Wind Surf Dining
Breakfast and lunch are served in The Veranda, a top-deck restaurant surrounded by glass walls and open to a terrace for al fresco dining in good weather. Both meals are served semi-buffet style; you can order dishes from a menu at the grill just outside the restaurant's doors, or you can get your own items from the small but lavish buffet set up inside.
Special breakfast items ordered from the grill change daily and are always freshly made -- whether it's a chorizo and asparagus frittata or crepes with strawberries. Always available: eggs Florentine, eggs Benedict, poached or scrambled eggs, waffles and pancakes. Lunch is similarly served, with hot and cold items available buffet-style, a fresh pasta station, and burgers, chicken, hot dogs and other grilled items outside.
Windstar has also added a gourmet sandwich bar to the Yacht Club lounge for dining in or taking out (for picnics ashore). There are eight varieties from which to choose, themed to the places Windstar sails, such as Italian (salami, mortadella, provolone cheese and pesto) and Greek (feta cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, red onions and olives). Guests can also customize sandwiches, and options are available for vegetarians. The Yacht Club Sandwich Bar is open from 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. daily and also features full espresso bar, fruit juices, soft drinks, bottled water, domestic and imported beers, and wines by the glass for purchase.
The Restaurant, the ship's main dining venue, has open-seating from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. While the service is generally excellent, the menu options appealing (there's always an interesting fish or meat dish, including roast pork, steaks, prime rib, seared tuna, salmon and shrimp), and the cuisine well prepared, the presentation was surprisingly dull. The main entree seemed to be plunked onto a dish, a few vegetables added, and no thought given to aesthetics.
An alternative is Degrees. Whereas the main dining room is bisected with a divider, making each side feel small and cluttered, Degrees is a larger open space with doors that open onto the deck just above the bow. Fewer guests are served, so the experience feels more intimate and personal. Menu options there take on a theme each night: French, steakhouse, Italian, etc. Reservations are requisite; if you don't call at, or near, 8 a.m. on the day you want to dine there, you may not get a table.
In October 2008, Wind Surf doubled its evening dining options with the introduction of two new dinner venues, Le Marche and Candles. Le Marche is an al fresco seafood bar on the ship's Star Deck. Its specialty is fish and shellfish, served in multiple courses. Candles is the poolside grill dressed up for dinner with a menu of steaks and skewers with a choice of sauces. Each venue can take up to 30 diners a night, and as there is no additional charge, reservations are strongly encouraged. Dinner service in these two outdoor areas is also subject to weather conditions.
To add to the dining experience, there are several special events that take place each cruise. On one afternoon, there's an outdoor barbecue featuring lobster tails, flank steak and spare ribs that are melt-in-your-mouth fabulous. The buffet in the Lounge on the evening of the crew show is beyond wonderful, with local flavors and tons of variety. The Lounge itself becomes quite festive too, and is a great venue for visiting with the new friends you've made onboard during the week.
There's also a caviar afternoon spread out on the aft deck at the Compass Rose bar. It was so popular on our cruise that it was nearly impossible to get to the tables where it was being served, along with toast points, chopped egg whites, chopped egg yolks, chopped red onion and sour cream. Vodka was available to purchase by the glass. One morning caviar was served for breakfast in The Veranda (with the same accompaniments), but it was off to the side and not many people realized it was there. Tea is served daily in the Compass Rose (as is an early or late riser's Continental breakfast).
Except for the few pastries and beverages offered for breakfast, the lunch and dinner room service menu is extensive; you can order from the restaurant offerings for lunch and supper; though service was inconsistent (we tried at lunch one day and were told that the only things available were on the in-room menu).
There is no table in the room, so trays have to be placed on the bed or perched on the end of the desk. This absence makes in-room dining awkward.