8 Windstar Star Pride Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Our cruise was called Venetian Passageways. Overall iit was excellent. All the ports of call with the exception of Albania were very interesting. Everyone loved swimming in the sea and water sports from the Marina deck while the ship was ... Read More
Our cruise was called Venetian Passageways. Overall iit was excellent. All the ports of call with the exception of Albania were very interesting. Everyone loved swimming in the sea and water sports from the Marina deck while the ship was anchored off Dubrovnik. The open deck barbecue night followed by line dancing was sensational. Other highlights included Windstsr's complimentary private event which was a visit to an Olive farm in Greece. This included wonderful entertainment with Greek dancing and a delicious complimentary lunch, including wine. The journey through the Corinth canal was amazing and we were so lucky that the weather for this was perfect. The food quality on the cruise was excellent. The only problem on the cruise was that the air conditioning broke down about 3 nights towards the end of the cruise. This also affected the crew of course. However this was fixed after about 36 hours and Windstsr have offered passengers a very generous comoensatory discount off future bookings. Would highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Windstar's addition of the three "motor yachts", recently acquired from Seabourn has been a pleasant surprise. AND it means, along with getting an outstanding level of service, the shipboard and cabin environment is more ... Read More
Windstar's addition of the three "motor yachts", recently acquired from Seabourn has been a pleasant surprise. AND it means, along with getting an outstanding level of service, the shipboard and cabin environment is more luxurious than what we have experienced in the past of the sailing vessels. We spent 3 nights in Rome before embarkation. Taking the train from central Rome to Civitavecchia was easy and helped us feel more at home in Italy. We love the chance to view countryside from a train whenever we can. Our cabin steward "Vina" was charming, attentive, and proactive in all the right ways. We are "diet coke" drinkers, with a slice of lime or lemon...all the time. By day two we had a bottomless supply in our cabin cold each day. By day three, the supply of lime never ran out either. (Our cabin review is in that separate review section.) One of the best parts of a ship with only 200 guests is how well staff can get to know you. And the Star Pride staff really seems to enjoy that as much as we did. Sunu, a dining room staff member did an exceptional job of becoming our favorite wait staff person, without making us feel over served. We did not see him every night at dinner, but his connection everyday at breakfast was an excellent start to our day. When we put together a dinner party for 10 on the last evening at sea, we asked to be seated at one of his tables. Before that point, Sunu may have not served any of our other fellow dinner guests, but he made us all feel like he had been a member of our "household" staff for years. Dining was also exceptional. The diversity of selections was fluid everyday and one never felt like the choices were created to impress rather than be enjoyed. Breakfast was offered by buffet or menu order on the Veranda, and one could get items both ways, as the wait staff always seemed to just know when we needed something. The various types of french toast were outstanding. The lox offered everyday at the buffet was the best I can ever recall having. One never waited for the custom omelette ordered from the buffet station. After ordering, we were given a number and a staff member brought it to our table. Dinner selections included remarkable starters and some old favorites with special touches. The shrimp ceviche was exceptional. The New York steak was perfect and made memorable by the apple sauce, chili bbq sauce. (I have the recipe!) Paella cooked outside on bbq night was excellent and the largest single pan of it, we have ever seen. Richard, our "Voyage Leader", did an excellent job of providing the next day's port information and shore excursion choices. We never felt pushed to take the Windstar excursions rather than explore on our own. Richard's style of sharing insights always made us feel like broad, usable information was just as important as offering shore excursions. The Windstar exclusive special event on Sicily at the Gambino Winery (full flight wine tasting, with lunch, for all 200 Star Pride guests) was excellent, felt very special, and logistically well curated. There were a surprising number of young people on board (about 20). They ranged from pre-teen to college age. They all knew they were in an adult environment and never made this feel like a party boat. But we will credit them for giving all of us older folks a very positive higher energy experience. And great credit goes to the parents for creating a wonderful family feel for everyone on board. We only heard one complaint about "the kids" and that complainer was more trouble than any of the kids. One of the families on board were our rafting partners, on our Cetina River rafting shore excursion