Venturing out on an 11-day voyage aboard the Windstar Breeze through the heart of French Polynesia was less of a journey and more of a foray into an alternate reality where the ocean’s embrace feels like a gentle caress and the sun’s kiss is as warm as an old friend’s greeting. My dear friend Rachael a follow blogger at EXPZMealz and I, seasoned travelers with a penchant for the luxurious and the extraordinary, set sail on what we anticipated to be the adventure of a lifetime. Spoiler alert: it did not disappoint.

Our voyage commenced on the enchanting island of Tahiti, a place where the air is as fragrant as freshly bloomed tiare flowers and the landscapes are as vivid as an artist’s feverish dream. But more importantly, it is home to the only international airport. Even if you want to fly into another island you will have to come through here. We flew in the morning of the cruise and landed at 5 am. I thought it would take a while to get through customs, but we were through in no time at all. 

What I would have done different: We regretted not renting a car. There are lots of waterfalls to see, so next time I would rent a car and bop around until 1 pm when it’s time to board. Instead, we went to a cafe where the wifi sucked. 

Time to Board!

Star Breeze docked in Tahiti (1)Before we boarded we went through a quick passport check and were ushered under an open air tent that protected us from the sun. We didn’t have to deal with our bags, since we had dropped them off earlier in the day before walking around. 

As we boarded the Windstar Breeze, a vessel that marries elegance with intimacy in a manner only a yacht of its caliber can, we knew we were about to be swathed in splendor. As we walked the red carpet up to the stairs they lei’d both of us with fresh flowers.

When you board you get everything set up pretty quickly, get your room key and then can head to eat a late lunch. 

Suite with large window

Room 542 Windstar Breeze a suite with large window

Considering how long this particular cruise is you will be grateful for the large rooms. So far, out of all the cruises I have been on this is by far the biggest room. It was so nice to be able to spread out, even the closet was huge. In the sitting room when you enter were two chairs, a table, and a couch. In the bedroom was a large bed with storage available underneath, a desk, and a tv.

When you do the all-inclusive package the minibar will be stocked. It was refilled twice during our cruise.

In the bathroom, they provided shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and a bar of soap. I am scent sensitive and the smell of the bathroom products was almost too much for me. Something to keep in mind if you have this issue. 

Windstar Restaurants

Leading up to the cruise I was a bit confused about the restaurants. I couldn’t even figure out how many there were. There are essentially four restaurants. One of which is called by a different name at night to create a 5th dining option. 

AmphoraAmphora

I preferred having dinner at Amphora. You could walk in anytime between 7 and 9 PM to have dinner. The menu changed every single day and everything was always quite good whether it was seafood, steaks, or pasta. The desserts on board overall were divine. If you are looking for the “traditional dining room experience” you can get on a typical cruise, this is it. For fun one night we dressed up kind of fancy and another night we wore all white. 

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CuatroCuatro

Like Amphora and Candles, Cuatro is only open for dinner and you need reservations. I found it quite easy to make reservations. We dined here twice. The first time I made reservations a few days in advance but the second time I made the reservation during breakfast that day. It was always busy and we enjoyed it immensely.

They serve Spanish-type cuisine including lots of tapas. Many of the tapas available here are pictured at the bottom of the photo. The top two tapas in my opinion were the octopus and the patas bravas. Skip the salad.

Both times I enjoyed the pork belly for an entree and both times it was outstanding. It’s basically the reason we came back. Rachel had the fish one night and the lamb the next time. She gushed over how good the lamb was. I thought that really said something since she doesn’t typically enjoy lamb that much. 

CandlesCandles

Candles is only open at night as well because during the day it’s the Verandah buffet restaurant. I heard it is amazing to dine outside at night here but sadly the outside was closed both nights we went. I also heard it’s quite romantic but I only dined here with friends and it wasn’t romantic!

I had a steak both nights I dined here and although it was fantastic the real standouts for us were the desserts. The creme brulee was phenomenal and anytime they served chocolate anything it was top notch. Why I am unsure, maybe it’s just really high-quality chocolate. One thing to note 

Star Grill & BarStar Bar and Grill on Windstar Breeze

The Star Grill and Bar is an outside dining experience towards the back of the ship near the Yacht Club. It is buffet style like the Verandah and I noticed that oftentimes they offered the same things and other times it was quite different. I was never sure quite what to expect. This is where the ice cream machine is located. 

