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Sail Date: April 2018
Our 10th anniversary was coming up. We didn't want to sit on a beach because we live near one. We didn't want to visit a floating city either, but we wanted to see the Caribbean. I remember the Barefoot Cruise days that I ... Read More
Our 10th anniversary was coming up. We didn't want to sit on a beach because we live near one. We didn't want to visit a floating city either, but we wanted to see the Caribbean. I remember the Barefoot Cruise days that I dreamed about doing. A quick internet search took me to Island Windjammers. I was sold and so was my hubby. We've just arrived home yesterday from the excursion of a lifetime. My husband and I really didn't know what to expect. No matter how hard we would have tried, we could not have guessed at all the amazing moments this cruise would have. The crew was amazing with everyone always helpful to us and to each other. Even the captain would offer to fill our coffee cups when he was getting his morning brew! No smiles were spared! The range of activities - island hopping from the tiniest (Umbrella Island and Happy Island) to touring Bequia, from snorkeling to island tours, and even just relaxing aboard the ship with a rum punch and a good book - everything was amazing. From the mast in the full moon to catching a barracuda off the ship to watching a sting ray lazily swim along the shore in the Tobago Cays, there was a surprise around every corner. We are already trying to figure out when we can go again and which of our friends can join us! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose the cruise because of the more intimate nature of a smaller ship. The Vela is a beautiful sailing ship and is approximately 156 feet long. We were able to access ports that larger ships could not. Chef Lenny prepared excellent ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the more intimate nature of a smaller ship. The Vela is a beautiful sailing ship and is approximately 156 feet long. We were able to access ports that larger ships could not. Chef Lenny prepared excellent meals and the service on board was outstanding. Chef Lenny took particular pride in going to local markets to provide the freshest fish, fruits and vegetables for our meals. The staff was very helpful and knowledgeable when it came to setting up tours and were very familiar with the port towns. The ship had a rope swing that was a lot of fun. Opportunities to relax and to snorkel were abundant. Snorkeling in a few of the spots was quite good. Horse back riding, hikes to forts, a visit to a rum distillery and a tour that included a trip to waterfalls were among the highlights. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone looking to be treated like royalty on the ship and to anyone looking for a closeup look at the islands with a small group of guests. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
This was my fourth experience over two years with Island Windjammers, though this was my first trip on Sagitta. My previous trips were on the Vela. I found the overall experience very similar. Common to all my experiences is that the crew ... Read More
This was my fourth experience over two years with Island Windjammers, though this was my first trip on Sagitta. My previous trips were on the Vela. I found the overall experience very similar. Common to all my experiences is that the crew is very professional and focused on passenger safety and pleasure. The company encourages a casual atmosphere, with t-shirts, shorts and bare feet expected. Cabins on Sagitta are a nice size. Though some might think them small, they are almost twice the size of the cabins on Vela. No one I have ever met on one of these cruises spends any significant time in a cabin though; they are for storing your stuff and sleeping at night. Beds are comfortable and the climate control is good. The food is excellent and served at specific times when all of the passengers, and sometimes the senior crew, sit down together. The menus tend to be similar from one trip to another, but I wish I could sail with them often enough to become tired of them. The chefs have also always been very good about accommodating specific needs. There are always beer, wine, and soft drinks available throughout the day. On this trip we visited St Kitts, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Antigua, and Nevis. The itinerary tends to choose slightly out of the way ports to visit which has the benefit of not fighting crowds from the big tour ships. The captain often finds out of the way beaches and snorkeling locations for the guests to visit. I love these trips. I love the casual atmosphere. I love the interaction with the crew. I love the out-of-the-way places we visit. I like that I can kick back and relax and nobody is making me feel guilty for not going activities. I recommend Island Windjammers very, very highly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We had an amazing time aboard the Vela! My wife and I traveled down to Saint Lucia the day before and stayed in the quaint town of Marigot Bay, where Vela was located. We met the crew the day of the sail and I knew we were in good hands ... Read More
We had an amazing time aboard the Vela! My wife and I traveled down to Saint Lucia the day before and stayed in the quaint town of Marigot Bay, where Vela was located. We met the crew the day of the sail and I knew we were in good hands right away. Our bags were taken to the ship and we followed shortly behind. The first thing you received when you boarded the ship was a rum drink- perfect! Vela was the largest sailing vessel in the Bay, which made me feel special ;) The crew raised the sails the first day and we headed into the sunset. Our cabin had all the amenities that we needed. The bed was comfortable and there was adequate storage. Yes it was small but we weren't in there long enough to care. The food was one of the best parts of the trip. Every meal was prepared onboard with fresh and local ingredients. I honestly did not eat a bad meal. I was never hungry and I was never thirsty. Most meals, other than breakfast, were outside on the deck with the wind in your hair. You could get water, tea, beer, wine, etc anytime of the day. There was also a rum punch happy hour every night! There were plenty of activities to do on the ship- paddle boarding, snorkeling, rope swinging, games and just plain lounging. In addition, every day there were offshore activities planned that you could partake in. One day there was horseback riding, another was hiking to a waterfall. We even had a BBQ on the beach one night! You also had a tour of a rum distillery and some people were even accommodated to have a scuba diving experience. That leads me to the crew. They were absolutely phenomenal. Every single crew member was always smiling and willing to bend over backwards to make sure you were happy. I was amazed at how truly caring and friendly everyone was to all passengers. It was like we were family at the end. The entire experience was more than I could have imagined. From the sails to the cabins to the service/crew, everything was amazing. Plus you meet some amazing guests while aboard! I will definitely be coming back, hopefully to sail on another Island Windjammers ship! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
