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Sagitta Trip Report, 23-29Dec2012 and link to photos

 
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RkyMtCCRN



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 10
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:03 pm    Post subject: Sagitta Trip Report, 23-29Dec2012 and link to photos Reply with quote

Caution this is long but since it is one of the first I tried to provide a lot of info.

I finally downloaded my pictures from the first Shakedown cruise. I think about 1/3 of them are of the ship but yet failed to take one picture of the cabin. I also failed in my goal of taking more people and action photos. I already regret not taking more pictures of the crew and passengers. Next time, I promise :)

If you know me on Facebook you can find them on my profile in an album
I also posted them in my shutterfly account and you can find them at this link: share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8Cbt2LNu5aMgg

Now for the LOONNNGGG trip report:

I was lucky enough to be one of the first passengers on the. It was the shakedown trip over Christmas from Dec 23-29, 2012. For those who know me it is well known that I am a fan of Island Windjammers and love their first ship the Diamant; therefore I was beyond excited to hear of and sail on the second ship in the fleet, Sagitta. I was also stoked to learn the itinerary as I have sailed this St Maarten route many times and enjoy it.

First off, if you have sailed the Diamant in the Grenadines this group of islands and itinerary are somewhat different. In the Grenadines you are on a true “beachy” vacation where you are just a dingy ride away from beautiful beaches almost every day and from the ship. The towns you visit are small and there is not a lot of shopping and no tours while in port; therefore, once on the ship you don’t eat ashore often and spend very little money. Now on this new Itinerary you still have your beaches but they are most often a taxi ride away so you tend to eat lunch ashore more often and the towns are bigger so you shop more. There are tours in almost every port to choose from and to help you experience the Caribbean culture and islands more fully. So this means you have the option/ability/chance to spend a little more money 

Here is the daily breakdown of our island hopping:
Dec 21, Friday, Travel Day to St Maarten – Up at 3am for travel day to St. Maarten which was uneventful and I hooked up with Deidre in Miami. We made it to the Holland House Hotel in Phillipsburg by 5:30pm and down to the hotel bar by 6:30pm. Was a busy night in town with lots of locals out and about. Had dinner at Toula Mangos and were surprised to find that an awesome steel drum band from Jamaica had been booked to play right outside the restaurant. It was amazing how they could play current songs so well. We did stop by the Get Wet Bar but they were playing bad Hip Hop music mixed with Karaoke. We were both too tired to deal with it so headed back to the hotel and in bed by 10pm. Of note we did get a glimpse of the Sagitta’s Christmas lights across the bay at the cruise terminal.

Dec 22, Saturday, Day in Philipsburg – St Maarten has tons to do and can keep you very busy. We chose not to visit the French side and just stuck around the hotel and got in some quality beach time. I was up by 8am while Deidre slept in. I had breakfast at the Barefoot Terrace (my favorite breakfast place on the boardwalk). Sagitta had moved to anchor in the harbor so I dreamed about boarding her tomorrow as I had coffee at the Holland House. I made it to the beach by 11 am and Deidre found me about noon. We stayed on the beach until about 3pm then headed to the Get Wet bar for some Poutine and beer. Then headed to the grocery store to get some liquor for the boat and back to the hotel by 5pm. Plan was to have a few cocktails before cleaning up for dinner but we never made it away from the bar. We met Johnnie and Sunshine from Sunshine’s bar on Nevis and had a nice chat with them. Then we were joined by Cindy and Scott who just left the Sagitta. They gave us the lowdown on the ship and itinerary then proceeded to teach us the “Oh Shit” dice game. I had many cocktails called the “Island Lover” and visited with my favorite Holland House bartender Troy. I think we made it to the room around midnight. Was a wonderful and relaxing day.

Dec 23, Sunday, Boarding Day – Up about 8am and down for coffee. While checking out of hotel we bumped in to most of the other passengers who had also been staying at the hotel. By noon we all jumped into a taxi to head to the cruise ship terminal. After the fact I discovered it was not the transfer we had booked. By 12:15 all passengers had converged at the information center and we visited while waiting for Laurie to come escort us to the ship. Laurie showed up about 12:30 and we were to the ship and on board by 1:15pm. There was a quick orientation talk, passing around of SagittaRitas and a little paperwork and then we were escorted to our cabins. I took a quick tour of the ship and then headed up top. We had a good group of seasoned vs. new Tall Ship passengers. It was so awesome to be back on a Tall Ship with my bare feet touching a teak deck. Mingled and sampled the Carib beer while awaiting our safety talk which occurred about 2:30pm. By 3:30 we were leaving the harbor and on our way to St Barts. The sail took about 2 hours and was a little windy, I did not think it was rough at all but several passengers did have a touch of seasickness. I did go down to unpack before dinner and missed the snacks. I think we made it to St Barts around 6pm or so and there were a high number of amazing Yachts in the harbor, the most I had seen in quite some time. Dinner was around 7pm and several went to bed early. A handful of us stayed up and chatted in the aft deck dining area. Nervo was a wonderful host making sure there was not an empty wine glass or beer can. About 11:30pm we moved up to the Wheel House deck we would not disturb the Owners Cabin folks who were below our feet. We may have been having too much fun? This is when I discovered how awesome it was to hang out up top. Nervo even pulled out some midnight snacks for us. I think I made it to bed about 1am. An awesome start to the trip.

