2 Cannes First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

My Experience on the Star Flyer I’m surprised by the tenor of the reviews here. We just returned from a 7-day cruise on the Star Flyer, where we had a wonderful time. Overall The ship is a working sailing vessel and, as such, ... Read More
My Experience on the Star Flyer I’m surprised by the tenor of the reviews here. We just returned from a 7-day cruise on the Star Flyer, where we had a wonderful time. Overall The ship is a working sailing vessel and, as such, provides a different experience than the typical ‘big ship cruise’. There is no casino, exercise room or spa, and the maximum number of passengers on board is only 170. Our trip had 120 passengers and 77 crew. 62% of the passengers were repeat travellers. I travelled with my spouse, Two adult sisters, their husbands and my parents. Our ages ranged from 47 to 79. The Trip We were warned that travel by sail is weather dependent and, consequently, the ship may not make all its scheduled destinations. But Captain Yuriy Slastein and his capable crew hit every port as scheduled, despite some very challenging weather. Our first night, we encountered a heavy storm at sea that claimed at least 17 lives on shore. Although there was some sea sickness on board, the crew handled the storm well and, thankfully, kept us all safe. Only one sail was torn, no one was injured — and we made port the next day on schedule. Amazing. The next day, the damaged sail was taken down and repaired out on the deck where passengers could watch the process in action. A nice touch, and an indulgence for the avid sailors among us. The Star Flyer’s reduced size also made it possible for us to go to smaller ports the larger cruise ships would have to miss. Accommodation & Cleanliness Rooms were cleaned at least twice a day, with fresh towels as needed. Each block of rooms had a dedicated steward to provide cleaning and turn-down service — plus the occasional towel animal and a chocolate on the pillow each night. The ship and rooms were impeccably clean. There was no garbage or dirty dishes/glassware on deck, as others have described. And there always seemed to be plenty of deck chairs to go around. Common Areas The library and piano bar are comfortable environments, clean and well-maintained. The low-key ambience was conducive to relaxation and family fun; guests and crew alike were friendly and good-humoured. The Tropical Bar is the social hub of the ship, serving as a general meeting point for many activities, while the upper decks (one fore, one aft) housed the pool, the jacuzzi, and the best vantage point for seeing the ship’s workings in action. Passengers Our fellow passengers were mainly adults, aged 35-80, plus one small child and two teenagers. Passengers were multi-national: mostly American, German, Canadian, British, Swiss and Australian. I wonder how the nationalities vary on different schedules and locations. (Our trip was in October, travelling the Cote D’Azur from Nice to Barcelona.) The atmosphere on board was congenial, and passengers generally easy-going and courteous. Crew The crew were approachable, friendly, and very accommodating, cultivating a more personal experience than we’ve had on larger cruises. Perhaps this is due to the vastly-reduced passenger capacity. Or maybe it’s just the way the staff are trained. Many crew and staff members had been with the Star Clipper ships for a decade or more. The crew were quite open about the workings of the ship, with many tasks, like the aforementioned sail repair, taking place in full view of the passengers. Over the course of our trip, the crew invited guests to climb one of the masts, to lie in the nets on the bow sprit, to take a tour of the engine room with the engineers -- and to watch the ship set off and land every morning and evening, which was undoubtably a highlight of the entire experience. A non-negligible percentage of passengers were avid sailors; it’s easy to see why. Entertainment Wifi is limited! But board games, card games, and regularly-scheduled group activities were welcome diversions from our screen-based habits. We were never bored. Much of the daytime entertainment came from self-guided or pre-arranged tours. On our trip, one of the day excursions was cancelled due to lack of interest, but the two tours we participated in were well-organised. Often we chose to wander the destination cities on our own. In the evening, the pianist, Bela, was the focal point of much of the entertainment, assisted by local talent, crew members and passengers. During our trip, there was a fashion show, a passenger/crew talent show, and a couple of live music acts. The Pursor’s office had DVDs available to check out, as each room is equipped with a DVD player. Books in the library were also available for anyone to read. Meals Meals consisted of: • An early-bird continental breakfast (juice and pastries) • A large buffet breakfast with omelette station • A substantial, themed, lunch buffet • An afternoon snack in the Tropical Bar • A 5-course sit-down dinner with multiple menu choices • A midnight snack in the Piano Bar • An all-day self-serve coffee and tea station • An all-day bar (with bartender) All meals were open-seating, with dinner slightly more formal (no shorts or collarless shirts). All meals and snacks were served on china, with real glassware and utensils. Because we were travelling in a group of eight, the dining room staff reserved a table where our family could sit together throughout the trip. The food was much nicer than we expected — often it was excellent — and the number of choices was more than adequate. Once again, we were pleasantly surprised. Lasting Impressions ‘Pleasantly surprised’ is how I would describe much of my experience on this trip. Based on the reviews I read before departure, I thought I would struggle with aspects of the Star Flyer experience. Instead, I’m so glad I came. The service, the accommodation, and the personable, intimate atmosphere were much more than I’d hoped for. Our family has sailed on smaller vessels for generations, but this trip was something quite different: the silent gliding of the tall ship through the water, the scale and beauty of the vessel herself, and our own experience as an integral part of the sail — this was something unique indeed, and truly unforgettable. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I was travelling with my sister in law, plus two 14 year olds and an 11 year old and this was our first cruise. We joined the ship in Palma and embarkation was a little chaotic at the port as well as being bombarded with information ... Read More
I was travelling with my sister in law, plus two 14 year olds and an 11 year old and this was our first cruise. We joined the ship in Palma and embarkation was a little chaotic at the port as well as being bombarded with information however we got on board the ship around 2pm so headed for lunch in the buffet style Windjammer. I'm not a big fan of buffets but the choice was varied, the food was hot and mostly tasty. By 4pm we went to our cabin. More spacious than anticipated, except the bathroom which was a bit compact. Incredibly comfy beds. The decor was incredibly dated but the room was clean and kept that way by our stateroom attendant. Trips During our cruise we went on two excursions, Panoramic Pisa and Glory of the Gladiators. Both were enjoyable and informative. For Pisa we had a guide called Andrea and he was very informative and we had just the right amount of time in Pisa to have a picture by the tower. The tour included a bottle of water and ice cream on the boat ride and then a cold drink in a cafe/gift shop. The Gladiator tour was hard going due to the pace and the high temperature, also no drinks were provided and no time was given to acquire one. It was informative though. We did get off the ship to wander room in Cannes, there is an excellent mini road train that tours road for not many euros. Food We mostly ate in the formal dining room, the Great Gatsby. The service was excellent and the choice varied. If you didn't like you selection on its arrival it was promptly swapped. My son is autistic so found the menu challenging but the staff kindly brought him items that were not even listed. Whilst it was meant to be formal some people did wear shorts or open neck shirts. The only downside was the Gatsby was only open at lunch on the days at sea, which was a shame. Wherever you were on the ship there was food available, whether in the Windjammer, Solarium, poolside or room service (took about 20 minutes and the steak sandwich was very good). Drinks We pre-purchased the soda fountain option for around £32 for adults and £22 for children - worth every penny! A shot of alcohol was around $8 - very pricey but due to the tax levied, seemingly the western European cruise doesn't charge this. Wine started at about $9 a glass. Kids Clubs One word required - fabulous. My 11 year old went to the 9-11 year old Voyager club and they did crafts, games, competitions and much more. They have option to be signed in by parent or they could self sign in and out. They also offer a pager service to let you know when your child wants picking up. The 12-17 year old teen zone had activities from 10am till 1am! The a strict curfew comes in to place with unaccompanied children being sent to their rooms. My only gripe was actually getting time to see my children as they were kept so busy. Facilities The pool area is shabby and the salt water pool is small and cold. Some teens behaviour in the pool was 'yobbish' with swearing and high jinks. Occasionally staff intervened but many times they didn't and as the pool was small it put me off using the pool.On sea days loungers are at a premium - leave your place at your peril! However on port days they ship was very empty. Varied bar styles, though sometimes finding a seat was difficult. Staff They were friendly approachable and took a pride in their job. I had a number of minor issues whilst on board but they were dealt with swiftly. Tipping We pre-paid our tips so received vouchers on the last night to distribute to head waiter, waiter, assistant waiter and room attendant. I wish I hadn't pre-paid as I would have liked to value the service more personally, though you can add extra cash. Bar staff do not get tips but with each payable drinks order there is the option to add a gratuity. Disembarkation The night before you have to leave your suitcase outside your room before 11pm - what a joke! We didn't know about this before hand so had to leave the ship with our nightwear in a carrier bag and open our case when we were reunited on the dockside! General Gripes I didn't like the fact the safe could only be operated by sliding a credit card. My sister in law didn't take one so had to use my safe. You could not pay for anything on board with cash, everything was charged to your room. which meant on the last night a massive queue by customer services to argue over the bill! Decor in cabins was dated and the ship is in need of a refurb, which I gather is happening next May. Prices in the ship shops were very high so don't buy perfume!!! I overpaid $33 dollars for my Chanel grrr. Plus Side I would definitely go on a cruise with RCI again but perhaps I would choose a ship that had been refurbished or that was newer. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011

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