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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
A casual cruise experience with a small crew and passenger count. Our ship was 24 passenger with 9 crew. All the crew was very interactive with the passengers and made you feel completely comfortable. The food was incredible - fresh ... Read More
A casual cruise experience with a small crew and passenger count. Our ship was 24 passenger with 9 crew. All the crew was very interactive with the passengers and made you feel completely comfortable. The food was incredible - fresh fish and produce bought at the local island markets. All crew were very knowledgeable and were happy to interact and answer questions. The small ship gave a very intimate feel with the sea. The Operations Manager had a detailed review of the following days actives and options to choose from. He was great at making accommodations and making sure everyone was ready and prepared for the day. I would recommend this to older and younger generations. I enjoyed the snorkeling and rope swing on the boat. Plenty of games to keep you occupied as you sailed from one island to the next.You can stay on the boat as little or as much as you'd like while at the different ports. So this could be made as a super relaxing cruise or plan as many activities as possible on the islands. If you get the chance , do this cruise, spectacular!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
This was perfect for our family. The grandsons were totally all about using the rope swing off the side of the ship, paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, night time swimming with the underwater lights, visiting different islands, and ... Read More
This was perfect for our family. The grandsons were totally all about using the rope swing off the side of the ship, paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, night time swimming with the underwater lights, visiting different islands, and just having fun. They felt comfortable with the crew, interacting with them, and loved the popcorn machine. Since they were so involved, the adults, could sit back, read, sun, or have a cold beverage with the blue sea as a backdrop. The crew of the Sagitta was always readily available if we needed help or had a question. The food was excellent, presentation was lovely, and served with the beverage of choice. It was good to have daily shore excursions to the different islands. Each was different and each experience was different. I would recommend this to anyone with young adolescents due to the many options available for entertainment. One important item, we have many wonderful memories to take with us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I have only great things to say about my 1st experience with Island Windjammers and I will certainly be back! I have not stopped smiling since I have been home. I have been to many different places and on many vacations and I can safely ... Read More
I have only great things to say about my 1st experience with Island Windjammers and I will certainly be back! I have not stopped smiling since I have been home. I have been to many different places and on many vacations and I can safely say this vacation has been my favorite of all. We cruised on the Vela from Saint Lucia (Marigot Bay) to Dominica to Isle De Saintes to Marie Galante to Martinique to Saint Lucia (Rodney Bay and then to Marigot Bay). The food is absolutely amazing and it is included. All meals were made with fresh ingredients from the island. I have never eaten so well for a week straight in my life. Lenny the chef a.k.a. Big Sexy made healthy food taste delicious! At 5pm everyday a snack and velacoladas are served. When we went to Isle De Saintes, we had wine, cheese, and meat as the snack to go with the French flair. There was a very diverse group of 12 passengers on the boat ranging from kids to seniors. One of my favorite parts of this adventure was getting to know all of the other passengers and also the crew members. Everyone was so nice, helpful, and interesting. It was really neat to learn about everyone's lives. By the end of the trip, I almost felt like crying leaving everyone! You really become close very quickly throughout the duration of the trip! There was something for everyone on this vacation and there were always a lot of options for things to do at each stop. We hiked, snorkeled, sunbathed, relaxed, went on excursions, checked out the nightlife on the different islands, visited stores/boutiques, swam, jumped off the rope swing of the boat, watched fish at night swim through the fish light off the boat, visited a rum factory, danced on the deck at night, told stories, listened to stories, used the paddleboard, learned how to tie sailing knots and relaxed in paradise. I felt very safe and knew that the crew was very knowledgeable about sailing and safety. Unlike other cruises that I have been on, I never felt crunched for time or on a schedule. PLENTY of time was given at each island and Andrew, our operations manager, knew the best things to do on each island. He really helped make sure we hit all the best things on the island. The dingy brought you back and forth between the boat and island. If you wanted to stay on the island instead of going back for a meal, that was perfectly fine and they would come back and get you whenever you wanted! Everything on the boat was spic and span and very clean. I was worried about getting seasick so before I went, I got a prescription for the seasickness patch that goes behind your ear and I did not feel sick at all the whole cruise. It was very casual and there was no need for any fancy clothes. I wore a bathing suit and comfy clothes the entire trip! The bed was comfortable and the cabins had a shower and toilet in them. We spent most of our time on the upper part of the boat. We saw a lot of cool fish, dolphins, turtles, birds, iguanas, and lizards. If you are a food and nature lover, you will love this trip. My only complaint is that the cruise ended. :( I left with wonderful memories and new friends that I will never forget. This was the trip of a lifetime and the passengers needs are put first from beginning to end. 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: August 2017
