- Who sails with MWC? Singles? Couples? Ages?
- Are we always within sight of land?
- How often do we get off the boat?
- Are we expected to help the crew?
- What kind of food do you serve? Vegetarian? Special Diet? Alcohol or wine?
- How do we get our totes onto the boat, and where should we park?
- What if the weather is bad?
- Will I get seasick?
- What are the cabins and beds like? Is there a porthole or window in the room?
- Can I sleep on deck if I choose?
- Where can I stay before or after my cruise? What activities are available in the area if I choose to extend my vacation?
- What if my family has an emergency and needs to contact me?
- Can I get married aboard? Where do I get my license and information?
- Can we fish from the boat? Do we need a license?
- What is the tipping policy?
- Are there any additional costs, taxes, etc.?
- Will I always know whether I'll be on the Grace Bailey or the Mercantile?
- What kind of weather should I expect?
- Do you provide Traveler's Insurance?
A. People from all walks of life sail with us. They come from all parts of the United States and other areas of the world too. On most cruises, you'll find the young, middle aged and seniors traveling as singles, couples, or groups of friends. Singles tell us they feel comfortable on our cruises, and the camaraderie on board leaves many with friends for a lifetime. Our minimum age is 16. We occasionally make exceptions for young teens traveling with their families, but not for children under 12 unless it is a private charter.
A. Yes, except when visibility is reduced by occasional fog. In fact, most of our sailing is done in the midcoast's protected bays. You will sail amidst spruce-clad islands, some deserted and others home to traditional fishing villages. Occasionally, we do go offshore to look for whales, but never in rough weather and never out of sight of land.
A. We try to give folks the opportunity to get ashore every day, either in the evening when we drop anchor or in the morning before we get underway. Sometimes there will be an opportunity to shop in a small village, but you should try to bring everything you will need for your trip.
A. Crewing is optional. The crew will encourage you to participate, especially by helping to raise and lower the schooner's sails; you are welcome to pitch in or just sit back and relax.
A. Our meals are traditional Downeast fare-cooked on a woodstove on the Grace Bailey and Mercantile-and served home style. You'll have a wide variety of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and delicious desserts. Many vegetarians join us and are able to work with our meal plan, which includes many fresh vegetables, fruits and other non-meat items. We suggest that you ask to have special dietary needs noted in your file when you make your reservation. Also, plan to talk with the cook on arrival on the boat, and work with him or her on a daily basis. You may bring specially needed food items with you, but please talk to the office staff first. You are welcome to bring wine, beer, or other alcoholic drinks (and mixers), but we ask you to use them with moderation. We provide coolers and ice.
A. Parking is restricted to two hours at the Camden Public Landing, but that will give you plenty of time for unloading and boarding the schooners, which are berthed there. Before we get underway, we will lead you as a group to our free private parking lot, where you can leave your vehicle for the duration of the cruise. We will also provide a ride back to the boat from there. When you return, we'll see that you get a ride to pick up your car.
A. Your captain may choose to give you more shore leave, but we don't let rain spoil the trip. In an extreme situation, we may hold up somewhere for a day, but we never cancel the whole cruise unless safety is an issue.
A. Seasickness is seldom a problem aboard our windjammers because of the stable motion of the vessels and the protected waters they cruise. However, if you feel the need for a little extra insurance-especially if you have a tendency to motion sickness in the rear seat of a car-bring along some precautions or remedies, whether that's ear patches from your doctor, sea bracelets, Dramamine, or ginger.
A. Cabins are comfortable but rather small and intended primarily for sleeping and storing your gear. Most cabins have either a double bed or two single beds, although we have some private singles and Pullman berths. Mattresses, pillows, sheets, blankets and towels are provided. Each cabin has a porthole or window in the room. All open, except for those in the two private singles on the Grace Bailey.
A. You are welcome to bring a sleeping bag and roll it out on the deck if you like, whether that's under the stars or under our awning. But please don't take ship's linens on deck.
A. Our list of "Friends of Maine Windjammer Cruises®" includes suggestions for places to stay, restaurants, transportation, specialty shops, and interesting activities that our passengers have enjoyed in the past. Each of these businesses has the personal recommendation of our owners, Capt. Ray & Ann Williamson.
A. In an extreme emergency we can use the Coast Guard to contact someone on board, if we cannot reach them by marine radio or ship's phone. Please encourage your business or family not to call unless absolutely necessary. They may call the office at (800) 736-7981 or (207) 236-2938 at any time. You will from time to time have the opportunity to get to a phone ashore. We prefer you do not bring a cell phone, and in some areas service may not be available. If you must, when on the boat it should be used discreetly, only for urgent contacts.
A. The Camden Town Office will provide you with a packet of information about getting married on board (PO Box 1207, Camden, ME 04843, telephone 207-236-3353). Capt. Ray Williamson is a notary and can perform the marriage ceremony, or you may bring someone for that purpose.
A. Fishing is allowed while at anchor but not while underway, and it's limited to use of a hand line. No license is needed.
A. Tipping is totally optional. Although most guests do offer a small gratuity, no one should feel required to do so. If you do tip, the amount is optional, but many offer 5-10 percent for crew members to share, and that is considered very generous.
A. No, absolutely none. Your fare is all-inclusive. All meals will be provided, beginning with breakfast on the day of your departure-dinner on weekend trips-through brunch on your return. Nonalcoholic beverages, a cooler and ice are available at all times, but you may want to bring alcoholic or carbonated beverages. We provide linens and towels, but you may want to bring a beach towel. Passengers bring their own toiletries: soap, toothpaste, etc.
A. Trips on early season or late season cruises may be combined to ensure the best possible cruise, so we reserve the right use the Grace Bailey and Mercantile interchangeably. If there are any special boarding instructions as a result, we will notify you.
A. Maine has one of the most comfortable statewide summer climates in the continental U.S. In July and August, you can expect daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s; here on the coast we average only two to seven days with temperatures in the 90s. Summer nights are usually cool and comfortable with low humidity. Layered clothing always works well on a cruise, but we especially recommend layers for June and September cruises. Ocean winds and evenings at sea can be cooler than average land temperatures, but these maximums and minimums may be of some help to you: June (51-73), July (57-79), August (55-78), & September (47-70).
A. We recommend that you purchase Traveler's Insurance, but we don't sell it ourselves. You'll find it available from your local travel agents and online. (For cancellation information, see our online policies section.)