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7 Night Caribbean Cruise from Barbados

7 Night Caribbean Cruise from Barbados

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Royal Clipper
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Itinerary


Royal Clipper

Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.0
70 reviews
Why Choose Royal Clipper?

Pro

A classic clipper ship whose sails aren't just for show; it's powered by wind, when possible

Con

Minimal entertainment venues and planned activities

Bottom Line

A good choice for adults seeking the ambiance of an old-fashioned sailing ship


Cruise Reviews

3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My second Clipper cruise...first was Star Clipper and that was so unique and amazing that I wanted to spend Christmas on the Royal Clipper out of Barbados and tour the Grenadine islands. As I was alone I booked a smaller stateroom and ... Read More
My second Clipper cruise...first was Star Clipper and that was so unique and amazing that I wanted to spend Christmas on the Royal Clipper out of Barbados and tour the Grenadine islands. As I was alone I booked a smaller stateroom and while they do sell it for two I found it perfect for one ... well designed with wood paneling, great bed, lots of mirrors and quite a large bathroom...all marble. I was very forward so I did hear the anchor but I didn't care much. There is a lot of stairs going up and then down a bit and up some more but you get used to it. The grand dinning room, at the lowest deck was a touch of Paris with an Atrium up to the top deck and the sky light is actually the bottom of the pool. A white grand piano sits like Juliet on a special balcony so it can be heard at all levels and he had another on deck for the after noon buffet. There is a piano bar, a shop, a library, top deck bar and plenty of sun beds....no need to HOG and reserve them. The tenders to shore are great and the back of the Royal drops down to the ocean like a draw bridge and you can swim off it and they have lots of fun water toys. They feed you four times a day and I mean really feed you. Great buffet breakfast with Egg station...Buffet Lunch...both in main dinning room and then the on deck Buffet they set up everyday on deck at 5 p.m. The bars are great on deck and inside the Piano Bar. The Christmas decor was wonderful with trees and garlands...music and ginger bread houses and Yule logs....l ate so much I felt like ballast. There are a lot of shore excursions to choose from but I felt those on excursions were always at the foreground...we would stop at, not very nice ports so they could board a bus while we had nothing to see in port....I didn't like the split days...a stop in the morning and then move to someplace else in the after noon. Too rushed....some stops you could do without (except to board a bus) others Like Martinique we had too little time and had to rush to see anything. One fabulous beach day they dragged everything from the ship and had a huge BBQ on shore while we swam and sunned...all delicious...they even bring the desert. Each time we leave port and they start raising the sail they play the most magnificent music...classical with a Male choir ... WOW...it is so moving and makes you feel like a Viking off to war...I wanted to throw a spear at somebody. The mail pool of three where bar patrons can see you through under water windows was very nice. We could even climb the mast for the most amazing photo Op. Then there are nets at the front figure head you can just lay there like a fish in a net with the water rushing below. Now for the best feature....THE CREW...I have never seen such a hard working group and always pleasant, smiling and helpful, and remember everything has to be lugged up and down countless flights of stairs...from the kitchen which is somewhere underwater and all the way to the top deck...up and down...My room attendant was fabulous and I felt very pampered...everything perfect always. As the tips are based on Per Person they get a bit cheated when there was so many solo travelers it literally cuts they tips in half...so as I was alone I doubled my tip (not much ) and ensured he would earn the same as if it were two. The sing songs, the talent show, the Christmas Carols, the Steel Band who came aboard for a couple of hours...the Campaign party...the Lobster, the Turkey, and all the specialties to eat...you can't go wrong and as I said....This is NOT Disney Land at sea. This is a fabulous, luxurious, unique cruise under sail and you need this in your memory for every. Thanks to all on the Royal. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Star Clippers has many repeat customers including ourselves. That said, there are still many things that they could easily fix that would much improve the passenger experience. Boarding was a chaotic event. We arrived about an hour ... Read More
Star Clippers has many repeat customers including ourselves. That said, there are still many things that they could easily fix that would much improve the passenger experience. Boarding was a chaotic event. We arrived about an hour before boarding time (4 PM), and saw empty tables in the terminal and people waiting on the few seats. There was a pile of luggage blocking about half of the tables with two chairs behind them. My husband decided to sit in one of the seats behind the tables and I chose to stand, because I correctly anticipated a chaotic boarding process. At 4 PM, they began the boarding by issuing a temporary card to the ship. Then we went on the ship and got a permanent card and gave a credit card. For us it was a smooth process, because we were second in line, but for others, it meant standing in line a long time. Another example of organizational deficiency (and lack of organizational memory) was getting the snorkeling equipment the next morning. Snorkeling gear was to be given out from 11 AM to noon. I paused to ask the tour director a question and got in the queue right at 11 AM. It snaked around the room at the stern of the ship and down a stair and out of sight. Much of the time, I was standing in the sun. By noon, I was in the stairwell in the queue and saw one of the sports team that was distributing the equipment leave. When I finally made it to the desk, I realized