Days 8 and 9 on Windstar Cruises’ Star Legend, While ‘Yachting,’ Caribbean Style!

Day 8 – Cozumel

As our 10-day voyage on Windstar Star Legend hits the home stretch, we are making our way to our last port, Cozumel. Maybe.

“Maybe” because Captain Nick has advised high winds and stormy weather have combined to make our arrival uncertain at the moment. We learn all the snorkel and recreation boats on the popular Mexican island have been grounded, and the bars in the terminal have closed as well.

It’s not hard to see why — just look out the window. Heavy seas are rolling our yacht right and left as winds approach gale-force levels. We may have escaped the cold, but Mother Nature had something else in store for us.

That being the case, we’ll seek refuge in our favorite hangout, the Yacht Club on Deck 8, where a lot of other guests have the same idea. Pam orders a coffee, while Nanda, the barista, has my drink already waiting — a Coke Zero. I had ordered the same drink the previous day and she remembered. That’s what I call service.

Other guests are reading, chatting, working on the group puzzle or just listening to the Christmas music playing in the background. It’s Christmas Eve at sea, and despite the weather, we’re still in the holiday spirit.

Later in the day, they have scheduled one of Pam’s favorite activities: Afternoon Tea. The Windstar staff serves us Earl Grey in Compass Rose while we partake of scones, finger sandwiches and desserts. The duo D’Harmony is there to entertain with Christmas music as well.

Just after, Captain Nick is back with an update. As we feared, the weather has forced cancellation of our port call to Cozumel. The already high winds are forecast to be even higher over the next 24 hours, and he explains a yacht our size would not fare well in those conditions. A Viking ship has also canceled, and the large cruise ships already docked in Cozumel are pulling up anchor and heading for calmer waters.

Bottom line: We’ll stay ahead of the worst of it and make our way toward Miami over the next two-and-a-half days. Guests are disappointed, but appreciate that Captain Nick is meeting with us at the Reception Desk to answer questions and show on a chart exactly what’s happening. As they say, it is what it is. And safety first, always.

The bad weather doesn’t dampen the mood as some guests arrive for dinner in Amphora wearing Santa hats, strings of lights and festive clothing. Pam and I both order the Lobster Ravioli, a feast of creamy goodness, followed by soufflé for dessert.

The crew has arranged a special treat for Christmas Eve. We assemble in the Lounge where Captain Nick takes centerstage to read “The Night Before Christmas” while select crew members sing Christmas carols. Even though all of us, crew and guests alike, are far away from our homes, it felt like a family gathering.

Afterwards, Back on Traxx is hosting a dance party in Compass Rose, but with the ship swaying to and fro in rough seas, we’re doing good to stand and walk. Besides, we all know Santa’s not going to visit unless we get to sleep.

Photos by Gerry Barker

  • Afternoon Tea in Compass Rose
  • The Star Legend crew singing Christmas carols

Day 9 – Off the coast of Cuba, headed back to Miami

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really.

Christmas day finds us just off the coast of Cuba, some 370 nautical miles from our final destination, Miami, which is two days away. Captain Nick is navigating storm-tossed seas, with two-to-three-meter swells against a stiff wind.

Despite the disappointment of missing our port call in Cozumel, both crew and guests are in a cheerful mood, with lots of “Merry Christmas” greetings as we navigate decks that just don’t want to stand still toward breakfast at Veranda. While we look for rails to hang onto, the servers go about their tasks as just another day at the office. Impressive.

This morning, Executive Chef Stefan Vasilev is doing another cooking demonstration in the Lounge. Today he’s preparing Citrus Cured Atlantic Salmon and Tomato Parsley Compote. As the dish comes together — the aroma of the shallots and tomatoes is intoxicating — Pam leans over and says, “We’re making this.” As his assistant passes around samples, I agree. We are making this — the tomato compote alone would go great with pasta.

The theme for today’s lunch in Veranda is Morocco, and the star of the show is Chef Vipon’s Toasted Orzo Pasta with Garlic Parmesan and Sundried Tomato. He’ll customize it to be spicy or non-spicy, whatever your taste. We go with the latter, and it’s outstanding.

In the afternoon, the onboard naturalist, Karla, is lecturing on the mammals who inhabit this region in the Lounge; there’s Christmas Afternoon Tea in Compass Rose followed by another game of Trivia, which always evokes some serious competition as guests team up to win a prize.

Earlier, we were in Compass Rose and noted the crew had placed a putting green on the floor. Although not golfers, we of course had to try our hand. After carefully lining up the shot, and taking a few practice swings, I make some last-minute calculations and watch as my ball zips by the cup and rolls under a nearby couch. Pam steps in, takes one swing and her ball lands immediately in the cup. I blamed the rough seas.

Captain Nick gives us the latest update: We continue to encounter high waves as we go north of Cuba, but he’s hopeful as we get closer to Miami, the waters will be calmer. Who knows? Maybe the sun will come peeking through the clouds. In the meantime, the Star Grill outside on Deck 8 is closed due to the weather. Not the best time to be outdoors.

Tonight the culinary staff has prepared a special Christmas Dinner in Amphora, where we find our menus rolled up and tied with twine. Pam elects to start with the Parma Ham and Baked Ricotta Flan, followed by Roasted Butternut Squash soup, and for the main course, Whole Roasted Christmas Turkey and Bread Stuffing, with mashed sweet potatoes, giblet gravy and cranberry compote. I go the same route, but choose the Mushroom Chicken Pot En Croute as my first dish. For dessert, Pam has pumpkin pie while I go with the Hot Gingerbread Soufflé with sea salt caramel sauce.

Afterwards, we retreat to Compass Rose for an after dinner drink and music by D’Harmony. When they launch into Santana, we have to get our dancing shoes on, even if we are already moving with the rolling waves. It just adds to our dance moves.

Photos by Gerry Barker

  • Christmas Dinner at Amphora
  • Karla lectures in the Lounge

It’s hard to believe our voyage has one day to go.

Stay tuned … for the wrap up …

We are thankful to Windstar Cruises as well as All Things Cruise for this cruise story.


10 Night – Miami to Miami – Windstar Cruises Star Legend (

Day 1 Miami
Day 2 Key West
Day 3 At Sea
Day 4 Costa Maya
Day 5 Santo Tomas de Castillo
Day 6 Roatan
Day 7 Belize City
Day 8 Cozumel
Day 9 Cozumel
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 Miami



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