We won our first Cruise on Diamant in an auction. 7 years later we took our college age children on the cruise. I cannot express how amazing it is to work with these people in setting up a cruise. They answer every email right away, and ... Read More
We won our first Cruise on Diamant in an auction. 7 years later we took our college age children on the cruise. I cannot express how amazing it is to work with these people in setting up a cruise. They answer every email right away, and answer every questions about things to do around the islands. They helped us set up diving on our first cruise, and arranged for a birthday cake & celebration on the second. The most amazing help came when our connecting flight to Grenada was cancelled and the airline would not give us a flight in time to meet the cruise. I called and two different staffers stayed on the line with me at the airline desk giving me suggestions on alternate airlines and places to fly in. Once we got things settled, they actually DELAYED the ship until our flight came in. I talked to the captain afterwards and he said they were on stand-by to sail overnight to another island in case we booked a flight there. They bent over backwards to make sure we had a great experience. These are amazing people who will help you with anything! Beyond that, everything about both our cruises was fantastic, If you want to feel utterly spoiled (much more so than the big cruise lines), go with Island Windjammers. They will meet your every wish (can we visit that island? could we snorkel over there? can I have more? - heard often from our 20 year old rugby player). Our cook actually spent and evening teaching us how to play Pirate Farkle! The food was amazing - light, fresh and plenty! My kids said their favorite part was the crew! The cabins were nice and cool (important to Coloradans who are used to 60 degree nights in the summer) Having only 10 guests makes a fun, intimate experience with people who are basically just like you! I have never been as relaxed or felt as decadent as I did on the Diamant. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
Fantastic crew performance. Absolutely stellar captain. He was funny and entertaining, as well as professional/knowledgable. None could be better.World class crew, that caters to your every need.The owner cabin was very spacious and clean. ... Read More
Fantastic crew performance. Absolutely stellar captain. He was funny and entertaining, as well as professional/knowledgable. None could be better.World class crew, that caters to your every need.The owner cabin was very spacious and clean. They even had a bottle of champagne waiting when you first enter. Truly incredible food and drinks.Could not have imagined a better onboard experience. Stellar. Extraordinary job done by the chef and crew for dining experience. The islands were beautiful. We were able to snorkel everyday and paddle board. The captain made scuba diving arrangement possible for those interested. They even have a rope swing. The diamant caters to its guest as well with a crew to passenger ratio 1:2 Thus you are not left wanting. Also, the smaller passenger size lead to more bonding and less clichy groups that could form from larger cruises. I would hands down recommend this company because they truly care about your experience and happiness. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I love tall masted ships and always have. Four years ago, I was so lucky to find a company that continued the tradition of simple but comfortable sailing in the Caribbean. Island Windjammer has 3 wonderful ships that sail different ... Read More
I love tall masted ships and always have. Four years ago, I was so lucky to find a company that continued the tradition of simple but comfortable sailing in the Caribbean. Island Windjammer has 3 wonderful ships that sail different itineraries in the Caribbean with a small number of passengers so that each passenger can explore and enjoy the islands and beaches that large cruise ships don't even know exist. I have been on all 3 ships - my latest experience was on the Vela, sailing to the French West Indies out of St. Lucia. If you love the wind in your face, watching the dolphin swim with the ship and the adventure of exploring lush tropical islands - this is it. We hiked to waterfalls and forts, relaxed in hot springs (volcanic islands), took river tours and shopped in French boutique stores. The ship's cabins are all air-conditioned with private baths - even the solo rooms! Meals are delicious and well prepared. Beer and Wine are complimentary, as are mixers, should you want to bring your own bottle. You can rope swing off the ship or just dive. Snorkeling gear is also provided. The ship can rock and roll when they sail - but if you are unsure of how you might do - sea sickness tablets are also available. Most people get their sea legs by day 2 without medication. Did I mention this was my 17th tall ship cruise?...and I'm signed up for next year to the BVI's. If you like adventure WITHOUT 5000 other people tagging along - this is a cruise you will enjoy and come back for more. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
Family of 4 traveling with two teens. Looking into long-term sailing and just getting our feet wet in the sailboat world. This cruise was extremely relaxing with enjoyable ports of call and a stellar staff. With only 14 total passengers on ... Read More
