20 Tips For a Maine Windjammer Cruise

First of all, unless you have been on a Maine Windjammer Cruise, you probably have no clue what to expect. I know I didn’t. Therefore, I have put together ALL the best tips for you to have a successful cruise and what to pack. I did not do much research before sailing and was taken by surprise quite a few times (in a good way). I want you to have the best experience possible on your Maine Windjammer Cruise because it is such a fun experience. So let’s get you ready!

I took my Maine Windjammer Cruise on the fabulous J and E Riggin! The J and E Riggin Schooner was built in 1927 as an oystering schooner and is still being utilized today, but for passenger cruises from May-October out of Rockland, Maine. The schooner has quite a bit of history attached to it and its current owners Captain’s Jon and Annie, have had the ship in service for the last 21 years. Currently running as a Maine Windjammer Cruise, it was not always that way. The schooner has been a fishing vessel, oyster vessel and a passenger vessel managed by others.

The highlight of taking a Maine Windjammer Cruise is not only the food, but the comradery. Getting to know the rest of the 24 passengers and 6 crew member’s each day was incredible. These amazing souls become your family after spending so much time with them.

If you are thinking of taking a Maine Windjammer Cruise, I cannot recommend J & E Riggin enough because they are what made this experience. You will absolutely fall in love with Jon and Annie, so prepare yourself.

20 Tips For a Maine Windjammer Cruise

  1. A Maine Windjammer Cruise is not a luxury cruise. It would be more closely associated with camping on a schooner. So forget the fancy dresses and sport coats and prepare for some fabulous outdoor living. Come as you are and make yourself at home.
    Maine Windjammer Cruise

    J & E Riggin

  2. Boarding the schooner is extremely easy. The night before your cruise starts, you will bring your belongings and get on the boat between 5-6pm. Jon and Annie will introduce themselves and the crew and go over all the basics so you know what to expect.
    1. You will be required to get your own meal the first night. You can walk right up the street to Rockland and there are plenty of options. Starting the next morning at breakfast, all your meals will be included.
    2. If you have forgotten something or want to purchase beverages, there are stores in town for you to do this.
  3. Berths (cabins) are a bit tight. If you are claustrophobic, this may not be for you. There are 11 cabins on board this Maine windjammer cruise. 7 cabins have two twins beds, 2 cabins with 3 twin beds, and 2 cabins with double beds.
    1. Each room is equipped with a sink that you can clean up with and get filtered drinking water out of. Bonus: each room has handmade soap in it for you to use.
    2. There are no drawers because the space is tight, but there are shelves for your things.
  4. Leave your blankets at home because this Maine Windjammer cruise provides it all. Fresh sheets for your arrival and also towels, pillows, and blankets.
  5. There are two heads (bathrooms) on this Maine Windjammer Cruise and one shower.
    1. Most people on board my 4 day cruise took 1 shower and just cleaned up each day. However, the shower is available to you if you would like to use it, and yes, you get hot water.
      1. There are certain times for the showers use and before breakfast is not one of them. This is due to the water usage and cooking of breakfast.
  6. The food on this Maine Windjammer Cruise IS luxury. Captain Annie is a sensational cook and each meal is prepared on board in a tiny kitchen. She is up early mornings baking breads and creating dishes that we all loved. If you like food, then this is the trip for you. Annie cooks from a lot of different ethnic backgrounds and each meal is better than the last. This Maine Windjammer Cruise KNOWS food is the way to our hearts. I can’t say enough good things about Annie’s cooking.
    Maine Windjammer Cruise


    1. If you have allergies, let Annie know. She is extremely accommodating. There was a passenger on board with a wheat intolerance and she provided.
    2. Annie has her amazing cookbooks for sale on board, but if you would like to get one now to test her amazing cooking, you can get them here, here and here! Annie’s wonderful cookbooks chronicle the families lives and cooking at home and at sea.
    3. Unless you absolutely have to have a certain snack, I would recommend not bringing anything extra on your Maine windjammer cruise. You will never go hungry. Annie takes such great care of everyone and provides plenty of food.
      Maine Windjammer Cruise


