Our Windstar Experience Aboard the Star Pride – The Ship

The Star Pride, one of Windstar Cruises luxury yachts, was recently our home away from home for a week as we traveled south from San Juan, Puerto Rico to embark on a new adventure. We’d taken many cruises before on larger ships, but we were really looking forward to experiencing a cruise on a much smaller luxury yacht.

Well, we were not disappointed. Our week with Windstar was wonderful and it was quite different in many ways than other cruises we’ve taken. From absolutely seamless transfers to and from the airport to walking right on the ship during embarkation (no lines at all!), our embarkation was effortless. The relaxation began the moment we arrived.

Here are just a few of  the reasons why we enjoyed our Windstar Experience.

Rooms, or should I say suites? The Star Pride is an all-suite yacht. There are 64 Ocean Suites with large picture windows, 36 Balcony Suites with French style balconies, 4 Classic Suites with private verandas and 2 Owners Suites with private verandas. We were able to preview all suite categories on board the Star Pride and all were spacious and comfortable.

We had a balcony suite for the week and it was spacious, well appointed and relaxing. Amenities in our room included a Queen size bed with luxurious linens, a stocked mini-bar/refrigerator, a flat screen TV and DVD player, a safe, robes & slippers, a full sized bathtub and L’Occitane Bath amenities.

Sitting area in our suite
Plenty of room in the walk in closet
Spacious bathroom
Chocolate covered strawberries awaited our return from a fun day in Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

We loved opening up the sliding glass door to the balcony to hear the waves, feel the breeze and watch the wildlife (we saw a large pod of dolphin swimming alongside our ship the first morning!).

Morning on Martinique from our balcony

Size and guest to staff ratio.
The Star Pride can accommodate 212 guests and has a staff of 151. With a ratio like that, you definitely feel pampered and taken care of. Our cruise was slightly less than full due to cancellations after the hurricane and an itinerary change (valid concerns after hearing about the destruction Irma and Marie left behind, but alas, the guests that cancelled missed out – the Caribbean IS open!).

Star Pride in St. Barts – one of the islands hit hard bay the hurricanes, but recovering very well

Potentially another benefit to the high guest to staff ratio – many of the staff members greeted us each time they saw us by name after meeting us for the first time and even remembered our food and drink preferences. I’m not sure how they do it, but the personalized touch did not go unnoticed and it made us feel a bit like celebrities!

Open Bridge Policy. Windstar Cruises has an open bridge policy while at sea, and we really enjoyed being able to stop by the bridge to talk to Captain Ricardo Pinzon or his crew, see the charts, pinpoint our location and have the crew identify different islands in the distance.

Tuna Tartare appetizer prepared by Chef Mario Pagan

Dining experiences. Yep. We’re foodies and the Star Pride offered some of the best cuisine we’ve had on vacation. AND on our particular cruise, Puerto Rican Chef  extraordinaire, Mario Pagan, spent the week aboard as part of the James Beard Foundation collaboration with Windstar, offering a cooking demonstration on Puerto Rican influenced dishes and preparing one of the entrees each evening. The menu on Star Pride changed daily and we’d have a hard time finding something to complain about with anything we ordered.

Delicious Bison Salad

Another dining highlight was the on-board deck BBQ. Offered one evening towards the end of the cruise, the staff assembled an incredible smorgasbord of delectable delights, including Caribbean lobster, other seafood delicacies and delicious grilled offerings prepared right on the deck under the stars.

A look from an upper deck at just a few of the watertoys available at the Watersports Marina 

On board Watersports Marina. The Star Pride has a retractable water sports platform off the back of the boat. From the private platform, guests can enjoy a variety of watersports including kayaks, SUP boards, Hobie Cats, waterskiing snorkeling, jumping on the over-sized water trampoline and lounging on the water mats.

Private beach for the Windstar Beach Party

BEACH PARTY! Windstar features a private beach party on all of its Caribbean itineraries and during our cruise, it was on the island of St. Lucia.

Excited for this event, we headed out early to a pretty beach close to Pigeon Island State Park to enjoy the festivities and were some of the first guests to arrive. The Star Pride crew pulled out all of the stops on this one. We spent a lovely afternoon enjoying the St. Lucia sun and sand, food, drinks from the bar, and watertoys brought over from the ships watersports marina. It was a beautiful day of fun in the sun.

Size DOES matter. Truly a big benefit in our book is that due to the size of the Windstar yachts, they can sail into smaller ports and hidden coves so that you can really experience the destination, but not necessarily experience the crowds.

