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WORLDOFISLANDS

Best Caribbean routes for snorkeling & beaches

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Hello everybody here :)

 

Just joyned the fórum looking for the Star clippers Caribbean routes information.

 

We have sailed Star clippers earlier and we loved all the experiences.

1 royal clipper en Amalfi coast (2006)

1 star clipper Far East northern route (2008)

1 star clipper Far Esast southern route (2009)

 

We are now thinking about to try some of the Caribbean routes next January-2016

Our main interest during the cruise in the Caribbean is for beautiful unspoiled beaches and excellent snorkeling oportunities.

We are not divers but we love the snorkel and we have very good experiences in Mauritius, Thailand, Maldives, Seychelles and especially in Maldives, so we are really looking for very good opportunities to snorkel in the Caribbean

 

Could any of the experts tell me which can be the best routes for it?¿

 

Although we love Star Clippers, we don't rule out Windstar (never tried it) if the opportunities/routes for snorkeling are better.

 

looking forward to your suggestions.

thank you!:D

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I would suggest the Royal Clipper (from / back to Barbados) and its Grenadines itinerary when you would be able to snorkel virtually every day. That snorkelling could be either with the ship's Sports Team or by following your own inclinations. A couple of examples. Firstly with the Sports Team when visiting Souffriere in St. Lucia when you go (usually by RIB) to the Pitons National Park where the Piton mountain drops down in to the sea (and keeps going down!) - my best ever snorkelling there. Secondly in the Tobago Cays - here the Royal Clipper usually has a barbecue ashore on one of the uninhabited islands. Snorkelling there is good (just check to ensure no strong tidal currents). I have had some very good snorkelling there on about three of our holidays on the RC's Grenadines Itinerary.

 

Added bonus - being on the Royal Clipper!

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I second the Grenadines. They're beautiful islands and spending a few days in Barbados is another plus. If that doesn't work the other choice would be to cruise the British Virgin Islands. You'll have a great time.

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I would suggest the Royal Clipper (from / back to Barbados) and its Grenadines itinerary when you would be able to snorkel virtually every day. That snorkelling could be either with the ship's Sports Team or by following your own inclinations. A couple of examples. Firstly with the Sports Team when visiting Souffriere in St. Lucia when you go (usually by RIB) to the Pitons National Park where the Piton mountain drops down in to the sea (and keeps going down!) - my best ever snorkelling there. Secondly in the Tobago Cays - here the Royal Clipper usually has a barbecue ashore on one of the uninhabited islands. Snorkelling there is good (just check to ensure no strong tidal currents). I have had some very good snorkelling there on about three of our holidays on the RC's Grenadines Itinerary.

 

Added bonus - being on the Royal Clipper!

Thank you so much!

Hope you are enjoying again the sailing route onboard the Royal Clipper!

 

I was on a very busy week and very inexperienced in this forum and still trying to organize avisements when a reply is received on my missage, that's why I was late to thank you your message.

 

Your explanation sounds with fantastic chance for snorkeling, you really look to enjoy this area, I'll have a detailled visit to the Star Clippers web site and grenadines route.

Edited by WORLDOFISLANDS

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I second the Grenadines. They're beautiful islands and spending a few days in Barbados is another plus. If that doesn't work the other choice would be to cruise the British Virgin Islands. You'll have a great time.

Thanks a lot Comex.

It seems that you also agree for Grenadines as best option.

In case the sailing departures where not fiting my dates, BVI are visited on Treasure Islands route?

 

Which of the ships is better to sail de Caribbean end of January? Royal or Star?

Is it very windy season?

What should I expect to sail, rough or calm seas?

 

My 2 sails in thailand end January on the Star Clipper where so smooth and pleasant... no engines, only sail all the time.

My only sail on the Royal was in the Mediterranean end of May but there was no wind and ghe ship uses engines all the time. Pleasant cruise too

 

We also plan to stay 1 week before and 1 week after in 2 different islands with same interest: secluded nice beaches with good snorkeling, so suggestions are also welcome.

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British Virgins, yes!!!! Great snorkeling options, beautiful beaches.

Thank you SailorJM

BVI on your opinion.

You have sailed a lot!

Do you prefer BVI over Grenadines? or you sailed only BVI?

 

It will be my first time in the Caribbean

What about your experiences with Star Clippers vs Windstar?

Edited by WORLDOFISLANDS

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worldofislands,

Yes, the BVI is the Treasure Island cruise.

