Wind Star Review

Wind Star Review
Windstar Cruises’ beautiful Wind Star is a small ship with a difference: computer-controlled sails. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The 5,350-ton, 148-guest Wind Star and her identical twin, Wind Spiritwere Windstar’s original vessels (launched in 1986 and 1988, respectively), and they’re still some of the most romantic small ships at sea — part sailing yacht, part premium cruise ship, and with all the fine service, casual atmosphere, and excellent cuisine for which Windstar is known.

In 2012, Wind Star was given a massive (and much-needed) refurbishment that dramatically improved the look and feel of all staterooms and public areas onboard. The refit graced Wind Star with an entirely new color palette that is reflected in the soft furnishings and wall treatments, all of which have been completely redone. The results are dramatic: a ship that shows no signs of having served nearly three decades, and which has now been rendered modern instead of dated.

At Sea aboard Wind Star. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
At Sea aboard Wind Star. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

If you’re expecting 100 percent sail power for the duration of your cruise, however, you’ll be disappointed: Wind Star, like her sail-equipped fleetmates, alternates between sail and diesel propulsion power in order to maintain her port-intensive itineraries. Still, unless you’re a sailing purist, Wind Star provides one heck of an experience … even if the sails are getting a little help along the way from modern technology.

Wind Star Dining & Public Rooms

New owners Xanterra Parks and Resorts spent millions of dollars refitting Windstar's three motor-sail-yachts, and the results were stunning. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
New owners Xanterra Parks and Resorts spent millions of dollars refitting Windstar’s three motor-sail-yachts, and the results were stunning. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

In all, there are only four main public rooms: the Skylight Main Lounge and next-door Casino, the Restaurant, and the Veranda buffet restaurant. The Main Lounge is the spot for dancing, cocktails, and port talks, plus gambling in the casino, which is located in a small adjoining room.

There’s also a second open-air bar out by the pool, which is the venue for Candles, an intimate poolside dining venue that can serve about 30 guests per evening. Otherwise, guests take their dinners at the spacious, nautically styled main Restaurant. Breakfast and lunch are served at the Veranda, a sunny, big-windowed room situated on Wind Star’s uppermost deck that features both indoor and outdoor seating.

Wind Star's main Lounge was given a substantial makeover in 2012, along with the rest of the vessel. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
Wind Star’s main Lounge was given a substantial makeover in 2012, along with the rest of the vessel. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Other rooms include a small spa, an equally small gym, and a cozy library where guests can surf the web or check out books, DVDs, and CDs for use in their staterooms. Outdoors there’s a small pool and hot tub, plus various decks and nooks appointed with deck chairs.

Wind Star Staterooms

Windstar's newly-refurbished staterooms have all the luxury appeal of a boutique hotel. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Windstar’s newly refurbished staterooms have all the luxury appeal of a boutique hotel. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Wind Star offers two basic accommodation choices: standard outside staterooms and Owners Cabins. Each standard, 188-square-foot stateroom offers a queen-size bed, TV, DVD/CD player, Bose SoundDock (for use with iPods, your own or one you check out onboard), Wi-Fi, and a small refrigerator. Owners Cabins offer a bit more space, measuring in at 220 square feet.

Bathrooms are surprisingly spacious and functional. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Bathrooms are surprisingly spacious and functional. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Stateroom bathrooms are surprisingly spacious and come stocked with French-milled L’Occitane toiletries, adequate storage, and feature efficient design complemented by touches like granite countertops, a spacious shower enclosure that keeps water inside its basin and off of the bathroom floor, and better-than-average lighting.

Note that no accommodations on Wind Star offer balconies: Instead, all staterooms have traditional porthole windows.

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