Written by lovethecaribbean on 05 Feb, 2012
St. Lucia- We wanted to see as much of St. Lucia as we could so we opted to do our own thing in the morning. We arrived at Marigot Bay at 7:30 am and were on the first tender to shore. We…Read More
St. Lucia- We wanted to see as much of St. Lucia as we could so we opted to do our own thing in the morning. We arrived at Marigot Bay at 7:30 am and were on the first tender to shore. We caught a private taxi and arranged a tour with him for the next four hours. We had thought about doing one of the ship’s tours, but they were all in the afternoon and would mean that we would miss the snorkeling trip. There wasn’t too much to do in Marigot and most of the attractions we wanted to visit were closer to Soufriere, where the ship was arriving at 1:30 pm, so we decided to make the most of our morning. St. Lucia is VERY mountainous and lush, and gorgeous views abound. We stopped for a nice view of the ship and Marigot. Then we stopped for another ship view and Rosseau Beach. We stopped for some fishing village views, a banana plantation and a couple of amazing Piton views. (I had wanted to get views of the Pitons from both the water and from the mountains. I’m so glad we got to see them from such different perspectives.) We visited a small waterfall and the volcano. Then we took the rough road to Anse Chastanet where I had hoped to do some snorkeling. The black sand beach here was beautiful. Unfortunately, the water was very churned up. We could see that there was plenty of coral and fish—we just couldn’t see it very well because the water was murky. We ended up just relaxing on the beach for a while then had lunch at the hotel. It was good, but a bit pricey. We then took a boat back to Soufriere (that is definitely preferred to taking the rough road!) and waited for the tender to arrive so we could get back on the ship for the snorkeling trip. We then boarded the tender with about 30 other passengers. We snorkeled at the base of a mountain and also had a great view of the Pitons from the water here. The water was calm and clear (unlike the water at Anse Chastanet!). There was quite a bit of coral and some other interesting things. We saw a centipede looking thing on a rock in the ocean—I had never seen anything like that before. Also saw lots of fish. We had about 45 minutes to snorkel which was ample. We made it back to the ship with just enough time to shower and be ready for the photo tender where I photographed the ship under sail. This was our favorite day of the cruise and I would love to come back to St. Lucia for a vacation. Close
Bequia- We arrived at 2 pm and departed at 7 pm. This was one of my favorite islands, and I could definitely see myself coming back here for a vacation. We opted to do the ship’s 4x4 tour of the island.…Read More
Bequia- We arrived at 2 pm and departed at 7 pm. This was one of my favorite islands, and I could definitely see myself coming back here for a vacation. We opted to do the ship’s 4x4 tour of the island. After the tour we walked around town and found it very charming. We made it back to the jetty for the last tender. While we were waiting for the tender, we watched one of the most beautiful sunsets of the trip. Close
ShipWe had been on a cruise with Star Clippers before, so we knew what to expect. The ship holds about 220 passengers, but there were only about 160 on our cruise. I don’t think the ship would have felt crowded if it were full,…Read More
ShipWe had been on a cruise with Star Clippers before, so we knew what to expect. The ship holds about 220 passengers, but there were only about 160 on our cruise. I don’t think the ship would have felt crowded if it were full, but it was definitely nice that it wasn’t full. The bars and restaurants were never crowded and we never had to wait for a table at dinner or even wait in much of a line at the buffet breakfasts and lunches. The dining room was beautiful—more ornate than on the Star Flyer. There were plenty of lounge chairs on deck—even plenty in the shade and lots of areas on deck to get away from it all if you wanted. There were three pools. We really enjoyed the sail away each night—watching them hoist the sails to some dramatic music. We did not get the opportunity to do any of the watersports off of the platform, but people we spoke with who did enjoyed it. Sunsets from the ship were gorgeous! CabinWe were in a category 3 room. The bed was comfortable (two twins pushed together), and larger than I remembered. Toiletries were provided, except for hair conditioner, so make sure to bring your own. (I needed lots of conditioner after all the tangles from snorkeling!)FoodOverall we enjoyed the food on the ship. Breakfast and lunch were buffet. Breakfasts were my favorite meal. The omelets were great! The omelet chef actually remembered me from our Star Flyer trip two and a half years ago. What a great memory! Lunch buffets were usually