We were on the Star Clipper Leeward Island cruise in January this year and did experience some wind and seas on a few days. We had to raise the bed railing a few nights. Not really a problem for us. Other days were perfect. One never knows. We stayed on the French side (Grand Case) of St. Martin for a week prior to setting sail.

 

Our experience sailing the British Virgins was on a crewed catamaran and we loved every minute of it. The Grenadines was on the Windjammer Mandalay. We haven't been on the Royal Clipper but plan on trying the Grenadine itinerary soon.

 

We were on a Windsurf cruise last November and had a great time. My wife actually prefers that ship due to the dinning options and public spaces. The staterooms are a little larger also. Windsurf also allows you to bring wine aboard. You really can't go wrong with either choice. Both trips will offer beautiful beaches and snorkeling, great food and exceptional service.

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Yes, we have sailed all over the Caribbean, as you noted, as well as Panama and Costa Rica, and we have done it a lot----and on many tall ships. All of them are beautiful ships, and we've enjoyed sailing them all. Windstar and Star Clipper ships are the larger ones, carrying from 150-300 passengers. The others we sail are much smaller ships, carrying from 12 to 70 passengers. These latter ones are more casual and do more sailing than Windstar and Star Clipper ships, but still with very nice (but cozy) cabins with private baths and A/C controls, beautiful woods, great food and super crews---and great sailing.

 

Windstar and Star Clipper ships differ from each other in that Windstar is a bit more upscale than SC ships (we have not sailed SC's largest, the Royal Clipper, but we've sailed all three WS ships). But SC ships are upscale casual, if you can figure that one out. We found that SC ships have their sails up more and are working ships, while WS ships' sails are run by computer---when we have sailed WS, the sails only were up leaving port and returning to port.

 

Great passengers, food, crews on both WS and SC ships, and the cabins are quite spacious and very nicely appointed. A big diff between the two is that SC ships are based in Europe, and all onboard expenses are done in euros. Passengers on SC ships tend to be more from European countries: Britain, France, Germany, as well as Australia and Canada....and we have loved that! SC ships have a crew/passenger talent night once in each cruise (or did when we have sailed), and that is such fun to watch: music, dance, comedy from many cultures.

 

For the smaller sailing tall ships: casual and lots of fun. You need only swimwear, shorts, tops, flipflops, etc. We love Arabella (40 pass, American owned, with Am crews), operated by Manhattan Yacht Club and sailing the BVI each winter. And we love Island Windjammers which has 3 ships: Diamant (12 pass, sailing Grenadines), Sagitta (28 pass sailing out of St. Maarten) and soon, the recently purchased 30-pass Vela, sailing the French West Indies starting next Dec after major refurb. IWJ sailings include all drinks on board, beer, rum, sodas, water, in your rates. And if you don't like what's on board, bring your own. Diamant sails the Grenadines, and she is a big favorite of ours (she and Arabella). IWJ ships and Arabella put sails up whenever they are moving unless there is just no wind. Free snorkel gear and free use of water toys on these ships.

 

We've also sailed tall-ship Mandalay (60 pass), when she was a Windjammer Barefoot Cruises ship....company that went away in 2007. But she has been refurbed and has new owners, and also sails the Grenadines. I loved her as a WBC ship but haven't sailed her with Sail Windjammers yet because she sails the same route as Diamant, and we just love Diamant so much. I've heard very good comments about Mandy, tho.

 

Maybe TMI, but you opened that door! LOL!

Edited by SailorJM

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Yes, we have sailed all over the Caribbean, as you noted, as well as Panama and Costa Rica, and we have done it a lot----and on many tall ships. All of them are beautiful ships, and we've enjoyed sailing them all. Windstar and Star Clipper ships are the larger ones, carrying from 150-300 passengers. The others we sail are much smaller ships, carrying from 12 to 70 passengers. These latter ones are more casual and do more sailing than Windstar and Star Clipper ships, but still with very nice (but cozy) cabins with private baths and A/C controls, beautiful woods, great food and super crews---and great sailing.

 

Windstar and Star Clipper ships differ from each other in that Windstar is a bit more upscale than SC ships (we have not sailed SC's largest, the Royal Clipper, but we've sailed all three WS ships). But SC ships are upscale casual, if you can figure that one out. We found that SC ships have their sails up more and are working ships, while WS ships' sails are run by computer---when we have sailed WS, the sails only were up leaving port and returning to port.

