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Tim Calvert

Age: 62

Occupation:small business owner

Number of Cruises: 12

Cruise Line: Windjammer Barefoot

Ship: Amazing Grace

Sailing Date: N/A

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

This was my second cruise on this fine old ship. My previous cruise was five years ago. The Amazing Grace has been well maintained and actually looked better this trip than it did years ago.

I could describe the boarding process in detail if it did not happened so fast. As the taxis arrived at the dock in Freeport the crew instantly grabbed the luggage and took it to the proper cabins. We walked aboard without further ado. Forget about lines there were none. Even though it was after dark food was waiting, a welcome sight after hours of air travel. I was traveling alone this trip and had signed up to share a cabin. Apprehention about who my room mate might be quickly dissipated. Harvey, a large man with an even larger sense of humor, was great fun and we never had a problem sharing the space.

It was off-season and the ship was at about half capacity, 47 passengers and 39 crew. Captain Pete was the same skipper from my other cruise. Pete is accessible, efficient and cautious about the welfare of his passengers and crew. All of the crew was very friendly. The bridge is open to passengers except when entering and leaving port. The officers were always willing to show us where we were on the charts, what our speed was and what was on the radar. The Assistant Chief Engineer, a young man from Romania, delighted in sharing how mechanical things aboard worked. Lana, the bubbly energetic Social Director, was never without a smile and added much to the enjoyment of the cruise. It amazed me how hard the crew worked and still maintained their good humor. Mic, a Cadet Officer, also did an excellent job as bartender giving Conrad the regular barkeep times off for meals and breaks. Osborn, our very good waiter, took two teenagers to town for games on his time off. Rusty, the Purser, did a great service for us by filling out most of the forms we needed for visas and customs. She also put out for sale a great selection of T-shirts, jackets and souvenirs. Forgive me for singing the praises of this crew but they deserve it and far more.

Well on to the passengers! They were as much fun as the crew. All were fine traveling companions. Ages varied but tended to be an average of 60 or so. Most acted much younger. Some were married couples and were the more reserved of the passengers. Others of us were enjoying our drinks and wild banter. Enough about that. Conversation flowed easily and several passengers could land good jobs in the humor business. One couple was from Liverpool and had made many trips with Windjammer. Everyone enjoyed their company even if they did speak a foreign language, English.

The ports are a good reason to take a cruise on the Grace. Many are smaller places where the big cruise ships seldom go. Although the ports vary this trip we stopped in Grand Turk, Tortola, St. Maarten, Dominica, Nevis, Bequia, and Mayreau. A snorkel trip took many of us to Norman Island and a sailing trip took others to Mustique. We arrived a day early in Trinidad so we had time for an island tour and shopping in the capital city Port of Spain.
The ship itself is older than most but has a style that none of the big newer ships can match. The beautiful woodwork is very well maintained. The exterior decks are washed down early every morning. Good thing! This ship is totally informal and bare feet go everywhere including the Captains dinner. The A/C was giving us some problems but the crew worked long hours to keep it going. There is only one bar but it serves well and the drinks are reasonably priced, I think the most expensive drink was $4.00, beer about $2.50. Rooms vary and some do not have facilities but there are advantages to each and having to share showers and toilets should not put one off because there are plenty for all and convenient to the rooms. The ship is small but built for the rough North Atlantic. It will let you know you are on a ship and not a floating landmass. Captain Pete tried his best to take our fun away by staying away from bad weather and keeping us on the leeward side of things. The ship does a nice job of gently rocking one to sleep. The food was very good this trip, praise the cook. Rum Swizzles and snacks were served from 5 to 6, wine of questionable vintage was served with dinner (red the pick.) All the Windjammer ships have many repeaters. If dressing up in a tux, casinos and formal foolishness is your thing forget this ship. If you love a real sea experience, good conversation, humor, meeting new friends, interesting ports and snorkeling look no further.

Tim Calvert

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