I have recently returned from another IWJ cruise, this time on Diamant. This was my third cruise since Covid (too many to count before the pandemic) . After nearly two years locked down I couldn't wait to sail again and was on one of the first post Covid cruises (Vela out of St Lucia) . It was easy to know ahead of time that the itinerary would be limited as many of the Caribbean Islands were still imposing severe traveling restrictions, however I just wanted to sail in the Caribbean and enjoy being spoiled by the wonderful crew on the ship . I was not disappointed, whilst we did not visit as many islands, we still had a varied and fun week with beautiful beaches, swimming in crystal clear water and delicious food.
Fast forward 3 months to my next cruise, this time all the islands were open and the itineraries on both ships were pretty much back to normal with multiple islands visited - I won't list them as it is so much nicer to enjoy the surprise when the ops manager (on Vela) or the captain on Diamant give you a complete rundown (usually before dinner) of the itinerary for the following day. That is the time to ask for details on tours, snorkeling etc. - even better for passengers like me, who have short term memory, the full day's itinerary is also posted on a wipe board each morning.
Friends who have yet to sail with me ask me why nearly every vacation I take is on one of the IWJ ships and doesn't it become boring! I truthfully explain that every cruise is a slightly different experience, different ships, sailing different itineraries at different times of the year and usually a different mix of shipmates. The important thing is that almost everyone is there to enjoy sailing and are like minded people. The different age demographics don't seem to matter and the younger passengers (I am in my early seventies) always, without exception, include me and give me an extra hand up if my knees aren't cooperating getting in or out of the dingy! Also every day is different, if you want to explore and be active there is always something to do, obviously swimming or snorkeling, walking along some of the most beautiful beaches you will find anywhere, looking for sea glass and shells, paddle boarding, sometimes hiking, shopping (yuk) to name but a few. However sometimes I just like to stay and relax on the ship with a book and a drink and just the sound of the ocean. When anchored, the crew put up a sunshade on one area of the ship for those who prefer not to be in the sun and are always at hand if I should need anything. If I decide later to join the other passengers ashore, I just check the posted dingy schedule and hop on the next one.
I have probably stayed in most of the different classes of cabins on both ships, my favorite (naturally the most expensive) is the o c. with a king sized bed and larger bathroom. The cabins on Vela tend to be a little more compact than Diamant but all have comfortable beds which are made up every day, air conditioning and small but adequate bathrooms - I spend very little time in my cabin so size doesn't really matter anyway! There really isn't much storage space in the cabins, but as I have learned over the many cruises, you really do not need many clothes, just a few pairs of shorts and tee-shirts, several swimsuits (there aren't any dryers, just air dry). I like to take one nice dress for the captain's dinner, but it really is optional if you dress up.. I rarely wear shoes aboard the ship and travel in shoes that will be suitable if I feel energetic enough to hike. No need to take snorkel gear either (unless you prefer) they have masks and flippers of all sizes and of course like everything else it is all included - no hidden charges with IWJ.