My favorite part of this cruise was the ability to bring my kids along in a safe environment and let them experience travel the way I believe travel was intended. At 7 and 9, we finally felt this was the right time to let them experience a ... Read More
My favorite part of this cruise was the ability to bring my kids along in a safe environment and let them experience travel the way I believe travel was intended. At 7 and 9, we finally felt this was the right time to let them experience a more adult trip. I was able to show them the real world and we explored it. They got to see an active volcano. They got to tour the engine room of the ship and watch intently as the crew members put the sails up and down . They experienced language barriers and learned about different currencies and cultures. The ship size allows for you to visit ports not typically covered over with huge cruise ships and volumes of oblivious tourists. We didn't have every minute filled with electronics or events catering just to them. They even used their imaginations and performed a puppet show! I adored bringing my kids along on their very first adventure trip. We did a Disney cruise in February and it was lovely! Nothing against Disney at all. There is a time and place for everything. But this was more my speed and more what I want my kids to understand travel to be. My second favorite part was the service. I cannot tell you how pleasant it was to be waited on nonstop. Even when I was quite capable and ready to pour my own cup of coffee, I wasn't allowed. :) They worked hard to satisfy every passenger on board. They would play a Ring Toss game with the kids and you could tell they genuinely enjoyed it. It wasn't an act or chore! Some of my best memories were being the first passenger awake and the lovely conversations I had with the crew members who knew me by name and I knew them. The Operations Manager (Andrew) was on point at all times. He was patient with those of us who were chatty and eager to find on shore activities to please each of us. And there was always a suggestion that catered to the kids. I additionally appreciated his wit and humor he was able to include while remaining professional. My third favorite part of this cruise was the food. OMG the food! I like good food, whether it be street food or prepared by a James Beard award winning chef. The food did not disappoint. I was repeatedly pleasantly surprised by how good each meal was. Even down to the appetizers. And you would eat it all trying not to miss out on a wonderful new flavor and then they'd come around and offer seconds!! No way! I'm saving room for dessert! Then I mentioned my husband's birthday was occurring while we were at sea and I never thought about it again. But after dinner on his birthday a red velvet cake was brought out. The crew tried diligently (humorously so) to keep a single candle lit as they brought it out, but it was not going to happen. Other notable and awesome things about Island Windjammers: 1) The passenger capacity. We made friends with everyone on our cruise. I am getting Christmas cards from these new friends and we have a Facebook group set up to share pictures and memories. 2) The rope swing and night swimming: How cool is it that they let passengers do that? When I realized there were no more opportunities for the rope swing, I got so sad! 3) I missed this National Geographic moment, but my husband got to witness a Needlefish become a Barracuda's dinner one evening while looking over the side if the ship into the lit waters. This whole trip was just wonderful. I genuinely hope we can make it back on board one of IWJ's vessels. I would gladly do it again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We bid on the cruise at a charity auction for the Sunshine School for Children with Special Needs in Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after hearing what a wonderful time others had had on the cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed the ... Read More
We bid on the cruise at a charity auction for the Sunshine School for Children with Special Needs in Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after hearing what a wonderful time others had had on the cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. I was a little leery as I get sea sick easily, but I used the scopalomine patches and they worked great. The crew was fantastic and bent over backwards to make us happy, the sailboat gorgeous, and the passengers all got along great. The cruise we chose was the French West Indies and it was fantastic. We departed from Marigot Bay, St. Lucia; sailed south past the Pitons, St. Lucia before heading north to Dominica (we couldn't stop there due to hurricane damage), went to St. Pierre, Martinique; Terre de Haut, Isle des Saintes, Guadeloupe; Deshaies, Gaudeloupe; Anse Arlet, Martinique; and Pigeon Point, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Every day there was a different area to explore, hiking, shopping, and swimming and snorkelling. We loved it and will do it again. The standard cabins are quite small, but you don't spend much time in your cabin so that isn't an issue, at least it wasn't for us. The food was fantastic and different every day. Full breakfast, hot lunch most days, happy hour at five with rum drinks and snacks, then a lovely dinner. lots of wine, beer and soft drinks...and popcorn for snacking...you just helped yourself to coffee, tea, and cold drinks whenever you wanted. Being gluten intolerant I was delighted that the chefs went out of the way to make sure that everything was okay for me, and made something special for me almost every meal. Entertainment on board is the passengers and 'how entertaining can you be'. There was only one organized shore excursion at St. Pierre and other than that the ops manager told us about points of interest and provided information and we all pretty much went different directions on shore, some to explore, some to shop, some to snorkel and swim, and some stayed aboard and read, swam from the boat, or napped. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We are just back from our second trip on the Vela this year. We participated in the "Rum Cruise" visiting St. Lucia and Martinique. The ship is in great shape. That captain and crew did a great job the entire time making sure ... Read More