Lunch stops at 2 PM each day but on many of the days, they hosted a burger bar from 2 PM to 3 PM. On one of the days, it was quite impressive but on another day, it was just hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries with nothing else. If for some reason a lot of people end up missing lunch they will extend the hours to 3:30 or 4. 

Verandah Verandah dessert buffet

Open for breakfast and lunch each day of the cruise Verandah is a well-done buffet with all the options you could want. Should you not want something from the buffet they also have a daily menu and a special each day. The buffet also offers eggs made however you like including an omelet. 

Yacht Club SnackYacht Club on the Windstar Breeze

The Yacht Club is open basically all day long. If you miss lunch this is where you should go. They’ve got coffee, sandwiches, and desserts. Their chocolate pots de crème is brilliant. It might just be the best thing on the entire ship. 

Deck BBQ

The signature event on board is the deck bbq and they go all out! We got to have our deck bbq while docked in the Marquesa Islands in Hiva OA. Many of the locals joined us for the bbq and some of them even performed for us!

Windstar Breeze Amenities

SpaSpa on Windstar Breeze

The spa on the Windstar was lovely. I took advantage of it on one of the sea days. I got a 50-minute deep tissue massage. She was almost too deep. I meant to take advantage of the steam room and sauna but never got around to it. I did use the relaxation room briefly when filling out my forms. 

Fitness RoomWindstar Breeze Gym

I don’t know why but I was super surprised by the size of the gym on board. Sometimes on smaller ships, the gym is tiny but on this ship, it was a decent size and had quite a bit of equipment in it. I appreciated that they had foam rollers in it. They also offered yoga or pilates every morning. 

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Laundry Service

When you get the all-inclusive package that includes drinks and wifi it also includes laundry service. This is for two people and you can have as much laundry done every day as you want/need. They will follow certain instructions like hang drying the clothes. I do not dry most of my clothes and that’s been my biggest hesitation when traveling when it comes to whether or not I let someone do my laundry. I enjoyed this on the days I came back with dirty wet clothes from the day’s excursion. I was happy to be able to send them off immediately to be cleaned. 

FakaravaFakarava in French Polynesia

Our first port of call, Fakarava is home to a UNESCO-classified nature reserve. This atoll, a sliver of paradise, is a sanctuary of dreams for divers and snorkelers. After researching, I was so excited to plunge into this underwater Eden and see the kaleidoscope of marine life. 

Sadly, the weather canceled the snorkel. So instead we just walked down the island and plopped ourselves down at a hotel we found. The hotel was Havaiki Lodge. They will let you hang out here if you buy a drink or food. It’s a great place to grab a few drinks and relax.

If you want to snorkel here be sure to either wear fins or shoes that keep your feet from being scratched on the coral. Windstar allows you to check out a snorkel and fins for the entire length of the cruise. 

When you get off the tender that brings you to the shore there is a spot to rent a bike. 

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Marquesa IslandsBeach somewhere on Hiva OA

Next up, the whole itinerary switched. Instead of sailing on to the Society Islands, we went to the Marquesa Islands instead due to storms in the Society Islands. Now you may be thinking, I’ve never heard of these islands. Well, you are not the only one. Neither had I. 

The Marquesa Islands are so far removed from the hustle and bustle of civilization that one feels as though they have stepped through a portal into a realm where time meanders lazily, unbound by the urgency that defines our daily lives. The Marquesas, with their rugged cliffs, mysterious jungles, and tales as ancient as the stars overhead, stand as a testament to the beauty that lies in the untouched corners of our world. 

The most important words to keep in mind are: remote and secluded.

Nuku HivaNuku Hiva Excursion

Nuku Hiva, with its dramatic cliffs plunging into the ocean, offered a stark contrast to Fakarava’s serene yet flat beauty. Here, we went on a 4×4 tour of the island. There wasn’t a whole lot to it but we did get to see quite a bit of the island. We were not allowed to get in the water here because it is infested with sharks. I thought this might have been exaggerated until our tour guide started yelling at a lady who was with us when she put her feet in the water!

