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I’ve just returned from a 10-day West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza sailing aboard Windstar Cruises from Vancouver, BC to San Diego.

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This all-suite yacht completed a two-year renovation in April 2021 as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative. It was dry-docked at Palermo, Italy’s Fincantieri Shipyard for two years, where the vessel was halved, then fitted with a ready-built section of suites and spaces.

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The renovation includes 50 new suites, two new dining venues, a new spa, infinity pool and fitness area, new bathrooms in every suite and a new category of Star suites (with a new layout and decor).

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With ocean views and over 277 square feet of comfort, the Star Breeze is a stunner. Taking in the full view from Vancouver’s Canada Place, I was already giddy with joy that I would call this home for the next 10 days.

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Now able to accommodate 312 guests in 156 suites, the MV Star Breeze can still tuck into small ports (such as Sanary-sur-Mer and Wrangell) and narrow waterways (think Corinth and Keil Canals), circumventing many tourist hot spots that larger cruise ship lines visit.

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My home for the cruise is a deck five Star Balcony Suite, containing everything needed to enjoy a home away from home on the water.

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A mix of dark and light wooden furnishings with modern light fixtures and cream-coloured walls complements the patterned wall-to-wall carpeting throughout the space.

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The Samsung smart flatscreen TV showcases the daily program of events, a selection of music playlists, onboard specials, dining and drinks, spa details, port information, shore excursions, a FAQ, health and safety, plus loyalty program and future sailing offerings – ground control for everything on the ship.

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I’m impressed by the compact bathroom containing dual sinks, a shower with excellent water pressure, shelving to stow toiletries plus a corded line for hanging swimsuits after trips to the pool and jacuzzi.

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The suite’s walk-in closet has shelving, ample racks for hanging clothes, several drawers and a safe for stowing valuables.

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Two seats, a small table, coffee table and sofa are in one part of the suite while the second half contains a queen bed, full working desk area with both 110 and 240 outlets, a couple of USB charging ports, drawers and a flat screen TV.

The doors by the bed open to reveal a French balcony for taking in the views and breezes.

Sunset from balcony suite

Each side of the bed contains a small night stand and reading light. If you opt for the wifi package, you’ll receive internet usage (one device at a time, depending on ship’s location, which can obviously get spotty far out at sea). This leads to relaxing with a book on the sofa, enjoying the view, or just lounging in one of several areas around the ship.

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[Fitness center, World Spa]

A fitness center, motion studio and World Spa by Windstar are located on deck 7, just beyond the pool and jacuzzi.

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[Top to bottom: Compass Rose, The Yacht Club]

For lounging, there’s the Star Bar, Compass Rose, The Yacht Club, and Lounge, all on different decks and at different positions of the ship for a nice balance.



Amphora, Candles, Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, Star Grill by Steven Raichlen and the Veranda are the dining choices aboard MV Star Breeze.

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[The Yacht Club’s colourful mini cupcakes]

The Yacht Club Café serves continental breakfast and coffee in a chic library/lounge setting with a stunning 270-degree view!

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[Windstar Cruises Executive Chef Gavin Baxter]

Candles is an indoor/outdoor dining space offering market-fresh seafood and hand-cut beef dishes, together with several vegetarian options and side dishes. Grab a table outdoors and watch as the sun sets at Deck 7 aft.

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A nice touch is a trio of gourmet salts to sample at your table, including Hawaiian Black, Smoked Applewood (a new fave) from Washington State’s Yakima Valley, and Himalayan Mountain Pink, an enduring favourite amongst food lovers.

Cuadro 44
[Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso]

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[Dinner at Cuadro 44]

Take a quick trip over to Spain by way of Deck 6’s Cuadro 44, serving up James Beard Foundation-recognized chef Anthony Sasso’s creations, in an intimate, colourful space. Sasso is a 13-year veteran of the Michelen-starred Casa Mono.

Cuadro 44 dining

An open kitchen is the focal point; diners can opt to sit at the bar for the action, or take a seat at the communal table up front or at smaller tables towards the back.

Cuadro 44 interior

Cuadro’s fixed menu includes Jamon Ibérico, Paella Crotquetas, Moroccan Cauliflower, olive-oil poached bacalao, Patatas Bravas and other regional faves.

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[Cuadro 44’s Chef de Partie Karin Gallardo]

Each tapas and entrée lists the region of origin. Don’t miss the Torta de Santiago, a Galician speciality otherwise known as boozy almond cake with Sangria fruit and whipped nata! Oh, and Churros y Chocolate takes on a Sasso flair with salted tamarind hot chocolate and hibiscus to accompany three small churros, to wind up a delightful foray into Spanish cuisine.

Windstar Star Breeze

Steven Raichen, author of 31 books and host of Steven Raichen’s Project Fire and Project Smoke, Primal Grill, and Barbecue on Public Television has a footprint aboard the Star Breeze.

Dinosaur bones at Star Grill

The Star Grill by Steven Raichen on Deck 8 offers burgers, hot dogs, rotisserie chicken and “Dinosaur Bones” (BBQ beef prime plate ribs) during lunch hour.

Amphora dessert
[Dessert at Amphora]

Dr. Jannie Mackay’s informative lectures on The Pillaging Pirates of the West Coast, and History of California, Chef Gavin Baxter’s on-deck cooking demo, games and trivia hours, themed cocktails and live music are casual drop-in events.

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[On board mural painting, courtesy of Florida artists We Are Nice and Easy!]

In addition to daily programming, view-worthy pilates and yoga classes made this cruise a highly memorable and social experience for our 10-day journey down the Pacific coast. Many thanks to Gloria, Shirley, Captain Nick, PJ, Aaron, Ana, Sono and the rest of the crew who made me feel like family while at sea!

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[Farewell sailing with the crew on Deck 7]

I was a guest aboard Windstar’s 10-day West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza cruise. Opinions, as always, remain my own.

More photos can be found here.

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