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Sagitta

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

 

On the first day of our Caribbean cruise aboard the Sagitta – a 24-passenger Island Windjammers ship sailing out of St. Lucia through the French West Indies – my watch stopped.

Though it seemed inconvenient at the time, it proved to be a good omen. This was one of the most relaxing trips I’ve had in years, and while I admit that I glanced at my left wrist from  time to time over the course of a week’s cruise expecting to view my now packed-away watch, I didn’t really need to know the hour – or sometimes, it seemed, even the day.

The ship’s bell rang at mealtimes – 8 a.m. for breakfast, noon for lunch, 5 p.m. for snack-and-cocktail hour, 7 p.m. for dinner – so the critical times of the day were accounted for.

All my wife,… Continue reading

Sixth in a Series:

Colorful buildings in Fort-de-France, Martinque. Photo by Catharine Norton.

Colorful buildings in Fort-de-France, Martinque. Photo by Catharine Norton.

On the final full day of our recent Caribbean cruise with Island Windjammers, the Sagitta anchored off the dock at Fort-de-France, capital of Martinique.

Like Guadeloupe, where we had spent the previous two days, Martinique is an overseas department of France, so I had a chance to practice my rusty French from high school and college. It’s amazing what flows out when you actually want or need something, such as a map of the city or a bottle of wine.

Leah, the operations manager aboard the Sagitta, had tasked us all with bringing back a bottle of wine from shore for a wine and cheese party to be held during cocktail hour that afternoon.  It was the first time all week she had actually asked us to do anything, so just about everyone gladly… Continue reading

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo from Island Windjammers.

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo from Island Windjammers.

Fifth in a Series:

When Windjammer Barefoot Cruises — known for their casual, relaxed, small-ship sailing cruises of the Caribbean — went defunct back in 2007, many of their long-time regular passengers felt adrift. There simply was nothing comparable to turn to.

So, like any truly dedicated cruisers, they started their own company, offering much the same casual sailing experience. Georgia-based Island Windjammers, run by company president Liz Harvey, rounded up some of the old Barefoot crew and, in late 2009, launched with the 12-passenger schooner Diamant, which sailed the Grenadines in the far southern Caribbean.

Success has followed in its wake. The 24-passenger, 120-foot-long motorsailer Sagitta — our ship for our week-long cruise through the southern Caribbean — followed in 2013, and the 30-passenger tall ship Vela is set for its first shakedown… Continue reading

The harbor at Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe.  Photo by Catharine Norton.

The harbor at Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe. Photo by Catharine Norton.

Fourth in a Series:

After leaving Dominica aboard our Island Windjammers cruise through the French West Indies, we reached Guadeloupe early in the morning of our fourth day out.

Rather than visiting Guadeloupe’s main island, our sailing ship, the 24-passenger Sagitta, anchored off idyllic Terre-de-Haut, one of two small inhabited islands of the Iles des Saintes (Islands of the Saints), which Columbus named because he first saw them on All Saints Day.

The islands (also sometimes called Les Saintes) are part of Guadeloupe, which in turn is an overseas department of France — meaning it’s not a territory but part of France itself.

Being up on deck with our cups of coffee as we sailed through the island chain was a treat. The Iles des Saintes are truly the undiscovered Caribbean, visited only by small ships: yachts, sailboats, ferries… Continue reading

Dominica, the "Garden Isle." Photo by Amy El-Bassioni

Dominica, the “Garden Isle.” Photo by Amy El-Bassioni

Third in a Series:

It was a tale of shipboard adventure and romance played out on the high seas.

Well, that may be a bit dramatic. But when one of our fellow shipmates fell onto another passenger while standing on deck during a rocking and rolling nighttime voyage between the islands of St. Lucia and Dominica on our recent Island Windjammers French West Indies Cruise, her husband gallantly came to the rescue and promptly fell onto the anchor chain.

The result: one broken wrist (wife), one badly sprained finger (husband).

Both remained good-humored throughout the trip, sling and bandaging notwithstanding. In fact, they were two of the most upbeat folks on board, and I heard not a complaint from either.

The sheer pleasure of being on a windjammer on tropical seas can turn even what appeared to be painful injuries… Continue reading

The vegetable and fruit boat on Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

The vegetable and fruit boat on Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

Second in a Series:

My wife, Catharine, and I always like to arrive one or two days in advance at the embarkation point of a cruise, partly to explore and get acclimated to a new location, and partly just to plain avoid missing the boat.

We also like to seek out the ship wherever it may be docked, if it’s arrived in port a day or two early. We were looking for the Sagitta, the Island Windjammers’ 24-passenger sailing vessel where we would spend the next week, sailing from St. Lucia to several other Caribbean islands.

And so Catharine and I walked down to the Rodney Bay Marina — on the far northern end of St. Lucia — from our hotel, the Bay Gardens Inn. (Which, by the way, I heartily recommend; it’s small,… Continue reading

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Marina Kofman.

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Marina Kofman.

First in a Series:

On the first day of our recent Caribbean cruise aboard the Sagitta – a 24-passenger Island Windjammers ship sailing out of St. Lucia through the French West Indies – my watch stopped.

Though it seemed inconvenient at the time, it proved to be a good omen. This was one of the most relaxing trips I’ve had in years, and while I admit that I glanced at my left wrist from  time to time over the course of a week’s cruise expecting to view my now packed-away watch, I didn’t really need to know the hour – or sometimes, it seemed, even the day.

The ship’s bell rang at mealtimes – 8 a.m. for breakfast, noon for lunch, 5 p.m. for snack-and-cocktail hour, 7 p.m. for dinner – so the critical times of the day were… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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