A second criticism I have is that the islands are way too far apart. The ocean could have been a third of the size and not have felt cramped IMO. It takes ridiculously long to travel from one edge to the other. Sailing was a great idea, but I think it wasn't implemented as well as it could be because of the distances between islands.
I like it for how vast it is and I actually enjoyed all the sailing which was annoying for some. I was on a Zelda hiatus for a few years as well so I never experienced that let down some had by seeing a preview of a realistic Zelda one year followed by a cartoony cell shaded look the next year. The funny thing is my wife got me back into Zelda and it was with a copy Wind Waker that she owned that brought me back so I will always have positive memories of it. Though I prefer a more realistic look the animated art direction of Wind Waker is fun and entertaining. The biggest plus is that it takes the longest for 100% completion which in my book is a good thing. So while it's not my favorite it is far from being my least favorite.