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Star Flyer

Itinerary

Editor's note: Due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma, the ports of St. Maarten and St. Martin are currently closed to cruise passengers.

Perhaps the most oft-quoted bit of Caribbean cruise port trivia is that the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest occupied by two sovereign nations. Though snuggled together in a scant 37 square miles of mountainous terrain, these two countries maintain distinct identities.

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Editor's note: Due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma, the ports of St. Maarten and St. Martin are currently closed to cruise passengers.

Perhaps the most oft-quoted bit of Caribbean cruise port trivia is that the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest occupied by two sovereign nations. Though snuggled together in a scant 37 square miles of mountainous terrain, these two countries maintain distinct identities.

Read More
  • Day 2
  • Day 2

Virgin Gorda ranks as a popular cruise destination because of its white sands and clear, turquoise seas. Plus, the island is undeveloped enough to still feel like a private, exclusive place.

One of the most popular and fascinating natural attractions in the Caribbean is also located here -- a beach strewn with giant boulders known as The Baths. Brought to the ocean's edge by volcanic activity, the boulders form caves, grottoes and tidal pools, well worth exploring.

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Virgin Gorda ranks as a popular cruise destination because of its white sands and clear, turquoise seas. Plus, the island is undeveloped enough to still feel like a private, exclusive place.

One of the most popular and fascinating natural attractions in the Caribbean is also located here -- a beach strewn with giant boulders known as The Baths. Brought to the ocean's edge by volcanic activity, the boulders form caves, grottoes and tidal pools, well worth exploring.

Read More
  • Day 4
  • Day 4

Virgin Gorda ranks as a popular cruise destination because of its white sands and clear, turquoise seas. Plus, the island is undeveloped enough to still feel like a private, exclusive place.

One of the most popular and fascinating natural attractions in the Caribbean is also located here -- a beach strewn with giant boulders known as The Baths. Brought to the ocean's edge by volcanic activity, the boulders form caves, grottoes and tidal pools, well worth exploring.

Read More
  • Day 4
  • Day 4

Virgin Gorda ranks as a popular cruise destination because of its white sands and clear, turquoise seas. Plus, the island is undeveloped enough to still feel like a private, exclusive place.

One of the most popular and fascinating natural attractions in the Caribbean is also located here -- a beach strewn with giant boulders known as The Baths. Brought to the ocean's edge by volcanic activity, the boulders form caves, grottoes and tidal pools, well worth exploring.

Read More

Part of the British Virgin Islands, Jost (pronounced Yost) Van Dyke has a reputation as the Caribbean's party capital, and for good reason. Watering holes like the Soggy Dollar, Foxy's, Corsairs and Ivan's Stress Free Bar attract yachts and sailboats from around the region, offering a little camaraderie over cocktails.

Other than bars and beaches, there's not much to do on Jost, which at three square miles is the smallest of the BVI's four main islands. And that's just fine with most visitors who come to this undeveloped spot to relax and have a good time. The two areas where cruise ship passengers usually visit -- Great Harbour and White Bay -- have only minimum services. Stores and shops cater mostly to yachters who come for provisioning; the island population numbers approximately 300. Day-trippers from Tortola abound. The cruise lines that make Jost Van Dyke a port of call are mostly luxury and small ship lines like Seabourn Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises.

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  • Day 5

Part of the British Virgin Islands, Jost (pronounced Yost) Van Dyke has a reputation as the Caribbean's party capital, and for good reason. Watering holes like the Soggy Dollar, Foxy's, Corsairs and Ivan's Stress Free Bar attract yachts and sailboats from around the region, offering a little camaraderie over cocktails.

Other than bars and beaches, there's not much to do on Jost, which at three square miles is the smallest of the BVI's four main islands. And that's just fine with most visitors who come to this undeveloped spot to relax and have a good time. The two areas where cruise ship passengers usually visit -- Great Harbour and White Bay -- have only minimum services. Stores and shops cater mostly to yachters who come for provisioning; the island population numbers approximately 300. Day-trippers from Tortola abound. The cruise lines that make Jost Van Dyke a port of call are mostly luxury and small ship lines like Seabourn Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises.

Read More
  • Day 5

In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Since its discovery, St. Christopher (later shortened by British sailors to St. Kitts) has been fought over by the British and French who, tragically, made it a center of the West Indian slave trade. Pirates, including the notorious William Kidd who was marooned on Nevis after his crew mutinied, enjoyed lucrative careers in Basseterre Harbor.

