My first contact with Sail Windjammer, S/V Mandalay, was with Tiffany, the Marketing Director, in late August of this year. I expressed a keen interest in having this beautiful Tall Ship listed on our site. Tiffany was great to deal with and just as excited as me to have The Mandalay exposed to more Canadians. I decided a cruise aboard this beautiful ship would give me ‘real life’ experiences, something I could share with others interested in a unique sailing adventure, this turned out to be a great decision. I asked a close friend, Bryce Gibson, to join me. His reply was instant, YES!!! We contacted Wendy who looks after reservations. She was a fabulous person to deal with and a key team member too. Wendy was very efficient and knowledgeable with regards to answering all of our questions. Wendy booked us on a driving tour with Mandoo of the sites and country side of Grenada. This is a MUST do. We discovered the secret waterfall, the mysterious verdant rain forests and even hand fed some wild monkeys. Every picture we took looks like a Post Card. We boarded the ship on Sunday evening, the entire crew greeted us and made us feel welcomed to our new home. The Captain introduced each and every member of his hand picked crew of 18, you can tell that he is not only very proud of his crew but his heart is into making this cruise special for all of his guests! We sailed into several ports, we dined on shore, we toured several villages, we looked forward to 5 pm, Rum Swizzle, a chance to share that days adventures with others. After the 2nd day aboard the ship we had all turned it into our new home, we had a first class Chef who prepared our meals with a flare and our Steward, Rocky, served us with his charm and a smile every day. We disembarked The Mandalay on Sunday morning, although a sad time, we left with an experience we feel everyone should enjoy too! We met some great people who have become friends, the crew included! Our 10 days in Paradise went by too quickly but the memories will be with us for a lifetime, this I am sure of. A FIRST CLASS trip and a Bucket List must do!!!
Bon Voyage, Troy Hull
We’ve been home a while now and didn’t want to lose sight of sending you feedback on the trip.
I have to say, it was a trip of a lifetime. Grenada and the surrounding area are not locations that pop up in usual vacation searches. I can tell you though that after spending a week down there, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to go. It’s the closest thing to a true Garden of Eden I’ve ever seen. The fruits, nuts and spices are all abundant and right there for anyone. Pretty amazing for me coming from the cold, gray, east coast of the USA.
As for the Windjammer trip itself, I will admit I wasn’t ‘sold’ on the idea as much as my wife was. I thought it would be a bunch of people sitting around reading books or staring off into the sea. It was anything BUT that! We met some great people and had a lot of great times snorkeling, diving, taking excursions around certain islands and playing games at night. There was plenty of time for just relaxing and plenty of time for any adventure we wanted to have. The captain even arranged some special excursions for us based on our interests. What other company can claim that?
The captain and crew were incredible. They were friendly, really helpful and added a lot to the experience. Captain Sly is a man that I admire for his dedication to his profession. He has a passion for the sea and people and is the perfect person to lead our trip.
The islands/ports of call themselves were varied, much more than I’d expected and each time we’d stop at an island, I would come back to the boat swearing it was the best one yet. However, every single day topped the last day and by the end, the trip was a wonderful blur of new experiences, people and sights.
I’ve been talking-up Windjammer ever since I came back. It’s not one of the floating cities on the sea where you get lost in the crowd and can sometimes forget that you’re even on water. This is for those who want to ‘FEEL’ the experience deeply- to immerse themselves into the culture of the islands and the life at sea. We were pampered, entertained and cared for through the entire trip but we never felt like we weren’t getting the full effect of what life in this beautiful part of the world was about.
I am the type of person who wants to see the world-all of it. It’s not like me to go back to a place I’ve been before when I could explore a new piece of the globe. However, we have decided that this Windjammer trip needs to be an annual thing for us. We’re already plotting our next trip and seeing who we can bring along.
Thank you so much for all your company and crew did for us in making this a really great vacation. I pity the people who will never take a journey like this. They’re missing out on what a real vacation can be.
