Thread: Windjammer
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Old April 27th, 2004, 08:52 PM
D Ball
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Default Windjammer

I had better luck w/ Google archives. Here's Lee's Yankee
Clipper review (parts I & II).

Cruise Review - Windjammer Barefoot Cruise Yankee Clipper.
March 8-15, 2003

Who we a

Lee - A frequent participant on rtc and the author of this
review. 39
years old (hanging on), married, rather adventurous spirit,
loves trying
new things, but is very happy vegging on a beach.

Minda - My very best friend in the entire world (after my
husband, of
course). Best friends for over 20 years, in fact. Minda=b9s
a physician
living in Maine, married with two sons. We don=b9t get to
see each other
very often, and we=b9ve never vacationed together, so being
together for a
week could, potentially, be quite a test of our

Leaving the husbands home - Minda=b9s to take care of the
kids, mine,
because he=b9s a musician, and mid-March (St. Patrick=b9s
day season) is very
gig-intensive for him - too much work to turn down.

Since this was our first Windjammer cruise, we decided to
work with a TA
who specialized in Windjammers. This was a great decision,
Elizabeth Vollan at Aim Higher Travel was a constant and
dependable source
of information, tips, do=b9s and don=b9ts, etc, and the
went off without a hitch. With Windjammer, you basically pay
the printed
brochure price, so shopping around for the best deal
wasn=b9t an issue this
time. I would HIGHLY recommend working with Liz if you=b9re
interested in
trying a Windjammer cruise. She=b9s been on many, so has
picked up, along
the way, lots of good ideas that she=b9s happy to share with
clients. Thanks
again, Liz.

Sat. March 8 - The trip started out with a bang. With the
help of Minda=b9s
husband (who gave me her flight info), I was able to
secretly book the
same flight as Minda, to Grenada. She=b9d fly from Portland
to Philly, I=b9d
fly from LaGuardia to Philly. Then, we=b9d meet up, and fly
together from
Philly to Grenada. Minda had no idea we=b9d be heading to
Grenada together
and amazingly, we (her husband, my husband, Liz the TA) were
able to keep
the secret from her.I told her I=b9d be flying American from
Newark via San
Juan and would be arriving about 6 hours after her. My
flight actually
arrived in Philly about a half hour before hers, so I headed
down to the
gate to get myself settled in a spot where I could watch her
approach, yet
still keep hidden. I stopped at a gate a ways before ours,
but where I
knew she had to pass. Once I saw her go by, I gave her a few
minutes to
get situated at the gate, then I followed. I was able to sit
with my back
to her, and then I turned around and (to freak her out even
more) ran my
fingers through her hair. She jumped, turned around,
screamed, we hugged,
made a scene in the airport, blah, blah, blah. It was really
fun, she was
thrilled I was flying with her (in fact I even booked the
seat right next
to her), and we had a great flight down to Grenada. Landed
on time at
about 3:30pm Grenada time (one hour ahead of est).

Once in Grenada and through customs, we got a cab ($10 flat
rate) to the
Allamanda Beach Resort & Spa on Grand Anse beach. Liz (TA)
had mentioned
that this was a popular place for Windjammers looking for a
hotel. It was also listed on the Windjammer website. It was
a nice place.
Nothing special, but nothing bad, either. Front desk staff
was very
friendly and service oriented (unusual in Grenada...more on
that later).
It was situated right on the beach, had a lovely (unused)
pool area, and a
Neilson (UK company) sailing school right there.

After we checked in, we went wandering around the area
surrounding the
hotel. Across the way was a mall, a KFC, and a few other
shops. Most
places were closed.We got some ice cream, I got a meat
pattie at the
market (yum), we bought some bottled water. Headed back to
the hotel and
took a stroll down the beach - very beautiful, clean, white
sand. Dined at
the hotel restaurant (de Soleil). We both had fish - mine
was snapper
baked in a fig leaf with some fig salsa, rice, etc. Minda
had mahi mahi, I
think. Presentation was lovely, service, though friendly,
wasn=b9t very

Okay - time to discuss Grenada. This is a lovely
country/island with
incredible potential to be a major tourist destination. The
is already in place. Lots of hotels, nice restaurants, good
roads, nice
airport, etc. And, I think Grenadians would be happy to take
their share
of the tourist dollar that so many other islands enjoy. The
problem is
that they just don=b9t =b3get it=b2 when it comes to the
service industry.
Restaurant and hotel owners are hard pressed to find
Grenadians that are
willing to provide even basic services to clients. A
restaurant meal could
easily take 3 hours to complete - and that=b9s for one
course! When you
first have to ask for menus, then have to ask for your order
to be
taken...we both ordered a drink (I had a vodka and Ting - a
grapefruit soda that I drink gallons of when I find it in
the Caribbean),
finished the drink and were never asked if we wanted
another. We were
never offered a dessert. And, this wasn=b9t just this one
restaurant. We met
a woman on the beach on Sunday who lives on the island and
teaches at the
Medical School (Minda says this school is highly competitive
and produces
excellent doctors, fwiw). She said that the lack of service
is pretty much
standard throughout the island - a constant source of
frustration for
restaurant and other tourist-driven business owners. It all
comes down to
how much they (Grenadians) want =b3it=b2. They seem like a
generally happy
society, and it=b9s kind of refreshing to visit a tourist
spot not so driven
to have its visitors part with their dollars (or Euros).
It=b9s just a
different feel than what I=b9ve experienced elsewhere in the
Caribbean, and
as about opposite as what you=b9d find in Jamaica.
Similarity to Jamaica?
Although the aroma of gange was prevalent, none was offered
for purchase,
as so often happens on the streets of Ocho Rios.

