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7 Cannes to Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

You travel on these ships for the romance of sailing child-free, and the barque Royal Clipper is indeed a beautiful ship. You don't choose these cruises if you are someone who needs constant professional entertainment or you want to ... Read More
You travel on these ships for the romance of sailing child-free, and the barque Royal Clipper is indeed a beautiful ship. You don't choose these cruises if you are someone who needs constant professional entertainment or you want to be chatting continuously on 'anti-social' media. In 2001 we sailed the Greek Islands on the same cruise line's barquentine Star Flyer and had a wonderful trip. We wanted to try to recapture that experience on the Clipper, a larger fully square-rigged tall ship. Unfortunately that didn't quite happen. At the beginning we were caught for two days in a violent Mediterranean storm (force 10) and some people were injured. Broken glass and crockery everywhere. This took the edge off the cruise for some fair weather sailors like us. The crew did their best but passengers should have been told to remain in their cabins until it passed. They weren't, hence some injuries, a couple of them quite nasty. There was a skilled professional nurse on board but no doctor. The rest of the 12 day cruise was uneventful weather-wise. However, except for the last night the ship had to motor to maintain schedule. There was precious little sailing. Some officers seemed to take passenger comments offered in a spirit of co-operation as criticism. There was an edge of defensiveness. This was explained by repeat travellers who suggested the owners are very tough on staff about passenger complaints. If so that would certainly affect crew morale. The stewards, waiters and staff with whom we had regular contact were all very kind and attentive. The food, which is all important, was the key disappointment on the Clipper. I was reminded of an upmarket version of the plant canteen buffet lunches experienced during my career. Breakfast and lunch were the best meals. The exception was the Captain's Dinner. The main courses offered that night were lobster and a fillet steak. Those at our table ate the lobster as a starter and the steak as our main. A steak on any other night was of the 'minute' variety. (Pronounce that as you will.) Another passenger, a chef who owned restaurants in Europe, gave his spin on this circumstance. He said the food problem was not the skill of those in the galley but that they had an insufficient budget to prepare anything really first class other than on the night of the Captain's Dinner. That made sense, but if it is so it represents a dramatic change of policy from the experience we had enjoyed previously on the Star Flyer, where every meal was a culinary delight. It seems the management is cutting corners on a key item. For the money we expected Captain's Dinner quality every night. We thought the house wines were low-end, and costly for their quality. Let's face it, eating and drinking are still mankinds' second greatest pleasures. That said, the highlight of the on-board cruise for us was definitely the many nice people we met and the kindness of the staff with whom we had direct contact. We were satisfied with the excursions we took. They fulfilled our expectations. There was no opportunity on this cruise for water sports, a function of the weather and the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This ship was clean and tidy, the food was average and never hot, just warm if you were lucky. If you had a question regarding anything on the ship, YOU had to go to deck 5 and stand in a queue to speak to one of the 5 persons behind ... Read More
This ship was clean and tidy, the food was average and never hot, just warm if you were lucky. If you had a question regarding anything on the ship, YOU had to go to deck 5 and stand in a queue to speak to one of the 5 persons behind the desk, it was very hard to find any other member of the crew. The personnel behind the bars were very efficient and polite. I had an all inclusive drinks package, HOWEVER I was not told that this only includes the cheapest drinks, IE; Metaxa brandy and 2 other cheap ones, not even a middle class one, the same with all other alcohol beverages and wines. The entertainment was the same approximately 10 persons doing the very similar show with a slightly different theme every night for 30 to 45 minuets. I would not recommend a M S C cruise based on this one. One more complaint, when I tried to speak to a member of M S C I was told I can not, I have to email them and wait up to 28 days for a reply, to me , this means, they have my money and that is the end of any other service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
It felt like a slave ship once I found out that the "service charge" of €10 per person per day that has been presented as "tips" for the cabin crew was actualy used for their salaries! Those "tips" never ... Read More
