Kiteboarding the Grenadines is a dream that came true. Who wants to kite the stunning turquoise waters? Enjoy the island life for several days? Cruise from island to island? Well, we do! And if that means we need to splurge to make it happen, so be it. After all, you get what you pay for, and if you want to treat yourself to an awesome luxury kiteboarding cruise that will be a trip of a lifetime, you know you need to break the bank to do so. In this post, we will review our experience with RentSailBoat, the cruise company we chartered for our trip kiteboarding the Grenadines. Because, unfortunately, the dream did not come fully true… Find out why in our review now.
Looking for information and spots in St Vincent and the nearby islands? Read out Grenadines kiteboarding post for spot details, conditions, and more.
What to Expect on a Caribbean Kite Cruise (or Not!)
While kiteboarding in the Grenadines is undeniably fantastic, the success of your trip will also be based on how your cruise goes. The kitesurfing itself was mindblowing, and we can only recommend heading to the Grenadines for an exciting kite trip. Our kitesurfing cruise Grenadines experience – less so.
As we list some of the issues and what happened, many of the points are definitely trivial. Taken individually, we would have never mentioned anything. However, as the problems staggered day after day, and given the price we paid for what was positioned as a “luxury cruise,” we felt the money spent on that particular cruise was not the value we received.
Moreover, while there were 7 people on board, this post is solely based on Bruno and my opinions. Why? I was the one waking up in the morning to prepare breakfast, cleaning up cups and cutlery before setting up the table. I also did not get to kite because there was no rescue boat where most spots are offshore, and my intermediate level was not good enough to kite these supposedly “beginner spots” with a rescue boat.
How Much Does a Kite Cruise Cost?
The costs depend on the duration, the boat amenities, and selected services. Our trip was a 12-day kiteboarding cruise from Martinique to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Islands on a luxury catamaran boat with a complete meal plan, skipper, and hostess. You can, however, take the same itinerary to build a 10-day kiteboarding cruise from Martinique, though you might want to fly into Union Island on St. Vincent to maximize your time in the Tobago Cays.
Our 12-day Caribbean Kiteboarding Cruise:
- 7 adults
- Luxury catamaran (11,628 euros)
- Departing from Martinique
- Cruise to St Vincent and the Grenadines Islands
- 3 meals and drinks (no alcohol) per day per person (4,459 euros)
- 3 additional meals that we paid separately on site: the tuna BBQ, the lobster dinner on Petit Rameau, and the dinner at Mojito’s bar and restaurant on Cumberland, St Vincent Island.
- Hostess fees (2,340 euros)
- Skipper fees (2,860 euros)
- Fuel (around 1,000 euros, instead of the initial 400 euros estimated by the agency for our itinerary)
Total cost: 22,287 euros – 3,184 euros per person
Review the Kite Cruise Itinerary
Make sure you hit all the spots you want and review the time spent sailing from one location to the other. If you are flying into other islands than St Vincent because of more accessible international flight connections, beware that you might have long-haul sailing times. Which in turn means less kiteboarding time. Ensure you can sail on time to save time.
An evening departure was on our itinerary, but for some reason, the skipper decided to leave the next day, though the weather was clear and without turbulence. So instead of waking up already in St. Vincent, we lost a full day sailing there.
For reference, we have been on other kite cruises where the weather forced us to stay put for a day due to high winds and rough seas. So we understand the potential challenges and dramatic weather changes. In the case of our Grenadines kite cruise, the weather was as calm as it could ever be.
Check where the passports and boat clearance will be done. And what you can and cannot do during the two or three hours this process will take. We spent the morning wandering through town, whereas the kite spot was a few minutes away. We were told we could not go kiteboarding because of the visa entrance process (fair enough), but strangely, we could wander the village’s streets unaccompanied.
Make sure your last night is away from the port. Upon our return to Martinique, we could have spent the night moored at one of the bays. However, the skipper did not want to wake up early to fuel the boat the next day and took us to spend the night at the pier. Both he and the hostess disappeared after dinner and spent their night away from the boat.
