Wind Star Dining
- Wind Star Cruise Photos
- Mostly casual dress code
- Recent upgrades to cabins, public spaces, eateries
- Unique opportunity to travel under full sail -- engines off
- Attentive service; a guest-to-crew ratio of 1.5 to 1
- Active adventures ashore
- Passengers are well-traveled, well-heeled
Wind Star Dining
The ship's main dining room, previously simply referred to as The Restaurant, was recently transfored into AmphorA Restaurant. Still located on Deck 3 the space has been completely redesigned, as has the menu.
An all-open-seating dinner is served there nightly between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Each night, the menu includes at least one meat entree (steak, lamb), fresh fish, poultry and a vegetarian option. In fact, vegetarian selections in all categories (appetizers, salads, etc.) are highlighted daily in a special area of the menu and are always plentiful -- not just piles of whatever side dishes were left over from creating the other entrees, but unique creations like zucchini ravioli. Dietary restrictions are also well addressed; we met a woman with severe gluten and additive allergies, who told us the head chef met with her, one-on-one, every day, to go over a special menu his team created just for her.
Overall, we were most impressed with the fish dishes. Many cruise lines serve only frozen fish, but Windstar brings local catch onboard whenever it can. Knowing this, I ordered a lot more fish than I normally would on a cruise, and I was glad I did because it was fresh -- and healthy. (It's rather nice to return home weighing the same as, or less than, when you left!)
Servers were attentive but not overbearing -- the same pleasant trend we saw in the Pool Bar and elsewhere onboard. In AmphorA, plates were delivered and taken away with the kind of ease that allows you to continue conversation with your tablemates, and special requests, from simple to nit-picky, were never a problem. (For example, a new acquaintance wanted a Riedel wine glass, which are available primarily in the Lounge; the waiter fetched one.)
Breakfast and lunch are served on Deck 4 in the Veranda, an airy dining space with some floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the outer deck and the sea; during a recent refurbishment the outdoor portion of the Veranda was expanded to create room for more al fresco dining. Breakfast is served from about 7:30 until 9:30 a.m. each morning, but the times can vary slightly, depending on tour departures, so check the daily program. A buffet bar includes pastries, tasty fresh smoothies (different flavors every day -- don't miss the honey and melon), fresh fruit, and cheeses and meats. There's an omelet station; warmed buffet trays containing sausage, bacon and hash browns; and a communal toaster next to piles of bagels, bread and English muffins. You can also order waiter-service breakfast items from a printed menu that includes eggs made-to-order, French toast, pancakes and eggs Benedict. Staff members are available to pour coffee and carry and clear plates.
If you prefer a lighter breakfast, a spread of pastries, juices, coffee and tea is available by the Pool Bar every morning from 6 until about 11 a.m. (Snacks are also served every day in this same spot from 4 until 5 p.m. -- generally some finger sandwiches, fresh-cut fruit, coffee and sweets; don't miss the layer bars with dark chocolate chips and coconut.)
Passengers have two options for lunch, which is served only in this venue. One is to order a waiter-service entree off a set menu. (Items change daily, but there are also some always-available items, such as grilled salmon and hamburgers.) Most folks opted for option two, the buffet, which centered on a different cuisine (Italian, Mexican, etc.) each day. Some of the best meals we had onboard were lunches in the Veranda.
Another memorable experience was at Candles, the ship's alternative dining option; tables are set for al fresco dining outside the Veranda in the evenings between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. The menu is light -- kabobs, grilled meats (like filet mignon) and fish (fresh mahi mahi), salads -- which we especially appreciated after a super hot day in Nicaragua. There's no charge to eat there; reservations are available until 6 p.m. same day.
On our Costa Rica itinerary, there was a special poolside BBQ one night of the cruise, during which all other dining facilities were closed down (except for room service). The BBQ was a highlight of the trip. Tables were set and dressed with colorful cloths and faux candles. A buffet of salads, breads, shrimp cocktail, cheeses and pate prefaced rice and beans, grilled steak and chicken, roasted pork and lobster tails flown in from Maine. The anchor of the dessert buffet was a bananas foster station with amply poured rum and Grand Marnier as a topping or "floater."
Finally, room service is available 24 hours a day. During lunch or dinner hours, you can order off the daily menu for the Veranda or the AmphorA Restaurant. Continental breakfast -- coffee, tea, juices, pastries -- is available between 6 and 11 a.m. You can call in your order or leave a hanging card on your doorknob the night before. Orders were delivered quickly, and the food was always hot and impressive.