Windstar Cruises

Star Pride

Overall Editor Rating
Gigi Ragland November 14, 2023

Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Windstar Cruises
Cruise StylePremium
Ship SizeSmall
Prince Range$$$$
Sails To

Car...ern Europe

Caribbean, Mediterranean, Canada, New England, Northern Europe
Sails From

Car...ern Europe

Caribbean, Mediterranean, Canada, New England, Northern Europe
Duration7-35 days

With renovations completed in 2021, the Star Pride was the last in the line-up of Windstar’s three Star Class yachts to transform into the new all-suite Star Plus Class motor yacht category. Instead of building new ships to upgrade its motor yacht fleet, Windstar Cruises devised an innovative plan to “stretch” the current ships. This process involved slicing each ship into two pieces, then inserting the new build into the middle section of the ship. Crews welded the sections together to complete the process. The installed new section added 84 feet to the length of each ship. The result? The renovated ships are seamless, resembling new builds. The new expansion includes 50 more suites, increasing the guest capacity from 212 to 312 passengers. If guests wonder how a ship can be cut up and put back together again, they’re in luck: Windstar documented the construction process. A fascinating short video features the transformation process from the start of slicing ship sections to the final “stretch.” Passengers onboard the Star Pride, Star Legend and Star Breeze, can watch the video on their in-room interactive TV if they want.Read More

The expansion also included a redesign of the full-service World Spa, new Fitness and Motion Studio, new infinity pool and two whirlpools. A new boutique shop was added and two new dining venues as well. Plus, new bathrooms were added in all suites.

Environmental operational upgrades to the ship include new efficient engines, generators and advanced wastewater treatment systems.

Even though the Star Pride and its sister motor yachts have increased in size, they still fall into the small ship category that allows the yachts to cruise into smaller ports and narrow waterways that offer a more intimate, exclusive approach to cruising destinations. Star Pride can access places where other ships can’t from the sunny Mediterranean to Northern Europe’s glaciated waters.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
The new whirlpool and lounge chairs tucked onto the aft of deck 5 offers a quiet retreat away from the main pool area  
All suites include new spacious spa-style double vanity bathrooms  
The open bridge allows guests the opportunity to chat with the captain and officers on watch, enjoy the view and check out navigational charts with the crew  
The water sport platform is rarely available on cruises outside of the Caribbean itineraries  
Lighting in spa treatment waiting rooms does not create an inviting, serene ambiance  
WiFi is not included

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Editor Rating
Cabins
Accessibility

There are eight decks on the ship. Passenger cabins are located on decks 3 to 6.  All cabins face outward; there are no interior cabins. Three elevator locations set forward, midway, and aft—plus stairwells—offer quick access to decks.

Fifty new suites were added to the Star Pride during the renovation, for a total of 156 suites.

The remainder comprise the majority of the suites onboard, at a generous 277 square foot each.

The Ocean View suites include some of the brand new cabins which offer a new layout but remain the same in all other respects. The new build, the Star Ocean View suites, feature the bed next to the window, whereas the existing Ocean View suites feature the sitting area next to the window. All suites offer either one queen size bed or two twin beds. A privacy curtain separates the sitting area from the sleeping area if desired. Some cabins offer a third berth.

All of the existing suites were refurbished and refreshed from top to bottom during the renovation. This included new carpeting, wallpaper, sofa upholstery, lighting fixtures, artwork and mirrors, flatscreen TV, USB power outlets, as well as new luxury bedding from the frame to the mattress and all pillows and linens.

Plus, every suite bathroom is new. The redesign features spa-style double sink vanities, new tile, new large showers and luxury bath toiletries by L’Occitane.® Some suites include bathtubs.

Guests will find the walk-in closets big enough to store luggage and even a few souvenirs. There are plenty of hangers, a few hooks, and a dresser for additional storage. The dresser also houses a personal safe.

All suites include an alarm clock, an international direct-dial phone, hair dryer, robes and slippers, a mini-bar with complimentary soft drinks. Bottled water and a fresh fruit plate is replenished daily. Plus, guests have access to complimentary premium digital magazines and newspapers including movies-on-demand.

Laundry service is provided on board at a nominal charge. Dry cleaning is not available.