Dec 24, Christmas Eve, Monday in St Barts – Up about 7:15 am and up on deck for coffee by 7:30. Not many up and about yet but people started showing up at breakfast time which was 8am. There were no organized tours for St Barts but many had plans to walk over the hill and go to St Johns beach. It appears we have many ‘active’ folks on the trip, me not so much of a hiker over mountains. Many headed to town on the first launch at 9am but I had a lazy morning as Deidre was a late sleeper. We headed to town about 10:30am, walked the streets and did a little shopping and finally ended up at a small café that served awesome French crepes; just ask Laurie where it is. We went back and forth about heading to St Johns but ended up just touring Gustavia, admiring the Yachts in port and walking around the harbor. Had $12 Pina Coladas and then headed back to ship about 3pm to clean up for Snack time as it was wine and cheese night. Several commented that the hike to St Johns Beach was OK but not the safest due to the drivers and narrow roads. There were also sightings of Ellen and Portia on the beach. I dressed in my Holiday Jewels and T-Shirt and headed to the Wine and Cheese then handed out some awesome Christmas truffles I had brought for the crew and passengers. Dinner was a traditional Christmas feast. At about 9:30pm, 10 of us headed into Gustavia to check out the Christmas Party at Le Select. There was a DJ but not much dancing. The beer was free flowing and shots may have been involved. Several crew showed up to hang for a while also. There was some drama with an ambulance being called for a very over-intoxicated local. By the end of the night our group and dwindled to 6 and Nervo dragged us back to the ship around 1-1:30am. We headed up to the wheel house as the ship pulled out of the harbor to head to Nevis. I think I made it to my room around 3:30am.

Dec 25, Christmas, Tuesday in Nevis – I heard the breakfast bell at 8am and we were still motoring to Nevis; due to my late night I stayed in bed until about 8:45 and then dragged myself to breakfast. Once we anchored off town in Nevis, Laurie went in to check us in and came back reporting just about everything was closed due to Christmas. My plan was to enjoy a lazy morning on the ship and then go ashore for beach time once we moved closer to Sunshine’s. Several went ashore to do some self-guided hiking while the rest of us stayed on the ship to relax/read/nap. After lunch the ship was moved closer to the beach and we took the dingy over about 1:30 (note: this is a wet landing). For those who know Sunshine’s Bar, it has moved down the beach and is not right next to the Four Seasons anymore. They have a nice restaurant / bar area and plenty of seating outside along with some private dining cabanas plus an area to rent out for BBQs. I spent the afternoon on the beach with several others soaking up the sun and sampling the Killer Bees. The hikers showed up eventually and noted they had a nice hike. Most people went back to the ship for SagittaRita/Snack time but a few of us stayed to maximize our beach time. It was nice watching the sun set from the beach behind Sagitta. About 6pm the crew starting showing up with fixings for the BBQ dinner and by 6:45 all the passengers were ashore. We had a very nice dinner ashore followed by a bonfire. Most people back to ship by 10pm except for our small core of “drinkers” and “socializers”. I think we were dragged back to the ship around midnight and to bed by 1am.

