My husband and I went on a Windjammer Barefoot Cruise of the Caribbean back in 1999 for our honeymoon. We absolutely loved it — from docking at tiny islands (Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda) to the crazy party atmosphere on board (toga party anyone?). It was laid-back and casual and just what I expected a “barefoot cruise” to be.
We’d fully intended to take a family trip on one of the “kids allowed” ships to celebrate my *cough* 40th birthday *cough* in the summer of 2009, which also marks our 10th wedding anniversary. I even thought about renewing our wedding vows (cue to me in a darling white sundress, barefoot). We even told our kids about the idea, explaining to my young son that he could be the ring bearer (heck, yeah, I’m expecting a 10-year anniversary band). He replied, “Won’t I be hot in the BEAR costume?”
Well, since last fall, Windjammer has been in some deep financial doo-doo. Canceling sailings left and right, and giving some customers just 72 hours’ notice! I mean, I’d be FURIOUS if my much-anticipated trip was canceled at the last minute, and trust me, some of these folks are bleepin’ mad.
A Mr. Nelson sent 200 to 300 faxes to the Windjammer office just to tick off the powers that be, who, apparently, are being very tardy about giving refunds for the cruises (and, sorry, but Windjammer won’t help you out with any non-refundable air or accommodations costs associated with the canceled cruise).
Windjammer management has been less than up front about the many canceled cruises. Check out the website’s home page — no mention of cancellations. You need to dig deep in the “Press Room” to find information. Owner Joey Burke promises that a “New Windjammer” will be unveiled, as soon as “restructuring” is complete. He’s posted very little on the company’s Coconut Telegraph forum (which is chock full of horror stories about canceled sailings).
I’ll be keeping a close eye on the goings-on at Windjammer, cuz I’d really love to celebrate on a tall ship next summer. But until they get their act together, I’m not booking a thing! Stay tuned.