Family of 4 traveling with two teens. Looking into long-term sailing and just getting our feet wet in the sailboat world. This cruise was extremely relaxing with enjoyable ports of call and a stellar staff. With only 14 total passengers on our trip (not including 10 staff), the small size of the ship was great for getting to know our fellow travelers of varied ages. The smaller boat size also allowed us to moor just off-shore of our stops (St. Maarten, St. Barthelemy, Nevis, St. Kitts & Anguilla). With no wi-fi on the boat, unplugging from technology was a good thing for all of us. Even my 17 year old daughter said it was our best vacation yet, and we've literally travelled around the world. The food and service were excellent. Just about the only negative thing I can think of was that our cabin on the lower deck smelled a little musty, but I guess that's life at sea. That being said, I highly recommend, and my family and I would all definitely go sailing again with Island Windjammers. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
My husband and I have sailed on Island Windjammers’ tall ship Diamant 3x before, and love her. First, let me say we much prefer cruising on tall ships, with their intimate atmosphere (no crowds, no lines!), graceful beauty (inside and ... Read More
My husband and I have sailed on Island Windjammers’ tall ship Diamant 3x before, and love her. First, let me say we much prefer cruising on tall ships, with their intimate atmosphere (no crowds, no lines!), graceful beauty (inside and out), professional yet friendly and fun-loving crews—and especially the genuine sailing experience. Diamant has been one of our favorite tall ships for all those reasons. She just underwent an almost four-month renovation, and we did have to wonder just what could have been done to make her even better. We got the opportunity to find out when we sailed her recently, her first cruise after the refurb, and wow! The 100-foot sleek schooner Diamant was the first of IWJ’s “Island Girls”—there now are three IWJ tall ships—and in late November, Diamant emerged, refreshed and updated from her refurb. She now has an enlarged galley, updated wheelhouse, and her salon has been totally rebuilt , with all new tables and seating and, oh yes! the salon now has A/C. This is in addition to all new wiring and plumbing throughout the ship. Fresh new cushions in bright yellows and oranges everywhere, new carpet in cabins, plus a freshly painted hull. Her cabin area has been all redone: with basically the same cabin layouts as before (with one big exception) but new wood, carpets, cabinets and beds. The exception is the new owner's cabin, which replaced two smaller cabins, and we had that one, and we can say it is fabulous! It’s quite large for a tall ship, with four portholes, a very comfy queen bed, with a very nice seating area, not found in the other cabins. Lots of stowage. Bathroom is cozy, as in tightly configured, but quite useable (lol). The addition of the owners’ cabin means Diamant now has five cabins, instead of six, and carries 10-13 passengers. It should be noted that each cabin has its own A/C controls and private bathroom. Our week on the "new" Diamant was just so much fun. We lucked out by having two of IWJ's premo captains: Capt. Phillip and IWJ’s fleet captain, Capt. Nervo. Since this was Diamant's first cruise after her renovation, Nervo was along to tackle any issues that might pop up. As far as I know, nothing needed fixing. Or if it did, the crew must have quickly/efficiently taken care of it. Great crew...so much fun, very professional! Chef Barney is especially amazing, so creative and such tasty food. It was our first sailing with Capt. Phillip, who hails from the UK, and we really look forward to sailing with him and his crew again. Diamant sails in The Grenadines, in and out of Grenada, and on our cruise, we visited Bequia, Mayreau, Canouan, Union Island, Carriacou, Tobago Cay—and of course, we stopped at "Happy Island," a small, funky man-made island (in the harbor near Clifton, Union Island, and built upon a foundation of shells, rocks, etc. It is is just about all bar! Great pina coladas! And a great spot from which to watch the amazing kiteboarders doing their aerobatics. Some of the islands were mostly flora and fauna, with gorgeous beaches, great hiking, wonderful snorkeling, and of course, beach bars. At Tobago Cays, where we had a beach picnic, you can swim with the turtles. On one of the islands, we went ashore after dinner for a beach bonfire. Some of the islands, like Bequia offer more: restaurants, museums, bars, shopping, etc. Bequia has a small whaling museum and an amazing model ship woodshop where minutely detailed boats are built by wood craft artisans. Bequia also is home to a turtle sanctuary that has been rescuing and saving hawkbill turtles for many decades. The Bequia shore excursion goes to all of the above mentioned Bequia locales and is well worth it. Diamant would sail in the mornings––oh yeah, sun and sails—and anchor in beautiful bays and harbors for the rest of the day and overnight. She carries kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and snorkel gear and even has a rope swing, all at no extra charge. There were many opportunities to use any or all of those, to hike on shore, relax on the beach or on board, and to explore. Her tender runs back and forth on a schedule: yours! Rum, beer, wine, sodas or water are always available on board—also at no cost. And you're welcome to bring your own favs on board. Late afternoons, we always had a variety of chef-prepared snacks/treats and the rum drink of the day, and a wine-and-cheese party one afternoon. For us, it was another super week with an amazing crew, wonderful food, the gorgeous Caribbean—and a beautifully refurbed ship. We'll definitely be going again....after we sail on Vela, IWJ's newest tall-ship next spring. It should be noted that true sailing ships really aren't appropriate for young children, mostly for safety reasons. They DO rock (sometimes a lot!) when they are sailing between islands and depending on the wind, and walkways around the ships have open railings. From our 16 years of tall-ship sailing, we find that those who sail the tall ships tend to be from mid 20s to mid 80s, and always happy, easy-going, adventure-seeking folks who love going where the wind takes them. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
My husband and I traveled on Windjammer Barefoot cruises in the 1990's and 2000's, and loved the casual atmosphere, amazing Caribbean scenery, and the thrill of sailing on a tall ship. We've been watching Island Windjammers ... Read More
My husband and I traveled on Windjammer Barefoot cruises in the 1990's and 2000's, and loved the casual atmosphere, amazing Caribbean scenery, and the thrill of sailing on a tall ship. We've been watching Island Windjammers for several years, and decided to give it a try -- and what a treat! We set sail from St. Lucia, and criss-crossed the seas connecting the islands of the French West Indies/Windward Islands for 12 nights. We were a small passenger group, with 10 staff members and 8 passengers (the Sagitta berths 24) -- all of us got along well, and we had many enjoyable days and evenings chatting and swapping tales. The snorkeling was reportedly amazing; we focused on relaxing and diving, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip. The greatest surprise was the quality of the food. George, the chef, ended up cooking without an assisting cook for most meals, and the cuisine was fresh, delicious, original --- in a word, outstanding. It's easy to see why Island Windjammers won 2016 Cruise Critic awards for both value and dining! We stayed in the Owners Cabin, which was spacious with (according to the ship's Captain) the most comfortable (and only King-size) bed on the ship. We had two couples and four singles, including a number of sailboat owners, and everyone was thoroughly delighted with the entire experience. This is probably not a trip for small children, as the stairs/ladders are steep and the ship rolls -- but we were told that families have traveled well, with all parties having a great time. The crew goes out of their way to ensure that all passengers feel pampered and appreciated -- and we do! Give them a try. 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
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our second trip with an Island Windjammers ship. In December 2014 we enjoyed our time on the Sagitta so much that we signed up for a January 2016 week on the Vela without hesitation. The Vela has been newly refitted and we were ... Read More
This was our second trip with an Island Windjammers ship. In December 2014 we enjoyed our time on the Sagitta so much that we signed up for a January 2016 week on the Vela without hesitation. The Vela has been newly refitted and we were aboard her on her third week of carrying passengers. One can see the dedication that has gone into making her a worthy addition to the Island Windjammers fleet. Itinerary: Initially the Vela was supposed to sail to the French West Indies, but due to the prevailing high winds the itinerary had to be changed to St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands. We appreciated having advance warning about this change, but also knew from past experience that island visits need to be flexible and one doesn't always know in advance. We were skeptical but as we hadn't had our hearts set on a particular destination we were open to this new option and we definitely did not regret exploring this area. For a detailed description of this itinerary check out the reviews for the Diamant, as she regularly sails this section of the Caribbean and I would only be duplicating the well-written and thorough review of the unspoiled Grenadines I read there. The snorkeling, empty beaches, the water, the rough hills, the small towns - these are all things that we had not seen in our previous visits to the Caribbean and we highly recommend this area. The crew of the Vela made sure we had daily excursions and were brought by dinghy to island towns, beaches and snorkeling areas which most of the passengers took advantage of. The passengers who stayed on board tended to be those who were a little more limited physically. One does need some flexibility to climb up and down the gangway and aboard the dinghies, but one certainly doesn't need to be a teenager to do so. We were permitted to jump from the sides of the ship to our hearts' delight, and Captain Nervo even put up a rope swing for all to enjoy. The Vela would usually anchor at night, we did not dock at any piers while on this cruise. Attire/items needed for the trip: The overall vibe of the ship is casual and during the day bathing suits, shorts, and cover-ups were all that was needed. Evenings usually found us showered and a bit more presentable. Shoes are optional onboard, but I would definitely recommend a pair of good sandals or sneakers for island walking/hiking. Also bring a backpack for those excursions. And hats! The Caribbean sun can quickly burn your winter-pale skin. Sometimes you get lucky and can find sunscreen and/or bug spray left by previous passengers in the salon. We did not have a problem with insects biting us on this trip, but it's good to be prepared for some beach trips. Be sure to bring your own beach towels or purchase an Island Windjammers towel from the ship store. I would recommend a quick-drying towel meant for camping or even a yoga towel. Very practical collapsible water bottles/pouches are left as a gift when one first arrives in the cabin. They have a hook on them and we would attach them to our backpacks for shore excursions, which means you don't have to bring along any water bottles (like we did for our first trip aboard the Sagitta!). The passengers: Some of us were couples, three traveled as a single. We had one family of three onboard. One of the couples was on their honey-moon, others have been married for years. I mention this to show the variety of passengers who still manage to have a very nice time together. We even had a Londoner onboard. Food: It is so nice to not have to cook a single meal, plan a meal, or wash the dishes. The meals were always on-time and well-done and fresh ingredients were incorporated. Appetizers at Happy Hour were always plentiful and beverages were always accessible. Local beers, wine, soda selections were in a cooler. Large dispensing coolers of Iced Tea and Ice Water were also always fully filled. You won't