The old Windjammer Barefoot Cruises were all about quasi-adult hijinks, often fueled by copious amounts of grog -- and so, it's a little surprising that Diamant's voyages are rather sedate. (On one recent cruise, passengers were far more interested in rummy than rum.) Many of the activities for which Windjammers was known, including the PPP (pimps, pirates and prostitutes) costume parties and the horseshoe crab races, are gone. Because the feel of the cruise has the possibility to change dramatically, based on the personalities and interests of the 12 passengers onboard, it's hard to predict what kind of experience you'll be getting.
With a six-member crew concentrating primarily on the tasks at hand, the ship lacks a cruise director -- and that lack of direction becomes particularly apparent when plans change. While the ship's stated itinerary listed a visit to Mustique, Diamant never stopped there on a recent cruise -- and no one mentioned its absence. (The cruise line's literature and Web site do offer a disclaimer, noting the possibility of itinerary changes due to weather, local activities, etc.) Although there's an onboard notebook listing shore activities, passengers were never actively encouraged to look at it, so it seemed that some people felt at a loss when the ship pulled into port.
There are a few decks of cards and a small lending library, but otherwise, that's it for nighttime entertainment. (The ship's DVD player was on the fritz during a recent cruise.) So, bring your own games -- preferably ones with magnetic pieces that won't go flying when the ship hits a rough patch.
As per the rest of the Diamant experience, traditional shore excursions are not organized by the cruise line. Passengers are free to explore ports as they please.
The ship has a nice layout that belies its small size. With three public areas where passengers can hang out during the day, it's hard to feel cramped.
The first is what the line calls the saloon, a beautiful interior room of gleaming wood. This is where passengers are served breakfast and most lunches; it's also where we played our nightly card games. There's a bell there that summons passengers to meals and "Storytime," as well as an iPod (big on Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley and ABBA).
The upper deck is a popular place to congregate, both when the waters are rough (so queasy passengers can stare at the horizon) and when the boat is anchored (so passengers can catch some rays). Diamant provides sun mats, and passengers are allowed to use them to sleep outside if they wish, although no one in a recent group took advantage of it.
The rear of the ship has an outdoor dining area and a cushioned back bench that the crew often cover to protect passengers from the sun. Most dinners and snacks are served out there, and passengers used the space as an area to gossip, read and even nap.
There are no spa or fitness facilities aboard Diamant, although snorkeling is available every day (equipment included in the cruise rate). An old-fashioned rope swing. attached to the side of the boat, allows passengers to swing Tarzan-style into the warm Caribbean water. While people on a recent cruise were slow to embrace the swing at first, by the end, even the older passengers were giving it a try.
With its steep staircases and lack of supervision, Diamant is probably not appropriate for children younger than 12. For a teenager interested in sailing, a Diamant cruise could be ideal, as you can get up-close and personal with the equipment. Because the ports are so small, there's not much on the agenda, other than swimming and snorkeling, which may be limiting for members of the young and wired generation.