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March 1, 2018

QuirkyCruise Reader Review: VELA in the Caribbean (Island Windjammers) By Katie L.

Reviewer

Katie Lobe from Canada

Cruise Line

Island Windjammers

Ship

Vela

Destination

Caribbean

# of Nights

6

Departure Date & Ports

January 2018 from Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, to St Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe

OVERALL RATING

5 out of 5 stars      (5=excellent, 4=very good, 3=good, 2=poor, 1=terrible)

-Food Rating:  5

-Cabin Rating:  5

-Service/Crew Rating:  5

-Itinerary Rating:  5

Have you been on a small ship cruise before?

I have been on 3 small ship cruises.

Review

Wow, What an Adventure!

As the Medical Officers on Amazing Grace of the previous Windjammer Barefoot Cruises fleet 20 years ago, my husband and I were able to visit the tall ships of that fleet as well as many of the Caribbean slands visited by the Grace from Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago for a month long sail at a time.

We have recently arrived home from our first Island Windjammer sail on Vela, a surprise celebration for my husband’s 50th birthday.  We went into the adventure with high expectations and have returned home absolutely impressed!

Our group of 9 Canadian adventurers appreciated the focus by the Crew on all aspects of safety, which allowed everyone to relax, knowing we were in good hands.  A little note: be properly prepared to deal with seasickness as this is the real deal — navigating the Caribbean sea on a sailboat is not for the faint of heart!

The trip felt very familiar as the owners have captured the original Windjammer experience: sailing to see small islands the congested, large ships can’t get to, exceptional and well-trained staff (from booking to disembarkation) who go above and beyond to make sure your experience is what you want it to be, day trips, snorkeling and diving trips and even 5 o’clock swizzles and snacks!

The tour of the engine room is a must, as Frederick demonstrated the inner workings and the many talents demanded of him to keep the Vela operational at all times.  Chef Robert produced exceptional meals daily with the option available at times to purchase local meals ashore.  Great adventures ashore and on the water!  Accessibility to the Captain, Officers and Crew with whom you can take the time to share and learn about the sailing experience and each other’s cultures if you want to, while relaxing on the fantail or on the deck, leaves you knowing you have had an authentic experience.

We continued the Barefoot tradition of leaving clothing behind in our cabin for the crew at the end of our journey, knowing they will be able to share it with someone who needs it more than we do — thank you Island Windjammers for the wonderful memories!

 

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