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Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

Houston, TX
Level Contributor
215 posts
44 reviews
Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

Hi! My husband and I would really like to snorkel in the Tobabo Cays next year.

I'm trying to figure out if it would be better to stay on Union Island (Palm Island Resort) and take a day trip or two, and maybe over to Mayrea. Or, to take a Windstar cruise which leaves out of Barbados and makes several stops in St. Lucia, SVG, including the cays.

Specifically the cruise goes to: Pigeon Island, Soufriere, St. Georges (Grenada), Mayreau, Tobago Cays and Bequia. Stopped in each one for a day. I think the cruise would give us the opportunity to see lots in a short time, but I'm not sure it would give us enough time at each place?

Has anyone done one of the Windstar cruises? If so would you recommend it? Are there other cruises? Should I just skip the cruise, and stay at Palm Island (or other resort?)? Thanks!

PS: I have looked on these forums and all of the posts are several years old. Looking for more current info, thanks!

Houston, TX
Level Contributor
215 posts
44 reviews
1. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

What about Island Windjammers? They leave out of Grenada and stop in: Carriacou, Union Island, Bequia, Tobago Cays and Mayreau

Are they successful?

JENSEN BEACH
Level Contributor
11,286 posts
51 reviews
2. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

The Mandalay is a beautiful Ship. Any of your options are good ones. I love Bequia and would choose it for a land stay over Palm. Mainly because Palm is kind of isolated with only the Resort while Bequia is a laid back casual island with lots to do! You can take the Friendship Rose down to the Cays for a day trip. I think the Southern Grenadines deserve more than just a day tho. You can fly St Vincent to Union and spend a couple of days snorkeling the Cays and visiting Mayreau then fly out of Union...lots of ways to visit the Grenadines! I could easily spend a month on any of the islands so only having one day I don't think you get the vibe of any....One way I like to go is to fly through Grenada (lush rainforest, lovely beaches and much less developed than Barbados imo). Spend a few nights on Grenada and visit Carriocou on the Osprey Ferry for a day (great snorkeling) then fly to SVG spend a few days on Bequia or more if you have the time! Then go on to Union for a few nights visiting the Southern Grenadines. There are a couple of options for day sails to the Cays from Union (ck Erica's Marine on Union for more info). All the islands in this region are relatively close to one another making island hopping a fun adventure rather than an exhausting one!

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
804 posts
38 reviews
3. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

There are two separate companies in the Grenadines offering sailing adventures. Both originated from passengers and crew who once vacationed/worked for the now defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. Obxpat, the ship Mandalay belongs to Windjammer Sailing Adventures www.sailwindjammer.com and holds approx 60 passengers. The Capt is Capt Sly who once sailed as 1st mate on the Yankee Clipper with Capt Julian Peterson who hails from Bequia. The other vessel is Diamont which has a capacity of 12 passengers. It's Capt is Capt. Matt who was captain of the Mandalay when it belonged to Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. Last I heard he too lives on Bequia but I believe is American www.islandwindjammers.com I have never sailed with IWJ/Diamont but do plan to board the WSA/ Mandalay hopefully late winter or early spring. I'm choosing the Mandalay over the Diamont due to size. I think the Diamont would be great to sail with a small group of friends but not as a single sailor. The vessel as you can tell by the number of passengers it accommodates is small and I just think if there are other passengers which turn out not to be the best mates should you choose to do so there's not much room for an escape. I had been aboard the Mandalay when it belonged to WJBC so know it is a much larger ship. I sailed on the Yankee Clipper and Polynesia sister ships of the Mandalay under the WJBC ownership. Between the 2 I sailed 12 times and have missed those vacations very much. I'm sure either company will take the best of care with you and show you what tall ship sailing is all about. The only thing I caution is that both the Diamont and Mandalay are not luxury liners like the Windstars of the world. They are fun, exciting and close to nature. For the most part the fun is the interaction with other passengers and visiting each island without being herded on onad off like cattle. Both companies believe in supporting local business/restaurants etc on each of the islands they visit. You will not be rushed in your time on each island but be able to enjoy each one at a leisurely pace. Through this type of vacation I found my favorite islands and have had the opportunity to visit them both via the ship and as a tourist in a hotel. I hope you find this info helpful. If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
804 posts
38 reviews
4. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

Just for the record I do not work for either company but do know people involved as either employees or owners. Short of having been an employee or a passenger neither company has any connection to the former Windjammer Barefoot Cruises.

Houston, TX
Level Contributor
215 posts
44 reviews
5. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

Thank you very much for the detailed information. It is very helpful!

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
1,652 posts
35 reviews
6. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

Have you considered chartering a sailboat with a captain? That is, IMO, the best way to enjoy the Cays, from a sailboat moored right there. You can start from Canouan which is just north of the cays.

Mike in Tulsa

JENSEN BEACH
Level Contributor
11,286 posts
51 reviews
7. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

Two totally different Holidays. The Mandalay spends lots of time in the Cays and allows visitors to see both the Southern and Northern Grenadines as well as Grenada. Both Holidays can be great as can a bareboat charter.

Houston, TX
Level Contributor
215 posts
44 reviews
8. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

I think Mandalay is the way to go. I would love to sail with our own captain and some close friends. But I'm having problems convincing people this is a great idea ;)

JENSEN BEACH
Level Contributor
11,286 posts
51 reviews
9. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

I agree. Even if you do "convince" others to go, I always feel responsible for being sure they have a good time. Let Mandalay handle the decision making and kick back and have fun with your fellow travelers. A new island in the Grenadines each day is great fun!

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
804 posts
38 reviews
10. Re: Windstar Cruises, Tobago Cays, & the like

Michelle H. Happy to share :)

I have been to Tobago Cays a few times over the years. I know the captain and crew of the Mandalay will be sure you get all the time you need to experience them. The only thing you have to hope for is NOT to be there on the day one of the Windstars of the world decide to visit. Instead of having this beautiful place pretty much to you and your ship mates you'll share it with a 100 or more tourists. A few of the people who sailed when I did have sailed with their own captain on a smaller vessel some ended up preferring that while others said they preferred sailing on a larger ship.

Like I said if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

I really want WSA to grow and prosper. The people I know who work on the ship are some of the best I people I know in this world. The crew will go out of their way just to be sure you enjoy yourself. I am so excited to hopefully return this spring.

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