Windstar Cruises Star Breeze Review
ULTIMATE VACATIONS sailed on Windstar Cruises luxurious yacht, Star Breeze. This our Description, Review, Video & Photos. Windstar is Different!
Windstar Cruises is all about delivering a yacht-like experience and Star Breeze is luxury, yet far from stuffy. "Don't bring a suit or gown." This former Seabourn all-suite ship has all the luxury you could expect from a large luxury ship, but without the crowds, plus being nimble enough to pull into secluded harbors and intimate ports that large cruise ships could only wish for. We loved the Star Breeze. Though this is in the Windstar family there are no sails, she is completely diesel powered. Accommodating a maximum of 312-guests, the Star Breeze has four fabulous restaurants and multiple bars. Despite the perception of being a small yacht-like ship the length is 522 feet, or more than 1/2 the length of a typical cruise ship. There are eight decks, 156 ocean view staterooms and suites, ranging from 277 sq feet to 1,374 sq feet Suites. The halls are roomy and feature photos of sailing ships and sailing destinations, an appreciated touch.
Star Breeze completed a 2019/2020 multi-million dollar expansion and upgrade. The yacht was cut in half and a brand new section was inserted, adding new public areas, including two new dining venues, a new spa, infinity pool, and fitness area. The ship also boasts all new bathrooms in every suite and a new category of Star Suites, featuring a new layout. Suites are well designed for space, have a massage shower and provide L'Occitane bath products. Guests have use of waffle-weave robes, and are greeted with fresh flowers and fruit. The mini-fridge is well stocked with complimentary sodas and juices, plus a generous variety of wines and beers i.e. Heineken, Amstel Light, Bud, Bud Light and Stella for purchase. Water is provided free of charge via a large canister which is refilled twice daily.
Windstar Star Breeze yacht. Photo: Jay French
Windstar Star Breeze video
Here are some of the major differences between Windstar and major cruise lines. Alcoholic drinks are charged for like always, though you can pre purchase a drink package. All other drinks are included - soft drinks, coffee, water, cappuccinos, and specialty drinks minus the alcohol i.e. virgin pina coladas, etc. Room service menu is generous and included. You can order popcorn to watch the DVD in your room and even check out DVD's from the library.
Meals in restaurants are not available for quite as long as major cruise lines but you cannot go hungry. Typical dining hours for Breakfast are 7am - 9:30am. Breakfast is served at the Veranda where you can dine inside or on deck under shade. You have both a cold buffet and a hot buffet to select from. There is an omelet station where you select the ingredients. But my favorite is ordering from the menu of outstanding selections like Tomato Basil Benedict, Classic Eggs Benedict, Stuffed French Toast, Blueberry Pancakes, Waffles Your Way, and Ham and Cheese Crepe, all served with generous freshly prepared sides.
Beware, the menu is limited on the morning of departure. The hot and cold buffet as well as the omelet station is available, but the grill service is not.
For lunch 12:00pm - 2pm. Lunch is served at Veranda with indoor and on deck seating available. Most days we missed lunch at Veranda because of the short window and being in port. We had a port every day, no days at sea. When we did have lunch it was excellent. Of course there was standard cruise fare but each day brought a different special, and delicious reliable like Fish & Chips.
The Yacht Club is at the top of the ship on Deck 8 facing forward and has time-of-the-day appropriate snacks available from 6 am until 6 pm - deli sandwiches, salads, desserts, etc. along with coffees and cappuccinos.
Dinner is served between 7pm and 9pm. AmphorA is the main dining room, nautically themed with a rotating menu. We never tired of it. Everyone is entitled to dine at Candles, which is Veranda transformed to a beautiful on deck dining open air venue. This is a beautiful locale to catch the sunset or view the lights of the port and stars in the tropical sky. You can make your reservation for Candles as soon as you board the ship. We suggest you do.
And finally, after the expansion and upgrade Star Breeze introduces two NEW Dining concepts: Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso and Star Grill by Steven Raichlen *NEW*exclusive - Stella Bistro. Since we sailed on Star Breeze before these addition we unfortunately can not comment on them. But we certainly look forward to experiencing and reporting on them in the near future.
Any past cruiser has experienced on-deck buffets, but not like Windstar. One night per sailing the crew prepares a fabulous buffet. Of course there are seemingly unlimited salads, cheeses and appetizers, but the main offerings include lobster tails (as many as you want, as often as you want), suckling pig carved in front of you, ribs on the grill, paella, and much more. Plus desserts galore.
Our BBQ on deck was in Montserrat, where we remained until 10 pm. So we had the beautiful visual of lovely Montserrat while we dined on deck, concluding with the traditional Sail Away celebration and followed by line dancing with the crew.