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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise on recommendation from our travel agent. We flew to lovely Lisbon a few days beforehand, the joined the ship,looking very tiny berthed near some very large cruise ships. The welcome was decidedly perfunctory, and we found our way to our deck 4 cabin. It was pleasantly large, but definitely needed a good spring clean. The bed seemed hard and sagging, not a good start we felt. We liked the white marble bathroom and noted approvingly that the toiletries were quality Occitan. We explored briefly then went for a buffet lunch in the stern Verandah. It was a very ordinary buffet choice and we were astounded at the cost of the drinks on offer. We learned that many passengers had bought a drinks package, but as the wines were fairly mediocre in our opinion, we decided not to take up the package offer. It was lovely to note the teak decks , a small outdoor pool and hot tub, and plenty of deck lounge seating. We looked through the daily program, but it lacked variety or imagination, so we decided that a comfortable spot with a good book might be a good way to relax. Much ceremony was made of the sail away flag raising to the music of Vangelis’ 1492, used on other cruise lines we recalled. There was a comfortable lounge with busy coffee bar and a tiny library, but little else of note. It was a port intensive cruise with only one sea day, but we had visited all the ports previously, so did not read the excursion offers. In each port the ship laid on a shuttle bus to the centre of town , a useful service for those who wished to be independent . We were happy to wander, sample the local cuisine and bars in each port. We were right in our estimation... the bed was horribly saggy and worn, leaving us both with aching backs! Entertainment was decidedly limited, with a singing duo , but little else, with the exception of a lecturer with a sole topic. Dining was open seating, with varied menus and good service from the friendly Asian servers. It was not gourmet dining, but perfectly adequate. It would not be a ship we’d choose on future occasions, but it was an interesting experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated ... Read More
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated now. The ship is compact. Two staircases so you gain a sense of where everything is quite quickly. The main restaurant is deck 3 and the Veranda (self service/buffet/back of ship area) which at 7pm morphs into 'Candles' grill style restaurant where a dinner reservation is required. Both restaurants served wonderful food and the menus were imaginative and varied. The service was attentive and friendly. Windstar's room service is in our experience always first rate, whether its an early breakfast or a late night snack. Our orders were delivered in a timely fashion by a cheery friendly waiter or waitress. The Compass Rose Bar was our go to destination after dinner where there was always a duo playing together with the crew taking part in Liar or a music quiz. What really works for us is the friendliness of all the crew: they make sure that they call you by your name which everyone appreciates. When we were moored in the Scilly Isles I didn't get off the ship as I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to getting on and off tenders. The ship was almost empty so I sat on deck and over the course of a couple of hours three crew members came to chat, check I was okay and ask if they could get me anything. Windstar is a firm favourite for us and our eight day Star Pride trip was a really great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was a "Star Collector" cruise, featuring two 9-day back to back itineraries. We chose the itinerary because the first leg featured visits to Madeira and the Canary Islands, neither of which are offered very often. The ... Read More
This was a "Star Collector" cruise, featuring two 9-day back to back itineraries. We chose the itinerary because the first leg featured visits to Madeira and the Canary Islands, neither of which are offered very often. The second leg featured the Channel Islands, Cherbourg, and Bruges, none of which we had previously visited. One of the nice features offered by Windstar on these longer itineraries is free laundry service, greatly appreciated. Windstar loyalists such as us keep returning again and again because of the great personalized service. 56% of the passengers were Yacht Club members, and we won a bottle of champagne for having the most previous cruises. Captain Dmitri was extremely personable, and could often be found in the forward "Yacht Club" lounge chatting with passengers. The bar and dining room teams were excellent. However, the star of the show was Olga, who was in charge of signing up passengers for future cruises. She had a truly encyclopedic knowledge of every Windstar itinerary and details of every ship. We signed up for two cruises in 2020 (at a nice discount)! Something new this year was Windstar's partnership with the James Beard Foundation, including customized recipes from award-winning chefs that were incorporated into the daily menus. The food was outstanding, as was the wine list. Some of the wines by the glass were a bit pedestrian, but the overall selection was great. The onboard entertainment was average at best. There was a pianist/singer who lost his voice immediately after his Elton John "tribute" performance, and a Spanish duo (guitarist & vocalist) who made us long for the return of our all-time favorites "Rain". At least there was no dance band, as is often the case on the Wind Surf. There was also a couple on board who were professional photographers and who gave instructive talks every day about tips and techniques. However, Windstar no longer has a resident photographer, and they have also removed all of the casinos. No loss there... The itinerary was very good, but the excursions were just OK. Madeira was gorgeous, with absolutely mind-boggling topography unlike anything I have ever seen before. One of our future trips will be in March, 2020 for the inaugural cruise of the refurbished and lengthened Star Legend. Can't wait to see the improvements. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I just came home from the Lisbon to Barcelona cruise in April. It is our third cruise with Windstar. Pros: The staff is wonderful. They know your name by the second day. The food is good particularly the barbeque ... Read More
My husband and I just came home from the Lisbon to Barcelona cruise in April. It is our third cruise with Windstar. Pros: The staff is wonderful. They know your name by the second day. The food is good particularly the barbeque on the deck. There is a nice variety of food to please everyone. The suites are spacious. King size beds, a sitting area, a double variety bathroom, and a walk-in closet. The ship is very clean. The security on and off the ship is good. The shore excursions to Gibraltar, Alhambra and Seville were very good. The daily programs and nightly talks are very helpful for background information. Embarkment and disembarkment are quick and efficient. We extended our stay at the end of the trip to Barcelona. It was wonderful! Cons: The shore excursions are expensive. WiFi is not included and should be. Wine and beer should be included not an additional charge. A lovely vacation! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is ... Read More
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is in disrepair. There are layers of peeling paint and rust everywhere. The entertainment is pretty lame and the specialty restaurants are nothing more than the main diningroom serves. We experienced two deck side barbecues and the second had few shrimp and no lobster. The bridge was supposed to be open to passengers when not in port and was closed half the time. So what did we like? The great waiters like Hari, Puji an amazing room steward and the Yacht Club where specialty coffees and snacks were served all day. The excursions were excellent although it took four frustrating visits to the excursion desk to get a refund. The guys working the tenders were great as were the crew in the marina. The port visits were on time and the tv offerings were nice. We found the room service to be excellent and very convenient during the 13 day mostly rough crossing. The embarkation was a disaster after sitting in a cold, dirty port in Lisbon six hours because a Windstar rep told us we could leave our luggage secured and there wasn’t anyone there from The ship to assist us. Disembarkay was leisurely and well organized. Despite the many pluses, we won’t be sailing Windstar again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise because it worked with my schedule and I got a great price on it. I have cruised multiple times on both oceans and rivers, but this was the smallest ocean ship I have ever sailed on. I was a bit nervous about the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it worked with my schedule and I got a great price on it. I have cruised multiple times on both oceans and rivers, but this was the smallest ocean ship I have ever sailed on. I was a bit nervous about the size and the possibility of waves, but it was smooth sailing the whole time. From the time we embarked until the time we disembarked, the staff did everything in their power to make our cruise great. They learned our names, drink preferences, etc. They were receptive to checking inventory for beer I asked for that was not immediately available. They room steward answered promptly when called. Cannot say enough about the great service and the bright, smiling faces of the crew. The ports of call were very interesting. I had been to Lisbon and Barcelona before, so we did not do any exploring there. Tangier, Malaga, Cartagena, Tarragona, Almeria, and Ibiza were very interesting. I did not expect the weather to be as hot as it was and consequently we could have packed extra clothes this time and would have used them. I had to wash in my sink a couple of times. The shore excursions we took from Wind Star were pretty good for the most part, but I do believe that they are rather pricey. I was able to book some private ones of my own for much less money. The food was very good. The menu could have had some other non-beef or fish options but I managed to find things to eat. The nightlife was okay - we were tired from all the walking and the heat so we didn't need anything too strenuous. The highlight was the Crew Talent show. What an amazing and talented bunch of employees the Wind Surf has. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my DH 65th birthday. We have cruised 2x prior with WS (once on Wind Star, once on Wind Surf) and decided to do a back2back2back which meant 25 glorious days aboard Wind Surf! Our ... Read More
We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my DH 65th birthday. We have cruised 2x prior with WS (once on Wind Star, once on Wind Surf) and decided to do a back2back2back which meant 25 glorious days aboard Wind Surf! Our favorite thing about WS is the port intensive cruises with little or no sea days. We love waking up in a new port every day and exploring as long as possible. Come back to the ship, change clothes, grab a drink, meet friends for dinner, and maybe have a night cap or maybe just close down the dining room (that happened almost every night). Go to sleep and repeat. Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco was a great itinerary. We arrived into Lisbon 4 days early to see that sights. So happy we had time to do this and enjoy this beautiful city. Boarding was so easy and we got so so lucky while standing in line we met 2 other couples that will now be life long friends! And on board we met several other couples to make our cruise one of the best we have been on! Our first day was actually a sea day (which we try to avoid whenever possible). We hung out with new friends and got our sea legs. The sun was out and it was a lovely day. Tangiers: We hired a private guide prior to our cruise to take us around the Casbah and the Mdina. We have friends in the Peace Corps living in Morocco who came and joined us on our tour. We loved Tangiers and the people were so kind. I will say the Wind Surf destination manager at the time (didn't get his name) spoke about the horrors of Tangiers and scared several people from wanting to go ashore. I think he did a major disservice to people of Tangiers. While you should always be vigilant when in a foreign country, he went way overboard in his warnings. While many areas (not just Tangiers) have beggars and pickpockets, we felt very safe and would recommend this port to all of our friends. Malaga Spain: We decided to do Malaga on our own and walked off the ship and started walking. We found many pedestrian streets filled with beautiful architecture. We looked for the Picasso Museum but by the time we arrived, the line was too long and we didn't want to waste the time in line so we continued on our way. Our friends did the Hop on Hop off bus and enjoyed it. Granada: We booked the WS tour to the Alhambra and it was amazing! Definitely book this tour but do so months prior to your cruise. It does (and did) sell out prior to our sail date. We had a delightful guide at the Alhambra who just made the tour. A lunch following was fun and we got back in plenty of time. While you could do this on your own, I wouldn't risk it. Cartagena Spain: Once again, we DIY the day and walked the old city. Lots of interesting buildings and architecture and shopping too. Our friends did WS Tapas Tour and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Ibiza Spain: We had signed up for the Jeep Tour a few days before and were looking forward to fun. We loaded up into the jeeps (we got together a group we had met on board) and off we went. Unfortunately, the rain started and there was lightening and they turned the tour around. We did get a refund but we were so disappointed it rained! But 2 hours later, the sun came out and we ventured out on our own and walked through the town. Ibiza is such a night town that even at noon, there weren't a lot of folks up and about. We had a delightful lunch and did some major shopping. Tarragona Spain: It was a Sunday and we were unsure what there might be to do but we boarded the free port bus that took us about 20 minutes to the old city. What a glorious day we had! There was some kind of music festival with groups of kids marching down the streets playing all sorts of musical instruments. There was also the Human Pyramid festival happening where groups of people build a pyramid, sometimes up to 9 people high! And of course, what comes up, must come down! We wandered the cute streets and found beautiful shops and restaurants all opened. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were one of the only tourists and were surrounded by the locals enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Lunch of tapas and sangria and then dipping our toes in the Mediterranean rounded out our day. And that bought us to Barcelona and the end of our first of our back2back2back cruises. We had booked tickets to Sagrada Familia and Park Guell so we got off early and took a taxi and enjoyed our time at those fabulous places. We also walked down Las Rambles and then back to the ship in time for our next sail away. We were sad to see some of our new friends leave but we were so happy we had more cruising to do! We enjoy the wonderful folks who work so hard to make Wind Surf a special place. Captain Pedro, Hotel Operations Officers Calvin and Julian, Maitre d' hotel Merrick were out and about and available and willing to chat. Our favorite staff, Aladdin made our time onboard so very special as did Farid our cabin steward and Hari, Russ and Ada our servers. Anna at the tour desk and Anne at reception always had a smile and greeting for us as we walked by. Within a few days everyone knows your name and after 25 days on board, they really know all about you! Our opinion on the food is that it is very good. That being said, having been on board for 25 days, we learned that the rotation of the menus is about 5 days. With more and more Star Collector choices being offered, WS must rethink this policy. I enjoyed most everything on board during cruise 1 but by the time cruise 3 came along, I'd had enough of a few of the choices. The deck BBQ was wonderful and they have re-done the layout of where the food stations are since we last sailed with Wind Surf which made it seem roomier. I had originally booked a room on Deck 1 but the upgrade fairy came to visit several months later and we were upgraded to Suite 306. The location is towards the back of the ship and can be very noisy when the tenders are being used. But, it is so close to the Yacht Club and the Pool Deck, plus getting off the ship, we didn't let the noise ruin it for us. Plus, having 2 bathrooms in the suite saved my marriage after 25 days at sea! We were lucky to have the laundry service during our cruise and it was amazing! I did specify for cold wash and hang dry and just about everything came back perfect. One black sweater wasn't so black anymore but other than that, we were very pleased. Overall, we love Windstar cruises because it suits us. We love port intensive cruises. We love the smallness of the ships and that it affords you the opportunity to get to know your fellow cruisers as well as the officers and staff and they get to know you. Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco was filled with sunshine and towns you could easily do on your own. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this itinerary to those of you who like that type of cruise! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I can sum up the Star Pride, in a few words, barely adequate. Not a very high mark for a line that charges luxury prices. After 36 days on her, it’s more like Star Rust Bucket. The number of things that have gone amiss is quite long. ... Read More