Our hearts were broken with the demise of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises and the subsequent disintegration of so many once beautiful sailing ships. We thought we would never again have the Windjammer experience. When we learned that the Mandalay had been acquired and a new company would sail her again, we were thrilled! We booked passage on her as soon as we could (the week of September 2nd).
The reservations process was easy and all our questions were cheerfully answered. The trip was easy with seamless connections from Chicago. Upon arrival in Grenada, our ground transportation (Mandoo) was waiting for us and whisked us off to the Alamanda Hotel where we planned to stay for a couple of days of scuba diving before boarding the ship. On Sunday afternoon, at precisely 5pm, Mandu was there to take us to the Mandalay.
We didn’t have to worry about luggage as it was completely and efficiently handled for us. When we arrived at the Mandalay my eyes teared up. She was such a beautiful sight! Waiting at the top of the gangplank with a cup of swizzle, was Captain Sly and Cindy Greenway. As I walked around her decks, it was apparent that a lot of restoration work has been done. Her engine has been rebuilt. She has new decking, the woodwork refinished, and a fresh coat of paint. The bedding and linens are new as well. The ship is in much better condition than it was when we last sailed on her in 2007.
Cindy, Captain Sly, and the entire crew went out of their way to see that our every need and desire was met. I was told that Sly hand picked his crew, many are the very best from the old Barefoot company. It showed! They were fantastic! Typical of me, Mashup, the head bartender, was the first crew member I recognized. Boston is the head chef and his galley put out wonderful comfort food, and lots of it. The stewards, Rocky, Tina, and the rest took such great care of us. Every crew member treated us with such consideration and made it clear that they wanted us to have a wonderful time. The launch drivers, the engineering staff, the deck hands, everyone was friendly and safety minded.
The Windjammer spirit is alive and well aboard the Mandalay and has preserved all the best traditions of the Barefoot company and dispensed with the sometimes embarrassing silliness. We had a wonderful time and will go again and again. Anyone who bemoans the loss of tall ship sailing with the end of Barefoot Cruises, needs to call Wendy right away, and book a trip on Mandalay. We can hardly wait to go again!
Jim and Ava Shapard
My recent cruise on the Mandalay was a most enjoyable experience. It was the first time that I had embarked on such an adventure and the wonderful time that I had certainly has given me the desire for more. I wish to express my sincere thanks to Captain Sly and his really fine crew who made this possible. I cannot think of anything that needs to be changed or improved. I have already begun to spread the word around to my friends and acquaintances and hopefully this would encourage some of them to want to experience this journey.
Fair winds to Captain Sly and crew and all who sail on the Mandalay,
WOWSIE! WOWSIE! WOWSIE!
Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, the spirit of Windjammer is alive and well with the new Windjammer!
Mary Lou and I have just returned from the inaugural week of sailing the beautiful turquoise blue waters of the Grenadines on the 236 foot long tall ship Mandalay, the Queen of the old Windjammer Barefoot Cruises fleet that now belongs to the new company. We can report that the ship is in fantastic shape, looks better than it has in years and sails just as well as it ever did. Best of all, almost all of the crew is “old” Windjammer people, starting with Captain Sly; Bosun “Yellow” and his great deck team including “Squall’, Rudy, and Roy; Chef “Boston” with Ren and Mckenzie; Chief Steward “Rocky” with Marlon and two great ladies, Stephon and Tina; Bartender “Mashup” assisted by Conrad; and finally Chief Engineer Bishop with Quincy, Sheldon, Blair, and “Snake” helping him keep all the ship’s systems running. And I’ve probably missed some others! It was like old home week on the ship, being greeted with hugs from so many old friends and being made to feel as though the grand old gal had never taken a break from sailing! It was truly a fantastic week.
