Cruising The BVI’s on the S/V Mandalay with Sail Windjammer @SailWindjammer1
The S/V Mandalay was built in 1923 for E.F. Hutton as a gift for his wife. She sailed many oceans doing work as a research vessel, patrolling waters for the coast guard before being meticulously refurbished and regaining the waters as a cruising yacht. The S/V Mandalay can accommodate 58 passengers comfortably and a crew of 24.
Based in Grenada The S/V Mandalay sails the Caribbean on 6 night or 13 night cruises year round. Captain Sly commands a crew whose main responsibility is to welcome guests into a new found family and treat them to a cruising experience unlike any other.
The Sails are raised by hand each time she sails with the sound of Amazing Grace. There are traditional sailing traditions like afternoon rum swizzles, crab races, late night deck parties under the stars. Captain Sly, a decorated Captain overseas every aspect of the cruise from safety and island talks to being the entertainment at the Passenger and Crew costume party.
Our cruising adventure began in Tortola. We flew from JFK to San Juan and on to St.Thomas on JetBlue and then took a high speed ferry to Tortola. JetBlue is our favorite airline to the Caribbean with a positive and cheerful crew as well as comfortable aircraft with direct tv, free wifi, and complimentary snacks. Once in Tortola we were greeted at the dock and transported to the sailing ship by boat. Greeted by the staff with rum swizzles it was time to get kick back and relax and enjoy a week of sailing the blue waters of the British Virgin Islands.
The BVI’s were hit hard last year by hurricane Irma and are still in the midst of recovery. The locals are proud of their homes and are working hard to restore them back to their former glory and improve on them as well.
Our ports of call included Virgin Gorda, Cooper Island, Norman Island, Yost Van Dyke, Anguilla, and St. Maarten. Captain Sly likes to keep the daily itinerary a surprise until Captain Story time, and will sometimes go where the wind conditions are favorable.
Each port is a beautiful beach or cove with beach bars, restaurants, shops and activities like snorkeling, kayaking, scuba, and a tour to the Baths in Virgin Gorda. Every morning a tender brings guests to shore for beach time with tender service available throughout the day to and from the ship.
The ship itself is elegant with rich teak wood throughout and cabins outfitted with comfortable amenities. Cabin categories range from standard below deck to a suite complete with a King Sized bed. We stayed in a Admiral Suite on the main deck outfitted with a full-size bed, an upper pullman, ample storage, and central AC.
Each day the chef prepares three meals and a variety of snacks. The variety is limited, but the food quality is top notch, and he does take in allergy and vegetarian requests. There is also a daily afternoon snack hour, paired with rum swizzles of course!!!
We had a fantastic time exploring the islands with Sail Windjammer and look forward to trying out the Grenadine itinerary in the near future. For more info and to book your cruise visit: sailwindjammer.com
Families are welcome on the Mandalay with specialty cruises available during the summer months. We do recommend this cruise for older kids as there are no nannies or kids club aboard.
JetBlue serves many of the Caribbean islands with nonstop service from the New York Area, with convenient connections from the rest of the US and beyond. The clear leader in modern amenities with free Wifi, Direct TV, Complimentary movies when Direct TV is not available, and a good selection of healthy snacks, meals for purchase, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. To book your next flight visit: JetBlue.com