Sailing the Windward Islands

Travel with the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from March 5 – 12, 2019, and elude the depths of winter in the idyllic Windward Islands.

Windward Sail beneath 16,000 square feet of billowing white sails aboard the specially chartered Le Ponant and travel through this a remote archipelago of dynamic volcanic peaks, lush gardens and white-sand beaches in the southern Caribbean, calling at historic towns and picturesque islands favored by sailors for hundreds of years.   

This custom-designed itinerary spans the boundlessly lush natural landscapes of the Windward Islands from Grenada to Martinique to Barbados. Visit St. Vincent, which boasts the oldest botanic garden in the Western Hemisphere, and travel amid waving coconut palms alongside the Caribbean Sea on the most captivating isle of the Grenadines, Bequia. Be on deck as you approach St. Lucia for a stunning panorama of the Gros and Petit Pitons, twin mountain peaks and a UNESCO World Heritage site, and see the island’s geothermal activity in volcanic Sulphur Springs. Snorkel amid the intricate reefs blooming with marine life in the lagoons of Tobago Cays Marine Park, Mayreau and Union Island; and delve into the history of Grenada, where the scent of spices permeates the air. Learn about the enduring West African, Creole, Arawak, and Carib heritages and their colonial influences, unique to each island and historic city.

The deluxe motor yacht Le Ponant, featuring only 32 ocean-view Staterooms, is able to call in smaller ports and secluded bays that are inaccessible to larger ships—making this an ideal way to see the Caribbean. The idyllic tropical breezes this time of year compel the seasoned crew to unfurl three‑masted sails amid the turquoise waters and balmy temperatures. Enjoy a refined yet casual lifestyle on board and revel in the sublime charm of island life. Shared with cosponsoring associations, we expect this trip to full quickly. Please contact us at 866-325-8664 or for more details and to reserve your place today.

Dates and Prices:

Trip Dates: March 5 - 12, 2019
Prices: from $4,795 to $8,995  per person based upon double occupancy. Taxes and port fees are an additional $495 per person (subject to change).

Please inquire directly about single occupancy rates or to request to be matched with a roommate.


Day 1: Depart the U.S./Arrive St. George’s, Grenada

Day 2: St. George’s

Day 3: Tobago Cays, Grenadines/Chatham Bay, Union Island, Grenadines

Day 4: Fort-de-France, Martiniqu

Day 5: Soufriere, St. Lucia/Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Day 6: Saline Bay, Mayreau, Grenadines

Day 7: Kingstown, St. Vincent/Port Elizabeth, Bequia, Grenadines

Day 8: Bridgetown, Barbados/Disembark ship/Return to the U.S.



The intimate, three-masted deluxe M.Y. LE PONANT offers an unforgettable and captivating sailing experience-seafaring in its most traditional form. When the 16,000 square feet of majestic sails are unfurled, the ship's sleek lines and elegant beauty evoke the Golden Age of Sail. A harmonious alliance of nautical tradition and great style, this small ship is designed to cruise into the most secluded harbors where larger vessels cannot reach, and the refined yet casual lifestyle on board is manifest in the warm charm of each Stateroom and in the crew's impeccable service.

Each of the 32 ocean-view Staterooms features a window or porthole, private bathroom with shower, one fixed queen bed or one queen bed
convertible into two twin beds, individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, Wi-Fi, direct-dial telephone, safe, minibar, dressing table, hair dryer and plush robes. Meals feature superb international and Cuban specialties and are each served in a single, unassigned seating. Breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed alfresco in the indoor-outdoor Le Diamant Panoramic Restaurant, and dinner is served in the elegant, wood-paneled Karukera Restaurant.

Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are served throughout the cruise. The comfortable public areas showcase the ship's tasteful sophistication favoring life in the open air. There are two lounges, a library and expansive open- air decks that extend the full length of the vessel, and there is an observation platform just above sea level for optional water sports and viewing marine life. Fully equipped Zodiacs are used to facilitate landings. There is a doctor onboard the ship. The courteous, English-speaking crew provide attentive, professional service, with a guest-to-crew ratio of less than two to one, and they are always delighted to answer your questions about their sailing maneuvers. M.Y. LEPONANT will certainly captivate anyone who steps aboard its gleaming timber decks.



  • Seven-night cruise from St. George’s, Grenada, to Bridgetown, Barbados, with port calls at Tobago Cays, Union Island, Mayreau and Bequia, the Grenadines; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Soufrière and Marigot Bay, St. Lucia and Kingstown, St. Vincent; the most beautiful locales of the Windward Islands.
  • Deluxe, ocean-view, air-conditioned Staterooms, each with a private bathroom.
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Superb international cuisine and Caribbean specialties each day at single, unassigned seatings, with breakfast and lunch indoors or alfresco in the elegant Le Diamant Panoramic Restaurant, and dinner in the sophisticated, wood-paneled Karukéra Restaurant.
  • Complimentary wine and beer are served with lunch and dinner.
  • Complimentary Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the ship.
  • Complimentary use of snorkeling equipment.
  • Tour of Grenada, the Spice Island, featuring historic Fort St. George and a visit to a local herb and spice garden of rare and common botanicals used in cooking, medicines and liqueurs.
  • Specially arranged rum tasting at a Grenada distillery. Island stop at the breathtaking Tobago Cays Marine Park, comprising nearly 1500 acres of lagoons and coral reefs, for the opportunity to snorkel among an abundance of vibrant marine life.
  • Time at leisure for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving at Chatham Bay, Union Island, Grenadines; renowned for its pristine reefs and colorful marine life.
  • Visit to Martinique’s beautifully preserved Clément Plantation and Rum Distillery, where then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush and French President Francois Mitterand finalized the end of the Gulf War in 1991, and the St. Pierre Volcanological Museum.
  • Walk through the lush, artist-designed Balata Botanical Garden on Martinique.
  • Visit to Soufrière to admire the beauty of St. Lucia’s Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring an excursion to Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens with its beautiful waterfall and to Soufrière Volcano and Sulphur Springs.
  • Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Marigot Bay, considered one of the most beautiful bays in the Caribbean, surrounded on three sides by forested hills. Relax at the beach and nearby marina.
  • Enjoy time for swimming, snorkeling and water sports in Saline Bay, Mayreau.
  • Tour of St. Vincent from the historic city center of Kingstown.
  • Excursion on verdant Bequia, the most beautiful isle of the Grenadines and visit to the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined above, with experienced local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Hospitality desk aboard ship.
  • The services of professional Program Directors throughout the program.
  • Complimentary use of a state-of-the-art audio headset for each participant during guided excursions.
  • Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.

Not included:
Airfare; Passport and associated fees; personal expenses such as laundry, internet access and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air/airport tax(es); Airfare and associated local taxes, airport facility and security taxes and federal inspection fees not listed in the “Included Features” section of the brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from hotel/ship on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later than and/or departing earlier or later than the scheduled group transfer(s); any overnight on land due to flight schedule(s); meals, alcoholic or other beverages and all other services not specifically mentioned in the “Included Features” section.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at for more details.