We were so excited for this trip on Star Clipper. What an adventure it was going to be. Well a disappointment it turned out to be.
The ship and the sailing experience was really amazing and that is where the positive stops.... staff does not make any effort to make the experience special in any way. The Cruise director ridicules and belittles passengers in front of everyone. The staff bicker and fight openly in front of all the guests. I felt that we paid for the privilege of sharing their boat and that we were of little importance to them.
THERE IS NO DRINK PACKAGE and the bar tender actually argued with me that the Windstar didn't have one either... even though I told him we were on it and YES THEY DO HAVE A DRINK PACKAGE.
BE WARY OF THE LIABILITY RELEASE:
We encountered a few times where reckless disregard for the guests welfare. We met one guest on the 2nd day. He was 91 years old and had taken a fall in his cabin overnight. He was in a very bad way and although the Nurse was assisting him. There was no offer off assistance to him past that. He couldn't walk well and was offered no assistance even when getting his food from the buffet to the table.
On the second night, the captain steered into an oncoming storm. It was questioned by staff members, but he told them to go ahead anyway. It was so rough that approx 60% of the ship did not attend dinner. During the course of dinner the ship listed so badly that a guest;s chair fell backwards and all the dishes on the table fell on her cutting her head open. NOTE; storms we are told happen regularly, and there are no lips around the tales to protect guests. The beaches that we were taken to, were unchecked and contained sea urchins in the shallow area's. We were there a short time when a guest was stung by one in knee deep water. She was sent back to ship unescorted to get the stinger out. Why are they not telling us this..... I felt that because we all signed a waiver they just didn't care.
NOTE: We have NEVER EVER signed a waiver for ANY other ship we have been on.
FOOD; Heaven forbid if you have special food requirements because you will not get accommodated. There are no heart healthy or Diabetes friendly options. My husband has to watch his salt intake due to high blood pressure and could not get any assistance in an alternate menu. When we were on RCL last December it was not problem at all. I actually had a sports staff member, sitting at our dinner table, say to me. " what? do you think your special or something?" Because after asking for a sugar free option at dinner, and being served deep fried banana one day, and then deep fried apple the next, I finally said to the Maitre'd , that I would just like a fresh grapefruit please. The deep fried fruit was not a healthy option. As a matter of fact there were no healthy options. My first breakfast, I requested egg white's for my omelet and was told by the cook (with a bowl of 20 eggs in front of him) that he had no egg whites ! seriously??? can you not separate the eggs in front of you? he agreed... separated 2 egg whites and cooked them in oil????? there was no opportunity to not cook them in oil. it was an awful omelet. The next day I asked for a 6 egg white omelet, and thought the cook was going to die. He was quite discussed with my request and still had no egg white. I gave up after that morning as the eggs were all cooked in oil.
This kind of behaviour continued throughout the cruise. ALL of the food is guided toward the european palette and everyone else is out of luck. Buffet breakfast with an array of cheeses, deli meat, and rye bread... oh and green peas and minute steak (Yuk). Lunch is no better...we tried eat there but there were NO heart healthy choices... so we mainly ate off ship.
A British couple we met asked for a second dish of cream cheese at the table and were refused. They also asked for an entree to be served as an appi, so they they choose another entree for the main and were told NO!
In all the years that we have been cruising we have NEVER experienced such poor service and food. Aside from a princess cruise we have taken..... but honestly.... as bad as that was.... the star clipper was worse.
Its really sad when a "highlight moment in culinary experience" is when the ship served taco's at midnight.
We CONTINUALLY felt that we were no more than an annoyance to the staff who were putting them out there way on every turn.
PORTS: We found out the hard way that the stops they make are horrific. They are all, with the exception of St. Barths, in the middle of no where. This is NOT disclosed on their itinerary anywhere. They name the island, but not the port which to me was a significant oversight and a convenient one.... had I known I would NOT have taken this ship.
NEVIS- they dropped us at a beach with nothing... not even an umbrella..... or a cab???? we walked to the nearest beach with life which was the four seasons and were refused service as this was a private hotel. Even offered to pay for service and was declined. It was a useless port.
DOMINICA- We were so excited about this port because we have been to Rouseau before... had plans for Champagne bay and snorkelling. Um and that is where it ends. We were not in Rouseau... we were in the middle of NO WHERE!!!!! Peter the cruise director was approached about taking a cab to Rouseau and he flat out told me NO you cannot. Then after consulting someone told me that it was a 2 hour trip there and back and the ship would leave without us if we weren't back....Nice.... he was very curt and rude with me. We later found out that it was actually only a 45 min journey each way.
IMPORTANT: at this time I must note that Peter is a very good historian... but a lousy cruise director! The daily newsletter have pages and pages of 1423 History and ZERO information about the actual port we were in and what there was to do.... and I mean ZERO. The Pursers also were of no use as they could answer no questions that we presented them. They didn't even know what port we were in.
