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Star Breeze shake down cruise June 19,2021


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Just home from a lovely experience.

ship beautiful

crew exceptional....wearing smiles that were not diminished by their masks.

food.....exceptional, I gained weight.

Truly a wonderful product....can’t say enough good things.

Milton the hotel manager has everything running like a Swiss watch.....my compliments.

Already planning another Windstar cruise.

All I can say is book, go and enjoy.

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2 hours ago, RMS Olympic said:

Just home from a lovely experience.

ship beautiful

crew exceptional....wearing smiles that were not diminished by their masks.

food.....exceptional, I gained weight.

Truly a wonderful product....can’t say enough good things.

Milton the hotel manager has everything running like a Swiss watch.....my compliments.

Already planning another Windstar cruise.

All I can say is book, go and enjoy.

Thank you for your thoughts. Will you be giving us more details ? Enquiring minds...

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11 hours ago, RMS Olympic said:

Just home from a lovely experience.

ship beautiful

crew exceptional....wearing smiles that were not diminished by their masks.

food.....exceptional, I gained weight.

Truly a wonderful product....can’t say enough good things.

Milton the hotel manager has everything running like a Swiss watch.....my compliments.

Already planning another Windstar cruise.

All I can say is book, go and enjoy.

Thank you.  Can I ask a few questions?

Your favorite place to eat?

Favorite dish?

Did by chance you go to the gym?  If so how are they handling social distancing?

Did you notice if there was an elliptical?

What should we not miss?

Did they provide everyone the covid test at the end for getting back into the US?

Any advice?

Thanks

Soon to be on board.

 

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Having just returned from Star Breeze's inaugural cruise I read this review (? Over 60% of passengers were said to be press) wondering if I was on a different cruise. If this ends up being a "free cruise" (as rumor currently has it) it still wasn't worth the time and effort we putin to go. 

Nothing exceptional onboard or off.  Boat is nice and clean and has largish bathrooms.  Kept being told to "mask up" (all pax are vaccinated) and social distance.  We had 3 days at sea (all stops had been cancelled). After circling for 3 days we were finally allowed to land in St. Martin and could go on WS approved excursions. On those excursions we were led around like kindergartners, even being escorted while using the restrooms!  We could only go into 3 shops in Phillipsburg that were WS selected (while all other shopkeepers were urging us in ).  I was informed that, contrary to what we were told on board, this excursion segregation of pax was NOT a St. Martin requirement, but one required only by WS). We have relatives who were in St. Martin last week and said all shops, bars, restaurants, etc were open and mask-free.  All they had to do was daily temperature report, by phone.

Food:  Unexceptional to say the least.  WS probably paid alot for the celebrity chefs names to be put on the door, but the food in both Cuadro 44 and Candles was nothing memorable and certainly nothing to gush about. The best meals we had were in the large dining room, where we ate only on the first day and the last.  Otherwise, closed.

Lunch daily had the same menu, with only one new selection, every day.  Breakfast by the water was always nice, though again,  same daily selections.  No variety at all.

I find it hard to believe that, on an inaugural cruise, with all the hype and hoopla involved to make it perfect, even to the point of requiring all passengers be vaccinated, the fact that only 20% of the crew were vaccinated, thus causing WS to scrub all stops, is a major snafu on management's part.

As we disembarked Star Breeze headed to Puerto Rico to vaccinate the crew,  having scrubbed the next 2-3 cruises.

We've been on many small ship, luxury cruises, mostly doing the Caribbean. This was our first WS cruise.  Also, our last.  Back to SeaDream.      

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1 hour ago, 6rugrats said:

If you would like the COVID test, you need to order in advance and purchase it.

Is this first hand knowledge as in you were on this cruise ?

 

I was told by WS you did NOT have to order in advance. Currently, going back to US you must have the negative results 3 days prior and they will have tests onboard. 

 

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17 hours ago, RMS Olympic said:

Just home from a lovely experience.

ship beautiful

crew exceptional....wearing smiles that were not diminished by their masks.

food.....exceptional, I gained weight.

Truly a wonderful product....can’t say enough good things.

Milton the hotel manager has everything running like a Swiss watch.....my compliments.

Already planning another Windstar cruise.

All I can say is book, go and enjoy.

Pure joy reading your review. Thanks!

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4 minutes ago, cabosal1 said:

Having just returned from Star Breeze's inaugural cruise I read this review (? Over 60% of passengers were said to be press) wondering if I was on a different cruise. If this ends up being a "free cruise" (as rumor currently has it) it still wasn't worth the time and effort we putin to go. 

