For years, Windstar Cruises had been a fleet of three majestic motor-sail yachts: Wind Surf, Wind Star and Wind Spirit. But in 2014–2015, the line doubled in size when it purchased a trio of 212-passenger luxury yachts from Seabourn. Star Legend is one of those yachts, and Windstar applied $8.5 million in upgrades to the ship before it joined the fleet. Cabins, restaurants and all public spaces benefited from the refresh.
Windstar's vibe of laid-back luxury carries over from the sailing ships to the yachts. The intimacy of the ship means that the crew -- especially the stewards, wait staff and bartenders -- get to know you and anticipate your requests. The staff is friendly and will ask how you'd prefer to be addressed -- not defaulting to "Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So," as is often the case on the luxury lines. The ship's ambiance is relaxed but classy, with casual attire recommended during the day and resort casual in the evenings. The freedom of no formal night means travelers don't have to pack too much.
Star Legend offers an "almost luxury" experience, just like its fleetmates. Your cruise fare isn't all-inclusive like it is aboard the ships of SeaDream, Regent Seven Seas or Silversea. Nonalcoholic beverages (soda, water, specialty teas and coffee drinks) are included, but you'll need to buy a beverage package or pay a la carte for any alcoholic beverages that you order. You'll likewise pay for all shore excursions. All dining options, including the intimate Candles, are surcharge-free.
Experienced Windstar cruisers will note some significant differences between the motor-sail-yachts and Star Legend. For starters, this is more of a traditional cruise ship and that means the cabins are larger than those on the sailing ships. In comparison, they feel downright spacious with walk-in closets, a marble bathroom and a shower/tub combo (aside from a few shower-only cabins), and either large picture windows or a French balcony. There are also elevators (not found on Wind Star and Wind Spirit), which makes this ship more appropriate for those with compromised mobility (however, be aware that there is no way to initially board the ship other than a gangway.)
Windstar's port-intensive itineraries are a major selling point to many passengers who select their voyage based on the destinations Windstar visits. Star Legend isn't the type of ship where travelers stay aboard all day when the ship is in port. They get out there and explore -- either as part of a ship-sponsored shore excursion or on their own.
As with Windstar's sailing ships, the line's tradition of playing Vangelis' heroic "1492" theme song (from the film of the same name) extends to Star Legend -- although the crew hoists flags on Legend instead of those big beautiful sails found on Wind Surf, Wind Star and Wind Spirit.
Star Legend's captain joked that on his ship, you're giving up sails but gaining a walk-in closet. And it's true: If you've traveled aboard Windstar's sailing ships, you will be pleasantly surprised the first time you walk into your Star Legend suite. Balcony and ocean-view suites measuring 277 square feet are much more spacious than the sailing ships' comparable cabins, which are just 188 square feet. Not only are Star Legend's suites larger, they are well designed, with a color palette in hues of gold, beige, gray and nautical blue, plus a clever use of mirrored panels to make the cabin seem even more spacious.
The sitting area by the picture windows or balcony includes a comfy sofa, coffee table and two armchairs with an occasional table and lamp positioned between them. There's a complimentary mini-bar stocked with nonalcoholic beverages (just ask your steward if you'd like different selections than what was initially included). Above it, there's a cabinet with an assortment of glasses to accommodate everything from wine to bourbon. Suite attendants keep an ice bucket replenished, and bottles of water on hand. The sitting room can be screened off from the bedroom with the help of a curtain.
Beds are queen size but can be converted to two twins. They don't have the cushy pillowtop treatment popular with some cruise lines, but we found them to be quite comfortable. Pillows are foam, but our steward brought us fluffy down-alternative pillows on request. Atop the beds are duvets, encased in covers that match the sheets. On either side of the bed, attached to the wall, there's a reading light, as well as a pinpoint light that enables night owls to read without disturbing their mate. The bedroom area also includes a desk/vanity with six drawers (the powerful hair dryer is stashed in one), and there are two bedside tables with drawers, as well.
Electronics include an LCD flat-screen TV, DVD and CD players, telephone and a Bose Bluetooth SoundDock system. You'll find one standard U.S. 110- and European 220-volt socket above the desk/vanity and another European socket next to the bed. You might want to bring your own power strip or USB charging hub if you need to charge multiple devices. There's a thermostat (in centigrade) to control the room temperature; however, in our experience, it wasn't particularly sensitive to subtle adjustments. There's also a classy nautical-style brass wall barometer next to a matching brass wall clock, which we found much more useful than a tiny digital clock.
The suite really shines when it comes to the massive walk-in closet (complete with a safe, waffle-weave robes and slippers) and a long L-shaped hang-bar equipped with 30 wooden hangers. There are also triangular-shaped corner cubby-shelves and four drawers in the cabinet housing the safe. Pegs along the wall are handy for hanging scarves, hats and ties.
The spacious marble-lined bathroom features a shower/tub duo (or a large shower, in a handful of suites), magnifying mirror, L'Occitane Verbena products (hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, shower cap), facial tissues and white cotton bath towels, hand towels and washcloths. There is a razor-only plug next to the bathroom vanity. Shelves on either side of the vanity mirror provide good storage for toiletries and makeup. There's also a mirrored cabinet in another corner that provides shelves for even more storage.
Despite their generous size, the bathrooms are the one aspect that reveal the ship's age. In some places there are hairline cracks or slight discolorations in the marble, and years of cleaning have dulled the shine on the marble walls and floors. In the shower-only baths, the marble appears to have been replaced more recently. Our main complaint with the bathrooms was the lack of water pressure and use of soft water; our showers usually took twice as long as they normally would.
When entering your suite, you first pass through a doorway from the corridor, traverse a short entryway and then face doors to two cabins, set at a 90-degree angle to each other. In addition to avoiding a long, wasted entry corridor inside the suite, it also sets cabin doors back from any noise in the corridor -- though you might hear your neighbor's door slam on occasion. For families, there are 10 pairs of adjoining suites.
Oceanview Suites: These well-designed suites are downright roomy at 275 square feet; couples will not feel as if they are stepping on each other's toes while getting ready in the morning or while freshening up for dinner. The large picture window affords stunning views while in port and allows for plenty of light to enter the suite, making for a bright sitting area. Four such accommodations, conveniently located near elevators and Reception, are modified accessible suites -- however, there is a small step up to enter the bathroom. There are four sub-categories of Oceanview Suites, depending on the deck and location on the ship. With the S1-designated Oceanview Suites, you receive upgraded toiletries, including cotton balls and swabs.
Balcony Suites: For a slight upgrade, book one of the 36 Balcony Suites -- but be aware that you won't get a traditional balcony. Instead, these 277-square-foot suites are outfitted with French balconies, which simply means you can open the doors and step out onto the balcony but there is not enough room for a chair or table. Still, if you enjoy ocean breezes, it might be worth it to book this suite category.
Classic Suites: There are four Classic Suites on Star Legend: two are on Deck 5, forward, near one of the hot tubs (400 square feet) and two are midship on Deck 6 (530 square feet). While the forward suites are more private, they are also 130 square feet smaller than the midship suites. However, the downside to the midship suites is that views from some windows are impacted by lifeboats. All Classic Suites offer a separate living room and bedroom, plus a dining area (seating four in the midship suites and only two in the forward suites) and a true balcony with loungers and a table.
Owner's Suites: Decorated in the same vein as the Classic Suites but larger, the Owner's Suites are 575 square feet with a private balcony equipped with loungers and a table, and dining area seating four. These suites offer impressive, sweeping views to the front and side of the ship. Passengers can certainly entertain in the ship's two Owner's Suites (Deck 6, forward) that also feature a separate living room and bedroom, a full bath plus a half-bath and two walk-in closets.
