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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
I have an extensive history of traveling to many countries around the world for over the past 40 years. I have taken a couple of cruises prior to this trip. Most notably I went to the Galapagos islands which was incredible and a fantastic ... Read More
I have an extensive history of traveling to many countries around the world for over the past 40 years. I have taken a couple of cruises prior to this trip. Most notably I went to the Galapagos islands which was incredible and a fantastic experience. I have always been fascinated by 19th century sailing ship stories such as Joshua Slocum's tale of Sailing Alone Around the World, 1898. We decided to go on a Windjammer tour because we wanted to experience the feeling of sailing a schooner. I was told that this was a sailing vessel and that we would participate in working the sails. The Sagita which is sold as a motorized sailing vessel. I was told the motors would only be engaged when the winds failed. Windjammer arranged a hotel at the Marigold Hotel the day before our department. They told us it would be only a five minute taxi to the ship. As it turned out the Marigold Hotel was on the other side of the island and was an hour drive to Rodney Bay which unnecessarily cost us an additional $45. We paid for transfers to and from the ship in advance and never told to expect this. I'd like to begin by stating some of the positive facts of this trip. First, excluding the captains, The entire crew was friendly and helpful and generally a pleasure to be with. The chef, Lenny, was excellent. I have several food allergies and he went above and beyond to ensure that the food I ate met my dietary restrictions. I am very grateful to Lenny. Every day we had a cocktail hour and without exception Lenny provided us with new and interesting hors d'oeuvres and cocktails The cabins were clean and met my basic requirements. Onboard there were sufficient deck chairs for us to enjoy the views and relax. Fortunately, the Caribbean is so beautiful that no matter how much you mismanage a voyage you can't help enjoy the environment. I will now detail the facts of the Sagitta that caused such distress. The source of this information I quote from the mouth of Captain Stefan, a German man from the island of Dominica. I will never understand why he told me this sensitive and damaging information to me while giving us a tour of the bridge. Captains Stefan claims to have been Captain on 35 National Geographic ships to Antarctica. The first shocking surprise was Captain Stefan revealing the true history of the Sagitta. Stefan told us the Sagitta was never built as a sailing vessel. He told me that the hull was not even built in the shape of a sailing vessel. I had wondered and asked why were the sails never being raised. He told me that the Sagitta could not sail and that they did not even have adequate sails on board even if they wanted to sail. According to Stefhan, the ship was built as a laundry boat for the Navy. This gives a whole new meaning to the expression that we were sailing on a tub,pardon the bad pun. I asked Crystal, the tour guide, why the sails were not raised when I was told to wind was only 10 kn and her feeble excuse was the winds were too strong and they would tear the sails apart. After Captain's revelations I learned the real reason for their not being raised. Captain Stefan also told me that the masts we're not capable of holding sails The purpose was only decorative and to give the impression that the ship was meant for sailing. The cruise did not follow the stated itinerary. We ended up spending two days in Dominica, which according Frommer's, which I found on the ship, Dominca is the worst island in the Caribbean and a must to avoid. The entire beach was literally covered with broken glass. There were no hotels, bars or any facilities and I wonder why they chose two days of my vacation to spend there when there were so many other wonderful choices which they didn't take us to, including Guadalupe which we were supposed to go to. I wondered if the reason for this was that Captain Stefan was from Dominica. In conclusion, you cannot plan a more awful cruise even if you decided to sail to Gilligans Island and end up on a deserted island. i'm writing this review as a public service to all prospective future clients of Windjammer. Be wary of squandering your hard earned vacation days and money with a company that so flagrantly misrepresents in their marketing material who they really are and what they offer. In my opinion, this is shameful behavior. Community Editor's Note: The following statement was provided to us by the management of Island Windjammers and appears in its unedited entirety: "Sagitta is a motorsailer, as she is clearly described on our website, and as is carefully explained in our FAQ's. Island Windjammers does not book hotels on behalf of our guests, but does provide links on request to select properties which offer discounts to Island Windjammers guests. The planning information given to all guests at the time of booking states that IWJ vessels in St Lucia will be berthed at Rodney Bay until December 2015, at which time they will relocate to Marigot Bay". Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
