I'll say right up front that this was our tenth cruise but the first with Windstar. With a very few small items. we enjoyed the trip from beginning to end and would definitely sail with Windstar again.
Embarkation was a snap and was concluded on-board as opposed to a line of counters like larger cruise lines. This less is more approach was a theme that would be repeated throughout the trip. The only thing that was unusual was that we had to surrender our passports for the duration of the cruise. Getting them back, however, was extremely easy at the end so it was not a big deal. We understand the ship sailed about 2/3 full and they were selling suite upgrades at reception. We did not inquire since our cabin was very comfortable.
Getting use to a ship as small as the Wind Surf too a while, but we took to it pretty easily. Getting off again to shop in Barbados before dinner was easy.
The cabin was well designed (especially the bathroom) with plenty of storage. Since it was so easy to get on deck quickly, we surprisingly did not really miss a balcony. The bed was very comfortable, the climate control worked very well (we slept under the comforter, and the DVD was very welcome since there was no TV except for 2-3 in-room that played all day. We did not sail to watch TV, but a news channel would have been nice.
Food was the best we have had on any cruise - including on-board Celebrity. Certainly the smaller number of passengers allowed for a more individualized approach, but every dish was properly (and deliciously) prepared and served promptly. For a ship this size, the number of options was outstanding. The Restaurant was consistently excellent. The Tuscan-inspired Degrees was superb and the outdoor venues (Candles -Steakhouse and Le Marche-Shelfish) were both tremendous. Lunch buffets in the Veranda were always great. All-in-all I would hev to say we ate very well!
In keeping with the mood of the cruise, Service was relaxed but always professional. It would have been nice to actually meet our cabin Steward, Victor, but we have absolutely no complaints with the job he did.
Entertainment was where we would suggest a few tweaks. Just one or two semi-organized activity options between when we returned from an excursion or lunch and when we went for before dinner drinks would have been welcome. No pool games, no bingo, perhaps something like an enrichment lecture, bridge, or some other low stress option. I know this is not Windstar's approach (or probably what most of their clients want), but the option would be nice. There are just so many DVDs you can watch. The entertainment in the Lounge was a band named Saga and they were excellent. It made having a drink with new friends a pleasure.
The Sports Platform was a real plus. Even though we did not use the facilities, we did get snorkel equipment (no charge) for use during the week. That was great!
The itinerary was outstanding and we really liked visiting a lot of the smaller Caribbean ports. We enjoyed them all, but our favorites were Mayreau, Dominica, and Pigeon Island/St. Lucia.
Debarkation at the end cruise was another painless process. Bags did not have to be out until 1:00 AM (that was great!) and Immigration was handled on-board in record time. The combination Barbados tour/lunch/airport transfer was a wonderful way to make our travel home more enjoyable.
We definitely recommend Windstar. Add to all the pluses that there are no formal nights (or even coats to be seen!) and it is hard to beat!