The beauty of Wind Surf's dining offerings is that all restaurants are included within your cruise fare, including the ship's specialty restaurants, Candles and Stella Bistro. For a ship of Wind Surf's size, we found the range of dining options superb at dinnertime.
At breakfast and lunchtime, there's just the one venue open -- Veranda restaurant -- but there's a buffet and menu option, providing plenty of choice. There are sandwiches and snacks in the Yacht Club, too, meaning if you want to grab a light bite, there's always a quick and easy alternative.
Unfortunately, we found the quality of food and service overall to be hit and miss. Avoidable mistakes were made all too often -- orders missed, an undercooked chicken burger, other dishes not cooked to order -- and left us feeling underwhelmed with some of our dining experiences. On the flip side, we tried many excellent dishes -- poached eggs cooked to perfection and a delicious French toast stuffed with ricotta dish at breakfast and a perfectly cooked rack of lamb one evening at Stella Bistro.
Service was far from intuitive on Wind Surf, too. We'd often have to wait or try in vain to catch a waiter's attention. Service at breakfast in particular felt hurried, and servers occasionally forgot orders because they didn't write them down.
Wind Surf makes clear that its galleys are not food allergen-free environments. Our advice is to let the ship know ahead of time if you have any specific requirements or dietary needs and follow up with the chef onboard.
AmphorA (Deck 4): We were surprised by the sheer scale of the ship's main dining room -- which feels pretty big, wrapping around the aft of Deck 4. Dual-aspect windows and mirrored internal walls add further depth to the room. The room is stylish, with an interesting fish sculpture near the entrance, a brown-patterned carpet and Champagne-color chair backs and matching plate chargers on the tables.
Tables are available for two, four, six or eight. Or, if you'd like to dine with a larger group, the restaurant's crew will gladly create a table to fit your party size.
The restaurant feels convivial -- with attentive servers that chat with passengers before and after meals and attentive sommeliers who are forthcoming with wine recommendations.
The dinner menu features four courses: starters and salads, soup, mains and dessert. Expect five starter and main course options, though there's only one option on the main course suitable for vegetarians, with the rest of the dishes focused on meat or fish. In addition to the five main courses, there's a Classics section of the menu, which usually features a simple grilled salmon, chicken or steak dish.
We found the quality of food at AmphorA good to excellent. Don't expect complex flavors or overly sophisticated dishes, but do anticipate good quality ingredients that have been seasoned and cooked well.
Vegetables are seasonal -- we found the fresh asparagus and broccoli delightful. Side options also included gorgeous crispy fries tossed in truffle oil and Parmesan and different types of potato dishes -- typically mashed or baked. It should be noted that the fries on Wind Surf are divine and among the best we have ever tasted -- deliciously crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
AmorphA is open daily from 7 to 9 p.m.
Veranda (Deck 6): Veranda is the ship's breakfast and lunchtime restaurant. Although it's the only restaurant option at these times, the Veranda offers a hot and cold buffet, plus a menu of made-to-order items, so we always found plenty of options.
The restaurant is partially located inside -- where the buffet stations and egg station in the morning are set up. We really loved that tables flow outside and, when the weather is pleasant, nothing beats breakfast or lunch in the sunshine on deck. However, when the weather is not fit for passengers to sit outside, you can struggle to find an available table inside, especially at breakfast. We found ourselves sitting with other passengers on three occasions due to a lack of tables. This is fine if you're in the mood to mingle and make new friends, but if you're not, you might need to grin and bear it.
There's no kitchen, per se, for the Veranda and everything is cooked outside in a semi-permanent grill setup or pre-prepared in the downstairs galley. At breakfast time, when almost all passengers are dining at the same time, the lack of a galley kitchen means there's occasionally a wait for dishes ordered off the menu. Made-to-order dishes arrived quicker at lunch, whereas there could often be a 20-minute wait at breakfast.
At breakfast time, the buffet features all of the standard cold and cooked items: a selection of cereals, yogurts, juices, fresh fruit, cold cut meats, cheese and salmon with items such as capers, gherkins and relish. There's a good selection of bread and pastries, too. On the hot counter there's scrambled eggs, smoked streaky bacon, baked beans, mushrooms and potatoes. There's also an egg and omelet station, though we found a long wait for eggs in the morning.
On the menu, expect freshly made waffles, pancakes and a variety of egg dishes, such as eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine. The quality of food is excellent -- though dishes can take a while to arrive due to the volume of passengers ordering from the menu.
At lunchtime, expect pasta and salad dishes, plus a hot carved-meat counter, with a selection of other buffet-style dishes available. The menu features dishes such as chicken burger, the Wind Surf beef burger, vegetarian burger and a noodle dish. Cheeses, ice cream and typically a hot dessert such as bread and butter pudding with custard is served. Although service can be slow at breakfast, we found the quality and quantity on offer far better at breakfast than at lunchtime.
Veranda is open daily for breakfast from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. for lunch.
Stella Bistro (Deck 6): This specialty French restaurant is a highlight of the ship's dining offering. Although a reservation is advised, we found many tables available during our visit.
The restaurant is spacious and filled with a mix of two-, four-, six- and eight-seat tables. The elegant setting features white tablecloths and napkins and taupe-colored walls styled with a collection of framed landscape photography. Light fills the room from the windows on both sides of the restaurant.
