Captain Mike Burke is Windjammer Cruises. He fell into this business almost by accident... with a lifelong lust for sailing boats, he decided to make some pocket change by carrying passengers on his private boat and home, the TONDELEYO. As his business grew, he fell in love with more and more sailing ships... most in deplorable condition and ready for the scrap heap. He lovingly restored each one, then placed them into Windjammer service... and each Windjammer has something in common... a fascinating history. The FLYING CLOUD began her long career as the OISSEAU DES ISLES, a cadet training ship for the French Navy. She earned her stripes serving during World War II as a decoy ship, spying for the Allies. When the war ended, she was sent down Mexico way... to Baja California... where she was used to haul cargo. Unlike other Windjammer hulls, the FLYING CLOUD required almost a complete rebuilding of her interior... to make her suitable for passenger travel. In 1968, under the ownership of Windjammer, the FLYING CLOUD underwent an extensive renovation, and decorative touches such as stained glass windows and a spiral staircase were installed. Windjammer has been at this business of carrying wannabee sailors for many moons... about fifty years... and they have perfected these trips by thinking of everything. As an example, getting to and from the ports of embarkation can turn into a long journey with many plane changes... so, to get people into the mood for their cruise you can "stowaway" on the ship the night before the cruise officially begins. It's these little things that make these trips so effortless.
These tall ships... all with interesting histories... are not for everybody. It's fun, it's a tropical party, it's a place to "get down"... it is not remotely comparable to what most "cruises." Putting aside the obvious requisite that you should love sailing vessels, it's important to be honest with yourself... if there's but a molecule of snobbery in you, you should think twice about being here. While on board, you'll give your people skills a good workout... because the quarters are close... the meals are family style... and there are few places you can bask in solitude. And if you are a clothes horse, you'll be disappointed... these cruises are casual... twenty four hours a day, every day. Their tag line is "barefoot cruises"... and they mean it. What these vessels have is a charm about them that captures many Caribbean bound vacationers... the Windjammer repeaters club is massive! So if you envision yourself on vacation wearing a straw hat and a bathing suit while standing at the prow of a sailing ship as she knifes through the deep blue tropical waters, this may be the cruise for you.