Wind Spirit in Moorea
Wind Spirit in Moorea / Windstar Cruises / Roger Paperno
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Wind Spirit's Pool Bar
Wind Spirit's Pool Bar / Roger Paperno / Windstar Cruises
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Wind Star's Pool Deck
Wind Star's Pool Deck / Windstar Cruises / Roger Paperno
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Star Pride's Balcony and Ocean View Suites
Star Pride's Balcony and Ocean View Suites / Windstar Cruises
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Windstar Cruises

Our Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Best known for its trio of ships with sails, Windstar Cruises doubled its fleet with the 2013 purchase of three small ships from Seabourn that it calls its Star Plus “power yachts.” Now, this premium cruise line offers itineraries around the world. The six ships — Wind Star, Wind Spirit, Wind Surf, Star Pride, Star Breeze, and Star Legend — accommodate anywhere from 148 to 342 guests, and the atmosphere is upscale but relaxed, with an emphasis on visiting a mix of popular and more out-of-the-way ports. Sure, the power-yachts don't have sails to catch the wind, but they're still intimate vessels — with the bonus of much larger staterooms than their tall-masted fleetmates.

What We Love

Destination Focus: Small ships can sail into less-visited ports and dock in the middle of town rather than next to a concrete warehouse far from the city center.

Sailaway Ritual: Sailing away from port, often around sunset, is always enjoyable, but Windstar raises the bar by playing “1492: Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis as the sails are hoisted on its tall-masted ships and as its motor yachts slip away toward the open sea.

Best Known For

 Water Sports Platforms: The entire fleet offers retractable marinas that let guests take a dip in a bay, windsurf, or kayak.

Culinary Chops: While Windstar isn’t a luxury line à la Seabourn, Silversea, or Regent, as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation it does attract a fair share of foodies for special theme sailings with renowned chefs on board. There is also an emphasis on using fresh, local ingredients and the ship’s chefs lead free market tours on most sailings.

Who It's Best For

Couples: Windstar ships are known for offering a relaxed and casual vibe that appeals to couples seeking a cruise that’s more about the destination than onboard entertainment (nights are congenial but generally on the quiet side). And, while many guests tend to be age 40 and older, these intimate ships are also popular with honeymooners, especially when cruising Tahiti, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean.

Solo Travelers: Windstar also attracts single travelers because it occasionally waives or reduces the dreaded single supplement, which is otherwise 175 percent of the double-occupancy rate.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

There Are No Balconies: The six ships were all built in a pre-balcony era, although some suites on the three Star Plus power yachts do have French balconies, and a limited number of Classic and Owner’s Suites have full balconies.