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Anybody been on Tradewinds Cruise Club

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We're going to Bequia staying at the Friendship Bay Resort and then sailing on a catamaran with Tradewinds.

Any comments, recommendations, suggestions, dos and don'ts from someone who has been there.

Thanks

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    Swannee, When are you going? My husband and I are going on the Tradewinds Cruise from Bequia on June 5th. I know someone who went on the Tradewinds cruise from Antigua in March and she gave me lots of information. What exactly are you looking for, hopefully I can help you. Pat

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    To pogg: We 're going tomorrow! To the Grenadines.
    Just curious on the general atmosphere, service, comfort of cabins, niceness of staff, time to do visits on the various islands, overall impression. It looks gorgeous and I hope it is.

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    To pogg again: By the way, I guess we're going to the same destination --I can give you my comments when I get back, but I'd appreciate yours too even from your friend who went to Antigua. I don't know when you'll see this message, but we're leaving at 3:30 a.m. on April 30 so I won't looking at the computer after this evening until we're back.

    Cheers

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    Swanee,
    Can you send me your e-mail address quickly so that I can send you the Tradewinds Antigua review...it's very long. I'm hoping you get this before you leave. Pat

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    Shawnee,
    My friend really liked the trip. Her main complaints had to do with the crew and the Tradewinds Grenadines cruise will not have the same crew. I would love to share her entire review with you. She has lots of information about the boat, services, etc. How did you book this trip, is it a RCI timeshare exchange?

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    to pogg: Yes it's an RCI timeshare
    I don't want to post my email on this because it won't go just to you. If you don't mind putting on your email, I'll email you back unless you can post it all here

    Thanks

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    Swanee,
    I don't want to put my e-mail on here either, so I'll cut and paste a few comments from her review. It's very long and detailed. And remember this is a review of the Antigua cruise. Here it is:

    We had an absolutely wonderful,relaxing vacation aboard the Tradewinds Cruise Club Yacht. This vacation forces you to relax, which can include sleeping, talking, reading, resting in a hammock or just sitting and doing nothing. We had a chance to go ashore each day and explore the beach we were anchored near. We kayaked,snorkeled, swam and explored. There is a dinghy on board which they will allow you to use sparingly if you have had previous experience with one. You can use it to go ashore. They will also ferry you to
    shore and most days we anchored close enough to swim to shore. They have noodles for those who like to just float around or are a little nervous about swimming. The meals on the boat were fabulous. The crew does a great job of preparing wonderful dining experiences. The presentation is terrific and they always used tablecloths to make the evening dining more formal. Even though the preparation was wonderful, if there is
    something you don't like, you just go hungry. (No snacks are provided, so you may wish to take your own) We also felt that if there were big eaters on board that there might not be enough. There was one pitcher of blended drinks made at happy hour (of their choice). Other than that if you wanted a mixed drink you had to make it yourself.

    The cabins were definitely small. The rear cabins were smaller than the front because the front cabins had the shower separate from the stool and had slightly more storage. The disadvantage over the front cabins was that the generator came on at 7:00 a.m.There really wasn't room for more than one person to stand at one time and you couldn't get in the bathroom if someone had the closet door open. I would think that a large person may
    not be very comfortable using these small cabins.

    I would recommend 3-4 bathing suits and nylon style jogging shorts to pull on as they dry quickly. We like to change for dinner so were glad we had taken some things with us to wear for dinner and nice dinners on shore. Take lots of film and at least one underwater camera and of course plenty of sunscreen. Be sure to plan on a tip...everyone else on the boat did not realize that tipping would be expected and had not come prepared.

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    to: pogg

    Thanks this is very useful. My husband is tall so something to think about,although we have a boat, but when we sleep on it (and often) there are no others around.
    Nobody said anything to us about tipping -- interesting.
    If you can post some more of her report, that would be great. But what you sent was very informative.