in Split, Croatia. They made the day. About entertainment: Windstar does not try to be a "Las Vegas" cruise experience. We have never cruised with any focus on that. And both of the semi-acoustic duos on the ship were outstanding. We enjoyed them very much. If you cruise for the entertainment, Windstar may not fit for you. It fit for us. But we must say the "staff talent night" was great fun and well received by everyone. It seemed to be very mutually rewarding. And uproariously funny, tell the very end. I must add a key point: A good measure of whether or not a given cruise line is the right fit for you, is how you feel about the other guests you share the experience with. The Windstar cruise left us not only happy with the staff who served us and treated us well, but exceptionally happy with our fellow travelers. Most of them are folks we would look forward to sailing with again. Some will become life-long friends. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Despite rather spotty reviews regarding Star Pride and the fact that it had a grounding episode last fall, we decided to give it a try. That was based on several factors. First, it fit with the rest of our travel plans and was the right ... Read More
Despite rather spotty reviews regarding Star Pride and the fact that it had a grounding episode last fall, we decided to give it a try. That was based on several factors. First, it fit with the rest of our travel plans and was the right length cruise. Second, we had sailed twice with Windstar on two of their sailing vessels many years ago and had really loved it. Third, the ship had just gone through a major refurbishment. Fourth, an offered package including liquor, tips and unlimited wi-fi was attractively priced. Lastly, the itinerary looked appealing, combining some ports we had previously experienced like Dubrovnik and Kotor with new stops in such places as Rovinj, Split and Giardini Naxos. It appeared that the ship's refurbishment was still a work in progress. The crew was constantly working on finishing up things such as painting. As a result there was often a smell of fresh paint on certain parts of the deck, a little off-putting if you were trying to nap and relax. There were recurrent problems with the plumbing leading to repeated reminders not to put certain objects down the toilets. There was also often a sewage smell in the mid-ship elevator and one of the aft elevators was frequently out of service. The wi-fi service was at best inconsistent. HOWEVER, all that being said we found most of the ship, including all the public spaces, to be very pleasant and enjoyable. At 277 square feet the cabin was very spacious with plenty of closet space, a nice sitting area and a bath with twin sinks. However, continuing with the theme of incomplete refurbishment, the carpet was old, stained and not stretched tightly. That needs to be remedied. As a "French balcony" it was really usable only as a sliding glass window. Don't plan to eat breakfast on the balcony. Absolutely one of the strong points of this cruise was the food service. We ate in both the Amphora dining room as well as the special, reservations required, Candles. Both were excellent, with Candles edging out Amphora for great food and ambiance. Breakfast and lunch were in the same area as Candles, though it was now called the Veranda. We actually enjoyed getting a cup of espresso and a roll in the Yacht Club each morning where we could watch the sail in to the next port. Beer, liquor and wine choices were all excellent, though we did wonder why they didn't have any wines representing the countries in which we were stopping. The Executive Chef, Darin, was super and very responsive to passengers' requests. Entertainment was by two duos, all very good musicians. One of the signature activities on Windstar has always been the "Sail Away" as they pull out of port each afternoon while playing the theme from the movie, "1492". It comes across a little contrived on the motor yachts compared to the sailing vessels, but still something that everyone enjoyed as they had an afternoon cocktail. Service: what can I say. Service was beyond excellent. From the bar to the dining room to our lovely cabin steward, Luis. My wife was on crutches with a leg injury. Luis had an ice bag waiting every evening when we got back to the cabin. That's just an example of the superb, personal, caring service from this mainly Indonesian and Filipino crew. The boat personnel helping my wife into and out of the tender was another example of the great service. This was an excellent itinerary, from Venice to Croatia, Montenegro, Sicily, Capri and back to Rome. We did a couple of the offered shore excursions and they were generally very good with excellent guides. The "private event" in Dubrovnik was special with local singers and dancers, though the hors d'oeuvres were nothing to rave about. It did give us time to get a seafood pizza in Dubrovnik before boarding the last tender back to the ship. As always, you might be able to do better shore excursions if you arrange your own. Still, I would not have wanted to miss Trogir, Taormina or Our Lady of the Rocks in Kotor Bay. Overall, this cruise on a yacht that held only about 200 passengers was very, very enjoyable. There are a few rough edges Windstar still needs to work out on these converted Seabourne yachts, but I think they will do that. We are already considering where we would like to do our next Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Having sailed with Windstar on the Windsurf in 2012 we were keen to sail on the small cruise ships. We booked on the Star Pride's cruise to Istanbul, however due to the repairs and refurbishment the itinerary was changed. We were ... Read More
