Windstar Cruises - Star Plus Class or Wind Class?
Let’s start with the one thing that we found to run through the DNA of both classes of ship, the amazing crew. With the exception of the larger Wind Surf the Wind class ships are much smaller than the Star class ships with 148 passenger capacity compared to 342 in the Star class ships, but the level of service and friendliness of the crew is the same on all of their ships, with signature events such as the deck BBQ, crew line dancing and talent show taking place throughout the fleet.
Even though the Wind class ships are smaller than the Star class ships the variety and quality of dining on offer is very similar with the Amphora main dining room on all ships having a similar feel and menu to each other. Although the buffet style Veranda restaurant is smaller on the Wind class ships the options are as varied as the larger ships, with both venues offering al fresco dining and reverting to Candles in the evening, with exactly the same menu on all ships.
Both classes of ship also offer the wonderful Yacht Club cafe venue with barista prepared coffee and delicious snacks always on offer. However, the Star class ships offer two other dining venues not available on the Wind class ship, The Star Grill BBQ-focused venue headed up by renowned chef, Steven Raichlen, and the innovative Cuadro 44, a Spanish tapas style restaurant with a menu created by Anthony Sasso. With Windstar’s collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, no matter which class of ship you sail on you can be assured that the menus and food on offer are always top notch.
The biggest difference in the two classes of ship can be seen in the accommodation on offer. With the Star class ships offering All Suite luxurious accommodation there is no denying that your stay in one of the larger Star class ships with be much more comfortable than it will be on one of the Wind class ships, where there is no option to have a balcony. All of the staterooms on the Wind class ships are almost exactly the same, offering porthole views from the 18 square metre staterooms, compared to the 26 square metres available in most of the Star class suites, some with large ocean view windows and some with French balconies.
The Star class ships also offer more variety of suites with the choice of nine Owners Suites ranging from 43.5 square metres to 76 square metres compared to the lone Owners Suite on the Wind class ships measuring a mere 21 square metres. Although the staterooms on the Wind class ships are reasonably well appointed and comfortable enough, they simply can’t offer the same level of luxury and modernity of those in the Star class ships.
However, sailing on a Wind class ship offers such a unique experience you simply won’t want to spend much time in your stateroom. With their magnificent triangular sailing masts deployed whenever possible and the engines shut down if possible, so the ship can sail under the power of the wind, you won’t want to be anywhere else except on the open decks. Having had a whole new section of ship inserted into the middle of its body, the Star class ships now have a larger pool deck with two whirlpools and a larger infinity style pool, but this isn’t to say that the pool deck on the Wind class ships is any less inviting. Having fewer passengers on board, the small splash pool and one whirlpool is perfectly adequate and there are plenty of sunbeds and tables available to make this a very sociable place to pass the day, especially with the wonderful pool bar on hand to serve refreshing cocktails.
While both types of ships regularly perform the signature 1492 Conquest of Paradise sailaway ceremony, the rousing music playing in the background as the sails unfurl just seems to reach emotions that merely raising a flag on an engine powered ship simply can’t. Our one sailing on the Wind Spirit was a week long voyage around the Society Islands in French Polynesia and with the combination of this incredible place and the beautiful tall ship we can honestly say that this was the most romantic cruise we have ever taken.
We always love sailing on a Windstar ship, loving the homeliness of all areas of the ship, the friendliness of the crew and the level of relaxation that we seem to achieve whenever we’re on board. While we wouldn’t have sailed through Tahiti on any other ship, absolutely adoring the romance of being on a tall ship, there’s no denying that the Star class ships offer more luxury and choice than the smaller ships can ever offer. But in all honesty, with the amazing crew, the intimate and homely vibe and the unusual itineraries we wouldn’t hesitate to sail on any the the Windstar ships, always feeling like we are on a home away from home.
Watch our French Polynesia series aboard Wind Spirit here:
Or take a look inside Star Breeze from our voyage to Alaska here:
Which Windstar Cruises ship would you choose?