The first problem we encountered was the requested overnight stay in St. Lucia prior to the start of the cruise. We chose Marigot Bay Beach Club because it looked nice to us and it was stated on the website that "The resort is ... Read More
The first problem we encountered was the requested overnight stay in St. Lucia prior to the start of the cruise. We chose Marigot Bay Beach Club because it looked nice to us and it was stated on the website that "The resort is located on the water's edge on the north side of Marigot Bay, just a few steps away from the marina where you'll be joining your ship". What you failed to tell us is that it is 45 MINUTES from Rodney Bay where we were to join the ship. It also resulted in a $45 cab ride! When we brought this up with Crystal, the operations person on Sagitta, she said it is "offered as an alternative to those wanting to see other areas around St. Lucia". If that is the case then Island Windjammer must be truthful about where it is. This was not the way to start our vacation and I found it very disconcerting. (Since writing to the company regarding this, additional wording has been added to the Island Windjammer website) I was also disappointed because there was little or no communication prior to travel from Island Windjammer. When we asked for pre-cruise information we were told to just print it out. No itinerary was given prior to the cruise, or even when we boarded, Why is that? When asked we were given vague answers. Shipping lanes, night sailing, weather, - that was it. No explanations. No clear answers. It appeared that Dominica was to be our first stop. We were all surpised that a lady we boarded with the day before had already left the cruise! The rough overnight swells clearly were not for her. Dominica was a total let down. Ugly beach with broken glass everywhere from beer bottles. No facilities. The town itself was dreadful. No restaurants, no tourist shops - nothing. Why on earth did we spend 2 days there? Also we did not go to Guadeloupe although the statements on your website would infer that we were to go there in addition to Iles de Saintes. Again, why? Martinique had beautiful beaches that I would have loved to have stayed longer on but we wasted a whole morning being dropped in Fort De France with it's mediocre shops and not much else. After an hour we waited to return to the ship. The captain (Deylan)was returning on the same dinghy too. We told him there was nothing interesting to do there and his response was "there are 150,000 people there and you can't find anything to do" That was rude an not very professional. Then again he was still in his twenties. It turns out we didn't even sail. The sails we discovered were for cosmetic purposes only as confirmed by a new, soon-to-be captain of Windjammer who joined us from Domenica (where he lived - Ah, now I get it, that's why we spent 2 days there unnecessarily). The S.V. Sagitta, it was shared with us by Stefan (the new-soon-to-be captain for Windjammer), was built in 1961 as a laundry ship for the navy. It was never meant to be a sailing ship and the shape of the hull proves it. Any romantic notions I had of a beautiful cruise on a sailing vessel just sank to the bottom of the ocean once he shared that information. I could not tell if he wanted to give us the shock value of that statement or whether he was secretly regarding us as stupid for booking the trip in the first place. Regardless, I did not think it was a very smart statement to be making about your future employer's business. I guess he'll find out. The few highlights that are in Windjammer's favor - The cabins, although small, were very clean everyday and housekeeping was good. Daily Happy Hour was a pleasant experience and everyone looked forward to it and the great food and drink surprises. Chef Lenny was by far the biggest asset to the company. The food was creative and excellent and his attention to special food requests due to allergies makes him shine even more. He truly cared for the comfort of the passengers. The deck hands, 1st mate, the servers etc. all get top marks from me for their hospitality. However, I found the young captain (Deylan) to be a little arrogant and definitely unfriendly. He showed no interest in how anyone was feeling and how we might be enjoying ourselves. In fact he liked to bark orders rather than discuss situations at hand. Crystal was nice and upbeat and kept everyone smiling however I felt that the company could do a much better job of helping the passengers with what to do when the ship docked. Having Crystal stand there with a small foldout map and pointing to parts of it saying "you can go here or you can go there" doesn't really cut it. Most of the time it was the only map she had so when we got on land we had no clue where we were