This 212-passenger yacht is the smallest ship that the four of us have been on, but that well known saying 'the best things come in small packages' is certainly applicable to Star Pride. We stayed in the lead-in Ocean View Suites on Deck 4 Forward and were overjoyed with the size and space of our accommodation. There was plenty of room, with a walk-in wardrobe plus his 'n' hers sinks in the bathroom and a shower over the bath, all flooded with natural light from the large picture window, and a sofa which is wide enough to sit on and watch for marine life.
We couldn't fault the service on board. The crew, mostly Indonesian, were so friendly and attentive. We felt so welcome, as each crew member acknowledges you throughout the ship and we got to know them all, as they did us; they couldn't do enough for you.
Their love for what they do is echoed in the galley, where day after day the chefs produce delicious food. Even the presentation of each dish was picture perfect. There are just two places to dine: the AmphorA Restaurant, which features open dining and various sized tables from two up to ten people, serving à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner; and the Veranda situated on Deck 8 offering buffet breakfast and lunch, then in the evenings as Candles serving a surf and turf-style menu that remains the same throughout your cruise. Guests can only dine in Candles once per voyage, so make sure you don't miss out!
If you're a late riser, or fancy a snack between meal times, you can head to the Yacht Club for light refreshments, sandwiches and sweets, whilst taking in panoramic views over the bow.
This is an intimate vessel so the entertainment is low key, with just two duos featuring a singer and a guitarist. Other daily activities include yoga classes, lectures and various food tastings, and under the ship's open bridge policy you can take a nosy next to the Captain or First Officer. On sea days the Cruise Director organises quizzes, table tennis competitions and golf putting fun. More active types can test out their strength and endurance in the gym or the counter-current pool; if relaxation is more your style, you can pamper yourself in the spa or bubble away in the Jacuzzi.
As our cruise travelled up the west coast of Portugal, Spain and across the Bay of Biscay, it wasn't the itinerary to experience water sports off the Marina. This facility comes to life in calmer, warmer waters.
The most exciting recent news from Windstar Cruises is the stretching of their three yachts, with the first, Star Breeze, scheduled to be completed by February 2020. All three sister ships will feature a new infinity pool with whirlpool (see artist's impression below); a new layout with more seating in the Veranda, with two brand new dining experiences; 50 new Star Ocean and Star Balcony Suites which will have beds positioned by the window; renovated bathrooms throughout; a reimagined spa and fitness centre; two new tenders and boarding area; and the biggest change of all, brand new, more environmentally-friendly engines.
By November 2020 all three yachts will accommodate 312 guests each, but Windstar's President has ensured that it's not about making their ships bigger, it's about offering their guests more of what they love.