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18 St. Lucia to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise because of the more intimate nature of a smaller ship. The Vela is a beautiful sailing ship and is approximately 156 feet long. We were able to access ports that larger ships could not. Chef Lenny prepared excellent ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the more intimate nature of a smaller ship. The Vela is a beautiful sailing ship and is approximately 156 feet long. We were able to access ports that larger ships could not. Chef Lenny prepared excellent meals and the service on board was outstanding. Chef Lenny took particular pride in going to local markets to provide the freshest fish, fruits and vegetables for our meals. The staff was very helpful and knowledgeable when it came to setting up tours and were very familiar with the port towns. The ship had a rope swing that was a lot of fun. Opportunities to relax and to snorkel were abundant. Snorkeling in a few of the spots was quite good. Horse back riding, hikes to forts, a visit to a rum distillery and a tour that included a trip to waterfalls were among the highlights. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone looking to be treated like royalty on the ship and to anyone looking for a closeup look at the islands with a small group of guests. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We bid on the cruise at a charity auction for the Sunshine School for Children with Special Needs in Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after hearing what a wonderful time others had had on the cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed the ... Read More
We bid on the cruise at a charity auction for the Sunshine School for Children with Special Needs in Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after hearing what a wonderful time others had had on the cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. I was a little leery as I get sea sick easily, but I used the scopalomine patches and they worked great. The crew was fantastic and bent over backwards to make us happy, the sailboat gorgeous, and the passengers all got along great. The cruise we chose was the French West Indies and it was fantastic. We departed from Marigot Bay, St. Lucia; sailed south past the Pitons, St. Lucia before heading north to Dominica (we couldn't stop there due to hurricane damage), went to St. Pierre, Martinique; Terre de Haut, Isle des Saintes, Guadeloupe; Deshaies, Gaudeloupe; Anse Arlet, Martinique; and Pigeon Point, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Every day there was a different area to explore, hiking, shopping, and swimming and snorkelling. We loved it and will do it again. The standard cabins are quite small, but you don't spend much time in your cabin so that isn't an issue, at least it wasn't for us. The food was fantastic and different every day. Full breakfast, hot lunch most days, happy hour at five with rum drinks and snacks, then a lovely dinner. lots of wine, beer and soft drinks...and popcorn for snacking...you just helped yourself to coffee, tea, and cold drinks whenever you wanted. Being gluten intolerant I was delighted that the chefs went out of the way to make sure that everything was okay for me, and made something special for me almost every meal. Entertainment on board is the passengers and 'how entertaining can you be'. There was only one organized shore excursion at St. Pierre and other than that the ops manager told us about points of interest and provided information and we all pretty much went different directions on shore, some to explore, some to shop, some to snorkel and swim, and some stayed aboard and read, swam from the boat, or napped. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We are just back from our second trip on the Vela this year. We participated in the "Rum Cruise" visiting St. Lucia and Martinique. The ship is in great shape. That captain and crew did a great job the entire time making sure ... Read More
We are just back from our second trip on the Vela this year. We participated in the "Rum Cruise" visiting St. Lucia and Martinique. The ship is in great shape. That captain and crew did a great job the entire time making sure everyone was enjoying themselves and keeping thing interesting. The ports of call and trips to the distilleries (organized by Dave Russell- the rum expert) were great. We got an in-depth look of the distilleries operations, got to meet the people that ran the operations and see everything from the cane fields to the various distilling processes used to make their rum. and ports of call. We could not visit Dominica and Guadeloupe this trip due to storm damage, but the captain and crew made the trip just as enjoyable as our last trip when we did visit those islands. We also got to see the Diamante which is still carrying relief supplies up to Dominica. We finally splurged and booked the owners cabin this trip which was great. Although, we were always satisfied with the other cabins we have had on previous trips. The meals were very good and we are always impressed with the cook staff can do with such limited space. We had a couple of very nice snorkeling opportunities and swimming off the side of the boat or beach was usually available. The rope swing came out on a regular basis to supply entertainment to the participants and spectators. The crew was always friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I went on this cruise with a group of 21 friends, all there to celebrate our friends 50th birthday. The cruise and the crew was amazing. They went above and beyond to make the trip a bucket list adventure for all of us. Not only was the ... Read More