It felt like a slave ship once I found out that the "service charge" of €10 per person per day that has been presented as "tips" for the cabin crew was actualy used for their salaries! Those "tips" never meet the staff that costs the company exactly zero €!!! In spite of that and the fact that they had to work hard and long hours, they were very kind. The cabins are very clean. The restaurant and the buffet on the other hand, were chaotic: as for the restaurant, there was shortage of food, waiters, room - the waiting time was the only thing that you could count on. In the buffet, on the other hand, there was more food, that is if you could find a free (and clean) table. And mind you - all the dishes: plates, glasses - everything in the buffet was plastic. So much for the glamorous side of the cruise ship. Since all of the ports were both for embarkation/disembarkation, this cruise ship felt more like a ferry boat. And the stay in the ports , especially the interesting ones, such as Cannes was way too short, while in insignificant ones, such as La Spezia, the ship stayed all day long. Altogether, very disappointing experience. Much overrated. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our second voyage using MSC. Last year we sailed on the Magnifica out of Venice and this year the Orchestra out of Genoa. We are currently planning a trip next year using MSC again. We were concerned when we read the ... Read More
This was our second voyage using MSC. Last year we sailed on the Magnifica out of Venice and this year the Orchestra out of Genoa. We are currently planning a trip next year using MSC again. We were concerned when we read the reviews for MSC last year. There were complaints about the food, as well as the service. However, we did not experience this on the Magnifica or the Orchestra. MSC employees went out of their way to make our stay aboard a wonderful experience. Both ships were very clean and well maintained throughout the voyages. The servers in the lounges were friendly and worked as quickly as humanly possible to get our drink ordered filled. With all the people aboard, several servers even remembered our group and the drinks we normally ordered each day. Our cabin steward was amazing. One morning, I asked if I could have two of six clothing items pressed for that evening. (Normally there is a 24 hour turnaround) He had all items back in our cabin by 5:30 pm with no extra charge. I accidentally knocked over my breakfast tray spilling coffee on the floor and was embarrassed and nervous to tell our steward. But he told me not to worry that he had done the same thing the day before and he would take care of it. And he did, never once complaining. We found no problem with the food or dining service. The few times we ate at the buffet, there was an abundance of food and variety. This year we had the late sitting for the dining room which was 9:30 p.m. We loved Edie our server. He provided excellent service. Yes, the food portions were small, but by the time you ate all the courses, you were full. You can always ask for more. One of the free perks I liked this year, was breakfast served in our cabin. It was a simple menu, but it was so nice to be able to sit in our quiet cabin and watch the scenery go by. I was not impressed with the evening shows on the Magnifica, but thoroughly enjoyed the evening performances on the Orchestra. They were not the high quality of shows I have seen in Las Vegas, but came close. Each cruise we used the excursions provided by MSC and was not disappointed. MSC even provides individual excursions for smaller parties should you not wish to partake in a large group. Here are a few tips: Spend a little more and book a cabin with a balcony - I loved opening the doors and enjoying the scenery from our cabin relaxing with a coffee or drink; Research your port calls and plan your excursions ahead of time because if you wait until you are on the ship, the excursion you want might be full; also, trying to choose an excursion can be overwhelming with a long line of people behind you - we purchased our excursions online before the trip (Some ports you can walk into the town from the ship and do your own tour - hop on hop off buses are great to use and very inexpensive.) Buy a drink package!!! Find one that suits your needs and again research what is available before you go - each trip we purchased the Allegrissimo and I know we saved money! You will need to link your ship card to a credit card or debit card - use the kiosks and avoid the long lines at the customer service desk. There usually are no lines at the kiosk and they are very easy to use. Excursions: Port of Cannes - Excursion to Monte Carlo and Eze - enjoyed the excursion but in lieu of the visit to the perfume factory in Eze, I would have like to have had a walking tour of the medieval village of Eze - it looked amazing. Port of Palma de Mallarco - beautiful port and it is a short and easy walk from the ship to the Hop On Hop Off bus stop outside of the cruise terminal - very inexpensive way to see the city Port of Barcelona - originally we chose the Highlight of Barcelona, Montserrat and Wine Tasting tour, but it was cancelled. We went on the Guadi tour instead and loved it. Park Quell was beautiful and Sagrada Familia was incredible. After the tour, we were given the option to stay in Barcelona on our own and use the MSC port transport to take us back to the ship. We had a lovely lunch in town and walked around before catching the bus back. (Make sure you have your excursion ticket because you will need it to use the MSC bus.) If you want to explore Barcelona on your own you will need to use MSC transport bus from the harbor or get a taxi -too far to walk on your own. Port of Ajaccio - Easy and short walk from the ship into Ajaccio. There is a lovely market when you first enter the town selling anything from fruits, meats to souvenirs. You can take a leisure walk around the historic town and visit the museums and monuments or use the Hop On Hop Off bus. There is also a small train called the Petit Train which we used. For 15 euros the train takes passengers from the harbour and market area up to the monument of Napoleon at the top of the town where you are given time for photos and then on to Sanguinaires for a second