I can sum up the Star Pride, in a few words, barely adequate. Not a very high mark for a line that charges luxury prices. After 36 days on her, it’s more like Star Rust Bucket. The number of things that have gone amiss is quite long. To put this review in perspective I am not a princess type and I certainly do not expect complete perfection. Too start off, a promised cruise credit of $2400, completely disappeared. I booked directly with Windstar, so can’t blame a TA. I did have some email paperwork, but was told it had to be emailed to the office. We had a hotspot, but it never seemed to go thru properly, even though the copy to myself did. After days of excuses, we were told the credit was $2000 and the first amount was an error. I was just too tired of the whole drama to pursue it farther. A vacation should be fun, not a miserable angry experience. We did get our free laundry package with no problem. The ship is quite tired and desperately needs a complete refurbishment and dry dock. The cabin is spacious, but looks to not have been changed since the 80’s. The chairs and loveseat appear somewhat newer, but the rest of the cabinets, table, desk etc are dinged, scratched and nicked. The carpet is worn. The bed is uncomfortable and overall linens poor quality. The steward does his best to keep things clean. Our bathroom, an accessible with shower only, has been remodeled in a very haphazard manor. A glass doored cabinet in front of the commode has no closer and shattered during a rough night at sea, I asked repeatedly to have the closer fixed to no avail. It stayed in a dangerous shattered state for 2 days before it was replaced. Still no closer after 36 days. A piece of folded paper was stuck in it to keep it closed. The toilet has broken four times. There is mold in shower grout etc. The shower water is often tepid to downright cold, at least 1/3 of the time. The light in the walk-in closet burned out 3 days ago, have asked reception, steward etc to fix. Finally after 4 days it was fixed.The worst has been for 5 days out of 32, there has been no heat and the room was like a meat locker. Repeated attempts to fix the problem, work for a few days, then it’s back to freezing. Other times it was excessively hot. Just today it was announced the HVAC is out shipwide. Finally,after over 3 weeks were offered a different room. I felt that the accessible shower stall was worth keeping the lemon room at this point. I’m onlly 4’10 with knee and back issues and having to step over the side of the tub, did not seem worth the trade off, plus the added work of repacking and unpacking again. The accessible room is what I booked and the expectation of having what I paid for did not seem too much, although evidently it is. We did receive a bottle of wine, as some compensation... The windows on the whole ship including our cabin have been filthy. On day 30 a halfhearted attempt at window cleaning occurred, with water sprayed onto the window. It helped marginally. Every other longer cruise I’ve ever been on, I have noted windows have sporadically been cleaned. Often there is a notice to close draperies etc. The hall on our floor flooded at least 4 times, adding to the general moldy smell. The public rooms are for the most part, equally tired, dingy, often smelling of mold and crammed with too much furniture. The dining room is ok and the Yacht club ok, except for dirty windows. The staff overall is beyond wonderful and the food has been excellent, probably the best of any cruise line we have been on. That pulled the bar from the pits to adequate. there are only two dining venues; the buffet and the main dining room. The “alternate”dining Candles, is just in the same buffet, but served with a slightly different menu. Near the end of the long cruise, the Candles was moved to the Compass Rose area, which was nicer, but seemed a huge amount of work for the staff, bringing food down an outside stairway. Evidently, Windstar used to have special events. That doesn’t seem to be the case any more. There have been Barbecue nights, which basically mean instead of getting served in the dining room, you get to stand in a long line snaking through the kitchen, fill you plates and try to find a free seat to eat. A confusing and not very fun event. Meanwhile,the singer blares Frank Sinatra songs. Most cruisers seem to be in the 50-75 age group and Frank would be appropriate for their parents. This should seriously be rethought. On our 4 b2b they did manage to get the barbecue on deck once, which was pleasant in the beautiful Norwegian fjords. Be advised the ship is quite small, which in most of our past cruises has been a plus, in this long one, there is nothing to do on sea days. Resting and reading are about it. Which is fine and what I anticipated. There are about 4 tv channels, repeating endlessly and some very outdated dvds available in the library. They do a wine tasting ($20) and a few other tiny events. There is one mediocre singer and a pretty good duo. They don’t add much. The crew talent show is cute and they give it their best. The worst thing overall, considering the cold and rough weather has been the many tender ports and the dismal, if not downright extremely dangerous condition of the tenders themselves. One has broken down twice. The front overhead hatch does not seal on either of them, and if a wave washes over, water pours into the tender. Getting on and off has been so hazardous in a few instances, I can only say thanks to the excellent tender crew, no one has been injured. One crossing was so bad I was fearful for my life. Not the most wonderful cruise experience. The few ships excursions we have taken have ranged from good to really awful. They are extremely overpriced, but that is usual with cruise tours. Many of the ports have been in industrial areas and many miles away from the main cruise port. This seems odd and involves taking a shuttle or public transportation to what you want to see. We have been at anchor and tendered many times a docking experience seems available for other ships. I’m not sure if this is a money saving issue.... In 36 days we only missed one port because of weather. So a positive on that. Our previous cruise with Windstar, on the Windsurf was a much better experience, but the ship had recently been refurbished and it was a much shorter cruise. I would not in any way recommend sailing on the Star Pride, in fact I would run the opposite direction as quickly as possible. We have heard there will be a complete dry dock refurbishment in Aug 2020 and perhaps they may add a section onto the ship. It may be a better experience at that time, but extremely doubtful I would give it a second chance. I know there are many cruisers that swear by the casual, small ship Windstar experience that will disagree. In my opinion there are much better options available for the price point ,general style and ambience As for the corporate office, I should not have had to hassle for a cruise credit I was promised and to top it of not receive the promised amount. If you are looking for a casual experience, other lines ,such as Oceania, give a much better value for cost. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
I had written to the CEO a 5 page letter describing in detail many items that were not up to supposed Tauck standards. I received a short 1 page letter addressing only one problem. Their motto' tell us your complaint before they ... Read More
I had written to the CEO a 5 page letter describing in detail many items that were not up to supposed Tauck standards. I received a short 1 page letter addressing only one problem. Their motto' tell us your complaint before they become problems" is a marketing tool. Very disappointed in the cruise Lisbon to Barcelona. For the price we paid, very poor value. we would not recommend small ship cruising with Tauck. Their excursions are rushed and many sites we could have seen we drove past. We chose this cruise based on a good experience in the past with Tauck. We were considering Regent Seven Seas but we presumed a smaller ship would be better, more intimate. Wrong. Cabin was nice. Food and service was excellent . BBQ night was the best! Excursions rushed. Not organized. Seemed as though Tauck was trying to fix things as we went along. Drive by buildings in a bus is worthless. By the time the local guide tells you about a building, it is past. Should have stopped at more places. A tapas food tour was a nice idea. Very enjoyable. Sagrada Familia was very ruched inside church tour. Should have been 2 hours due to so much to take in by Guidi. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first Windstar Cruise. It was a very pleasant cruise, but not extraordinary - although perhaps our expectations were too high. There were many pluses. The cabin was fabulous. The ship itself looked a bit tired, but very clean ... Read More
This was our first Windstar Cruise. It was a very pleasant cruise, but not extraordinary - although perhaps our expectations were too high. There were many pluses. The cabin was fabulous. The ship itself looked a bit tired, but very clean and spacious, and the lounge and bar areas were very comfortable and never felt crowded. The food was delicious, with different options for lunch and dinner each day. The itinerary was very good, we really liked having long days in port so we could see a lot in each place we were visiting. There were no tenders, so we could just walk off the ship and in to town and spend the whole day there if we liked. There was never a queue to get on or off the ship and the ship always docked on time. The staff were friendly and efficient. It was disappointing that the itinerary was changed after we booked - the ship did not go to Seville as planned so we had to make our own arrangements at additional expense. Communication with Windstar head office was very poor, although staff on the ship itself were as helpful as they could be. We took only two shore excursions - to Gibraltar & Grenada - both were very good with smallish groups and excellent guides. Entertainment in the evening was limited but it was fine for us. There were two very good duos performing in the evenings, and the lovely Maria organised quizzes and games in the Compass Bar. We loved the ship bbq night, the spa, our visit to the Bridge and the visiting flamenco troupe. There were no water sports available on this cruise, although there were two small pools and a hot tub I think. We would really have liked free wifi, better coffee and better quality wines in the drinks package. It was also disappointing that even after paying for a drinks package, our preferred brands were no longer available a few days into the cruise and no alternatives were offered. It was also sometimes difficult to book special dinners on deck, and some of the more popular shore excursions, as they were booked out early. It was fabulous taking a small ship cruise, as it meant more time in port, and no queues or crowds. The downside was less activities/ entertainment so I guess it’s a matter of what is more important to you as a cruiser. On a one week itinerary it was fine for us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for ... Read More
Some title? Well, some mirrors. I thought I would start with that. Mirrors in all the bathrooms, including the small public ones, positioned so you can see yourself on the toilet. Tell me that is not bizarre. That was about it for entertainment! Other than that, the bathrooms were the best part, especially for those of us with an ocean view cabin. We had double sinks and a huge (by ship's standards) walk in shower. The tubs in the French door cabins were dauntingly tall, in my view, particularly at sea. My main goal is to stay upright in a shower and, with a wet hand towel on the shower floor, I achieved that goal since I did not have to try to get into a bathtub. Great amenities, as well. There were two grab bars and plenty of storage. Helpfully, there was a cord for hanging your undies if you did hand wash. We eschewed the heavy duty laundry bill in favor of washing out a few things after each shower. Worked great. I will say that we only showered in port because of the rocking. The negative was that our inept and disinterested cabin boy forgot twice to give us a back up roll of toilet paper. When we ran out the second time, my husband was dispatched to reception. There, he met the captain who was so appalled that HE got us the toilet paper! Really, it was that kind of ship with only 200 passengers. Just how inept was that cabin boy? We were surprised at two things in the room when we arrived. One was that the beds are so low that you cannot put your luggage under them. We parked it on either side of the window. When we went to bed the first night, I found the mattress to be very uncomfortable, with some kind of metal support under my back. That and the rocking boat kept me from sleep most of the night. The next day, we examined the mattress to find that the cabin boy had flipped the mattress and we were sleeping on the supports. That got fixed very quickly. First time ever on a ship. At that, it was not the best mattress we have slept on at sea. However, we did not have issues with the thermostat as some did. The room was huge by our previous standards and having a window was normally just fine. It was quite large, the weather was too cool anyway to want to sit outside, so we were quite content with that kind of room. It would have been nice for someone to wash the window, however. The food. Where to begin? Both lunch and dinner were served up top. You had to cross over from the elevator to the outside to get to your meals. The highly touted bbq was on that deck and we about froze as we were not allowed inside the restaurant. That food was pretty good, however. The breakfasts and lunches were very ordinary for a ship that advertises that it is using James Beard recipes. It is bland, even for spicy ethnic dishes such as adobo. Bread pudding was available at every lunch along side ice cream. The rest of the desserts were mainly mousses as one guest mentioned. At dinner in AurorA, food portions were not only small but were mounded in the middle of the plates unattractively. The headwaiter had a hard time remembering if you asked to be seated with others so you could sit a while and have to send a waiter to remind him. The special Candles meal was in the buffet room so lacked any ambiance. My husband's veal chop was full of gristle, my filet was fine, but the bernaise came out of a can. The Caesar salad was very bland, like most of the food. AND, horror of horrors, we missed lobster night in AurourA! The negative of negatives was that exhaust fumes came into our room several times during the cruise with no way to blow the air out. We spoke to the captain about it and he said it happened all the time when the ship was bouncy. It bounced along the Portuguese coast both coming and going. One night we returned to our cabin after dinner to find it full of fumes which caused our eyes to burn. We ended up having to go to bed before the air cleared. That would keep me from sailing with Windstar until this issue is solved. It was one of the examples of the company not spending its money on things that matter. The ship clearly had been dressed up so the reputed $18 million spend on the 3 Seabourn ships went to superficial decorating, not to keeping its equipment repaired. We are supposed to sail on Legend and that ship had its tender fail. People were ferried by zodiacs with wet landings. That would have done me in as I only brought one pair of shoes. I read a report on Breeze that it also had tendering issues. When you arrive on the ship, there is a big hustle to sell you a laundry package (no self laundry), a booze package, and a wifi package. All very expensive. We did not buy any. I have no experience with the spa or the exercise room. Non- alcoholic beverages are included which I really liked. Fed my Coke addiction. Besides there being no entertainment and few port talks, there was a perfectly good room set up for movies but the equipment was missing or broken. We could set up a card game if we wanted but no one did. The library was pretty good for its size with a couple of shelves for passengers to exchange books. We really missed having something fun to do after dinner. There is a very small casino and a couple of bar areas but we do not drink much. A huge plus on this ship is the Yacht Club which not only provides expansive windows but also has a very nice mini breakfast and small sandwiches and desserts for lunch. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches sometime for our excursions. It shuts down the food at 6 pm when most people trot off to dinner. Excursions were the highlight of the islands. The Canaries and Madeira had amazing, wild mountains. The best excursion was a 4 wheel in the Algarve in Portugal. Because of the fabulous islands, we really were happy we went on this cruise. Most of the issues were not really so big.... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Ship was tired. Carpet tired and dirty. Staff was tired/ not energetic. Communication poor between staff and guest about were to be when especially on disembarkation. Had to wait on luggage both on embarkation and on ... Read More
Ship was tired. Carpet tired and dirty. Staff was tired/ not energetic. Communication poor between staff and guest about were to be when especially on disembarkation. Had to wait on luggage both on embarkation and on disembarkation. This wait caused us to miss a tour each time which the staff did not seem to worried about but cut down on our experiences. On disembarkation the wait also caused us to miss our connection to our next destination even. Staff called you by your first name or did not use yes sir or yes ma'am. Very cheap liquor and poor drink selection. Drinks made were weak ? watered? And staff very very careful to about not pouring too much and charging for every drop. Overall the food was excellent . Overall not worth the money or least wait to last minute and get last minute deal. We paid earlyt o reserve the date and got no incentives. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My husband & I took a back-to-back Windstar cruise sailing from Lisbon to Barcelona & Barcelona to Rome. We loved the 200 passenger ship for its intimacy, its room to breathe without being surrounded by 1000s all the time & its ... Read More