Star Legend offers several dining options, all complimentary. AmphorA is one of the prettiest main dining rooms we've seen in a long time. It's a treat to sit outside at Veranda (which transforms into Candles for dinner) and the view from the Yacht Club on the top deck is stunning.
We thoroughly enjoyed Star Legend's menus, which included some traditional European fare, but also pushed the boundaries of cruise standbys with a variety of dishes that drew from Japanese, Thai, Indian and other culinary traditions. What's more, we loved the local items and ingredients that the culinary team foraged at markets in every port.
When we spoke with the chef, he made a point of telling us that the galley welcomes special requests, with a day's notice. You might ask for Indian or Indonesian food -- or perhaps just some mac 'n' cheese if your tummy is feeling a bit homesick. We checked in with some vegan diners onboard who seemed very pleased with the special meals the chef was providing. Windstar has a catalog of 50 vegan recipes that they offer by request. We also spoke with a gluten-free diner, who felt she'd been well looked-after.
AmphorA (Deck 3): AmphorA, the main dining room on Star Legend, is generally open for dinner only (usually starting at 7 p.m.), with open seating. In Alaska (at least during June sailings), the venue also opens for breakfast and the occasional lunch because there's not enough indoor seating in the upstairs Veranda to accommodate everyone on inclement days when alfresco dining is not possible. It's a beautiful and comfortable room that's decorated in white and gold with cherry wood accents. There were plenty of tables for two and four as well as larger tables to accommodate groups. Service was generally good although, on a few occasions, our water glass went dry for longer than we would have liked.
Menus usually offered five starters, including a mixed green salad. Changing appetizers included smoked duck, vol-au-vent pastry with wild mushrooms, salmon tataki with cauliflower mousse, ceviche with coconut milk, panzanella (Italian bread and tomato salad) and escargots in cognac. There were also two soups every night.
A highlight of every evening are the two James Beard Foundation menu items -- one appetizer and one main course. Items come from chefs across the United States and might include a mushroom polpettine, chicken liver parfait or a tomato and mozzarella salad as an appetizer and seared sea scallops, marinated grilled lamb rack or cod with leeks and chorizo as entree options.
Including the James Beard Foundation choices, the five nightly main-course offerings featured fish, seafood, beef, lamb, pork, poultry and vegetarian items. Traditional dishes included rack of lamb, chicken cordon bleu and sole meuniere, while more creative options were lamb "lollipops" marinated in yogurt and tandori spices, a ridiculously good lobster risotto, smoked-paprika rubbed steak with blue-cheese butter, soba noodles in broth with julienned vegetables, biryani (an Indian rice dish) and melt-in-your-mouth langoustine tail served with a puree of ginger and apple. Vegetarian options included eggplant rollatini, veggie "meatballs" with parsnip puree and tomato broth and beet risotto with fennel, creme fraiche and Madeira wine. A trio of "Classics" -- grilled North Atlantic salmon fillet, grilled Black Angus sirloin steak and grilled free-range chicken breast -- were offered every night.
Typically two or three desserts are available (usually with one sugar-free), plus ice creams and a cheese plate. Some of our favorites were berry cobbler, a wicked chocolate bread pudding, tiramisu, sticky pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream plus a strawberry mille-feuille layered with custard.
When the venue is open for other meals, the breakfast offers the same a la carte menu as what's offered in the Veranda -- eggs Benedict, French toast, buttermilk pancakes and waffles. The lunch is more comprehensive with a small plates section of appetizers, soup, salads and hot dog, hamburger and chicken breast; a brunch selection of eggs a la carte, chicken soup, spaghetti, a turkey panini and fresh fruit; and a large plate selection that changes but might include fried calamari and octopus, beef bourguignon, chicken schnitzel and stuffed eggplant.
Veranda (Deck 7, aft): Buffet breakfast and lunch are served at Veranda, which features open-air seating both aft and directly in front of the restaurant in a covered area of Deck 7 (between the staircase and the restaurant). There is also indoor seating next to the buffet area, which can get crowded at peak dining times or in the event of unpleasant weather.
Breakfast is served from 7 to 9:30 a.m. For the first meal of the day, expect to find fruit and yogurt, a variety of breads and pastries, smoked salmon, cheese and cold cuts, oatmeal, porridge, cold cereals, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, roasted potatoes and a cooked-to-order egg station. We particularly appreciated the fresh orange juice, squeezed daily. Table menus inform passengers they can order items such as eggs Benedict, French toast, waffles, banana-chocolate pancakes and breakfast burritos from their waiter.
We liked that items that often suffer on the buffet line (glued-together pancakes, anyone?) were offered to-order. But if you're a grab-and-go type, this may frustrate you. We suspect that many passengers opted to order room-service breakfast, so we never found a last-minute mob scene here on port mornings.
The lunch buffet, usually open from noon to 2 p.m., offers a number of prepared salads, antipasti, a salad bar with more than a dozen components, three hot dishes and three sides; a chef-manned station for carving meat or making items like fajitas and stir-fries, cold cuts and charcuterie; and a selection of cheeses, fruits and desserts. There's also a tabletop menu to order fish of the day, burgers (beef, chicken or vegetarian), hot dogs and other hot sandwiches.
Examples of salads included pasta salads, Caesar salad with beef or chicken, corn and pecan salad, Hoisin duck salad and Thai cucumber salad. Hot buffet dishes ranged from beef stroganoff to rabbit stew, minute steak and grilled chicken. Dessert included cookies (oatmeal, peanut butter or chocolate chip), two flavors of ice cream, petits fours, a pie, cheesecake or fruit tart, and a warm offering, such as bread pudding.
Wait staff was usually plentiful at Veranda during both breakfast and lunch.
Candles (Deck 7): In the evenings, Veranda converts into Candles, a romantic steakhouse and seafood emporium where you can dine alfresco while watching the sunset. Reservations are a must, and passengers are only allowed to dine here once per cruise unless tables are going empty (get on the waitlist if you crave a repeat visit).
A previous reviewer noted that there was some engine noise when the ship was sailing, but we didn't find this bothersome. Glass panels above the rails do a good job of blocking wind; however, if either of these things might be an issue for you, you might want to make reservations for one of the evenings when the ship is in port late.
The menu is the same each evening, with starters including beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts, mint and honey; a wedge Caesar; prosciutto-wrapped shrimp with apricot barbecue sauce, served in shot glasses; and a roasted portobello mushroom with olive tapenade. Mains are lamb chops, Black Angus filet mignon, Black Angus New York strip steak, a massive veal chop, seafood skewer, grilled sea bass, herb-crusted chicken breast, fish of the day and a vegetarian item of the day (which is different from AmphorA's veg offering).
Three sauces are offered with the mains, and there's a choice of five side dishes (the roasted potatoes with Parmesan and prosciutto are worthy diet-busters). For dessert, you can order red velvet cake, creme brulee with a chocolate twist or sugar-free orange panna cotta.
Our dishes were well conceived and prepared, with steaks cooked exactly as ordered. The intimate size of the venue assured a good wait-staff-to-guest ratio, and our server was top-notch.
Deck Barbecue (Decks 7 and 8): Windstar throws a heck of a party in the form of its once-per-cruise deck barbecue. For the best view of the entertainers and the crew line dance after the dinner rush, grab a table on Deck 8 near the Star Bar. You'll have a terrific view of the pool/hot tub area, which is covered with wood flooring and transformed into a stage from which one of the ship's duos performs. If you're a chowhound, stick to Deck 7 where the buffet is arrayed.
Signature items include seafood paella, roast suckling pig, grilled lobster tails paired with grilled steak, grilled marinated chicken, sauteed local fish and two kinds of crab. Cold offerings included a selection of breads, salad bar, grilled vegetables and other antipasti, prosciutto carved from the leg, stuffed avocados, cheeses and fresh fruits. The dessert buffet featured brownies, croque-en-bouche (a mountain of little cream puffs held together with caramel), cheesecake, several flavors of mini-cupcakes, lemon bars, sponge cake layered with strawberries and whipped cream, plus additional varieties of cakes.