Dec 26, Wednesday in St Kitts – Moved to St Kitts overnight. Slept well and up by 8am. Today there was the option of an ATV tour or Train tour. Several passengers went on each but Deidre and I decided to work on setting up our own quick trip to Frigate Bay area. It was ‘Carnival/Jump-up’ day in St Kitts and we could already hear the party/music at 8am. Two big cruise ships in port along with the Star Clipper. I knew Simon was from St Kitts and he helped set us up with a taxi driver (The Original Seamoss) to take Deidre and I on a ½ island tour and drop us off at the beach in the Frigate bay area. Simon got us a great price which was about ½ of what we probably would of paid if we winged it on our own in the cruise ship port. Lennie went on the dingy with us and made sure we hooked up with Seamoss before he headed in to town with Mike. Simon and Lennie went above and beyond in helping us out. Seamoss was awesome and I highly recommend his taxi service (he has 4). We had a great island tour on the way to the Caribelle Batik, we spend about 45 min at the Batik and I spend some $$$, we then headed back toward town and Frigate Bay, stopping on the way to pick up a beer. Seamoss showed us around the Marriott area and then took us to a great picture spot before dropping us off at the beach. We made plans for him to pick us up in 2 hours and proceeded to have lunch. We did not get much beach time and were not able to check out the other bars as service was somewhat slow. We made it back to the ship by 4pm for SagittaRita time. Relaxed and read some before dinner. After dinner only a few people went into town while the rest of us stayed on the ship. A game of ‘Catch Phrase’ was started and about 13 total ended up playing. Was a lot of fun and the wine/beer was flowing. Nice relaxing night on the ship. To bed around 1am again.
Dec 27, Thursday in Statia – Original plan was to sail to Statia overnight and tour options were Snorkeling or a Volcano hike. However, the Volcano hike was cancelled due to lack of interest so the snorkeling was moved to after lunch so we could do a morning sail to Statia. Sail started about 7am. Up by 8 am for breakfast then we had a Photo Dingy so we could take pics of the Sagitta at sail. Relaxing morning, everyone on deck reading, visiting and very happy we were able to get a day sail in. Made it to Statia about 11:30 and once anchored lunch was served. Was informed not much in town and Laurie did not see much open when she checked us in. A few small beaches near dock area you could visit. I went on the snorkel trip which was nice. The area had some nice coral and your typical tropical fish but nothing extremely exciting. Was a little overcast and on the cooler side. Those who went into town did not report anything exciting and spent very little time ashore. Today ended up being a pretty quiet day. Back to ship around 4pm for snacks and to clean up. Stayed on ship all night and had a quick trivia game after snacks. Rain did move in after dinner and forced us into the saloon. After dinner was calm and most to bed early. I think I made it to bed before midnight.

Dec 28, Friday on Anguilla – Sail stated about 1am and it was a somewhat rocky night which I loved. Anchored off Anguilla about 7am and transfers were set up to take passengers to Shoal bay at a few set times (before or after lunch) with return trip at set times. Another tour option was a Dolphin encounter. A handful signed up for the Dolphin thing but most just went to the beach. Anguilla’s Shoal Bay has one of the most beautiful white sand beaches and should not be missed. Deidre and I decided to take our own taxi over so we could walk around Road Town and visited a few little shops. Found a great jewelry shop called “Bijou” which I would recommend you stop in. We made it to Shoal bay by noon and the beach and weather was perfect. I must say the ride over is not cheap and the transfers where a much better deal. We spent from 12-4 on the beach and had lunch at one of the beach restaurants. There were several bars/restaurants up and down the beach but only a few open. We did not venture out and just stayed in our one spot. Back on ship by 4:30 for snacks then down to shower and start packing. Ship started heading back to St Maarten by 5:30ish and rain moved in so our last dinner was in the main inside dining area. We made it to St Maarten by 7:30ish and had to anchor for a while before moving to dock. No option to go ashore and stayed on ship for evening. Most to cabins early to pack and get ready to leave in the AM. I spent most of the evening visiting with crew. Very quiet night and to bed by 11:30 as I was on the early AM transfer.

Dec 29, Saturday back to St Maarten – Up at 6am to get ready for my travel day. Last minute packing and quick breakfast. Off ship at 7am and to airport and checked in to flight by 8am for a 9:50am flight. Sad to leave, was an awesome trip and would of loved to stay another week. Easy travel day home. Can’t wait to return and do it all again with some of my travel buddies.

If you are not bored with reading, below is some more info on the ship herself and the wonderful crew.

