Breakfast and lunch are served in The Veranda, a top-deck restaurant surrounded by glass walls that open to a terrace for alfresco 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 buffet set up inside. Indoors there's an omelet station.
Special breakfast items ordered from the grill include egg dishes (like eggs Benedict or poached eggs and corned beef hash), pancakes, waffles and French toast.
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). All fare in the Yacht Club is included in cruise fares. Passengers 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 a full espresso bar, fruit juices, soft drinks, bottled water, domestic and imported beers and wines by the glass, for purchase.
AmphorA, the ship's main dining venue, has open seating from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The service is generally excellent, with appealing menu options (there's always an interesting fish or meat dish, including roast pork, steaks, prime rib, seared tuna, salmon and shrimp), and the cuisine is well prepared.
The intimate Stella Bistro is a delightful alternative restaurant. The menu emphasizes French cuisine that's traditional and yet reflects contemporary influences (items include, for instance, escargot, skewered scallops, goat cheese souffle and roast duck). There's a wine pairing menu available, and the wine list goes beyond Windstar's typically American leanings to include European bottles. Reservations are highly recommended.
Candles, an alfresco steakhouse-style restaurant, is another choice. Essentially, it's the poolside grill dressed up for dinner with a menu of steaks and skewers with a choice of sauces. It can handle about 30 diners a night, and as there is no additional charge, reservations are strongly encouraged. Dinner at Candles is subject to weather conditions.
To add to the dining experience, there are several special events that take place each cruise. On one evening, 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. Accompaniments included 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.
Dining quality was generally exceptional across all Wind Surf's venues with one exception: Room service is poor. The all-day menu is mostly limited to cold food (sandwiches and salads) and service is also sub-par. Often the phone was busy, or there was no answer at all. On one call, when we inquired about the possibility of ordering a hamburger, we were told to go to La Verandah, where we could get pasta salad. One positive: You can get buttered popcorn, great when watching movies in your cabin.