1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
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: December 2014
My wife and I had previously sailed on "Arabella" out of St. Thomas and I thought the Island Windjammer cruise would be a similar experience. My wife opted out of the cruise and I ended up as a "Solo" in one of the 2 ... Read More
My wife and I had previously sailed on "Arabella" out of St. Thomas and I thought the Island Windjammer cruise would be a similar experience. My wife opted out of the cruise and I ended up as a "Solo" in one of the 2 Solo Cabins (12). Flew from Detroit to St. Maarten and stayed over night at the Pasanggrahan Hotel. It was dated but clean and served its purpose. For some reason the bar and restaurant were closed and I ended up at "The Green House" which was just a five minute walk away. I recommend the Green House. The bar tender was friendly and the food was great. Boarded the Sagitta at the main port dock and the adventure began. There were 23 passengers, mostly from the US, I'm Canadian (Ontario) and there was a 4 member family from Calgary. We left at about 2:00 pm and sailed over to St. Barts. Now I have my first negative observation. Island Windjammers does not really explain the itinerary very well in their webpage. I thought we would be sailing (or motoring) some place every day. That's not the case. We stayed the first 2 nights anchored in St. Barts. I have been to St. Barts several times so I was disappointed that we were there that long. So on Tuesday we sailed over to a marine reserve (Anse de Colombier). Nice beach, very secluded no chairs but your could snorkel. Pulled anchor and sailed to Nevis (part of St. Kitts). Probably I should explain that Sagitta is not really a sailing ship. It is considered a motorized yacht with sails. The captain explained that even with the sail up he could not cut the engines. He needed the engines to steer. So if you are looking for a true sailing experience, Sagitta is not it. Anchored at Nevis harbour for the night and some went ashore for tours Wednesday. I've been to Nevis so I stayed on board. We left for Pinneys Beach Nevis (just a short sail away). Pinneys is a beautiful beach with a great beach bar called Sunshines. Great drinks and beautiful sand. Wednesday night we sailed to St. Kitts and anchored in the Harbour for dinner. On Thursday, several passengers went ashore and toured or shopped. At noon we sailed to South Friars Bay to the Ship Wrecked Bar for the afternoon. We had a bbq on the beach for dinner. A good time was had by all. Pulled anchor and did a night sail to Anguilla (the other side of St. Maartens). This was rocky night in my little bunk. Woke to Sandy Ground Anguilla in the morning. Anguilla is a beautiful place and I went ashore to Sandy Ground to find Elvis's Beach Bar. It was a national holiday so it was not going to open until night time. So I found "Dads" beach bar and it was great. All (but myself and one other passenger) went to Shoal Bay which is beach lovers dream. I have been there and I wanted to explore Sandy Ground. Had a great day. Went back to Sagitta for lunch and back to Dads for the afternoon. Now here is my second negative comment. I originally booked my flight back to Detroit (from St. Maarten) for 8:40 am, thinking that would be enough time to get to airport from the cruise dock. US Air changed the flight time to 8:05 am so I emailed Island Windjammers whether that would be enough time to catch the plane. I ended up changing my flight to a later one which cost me $200.00 US. So I was rather miffed when the captain said we would be sailing to St. Maarten on the last night and spent the Friday night at the dock in St. Maarten. If I had known this I could have easily been up and made the early flight saving myself some money. Island Windjammers really needs to include the itinerary information on the web site and booking information. Knowing you are docked in St. Maarten the last night does make a difference on travel plans. So... The food was good. Crew was great. Weather was warm and the sea is relaxing. By the Way: The solo cabins are SMALL. but there was a lounge outside the 2 solo's which came in really handy. Except for the travel glitches, I did enjoy the Sagitta. Would I do it again? Probably not. My wife really likes the Windstar Cruises for sailing, which are about the same cost and a great deal less "rustic".   Read Less
Sagitta Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 1.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 2.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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