Sun. March 9 - Up at my usual 6:30am (even on
vacation...pretty sick,
huh?) and settled on the beach by 8:00am. (I usually eat
breakfast early,
but Minda wanted to wait). I=b9m happy to sit on a beach all
day - someone
can roll me over every once in a while, and baste with
sunscreen as
needed. Minda can=b9t sit still (although, as the week
progressed, and her
relaxation level increased, she became better at it). So,
she went across
the way to the market to pick up some breakfast munchies.
They didn=b9t open
until 10:00, so she came back. At 11:00 or so, she went back
to the
market, but by that time, I was in the mood for more
lunch-type stuff, so
asked her to get me another meat pattie. She came back with
a bag of
granola - the patties would not be done until 12:00. Oh
well. Over the
course of the morning, we were approached by several vendors
various crafts and things. We were actually interested in
seeing what was
being offered, and bought a few things (spice necklaces, as
Grenada is THE
spice island, woven palm frond baskets, black coral
bracelets, etc.). If
we weren=b9t interested, usually a simple smile and =b3no
thanks=b2 were all
that was needed. Unfortunately, once we were seen buying, we
descended upon by every vendor on the beach, to the point of
it becoming
rather annoying and trying on the nerves. Unfortunately, we
had to resort
to more harsh tactics to rid ourselves of the vendors, which
we felt bad
about. But, it was getting too ridiculous. After one vendor
tried to save
my soul : ), we started chatting with a woman close by, who
turned out to
be an instructor at the med. school and had lived on Grenada
for 4 or so
years. It was she that told us of the service issues on this
island. We
had an interesting talk, and invited her to have lunch with
us at the
hotel. She was glad for the company, and we were very
interested in what
she had to say about her life on Grenada.

After lunch, we showered, packed (had gotten permission from
the hotel
manager to use the room for the afternoon, until it was time
to leave for
the ship), and checked out. Took a taxi to the ship which
was docked in
St. George=b9s. I guess we arrived at about 3:30, and
boarding doesn=b9t begin
until 5:00. After we dropped our bags, we walked into town,
which was
completely shut down.Found one restaurant that was open, and
ordered Tings
(yum). We had a good view of the ship from our seats at the
(Nutmeg=b9s) and could see people up on deck, so we decided
to head back to
see if boarding had started earlier than announced - and it
had! We
boarded at 4:30 and were happy to find lots of snacks
available out on
deck. Did the meet/greet thing (everyone knows everyone on a
At afternoon snack time, the rum swizzles are free and free
flowing -
that=b9s every day on a Windjammer.

Oh...should mention that this pre-sail night is called a
=b3stowaway=b2 night
and is not included in the cruise fare ($55 extra) but most
WJers do opt
for the extra night, and I would definitely recommend it. By
the end of
the night, you=b9ve already met so many people. Those that
boarded the next
day were kind of, not left out, but in a position to have to
play catch-up
to get into the =b3groove=b2. By week=b9s end, it=b9s no
difference, but I think
it=b9s awkward for the very few late arriving passengers.

So, after we had filled up on snacks (wings, cheese &
crackers, fruit,
etc.) we were called into the dining salon for orientation.
The meeting
was conducted by Purser Jane, the only female member of the
crew - a very
funny Scottish woman, the leader of the fun for the week.
The ways of
Windjammer were explained to us (most importantly how bar
doubloons work)
and then we stood in line (the only line for the week) to
turn in our
passports, set up our sign & sail accounts, sign our
releases and get our
cabin assignments.

There were 62 passengers on board this week (max. 64) and
about 20-25
crew. The passengers were all from the US, mostly from the
midwest. Most
pax travelled as couples and there were two groups
travelling together - a
group of 8 (siblings, spouses, cousins), and a group of 12
(all had
previously been on WJ cruises, some were connected through
business, but
seemed to be just a group of friends). The majority of
passengers were in
the 35-50 year old range. There were 4 elderly (75+) women
together who were all certified in SCUBA so spent a lot of
diving/snorkeling. These women (nicknamed =b3the Spice
Girls=b2) were a hoot!

Once done with our paperwork we were escorted to our cabin
by Jamel, our
steward, and given a =b3tour=b2. Folks, you only have to go
on one Windjammer
(or Glacier Bay Cruiseline as we did this past Summer) to
cure yourselves
of ever complaining about cabin size on a mass market cruise
ship. We had
booked a =b3Captain=b9s Cabin=b2 - only the =b3Admiral=b9s
Cabin=b2 was a higher
category. We=b9re talking small...didn=b9t help that when we
entered the cabin
for the first time, our suitcases were taking up pretty much
all of the
available floor space. Once we had unpacked entirely and
stowed the
suitcases under the bottom bed, the cabin was really quite
comfortable and
just fine for the amount of time we spent there. I=b9d
advise against
bringing any really huge, inflexible suitcases on a WJ
because if you
aren=b9t able to fit it under the bed, it=b9ll be in your
way the whole week,
out on the floor (if you=b9re only using the lower bed, I
suppose the
suitcase can be stored on the upper bunk).