WiFi Internet Usage Plans are available starting at $60 per day for one device.

There are four modified accessible suites located near an elevator for easy entry. Each suite features a full-size bed, and a bathroom with a portable ramp. There is one sink, a shower with a small lip and grab bars near both the shower and toilet. Interior and exterior doorways are standard.

Windstar requests to be notified at the time of booking if a guest has any special medical, physical or other requirements. Service dogs are permitted onboard ships if prior arrangements have been made at time of booking. Some ports may required the ship to anchor. Guests must be tendered to the port in this situation.

Food & Drink

Editor Rating
Dining
Bars

An open seating program allows guests to dine when they want at the five dining venues during meal times. Two new signature chef restaurants to try are The Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, a culinary writer and TV host, located on the deck 8 that grills up casual barbecue fare and the innovative Spanish inspired cuisine of Cuadro 44 by Anthony Stasso, a James Beard Foundation recognized chef, who created the menu following travel in Spain. Guests can book dinner reservations for Cuadro 44 located on deck 6 while onboard the ship. Booking in advance is recommended as the restaurant is a small intimate space with just 36 seats. Guests seeking a more casual atmosphere can grab a plate from the buffet line at Star Grill and find a seat at one of the outdoor shaded tables on the teak wood deck to eat lunch or dinner.

Breakfast and lunch are served on Deck 7 at Veranda, with both indoor and outdoor seating. Diners can select from buffet options or order from the menu. For those passengers that prefer more of a continental breakfast or lite lunch, they can visit Yacht Club Cafe on deck 8 where they can select small plates from the all-day snack bar and order coffee drinks and smoothies. Fresh pastries, donuts, yogurt parfaits, and fruit are on offer in the morning as well as tasty small sandwiches and wraps throughout the day.

Candles is the only other restaurant that requires dinner reservations, which should be made early on in the cruise as its a popular venue. Located on deck 7 adjacent to Veranda, is where guests can dine under the stars for an outdoor al fresco dinner dining experience. For carnivores, this is a meat eater’s dream come true. Candles specializes in a variety of fine meat and grilled steak options. However, vegetarian options are available upon request.

The main fine dining restaurant, Amphora, located on deck 3 received a complete new redesign. Dinner reservations are not necessary, the dining room manager seats guests wherever they like. There are no pre-assigned tables or first or second seatings. The elegant, yet contemporary room features mirror panels with Murano glass, soft lighting, and wall coverings. The menu offers three course dinners composed of local foods. Dishes are inspired by James Beard Foundation chefs. Perhaps you might want to start with roasted eggplant and garlic soup, followed by grilled ahi tuna with Asian vegetables and a ginger pink peppercorn sauce. Exquisite desserts are hard to pass up like a mocha and chocolate terrine with almond sauce. Guests can select from a variety of vintage international wines to pair with their dinner choices. Non-alcohol beverages are complimentary.

Guests with special dietary needs such as celiac, diabetic, low cholesterol, gluten-free, vegan, etc., can notify the ship in advance. Information can be added to a special requests form and submitted before the cruise. Kosher or halal meals, however, cannot be accommodated.

Complimentary room service is available 24 hours a day.

During the day, the favorite option for enjoying a drink is the Star Bar on deck 8. Guests gather round the outdoor bar to chat and lounge along the shaded sofas or lounge chairs scattered along the deck while taking in some rays and enjoying the sea views.

After dinner, for a low-key evening, guests migrate to the Compass Rose on deck 6 for soft piano music, to relax and sip cocktails or wine. For a livelier evening, guests head to the Lounge on deck 5 for drinks and nightly entertainment.

There are several beer, wine, cocktails, and premium liquor packages offered. Guests can select a one of these beverage packages, or purchase drinks a la carte. But for the best deal,  guests  21+ can purchase the All-In Package. It includes unlimited beer, wine and cocktails, WiFi, and gratuities priced at $89 per guest per day, when purchased prior to sailing. While on board the price jumps to $99 per day.

Entertainment

Editor Rating

The exceptional onboard cruise band performs nightly and covers a large repertoire of musical favorites from jazz, rock, top 40, to broadway hits. You’ll find them in the Lounge on deck 5 most nights or occasionally performing outside on deck 8. You may even find band members playing a game of corn hole with guests on the pool deck during the day.

