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Quick Windstar 101 please! - new Star Breeze


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Hello and Happy New Year.   Here is hoping for a better year!

I would love a quick rundown on sailing Windstar.  Especially the new Star Breeze.

The older and very much smaller ship just was not quite enough for us.  But this looks really really great.

 

We have mostly sailed Princess, and really like Regal Princess, but are afraid that they have gone then wrong direction with the newer ships!!!  Loss of Deck Space, Adult pool area, etc...  So any comparison to Princess would be appreciated.  Absolutely love The Sanctuary on Princess.  I would imagine that the entire new pool deck on this new ship would be very very nice.  Would there be any padded loungers?

 

We were ready to choose a great itinerary that happened to be on Oceania.  But, of course, that didn't work out.

Now I am very interested in the refurbished Star Breeze!   It seems to have that simple classic look.  New and improved in most every way.  Brand new much bigger pool and what looks to be like a teak deck area.

 

One thing we really think Princess got right was the Piazza and the International Cafe specialty coffees and small eats.  Of course, I realize that we will not find anything like this on Windstar.   What would be the nearest thing.  Where would one go to find specialty coffees and a few moments of cruising relaxation?

 

I guess a big question would be about the vibe onboard.  Princess does have some presence of a 'FUN' vibe.  Sailaway Party,  Band on the huge pool deck, etc.   And, that was plenty enough for us.  Do not need a family or 'party' ship.  But do not want a 'funeral home' vibe.  Hahahaha!!!   What type of music and entertainment might there be onboard.

 

And, last but not least.   Can anyone compare the food offerings.  Would there be a lot of the expected classics?  Would it be really upscale gourmet 'frou-frou'?

Can you find casual comfort foods like ice cream, pizza, etc....  are those really good?

 

Thanks so much to you experts!

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Hard to make comparisons with Princess! We have over 100 days on Princess and over 300 on Windstar but I can't even begin to put them side by side. No one has actually been on the newly remodeled Breeze but I can try to answer some of your questions.

 

The ship in general is sleek and classic and I can only imagine the new ship will be more so. The pool was extremely small before the stretch so I don't know how much bigger the new pool will be - certainly no where near the size of a large ship pool. The addition of more outdoor space will be a great addition.

There is plenty of indoor space and the suites on the Breeze are bigger than the mini-suites on Princess.

 

The Yacht Club on the top deck at the front of the ship serves specialty coffees and small bites - actually similar to Princess. It is a very relaxing space with great views and a "library feel".

 

The vibe onboard is friendly and relaxed. Definitely not a party vibe but people have fun and enjoy being onboard and seeing new things. On the Yachts there are generally two musical groups - duos or small bands that play both on deck and in the Compass Rose. Besides music there is often trivia, Liars Club, and lectures. There is always an amazing deck barbeque one night with the line dancing and crew entertainment. You will not be bored but don't expect Princess type shows - or bingo!

 

Food is way superior to Princess and with the same amount of variety. Not gourmet Frou-frou but elegant and well prepared. Besides the main dining room there is Candles - an outdoor steak house with other entrees as well.  You have to eat there at least once. The new Breeze will also have a Spanish Tapas restaurant and an outdoor grill. Can't wait to try those. Room service is always available for whatever you want. There is no pizza or ice cream outside of meals but there is certainly enough food! (The Yacht Club serves cupcakes which is my go-to comfort food)

 

There is so much more to say but Windstar is a unique cruising experience. I'd suggest you don't go looking for things you enjoyed on other ships but go to experience Windstar.

 

 

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We tried Windstar for the first time last spring (Star Pride out of San Juan) and were lucky enough to get 7 of 14 days onboard before the shutdown.  We're Elite on Princess but really enjoyed the differences on Windstar. I agree with everything mentioned above - you'll find everything you really need without the extra stuff you don't. Note there's no casino on Windstar.  We were booked on the Breeze for this coming March, but it's been cancelled.  We're holding off for now, but will rebook when everything settles. We haven't given up on Princess, we're booked on the Sky Princess for December 2021.

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A few other details that might be of interest.

The man who previously developed many of the current dining programs at Princess is now in charge of all Hotel Operations - including Food and Beverage - at Windstar. You will recognize his style on many of the new offerings.

The new Star Grill will also feature soft serve ice cream all day.

The new Windstar Entertainment lineup includes 2 Duos and 1 Trio, as well as an Entertainment Manager who also performs several times each week.

All of the entertainment that was offered before will still be there, in addition to many new concepts.

The new Veranda Restaurant in the aft section also includes a new specialty coffee bar. You will still be able to get specialty coffees and great snacks at the Yacht Club in the forward section as well.

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And, unlike Princess these specialty coffees are included – no need for a 'coffee card.'  But look into the 'All-In Package' that combines gratuities, wi-fi, laundry and an upgraded beverage list at a big enough discount that even though my DW doesn't drink it would have saved us money.

https://www.windstarcruises.com/all-inclusive-cruise-package/

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Thank you so much everyone.  This is just the type of thoughts that I was hoping for!   

I would hope to book one of the totally new mid-ship expansion suites.  I believe that these have been switched to have the bed near the picture window or slider.   

 

I don't need a theater or a casino.

 

And the pool, by all accounts, is way way bigger than that bath-tub power lap pool that they have had.  

 

I think we will continue to really consider Windstar Star Class.

