Sailed Vela last December and just booked her for March 2017! We sailed over Christmas and it was just magical! Christmas in the Caribbean.....everything but snow! We'd sail in the ams, then spend the rest of the day and night anchored in protected coves, with tenders running to shore and back every half hour until midnite. We were in The Grenadines, where the islands are small and really laid back....more flora and fauna and beach. But great opportunities to explore and/or enjoy the funkly little bars, etc.
I love Island Windjammers' sailing ships: Diamant and Vela are true sailing ships. IWJ's motorsailer Sagitt has her many fans, too. All beautiful ships and a casual way to go! All fun, no work....very nice, albeit cozy cabins, with their own bathrooms and A/C controls. 10-26 passengers, depending on which ship. Vela carries 26. And all those sails! Oh wow! Best of all, price for Vela and the other IWJ ships includes all meals, all drinks (!) and all port fees and taxes. Rum, wine, beer on board. Don't like what's there? Bring your own!
Vela and her sister ships ARE sailing ships, they WILL rock. But the experience is amazing and totally unlike any of the floating cruise ships. If you need to be entertained, these sailing ships are not for you. They offer plenty of relaxation, water opportunities, beaches, flora and fauna---some islands more metropolitan than others, but you'll feel like they are yours: the big ships just can't get in there.