We are just back from our second trip on the Vela this year. We participated in the "Rum Cruise" visiting St. Lucia and Martinique. The ship is in great shape. That captain and crew did a great job the entire time making sure everyone was enjoying themselves and keeping thing interesting. The ports of call and trips to the distilleries (organized by Dave Russell- the rum expert) were great. We got an in-depth look of the distilleries operations, got to meet the people that ran the operations and see everything from the cane fields to the various distilling processes used to make their rum. and ports of call. We could not visit Dominica and Guadeloupe this trip due to storm damage, but the captain and crew made the trip just as enjoyable as our last trip when we did visit those islands. We also got to see the Diamante which is still carrying relief supplies up to Dominica. We finally splurged and booked the owners cabin this trip which was great. Although, we were always satisfied with the other cabins we have had on previous trips. The meals were very good and we are always impressed with the cook staff can do with such limited space. We had a couple of very nice snorkeling opportunities and swimming off the side of the boat or beach was usually available. The rope swing came out on a regular basis to supply entertainment to the participants and spectators. The crew was always friendly and helpful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I went on this cruise with a group of 21 friends, all there to celebrate our friends 50th birthday. The cruise and the crew was amazing. They went above and beyond to make the trip a bucket list adventure for all of us. Not only was the ... Read More
I went on this cruise with a group of 21 friends, all there to celebrate our friends 50th birthday. The cruise and the crew was amazing. They went above and beyond to make the trip a bucket list adventure for all of us. Not only was the food amazing, but the crew was amazing and took extra special care of us. Dinners were amazing and Chef Ermon made extra special cakes for our birthday girl as well as a couple celebrating an anniversary. The crew really catered to our group dynamic and let us party! Capt Nervo and our stewards, Browne and Keith, made sure we always had a drink in hand and music playing! Our Ops Director, Mimi LaRue, planned off boat adventures for us during the day where we could go to beaches, shop in small ports, or lunch with the locals. We even had a bus tour take us to some special spots on Dominica where Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed and we got to swim in the same caves, and hike to the same waterfalls - complete with lunch at a local "tree house" restaurant along the way! Mimi also set up everyone's travel off the sailboat as well which was great since there were so many of us, all going different directions! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I planned a cruise on the Vela for my 50th birthday, and we had 21 guests join us for the week. From the minute we met Captain Nervo the night before to the moment we stepped off the ship, this was the most special vacation experience of ... Read More
I planned a cruise on the Vela for my 50th birthday, and we had 21 guests join us for the week. From the minute we met Captain Nervo the night before to the moment we stepped off the ship, this was the most special vacation experience of my life. The crew members were first class, but more than that, they became our friends. From the amazing food to the unique experience of truly sailing on the Caribbean to floating off the ship with noodles and beers, everyone in our group loved every minute of being on the Vela. On the islands we visited, we were well informed on what was available to visit, and the crew was phenomenal in getting us to shore and back to the boat easily and timely. My favorite moments were mornings on the deck with a coffee, either sailing on the open waters or pulling into our next port with the sun rising. Amazing! All of it. I will go again as soon as I can. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Rarely does an experience meet and exceed every expectation one has going in. That was our experience with the Island WindJammers Vela. Our initial motivation for seeking out Island Windjammers was my wife's long held love of ... Read More
Rarely does an experience meet and exceed every expectation one has going in. That was our experience with the Island WindJammers Vela. Our initial motivation for seeking out Island Windjammers was my wife's long held love of tall ships. Being able to experience of sailing on a tall ship for an extended period was a dream come true for her. That said, many of the other facets of the experience they offer fit us comfortably - The small group setting, the relaxed itinerary, the general informal nature of the experience... all called us. The experience was, to be quite honest, the best vacation we have ever taken. - The enjoyable experience of true sailing - Waking each day at a new beautiful location - the personal connection with the crew and the other guests - enjoying small beaches and towns that others miss - relaxed meals on deck - board game night - snorkeling - lazing on a deserted beach .... the list goes on and on... To be sure, the motion of the ship took some getting used to, as did learning how to find a stable position in the bunk under sail... but, thats all part of the adventure. My wife had always talked of taking a conventional cruise, but after this experience, we'll never set foot on a large ship. Island Windjammers is the one for us. Thank you to Captain Sam and the crew of the Vela for an absolutely wonderful week. Terry and Joanne Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Although it's been a year+ since we cruised on Sagitta, reading these reviews is bringing back many great memories. We decided to splurge and do something extra special for our 40th anniversary. Neither one of us care for crowds, ... Read More
Although it's been a year+ since we cruised on Sagitta, reading these reviews is bringing back many great memories. We decided to splurge and do something extra special for our 40th anniversary. Neither one of us care for crowds, dressing up for dinner or the general cattle call of the big ship cruising experience. Sagitta is 180 degrees from that. Sagitta's capacity is 24 passengers, and she was not full on the date we sailed. The moment you step aboard in St. Maarten, you are handed a flute of champagne and sit on deck chatting with the crew and passengers and friends. It was a treat to watch hundreds of people pass by on their way back to their huge ships docked behind us and looking with envy at us on Sagitta. We knew she was the right choice for us. Cabins are small but efficiently organized. Plenty of storage room for your t-shirts and shorts and undies, you won't need much more than that. Good water pressure in the shower. Enough counter space and outlets to charge up your devices. Double size bunk on the lower level, single size above. One porthole by the bed, one in the bathroom. Mimi - our amazing everything person - took our passports on Day One and she took them into each island ahead of time to clear us ahead of time. All we had to do was tender in and out from each island at our leisure. To me, that's luxury. We visited St Barths, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla The food was fantastic! Not fancy, just very well prepared and presented. All of the crew were wonderful - I noticed some familiar names in the recent reviews - Stephen and George were with us, and I'm glad to see they are still there. Bamboo and Bernard were members of our crew as well, and they were wonderful - every single one of the crew went out of their way to make it special. Access to go below deck is very steep, and more like a ladder. No grand staircase here, folks. And the access to the tender could be challenging for some. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My wife have sailed throughout the Caribbean since the early 1990's. Originally on the old Windjammer fleet, later on charter catamarans. We tried the Diamant with Island Windjammer last year out of Grenada and really enjoyed it. ... Read More
My wife have sailed throughout the Caribbean since the early 1990's. Originally on the old Windjammer fleet, later on charter catamarans. We tried the Diamant with Island Windjammer last year out of Grenada and really enjoyed it. Our trip this spring on the Vela was equally great. The ship and the crew are top notch. The crew knows the ship, the islands and demonstrated great customer service. The cabins were clean, neat and well maintained. The food was excellent. The visits to shore were well planned and with very good guides (if you chose to sign up for the tour options). The captain new the best snorkeling spots and was always on top of the weather conditions. The sailing was great including a couple evenings with strong winds allowing the ship to show what she could do under full sail and steady breeze. The ship was large enough to find some space for yourself if needed. The mix of guest background also made the trip enjoyable (which we have found to be the case on every trip we have taken like this). We will definitely be back on an Island Windjammer when time permits. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
From the moment my adult daughter and i arrived on St. Lucia to the time we sadly had to fly back, our experience with Island Windjammers and the Eastern Caribbean islands was Paradise! The company was explicit about how to prepare for the ... Read More
From the moment my adult daughter and i arrived on St. Lucia to the time we sadly had to fly back, our experience with Island Windjammers and the Eastern Caribbean islands was Paradise! The company was explicit about how to prepare for the trip (Did we say pack light? Why, yes we did!) and transfer to the ship was punctual and smooth. The cabins were cozy but clean and comfortable, and were attended to daily. The food was exceptional, especially considering the small kitchen the chef had to work in, and he was masterful in using the fresh meat, veggies and fruit found on the island excursions. Meals were delicious and well served - dinner was a highlight of the day and never disappointed.. Wine and beer were always available, and the happy hour "Vela Coladas" were very tasty! The captain and crew could not have been more accommodating and personable; they were professional yet fun and engaging. They were very gracious in letting us "help" put up the sails. A malfunctioning pump could have become a problem, but the crew remained calm and resolved it without much disruption. Special kudos to the engineer!! Part of the magic of our week on board was the delightful mix of guests. We all had a great time together; meeting as strangers and leaving as friends. It added so much to the trip! But the real gem of this Paradise cruise was the water - absolutely gorgeous!! The Caribbean around the small islands we visited was clean and clear, and perfect for snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking - and just lying on a beach. You picked your own pace - we enjoyed the shore excursions, realizing the islands are small and not well developed. Seeing the sea turtle sanctuary on Bequia was especially interesting. It's just Paradise all over the place! Can't wait to go back!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
Great food and service, lovely crew. LOVED our stateroom. Diamant is a goldie-locks ship: not too big not too small. ten passengers only. Highlights were swimming with the sea turtles and waking up to dawn in the eastern Carribean! ... Read More
Great food and service, lovely crew. LOVED our stateroom. Diamant is a goldie-locks ship: not too big not too small. ten passengers only. Highlights were swimming with the sea turtles and waking up to dawn in the eastern Carribean! The food was consistently great, and so was the rum punch. Climbed a hill on an island to see our boat far down on the bay, went to some night clubs far off the list of the normal tourist spots. Used the Tarzan swing on numerous occasions. Came back from various excusrsions always to find our stateroom crisp and cool and perfect. Hot showers worked perfectly, and then it was time for cocktails and then dinner on the tiny deck, with the eight other passengers. Best place in the world to read a book, watch the sunset, have may juuust one more drink, and then do it all again the next day... Miss it, miss it... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2017
As usual, an excellent sailing experience aboard the Sagitta, with a great itinerary and a comfortable mix of sailing and island visits. It is so nice to be able to work with a crew who are as professional, safety-conscious, attentive, ... Read More
As usual, an excellent sailing experience aboard the Sagitta, with a great itinerary and a comfortable mix of sailing and island visits. It is so nice to be able to work with a crew who are as professional, safety-conscious, attentive, courteous, friendly and helpful as those on the Sagitta. It was truly a pleasure to see old friends again, as well as meeting new members of the team. It is always great to see them all working as one - helping each other with all assignments and always there for the guests as well. Kudos to Captain Patricio and the rest of the crew. The Sagitta is a three masted schooner, with only 24 passengers. Very intimate and comfortable, with excellent service from the crew. Swimming and snorkeling on island beaches or off the ship. Adventurous hikes or lazy days or shopping on a different island every day. The food is delicious - I gain weight on every cruise. This is an annual cruise for me - two back-to-back 12 day cruises - St Maarten to Tortolla and then back to St Maarten. I will be back: already have the same cruises booked for 2018. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
