Barbados Journals

Cruising the Southern Caribbean with Windstar

A March 2007 trip to Barbados by AndreaRH

The Beach at Coconut Court Beach Hotel Photo, Barbados, Caribbean More Photos
Quote: A fabulous vacation aboard Windstar's Wind Surf motor-sail-yacht. Ports of call included Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Martin, and St. Lucia.

Cruising the Southern Caribbean with Windstar

Overview

Windstar Wind Surf Anchored Off St. Martin Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
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Bright Caribbean sun. Turquoise water. Gentle ocean waves. The majesty of an intimate 312-passenger five-mast motor-sail-yacht. Inviting ports of call. Windstar Wind Surf's Northbound Barbados itinerary is a "best bet" for anyone who loves cruising and really needs a break from the harsh winter back home!We had a fabulous time aboard the Wind Surf (once we escaped an East Coast snow storm that delayed our flight to Barbados by four hours).We enjoyed one sea day and visited the following Southern Caribbean islands:Bridgetown, BarbadosBasseterre, St. KittsCharlestown, NevisMarigot, St. MartinGustavia, St. BarthelemyBasse Terre, GuadeloupeIles d...Read More
The Beach at Coconut Court Beach Hotel Photo, Barbados, Caribbean
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When going on a cruise, it's always a good idea to fly to your point of embarkation a day or more early. This way, you've got some buffer time in case of inclement weather, mechanical delays, or anything else that may befall your travel.Our Windstar vacation started in Barbados, so we decided to stay for one pre-cruise night at the Coconut Court Beach Hotel. (Windstar books and recommends the Accra Beach Hotel, but it was completely booked so we needed to make alternate arrangments for our pre-cruise stay. The Hilton is also a solid choice, but it was more money than we wanted to spend for a one-night stay.)The Coconut Court is small and intimate, with about 80 rooms, a small pool ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 22, 2008

Windstar Cruises

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Hotel

The Windstar Wind Surf: She's Gorgeous! Photo, Barbados, Caribbean
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We got our first glimpse of the Windstar Wind Surf as we drove up to the Bridgetown cruise terminal. Wow! She's a great-looking ship!Unlike a lot of today's mega-ships that host thousands of people at a time, the Wind Surf is a 5-mast/7-sail motor-sail-yacht and you'll share her with about 300 other passengers.Guests arrived to the ship all afternoon, so check-in was a breeze. It took about 20 minutes. The Lounge was set up for this purpose and the crew served sandwiches and rum punch as guests went through the process. To check in, we visited three tables: At the first table, we surrendered our passports and showed our boarding passes and immigration cards. A crewman at ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 22, 2008

Windstar Wind Surf Docked at Basse Terre Photo, Guadeloupe, Caribbean
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Christopher Columbus first arrived here in 1493 and quickly renamed the island after Santa Maria de Guadeloupe de Estramadura. Guadeloupe is actually two islands: Basse Terre and Grand Terre.At Basse Terre, the Wind Surf was able to dock — a nice change of pace from the use of tenders to shore. We booked a four-hour Windstar glass-bottom boat shore excursion to visit the Pigeon Island (no relation to Pigeon Island, St. Lucia) and the Cousteau Marine Reserve. (Cost was $79 per person.)Windstar offered two other excursions on Basse Terre: the Bel Air Plantation ($79 pp) and a visit to Old Basse Terre ($39 pp).A modern air-conditioned bus picked us up (about 40 Wind Surf gue...Read More
Windstar Wind Surf Docked at Basse Terre Photo, Guadeloupe, Caribbean
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We woke to find that the Wind Surf was not docked at Bassetterre on St. Kitts as originally planned. Evidently, the Jamaican Navy had taken our slip, so Captain Mark Boylin had to anchor in the harbor. Hey, this is the Caribbean. Expect changes in the schedule; they will occur from time to time. This was really no big deal. It just meant taking a quick tender ride to the pier.St. Kitts and Nevis (our afternoon port) are a two-island federation and are only two miles apart. This is the smallest independent nation you can visit in the western hemisphere.Our main goal for this half-day port was to take some photos. However, the skies were a bit cloudy so we weren’t able to get too man...Read More
Beautiful Barbados Photo, Bridgetown, Barbados
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It was so difficult to leave the Wind Surf and begin our journey home. We had a fabulous trip and would definitely sail this ship again. We're already recommending it to all our friends who prefer an elegant yet relaxed vacation environment.Since our flight to New York wouldn't take off until 4:00 p.m., we booked Windstar's Discover Barbados day tour. They take your luggage directly to the airport while you tour the island. This is a much better option than hanging around the terminal all day!Our other option was booking a day room at a local hotel, but we thought a tour would be more fun. ($89 pp for the tour)Here are the highlights of the Discover Barbados tour...B...Read More