  7. If you want alcohol, bottled water, specialty beverages, or know that there is a food you have to have everyday, bring it yourself. Coffee, hot and cold water, and usually a tea or juice of sorts is provided with meals.
    1. Coffee is only served with breakfast.
    2. There was an entire large scale cooler on deck for everyone to put their items in that they brought on board and it was plenty enough space. The crew will put about 100 bags of ice in there so as to keep everything cold.
  8. Weather can be unpredictable. During my cruise in July, it was unseasonably hot for Maine. The night we boarded our Maine Windjammer cruise it was very hot. However, after we left the next morning and got to sea, the weather changed to rain and ultimately cooled down. Be prepared for all weather types.
    1. Pack layers. At the beginning of my trip I was sweating and at the end I was freezing. I did not pack properly for this trip.
  9. Where are you sailing on your Maine windjammer cruise? Great question! Since you are on a schooner you go with the wind. Captain Jon will decide each morning and let you know where you are headed.
  10. Will you get off the boat? On my cruise we did. However, I cannot guarantee that you will as weather dictates your Maine Windjammer Cruise.
    1. There is a dinghy that will take you if you anchor at sea and Captain Jon was taking 6 people at a time.
    2. We were able to dock at one port for a couple hours (this is not guaranteed).
  11. There is no air conditioning or fans on board in the berths. There is however a small window at the top of the room to ventilate that lets in a bit of air. I was a bit warm the first two nights so I slept on deck, which this is available to you if you are hot or just want to sleep outside.
  12. There are no electrical outlets on board for you to use each day. The night before the schooner leaves, while it is docked, the Captain leaves out a charging strip for everyone to charge their items. Captain Jon will bring charging out again on the last day.
  13. WiFi is not on board this schooner. However, I found that I had cell service from time to time during my Maine Windjammer cruise.
  14. There is no maid service. You are responsible for yourself and that includes the dishes you eat off of. At each meal Annie sets out two tubs of hot water. One for washing and one for rinsing. You just clean your dishes and silverware and dry them off. It is so easy and takes a minute.
    1. You will be given a coffee cup at the beginning of your Maine Windjammer Cruise. This is yours for the duration of your trip. Keep it with you or in your berth and don’t lose or break it.
  15. This Maine Windjammer Cruise IS eco-friendly. All the leftovers are turned into compost which then is added to Annie’s garden, recycling is done properly, sheets and towels remain the same for the duration of your trip, and so forth.
  16. What if you get cold and forgot to pack layers? Good news – Jon and Annie have items for sale on the boat that are branded.
    1. If you know ahead of time that you are looking for something specific, you can request it and they will have it ready when you arrive.
  17. Meals are served at about the same time each day. Coffee and hot tea are available around 7am and breakfast starts when you hear the bell around 8am. Lunch will be served at sea mid afternoon and dinner will be served around 530pm.
    Maine Windjammer Cruise

    Morning coffee on board

  18. The schooner does not leave each morning until after breakfast is finished and cleaned up.
  19. You can participate in raising and lowering the sails, bringing in the anchor, etc. It is entirely up to you.
  20. Plan to join a family. You will not leave this Maine Winjammer cruise without feeling like you part of this wonderful family. Jon and Annie are just so real. They are this kind family who really can just do it all, and they do it so well.

What to pack for your Maine Windjammer Cruise:

Only bring what you absolutely need. You are going to spend your days on board at sea, enjoying the company of the 24 or so other passengers making new friends, eating, going into ports (if there any stops on your itinerary), etc. You don’t need a computer or a ton of stuff for this trip.

  1. A soft duffel bag. Space in your berth is not big enough to withstand suitcases. Having a collapsible, soft sided duffel is going to be your best bet.
  2. Layers. The weather can change rapidly and depending on time of year it can be warmer or colder. I highly suggest bringing a jacket, a long sleeve shirt, and then shorter sleeves.
  3. Rain gear. It can rain and you will be slightly exposed to the elements. I recommend a rain jacket and pants.
  4. Shoes. Bring soft soles. I brought sandals and wished I had packed tennis shoes too. I suggest bringing both.
  5. Sunscreen. During the day you are exposed to the sun so you probably want to protect your skin. I recommend an SPF 100 that I use. I am fair skinned already, but being exposed to a lot of sun needs good protection.
  6. Bug repellent. There are mosquito’s and if it rains you don’t want to get eaten alive.
  7. If you need to keep your phone charged, pack a phone bank that will give you additional charges.
  8. Bring binoculars to see animals further out at sea, rugged coastlines, other boats, and for bird watching.
  9. Bring a stadium seat if you need back support on deck. They’re soft and will provide back support to lean against on deck.
  10. Camera. I shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 for all my photos.
  11. If you are a light sleep, pack ear plugs. The quarters are close and the walls are thin.
  12. Pack wipes to wash up.
  13. A book to read on deck.
  14. A pair of sunglasses since you will be outside.
  15. Consider bringing biodegradable soap if you would like to shower in the ocean.

Photos from our Maine Windjammer Cruise

Maine Windjammer Cruise

Rockland Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse

Maine Windjammer Cruise

Captain Jon writing in his log

Maine Windjammer Cruise

Maine Summer

Maine Windjammer cruise

Shortbread peach shortcake with a vanilla bourbon whipped cream

Maine Windjammer Cruise - 20 tips for a successful cruise and what to pack!


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20 Tips for a Maine windjammer cruise! Know what to expect and what to pack.















Disclaimer: I was hosted by the J & E Riggin during my stay, but as always, opinions are entirely my own.

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  1. August 24, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    Totally digging this idea. Plus the breakfast looks inspired. Maine is a gorgeous area of the country I’ve not seen for some 25 years. Definitely time to ponder a visit since I am in the USA for a minute. Tweeted for you.


    • eatlivetraveldrink
      August 24, 2018 / 9:14 pm

      Thanks Ryan! I think you should check it out. Its quite the adventure

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