For those seeking a quiet evening, the Compass Rose on deck 6 offers nightly piano music after dinner. Or another option to consider is enjoying a “game night” in the Yacht Club Cafe and Library on deck 8. It’s a welcoming space with plenty of club seating with cocktail table settings lining the panoramic windows. Plus, there are separate areas set with large tables to work on puzzles, view the extensive map collection or play board or card games. The center area offers multiple shelves of books for readers to peruse from travel guides, novels to non-fiction titles.

There are two special event nights offered on every cruise. You won’t find a casino, broadway musicals or a magic show but the crew talent show is a winner. It’s great fun to see what the creative ship crew will present to guests. This talent show will amaze with innovate and quirky routines. Another fun evening is the poolside BBQ where guests and crew enjoy a dance party.

There are nightly port talks and occasional guest speakers, plus the entertainment director hosts special quiz and trivia events as well. For such a small ship, there’s always something to do.

Spa & Fitness

Editor Rating

Windstar added more to its spa and fitness offerings during the renovation, expanding the space on deck 7. A new motion studio offers active guests a chance to take complimentary classes like pilates and other fitness classes. The new fitness center is spotlessly clean with plenty of fresh towels available. While working out on new weights, rowing machines, elliptical machines, and other state-of-the-art equipment, guests can look out the windows at the sea views or happenings on deck. The World Spa is a treat to experience. A variety of spa treatments are offered from glacial mud wraps to basalt stone massages and even acupuncture. Facials, manicures, pedicures, aromatherapy, haircuts and blowouts are also available.

The water sport platform is a great feature that is under utilized due to inclement weather.

Key cruising tips

Health & Safety

As of June 1, 2023 Windstar no longer requires guests to be vaccinated for COVID-19. However, crews will continue to be vaccinated. Masks are optional.

Immunization requirements may vary according to the countries a guest visits. Windstar follows policies in place by each country they visit and recommends that guests check with their physician or health department to discuss the various immunization requirements and suggestions for countries on the itinerary.

A doctor and medical facilities are available onboard. If a guest becomes ill on a voyage and the doctor is unable to care for them, then they will be transferred to medical facilities onshore at their own expense. Windstar recommends purchasing a travel protection plan to help protect against unexpected events and medical expenses. In addition, all Windstar ships are set up with state-of-the-art HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filters with UV-C irradiation; EvaClean Electrostatic Sprayer and PurTab Disinfectant to sanitize surfaces.

Dress Code

Resort casual is the fashion mode of Star Pride. Daytime wear of shorts, pants, sundresses, short-sleeved shirts or nice tee shirts and skirts works fine anywhere on the ship. No swimwear in public lounges or restaurants, however donning a full swim coverup is okay. Evenings are a bit more dressy trending towards country club type attire. For women that means nice tops with pants or skirts and casual dresses. Nice sandals or casual shoes are fine. Men may wear nice slacks with button-down shirts, polos and casual nice shoes. Nice denim is acceptable too. Sports jackets are optional.

Junior Cruisers

There are no children programs onboard or activities. The cruise is geared for adult passengers however kids eights years of age and older can be accommodated.  All Guests under 21 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or chaperone who is at least 21 years old. Parents, guardians, and chaperones are responsible for overseeing the onboard conduct of minors. Alcoholic beverages will not be served to guests under age 21.

For family groups booking multiple staterooms, the minimum age for at least one person in each stateroom is 18 years of age, provided they are traveling with a parent, guardian or chaperone.

 

Service

Gracious, polite and smiling, the crew always makes you feel special. Every request is promptly taken care of from crew that ensure guests feel welcome and well cared for 24/7. If smiles were worth $100 dollars, by the end of the cruise every passenger would leave a very rich person.

Tipping

The other reason that All-In Package is a great deal? It includes gratuities. If you didn’t purchase the package then a hotel service charge of $16 per day will be added to your onboard account. Plus, a 18% beverage service charge is automatically added to bar charges and dining room wine purchases.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
1988
Refurbished
2021
Number of Cabins
156
Passenger Capacity
312
Crew Members
200
Passengers to Crew Ratio
1.56
Gross Tons
12995
Width
63 feet
Length
522 feet

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