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    Swannee, I would be very interested to hear about your experiences when you return. As I said, my friend's biggest complaint was mainly crew related so you can't compare it to the Grenadines sail which, of course, has a different crew. Their crew consisted of a husband/wife team. On their cruise they didn't follow the itinerary as it was listed on the Tradewinds website which disappointed them because they didn't get to some of the islands they were supposed to. This seemed to be a decision made by the crew. This was not based on weather because they had clear weather their entire cruise. Also, considering the two meals onshore, the all-inclusive fee is nearly $100 per day per person. While the food and presentation was excellent, she thought it was quite expensive. However, as you read from her review, she did really enjoy the trip and I am quite positive and excited about our upcoming Tradewinds cruise. I will be very anxious to hear your thoughts when you return. I will watch this website for your comments. Have a very, very fun trip! It really does sound fabulous!

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    Thanks pogg, I'm curious -- the meals on shore -- are they part of the deal or not. I understood that they were and that all meals were included whether on the boat or not. I thought the onshore meals were just to give some variety.
    Is that what your friend had or did they have to pay for the on shore meals .
    Thanks and I will reply when we get back. We're continuing on some other islands and then New Orleans so we won't be home until mid-May.
    Cheers

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    Swannee, I am pretty sure they had to paid additional for the meals onshore because they had a choice of 2 restaurants one time and she said they choose the most expensive one but another couple picked the less expensive one. You can let me know for sure when you get back. Sounds like a fun couple of weeks for you! Enjoy!

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    We just got back from Bequia & a Tradewinds Cruise a few weeks ago. Let me say 1st that we had A LOT OF FUN!!! You'll make your own fun- no need for advice from me there. But I will offer the following advice, please though do not take it negativly, as I said you won't need help with the positives!
    It was our 1st cruise and we call it our 'learning' cruise. We made the mistake of becoming too friendly with the crew and they (esp. the 1st mate) took advantage of this. Next time we will definatly NOT make this mistake. It is a little awkward at first, because of the close quarters, not to help with the dishes or chip in with other things, but remember you are paying for the vacation. Keep repeating this to yourself as your mantra. This is my biggest piece of advice. Be careful about getting too friendly or you may find your 1st mate drinking at the bar when she should be cooking or that they may not feel like taking you places in the dinghy. We're not sure if our crew wasn't just a little 'slack' to begin with anyway.
    Still we had a GREAT time. The places were very pretty, the trip was relaxing, and we made very good friends with one of the couples on the boat - in fact we are planning another, nonboating, trip with them in June and that's what led me to this web site. The other person on the boat - I won't go in to it but suffice it to say that we do not want to be on a boat with that person again (and neither does the other couple). We plan on trying to book the entire boat on the next trips we take. We feel this (along with a different crew) might eliminate the issues we had.
    Bring cash for tips & to buy stuff on the islands. Also the 2 dinners on land are not included in the fee. They take credit cards. Don't think this will be a cheap trip - not that it was way expensive, but be prepared to spend more than the all-inclusive fee.
    They will tell you when you get there that the web site isn't exactly always kept up to date. This means that the itineraries aren't either. Remember this company is run out of the islands. It is NOT run like you might expect an American company of its type to be run. Just think laid back!!!!
    Bring any CDs you might want to listen to. Make them ones you think the rest of the boat will like too. You might also want to bring sweets/candy for snacks if you like this type of food. But if you do bring enough for the whole boat. This will go over well. Request from them (email) if you want a kayak or a wind surfer. You really don't need too much in the way of clothing. Bathing suits, coverups, shorts/shirts for dinners on the boat and maybe 1 or 2 sun dresses. guys only need bathing suits, shorts, shirts(relaxed) for the boat plus one or two nice Hawaiian type shirts for dinners on shore. That's all I can think of right now. Remember - you WILL make your own positives and they'll be a lot better than reading about someone else's. Have a great trip!

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    Hi pogg:
    sorry I have not answered before, but we continued on our trip after Tradewinds and visited some of the islands and then spent some time in the US, It's been hectic since we've been back and this is the first time I had a chance to go to this site. We loved our trip and had an excellent crew and a even a crew in training so there were 4 staff catering to 6 guests, We felt like royalty, The other two couples knew each other before, but we were very lucky because we all hit if off perfectly and had a delightful trip as a result. Hopefully we'll meet again and travel togehter at some point. The staff was very professional and friendly and we did not have the problems that Plumeria mentioned, but Plumeria is right with respect to bringing extra cash etc. especially for tipping. - The boat was gorgeous, the food amazingly good, we had deluxe everything. Cocktails were made often to our suggestions but there was an excellent assortment of name brand drinks that you could have been at the bar all day -- but there was so much more to do and see. We were really treated beautifully. On a negative note,however, the only things that bothered me was that if you wanted to pay your all-inlcusive fee on a credit card (which I assume a lot of people would do today) we were charged and extra 4 or 5%. The other thing that I did not expect at all -- especially since we were doing this as an RCI time share exchange -- was the very hard sell push to get you to join Tradewinds as well. It is a lovely holiday and the Tradewinds idea is good -- but if you already own timeshares, you may or may not want to own another, we would have prefered to have been told ahead of time of the sales pitch, and we would we have approached it in a different way -- thought about it , etc. It came as a total shock when I realized what they were doing mid-way through the trip. There was another boat sailing with us (2 cats doing the same itinerary) and the people from the other boat -- with whom we'd get together on the islands -- and who were also very nice -- told us that there crew were a lot more low key about the sales pitch. The time that was spent listening to the sales pitch could have been spent doing other things But apart from that it was one of the nicest trips we took.

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    Just back from Trade Winds Cruise in Antigua. May I say "THANK YOU" to the previous posters, your messages helped a lot! The experience was incredible and thanks to the advice on this board there were NO surpises . . . except for the incredible service, food, beauty and fun.

    Upon arrival at the airport, securing a taxi was relatively easy and quick (quick for island time anyway). The fixed taxi cost of $20 (covers up to 4 in party) was very reasonable.

    Once we arrived at Jolly Harbour and located the Trade Winds office, our check-in was also handled efficiently. We brought cash to pay the all inclusive fee and avoid credit card surcharge.

    We then proceeded to the boat where we were greeted by our captain Alan. Alan escorted us to our compact cabin, the starboard forward cabin which I now believe to be the best on board. At first I was concerned my 6'3" boyfriend would suffer in the double bed, but it turned out fine, we slept comfortably. The cabins, although small, were quite adequate for sleeping, showering, changing - honestly we spent very little time actually in the cabin. There was plenty of storage for our clothes, toiletries and gear.

    Even though I packed appropriately we still took too much. Take a few bathing suits, a couple of cover-ups/t shirts, a few pair of comfy shorts and tops, and a pair of flip flops. Men should pack one pair of slacks for dinner ashore - but our men did not and were not turned away despite the dress code. Shoes are not allowed to be worn onboard so you can store them in a locker at the stern for easy access when going ashore. Beach towels are provide onboard so no need to bring your own.

    I would suggest bringing CD's. The crew was using their own supply and although fine, their supply lacked island music which we all requested.

    We did not take snacks as was suggested by other posters and they really were not needed unless you are the snacking type. I am typically a picky eater, but I ate every meal without passing on much. Since I am on a controlled carb diet I appreciated the salads and fresh veggies while "tasting" the potatoes and pastas. I admit I did NOT pass on the fresh baked bread - who would?

    One guest could not eat nuts or seeds, another could not eat onions. Bodine accomodated both needs without making the rest of us sacrifice. One guest was extremely picky but did not complain or make their needs known prior to cruising (the company asks in adavnce about special dietary needs), Bodine always found something for him to eat such as a simple ham and cheese sandwich which prompted another guest to request one.

    Breakfast was served at 8am, lunch around 2pm, cocktails at 6pm, dinner at 8pm. Bodine, our host/first mate, was an awesome chef. She slaved for hours in the compact galley located on port side between the two guest cabins. She even baked fresh bread!

    Every other day we had a hot breakfast -such as quiche and french toast. Cold breakfasts on alternate days were cereals, yogurt and fresh fruit salad.

    Lunches and dinners were great, dinners being more gourmet. We enjoyed grilled swordfish, locally made rotis, shrimp, a curried meat dish similar to tacos, chicken salad, chicken fajitas, etc. All meals were accompanied with salads, fresh vegetables (even homemade mashed potatoes), breads. Dessert was served with dinner.

    Alan made two varieties of drinks for each cocktail hour - favorities were Mud Slides, Pina Coladas and Rum Punch. For the rest of the day a huge cooler was available for beers (Red Stripe and Wadadli) and soft drinks (Coke, Diet Coke, Ginger Ale, Tonic, and our favorite - Ting). The liquor cabinet was full with a variety of poisons.

