Windstar Cruises has long been known as a line of sailing ships, geared toward those who love the sea and the whole “wind in your face, sun on your cheeks” experience. Buying the sail-less, 212-passenger motor yacht Star Breeze and its sister ships (all previously owned by Seabourn) seemed a strange move at first. But the ships are small enough that the atmosphere feels similar. This is intimate, yacht-like, casually elegant cruising, with the addition of such amenities as a casino and show lounge.
What We Love
The Yacht Club: This contemporary lounge, with glass walls and cushy furnishings, is so comfy we have a hard time leaving. There’s even a long table designed for laptop users, and an espresso bar that also serves snacks.
Open-Bridge Policy: Those who enjoy exploring the navigational aspect of ships can hang out on the bridge any time, 24 hours a day. Unlike on other lines, you can get to know the captain and officers and watch them work.
Outdoor Parties: Once each cruise, weather permitting, there’s a lavish buffet on the two-level pool deck, with mountains of seafood on ice, a huge pan of paella, chefs grilling fish and meats, and a crowd that — after a few drinks — is very willing to join a conga line.
Best Known For
All-Suite Accommodations: There’s no roughing it here. Everyone gets a decently sized suite (277 square feet and up) with an ocean view, walk-in closet, and marble bathroom with tub.
Sail Away Ceremony: As the dramatic strains of the theme from the movie “1492: Conquest of Paradise” play on the sound system, two members of the crew slowly pull ropes lifting a large flag emblazoned with a “W” logo into the sky. While not as dramatic as the raising of the sails on the original vessels, it is a memorable moment.
Water Sports: When the ship is anchored, a drop-down marina gives guests access to complimentary water toys, including sailboats, paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkeling equipment. You can also dive right off the platform into the sea.
Shop for Cruises
Who It's Best For
Active Boomers: The 40-plus crowd is well-heeled and well-educated.
Honeymooners: Couples are drawn to this all-suite ship for the comfortable accommodations and Candles, a romantic specialty restaurant where you can dine outdoors at a table for two.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Few Verandas: If you’re set on having a private veranda with chairs, you’ll need to book one of the pricey Classic or Owner’s suites. The ship’s so-called “balcony” cabins have French balconies with glass doors that open, but the ledge isn’t big enough to step out on.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
Windstar Cruises Videos
Shop for Cruises
Star Breeze at a Glance
- Line: Windstar Cruises
- Class: Star
- Number of Passengers: 212
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 1989
- Refurbish Date: 2015