My husband and I are in our mid 30s and decided on Royal Clipper for our Honeymoon cruise. The ship was under capacity with only about 130 on board mostly Germans and Brits. Only about 20 Americans(which we are). Announcements were done in French, German and English. Other travelers were well traveled and business 'white collar' types. We enjoyed their company greatly. The average age range was 40-60 year olds.
We opted to stay at the Clipper's hotel in Venice two days before boarding. The hotel was in a good part of the city away from too much touristy stuff, but still close enough to get around. Also they served free breakfast which was a nice surprise.
Getting to the port was simple and check in was fine. There was quite a line, but by the time we had all forms filled out we easily did the passport check and photo. On board we were treated to music, drinks and light snacks and our bags were in the room waiting for us.
Royal Clipper is BEAUTIFUL. We were shocked at the care being given to the ship. It looked and smelled brand new. Every day we would see the friendly crew scrubbing, polishing, or painting something. The decor is tastefully done and all rooms compliment each other.
On board each evening there was a different type of entertainment. From the first night introductions and fashion show, to crab races, to Greek dancers and finally the crew talent show. We went to and enjoyed each event especially the Mr. and Mrs. Royal Clipper game which we won. These all took place in the bar which was the usual evening hang out spot.
We also watched the sail raising when departing each port, listened to all the port information as we arrived(got some great information and tips on what to do and see), climbed the mast( a MUST do), lied in the front netting, swam off the back dock, listened to music in the piano bar, read in the library, and relaxed in the 3 pools. We also checked out a few dvds from their rental. Not a huge selection, but enough. For such a small ship, we never ran out of things to do.
We also enjoyed pirate night though wish we had known about it ahead of time so we could have brought costumes.
The service was wonderful. We were so spoiled and felt we had our own personal butlers for the 11 days. Crew members always had smiles on their faces and knew our names, who we hung out with and which wine we drank. We also loved the laundry service, reasonably priced and we got the joy of seeing our undies and swimsuits ironed!
We did an excursion at each port and though they are slightly overpriced(as is expected on all cruise lines) none were a disappointment. All the guides were well traveled and bilingual, plus we were usually served food and drink.
Our budget would only allow us the cheapest room. It was small, but nice. All we do in the room is sleep and shower anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. Compared to the room size, the bathroom was quite large which was a plus. We had been told that small ships feel the movement of the ocean a lot, but did not find this to be the case. It was a smooth ride the entire time.
The dining room had a great menu that changed each day.
Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with a theme each day. Every breakfast had a different smoothie which I looked forward to trying. There was also an omelette bar which was my husband's favorite.
Lunch included a dessert bar which was wonderful.
Dinner was the only meal that required dressing up. I wore a skirt while my husband went in khakis and a Polo shirt. Most people dressed slightly more for the captains dinner. However ties, gowns and all that nonsense are not expected(thank goodness). There was no assigned seating or times which is exactly what we enjoy. The meals were wonderfully made and presented well. About an hour before dinner began there would be a menu and sample dissed placed outside the dining entrance so you knew exactly what you were ordering ahead of time. If nothing on the menu met your needs steak and fries were always an option.
One of our favorite things about this ship: no kids! We love kids, but the purpose of our holiday was our honeymoon. We wanted an adult only vacation. There was a 5 year old with his nanny that we saw about 3 times. An out of control 11 year old who someone complained to the crew about and 3 teenagers that easily blended in with the adults. My husband and I have a child now, but would not bring him on this cruise until he is at least 10 if not 15.
They have a small fitness room and spa which we used a bit. I got a massage and facial at the spa which was great. On the daily schedule there were several specials for treatments.
Each day they'd feature a drink special as well which was always cheaper and usually quite good. You are not supposed to bring alcohol on board, but they do not make a big deal out of this. The ship does not have a party/drunk type atmosphere so anyone getting wasted in their own room would look rather foolish.
Leaving was also simple, the procedures were explained to us in a meeting the day before and we were able to quickly get our things and leave to our next destination(Rome).
We were very sad to say good bye to Royal Clipper and are planning a return in the near future.