    We did not sail to Barbuda as the sample itinerary on their website suggest. This had nothing to do with weather but more to do with time and rougher seas. I was told the trip to Barbuda eats away time which shortens time around Antigua. Also Barbuda does not have a good supply of fesh water so the boat requires it's own purification system which our boat did not possess. Finally the rougher seas enroute to Barbuda caused many guests to get seasick. Needless to say none of us minded the itinerary we followed.

    Our sails were lively but relatively calm, save for the higher seas on the Atlantic from Jumby Bay to St James Bay. Most of us enjoyed the ride, Alan warned us prior that this would be the roughest seas we would see during the week and advise us to take our meds if needed. I took one pill and never felt queasy. My boyfriend, however, skipped breakfast that day, did not take a pill, rolled around like a silly boy on the trampoline between the hulls at the bow and ultimately got sick. He was the only one that did. Word to the wise.

    Our boat was not equipped with wind surfboards or SCUBA gear. The divers on board were accomodated at St. James Bay, the dive operation met them at the dock and transported them to the dive boat. They dove 1-tank one afternoon and 2-tank the next morning.

    (I was told some of their other boats are equipped with dive equipment and that Trade Winds will soon offer dive certification cruises were a Dive Master joins the crew to certify interested guests)

    The sailors on board enjoyed Hobie Cats and Sun Fish at St James Club while the rest of us enjoyed the other facilities - beaches, pools and spa.

    During the rest of the week we enjoyed wonderful snorkeling, swimming (with and without noodles), knee boarding, ocean kayaking, fishing (caught a baracuda and blue fish), beach combing, and a evening tour at Old English Harbour followed by sunset cocktails at Shirley Heights.

    The only nights spent at a dock were the first and last at Jolly Harbour and mid-week at St James Club. The rest of the nights we were anchored in protected coves around the island. the boat was quite stable and the constant breeze made for comfortable sleeping.

    The guests on our boat got along famously. We are a couple from Baltimore, another couple from Portland, Oregon and a family from Bosten (15 & 18 year old boys). Having the boys onboard added to our fun and they were mature enough that no one needed to heed language or humor.

    I noticed the other boat sailing was an older group and mostly smokers. No one smoked on our boat which was great. I found out we were paired with our crew due to age and higher activity level - we had the kids and divers our crew was in their twenties. The other husband & wife crew was probably in their early 50's, no one on their boat dove.

    Regarding the sales pitch mid-week. I expected this thanks to Plumeria. Our crew gave a soft but thorough presentation, not pushy at all. Mmaybe because the family onboard was already members and we were already talking about joining, but more likely because they were not so much the pushy sale type anyway. On Friday, the island manager joined us on board for the entire day. Although she too was not pushy we all knew she was there to close the deals. And she did. We bought as did the other couple. Only one couple on the other boat bought.

    I would suggest researching ahead of time to determine whether the deal they present is a good value for you because you have to sign the deal there. We had rented a houseboat last fall in the Bahamas and really enjoyed it - except it involved buying the groceries, cooking and cleaning which I particularly don't find as relaxing as being catered to. Another option I considered was chartering a boat. Between these two options I had an idea what the Trade Winds Club was worth to me. Once we knew we loved this trip (which was very early on) we were sold.

    Now that we have been home for a couple of days we both agree this was our facorite vacation and we have traveled quite a bit. Although sad to leave I felt completely relaxed and recharged by the end of the week, I really felt like I had enjpyed a full 7 days of real vacationing and was ready to return to the real world renewed.

    Enjoy!

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    We've been to St. Martin, the BVI's and will soon be heading to the Grenadines. It's a wonderful trip and by far the best decision we've ever made related to travel expenses. I've posted numerous other threads on the web. If you would like additonal infomation or have specific questions, please feel free to let me know.

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    My husband and I have reserved a spot on the Tradewinds cruise out of Antigua the last week of March. Usually he is very thorough with the places we go and stay, but we saw the video of this and were hooked. Because this is "out of the norm" and since this is our honeymoon we want to insure an enjoyable trip with nice accomodations. Can anyone put our minds "at ease" (please be candid) and offer any information/suggestions of what to bring?
    Gratefully,
    D and C

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