 

Great passengers, food, crews on both WS and SC ships, and the cabins are quite spacious and very nicely appointed. A big diff between the two is that SC ships are based in Europe, and all onboard expenses are done in euros. Passengers on SC ships tend to be more from European countries: Britain, France, Germany, as well as Australia and Canada....and we have loved that! SC ships have a crew/passenger talent night once in each cruise (or did when we have sailed), and that is such fun to watch: music, dance, comedy from many cultures.

 

For the smaller sailing tall ships: casual and lots of fun. You need only swimwear, shorts, tops, flipflops, etc. We love Arabella (40 pass, American owned, with Am crews), operated by Manhattan Yacht Club and sailing the BVI each winter. And we love Island Windjammers which has 3 ships: Diamant (12 pass, sailing Grenadines), Sagitta (28 pass sailing out of St. Maarten) and soon, the recently purchased 30-pass Vela, sailing the French West Indies starting next Dec after major refurb. IWJ sailings include all drinks on board, beer, rum, sodas, water, in your rates. And if you don't like what's on board, bring your own. Diamant sails the Grenadines, and she is a big favorite of ours (she and Arabella). IWJ ships and Arabella put sails up whenever they are moving unless there is just no wind. Free snorkel gear and free use of water toys on these ships.

 

We've also sailed tall-ship Mandalay (60 pass), when she was a Windjammer Barefoot Cruises ship....company that went away in 2007. But she has been refurbed and has new owners, and also sails the Grenadines. I loved her as a WBC ship but haven't sailed her with Sail Windjammers yet because she sails the same route as Diamant, and we just love Diamant so much. I've heard very good comments about Mandy, tho.

 

Maybe TMI, but you opened that door! LOL!

 

Dear SailorJM

 

I read with great interest such a valuable information that you have been kind enough to share with me in this forum.

 

Because we have also sailed SC 3 times, your explanations also help me fully understand differences vs WS.

 

We love the Star Clippers but we had also the chance to sail in a small tall ship around the Maldives island, onboard Banyan Velaa, with only 6 cabins, and we also loved the experience, so the options for the smaller ships you are telling about, could be also a great option. I'm not sure if for a first route in the Caribbean :rolleyes:, as it would be for me, now yes! LOL :), but certainly to consider seriously.

 

I love the way you explain and highlights the details, so specific and so graphic that perfectly conveys the "essence" of their values.

 

You are really an expert sailor in the area and not at all TMI! You have piqued my interested to discover more about all that ships. :D

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I'm happy I was helpful.

 

Here are the websites:

arabellavacations.com (Arabella)--personal experience--SUPER

 

islandwindjammers.com (Diamant, Sagitta and soon: Vela)--personal experience--Diamant is my favorite

 

sailwindjammer.com (Mandalay)--I haven't sailed Mandalay with this ownership

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worldofislands,

Yes, the BVI is the Treasure Island cruise.

We were on the Star Clipper Leeward Island cruise in January this year and did experience some wind and seas on a few days. We had to raise the bed railing a few nights. Not really a problem for us. Other days were perfect. One never knows. We stayed on the French side (Grand Case) of St. Martin for a week prior to setting sail.

 

Our experience sailing the British Virgins was on a crewed catamaran and we loved every minute of it. The Grenadines was on the Windjammer Mandalay. We haven't been on the Royal Clipper but plan on trying the Grenadine itinerary soon.

 

We were on a Windsurf cruise last November and had a great time. My wife actually prefers that ship due to the dinning options and public spaces. The staterooms are a little larger also. Windsurf also allows you to bring wine aboard. You really can't go wrong with either choice. Both trips will offer beautiful beaches and snorkeling, great food and exceptional service.

 

Thanks again Comex! the information you provide me with lot of answers to my questions are really useful for me, thank you!

 

Regards to the stay pre-post cruise, how was your stay in that side of St. Martin?

are there nice beaches in St. Martin?

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I'm happy I was helpful.

 

Here are the websites:

arabellavacations.com (Arabella)--personal experience--SUPER

 

islandwindjammers.com (Diamant, Sagitta and soon: Vela)--personal experience--Diamant is my favorite

 

sailwindjammer.com (Mandalay)--I haven't sailed Mandalay with this ownership

 

 

So helpful again! I have well noted and will study all of them.

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I understand that islands used for departure/arrival are the most usual to choose for stay pre-post cruise.

 

However, taking again in consideration our main interest (great secluded & pristine beaches with good snorkeling options) which islands would be the best to choose pre-post stays?

 

We have one week before and another after, and we don't care to move/fly to nearby islands if worth.