going. How about a supply of maps for each island in a welcome packet with typed up suggestions of where to go, suggested restaurants etc? Community Editor's Note: The following statement was provided to us by the management of Island Windjammers and appears in its unedited entirety: "Sagitta is a motorsailer, as she is clearly described on our website, and as is carefully explained in our FAQ's. Island Windjammers does not book hotels on behalf of our guests, but does provide links on request to select properties which offer discounts to Island Windjammers guests. The planning information given to all guests at the time of booking states that IWJ vessels in St Lucia will be berthed at Rodney Bay until December 2015, at which time they will relocate to Marigot Bay". Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife (32) and I (31) chose this cruise to go on our honeymoon. My dad and stepmom had gone on the old barefoot windjammer's and I always thought the trip sounded incredible. This company did not disappoint! The trip was extremely ... Read More
My wife (32) and I (31) chose this cruise to go on our honeymoon. My dad and stepmom had gone on the old barefoot windjammer's and I always thought the trip sounded incredible. This company did not disappoint! The trip was extremely memorable and enjoyable and we we will cherish it for the remainder of our lives. The boat itself was gorgeous and had three main common areas with plenty of room for all 10 passengers (10 sounds crowded, but it's honestly not). The food was absolutely first class and the crew was very helpful and enjoyable, especially our captain who acted as both captain and tour guide throughout the west indies. The rooms were quaint but nice and we only really slept in them anyway. We snorkeled every day, saw sea turtles, reefs, sting rays, and even a shark! Wish we could do these sails more often. 5 stars all the way for a fun and authentic way to see the west indies. The company was great to work with too. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It has been a many-decades long dream of mine to sail the Caribbean. I never quite got around to it when I was young enough to captain my own sailboat. As we are all aware, such fantasies are rarely matched by the reality of the eventual ... Read More
It has been a many-decades long dream of mine to sail the Caribbean. I never quite got around to it when I was young enough to captain my own sailboat. As we are all aware, such fantasies are rarely matched by the reality of the eventual trip. So as a 70 year old, reasonably fit traveler, off I went, and I can report that this trip, in all ways, exceeded my long help tropical sail dream. Some opinions on few important general items: -This is not a cruise ship, and will likely not appeal to those who love the big cruise ship experience. The crowds and lines and glitz and glimmer of large ships have never appealed to me, so this was really my cup of tea (or glass of rum). -This is a sailing vessel. There is considerable rocking and rolling during transit. The weather and seas were fairly tame as open-water sailing goes. Four of the 16 guests developed mild seasickness early in the voyage. None had to miss any meals or activities. Do bring sea sickness meds that you have tried out before the trip if you think you might be prone, and plan on exercising some caution as you walk about the ship during transit, especially for the first day or two. The captain always anchors the ship in protected harbors or leeward locations, so most of the time things are pretty calm and stable. -As an older somewhat overweight guy with 2 knee replacements, I had no difficulties with any of the activities. You do need a degree of flexibility and fitness to navigate the fairly steep stairway down to your cabin, to get on and off the dingy (excellent assistance from the crew with this maneuver), and to enjoy the hikes and snorkeling. -I loved the activities on this trip, but other reviewers seem to have expected more of a cruise ship experience. Expect time on gorgeous beaches, time swimming and snorkeling in amazingly clear and warm water, lounging on deck, and visiting small towns at your various island anchorages. The only "optional tour" on our passage was an island tour of Bequia, where we rode in the covered back bed of a small truck and visited small local attractions (model ship builder, turtle sanctuary, whaling museum. Our driver and guide was one of the last members of an extant whaling family, and his whaling history talk was fascinating). At $30, this was a great experience and a great value. The other notable activity was the optional after dinner dingy rides ashore to visit local bars. These trips were as much about the local culture as about drinking, and quite a rich experience. Just don't expect casinos, floor shows, spas, and tour busses. As others have noted, you will likely become good friends with your fellow passengers, and the crowd that chooses this kind of vacation tends to be a pretty unique and interesting group. That being said, we