It isn’t daily {that a} cruise ship is minimize in half, filled with a brand new part, and welded again collectively—however that is exactly what occurred to Windstar’s Star Breeze in 2021.

The three-decade-old ship underwent the “stretching” course of as part of the $250 million Star Plus Initiative. This expanded all three of Windstar’s Star Class ships to permit for 100 extra passengers, two new eating venues, and house for 4 new engines per ship.

Whereas I hadn’t sailed Star Breeze previous to its enlargement, I can affirm that even at a 312-passenger capability, the ship nonetheless feels exquisitely intimate. Here is how my first voyage went.


There are not any normal cruise cabins on the Star Breeze—it’s an all-suite yacht, and every suite format options separate sitting and sleeping areas.

The Star Suites—the most recent lodging within the ship’s recently-added midsection—make for stand-out lodgings. The inside decor is conventional however up to date, with a light-weight blue–and–grey shade scheme and basic yacht-style particulars akin to wooden paneling.

You possibly can select between suites with giant image home windows or Juliet balconies—I recommend the latter. Although the balcony is not giant sufficient for furnishings, it is pretty to open the doorways and really feel the breeze (that is, in spite of everything, Star Breeze!). Bogs are impressively sized: There is a double self-importance with a spacious bathe, and there is additionally a walk-in closet.

Courtesy of Windstar

In contrast to the unique suites, the place the seating space is close to the window, the brand new Star Suites have a mattress close to the window. I loved this new format, because it meant waking as much as unbelievable views each morning—I did not spend a lot time in my suite, so I did not thoughts that the sitting space lacked these views. You possibly can at all times e-book the unique suites should you want the reverse format.

Earlier this yr, Windstar introduced its planning to roll out two new specialty suites to Star Breeze this spring. The brand new lodgings are impressed by Windstar’s sister firms—The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and the Sea Island Resort in Georgia.


Windstar has partnered with the James Beard Basis, so its culinary program is an onboard spotlight.

Two eating venues stay from Star Breeze’s unique format: the primary formal eating room, Amphora; an almost-cavernous house on deck 3 that serves a singular menu every day; and Veranda, a breakfast and lunch buffet that transforms into an alfresco seafood-and-steak spot named Candles for dinner.

Courtesy of Windstar

Courtesy of Windstar

Its two new eating venues are the outside Star Grill, an off-the-cuff barbecue joint and grill by ​​Stephen Raichlin, and Cuadro 44, a specialty restaurant by Anthony Sasso that serves Spanish delicacies. Sadly, Cuadro 44 wasn’t open throughout our crusing—I took my journey in 2022—however we had been in a position to pattern a few of its menu gadgets throughout a wine tasting. (The wine tasting was a spotlight in my e-book, due to the informative bartender.)

Whereas all meals are included onboard Windstar ships, alcoholic drinks aren’t—you should buy drinks à la carte or buy a drink bundle. There’s additionally room service, included within the fee, which I discovered significantly useful on mornings with early excursions.

Coming quickly to the ship is a brand new plant-based menu, created in partnership with the Nationwide Well being Affiliation.

Courtesy of Windstar


The enlargement of Star Breeze made for fairly a bit of out of doors house on decks 7 and eight, the place you may discover the pool, scorching tubs, and solar loungers. In French Polynesia, it is a significantly welcome addition—on the few days I stayed aboard the ship, I parked myself on a pool lounger with a e-book and several other rounds of fruity cocktails.

There’s additionally an expanded spa with a health middle, thermal suite, and motion studio; a lecture corridor for enrichment talks about every port; and the library-lounge Yacht Membership. And at some ports—ones that require tendering to shore—the ship can open up its watersports platform, outfitted with a trampoline, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Courtesy of Windstar

Star Breeze is gentle on nighttime leisure—nights normally wrap up on the sooner facet, after nightcaps within the Yacht Membership or outside Star Bar, or dwell music on the Compass Rose bar. On one night, nonetheless, there was significantly vigorous line dancing on deck.


Star Breeze’s Goals of Tahiti itinerary gives one or two days in every port, which gives ample time for excursions and on-your-own exploring. Excursions vary from snorkeling—I like to recommend the drift snorkeling on Raiatea, the place you float alongside a present that takes you over a coral backyard—to 4×4 excursions of cultural websites, vanilla plantations, and pearl diving communities. You may as well take a helicopter journey round Bora Bora’s Otemanu, the well-known craggy peak on the middle of the island.

Windstar additionally has a non-public island, Motu Mahaea, off Taha’a, which friends can go to without cost. There are seaside loungers, a restaurant, and a bar on the palm-tree-filled island.

Excursions aren’t included on Windstar, and on some islands with restricted infrastructure, there’s little to do by yourself. As such, I spent a number of days simply having fun with the island views from the pool deck or enjoying round on the watersports platform. Throughout our two days in Bora Bora, I explored two of the island’s well-known resorts by way of day passes that guests should purchase.

Courtesy of Windstar

My first cease was the St. Regis Bora Bora, the place day-pass guests can dine on the resort’s 4 eating places, take a dip in its two swimming pools, and even e-book a remedy on the spa. Throughout my all-day go to, the highlights had been snorkeling within the Lagoonarium, a man-made lagoon stuffed with tropical fish—remember to pop your head above the water to absorb views of Otemanu from sure spots—and sundown cocktails with one other stellar view of Otemanu.

The following day, I visited Conrad Bora Bora Nui, a hillside property by itself island. Right here, day-pass guests can even make the most of all of the property’s services, from the eating places to the seaside to the spa. If you happen to can deal with a reasonably vertical hike, head to the highest of the property to see views of Otemanu—or ask the employees for a golf cart journey to the highest as I did. The beachside pool advanced was calling my title, although, and I spent the remainder of my afternoon within the water or napping in a cabana.

Ultimate Verdict

Cruises in French Polynesia aren’t low-cost, however Windstar, and Star Breeze particularly, finds its area of interest with a mid-range worth level, an upscale small ship, and a robust culinary program. However as the speed doesn’t embody alcohol, excursions, Wi-Fi, or gratuities, costs can add up rapidly. You possibly can offset this by buying the all-inclusive bundle, which incorporates limitless alcoholic drinks, Wi-Fi (although be aware that it’s extremely gradual and spotty), and gratuities priced at $89 per visitor per day—you may nonetheless be by yourself for excursions, although.

The value of Windstar’s Goals of Tahiti voyage begins at $2,399. Discover out extra info or e-book your individual journey right here.