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TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

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!

77 replies to this topic
Olympia, Washington
posts: 13
reviews: 256
51. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Expecting to be able to make a normal "attractions" post on TripAdvisor I wrote what follows below. I'm surprised TA doesn't have a better way to evaluate Trade-Winds than by beginning with a dated rant. I've now read all the posts and it seemed to me the majority had positive things to say or were trivial personal irks like the coffee being below standards... I found the coffee, for instance, a bit stronger than I prefer, but a little additional milk and sugar kept it from spoiling the entire week!

Here is what I had written:

For an adventure of this type, it is hard to imagine anyone does it better than Trade-Winds. Our one regret is we didn’t discover them a decade ago. We are in our ‘70’s and clambering in and out of dinghies, wading in and out of serious chop when snorkeling ashore, or just clambering over one’s partner to get in or out of bed aren’t the simple tasks they seemed not many years ago. This is not to say active people of any age won’t enjoy a Trade-Winds adventure, we had a terrific time and are very happy we did it, but we are sorry we didn’t discover them years before.

Our captain and mate/chef were doing their first charter after some months of training, so the local manager was along to see how they did and school them on finer points where appropriate. Charlie and Ingali (a Brit and a Swede) would have been fine on their own, but Rob’s decades of knowledge about the area was a wonderful addition for us clients. Transitional status and a supervisor overseeing can be a nightmare for all concerned, but it was graceful and easy for everyone at least as far as we could tell. Maybe the hardest thing for us was keeping our mouths shut when the right-wing fanatic fellow guests went on about impeaching the president or what a fine upstanding citizen George Zimmerman is; they were all good, fun people, we got along great and had good times, and in no way could Trade-Winds be faulted for the fact our fellow travelers didn't align with us politically, and this did not in any sigificant way detract from the wonderful week.

Terrific itinerary, remarkably wonderful meals, busy relaxed pace. Hard to see where any of it could be improved upon. I haven’t been jealous of scuba divers in a long time, but seeing how easily their dives were weaved into our already active schedule made me wish I’d have taken it up some time ago. As the only pure snorkeler, however, I was totally supported and not at all a second-class citizen. I am convinced I had the opportunity to see everything there was to see at all the stops we made. I’d rate the snorkeling in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as quite good, equal or better to the places in Hawaii I’ve enjoyed, but clearly not stunning like the Red Sea or Fiji. (Trade-Winds is pioneering Fiji as a destination, we were told.)

I brought a light rod and fished off the boat whenever it seemed appropriate. Not, it appears, something most clients do, but I felt encouraged and supported. One grouper I caught was barely twice the length of the lure he attacked, but I quite enjoyed casting off the boat wherever we were anchored with no idea what was out there or what they ate. None of the half dozen fish I caught, however, seemed big enough to bother the staff with trying to cook. We did, however, alter the planned menu by buying 30 lbs. of spiney lobster after asking if Charlie and Ingali would cook it if we bought it. They said yes, and while I’m not sure they understood what they were in for we had an outstanding meal, and I suspect they acquired some worthwhile intelligence they will apply on future trips.

A Trade-Winds adventure isn’t for everyone, but if a sailing adventure in clear blue water among beautiful islands is your cup of tea I highly recommend them. As I wrote above our one regret is we didn’t discover this kind of “travel” option years ago.

Now that I learn my only posting option appears to be as a reply to a three-year-old rather foolish rant by someone who obviously hasn't traveled much or at least been fazed by travel experiences I feel obliged to add a few lines.

We were not expecting a sales pitch, but it was done comfortably and easily and did not ever interfere with anything else that was going on. We said had we been 10 years younger we'd have pounced upon the opportunity, but that we don't see ourselves getting more agile or more supple as time goes by, and this kind of travel is far easier to enjoy for younger folks. The crew, as they are trained to do, made a few attempts to suggest we could join and let our kids do some of the trips. When we said we like our kids but not that much, that more or less finished the sales efforts. Service before and after our option to join did not change one iota.

As boat owners we were not surprised by any of the conditions we found, and in fact we somewhat expected we'd be sharing bathrooms, so having our own facilities seemed a bonus. In my seldom humble opinion anyone who expects "cruise ship" accommodations and appointments on a yacht might benefit from reality therapy.

As I wrote above, this kind of adventure isn't for everyone, but for what it is we found it hard to imagine anyone does it any better than Trade-Winds

posts: 3
52. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Hello, I have been reading the posts because we are members at the Crane resort in Barbados and have the opportunity to deposit our week and purchase a week on a TradeWinds Cruise plus pay the $960/pp all inclusive fee and the flight from Barbados to St. Vincent. I would love to know if you enjoyed your trip because the post BEWARE was removed. Were you able to sail on the Passion? Is it worth $4000 US plus flights? We would also be a little nervous about travelling with strangers who may or may not turn out to be good cabin mates. Any comments are very appreciated. Sincerely, Liisa

Las Cruces, nm
posts: 3
reviews: 7
53. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

This was the best trade we have ever made! We loved this sailing trip. Actually, ours was out of Belize. The islands, coral reef and water were fabulous! We, too, were a little nervous about traveling in such close quarters with strangers. We were lucky. We loved our traveling companions! In fact, we now travel to other places with one of the couples we met on the boat.

You are going to love the food! The cooks are trained chefs. Be sure to let them know ahead of time about your special needs, likes, and dislikes. The chef goes shopping ahead of time to purchase exactly what you like.

Be sure and take an iPod with your music. Also, you will not need much. I don't think we wore sandals or shoes the whole time we were out! You can leave most of your luggage at the TW site. A couple of swimsuits, shorts, tshirts, and you are good to go! Have fun!

Have no fears about this trip. If you have a positive attitude, your trip will be worth every penny you spend. I want to go again!

posts: 6
reviews: 17
54. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

To vacation yearly: If it is the higher class boat it would be a good trade. The older cruising class can be reserved for cheaper I think. We are members and enjoy this type of cruising. To enjoy you have to have an open mind and be able to just go with it. We have met many types of people. Some fun, some crazy, and some just weird but we remember them all with smiles on our faces because when it comes down to it we met these people in paradise! How can you complain about that!

Edited: 8:00 pm, January 10, 2014
Olympia, Washington
posts: 13
reviews: 256
55. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

We had a terrific week with Trade-winds out of St. Vincent in November. I really appreciate Trip Advisor but the fact that a headline can't be changed once a topic is introduced is irksome. BEWARE is a logical way to approach any travel adventure, but isn't fair to Trade-winds to be in this headline, since the majority of posts seem positive.

That some dimbo didn't understand a 55-ft catamaran isn't a cruise ship isn't reason for most travelers to "beware." Yes, the staterooms are small; yes, there was a low pressure sales pitch about becoming a timeshare member; yes, luxury wasn't what it was about. But it was a great week of sailing, sunning, snorkeling, exploring on a well-maintained cat with fun, interesting, people; very good meals (and plenty to munch on between) and free drinks; and a competent, very pleasant crew.

One couple were already owners and they upped their membership. Another first-timer signed up for a future cruise. Clearly they felt they were getting good value. The biggest reason we didn't sign up is it takes some years for the value to make sense, and we are in our 70's. Had we found these people ten years ago I think we'd have bought in to do a cruise annually. Their expanding into other parts of the world was particularly exciting to us, but clambering in and out of dinghies in bumpy seas, even clambering over each other to get into and out of the bed was modestly demanding... and would likely be impossible for us in five, certainly ten, years time.

The other guests on our trip were 180º away from us politically, so some subjects didn't get discussed, but they were fun, interesting, enjoyable people, because we are too. And there is plenty of time for reading and being by yourself, even if others are "around." If you are open and even modestly outgoing, I can't imagine not enjoying a cruise like this. And a dedicated introvert would, I'm sure, be left alone.

Like you we used a different timeshare week to sign up, so our costs were relatively cheap, once we'd flown there. The food/drink surcharge was decent value, it seemed to us. St. Vincent ain't on the way to much, so it was a long, expensive three-flight itinerary for us to get there from the Pacific Northwest, but we were very glad we did it. Enjoy.

Bend, Oregon
posts: 1
reviews: 1
56. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

Hello, we sailed out of St Vincent in November on Camille with John and Savannah. We were paired up w/ a training crew who now sail their sister boat, a single woman, and a vile older couple. The grouping may not have been ideal, but John, Savannah, Tony and Shelly (training crew) were amazing. The food was splendid, if not too much, the way in which they handled the gaping age differences of their guests was impressive, as well. I have made a career of selling Worldmark by Wyndham and found their presentation to be more of a "friendly" chat. We did become members as we love sailing. The close quarters were fine, we didn't find a need for AC except maybe the last night which was back in the port of St Vincent. Props to the crew and the company for the outstanding service!

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 1
57. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

We just arrived back from BVI from an RCI exchange for $960. I don't know about the expensive flight, but once you get to the boat you don't have to worry about anything, if you don't want to. There are usually a couple of meals you eat out, so they can restock and clean the boat. We drink, so the meals were a little more expensive. I had an amazing time! On RCI, you can only do this once every three years. We did not become members, but purchased a future trip on a luxury yacht if we choose. The accommodations are "lower class" or what they call "Cruise Class" for those who purchase through an exchange. You will see other ships with better accommodations. I spent my time on the front of the boat either on the chairs, laying on the tramp, or just laying out. The crew constantly brought us cocktails, the ice melted quickly because of the temps, there are worse problems to have! The food was amazing! If you are a picky eater, don't expect meal choices, one meal is served BUT its an amazing meal! I am still drooling over a couple of them.

As far as the pitch, they quickly talked to a couple of people, we wanted to join, but were not in a position to. The Captain gave me the pitch, found a compromise that we could afford so he brought us in a couple of times. The Captain and First Mate were AMAZING (they could have wiped down the pads in the morning because of the air moisture or rain so we could lay out) They did not drink during the cruise, but took care of us.

WE are glad we did it, our flight was not that expensive but no matter what, WE think it was worth the pain of getting there! To charter your own boat is upwards of $30k per week (we asked others). We LOVED the people they paired us with, like minded people who like to travel, and made life long friends. I would do it again for $4000 over all! Just expect boating conditions and good food, and great scenery!

Destination Expert
for Bequia, St. Vincent
posts: 1,132
reviews: 3
58. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

To charter your own boat is upwards of $30k per week PLAIN WRONG.

And why are you posting about a BVI cruise on as St Vincent forum?

posts: 4
reviews: 15
59. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

We took this Tradewinds trip in 2011 and the crew was North American....the couple was fantastic. The food was great, the diving was amazing, the colors were out of this world and there was NO shopping except at Mustique. ...which is exactly what we were looking for! We had days of snorkeling, relaxing, making new friends and loved it so much that we bought into the membership! We have since taken another trip, this time to Belize last Feb. (2013). It was again, a great trip. More new friends, so much diving and snorkeling and a memorable trip. We bought our weeks so we could go once every two years. We are now looking forward to booking our 2015 trip!

Bristol, United...
posts: 1
reviews: 1
60. Re: TradeWinds Cruise Club - BEWARE

what was the captains name?

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