By the way, that afternoon was the only time when our skipper kept an eye on us kiting, which was surprising. But we quickly understood why as he pressured us to leave early as he wanted to get back to the marina for fueling that same day. That unexpected early and rushed departure meant that one of us forgot his kite bar on the beach as we were hurried to board the dinghy. He had to spend the next morning coming back to that spot, where he luckily found it, barely making it back in time to board his return flight.
Check How Recent Boat & Equipment Are
A boat new to the company fleet is not necessarily a new boat itself. We were told the boat was new. It was new to that particular tour operator, but it had been bought from another company and had already been at sea for a while. So don’t ask, “Is this a new boat?” as you might get the answer “Yes, it is new” to the fleet, but instead, ask, “When was the boat’s first year of service”?
The boat had several issues – from the faulty desalination pump and was already planned for a significant review after our trip. You can see in one of the photos the list of the numerous repairs our skipper kept adding during our trip.
Ensure that the equipment provided, like the stand-up paddle boards (SUP), is entirely usable – and not missing bits and pieces like the leash attach like one of ours did. One of the paddles was missing. So out of the two SUPs, only one was usable. Missing this part made it difficult to use and increased the risk of facing challenges at sea if we lost the board.
Ask for Detailed Meals and Drinks
Ask for an idea of menus and drinks/cocktails included. Many don’t include alcohol. The meal options can bring the budget to around 50 Euros per person daily. Even if food is more expensive in the Caribbean than, say, in most European or North American cities, one would expect for this amount more than a meal of pasta at night (even though if said pasta were delicious). The meals provided by our hostess were tasty.
We did have a couple of nice meals: pizza night (if we can call pizza fancy), ratatouille-merguez, and BBQ chicken.
However, even with nicer evenings, there is no way that the cost of our food reached 50 euros per person per day. We had desserts here and there, one time two desserts in the same night, but nothing for several days after that. Especially as the fridge still had a lot of food left as we left. We did ask for the cost breakdown after our trip but did not get any.
Here are some of the nice meals we had – remember that this was mostly a one-dish meal – no starter, no dessert most of the time.
Above is whatever was left of the bread – getting moldy. There was no new purchase of bread for the duration of the trip.
Check on how often they get fresh fruits and vegetables and what is included in the last days of the cruise. While the boat was stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables at the beginning of the trip, there were no new fresh fruits during the whole cruise, even though we went back to Clifton Island several times. That lovely picture of fresh fruits is all we had for the duration of the cruise. Quite ironic when you are in the Caribbean. Especially as you buy fresh fruits and fish (which we did with the tuna) from small fishing boats that come too close to your boat.
Though we had signaled three days before the end of the trip that we were running low on bread for breakfast, nothing was purchased. The day after, she did bake some bread after we asked about it. And on the last morning, we had no bread left on the last morning, and when asked, the hostess told us, “What do you want me to do out of it? I was nice already to bake bread yesterday.” So we had a “luxury” breakfast of four yogurts and a very ripe mango between seven adults. Frustrating knowing on how much we paid for the cruise and the food, and even more so when we learned that a bakery was barely 5 minutes away at the Martinique Marin pier.
Below is our last breakfast – for 7 people:
- 4 yogurts
- 1 smashed very ripe mango
- 1 grapefruit
- A handful of fruits
- Cereals for a person or two
- Some juices and milk
Confirm Skipper and Hostess Services
If you are hiring a skipper and a hostess, ask what their accommodation will be like. Most boats have a crew cabin. Or count that one of the bedrooms on the boat will be for them. Our skipper and hostess decided to skip their dedicated cabin, put their tent on the fly for the whole cruise, and use the mats of the fly seating area as their tent mattress. Their tent being on the fly us from enjoying the place and the views. And we had to lower the evening music as the skipper and hostess wanted to sleep. This sleeping situation also meant their bags were sprawled in the living area, preventing us from accessing them.
The hostess, whose budget was in addition to the food budget, only prepared one breakfast during the whole 12-day cruise. After that, she would wake up around 8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. and help herself with the coffee we had prepared. As a luxurious cruise, the kitchen and living areas were dirty, with no cleaning down. Even in the mornings, I had to wash up to get enough cutlery and plates for breakfast.