Having sailed with Windstar on the Windsurf in 2012 we were keen to sail on the small cruise ships. We booked on the Star Pride's cruise to Istanbul, however due to the repairs and refurbishment the itinerary was changed. We were offered to change our booking at no loss of deposit but decided to go ahead with a very interesting itinerary.. How lucky were we to sail on a newly refurbished ship. All the public rooms are tastefully decorated and our Owners Suite featured a very spacious balcony and a fully renovated bathroom with a large walk in shower. The highlights were many. The sail through the Corinth Canal was magical. Itea (Delphi) and Katakolon (Ancient Olympia) were extremely interesting. The sail in to Kotor should not be missed as well as the Deck BBQ and the sail away from Kotor with the mountain lit up is another "not to be missed" moment. As we experienced on the Windsurf, the crew were very attentive, earning our names and beverage of choice extremely quickly. The restaurant menus were varied and all very delicious. We were the only Australians on board and the Reception staff printed us an Australian newspaper every day. We were not expecting that. We cannot wait to sail again on the Star Pride Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Having sailed with Windstar on the Windsurf in 2012 we were keen to sail on the small cruise ships. We booked on the Star Pride's cruise to Istanbul, however due to the repairs and refurbishment the itinerary was changed. We were ... Read More
Having sailed with Windstar on the Windsurf in 2012 we were keen to sail on the small cruise ships. We booked on the Star Pride's cruise to Istanbul, however due to the repairs and refurbishment the itinerary was changed. We were offered to change our booking at no loss of deposit but decided to go ahead with a very interesting itinerary.. How lucky were we to sail on a newly refurbished ship. All the public rooms are tastefully decorated and our Owners Suite featured a very spacious balcony and a fully renovated bathroom with a large walk in shower. The highlights were many. The sail through the Corinth Canal was magical. Itea (Delphi) and Katakolon (Ancient Olympia) were extremely interesting. The sail in to Kotor should not be missed as well as the Deck BBQ and the sail away from Kotor with the mountain lit up is another "not to be missed" moment. As we experienced on the Windsurf, the crew were very attentive, earning our names and beverage of choice extremely quickly. The restaurant menus were varied and all very delicious. We were the only Australians on board and the Reception staff printed us an Australian newspaper every day. We were not expecting that. We cannot wait to sail again on the Star Pride Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first Windstar cruise and friends had set the bar pretty high. We have traveled on other lines and with other tour groups and were interested in seeing how Windstar would compare. Ultimately we were happy with the cruise and ... Read More
This was our first Windstar cruise and friends had set the bar pretty high. We have traveled on other lines and with other tour groups and were interested in seeing how Windstar would compare. Ultimately we were happy with the cruise and loved being on a small ship but didn't see the wow factor we'd expected. As with all cruises, the food was good, the service attentive and the pillow animals imaginative. PROS- -our cabin was quite large and very comfortable. We loved the large bathroom and walk-in closet. - staff was excellent. We'd never been on such a friendly ship before. The staff went out of their way to not only know you, but to tell you a bit about themselves. - service was excellent. We had only to smile at a crew member for them to bring over our drink of choice. - itinerary was great. - we were concerned about motion on such a small ship but had no problems even under windy conditions - embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze CONS- - there was little to do in the evening. The entertainment, though excellent, did not begin until people were in place. We learned we had to sit down before the music began. Unfortunately most guests did not learn this and the entertainment areas were largely empty. - the pool deck is not laid out well for lounging. The pool (nicer than we'd expected after reading reviews) was located in a tight space between the stairway and the restaurant, so no room for lounging around it. - food was well prepared, but there was no regional food served. We really missed this and I'm sure those who couldn't go ashore missed it even more. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We chose to cruise on Star Pride because of the unique "Venetian Passageways" itinerary - particularly the stop at Itea Greece (for Delphi) and the transit of the Corinth Canal. The cruise was booked before the Seabourn Pride ... Read More