themed, for instance there were Italian, Seafood and Creole days. The quality of the food was good for lunch. The dinner menu changed each night, and they always offered a steak and pasta dish if you didn’t like the other offerings. Probably my favorite thing that I ate was the swordfish. When they had filet mignon, that was of good quality too. One day at lunch they had a chocolate cheesecake, which was really more like a warm mousse and it was my favorite dessert of the trip. My husband’s favorite was the veal dish. One night they did not have any desserts that I liked, so I asked if they had any of the straciatella ice cream left over from the previous night that I could have. And they did! I thought that was great service. They also had afternoon and midnight snacks. We were never out for the midnight snack, but did go to the afternoon snack a few times. I’d usually just have a cookie or two, but my husband enjoyed things like tacos, meatballs and wings.ServiceOur cabin steward was great! The room was always spotless when we returned to it. He also made a cute towel monkey and turtle. He knew our names and always greeted us when we would see him around the ship. Service in the dining room and bars was good, one night they got me the dessert that was offered the previous night. The cruise director was very nice and always tried to answer our questions. PassengersWe were some of the youngest passengers on the ship (30’s), but we met some very interesting people of all ages. There was a good mix of nationalities- many British and some other Europeans as well as Americans and Canadians. We really enjoyed socializing with everyone on the ship and listening to some great travel stories!Some things to consider-This cruise is very different from a big ship cruise—and we liked that. There is not as much waiting and herding. It goes to some great ports, many of which the bigger ships just cannot get into. In some ports it offers a tender both to town and the beach which was really convenient. They also had a great snorkeling trip in St. Lucia from the tender, which only cost 1 Euro per person (because it was a marine park)—and that ended up being some of the best snorkeling of the trip! Activities- They do have some evening entertainment- talent show, fashion show, pirate dress up competition. There was a singer on board and also one night they had a steel drum band which I enjoyed. We were usually pretty tired from all our day time on shore activities that we didn’t stay up too late.We hope we can do another Star Clipper cruise! Close
Written by southerntravlr on 25 Oct, 2007
Talk about a bucolic Caribbean island! Bequia ("Beck-Way") certainly meets that definition. Located in the West Indies near Barbados, Bequia is a tiny, 7-square mile, volcanic-based oasis floating on a sea of cobalt, aquamarine, Copenhagen-and-all-manner-of blues and greens. With approximately 5,000 residents, Bequia is…Read More
Talk about a bucolic Caribbean island! Bequia ("Beck-Way") certainly meets that definition. Located in the West Indies near Barbados, Bequia is a tiny, 7-square mile, volcanic-based oasis floating on a sea of cobalt, aquamarine, Copenhagen-and-all-manner-of blues and greens. With approximately 5,000 residents, Bequia is truly quite undiscovered- no cruise ships call and the somewhat arduous connections to get there dissuade casual vacationers or those looking for even 3 star accomodations. Yachties know it well but even so it is somewhat off the beaten cruising path, unlike, for instance, the Bahamas or the Virgins. The island offers no hi-rise hotels, no resorts, just a few restaurants, 3 little stores, and very little shopping, primarily made of the same old T-shirts and mass-market crap in the few stores and sold by street vendors. The island is turning into a retirement destination for Canadians, Americans and UK types. I liked the greenery of the volcanic hills, all the Bouganvillia, every kind of Bird of Paradise and all sorts of Hibiscus and of course orchids everywhere. The fragrances were heady. Not to mention the brightly-hued little Quits, a species found throughout the Caribbean and the ubiquitous ground Dove, a smaller bird than the Mourning Dove found in North America. Several mornings we sat out on the villa patio and watched a squadron of hummingbirds work over a large, flowering tree that hung out over the steep ravine below. Finches, and Magpie-like members of the Crow family called and chatted, flitting about from tree to tree all day. Two mornings we heard a throaty, raspy loud series of calls that sounded to my hear very parrot-like. I don't know if the threatened Amazon Parrot found on nearby St. Vincent makes a home on Bequia, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised, as the islands are a mere 9 miles apart. The other major boon of Bequia is all that fresh, salt-sea air, a balm to those of us who live in cities with poor air quality. Caribbean