Now for the ship, Sagitta is a true beauty and will not disappoint any Tall Ship or Windjammer lover. She holds 24 passengers in 13 cabins, 11 of the cabins are shares and 2 small single cabins. When you board the Sagitta you are greeted by beautiful teak decks on this three masted tall ship. It is obvious she has had a major facelift and looks sparkling new. On the main deck up front you have lots of open space with chairs sprinkled about to relax on. In the aft is the outside dining area that can hold all passengers comfortable when they place a chair or two at the end of each table. Most lunches/dinners are served here as long as the weather cooperates. In the middle of the main deck is a covered saloon with lots of comfy seating, the white board with the island info of the day, a bathroom so you don’t have to trek down to your cabin, and a small bar area that always has water and coffee available and area to store any liquor you may have brought aboard. There is also the ice machine and a frozen drink machine that has a drink of the day you can try for $5. The sodas and beer are in coolers just outside the main saloon and included in your fare; there is also a ship red and white wine that is always available and usually free flowing in the evening. There is a sound system that you can hook your music up to if so desired or you can look through the ship iPod. Down one deck is the galley, inside dining area, crew cabins and passenger cabins. Warning all stairs on the ship are almost ladder steep so it is best to go down backwards and always keep that one hand on the ship. Breakfast is served in this dining area and we did have one dinner due to weather. This area was also utilized for game playing on some evenings. The Owners Cabin is on this deck and enormous. The standard cabins are very nice and each with their own bathroom. There is plenty of storage space but I still do not recommend bringing hard sided suitcases. Each cabin has its own air conditioning and fan. One more deck down (and the lowest) has a few more cabins, a library and more crew area. This is where the 2 small singles cabins are which share a bathroom and some more standard cabins. The library is another comfy place to get away to if you want some “me” time away from others. Now if you go back up to the main deck you can go up one more level to what I will call the “wheel house” area. This is where the Captain steers the ship and all the techy radar stuff is but there is also ample area to just hang out and a few chairs available. This was my favorite area to chill as you get great views. It was our routine evening hangout for us late nighters.

The crew, well they are simple amazing. There are 10 crew total and you will get to know every one of them if you want. They were all extremely courteous, always checking on you when you crossed their path, very helpful with any questions or concern and just down right friendly and a joy to visit with. Captain Nervo was always available, a perfect ‘host’ and always willing to give you history of the ship and his experiences. Laurie is doing a wonderful job getting things organized, working on getting routine tours set up, and providing information on all islands and the workings of your ship life experience plus she plays a mean game of Catch Phrase. First mate Simon kept things running smoothly and became my tour agent on St Kitts. Chef Lenny and cook George worked miracles in the galley and the food was amazing. Jonsey was a joy to visit with and checked in with me every day since we had some air conditioning issues during the trip. Johnny and Hersh always had smiles on their faces and made sure we got anything we needed. Rudy and Marlon made sure we always got in and out of the dingy with minimal disaster and were beyond patient. I truly fell in love with every one of them over the week.

The biggest issue I foresee is the decision each time I am able to sail on which ship and itinerary to book. I am looking forward to the continued success and expansion of Island Windjammers.

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~Shelly
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caribbeangirl
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Joined: 03 Sep 2008
Posts: 1059
Location: Chesapeake, VA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great trip report and a little different than the first week. Let me know when you want to go Shelly!

Margo
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buddycat
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 216
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome report Shelly !

With a bathroom on main deck ! Yippers!!!
The Sagitta has everything I need for a perfect Caribbean vacation...the 3-B's..Boat, Bar and a Bathroom.

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Curled up on a sun-warmed teak deck........PURRRFECT!!
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flashappy
Omer Dole


Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Omg! If Cindy taught you how to play the dice game, I'll watch out for you... she cheats! sunchair She literally had us in stitches when she joined us in game 3 on the previous trip!
haha haha

Great trip report!
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GeorgiaGirl
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Joined: 24 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for an amazing trip report Shelly, I felt like I was right there with you!

So, you learned dice from Cindy? rolling

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Saucy Secretary O The Sea
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Location: a little town in central Florida

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GeorgiaGirl wrote:
Thank you for an amazing trip report Shelly, I felt like I was right there with you!

So, you learned dice from Cindy? rolling


Crystal, Kathy ... I think you are being a little too hard on Cindy. She wasn't cheating (exactly), she was just revising the rules to make the game more, um, user friendly towards rookies.

I've got 5 dice ... wanna play? (Internet version: we EACH have 5 dice, we each take a turn and report in [honor system] what we scored that round) ... drinks optional.

Saucy
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RkyMtCCRN



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 10
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL...Cindy was very nice to Deidre and I when teaching the dice game at the Holland House Bar...Now I had a few cocktails in me but I do believe I won the round :)

Unfortunately I did not get a chance to play on the ship but I do still have the rules she wrote down for me!!

BuddyCat I was a HUGH fan of the bathroom on the main deck since I was one of the late nighters/drinkers on the trip cocktail

I was leary of posting such a long report so glad you all enjoyed it.

I am already trying to figure out when I can fit in my next trip

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caribbeangirl
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shelly,
Can you send me or post the rules, please.

Margo
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flashappy
Omer Dole


Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Posts: 343

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margo - I used to have the rules on my computer... but that one died. I'll look to see if I can find them on one of my external drives.
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