that the Swedish woman at the counter didn't understand the conversions between US, English and metric shoe sizes. I was given fins that were meant to be used with booties and asked for others. They were out of mediums and fortunately, I got the last size small that was the correct size and type for me. The woman two place in line behind me said that they shut down operations right after her and told the remaining people to come back the next day!!! In all, I stood in line to get the fins for an hour and 20 minutes. The excuse was that the sports team had just joined the boat, but obviously Star Clippers doesn't provide the team with adequate information to do their job. That said, the sports team did a good job of offering kayaks and standup paddleboards on the beach. When I was getting set to try paddleboarding for the first time, the Swedish woman alerted me to the fact that I still had my waist pouch on (which contained my cell phone). The process for returning the snorkeling equipment was also flawed. The time listed in the program to do so was in the middle of our time on an excursion. When my husband returned the fins for me the prior day, he gave them to the tour director, who didn't give us a receipt, even though I had been required to sign for the fins and told that there would be an 80 Euro charge if they were not returned. A sane way to handle the snorkeling equipment would have been to ask people prior to sailing what equipment they wanted and have it waiting in their cabin. Then only those who needed to exchange the equipment would have had to go to the sports team pickup counter. The tour director was hard to find outside of announced meetings (to which she was often quite late). The process for signing up for the excursions was also last century and uncomputerized. On prior Star Clippers Cruises, I think the tour director posted a list of excursion participants the night prior after the sign-up sheets had been collected. In this case, no lists were posted and we were told that we had to make note of which excursion we picked and the time (which often changed). Again, there should have been an option to prebook excursions. The tour director's talks on the port stops were erratic. I didn't discern a pattern as to when a port talk was provided and when one wasn't. However, since she was so hard to find, I found it ironic that she kept the English-language passengers waiting for 15 to 20 minutes, because she was elsewhere answering some passenger's question, when she was scheduled to be giving the disembarkation talk. The daily program often had unused space that could have been employed to provide useful information. Also, many of us were unaware that the Captain's dinner was that night, because it was listed on the front page with a dark picture of the ship on top of it making it very difficult to see the word "Captain's". The last night when we were eager to pack and get to sleep, we were kept waiting 70 minutes after we were seated at dinner before we were served our first course. In hindsight, they were trying to keep everyone there and in their seats until the hotel captain gave his infomercial. With no alternative place to eat, we were unhappy hungry and tired captives. In general, the table service at dinner was erratic with long waits to order wine and/or to get the remains of a bottle of wine. In some cases, we were eating our second course before we got the wine. Even though the excursions were booked right up to the evening before, the tour descriptions had significant errors and omissions. On one tour, we should have been warned that besides the main guide and driver, there were guides at several stops, who were working solely for tips. On another tour, one of the prime attractions was going to the sulfur springs and taking a mud bath. We were given 25 minutes, which with the queue to get to the mud was much too short. Then we were driven for 20 minutes each way to a crafts village that the entire tour group refused to visit. It we have been given an hour at the sulfur springs, the group would have been much happier. Internet access for 1 hour was offered for 6 euros and 4 hours for 18 euros. If you went on and off the internet much of the time was taken up by getting in and out. Also, except at odd hours (early morning, late night, meal times), the internet speed was painfully slow. I'm accustomed to ships offering a news summary daily. Star Clippers offered news summaries in English, German and French, but the English version was so European-centric that no news was reported on the attempted bombing of the NY Port Authority and only one mention was made of the huge wildfires in California. At least one day, the news files were not updated. On many ships, English news is provided both for the US and for the UK. Between meals there was a nice selection of teas and brewed coffee, but no decaffinated coffee. Except for two mornings, when I was told they were out of decaf coffee, I was able to get it at breakfast. Bathroom toiletries included shower caps, and narrow vials of shampoo, bath gel, and hand lotion and small round bars of soap. The vials tended to fall out of the soap dish in the shower and had to be shaken hard to get the contents. Large refillable containers on the wall would have been preferable and more ecological. Also, with numerous beach stops, I really, really wanted hair conditioner. None was available at the ship store, so two of the staff volunteered to let me have some of theirs. The star clippers people who decide on the toiletries for a tropical cruise with numerous beach stops, must be bald! This was our 4th time to use Star Clippers and our 5th week on one of their cruises. It always takes a while for the memories of the deficiencies to fade before we are enticed to try them again. This crusie was much better than two of the others that we took. Notably, when we were in the Mediterranean, I picked a cruise, because I wanted to see Stromboli. I had to skip the Captains dinner (and dinner itself), because the sail-by was scheduled during that dinner. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
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 ... 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
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