Nothing exceptional onboard or off.  Boat is nice and clean and has largish bathrooms.  Kept being told to "mask up" (all pax are vaccinated) and social distance.  We had 3 days at sea (all stops had been cancelled). After circling for 3 days we were finally allowed to land in St. Martin and could go on WS approved excursions. On those excursions we were led around like kindergartners, even being escorted while using the restrooms!  We could only go into 3 shops in Phillipsburg that were WS selected (while all other shopkeepers were urging us in ).  I was informed that, contrary to what we were told on board, this excursion segregation of pax was NOT a St. Martin requirement, but one required only by WS). We have relatives who were in St. Martin last week and said all shops, bars, restaurants, etc were open and mask-free.  All they had to do was daily temperature report, by phone.

Food:  Unexceptional to say the least.  WS probably paid alot for the celebrity chefs names to be put on the door, but the food in both Cuadro 44 and Candles was nothing memorable and certainly nothing to gush about. The best meals we had were in the large dining room, where we ate only on the first day and the last.  Otherwise, closed.

Lunch daily had the same menu, with only one new selection, every day.  Breakfast by the water was always nice, though again,  same daily selections.  No variety at all.

I find it hard to believe that, on an inaugural cruise, with all the hype and hoopla involved to make it perfect, even to the point of requiring all passengers be vaccinated, the fact that only 20% of the crew were vaccinated, thus causing WS to scrub all stops, is a major snafu on management's part.

As we disembarked Star Breeze headed to Puerto Rico to vaccinate the crew,  having scrubbed the next 2-3 cruises.

We've been on many small ship, luxury cruises, mostly doing the Caribbean. This was our first WS cruise.  Also, our last.  Back to SeaDream.      

Thank you for your thoughts Cabosal1. Was their any printed material about dining or activities ? What did do for your 3 sea days ? How was the service ? What time was disembark ? How did the return testing testing work ? Was the airport crazy and how far away is it ? Did you feel the ship looked nice ? Was everyone friendly or grumpy because of the situation ? Probably more questions, thank you and sorry you did not have an enjoyable vacation. 

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2 hours ago, FLbeachbaby said:

Is this first hand knowledge as in you were on this cruise ?

 

I was told by WS you did NOT have to order in advance. Currently, going back to US you must have the negative results 3 days prior and they will have tests onboard. 

 

Yes, I am aware of current entry requirements back to the US.  

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Another option for testing before returning to the US is a CDC approved test kit from eMed. It looks like you need internet connectivity to use it as you do the test while on a video visit with a "Certified Guide" and receive results in 15 minutes on the app. It costs $150 for a pack of 6 tests. There doesn't seem to be an option to buy a single test. United and American Airlines are partnering with them but it doesn't look like you have to take one of those two to buy and use it. 

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I am thinking of taking this Star Breeze ship on a Tahiti cruise in Oct and have a few questions about dining.  Is there a buffet dinner available anywhere - if yes was it in the Star Grill?  Pictures show the Amphora restaurant having buffet stations for food - is that true or is it sit down only?

Thanks, Rick

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19 hours ago, cabosal1 said:

The best meals we had were in the large dining room, where we ate only on the first day and the last.  Otherwise, closed.

The main dining room was only open two day?  That seems odd to say the least.

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5 hours ago, stromer said:

I am thinking of taking this Star Breeze ship on a Tahiti cruise in Oct and have a few questions about dining.  Is there a buffet dinner available anywhere - if yes was it in the Star Grill?  Pictures show the Amphora restaurant having buffet stations for food - is that true or is it sit down only?

Thanks, Rick

Before the stretching of Star Breeze, dinners were served sit down in either Candles or Amphora except for the deck barbecue, which is buffet. Breakfast and lunch were in the Veranda and provided a buffet or you could order from a menu. In the colder climates, the Amphora was open for sit-down lunch whenever it was too unpleasant to eat outdoors. There are now two new places to eat, which I have not seen yet.

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On 6/28/2021 at 3:31 PM, new_cruiser said:

Another option for testing before returning to the US is a CDC approved test kit from eMed. It looks like you need internet connectivity to use it as you do the test while on a video visit with a "Certified Guide" and receive results in 15 minutes on the app. It costs $150 for a pack of 6 tests. There doesn't seem to be an option to buy a single test. United and American Airlines are partnering with them but it doesn't look like you have to take one of those two to buy and use it. 

This sounds like a good idea, BUT I'm not sure this test would work for getting into St Maarten OR to disembark in St Maarten at the end of the cruise.  The St Maarten website says:

 

Tests performed outside of the 48 hours period and home tests will not be accepted.

 

Does anyone know if the eMed test is acceptable?

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Found this on the St Maarten Website - so it does look like the emed test will work as they are the Abbott BinaxNow.