go hungry on this ship, but you also won't be over-stuffed. Portions were just right and service in the salon was done well. The two stewards were always on the ball. Asking for seconds or smaller portions was not a problem. The Ship - three masts and many sails. The Vela can run on wind-power alone and several times she did. No engines. It was a trip back in time. I am prone to sea-sickness but by taking the medication offered on board (right next to the water station) well in advance of any turbulence, I didn't feel sick at any time while onboard. The crew will warn you when some rocking and rolling is expected and, with that in mind, I was always well prepared. I also occasionally wore the pressure point wrist bands. Many of our 16 passengers wore the 'patch' but as the week wore on some reported side-effects such as 'dry-mouth' and blurred vision which made me glad I relied on the occasional pill. My point is, one can go on this cruise and not feel ill when the seas get a little rocky. Deck chairs and lounge chaises are provided and shaded when not underway. The salon has four booths in which 6-8 people can sit for meals, or card playing, or chatting. All meals were eaten in this area. A bell summoned us to the salon for meals and story time. Breakfast was at 8:00 am. Lunch at noon or 12:30 pm. Snacks and Rum Punch were offered at 5:00 pm. Dinner was usually at 7:30pm. Each morning after breakfast the whiteboard in the salon would list the day's activity options and schedule (not a rigorous time schedule by any means) and the Ops Manager would be available for questions and planning. This was not a party-ship experience. Most evenings were spent chatting on the deck under the stars or taking a launch in to a small island bar. One goes into these cruises meeting strangers and one disembarks as friends. With some one remains in touch and others remain vacation memories. There is a sense of togetherness while onboard and groups are variable and get together for different shore excursions or deck activities. We have fond memories of our time aboard the Vela and in today's age of speed and instant communication, the Vela offers a slower pace. It is a week away from wifi and 'the real world' but the truth is one can usually find wifi in the beach bars along the islands. But don't sit there for too long checking messages and emails - you'll miss out on the island's offerings. ******** in case you have questions about getting there: Traveling to Marigot Bay (Embarkation Port): This in itself was an adventure. We flew from Boston via Miami to St. Lucia. The main airport is in the south east corner of the island, but Marigot Bay (Cappella) is in the north west part of the island. We had hired a taxi/driver in advance of arriving and the hour plus long ride was not for the faint-hearted. Tail-gating, windy roads, unattended brush fires along the side (!!!), going from shore line into and across the mountain region through rainforest type areas, goats and stray dogs can all be seen along the way. I had to just trust that our driver had it all under control, but as a well-practiced backseat driver this was not easy. The Vela was leaving on Sunday, January 3rd and we arrived at Marigot Bay on January 1 as we did not want to risk missing her departure due to cancelled flights or bad New England weather. We stayed in the Marigot Bay Beach Resort for those two nights and be prepared for this very expensive area. We arrived by taxi at the end of the road and a launch boat took us (and our luggage) the rest of the way to the hotel area. Yes, there was no road to the hotel! The restaurant by the hotel is Doolittle's but one could also take the hotel launches back to the road's end. There is a small supermarket there which also serves the yachts and sailboats which arrive here. Several small (and quite good) restaurants can be found within walking distance. Eastern Caribbean Dollars are used here, and unlike other areas of the Caribbean we found that US dollars weren't really accepted. Meals and groceries were not cheap. There is a small beach and some hiking trails in this bay and one can enjoy watching the constant traffic of sailing vessels and a few yachts. One can get good wifi at the bayfront cafes. The wifi at the hotel was sketchy but did the trick. Bring adapters for your electronic devices as St. Lucia is not compatible with USA plugs. There are also some other towns close-by to the embarkation port where one can stay and then take a taxi the morning of the departure date (Rodney Bay or some near-by luxury resorts). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was my 2nd Island Windjammer Cruise and I enjoyed it just as much as the first one although the experiences were different. Both captains and the crew were outstanding! My recent cruise was on Sagitta which is larger than Diamanté. ... Read More
This was my 2nd Island Windjammer Cruise and I enjoyed it just as much as the first one although the experiences were different. Both captains and the crew were outstanding! My recent cruise was on Sagitta which is larger than Diamanté. However each provided excellent accommodations, meals, and overall customer service from reservations to disembarkment. The Sagitta cruise had around 20 passengers vs. 7 on Diamanté. However, it's amazing how the bonding between passengers occurred each time. It was amazing having some beaches and islands (Happy Island--a must see built out of conch shells) all to yourself with Bon fires, Caribbean drinks and beach barbecues with a live band. My friends and I enjoyed the hot springs experience that much more after watching the scene from "Vacation" on the way over. :). I didn't get to experience the previous Windjammer Cruises but many of the passengers on each of my trips have and still spoke highly of IWJ. The entertainment onboard IWJ is created by the passengers and crew but the opportunity is also there for entertainment ashore! There's opportunity to choose fun, cultural insight and/or relaxation! I've enjoyed several big cruise ship experiences and yet I highly recommend this intimate cruise experience!!! Next for me, VELA! (The newest IWJ Vessel!) Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My wife & I sailed The Mandalay in 1990 and had a wonderful experience. I decided that, since her death, I needed to add another sail to my bucket list. Through Internet research I found Island Windjammers, and they seemed to fill my ... Read More
