As our 10-day holiday “Jungles and Jewels of the American Coast” cruise comes to an end, it’s time to reflect and summarize our overall impressions of our first experience on a Windstar Cruises’ ship – the Star Legend.
My topline takeaway: Having taken dozens of cruises, this one ranks right at the top as one of our favorites.
Star Legend is one of the six ships in the Windstar fleet — three are motorized (Star Legend is one) and three are sailing ships. Actually, Windstar prefers the term “yacht” to “ship.” And for good reason. Size-wise, they are like mega yachts, with guest capacity measured in hundreds instead of thousands.
On our voyage, there are 230 guests (capacity is 312) and 200 crew. Of that number, 91 are first-timers. Windstar boasts a large base of repeat customers.
But beyond size, Windstar — whose motto is “180 degrees from ordinary” — delivers a yacht-like experience for their guests, from attending to our every need to calling you by name after the first day. The staff, top to bottom, on Star Legend is first rate, starting with our room attendant, Davis, who performs like a personal butler without being intrusive.
There are no formalities here. Guests and crew alike interact with a causal friendliness that evokes the feeling of a family vacationing together. The overriding feeling is relax and make yourself at home, whether that’s lounging by the pool or having a latte in the Yacht Club.
As is the case with most small ships, you won’t find a casino onboard, or flashy Broadway productions, water slides or nonstop activities 24 hours a day. But the lack of those is exactly what makes this style of cruising so attractive to many, who yearn to see the world in style, enjoying great food and service along the way. It’s nice that the senior officers freely mix and mingle with the guests — even the Bridge is open for visits during certain times.
Our stateroom is really more a suite, with a separate living area, walk-in closet and upgraded bath. While the live TV channels are limited (I did experience football withdrawal), it offers dozens of movies on demand and some great music channels. Our favorite playlist is Windstar Signature, with 100 songs that really fit the mood. There are also plenty of plugs, both USB and otherwise. And for the first time, we didn’t utilize all the available storage, something of a Christmas miracle.
The majority of Windstar cruises are centered in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, with one ship serving Tahiti year-round and others that journey to Australia/New Zealand. They are currently booking travel through the end of 2024.
The only hiccups on our cruise was the cumbersome check-in process, which I understand is somewhat dictated by Miami port procedures, and the quality of the WiFi, which could use some upgrading. I don’t count the weather issues — that’s not in anyone’s control.
So overall, I would rate our Star Legend cruise a 9.5 on a 10-point scale. It just doesn’t get much better if you’re celebrating the holidays at sea.
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 (cruisecompete.com)
|Day 2||Key West|
|Day 3||At Sea|
|Day 4||Costa Maya|
|Day 5||Santo Tomas de Castillo|
|Day 7||Belize City|
|Day 10||At Sea|