Decided to try Windstar after liking the smaller ship experience on Viking and Azamara and Viking River. Overall, the food was very good, the crew friendly and eager to please however we started off by delaying our sail away by a day due to "two small holes" in the hull that required underwater welding. This resulted in a sea day instead of our scheduled port of call in Cartagena which was the main reason for some passengers picking this trip. There really is not much to do on such a small ship on sea days - they could easily schedule more activities such as Trivia or quiz shows, but don't. During the first sea day, we hit some swells that resulted in furniture sliding across the floor, broken glass during a group screening of a movie on the Panama canal. They aired the film later on the in room TV but the sound never worked. They had open bar for one day to make up for the missed port, but that doesn't really do it, especially for those who didn't drink.
The food overall we very good quality, but with there could have been more variety and I would have appreciated some menu selections reflecting the local cuisine. The staff seemed to bend over backwards for those passengers with multiple food allergies.
The ship's excursions where easily double the price of Viatour or shorexcursions.com for the exact same activity. A few of the ports were "in the middle of nowhere" so unless you like hot, humid, sunny beach activity, there was not much to do. The weather in December in Central America is very humid - we had little rain and temps in the 83-90 degree range and we were all sweating like pigs.
Quiet and we don't mind being on first floor. One caveat - during approaches/leaving ports they lower these steel doors to compartmentalize the ship on the first floor in case of a leak so that it only floods one compartment. This means you can't get to your room unless you go up to the 2nd floor and then down the crew stairs.
flew in the day before stayed at Dorado Eagle Beach hotel - inexpensive and near the beach
Beachside barbeque - beautiful beach, nothing else there
We did Odyssey tours to Manuel Antonio park - our guides were excellent pointing out two and three toed sloths, monkeys, different kinds of lizards, frogs, birds, plants etc. Without a guide i would not have been able to discern anything.