 

Are other types of COVID-19 tests allowed instead of the rt-PCR COVID-19 test?
Yes, antigen tests are also accepted, but for now only the following antigen tests are accepted: BD Veritor Plus, Abbott Panbio, Abbott BinaxNow and the Roche/SD Biosensor F. The test must be performed on a naso-pharyngheal sample taken within 48 hours prior to departure to St. Maarten. Antigen tests on samples taken outside of the 48 hours period or from other brands will not be accepted.
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2 hours ago, themutis said:

This sounds like a good idea, BUT I'm not sure this test would work for getting into St Maarten OR to disembark in St Maarten at the end of the cruise.  The St Maarten website says:

 

Tests performed outside of the 48 hours period and home tests will not be accepted.

 

Does anyone know if the eMed test is acceptable?

United Airlines says it's accepted for returning to the US and the test says it's CDC approved. I thought my post was clear - it started "another option for testing before returning to the US." The thread so far was talking about the testing needed to returning to the US. I know nothing about any rules St Martin may have for debarking there. 

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On 6/28/2021 at 12:20 PM, cabosal1 said:

 

We've been on many small ship, luxury cruises, mostly doing the Caribbean. This was our first WS cruise.  Also, our last.  Back to SeaDream.      

 

Our first WS cruise was to be on the inaugural TA of the Star Breeze over a year ago; we ended up on the Legend instead. 

With the same background as yours, we didn't know what to expect from WS. Add to that an old ship on her way to drydock, and being flooded out of our cabin, we came to a different conclusion than you and hope to cruise with WS in the distant future (I'm not going to head out for at least another year, maybe two because I want more than a hope & a prayer that our cruise will happen as sold and I don't cruise to places that will be among the first vaccinated.) Stuff happened but it wasn't what we remember when we think back on the cruise. 

Obviously our taste is different than yours but thanks for recommendation of SeaDream, I'll be checking that line out since, in general, our cruising profiles are the same.

 

 

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For what it’s worth, Windstar is not considered a luxury line. It’s pricing is far below Sea Dream and the other top four luxury lines. We find the service outstanding and the food very good and sometimes excellent. To expect them to be equal is a mistake. 

 

I agree with those who feel Windstar muddled the start up, particularly in the communications area. It’s often better to tell people who are waiting that you have no information to share. (Lesson from my SWA pilot better half!) I’m very sorry for those whose vacations were not up to expectations or cancelled. 
 

Windstar is a niche market for sure and not for everyone. We’ve done 9 or 10 cruises with them and have one booked for summer ‘22. We also cruise on Regent would like to try Sea Dream one day.

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We were on our first Windstar cruise on the Legend, right before the pandemic stopped cruising totally. After 160+ cruises on almost every other cruise line, we were very happy with our Windstar experience. We enjoyed it so much, that we have booked other cruises to come with them. Every cruise line is having difficulties right now, we have to be patient and give them time to work it out.

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On 6/28/2021 at 12:31 PM, new_cruiser said:

Another option for testing before returning to the US is a CDC approved test kit from eMed. It looks like you need internet connectivity to use it as you do the test while on a video visit with a "Certified Guide" and receive results in 15 minutes on the app. It costs $150 for a pack of 6 tests. There doesn't seem to be an option to buy a single test. United and American Airlines are partnering with them but it doesn't look like you have to take one of those two to buy and use it. 

 I read on TripAdvisor someone said that you can’t share the 6 tests among family. Each person have to buy their own. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few followup thoughts on the inaugural...shakedown cruise.

I did not expect perfection, as this was a start up shakedown cruise. I was told before the cruise there were going to be very few paying passengers. I spoke to many film crew, travel agents, travel writers on board; reception told me only 35 actually paying passengers were onboard. The remainder were company officials like the president of the company and administrative officials.

with so few passengers I expected a reduced operation, with not all venues up and operating all at the same time.

An inaugural in the full sense, no but a shakedown in reality. Even Celebrity has been operating at a slimmed down operation on their start up cruises.

 I listened to some passengers raving about SeaDream...that’s ok. But one couple that raved about seadream did it on the shuttle to the Sea Breeze doing a comparison before even getting to the ship. The same women was seated next to me on the return flight an refused to keep her mask on...belligerent and foul mouthed. But that’s another story.

as to the gym....I used it every day, particularly the elypticals.

the gym had about 3 or 4 people in it at any given time...the regulars😎

I enjoyed Candles twice, food was lovely.

Cuadro 44...not to my liking. Flavors were unusual for my pallet and once was enough. Eating alfresco up at the Star Bar area was my favorite. I thought the food was just fine, especially the lamb and pork. 
All the crew were friendly and very upbeat.