Some of the best of the new things on the ship – a greatly enlarged Galley that makes Boston’s job of food preparation even more efficient; new individual air conditioning units providing individual temperature control in every cabin; new, firm, memory-foam mattresses in all cabins; a brand new water-making system that provides a great additional supply of fresh water; lots of honestly hot water for showers; lots of new fabric goods, including bedspreads, blankets, tablecloths and napkins; and finally all new dishes and glassware! Most of the cabins are similar to before, but all have been cleaned and refurbished to provide a “new” look. And the portholes on the main deck are still there, so the cabins all still have daylight. Finally in the cabin story, there is one new grand cabin on the ship for those who book early enough to get it, the “King’s Cabin”, #25, which now includes the space of old cabins 25 AND 27 and features – if you can believe this – a King Sized Bed, and a separate and large head, complete with a large vanity and sink and a walk-in shower big enough for two – or three or four, depending on what kind of a party you want to have! It is truly decadent!
It’s late and I will write more later, but suffice to say that on Monday when we sailed away from St. Georges, the raising of the sails to the strains of Amazing Grace was an incredibly emotional time for almost everyone on the ship — especially the two of us. And the emotions continued to be close to everyone’s hearts during the week, especially when events occurred that brought back old and fond memories! And then, if Mondays first raising of the sails was not enough, on Saturday as we were leaving the ship in St. Georges — loading our bags into Mandoo’s bus and sharing sad goodbyes with crew and friends alike — that dastardly Mashup pushed a button at the bar and the strains of Amazing Grace flowed across the ship and the wharf – and the tears started anew! We all love that “dastardly” guy, who has loyally served Mandalay longer than anyone we know of, but he sure pulled our chains effectively with that. Standing on the wharf saying our goodbyes and listening to that music there were again many tears, but they were all tears of joy – for we knew that the “old’ Windjammer was back and that the spirit and memories of all those who sailed her in the past and are no longer with us definitely sailed with us this past week!
So this is just a quick note to let everyone know that they scored a huge home run on their first week of sailing, and that we are sure that will be many, many more to come! We know that we’ll be back and hope many of you will join us!
— Bill and Mary Lou
As you all know by now, Ethan, Katie and I were fortunate enough to be on the Inaugural Sail of the Mandalay. We sailed the Grenadine Islands.
To say it was amazing is a serious understatement. It was a trip that I can’t believe we have been able to experience. We have never done anything like this before, which was kind of good, no expectations, just wonder after wonder.
The ship is gorgeous. Beautiful dark woods, comfortable roomy cabins, teak floors that beg for bare feet, fantastic food many times a day, thanks to our awesome Chef, Boston, and those magnificent sails, hoisted by crew and passengers alike to the breathtaking music of Amazing Grace.
The crew is outstanding. They greet you as if you are a long lost friend coming aboard to visit them again. And many tears shed as we left the ship a week later, waving at our friends/crew, vowing to return again soon.
The islands that we cruised are as beautiful as any picture in a magazine. The water is crystal clear and blue and warm, you jump right in and relax. The seas are calm so that you can snorkel to your heart’s content and the locals are so delighted to see that you have come to explore their island, they practically take you by the hand to show you what they are about.
We experienced things that were jaw-dropping. We literally jumped of the side of the ship into the Caribbean Ocean, snorkeled and saw blowfish, starfish, squid, eels and the list goes on. We jumped into a waterfall pool on our island tour of Grenada. Ethan caught his first fish ever (A Kovali) with the help of the guys in the crew off the side of the ship in Bequia. Who gets to do that? He did!!
But let me tell you the most amazing part for a first time Windjammer…the people on board. In the big working world out there you don’t interact with people on a friendly basis for very long. We just go about our lives getting things done. On the Mandalay, you meet people, talk and really get to know them and they become your friends. The camaraderie is undeniable. If someone needs something and another has it, it is offered, with no hesitation. You are sharing this wonderful experience and you don’t want anyone to miss a thing. And the laughter is infectious…I hope I get to laugh and smile as much as I did that week sometime in the near future.
