Introduced on May 6, the 9,975-gross-ton Star Breeze is the second of three former Seabourn cruise ships to join Windstar’s Power Yacht fleet.
The ex-Seabourn Spirit comes a year after the nearly identical Star Pride (formerly Seabourn Pride) and will be followed next month by the Star Legend (formerly Seabourn Legend).
The trio of sleek, 212-guest vessels doubles the Windstar inventory, augmenting the sail-equipped yachts Wind Surf (310 guests), Wind Star (150 guests) and Wind Spirit (150 guests).
Fresh from a three-week, $8.5 million makeover at the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard in Genoa, the 1989-built Star Breeze regales with a stylish, contemporary look in most public spaces and accommodations.
U.K.-based Trimline Interiors has infused dark wood tones and a pleasingly cool palette that meshes ideally in spaces such as the Yacht Club observation lounge, the AmphorA restaurant and the Compass Rose bar and casino.
Star Breeze has six passenger decks that are connected via three lifts, stairs midships and aft, the latter, a striking double helix that spirals upward from Deck 3 to a glass skylight atop Deck 7.
Aside from the Yacht Club and the restaurant, key public spaces are aft-situated, including the Veranda Restaurant, Library, the semi-circular Lounge and the Screening Room, a cinema/conference room that has been carved out of the former card room and computer center.
The all-suite accommodations feature new bedding in addition to new furnishing and soft fittings, augmenting spacious floor plans and original luxe touches such as Carrara marble-paneled bathrooms with double sink basins and large walk-in closets.
At the top tier are a pair of wedge-shaped, 575-square-foot forward owner’s suites with forward-facing balconies, a large living room and a separate bedroom.
Candles, a complimentary al fresco steakhouse, has taken the place of an underused wading pool. Photo Credit: Peter Knego
A pair of slightly smaller midships owner’s suites have a rectangular floor plan, and two Classic Suites are similar in layout to the forward owner’s suites but considerably smaller, at 400-square-feet.
Sixty-four ocean view and thirty-six balcony suites share the same 277-square-foot layout and features, except for large picture windows instead of a pair of sliding glass doors that open onto narrow French balconies.
All suites feature queen or twin bedding topped with Egyptian cotton linens, flat-screen televisions with DVD players, Bose speakers for use with iPods, individually controlled air conditioning, telephones, 220- and 110-volt outlets, waffle-weave robes, slippers, fresh fruit and flowers. Ten suites have bathrooms with showers in lieu of tubs, including four that have been modified for wheelchair access.
External modifications include the addition of a terrace on Deck 7 that now augments the Veranda buffet. Used primarily as the setting for Candles, the complimentary al fresco steakhouse, it has taken the place of an underused wading pool that still remains on the Star Pride, but will also be replaced with Candles on the Star Legend.
A small swim-current pool has replaced one of two Jacuzzis in the midships Deck 7 sunning area, and on Deck 8, the port and starboard terraces have been widened by four feet on either side to provide more sunning space and extra seating for the popular deck barbecues that are held once per cruise.
A second Jacuzzi and additional sunning space are located at the tip of the bow on Deck 5.
Dinner in the open-seating AmphorA is an elegant, five-course affair with starters, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. For consistency and quality standards, meats, poultry and fish are sourced from the U.S. while vegetables, cheeses, artisanal olives and spices are locally sourced whenever possible.
A midship owners' suite. Photo Credit: Peter Knego
Buffet-style breakfasts and lunches are available in the Verandah, along with daily menu specials served by the ship’s friendly staff.
Another nice Windstar touch are complimentary specialty coffees, smoothies, pastries and sandwiches in the Yacht Club throughout the day.
Weather permitting, when the ship is at anchor, a watersports marina unfolds from the stern with an inflatable sunning platform, kayaks, wakeboards and paddleboards. Guests also have the option of renting bikes ($15 per person per half day) at Reception.
Accessed on Deck 7 via the Spa (which has three treatment rooms and a beauty salon), the Fitness Center offers yoga and stretching areas, cardio machines (three treadmills and a stationary bike) and free weights.
Evening dress is country club casual, and the ambiance is low key and, aside from live music in several venues, devoid of Broadway-style revues or other forms of mainstream cruise ship entertainment.
On certain nights, shore-based entertainers perform on deck, often as part of the once-per-voyage Private Event, which on the inaugural cruise was a gala champagne-and-dessert reception at Monte Carlo’s Cafe de Paris and a visit to the Casino.
Star Breeze will offer cruises of varying lengths throughout the Mediterranean before commencing a season of Panama Canal and Costa Rica voyages in December.