The cabin was all wood with a double lower bunk and a single
upper bunk.
The beds were made up with red plaid blankets, with an extra
folded at the foot of each. Each bed had two pillows, sheets
were a soft
pink. I offered to take the upper bunk, and Minda didn=b9t
argue : ). On
each bed were a bath towel, hand towel, washcloth, bars of
soap and a few
Hershey Kisses. There was also a cute question/answer book
about WJ as
part of the orientation thing. Each bed had a small reading
lamp. There
was an adequate size closet (no door) with a hanging area
and lots of shelves. Three hanging hooks on the outside. For
what you
bring to wear on a WJ, the shelf/hanging space was plenty
big. We had a
large picture window and a smaller window in the door. Our
cabin opened
directly onto the outside deck, though there wasn=b9t much
traffic, as the
only folks walking by were the people in the cabin to our
right (the
forward most cabin) and a few crew members. Under our
picture window we
had another table which housed our dorm-sized fridge. This
was really
great to have a place to keep water bottles cold, and to
stash our Kisses
so they wouldn=b9t melt. We offered fridge space to a few
fellow passengers
who didn=b9t have this luxury in their cabins. The bathroom
was an
all-in-one affair with toilet, corner sink and shower head
all in one very
compact space. There was only one shelf, a handicapped
bathroom-style bar,
a retractable clothesline and drain hole in the floor. Some
shelf space near the sink would have been handy. There
really wasn=b9t a
spot to keep toothpaste (there was a toothbrush holder),
contact lens
stuff, etc. The tabletop over our fridge became the
auxiliary bathroom
counter. The cabin was well air-conditioned.

Back up on deck we went to have dinner and meet more WJers.
Dinner was a
buffet on deck tonight with chicken, beef stew, rice,
vegetable, shrimp
cocktail, salads, etc. After dinner we enjoyed a 12 piece,
very excellent
steel drum band - lots of dancing, drinking, fun. As is my
norm, however
(and Minda=b9s too) we were in bed by 11:00.
I=b9ll say a few words about the layout of the ship. It=b9s
basically three
decks. The top deck can be broken up into three areas - aft,
forward. Aft was considered the =b3sun=b2 deck. The sail
back there was never
raised, so it was a favorite spot for sun worshippers like
me. Along the
rail were wooden storage benches, and at the very back, a
tarp covering,
what we discovered later in the week, a small fleet of open
cockpit sea
kayaks. Other than that, the =b3sun=b2 deck was just an open
space. Midships
revolved around the center table area that had storage
benches all around
it. It was here that our morning Captain=b9s storytime and
Purser Jane=b9s
briefings took place. It was also where all of the buffets
were set up -
lunches, afternoon snacks, some dinners. This area was
covered by a large
tarp for shade, when we were anchored, but the tarp came
down when the
sails went up. Forward was the wheel/compass set-up (always
with two crew
members there when under way) and large bins containing deck
pads that we
could take anywhere for lounging around. Just aft of the
=b3bridge=b2 was a
big open area where many of the planned activities took
place. The deck
space was plentiful - never an issue finding a spot to call
your own.

Next deck down (main deck) had the dining =b3salon=b2 all
the way aft, the
bar just forward of that, the activities board and cabins
(our cabin was
on this deck). As you leave the dining room, the bar is
ahead of you to
starboard. Ahead and to port was another counter where early
coffee/pastries, late night snacks and sea chest (the
ship=b9s store) were
set up. The steps up to the top deck were to the right of
the bar and to
the left of the other counter.

Directly ahead of you, leaving the dining room, was a
staircase leading
down to the lower deck, which was all cabins on both sides
of the ship.
All the way forward on the port side was the captain=b9s
cabin. It was
pretty close quarters down on the lower deck. The cabins had
portholes but
were so close to the water line, that, when we were moving,
what you saw
was more =b3washing machine=b2 than anything else.

Thanks again to Liz for advising us to book the main deck
category cabin.
Not only was our cabin slightly bigger, we had lots more
daylight, and was
a lot more comfortable for those times when seasickness
became an issue.

Mon. March 10 - Up at 6:30 (what else is new) put in my
contacts, dressed
and went outside to enjoy the morning. Sweet rolls, muffins
and fresh
fruit were already out for the taking. I filled my large
insulated travel
mug with tea (thanks again Liz, for suggesting we bring
these with us -
you=b9re right, the mugs they provide are too tiny), loaded
a plate with
yummies and headed up top to savor the quiet. Quite a few
folks were
already up and about, so we luxuriated in our surroundings
together. At
7:30, the breakfast bell was rung and we all piled into the
dining room.
The dining room has 6 tables which can each seat 6 people.
There is no
assigned seating or dining time. For meals in the dining
room, you either
choose 1st or 2nd seating. Breakfasts didn=b9t take long, so
those who
waited for 2nd seating didn=b9t have long to wait. The
tables were set with
various syrups (nutmeg syrup - yum), jams and jellies
(nutmeg jam - yum),
and small boxes of cereal. The stewards (stewards serve
meals as well as
service cabins on these ships) brought around yogurts and
baskets of
toast. Then, the hot breakfast plate was served. Usually,
you=b9d find eggs
of some sort or pancakes/french toast, and a breakfast meat.
There is no
menu to choose from - breakfast is what it is.

After breakfast, we gathered up on deck for the first of our
with Captain Julian. Nice enough fellow, but didn=b9t really
have too much
of value to share with us. His chats were always followed up
by Purser
Jane who, in my opinion, runs the ship. Jane described the
day=b9s schedule,
presented the various excursion options for wherever we
were, etc. The
schedule was also posted on a dry erase board right outside
the dining
room. Next to the schedule board was another dry-erase board
where, a few
times during the week, you were asked to select your entree
(meat or
fish). Since we hadn=b9t really explored the island of
Grenada yet, we opted
for the island tour, with stops at a spice plantation and
waterfall. The
tours, in my opinion, were much more reasonably priced than
what you
ordinarily pay on a regular cruise ship. Anyway, off we went
on our tour.
The driver=b9s mic wasn=b9t working so we couldn=b9t hear
much of what he was
saying, which was kind of a drag. The spice plantation was
pretty darn
interesting. They harvest nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and cocoa
there, and
having never seen any of these in their natural, unprocessed
form, it was
pretty fun. This plantation also grows lots of lilies for
commercial sale
to cut flower distributors. Next time I get flowers which
include one of
those large, bright red leaf-like lilies, I=b9ll think of
this farm. Next
stop was Concord Waterfall where we only had a short time.
At the entrance
were a few vendors selling spice-related items at very
reasonable prices.
I picked up some cinnamon stick (jumbo size compared to what
you find in
the market) and =b3cocoa balls=b2 for making Grenadian hot
chocolate - drop
one of these wonderful smelling balls (1.5=b2 diameter or
so) into 3-4 cups
of water and simmer for a while. Then, add milk and sugar to
taste and
drink! Haven=b9t tried making any yet, but if it tastes as
good as it
smells... Also bought some hot sauce. Considered buying a
pint of vanilla
for $10.00, but heeded my own warnings about unsavory
additives sometimes
added to =b3pure=b2 vanilla and skipped. They promised me it
was pure, no
coumarin added, and it smelled really nice. Bottled in
Grenada, too.
Perhaps it was a good buy, but I=b9d be reluctant to use it,
so I=b9m glad I
passed on it. We were rushed to get back to the ship because
we were being
kicked out of port at 12:00 instead of the usual 1:00, so I
didn=b9t swim in
the falls - just stuck my toes in. Minda was feeling pretty
overheated, so
she went right in.

Almost as soon as we returned to the ship, the anchor was
raised, the
sails were hoisted to the sounds of Amazing Grace and we
were on our way.
Volunteers are encouraged to help with the hoisting of the
sails, but you
don=b9t have to help if you don=b9t want. I didn=b9t help,
Minda did. The
afternoon sun, the wind in the sails (the drone of the
engine) made for a
relaxing time until about 4:00 or so when I started feeling
pretty queasy.
I=b9d been on Bonine since Saturday morning, but I guess the
motion was too
much for even medicated me. The rest of the day, until we
dropped anchor
at 10:00pm or so, I spent up on deck trying to keep the
seasickness at
bay. I nibbled on some crackers during afternoon snacks, to
keep something
in my stomach, and I guess that helped a bit. It was a
really long day of
sailing, and by the end, I think there were quite a few
folks not feeling
very well at all. Lots of us skipped dinner - going into the
dining room
was something I couldn=b9t do. Probably around 8:00 or so,
Minda went down
to the cabin and got blankets and pillows for us, brought
them up on deck,
we laid out a few deck pads, and went to sleep topside. Once
we laid down
we felt a little better (Minda wasn=b9t feeling well either)
and easily
drifted off to sleep...

Tues. March 11 - Woke up at 4:30am anchored in Bequia
(I=b9ve heard it
pronounced two ways - beckway and beckwee so take your pick
- accent on
the first syllable) and feeling much better. We=b9d be
spending all day and
night here, not pulling up anchor until early tomorrow
morning. Captain
Julian=b9s wife, mother and other family live on the island,
so he likes to
maximize his time here - that=b9s one of the reasons we had
such a long sail

Headed down to the cabin for a shower. The shower (if you
can call it
that) was a negative. There WAS warm (sometimes even hot)
water, but it
was little more than a dribble coming out of the showerhead.
We were able
to get clean, rinse the shampoo out, etc, but I wouldn=b9t
call it
particularly relaxing, invigorating, etc. At some point, the
shower was
set up so that you had to push a button in to get water, and
when the
button was released the water would stop - all in an effort
to conserve. I
think the push button method would be wiser than the current
method. Once my hair and body are wet enough to soap up, I
don=b9t need
water running at that time - give me more water for rinsing.
Whatever - I
got clean, got the suds out of my hair...