My mornings started with a few hours stargazing while sipping a great cup of coffee that always tasted freshly brewed. At first light, the top of the mainmast and sails seemed to reach for the warming rays of the sun as the ship topped a ... Read More
My mornings started with a few hours stargazing while sipping a great cup of coffee that always tasted freshly brewed. At first light, the top of the mainmast and sails seemed to reach for the warming rays of the sun as the ship topped a wave. After that, the days got even better. Some general comments: If watching the sun’s rays gently caress sails and masts at first morning light appeals to you, the Vela and Island Windjammers (IWJ) are the right trip for you. If you enjoy a scenic sunset over the ocean with your loved one, the Vela and IWJ are the right choice for you. If gazing at the stars while listening to the song of the wind in the sails appeal to you, book a trip on the Vela. If you enjoy an uncrowded hike on a beautiful Caribbean island, the Vela and IWJ are a good choice. HOWEVER: If you enjoy being on a floating mega-city with thousands of other people, the Vela and Island Windjammers are NOT the cruise for you. If large crowds appeal to you, the Vela and Island Windjammers are NOT the cruise for you. Some specific comments • The trip was more laid back, less structured and more low key than the beloved but defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruises • Entire crew was fantastic and no weak links. Saw a couple of cases that showed great judgment and superb skills • Ship is well maintained. • Food was great/ superb but not too rich like some restaurants. Portion sizes were good/ appropriate, i.e. plate was not overloaded so less tendency to overeat. However, they always made it clear that seconds or larger servings were available • When weather permitted, they set up tables on deck and we ate in the nice sea breezes while anchored. • Snorkel gear was provided. They had good quality equipment and good range of sizes. • Popcorn maker and aroma of fresh popcorn afternoons, evenings, and any other time if passengers asked for it The following anecdote summarizes how the Vela’s passengers felt: A large cruise ship radioed the captain of the Vela and said several of the large ship's passengers wanted to know about the Vela. After briefly chatting with the passengers aboard the Vela, our captain radioed back that NONE of the Vela’s passengers wanted to know ANYTHING about the mega-ship. . . . . . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Last year we sailed on the Sagitta and had such a good time we had to book again. We loved the casual, relaxed atmosphere. Unlike the big ships, everything is small and more personal. You will know the crew and guests by first name within ... Read More
Last year we sailed on the Sagitta and had such a good time we had to book again. We loved the casual, relaxed atmosphere. Unlike the big ships, everything is small and more personal. You will know the crew and guests by first name within a day or two. We didn't expect to see several of the same crew members. I think it says something very positive about a company to see employees stay for long periods of time. Once again, we were completely impressed by the entire crew, each one working tirelessly to ensure we all had a perfect week. Leah did a great job of providing information, offering suggestions, and setting up activities in each port. Matt, our Captain shared his extensive knowledge of all of the islands and was always ready to assist wherever needed. If you are lucky enough to sail with King, you will get to enjoy his comedy show- a highlight of each of our trips. The Sagitta is a very comfortable ship, with enough room to move around to find a quiet place for relaxation or for joining the conversation wherever a few people gather. The cabins may look small in photos, but they are very thoughtfully laid out with plenty of storage. The bathrooms are larger than you expect. The stewards do a great job of keeping everything spotlessly clean. Food on these trips has been excellent. We had George as out chef both weeks. This week we got to meet the new crew member, Erman who did beautiful food carvings and baked wonderful pastries. There is no lack of opportunity to overeat on this trip. I especially love the days they serve West Indian cuisine. We enjoyed meeting the other travelers and will remain friends with several. A few tips: take extra sunscreen and less of everything else. Take soft sided luggage. When the crew offers advice on what to see or where to visit, listen, they know these islands well. Whenever they offer to set up transport let them. They hire excellent, reliable transportation at fair prices. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We choose Vela because of the unique sailing experience, small number of guests and interesting destinations. Our Captain was extremely knowledgable,experienced and cool!! He truly loves the ships and enjoys what he does. He went out of ... Read More
We choose Vela because of the unique sailing experience, small number of guests and interesting destinations. Our Captain was extremely knowledgable,experienced and cool!! He truly loves the ships and enjoys what he does. He went out of his way to ensure all guests had and excellent time. The crew was amazing as well, we all became fast friends. They work hard, always smiling and know the guests by name. The chef and cook did an excellent job with very delicious meals. The Islands we visited were fantastic, beautiful and no big cruise ships. We snorkeled a lot, relaxed, hiked with the Captain leading the way,drank beer, Vela Coladas, and rum punch provided by our excellent staff!! It was truly an amazing time. The perfect way to relax and enjoy the beautiful sea and Islands on a wonderful ship. We would definitely go again and recommend it to anyone, even if you travel alone. They accommodate single travelers too. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My 9 year old son and I had a fabulous experience aboard the Vela in the British Virgin Islands. We are "adventure travelers" and were looking for something a bit outside the norm. We prefer small, personalized, unique ... Read More
My 9 year old son and I had a fabulous experience aboard the Vela in the British Virgin Islands. We are "adventure travelers" and were looking for something a bit outside the norm. We prefer small, personalized, unique experiences filled with culture and charm. We got our fill of all of the above aboard Island Windjammers Vela! I had traveled to the British Virgin Islands before and knew that is not an easy journey (no commercial flights into the BVIs).....but so worth it! We flew into St. Thomas, USVI the day before the Vela sailed and stayed at a B&B. The day of the cruise, we ferried over to Tortola, BVI. Be aware that the ferry experience is often unreliable and stressful. Allow for cancellations of scheduled ferries and give yourself plenty of time to make your cruise. As to be expected aboard a sailboat, cabins are small but charming. We stayed in a deluxe cabin with a full size bunk on the bottom and a twin size bunk on the top. The bathroom had a small but separate shower. There were 9 hooks on the cabin walls for clothing, bags, etc, and a small compartment under the bottom bunk that would house a couple backpacks or a duffel bag. There is no more storage----no closet or drawers. Island Windjammers prepares you properly by explaining you should pack minimal necessities for a barefoot cruise and pack in soft-sided luggage. The cabins are very nicely appointed with teak and tile and the beds are quite comfortable. Dining is typically on the deck of the schooner for lunch and dinner and in the ship's saloon for breakfast. Each meal was superbly prepared and rivaled the best restaurants in my hometown. The chef kindly accommodated any guest's dietary restrictions or special requests. We were amazed at what divine culinary creations could be prepared in a sailboat's kitchen! The chef even surprised a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a heart shaped cake one evening. Activities in the BVIs are relaxed. Each evening the ship's operations/activities director will make you aware of what is available to do on the island you'll be visiting the next day. We typically sailed between 6 and 9 AM and anchored offshore a small island for the day. A dinghy would run us back and forth from the island on the hour at our leisure for snorkeling, hiking, paddle boarding, sunning, or small boutique shopping. The crew and service aboard the Vela was second to none. We left feeling as if we had made 11 new friends. My son learned magic tricks and card tricks from them, they showed him how to lower the anchor and raise the dinghy, and to his delight, they showed him how to swing off the rope swing on the side of the boat. The crew was kind and caring and took a personal interest in our comfort and well being. Our experience aboard the Vela was truly one we will never forget. Beautiful water, islands and people; delicious food and drink; fine service and accommodations; a one of a kind experience. Just Go!!! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I’ve started writing this review and had to start over about 10 times because the whole page was covered with !!!!!! It’s so hard to put into words an experience that will ruin you for all other cruises. After sailing with Island ... Read More
I’ve started writing this review and had to start over about 10 times because the whole page was covered with !!!!!! It’s so hard to put into words an experience that will ruin you for all other cruises. After sailing with Island Windjammers you will never set foot on a monster ship ever again. I have taken 10 cruises with assorted cruise lines ranging from Carnival to Celebrity, and after this trip on Sagitta I am a changed person. My two friends and I booked our trip with Island Windjammers after talking about it forever. It was a girls’ trip to celebrate our turning 50 and we researched it extensively. At the time we booked there were basically 2 companies who offered the tall ship sailing that we were interested in. When we contacted both companies to compare them we were blown away with the customer service we received with IWJ. Our decision was made. Every question we had was answered immediately by the company and they offered answers to questions that we didn’t even know we had! The communication from decision time to disembarkation day (and beyond) was more than we could have expected. We decided on Sagitta because we had heard so many good things about her. She didn’t disappoint! If you’re reading this review then I don’t need to go into her physical description: Google Image it. She is beautiful, classic and just what we were looking for. I’ve read other reviews talking about how disappointed some people were who sailed on her to find out she was motorized and that the sails were for “show”. I’m not sure which website those people were looking at because the IWJ site has her listed as “Island Windjammers Motorsailer Sagitta” and “Rig: motorsailer”. No false advertising here! We flew to Tortola to start this cruise. It was a quick cab ride to the marina where we had a nice lunch and waited for the Sagitta operations manager (Christine) to meet up with us at the designated time. We got there early, as did she! We met the rest of the people who would be cruising with us, climbed into the dinghy and headed out to our floating home for the week. It was all so organized, which really was a great way to start things off. We climbed aboard and were greeted by Captain Matt, first mate Simon and the rest of the crew. As comfortable as they made us feel, I could already tell that this would be the best decision of my life. Our bags had already been delivered to our rooms, we had "welcome aboard" cocktails waiting for us, we introduced ourselves to our fellow cruisemates and then moved on deck for the safety demonstration. The cabins are very spacious. The 3 of us booked 2 rooms (as required: no problem!), but ended up staying in just the one room. There is a single bunk over a double bed with mattresses that feel like clouds! We were in cabin #1 and #2, both of which had more than enough drawer space, hang up space and bathroom space for the 3 of us (we used the other cabin just for showering). The A/C was more than adequate, the shower stall was large and the counter space in the bathroom was more than enough for 3 women. Enough talk about the cabins. ON TO THE CREW! These were some of the most professional, fun, efficient, talented, organized and amazing people I have ever met! It’s already a fantastic cruise when you can pack your clothes for a week and it all fits in a carryon bag. Now throw in the fact that your going to be treated like a queen and fed like a king for a WEEK! If you are lucky enough to be on the ship while Lenny is the chef, you have won the lottery. Every meal (and snack) is comparable to what you would find in a 5 star restaurant. It almost feels disrespectful to be eating it while wearing shorts and flip flops! The best part: you can ask for another helping if you want. Life is good ☺ Our itinerary was the British Virgin Islands. Some of the places I had never heard of and that was just fine with me. I didn't care that there weren't dozens of excursions to choose from on the islands. All I was looking for was blue water, sandy beaches, great company and lots of fun! We hiked each day on the islands with Chrisine (our cruise director, if you will – she’s amazing!), went snorkeling, paddle boarding (Sagitta had 2 that they brought to shore each day for us to use), jumped off of the ship to swim, relaxed on the inflatable “relaxation station” and sometimes just tanned on deck while enjoying the rocking of the ship. While on the ship the crew members were always quick to ask if we needed anything, always readily available in case we actually DID, and best yet: always smiling. These people love their jobs and the company they work for. That speaks volumes. What I liked best about this cruise is that everything is so laid back, as all vacations SHOULD be. We only wore shoes when hiking. We wore bathing suits all day, no jewelry, no makeup, no fancy hairstyles. What made that nice was that it leveled the playing field, so to speak. You couldn’t tell if your fellow cruisemates were CEOs or busboys, you just got to meet them as people who, after a week, became lifelong friends. We played games together, dined, danced and laughed together. We made memories that I will forever cherish. If you're looking for a cruise that has formal nights requiring dress and heels, if you want to stand in a long line for a substandard meal served buffet style, if you like being one of thousands on your ship: this is not the cruise for you. If you want to relax, be pampered, go to exotic destinations and have an experience of a lifetime: book with Island Windjammers. I’m hooked! 