We were enchanted with the ship and the crew from the moment we boarded. We knew that this was not in the true "luxury" class of ships but really wanted something small and intimate, and this was exactly the right trip for us. The trip was advertised as the "Yachtman's Caribbean" and truly, it was. Basically, it's island hopping with swimming and snorkeling during the day, drinks and food at night. The entire week was relaxed. No shorts or t-shirts in the dining room at night but totally casual with men wearing golf shirts or Tommy Bahama type shirts at night, women capri's or little strappy dresses - depending on age. Daytime is bathing suits, shorts, capri's. Leave the dressy stuff at home! The passengers ranged from early 30's (honeymooners) to late 70's with everything inbetween plus a couple of teenagers who were world travelers. Mostly professonal people, teachers, small business owners, etc., from all around the world although it was mostly American's, Canadians, and several Dutch that made up the bulk. The ship is small so there is opportunity to meet everyone and friendships were made all the way around.
The staff is unbelievably kind an competent. The service staff is mostly from the Phillipines and have worked onboard together for many years. They cook, they clean, they entertain, they do it all and always with a smile. The food was outstanding. Breakfast and lunch served either on deck in a cool breeze or in a restaurant on the top deck. The choices are vast and nobody was hungry - ever - but never had that "stuffed" feeling of the large ships. Dinner is served either in the newly decorated and very elegant dining room or on the back deck where there is a small pool and hot tub. This area at night turns into Candles, an outdoor restaurant that features grilled steak, chops, etc.
The most amazing part of this ship is that every square foot is multi-purpose and transitions from one use to another in minutes. We never felt crowed or cramped in the public areas or in our cabin. The cabin itself is sailing ship small but very efficient. The bathroom is amazing in that there is more than adequate room for everything and, I mean everything! Same with the two closets. The TV is pretty boring if you are a night watcher in bed but there is a library full of DVD's. The beds are two twins pushed together (or apart if you want). They were wonderfully comfortable and the pillows were awesome. BTW, there is 110v power so if you need a CPAP not to worry, plug is right next to the bed.
We brought a travel multi-power outlet with usb charger that fit right into the wall plug so we could charge two cell phones and use the hair dryer (they supply). It's a Belkin that we found at Bed Bath & Beyond and really will be in our travel bag from now on. Also, we stayed a couple of nights in St. Maarten at the Westin Dawn Beach. Great hotel and they are also 110v as they are on the Dutch side. The French side has 220 so beware if you need anything like a CPAP plugged in.
Back to the Wind Spirit. The itinerary is typical Caribbean. We fell in love with The Bitter End Yacht Club at Virgin Gorda and would love to go back and stay there. Virgin Gorda and St. Barths had world class yachts anchored out near us and it was fun to watch how the "other half" (1%) lives! The boat provides lots of watersports and opportunities for shore excursions from certified dives to land tours for those that are not into diving. Great beach party, wonderful BBQ on board one night. Just lots of fun, privacy, no hassle cruising. All of the islands are relatively small with taxi driver's willing to take passengers in safety and comfort. No begging in the streets of these small ports. Lovely change from the big ships again!
We bought the $109 laundry package and I LOVED not coming home suitcases of dirty clothes. If you buy this package it's for washable clothing only, not dry cleaning. If I had really factored it in we could have taken half the clothes and will next time. We DID NOT by the booze package. We went to islands and had a rum or two in local bars during the day. We each drank wine at night, a cocktail or beer here and there, no lack of drinks, and our bill for the week was about $350. The booze package would have been about $750 and we noticed that people who bought it were almost forcing themselves to drink more because it was "paid for". The wines by the glass or bottle are very reasonable, same for mixed drinks. No more than any of our local nice bars.
There is an exercise person who leads yoga and stretching in the morning. Gym is small but very well equipped. Salon has some nice deals. Prices in the little ship's store are very reasonable. We NEVER felt like we were being taken advantage of because we were a captive audience! Nice little lounge at night with some "theme" evenings. A little hokey but again, people are so nice that we made it all fun. If you're looking for glitz and glamour, this is not it!
The seas were a little rocky a couple of nights. If you want a reservation at Candles on deck, make it for a night when the ship is anchored rather than a night when it's moving. Each room can only eat at Candles one night during the trip because it's small - so plan your night and make a reservation when you first board. Just call the reception desk and they'll take care of it for you.
The sails - they are beautiful when they go up and there is dramatic music that accompanies the hoisting of sails. The captain and officers are eager to tell everyone all that they can about the ship itself.
The stairs - there are stairways leading up and down to the decks so if you are unable to climb stairs, this may be a stretch for you. Also, we tendered off in each place which is an outside stairway going from the 3rd deck to the waterline. If it's raining or blowing it can be a bit tricky, so again, make sure you're up for this. The crew is very attentive and will help anyone getting off or on. There are also towels available when you leave the ship in case you want to go to a beach or are doing one of the water "adventures".
The crew is the best part of this cruise. They are a group of wonderful men and women who genuinely love what they do. There are no big name entertainers on board but their talent show the 4th night out was the most fun we've ever experienced on a vacation.
We can't wait for the next one!