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TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Pittsburgh
posts: 2
TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

I went on this cruise with a friend around the beginning of this year. Personally, it's not worth the money. If you like somewhat "roughing it" then it just might be for you. It all depends on what you are looking for. If you are expecting all of the comodities from a big cruise line, then you may not want to even consider this option. They have 2 catamarans. As expected the rooms are small, but one doesn't spend much time in them. They do not turn the A/C on ever, except for the last night when one is docked back in Bequia. There was suppose to be hot water at all times, but the heater had broken 2 weeks prior to our departure. The boat had been docked and they didn't take the time to fix it. Therefore, we didn't have hot water to shower with the whole week. They request you take "military showers" to conserve water. The bathrooms are extreemely small and uncomfortable. At the begining, I was curious to know how one becomes a club member (not knowing it was a timeshare), but they would not tell me anything. A day or so later the captain would ask to speak with each of us individually or with our companion. This would take away from our personal/island/shopping time. He wanted to sell timeshares. None of us were interested and yet the captain would constantly "hound" us like a telemarketer with rebuttles. Needless to say, VERY ANNOYING!! A couple of people actually got very upset and expressed it. However, he still wouldn't give up. This made the cruise quite uncomfortable. We all noticed that the service and attention decreased inmensly when we didn't buy into the timeshare. As Americans our standards tend to be higher than in other countries(especially when you pay full price for this excursion). Thus said, the people that work for TradeWinds in Bequia are European (very different type of service). The food was really good, but we all noticed that the portions got smaller and smaller as the days went by. We all found ourselves hungry from time to time. The sailing was very nice and peaceful. The islands as well as the water, very beautiful. The price includes unlimited alcohol, which is a plus for those who like to drink. All in all it was O.K.. I personally would not use nor recommend this company. While I was there, I heard that there is/are a better company/companies there that do the same thing. If you are still considering going on this cruise, I suggest you go during their rainy season as you get to witness all the green. When I was there it was very brown and dry. I wish I would have known this prior to booking it. I hope this helps anyone and everyone!

69 replies to this topic
JENSEN BEACH
posts: 7,717
reviews: 37
1. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Anyone interested could find out plenty of info PRIOR to the trip by merely reading reviews and forum postings on TA and many other places. Seriously, rather snobbish and off base to suggest European service is substandard to American. Plenty of awesome food available on all of the Grenadine Islands if one needs more than is served aboard a charter.

UK
posts: 402
2. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Strange feeling of deja vu reading this post - one very similar has been posted before, seems like an old gripe resurfacing. A/C on yachts can be very annoying for neighbours when anchored - perhaps the captain was respecting others and not polluting the area with noise? Yachts in the tropics will be hot, they will also feel cramped if you are unused to them and they definitely will not have endless supplies of water. All of that is perfectly normal, a broken water heater is not. I cannot imagine that anyone with any kind of sense would expect the facilities of a cruise liner on a yacht - if they do ...........

As an experienced yachtsman who has sailed in this region I would recommend monohull yachts over catamarans, although they don't have the large trampoline areas of a cat they do tend to have better space in the accommodation below decks. A/C is unnecessary on a yacht if you know how to rig windchutes etc at anchor. Unlike catamarans, yachts do tend to lean over when under way - this is called sailing. Horizon Yacht Charters of Grenada are a very reputable company with very high standards - they will also arrange for you to collect your charter from Union island so that you don't have to bother with customs clearance.

Having travelled widely in the US I certainly wouldn't agree that "American standards" are higher or better than other parts of the world - there are good examples and bad examples in all countries - to state otherwise is ignorant arrogance. I couldn't comment on the sales of timeshare or fractional ownership - it doesn't interest me, nor would I put myself in a position where I would be subject to sales pitches.

Columbus, Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 28
3. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

I completely disagree w/your assessment. We went on a TWCC trip in St. Martin last year and are going on Festiva to BVI in Dec. That TWCC trip was one of the best we ever took and we travel a lot.

Sounds like someone didn't do their homework. Cruise ships are totally different than sailing around to a host of different small islands on your own private yacht. Besides, who spends time in their room/cabin on vacation.

You are either a cruiser or not, and we are not. I took my wife on RCCL last year just to prove to her she wouldn't like it. Had fun because we always do, but it is not our thing (all-inclusives on the beach or sailing is the way to go).

And, the comments about "standards" is not even worth commenting on (but I agree w/bhp's assessment).

Charlottesville...
posts: 2,030
reviews: 115
4. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Hi DaveandMissy,

just read your BVI comments, ouch! Sounds as though you made the best of a very difficult situation. I am curious if your experience changes your assessment of Tradewinds?

TIA, alashas http://www.youtube.com/user/honeymoon2

Columbus, Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 28
5. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Hi,

Our experience was recently on Festiva not Tradewinds.

And, it is all about the crew and not the charter company as we found out.

Our Tradewinds crew was EXCELLENT! These guys were terrible on Festiva. But, on the busride back to the ferry, we found out that other travelers on a different Festiva boat had a great time and crew (like we did on Tradewinds-food was great, got desert, and nice crew).

They were shocked at the stuff we (3 of the couples were on the bus w/us that we sailed with) told them on the bus (which is the same I wrote in the forum).

Take care and Merry Christmas,

Dave

Charlottesville...
posts: 2,030
reviews: 115
6. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

OK, thanks, Dave, for clarifying that. We do land based vacations in the Caribbean and are not very familiar the the boat charters. Again, sounds as though you made the best of a difficult situation, I am curious if you contacted the management of Festiva?

all the best, alashas http://www.youtube.com/user/honeymoon2

indiana
posts: 6
reviews: 11
7. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

I have sailed with both Tradewinds (Bequia) and Festiva (BVI). Yes, the staff is what makes the difference. Each company has it's good points and bad when you compare the two, but I would sail again with either one. When I am asked by friends, I describe living on a cat for a week as a very, very nice RV on the water with a driver and a cook! Yes, it's rooms are small but your not in them much. Yes, the bathrooms are small, but again how much time do you spend in them. "Military Showers": shouldn't we all conserve water as it is? If you want to get soaked, just jump off the back steps! The food: Remarkable what they can serve you from the small galley! Gourmet food, and I am a huge fan of good food. It's worth the price!

The timeshare sales pitches are there. Some pester more than others, but I did not see a difference in the treatment after declining. If it's for you, you'll know and want to listen. If not, then it might be a little annoying, but they haven't ever taken away time from something else I would have been doing.

Columbus, Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 28
8. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Alashas,

Hi there. Our bad experience was on Festiva and was strictly due to the terrible crew. We had the best crew on Tradewinds in St. Martin.

From another post I saw (under the forum "Festiva Sailing Vacations-Amazing!!!"), they seem to indicate that the crew no longer works for Festiva. I hope they are right because this type of vacation is the best ever in our opinion and the crew can ruin it.

Take care,

Dave

dianej
posts: 30
reviews: 38
9. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

We took a Tradewinds cruise out of Tortola, British Virgin Islands, last August and it was the most incredible vacation ever! We knew that the rooms were going to be small prior to going (after having read reviews and watched their videos). The only time spent there was sleeping and, although it was quite warm on most nights, this was a small price to pay for the amazing experience of the week. We were onboard with two other couples who we never met before, but after 30 minutes, it was as if we had been friends for a long time!. The captain and first mate (Australian) were fantastic, the food was gourmet and plentiful, and we were able to go to isolated beaches and unspoiled areas each and every day. The snorkeling was the best we had ever experienced and I even took an introductory scuba dive (which was incredible). The captain did try to sell a membership (towards the end) and, as it turned out, we bought into the club, and cannot wait to go again and experience one of their beautiful locations. We loved BVI and can't imagine anyplace more beautiful. Belize and Bequia are tops on our list for future places to go. This is a trip for someone adventurous, who cares more about spending time in the water, seeing natural beauty, rather than someone interested in fancy accommodations, buffets, shows, trips onshore to shop at large ports, etc. As far as myself and my husband, our experience with Tradewinds couldn't have been better!

Aurora, Colorado
posts: 1
10. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

My wife and I just returned from 2 weeks in St. Marteen, one of them aboard a tradewinds cruise. This was our first such experience but it is something we have both been looking forward to for a long time. The experience itself was great and we were very impressed, so we decided to get a membership. Thats when the whole shady business aspect of the company comes out. After signing contracts and paying our down payment the upper management came to our timeshare the following week saying the would not honor the contract. They were not happy with the benefits that we were given and wanted to recind our agreement by either downgrading us or by refunding our money. Like I said we loved the cruise and wanted to come back, in fact we had even gotten our PADI open water diver certification as soon as we got off the boat and bought our membership so we could enjoy those benefits in the future as well. Neither option presented to us was acceptable and after going back and forth with the "senior sales associate" they still would not honor the contract. We reviewed the contract with a lawyer who agreed that there was no stipulation of upper management approval but that it was not really worth our time arguing and that since it is an off-shore company it would be that much more difficult. Needless to say this company has EXTREMELY SHADY busidness practices. BUYER BEWARE.

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