Yacht Club (Deck 8): The Yacht Club is a central meeting place on the ship. Head there in the mornings for a coffee and continental breakfast (pastries, bread, yogurt/granola parfaits). In the afternoon you'll find cookies, desserts (mini-cupcakes, cheesecake, chocolate tart) and seven creative sandwich options like apple, Brie and turkey on a croissant, roast beef and cheddar cheese on a ciabatta roll or a tomato, fresh mozzarella and pesto panini. All the sandwiches can be heated on a sandwich press, if you desire.
Room Service: Complimentary in-suite dining is available 24/7. We called for room-service breakfast almost every morning because it was so pleasant to eat in our spacious cabin. The food was delivered hot, and we never had a mistake in our order; although on port days, it tended to take more like 40 minutes for the food to arrive rather than the promised 20 to 30 minutes.
The breakfast menu includes standards, like eggs any way accompanied by bacon, sausage and potatoes, oatmeal, a granola-yogurt parfait, bagels with smoked salmon and fruit. On the fancier side, the Nutella-stuffed French toast and eggs Benedict were particularly good.
Midday and evening menus include a soup of the day, salads (Cobb and Caesar), burgers and sandwiches and dinner entrees from AmphorA -- plus a decadently good chocolate cake. Late-night snackers can order items including quesadillas or popcorn. When we called one night for hot chocolate, the person taking our order asked if we might like some cookies, too. Yes, please!
One of Windstar's hallmarks is its ability to offer luxury in a laid-back atmosphere. There is no daytime dress code: Shorts, jeans, T-shirts and capris are all fair game and underscore the overall casual vibe of the ship.
In the evening, bank on "elegantly casual" attire such as sundresses, blouses and slacks for ladies, and slacks and collared shirts for men. Jeans, T-shirts, shorts and sneakers are prohibited in the restaurants at dinner. There are no formal nights on Windstar, though they do throw deck barbecues that allow shorts and more casual attire.
Windstar offers several shore excursions in each port that generally include a walking or bus tour of the city, snorkeling or hiking and visits to the area's cultural centers. Generally speaking, passengers booked one or two shore excursions through Windstar and then made their own plans in other ports. If the ship was docked outside of town, an hourly shuttle was provided.
The evening before every port call, the ship's Voyage Leader (Windstar's version of the cruise director) gave a helpful 15-minute briefing, with information on the port, docking position, shuttles and shore excursions.
Technical problems initially plagued the ship's tenders (which were part of the purchase from Seabourn), but the motors on all tenders were replaced in May 2016; both worked perfectly for about half of our Alaska cruise, but then one had to be put out of service when the engine stopped working.
One highlight, for the passengers who participated, were complimentary onshore market tours with the galley crew. Windstar tries to organize these at least once on every cruise, though some itineraries are more conducive than others -- they're not available at all in Alaska. The ship's chef is on a serious purchasing mission, but will also secure samples of items from vendors for passengers to taste. It might be cheese, pate or a red-ripe local tomato. You'll also get to learn how the chef scrutinizes items like fish for freshness. It's fun to see how a big purchase can make a vendor's day. We witnessed an adorable older lady plant a kiss on the Star Legend's chef when he purchased a mountain of fresh vegetables.
In Alaska, Windstar also layers on expedition excursions on top of its standard port options. These expedition choices are only available on scenic sailing days (Kenai Fjords, Misty Fjord and Tracy or Endicott Arm). They are either one-hour Zodiac tours that take a max of six people at a time up close to ice floes and glaciers or 2.5-hour kayak tours that do the same, but require a greater fitness level. In both cases, participants are accompanied by expert expedition guides who provide a great deal of information about the flora, fauna and glaciers.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
During the day, travelers go ashore, enjoy the aft water sports platform (when it's open) or sun themselves on the open decks. The typical Windstar passenger doesn't really need scheduled activities; they are happy to spend their time onshore or enjoying the company of other travelers on the ship.
