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OctoberKat

Star Pride -- loved our voyage Scotland / Norway / Faroes / Reykjavik

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Jim and I were delighted by our recent (24 June - 5 July) 12-day Windstar cruise aboard Star Pride -- Edinburgh, Scotland / Kirkwall, Scotland / Norway (port stops in Bergen, Geiranger, Alesund and Molde) / Torshavn, Faroes / Reykjavik, Iceland.

 

That you may better understand my comments -- we are not avid cruisers having been disappointed in fairly recent voyages on Regent (Caribbean) and Silverseas (Amazon), one each. Although I cruised often as a child on the now-defunct Panama Line. Cruising lately has been an option we are trying because Jim is in mid-stage dementia and this form of travel can be easier than some.

 

We adored Star Pride, a smaller vessel with around 200 passengers. It was in tip-top shape and we found the furnishings pleasing and comfortable which cannot be said of our Silverseas and Regent experiences. No crowding, much comfort plus thoughtful touches throughout.

 

Service was pervasive, attentive and kindly. Never a surly face to be seen (although there was an occasional "doing my job" mien). Meanwhile the many smiles were sufficiently genuine so as to defeat my BS sensor.

 

As with our Silverseas and Regent cruises we booked top accommodation, an owners suite of 648sq.ft. which was perfect for us. Foyer, bar area, bedroom, living room, full marble bath with walk-in shower (YAY), powder room, walk-in closet, plentiful storage, windows galore, large outside deck with lounge and dining furniture. If I can't book a large premium REAL suite, I won't book, period, no matter the line. Although smaller by almost half of the SS and Regent top suites, we were delighted with the Star Pride owners suite and found it very much to our taste. So comfortable.

 

Speaking of taste, no question decor is entirely objective. I so prefer the quiet, comfortable ethos on Star Pride. Little bling, no fake elegance, no distasteful art, no sacrificing function over form. This cruise line has managed to furnish its cabins and public spaces with graceful furniture and airy ethos. Kudos, Windstar.

 

Much depends upon the food. This, in particular, is where SS and Regent utterly reneged on their Luxury promise yet Windstar shone finest kind. Food was fab! Breakfast in The Veranda was excellent. Mmm. The fruit buffet was fabulous -- juicy, tasty, utterly fresh. No cardboard melon. Best benedicts with variations. Delicious scrambled eggs -- these are my breakfast test, however common, good scrambled eggs are difficult to be had. Even room-service breakfast was fab!

 

Lunch for us was in the Yacht Club where a rotating selection of mini sandwiches was provided each day: egg salad on pita (my fave), pate on whole wheat, smoked salmon on French, Asian chicken wrap, turkey with cranberry jelly, ham and brie on French, etc. Plus a selection of cookies and dessert. There are two other lunch venues but we did not go there, so satisfied were we with the Yacht Club offerings.

 

Dinner. Well, dinner was finest kind. Delicious, wonderfully satisfying and a salubrious mix of creative and traditional. Lobster twice and it was very very good indeed. I confess I went to dinner with low expectations but was delightfully surprised every night but one. My grilled veal chop was not so grilled and closer to raw than medium rare.

 

We enjoyed our fellow cruisers who spanned the gamut from one young honeymoon couple to a full panoply of age ranges including more than a few family groups. In general on this cruise, average age skewed lover than our other two cruises. For good or ill -- just information.

 

Excursions -- Inextricably wrapped up in port choices. We traveled with my kindergarten friend from Panama and none of the three of us could come up with an explanation of why we had 36 hours at Kirkwall in Scotland where the weather was dreadful all the day long.

 

Meanwhile, the four Norway ports were nothing short of fabulous but we could have used more time in each. Ashore time was skimpy. For most onboard, Norway was the point of the trip.

 

Faroe Islands -- in the middle of the Norwegian Sea. Arrived in the early morning. Left at 1pm when the sun began to shine. Poor timing.

 

It's odd but probably familiar to the well cruised -- port choices and times have little to do with what is best for passengers but rather more to do with management sailing and PR issues.

