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".
Cabins meant minimum standards of comfort but were clean. Unstable ship. Very rough sailing. Two people cannot sleep in same bed.