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coolbluegreenseas

Sailing opposed to cruising

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We (hubby and I) took our first and last cruise in October of 2012. The cruise was fine, but traveling in a "bubble" is not for us. Our best trips have been unstructured, backpack affairs where we get to discover hidden gems and meet people. We are definitely turned off to the main stream/premium cruises, but Star Clippers seems different. I love sailing, and we both love the Caribbean. Would one of the Caribbean sails be a good fit for independent travelers? On another note, I dive, snorkel and hike. Hubby enjoys hiking, but SCUBA is a no-no for him due to serious sinus trouble. Your reflections upon your trips would be appreciated.

 

Thx.

 

MJ:)

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We have been on the Royal Clipper several times in the Caribbean - the Windwards, the Grenadines and the BVI's. Also booked for next January. Lots of lovely stories to tell and, as you may have read from other posts, one is almost certain to meet some very interesting fellow passengers.

 

You like sailing and the Caribbean - a holiday on one of the Clippers in the Caribbean for you looks like a no brainer to me. I would suggest the Royal Clipper to start with (there is a high rate of repeat passengers on the Clippers). My next comment is public knowledge. The owner and his wife travel on their ships from time to time and we have met both of them three times - they are "on the job" and that helps to maintain the high standards.

 

Do you have a particular itinerary in mind? If so I may be able to make one or two suggestions. Imagine - it is after dinner, you go up to the open part of the bridge, the stars are shining above, the warm tropical breeze and tens of thousands of sail above you. Earlier, at sailaway, they are playing Vangelis 1492, The Conquest of Paradise (also known as Columbus). Living the dream?

 

May I ask if you are NE U.S.A. or U.K.

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Sorry - should have said tens of thousands of square feet of sail!

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We have thoroughly enjoyed Star Clipper, as well as Windstar cruises. But they are more upscale than you might be seeking. You'll have about 150 passengers, and as an example, while dinners are open seating, "resort casual" dress is expected: slacks and collared shirts for men, nice tops and slacks or skirts for women. Excellent ships, food & crews, and some very nice ports. Cabins are well-appointed and spacious. These sail from port, but motor more often when out to sea. Star Clipper has more diversified passenger mix and crew mix, with many coming from European countries. Windstar is more often all-American for passengers and Caribbean for crew.

 

If you want totally casual, more of the do-your-own-thing type of cruising check out these two websites:

islandwindjammers.com and sailwindjammer.com

 

Both offer windjammer sailing at its best, with crews from the now defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruises (WBC). Totally casual: shorts, bathing suits and flipflops are the norm at any time of day. The former has two ships: Diamant (12 passenger) and Sagitta (24), which sail out of Grenada and St. Maarten. The latter has the refurbed Mandalay from WBC (45-60 passengers), also sailing out of Grenada. 6, 9 and 13-night sailings. You'll get lots of sailing, many opportunities to explore on land and beneath the surface. Crews are a mix of American and Caribbean. Passengers range from singles to couples to small groups, ages range from 20s to 80s. ....all fun-loving, adventuresome souls looking for a fun escape from whatever. Very, very nice, but cozy, cabins each with private baths.

Diamant and Mandalay sail most of the time, Sagitta is more of a motorsailor, with sails up maybe one-third to half the time she's at sea.

 

Hope this helps....

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Thank you for the replies. Jobake, we are in Northern New England, so getting out of here for at least a little time in the winter is imperative. Also, I am a hopeless romantic, so gazing at stars while under sail sends shivers down my spine. The itinerary I am considering is December 14th Treasure Islands. Taking off the last two weeks of the year is very appealing.

 

 

SailorJM, thank you for the pointer concerning Windjammer. I will definitely look into that option.

 

It looks like a trip on Star Clippers is in the near future.

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December 14th - Treasure Islands. That looks like the Star Clipper out of St. Maarten. We have been on the Star Clipper three times in the Med - very fond memories! When we did the BVI's on the Royal Clipper (March 2011) our ports of call included St. Barts (in effect part of France), Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Sopers Hole and Jost Van Dyke which are all on the itinerary you have in mind. As you like sailing and the Caribbean you probably already know that they are some of the most eminent sailing destinations in the world.

 

In the late afternoon / early evening on the Clippers you will have delivered to your cabin the "program" for the next day - I have kept ours from our BVI's holiday. They show a number of ways for looking around on shore and places to snorkel. Diving would be dependent, I think, on having a dive master among the crew on board.

 

A couple of thoughts. If the ship goes in to North Sound, Virgin Gorda (it may) then be in the vicinity of the open part of the bridge on the way in and out - a masterclass of navigation. Also in North Sound is the renowned Bitter End Yacht Club (effectively a hotel / restaurant) - maybe stop for a refreshment - camera at the ready. In Jost Van Dyke is the famous Soggy Dollar Bar (and it's "Painkiller") - another refreshment / camera job. I think it was in Gustavia, St. Barts that we walked around to the other side of the bay to a small but interesting museum (?? Wall House Museum)

 

If you are considering a second week (to follow your first) to the Leeward Islands itinerary I can give you a couple of suggestions for that.

 

Is it time for you to activate the dream by booking up?

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One of the things that has attracted me to the Clippers opposed to the big girls is the lack of planned activities. I do not care for structure, and the large ships are completely structured. Of course, hubby and I completely ignored nearly all of it.

 

I love diving, but snorkeling can be equally rewarding. There has been more than once I just put on fins, my snorkel and mask instead of dealing with the equipment. If there is no dive master, snorkeling will work just fine.

 

The second week is not out of the realm of possibility, but I have two dogs and they so dislike kennels. Seven to nine days in a kennel is one thing, but 14 or longer just seems mean.

 

Yes, it is time to book.

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We did Star Clipper in January and there was a dive master on board. We like to explore, do our own thing, have travelled with some basic tours etc but I have to tell you we loved Star Clipper and would do it again in a heart beat.

Not sure what you mean by "bubble" but if you want to elaborate maybe we can comment.

Happy sailing.

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Book it now.

 

Just go.

 

 

Send from device_name using Cruise Critic your_app_name App

 

My sentiments exactly! :)

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