My wife & I sailed The Mandalay in 1990 and had a wonderful experience. I decided that, since her death, I needed to add another sail to my bucket list. Through Internet research I found Island Windjammers, and they seemed to fill my needs. The goal was to return to Bequia and visit Mac's for another lobster pizza. Island Windjammers is all about the islands. The ship is your taxi from point A to point B allowing you to experience island life to its fullest. If you are looking for stage shows, a cruise line that will book your airfare and hotels, this is not your cup of tea. You will book your own flight and hotel. (But IWJ will make hotel recommendations and provide discounts.) We stayed at Allamanda Beach Resort prior to embarkation. It was adequate. There were some issues with our reservations and they fixed the issue quickly. The desk clerks were most accommodating and friendly. (Note: No food available on site.) The Diamant is a 101 foot schooner carrying a maximum of 12 passengers. (Note: Only 3 couples were on this sail. I asked the captain if they would sail if only one cabin was booked and he said they would. The cabins were of adequate size for sleeping, showering, etc. You will be lounging in the salon on on deck. Sheets/towels, etc were clean and changed out often. Soaps, shampoos, hair dryers are provided. Again, IWJ is about the island. Do not expect tons of on board entertainment. It's a 101 foot ship. What did you expect? The crew/service were excellent. They far exceeded our expectations. In fact, I accused the head steward of being able to read my mind. You will become a family on an IWJ. Crew and passengers mix. Captain Phillip joined us an every meal. (The food was 4 star quality by the way.) At breakfast he would discuss the island we were visiting, what excursions were available, the swimming/snorkeling opportunities which were available. The food was exceptional. In addition to 3 meals we had a mid afternoon snack daily. Barney the chef was a true super star. Five star rating on the food. Disembarkation was simple and fast. We had a very early flight and Captain Phillip arranged taxi service to get us to the airport in a timely fashion. The experience far outweighed my expectations. Captain Phillip and crew were so accommodating. While on St. Lucia, Phillip took the dinghy ashore and returned with lionfish ceviche so we didn't have to go ashore, and Chef Barney plated it up in a beautiful fashion. Barney did amazing things in his little galley. One of our passengers was celebrating her 50th birthday and they threw a great party. Captain Phillip even offered us the opportunity to modify our sailing plans and visit Martineque. We took him up on the offer of course. You can read all about our amazing adventure at www.lobsterpizzainparadise.blogspot.com. I highly recommend IWJ if you are looking for a true Caribbean experience rather than a Blue Haired Lady cruise. You will sail and have the adventure of a lifetime. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
I have been interested in a windjammer cruise for years and finally convinced my family. After looking at several options we chose Island Windjammers, and could not have enjoyed our trip more. I should say that the Sagitta, while it has ... Read More
I have been interested in a windjammer cruise for years and finally convinced my family. After looking at several options we chose Island Windjammers, and could not have enjoyed our trip more. I should say that the Sagitta, while it has sails, was powered by a motor. That may make some say that it was not a true wind jammer cruise, and they would have a point. However, that did not detract from our enjoyment of the trip. The crew was wonderful. There was nothing that we wanted for. It seemed as though no sooner did you ask for something than a crew member was there to help. The food was OUTSTANDING!! How the chef was able to produce so much wonderful food from small a small galley was hard to imagine. There is a rope swing from the rigging that my daughter, her friend, and I loved swinging from to splash into the Caribbean. The ports of call on each of the islands were fun, and much more remote than if we had traveled on a large ship. We are all certified SCUBA divers and the cruise director did a wonderful job locating dive shops for us to use (I reviewed two of them.) I will warn potential travelers to bring motion sickness meds. While in the lea of the islands the boat is very calm. When travelling between the islands, mostly at night, you will be tossed around your bunk. After the first night I thought "Oh no, what have I done.) After the first night we were better prepared for a couple of hours of rough seas and adjusted just fine. It all made for a geat adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
Friday, 06Aug2010: Travel Day (RDU-MIA-SJU-GND): Finally time to head to the Caribbean again to sail on a Tall Ship!! Traveled to Grenada (all day 6am to 9:03pm) and was met by the Island Windjammers driver at the airport. He took us to ... Read More