My husband & I took a back-to-back Windstar cruise sailing from Lisbon to Barcelona & Barcelona to Rome. We loved the 200 passenger ship for its intimacy, its room to breathe without being surrounded by 1000s all the time & its list of passengers from all over the world. Our cabin was wonderful - roomy with a curtain separating the large screen TV/reading lounge from the sleeping area, a walk-in closet, a sparkling well equipped bathroom, a bar console, ample storage/writing space & a wall window (not that we spent much time gazing out of it). Embarkation had minor delays, luggage delivery & disembarkation very smooth. The food - in the Veranda breakfast/lunch deck & the main Dining Room - was excellent & sophisticated & the service was impeccable. Ditto for the cabin stewards who went out of their way to accommodate requests & wishes (often unexpressed !!). Seating was open at dinner & we had a lot of interesting dinners by asking to be seated with other guests & offering to share our table with them, too. Although the setting was fairly formal, the atmosphere was not, due to the senses of humor of the 2 maitre d's who were lively & solicitous at the same time. Since I was coughing & sneezing at night, I didn't have much a chance to sample the entertainment but my husband did & loved it. There are several areas with live music, drinking & dancing where my hubby outdid himself singing karaoke & dancing with women with stationery husbands. My big regret is not feeling well enough to see all of this person but the staff & other guests regaled me with the stories. We've usually found the ships' shore excursions to be about average & only took one on the entire cruise. I had booked private tours in every port & thought they were absolutely fabulous, living up (with one exception) to all our expectations. I would highly recommend future guests to do the same - I used ToursByLocals &NotJustATourist & did a lot of reviewing before booking them. I'd also recommend spending extra days if you can exploring the departure & arrival cities as it provides a fascinating way to start & end a cruise. The one big negative for us was the itinerary on the second half of our cruise. My husband chose it as it extended our original cruise in the right time frame but we were disappointed by Windstar's choices, namely, 3 stops on the islands of Corsica & Elba as well as the Algarve of Portugal. Perhaps it was not possible but, looking at a map, there were a number of destinations that seemed a lot more appealing. We WOULD sail on Windstar again but make shore that (most of) the ports were places on our bucket list. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our first cruise on a small ship and I'm happy to say it exceeded our expectations. The Star Pride only carries 200 passengers or so which means that life onboard is generally relaxed and informal. The cabin was pleasantly ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a small ship and I'm happy to say it exceeded our expectations. The Star Pride only carries 200 passengers or so which means that life onboard is generally relaxed and informal. The cabin was pleasantly roomy and the food ranged from excellent to very good. With a small number of passengers you'll also get to know your shipmates since you'll tend to run into the same people on shore excursions, at dinner, or around the ship. The Yacht Club is a feature that doesn't get enough publicity. It's a lovely, quiet place to sit with a cup of tea or coffee, read, play cards, or just watch the ocean go by. The crew was a high point of the cruise. By the second or third day we were being greeted by name and asked if we'd like our usual drinks. They were uniformly warm, cheerful, and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly informal, low key affairs. With only 200 passengers it doesn't take much time to get everyone checked in or out. Of course, there are some tradeoffs with a smaller ship. Entertainment was limited to a duo and solo singer. They were very good, but there's only so much variety you can get out of three people. Likewise, the dining venues were a little limited. For example, it would have been nice to have the buffet open at dinner for those nights when you don't want to deal with the main dining room. And, of course, you will feel the ocean more in a smaller ship than a larger one. Overall, though, the good points far outweighed the limitations and we will definitely look at Windstar for another cruise. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After a lengthy break from multiple sailings on Windstar, it was with some trepidation that we decided to book this trans-Atlantic crossing from Lisbon to Bridgetown on the Wind Star. We were concerned that we would be longing for the ... Read More
After a lengthy break from multiple sailings on Windstar, it was with some trepidation that we decided to book this trans-Atlantic crossing from Lisbon to Bridgetown on the Wind Star. We were concerned that we would be longing for the "old days" on this cruise. We shouldn’t have worried. The “new” Windstar exceeded our expectations in all areas with two exceptions that I will describe at the end of this review. We spent a couple of nights in Lisbon before the cruise. We stayed at the Hotel Avenida Palace. The positive reviews we read online were accurate, and we would happily stay at the hotel again. The staff could not have been more gracious or accommodating, and the location was perfect for both walking on our own as well as taking tours/trams, etc. Next time, we would, however, ask for a room with a renovated bathroom. The Lisbon Cruise Terminal was a short taxi ride from the hotel. We were dropped off at the terminal where a check-in table was set up outside. Both the Wind Star and the Wind Surf had passengers embarking at the same terminal. Each passenger gave their name and the ship they were sailing. The staff then chose the appropriate luggage tag for the ship, wrote the cabin number on the tag, and then attached the tag to the luggage. Porters took the luggage and it was not seen again until it was placed in the cabin. The terminal had a waiting area where Windstar had set up water (and juice, I think) for passengers waiting to board the ships. We had a bit of a wait when we arrived because there were passengers from three different ships that needed to board. The Wind Star was the last to be called. Once we cleared passport control, it took us less than five minutes to board the ship. At the bottom of the gangway, there was some of the crew to help with carry-on bags. The Captain and some of the other staff were at the top of the gangway to welcome passengers onboard. Formal check-in was in the lounge. This is where we filled out the final paperwork. When the paper work was completed, we went to the onboard check-in desk; passports were taken (kept until we arrived in Barbados), photos were taken, and room keys were provided. We had a beverage package, and gave our room key to a person who placed a sticker for the beverage package on the key. Another person made our dining reservation at Candles. (I recommend signing up for a dinner at that time if you have a specific day that you would like to book. It was first come, first served, and it was a popular venue. ) After we had completed formalities, a member of the crew took the carry-on and walked with us to our cabin. By the time we got to our cabin, the first of our bags had already arrived. Shortly after that, our second bag was delivered. While I set to unpacking (my choice), my DH went to have lunch in the Veranda. Lunch was served from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. The longer lunch hours were much appreciated by passengers. Muster, which is mandatory for all passengers, was at 4:15 p.m., and the sailaway was at 5:00 p.m. After the sailaway, it was time to go down to our cabin to get ready for our first dinner onboard. Although the layout of the cabins was always efficient, the new layout made the cabin appear more spacious and, also, provided a sense of separation from the bed to the seating area. A cabinet that contained shelves, a BOSE system, water with glasses and ice bucket; a minibar, and a fridge was placed between the two areas. The seating area contained two upholstered corner seats with an expandable table in the middle. Under the upholstered seats were storage compartments. Under the table was a removable stool for additional seating. There were two plugs on the wall over the table, one North American and one European. The area functioned perfectly as a desk, or dining table. It's also a great place to read or use the computer without disturbing one's spouse/partner/travelling companion. There was an end table (shelf) on the side of the bed closest to the portholes, but no end table on the other side of the bed. There was a narrow passage between the bed and the wall adjacent to the foot of the bed to access the porthole side of the bed. The side of the bed closest to the cabinet had a built in narrow shelf where one could keep the TV remote, a couple of books, etc. There were also both European and North American outlets in this area, and I found it the perfect place to charge my iPad and phone. On this crossing, there were more options for planned activities than I had expected. There was the morning Yoga, and Walk a Mile (where the distance increased each day of the cruise). There was a guest lecturer onboard who provided sessions on how to "Write Your Life Story". One could choose to go to Trivia, Name that Tune, play sports against fellow guests on the Wii, take a galley tour, visit the bridge, play in Blackjack tournaments, go to a wine tasting, cocktail demonstrations (where you try the cocktails if you want), a ship building contest, dance classes, a Tagalog class, napkin folding, and a cooking class. There was also unhosted chess and bridge for those passengers who were interested. We had some other special events that also took place. The crew and staff spent a couple of days decorating the ship for Halloween, and it looked amazing. Halloween was filled with surprise events. In the morning, we had a "Very Bloody Mary" with different types of Bloody Mary drinks. Then, there was a fabulous BBQ deck lunch with sausages, hamburgers, chicken, fish and vegetables; jambalaya; seafood mac and cheese; potatoes; various salads; and other cold dishes. At 6:30 p.m., we had "A Halloween Surprise" from the crew. Later that evening, we had a Halloween Party. It was all great fun! Later in the cruise, we had another deck BBQ lunch featuring a lot of the same foods as the first BBQ, but also an Indian curry and pappadoms. It was