Seattle-based Windstar Cruises’ 5,736 gross ton, 148-guest Wind Star looks better than ever after a complete renovation of all of its public spaces and accommodation. Built in 1986, the Wind Star was the first modern combination sail-and-diesel-powered cruise ship. It was followed in 1987 by the identical Wind Song (which burned and sank off Tahiti in 2003) and in 1988 by the Wind Spirit. Wind Star was built by Societée Nouvelle des Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre at Le Havre, France. Together with the Wind Spirit and the much-larger Wind Surf, the Wind Star operates on Mediterranean and European-based itineraries in the summer and Caribbean and Central American cruises in the winter. The yacht-like Wind Star is distinguished by a long, slender profile topped by an elegantly fluted funnel and four masts that rise to a height of 204 feet. Windstar’s ships call at unique ports that larger ships cannot access, such as Monemvasia, located in the lower reaches of the Peloponnese region of Greece. In addition to its sails and masts, Wind Star is distinguished by a graceful bowsprit that extends 80 feet from the waterline. Wind Star’s stern can unfold into a marina with floating mats, kayaks, a parasail and a skiff for scenic rides and/or waterskiing. All 21,500 square-feet of Wind Star’s Dacron sails were freshly renewed in the recent refit. When boarding the ship on Deck Three, guests are welcomed with a cool towel and shown to their staterooms. Wind Star has five passenger decks, including the flying bridge sunning platform near the stern on Deck Five. Most of the ship’s outer deck areas are covered in beautifully maintained teak. In addition to sunning lounges, the flying bridge boasts a large wooden wheel. Here is a view over the Wind Star’s stern from Deck Five. Deck Four begins with a sunning platform forward of the bridge. Here is one of the sails from the perspective of forward Deck Four. Wind Star has an ‘open bridge’ policy, which allows guests to visit the wheelhouse when the ship is at sea, conditions permitting. The Wind Star’s sails are controlled by a large computerized panel that was remarkably advanced for its time. Gauges and dials enable officers to unfurl and precisely position each sail to optimize the wind conditions. Deck Four continues aft of the Bridge with open promenades on either side. Sheltered seating areas are located on midships Deck Four adjacent to the Veranda eatery. The mahogany-paneled pool bar is located near the stern of the ship on Deck Four. Wind Star has a large jacuzzi and a small plunge pool on aft Deck Four. A spacious teak-lined lido surrounds a skylight on aft Deck Four. From aft Deck Four, a spiral staircase leads down to a sheltered terrace on Deck Three. When the marina is in use, it is accessed by a ‘trap door’ on aft Deck Two. Guests can get beach towels and leave their shoes and other belongings at the entrance to the marina. The first interior space most guests see is the lobby on midships Deck Three. The handsome lobby was redone in boutique hotel-style dark wood tones and autumnal soft fittings. A backlit dome and a blown-glass mobile are the focal points of the Lobby. The reception desk is located on the aft/starboard side. The mobile gradually changes color throughout the day. On the aft/port side of the Lobby, there is a small gift and sundries shop. Just aft of the shop on the port side of Deck Four, there is a Library and Internet Center. Another small lobby is located on aft Deck Four and features a carved wooden figurehead replica from the 1865-built Russian frigate Hertha. Here is a forward-facing view from the aft lobby, showing the horseshoe-shaped aft stairwell. The WindSpa on aft Deck Four has a fully equipped salon offering a wide range of beauty treatments. There are also two treatment rooms with a menu of massage and skin therapy options. Accessed via the Lounge, the Casino has an array of slots and gaming tables. Topped by a skylight, the Lounge can seat all of the ship’s guests and features picture windows on either side and aft. By day, the Lounge is used for port lectures and quizzes and at night, it is a favorite pre- and post-dinner hub with live music. Even the bar in the aft/starboard corner of the Lounge was given a total makeover. Wind Star has a small gym with cardio machines, free weights and weight machines on aft Deck Two. Directly across from the gym is a small hospital on aft Deck Two. Even the public restrooms on the ship are nicely appointed with inlaid mosaics and marble. Note the cloth towels. The ship’s airy breakfast and lunch eatery, the Veranda, is located on Deck Four and features a wall of glass on either side and aft. The Veranda boasts a dramatically curved ceiling that is topped with a skylight. Its teak decking and wicker furnishing are reminiscent of the winter gardens on the fabled liners of yore. A nice highlight of breakfast in the Veranda is unlimited fresh-squeezed orange juice. Other juices and fruits as well as a selection of yogurts and cereals as well as freshly baked breads and croissants are available. Omelets and other egg dishes are made fresh-to-order for breakfast in the Veranda. Guests can also choose from daily specials on a menu and select from buffets featuring warm and cold items. For lunch, the Veranda salad bar features cold cuts, marinated vegetables and a choice of salads. Wind Star’s chef also whips up a pasta of the day, be it a spicy arrabbiata, a savory pomodoro or bolognese, or, perhaps, the delicious pesto shown here, which is accompanied with grilled eggplant and marinated bell peppers. Breakfast and lunch in the Veranda can be enjoyed “al fresco” on the adjoining terraces. Located at the forward end of Deck Three, the AmphorA Restaurant is the ship’s main dinner venue. This is the room’s elliptically shaped entrance. The AmphorA is now as chic as the multi-course gourmet meals it serves. Everything in the AmphorA, including its name, is brand new, from the Murano glass chandeliers to the chairs and soft fittings. New tableware was even supplied for the Wind Star’s transformation. Table settings include fresh flowers, starched linens, Riedel stemware and polished cutlery. And the food is better than ever. Multi-course meals include an amuse bouche, appetizers, soups and salads and entrées, such as this chicken marsala with herb-roasted potatoes and zucchini. Continental breakfast and afternoon tea are available at the Pool Bar. Each night, weather permitting, the pool area is transformed into Candles, a reservations-required but no-extra-charge venue with a fixed menu of cuts and seafood. Here is a table for two at Candles, where seating is limited to 30 guests per night. This is a filet mignon in Candles, accompanied with grilled vegetables and herb-roasted potatoes on a bed of lentils. Once per cruise there is a gala deck barbecue with live entertainment on aft Deck Four. Here is Executive Chef Zomie whipping up a seafood paella. Other offerings typically include a roast suckling pig, barbecued chicken, corn, salads, pasta, desserts and much more. After the barbecue, the fest continues with singing and line-dancing under the stars. Even the passageways in the accommodation areas on Decks One and Two were refreshed with new carpeting and paneling. One Owner’s Suite tops the accommodation tier on the Wind Star, measuring a generous 222-square-feet. This is the sitting area. This is the bedroom of Wind Star’s newly renovated Owner’s Suite. The Wind Star has 73 cabins, pairs of which can be accessed by a common entry, which is handy for families traveling in adjacent rooms. Standard cabins measure 188-square-feet and feature a pair of portholes. Standard cabins come in several categories, depending on their location within the ship. All are beautifully appointed with wood tones, new soft fittings and plenty of storage space. Several cabins come with a pullman-style third berth. Bathrooms in all cabins are divided into three circular compartments. This is the sink area. And here is the commode area of a standard cabin bathroom. Windstar provides high quality L’Occitane toiletries, including soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and shower gel.