- Fleet consists of three upscale sailing ships; fourth to arrive in 2017
- Informal classes in things like knot tying or celestial navigation
- Specializes in offbeat itineraries in Europe and the Caribbean
- Star Clippers News: Star Clippers to Resume Southeast Asia Cruises on Tall Ship
OnboardStar Clippers three tall ships are for savvy sailors looking for a one-of-a-kind seafaring experience. Clear skies, blue seas and billowing white sails add up to a romantic fantasy voyage. There's a sense of adventure, too -- though itineraries are mapped out in advance, the Captain follows the whim of the wind when it comes to the actual time you arrive in and depart from port. Flexibility and new experiences are what the Star Clipper fleet is all about.
Depending on the captain and the cruise director, informal classes in knot tying or celestial navigation may be on the daily program. The crew and passengers often star in the evening shows and games. Forget guest lecturers, nightclub-type floorshows, a casino, elevator, or round-the-clock room service. Water sports are a major component of each cruise, with a from-the-ship program featuring complimentary snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and other water-based activities. Diving trips and certification classes are also on offer.
The cabins offer yacht-type creature comforts -- compact in design with lots of doors and drawers to keep everything in place when under sail. Meals, except for dinner, are buffet style and feature an international mix of foods. Made-to-order eggs at breakfast start the day on a high. There's usually a pasta station or carving table for lunch, lots of salads and creamy desserts. Dinners are a la carte and served -- quite good, but not gourmet.
Though it's casual, this is far more than a cut above the Island Windjammers experience. It comes closer to Windstar Cruises, but with less emphasis on the amenities found below deck and more on the actual wonder of sailing under the power of the wind.
The line is building a fourth sailing ship, set to be delivered in late 2017.
About Star ClippersFeel the wind fill the sails. Climb high in the rigging. Relax in the bow net. Life aboard a sailing ship appeals to adventurous travelers who are eager to explore unspoiled parts of the world in relative comfort. Leave conventional cruise formalities such as dressing up for dinner or rigid timetables to conventional cruise ships. Star Clippers' fleet of three vessels -- the flagship Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer -- does just that, and with great panache, aboard some of the fastest and largest clipper ships ever built.
The man at the helm of Star Clippers is Mikael Krafft, a Swedish entrepreneur who, at the age of 6, landed his first job at a shipyard near his home in the Stockholm archipelago. As a child, Krafft listened to the stories the old seamen told, and his love of sailing was born. When he was 12, he sailed his own 18-foot boat over 20 miles of open seas. Later, he practiced maritime law in Sweden and France. In 1986, Krafft relocated to Brussels where he founded the White Star Group, involved with real estate development. White Star Group is the parent company of White Star Clippers, which commissioned Star Flyer and Star Clipper. Krafft launched the Star Flyer and Star Clipper in 1991 and 1992 in Belgium. They were the first clipper ships since 1911 to be granted the certificate of highest quality by Lloyd's Register of Shipping. The even more ambitions Royal Clipper was launched in 2000 as the largest clipper ship built in a century.
Star Clippers FleetStar Flyer (introduced in 1991) and sister ship Star Clipper (1992) claim to have the tallest masts in the world, towering 226 feet above the waterline. Each ship is 360 feet in length, has four masts and 16 sails measuring a total of 36,000 square feet and carries 170 guests.
The 227-passenger Royal Clipper joined the fleet in 2000. She is 439 feet long with a beam of 43 feet. Her 42 sails boast an amazing 56,000 square feet of Dacron. The highest of her five masts is 197 feet. Of the three vessels, this one offers more -- more sails, more cabin space and more services (for top category cabins). This is the only ship in the fleet to have balcony cabins. And, the ride is smoother.
The line is building a fourth ship, a 300-passenger vessel based on historic France II, that will be launched in the second half of 2017. The ship will measure 8,770 tons and be powered, wind permitting, by 6,350 square metres of sails. It will have five masts, all square rigged.
Features on board will include three pools, one that funnels sunlight through the ship's atrium into the dining room below. Another pool on the aft deck will be for dive training and will descend six metres down through two decks, with glass sides.
There will be a watersports platform in the stern for use when the ship is at anchor and a variety of cabin grades, including 34 suites with balconies, a first for the line, and four owner's suites.
A restaurant in the atrium will accommodate all passengers for open-seating dining. Hallmarks of the other three ships will be present, too; an intimate library, the bowsprit net, where passengers can sunbathe, high above the water, and the al fresco Tropical Bar, where evening entertainment takes place.
Fellow PassengersIn the Caribbean, about half the passengers are North Americans and half Europeans. In Europe, fellow passengers are primarily European: French, Italian, English and German. These ships attract adult passengers of all ages. You may be traveling with a group of 30-somethings and another group of 70-somethings. Children over the age of 8 or so can have a grand time, but don't expect full-scale children's programs or youth counselors. It's best if kids bring a friend along.
Star Clippers Member Reviews
We went with a group of 60 or so. Vast majority were first timers with the exception of our travel agent, her assistant and their husbands. The ... Read more
Star Flyer - Cuba 1st - 8th February 2015
29th January 2015: Havana: Left Gatwick to land in Cuba some 9½ hours later. ... Read more
I had done extensive research on the Star Clipper website, YouTube, and Cruise Critic prior to deciding on the Royal Clipper Grenadine Islands ... Read more
Have never sailed on a ship like this. Have been on much larger cruises and smaller sailing ships. The Royal Clipper was just fabulous. The cabins ... Read more
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