Enjoying live music and champagne

Do as much – or as little – as you like. Whether we wanted to spend the day lounging in the sun on the deck, or wanted to try a bit of everything including yoga classes, trying every piece of equipment at the watersports marina, getting a seaweed wrap at the Windspa, working off some calories at the Fitness Center, listening to live music on deck at sunset or checking out a late night movie and ordering room service popcorn, we could do as much or little as we wanted.

Happy Hour in the Star Bar before our sail-away from St. Lucia

Enjoy happy hour on the deck during the sail-away parties. Each evening, when the Star Pride pulled away from port, we would assemble in the Star Bar on the upper deck for happy hour with new friends we’d met on the cruise and to enjoy the sail away song, Conquest of Paradise, as we said that last goodbye to another beautiful island.

We’ll be covering a few other highlights of our Windstar Experience (such as the itinerary and excursions) in upcoming posts, so stay tuned for more. Would we sail on Windstar again? Absolutely. In fact, we think the Tahiti cruise may be calling our name…

Did you miss Our Windstar Experience Aboard the Star Pride Part 1?

To find out more about this and other Windstar itineraries, contact Windstar Cruises.

We thank everyone at Windstar Cruises for inviting us to sail with them on the Star Pride. Although we were sponsored by Windstar to take this cruise, the views are solely our own and we only recommend products or services we believe our readers will enjoy.

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Our Windstar Experience Aboard the Star Pride

Windstar’s Star Pride

When we were invited to embark on a Windstar Cruise aboard their beautiful ship, Star Pride, we were not only very excited to experience a small ship luxury cruise, but we, in typical Rum Therapy style, were also hoping to see some new beautiful beaches, explore islands we’d yet to visit, and learn about local rums (and rhums) and local rum cocktails.
Check, check and check and a whole lot more.

Chef Mario Pagán during a cooking demo

This particular cruise would also welcome aboard Chef Mario Pagán, one of Puerto Rico’s premier chefs and part of the James Beard Foundation. Chef Pagán would not only provide a cooking demonstration on preparing Caribbean dishes with a Puerto Rican influence, he would additionally prepare a signature dish each night during the cruise. 

Originally, our cruise was to originate in San Juan, Puerto Rico and visit the islands of Culebra, St. Barths, Montserrat, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. Unfortunately, hurricanes Irma and Maria made an unwelcome visit to each of these islands in September, causing Windstar to make the difficult decision to change the itinerary to allow time for the islands to heal and recover.

**On a side note, although a few areas received substantial damage from these storms, much of the Caribbean was not impacted. Don’t be afraid to make travel plans for 2018 as the Caribbean IS open and even some of the hardest hit islands are beginning to welcome visitors back and with OPEN arms!

Beautiful Scenery in St. Lucia

Anyway, we were informed that our itinerary would change, and this new itinerary would allow us to visit several islands that we’d not seen! We’ll be covering our adventures in a series of subsequent posts, but suffice it to say for now, we had a wonderful time and can’t wait to share it with you.

Find out more! Read Part 2 – Our Windstar Experience Aboard the Star Pride, The Ship

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Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Itineraries

With the recent catastrophic hurricanes in the Caribbean, our thoughts have been laser focused those impacted by the storms instead of what we usually (constantly) focus on – vacation. Ok, and rum. Rum and vacation.

But, with a Windstar cruise on our horizon, thoughts began to cross our minds about the impact of the storms on our cruise (and many others), as our original itinerary was scheduled to take us from Puerto Rico to Culebra, Montserrat, St Barths, St Martin, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke… With almost all of these islands taking such an awful hit, are cruise lines cancelling, rescheduling or rerouting upcoming cruises?

Truth be told, we would love to have continued with the original itinerary. As soon as it is humanly possible and we aren’t getting in the way of recovery, we want to take our vacation dollars back to the islands and islanders that have sustained such damage. They will need the tourism dollars and, well, we long to spend time again on those islands. We want to see the progress and experience every new little beach bar and re-built restaurant and go sailing again. The beaches are still beautiful and the foliage is starting to regenerate, so as soon as we aren’t using resources needed for re-building, we are there. But…in the meantime, cruise lines have made changes to their itineraries necessitated, I’m sure, by the safety and enjoyment of their guests, and that includes our upcoming cruise. 

Where will be be stopping now? From Puerto Rico we will sail off to Martinique, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Montserrat and St. Barths! We’ll be stopping at two islands that we have not had the pleasure of visiting yet and are excited for the opportunity to tell you about the experience of sailing on a small luxury cruise ship.

So for now, our changes in latitude will include changes in itineraries, but the changes will widen our tropical experiences and open our eyes to other tropical treasures.

Have the hurricanes caused you to make changes in your vacation itinerary? Tell us about it!

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC