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lenfestIJW



Joined: 26 Apr 2017
Posts: 4
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:29 pm    Post subject: Help for a newbie Reply with quote

Hello!
My husband and I will be experiencing our first sailing cruise in August to celebrate my 50th birthday (Diamant — Windwards itinerary — back-to-back, St. Lucia to Grenada and then round-trip Grenada). I’m super excited and from everything I’ve found review-wise I think it’s totally going to be our style of vacation. (We have done numerous big ship cruises which we loved when we started back in ’97, but over the years became less and less enamored with the overall experience.) Looking forward to a really laid-back adventure visiting islands and beaches we could never get to on the big ships. I’ve been jotting down questions and thoughts that have popped into my head since we booked way back in November and am hoping some of you IWJ veterans will be willing to help out…

1) What about money? We’ll be flying into & spending one night in St. Lucia (have airport transfers already arranged with our hotel, Marigot Beach Club&Dive Resort); and then we’ll be spending one night in Grenada (Radisson Grenada Beach Resort) between sailings. Thinking of a few meals, taxi rides, maybe a few bottles of liquor to bring on the ship, plus the miscellaneous spending we’ll do during stops while on the Diamant (read: beach bars) — can we get by with our credit card and US dollars? Or should we plan on exchanging for some Eastern Carib dollars? If so, how/where should we exchange? (Although I’m sure it’s not too big of a deal, we’ve never been anywhere we needed to get local currency, so detailed info/suggestions would be much appreciated :-)

2) What about “on-board” spending -- I found reference on the IWJ website about having an on-board spending account, is that mainly going to be for tips? What else might we purchase and charge to this account?

3) Are there any “must-do’s” or “must-see’s” on the islands we are most likely to visit? Normally I research the heck out of our vacation destinations and have a general plan for what we are going to do at each cruise port stop; but my impression is that since our itinerary is not set in stone and since it sounds like the crew will willing & able to offer guidance and point us in the right direction, I’m feeling less pressure to plan for anything. For the most part we are loungy, happy-doing-nothing with a cocktail in our hand beach people when on vacation in the Caribbean; however, seeing as these are all new islands to us, I want to make the most of any opportunities we have while there.

4) What is your opinion on bringing full-size beach towels? I came across a review that mentioned beach towels didn’t really seem necessary for putting down and actually using on the beach to sit/lay on because the Diamant provided beach chairs. They suggested it was more practical to bring a quick-dry/shammy-like travel towel for drying-off purposes.

5) I understand the cabins have hairdryers — are there any other bathroom toiletries provided that we can forgo packing? Any comments about the location/layout of Cabin 3?

Any other comments, advice, or insider tips you are willing to share would be much appreciated…what have you learned after multiple sailings that you wish you had known on the first one?

Love to say Hi to anyone else who will be on either the Aug 13th or 20th sailings

Laura
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Saucy Secretary O The Sea
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laura,

You really needn't worry about local currency. US dollars are accepted in all the islands you will visit. (Only the French West Indies are using Euros) You will receive change in local currency (Eastern Caribbean Dollars, aka EC) If you use an ATM you will get local currency at the best exchange rate.

Your ship board account charges will be for anything you purchase from the ship's store (hats, teeshirts, etc), tip for the crew at the end of the cruise and the cost of any tours you might take. There are not a lot of tours in the Windwards - mostly it is self-guided and easily walked and the crew will be very helpful in that regard.

Must do - on Bequia, take the 1/2 day tour. The turtle sanctuary and the model ship carvers' shop are must see items. Have a camera ready for Moonhole as you sail into Bequia.

Beach towels, I use microfibre towels because they dry quickly and don't hold the sand like a heavy beach towel. That said, I usually have a cotton island wrap or pareo to use as a beach sheet. Again, thin and it doesn't hold the sand like terrycloth.

must haves - SUNSCREEN (at least 30 SPF), insect repellent - I use Off moist towelettes in individual foil packets as they are easy to carry, go thru the airport TSA without issue and are very effective. I have water shoes - they pack light, but are great for walking on hot sand or the random pebbly beach.
I never leave home without about 15' of lightweight cord or thin clothesline and a few spring clothes pins. With those you can fabricate a quick drying line in your cabin as needed.