I went on this cruise with a group of 21 friends, all there to celebrate our friends 50th birthday. The cruise and the crew was amazing. They went above and beyond to make the trip a bucket list adventure for all of us. Not only was the food amazing, but the crew was amazing and took extra special care of us. Dinners were amazing and Chef Ermon made extra special cakes for our birthday girl as well as a couple celebrating an anniversary. The crew really catered to our group dynamic and let us party! Capt Nervo and our stewards, Browne and Keith, made sure we always had a drink in hand and music playing! Our Ops Director, Mimi LaRue, planned off boat adventures for us during the day where we could go to beaches, shop in small ports, or lunch with the locals. We even had a bus tour take us to some special spots on Dominica where Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed and we got to swim in the same caves, and hike to the same waterfalls - complete with lunch at a local "tree house" restaurant along the way! Mimi also set up everyone's travel off the sailboat as well which was great since there were so many of us, all going different directions! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I planned a cruise on the Vela for my 50th birthday, and we had 21 guests join us for the week. From the minute we met Captain Nervo the night before to the moment we stepped off the ship, this was the most special vacation experience of ... Read More
I planned a cruise on the Vela for my 50th birthday, and we had 21 guests join us for the week. From the minute we met Captain Nervo the night before to the moment we stepped off the ship, this was the most special vacation experience of my life. The crew members were first class, but more than that, they became our friends. From the amazing food to the unique experience of truly sailing on the Caribbean to floating off the ship with noodles and beers, everyone in our group loved every minute of being on the Vela. On the islands we visited, we were well informed on what was available to visit, and the crew was phenomenal in getting us to shore and back to the boat easily and timely. My favorite moments were mornings on the deck with a coffee, either sailing on the open waters or pulling into our next port with the sun rising. Amazing! All of it. I will go again as soon as I can. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Rarely does an experience meet and exceed every expectation one has going in. That was our experience with the Island WindJammers Vela. Our initial motivation for seeking out Island Windjammers was my wife's long held love of ... Read More
Rarely does an experience meet and exceed every expectation one has going in. That was our experience with the Island WindJammers Vela. Our initial motivation for seeking out Island Windjammers was my wife's long held love of tall ships. Being able to experience of sailing on a tall ship for an extended period was a dream come true for her. That said, many of the other facets of the experience they offer fit us comfortably - The small group setting, the relaxed itinerary, the general informal nature of the experience... all called us. The experience was, to be quite honest, the best vacation we have ever taken. - The enjoyable experience of true sailing - Waking each day at a new beautiful location - the personal connection with the crew and the other guests - enjoying small beaches and towns that others miss - relaxed meals on deck - board game night - snorkeling - lazing on a deserted beach .... the list goes on and on... To be sure, the motion of the ship took some getting used to, as did learning how to find a stable position in the bunk under sail... but, thats all part of the adventure. My wife had always talked of taking a conventional cruise, but after this experience, we'll never set foot on a large ship. Island Windjammers is the one for us. Thank you to Captain Sam and the crew of the Vela for an absolutely wonderful week. Terry and Joanne Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My wife have sailed throughout the Caribbean since the early 1990's. Originally on the old Windjammer fleet, later on charter catamarans. We tried the Diamant with Island Windjammer last year out of Grenada and really enjoyed it. ... Read More
