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