Chef Eddy Barretto has moved from supervising 9,000 meals a day on the biggest cruise ships in the world to catering for just 160 passengers on one of Windstar’s luxury motor yachts.
Star Legend was built in 1990 and designed by Peter Yran and Bjorn Storbraataen, whose prolific Oslo-based design group has produced 30 headline cruise ships. Originally operated by Seabourn, the vessel has all the signatures of the small, luxury cruise vessel.
Just seven decks, 100 cabins, and a mere 440 feet of diesel-powered steel and teak, this is an intimate and elegant ship. One can circumnavigate the vessel at a leisurely stroll in a few minutes
and, standing on deck seven, see from bow to stern. Rolling through the night in the Straits of Gibraltar, the ship sways comfortably with the swell, carpentry creaking quietly and reassuringly. Star Legend, refitted in May 2015, increased the Windstar fleet to six vessels, including the company’s three original sailing yachts.
A standard deck four stateroom is a generous 277 square feet and is creatively arranged to make the most of the space. Tied curtains lend the living and sleeping areas the aura of being separate zones. A big picture window provides a focal point for the room, amplifying light and space. Balcony suites have French verandas, which open to admit fresh air but offer no outside access.
A full-size sofa and two armchairs complete the living area, along with flat screen TV and Bose speakers. The bathroom is large and well lit, with every corner used for mirrored stowage space. All have generous tubs as well as shower, towelling robes and L’Occitane amenities.
Lighting throughout the room is subtle and discreet, and a large walk-in closet adds the mood of a small apartment. With 24-hour room service you might be tempted never to leave.
The ship has two principal restaurants: Amphora, with open seating on deck three, and Veranda, situated at the aft of the ship on deck seven. At night this becomes Candles and provides an inside/outside grill and skewers venue, by reservation. A robust breakfast buffet is presented here. On the top deck is the Yacht Club, another inside/outside venue providing coffee, drinks and creative sandwiches throughout the day.
Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary throughout the ship, wines and spirits are charged to your account. Wines tend to be California orientated but there’s a limited selection from French and Italian vineyards.
The heart of any cruise ship is its kitchen and at the heart of the kitchen is its executive chef. After two years with Royal Caribbean’s Allure of The Seas, preceded by six months on Oasis of the Seas, Executive Chef Eddy Barretto had all but turned his back on the high octane world of industrial cruise catering. Michael Sabourin, corporate executive chef for Windstar, and an old friend of Mr Barretto, seduced him aboard Windstar´s newly reformed Star Legend. Here he remains. Mr Barretto’s career has taken him from his native Goa, where he underwent his apprenticeship, to the Taj Group of luxury hotels, to his Royal Caribbean experiences. Both his father and grandfather were cooks and Eddy considered no other profession.
This post has been amended to correct the name of the author from Robin Maclear to Andrew Maclear. Apologies for the error.