I cruised on the ill-fated Fantome about 20 years ago when I was 25 years old. I loved every moment of it. The only negative thing I remember were all the cockroaches and the cold showers. Has this improved and would you recommend this cruiseline for a family with two teenagers and a husband who hates to dress up? If not Windjammer, than any other come to mind?
On the ships that I have been on, Poly, Mandy and the Legacy, I have only seen one coachroach. This was two years ago. I really haven't noticed a bug problem on the ships and no one has talked about it, at least to me, so I may not be the best person to answer but I don't believe this is a issue.
Cold showers. Well. I would say, maybe. On the Legacy, it really isn't a problem. I believe they have there own water maker so water conservation or temperature wasn't an issue when I was aboard her. For the other two ships, I didn't have a problem, since I am a early riser, but I do know that the water was mighty lukewarm in the afternoon plus she had to take on water in another port. because of the water usage. Was the water freezing. No. Was it hot, not really. It was tolerable.
I don't know what it was like 25 years ago, so I can't really say has it improved. All I can do is tell you what I have noticed. Hopefully others will reply.
Would I recommend it .... Yes. I don't know how old the teenagers are, but there is a program called the Junior Jammers. The ships that participate in the program are the Legacy and the Poly.
There are a couple of Windjammer boards. One is the Flotilla and the one is on the Delphi boards. Type in a search engine "Jammerbabe" and you will find the Flottila with links to different boards.
You will probably find the Poly and Mandalay to be more like you remember things on the Fantome. The Legacy would probably give you a bit more "modern" experience.
If you are looking for a completely modern sailing experience you might look into a ship called Arabella which sails 1/2 year in New England and 1/2 year in the Virgin Islands.
I don't think you will find bugs and cold water showers on any of the Windjammer fleet
but you will certainly find small accomadations and "interesting" bathroom and shower
facilities in some cabins.
If the sailing is what you like and you want to get a very laid back personal experience
you might consider a crewed charter in the BVI's . Someone else does the sailing and the cooking while you just kick back and enjoy. Try the website bviwelcome.com
for tons of information on a crewed charter.
I was on the Fantome about 14 yrs ago...we sailed the Grenadines and it was wonderful. I don't recall a bug problem ever on any WJammer's and I have sailed on at least 12. Will be returning to the Grenadines again this March on the Mandalay. As you know WJ is not a foo-foo cruise so you don't have all thefancy stuff that you get on the cruiseliners...but isn't it the personal & informal style of sailing the reason you like windjammin....I also do a couple foo-foo ships each year but I still have the most fun & relaxing vacation when windjammin at least once a year. splash, splash,splash Yes!