 

Your expert recommendations will be very welcome!:D

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If you're in the British Virgin Islands, a great one that meets all your criteria is St. John, according to our very good sailing friends. They always add a week there pre or post cruise out of Tortola. They go there for the reasons you have. A short ferry ride from Tortola (or a bit longer one, from St. Thomas).

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The Royal Clipper Grenadines route is definitely the best for beaches and snorkeling. The Virgin Is route(s) have some nice beaches but the snorkeling is no where near as good as the Grenadines.

 

JOBAKE has it right - the Pitons Park is among the best ever.

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Well noted again SailorJM I'll check this option. Everything is new for me regards to the Caribbean :o

 

Robbie21 thank you very much for your opinion.

I'm now inmerse studying all ports at each route and really the Grenadines looks great with lovely stops around Tobago cays. It is not easy to decide, so all your opinions are very helpful for me

 

I'm not sure if there are different climates in the Caribbean or different sea conditions for navigation between Grenadines and BVI (?) at that season (end january)

 

Also well noted the Pitons marine park, I don't want to miss it!

Because it is the last stop in the Grenadines route we are also considering to dissembark 1 day earlier and espend our post cruise week in Sta Lucia.

from there it is a direct flight back to Europe...

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WORLDOFISLANDS - Great minds think alike!! I had wondered about mentioning to you the possibility of getting off the Royal Clipper in St. Lucia and spending your week there - direct flights out an attractive option. In St. Lucia we have stayed at the Rendezvous Hotel near Castries three times - nice hotel in a good position. If you choose St Lucia and let us know I can make one or two suggestions for you.

 

"Navigation" - weather in the Grenadines, BVI's and the other islands in that area is very similar - you are in the Trade Winds.

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WORLDOFISLANDS - Great minds think alike!! I had wondered about mentioning to you the possibility of getting off the Royal Clipper in St. Lucia and spending your week there - direct flights out an attractive option. In St. Lucia we have stayed at the Rendezvous Hotel near Castries three times - nice hotel in a good position. If you choose St Lucia and let us know I can make one or two suggestions for you.

 

"Navigation" - weather in the Grenadines, BVI's and the other islands in that area is very similar - you are in the Trade Winds.

 

thanks so much to encorage our idea to stay at St. Lucia.

Had a look to RENDEZVOUS and it looks nice in a nice beach.

really a good beachfront location is prioritary for us to choose the hotel.

 

Your clarification for the climate is also very useful, as we would have take in consideration if would have been considerable weather conditions between both routes.

 

All suggestions are very welcome coming from your expert knowledge!:)

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The beach at the Rendezvous is excellent. One of my thoughts included the beaches there. (it's those great minds again!). At the Rendezvous (looking towards the sea) the beach stretches to the left for about three quarters of a mile to the headland with the lighthouse at the top of the headland. The entrance from the sea to the harbour at Castries is on the other side of the headland. You can walk along that beautiful beach "on the beach" or, for much of the way, under the shade of the trees there. Parallel to that is a road, which you can also walk along, that leads to the local small airport (not the main one where your flight would go from). A small amount of aircraft noise from that local small airport during the day is not a problem at the hotel. At the end of the beach / road you can turn right and walk up to the lighthouse (can go by taxi if you wish). Great views from up there. You may hear one or two dogs barking in the grounds of the very nice houses that you pass on the way up to the lighthouse - don't worry about them. Where you turn right at the end of the beach to walk up to the lighthouse there is a small local cafe there - nice place to have a coffee / drink on your way down.

 

Something you would not normally think about or do on holiday!!!:- Along that road parallel to the beach is the local cemetery and, surprisingly at first, there is included there a War Graves Cemetery section (42 War Graves if my memory serves me correctly). Those War Graves cover both World Wars - their effect spread a long way.

 

Another thought is to take an organised trip (?book at hotel and go from there) to take in the rain forest, the volcano and part of the Pitons.

 

A story! Back to that three quarter mile long beautiful beach. On one of our Royal Clipper trips where we were scheduled to stop at Souffriere the weather was not suitable for that so the RC went in to the main harbour at Castries. There were 5 or so large conventional cruise ships in there that day - say + / - 10,000 passengers in all. It is about a 20 / 30 minute walk from the cruise ship terminals to that beach. We walked to the beach. Unbelievably we, the two of us, were the only people on that beach!. Had a nice swim.

 

Where that beach reaches the headland you can snorkel there (and along the beach).

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