Friday, 06Aug2010: Travel Day (RDU-MIA-SJU-GND): Finally time to head to the Caribbean again to sail on a Tall Ship!! Traveled to Grenada (all day 6am to 9:03pm) and was met by the Island Windjammers driver at the airport. He took us to the Allamanda hotel in St George's. Checked in and meet up with friends, visited for awhile, took a quick walk on the beach, and then headed to room for sleep just after midnight. Saturday, 07Aug2010: Grenada: Awoke at 7am ready to start my vacation!! Headed to breakfast near hotel then went to grocery store to buy booze. A few went deep sea fishing. Just as we got back to the hotel it started to rain. By 10:30am we were ready to leave the hotel and decided to walk down to Garfield's Beach Bar. We made it to Garfield's just as the rain continued so we were forced to drink Carib and entertain Chester the bartender. Weather finally cleared so we headed to the beach (Grand Anse Beach) and floated in the water, enjoying the Caribbean Sea. At 7:30pm we headed to town to have dinner at the Nutmeg Restaurant. Alison our final team member had arrived while we were at dinner. We visited with her for awhile and then headed to bed about 11:30pm. Sunday, 08Aug2010: Grenada - Board S/V Diamant: What a way to spend my birthday, in the Grenadines getting ready to finally board the S/V Diamant. Woke up about 7:30am and went to Gibson's (again across the street) for a nice breakfast. Bruce and Maryse headed out for an Island tour and the rest of us headed to the beach. About 11am we decided to walk down to Garfield's Beach Bar for a few drinks and a few birthday shots! We headed to Port Louis about 1pm and got our first look at the Diamant. What a beautiful small ship, she is a 101 ft schooner with tons of character. About 4:45pm we headed over to the Diamant. The check in procedure was a breeze and we were all shown our Cabins within an hour of boarding. The cabins were great; each different with their own little touches. There is decent storage space in each but don't bring a lot and don't bring hard sided suitcases (there is no place for them); duffle bags or backpacks are the way to go. You're on a boat so the cabin and bathrooms are small but the layout is great in each. The ship has its own water purification system and the cabins have water bottles for each passenger (that stay with the ship). Near the back of the ship were two coolers that were kept stocked with sodas and BEER (we had Heineken, Carib and Stag) plus you had access to a house red and white wine at all times. Once we all settled in we just walked around the ship, chatted and soaked in the fact that we were back on a Tall Ship. We had dinner around 7:30pm and the crew even had a birthday cake for me! We spend the evening relaxing, talking and drinking beer and cocktails. Monday, 09Aug2010: Grenada - Carriacou - Union Island: Ship set sail about 5am; it was great sleeping to the sway of the ship! Made it to Carriacou about 10am and had our safety drill. We stayed on the ship for the morning, had lunch, and then headed to Anse La Roche Beach for the day. No one else around and no beach bars so the crew brought us a cooler with beer (and other drinks). There was lots of Technical Diving and we drank an insane amount of beer (between all 9 of us). I think by the end of the afternoon there were concerns on beer and ice stock ? Once we were all feeling pretty "happy" a game was created by John - "Redneck Bowling"; this provided us hours of entertainment! And yes we did take all the empties back to the ship, left only footprints. Back to ship around 5pm; we were all tipsy, a little sun burned, and ready for Rum Swizzles and Snacks. Eventually we all cleaned up and had dinner on the ship. We relocated to Chatum Bay near Union Island for the night. Stayed on ship for evening, there were tons of stars out, so amazing. Fell asleep on deck just staring at the stars. Tuesday 10Aug2010: Union Island - Bequia: Woke up at 7am and made my way to the deck for the morning sail. Was wonderful hearing Amazing Grace played while the sails were raised, has been way to long. As we made our way to Bequia we passed Moon Hole. Once we got to the main harbor in Bequia had a nice hot breakfast and then into town around 10am. We went into a few shops, bought t-shirts, and Kim got a really cool map of the Caribbean in one of the book stores, also visited the ATM. Headed over to the Whaleboner bar but they were closed so we had a few beers at the Magnolia bar to cool off. Back to ship around noon for lunch (it is amazing what Boston created in that tiny kitchen). We all stayed on the ship for the afternoon. There was reading, relaxing, journal writing and some drinking of adult beverages. Bruce and John fished off the ship. The ship's entertainment system has a connection for MP3 players so you can play your music thru the ship speakers; we had a Jimmy Buffett type of afternoon. Broke out the rope swing and jumped off the ship for some swimming/floating next to the ship. The Diamant has an awesome ladder for getting back on the ship after swimming, very easy to navigate and. We had a great relaxing afternoon with no agenda which was so nice. After swim we had Rum Swizzles, Wine, and Cheese; Boston also cooked up the Tuna that Bruce brought on board. We cleaned up, watched an awesome sunset, and then headed to Mac's Pizzeria for Dinner. Back to ship about 9:30pm. Some to bed early, others up front star gazing. Wednesday, 11Aug2010: Bequia - Tobago Cays - Mayreau: Early sail to Tobago Cays for a day on the beach. Another beautiful, sunny day and the Tobago Cays are breathtaking. We ended up anchoring near one of the many beautiful small islands and then took the dingy to a great little beach with picnic tables. Spent morning walking beach, taking pictures, laying out to perfect the tan, and working on our "technical diving" skills with our well stocked cooler. The crew brought us a picnic lunch ashore that was delicious. About 1:30pm we headed back to ship and then several of us headed over to Turtle Island to swim/snorkel with the Turtles (the ship provides snorkel gear for use at the beginning of the week, no extra charge). Some did a walk on the island and saw several big iguanas and land turtles. Headed back to ship for Rum Swizzles and Snacks and a few headed to "Johnny Depp" island which is where one of the scenes from the first movies was filmed. Once everyone back on ship we sailed to Mayreau. Had dinner and then we all changed into our "TGDT" shirts that Ester made and Kim provided glow-stick necklaces and bracelets. This was so we could keep track of the group during our "cultural walk" of Mayrue. Headed into town about 8:30pm and walked