Well, the food on Windstar’s Star Breeze is superlative, and a main reason some returnees choose this company. Girlahead suggests the secret is having great ingredients, sourced from head office by Austrian Günter Steinbrunner and his onboard Hotel Director Milton Ceklic, from Slovenia, and cooked superbly by the ship’s culinary team, led by Gavin Baxter, from Melbourne. These people know how to cook, to keep in and enhance simple flavours. Dishes are mostly served on Schönwald china, with Hepp Exclusive cutlery, and Stölzle glassware.
The ideal is buffet breakfast at Veranda (love the plentiful supply of smoked salmon to add to your eggs, or have with onion and sour cream, which more than one novice eater mistook for yoghurt. Lunch can be in a variety of venues, as can dinner. Veranda transforms at night to Candles, which has giant panko-coated onion rings on a par with Gordon Ramsay’s at GRAND HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL BORDEAUX. Dine outside, wind notwithstanding. Start dinner there with tomato and watermelon salad, ‘designed’ by James Beard chef Annie Pettry, former owner and chef of Decca in Louisville KY. You are offered fabulously more-ish herb-crusted flat bread and three gourmet salts, Hawaiian black, Yakima Valley smoked applewood, or Himalayan pink. Support the onion rings with a New York strip, from the US, and black garlic purée, and, perhaps, a Californian Pinot, Hangtime 2019.
Dine outside, too, at Star Grill, for a simple menu by television’s grill star, Steven Raichlen – perhaps rotisserie chicken with thyme-roasted potatoes and mixed greens. Dine in, with another celeb chef, Anthony Sasso, the new-look Spanish star of Casa Mono. In this 34-seater you might start with masses of tapas, including jamón iberico, while you enjoy, perhaps, a glass of Susana Balbo Signature Merlot 20018, from Mendoza. From the main-course à la carte, you could well choose pork belly with a side of porcini, and do not miss the deliciously-unsweet Galicia cheesecake. Best seats in this house, by the way, are the six, side-by-side, at the counter looking straight through an all-glass wall at the brigade, rushing carefully as they grill chorizo, to portion exactly on ceramic plates.
The restaurant that gets nearest to temple of food, fun not so serious a component, is Amphora, which uses a variety of consultants – Seattle chef Renée Erickson for chicken liver pâté, for instance. Among the wines tasted here was a very pleasant Rocheroy 2019 from Bordeaux. You can also dine 24/7 in your room, which has a proper dining table folded up against one wall. And there seem to be chocolate-studded cookies strategically placed around, say in The Yacht Club, which has a small café. Some Windstar stalwarts, by the way, say The Yacht Club is their favourite haven. Here are jigsaws, and a library that ranges from nautical to Polynesia to self-enlightenment – which is the reason Girlahead’s bedtime reading is 30-second Philosophies…
Talking of food, let’s hear what global pundit Elizabeth Blau has to say on hospitality restaurants: