The Seriously Fun Barbados Catamaran Business

The Seriously Fun Barbados Catamaran Business

A great time on a catamaran cruise in Barbados

A great time on a catamaran cruise in Barbados

If there’s one activity I recommend to all who visit Barbados it’s a catamaran cruise.  How much do I love it?  Let me count the ways:

1.  You get to swim with our magnificent giant sea turtles.  Nothing beats communing up close & personal with these beautiful, gentle, ancient creatures.

2.  It’s a fabulous way to see the west coast of the island.  The cats take you to prime snorkeling areas to see coral, shipwrecks, the turtles, and stunning beaches.


3.  It’s a full day but not a long day.  You leave around 10 a.m. and return around 2:30 or 3.  Libations flow and a fabulous lunch are included.

4.  It’s fun and yet not a “booze cruise” or party boat (unless you book it privately – then it can be pretty much anything you want).  It’s a great time for grandparents, families, and couples.

5.  The boat has plenty of shade – or you can lie out in the sun, your choice.

6.  The crews working on the boats are first-rate: friendly, helpful, engaging, and highly professional.

Don’t you notice that it’s people who make or break an experience?  Even the beautiful turtles can’t make up for a crew member who’s unpleasant.


I’ve been on Tiami (also here) cat cruises numerous times and each time the crew has been remarkable.  My aunt Shirley, who’s 80, has a bad foot; a crew member told Shirley she was his girlfriend for the day and took special notice of her throughout the cruise.  Even though she couldn’t get into the water, my aunt had a fabulous time.

Working with the public can be draining; I wondered how the Tiami crews maintain their energy and enthusiasm.  I had the chance to ask Denis Roach, CEO of Tall Ships, which runs the Tiami (and other) cruises.

The sea beneath our cat

The sea beneath our cat

“Boredom is the destruction of good service, ” Denis told me.

When he interviews prospective employees, Denis said, he asks what their dream job is.  If they answer it’s to work on one of his boats, he probes until he gets an honest answer about long-term goals.  He wants a mutual understanding that this is a transient position.  As such, burn-out and boredom don’t happen.

Denis even helps long-term goals be realized by helping out with tuition at community college; currently one is studying food & beverage service and the other engineering.  He also pays 50% of their medical coverage: “You’ve got to be happy when you go to work,” he says.

Ahoy!  Uh oh, watch out: that's me behind the wheel!

Ahoy, mates! Uh oh, watch out: that's me behind the wheel!

Happy employees are also ones who know they can do the job.  To that end, all Tiami captains have annual training in St Vincent’s sailing school and all staff are continually being trained in safety by an employee who used to work for the coast guard.

Happy sailing!  I’ve never heard a bad thing about any of the cat companies in Barbados.  Click to see details (some with reviews) to choose which suits you best.  If I’ve forgotten anyone, please let me know!


Cool Runnings



Shasa (here, too)

El Tigre

Silver Moon



8 Responses to “The Seriously Fun Barbados Catamaran Business”

  1. stephen says:

    I’ve been on the Cool Runnings day out; absolutely brilliant. I’d do it again when I’ve saved up – it’s not a low cost item!

  2. greg says:

    They’re all good; but for me, Tiami is simply the best.

  3. HaltonHills says:

    Another great topic Jane – thanks! We’ve been on El Tigre twice and can’t say enough great things about them. Great crew, great food, great day.

  4. mpaquet says:

    I am a travel agent in Montreal & I have been very fortunate to enjoy quite a few different catamarans over the 22+yrs of vacations in Barbados.I always suggest to my clients travelling to this wonderful island that a sail aboard a CAT is the absolute best way to see Barbados from another angle….and what an enjoyable experience it has proven to be.My clients are grateful for my suggestion!Heads up to a GREAT CAPTAIN…ROGER SCANDELLA.

  5. Rainy, hi! I responded twice to your post but neither time posted. I’m going through a different route this time. I have a two-bedroom that is smaller than the others and very cozy and very cute. Here are some photos. The price is $200US/night between Apr 16 and Dec 15 and $300US nightly the rest of the year. If this interests you, Rainy, drop me a line at xo

  6. We’re of like mind … a cat cruise is a “must do” .. ! Which company is Captain Scandella with? You might mention it so that readers can contact that company. Truth is, though, I’ve heard nothing but positive things about all the cat cruise outfits on the island.

  7. You make me want to go out now!

  8. greg says:

    Roger is a senior captain on Tiami… good guy!

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