Windstar Cruises’ Star Pride began her life in 1989 as Seabourn Pride, the first vessel built expressly for the then-newly formed Seabourn Cruise Line.
The sister to Seabourn Spirit and, later, Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Pride served Seabourn for well over 20 years. During that time, however, she was continually refitted. French balconies were added, as the ship’s original oceanview-only accommodations were falling out of style in the late 1990’s. Certain features were removed, while others were added.
After entering service for Windstar back in 2014, Star Pride returned back to the fleet in June of 2016 after an extensive $4.5-million refurbishment that remodelled public spaces, suites and the ship’s outer decks. She now features the same amenities that her fleetmates Star Breeze and Star Legend received before they entered service, including an expanded pool deck that allows for full-sized loungers to be placed on the deck without impacting the ability of guests to walk past. The total investment Windstar has made on these three ships, acquired from Seabourn back in 2013, now exceeds $21.5 million dollars.
“We are extremely pleased with the extensive yacht refurbishment of Star Pride and are excited to be welcoming guests aboard in Windstar’s private yacht style as the Mediterranean cruise season gets under way,” remarked Andrew N. Todd, president and chief executive officer of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, parent company of Windstar Cruises.
One feature that wasn’t removed were the ship’s retractable marina platforms mounted at the stern, which have been heavily copied ever since. This fits in perfectly with the Windstar mantra; each of the line’s existing three sail-motor ships includes a retractable marina.
Capable of carrying just 212 guests, Star Pride and her sisters are among Windstar Cruises’ most attractive and inviting ships.
Thanks to her luxury pedigree, the vast majority of suites come in at 277 square feet. These feel substantially larger still thanks to a great layout that includes a full seating area near the window complete with a plush couch on one side and two chairs and an end table on the other. In the center: an oversized coffee table. With three separate lighting options, this is the ultimate seaside reading nook.
Windstar has made significant changes to suites onboard following the transfer of these ships from Seabourn. New fabrics, furniture and soft furnishings have been added. Windstar replaced the headboards, and added new direct and indirect light sources in the form of bedside lamps and reading lights. Carpets have been redone. Furniture is new. Drapes have been swapped out. In essence, you’d never know your suite is coming up on the anniversary of its third decade in service.
On the bathroom front, expect a spacious, marble-clad bathroom complete with a tub-shower combo and a dual vanity sink. Shelves are available on either side of the vanity, with additional storage behind a mirrored glass panel located on the inside of the room opposite the sink and door. Toiletries are Windstar-standard: French-milled L’Occitane products grace the bathroom in every suite category.
Star Pride also offers two 575-square foot Owner’s Suites, and a handful of Classic Suites that range in size from 400 square feet to 530 square feet.
You’ll never have an issue finding a seat in your favorite public room aboard these ships. Anchored by an attractive Atrium that rises four decks in height, almost all public rooms are situated aft of the atrium, with the lone exception being the Yacht Club all the way forward on Deck 8.
A look at the Public Rooms aboard Star Pride (note: these photos were taken aboard sister Star Breeze, but are representative of the similarly-designed rooms aboard Star Pride):
Dinners are typically taken in AmphorA, the main dining venue aboard Star Pride. Situated on Deck 3, AmphorA has been attractively refitted from the ship’s Seabourn days, and is now one of the most inviting public rooms aboard the vessel. A good number of seating options are available, from intimate tables for two to larger ones that can seat six to eight guests.
Casual meals are taken in The Veranda on Deck 7 aft, with buffet breakfast and buffet lunch being served here daily. The Veranda also offers a selection of a la carte menu items available for order directly from your waiter. In the evening, The Veranda turns into Candles, Windstar Cruises intimate, reservations-only dining venue. The atmosphere is intimate, with most guests dining outdoors on the stern of the ship, though indoor seating is also available. Reservations are required, but Candles is a complimentary dining venue.
Continental breakfast, sandwiches, and other quick bites are available in the Yacht Club on Deck 8 forward, and canapes are served throughout the vessel, typically starting around 6 p.m.
Room Service is also available to all guests.
The ship’s internet works well, and Wi-Fi is available throughout the public rooms and suites. It’s not as fast as on land due to the ship’s satellite connection, but it’s snappier and more responsive than we would have expected. Prepaid internet tickets can be purchased from the Reception Desk, and are available as follows:
The latter basically allows you to have unlimited internet access throughout the vessel for the duration of the voyage.
If you’ve sailed with Windstar before, you’ll know the act of setting sail is no ordinary departure: On Windstar, it’s a true event, accompanied by the raising of the sails to the thudding Vangelis score from the film 1492: Conquest of Paradise.
There’s just one problem: Star Pride and her sisters lack sails.
Windstar thought of that, and solved the problem with a special flag raising ceremony that takes place on the forward radar mast just above the Star Bar on Deck 8. With the score to Conquest of Paradise playing over the ship’s new sound system, guests gather in the fluorescent glow of the lights and watch in awe as two crew members appeared beside the forward mast, raising the Windstar Cruises house flag up to the crest of the musical score. It’s not as impactful as watching the sails billow out on Windstar’s sailing ships, but it’s nice to see Windstar made the effort to carry on that tradition aboard its Power Yachts.
Windstar recommends US$12 per guest, per day, which can be added to your onboard account and settled with cash or credit card. Though Windstar is not all-inclusive, beverage packages can be purchased onboard for US$100 per stateroom as of our mid-2016 sailing.