 

In general excursion choices were fine with good selection for the more active. Our four excursions in Norway were good to great. We opted out of excursions in Kirkwall and Faroes due to entirely overcast weather which is the norm in the morning which is when we were there. Right. Why?

 

I am a good sailor but my two companions suffered mal de mer on the last two days of the voyage as we transited the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic. Seas were rambunctious and ours was a small ship. Bonine available gratis at reception and that did help. Ship's doctor available for injections in grievous cases.

 

Service was kindly and competent across the board. A call-out to our suite steward, Christian, who was so sweetly expert.

 

If we cruise again, It will be on one of the Windstar motorized yachts. The Windstar sail yachts have too many passengers in tiny cabins so not for us. If you need decent room in your cabin, look only to the motorized "yachts."

We loved our Windstar voyage on Star Pride very much -- it was finest kind. If we cruise again it will be on one of the Star vessels.

Finally, a note about luxury. For me, luxury is about comfort, kindness, good food, intelligent excursions and fine accommodations. In an environment that brings together like-minded folk. We were happy to jostle along with our colleagues.

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Thanks for the really well-written, well-balanced review! I'm waiting (impatiently) for the late 2019 itineraries to be released, and hoping I can find a suitable trip to try Windstar for the first time :D

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Thanks for the great review from me as well. What you describe has always been our experience as well. Two comments. If you had said something about your underdone veal chop it would have been immediately whisked away without comment.

 

 

The other question is about your statement about "two other lunch venues" beyond the Yacht Club. Unless they were grilling stuff on deck, which I doubt they would do in that weather, the only other venue would be either the Veranda if weather permitted or Amphora as a substitute. Unless you're counting room service.

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Thanks for the great review from me as well. What you describe has always been our experience as well. Two comments. If you had said something about your underdone veal chop it would have been immediately whisked away without comment.

 

 

The other question is about your statement about "two other lunch venues" beyond the Yacht Club. Unless they were grilling stuff on deck, which I doubt they would do in that weather, the only other venue would be either the Veranda if weather permitted or Amphora as a substitute. Unless you're counting room service.

In the cooler climates they are opening Amphora as well as Veranda for breakfast and lunch. We loved having the choice in Alaska.

 

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In the cooler climates they are opening Amphora as well as Veranda for breakfast and lunch. We loved having the choice in Alaska.

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

 

In my experience it has been one or the other, but not both. This was certainly true in Japan earlier this year. Veranda was only open for lunch (or breakfast, for that matter) a couple times.

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In my experience it has been one or the other, but not both. This was certainly true in Japan earlier this year. Veranda was only open for lunch (or breakfast, for that matter) a couple times.

 

That was my experience too on the crossing. IIRC, early on in the cruise, sometimes it was Veranda and sometimes it was Amphora depending on the predicted weather. Once the crossing started, the weather was uniformly cold and cloudy. Other than Candles, they only had Amphora for all meals. Candles only used the inside tables since it was too cold outside - the crossing was 14 days so that still allowed plenty of capacity for everyone to be in Candles at least once.

 

Once in Alaska, they had both Veranda and Amphora open for breakfast and lunch so you could chose. Perhaps that is something new they are doing. On the start of the first Alaska sailing it seemed like they were struggling a bit with service levels, possibly due to getting adjusted to running the two dining options in parallel.

 

Or perhaps it is something they do when the cruise has a lot of scenery. I was fine with eating in Amphora on the crossing, but most of the time in Alaska I wanted to be in Yacht Club or Veranda for breakfast or lunch to enjoy the scenery. Our sailing in Japan was mostly out at sea where we didn't have a view of land and the view from the ship in port wasn't as scenic as in Alaska.

 

There were 2 nights that I had room service dinner so I could watch the scenery while eating. That's a first for me as I generally don't like to eat in my room - from years of business travel, I think of it as a last resort to use when I have too much prep work to do or when I'm feeling under the weather. Also, I don't like room service in general because often it is delivered less than ideally hot, sometimes you find something missing or wrong and have to wait for the waiter to bring the ketchup or what-ever that he forgot. My room service meals were delivered at a good temperature. One evening when I had ordered a souffle for dessert, the waiter asked when I wanted the souffle and came back with it at the appointed time so it would be fresh and ready to eat.

 

The full dinner menu is available for room service. On the evenings that I wanted room service, I would go down to where the evening's menu is on a sideboard outside Amphora take pictures with my phone of the menu. That made it easy to order.

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That was my experience too on the crossing. IIRC, early on in the cruise, sometimes it was Veranda and sometimes it was Amphora depending on the predicted weather. Once the crossing started, the weather was uniformly cold and cloudy. Other than Candles, they only had Amphora for all meals. Candles only used the inside tables since it was too cold outside - the crossing was 14 days so that still allowed plenty of capacity for everyone to be in Candles at least once.

 

Once in Alaska, they had both Veranda and Amphora open for breakfast and lunch so you could chose. Perhaps that is something new they are doing. On the start of the first Alaska sailing it seemed like they were struggling a bit with service levels, possibly due to getting adjusted to running the two dining options in parallel.

 

Or perhaps it is something they do when the cruise has a lot of scenery. I was fine with eating in Amphora on the crossing, but most of the time in Alaska I wanted to be in Yacht Club or Veranda for breakfast or lunch to enjoy the scenery. Our sailing in Japan was mostly out at sea where we didn't have a view of land and the view from the ship in port wasn't as scenic as in Alaska.

 

There were 2 nights that I had room service dinner so I could watch the scenery while eating. That's a first for me as I generally don't like to eat in my room - from years of business travel, I think of it as a last resort to use when I have too much prep work to do or when I'm feeling under the weather. Also, I don't like room service in general because often it is delivered less than ideally hot, sometimes you find something missing or wrong and have to wait for the waiter to bring the ketchup or what-ever that he forgot. My room service meals were delivered at a good temperature. One evening when I had ordered a souffle for dessert, the waiter asked when I wanted the souffle and came back with it at the appointed time so it would be fresh and ready to eat.

 

The full dinner menu is available for room service. On the evenings that I wanted room service, I would go down to where the evening's menu is on a sideboard outside Amphora take pictures with my phone of the menu. That made it easy to order.

They got it together by the time we arrived for Alaska cruise, 2 cruises after yours. Both venues open every meal. Room service was also excellent. Yacht club crowded most of the time in afternoons after tours were over or on cruising days so we didn't make use of it for sandwiches as much as when on Wind Surf. Amphora didn't have as much lunch traffic as it did breakfast. After doing so many of their sailings it was a nice change to have dining options and hope they will continue them going forward.

 

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We did essentially that cruise two summers ago and loved it as well. I'm sorry you missed the Faroe Islands, that was one of the most starkly beautiful places we have ever been. We also think Windstar is a great value. Its impossible to put a $ amount on the type of service they provide. We're looking forward to doing Iceland/Greenland/Northern Canada/NYC in a couple of weeks on the Star Pride.

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Pugesmom, we will be greeting the WS in Provincetown when you arrive. We live on Cape Cod and have done 22 cruises with WS. Enjoy the trip. Happy Sailing

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I'm so pleased to read about your successful and wonderful cruise. I had posted on the disabled board to wish you well and have been looking forward to seeing how things went. We plan on a sailing vessel on Windstar in the near future. Cheers to you guys.

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OctoberKat, so glad you enjoyed your WS cruise. We have sailed WS, Regent, Seabourn and will try Silversea next winter for a quick “test” cruise. We have found the service on WS very personal and attentive, it is different than Regent. Although WS is not deemed “luxury” cruising we have very much enjoyed it. We equally like Seabourn as service is personal and crew have a “can do” attitude. Have you considered a Seabourn cruise? Ships are much more spacious than WS.