As this was my 89 cruise I have learned nothing is perfect, and I go to enjoy the entire experience.

Again, I enjoyed the shake down cruise. I received my refund and immediately booked a Nov 2022 on the Pride out of San Juan. 
I liked the size of the ship, the friendly service, food to my liking and the water platform. The outdoor bar b q was held out on deck one evening, I thought the spread was more than adequate...especially the shrimp, steak and lobster tails on the grill.

Note....a nasal swab was performed towards the end of the cruise and a test result was printed out and delivered to my stateroom.

All in all under all the pandemic issues and limitations I was pleased.

As for wearing a mask, I wore mine when in the hallways. I did not wear one while dinning, nor at the bar, the lounges nor out on deck.

If there was one negative, it was a few rude passengers, but you can find them on any ship, affluence does not guarantee good manners.

I stand firm, I was pleased.

Next up Celebrity Edge in September for number 90. Some reviews of her start up are yielding complaints.....not going to stop me. People in this world are struggling, and I’m going on cruises.....I just can’t complain.

 

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To RMS Olympic, How lovely and thank you. I do not understand rudeness and sorry you had to experience it. I always feel badly for those people how small, undignified and sad they are. We have had 26/WS cruises we have seen rudeness  but rarely. We have never had the expectation of perfect, it is a simple concept, it does not exist. Like you simply grateful that we can do what we do in a complicated, topsy,  turvy world. Happy Sailing to you and all the best for more imperfect  but wonderful cruising experiences. Be safe and have good health. 

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On 7/3/2021 at 9:20 PM, travelbug2225 said:

 I read on TripAdvisor someone said that you can’t share the 6 tests among family. Each person have to buy their own. 

Before using the eMed (Abbor tests), I read the same on some website and you do indicate a name when you purchase.  At the time, I found nothing on the Abbot site that confirmed this.  So, we tested it out.  Four different people used the set of 6 that I purchased with no issues.  I have since learned that you can list two other individuals on the purchase but have not purchased again so cannot confirm this change.  

 

Each person sets up an account and the QR on the box is scanned and linked to the account during the administration of the test.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/18/2021 at 10:20 AM, RMS Olympic said:

A few followup thoughts on the inaugural...shakedown cruise.

I did not expect perfection, as this was a start up shakedown cruise. I was told before the cruise there were going to be very few paying passengers. I spoke to many film crew, travel agents, travel writers on board; reception told me only 35 actually paying passengers were onboard. The remainder were company officials like the president of the company and administrative officials.

with so few passengers I expected a reduced operation, with not all venues up and operating all at the same time.

An inaugural in the full sense, no but a shakedown in reality. Even Celebrity has been operating at a slimmed down operation on their start up cruises.

 I listened to some passengers raving about SeaDream...that’s ok. But one couple that raved about seadream did it on the shuttle to the Sea Breeze doing a comparison before even getting to the ship. The same women was seated next to me on the return flight an refused to keep her mask on...belligerent and foul mouthed. But that’s another story.

as to the gym....I used it every day, particularly the elypticals.

the gym had about 3 or 4 people in it at any given time...the regulars😎

I enjoyed Candles twice, food was lovely.

Cuadro 44...not to my liking. Flavors were unusual for my pallet and once was enough. Eating alfresco up at the Star Bar area was my favorite. I thought the food was just fine, especially the lamb and pork. 
All the crew were friendly and very upbeat.

As this was my 89 cruise I have learned nothing is perfect, and I go to enjoy the entire experience.

Again, I enjoyed the shake down cruise. I received my refund and immediately booked a Nov 2022 on the Pride out of San Juan. 
I liked the size of the ship, the friendly service, food to my liking and the water platform. The outdoor bar b q was held out on deck one evening, I thought the spread was more than adequate...especially the shrimp, steak and lobster tails on the grill.

Note....a nasal swab was performed towards the end of the cruise and a test result was printed out and delivered to my stateroom.

All in all under all the pandemic issues and limitations I was pleased.

As for wearing a mask, I wore mine when in the hallways. I did not wear one while dinning, nor at the bar, the lounges nor out on deck.

If there was one negative, it was a few rude passengers, but you can find them on any ship, affluence does not guarantee good manners.

I stand firm, I was pleased.

Next up Celebrity Edge in September for number 90. Some reviews of her start up are yielding complaints.....not going to stop me. People in this world are struggling, and I’m going on cruises.....I just can’t complain.

 

Hey Tom,

looks like I will take The Pride from Boston to San Juan for you:-)! I am so happy you enjoyed WS, but YES SeaDream is a bit different...maybe more lux in the included drinks department, but that's it! Food and Service is basically the same, better Cabins on the WS Yachts. Actually I do enjoy WS more!

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