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1 Island Windjammers Caribbean Cruise Reviews

Just back from a week on the Sagitta so I thought I'd share some thoughts with my fellow travelers. We did the Sagitta's 6-night cruise that traveled from St. Lucia to Dominica, Iles des Saintes (part of Guadeloupe) and ... Read More
Just back from a week on the Sagitta so I thought I'd share some thoughts with my fellow travelers. We did the Sagitta's 6-night cruise that traveled from St. Lucia to Dominica, Iles des Saintes (part of Guadeloupe) and Martinique. First the good news: Island Windjammers (IWJ) rates highly on coordinating hotels, transfers, taxis, etc. They are polished at getting everybody aboard the vessel with ease and comfort. This is especially important for the Sagitta, which is too big to dock at any of the destinations; instead, the crew relies on a couple of Zodiacs for all ship to shore transportation. More good news: Chef Lenny was great at accommodating those of us with special dietary needs, including those with allergies as well as those pesky vegans. I think everyone aboard rated all three daily meals as very good or better. Another very nice aspect of this trip is a 5:00 happy hour, where drinks and punches were served alongside pizzas, grilled tuna, fruit platters, cheese platters, and a lot of other tasty finger food. In addition to Chef Lenny, most of the crew was pleasant and helpful. Operations Manager Crystal was an angel at coordinating activities and joining in the fun with the guests. Clay and Shem were great at running the Zodiacs hour after hour. The ship has an ample number of chaises and chairs for deck side lounging. Roughly half the deck is kept shaded by tarps. The fore deck is huge, with plenty of room for guests. Now some bad news: the Sagitta is not a sailing vessel. It runs under power the entire time and puts up a sail or two for cosmetic purposes only. This was a huge disappointment, as IWJ's Diamant was under full sail on many occasions when we travelled with her a couple of years ago. The itinerary is flawed. Two days are spent in Dominica, an impoverished nation with virtually no tourist infrastructure, and very little in the way of sandy beaches. While on Dominica, we did manage to do a third party tour ($60 per person) that included a cave swim, a short hike to two really awesome waterfalls, and a relatively nice snorkel. A river tour the next day was mediocre. All in all, Dominica is not worth two days out of a six day tour: we did not see a single restaurant or bar worth visiting, nor a single store that a typical tourist might want to shop in. The people of Dominica, it must be noted, were as nice as can be, especially our tour guide Josie. Another flawed part of the itinerary is spending a whole morning in Fort-de-France, an urban area of Martinique with many modest stores, a farmers market and a fort, but not very much to hook in the typical tourist. The problem with spending too much time in Dominica is that it takes time away from a two-stop visit to Ilse de Saintes, which has a very nice town, really good snorkeling, a couple of nice beaches, and amazingly beautiful bays. Ilse de Saintes deserves more time that IWJ allots to it. The problem with stopping at Fort-de-France is that it takes away a half day that could be spent at an incredible bay on the opposite side of Martinique, where we were able to spend just three hours on the beach and in the town. This other side of Martinique deserved a lot more time, as it seems everybody on board loved the beaches, the water and the turtles. A couple of us commented that we would have gladly spent the whole week on the back side of Martinique. While most transit is done at night, much of one day toward the end of the tour is wasted on the return trip to St. Lucia. We would have greatly preferred this transportation be done at night as well, as it would have allowed another half a day at Ilse de Saintes. Note also that this excursion does not allow for a stop at the main island of Guadeloupe, which seems like another flaw in the itinerary. A few more comments: 1. The Sagitta crosses several choppy channels during the trip. Sea sickness patches or pills are recommended. 2. Bring Euros for the French islands, as they do not take the US dollar. 3. The best St. Lucia hotel for this trip is the Bay Gardens Beach Resort. It is located right next to Rodney Bay, where the Sagitta anchors, and is just a two minute transfer from hotel to marina. 4. Pack lightly and casually. This is an extremely relaxed trip; no one is getting dressed up. 5. Sagitta does not have Wi-Fi but you can get a cell signal on or near every island. I'll wrap up by saying IWJ's trip to Grenada and St. Vincent was fantastic. It proves IWJ knows how to do things the right way. Hopefully IWJ can make a couple of adjustments on the St. Lucia cruise to get it up to the level it deserves. Happy Travels to All. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
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