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Xoe

Star Clipper/Windstar comparison

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I have loved my 2 Windstar vacations (Wind Star Costa Rica, and Wind Spirit Caribbean), and have another planned next winter (Wind Surf Caribbean). Unless Windstar adds new winter itineraries, I'll be seeking a different winter vacation for 2010.

 

Have any of you sailed on both Windstar and Star Clipper? If so, could you give me input on their similarities and differences? Thanks.

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We have sailed both Windstar and Star Clippers. While Windstar still retains some big ship amenities and traditions there are very few of those on Star Clippers. (We have not sailed Windstar since it left Holland America) We enjoy both lines but prefer Star Clippers. You have more of that "personal yacht" feeling than "cruise ship" feeling. Crew and staff are excellent on both. You are under sail more and they actually use sail for main propolusion as much as they can. With Windstar the sails are used to assist main propolusion. You will have list, pitch and roll on Star Clippers as well - more than Windstar for sure. At times the food may be a little better and have more variety on Windstar but not significantly enough to be a deciding factor in my opinion. Windstar cabins are roomier and well appointed whereas Star Clippers are comfortable but have no extra space - there is a enough space but no extra. I would also say Star Clippers has more exotic ports of call which is important to us. We also found that fellow passengers tend to be well traveled, adventureous and almost always have a story to tell about how they came to love Star Clippers. Overall Star Clippers is more of a sailing yacht than a cruise ship when compared to Windstar. If that is what you are looking for give Star Clippers a try.

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You have given me exactly the kind of information I was hoping for. I will start thinking Star Clipper for the winter of 2010.

 

Our Costa Rica cruise was before the line's change of ownership, our Caribbean after. Our experiences were excellent on both. Although there has been more criticism of Surf than of Star or Spirit, recent reports have been better. In any event, I've made the reservation and expect to have a fine time.

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Hi Xoe, I can't give you the comparison info provided by habencid, but I just wanted to chip in that we went on Star Flyer in SE Asia 2 years ago, right after the tsunami. We LOVED the ship and the experience; it is smaller so people are friendly and it is easy to get to know other guests. It is also much more laid back compared to a larger ship cruise experience. It is also so much fun to be under sail in the warm waters and they encourage you to take a turn piloting the ship or raising the sails. The crew and staff members were friendly and helpful at all times and the food was very good although less "fancy". I was SO impressed with how the company handled the situation - we were due to set sail from Phuket 10 days after the tsunami, and there really was no harbour at Phuket at all. They very quickly arranged a change of itinerary so we did a round trip from Singapore instead, visiting areas that were sheltered from the damage. They changed everyone's tickets as needed last minute and were thoroughly accomodating. I can't recommend them highly enough and am hoping to do a med cruise aboard the Royal Clipper - maybe next year.

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I've sailed 8 or 9 times on Windstar (though not on the Surf), and once on Royal Clipper. If you like Windstar, I believe you will like Star Clipper too.

 

They have similar small size and casual atmospheres -- but not too casual. For instance there is no need to pack the sequined gown, but there are no beer bong contests or loud partying either. To me, it's just right.

 

My advice is to go for it, as I will be for the same reason you are looking at Star Clipper: Windstar is just doing the same old itineraries. You will have a wonderful time.

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Star Clipper will be what I'll be looking at for winter of 2010. It sounds delightful, and there will be so many itineraries to consider!

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Thanks to the magic of Google, I found this thread over 10 years later.  Can anyone who has sailed both lines recently (within the last few years, hopefully) let me know if the older comparisons are still valid?  I'm looking at a last-minute getaway in January for my wife's *milestone-unlisted number* birthday and both of these lines look interesting to us...

 

Thanks in advance!!

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There is a pair of more recent threads on this topic. The poster started threads on both the Star Clipper and Windstar boards:

 

Overall, the feedback is fairly consistent with the 2008 replies. One thing that has happened since then is that Windstar has added the motor yachts (three small ships without sails) - these are also delightful ships but have a much different feel than the sailing ships. All the rooms on the motor yachts are suites, very roomy with a large sitting area. 

 

I haven't sailed Star Clipper yet, but thanks to their no solo supplement special, I'm looking forward to sailing with them from Phuket next spring.  