had a couple of passengers who preferred to spend more alone time, and there was plenty of space and support for that experience also. Some reviewers have mentioned the small cabins. Having sailed before on a smaller boat, I found my solo cabin to be quite adequate and comfortable. It was actually charming and cozy. The bathroom with combined sink/toilet/shower was very functional. Pack everything in a soft-sided carry-on and you will be fine. As others have mentioned, the food is remarkable for such a small ship. Portion sizes are just right, and you are always offered seconds. In addition to the three meals, excellent appetizers and rum punch were served every afternoon during "cocktail hour." The vinophiles on our trip described the house wine as fairly decent, and there were opportunities to buy premium wines along the route of sail. I'm a beer snob, and found the local lager (Piton), stocked on the ship, to be excellent. On one occasion, the crew prepared and delivered an excellent "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" feast to the beach where we were spending the day. When anchored, dinner on deck was a real treat. One of the keys to this cruise being so outstanding is the crew. We had 16 passengers and 10 crew. Each crew member was always busy tending to their duties, which often centered around the comfort and enjoyment of the passengers. They were personable, fun, yet professional. Our activities director was great, and gave us full briefings of the day's activities. She also accompanied us on most of our onshore adventures. I have never done a mega-cruise, and have only heard of the hassles on embarkation and disembarkation days. Getting on and off Vela was quick, simple, and well organized. Oh, and did I mention that this truly is a barefoot cruise? Except for the one island tour, I did not wear shoes from the time I boarded Vela until the time I got ready to leave for the airport. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This week's holiday began in St Lucia and Rodney Bay where I would meet up with the ship, cruise mates and crew of Vela of Island Windjammer. I had the opportunity to spend a day and night in the Rodney Bay area before the cruise ... Read More
This week's holiday began in St Lucia and Rodney Bay where I would meet up with the ship, cruise mates and crew of Vela of Island Windjammer. I had the opportunity to spend a day and night in the Rodney Bay area before the cruise began and wondered about the area exploring restaurants, bars and the Coco Palm hotel meeting the friendly and helpful people of St. Lucia along the way. The following day marked the beginning of a great experience on Vela and 6 days of island sailing that was only out matched by the gracious attention and service provided by all of the crew of this wonderful ship. The dining and beverage service was the best and the expertise of Chef Robert was truly amazing. I often travel solo and this trip was no different so I was a bit concerned given the low number of passengers (10) but everyone was friendly and helped make for a vacation that I will remember for many years to come. The cabins are small but very adequate and comfortable and the stewards freshen the room every day to maintain a constant level of comfort. Jess (Ops Manager), Alexis (Captain), Romaine (Steward) and Troy (Designated Dingy Driver) to only name a few all went out of their way to make for a wonderful experience. The sights, sounds, smells and adventure of experiencing an island sailing adventure is without equal. Every activity, every dingy ride, every tour, every meal and all of the service, conversation and attention provided by this crew was exemplary and should you decide to book a cruise on this ship be prepared to be delighted and amazed! 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
Sail Date: January 2018
Island Windjammer's Dimant Captain Danny and his crew did everything to accommodate our desires. We wanted to sail without power from the engine and he "made it happen". We sailed for hours, rocking and rolling in the ... Read More
Island Windjammer's Dimant Captain Danny and his crew did everything to accommodate our desires. We wanted to sail without power from the engine and he "made it happen". We sailed for hours, rocking and rolling in the waves under full sail. The crew became friends and shared their personal stories of the sea. The chef, Barney prepared the most fantastic meals, we even had lobster one night. Two days under full sail Barney prepared breakfast while rocking and rolling with the waves. His egg muffins were fantastic. My wife had a special request that she would not be served eggs and Barney accommodated her desire every morning. The picnics on the beaches and the time spent with the local population added an interesting local flavor. On the last day, there were many tears shed on the dinghy as we looked back at the Diamant knowing we would not be returning that day. On the dock the crew hugged us and treated us as family departing from their home wanting us to return soon. We have traveled much in the past 10 years and this is the best vacation EVER!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Great time aboard Sagitta. The crew was tremendously helpful and pleasant. Captain Matt was extremely cordial and pleasant. The cabin, although small, was comfortable and adequate. I would not hesitate to go again. Although the company has ... Read More