The Captain on Diamant will keep you informed of the various things to do and see on each island, so no worries there ... just sit back and have a grand time. Back to back on Diamant -- I am soooo jealous!

Saucy

Cabins all have hair driers and there is gel body wash and shampoo in the showers.
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Paul
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Joined: 08 Jun 2012
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Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest you look down at the different trip reports on Diamant form. Also take a look the Brethren of the Coast form. I sailed Diamant twice for 12 days each time and you will have a super time. All of the windward Island are great. Keep asking the question and you will get replies
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Paul
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 08 Jun 2012
Posts: 774
Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a lot of people have there favorite places to stay in Grenada. I stayed both times at True Blue Resort and will stay there the next time too. Recommended b IWJ web site too.

Places I visit in the windward Islands and hope to see again

Happy Island , Union Island
Mayreau Island -
SWB (Salt Whistle Bay)
Tabayo Cay -sea turtles
Mustique Island - Macaroni beach
St Vincent - Young Island and Fort Duruvette. If you don't climb to the top of the Fort you will be missing one of the best part of this trip to the Windward Islands
Bequia Island - Princess Margaret Beach, Turtle Farm and a lot more.
Sandy Island , Grenada

You will more than likely hit most of these the schedule is pretty much flexible by the Captain.

I cannt say this enough . Pack light. PACK LIGHT. This isn't a cruise ship. You can alwas buy more t shirts down there. Pack Light.

I will post two pictures. Me at Fort Duruvette and me fishing (wahoo). If your husband want to know more about the fishing/wishing ask. I carried down my own gear.

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Last edited by Paul on Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sandra
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Joined: 24 Nov 2007
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Location: Crozet, VA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll heartbeat Diamant and her itinerary.

We usually take about $500 US $ and get some EC using ATM's along the way. The crew will be able to tell you where to find ATMs. There is one at the marina in Marigot Bay, and one right across the street at the Scotia Bank from the Radisson in Grenada. You will get a better exchange rate using EC plus you'll get change back in EC. Your bank will charge a small fee for the exchange rate. We use our Citibank card for hotels, etc. and there is no exchange fee. Capital One credit card also does not charge an exchange fee.

We were in cabin 3 two weeks ago. There is storage space for your luggage in the cabin. Soft luggage is preferable. There is also some shelving behind the shower stall. Plus the sink area is quite large for toiletries, etc. Just remember to travel light. As for a beach towel they take up a lot of room and don't dry well. I use a pareo and also have a Turkish towel(available on Amazon) which dries quickly and takes up very little room.

Have a great sail!

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Jotum
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will love the trip. It is not the traveling resort with 3,000 of your friends, but rather a laid back, homey, relaxing experience getting into small islands the big ships can't go to and meeting the local folks.
1. Money- most will take US dollars but best to get some EC using an ATM machine. Probably one at the airport when you land, you will pass some bank as you travel up to Marigot Bay, there is one at the bay, and when you get to Grenada there is a bank across from the Radison or just up to the right you will find one at Wall Street and one at the Spiceland mall just a little further on (if you want to go into town from the Radisson you can take a local bus - small vans that go by all the time - cost is $1 US or 2 EC that you pass up front and knock when you want off)
2. On board would be for any items bought from the ship store (hats, shirts, etc), sometimes there is an excursion, and you can leave your tip there.
3. As opposed to the Leeward islands on the Sagitta which have more populated islands like St Barths, St Kitts, St Martin, etc. This trip will be lots of sparcely populated islands with great beaches and small towns with local flavor. The Captain and crew will point out things to do at each place but there are some highlights as have been mentioned above. To get a flavor of each place you might walk around the town at each island or stroll the beaches and check out some of the restaurants (for snacks since you will have plenty of great food on board) and bars.
Bequia is a favorite town to walk around - see the gift ships, produce market, model ship shop, get snacks and liquor at Doris' grocery on the street behind the front street, and a MUST is getting everyone to have lobster pizza at Mac's instead of on board that night.
On Mayreau walk up the street to the top and see the view from behind the church and then down to Salt Whistle Bay which is one of the best beaches anywhere (can walk back, the ship might send a dinghy, or take a water taxi back to the ship). At night do the "cultural walk" for a great time and to meet some of the locals.
Tobago Cay is a nature preserve and great for a picnic. A highlight is to snorkel where the turtles are. The captain might also arrange an excursion over to Tabac which is where Cpt Sparrow was sent in the first movie and rode out of there on the back of turtles.
Other islands the Captain will tell you what is there or have it arranged - eg. drinks at Happy Island (small island only as big as the bar), Sandy Island (narrow strip good for sunning and snorkeling}, Chatham Bay (maybe a bonfire)
4. Towels- we usually take one as we normally stay on island for a week or more before or after. You can probably buy and IWJ one on the ship or use the flimsy things the others have mentioned.
5. Cabins are not like a hotel room on the foo foo ships but pack light (swim suits, shorts, and a light jacket for evening or rain) and enjoy cabin three. It actually has plenty of room with a single bed up over a double bed. There is storage space under the bed and the "head" has plenty of room with a nice size shower. 110 elec is available and a hair dryer is in the room. Body wash and shampoo is in a dispenser in the shower.
At Grenada, the beach is great. Go out from the Radisson to the beach and head left up to Umbrellas for good food and drinks.
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Paul
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 08 Jun 2012
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Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

take an u/w camera or u/w go pro.
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caribbeangirl
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jotum,
No lobster pizza in August. It is out of season.

Another great spot in Bequia is the local bookstore.
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caribbeangirl
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and in Grenada you have Umbrella's a beach bar with good food to your left as you get to the beach.

I always get my EC's by going to the grocery store at Spiceland Mall. There is also a grocery store across from the Radisson for any needs you might have or things you forgot.
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Paul
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 08 Jun 2012
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Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lobster season is any month with an "R" in it. I ll be eating lobster in Dec.2017 Mac Pizza is still a good spot on the way to Jack's Bar in Princess Margaret Beach.
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lenfestIJW



Joined: 26 Apr 2017
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Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy Cow!! Thank you so much everyone for so many replies -- and so soon. You have provided a wealth of knowledge and I am grateful.

Paul -- what a beautiful picture of the Diamant!

I thought of another question... My birthday is on the night of our stay over at the Radisson Grenada, so I am looking for suggestions for dinner. It doesn't have to be fancy, just fun! (And of course, good food hunger ) Caribbeangirl, you mentioned Umbrella's. I just came across this place earlier today when looking at GoogleMaps, and from the photos & menu posted on their website, it looks like it might fit the bill.

Laura
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604week4&5
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You made a good choice with the Radisson,,,Been there many times and always look forward to returning there...It's a lovely resort ad close to Umbrellas Beach Bar and Restaurant...Don and Patty
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Vicki with a V



Joined: 05 Mar 2016
Posts: 62
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

caribbeangirl wrote:

No lobster pizza in August. It is out of season.


Wait....is May lobster season?

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sailorJM
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Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 1753
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can add is:
Take a positive attitude and enjoy whatever comes your way. You'll find a great group of passengers, a fabulous and fun crew, and a beautiful ship sailing in gorgeous waters to a variety of tropical isles. Go with the flow, and you'll have a blast! And those foo-foos will soon be a far distant memory. Diamant is IWJ's little princess and our fav. I'm jealous!
cocktail jacquie cocktail jacquie

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Paul
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Joined: 08 Jun 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No "R" in May. NO LOBSTER

Laura.. I would suggest during your stay in St Lucia and Grenada to go the different Waterfalls. I would go to Trip Advisor and look at thing to do. It will give you an list of the waterfalls

Picture is me at Diamond Falls in St Lucia.

What I do is hire a taxi for an hour an let him take you around to the sites. . 4 hours gets you enough stops. In Grenada the 4 hours usually cost around 100-125 dollars. Bottom line is get away the resort and see the Island

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