We chose to cruise on Star Pride because of the unique "Venetian Passageways" itinerary - particularly the stop at Itea Greece (for Delphi) and the transit of the Corinth Canal. The cruise was booked before the Seabourn Pride became the Star Pride, and I watched closely for reviews of the new ship. The posted reviews raised many concerns due to mixed reviews on the condition of the ship. As it turned out, the ship - and the cruise - were neither as bad as we feared nor as good as we hoped. It seems the Star Pride is still searching for its identity - is it casual Seabourn or upscale Windstar? After several beautiful days in Venice, we made our way to the cruise terminal to board Star Pride at the scheduled 1:00 boarding time. A Windstar representative was there to greet us and check our bags - things looked good! Until 1:00 arrived and a crew member announced that boarding would be delayed until 1:30. Memories came back of a long wait in a hot tent in Civitavecchia on our last Windstar cruise. Fortunately, the experience wasn't repeated as we were allowed aboard shortly after 1:30. We were greeted with smiles and mimosas at the onboard check-in, then shown to our stateroom by our cabin attendant, Widi. The sure was spacious and lovely. It was decorated in blues and beige with light wood - there were some dated touches like the brass wall clock, but the overall feel was elegant. The suite was divided by a curtain into a sitting area with sofa and two chairs, and the bedroom area with queen bed and vanity. The bed was comfortable and we slept well throughout the voyage. The bath had double sinks and tub/shower, and I was really grateful for the generous counter space and large shelf under the sinks. The best surprise was the walk-in closet - lots of hanging space and a large safe in a chest of drawers. What a treat! There were a number of complaints in CC reviews about the condition of the ship - decks, awnings, etc. As we boarded, the decks were being sanded and windows replaced. It's clear Windstar is working hard to renovate the ship, and it was very clean and nice looking overall. The only big exception was the condition of the pool/spas/sport platform - amenities so important to many Windstar cruisers. The pool is as ugly as noted in previous reviews. We never saw it used. An amusingly dated touch is the portholes looking into the pool from the entry to Compass Rose. The spas were less amusing. The twin spas mid-deck had jets in the benches to create bubbles. When turned on, they released large chunks of black goop which floated around the spa. Very unappealing; we never returned after our first visit. And the spas and lounge area are surrounded by lifeboats, so there is no view from the entire area. The forward spa was newer with jets for back massage and no life boats to block the view. Unfortunately, the jets stopped working during our second visit. Finally, on our first visit to the sports platform, the interior area was flooded with about a foot of standing water with floating debris. Overall, the outdoor amenities - valued by past Windstar guests like us - were sadly lacking on the Star Pride. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet-style in the Veranda. Choices were a bit limited, but breakfast always included eggs to order and lunch always had a welcome salad bar. With lovely weather, there was rarely a wait for an outdoor table, though the inside buffet and dining tables were a bit cramped. Dinner in Candles was very nice, but the main dining room was too formal for our taste, and the food institutionally mediocre much of the time. Room service was delightful - always on time - and the continental breakfast included wonderful fresh-squeezed orange juice. Our first room service was followed by a call to make sure everything was to our liking. Super service! Our biggest complaint throughout the cruise was the awful-tasting water provided in the suite and dining areas. Star Pride provides large glass bottles of filtered water in suites, and pours from them in dining areas. Sparkling water is also "homemade" and not at all sparkling. Halfway thru the cruise, we asked our cabin attendant to bring us plastic bottled water for our room, and we were very grateful she brought these daily. We also discovered Perrier available by request while dining. The self-bottled stuff is done in the guise of being "green". Xanterra should understand that what might work at the Grand Canyon isn't necessarily a good idea for a luxury cruise. The overall feel is that the Star Pride was designed for older, more elegant cruisers than past Windstar guests like us. The ship lacks contemporary touches and outdoor ambiance. The most consistently popular spot on the ship is the outdoor Star Bar, which is quite small. But the lunch served there is steam table burgers and dogs - pretty dreadful. And after dinner, it doesn't open till 9:30. Why?? The glass enclosed Yacht Club was also a popular place, with lovely sandwiches - but there's no bar. Why?? And things seemed to be closed when we wanted to use them. Breakfast is over at 9:30 am. Period. Lunch is 