Because of that, don't expect a constant barrage of daytime activities. Unlike larger cruise ships, there are few staff-led activities or pool games, and the number varies by itinerary. Regular daytime activities might include a scavenger hunt (one of the items: the captain's signature), seminars by the ship's photographer and spa staff, or trivia.
On some itineraries, a local music group might come aboard to entertain on a port day afternoon.
Being foodies, we enjoyed the galley tour, where we got to see fruit carvers, the pastry chef and cooks hard at work. We learned interesting facts, like how the first thing the baker prepares every day is the gluten-free offerings, so he's working in a just-scoured, gluten-free environment.
Make a point to visit the bridge when the ship is at sea and conditions are good. Windstar is one of the few cruise lines with an open bridge policy, in which you can visit at almost any time to talk with the captain or officers. It's a unique opportunity and a chance to learn a little bit about how these yachts are piloted. Note the posted rules for visiting the bridge, and don't head there when the ship is in port or in the process of docking or sailing away. While you rarely see the captain on other cruise lines, we find that Windstar's captains and officers are typically welcoming, charming and enjoy interacting with passengers.
Like most smalls ships, Star Legend offers few activities at night with the exception of live music and dancing in the Lounge, Star Bar and Compass Rose. Onboard acts might include talented duos or a lively piano or guitar player.
Planned nighttime activities might include the Liars Club with Officers, at which officers tell stories and the audience has to guess which are true and which false; a line dance party after the deck barbecue dinner; a karaoke night; and an evening of "name that tune."
There's also a crew show one night, where the ship's unsung heroes get to come up from the engine room or laundry and actually sing. It's good fun, and usually includes a dance performance from some of the crew's home country.
There is a small casino to the left as you enter Compass Rose (Deck 6, aft), with two tables for card sharks, hosting blackjack and poker games, and a dozen slot machines (some in a separate room, three steps down from the main casino area). The casino was never crowded and is only open certain hours when the ship is at sea. Hours are listed in the ship's daily program.
There is also a Screening Room (Deck 5, off the entry to the Lounge), with comfy movie theater-style armchairs, where you can view flicks. You'll also find two tables in this room for card players. On Alaska itineraries, this space is commandeered by the expedition team who use it as their office.
There is always one culinary demo and one beverage (wine tasting or cocktail mixing) workshop per cruise on all itineraries. Windstar will also bring guest lecturers onboard for select itineraries.
In Alaska, a six-person team of expedition experts gives lectures anywhere from eight to 11 times per cruise on all kinds of topics including birds, glaciers, bears, local Alaska life and fishing. The team maintain an office just off the show lounge (in the screening room) with books and maps; most days someone is there to answer any questions you might have.
Windstar does offer sporadic culinary-themed cruises in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, which offer extra enrichment opportunities. For example, invited chefs might offer cooking demos and workshops around specific food, such as cheese, while guest sommeliers conduct complimentary wine tastings.
The bars and lounges aboard Star Legend are exceedingly comfortable and well decorated. Nearly everyone turns out for the meet-and-greets and enjoys the bars for pre- and post-dinner cocktails. The line does offer a Premium Beverage Package that costs $116 per cabin per day. It includes unlimited cocktails and beer using select top-shelf brands as well as wine and sparkling wine that are $12 or less on the a la carte menu.
The Lounge (Deck 5, aft): The Lounge has a small stage and dance floor, as well as several levels of comfy chairs and banquettes arrayed around tables. It's where passengers congregate for the welcome-aboard orientation, nightly port talks, crew talent show, the captain's Champagne welcome reception and the captain's farewell. One of the ship's duos entertains before and/or during each of these events. Bartenders circulate through the room and wait staff offer a variety of canapes during port talks and receptions. This is also the place to gather for shore excursions or tenders on shore days.