Even though current pricing shows about TWICE the cost of Princess...  going with a Star OV and not a balcony.     (the open-slider French non-balcony would be okay, if we went for that for the fresh air and better view.)

 

It was this one itinerary that was so neat.  Places that larger ships just do not go.

That along with the totally renovated ship.  I know any other Windstar ship just would not be for us.

 

We might miss the Piazza and Int'l Cafe,  as well as the better entertainment.  But this sounds like something we might really enjoy.

 

Next is to find out where to find some discounted pricing and a good agent!

 

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Thanks!

I am wondering about a couple more details, if that is okay.

I am wondering about things that are extra, or need reservations.  How do they work that.  The different restaurants, the excursions, the spa.

 

And, can you get some edible pizza?  Hahaha!

 

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When the ship is full every cabin gets one visit to the speciality restaurants a cruise, although you can ask and one usually gets an extra  visit most times, which you sign up for. Windstar prides itself in no lines, no waits. Spa visit is by reservation, in 26 cruises with WS never had a problem. If there is an excursion you really want, sign up before the cruise. Pizza, I can not say, not something I do not eat  during a cruise. All coffee, teas, soft drinks are always available at no cost. Informal, elegant but not ostentatious, friendly yet private, respectful and fun. Very special. Happy Sailing

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  • 1 month later...

Windstar sounds a bit like Oceania (I have sailed on Insignia and thoroughly enjoyed that). 

 

Any thoughts on a comparison to Oceania?

 

 I have been on Princess and while I liked that cruise I prefer Oceania.

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Windstar is very much like Oceania just smaller. I have done, Serena, insignia, Regatta and Marina and we are O people- booked on both lines now. But comparing, Windstar gets a little extra nudge up on dining and service, even though I can't remember a time when I've had reason to be bothered by either on O. If similar itineraries rolled around I'd lean towards Windstar just because it has that little bit extra polish and a smaller ship. I like being as close to the water as possible.

 

If you enjoy Oceania, you will not be disappointed by WS. Just know that the little entertainment and activities that O offers, there will be far less on WS. Hope you decide to give it a whirl.

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I stumbled upon this question, and it has been helpful to me.  Typically, my daughter, and I enjoy Holland America Line.  I decided to try Windstar because I believe that a much smaller ship, sailing out of the Caribbean, will be more likely to cruise in 2021.  So we moved our long European cruise, for the third time, to 2022.  We are booked on Star Breeze for 6/5/21.  The information has been very helpful as this will be our first time on Windstar. So far I like what I see about Windstar.

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We sailed on the Windstar Legend last year and loved it. It is one of the friendliest ships that we have ever sailed on. We enjoyed the open dining concept and the “friendly table” concept, where you are able to join a table of six or eight other guests. A great way to meet everyone on board.

The food was wonderful as was the service. We are so looking forward to sailing with them again.

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The analogy I think that works well to compare any large cruise line to windstar is the equivalent of staying at a Marriott compared to staying at a bed and breakfast.  There are many amenities and entertainment that are not available at B&B just like Windstar.  What you get a at B&B (usually) is great quality with very personal service.  The crew will know you.  You will not have to show your card for drinks more than once (maybe twice) as an example.

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On 2/13/2021 at 12:51 PM, susiesan said:

I doubt you will be sailing in June 2021 on any ship anywhere on any ship. 

Carnival announced today that 16 of their ships will begin sailing from Southern Ports in the USA during the first week of May. S few others will be delayed a few months.

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15 minutes ago, Donald said:

Carnival announced today that 16 of their ships will begin sailing from Southern Ports in the USA during the first week of May. S few others will be delayed a few months.

In January they announced  they’d be returning in April and the same pattern of return dates prior to. Carnival is also currently selling cruises in May 2021 to Grand Turk when the T&C govt published some time ago that their port won’t be opening until 8/31/21 at the earliest. With all due respect, not sure how much credibility I’d give with their restart dates. I’m staying optimistic but it would be great to see some news of reopening dates of ports that align with itineraries set to sail in the next 90-days or so....

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We are O and Celebrity cruisers who spend (normal) winters in Puerto Vallarta Mexico.  I am intrigued by the Star Breeze cruise from PV to San Diego on April 30/22.  Very unique routing due to the small size of the ship.  Sounds like we would not be disappointed.  Question, do all the suites (cabins) have a balcony or not on Star Breeze?

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20 minutes ago, CruseKrazy said:

We are O and Celebrity cruisers who spend (normal) winters in Puerto Vallarta Mexico.  I am intrigued by the Star Breeze cruise from PV to San Diego on April 30/22.  Very unique routing due to the small size of the ship.  Sounds like we would not be disappointed.  Question, do all the suites (cabins) have a balcony or not on Star Breeze?

We did the opposite direction in Oct 2019 and one of the best cruises we’ve taken; we’d easily do it again. Sailing  through the Sea of Cortez in particular was a wonderful experience. We just got back from PV a few weeks ago and we try to go down a few times a year as it is a  quick flight from SD. 
 

Only the Balcony Suites have the French balcony. The others have a window or the premium suites have a larger balcony. 

Edited by minidonuts85
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Thanks minidonuts85.  We'll keep our eye on this one.  Not booking anything until we and wherever we are going have been vaccinated.  More interested in life on board than getting off these days.  Happy cruising again... eventually.

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