Have you only sailed in the Mediterranean and are curious what a Caribbean sailing adventure would be like? Or perhaps you have only enjoyed a flotilla holiday in the Med and are considering the Caribbean for your next holiday?
Caribbean sailing is simply sublime. Yes, we know, we’re biased!
The photographs that you see of the blue, blue water and the white sand are real! We have bases in the BVI, Grenada and St Vincent, and we can confirm that the sand is the softest and most powdery.
Having been to a Med island in the past month, I was surprised at just how busy the beaches were. In the Caribbean, you don’t see that amount of people – unless it’s Carnival, of course! Having been in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, it was quite a surprise to find no space on the beach and it wasn’t even during the heart of the high season. It could be that we have so many beaches and little bays that no one beach ever gets that crowded so you will always find your Robinson Crusoe hideaway.
Life in the Caribbean is definitely slower. We don’t have highways or high-rise buildings, so everything seems to operate at a much more considered pace. Yes, you do have to wait for the car in front of you to stop their conversation with the street vendor before you can continue your journey! This is great for people who lead stressful lives; people who are trying to juggle the kids, work, summer camps, dinner etc. In a way, you are forced to slow down, drop your shoulders and enjoy the experience.
The other major difference with sailing the Caribbean with Horizon is that we don’t have a set ‘turnaround’ day for our charter fleets. This is very popular with some companies and is certainly the way the Med operates. We saw row upon row of charter boats on the weekend with teams frantically trying to clean, fix and prepare the boat for the next arrival. With us, you can decide to start your holiday on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – you get the idea! This means that you are not just a number; we get to give you the personal attention you deserve. It is much more relaxed in that way. You also don’t have to take a set amount of days. You can choose to take a week, or 10 days or whatever works for you and your group.
Another difference that you will experience is the climate in the Caribbean. Where we were staying up in the hills in the Med, we found the temperature dropped to around 19 degrees or so. This is not always a bad thing, but sometimes it’s nice to just pack your lightest clothing for one climate, as opposed to thinking about any variations in temperature. At this time of year, our temperature doesn’t dip below 27/28 degrees. The beautiful breeze will keep you cool!
The Med does have a slightly more cosmopolitan feel; especially with restaurants. In the Caribbean, our cuisine tends to be more “local” with very few chains of restaurants. Each one is unique with its own charm. Most restaurants are very casual; no need for long pants or trousers or formal dresses. It’s also quite rare to find nightclubs here. The entertainment could come from a local entertainer strumming his guitar, or a lively calypso band. We tend not to have loud DJ’s. Great for certain ages of sailors.
The Caribbean is also non-tidal but it may have a knot or two running. We have around 12 inches of tide; which is nothing if you are used to sailing in the UK, for example. We also have a fairly consistent breeze. The Med is perhaps known for bigger variations in wind – feast or famine – but here you do tend to get 15 – 20 knots. It’s rare for us to have a completely wind-free day. Once you know that, you can plan for it. Also remember that sailing here is year-round which is another big difference. Yes, we have our high season and other seasons, but if you were blindfolded and parachuted onto one of our Caribbean base destinations, I’m not sure you would be able to tell what time of year it was. That is the beauty of the sailing area – you can simply sail year-round in very favorable conditions.
There are probably a ton of other differences to share but we hope that we have given you a flavor of sailing in our beautiful part of the world. If you have any questions, please do get in touch. We have dedicated Reservations Teams on each island who will be delighted to answer any questions you may have. Vacation time is precious, so it’s important to make sure it’s exactly what you are looking for.
Jacqui in Grenada
Lesley in St Vincent
Courtney and Christalen in BVI