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Ever taken a "small ship" cruise?

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by DaveNW, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I think the cruising bug his bitten me. And like any good Tugger, I'm researching the industry, trying to maximize the concept for my own benefit. :)

    I've always wondered about the Caribbean island-hopping cruises on smaller ships, especially the Windjammer-type sailing vessels. The idea of fewer guests is quite appealing, and being a retired Navy sailor, anything on the water is good for me. A coworker raves about the great time he and his wife had years ago on a sailing ship like that, but that company apparently no longer exists, or the company changed names. So I'm looking for current options.

    Has anybody taken this kind of cruise, or wanted to, and would you mind sharing your experience or research? I'm quite interested in what others have experienced. TIA.

    Dave
     
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  2. silentg

    silentg TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We took a River Cruise last October with TUG members. Paris to Normandy it was wonderful.
    AMA waterways but we went thru Kathy Q, now Sandy V is handling the cruises, not sure if they have another one planned? Sandy should reply to this thread.
    Silentg
     
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  3. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Dave, we took a Windstar cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon. https://windstar.cruiselines.com/?source=bing&nlp=e&cn=windstar&ag=windstar I can't recommend them highly enough. There were just 125 passengers aboard. We docked in smaller ports where you could just walk off into the historic center. The whole town turns out when the 5 masted 'tall ship' (the sails are computerized) sails into the harbor. We had full access to the bridge, private tours of the galley. By lunch the first day, I was Mr. Jim to the whole crew.

    That said, it isn't cheap, but discounts abound. Including generous military discounts for veterans.

    Hint: On their ship names, those with 'wind' in the name are 'sail' boats while those with 'Star' in the name are power yacht style.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  4. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thanks, Jim. Exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. But in the Caribbean. I’m trying to engage my inner pirate... :)

    Dave
     
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  5. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Understood. They have a plethora of cruises there. The ships have an onboard platform and all kinds of watersports gizmos. sailfish boats, kayaks, boogie boards etc. and anchor in tropical coves to guests can play in the briny deep. I kind of have a hankering to take one of their many trans-Panama canal rides, though I've done it twice on big ships.
     
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  6. Ken555

    Ken555 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Another endorsement for Windstar. Excellent.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I forgot to add the 'ARRRG!'
     
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  8. turkel

    turkel TUG Member

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    We haven’t cruised yet. I don’t like crowds and I am a pain magnet. Please don’t run into me, please don’t run into me .....boom.

    We are interested in trying a small ship cruise someday soon.

    I get sale e mails from Windstar and have seen some pretty good deals. Their repositioning cruise at less than $800 for 2 weeks is a steal SXM to Lisbon. In 2 years when we retire I want to make it part of an extended trip across the pond.

    I have only heard good things about this cruise line.
     
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  9. moonstone

    moonstone TUG Member

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    A retired American couple we have become friends with in Belize have taken many Windjammer cruises and speak very highly of them. He is a retired Navy guy too and still loves to be on the water. We have seen a few photos from some of their cruises and they look amazing!

    ~Diane
     
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  10. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    That's kind of what I'm after. Big ship cruising is fine and all, if you want that sort of thing. I've done three of them now, and it reminded me a lot of my aircraft carrier days in the Navy, (sharing space with 6000 of my closest shipmates.) Hurry up and wait, always a line, lots of nonstop noise. I prefer a more casual situation, where the crew isn't just part of a huge population of faces behind the scenes.

    And I love sailing. Back in my San Diego days, I owned a Catalina sailboat, and we spent a lot of time cruising up and down the coast. There is something about being down low, close to the water, that brings it all into perspective.

    Dave
     
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  11. Conan

    Conan TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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  12. pedro47

    pedro47 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    DaveNW,, suggestion only, please check CruiseCritics website and asked this question. You can search Paul Gauguin, Windstar sailboats and other Windjammers cruises on CC website...IMHO.
    We enjoyed cruising with Celebrity Cruise Lines.
     
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  13. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Agreed. I've been reviewing the CC site looking for similar information. But Tuggers bring a different perspective to traveling, and have a candid viewpoint that is very helpful. Every little tidbit is useful. :)

    Dave
     
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  14. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    How small are you looking to go? Tradewinds has lots of Carribean options, and you could probably trade into one of them using RCI. These are boats not ships though, with more like a handful of cabins and 2 crew.
     
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  15. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Everything is an option, and I'll look closer at that. I'm looking to see what is available these days, and what the guest experience was like. A ship/boat with a few hundred passengers would be fine, on down to a couple dozen or so. I don't necessarily want to do a "bareboat" type charter, where it's a couple or two and the crew - I do want a "cruise" experience. Just something other than the "ocean liner" experience. :)

    My coworker who raved about the windjammer idea goes on and on about all the drinking games they played - his favorite part, I think. Not my style, as I'm not much of a drinker, and I don't like drinking to excess. (Probably part of why my recent Carnival Cruise to Mexico wasn't as good as it might have been - I haven't seen such excessive drinking since my Navy days.)

    I'm exploring ideas, so we'll see what all turns up.

    For those of you who have booked smaller cruises like this, did you do your own booking, or use a travel agent, or ? Is one site better than another for that? My budget for this can't afford a $10K-a-week-pp cruise, and I'm seeing a lot of that sort of thing. (Road Scholar cruises seem amazing, but a bit too rich for my checkbook.)

    Dave
     
  16. SmithOp

    SmithOp TUG Member

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    You can also check on some of the smaller lines on Costco Travel Dave! Azamara, Crystal, Regent, Uniworld.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  17. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Dave, our one Windstar cruise was booked through www.vacationstogo.com/ it was one leg of a repositioning cruise that originated in Rome or Athens, that continued on to Barbados. They offered a veterans discount. List price was $4,799 for a week, VTGs regular price was $2,799, and the military discounted price was $799. I haven't seen this repeated, but their 'interline' rates are similar for people in the travel industry.

    If you sign up at Windstar dot com you'll get an email every Thursday with '7 for 7days (or maybe you have to be a past cruiser) with deep discounts the are just valid for a week, then you get a new batch. They are enough to make you dream of palms swaying on distant sandy shores while your every whim is taken care of even before you think of it.
     
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  18. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thanks, Dave! I'll check Costco Travel again. All I saw on the first try was big ship stuff. I'll dig a bit deeper. :thumbup:

    Dave
     
  19. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thanks, Jim. Windstar seems really nice. I was going through their website awhile ago and checking amenities on the ships. Looks great!

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  20. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We did a Starclipper Cruise in French Polynesia. Small (300ish) passenger sailing cruise ships. Great ambiance, limited activities (exactly to our liking)- one dining room, one evening activity, and so on. Service was awesome, it was a really nice crew to passenger ratio.

    You could ride in the netting under the bowsprit while the ship was under way. I laid there for a couple hours one day, watching Bora Bora get ever closer. Priceless.
     
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  21. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    My brother took the Alaska UNCRUISE last August. Only like 80 people on board. He said the food was ok and he wasn't so keen on the cabin- especially considering the money he paid.

    That said, he and his family had a great time.
     
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  22. planada

    planada TUG Member

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    we are doing a Greek isles trip with Crystal in Oct on a yacht that only has 60 passengers. The price was super reasonable and it included liquor, excursions, and water sport toys. I will let you know
     
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  23. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Ooh! Ooh!! Take me! Take me!! :)

    Dave
     
  24. am1

    am1 TUG Member

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    I would like to take a wind star cruise out of Colon but probably not the best with two six year olds and is being young ourselves. Probably have to wait until we are old. One of the biggest problems with small boats that go to off the beaten path place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  25. amycurl

    amycurl TUG Member

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    I loved Windjammer Barefoot Cruises (RIP.) former customers founded Island Windjammers, and salvaged one of their ships. I would sail them in a heartbeat. The even smaller windjammers that sail the coast of Maine for up to a week are fun, too—but def more rustic. These are the only ships my mother has any interest in ever cruising on, LOL!


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