pay more than your tablemates...
makes it easy to let
independent agents compete to offer you the best deal.
Have a question or a review to submit? Write
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
content is protected by United States Copyright Laws.
Violators of our copyright, as well as bandwidth theft by "direct linking" of
images, will be pursued by all means necessary. Find
out more in
by Monte Goldstein
Our trip started with independent flights from JFk-Istanbul via Rome
on Alitalia. Unfortunately, our flight from JFK was late and we were
going to miss our connection. Alitalia placed us on a Turkish Air
non-stop to Istanbul but it left 8 hours after our originally
scheduled departure. The flight was pleasant enough in Business
We spent one night at the Inter-Continental which was quite nice
with a view of the Bosphorus. Access to the tram and metro were
excellent and the surrounding streets offered adequate restaurants
and shops. Breakfast at the inter-Continental was a lavish affair
offering cooked to order eggs and omelets as well as other standard
We took a taxi to the pier at 2PM. There was some confusion as it
seems the usual pier used for check-in was under renovation. There
was a Windstar employee waiting there, however, who directed our cab
driver to the proper location just a few minutes away. It would have
been nice if we had received notification beforehand; however, it
really had no bearing on our embarkation. The luggage drop off was a
bit confusing. After a security check-point, we brought our luggage
to a building about 75 yards from the ship and then walked back to a
second pier opposite the ship. There doesn’t seem to have been a
reason for us to travel from one building to the next and then
return. After the usual security check point, we embarked the Star
Pride and were directed to check in one deck above, in the lounge.
Check in took just minutes and afterwards, Larry, the
Verandah/Candles Maître D' was stationed at a table taking
reservations for the cruise as well as placing people on a wait list
for additional seatings. Apparently, we were entitled to at least
one Candles seating during the cruise. Larry, however, made it
clear, that it was worth getting on the waiting list for other
nights. He was not wrong. On our 9 night cruise, we ended up eating
there 3 times and were never disappointed. We found the meals equal,
if not superior, to most US steakhouses, and the service, as in
other areas of the ship, was excellent. Larry learned our names by
the first day and always ensured we were always tended to every time
we ate at the Verandah. One afternoon, we arrived from Santorini
after closing time but he kept the restaurant open until we
leisurely completed our lunch. A much appreciated touch.
After checking in, we made our way to suite 207, located on deck #5.
The numbering system is curious since it doesn’t correspond to deck
number but on this yacht, it really doesn’t matter. It certainly
does not take long to learn your way around. Our suite was a
“balcony suite.” It was extremely spacious and well laid out and
despite what some previous reviews have indicated, looked entirely
fresh. The wood built-ins, which have not been replaced, did appear
to be freshly sanded and cleaned. Perhaps the only area of the suite
which looked tired was the tub/shower. The marble in many areas was
stained and old looking. This never, however, impacted out trip in
any way. The suite contained an LCD TV which played various
satellite new channels and some In-house TV stations. Certainly the
ship could benefit from more channels. It would have been nice to
have ESPN. We did borrow nightly from the extensive DVD library.
A word about the “balcony”: It was certainly nice to be able to open
the “door” and check the weather in the morning. I would say that at
the premium Windstar charges, it is probably not worth it for most.
Where the Star Pride excelled was in overall service by the
wonderful crew, and the quality of the food. We were fortunate to
have a wonderful cabin steward named Wayan. He quickly learned our
routines and always had out suite ready for us. In addition, he
tended to our daily laundry. For one price, the ship performed
unlimited laundry/suite. This allows traveling very light and after
the first day, laundry given to Wayan by 9AM was back in time for
dinner: Truly worth the price.
Although all seating was “open,” all dining stewards quickly learned
our names and routines and as a veteran of over 50 cruises, I cannot
recall having service of a higher caliber than on the Star Pride.
Even the beverage stewards were always producing our Diet Cokes,
before we even asked for them. Breakfast in AmphoreA or the Verandah
was buffet style with egg stations always available. Lunch in the
Verandah was never crowded, despite it being too cold most
afternoons to be seated outside. As previously stated, we ate dinner
in Candles three times with our beef fillet being cooked to
perfection. Out dinners in AmphoreA were also excellent, with great
service despite having different dining stewards each time.
This was a port intensive itinerary. Due to rough seas, one port was
substituted after a schedule change. This was handled well with new
excursions being made available. Considering the situation, I
believe the result was as good as possible. We did tender in two
ports. This was performed efficiently and we never waited more than
a few minutes for a tender.
Disembarkation in Athens was as easy as could be expected for a ship
of this size. Basically, we left after breakfast, grabbed a taxi,
and went to the airport.
In conclusion, I would not hesitate to cruise on this ship again. I
agree with many that the pool area needs work. As the weather on our
trip was colder than hoped, we never did get the opportunity to even
try to use it. It was constantly being painted and in fact, did not
look inviting. We did, however, use the hot tubs without difficulty.
The remainder of the Star Pride experience, from food /hotel
services, to shore excursions was deluxe all the way. We truly felt
we were on a yacht which was clearly the effect Windstar was looking
to provide. Those looking for entertainment, however, would be best
served on a larger ship.
Guide & Cruise
Cruise Diva's Blog
Back to the top of