St. Kitts and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain. In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister. While British holdovers such as cricket and driving on the left side of the road remain, the Kittitians are extremely proud of their history and how far they've come on their own.

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In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Since its discovery, St. Christopher (later shortened by British sailors to St. Kitts) has been fought over by the British and French who, tragically, made it a center of the West Indian slave trade. Pirates, including the notorious William Kidd who was marooned on Nevis after his crew mutinied, enjoyed lucrative careers in Basseterre Harbor.

St. Kitts and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain. In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister. While British holdovers such as cricket and driving on the left side of the road remain, the Kittitians are extremely proud of their history and how far they've come on their own.

Read More

In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Since its discovery, St. Christopher (later shortened by British sailors to St. Kitts) has been fought over by the British and French who, tragically, made it a center of the West Indian slave trade. Pirates, including the notorious William Kidd who was marooned on Nevis after his crew mutinied, enjoyed lucrative careers in Basseterre Harbor.

St. Kitts and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain. In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister. While British holdovers such as cricket and driving on the left side of the road remain, the Kittitians are extremely proud of their history and how far they've come on their own.

Read More

In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Since its discovery, St. Christopher (later shortened by British sailors to St. Kitts) has been fought over by the British and French who, tragically, made it a center of the West Indian slave trade. Pirates, including the notorious William Kidd who was marooned on Nevis after his crew mutinied, enjoyed lucrative careers in Basseterre Harbor.

St. Kitts and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain. In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister. While British holdovers such as cricket and driving on the left side of the road remain, the Kittitians are extremely proud of their history and how far they've come on their own.

Read More

The island of St. Barts, known for its chic French ambience and cuisine and white-sand beaches, long has reigned as a favorite getaway spot among celebrity jetsetters.

That's quite a lofty status for a stony, volcanic, eight-square-mile island that claims no fresh water and little workable land. Named for Christopher Columbus' brother, Bartolomeo, St. Barthelemy is located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles group in the West Indies, 15 miles east of St. Martin.

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The island of St. Barts, known for its chic French ambience and cuisine and white-sand beaches, long has reigned as a favorite getaway spot among celebrity jetsetters.

That's quite a lofty status for a stony, volcanic, eight-square-mile island that claims no fresh water and little workable land. Named for Christopher Columbus' brother, Bartolomeo, St. Barthelemy is located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles group in the West Indies, 15 miles east of St. Martin.

Read More

Editor's note: Due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma, the ports of St. Maarten and St. Martin are currently closed to cruise passengers.

Perhaps the most oft-quoted bit of Caribbean cruise port trivia is that the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest occupied by two sovereign nations. Though snuggled together in a scant 37 square miles of mountainous terrain, these two countries maintain distinct identities.

Read More

Editor's note: Due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma, the ports of St. Maarten and St. Martin are currently closed to cruise passengers.

Perhaps the most oft-quoted bit of Caribbean cruise port trivia is that the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest occupied by two sovereign nations. Though snuggled together in a scant 37 square miles of mountainous terrain, these two countries maintain distinct identities.

Read More
Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.0
40 reviews
Why Choose Star Flyer?

Pro

The thrill of sailing on a beautiful masted clipper ship

Con

Small cabins

Bottom line

A unique experience for active passengers seeking a cruise with a difference

Star Flyer Overview

Star Flyer was built in 1991 for Star Clippers as a four-masted, 170-passenger, tall clipper ship, technically a square-rigged barkentine. The ship currently ranks, along with its sister Star Clipper, as the loftiest tall ship in the world, with a mast that rises 226 feet high. Both ships, along with their bigger sibling, Royal Clipper, and a future ship, Flying Clipper, under construction, are the realization of a childhood dream of Swedish entrepreneur Mikael Krafft, and apart from the German-owned Sea Cloud ships, are the only authentic square riggers in the world offering a comfortable cruising experience (as opposed to the many sail training tall ships, where you sleep in bunks and have to sail the ship). This is the point of Star Clippers: You don't have to do any work at all, although you can play sailor by hauling on the ropes every now and then with the crew, or climbing the mast, under supervision.