The staff were of no assistance. The shuttle boat staff dropped at the dock and left us.... and there was no one to welcome us when we returned. I am unaccustomed to this, as even CARNIVAL have welcoming staff. We got nothing.....
ILSE DE SAINTE: again we were shuttled into the dock area. It was Christmas eve and so everything was closing early. Again there was no info from the ship as to what was where on the island.... This island was Goat island. I have never seen so many goats as here.
GUADELUPE; We were there on Christmas day and pretty much everything was closed. We and 3 other decided to find a beach that a fellow passenger found on his GPS. Now that was an adventure that was amazing.... and if it weren't for our new found friends, would never have occured.
ANTIGUA; This was our only Excursion port. Important to note. We booked this excursion and received no confirmation of it or anything. We didn't even know the time it started and again phoned the Purser's office to be told to refer to the newsletter.... which had 4 pages of history and no other information. This was the port that the ship held the bbq on the beach. Our excursion, as we found out was at 1pm, and the bby started at noon... great. Had we known this we would not have booked the excursion but were now told it was too late. This annoyed me as we were only given 24 hours notice about the bbq and they wanted more than 24 hrs notice to cancel the excursion. As it turns out the bbq was well done. But again they failed when put up against the Windstar...... who not only bring the Bbq and Beach toys... they brought the bar and the deck chairs and towels !!!!
ST BARTHS: This was a great port and if it weren't for our friends we wouldn't have known what to do. He pulled up his GPS and we went to some great beaches. Shell beach is where we ate at Do Brazilian, and it was AMAZING FOOD. Try the Octopus salad.... WOW. The kind of food we expected from the ship but never even came close. We also say Paul McCartmey at this beach. Then we toured off to Eden Rock for a snack and swim at the beach..... all in all a great day with some great friends.
The tenders back to the ship are to run every 30 minutes. We arrive back at the dock at 645pm. No shuttle.... 7pm... no shuttle.... ( the winstar has had 3 shuttles in this time, and one doesn't leave until its replacement is there) there is no one from Clipper to welcome us or give us any information. Windstar has their full welcoming staff there.... We wait and wait. Finally at 710pm a shuttle arrives. Another passenger asks if we are leaving at 715, and was told no, we are waiting until 730. The customer then says that they are supposed to run every 30 minutes and we were here for the 7pm shuttle and there was no one here. At that point the staff member JOE starts yelling at the customer !!!! I am outraged at this behaviour as it continues and the crew member has now escalated it to a yelling match. The fact was that we were all being made to wait 45 minutes just to get back to the ship.
I file a complaint with Arthur and one of the Purser's once back on ship. We told them that they have some SERIOUS staff issues with this situation and the constant bickering the whole week between staff members..... they said nothing.....like they were unaware of any of it. Finally Arthur apologized and said he would look into the matter. WE HEARD NOTHING BACK.
Well what to say about this..... they provide you with no direction at all in port. You are left to your own devises. Even the sports staff have no clue what is in the ports as they are given ZERO training or time off in any of the ports. If you are booking an excursion.... don't expect to get any information about it delivered to your cabin as there is none provided.
There are some serious issues on board this boat. Unfortunately the negative outweighed the positive. For the cost of the cruise I personally will choose the Windstar over the Star Clipper.
Climbing the mast was amazing..... the sailing experience was also amazing. Being spoken too as some one less than important... was not okay and happened over and over again.
A guest that we met broke a glass in her cabin and was made to clean it up herself, as she was told staff was not allowed to enter into the cabins. However, this rule did not apply when an Officer, pursuing a female guest, entered into her room, only to be rebuffed by her and later on by her spouse.
IMPORTANT; The open fraternization between the staff and the guests is unacceptable. I have never in 20 years seen such blatant and open fraternization between guests and staff. I myself was approached by a staff member on numerous occasions through the cruise with no regard to my husband being on board. We witnessed staff leaving with young girls from the age of 17 to 27, and the bar tender offering them a condom right in front of us.
This is unacceptable behaviour on every level. Although we are not oblivious to the fact that this happens, it was openly occurring in front of the guests. We are very thankful that we did not bring our teens on this ship.
We had reserved our next cruise on the Star Clipper but will be cancelling it due to this horrible experience. We are going back to the Windstar, and Celebrity.... where we are treated and fed like royalty. This cruise is overpriced and lacking in so many ways. I was expecting Windstar quality in a Sail ship, as they are constantly ridiculing the Windstar, and they didn't deliver.
On a final note. Clipper staff states that they are a sail ship and that the Windstar uses motor. However, Clipper uses their motors also, and Windstar uses their sails too. The difference between the two.....The CLIPPER captain will take his sail ship into an oncoming storm with little regard for the guests.... the WINDSTAR captain will avoid taking his vessel into an oncoming storm (as we experienced in March 2012) for the enjoyment and benefit of the guests! THAT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW.