Occupation:Certified Financial Planner
Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Windjammer Barefoot
Sailing Date: February, 2006
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
My wife and I just completed this cruise (Feb '06). Great itinerary - best feature by far of this trip. The side trips offered were just fine. Do not miss the 12 meter boat race! The Polynesia is a grand old sailing ship. We had read a book about this ship’s previous life as the Portugese cod fishing ship ‘Argos’ and my wife and I both had a sense of great romance and adventure every time the ship set sail to the strains of Amazing Grace. Simply standing at the front of the ship as it is plowing through the waves is a genuine thrill.
However, there are some significant drawbacks potential travelers should be aware of. The captain on this trip (as it turned out it was a fill-in for the regular captain who was ill) was thoroughly unpleasant. His morning briefings were lacking in real information, rude and crude in a sophomoric way and included obnoxious political side comments (guaranteed to annoy/insult half of the listeners depending on your politics) and insults to his wife. All in all, totally unappetizing and unprofessional. Several crew members were just fine, others were quite uninterested in doing anything over and above the minimum, it seemed to us. We couldn't help but compare this to the crew and service on our cruise with the Yorktown Clipper - it was like night and day (which, I suppose, proves the point that you get what you pay for).
The best food on this trip was served at the afternoon snacks. Also, the wine and cheese party (with the wine furnished by the passengers) was a nice touch. As for the rest of the meals: strictly Sam's Club level steam table chow. Plenty of it and adequate. Forget about special requests - I remember asking a food server about getting some eggs over easy as opposed to the scrambled eggs being served and he gave me a 'deer caught in the headlights' look, disappeared for a long while and then came back shaking his head, saying "No" and pointing to the scrambled eggs pan. So, be forewarned! On previous cruises we often tried to get back to the ship for a nice dinner, here we looked to get off the ship to a restaurant on land to have a nice dinner…
We expected some limitations to the accommodations given that this was an old ship and this was the case. Actually, the cabin was fine, the wet shower was easily workable (just don't take a shower while the ship is underway!) and the air conditioning worked well. The slightly curved deck floor is weird to dance on. But there was one huge problem: there is NO place on this entire ship that is comfortable to sit on! Some sadistic designer was given a free hand when they rebuilt this old fishing vessel into a passenger ship to make life miserable for those passengers wishing to do anything but stand up during waking hours. Even the benches in the dining hall with their cushions were uncomfortable (after a few seatings the passengers starting making jokes about 'doing calisthenics'). This is our most serious criticism - this was a thoroughly uncomfortable ship! Maybe this doesn't matter to young folks, but it became a true annoyance to both us (and quite a few other passengers we spoke with) after the first day or two.
We would make a trip with this itinerary again, and we would make it again on a sailing ship in a minute, but we would not make it again with the Polynesia.