If you’ve never cruised, or have only been on very large cruise ships, you’ll be impressed by cruising experience on Windstar. When I first started writing this, I was sitting in my stateroom on board the Star Breeze with the balcony doors open wide, watching the waves pass by. My parents, husband and I all agree, this was the nicest cruise ship ever.
Every room on Star Breeze is a spacious suite—a very comfortable arrangement for two people who want to hang out and read during a day at sea, or relax together in the evenings. Of course, there’s so much to do, it’s hard to stay still…
What can I say but “The food, the food, the food!” My family has been on many cruises, but the food on Star Breeze was the most elegant, authentic and original we’ve ever tasted on a cruise ship. When you’re on a Windstar Cruise you can order room service every morning. The kitchen delivers coffee and a bowl of their addictive homemade granola right to your room. Look out from the Balcony while you relax with your toast and eggs. Of course you can also go to the buffet for a hot breakfast with custom made omelets, pancakes, and every other favorite breakfast food.
On this cruise, the seating at AmphorA, the main dining room, was completely at your convenience, provided it was between 7-10 pm. The attire was informal, but the menus were anything but. There were multiple courses, and the quality, presentation and taste were fit for a gourmand.
One night we dined at their premier dining space called Candles featuring steaks and lobster, for no extra charge. Another night, the cruise hosted a sumptuous buffet on deck. They dubbed it a “barbecue,” but it really was an extravagant feast. The staff grilled fresh grouper, lobster tails and ribs. The paella was by far the best I’ve ever sampled.
The charcuterie and local cheese were purchased by the chef in the Spanish towns we visited. Fruits and veggies played a prominent role. The desserts were elegant. But most importantly, everything was of the highest quality. It never felt, looked or tasted like mass produced cuisine.
The chef buys local food from a destination and serves it to the guests, like this charcuterie and cheese from Barcelona.
The kitchen drew on the passions of their crew, and occasionally featured ethnic cuisine from the homeland of their crew members. We had the option to try Indian and Indonesian dishes, to name a few. Of course, since we were in Spain, the chef made sure Spanish delicacies were featured prominently on the menu. I never once felt uncomfortably full; you can eat healthfully and well on Windstar.
In the evenings, there are multiple places to relax after dinner. Star Breeze has a small casino, fancy little gift shop, and two venues with live performers. One night, a group of musicians came on board with flamenco dancers. The group was so energetic and expressive. They moved fast and used their voices, feet and instruments to create a unique, almost primal sound. One of the singers started to serenade me personally, much to the amusement of my family. See, this cruise really does live up to its name, The Spanish Serenade.
You can get a daily workout in the Star Breeze gym, take a yoga and/or pilates class, swim against the jets in the counter current pool, soak in the two different hot tubs, or perhaps sign up to have your teeth whitened. The salon offers haircuts, color and keratin treatments. Don’t miss a visit to Wind Spa for a massage or a facial with their very skilled aestheticians.
I loved hanging out in the Yacht Club, where you could order a barista coffee, hot tea, pastries, cookies and mini sandwiches. Guests met for drinks there while enjoying the sunset. Others played chess or watched TV.
One evening, we visited the Star Bar where we had cocktails and danced in the moonlight. The sea was a bit rough, yet I was not the least bit nauseated or dizzy. I experience motion sickness fairly easily, but I had no problem. The ship cuts through the waves and moves gracefully and swiftly forward. The gentle rocking is especially soothing when you’re falling asleep. This is such a relaxing ship, you will feel pampered every minute you spend aboard the Star Breeze!
Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.