Great time aboard Sagitta. The crew was tremendously helpful and pleasant. Captain Matt was extremely cordial and pleasant. The cabin, although small, was comfortable and adequate. I would not hesitate to go again. Although the company has three ships, I really would find it hard not to travel with Sagitta again. Andrew, the operations manager did a wonderful job, always pleasant and cheerful. Chief mate Bryan was always pleasant and very knowledgeable. Chief Engineer Aubrey gave a tour of the engine room that made everyone appreciate the skill and hard work required to make the ship operate in an efficient manner. The food was prepared by chef Philbert and George. It was both varied and delicious. The chief deckhand was Aubrey King, known as King, was both our tender driver and the comedian of the ship. He did a one man show that was both entertaining and creative. The other deckhand was Lennox , who was both pleasant and helpful. There were two stewards Stephen and Dennis. They kept the cabins very clean and were available to help the passengers whenever asked. All in all a good time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We are just back from our second trip on the Vela this year. We participated in the "Rum Cruise" visiting St. Lucia and Martinique. The ship is in great shape. That captain and crew did a great job the entire time making sure ... Read More
We are just back from our second trip on the Vela this year. We participated in the "Rum Cruise" visiting St. Lucia and Martinique. The ship is in great shape. That captain and crew did a great job the entire time making sure everyone was enjoying themselves and keeping thing interesting. The ports of call and trips to the distilleries (organized by Dave Russell- the rum expert) were great. We got an in-depth look of the distilleries operations, got to meet the people that ran the operations and see everything from the cane fields to the various distilling processes used to make their rum. and ports of call. We could not visit Dominica and Guadeloupe this trip due to storm damage, but the captain and crew made the trip just as enjoyable as our last trip when we did visit those islands. We also got to see the Diamante which is still carrying relief supplies up to Dominica. We finally splurged and booked the owners cabin this trip which was great. Although, we were always satisfied with the other cabins we have had on previous trips. The meals were very good and we are always impressed with the cook staff can do with such limited space. We had a couple of very nice snorkeling opportunities and swimming off the side of the boat or beach was usually available. The rope swing came out on a regular basis to supply entertainment to the participants and spectators. The crew was always friendly and helpful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We picked this cruise because we wanted to get away from the larger Caribbean ports and the big cruise ships. We also love snorkeling and actually sailing on a tall ship (schooner), not just motorsailing. It was all that and more. Staff ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we wanted to get away from the larger Caribbean ports and the big cruise ships. We also love snorkeling and actually sailing on a tall ship (schooner), not just motorsailing. It was all that and more. Staff very professional and highly organized, food was terrific and they easily accommodated my preferences (pescatarian). The chef was creative and clearly took pride in his work. They gave us a very fun, classy, safety-minded week, tremendous snorkeling sites, use of the kayaks while at anchor, swimming off the boat or on beaches, opportunities for walks and hikes. Everyone was helpful, friendly, engaged. You don't need to pack much, just tee shirts and shorts and swim suits. Really. You need to be able to navigate stairs and ladders and climb on and off a dinghy. There's not much in the way of formal entertainment (didn't want that), but there's great conversations and plenty of time for reading and sketching and learning, making new friends. We laughed so much. Captain Nervo from the Galapagos was amazing. I would absolutely go again. It's wonderful to be at full sail with the engine off and the sun setting. Stunning and so relaxing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My husband and I just returned from our sail on Sagitta. We knew beforehand that it was a motorized vessel, but it did not take away from the experience. We loved the ship, the crew, our room, the food, and the service. The island stops ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our sail on Sagitta. We knew beforehand that it was a motorized