My wife and I sailed with the old Barefoot Windjammer in 2005 and were looking for a similar experience. We have sailed the larger cruise lines and did not enjoy the crowds, lines and large bills when leaving the ship. Island Windjammers does not have a hot tub, masseuse, rock climbing wall or swimming pools. Instead, you are free to relax and enjoy great food, superior company and fantastic out of the way ports of call.
When we arrived at embarkation, there was a Royal Caribbean giant cruise ship loading up near the Sagitta. The port guard tried to get our taxi driver to go to that ship and I begged "please don't make me get on that thing!" Our check-in with the Sagitta was pleasant and quick. The First Mate, Fernando met us on the dock and escorted us on board and introduced us to the crew.
We were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were two of only fourteen passengers (the ship can carry up to 24). Our reserved cabin was the Owners Cabin. It is pure luxury, More
with a stocked refrigerator, large king-size bed and large head. I was amazed at how large the cabin was on this small ship. Talking with the other passengers, their cabins were comfortable, but nowhere near as comfortable as ours. However, you don't really spend a lot of time in the cabin, so you really don't need that much room. Most of the time is spent on deck or in port. Why would you want to spend time in a cabin when there is the beautiful islands right off the side of the ship?
Captain Patricio sailed mostly at night. The first night or two, we didn't sleep great because of the movement of the ship, but after that it was like the Sagitta was rocking us to sleep. It does take a little time to get used to the motion of a smaller cruise ship. The night sailing was actually better because it allowed us more time on the islands, most of the time getting off the first dingy at 9:00 AM. We hit several islands (Anguilla, St. Barths, Nevis, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Iles des Saintes, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia). If we had sailed during the day, we may have not had enough time to see all of those wonderful places.
The excursions were arranged by the Operations Manager, Moira. She did a great job of finding really good shore tours and excursions at decent prices. The Wacky Rollers tubing trip in Dominica is a don't miss tour. Two of the days, we did not feel like taking tours, so the dingy took us to a secluded beach with a cooler full of beer and sodas along with some rafts and floating noodles. The ship also provides snorkeling gear, so pack lightly. After about an hour at the beach, floating in the water, the dingy came back to check on us and to see if we needed anything. It was unbelievable – they were willing to do a beer run for us!
That brings me to the alcohol policy, the best of any cruise line I've heard of. Island Windjammers provided a stocked cooler full of sodas and another full of beer. There was also wine available during dinner (both red and white). If you wanted stronger spirits, no problem, just buy what you wanted at a duty free shop and bring it on board. There is no large bar bill at the end of this cruise!
Meals were prepared by Chef Lenny. He would venture out on the islands and pick up fresh fruit and other items for meals. The food was wonderful and I don't recall a single meal that I didn't clean the plate. The cruise price includes breakfast, lunch, a 5:00 snack (with rum drinks) and dinner. You can eat ashore and we did once only to find that the food on-board was much better. Chef Lenny promised us he would finish his cookbook soon.
The rest of the crew was very attentive, polite and friendly. On a cruise this size, you get to know everyone on-board. I can't say enough about the great service we received from all of the crew. They felt like family by the time the cruise was over.
If you like long lines, great crowds of people, expensive shore excursions that are also packed with people and large alcohol bills upon disembarkation, this is not your cruise line. If you like relaxed cruising with a small group of people, attentive crew aboard a clean ship and smaller more intimate ports of call, then I highly recommend Island Windjammers. My wife and I will be back. Less