Headed outside for my morning tea, fruit and pastries, then
breakfast at
7:30. This morning, launches to town began at 9:45, then we
were to return
to the ship for lunch, with launches to the beach beginning
at 1:30. There
were a few tour options but Minda and I decided to go on our
own in town
rather than sign up for anything offered. The two of us and
another couple
decided to share a cab and take our own tour of the island -
what a great
time we had. We were charged $5 per person/per hour. We
spent about 2
hours with our driver and gave him $50 - what a deal! There
were a few
stops on the organized tour that we were interested in
seeing, so our
guide happily obliged. Our first stop was at a =b3fort=b2
from when Bequia was
protecting itself from the French, I think. Not much of a
fort, really - a
few canons. But, the view was beautiful. Next, we went to
Brother King=b9s
Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary which was a great stop. Brother
King has
dedicated his life to safely releasing Hawksbill turtle
hatchlings back
into the nearby water. He collects the eggs from the beach,
and raises the
turtles until they=b9re 3 years old. It=b9s an endangered
species, and the
turtles are most vulnerable as eggs and young little things,
so he=b9s quite
an advocate for the hawksbills. We gladly gave a donation
and bought
t-shirts to support his one-man effort. A really sweet guy.
Next, we drove
up to the highest point on the island for more terrific
views and then
down to Friendship Bay, a beautiful beach/resort area - a
place I=b9d like
to revisit and spend more time. Our driver left us back in
town with about
a 1/2 hour to spend shopping. I wanted to head to the
recommended book
store to pick up a nautical chart of the area (Grenada, St.
Vincent and
the Grenadines). Captain Julian told us that if we bought
charts, he=b9d
have our week=b9s course mapped out on it for us and it
would be signed by
the officers. Seemed like a great souvenir of the trip, so
that was my
shopping priority. After to Grenada, Bequia was the most
populous and
largest (3-4000 residents, 21 square miles, I think), so
this would be our
last real shopping opportunity. morning story time,
we were also
told to buy a bottle of wine while in town, for that
afternoon=b9s wine &
cheese party. So, a stop at the market was made as well.

Back to the ship for lunch then took the first beach launch
at 1:30.
Lounged on the beach until the last launch back at 4:30.
I=b9m having a
mental block and can=b9t visualize the beach on Bequia, but
every beach we
visited was spectacularly beautiful, so I guess you can just
assume that
was the case here as well. At each beach stop, we had a mini
bar set-up.
One of our bartenders (Rodney) would come ashore with a
large cooler
filled with beer and soda, so you have to remember to bring
your doubloons
with you when you head to the beach. He was pretty
accommodating though,
so if you forgot your doubloon, he=b9d give you a drink
anyway, with a
promise of payment later.

Gave Sylvester, chief mate, my chart I had purchased in
Bequia. Was
promised it would be taken care of and returned before
cruise=b9s end.

Doubloons - these are round card stock pieces of paper with
20 black dots
(doubloons) around the perimeter. Each card of 20 doubloons
costs $10
(charged to your sign & sail) and each drink costs a certain
number of
doubloons. For instance, a very generous serving of Grey
Goose vodka (very
glad to see my favorite behind the bar) costs 7 doubloons
($3.50), which I
think is a very fair price. So, high end drinks, frozen
concoctions, etc.
were in the 7-9 doubloon price range, while sodas and beers
would be 5
doubloons or less. As you use up your little round card, the
black dots
are punched with a hole punch. So, that=b9s how it works.

On to part 2.....

Lee and Minda's WJ YC adventure continues...

You won=b9t find lounge chairs on the beaches that are
visited on a
Windjammer (there were some on Mayreau, left over from when
Princess used
to call on this island - their private island at some point
in time, or so
I was told?). So, be sure to bring a beach towel or two, or
you=b9ll be
laying in the sand.

Returned to the ship, showered (dribbled) and went topside
for the wine &
cheese party. There were quite a few bottles of wine up
there and we all
tried different ones - it was a sharing thing..hoarding your
own bottle
was discouraged. WJ provided really nice platters of cheese,
crackers and
fruit. And, a live band was also brought on board for
entertainment, which
was nice (not as good as the steel drum band, but, being
married to a
musician, I=b9m always happy to see musicians gigging).
Lucky for me, there
were large blocks of chevre that were practically untouched,
so I was
happy to fill up on my favorite. It was a great party - a
good time was
had by all. Then, we took a launch back to town and headed
by taxi to a
restaurant called Coco=b9s. At our morning storytime, Purser
Jane described
many of the restaurants on Bequia, if we decided to dine in
town, rather
than on the ship. We liked the sound of Coco=b9s, as did
many of our fellow
passengers. In all, we were 35 who opted for this place.
Jane asked that
those who were interested in the spiny lobster to pre-order
so she could
call the restaurant so they=b9d be prepared. Minda
pre-ordered the spiny
lobster, so she could compare it to the Maine lobster she
eats so much of.
I decided to see what their fish special was when we got
there. We ended
up sharing our meals, and the food was great. Service kind
of sucked -
similar problem on Bequia as to what we found on Grenada.
Back to ship and
to bed.

Wed.. March 12 - Woke up as the anchor was raised, but
wasn=b9t ready to get
out of bed - big mistake. I should have. I knew we were only
sailing for
about 4 hours today, and I was feeling pretty good, lying in
bed. But, as
the morning progressed, I was itching to get topside. Every
time I climbed
down from the top bunk, I got all queasy and had to crawl
back into bed
until the waves of nausea subsided (sorry to be so graphic -
but good info
to know if you=b9re considering a WJ). Finally, in baby
steps, I managed to
get my bathing suit on, my contacts in, my teeth brushed and
my body up on
deck, where I immediately laid down on a cushion until we
anchored. What
can I say...sea legs elude me.