vessel, but it did not take away from the experience. We loved the ship, the crew, our room, the food, and the service. The island stops were gorgeous, and we enjoyed lots of beautiful snorkeling. We also hiked a little in a few areas. Our shipmates were friendly and lots of fun. One of our few regrets is a visit to a sea turtle "sanctuary" in Bequia. Having visited topnotch sea turtle facilities in the past, we recognized immediately that the Old Hegg sanctuary was really just a place that confines healthy turtles in tiny shallow tanks FOR YEARS just to attract tourists and their money. This was very disturbing as we watched the healthy turtles swim around and around empty concrete boxes with no stimulation, no sign of food, and no hope of being released. Some turtles had been there for 19-22 years, and one very large old turtle was actually desperately trying to climb out of his tiny enclosure. Even though we didn't like that particular place, we certainly don't hold Island Windjammers responsible. We just would hope they wouldn't support or promote it. We loved most everything else, and we can't wait to sail with the company again. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I chose Island Windjammers because I wanted to FEEL the Caribbean and relive the experience of the old Barefoot cruises. I was not disappointed!! I sailed on the VELA, a true 3 masted sailing ship. The crew, the service, the food, ... Read More
I chose Island Windjammers because I wanted to FEEL the Caribbean and relive the experience of the old Barefoot cruises. I was not disappointed!! I sailed on the VELA, a true 3 masted sailing ship. The crew, the service, the food, everything was a pure joy. My spouse and I chose their 12 night cruise of the French West Indies and the Windward Islands. Super!!! Our ship was 156' of fun and sun. I could go on and on, but until you experience it for yourself you will never forget pure happiness of sailing under the stars and sun all the while you are truly enjoying the company of shipmates who love it as much as you do. The VELA (which is Spanish for sails) only has room for 24. All cabins have private bath with showers and are air conditioned How's that for the best of all possible worlds. By the way I am 80 yrs old and my wife 71 so don't think this adventure is only for the young. Our shipmates (now friends) were all age brackets. Everything was 15+ on a scale of 1-10. people should not hesitate to ENJOY!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because it was a personable size schooner with the right amount of people. We liked the islands that were on the itinerary and looked forward to the snorkeling. We arrived 2 days before embarkation, so we were able ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a personable size schooner with the right amount of people. We liked the islands that were on the itinerary and looked forward to the snorkeling. We arrived 2 days before embarkation, so we were able to check out Tortola before we left for the week. It was well worth arriving early, as there are many things to enjoy on the island, including the experience of driving on the left side of the road! Our whole week went smoothly, thanks to the conscientious and skilled crew. They had very positive and helpful attitudes. The crew had informative tips about the island's local 'watering holes' and the good places for snorkeling. The crew were always aware that people were safe. The spacious Owners cabin availability was worth planning our trip around. The food was delicious and perfectly prepared. We would definitely do this cruise again, next time arranging a ferry to Anegada for additional snorkeling to see coral and colorful fish. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My wife have sailed throughout the Caribbean since the early 1990's. Originally on the old Windjammer fleet, later on charter catamarans. We tried the Diamant with Island Windjammer last year out of Grenada and really enjoyed it. ... Read More
My wife have sailed throughout the Caribbean since the early 1990's. Originally on the old Windjammer fleet, later on charter catamarans. We tried the Diamant with Island Windjammer last year out of Grenada and really enjoyed it. Our trip this spring on the Vela was equally great. The ship and the crew are top notch. The crew knows the ship, the islands and demonstrated great customer service. The cabins were clean, neat and well maintained. The food was excellent. The visits to shore were well planned and with very good guides (if you chose to sign up for the tour options). The captain new the best snorkeling spots and was always on top of the weather conditions. The sailing was great including a couple evenings with strong winds allowing the ship to show what she could do under full sail and steady breeze. The ship was large enough to find some space for yourself if needed. The mix of guest background also made the trip enjoyable (which we have found to be the case on every trip we have taken like this). We will definitely be back on an Island Windjammer when time permits. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