On several occasions, they took the dinghy to spend the evening with friends on other boats. While our group did go for a drink one evening, no mention of possibly going on land was mentioned until they both went away. Moreover, they went on an afternoon exploration while we were kiteboarding on Mayreau Island, leaving one of our friends alone on the boat without telling her they were leaving and returning only after 6 p.m. after sunset. Their absence meant that no one was present to carry us across from the bay to the boat, and we had to swim to the boat after waiting a while on the beach.
The boat came with a washing machine, which we asked to use towards the end of the trip as we saw the hostess using it. She asked me to use the washing machine at the port at the end of the trip, which was not possible timewise. After telling me I could do my laundry after the cruise, she reluctantly agreed to let us use it, but then quickly ran three other washes before I could access it on the second to last day.
Confirm Safety & Rescue Boat
If some of you are beginners or barely going upwind, ensure that the cruise itinerary includes proper beginners’ spots. For example, Fregate Island might be great for beginners, but if the spot is offshore and no rescue is included, then you won’t be able to kite there safely. While many cruises advertise Grenadines cruises for all levels, from beginners to experts, most of the spots are from intermediate to experts.
In the Tobago Cays, you might need to launch from the boat, so definitely not for beginners!
!Make sure that rescue coverage is included!
One would think that a safety boat would be included when you book a kite cruise, especially when promoting offshore spots as safe for beginners. Alas, as we discovered during our trip, our skipper refused to act as a rescue boat. On two occasions, one of our team had to be rescued by other dinghies, even though he passed by our boat during his downwind swim, without our skipper to even realizing he was at sea and in need of rescuing. In my opinion, a rescue boat is not just for beginners but for kites of all levels.
Even independent riders can face a problem: a sudden drop of the wind, gear breaking, or even a medical emergency. So, not providing a safety boat on a kite cruise is a severe lack of professionalism for me. Without a safety boat, the cruise is no longer a kite cruise but simply a regular cruise that brings you to kite spots. Bottom line: Ensure this is included in your kite cruise. Don’t just assume it is.
Wanna Enjoy Local Culture?
In the evening we had to swim back to the boat, the skipper and hostess were both enjoying drinks at a nearby bar. It would have been nice to check, right? But no, they had the boat!
One evening, we went for a drink at shore. They took us to a lovely yet empty bar with no vibe at all. Where did our skipper and hostess go? To a bar further down the beach, but we did not where. I can understand wanted to get a break, but maybe take us somewhere to actually enjoy some Caribbean music and the lively ambiance the region is known for.
RentSailBoat: A Disappointing Cruise Experience
Our experience with RentSailBoat has been abysmal and we definitely do NOT RECOMMEND RentSailBoat.
We called our RentSailBoat contact Thomas at the beginning of the trip, and they told us that, no, there was no rescue. What do you then? You can only continue your already-paid-for trip. After the trip, we reached out to them again and provided them with the same photos as above, and still no compensation whatsoever. We had to involve the platform we made the booking on, which helped somewhat to discuss with RentSailBoat but took no responsibility. In the end, and after numerous emails and discussions, Bruno and I received 200 US$ compensation each – 100 US$ from RentSailBoat and 100 US$ from the platform. A far cry of what it should have been given the inadequate services, lack of rescue, and restricted boat usage. Not even talking about the crew’s unprofessionalism. Rather surprising as both Christophe, our skipper, and Alizé our hostess, are supposed to have a strong experience on these types of luxury cruises and showed good feedback on the platform reviews.
So do yourself a favor – while we can say we loved the Grenadines, spend your hard-won money with another tour operator, as the services provided in not on par with the amount they charge.
Overall, we loved our time kiteboarding in the Grenadines, but our kiteboarding cruise could have been much better and left us with a sour taste. So definitely head to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a thrilling kiteboarding adventure, but do research on which companies to travel with.
Have you been on a kiteboarding cruise Grenadines? Which company did you use? What’s your experience? Please share with us in the Comments section! Looking for another kitesurfing destination, check out our other kiteboarding blog posts below:
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