Well, we anchored at another amazingly beautiful spot -
Tobago Cays, which
is a national park of the country of St. Vincent and the
Grenadines. It
was quite windy on the beach, which was annoying, but other
than that,
just wonderful. WJ brought lunch to the beach (burgers,
salads, sides),
then Minda went for a dive with some other passengers while
I went
snorkeling on the other side of the island with a
friend/fellow passenger
we met. WJ rents snorkeling gear for $20 (or is it $25) for
the week.
Decent enough stuff, and easier than trying to fit my own in
my suitcase.
Snorkeling was lovely. Headed back to the ship for a short
sail to Mayreau
(heard it pronounced as myroo and mayroo so take your pick -
accent on the
first syllable). While under way, Purser Jane conducted crab
races up on
deck. This was surprisingly FUN (we were pretty skeptical
when we were
advised of this event that morning). Nine hermit crab
athletes competed
for the championships. If you=b9ve never witnessed crab
races, a large
circle is drawn (with chalk in this case) with a smaller
circle drawn
about 7=b2 inside the outer circle, to create a ring/donut.
The winning crab
is the one that makes it from the center of the circle to
within the outer
7=b2 ring, positioning his little body entirely within the
ring, in the
fastest time. First, all 9 crabs competed at once, so we
would have some
basis on which to place our wagers. Then, with standings
established, we
placed bets ($1.00 minimum). After all bets were in,
odds/payouts were
established. There would be three heats, each with 3 crabs
competing, and
then a final race with the three heat winners racing for the
I bet $5.00 on one crab for each race, and won two out of
the three heats.
Unfortunately, the winning crab in the finals was not one of
my two, so I
didn=b9t win any money. The winning crab had =b39 to 1=b2
odds, so paid quite
well for those that picked it. Sounds pretty goofy, but it
was actually
really fun .

Dinner was to be served on the beach at Mayreau, so that=b9s
where we headed
once we were anchored. The crew had gone ashore well ahead
of the
passengers and had created a nice torch-lit path along the
beach, headed
toward the buffet and picnic tables. Dinner was yummy
tonight - there were
ribs, chicken, mahi mahi, sides, salads, desserts, etc. And,
sitting on
the beach gave it a nice atmosphere. Our bartender, Oxford,
was from
Mayreau and planned a =b3culture walk=b2 for after dinner,
for those
interested. Basically, it was a pub crawl. This tiny island
of 300 souls
has 5 pubs, and the plan was to visit each this night.
We=b9re not big
drinkers, so this really didn=b9t appeal to us much, so we
headed back to
the quiet of the ship. It was a very warm, beautiful
evening, so we
decided to bring our pillows and blankets up on deck and
sleep out.
Probably 8 of us spent the night out on deck this time.

Previously, someone had posted that sleeping out on deck
could be a risky
venture - with rope railings and the potential danger of
rolling off the
deck. I=b9m happy to say that sleeping on deck, on the YC
was no more risky
than sleeping in the upper bunk of my cabin (high bunk/low
ceiling led to
many collisions between my head and the wood). Along the
railing were the
storage benches which acted as a barrier between a person
and the edge,
and they were also a nice windbreak. So, once we were flat
on the deck, it
was quiet, wind-free (though still breezy) and safe.

At about 1:30 in the morning, we were awakened by heavy
footsteps pounding
the deck, and folks peering into our eyes with flashlights.
Apparently, a
passenger was missing, and her boyfriend was afraid she had
overboard, so they were searching the whole ship. With no
luck, they asked
if they could check our cabins, which of course we had no
problem with.
She was finally found in the cabin next to hers, asleep in
the bottom bunk
(that bunk=b9s usual occupant was sleeping up on deck). The
truth is still
up for debate, but her story was that she was really drunk,
and when she=b9s
drunk she sleepwalks, and she accidentally found herself in
the wrong
cabin. Later, we learned that she was pretty much naked, and
had been
spotted by a crew member walking the decks - and this crew
member didn=b9t
do anything about it. We also learned that she and her
boyfriend had had a
fight, and she just left the cabin, knowingly, and just
crashed in the
first bed she found. We=b9ll never know the real story, but
it was good
gossip fodder for a few days - even if it disturbed our
glorious sleep up
on deck.

Thurs. March 13 - At storytime this morning, we were advised
of the
activities for the evening. They would include Sea Hunt
before dinner (a
scavenger hunt type thing) and a costume party/competition
for dinner,
with dinner being served on deck, buffet style.Captains for
Sea Hunt were
established (4 teams - Minda captained our team) and we
grabbed the first
tender over to Mayreau, and headed up the hill to the other
side of the
island, where, we were told, was a beautiful beach (not that
the one we
were tendered to wasn=b9t beautiful as well). The hike (and
it WAS straight
up and over) was well worth it. The views from the high
point were
amazing, with the whole Grenadine chain visible. And,
Saltwhistle Bay was
a great beach. As it happens, many of the folks we hoped to
have on our
Sea Hunt team had also decided to make the trip to
Saltwhistle, so lots of
strategizing (or strategerizing as our Prez. would say) took
place as we
floated in the crystal clear water and lounged on the beach.
First, we had
to come up with a name for the team, and after much
deliberation, decided
on the Whinejammers. Whining on board had been explicitly
forbidden by
Purser Jane, so we thought we=b9d have some fun with it .
We weren=b9t
really sure about what would be expected of us, so it was
hard to plan
anything else. We were expected to have a song or chant
prepared, but we
didn=b9t really get to work on that until we were back on
board the ship.