nice to have a menu that offered some “heat” as well as lots of choices for those who preferred to have no spice. One night, we had a wonderful Deck BBQ “Under the Stars”. Shrimp, lobster, whole roast pig, various vegetable dishes, salads, cheese, and other delights were available. It was amazing to watch the crew set this up, the chefs prepare the meal, and the passengers (and staff) enjoy every moment of this special event. I can’t provide much information on breakfast as we only ate one breakfast and we ordered room service for that breakfast. We had one order of Eggs Benedict and one order of poached eggs on toast. Both orders were cooked to perfection. Lunch was served in the Veranda from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. on all days with the exception of the deck BBQ lunch days. The Veranda had a small menu from which one could place orders with the wait staff. There was a self-serve buffet that included salad choices, a soup, different hot mains and vegetables, a carving station, and various desserts that always included bread pudding. Dinner, which was from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 pm in the MDR, Amphora, was outstanding. All of the wait and bar staff provided a five star dining experience. Chef Eddy, and those who assisted him, created marvelous meals and we enjoyed every single course of every single dinner in Amphora. We also loved dining on the deck in the evening at Candles, and were able to make more than one reservation. The service was top notch and the entrees were all cooked perfectly. The side dishes were “hit and miss” because they were not always hot enough; however, they were never overcooked (which, IMO, makes them inedible). As our waiters could attest, we definitely enjoyed most of the side dishes despite the fact they were not hot. The evening entertainment consisted of a duo onboard, David and Marianne, who were great and played a wide range of music. If one didn’t feel like going to the lounge, there was always the choice of going up on deck, working on a large jigsaw puzzle, or watching a movie/reading/relaxing/sleeping in the cabin. There were a couple of things that had a negative impact on the crossing: Instead of putting the ship in dry dock, major maintenance/replacement of parts/etc. were completed on the whole crossing. Some of the work included fixing/replacing the hydraulics (?) and/or mechanical mechanisms on all of the sails; a crew of specialists boarded in Lisbon to complete this mammoth task. There were almost always areas of the outside deck one could not go. There was also the constant noise associated with the work being completed. (Lousy for us, but terrible for the crew who could not sleep during their rest times because of the noise.) The internet was abysmal. Usually, we have to work and/or be in contact with work while we are cruising. It’s a good thing that this was not the case for most of this crossing. The internet was the worst that we have ever experienced on any ship on any crossing (Atlantic or Pacific). It took multiple attempts to be able to log on or stay logged on long enough to access our e-mails. It took me hours to send an e-mail with a document attached. Unfortunately, unlike the past, there was no access to a fax on the ship (probably because everything is done over the internet). Anyone who needs to be in frequent contact with the “outside world” should check more recent reviews to determine if the internet continues to be a problem. Despite those issues, we still had a wonderful cruise because we sailed with friends, and had the pleasure of becoming reacquainted with other passengers whom we had met on previous Windstar trans-Atlantics. In summary, the small ship experience, dining, officers, staff and crew were all fantastic. If Windstar could assure us that there would be no major maintenance on another cruise, and could also assure us that they had improved their internet service, we would not hesitate to sail on Windstar again. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Having taken only two previous cruises, one with Regent and one with Silver seas I don’t claim to be an expert on reviewing cruises. However, here is my opinion of the Windstar Barcelona to Lisbon cruise aboard the Star Breeze. The ... Read More
Having taken only two previous cruises, one with Regent and one with Silver seas I don’t claim to be an expert on reviewing cruises. However, here is my opinion of the Windstar Barcelona to Lisbon cruise aboard the Star Breeze. The appeal of a small ship like the Star Breeze is crowd avoidance. However, The Star breeze feels crowded at times especially when at sea. Most of the cabins have widows that don’t open so people want to be on the decks to get fresh air. Unfortunately, there are not enough lounge chairs on the two outside decks. Consequently, everyone tries to claim a chair early by putting stuff on it. Latecomers move the stuff which causes arguments. The lounge chairs have a one inch pad and are very hard. There are umbrellas over some chairs but usually can’t be open under way due to the wind. So, there is little shaded area on the upper deck when the ship is moving. The cabins that do have a sliding door have a tiny deck you can stand on if you have small feet. In effect, all you get is a window that opens. These cabins sell out early. The cabins with a window that doesn’t open are large enough but claustrophobic in my opinion. There is one pool which resembles an oversize bathtub and two small hot tubs. There is a constant roar from the smoke stacks even when the ship is docked. It is quite annoying on the outside decks including the Candles restaurant. I suggest you bring a noise cancelling headset if you want to read a book on the deck. Compared to the two previous cruise ships I was on the Star Breeze seemed dated and overcrowded. There are two restaurants. One is used for breakfast lunch and dinner. This restaurant at dinner time is called Candles and you can go there once during the 8-day cruise. The outside seating area is subject to the exhaust noise. The main dining room on the lower deck is used for dinner only. The food is quite good in both restaurants. Entertainment. Two musical duos played guitar and sang on and off all day. There was one free flamenco dance show on the ship one evening. The cabin crew sang some songs and danced. Sort of an amateur hour show. Amenities I'm not sure if all Windstar cruises are ala carte but this one was. You can buy drinks for $54/day per person or individually. You have to sign for each drink which is annoying. All tours are extra. Even laundry and WI Fi are extra. There are different Wi FI plans priced by the G bytes you use. Shore Excursions Tours were very good and well organized although none were free. Cost varied for $60 to 250/person Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in ... Read More
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in lounge, interesting historical lectures by a very informed historian. Wonderful service and extremely friendly and kind crew. Captain always actively engaged with passengers. Ability of all to remember passenger names was astounding and never experienced on any other line. Mixed age groupings, kids with grandparents and so forth, and younger crowd than Vantage or Viking get made it nice too. Ship is gorgeous under sail. We had foggy conditions and missed one port of call but no one seemed to mind and felt securely cared for by the senior staff and crew. Great land excursions, though somewhat expensive. Wonderful cruise director, who was very caring with anyone who was unsteady or needed extra time. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Before reviewing a wonderful five-star cruise, let me dispense with my booking frustrations with the Windstar office. Without burdening you, may I simply say that the powers-that-be in Seattle need to properly train their representatives, ... Read More
Before reviewing a wonderful five-star cruise, let me dispense with my booking frustrations with the Windstar office. Without burdening you, may I simply say that the powers-that-be in Seattle need to properly train their representatives, empower them to answer concerns and questions, and then abide by their answers. Should anyone want details, please contact me. Now for the Star Legend cruise from Lisbon to Dublin with port calls in Porto, El Ferrol, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, and St Malo. First, my wife and I have been enjoying cruises for 25 years on both larger and smaller ships. As in the Goldilocks story, we found the Star Legend to be just right. Boarding was seamless and pleasant at about 1:00 in the afternoon. After having a glass of Champagne, providing our passports and receiving our boarding cards, we were escorted to our “suite” which was in order and immaculate. We were then invited to enjoy lunch on the Veranda. From that point on, for the next 10 days, service from every member of the staff was always with a sincere smile and immediate. From laundry service to in-room meals, from tour escorts to bartenders, from the personable Captain to the fellow polishing brass, everyone was willing and able to be of service. Yes this ship has some age, but I have learned to appreciate the workmanship in older vessels. The walls of our spacious cabin were solid, constructed of wood, mirrors and padded fabric. We did not hear our neighbors and I doubt they heard us. All meals were outstanding in all of the venues, with a great variety of menu selections. The wine list was more than adequate. Here I must give special kudos to the wonderful young lady who served us three meal per day, almost without exception, (not that she was assigned to us, but because we sought her, or she looked for us). Trisna, from Bali, was the most caring, attentive, friendly individual imaginable, and able to do all that she did with the graciousness of a prima ballerina. Thank you so very much Trisna! Our ports of call were unique, and great launching points for some very interesting tours. It was so nice to dock at every port. No tendering. Before wrapping this up, I must mention two tiny aspects which did not please us. One, the music provided by the entertainers included amplified computer accompaniment. In some places this was bearable, but in the Compass Rose room it was not. We entered this room on two different occasions after dinner and the volume was so loud we turned around and left. My only other gripe would be that I bristled at having time taken from my 50 min. massage to pitch my need for additional massages and a $55.00 “cooling gel.” Yes, we would do it again, and recommend it highly. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was the first cruise of a pair of b2b cruises from Lisbon to Barcelona. We did our own air, pre-cruise hotel stay in Lisbon, and transfers. Booked transfer from Pedro at Lisbon Taxis. We have used him on other trips. As usual, our ... Read More
This was the first cruise of a pair of b2b cruises from Lisbon to Barcelona. We did our own air, pre-cruise hotel stay in Lisbon, and transfers. Booked transfer from Pedro at Lisbon Taxis. We have used him on other trips. As usual, our ride was waiting for us. In Lisbon we stayed at the Bessahotel. It was fantastic. Great central location, gorgeous rooms, nice breakfast, free wifi, and great staff. They let us checkin early. They had their limo take us to the ship. The Bessahotel was excellent. Our embarkation was quick. Our cabin was ready. Cabin was a large suite with lots of good storage space. I booked this cruise for the ports. The ports were interesting. What I liked best about the ports was being able to dock close to where we wanted to be. Seville was fantastic. Unlike other ships, we were able to sail up the river into Seville. Walked off the ship and walked to the Alcazar in 10 minutes. In Malaga, we were very close to the old city. It was an easy walk into town. In some ports, there were shuttles. Some were free. In Gibralter, we paid for a shuttle. the Discovery event was in Palma at the Juan March Palace. The Palace was a beautiful house which is now a museum. The art was interesting. I especially liked the Dali prints. Local group performed dances. Wine and cheese was served. It was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The annoying part of the cruise was the large group of 80 sailing as part of a Tauck tour. The group seemed to take over spaces. They liked to eat in big groups, drank too much, and were quite loud. If I had known that Tauck tours had booked a large group, I would have picked another date. In spite of it, we still had a good time. Happily, we were staying on for the next cruise. The following cruise had no big groups. Second cruise was more enjoyable. Next time that I book a Windstar cruise, I will ask if there are any large groups booked. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Cruise review Tauck - Small Ship Cruising Treasures of Spain & Portugal (Eastbound - Lisbon to Barcelona) April 19 - May 1, 2017 By Ken Montgomery- Irvine, CA Summary - This was the initial cruise for Tauck with this ... Read More
Cruise review Tauck - Small Ship Cruising Treasures of Spain & Portugal (Eastbound - Lisbon to Barcelona) April 19 - May 1, 2017 By Ken Montgomery- Irvine, CA Summary - This was the initial cruise for Tauck with this itinerary and this Windstar ship. Thus, this trip was a bit of a shake down cruise, but Tauck did their usual up-scale fantastic job. The ship for the cruise portion of the trip was the Windstar Star Pride, a first class smaller cruise ship. Portugal & Spain have great ports for the cruising industry and there is a lot to see within range of their port cities. The itinerary required a moderate amount of walking and a fair amount of stair climbing and bus boardings. The weather was generally cooler and windier than normal for the area, but we didn't have much more than a few sprinkles. Early May might be warmer and more conducive to cruising. Pre-Trip. Landed at Lisbon airport Tuesday morning around 8:00 am, breezed thru Passport Control in under 5 minutes. Tauck met us and 4 other couples at the airport and drove us to Intercontinental Hotel and the rooms were ready! I think Tauck had something to do with that, but no guarantees on the early check-in. The high season in Lisbon hadn’t quite started yet, so the hotel could get us in early. After a nap, we rode the “Hop on- Hop off” bus for a few hours, which was a great introduction to the City. The hotel was very nice and has a great breakfast included. We even had a nice view of the City and river Tagus from our 14th floor room. Wednesday (on our own)- Before we left home, we set up a Viator trip to Fatima and the Atlantic Coast (north). We lucked out, this was a great trip. We walked to the pick up point, the Hard Rock Cafe corner, about a 25 minute downhill walk from the hotel. Our tour was in a nice Mercedes van. There were a total of 7 passengers and a great guide, Pedro Dos Santos. He gave commentary in Spanish and English and drove professionally at the same time. We got back at 7:00pm, so we missed the cocktail party portion of the Welcome Party. The announcements were made after dinner, so we caught that. Viator booked the tour (on-line, very easy) and "Inside Lisbon Tours" operated the tours. There were about 8 tours leaving from the Hard Rock Cafe corner at 9am, so there was a lot of confused customer milling around until a driver showed up and announced the 7 or so names he or she was taking. This was a little bit of a chaotic way to start the tours, but everyone was off on their way within 10 minutes or so. Tauck Tour Day 1 of Tour - Wednesday evening- Intercontinental Hotel - Lisbon - Welcome Cocktail Party & Dinner 6:00 pm at Intercontinental Hotel. Nice dinner and a good way to meet fellow “Tauckies”. Day 2 - Thursday- Lisbon Highlights bus tour - 9:00am to 1:30 - lunch and rest of afternoon & dinner were on your own. The Tauck bus will leave you near in the City Center or take you back to the hotel. Most people left the bus in the City Center and continued on foot. Our tour guide showed us a few restaurants and then left us on our own. We walked down to the Tagus River front and found some nice restaurants with a view of the river Tagus. We then rode a few more routes on the Hop on Hop off bus. There are 3 companies doing this, and they all seam to stop at the same stops. You can buy a ticket on board with Euros. Each company has 2 or 3 routes with each route taking about 90 - 100 minutes. This is a great way to see the City. Bring your own ear phones, the ones they give you are low quality. Day 3 - Friday - Lisbon - Bags out at 6:45m, bus tour to Sintra and other stops west of Lisbon. We got back to Lisbon to board the Windstar Star Pride around 2:30pm. There were 40 Tauck passengers on the 212 passenger boat. On this cruise there were a total of 170 passengers. The check in process was quick and efficient. They kept the restaurant open until 4:00 so the 40 Tauck passengers could eat a late lunch. The bags were in the room when we arrived unless your bag had a bottle in it as shown in an X-Ray. We had a bottle of wine in one of our bags and we received a call to come down to security, they wanted us to open that bag. You can bring 2 bottles of wine with you, but no bottles of liquor. If your bottle turned out to be liquor, they kept the bottle and promised to return it at the end of the cruise. The mandatory safety drill was at 4:15. The Tauck passengers then had their nightly cocktail hour at 6:00 pm in the Compass Rose (deck 6) where you could get free wine or cocktails & peanuts. This was a very nice nightly private party. Announcements were made during the party about the next day's activities. You also received a copy of the Tauck itinerary in your room. You also received the Windstar daily itinerary. Reception distributed a small English language world news summary. Dinner was at 7:00 pm nightly in the main dining room. Windstar has open seating and one upgraded restaurant where the menu is a little nicer. Tauck customers received free house wine at dinner. The wine was excellent. Friday night had rough seas, hard to sleep. Due to the rough seas, we arrived in the next port 2.5 hours late. Day 4 - Saturday: Portimao, Portugal- the Tauck bus tour left the ship at 11:30. We returned to boat for lunch and then boarded the bus again for an afternoon wine tasting trip. Back to boat at 5:20, the boat sailed at 6:00 pm. My wife & I had dinner in the special restaurant, and the food was a notch above the main dining room. Had a table outside in the setting sun, and it was not windy. Saturday night was smooth, no big seas, good sleeping. Day 5 - Sunday - Seville, Spain - we boarded buses in Cadiz and drove to Seville. Due to weather and sea state caused delays, we didn't have time to take the ship up the river up to Seville, which would have been nice, beats a long bus ride. Spent a full day seeing Seville, then back to the Ship by 6:30. The Tauck cocktail hour lasted till 7:30 and then onto dinner. The bus rides were about 2 hours each way including a restroom stop at the halfway point. Weather was cool in the morning and low 80s in the afternoon. Seville is a great City for tourists and the Tauck guides got us to the front of the line - always. Day 6 - Monday -Gibraltar- we docked at noon. We did a 2 hour tour, then back to the boat at 4 pm, or you could stay in the town and walk back. Boat departed at 10 pm. Weather was in the mid 60's. No Cathedrals today! The "Rock Apes", (monkeys) were very cute and photogenic. Windy day! Day 7 - Tuesday - Malaga, Spain. 