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May 18th, 2012, 02:36 PM
  #1
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Windstar cruises

Now that my 2012 vacation is less than a month away (St. John), my mind is wandering ahead to 2013 which also happens to be our 10 year anniversary. Considering a voyage on this small ship cruise line and wondering if anyone has any recent experiences. Interested in the "Jewels of the Windward Islands" itinerary which starts and ends in Barbados and visits St. Lucia, The Grenadines and Grenada.

Thanks!
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May 18th, 2012, 06:46 PM
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I've heard really good things on other forums about Windstar. If it's all about the islands, you might want to look into a company called Island Windjammers, they've received a few awards recently. They have a 100 foot Sailboat called Diamant that holds 12 passengers and sales around the Grenadines. They get rave reviews. Accomodations are not plus, each cabin has it's own bathroom, again, they get rave reviews...if you want something more luxurious, then go with Windstar. Happy Anniversary and enjoy St. John...oh btw, their website is www.islandwindjammers.com
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May 19th, 2012, 05:28 AM
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Thank you for the feedback! I will definitely check out Islandwindjammers as well! Have also considered a small boat Mustang Sally but would want to find others to go with us..which shouldnt be a problem, but I am most interested this time in seeing either the Southern Caribbean or the Bahamas Out Islands. Do you know of any boats in the Bahamas? Or we may just head back to our favorite island of Anguilla!
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May 21st, 2012, 10:36 AM
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The Wind Spirit their smallist ship, 140 guests, was very nice with quite good food, nice sized cabins that were well appointed and a helpful staff. We went through the US and Brish Virgin Islands. It is an old shipp that theyhad kept in excellent condition. The only issue was though it is a sailboat they motored 90+5 of the time and my wife enjoys the quite pleasure of sailing. I understand they do that on other craft but the engines do NOT generate noise. All public areas and cabins are well air conditions. We went in 2007.
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May 21st, 2012, 12:40 PM
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Thanks for the firsthand feedback Stan!
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May 22nd, 2012, 06:42 AM
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Mustang Sally is severally rungs below the Windstar ships.
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May 22nd, 2012, 01:43 PM
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I did this same itinerary a couple of years ago on Windstar and it was amazing! I really liked the Windstar and would sail again with them. We got to see some really interesting ports on this cruise. The highlight for me were the Tobago Cays and sailing by the Pitons.
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May 22nd, 2012, 03:55 PM
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Actually the southern Caribbean has about the same number of snorkeling stops except Tobago Caye may be the best in the best in the Caribbean unless you go as far as the Blue Hole in Belize. It is like a fish tank in terms of fish and coral though it has been 4 years since I was there and coral bleaching really has affected much of the Caribbean and Bahamas to one degree or another.
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May 23rd, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Thank you, Ian! Do you have any photos?

Stan...Belize is also on our list of places to go.
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May 24th, 2012, 01:38 AM
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Kristan; Photos are buried in boxes and they do not do the boat justice. If you want a good deal of snorkeling and Windstar has a 1 week trip that spemds 3 of 7 in Belize and also goes to Roatan, Honduras that would be ideal. The airfare is a bit higher, we just returned from Belize, staying at Turneffe Island Resort that is 35 miles off the mainland and was wonderful, and the airfare from Mewark was $710 RT.
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May 24th, 2012, 07:33 AM
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Thansk Ian..looks amazing! ia lso took a peak at your Anguilla pics as that is one of favorite islands. I know the pics were from over a year ago..but lots of beach erosion! The Viceroy looks amazing! That's at the far end of Meads, correct?
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May 24th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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Stan..I don't think Windstar does Western Carribbean. I would also condier the 'Flavors of the Caribbean" itinerary though - St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts, Martinique.

What are your thoughts on Roatan? I really want to go there as well. Hubby isn't as enthused..though he will go anywhere. Tried explaining that it is not the Honduras he is picturing.
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May 25th, 2012, 09:26 PM
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We've gone on the Windspirit in the Northern islands and the Windsurf in the Southern islands. Here's my thoughts:

We liked the Windsurf better---more deck space, more restaurants, etc. OTOH, you met the guests more easily on the smaller Windspirit.

Really liked the Northern islands better. The BVI's are outstanding and St. Bart's was the highlight of both trips. The Southern islands, Bequia, St. Vincent, etc. were all a bit too remote and unremarkable for us.

Best snorkeling was in the BVI's, the Norman Isalnd caves were great. The Bath's of Virgin Gorda were lots of fun.

Windstar has absolutely great food and service. I think they look up your name and the last time you sailed with them and who crewed because a crew member that we liked came up to us and said he remembered us from such & such cruise---highly unlikely, but a nice touch.

Another favorite is:
http://www.starclippers.com/

We sailed on the Star Flyer out of Antigua(not our favorite island by any means) and again in the Mediterrean. This is a far better sailing experience, wind only.Our Star Flyer was in the Northern islands again---a business freebee, or we would have chosen another itinerary. We would like to try the larger Royal Clipper in the future.

The Windstar ships are wind, run by computers, and some motoring.

We also loved Anguilla, but our new favorite is Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos. After 20+ islands, this is our favorite. We did our 4th trip to Grace Bay in March,2012.
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May 29th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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Thank you TPAYT! I actually saw an ad for Star Clippers in my Islands magazine this week and plan to check it out.

We have already done the VIs multiple times so looking for a new experience.

I also love Provo. But have done that several times as well and may be doing a girls' trip there with Blamona later thsi year. Where do you stay on Grace Bay?
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May 29th, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Roatan offers good snorkeling and like Belize has only just begun to get some coral bleacging. As I and others said the food is very good on any of their ships we liked the Windspirit because it accommodated onlt 140 guests where the Windstat I think could handle about 360 which still is not a crowd. Actually the coral in the BVI's based on our lasr trip in 2010 is getting bleached though Norman Island is still a vert interesrting stop but their stop at Yost Van Dyke was very disappointing as was the one near St. John despoite the fact around Caneel are some of the better snorkel spots remaining. I would rate it a 4+ star overall. There was a mention of a lot of sailing and as I mentioned in the BVI's we unfortunateky only had maybe10% sailing for some reason in 7 days.
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May 30th, 2012, 08:18 AM
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Hi Kristen. I can see why you would want a new experience.

We have stayed 4 times at Ocean Club West on Grace Bay. Yes, it's an older property, but for us it's perfect. It's low rise bldgs. so very easy access to the beach. Restaurant and bar right next to the beach so again easy access for drinks, food, restrooms, etc. The river pool is lovely, the beach wide in this area with enough chairs & umbrellas for all. Set between Grace Bay Club & Seven Stars, there is luxury dining & drinks close by. The key is to pick your condo. VRBO.com has many that are updated by the owners. Units through the resort itself tend to be dated. The unit we stayed in this year was redone with new appliances, computer, huge TV, Sirrius radio, ipod dock, etc.

Yes, there are many newer, more upscale properties on Grace Bay. It's not the price because we can afford to pay more, it's the setting we like.

Since you've been to Grace Bay I'm sure you have your favorites already and of course Blamona is the expert to lead you in the right direction.

Have you been to St. Bart's? We haven't stayed there but have been there on the sailboats 3 different times, rented a car and driven all over the island. Fantastic and oh so French! Since we go to France every fall, we really enjoyed this island. Talk about upscale! The stunning yachts in the harbor and the restaurants are all top of the line. Someday we will stay there.
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May 30th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Have not been to St. Barts but have been to St. Martin & Anguilla. Might be a good day/night trip next time we are in Anguilla.

We haven't stayed anywehere fancy on Grace bay either...Royal West Indies and the Alexandra. And then once at Ramona's house. But it is fun to visit the fancy resorts! I really like the looks of the Sands and would definitely consider that for a future trip. I also looked at VRBO units at OCW but they didn't have anything the size we needed for the week we needed last time.
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Jul 1st, 2012, 07:25 AM
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I am reading a lot that Windstar does not use the sails most of the week on their Caribbean itineraries.
Why book a sailing vessel if it doesn't sail?
Does Windspirit use sails more than the Windsurf because it is a smaller vessel?

Thank you,
Molly
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Jul 1st, 2012, 07:33 AM
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If you want sailing choose
http://www.starclippers.com/

Windspirit sails about as much as Windsurf.
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 09:56 AM
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The Windspirit and I assume the Windstar both do little (10-15% sailing and the rest motoring. I am not sure why considering the cost of fuel. It's actally more than gasoline unless they contracted effectively in advance. I must admit the little feedback I have heard has been that if te Windspirit.windstar is an 8 the Starclipper is a 6 overall. The food and staff are the reasons so they say. St. Barts, St. Lucia and Anguilla have little to no snorkeling if that's on your list of activities.
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