vacations are each different, in the context of the "sameness" of Caribbean travel- heat, inefficiencies, airport hassles, sullen locals, iffy and limited food selections, slow service, high prices for all goods brought to the island. But hey, one becomes more tolerant with age and experience, especially if assisted by a rum punch or two. However, those rum punches nearly proved my undoing, as I tooled around in a right-drive Jeep on the left on extremely narrow, winding and steep "roads", with no shoulders, just steep drop-offs on one side to the ocean and a concrete ditch between the pressing hillside and the narrow, switch-back roadway. The ditches were about 2 feet wide and 4 feet deep- just enough to capture your tire if you slipped into one, which I did when avoiding a cement truck that came whipping around a bend. I was careful to avoid snatching the tire back on the road (without power steering that was a trick!) and send us careening off the hillside. Such near-misses soon became routine and the subject of somewhat breathless giggling. Water-borne activities were also a source of, if not panic, then a certain touch of consternation. Robin had a moment's hesitation when we were sailing over to Isla a' Quarte, a nearby undeveloped island. We were in 6-foot seas, fairly big in that small boat (32 feet) and it was quite windy so as we came up on the wind the boat heeled very steeply. Robin found herself on the lee side, sitting in the cockpit facing to the stern with her elbow on the combing- I guess her elbow got dipped in the ocean (we were heeled at about 40 degrees) and she asked if the boat was gonna tip over. I laughed and Nikki, our skipper, was kind enuf to just grin. He was perched with one foot on the high side and another on the low side of the cockpit, his bare toes curled to grip the edges of the bench seat, looking very piratical. I braced my feet across from my seat to the edge of Robin's a Close
Written by mplunkert on 09 Sep, 2002
Mustique is the island of the rich and famous. Privately owned, it has been a second home to personalities such as Liberace, Princess Margaret, Raquel Welch, and Mick Jagger. There are only 80 homes on the island, and you may mistakenly think some…Read More
Mustique is the island of the rich and famous. Privately owned, it has been a second home to personalities such as Liberace, Princess Margaret, Raquel Welch, and Mick Jagger. There are only 80 homes on the island, and you may mistakenly think some of them are castles or elaborate hotels rather than private residences. A walk around the island reveals pristine little cottages as well. There are two hotels to choose from--The FireFly House (phone: 784-456-3414; e-mail: email@example.com; web: mustiquefirefly.com) and The Cotton House (phone: 784-456-4777; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: cottonhouse.net). They are both small, so you will be insured privacy at each. The Firefly has only four rooms and the Cotton House, twenty. Be prepared to pay a tidy sum!
The snorkeling here is superb. There is a reef on the southwest coast of the island where you will find a large variety of fish, including the harmless nurse sharks. At the entrance to Britannia Bay is Montezuma Shoal. The Wreck of the Jonas lies in 40 feet of water on the east side of the shoal. There is a dinghy mooring that you can tie up to when snorkeling, and the water is so clear, the wreck is clearly visible. Barracudas and nurse sharks can also be seen. If you wish to dive, you can contact Mustique Water Sports (VHF:68,16). They will pick you up at your boat.
If you want to stay drier, a horseback ride will provide you with a nice island tour. These are usually provided in the early morning (8 or 9 A.M.) or the later afternoon (3 or 4 P.M.). You can arrange for a ride with the Mustique Company at Brittania Bay or by calling the Cotton House. Or simply take a walk to the famous and beautiful Macaroni beach on the east coast of the island and relax with a drink as you lie in a hammock and keep your eye out for any celebrities who might be about.
If you're sailing, you need to be aware that there is no anchoring allowed off Mustique. The Mustique Company rents mooring balls at Britannia Bay, which is a beautiful anchorage. The charge was $20 U.S. for the first night, and the second and third nights were free. If you've sailed only in the B.V.I., be aware that these mooring balls are a bit different. They have no rope attached, and you must either go "stern to" to pick one up and walk it to the bow or send a crew member out in the dinghy to grab one. Better yet, especially if you're short-handed, call Mustique Moorings on VHF: 16/68 and the ranger will dinghy out to help you. We found him to be a great source of information on the island as well; he pointed out Liberace's former home, told us where we could dispose of our garbage, and directed us to the best snorkeling areas in the Bay.
