The social hub of the ship is The Lounge on Deck 3. It has contemporary furnishings, with comfy arm chairs and sofas, a projection screen for video presentations, a corner bar and piano. The Lounge has large open spaces with a center stage that doubles as a dance floor. Large picture windows enhance the experience and give passengers wide, sweeping views of the seas. The Lounge is used as a meeting place for shore tours and to host folkloric performances, lectures, and pre- and post-dinner cocktails and appetizers.
The highlight of each pre-dinner gathering in the lounge (and just about everybody comes) is the cruise director's port talk, offering lively historic renderings of each port, in addition to insightful tips on attractions, offbeat shops and cafes.
You won't find any Vegas-style shows on Wind Spirit, but that doesn't mean music and dancing are no-no's. A duo plays nightly in the lounge before and after dinner. On the second evening in Bora Bora, Windstar's private event sees local performers dancing and thrilling the audience with a fire show after a BBQ dinner at sunset. At another port, a group comes aboard to play the ukulele while passengers are shown how to make a lei and tie a pareo (sarong) in different ways.
One of the pluses of a small-ship experience is the lack of planned activities -- no bingo, no art auctions, no incessant shipwide announcements. Socializing is a big attraction; our shipmates were friendly, and someone was always asking us to join them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, etc. The conversation was consistently lively.
The small casino, consisting of two blackjack tables and a few underused slot machines, drew a regular group of aficionados. The ship also spent a couple of evenings in port, which allowed passengers to have dinner ashore.
On each cruise, the captain hosts a reception, and, while Champagne is the standard drink, bartenders were happy to take individual requests -- a nice touch not typically found on bigger ships.
On the night of the poolside BBQ, the crew organized an outside deck party. The ship's pianist subbed in as deejay, and the crew performed a couple of well-rehearsed if not perfected line-dances ("Footloose," anyone?), with passengers joining in the fun. The party lasted to well past midnight. Crewmembers said they adjust the music and dances to the tastes of the cruise travelers onboard.