9:00 am depart for Andalusian Manor Hacienda La Esperanza. Our group of 40 was treated to a private visit, horse show and tapas tasting, back to ship by 1 pm. At 2:30 pm we left on a Malaga sightseeing tour and a walking tour thru the Old Town where you could visit the Picasso art gallery. Temps in the 70's, not much walking. Day 8 - Wednesday. - Almeria, Spain. - Departed at 8:00am for 2.5 hour bus ride, including a bathroom stop, to Granada. We had a tour of the amazing Alhambra Palace and lunch at the Alhambra Palace Hotel. Back by 5:30pm. The Windstar ship crew put on their big BBQ that night on deck 7 despite the wind, with dancing on deck afterwards. Temps in the mid 60's. there were a fair amount of walking and stairs in this visit. Day 9 - Thursday - at sea- cold, windy, rocky, not a lot to do. We were glad we brought some “Great Courses” DVD's with us. Our Tauck tour director gave us a lecture on the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), which was very interesting. There is a lot less to do on days at sea on a small cruise ship compared to large cruise ships. Windstar should work on this. Give us a few lectures or even video presentations about upcoming ports. It was too cold to sit outside for long. If the weather was warm, I’m sure everyone would have been on deck getting sun. Day 10 - Friday - Palma de Majorca - a beautiful city, we had a tour of the city in the morning, lunch on the ship, or stay in the city, then a visit to a private palace with a folk dancing performance with wine & cheese in the afternoon. Great weather, high 60's and sunny. Day 11 - Saturday- Barcelona - disembarkation- bags out before 5 am, which means the night before. We left the ship at 8:45 am and then toured the major sights of Barcelona, an amazing city. I love how Tauck gets the group to the front of the line, we never waited in line. We checked into the El Palace Hotel around 4pm, very nice hotel. Most people walked the Las Ramblas and found a place for dinner. There were lots of choices. Weather was cool and windy. Day 12 - Sunday - Barcelona - met the bus at 8:15 for another day touring Barcelona. We had a private organ recital in the "Music Palace" (Palau de la Musica), another Barcelona architectural masterpiece. We had a walking tour of the old city, then lunch on our own, then bused back to the hotel. Tauck had the farewell cocktail party and dinner at the "Silk Palace", leaving the hotel at 6 pm, back around 9:15. Day 13 - Monday - Barcelona - going home - we had a 10:50am flight to Newark, so Tauck arranged the airport transfer at 7:15 am. The United check-in counters didn't open until after we were standing the airport looking for the United check-in counters. Around 8:00 am, 5 United check-in counters opened. Checking in was easy. A security officer did a short interview with each passenger before they proceeded to check-in. They wanted to know where you had been, so it helps to rattle off a few of your ports and Cities visited. Several passengers stayed a few extra days in Barcelona and Tauck took care of their transfers on their day of departure. Comments on the Windstar Star Pride Beautiful ship, smooth sailing and docking. No tendering on this cruise, the ship tied up at the dock at all the ports on this cruise Security getting back on the ship varied from port to port, some places had airport style inspection, other places a quick visual inspection. Efficient, responsive & friendly crew Some cabins experienced plugged toilets which were repaired by crew Food is very good Entertainment is limited to piano bar type entertainers Each cabin has a DVD player Ship has a library of books and DVD's for lending Ship has a small pool and 2 jacuzzis Wifi is spotty and slow, but you will get your emails and some websites, but don't try to download a Netflix movie or even a U-tube clip Cabin 316 was spacious with a walk in closet, lots of drawers, a safe and small balcony Cabins have one - 110 volt and one - 220 volt outlet. Ships store has a good selection of Windstar logo clothes. They also have sundries at reasonable prices. The store is only open when the ship is moving. Reception also sells toiletries. There is a small casino with 1 poker table and 1 blackjack table and some machines. Gymnasium - outstanding - 5 treadmills, 3 stationary bikes, 1 rowing machine, 1 arm cycling machine, many single purpose weight stack machines, free weights, bar bells, yoga mats. There was also a Personal Trainer available. Spa - full service Comments on Tauck Bus tours were very comfortable, great buses and informative commentary by our guides. Rest stops every 60 to 90 minutes. They have a rotating seat assignment system, which works great. Everyone gets to sit in front once during the trip. Seat assignments are posted outside the bus, so you know where to sit. Water is always provided. The tour directors are amazing people, they handle all the issues and unplanned challenges on the fly without a problem. Thank god for cell phones and the Tauck support staff back at headquarters to help with challenges. Tauck provided unique touring experiences and set up private entertainment performances. There was a private wine tasting & wine education in Portugal, a couple of dance performances, and an organ concert, just for our group. Tauck seems to be sensitive about not taking their guests to too many cathedrals, as many companies seem to do. There was usually free time for people to visit more cathedrals if they wanted to. Wifi was free but slow on the ship. The wifi was good in the hotels. The hotels did not have DVD players. Dress code - about half the men wore sport coats for the welcome & farewell dinners, although this is not required. Most of the time, the dress code on the ship is "Resort Casual” (pants with a colored shirt) We have heard that the Tauck “Treasures of Spain & Portugal” Cruise has been booked up for many months out and I can see why. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this yacht because of the small size and the ports looked interesting to us. What we hadn't expected was a completely terrible shore excursion experience at our first port, Tangier. No quality assurance was evident so this ... Read More
We chose this yacht because of the small size and the ports looked interesting to us. What we hadn't expected was a completely terrible shore excursion experience at our first port, Tangier. No quality assurance was evident so this was not a good start and we were quite worried that this would be the standard throughout the cruise. Fortunately visits to subsequent ports were very good. We also didn't understand why it was so difficult to obtain a reservation at "Candles" and "Stella" restaurants, particularly as they often looked to be only half full. Accommodation, food and quality of service was to a very high standard. We also enjoyed the open bridge policy and meeting some of the crew. Other "pluses" were the sailing experience and lovely public spaces; embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient and the high quality of our cabin. Overall an enjoyable experience which was matched with perfect weather Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We choose this cruise because : 1. We sailed on this ship in 1996 , originally she was called Club med 1 , we always wanted to cruise again on this sister ship of the Club med 2 on which we are 35 cruises repeaters . Both ships were ... Read More
We choose this cruise because : 1. We sailed on this ship in 1996 , originally she was called Club med 1 , we always wanted to cruise again on this sister ship of the Club med 2 on which we are 35 cruises repeaters . Both ships were built by the same company. 2. we like ship with a lot of space on the deck where it is possible to have all meals on the deck if the weather permit 3. as a wild life photographer , I like to be able to take pictures from the bow of the boat we actually met sea mammals and sea birds different from the sea gulls 4. we new the comfortable size of the cabin on deck 1 and the différent decks 5. we didn know how the cooking was ? We were pleasantly surprised by the refinement of the meals presentation. 6. Each stop was interesting and the access to each city historic center was well managed for an easy acces by shuttles at each stop. We really enjoy this cruise , the two negative points are the cost of the wine and the wifi. A personal wish of my wife would be to have french translation of the daily information sheet 7. we were also attracted by very promotional last minute prices on this cruise Read Less
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