Hiva OAroad in Hiva OA

In Hiva OA, we traced the footsteps of Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel, artists who sought refuge and inspiration in its secluded tranquility. Well, maybe we did. We rented a car and drove all over the island. That’s how I know Apple Maps and Google Maps are both useless here. It’s small enough though that we never got lost. The island is extremely beautiful. We ended up driving around for about 5 hours and towards the end of it we found a beach and went swimming. 

Bora BoraFour Seasons Bora Bora

Bora Bora, the jewel of the South Seas, was as mesmerizing. Its lagoon is a spectrum of blues so vivid they seemed surreal at times. We indulged in a day of luxury at a private resort, basking in the almost sunshine and sipping cocktails that tasted like liquid joy. There are many resorts in Bora Bora that offer a day pass. We choose the Four Seasons Bora Bora. I highly recommend this as an option, especially if the weather is bad and your typical excursions are not a go like snorkeling or 4×4 tours.  

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When we left the resort it was pouring rain so bad I was a bit worried about getting back to the ship. I must say those guys that run the tender are pros! It was bad and they never faltered.

Sadly, the special event Windstar typically hosts somewhere near Bora Bora was canceled, so no fire dancing. 

MooreaE-bike tour in Moorea

Moorea, with its dramatic peaks and crystalline lagoons, was a haven for the adventurous spirit, in my opinion. I am an enneagram 7 and here we finally did activities that I thought were awesome. First, an e-bike through lush trails, each turn revealing vistas more breathtaking than the last. Although at times it was quite bumpy, so wear a sports bra!Snorkeling with friends in Moorea

Then, after the e-bike tour we got super lucky and scored an afternoon snorkel excursion. This one was with a sea scooter. I was a bit nervous to use a sea scooter since I’ve never tried one before but it was super easy. I was able to use my GoPro with the scooter which was one of my concerns when debating whether or not to use it. The currents in some areas are strong so you will need the extra help. Other areas we snorkeled were much more low key so we didn’t need it as much. I highly recommend booking this tour in advance

FYI: They do not park at the main port, so if you book a tour for the morning that isn’t with the ship you may have an issue. I have highlighted on the map where the tender will drop you off at in Moorea. Moorea Windstar Drop off point

TahitiOverlook in Tahiti

As our journey came full circle back to Tahiti, it felt as though we were returning from a voyage not just through islands, but through soul-stirring experiences that would linger in our memories like the afterglow of a splendid dream. Each island, with its unique charm and beauty, had woven its way into our hearts, leaving imprints that time would never erase.

This voyage aboard the Windstar Breeze was more than a girls’ trip; it was a celebration of friendship, adventure, and the relentless pursuit of beauty in its most unadulterated form. Rachael and I returned home not just with suitcases heavier with souvenirs, but with spirits lighter with joy and hearts richer with memories. In the words of Gauguin, “I close my eyes in order to see,” and when I close mine, I see the endless blues of Polynesia, hear the laughter that filled our days, and feel the serene bliss of those 11 days aboard the Windstar Breeze, a journey etched in my heart.

Learn more about Windstar Cruises here!

Windstar FAQs

When I was researching my upcoming trip with Windstar I had a really hard time finding the answers. I’ve put together this list based on things I wanted to know that once I sailed I managed to figure out. 

Is there an airport shuttle?

Yes, but it has to be booked in advance. I learned this one the hard way.

Once on board, you will need to choose your transportation with Windstar at least 3 days before disembarkation. They will shuttle you back to the airport or even take you on a tour and then drop you at the airport. I choose to do the tour and then be dropped off at the airport. The tour was decent and it was nice to see a little bit of Tahiti. Next time though I would just go to the airport and rent a car and go do my own thing. 

Can luggage be dropped off early?

Yes. I was able to drop my luggage off the morning of the sailing, many hours before we would board. 

What are the alcohol packages?

There are three alcohol packages. 

Can you bring your own wine on the ship?

Depending on the length of the cruise you can bring two or three bottles of your own wine on board the ship. 7 days or less two bottles. 8+ days three bottles. 

Does Windstar have a private island in French Polynesia?

No. But they do a private event at Motu Mahaea (Tahaa).

Is there wifi?

Yes, there is wifi and the prices are not cheap. It is included if you get the all-inclusive package. I had the all-inclusive package and they wifi worked good even when we ventured off to the more remote areas. 

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