Great food and service, lovely crew. LOVED our stateroom. Diamant is a goldie-locks ship: not too big not too small. ten passengers only. Highlights were swimming with the sea turtles and waking up to dawn in the eastern Carribean! ... Read More
Great food and service, lovely crew. LOVED our stateroom. Diamant is a goldie-locks ship: not too big not too small. ten passengers only. Highlights were swimming with the sea turtles and waking up to dawn in the eastern Carribean! The food was consistently great, and so was the rum punch. Climbed a hill on an island to see our boat far down on the bay, went to some night clubs far off the list of the normal tourist spots. Used the Tarzan swing on numerous occasions. Came back from various excusrsions always to find our stateroom crisp and cool and perfect. Hot showers worked perfectly, and then it was time for cocktails and then dinner on the tiny deck, with the eight other passengers. Best place in the world to read a book, watch the sunset, have may juuust one more drink, and then do it all again the next day... Miss it, miss it... 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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our 3rd Island Windjammer. Each time they continue to impress me. You absolutely have the most beautiful views & unique experiences - truly unlike any other trip! If you are one that enjoys kicking back & seeing the ... Read More
This was our 3rd Island Windjammer. Each time they continue to impress me. You absolutely have the most beautiful views & unique experiences - truly unlike any other trip! If you are one that enjoys kicking back & seeing the islands by water, hopping off & playing on different islands & hopping back on the ship for the next destination then I highly recommend these guys & gals. We hit the smaller islands so there's none of the 'big' cruise ships, which is perfect for what we love! The food is varied but always delicious. One thing I enjoy is that that portion it properly (unlike many of us, myself included, who always eats too much!). The crew all takes an interest in you & your individual experience, they truly care - We like to do a different ship & different islands each time and we are already planning our next one & can not wait! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
My husband and I are Windjammer kind of folks. The casual and relaxed atmosphere on the ship, the adventures on-board and off, and the emphasis on unpretentious enjoyment, are all reasons why we love the Island Windjammers. We have ... Read More
My husband and I are Windjammer kind of folks. The casual and relaxed atmosphere on the ship, the adventures on-board and off, and the emphasis on unpretentious enjoyment, are all reasons why we love the Island Windjammers. We have 'done' the Diamant, and the Vela on previous trips. This time, we sailed the Sagitta. It was a WONDERFUL experience! The Sagitta is larger than the Diamant, and the rooms are MUCH more spacious. We had plenty of storage and hanging space in our room, with a larger bathroom than 'normal', and it was MORE than adequate and clean. The Sagitta also has larger options for dining, inside and out, than either the Diamant or the Vela. The Sagitta may not have the pretty exterior lines of a sailing vessel, as the Vela has, but it makes up for it in substance! That ship is SOLID. No one got seasick, we all had plenty of room to move around and explore different parts of the ship, and there were numerous relaxing 'spots', inside and out. This was our second time with Capt Matt, and he is a great Captain! Matt is professional and inclusive and graciously answered all our seafaring inquiries, all week long! His leadership of the ship was also noted as the crew trusts him, and he appreciates their hard work. We visited beautiful ports (for us, the second time in the French West Indies), and both Matt and Leah had valuable insights to share. Our excursions were well planned and FUN, and we also had plenty of opportunities to do our own exploring. The crew did a great job, and Leah was also very helpful. Everyone talks about food when they mention cruises. We ate fresh and tasty food that was in season, and ate way more than we usually do! There was diversity in the menus and everything was well prepared. The only 'requests' I would suggest is having some local honey or regional syrups and jams for breakfast, along with some decaf coffee for those of us with caffeine issues. Glad to see the Sagitta has a popcorn offering, as it helps with the sodium loss we all experienced in a VERY hot Oct. Yes, we had amazing weather, which helps make a cruise great! And since we went during the slow season in the 'French West Indies', there were no tourist lines to suffer. Everyone wished they could have a few more days at Isle de Saints, as that is the prettiest of the French Islands. The ship was comfortable, the crew was skilled and professional, and our fellow shipmates were a charming group of adventurers. I