Compass Rose (Deck 6, aft): With its bar, dance floor and piano, Compass Rose has a clubby feel in the evenings. The vibe is considerably more upbeat during the day, with sunshine streaming in the vast windows and a view of the ship's wake. Decor is modern, yet comfortable, with sofas, leather-upholstered chairs and banquettes scattered with throw pillows. Flameless candles top the tables at night, and a duo entertains. The casino is off to one side, so you can keep an eye on your mate at the blackjack table.
Yacht Club (Deck 8, forward): One of the main gathering spots on Star Legend, the Yacht Club on the top deck is an excellent place to check your email (the Wi-Fi signal is strong here) or read a book, chat with friends, play a board game or enjoy a drink before or after dinner.
The circular room has spectacular views, with nearly 360 degrees of windows looking out the bow and sides of the ship. There are comfy sofas, cocktail tables and chairs, in a blue and beige color scheme with dark wood accents. On the shelves, you'll find a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which might help you explain to your kids or grandkids what life was like pre-internet.
Continental breakfast is served here daily, and sandwiches, desserts and coffee are available throughout the afternoon. In the evenings, bartenders will bring you beverages from the nearby Star Bar, and coffee, tea and espresso drinks are available from the resident barista until 6 p.m.
Star Bar (Deck 8, midship): The Star Bar is located on an open deck, and is therefore popular for sail-aways. Drinks like the daily specials (priced around $8) flow easily and there are tables, chairs and deck loungers from which to watch the world go by. Several tables are outfitted with ashtrays, as this is the designated smoking area on the ship. One of the ship's duos entertains here in the afternoons and evenings. On Alaska sailings, you might also find a late afternoon treat such as reindeer goulash (complimentary) or mulled wine (which carried an extra cost).
One area that Windstar tackled during Star Legend's refurbishment was the pool area on Deck 7. The line actually removed the original pool and replaced it with a small, rectangular swim-against-the-current splash pool; it's about the size of two hot tubs combined. Right next to it is the hot tub, which was used more frequently than the tiny pool on our cruise. There is a second, more private, hot tub on Deck 5, forward. Those with limited mobility should note that entry to both hot tubs and the pool are up several steps from the deck.
There are plenty of cushioned loungers by the pool -- some shaded by the overhang of the Sun Deck -- as well as on the Sun Deck, just up a flight of stairs. The Sun Deck on Deck 8 was widened during the ship's recent refurbishment and is outfitted with plenty of comfortable lounge chairs, tables and umbrellas. Bartenders from the Star Bar tend to passengers on both decks and made the rounds often throughout the day and early evening.
Star Legend offers an aft marina, equipped with a water sports platform. It's only open on certain warm-weather itineraries where there's an appropriate tender port where authorities permit the from-the-ship activities; for example, it's open once per sailing in Alaska for a polar plunge. When the ship is anchored and weather conditions are right, this is the departure point for kayaks, standup paddle-boards and windsurfers (all at no charge). It's also the place to access the fun floating island from which you can lounge or swim, or get in line to go water skiing.
Complimentary snorkel gear is available from the marina. The ship also offers a beginners' Discover Scuba Diving program on select voyages. Experienced divers just need to bring their certification card and they can join the ship's divemaster on a variety of dives throughout the cruise (again, itinerary permitting).
You can rent bikes by the half day ($15) or full day ($25).
Deck 5 is home to Reception, which houses the purser's desk, as well as the shore excursion office. A library is on Deck 6, midship, and offers two computers and a printer plus a variety of books ranging from novels to travel guides. This is also the place to go to select a DVD to watch in your room (we found few recently released options; for those, look to the movies offered on in-room TV). If you do find a movie you'd like to watch, head one flight down to the Reception Desk to pick up the DVD; it's a free service.
Also on Deck 6 is the small Signature Shop that carries Windstar-branded hats and T-shirts, as well as jewelry, apparel and sundries. One nice feature of the shop is that you'll find items collected from the ship's recent ports of call. For example, in Alaska, you might have the option of purchasing gold nuggets or Alaskan handicrafts.