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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first cruise with Island Windjammers and on the sailing schooner Diamont. It was everything we had hoped for and more! We wanted to sail, and we did. Everyday we had daytime sailing and it was just beautiful. Just watching the ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Island Windjammers and on the sailing schooner Diamont. It was everything we had hoped for and more! We wanted to sail, and we did. Everyday we had daytime sailing and it was just beautiful. Just watching the scenery and enjoying the adventure. Every day we anchored and spent the night on-board in a serene bay along the Grenadines. Activities included hikes, snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, picnics, shopping and just relaxing on some of the most quiet gorgeous beaches in the world. We had perfect weather all week. We had 9 total guests and 6 crew. What a great crew! Each member was expert in his role and made sure every one was comfortable and having a great time.The food was prepared by Chef Lenny and it was SUPERB! Every meal was perfect, including breakfast, lunch and scrumptious dinner! We were also treated to afternoon Rumageddon- appetizers and rum punch. We stayed in a standard cabin and it served us well. Steward Bolo took great care of us. Captain Stuart Ramsey is a real pro. He is a master sailor and has the perfect personality to interact with the guests and crew and keep it all fun and interesting. He planned each day's activities to be enjoyable and not rushed. Every aspect of this trip was well thought out and efficiently performed. The Diamont is a great sailing vessel and there is plenty of room to hang out with others or just get a bit of alone time. We are already planning another trip. We have found a perfectly relaxing, zero stress, vacation that totally suits us. Best we ever had, and ready to do it again. Highly recommend it to anyone. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I just finished a six-night cruise on Vela and I had an amazing time. The trip was one of the peak experiences of my life. Some of the credit for that belongs to the Vela; she’s a sweet ship. Mostly, however, it is due to the crew’s ... Read More
I just finished a six-night cruise on Vela and I had an amazing time. The trip was one of the peak experiences of my life. Some of the credit for that belongs to the Vela; she’s a sweet ship. Mostly, however, it is due to the crew’s hard work and dedication to the passenger’s happiness. I traveled solo as a share of a Deluxe Cabin, which means that you sign up to share the cabin with a stranger, if one should book. I was fortunate, probably, that no one booked the other half of the cabin. We embarked at Marigot Bay on St. Lucia, and, in addition to St. Lucia, visited the islands of Isles des Saintes and Marie-Gallant (both off the coast of Guadeloupe), Dominica, and with a brief stop in Martinique. There were long stops at Isles des Saintes, where we visited a very pretty, very French, village and a Napoleonic fort; at Marie-Gallant for swimming, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, and lunch; and at two separate stops in Dominica, where we were offered a choice of several activities such as tours of the island, beach time or river tubing. The captain was careful to time our arrivals and departures so that we had as much time as possible during daylight hours at each stop. Brandon, our operations manager, started each day listing the schedule and the available activities. He worked hard to accommodate any out of the ordinary requests, and was helpful arranging post-cruise taxis and restaurant reservations. Vela is a true sailing ship, and, for my money, she shined when the engines were off and the sails were raised. Captain Delyan Radev is a veteran sailor and captain (he’s not as young as he looks), and that showed in the way he navigated and sailed the ship. It was remarkable to witness the competence he brought to the exercise, and the very apparent joy he took in the sailing. Passengers were encouraged to help raise sails, and captain and deck crew were very willing to answer questions about the ship or sailing in general. Much of the sailing was done at night or early in the morning and mostly in the lee of the islands, and was therefore relatively calm; crossing between islands where there were Atlantic swells and winds could be a good deal rougher. Some of the passengers had trouble sleeping during the rougher passages, but others found the motion relaxing and slept well. I spent as much of the sailing time as I could on deck. We sailed during a full moon, and the night sailing was spectacular. Life on the ship was pretty chill. The cabins are small, and that bothered some. For me and most of the guests, however, the size of the cabins was understood as being a part of a true sailing ship. Most of us spent little time in our cabins. The deck lounging areas are spacious. There is one in the bow of the ship, and one in the stern. The passengers where pretty well divided half and half between those who preferred quiet and those who wanted music. Captain Delyan spent an hour early one morning rewiring the sound system so we could have music in one section and quiet in the other. The other common area is the dining room/lounge where passengers eat, play board games, or just hang out of the sun. The crew of about 12, including captain, first mate, and operations manager, were very clearly working hard to make sure the passengers had a good time; the few complaints were dealt with quickly. Chef Robert and his assistant Philbert produced gourmet Caribbean-influenced meals. I don’t remember anyone choosing to eat off the ship when they could eat Robert’s food. At least one passenger who reported on a meal at an expensive island restaurant post-cruise, compared her meal unfavorably with Robert’s. The passengers on my cruise ranged from their mid-thirties to mid-sixties and were a very congenial lot, pretty laid-back and easy going. Most were couples, but there were three other solos like me; at no time did I feel isolated or excluded. I wouldn’t hesitate to go solo again. I recommend a cruise on this ship highly. I think most passengers will have a wonderful time, as long as they keep their expectations in line with the reality of traveling on a 156-foot sailing vessel. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