We ate lunch at the Saltwhistle resort. This is a place
I=b9d really like to
re-visit. There are 6 or 8 bungalows here, and a full
bar/restaurant. The beach is beautiful, the island is
beautiful. A great
destination if you=b9re looking for no crowds, peace and
quiet. After lunch,
we did some snorkeling and found a lobster trap filled with
HUGE spiny
lobsters - bodies well over a foot long. We figured they
were being held
there, but had been trapped in deeper water. Rather than
make the hike
back to the ship, over the steep incline, we opted for a
water taxi,
which, for $5 each, brought us right to the boat. By 3:30 we
were back on
board. This afternoon, they were allowing swimming right
from the boat, so
we had to take advantage of that. If you wanted (we wanted)
you could jump
in from the top deck, or you could use the steps available
from the main
deck. The water was yummy, and was a great way to get all
the sand off our
bodies (as you probably remember, the shower wasn=b9t too
effective at
accomplishing this). Showered and gathered the team on deck
for our final
pre-Sea Hunt meeting and rehearsal of our song (don=b9t
remember a bit about
it, so can=b9t share the lyrics with you, I=b9m afraid).
After afternoon
snacks and rum swizzles, the four teams gathered in the game
area and got
ready to rumble. After introductions of the teams and our
team songs sung,
cheers chanted, we began. Rather than having 62 passengers
running all
over a pretty small ship, one person from each team would
retrieve the
requested item, while the rest of the team waited up on
deck. We were
asked for one item at a time, and then you take your place
back up on deck
in either the 1st (worth 4 points), 2nd (3 points), 3rd (3
points) or 4th
(1 point) place box as you re-enter the =b3arena=b2. No
running was allowed,
but speed walking was encouraged, with bonus points awarded
for an extra
wiggle in the walk. It was all good fun, though I understand
that there
were some passengers that took offense when things got a
little risqu=e9. We
started out tamely enough, with Jane asking for us to get a
yellow or
green toothbrush from our cabin (mine=b9s red, so I wasn=b9t
eligible for this
race). Once all the teams have their guy back on deck, Jane
examines the
items, judges them for compliance and awards points. When
Jane asked for a
pair of boxers from a man on each team (not from the cabin,
from the man),
things got interesting, as they did when she asked for a bra
from a woman
(again not one you retrieve from the cabin). The final
competition was a
team effort - dressing one of the men on our team, as a
woman, complete
with nail polish and all the trimmings.
Whinejammers Win!!!!!

After the big competition, we all went to our cabins to get
dressed in our
costumes. We were asked to dress as something beginning with
the letter P,
B, L, T or N. I don=b9t think we ever learned of the
significance of these
letters. Having been forewarned about the costume thing, by
my fabulous ta
Liz, (although she had told us that we were limited to
things starting
with the letter =b3P=b2) I was prepared with my =b3P=b2irate
costume, and Minda
was ready with her =b3P=b2arrot Head costume. We had extra
pirate stuff which
we shared with a fellow passenger/friend. Dinner was served
only to those
in costume (and to the very few non-participants). After
dinner, there was
a costume parade where finalists were chosen, a finalist
showcase and
finally, winners announced, prizes awarded.

It was a busy, and fun evening, and we were wiped out pretty
Decided to head to bed, but realized that our cabin was
pretty much
directly under the band, so it was impossible to escape the
party - a
major disadvantage of small ship sailing. Fatigue prevailed
and we slept.

Friday, March 14 - We awoke anchored off the island of
(pronounced carry-ah-koo with the accent on the first and
last syllables)
this morning, having motored the short distance the previous
evening. Took
the first launch to town this morning, and wandered the
streets, did some
shopping, visited a small museum. This island/town is really
not geared
for tourism. The abundance of T-shirt shops can be boring
when visiting
some islands, but what=b9s even more boring is visiting a
town that has none
- when the town has little else to offer. I love visiting
grocery stores
in foreign places (and even in other regions of the US), so
we spent some
time looking at food on supermarket shelves, and buying a
few interesting
things. This island is known for producing Jack Iron rum,
which is a
particularly strong variety. I did find one t-shirt I liked,
that had
beautiful tropical fish on the front and Carriacou written
along the
bottom. I just like the name of this island, how it looks,
how it sounds.
And, it=b9s not an island you hear about very often. So,
decided to buy a
shirt to commemorate the trip.

Back to the ship for lunch, then we sailed to the other side
of the island
to Anse La Roche beach - the quintessential tropical
paradise. The YC
passengers were the only ones on the beach, and it was
Unfortunately, we could only stay for 2 hours - but it was
two great hours
of fun in the sun.

Back on board, we set sail for Grenada. Before the sun went
down, we all
gathered for a group picture - one of the crew and one of
the passengers.
That=b9ll be a nice thing to have...

Tonight was the Captain=b9s dinner in the dining room.
Although we were
sailing, I actually felt well enough to sit in the dining
room - I think I
finally got my sea legs! Dinner was a multi-course affair
starting with a
yummy clam chowder, followed by a homemade caesar salad
(Turbo, the chief
steward prepared the dressing from scratch in front of us),
then we had a
choice of mahimahi or prime rib (choice made earlier on
tally board).
Dessert was served out on deck - bananas foster (flamb=e9ed
with Jack Iron
rum) served over vanilla ice cream.