Windstar's internet packages are on the pricy side. There are several plans, which are based on data usage rather than minutes. The Email Plan costs $60 for 200MB of data usage, the Surfing Plan is $120 for 500MB of data usage and the Unlimited Plan's rate varies depending on length of voyage -- from $250 for a seven-day cruise to $490 for a 14-day cruise. If you purchase the Unlimited Plan before sailing, you can use it with two devices; purchased onboard, you can use it with only one.
While any onboard satellite service risks being hit-or-miss at sea, we were generally able to connect to Wi-Fi throughout the ship. We found the strongest Wi-Fi signal in the Yacht Club, which was the best spot for uploading photos or other data-intense tasks. Our tech-savvy mate was extremely impressed with the Wi-Fi speed and service.
You can also access the internet via the computer station in the Yacht Club on Deck 8 or the Library's two computers on Deck 5; Wi-Fi is available in all cabins and throughout the public areas of the ship.
There is no formal kids club onboard; there's not even an informal play area. Children under 7 years of age are not allowed on Windstar ships. Older kids that don't need to be constantly entertained can board the ship with their parents, but the atmosphere might not be appropriate for most children or teens who might long for more organized daytime and nighttime activities as well as the company of people their own age.
That being said, Star Legend does have six cabins with a sofa bed that adds a third birth.
Star Legend attracts well-to-do professional couples in their 40s and 50s, as well as active retirees in their 60s and 70s who enjoy meeting fellow passengers and partaking in pastimes such as water sports from the ship's aft marina. It also appeals to older and less mobile folks who need to make use of the elevator (not found on Wind Spirit or Wind Star). The majority of passengers are American or Canadian, though you might find contingents from places like Australia and Mexico.
WindSpa is a lovely albeit small oasis on Deck 7, midship. Elemis products and treatments (aroma and hot-stone therapy, Swedish massage, Thai herbal poultice and deep tissue massage) -- are the focus. There are two treatment rooms across from the equally small beauty salon, which offers hair care, shaves, manicures and pedicures, tooth whitening and waxing.
The spa and salon team up to offer money-saving packages for individuals who want to book multiple services. Options included things like a Frangipani scalp massage, phyto hair conditioning treatment, facial, hand and arm massage, foot and ankle massage, paraffin wax hand treatment, booster eye treatment and sunglow makeover, with three treatments costing $59, four for $60 and five for $79. Several other 75-minute spa packages were also available. If you enjoy splurging on spa treatments, you'll get a lot for your money at WindSpa.
The gym is attached to the WindSpa; while small, it's outfitted with exercise gear such as stationary bikes, free weights and treadmills. Morning yoga and Pilates classes are also offered on a complimentary basis, and an afternoon class was offered during one sea day.
Unlike many small ships, Star Legend actually has a nice Sun Deck (Deck 8) that is wide enough to allow for power walking and jogging without getting in the way of early morning loungers.
All passengers are charged $13.50 per person, per day, for gratuities. The fee is added to your tab and can be paid at the end of the cruise via cash, traveler's check or credit card (American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard only). If you wish to tip more or less than the suggested amount, visit the Reception Desk. A 15 percent tip is automatically charged to all beverage orders and spa treatments at the time service is rendered. The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar.
Date Refurbished: 2019
Country of Registration: Bahamas
Maximum Capacity: 312
Number of Crew:188
Crew Nationality: International
Officer Nationality: International
Language(s) Spoken:< Multiple Languages
OverviewWith only 212 guests, a Star Legend cruise will make you feel like you're on board your own private yacht almost as soon as you step aboard.
Health and Beauty
No. of Dinner Sittings: 1
No. of Dinner Sittings: Open
Special Diet: Please notify your travel agent or a cruiseline agent of any special diet request at the time of boo
Dress Code: Casual WearGratuity Policies
Hotel Service Charge $12 per passenger, daily charge
Beverage Service Charge 15% automatically added