My girlfriend and I just returned from an incredibly enjoyable and relaxing vacation aboard Island Windjammers' Sagitta Motorsailer. From initial questions about booking the trip until stepping off the vessel at the end of the ... Read More
My girlfriend and I just returned from an incredibly enjoyable and relaxing vacation aboard Island Windjammers' Sagitta Motorsailer. From initial questions about booking the trip until stepping off the vessel at the end of the vacation everyone at Island Windjammers was courteous, service-oriented, friendly and wanted to make sure we had a great experience. Our trip took us from St. Maarten to St. Barths, Nevis, St. Kitts and Anguilla. While the weather was initially a bit unfriendly with some wind, rain and rolling seas (but who can control the weather?), the Sagitta crew was always smiling and helpful and went the extra mile to ensure we had a safe, happy and memorable vacation. The ship was always spotless and cabins were very roomy for a small vessel. The daily snacks and food at every meal were delicious. The shore excursions were interesting and well-planned. When Sagitta was in port one could go ashore to explore or stay aboard and just relax or swim, snorkel, float or swing from the mast rope. This was my girlfriend's first sailing/cruise experience and she loved it so much we are already talking about another booking. It was my sixth vacation of this type (four windjammers and two ocean liners). Island Windjammers is without question the best choice for those who prefer smaller groups and the opportunity to relax, explore, and learn about "the real Caribbean" with others who have similar vacation interests. The quality,service and atmosphere are exceptional. Suggestions for interested parties: - Try to schedule week day flights. Island airports are very, very busy on weekends. Long line and delays are the norm. Having a couple of days at the beginning and end of the sailing trip will simplify your vacation. - Visit the Island Windjammer website. It is very informative and will tell you all you need to know about their vacations. - Pack light - all you need are shorts, T-shirts, swimwear, flip-flops for the beach (go barefoot aboard ship) and comfortable shoes if you do a hiking excursion. A light jacket may be handy as windy nights can be cool. Thanks to Captain Steffen and all his crew we had a fantastic vacation aboard Sagitta and look forward to another Island Windjammers vacation very soon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We were greeted by the staff with smiles and open arms. My boyfriend and I were one of six couples. We are both 26 and the ages ranged up into the 60's. This was our first cruise of this style. We had read several reviews before hand, ... Read More
We were greeted by the staff with smiles and open arms. My boyfriend and I were one of six couples. We are both 26 and the ages ranged up into the 60's. This was our first cruise of this style. We had read several reviews before hand, all of which absolutely raved about the experience. The ship was stunning, very clean and well kept. Luckily for everyone involved, we all hit it off almost instantly which was vital being we would be spending so much time together in close corridors. The trip catered to everyone's wishes for daily activities- this was made possible bc this was a small/intimate cruise. We were able to snorkel, swim and experience some of the most beautiful private islands.The food throughout the trip was absolutely delicious. The fact that Chef Barney was able to create such fresh meals in a tiny kitchen was admirable. I anxiously awaited every meal he prepared. Many days he would hang his fishing pole off the ship catching fish for our meal. Capt Stuart guided us from start to finish with grace and lots of laughs. Rumaggedon happened everyday at 4pm, a bell was rung and everyone gathered on the back deck for famous rum punch and appetizers. Capt would go over our daily schedule multiple times a day, however, our plans were always flexible. Everyone goes with the flow- and it works! No one can forget Bolo. He was a machine. Cleaning, serving, you name it- he did it. He made sure you were relaxed and content. The love, laughs and attention to detail will have us surely returning for another excursion. Truly an experience of a lifetime! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I took a 12 night one way explorer cruise from St. Lucia to St. Maarten, threading through the beautiful and underdeveloped Leeward Islands. We visited 9 countries, and 12 islands on this outstanding, hard to find itinerary. We had 21 on ... Read More
I took a 12 night one way explorer cruise from St. Lucia to St. Maarten, threading through the beautiful and underdeveloped Leeward Islands. We visited 9 countries, and 12 islands on this outstanding, hard to find itinerary. We had 21 on board (capacity is 24), a mix of singles, married but traveling single, couples and one mother/ son pair. This is a social cruise, you are in close quarters with everyone one, as the cabin are small (but very adequate), and you will not spend much time in them except to sleep. There are steep stairs/ladders to get up and down decks, be sure you are comfortable with that. I understand the old barefoot windjammer cruises were serious party boats, but the new line has mellowed, and there is a good time atmosphere, 5 pm rum punch and snack hours, free flowing wine and beer, but I gather the partying is more subdued that prior years. Fine with me. The crew was outstanding, instilling confidence, and took good care of us and the boat. There were island excursions offered at many of the ports, ranging from free hikes, to moderate cost island tours ($30 ish), up to cycling or ATV tours for close to $100. NO pressure to take them, you could do nothing, or plan your own day based on the dingy to shore times. Sagitta is a MOTOR sailer, so you motor everywhere, with a few stay sails for added boost. WE mostly moved at night, to maximize day time on shore. BTY, the generators are on 100% of the time (for AC, etc) so there is a constant hum in the background. Choose your rooms carefully if you want to minimize the sound. If you get seasick, you might want to consider a bigger ship, or choose on of the itineraries in protected water, like the British Virgin Islands. This is a special experience, one of a kind, and I hope to repeat it soon. Read Less
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