I’ve started writing this review and had to start over about 10 times because the whole page was covered with !!!!!! It’s so hard to put into words an experience that will ruin you for all other cruises. After sailing with Island ... Read More
I’ve started writing this review and had to start over about 10 times because the whole page was covered with !!!!!! It’s so hard to put into words an experience that will ruin you for all other cruises. After sailing with Island Windjammers you will never set foot on a monster ship ever again. I have taken 10 cruises with assorted cruise lines ranging from Carnival to Celebrity, and after this trip on Sagitta I am a changed person.
My two friends and I booked our trip with Island Windjammers after talking about it forever. It was a girls’ trip to celebrate our turning 50 and we researched it extensively. At the time we booked there were basically 2 companies who offered the tall ship sailing that we were interested in. When we contacted both companies to compare them we were blown away with the customer service we received with IWJ. Our decision was made. Every question we had was answered immediately by the company and they offered answers to questions that we didn’t even know we had! The communication from decision time to disembarkation day (and beyond) was more than we could have expected.
We decided on Sagitta because we had heard so many good things about her. She didn’t disappoint! If you’re reading this review then I don’t need to go into her physical description: Google Image it. She is beautiful, classic and just what we were looking for. I’ve read other reviews talking about how disappointed some people were who sailed on her to find out she was motorized and that the sails were for “show”. I’m not sure which website those people were looking at because the IWJ site has her listed as “Island Windjammers Motorsailer Sagitta” and “Rig: motorsailer”. No false advertising here!
We flew to Tortola to start this cruise. It was a quick cab ride to the marina where we had a nice lunch and waited for the Sagitta operations manager (Christine) to meet up with us at the designated time. We got there early, as did she! We met the rest of the people who would be cruising with us, climbed into the dinghy and headed out to our floating home for the week. It was all so organized, which really was a great way to start things off.
We climbed aboard and were greeted by Captain Matt, first mate Simon and the rest of the crew. As comfortable as they made us feel, I could already tell that this would be the best decision of my life. Our bags had already been delivered to our rooms, we had "welcome aboard" cocktails waiting for us, we introduced ourselves to our fellow cruisemates and then moved on deck for the safety demonstration.
The cabins are very spacious. The 3 of us booked 2 rooms (as required: no problem!), but ended up staying in just the one room. There is a single bunk over a double bed with mattresses that feel like clouds! We were in cabin #1 and #2, both of which had more than enough drawer space, hang up space and bathroom space for the 3 of us (we used the other cabin just for showering). The A/C was more than adequate, the shower stall was large and the counter space in the bathroom was more than enough for 3 women.
Enough talk about the cabins. ON TO THE CREW! These were some of the most professional, fun, efficient, talented, organized and amazing people I have ever met! It’s already a fantastic cruise when you can pack your clothes for a week and it all fits in a carryon bag. Now throw in the fact that your going to be treated like a queen and fed like a king for a WEEK! If you are lucky enough to be on the ship while Lenny is the chef, you have won the lottery. Every meal (and snack) is comparable to what you would find in a 5 star restaurant. It almost feels disrespectful to be eating it while wearing shorts and flip flops! The best part: you can ask for another helping if you want. Life is good ☺
Our itinerary was the British Virgin Islands. Some of the places I had never heard of and that was just fine with me. I didn't care that there weren't dozens of excursions to choose from on the islands. All I was looking for was blue water, sandy beaches, great company and lots of fun! We hiked each day on the islands with Chrisine (our cruise director, if you will – she’s amazing!), went snorkeling, paddle boarding (Sagitta had 2 that they brought to shore each day for us to use), jumped off of the ship to swim, relaxed on the inflatable “relaxation station” and sometimes just tanned on deck while enjoying the rocking of the ship. While on the ship the crew members were always quick to ask if we needed anything, always readily available in case we actually DID, and best yet: always smiling. These people love their jobs and the company they work for. That speaks volumes.
What I liked best about this cruise is that everything is so laid back, as all vacations SHOULD be. We only wore shoes when hiking. We wore bathing suits all day, no jewelry, no makeup, no fancy hairstyles. What made that nice was that it leveled the playing field, so to speak. You couldn’t tell if your fellow cruisemates were CEOs or busboys, you just got to meet them as people who, after a week, became lifelong friends. We played games together, dined, danced and laughed together. We made memories that I will forever cherish.
If you're looking for a cruise that has formal nights requiring dress and heels, if you want to stand in a long line for a substandard meal served buffet style, if you like being one of thousands on your ship: this is not the cruise for you. If you want to relax, be pampered, go to exotic destinations and have an experience of a lifetime: book with Island Windjammers. I’m hooked! Read Less