Written by Kaye on 01 Sep, 2000
Ah-h-h we had a beautiful day in Bequia. After a rough crossing from Tobago Cays we awoke to a beautiful morning in Admirality Bay. We arrived in the harbor in the dark so we weren't able to see how many yachts and sailboats…Read More
Ah-h-h we had a beautiful day in Bequia. After a rough crossing from Tobago Cays we awoke to a beautiful morning in Admirality Bay. We arrived in the harbor in the dark so we weren't able to see how many yachts and sailboats were anchored there. We were surprised to see so many anchored close to us. We have to hand it to the skill of the Mandalay crew. They brought us safely into our anchorage among all these vessels using a handheld light. We excited a few people on one sailboat when we pulled in. I think the light sweeping across their deck woke them up and they feared getting run into. They hurried out on deck and observed until we were safely anchored.
We enjoyed a morning dive with Dive Bequia (see review) and returned to the Mandalay just in time to change quickly for lunch on shore at Mac's Pizzeria (see review). We shared a table with some fellow sailors from South Carolina and enjoyed getting to know them. They were retired, love to travel and are great fun! The much anticipated lobster pizza was excellent as well.
After lunch we made our way slowly through the one main street in Bequia. This was our first island stop to have shopping on it. So we enjoyed the many cute boutiques and shops. I found a little handmade seahorse in one shop that I bought for the auction that will be held on board ship for the benefit of the school on Mayreau.
After walking around we took a taxi over to Friendship Bay Hotel on the Atlantic side of the island. We had a drink at a cute open air bar called Spicy 'N Herby where the bar stools are swings. The bar sits right on the beach so it was a great place to relax and enjoy the ocean view.
We returned to the Mandalay mid-afternoon for our daily Snacks & Swizzles served on the main deck. Windjammer has a nice tradition of starting every morning with Bloody Mary's and Sticky Buns and then serving Snacks & Swizzles every afternoon 5:00. I was never up early enough to enjoy the Bloody Marys but we sure enjoyed the afternoon Rum Swizzles.
We capped our day in Bequia off with a wonderful dinner at CoCo's. This was the first port during this cruise where we stayed at anchor during the evening hours. Although we enjoyed all of the meals on the Mandalay it was a nice treat to be able to enjoy a dinner on shore. We took one of the open air taxi's to the hilltop where CoCo's sits overlooking the harbor. Sitting, dressed up, in the back of a customized pick-up that passes for a taxi on Bequia I felt like I was in a troop mover. There were benches to sit on but hopping up into the bed of a truck in a dress is an awkward thing to do. It added to the experience though. One of our group from Colorado kept us in stitches on our taxi ride down the hill after dinner. He was telling us about a place out West where he played tic-tac-toe against a chicken. Sadly he never beat the chicken. I'm not sure I'd admit that.
A night-cap in the court-yard bar of the Frangipani Hotel completed our Bequia experience.
We loved this laid-back tropical paradise. Life on the island is completely oriented to the sea and boat building is still the tradition here. Bequia's population is about 6,000 and the community is made up of fishermen, sailors, master boat builders and whalers as well as artists, professionals, and retired people. It's an interesting place. One area which we didn't visit but someothers on board the Mandalay did was a place called Moonhole. It is west of Page Farm on the southwestern end of Bequia and is a private development of seventeen houses designed by American Tom Johnston. The houses are built of stone, hanging off cliffs, and sometimes enveloped by them. According to villages at Paget Farm, the space seen through Moonhole rock circle captures the sky such that it looks like a moon peeking through. We heard the visitors from Mandaly describe it as a 'Flintstone' village. They were fascinated with the architecture.
Written by Pirate43 guide on 09 Dec, 2000
" You really won't find much on the island in the way of souvenirs except for T-shirts and such which are sold by the locals along the beach under the trees. They have a wide selection however so have at it.…Read More
" You really won't find much on the island in the way of souvenirs except for T-shirts and such which are sold by the locals along the beach under the trees. They have a wide selection however so have at it. I did buy one but spent most of my time climbing up the winding hill (rather steep) along the paved road to the top. A school is also at the summit. A small but quaint Roman Catholic church is a nice photo opportunity of neighboring islands. Slightly down from the summit is an open-air bar. It's about the only bar there but the view is good so what the heck. A Rastapharian sells sea turtle merchandise but it's a bit pricey and I didn't want to promote the acquisition of turtle products. Close
Written by TheLibbyShow on 04 Aug, 2006
I spent a month in St. Vincent from the end of April to the end of May, 2006. Overall it was a great experience. My team and I filled our days with working with local churches, helping them with construction and other projects.If you're thinking…Read More
I spent a month in St. Vincent from the end of April to the end of May, 2006. Overall it was a great experience. My team and I filled our days with working with local churches, helping them with construction and other projects.If you're thinking of traveling to St. Vincent, I would recommend it. However, be prepared for very hot weather. I got sunburned a few times while there, and if your accommodation doesn't have air conditioning, you may have a problem. Young Island is by far the best St. Vincent has to offer in luxury stays, however it is somewhat expensive. St. Vincent has an active volcano on the north side of the island, which is available for the energetic types to tour and climb up. I like to think of St. Vincent as an undiscovered island. You won't see the amount of tourists that frequent nearby islands such as Barbados. In fact, when we were about 10 miles inland, there were several children that told us that they had never seen white people in real life before. If reliable transportation is important to you, rent a car. Busses are cheap, but crowded and don't run on a schedule. Close
Written by kmallya on 18 Oct, 2005
St. Benedict's is the only orphanage on the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It was started in the 1960's by a priest who saw a need for better care of malnourished and mistreated children in the community. Thus, the orphanage started out as…Read More
St. Benedict's is the only orphanage on the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It was started in the 1960's by a priest who saw a need for better care of malnourished and mistreated children in the community. Thus, the orphanage started out as a child and infant hospital, and soon evolved into the orphanage it is today. Unfortunately, parents would leave their children, never to be claimed. Currently there are only 9 children there, many with mental handicaps. It was not meant to be a place for mentally disabled children, but the sisters that run the orphanage could not turn them away, and neither should they have--for although all of them may not be able to readily talk, these children can laugh.
Shanique is a 16 year old girl whose giggles are so contagious you find yourself laughing before you realize what happened. We played hide and go seek, played around the jungle gym, and ate pizza together. Adam, an 5 year old albino boy abandoned by his family, showed me his reading books and was so proud to read 2 lines to me. It was two hours that managed to put life into better perspective, and I'm sure if you travel to this special place, you won't leave untouched. (It's the last town before the volcano, Mt. Soufriere, so it makes for an ideal stop either coming or going from the volcano.) See the reviews of the volcano for more information.
Written by jilldg1 on 22 Jun, 2004
Getting to the Grenadines is no easy feat. After a slew of problems, I thought I’d take a moment to give you a few pointers:
Most connections go to the Grenadines from Barbados, St. Lucia, and Puerto Rico. There are two main airlines serving…Read More
Getting to the Grenadines is no easy feat. After a slew of problems, I thought I’d take a moment to give you a few pointers:
Most connections go to the Grenadines from Barbados, St. Lucia, and Puerto Rico. There are two main airlines serving the Grenadines: Trans Island Air (www.tia2000.com) and SVG (www.svgair.com). Neither is luxurious, and both are fairly expensive. We booked on the carrier Mustique Airways, but what this place does not tell you on its website (www.mustiqueair.com) is that all the airlines in the Grenadines except SVG are part of a coalition, so it doesn’t matter which one you book with—since you'll probably end up flying Trans Island Air anyway.
Expect delays and lost luggage. We had lots of problems with Trans Island Air. Because the island we were headed to—Union Island, the gateway to many of the southern Grenadines—had no lights, we could only land there during the day. Our 4pm flight had some mechanical problems, and as a result, we were grounded overnight in Barbados.
From what I gathered from the people at my hotel in Barbados—whose existence seemed to rely upon these unexpected layovers—this is a very common occurrence. Another regular happening is the loss of luggage. At least half the people I met in the Grenadines had been without their luggage for at least one night (including myself), so pack accordingly.