It is important to remember that this is not a cruise ship, but a superbly equipped five-masted yacht, albeit a rather bigger yacht than one might expect to find.
We sailed from Barbados at 10pm, when it was dark. The sky was clear with bright stars, a full moon, and with the mast lights on as the Clipper moved away from the dockside, the sails started to unfurl, and the music of Vangelis' Conquest of Paradise 1492 started to play. If anyone had any doubts about moving away from the big ship cruise experience, the early feelings evoked by just leaving the port were positive.
After eight cruises before Royal Clipper with P&O (2), Cunard (2), and Celebrity (4), this was a brave departure from the norm. At less than half the length of a typical ship, and maybe 1/20th or less of the weight, some movement is to be expected, but it was not troubling - apart from the last day when a few passengers were perhaps a bit off colour, owing to the larger swells between Martinique and Barbados as the Captain picked up speed for the 18 hour sail to Barbados.
Like the other review made in February this year, we had the cabin on the port side at the back near the aft deck. It has an outside window (covered by a horizontal blind), so it was kept 'slatted' to prevent folk passing by from looking in. It was also advisable to keep the door locked, as other passengers often thought it was door to the inside of the yacht. On the occasion we forgot I reckon the wayward passenger was the most embarassed.
The bathroom had a bath, which is unusual when cruising, unless paying a lot of money, with a jacuzzi. And whilst the cabin is smaller than what can be found for similar cost on a larger cruise ship, it was not intrusive to the point where the extra space was missed. The cabin steward, meanwhile, was an expert at making animals out of towels, and one was always waiting on the bed, with chocolates, by the time we were ready to settle down for another night.
And speaking of the Captain, never has a man been so visible. He seemed to be everywhere, always smiling and interacting with the passengers, who numbered only 204 on this trip. The crew were also amongst the most friendly we have met, especially the Cruise Director, Lidija, who had so much energy I wish I knew what vitamins she took.
Was there a downside? Not really, or nothing that caused such concern that it detracted from the experience, at least for me. Maybe I was fortunate, because my wife was one of those who were off-colour on the final day, so potential sea-sickness apart, nothing to worry about. Getting on and off was a doddle, whether by tender or quayside, and the Clipper never once felt crowded.
Entertainment? Generally make your own and get to know other passengers more easily in a relaxed and informal setting. There was a crab race, which was funny, and a talent (sic) night, which we missed, but were assured as being hilarious - the crew apparently were not shy to entertain!
Food was more limited than the bigger ships, but only from the number of choices available, and the quality was never in doubt. I was never left hungry, put it that way.
The most important part, I feel, about making any review is - would we do it again? Absolutely!