I have always heard of people going on vacation and “unplugging” and relaxing. I have never experienced it. This was truly that week. No TV, no phone, no internet. Sounds scary doesn’t it…trust me it is not. I thought of nothing but what we would do that day, what I should wear and don’t forget to put on sunscreen. I didn’t even know how stressed I was until I left and the real world started flooding back in. But thanks to the week on the Mandalay, I was able to take a deep breath and handle things with stride.
Thank you Cindy Greenway, Captain Sly and all of your fantastic staff for making this truly a Trip of a Lifetime…at least until the next one. 🙂
— Tori Rock
Captain Sly & Crew,
It has taken me a moment to compose my thoughts about our trip on the S/V Mandalay. I hope you forgive me for the delay. It has been one month since we sailed together.
I failed to tell you my story about how much our time meant together. I was 12 years old when I first saw an advertisement for Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. It was in the back of one of those coming of age magazines called “Seventeen” magazine. There in the last few pages of ads was a very small and powerful photo of one of the ships. The draw to be a part of the experience never left me. I grew into a young woman and at the age of 18, I began my own sailboat company. I was raised in Florida on the beach and believed that all things were possible and they were. With a lot of hard work and almost no money, I built my small business into a successful enterprise. I was 23 when I sold my business and moved to St. Thomas. I had never left the United States before then. I always felt drawn to the sea and managed to teach catamaran sailing and windsurfing to the children of the island. There was a moment when I realized that I needed to come back to the USA and continue my education. With a heavy heart, I left the Caribbean. I continued to sail and eventually completed college with a degree in Computer Science.
After a year of being a professional in network engineering, I was fortunate enough to find a job that eventually led me to Miami. I worked for a law firm and was not happy. It was during a quiet day at the office that I looked up the Windjammer Barefoot Cruises phone number and called to speak with anyone that may help me get a job with the company. The receptionist (Lorraine) laughed at me and told me that Windjammer didn’t have a place for a person like me. I hung up and felt challenged to submit my resume for any position. I just wanted to be a part of this company in any capacity. I was diligent and offered to do absolutely anything at all in order to work for Windjammer. I submitted a resume and a cover letter stating that I would sweep floors and clean restrooms just to have a chance to be a part of the company. Well, guess what Captain Sly? They called me two weeks later and offered me an interview. I was so nervous and excited at the same time. It was my one chance to be a part of something I had dreamed of my whole life. Mike Whiteman, the computer guy, gave me a shot. I tore down a PC and rebuilt it for him during my interview. He hired me two weeks later.
I was there about 3 weeks when the Fantome went down. I remember Mike Burke, Mike Whiteman, Captain Paul (i believe) and myself crowded into the radio room as the last transmission from Captain Guyan came through. It changed my life. It changed everything. I was eventually laid off 14 months later because of all of the cuts and lawsuits. That was one of the most devastating days of my life. However, that being said, I carried on as we all did and moved on with my career. Always humbled and thankful for the time and the friends I made along the way at Windjammer.
A few years went by, and I met my husband (the Delta Captain George) and we sailed on the Yankee Clipper on our honeymoon in 2002. I thought that we would be able to spend time with Windjammer for years and years……until 2007. I had just finally come to the realization that my childhood dream had come to the end. I grieved.
HA HA! Here is where the story turns into a miracle of sorts I suppose. You and Cindy brought back a piece of “paradise” that I had given up on. Words simply can not express how joyful my soul is now. The words escape me and for once I recognize the meaning of elation. Both George and I want to say “Thank you” for all that you are doing and all that you had to do in order to restore this glorious, amazing vessel. Captain Sly, you are a very special man and I certainly realize all of the wonderful people you have behind you in order to resurrect this way of life for souls as myself and countless others. My gratitude is boundless and my hope and dreams for you and the company are endless.
You are respected, loved and admired. It is my hope to spread the word to all that will listen about how special this ship, crew, company and Captain are every chance I get.