Sailing on Star Flyer is like stepping back in time to a golden era when clipper ships ruled the waves. The unfurling of the sails, to the stirring "Conquest of Paradise" by Vangelis, is a highlight of each day, and passengers can live out their nautical fantasies on the teak decks swabbed by crew dressed in jaunty blue and white sailors' uniforms or sunning in the nets hanging off the bowsprit.

Although the ship is motorized, Star Flyer's engines are switched off as long as conditions permit, and the crew unfurls 36,000 square feet of billowing sails to capture the winds that can propel it along at a comfortable 8 to 10 knots, with a maximum speed of 17 knots (under engine power the maximum speed is 12 knots). On a typical cruise, the vessel relies exclusively on sail power around 25 to 35 percent of the time. Simply standing on deck, watching the ship sail out of port never fails to be one of the most popular, and most romantic, onboard activities, day after day.

Because it takes a certain type to embrace the sailing experience on a small ship, shipmates tend to be kindred spirits -- active, open to new experiences, not at all stuffy or spoiled -- and after a few days passengers really begin to click. And suddenly, the trip is that much better for all the new friends you get to share it with.

Star Flyer sails in the Western Mediterranean in summer and the Caribbean and Cuba in winter, offering repositioning voyages across the Atlantic twice a year. The ship's laidback atmosphere and its focus on sailing and water sports dovetail nicely with the Caribbean experience, or with the beaches in the Mediterranean; the company's itineraries favor lesser-known ports where possible, or beaches where the ship can drop anchor and ferry passengers ashore by tender. The Mediterranean itineraries feature plenty of popular ports, too, such as Cannes, Monaco, Valletta and Rome; the ship is also moored off Monaco every year for a special Grand Prix sailing.

It can't be forgotten that there is a less idyllic side to sailing. Rough seas and bad weather can turn sea days into nightmares of seasickness and cause the ship, like any other, to delay or cancel its arrival into port. Although the vessel has stabilizers, a Star Flyer cruise is best for relatively hardy sailors as there is still considerable movement in rough seas -- if you're prone to motion sickness, opt for a larger ship where motion is much less. Unlike on some mega-ships, you never forget you're on a sailing vessel when you're onboard Star Flyer -- but most of the time, that's a good thing; and because the ship was built for "real" sailing, it cuts through the water beautifully.