My wife have sailed throughout the Caribbean since the early 1990's. Originally on the old Windjammer fleet, later on charter catamarans. We tried the Diamant with Island Windjammer last year out of Grenada and really enjoyed it. Our trip this spring on the Vela was equally great. The ship and the crew are top notch. The crew knows the ship, the islands and demonstrated great customer service. The cabins were clean, neat and well maintained. The food was excellent. The visits to shore were well planned and with very good guides (if you chose to sign up for the tour options). The captain new the best snorkeling spots and was always on top of the weather conditions. The sailing was great including a couple evenings with strong winds allowing the ship to show what she could do under full sail and steady breeze. The ship was large enough to find some space for yourself if needed. The mix of guest background also made the trip enjoyable (which we have found to be the case on every trip we have taken like this). We will definitely be back on an Island Windjammer when time permits. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
From the moment my adult daughter and i arrived on St. Lucia to the time we sadly had to fly back, our experience with Island Windjammers and the Eastern Caribbean islands was Paradise! The company was explicit about how to prepare for the ... Read More
From the moment my adult daughter and i arrived on St. Lucia to the time we sadly had to fly back, our experience with Island Windjammers and the Eastern Caribbean islands was Paradise! The company was explicit about how to prepare for the trip (Did we say pack light? Why, yes we did!) and transfer to the ship was punctual and smooth. The cabins were cozy but clean and comfortable, and were attended to daily. The food was exceptional, especially considering the small kitchen the chef had to work in, and he was masterful in using the fresh meat, veggies and fruit found on the island excursions. Meals were delicious and well served - dinner was a highlight of the day and never disappointed.. Wine and beer were always available, and the happy hour "Vela Coladas" were very tasty! The captain and crew could not have been more accommodating and personable; they were professional yet fun and engaging. They were very gracious in letting us "help" put up the sails. A malfunctioning pump could have become a problem, but the crew remained calm and resolved it without much disruption. Special kudos to the engineer!! Part of the magic of our week on board was the delightful mix of guests. We all had a great time together; meeting as strangers and leaving as friends. It added so much to the trip! But the real gem of this Paradise cruise was the water - absolutely gorgeous!! The Caribbean around the small islands we visited was clean and clear, and perfect for snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking - and just lying on a beach. You picked your own pace - we enjoyed the shore excursions, realizing the islands are small and not well developed. Seeing the sea turtle sanctuary on Bequia was especially interesting. It's just Paradise all over the place! Can't wait to go back!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise for the second time because the date suited us. We actually sailed from and to St Lucia but this isn't an option on the drop down box ! I think P&O are trying out this port in a view to either moving from or ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the second time because the date suited us. We actually sailed from and to St Lucia but this isn't an option on the drop down box ! I think P&O are trying out this port in a view to either moving from or as well as using Barbados. The transfer is l..o..n..g from the airport to Castries, but a comfy coach made it bearable. The advantage was we were the only arrivals that day so embarkation was swift and smooth, unlike in Barbados where there can be multiple flights of passengers queuing for ages for buses, and to embark. The cruise in the Caribbean on Britannia a was excellent. We love the ports, and the ship. Nice inside cabin , spacious, good stewardess, cleaned us up well, friendly. Food in Horizon, Limelight, Meridian and Beach house restaurants excellent, didn't try any others. Ship clean and sparkly, BUT I do have a gripe, a HUGE one. The Ladies public toilets block with alarming regularity, and the problem seems to be unfixable long term. Toilet paper is always running out so my theory is ladies use the hand towels as a substitute which in turn blocks the loos. I reported them every day, especially the one outside the Horizon on the smokers side. After an hour or two of being fixed they were blocked up again. This is a real bind, and means ladies use the disabled loos, not strictly for general use by the able bodied. The entertainment on board was OK, a four piece group of male singers along the lines of the Four Tops were fantastic, along with Mari Wilson in the Limelight, and Adele looky soundy likey. Movies 50 per cent fab, the rest crap or for kids (?). Liked the new way of dealing with, and displaying photos taken by ships snapper, all on a touch screen. One thing left to say is to these people who complain it's like Butlins at sea are all morons. Cruising on a ship this size throws up all sorts of people from all walks of life, and if they don't like it, choose a holiday in Siberia or Outer Mongolia, or pay through their considerably ignorant snooty noses for a private yacht, because cruising is now available to everyone, just like central heating and posh cars. Suck it up and try loosening those stays. Other gripe is the cost of WIFI, £25 a day of which at least 12 of those hours are spent asleep, or £100 for the cruise. I preferred the old 50p a minute. This is a cynical moneymaking scam by P&O and it's about time it was reviewed. Cabin review below.... Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
