only 80 guests aboard) was there and had two tenders leave with 12 people aboard (I counted them) and a locally chartered tender that held 100 people was also serving Wind Surf although it was hired to serve the Star Breeze; it left EMPTY for the Wind Surf!!! I seriously thought there was going to be a riot: we paid $7500 each for this cruise and it had plenty of type A people on it. They were not taking this sitting down; they were livid! Later the captain apologized and said it was the fault of the late bus delivering us to the dock (NOT!) and he said he 'got a lot of hate' about it. When I got on board Star Breeze I see there was one tender in the water and one inside. A blonde female officer with a germanic accent at reception told me they didn't have any trained staff to man the boats due to the hours they had worked that day. How is that when everyone was at the race all day?!? How did they plan to get the guests back aboard?!? There wasn't even dinner service as the kitchens were closed down because everyone went to the dinner party. Even at the end of the cruise in Nice there were NO taxis, buses or anything for us. We all waited for over an hour. People were so exasperated it was stunning. And yet it came as no surprise despite being the one thing you would expect they could get right! There was one poor woman trying to help find taxis and called our hotel who sent over a taxis for us (after 90 minutes) and we were screwed 60 euro for a 2 1/2 mile trip. This cruise was highlighted by the Monaco Grand Prix and our charming captain (Mr. "Have a smashing day!") anchored 1/4 mile offshore from the Heliport!!! Who does that? And FOR TWO DAYS!!! Everyone was under the impression we were tying up in the harbor but instead we were the farthest way. You know anchoring far away makes the logistics worst since the tender trip takes a lot longer each direction and can't make as many runs (they only carry 24 people) At 8:30 AM the helicopters started buzzing 150 feet over the boat. When we returned from the race I counted EIGHT helicopters flying in front of me from my cabin balcony. Those things are soooo loud and the turbines make a screaming noise! It was nuts! I took video because who would believe it at home? Who is that stupid as to anchor there. There had to be a reason. This is not the first time the ship had done this route so they knew what to expect there. There were other strange anchoring locations too.The Sea Dream boats anchored in close in one port arriving after we did. The pilots took them ahead of us and we watched them anchor where we thought we would be. The captain claimed they stole our spot but no one believes it for a minute. The better spots cost more. After that we we always the last boat to show up (of boats on the similar itinerary.) We concluded the boat is a cost center and they were cutting corners to boost profits. How DUMB is that? An expensive high end cruise that sucked and made everyone (and many were repeat Windstar customers) mad because it was so very poorly managed. Who pisses off their best customers? Oh and the tender drivers... They clearly had little to no training. They destroyed the tenders during the week. I watched the tenders hit the dock at 80 degrees: nearly right angles!!! I heard one lady say that she saw a big piece of paint fly off the boat but the boats aren't painted; they are fiberglass! The tenders would bounce 10 to 15 feet off the docks and they would try and try and try and then switch drivers to try again. When they finally would get tied up to on/off load the crew would stand in front of the railings so you couldn't grab them; trying to hold your arms as you tried to gain a footing to get on or off. How stupid!?! The railing is the best possible thing to hold on to. Windstar went from hero to zero with this crappy cruise. I didn't hear anything good from anyone about their experiences. Everyone was unanimous about being more than ready to get off that damned boat. Before I forget I also want to throw in that the chef was Indian; the tomato soup was spicy hot (not supposed to be) and I thought it was curry when room service brought it. But the other dishes were lame. The pastry chef cut the chocolate out of the chocolate deserts and the creams didn't have any taste. What cruise line has lousy desserts??? Even plain vanilla ice cream wasn't vanilla. Without trying I lost weight on this cruise. And for the record we had to walk one (1) mile uphill from the dock to the race track stands and they had escort leaders so you would not get lost. Yeah, and there was no soap in the bathroom the first two days , we had to ask for some. Where do I stop??? The longer I think about it the more come to mind!! The elevators that did not work... waiting 5 minutes to get hot water in the shower... When everyone (all 200 guests) were in the large auditorium room and there was always just one guy serving drinks for the whole room (on several occasions.) Really we were robbed taking this cruise. We were really excited and it was a travesty. Hah, even leaving the ship for the race they wrote the names of people leaving on paper because their security computer (registering who was on and off the ship) did not work. It would be funny it is didn't just stink so bad. I laugh when I read the categories below for rating; such as the treadmill where you would bump your head on the ceiling... The entertainment?!? not my taste and I thought they were terrible (perhaps from a Vegas 'off the strip' dive in the 80's) The shore excursions were mediocre at best. I wanted to strangle one tour guide if I heard another inane word out of her so I avoided the group. She would stop in the middle of nowhere and tell us how her favorite perfume was made from fig trees and waste 5 minutes do so. Who cares about her favorite perfumes?!? She'd tell us about this church while standing next to a huge blank wall and then not go in it (until the end of the tour (and there wasn't much to see anyway.)) I swear she walked us up and down the steep roads and alleyways on purpose to wear us down all the while telling us things like "You can see where the door hinges were when this was a gate!" Cheesiest tours ever. And I could not understand why the buses would drop you off and then they made you walk up to where the tour would begin... with tours in parking lots next to the admin buildings in these little tourist towns. What kind of tour is that? CHEAP CRAP tours. They waste time walking you and telling you stupid stuff to fill up the time. Consider between my wife and I; we spent about $17,000 on the cruise (not including airfare or other costs); well over $2000 a day and this was total BS. . So read some some of the other reviews for this boat; you'll love hearing how they went through the Panama Canal at night and other wacky (truly sad) escapades. Windstar I regret every stinking minute of that damned cruise. You screwed us, one and all and apparently it is not the first time. 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Sail Date May 2016
Star Breeze Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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