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Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: December 2017
there was no communication between crew and passengers and because of this rumors were flying every day. We were told nothing and crew was mean. We did not stop at any ports because of bad weather but we should have been compensated in ... Read More
there was no communication between crew and passengers and because of this rumors were flying every day. We were told nothing and crew was mean. We did not stop at any ports because of bad weather but we should have been compensated in some way. We got free drinks one evening. The captain did not answer any questions. There was absolutely nothing to do onboard for those 5 days at sea. It seems they could have had some games or dances or something to take up some of the time. The cruise director was very mean answering questions. Leaving the ship in the Caymans was a true lesson in hurry up and wait. We came into port around 9 and was not permitted off until 3PM. Even then passports and customs forms were not filled out properly and many passengers had to return to ship for different forms. It was terrible. We should have received something from the cruise line Star Clipper. This was a terrible cruise and I will never go on this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
Having never cruised previously the idea of going on a tall ship was attractive because of the limited number of passengers and multiple ports of interest. My observations were as follows: 1. Sign in Barbados was not well run. As we ... Read More
Having never cruised previously the idea of going on a tall ship was attractive because of the limited number of passengers and multiple ports of interest. My observations were as follows: 1. Sign in Barbados was not well run. As we were initially attempting to board the ship we were told that we could not board until we had to present an identification card. We had not been given this at the sign in for some reason and no one really knew why. 2. Staff was arrogant and not particularly helpful. The activity director was an Italian whose English was not very well understood and between attempting to speak in both German and English alternately the meaning of what she was attempting to relate was completely lost. She certainly knew very little about each port of call and we could have learned much more by reading a note in trip adviser. She was not helpful at all and I would say a complete waste. 3. The crew was mainly eastern European (Ukrainian) and were not at all friendly. The captain had the most personality and at least gave folks a smile in the morning. The other grew members were sour at best. 4. The dining room waiters and cabin attendants were excellent. The dining room was quite loud and difficult to hold a conversation. 5. The food was plentiful. I would rate the quality as fair. Somewhat repetitive breakfast and lunch selections. Scrambled Eggs for example were under cooked and therefore folks would like up for up to 20 minutes each morning for omelets that a staff member would cook to requests. Staff would not always get your orders correct for dinners because they were obviously overworked as they took orders, bused tables, served, cleaned up, etc.. They tried their best and always with a smile. 6. Accommodations were fine. The ship was tidy although no enough canvas covers to protect passengers from the sun. 7. Evening programs or lectures were adequate if you could understand the descriptions. 8 Prior to leaving 2 ports in Venezuela were cancelled because of the political unrest and therefore we had 4 days at sea. Way too many days at sea. The crew was not helpful nor pleasant at all in describing what one might see regarding sea life, navigation, winds, or sailing. The captain gave a very information talk about the ship itself which was quite helpful. 9. The most concerning aspect of the trip was the last day during disembarking. The seas were not calm and the captain anchored off the port in Panama City. Each passenger leaving the ship had to go down the gang plank as the tenders were crashing into the ship. It was a very dangerous situation with some passengers coming close to having limbs crushed between the ship and the tenders. It was not an acceptable situation at all. I know for a fact that one of the passengers actually phoned the captain to tell him to move the ship as someone was going to get seriously injured. All in all, I doubt if I would recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
A masted sailing ship, 14 nights and sail power 83% of the time. What an adventure! The ship built in 1992 was well maintained, staff friendly and food fantastic. Cabins are an adequate size; we were on the Commodore deck, #131. ... Read More
A masted sailing ship, 14 nights and sail power 83% of the time. What an adventure! The ship built in 1992 was well maintained, staff friendly and food fantastic. Cabins are an adequate size; we were on the Commodore deck, #131. It is located over the air conditioner, so there was a constant "hum" which bothered us the first night. The under bed storage did accommodate our two suitcases and the three small closets held all of our clothes with room to spare. We do tend to pack light and took advantage of the laundry service offered. There was also a clothes line in the shower and found you could rinse out a t-shirt or underwear and it would dry overnight. The bed in this cabin was fixed double and could feel cramped if you are used to a king. Breakfast and lunch were buffet and more than adequate. At 5 daily there was an afternoon "snack" on the tropical deck that consisted of sandwiches or a hot snack like egg rolls or cocktail franks, fresh fruit and cookies. Dinner offered appetizer, soup, sorbet, salad a main course and dessert. Main course had a vegetarian offering and two fish or meat dishes to choose from. Also you could order a steak and fries or a pasta dish each evening. Seating at all meals is open and tables hold 6 or 8 people. The staff did designate a "french speaking table" but after the first few nights it was more mix and mingle. The passengers were aged from about 45 to 80 and were from the Us (mostly west coast), France, Germany, Austria and the UK. Most spoke English and we enjoyed learning where people were from; 80% were repeat clients. This was our first Star Clipper experience. Due to the ships size there is not glitzy evening shows, no casino, and not hourly passenger entertainment. We enjoyed watching the sails go up and down, reading, lounging in one of the two small pools and the occasional shuffleboard or ring toss tournament. There was also morning yoga and a daily mile walk around the ship. Shore excursions were offered ranging from bus tours around the islands we stopped at to snorkeling, 4x4 tours and eco hikes. Snorkeling equipment is free, but take your own masks if you have them. We found the free ones did not fit our faces and leaked. Getting off via the tender on beach days if the sea is rough can be a challenge. The last debarkation in Panama City was scary. We were anchored in the ocean by Balboa, all passengers were getting off for flights home or an excursion and the ocean swells and rough sea delayed us over an hour and a half. Passengers could only go down the gangway one at a time and then had to time their stepping into the tender as the gangway and tender rode the waves. One women ending up wet to the knees and a crew member broke his finger when it got caught between the gangway and the ship. This 14 day cruise stopped in The Grenadines, Greneda, Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, Cartegena, the San Blas Islands and transited the Panama Canal. The Canal was the highlight, being in a lock with a mega cargo ship in the adjacent lock was a marvel. A Canal historian was on board forr the day to give us a narrative on what we were seeing. We are hooked! We will continue to seek out this cruise line over the huge cruise ships. This was like stepping back in time to a far more intimate way to sail the seas. I did use the ear patch as I get sea sick- it worked and I had not problem as it is a sailboat and does rock. My husband was not bothered in the least by the motion even during our one "rough" day at sea. Read Less