Balcony Suites onboard Windstar's Star Legend are 277 square feet and feature a French balcony. // © 2016 Windstar Cruises
Feature image (above): Star Legend can hold up to 212 guests. // © 2016 Valerie Chen
Before I could set loose a stream of compliments, Rohit Dimri already knew what I was about to say.
A couple nights earlier, the executive chef for Windstar Cruises had prepared a special Indian feast for our table at Amphora. Not that the elegant, dinner-only restaurant’s rotating menu of mostly European dishes wasn’t satisfactory; everything I had eaten there was delicious. But once we got wind that Dimri’s culinary skills also encompassed the flavorful cuisine of his hometown, New Delhi, we had to see — and taste — for ourselves.
Dishes were scraped clean. And word had reached Dimri, who told me he would be happy to cook such a spread again, if I so desired.
Prior to my cruise, I had heard about Windstar’s commitment to personal service. I anticipated crewmembers greeting me by name and memorizing my twice-daily order of a soy cappuccino. Still, the unremitting first-rate treatment given to passengers blew me away.
Our ritzy home on the water was the all-suite, 212-passenger Star Legend. Previously a Seabourn Cruise Line ship that in 2015 joined the Windstar fleet with two other motor yachts (now Star Pride and Star Breeze), the vessel still sparkles from its $8.5 million renovation. This includes updated, modern decor throughout staterooms and public spaces, as well as several new additions.
My Ocean View suite’s impressive 277 feet encompassed a queen bed (that could be separated into twin beds); a sitting area with a large picture window; a marble-lined bathroom with a shower/tub and L’Occitane products; and even a walk-in closet. A slight upgrade is a Balcony Suite, which features a French balcony. Four Classic Suites can also be found onboard, ranging from 400 to 530 square feet, as well as two Owner’s Suites that each measure 575 feet; both categories have full verandas. Overall, compared with Windstar’s sailing ships, accommodations are considerably more spacious.
As a motor yacht, Star Legend can clock in nautical miles at a greater pace, too. But on a 10-day itinerary traveling from Dublin to Lisbon, Portugal, I figured I still had plenty of time to wander the ship.
Book in hand, I would often head to the tranquil Yacht Club, which offers some of the strongest Wi-Fi onboard, coffee and small bites, along with cocktail service from the nearby Star Bar in the evenings. But if in the mood for something more filling, passengers can nosh on a breakfast or lunch buffet at Veranda. At night, Veranda becomes the reservation-only Candles, featuring a set steak and seafood menu (with vegetarian options) and an intimate, alfresco ambiance. Otherwise, Amphora will typically be the buzzing dinner spot.
If without access to Star Legend’s watersports platform (only available when the ship is docked at sea and usually in the Caribbean), passengers can burn off calories at the fitness center or during complimentary yoga and Pilates classes (often held outside during good weather.) Afterward, they can relax in the small counter-current pool, the adjacent hot tub or the more private, practically hidden hot tub found on Deck 5, forward. For me, nothing beat unwinding at WindSpa, where the 75-minute Bamboo Massage and ensuing state of bliss is worthy of a splurge.
Idling the time away might also include enjoying crew performances in Compass Rose, which has a bar and an adjoining casino; checking out items from the library, including movies to play in the screening room; and dancing to live music at the Lounge, where port talks and other activities are held, as well.
But in a blink of an eye, Star Legend had docked at our itinerary’s final port — before I could attempt one more Sarvangasana yoga pose or order one last dessert from the 24-hour room service. Time sure flies when you’re having fun.