 

Windstar has pretty good prices on some cruises with the November one week sale at the moment though I think that ends today. The January 2 Adventures in Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise is currently priced lower than what we payed (and we took advantage of a couple of price drops under the price assurance policy).   

 

Based on my experience with Windstar and what I've read about Star Clippers, I don't think you would go wrong choosing either. You could chose based on the January itinerary and price that appeals the most.

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You can see my comments in the other thread as noted.  Sailed both within the last 6 years.  Love both.  But they are somewhat different.  So for ease I went back and found my longer post:

 

Okay, I think I'm the first poster who has experienced and enjoyed both lines although my experience on Windstar was on the Star Pride, one of their 3 motor yachts. The key really isn't so much the fact that Windstar has ships with motorized sails, it's more about the culture of the two lines. Let me see if I can help. Let me add that we love and will absolutely return to both.

 

I would describe Windstar as 'relaxed luxury'. In short order, all of the relevant crew will know your name and preferred cocktail. You'll wear smart resort casual to dinner every night. Your fellow guests will typically be upper middle class or better. You'll actually become friends with many and may even keep in touch following the cruise. I'd peg the average age at perhaps 50 ish; certainly not the 70+ scooter crowd. It's where former Princess cruisers go when they want to step up the price and the personal attention they'll receive.

 

Star Clippers is more 'adventure sailing'. The experience is less luxurious but equally nice. The folks you'll meet onboard will have more likely visited many national parks rather than big cities for fun. They enjoy helping the crew hoist the sails and/or climbing out on the bowsprit or up to the crow's nest. Wet landings? Can't wait for the next one. They too are upper middle class or better and typically in their 40s/50s and are a well traveled, well educated and social crowd.

 

Which did I like better? I like them both for different reasons. As I said, we'll return to both lines. Perhaps break it down this way. The Mediterranean via Windstar; the Grenadines via Star Clipper. Hope that gives you some guidance. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Edited by jsglow

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On 12/16/2018 at 8:41 AM, jsglow said:

Which did I like better? I like them both for different reasons. As I said, we'll return to both lines. Perhaps break it down this way. The Mediterranean via Windstar; the Grenadines via Star Clipper. Hope that gives you some guidance. Feel free to ask me any questions.

 

Oddly enough, if price enters into your decision, you might do the opposite, at least if the current relative pricing holds. I'm working on picking a Caribbean cruise for January or February 2020, probably 14-days. 

 

Star Flyer Cat 2 is $2920 for 7-days (slightly more for Royal Clipper). With the 5% b2b discount, 14-days is $5548. 

Wind Surf Cat AX is $2399 for 7-days (slightly more for Star Legend). I don't know if Windstar does a general b2b discount. Windstar packages some b2b cruises into a  "Star Collector" with a lower price for the combined segments. The Star Collector price for the 14-day we are looking at in January is $3699 (about a 25% discount from the individual cruise prices). 

 

So, a 7-day Caribbean cruise in January on Star Clippers is about 20% more expensive than on Windstar. Because of Star Collector pricing, 14-days is about 50% more. 

 

On the other hand pricing for Med cruises between the lines is the opposite (at least in some cases; Windstar's Mediterranean cruise prices seem to vary more from cruise to cruise while their Caribbean prices and Star Clippers pricing are more consistent). The cruises I used for the comparison are the 8-day Wind Surf and 15-day Wind Surf Star Collector starting on 14 June 2019. In that case, the Star Flyer is about 60% less than the per day Wind Surf price for the 8-day cruise. The Star Collector price helps some when doing a b2b, but Star Flyer is still about 35% less than Wind Surf.

 

Other pricing difference between the two lines:

Star Clippers has a lot of sailings with no solo supplement. The ones I've seen are for cruises around 9-10 or fewer months away. Star Clippers specials other than no solo supplement (at least the ones in the last few months) seem to be more likely to throw something extra in (e.g. pre-cruise hotel stays, OBC, discount on cruise air) rather than price drops.