up the long steep hill to the top. Our plan was to "drink" our way down. We ended up visiting 3 bars with the final one being "Dennis's Hideaway". Back to ship about 11:30pm. Another great day!! Thursday, 12Aug2010: Mayreau- Salt Whistle Bay - Union Island - Happy Island - Carriacou: After breakfast picked up anchor and moved to other side of island to visit Salt Whistle Bay, which is a beautiful beach. We spent the morning on the beach just relaxing and floating on the blue rafts. Some hiked around and a few passengers walked over the hill to town. Back to ship for lunch then we sailed to Union Island. We went into town for quick look around and to visit the ATM. The entire group ended up at the dock at the same time to catch the dingy around 2pm. Instead of heading back to the ship we went straight to "Happy Island". They serve food if his wife is around, otherwise you just receive drinks. The rum punch on Happy Island is AWESOME and will make you very happy! Around 4:30pm we were not ready to leave, so the crew brought snacks to us and we continued to party on the island. We had so much fun! Rain clouds were around and there were a few rainbows (it could not get any more perfect). Somewhere around 6pm we all decided to head back to the ship as it looked like serious rain was coming. We packed the passengers and crew on the dingy for the very short ride back to the ship and wouldn't you know it, the heavens opened up and it started to rain in earnest. Once back on the ship we headed into the indoor saloon area, Kim attached her iPod to the stereo and became our DJ for the night. Eventually all the passengers and all the crew were on deck dancing to disco music. I can't tell you how much fun we had joking around and dancing in the rain. We eventually dressed for our "tacky Hawaiian shirt" night which we planned ahead of time. At some point (time blurs some) we did a quick move to Carriacou to anchor for the nigh. All through dinner (and after) the music, singing and dancing continued. Eventually people headed to bed but there may have been some late night swimming off the side of the ship ? What an absolutely wonderful day and night. Friday, 13Aug2010: Carriacou - Sandy Island - Grenada: Up around 8am. Most of us stayed on the ship to recover and napped through the morning. I believe Bruce and Maryse were the only ones who went over to Sandy Island. After lunch we started the trip back to Grenada. On the way back the Capt. shut off the engines and we truly sailed for about 2 hours. It was absolutely amazing. Bruch continued to fish and we just hung on the back on the ship just enjoying the sail. Brandon made his special "drink" for Snacks (think pina colada). Just to let you know how much fun we had, we were planning our next trip before we even docked and were e-mailing Island Windjammers about available dates. We ended up docking in Grenada about 5:30-6pm. Once docked, we cleaned up and proceeded with our "Pirate themed" night; which included eye patches, bandanas and tattoos. We did a quick check out with Natalie to settle our ship accounts and they provided us with a map of our weeks sail with the route plotted and signatures from all the crew. We had a nice Captains' dinner and all the crew came out so we could take pictures with them. We eventually ended up drinking (trying to finish off the booze we brought aboard) and playing stupid drinking games Saturday, 14Aug2010: Grenada: Awoke around 7:15am to see Kim off as she had an early flight. After breakfast, packed and slowly got ready to leave the ship (you have until noon). Spent the morning on the ship and explored the marina. Bentley picked us up at noon and took us to the Allamanda. Checked in then headed across the street for pizza. We headed to Garfield's Beach Bar around 5pm for a few final beers and then meet at 7pm for Dinner. We had a nice time chatting about the week and re-living all the wonderful times we had. Many Rum Swizzles were consumed (again). Left around 11pm but don't think I ended up in bed until 2am. Sunday, 15Aug2010: Travel Day: Up at 4:30am for Taxi came at 5AM for a 6:55 am flight. GND to SNJ to MIA to RDU. All I can say is WOW, what an absolutely fantastic vacation and I can't wait to be back on the Diamant. I am 99% certain that this will be a "yearly" pilgrimage for me and many of my friends. I cannot say enough positive things about Island Windjammers. If you are looking for a truly relaxing, unique, no frills vacation to small ports that those big "foo foo" ships could never get to, this is the trip for you. It does not matter if your single, a couple, going with friends, or going by yourself - you will have a wonderful time. Just be open to adventure and making your own fun! If there is something you want to do ask and the crew will do their best to accommodate you. When I got back home I made a positive vs. negative list and the positive list had about 12 items and there was only 1 suggestion (not really a negative). The ship is beautiful, well maintained, with a great crew. The individual room air conditioning is a bonus as well as the provided cabin water bottles. Ice was always available along with fresh water. Snorkel gear is included along with unlimited filtered water, sodas, juices, select beers and a house red and white wine. Fare also included crew tip (but I left more because they so deserved it), the night on board prior to sailing, and all port charges. This was a great intimate experience with a small passenger group for an amazing price. The captain was very flexible and willing to change plans (within reason if all agreed). It was very nice being docked on arrival and departure. I heard rumors that more sails were going to be added and that air conditioning was being considered for the indoor saloon area (this was my one suggestion). I would not hesitate in recommending this vacation to anyone with an adventurous, laid back soul. Get a couple of friends (or family) together and book tomorrow at www.islandwindjammers.com. Read Less
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