Charlestown, Nevis

Story/Tip

The Sun's Finally Coming Out Photo, St. Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean
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Nevis is another small island, but the beaches are gorgeous. Some of our fellow passengers headed for the posh Four Seasons resort; others went to the beach for swimming and snorkeling. This is the place to see lots of animals, including monkeys, goats, rosters/chickens, etc.Windstar offered tender service to Charlestown, as well as a few excursions. In hindsight, we should have signed up for the 3.5 hour kayaking adventure. That sounded really fun! There was also a biking tour and a trip to the plantation inns of Nevis.Weather permitting, this is the place to spend time at the beach. We unfortunately had a cloudy, somewhat rainy day so we didn't visit as many places as we original...Read More
The Dock at Gustavia, St. Barts Photo, St. Barthelemy, Caribbean
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You've probably heard about St. Barthelemy, or St. Barts, before. It is beautiful! It's also an enclave for the rich (make that super-rich) and famous. Just walk along the dock at Gustavia (where the Wind Surf tender drops off visitors) and you'll see mega-yachts from all over the world. This is a French outpost, but most locals also speak English.Gustavia is a cute little village with lots of restaurants, duty free boutiques, and specialty shops. We had originally planned to rent a car, but thankfully changed our minds. The roads are incredibly narrow and steep! The mountainous terrain can be intimidating to drivers, especially the areas that lack guardrails. Instead of renting a ...Read More
A View of Marigot, St. Martin Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
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Today was one of those perfect vacation days! We tendered to Marigot on the French side of St. Martin. This is so much better than arriving at Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island! All the large ships head for Philipsburg, so the Wind Surf definitely has an advantage by arriving on the French side...much lighter crowds (although the island was jammed when we were there anyway! It's a very popular Caribbean island.)Since this is one of the more developed islands that we're visiting on this itinerary, we decided to rent a car. We selected a mid-size, four-door from Xtreme ($35 US). The rental kiosks are right on the pier so it's very easy to rent a car, even if you don't have a reservat...Read More

St. Lucia & a Beach BBQ

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Story/Tip

Beach Setup at Pigeon Island Photo, St. Lucia, Caribbean
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We found ourselves on Saint Lucia on the last day of our cruise. We've always liked it here because of the lush landscape, the mountains, and the very friendly residents. The Wind Surf booked a private area of Pigeon Island National Park for the day and it was a real treat for us passengers. This is a great location near Castries, Saint Lucia's capital city. There are two beaches at the park: one fairly large and one that's just a small patch of sand. If you want to snag a shady spot for your lounge chair, arrive early. (There are plenty of chairs, but limited shade.)Since this is a national park with an entry fee, you won't encounter many locals here and there's no place to shop. ...Read More
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Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes is a gorgeous—albeit tiny—enclave with just 1,500 residents. You'll tender from the Wind Surf to the small coastal town of Bourg. Here you'll enjoy shopping the main drag for T-shirts, jewelry, rum, paintings from a local art gallery, etc. There are several restaurants here, an ice cream parlor, and a few outdoor cafe/bars. (When you visit, note that the shops and restaurants close in the afternoon between noon and 2:30 p.m.)Everyone here is very friendly and if you speak French, all the better. This is the French West Indies, after all!Our Basse Terre tour guide had raved about Pompierre (Pont Pierre Beach) on Iles des Saintes so we decided to head...Read More
Decadent Buffet Table Decor Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
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During each Wind Surf Caribbean itinerary, the chefs host a Caribbean buffet. The crew transforms The Lounge into a large dining room and prepares a sumptuous smorgasbord that's displayed in the art gallery (between The Lounge and the Yacht Club). A gloriously whimsical dessert buffet was also setup in The Restaurant’s lobby.Here's just a smattering of the delicious items that were available:prosciutto-wrapped melonshrimp cocktailcrab legsshrimp-stuff avocadoroast suckling piga traditional cheese coursebread board and salad barThe pastry chefs also outdid themselves at the dessert table. There were dozens of items to try, including:a cake in ...Read More