We enjoyed our first cruises with Windstar many years ago. Not much has changed in the past 10 years, I'm happy to say. Still all the advantages Windstar has to offer - access to smaller ports, good to excellent service, and a low-key atmosphere. And a really hard-working crew, who always aimed to give great service.
The standard cabins are small but efficiently laid out. The dining rooms are pleasant and strike the right balance between elegant and relaxed. We had good weather nearly every day, so we could spend as much time on deck as we wished; a plus in a small ship like this.
The crew was admirable - really hard-working yet always positive and professional. We did wonder if the bars and main dining room were short-staffed when we found ourselves waiting for service on several occasions. But it that's true, we have even more respect for the hard-working crew.
The food was often very good. The chef shopped locally when possible and we were treated to delicious arrays of Scandinavian delicacies when we departed from the major cities. The chef's specials in the dining room were memorable and the barbecue was really, really good. But the quality of the food at dinner was inconsistent; and some dishes were merely okay. The few lunches we ate on board were very good. Tea snacks were mediocre (doughy scones, sandwiches made with Kraft singles).
The food in the dining rooms tended to be rich, and we would have preferred more vegetables. The food in the alternative restaurants was fine, not as fresh as in the main dining room but hitting the right notes for meat lovers. The wine list had several decent choices available by the glass at acceptable prices for the quality.
The itinerary was terrific and a great introduction to Scandinavia. Overnights in Stockholm and Copenhagen allowed more time for sightseeing in those cities. We also stopped at several small towns that were picturesque, historic, and great for aimless walking. The private event was very nice - a canal cruise and after-hours museum visit in Copenhagen. We didn't take any of the ship's excursions.
Enrichment activities (aside from the private event) consisted of useful port talks before arrival and some unmemorable lectures about Vikings and the first Windstar ship on sea days.
The inconsistency of the food somewhat diminished an otherwise very nice cruise experience. But we enjoy smaller ships and the easy access to ports they provide. We'll keep Windstar in mind in the future.
Close to the front so a short distance to the restaurants. Very quiet.