Windstar's partnership with the James Beard Foundation really pays off on Star Breeze, which has a good variety of restaurants featuring food or menus from Michelin-star chefs. This small ship with more budget friendly prices competes head on with some of the powerhouse luxury brands when it comes to dining.
All restaurants are included in the cost of your cruise fare, so you can mix it up based on what food you're in the mood for at any given time.
Our only real gripe about dining on Star Breeze has to do with open hours. On our cruise to French Polynesia, we often had excursions schedule for either 8 a.m. or 12:30 p.m., with meeting times 15 minutes prior. Dining options didn’t open until 7 a.m. or noon, meaning we rushed through a lot of meals. (Continental items were available for breakfast, and room service also was available, though.)
All restaurants are included in the cost of your cruise fare, though you might find restrictions on how many times you can eat at specialty restaurants Candles and Cuadro 44.
Most guests try a night in most places, which means on a weeklong cruise, you might only dine at most places once for dinner. Two venues offer outdoor dining at dinner, which is a treat when weather permits.
Breakfast is served in the Veranda buffet restaurant, while lunch is offered in Veranda and at the outdoor restaurant, Star Grill. Amphora serves as the main dining room, serving only dinner. Cuadro 44 and Candles also serve dinner only.
Amphora The ships version of a main dining room is also the restaurant that feels the most formal. A new menu is offered each night, with a wide variety across all courses, from starters to soups/salads and entrees. While we loved this restaurant, we only dined here once on our seven-day sailing, as we preferred the more casual options, which fit our schedule and itinerary better.
Veranda The ship's buffet is open from breakfast and lunch each day. In the morning, you'll find an international selection of food, along with an egg station. In the afternoon, you'll get a sense of theme, with, for example, Indian options one day, British standards the next. You'll also find a carving station and meals made a la minute, like pasta bolognaise or ramen stir fry.
Star Grill This is a real grill, in partnership with barbecue master Stephen Raichlin. Open for lunch and dinner, Star Grill offers rotisserie, smoker and grilled options, along with a host of sides, sauces and chutnies. The menu changes every day, but keep an eye out for the ribs, which are fall-off-the-bone tender, and the brisket, which takes days to prepare. You can also order a burger, veggie burger or hot dog at lunchtime. No reservations are necessary for Star Grill.
Candles At night, Veranda transforms into Candles, a steak and seafood restaurant that is a long-time favorite among Windstar fans. Steaks are tender, served with your choice of sauces and salts. Seafood options include specialties like scallops. Don't miss the lemon tart, a perfect little dessert. Beware: Despite having a canopy overhead, this spot can get windy when the ship is in motion. Reservations are required.
The Yacht Club Early risers and those looking for quick bites can visit The Yacht Club for continental items at breakfast and sandwiches and wraps at lunch. This is also where you'll find the best coffee onboard.
Room Service Room service is available 24/7. For breakfast, simply hang our menu tag outside your door before going to bed. A second menu, covering lunch and dinner, is available till late evening, when it's replaced by a pared-down version for midnight noshing.
Cuadro 44, the restaurant from noted chef Anthony Sasso is imaginative and unforgettable. Dinner is served tapas style, with small plates for sharing to kick things off, with dishes like charred octopus or spicy chorizo. If that doesn't fill you up, mains are offered, including options like lamb chops or chicken and rice. Save room for the chorizos, which are served with a heavenly chocolate dipping sauce. Reservations are required.
Gluten-free, dairy free and vegetarian options are marked on menus and placards, and the cruise ship can cater to virtually any allergy. Those with dietary restrictions are best served by making note of those requirements when booking, then meeting with the maitre d once onboard to confirm.
Vegetarian dishes tend to lean heavily on pasta, so if you're looking for something more, ask the chef about other options. If you give enough notice, the kitchen team will accommodate.
* May require additional fees