We liked that tables are well-spaced out. There was a low-level hum of conversations flowing, but you were never in danger of overhearing your neighbors' conversations -- or vice versa.
Service is efficient, although we found it a little too quick at times. With heavier meals, it's sometimes preferable to have an adequate break between courses, rather than being served a quick succession of dishes.
The choice and quality of food is excellent. As the name suggests, traditional bistro dishes are served here. The menu features four courses -- appetizers, soups and salads, main course and dessert. Expect excellent French-style cooking: escargot oozing with garlic butter; French onion soup or lobster bisque followed by more classic French cuisine.
Dishes are listed in French, too, followed by a description in English, such as Magret de Canard (pan-seared duck), Fruits de Mer Thermidor (mixed seafood, served Thermidor style) and Coquilles St. Jacques Provencale (poached scallops). Crepes Suzette -- flambeed tableside -- is a highlight on the dessert menu.
Ingredients are fresh and seasonal and we found an excellent balance of flavors in this standout restaurant. If you're a fan of bistro cuisine, we recommend making a beeline for Stella Bistro.
While there's a balance of meat and seafood dishes and the overall quality of food is excellent, there's just one vegetarian dish available -- and it's the same one served in the ship's other restaurants that day. Stella Bistro opens daily from 7 to 9 p.m.
Candles Grill (Decks 6): In the evening, Candles takes over the Veranda space, inside and out, to offer an alternative dinner option. Dining under the stars, with the sound of the ocean in the background, is certainly romantic, but when weather is cool or wet, Candles' outdoor seating might be unpleasant or shut altogether. We experienced a storm during our April sailing and the outside space wasn't set up for service. It really is worth considering the weather when you decide which evening to dine here -- if you spot there's going to be a standout day among a bunch of poor days, lock in a reservation for that night.
Of all the ship's restaurant's, Candles Grill has the most yacht club-like feel. The stark white walls are decorated with sea-faring images, and the windows feature white country club-style shutters. It makes for an exceptionally relaxed ambiance.
Though the decor stays the same throughout the day -- from the Veranda during the daytime to Candles in the evening -- the space feels calmer in the evening. There's less bustle and passengers get a better appreciation of the decor at night.
Candles Grill bills itself as Wind Surf's coastal seafood and chophouse restaurant. The menu features three courses: starters and salads, entrees (with sauces and sides) and dessert.
Appetizers are on the small side and more similar to hors d'oeuvres-size portions. A shrimp dish featured three pieces of the shellfish, while a beet and goat cheese salad arrived with hardly any goat cheese. We were underwhelmed by some of the appetizers we experienced at Candles, though found the main course to be much improved with a beautifully cooked and well-seasoned steak. Specials feature a fish and vegetarian dish of the day (again, the same one meat-free dish found everywhere that evening).
Vegetables were again seasonal, fresh and cooked al dente, while for sweet-toothed passengers, there are usually three desserts on the menu, including a standout Red Velvet cake for two.
It's advisable to book a table in advance, though on our particular sailing, we had no problem getting a reservation, even when the outside area was out of action. Candles is open daily from 7 to 9 p.m.
Yacht Club (Deck 4): A central meeting point for the ship's passengers throughout the day, the informal lounge-cum-library-cum-cafe is a relaxing spot with a luxury feel. The food counter serves a selection of pastries, fruit and granola in the morning, which switches to a variety of sandwiches, including meat, fish and vegetarian options, such as tuna, Brie, chicken or egg, as well as cookies, during the day. Soft drinks, tea and coffee are also served at the Yacht Club all day. If you're a coffee drinker, our tip is to order it here -- not in the Veranda restaurant -- where the quality is noticeably better. Disposable cups are also provided for passengers wanting to take their tea or coffee with them ashore.
We often found it convenient to grab a sandwich from the Yacht Club when we returned from shore, particularly if it was passed 2 p.m. and the Veranda was closed. Our only gripe is that the variety of sandwiches does not change during the entire cruise -- it could benefit from some variations to keep the choice fresh.
The service in the Yacht Club is outstanding. If you're a regular here, expect servers to pick up on this quickly and know your order before you've even reached the counter.
The Yacht Club is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Deck Barbecue (Deck 5 and 6): One evening per sailing, all restaurants close and passengers join the deck barbecue. This is a standout feature on Wind Surf's itinerary. The atmosphere is beyond wonderful, with passengers convening and a carnival-like spirit on deck. There's one caveat: If the weather turns, so can the mood as crew swiftly move platters and buffet dishes inside to avoid almost certain spillages on deck.
The quantity and quality of food at the deck barbecue is among the best we experienced onboard, too. Expect regional produce purchased by the chef at the local market -- such as cured meats and a selection of cheeses on our sailing -- and a large range of barbecued meat and fish, such as pork ribs, steak, tuna and lobster, as well as vegetable skewers. There are several choices of salad, pasta and potato dishes, and shrimp with a variety of dips and sauces.
Room Service: In-room dining is included and available until midnight daily. There's a continental breakfast option, and a selection of salads, soups and burgers available. In the evening, all of the items on AmphorA's menu are also available to order to your room. We ordered room service twice and found service quick and the quality excellent on both occasions.