do not think that Island Windjammer can take credit for our wonderful shipmates. Adventurous-minded people are drawn to each other it seems, and this week was a perfect example. Our group ranged in age from early 30's - 70, and while not all were extremely active, that was their choice. However, the rope swing into the water and swimming and jumping off the ship were enjoyed more than once! We had a great group of folks, and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed a variety of discussions in the moonlight, and at meals. It is only our 3rd day off the ship, and I already miss the SagittaRitas and fun chats! We certainly lucked out with a great group of fellow travelers. We have seen most of the Caribbean islands by now, so we may not do another Island Windjammer for a while. When we are ready to return, I think we'll once again choose the Sagitta. We will certainly recommend Island Windjammer to our friends, for they offer an unpretentious and fun way of exploring the Islands. This company appreciates their customers and offers a wonderful escape from 'reality' of the media-obsessed world. Take a sail with Island Windjammers on the Diamant or the Sagitta. It is a delightful adventure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We choose Vela because of the unique sailing experience, small number of guests and interesting destinations. Our Captain was extremely knowledgable,experienced and cool!! He truly loves the ships and enjoys what he does. He went out of ... Read More
We choose Vela because of the unique sailing experience, small number of guests and interesting destinations. Our Captain was extremely knowledgable,experienced and cool!! He truly loves the ships and enjoys what he does. He went out of his way to ensure all guests had and excellent time. The crew was amazing as well, we all became fast friends. They work hard, always smiling and know the guests by name. The chef and cook did an excellent job with very delicious meals. The Islands we visited were fantastic, beautiful and no big cruise ships. We snorkeled a lot, relaxed, hiked with the Captain leading the way,drank beer, Vela Coladas, and rum punch provided by our excellent staff!! It was truly an amazing time. The perfect way to relax and enjoy the beautiful sea and Islands on a wonderful ship. We would definitely go again and recommend it to anyone, even if you travel alone. They accommodate single travelers too. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
This was an amazing cruise! The food was great and the crew was superior. They ensured your comfort and happiness at all times. The destinations were so amazing, we were like the only tourists on these islands and you could see clearly ... Read More
This was an amazing cruise! The food was great and the crew was superior. They ensured your comfort and happiness at all times. The destinations were so amazing, we were like the only tourists on these islands and you could see clearly down in the water, even in the towns. There were flying fish following us in sailing days. We got to hike across small islands, snorkel with their gear and the Chef would catch dinner off of the back of the boat. The captain was fun and entertaining. We went on a rum cruise and experienced rum in so many ways, by itself, mixed in drinks and had fun days and nights sampling rum from around the world. We met friends we still stay in touch with. They use an inflatable boat to take you into harbors and beaches and it is very easy getting on and off of the inflatable. From the moment go this was so enjoyable and the islands are beautiful. We went just before the Diamant was overhauled and our room, room 2 is now combined with room one and is a suite. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My husband and I have done the big cruise ship thing before and found it not to be what we were looking for. Sailing on the Vela was exactly what we wanted. We had the comforts of home, but were able to explore the locations we visited. ... Read More
My husband and I have done the big cruise ship thing before and found it not to be what we were looking for. Sailing on the Vela was exactly what we wanted. We had the comforts of home, but were able to explore the locations we visited. Our cruise only had 14 other sailors so our small group got to know each other fast and had a wonderful time together. Everyone was there to have a good time and I can't remember laughing so much. We could do as little or as much as we wanted. My husband was often involved in the ship sailing, while I was found reading a book. The islands we visited had many options, from shopping, to snorkeling, to reconnecting to wifi. or you could just stay on the ship and enjoy the sea. The crew went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we could have possibly wanted. This was the best vacation I have ever had. My husband and I could completely unplug and relax. I am counting the days until we can go on another Island Windjammer cruise. Read Less
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