 

 

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Pugesmom, we will be greeting the WS in Provincetown when you arrive. We live on Cape Cod and have done 22 cruises with WS. Enjoy the trip. Happy Sailing

 

Strenz - we would love to greet you but sadly, we don’t stop anywhere US but Bar Harbor and NYC. :(

 

https://www.windstarcruises.com/cruise/itinerary-ports/canada-and-new-england/north-atlantic-odyssey/?id=245&sid=1721

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Pugesmom, So correct. You will be going through the Cape Cod Canal. We were in Labrador two years ago at Red Bay interesting but be prepared Labrador a bit depressing. I suggested that WS offer a trip to Battle Harbor which is the oldest continious fishing station in the Americas now on the UN protection list Unesco site. It was closed in 1992 when the cod fishing went down. Completely restored, a living museum, beautiful and very different. Admiral Perry went there after he reached the Arctic to wire the NYTimes, there is a life size stand up photo of him there. I would say it would be an hours boat ride. When you go to John’s Newfoundland go to the museum The Rooms ( The Rooms is what you call the different buildings in a fishing station it is a museum of the hisyory of the area and the fishing industry ) my mother was from Newfoundland both sides of her family were sea captains and owned fishing schooners they frequented Battle Harbor. I am sure salt is in my blood therefore now Windstar. Sounds like a great cruise. Have fun.

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Pugesmom, So correct. You will be going through the Cape Cod Canal. We were in Labrador two years ago at Red Bay interesting but be prepared Labrador a bit depressing. I suggested that WS offer a trip to Battle Harbor which is the oldest continious fishing station in the Americas now on the UN protection list Unesco site. It was closed in 1992 when the cod fishing went down. Completely restored, a living museum, beautiful and very different. Admiral Perry went there after he reached the Arctic to wire the NYTimes, there is a life size stand up photo of him there. I would say it would be an hours boat ride. When you go to John’s Newfoundland go to the museum The Rooms ( The Rooms is what you call the different buildings in a fishing station it is a museum of the hisyory of the area and the fishing industry ) my mother was from Newfoundland both sides of her family were sea captains and owned fishing schooners they frequented Battle Harbor. I am sure salt is in my blood therefore now Windstar. Sounds like a great cruise. Have fun.

Strenz-you could stand on the banks with a Welcome Windstar sign.

 

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Very surprised and disappointed by OctoberKat's comments about Kirkwall and Torshavn. We did the similar cruise (Dublin not Edinburgh) and thought that our days in these 2 resorts were the best of the trip. The weather in both places was warm and sunny. Certainly not the weather you encountered! Torshavn has a lovely beach which was full of locals with their children and BBQs, when we were there. We walked to to a beautiful harbour/Marina with little bars and restaurants.

I think if Windstar had given you more information about Kirkwall you would have enjoyed it better. They tend to promote their own excursions and don't give you much local information. For only £10pp you can go on a local hop on/hop off bus, taking you past Scapa Flow(fascinating in itself) to Skaill House and Skara Brae (allowing you 1.5 hours to look around) then on to Ring of Brdgar (30 mins allocated there). This is run by Stagecoach route T11. The same trip offered by Windstar was $129!

The X1 bus will take you to Highland Park Distillery and the beautiful Italian Chapel.

A short walk from the shuttle drop off will take you to St Magnus Cathedral.

Anyone going on this itinerary should check http://www.stagecoachbus.com

The highlight of our day was sailing away from Kirkwall, in glorious sunshine, past the Old Man of Hoy.

It did help that our 1st Officer was from Orkney!

I just feel that we often don't discover some "hidden gems" as Windstar are too keen to promote their own tours and don't give you enough information, allowing you to explore on your own. This happened to us this year on Star Breeze where I almost missed out on another lovely little town, Mariehamn in the Åland Islands.

It pays to do your own research before you go. You may be surprised!

Just felt Ishould give another view in Kirkwall and Torshavn for anyone still to go.

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Jim and I were delighted by our recent (24 June - 5 July) 12-day Windstar cruise aboard Star Pride -- Edinburgh, Scotland / Kirkwall, Scotland / Norway (port stops in Bergen, Geiranger, Alesund and Molde) / Torshavn, Faroes / Reykjavik, Iceland.

 

That you may better understand my comments -- we are not avid cruisers having been disappointed in fairly recent voyages on Regent (Caribbean) and Silverseas (Amazon), one each. Although I cruised often as a child on the now-defunct Panama Line. Cruising lately has been an option we are trying because Jim is in mid-stage dementia and this form of travel can be easier than some.

 

We adored Star Pride, a smaller vessel with around 200 passengers. It was in tip-top shape and we found the furnishings pleasing and comfortable which cannot be said of our Silverseas and Regent experiences. No crowding, much comfort plus thoughtful touches throughout.

 

Service was pervasive, attentive and kindly. Never a surly face to be seen (although there was an occasional "doing my job" mien). Meanwhile the many smiles were sufficiently genuine so as to defeat my BS sensor.

 

As with our Silverseas and Regent cruises we booked top accommodation, an owners suite of 648sq.ft. which was perfect for us. Foyer, bar area, bedroom, living room, full marble bath with walk-in shower (YAY), powder room, walk-in closet, plentiful storage, windows galore, large outside deck with lounge and dining furniture. If I can't book a large premium REAL suite, I won't book, period, no matter the line. Although smaller by almost half of the SS and Regent top suites, we were delighted with the Star Pride owners suite and found it very much to our taste. So comfortable.

 

Speaking of taste, no question decor is entirely objective. I so prefer the quiet, comfortable ethos on Star Pride. Little bling, no fake elegance, no distasteful art, no sacrificing function over form. This cruise line has managed to furnish its cabins and public spaces with graceful furniture and airy ethos. Kudos, Windstar.

 

Much depends upon the food. This, in particular, is where SS and Regent utterly reneged on their Luxury promise yet Windstar shone finest kind. Food was fab! Breakfast in The Veranda was excellent. Mmm. The fruit buffet was fabulous -- juicy, tasty, utterly fresh. No cardboard melon. Best benedicts with variations. Delicious scrambled eggs -- these are my breakfast test, however common, good scrambled eggs are difficult to be had. Even room-service breakfast was fab!

 

Lunch for us was in the Yacht Club where a rotating selection of mini sandwiches was provided each day: egg salad on pita (my fave), pate on whole wheat, smoked salmon on French, Asian chicken wrap, turkey with cranberry jelly, ham and brie on French, etc. Plus a selection of cookies and dessert. There are two other lunch venues but we did not go there, so satisfied were we with the Yacht Club offerings.

 

Dinner. Well, dinner was finest kind. Delicious, wonderfully satisfying and a salubrious mix of creative and traditional. Lobster twice and it was very very good indeed. I confess I went to dinner with low expectations but was delightfully surprised every night but one. My grilled veal chop was not so grilled and closer to raw than medium rare.

 

We enjoyed our fellow cruisers who spanned the gamut from one young honeymoon couple to a full panoply of age ranges including more than a few family groups. In general on this cruise, average age skewed lover than our other two cruises. For good or ill -- just information.

 

Excursions -- Inextricably wrapped up in port choices. We traveled with my kindergarten friend from Panama and none of the three of us could come up with an explanation of why we had 36 hours at Kirkwall in Scotland where the weather was dreadful all the day long.

 

Meanwhile, the four Norway ports were nothing short of fabulous but we could have used more time in each. Ashore time was skimpy. For most onboard, Norway was the point of the trip.

 

Faroe Islands -- in the middle of the Norwegian Sea. Arrived in the early morning. Left at 1pm when the sun began to shine. Poor timing.

 

It's odd but probably familiar to the well cruised -- port choices and times have little to do with what is best for passengers but rather more to do with management sailing and PR issues.

 

In general excursion choices were fine with good selection for the more active. Our four excursions in Norway were good to great. We opted out of excursions in Kirkwall and Faroes due to entirely overcast weather which is the norm in the morning which is when we were there. Right. Why?

 

I am a good sailor but my two companions suffered mal de mer on the last two days of the voyage as we transited the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic. Seas were rambunctious and ours was a small ship. Bonine available gratis at reception and that did help. Ship's doctor available for injections in grievous cases.

 

Service was kindly and competent across the board. A call-out to our suite steward, Christian, who was so sweetly expert.

 

If we cruise again, It will be on one of the Windstar motorized yachts. The Windstar sail yachts have too many passengers in tiny cabins so not for us. If you need decent room in your cabin, look only to the motorized "yachts."

We loved our Windstar voyage on Star Pride very much -- it was finest kind. If we cruise again it will be on one of the Star vessels.

Finally, a note about luxury. For me, luxury is about comfort, kindness, good food, intelligent excursions and fine accommodations. In an environment that brings together like-minded folk. We were happy to jostle along with our colleagues.

 

I loved the atmosphere on our first Windstar cruise (and we are dying to go again - maybe in the later half of 2019). We were on one of the sailing vessels (Wind Surf) and loved it but I can understand why the sailing vessels might not be for you if room size is very important. I agree about Windstar food - absolutely the best we have ever had on a cruise and the service was definitely fantastic. Our fellow passengers were interesting and pleasant.

 

It's too bad that you did not have a good time on Orkney (we were there on another cruise (not Windstar) and it was one of our favorite ports - so much to see (I guess it helps of Neolithic ruins are your thing and if the weather is decent).

 

Reading your review, made me want to book another cruise TODAY!

 

Oops I nearly forgot - I wanted to thank you for the comparisons to other cruiselines - VERY helpful.

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Thank you very much for taking the time to write this review. I am looking for a new cruiseline to try and have always been intrigued by Windstar. I only cruise in large full suites and am happy to know that the motorized yachts do not disapoint.

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Being on the same cruise and the one before, my experience was very different. Our standard cabin was old, tired, scratched and stained. The window was never washed in 36 days. The bathroom had mold and broken cabinets, The linens were harsh and tattered, our heating was out on 5 of our 36 days, so like being in a meat locker. The extra duvet I asked for was two towels from the outside deck. So obviously your owners cabin experience was much better. The ports were great, and agree that 3 days in Kirkwall was way to much. The saving grace of this long cruise was the crew and staff. The food was very good and two months later I still miss some of the dishes. My overall feeling was Star Pride needs a drydock and overhaul. Many of the crew expressed frustration with the multiple problems and breakages, during our time on board, the whole HVaC system was lost for several hours, 3 separate times. More proof in the Pride losing all propulsion and adrift for 2 days outside New England, last week. One shouldn’t have to purchase a top of the line cabin to have something acceptable. The standard cabins are certainly not cheap!

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Being on the same cruise and the one before, my experience was very different. Our standard cabin was old, tired, scratched and stained. The window was never washed in 36 days. The bathroom had mold and broken cabinets, The linens were harsh and tattered, our heating was out on 5 of our 36 days, so like being in a meat locker. The extra duvet I asked for was two towels from the outside deck. So obviously your owners cabin experience was much better. The ports were great, and agree that 3 days in Kirkwall was way to much. The saving grace of this long cruise was the crew and staff. The food was very good and two months later I still miss some of the dishes. My overall feeling was Star Pride needs a drydock and overhaul. Many of the crew expressed frustration with the multiple problems and breakages, during our time on board, the whole HVaC system was lost for several hours, 3 separate times. More proof in the Pride losing all propulsion and adrift for 2 days outside New England, last week. One shouldn’t have to purchase a top of the line cabin to have something acceptable. The standard cabins are certainly not cheap!

I wanted to clarify that the Pride was not adrift for 2 days outside New England. It lost power for about 4 hours while transiting the Cape Cod Canal and was at anchor during the loss of power. It was caused by an engine cooling water loss, was repaired, passed inspection, and continued on to New York. According to reports from several passengers, Windstar handled the inconvenience to passengers very well.

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I regret your experience differed negatively from ours. Perhaps that had to do with our booking the owner's suite. Our windows were cleaned daily and all within was, er, ship-shape.

 

We booked another Windstar cruise, this time to Alaska in July 2019 aboard the Star Legend, owner's canin again.

 

Yes, of the three lines I have cruise (including Regent and Silversea), Windstar offers best cuisine by far. Highly subjective yet I note I enjoyed my Windstar fellow guests rather a lot.

 

Being on the same cruise and the one before, my experience was very different. Our standard cabin was old, tired, scratched and stained. The window was never washed in 36 days. The bathroom had mold and broken cabinets, The linens were harsh and tattered, our heating was out on 5 of our 36 days, so like being in a meat locker. The extra duvet I asked for was two towels from the outside deck. So obviously your owners cabin experience was much better. The ports were great, and agree that 3 days in Kirkwall was way to much. The saving grace of this long cruise was the crew and staff. The food was very good and two months later I still miss some of the dishes. My overall feeling was Star Pride needs a drydock and overhaul. Many of the crew expressed frustration with the multiple problems and breakages, during our time on board, the whole HVaC system was lost for several hours, 3 separate times. More proof in the Pride losing all propulsion and adrift for 2 days outside New England, last week. One shouldn’t have to purchase a top of the line cabin to have something acceptable. The standard cabins are certainly not cheap!

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You are so good to me, fizzy!

 

 

I'm so pleased to read about your successful and wonderful cruise. I had posted on the disabled board to wish you well and have been looking forward to seeing how things went. We plan on a sailing vessel on Windstar in the near future. Cheers to you guys.

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Hello there, In both Kirkwall and Faroes, the weather was heavily overcast, windy and dripping. I'm sure they both are enchanting in more clement weather but that was not the case. Given that the stop at the Faroes was during the morning, departing at 1 or 2pm, it seemed poor planning as the glorious sun did indeed begin to shine ... as we sailed out of the harbor.

 

I appreciate your alternate experience and am glad it worked out so well for you. That's why discussion here is helpful.

 

I was happy with the Windstar excursions we took, no complaints there. They may be more expensive than had we booked ourselves but I was happy not having to research and, then, I confess to being somewhat price insensitive as long as I have a good time.

 

Very surprised and disappointed by OctoberKat's comments about Kirkwall and Torshavn. We did the similar cruise (Dublin not Edinburgh) and thought that our days in these 2 resorts were the best of the trip. The weather in both places was warm and sunny. Certainly not the weather you encountered! Torshavn has a lovely beach which was full of locals with their children and BBQs, when we were there. We walked to to a beautiful harbour/Marina with little bars and restaurants.

I think if Windstar had given you more information about Kirkwall you would have enjoyed it better. They tend to promote their own excursions and don't give you much local information. For only £10pp you can go on a local hop on/hop off bus, taking you past Scapa Flow(fascinating in itself) to Skaill House and Skara Brae (allowing you 1.5 hours to look around) then on to Ring of Brdgar (30 mins allocated there). This is run by Stagecoach route T11. The same trip offered by Windstar was $129!

The X1 bus will take you to Highland Park Distillery and the beautiful Italian Chapel.

A short walk from the shuttle drop off will take you to St Magnus Cathedral.

Anyone going on this itinerary should check www.stagecoachbus.com

The highlight of our day was sailing away from Kirkwall, in glorious sunshine, past the Old Man of Hoy.

It did help that our 1st Officer was from Orkney!

I just feel that we often don't discover some "hidden gems" as Windstar are too keen to promote their own tours and don't give you enough information, allowing you to explore on your own. This happened to us this year on Star Breeze where I almost missed out on another lovely little town, Mariehamn in the Åland Islands.

It pays to do your own research before you go. You may be surprised!

Just felt Ishould give another view in Kirkwall and Torshavn for anyone still to go.

Edited by OctoberKat

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