It was our first Xmas and New Year away from home and we weren't disappointed. Britannia is a lovely ship, very elegant, modern but bright and spacious with it. It got busier on the second week (for New Year) but still didn't ... Read More
It was our first Xmas and New Year away from home and we weren't disappointed. Britannia is a lovely ship, very elegant, modern but bright and spacious with it. It got busier on the second week (for New Year) but still didn't feel overcrowded. Cabin (C633) was an acceptable size and the best size shower we've had on a cruise, balcony was more than adequate to sit out on. We had Freedom dining for the first time and have to say it worked really well and we enjoyed the flexibility and never had to wait for a table once. Food was good, but not outstanding. Choices were varied and I enjoyed the fish dishes the most. Few complaints but the main one was the description of the dish, for example the dish contained "Mediterranean Olives" (I got half a black olive), the lady next to me didn't get any ! Another was a Deli Meat platter with Capers etc, (it was singular !) . So it seemed to us that cutbacks were pretty much in vogue, but as I say that was only a minor gripe. Ate at one speciality Restaurant, Sindhu and the food quality was noticeably better and we enjoyed a very nice meal in there £20pp surcharge. On Sea days they also do an Indian version of Tapas called Nashta, which was £4.95pp for 3 small dishesfrom a menu of about 10 items, which was also really good. Entertainment was varied and enjoyable, the NYE deck party was excellent and the band (Pulse) were really good and didn't fall into the usual party band rubbish songs category. They played a host of current stuff, dance tracks and even Highway to Hell ! Only one blot on their copybook for me was they resorted to YMCA (but you have to go to the loo sometime in the evening !). Drinks on board were reasonably priced, but my one gripe was that they didn't do small mixers of Coke, so as I drank Jack Daniels and Coke it made it more expensive at £3.65 for the JD and £2.75 for a bottle of Coke, although it did last for 2 or 3 measures, whereas my wife had Lemonade as a mixer and this was only 50p. Brodies Bar stocked a very good range of Bottled real ales which I was really looking forward too, unfortunately they were served at a sub zero temperature which rendered them tasteless, so I resorted to Draught Peroni which was the only beer I found served at the right temperature. All in all I thought Britannia was a fabulous ship and wouldn't hesitate to cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My mornings started with a few hours stargazing while sipping a great cup of coffee that always tasted freshly brewed. At first light, the top of the mainmast and sails seemed to reach for the warming rays of the sun as the ship topped a ... Read More
My mornings started with a few hours stargazing while sipping a great cup of coffee that always tasted freshly brewed. At first light, the top of the mainmast and sails seemed to reach for the warming rays of the sun as the ship topped a wave. After that, the days got even better. Some general comments: If watching the sun’s rays gently caress sails and masts at first morning light appeals to you, the Vela and Island Windjammers (IWJ) are the right trip for you. If you enjoy a scenic sunset over the ocean with your loved one, the Vela and IWJ are the right choice for you. If gazing at the stars while listening to the song of the wind in the sails appeal to you, book a trip on the Vela. If you enjoy an uncrowded hike on a beautiful Caribbean island, the Vela and IWJ are a good choice. HOWEVER: If you enjoy being on a floating mega-city with thousands of other people, the Vela and Island Windjammers are NOT the cruise for you. If large crowds appeal to you, the Vela and Island Windjammers are NOT the cruise for you. Some specific comments • The trip was more laid back, less structured and more low key than the beloved but defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruises • Entire crew was fantastic and no weak links. Saw a couple of cases that showed great judgment and superb skills • Ship is well maintained. • Food was great/ superb but not too rich like some restaurants. Portion sizes were good/ appropriate, i.e. plate was not overloaded so less tendency to overeat. However, they always made it clear that seconds or larger servings were available • When weather permitted, they set up tables on deck and we ate in the nice sea breezes while anchored. • Snorkel gear was provided. They had good quality equipment and good range of sizes. • Popcorn maker and aroma of fresh popcorn afternoons, evenings, and any other time if passengers asked for it The following anecdote summarizes how the Vela’s passengers felt: A large cruise ship radioed the captain of the Vela and said several of the large ship's passengers wanted to know about the Vela. After briefly chatting with the passengers aboard the Vela, our captain radioed back that NONE of the Vela’s passengers wanted to know ANYTHING about the mega-ship. . . . . . Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary. This was our fourth cruise and it did not come up to the standard of the other cruises. The dress code is almost non-existent. I went into the indoor restaurant (Horizon) and ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary. This was our fourth cruise and it did not come up to the standard of the other cruises. The dress code is almost non-existent. I went into the indoor restaurant (Horizon) and although casual dress is accepted in there - no dress code is applied at all and a man of vast tattooed proportions and sweaty armpits wearing a vest plonked himself next to me. Minimum dress code should be applied in the self-service restaurant. Bare bodies and vest-tops are not acceptable when eating inside. The dress standard in the other restaurants is lax. The Britannia should be re-named The Benidorm - if you want to attract riff-raff you're going the right way about it. Entertainment was very Butlin's Holiday Camp - a lot of shouting "Are you enjoying yourselves" and inviting the audience to shriek back. Tasteless and totally lacking in class. Quite a nice cabin and balcony - excellent attendant - very helpful at all times. Shower floor cracked. Our cabin was quite nice and our cabin attendant was excellent. Most of the staff, however, seemed to have a low morale and service was slow in the restaurant. Food was OK (ish) Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Reasonably (though still a bit dear) priced 14 night cruise to the eastern Caribbean in a balcony cabin, boarding at Castries, St Lucia on the Britannia, visiting 9 islands in total, mainly in the Lesser Antilles group. First timers ... Read More
Reasonably (though still a bit dear) priced 14 night cruise to the eastern Caribbean in a balcony cabin, boarding at Castries, St Lucia on the Britannia, visiting 9 islands in total, mainly in the Lesser Antilles group. First timers with P & O, though had cruised several times with Celebrity X and once on Royal Caribbean. Good flight out on a chartered Thomas Cook Airbus A330 (I think), disappointed to find that although flight time was about 1.25 hours less than scheduled, had to sit on plane for about that time or longer without full ECS, because buses weren't available to take us to the ship until the scheduled time. Why we weren't allowed to disembark and wait in the airport I guess was down to the rather small size of the airport and its limited lounge facilities, though this was rather uncomfortable given the temperature and following the long flight. Travel to port was in rather cramped mini bus type vehicles, the small bottle of water we were each given was very welcome if a bit minimal for the 1.5hr journey. Had to wait quite a time on arrival at the port to register and get on to the ship, and by that time nerves were a bit frayed. On first sight cabin and its balcony and bathroom seemed very small compared to other ships, though subsequently felt they were adequate after a day or two. Bit surprised to find that the cabin fridge did not contain any drinks for purchase. The ship itself seemed very smart with a nice, perhaps slightly understated opulence without being at all spectacular. Dining and general eating experiences were fairly good, our evening dining was in the ship's Meridian restaurant, we like to dine with others so after the first evening (when we couldn't be asked to change after travelling and ate in the self service Horizon restaurant on deck 16) we joined a table for 8, food and service in the Meridian was of an acceptable standard generally, though some times main portions seemed a little small and were not always particularly hot. Though these points were willingly remedied by the staff. We took breakfast in the Horizon self service a number of times, which was a bit of a bun fight at times, and mirrored the British wish for a big "fry-up" to start the day, also using on some mornings the quieter ambience of the waiter served breakfast in the Peninsular or Meridian. I was a bit critical of the lunchtime or later in the afternoon meal availability of food in the self service, particularly after returning to the ship at around 3pm after a trip ashore when choice seemed rather limited because the range of food available say at about 1pm had largely been consumed and not fully replaced, several times I was unable to find things like fresh lettuce or tomatoes etc. to knock-up a nice salad. We did not use the speciality or premium restaurants. Alcoholic drink prices were generally excellent, much, much cheaper than other ships I have sailed on, in fact very competitive with pub prices in the UK particularly with draught beers and lagers and a vast array of spirits and bottled beers. I also was happy with shore excursion prices which were good value and offered a great variety of opportunities to experience local attractions, with the added safeguard of not missing the ship an extra benefit. These seemed significantly less expensive than previous experiences. On board entertainment was very good with a variety of types, from well produced muscal shows in the theatre of "West End" quality, as well as solo shows with two performances to fit in with dining times. Also disco, pop, or intimate cocktail bar type music in the smaller venues. In fact something available to suit all tastes every evening including ballroom dancing. In addition there were many different themed quizzes and cash prize bingo to have a go at as well as movies and interesting talks to attend. The "sail away" shows on the pool deck were definitely not to be missed. Disembarkation, which of course,is always a low point went ok, though was not too impressed with having to remain in one place without easy access to drinks or food for over an hour while waiting for the coaches to arrive, as it felt a bit like we were being treated like school children who could not be trusted to be at a specific place at an exact time. You may note I said "coaches" as unlike the vehicles used at the start of the trip, this time the transfer was in the comparative luxury of 40-50 seat, very new, coaches. I was unhappy with having to pay £20 each to reserve specific seats on the aircraft home as we were told that was necessary to ensure my travelling partner ( who is a slightly nervous flyer) and I would have seats together. Like many other travellers, I guess, we really have no particular preference for where we sit on the plane, as long as we have adjacent seats to each other. As the seats were allocated whilst still on the ship, there seems to me to be no reason why this wish could not be met free of charge. This practice of charging seems to be coming a standard way of effectively increasing the cost of flying without openly appearing to do so. On balance, I enjoyed the cruise and would certainly cruise with P & O again, strong points for me were the itinerary, drinks and excursion prices and entertainment. Small reservations re food and cabin, balcony and bathroom sizes would not deter me though price would be a determining factor with these in mind. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Flight / arrival at the island / check in We'd booked what turned out to be the first trip where Britannia home ported at St Lucia. I say home ported; obviously, Britannia still made the two day stop in Barbados a week later but ... Read More
Flight / arrival at the island / check in We'd booked what turned out to be the first trip where Britannia home ported at St Lucia. I say home ported; obviously, Britannia still made the two day stop in Barbados a week later but ours was the first P&O charter flight out to the island to start a 2-week cruise. Thomas Cook was the carrier and it was just fine. We splashed out on Premium (which was very good but not quite as enjoyable as Thomson’s premium on the 787) which also helped when it came to disembarking at the airport through the one and only exit, namely the front stairs. It was a bit chaotic to be honest, it being left to the aircraft captain to apologise on P&O’s behalf for the fact that our early arrival meant there were no buses to collect us. After about 45 mins we all traipsed past the solitary immigration officer (at the top of the aircraft steps bizarrely) and got on what can be best described as a glorified minibus for the 1 hour trip on St Lucia’s steep and windy roads over to Castries. It was a bit hairy, to be honest and there were moments that I thought we’d have to get out and push, but eventually we got to the city and soon Britannia came in to view in her berth and what a welcome sight it was.. can never get over how massive the ship is up close. We parked up right next to the ship at Pointe Seraphine and the check in process was as smooth as you like; partly on the quayside but most of the processing was done on board, in the Atrium. After a bit of comedy “back a bit”, “forward a bit” with the security photo we were on the way to our cabin! This being our first cruise there was a genuine sense of excitement as we headed up the stairs and into F112. Main Dining We had expressed a preference at the time of booking for Freedom Dining on the Saver and were pleased to get it. Over the 9 or so occasions that we ate in the MDR we only once had to take a pager and wait in a bar, and that was on the Captains' Gala Evening; otherwise, given that we were happy to share a table, we got to sit down straight away. Despite some of the complaints I’ve read elsewhere about the MDR menu, we can safely say we didn’t have a bad experience at all. Whilst there are numerous courses, the portion sizes were reasonable, so you didn’t feel that you were gorging yourself just to get through the dinner… We enjoyed the menu variety and thought the quality was just fine. Service was unobtrusive and efficient, just how you want it really. On a couple of occasions when we had shore excursions leaving early-ish in the morning, we decided to have breakfast in the Buffet, which was a bit manic for us, so subsequently we just got up a bit earlier and headed down to the Peninsular Restaurant allowing a bit more time for a full-service meal. BTW I would say that overall the formal nights were pretty well observed as far as dressing up was concerned, 80+ percent of the gents were in black tie / DJ’s. It made for a pretty special feel although towards the end, the fourth formal night I couldn’t wait to get out of the trousers given that I had, er, filled out a bit. Select Dining This is where Britannia’s food and drink really comes into its own; we tried pretty much all the Select restaurants: Epicurean, Glass House (tapas), Sindhu, the Beach House (very popular with the crew, which is always a good sign) and the Limelight (see Entertainment below). Our favourite was the Beach House, a chilled feel and the food was awesome. Second favourite was the tapas – type meal we had at the Glass House (which you don’t have to book for). Overall, we thought the select dining was good value for money (assuming that you can get over the fact that you’re paying on top for the privilege, but we were happy with that). Bars and Entertainment Our favourite bar was the Crow’s Nest; as a fan of gin I tried my best to get through the selection Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I just finished a six-night cruise on Vela and I had an amazing time. The trip was one of the peak experiences of my life. Some of the credit for that belongs to the Vela; she’s a sweet ship. Mostly, however, it is due to the crew’s ... Read More
I just finished a six-night cruise on Vela and I had an amazing time. The trip was one of the peak experiences of my life. Some of the credit for that belongs to the Vela; she’s a sweet ship. Mostly, however, it is due to the crew’s hard work and dedication to the passenger’s happiness. I traveled solo as a share of a Deluxe Cabin, which means that you sign up to share the cabin with a stranger, if one should book. I was fortunate, probably, that no one booked the other half of the cabin. We embarked at Marigot Bay on St. Lucia, and, in addition to St. Lucia, visited the islands of Isles des Saintes and Marie-Gallant (both off the coast of Guadeloupe), Dominica, and with a brief stop in Martinique. There were long stops at Isles des Saintes, where we visited a very pretty, very French, village and a Napoleonic fort; at Marie-Gallant for swimming, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, and lunch; and at two separate stops in Dominica, where we were offered a choice of several activities such as tours of the island, beach time or river tubing. The captain was careful to time our arrivals and departures so that we had as much time as possible during daylight hours at each stop. Brandon, our operations manager, started each day listing the schedule and the available activities. He worked hard to accommodate any out of the ordinary requests, and was helpful arranging post-cruise taxis and restaurant reservations. Vela is a true sailing ship, and, for my money, she shined when the engines were off and the sails were raised. Captain Delyan Radev is a veteran sailor and captain (he’s not as young as he looks), and that showed in the way he navigated and sailed the ship. It was remarkable to witness the competence he brought to the exercise, and the very apparent joy he took in the sailing. Passengers were encouraged to help raise sails, and captain and deck crew were very willing to answer questions about the ship or sailing in general. Much of the sailing was done at night or early in the morning and mostly in the lee of the islands, and was therefore relatively calm; crossing between islands where there were Atlantic swells and winds could be a good deal rougher. Some of the passengers had trouble sleeping during the rougher passages, but others found the motion relaxing and slept well. I spent as much of the sailing time as I could on deck. We sailed during a full moon, and the night sailing was spectacular. Life on the ship was pretty chill. The cabins are small, and that bothered some. For me and most of the guests, however, the size of the cabins was understood as being a part of a true sailing ship. Most of us spent little time in our cabins. The deck lounging areas are spacious. There is one in the bow of the ship, and one in the stern. The passengers where pretty well divided half and half between those who preferred quiet and those who wanted music. Captain Delyan spent an hour early one morning rewiring the sound system so we could have music in one section and quiet in the other. The other common area is the dining room/lounge where passengers eat, play board games, or just hang out of the sun. The crew of about 12, including captain, first mate, and operations manager, were very clearly working hard to make sure the passengers had a good time; the few complaints were dealt with quickly. Chef Robert and his assistant Philbert produced gourmet Caribbean-influenced meals. I don’t remember anyone choosing to eat off the ship when they could eat Robert’s food. At least one passenger who reported on a meal at an expensive island restaurant post-cruise, compared her meal unfavorably with Robert’s. The passengers on my cruise ranged from their mid-thirties to mid-sixties and were a very congenial lot, pretty laid-back and easy going. Most were couples, but there were three other solos like me; at no time did I feel isolated or excluded. I wouldn’t hesitate to go solo again. I recommend a cruise on this ship highly. I think most passengers will have a wonderful time, as long as they keep their expectations in line with the reality of traveling on a 156-foot sailing vessel. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I took a 12 night one way explorer cruise from St. Lucia to St. Maarten, threading through the beautiful and underdeveloped Leeward Islands. We visited 9 countries, and 12 islands on this outstanding, hard to find itinerary. We had 21 on ... Read More