stop. Unlike the HOHO bus, there is no narrative on the Petit Train. Port of Civitavecchia - We booked the Gran Tour of Rome, the Eternal City excursion. It is a 9 hour tour with 3 of those hours travel time from the port to Rome. Our MSC tour guide was awesome and kept everyone on schedule and organized. When we got to Rome, we met another guide who took us on a tour through the Colosseum; a walking tour through the streets of Rome to the Trevi Fountain, the Parthenon and Piazza Navona. We were then taken to a restaurant for an excellent lunch with wine and then on to the Vatican City. You are on your own time at the Vatican. Due to the long lines, you are not able to visit the Vatican Museums or St Peters Basilica with this excursion, but it is still awe inspiring to be at St Peters Square. Be very aware of your surroundings and pick pockets!!! Especially near congested areas near the monuments and fountains. Port of La Spezia - What a decision to make - the leaning tower of Pissa or Cinque Terre. We opted for the National Park of Cinque Terrer. We first took a bus to Portovenere, a small picturesque fishing village. You have a lot of time to spend shopping and walking through the medieval alleyways. Then you take a boat to the village of Monterosso - just a beautiful as Portovenere - where you have free time again. Your tour comes to an end with a very short train ride from Monterosso to Levanto where you will catch your tour bus back to the ship. Enjoy cruising with MSC!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Imagine nights on board with demolition drilling, metal hammers on metal surfaces, metal pipe cutting and jagged grinding sounds from various heavy duty demolition and construction tools from the decks below sea. Being metal a liner like ... Read More
Imagine nights on board with demolition drilling, metal hammers on metal surfaces, metal pipe cutting and jagged grinding sounds from various heavy duty demolition and construction tools from the decks below sea. Being metal a liner like Fantasia transmits noise very well, especially after dark. I am not exaggerating when I say that the first three nights of our cruise were sleepless nights. MSC's cool, un-smiling reception P.R. suits told us emergency works were needed and nothing could be done except to offer us a bottle of Prosecco (€5). We did not drink it. The emergency was obviously only a nightly emergency as the sleep-loss noise stopped at dawn and resumed after dusk. A one-stripe steward at reception (our third visit there, after many phone calls) told us the work could not be done in port, nor in the daytime. We still cannot understand this. More usefully an exasperated member of staff, herself a steward on board, but not on the reception leash, confided in us and in our neighbours (from cabins, starboard midships, between 11158 and 11198) that she herself had not slept well on-board for some time due to these nightly cacophonies. She told us the same happened weekly. What on earth are they doing then, working all night, out of port, for such time? Are they re-fitting an entire deck? Having much building renovation experience (over 10 houses re-fitted) I would say they are re-fitting an entire section of pipework but no one would confirm what the work was, so we must guess. The result was that after 3 nights we had to threaten legal action and my partner had to give the staff a clue to who she was - a tax auditor for firms including ... [best not say here] Wow, that worked well. It's useful to be with someone like that when the need arises. You should have seen the faces at reception when she mentioned it. The other poor souls who had been complaining since the week before were also thankful to us for somehow getting the noises stopped and thus, from Thursday 2nd June 2016 we were able to sleep - the work commenced during the day and finished at the end of the day, or early in the night when we went to bed, courtesy of a nightly phone call from my auditor, tax-chief partner. So, why could the work not have been done during the day before we had to threaten legal action and other pressures? It went well during the days thereafter. Normally daytime hammering and metal-cutting works on board would be annoying but after 3 sleepless nights it was a pleasure to listen from the sunny balcony, knowing the noise would stop at night. We missed out on breakfasts - we'd ordered and paid for the deluxe in cabin - due to being sleepless and having to stay in bed in the mornings to catch-up with rest but apart from that we survived this cruise from hell. The best things about the cruise were the Eastern staff, who always smiled (unlike their western counterparts), the pianists and chanteuse in the reception bar, and some of the excursions like the amazing electric trikes tour of Palma (a must do!) and the electric bicycle tour of Barcelona (fantastic!) which we loved. Having not slept it was good the bikes and trikes were electric! No pedal power needed. Better food this time too - MSC Lirica 4 years ago was awful for dining, so this time, in Red velvet, we were well looked after. I wanted to give 1 star due to the hell of the first three days, and the insult of being offered a bottle of prosecco for 3 sleepless nights but I want to try to be fair, there were some good memories too and we will be taking further steps to get recompense so all should be well in the end, much though we paid for it in stress and lack of sleep, and anxiety - not what you expect on a thousands of Pounds cruise hol. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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

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