Windstar has a price assurance policy that allows you to switch to the lower fare (or they will provide OBC or an upgrade, but so far they have given me the price decrease) if there is a price drop up to 90-days before the sailing. (They have been adjusting the time window; it used to be up to 7-days before sailing; last summer they changed it to 120-days and more recently 90-days.) Of my last 3 cruises on them, one never had a price drop, the other two did and I exercised the price assurance to get the fare discount. I don't see anything similar mentioned on the Star Clippers website.

Edited by new_cruiser

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On 12/18/2018 at 8:56 PM, new_cruiser said:

 

Oddly enough, if price enters into your decision, you might do the opposite, at least if the current relative pricing holds. I'm working on picking a Caribbean cruise for January or February 2020, probably 14-days. 

 

Star Flyer Cat 2 is $2920 for 7-days (slightly more for Royal Clipper). With the 5% b2b discount, 14-days is $5548. 

Wind Surf Cat AX is $2399 for 7-days (slightly more for Star Legend). I don't know if Windstar does a general b2b discount. Windstar packages some b2b cruises into a  "Star Collector" with a lower price for the combined segments. The Star Collector price for the 14-day we are looking at in January is $3699 (about a 25% discount from the individual cruise prices). 

 

So, a 7-day Caribbean cruise in January on Star Clippers is about 20% more expensive than on Windstar. Because of Star Collector pricing, 14-days is about 50% more. 

 

On the other hand pricing for Med cruises between the lines is the opposite (at least in some cases; Windstar's Mediterranean cruise prices seem to vary more from cruise to cruise while their Caribbean prices and Star Clippers pricing are more consistent). The cruises I used for the comparison are the 8-day Wind Surf and 15-day Wind Surf Star Collector starting on 14 June 2019. In that case, the Star Flyer is about 60% less than the per day Wind Surf price for the 8-day cruise. The Star Collector price helps some when doing a b2b, but Star Flyer is still about 35% less than Wind Surf.

 

Other pricing difference between the two lines:

Star Clippers has a lot of sailings with no solo supplement. The ones I've seen are for cruises around 9-10 or fewer months away. Star Clippers specials other than no solo supplement (at least the ones in the last few months) seem to be more likely to throw something extra in (e.g. pre-cruise hotel stays, OBC, discount on cruise air) rather than price drops.

Windstar has a price assurance policy that allows you to switch to the lower fare (or they will provide OBC or an upgrade, but so far they have given me the price decrease) if there is a price drop up to 90-days before the sailing. (They have been adjusting the time window; it used to be up to 7-days before sailing; last summer they changed it to 120-days and more recently 90-days.) Of my last 3 cruises on them, one never had a price drop, the other two did and I exercised the price assurance to get the fare discount. I don't see anything similar mentioned on the Star Clippers website.

 

Interesting about the pricing differential.  I agree, at that big a spread, it would have an impact on my decision.  My comment on Grenadines v. Med was simply an effort to try to demonstrate the cultural differences (adventure v relaxed luxury).

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My journey for my first Star Clippers cruise has begun. I'm on the train to SFO where I'll fly out of to Phuket tommorow morning. Then I'll have some first hand comparison experience. 

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We sailed on Royal Clipper about 5 years ago and absolutely loved it! Based on that we booked Windstar (one of their 'sailing' ships) a few months ago and were disappointed. There was no proper sailing whatsoever and they only opened up the watersports platform once. On Royal Clipper, even if they couldn't open up the platform they took all the water 'toys' onto the beach so we could make use of them there. I don't know if we were just lucky with Royal Clipper (Caribbean trip) and unlucky with Windstar (Costa Rica) but this would deter us from booking Windstar again.

 

We also found that Windstar had much more of a cruise ship feel rather than an expedition but it didn't have the facilities of a larger cruise ship - no balconies, poor quality entertainment, plunge pool rather than swimming pool, etc. The clientele were older with not such a wide age range (we're in our 60's and we felt relatively young!!). We had an OK time, the staff were lovely, food was top notch and the cabin was probably nicer but it lacked the spirit of adventure we found on Royal Clipper. Everyone seemed to think we were super-adventurous because we did our own thing in ports rather than going on the VERY pricey ship's excursions. On Royal Clipper we didn't really need excursions because we were happy just hanging out on the beach, snorkelling, walking etc.

 

All in all I guess it's horses for courses.

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