Sylvester, the chief mate, returned my chart to me, with the
precisely mapped (dates and anchorages) and signed by the
captain, the
purser, the chief engineer and himself. They did a great job
on it...

Good-byes were said, hugs all around. Purser Jane had
provided an
address-email sign-up for whomever was interested, then made
copies to
hand out. That was a nice touch.

We docked in Grenada about 10:00 and headed to bed about
that time. Many
passengers had very early flights, so it was a quiet night.

Saturday, March 14 - Our final day : ( Those with early
flights took the
taxi transfer to the airport (WJ charged $8 per person),
while those of us
with later flights (or for those passengers extending their
vacations on
Grenada) were offered an excursion option for this morning.A
few folks did
the excursion. We opted to walk into St. George=b9s once
more, for some last
minute shopping. WJ allowed us full access to the ship and
our cabins
until our airport transfer at 1:30, and they also fed us a
large buffet
breakfast and lunch, which I thought was really nice. The
ship Vistamar
(German, I believe) was docked next to us.

St. George=b9s is quite different on a Saturday than it is
on a Sunday. It
was bustling, and the street vendors were a bit more
aggressive - still
not even close to what you=b9d find in Jamaica, but more
than what we had
experienced so far on this trip. We found a few nice shops.
In particular,
we found a great shop with handmade batik garments.
Beautiful things, kind
of on the pricey side (compared to other shops in town), but
all handmade
in Grenada. Minda bought two shirts, I bought some pants and
a pair of
shorts. Bought some more spices and spice necklaces at the
spice market.
And, finally, I treated myself to a pair of
diamond/tanzanite earrings at
the Colombian Emeralds store (they=b9re all over the
Caribbean). They were
reasonably priced, tiny (I don=b9t like big jewelry) and
really pretty. I
was totally not expecting to buy jewelry on this trip - I
rarely buy it at
home. But, these just tickled my fancy, so I went for it .

Trip home was uneventful, though the hour layover in Philly
was pretty
tight - had to make it through immigration, retrieve my
suitcase, go
through customs (customs inspector searched my bag), recheck
the suitcase,
go through security check again with carry-ons, and get to
the gate. Whew.
I wish I had known, before I ran what felt like a marathon,
that my flight
was delayed a bit. There=b9s lots of walking at this
airport, the way they
have it set up for the immigration/customs thing.

Overall, this was a great trip.I can=b9t remember when
I=b9ve been quite that
relaxed. I=b9m usually not much of a joiner, but the planned
activities were
fun, and those that didn=b9t take part were the exception.
If you=b9re not
into getting silly, having a laugh, screaming your head off
as your crab
reaches the finish line, etc., WJ might not be for you. The
crew was great
- so friendly. By the end of the week, they knew most of our
names. When
they say Windjammer BAREFOOT Cruises, they really mean it.
While on board,
bare feet were the norm. Leave your hair dryer, make-up,
jewelry at home.
This is about as casual as you can get. I love dressing up,
and have no
problem with formal nights on the big ships, but it was kind
of nice to be
in this =b3come as you are=b2 atmosphere for a change.

Negatives? Seasickness was my biggie. Wasn=b9t bad enough to
really impact
my good time, but there were times of discomfort. It won=b9t
stop me from
taking another WJ in the future, if that puts it in
perspective... The
shower was a bummer, but, again, not a big enough deal to
make me sour on
WJ cruising. It is what it is. Kind of fits with the whole
casual WJ
mentality. And, as I mentioned before, the small ship size
makes it hard
to escape the party, if that=b9s what you=b9re looking to
do. For the most
part, this was an early to bed, early to rise group, so
there was only one
night when the music and party disturbed me. Again - not a
big deal.

I=b9ll put the food into the neutral category. It wasn=b9t
bad, it just wasn=b9t
great. You won=b9t go hungry - food was plentiful, though
not available 24/7
and no room service. It=b9s basic chow - no fancy
presentations, no exotic
or rare ingredients. We did have a few things that were
homemade island cooking - mama=b9s recipe. Everything was
flavorful and
fresh. You won=b9t go hungry on this ship, but choices are
limited, so picky
eaters might be challenged.

So, I guess that=b9s it. WJ is a really fun cruising option
that you might
want to consider. I=b9d have a hard time actually
recommending a WJ to
folks, because they might not be well suited to what a WJ
cruise offers.
Give me clear skies, warm weather, beautiful beaches and
I=b9m happy. I
didn=b9t look for problems and didn=b9t find many, so my
cruise was happy.
There was a couple on board that hated the cruise - the same
cruise I
loved, so go figure.Get used to meeting people, talking to
everyone, being
comfortable in this very intimate environment. I=b9m not a
great person for
meeting strangers, but fortunately Minda will talk to
anyone, so she acted
as our ice breaker, which worked great for us. If you=b9re
not a joiner on a
WJ cruise, you=b9ll miss out on a lot of the fun and
comraderie. The
youngest on board was 18 years old, travelling with mom &
dad. She had a
great time, but she was a great kid. I don=b9t think WJ is a
great choice
for kids - unless you pick one of their family cruises. WJ
is kind of like
a week at summer camp - it=b9s got that kind of feel. Minda
and I were camp
counselors together, 21 years ago, so we definitely fell
right into that
mode while on board.

Please ask questions, make comments, let me know you=b9ve
made it to the
end, and that my efforts were not for naught.