I took a 12 night one way explorer cruise from St. Lucia to St. Maarten, threading through the beautiful and underdeveloped Leeward Islands. We visited 9 countries, and 12 islands on this outstanding, hard to find itinerary. We had 21 on board (capacity is 24), a mix of singles, married but traveling single, couples and one mother/ son pair. This is a social cruise, you are in close quarters with everyone one, as the cabin are small (but very adequate), and you will not spend much time in them except to sleep. There are steep stairs/ladders to get up and down decks, be sure you are comfortable with that. I understand the old barefoot windjammer cruises were serious party boats, but the new line has mellowed, and there is a good time atmosphere, 5 pm rum punch and snack hours, free flowing wine and beer, but I gather the partying is more subdued that prior years. Fine with me. The crew was outstanding, instilling confidence, and took good care of us and the boat. There were island excursions offered at many of the ports, ranging from free hikes, to moderate cost island tours ($30 ish), up to cycling or ATV tours for close to $100. NO pressure to take them, you could do nothing, or plan your own day based on the dingy to shore times. Sagitta is a MOTOR sailer, so you motor everywhere, with a few stay sails for added boost. WE mostly moved at night, to maximize day time on shore. BTY, the generators are on 100% of the time (for AC, etc) so there is a constant hum in the background. Choose your rooms carefully if you want to minimize the sound. If you get seasick, you might want to consider a bigger ship, or choose on of the itineraries in protected water, like the British Virgin Islands. This is a special experience, one of a kind, and I hope to repeat it soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and I have been doing the small sail ship thing since 1990 and it never gets old. Capt Matt, Simon, Leah and the rest of the crew could not have made us feel any more at home. This was our second sail on the Sagitta and I felt ... Read More
My wife and I have been doing the small sail ship thing since 1990 and it never gets old. Capt Matt, Simon, Leah and the rest of the crew could not have made us feel any more at home. This was our second sail on the Sagitta and I felt that every passenger had a great time. There was some sea sickness involved with some passengers due to 2 pretty "rock and roll" sailings across some open sea; but, the rest was smooth sailing. Snacks and meals were plentiful and delicious. Beer and wine included and you can bring on your own alcohol beverages. Embarkation and disembarkation were both simple and flawless. Travel from UVF to Rodney Bay is 1 hour15 minutes and not cheap, where the ship is anchored. I would recommend Desir's Taxi Service for transportation on St Lucia - Murphy, the owner, is extremely friendly and knowledgeable regarding the island. We stayed one night prior to sailing at Cleopatra Villas and one night after at Harmony Suites. We highly recommend both places We will definitely be returning to one of Island Windjammer's 3 ships in the the next year or so. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Diamant. What did I like best. So hard to say....good, fresh food, great crew, fantastic fellow passengers, incredible entertainment. Entertainment provided by the stars, the dolphins, turtles and crew. Incredible customer service from ... Read More
Diamant. What did I like best. So hard to say....good, fresh food, great crew, fantastic fellow passengers, incredible entertainment. Entertainment provided by the stars, the dolphins, turtles and crew. Incredible customer service from booking to disembarkation. From the start, while we were waiting to board, one of our nine co-passengers had forgotten her passport in the cab. We all waited and talked until Island Windjammer staff was was able to contact the cabdriver and have it returned. Did the remaining passengers complain? No way! That's the thing about Island Wondjammer cruisers- they care about their fellow passengers, even though we had all just met. There's no lines for a buffet, no lines for touring, no lines for anything. Our cruise started by the captain saying- Ok, it's your cruise-- here are some choices, what would you like to do. We could have stayed for the jump up (a live band and dance at the marina) or start sailing-- you don't get that on a mega line. Because the weather was great, we had a few other choicess along the way. The crew was fabulous. The steward, Bolo, was the most cheerful person I have ever met - he was also on our Sagitta cruise last year (the second Island Windjammer ship). We stayed in Cabin 3- one of the standard cabins. There is not much room for storage, but then you don't have to bring much...two pair of shorts, bathing suit and maybe a sundress or Hawaiin shirt. If you pack in a dufflebag, life is easier. The really big treat with Diamant is that it really is a sailing vessel! Sail...beach...sand...snorkel...small group...great crew..... What more do you need? Read Less
Sail Date April 2015

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