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.
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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.
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Star Breeze at a Glance
- Line: Windstar Cruises
- Class: Star
- Number of Passengers: 212
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 1989
- Refurbish Date: 2015