12:30-2:00. Period. Star Bar isn't open when we finish dinner. Never did find Compass Rose open after dinner. You can dine 'when you want with whom you want' as long as you want to dine (or drink) at the limited times when things are open! The only thing available all the time is room service. And it all makes for a pretty boring cruise. The famed 'deck barbecue' is another example. The weather was great, the company terrific and the food okay. The band got started and lots of guests were on the dance floor. At 9:30, the crew started picking up drinks and removing chairs while people were dancing. By 10, the deck was closed and everyone was forced to go elsewhere. Why?? On the positive side, the crew was as wonderful as ever on the Star Pride. The individual people just can't do enough to help you with anything. It's the policies and hours of facilities on the ship that are wanting - the staff is fabulous! On this cruise, there was also a laundry package available - beautifully cleaned and pressed clothes every day for a reasonable price. What a great treat! So there are high and low points. Previous Seabourn guests may be very happy on this ship. But past Windstar cruisers may be bored and disappointed. I'm much older than I was on my first Windstar cruise - but not old enough for the Star Pride!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Just spent 10 days sailing Greece and Turkey onboard Star Pride and overall had a wonderful experience. The highlight of our trip was Windstar’s fabulous crew who worked tirelessly to create a truly memorable vacation. The staff went ... Read More
Just spent 10 days sailing Greece and Turkey onboard Star Pride and overall had a wonderful experience. The highlight of our trip was Windstar’s fabulous crew who worked tirelessly to create a truly memorable vacation. The staff went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and small things like learning our names, remembering our likes/dislikes, or asking how our day went all contributed to first class service. We had the pleasure of staying in one of the balcony suites, which provided the opportunity for fresh air when we wanted it and a private view while navigating in and out of port calls. The suite was spacious, especially when it came to the large bathroom with its tub and double sinks. Definitely a nice touch for a longer cruise. One of our favorite experiences was trying out Star Pride’s watersports platform which was open while we were anchored in Monemvasia. Everything from swimming to kayaks to wakeboarding was available and was a nice opportunity to cool off after a long morning of adventuring. Would have been nice to have used it more, but the other ports we visited didn’t allow for it. I would recommend if this is important for you to inquire which ports this will be possible, since this seems to be something that is already pre-determined based on where the ship docks. Of all the gathering areas on the ship, the most popular (and our favorite) was the Yacht Club, located on the top deck, which offered sweeping views off the bow of the ship. This space has a modern feel and offers a comfortable place to enjoy an espresso, read a book, or catch up on the day with other passengers. The Yacht Club offers light refreshments throughout the day and we found it was a great spot for a mid-afternoon snack after returning from a shore excursion. The Greek sandwich with dolmas and feta was a favorite. On a few occasions we also enjoyed having a cocktail in the Compass Rose lounge in the evenings after dinner. There was a music duo that played in the evenings and happily took song requests. There were two dining options in the evening: Ampora and Candles, both excellent. The food on this cruise was very good and the menu provided many options each evening, including several local specials specific to the region we were traveling in. Toward the end of the cruise we took advantage of the spa and fitness center. The service was great, but these areas weren’t the highlight of the ship. Not a big deal, since these weren’t things we had expected to use often. As for the itinerary, we enjoyed every port immensely. Our trip began in Athens and visited Monemvasia, Crete (Chania), Santorini, Rhodes, Bodrum, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Cesme, and Istanbul. This is an area full of history so if you enjoy exploring castles, historic harbors, and ancient ruins, would highly recommend visiting these places. Also enjoyed that many of these are not “big ship” ports. For five out of the nine ports we visited, we were the only ship there and it certainly makes a huge difference when it comes to crowds. In Rhodes and Bodrum we were surrounded by private yachts which really made it feel like we were part of that elite crowd. In the end, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Can’t wait to do it all again!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Star Pride Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 4.5 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.5
Family 2.5 3.5
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 5.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.5 3.7
Rates N/A N/A

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