In booking our cruise aboard the Royal Clipper, I searched for any family reviews and found very few, prompting this review. Our cruising family including myself and DH, 2 girls ages 8 and 10 (turned 11 aboard the ship), parents (mid 60's, active) and brother- 36. We are seasoned cruisers- many trips aboard RCL, NCL, Celebrity and most recently the Galapagos aboard the SS MaryAnne, a 12 Pax sailboat.
The Royal Clipper is gorgeous at full sail and inside. Deck chairs and pools could be improved in our opinion, but when outside, most of the time we could be found relaxing in the bow net, climbing the mast, playing off the marine platform or sailing the ship! The girls loved these sailboat specific activities. While there is not the variety of activities that a large cruise ship offers, our Italy itinerary was port intensive with just 1 day at sea. We loved the ability to tender in at a close distance and visit smaller ports of call. Rooms are small (max 3 pax) but efficient. Bathrooms are all Marble and surprisingly beautiful.
My 10 year old daughter celebrated her 11th birthday aboard the ship and said that it was her very best birthday ever! All the staff aboard the ship sincerely enjoyed having our girls on board and everyone knew their names....something not found on a large cruise ship. Children are a rarity on the Royal Clipper- most of the passengers were 50 plus. So, I would only consider bringing your children if they are comfortable around adults and able to amuse themselves. There is certainly no kids program, but the on board sports activities were all kid friendly....Kyaking, Mast climbing, Paddle Boarding. Our girls loved the sail by the active Stromboli Volcano where we were treated to amazing eruptions several hundred feet in the air under cover of darkness...(the perfect end to DD's birthday). Waiters and staff were very accomodating of DD's peanut allergy as well. Captain is wonderful and invited the girls to sail the ship- something they each did for about 30 minutes under supervision of the Captain and Professor....a highlight for them! Ship was small enough that we felt comfortable letting the kids explore/walkabout together on their own- something we won't let them do on the mega cruise lines. We had one morning only of rough seas which prompted a port of call change. Otherwise, smooth as glass sailing and fantastic weather the entire week. Cruise Director Lidija is spunky, and amazing!
The best measure of a cruise ship and line...would you do it again? All in our party said, absolutely YES! Kids included.