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Labor Issues Spell Trouble For Windjammer Cruises

August 24, 2007 By: David Eisen Travel Agent

Crewmembers reportedly not receiving pay; a rumored private equity buyout-Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, the family-owned line consisting of four boats, has seen better days. The Wall Street Journal reports widespread labor disputes and passengers with booked fares being stranded without their cruise or even a refund. Guests have showed up to embarkation ports and been told by crewmembers that the ship would not be sailing. One couple was out $7,600 without assurances of a refund from Windjammer. Reports say that of Windjammer's four vessels, three are not operating, two because of labor disputes. This past weekend, Windjammer's S/V Yankee Clipper was detained by port authorities in Grenada due to a complaint filed by a U.S. crew member over delinquent wages totaling $9,000. This comes as The Miami Herald reports that Windjammer will more than likely be bought out by private equity firm, TAG Virgin Islands. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it's rumored to be a controlling stake. A spokesman for TAG said the investment would be significant enough to expand the fleet and its market reach. TAG's Jerry Cedar said that an infusion of capital and a stronger management team would help bring Windjammer back to respectability and reingratiate itself with its clientele.

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