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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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I booked this cruise one year ahead for our special anniversary, I told the UK agents and my own travel agent told them that it was a special time, yet it was forgotten about. No mention of it in spite of others having the waiters sing ... Read More
I booked this cruise one year ahead for our special anniversary, I told the UK agents and my own travel agent told them that it was a special time, yet it was forgotten about. No mention of it in spite of others having the waiters sing happy birthday and such. Also we do not eat meat and ordered vegetarian food. On arrival the restaurant had no idea of our request and could only offer frozen items of poor quality. They did try their best but did not understand any menu that was not pre planned. Your passports are withheld until you pay any extra's although they have your credit card and landing in France without ID was very risky as everyone was asking for ID prior to entry. Beware they take your money and promise a lot yet deliver very little. The ship really sails by motor and the sails are for effect, when they go up they offer Champagne at €7.50 per glass. Everything was for the ships benefit and very little customer comfort. The cabin air condition does not turn off and the air is very stale, I was told that the whole ship was like that and nothing could be done. The towels were so small it would not cover your embarrassment. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for ... Read More
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for another without a doubt. With about 200 passengers, a 3rd from the US and the rest from Europe mainly, it was easy and comfortable meeting each other especially with the open seating policy for dinner which we particularly appreciated. Due to minimal winds, we motored for the most part but when leaving a port, all the sails are down, the send off music plays and the magic is felt. We found the food very good and the room sizes quite adequate and comfortable. The staff from program director, waitstaff, cabin crew to the chef and captain could not have been more professional, friendly and attentive. We recommend this ship in particular but the Star Clipper line without reservation. The whole experience left me nostalgic and yearning to return even 2 weeks after it ended. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was a Bare Necessities cruise, and I can't think of a better way to spend a couple of weeks in July then cruising the Mediterranean on a beautiful ship with friendly crew and NO DRESS CODE! Only (minor )short comings were: 1) ... Read More
This was a Bare Necessities cruise, and I can't think of a better way to spend a couple of weeks in July then cruising the Mediterranean on a beautiful ship with friendly crew and NO DRESS CODE! Only (minor )short comings were: 1) Food was good, but not excellent. Maybe I've become jaded, having recently come off a Crystal World Cruise, but I thought the food was a little better two years ago when we were on the Royal Clipper. 2) Our Cruise director, Monja, was a very nice person, but her pronunciation of English, when speaking generally over the microphone, was completely unintelligible. Talking to her face-to-face was fine, and when she gave a canned safety announcement she was readable. But when she was just talking none of the passengers could understand her. She helped us out one day when my wife was ill, so I hate to knock her, but the lack of communication really was a downer. Other than those two minor points the cruise was wonderful and we look forward to coming back. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
This cruise was a gift from my parents, otherwise we wouldn't have gone. However, we are so glad we did and we will do it again, and again, and again! My husband and I took our 4 yr old son on the cruise and he had a blast. He was ... Read More
This cruise was a gift from my parents, otherwise we wouldn't have gone. However, we are so glad we did and we will do it again, and again, and again! My husband and I took our 4 yr old son on the cruise and he had a blast. He was the only child on the ship, but he didn't even notice because he was having so much fun. This cruise was so much better than staying at a resort. The food was delicious and the staff and crew were very accommodating and attentive. Mr. J was even able to arrange a bottle of Dom, chocolate strawberries, and other delicacies as a thank you for my parents, which isn't easy when you don't have access to Amazon. Also, we didn't feel overwhelmed by the activities/excursions and felt perfectly happy either staying on the ship or strolling through town. I only have one very minor suggestion. It seems very petty and I hesitate to mention it, but it would be nice if they would lower the price of chocolate milk. I think 1/3 of the bar bill belonged to my son, and that includes the bottle of Dom! Once we realized that the chocolate milk cost more than beer and wine, we had to limit him to just one a day. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Our Cruise was the Windward Islands. We had never been cruising before. It was a very different experience. We were some of the youngest passengers in our late 50s and early 60s and many of the passengers were over 80! The evening ... Read More
Our Cruise was the Windward Islands. We had never been cruising before. It was a very different experience. We were some of the youngest passengers in our late 50s and early 60s and many of the passengers were over 80! The evening entertainment was limited and over most nights by 11, after that most went to bed. However, do not be put off the food and attention to detail will stay with us for ever. The cabins, ship, dining, ports and excursions were amazing. The majority of staff could not do enough to help you. Standards were very high. You may be seasick, where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet, it can be rocky. Please take your seasick tablets and bands. The first morning we could not wait to arrive at St Lucia, but after that most of the time we seemed to get "sea legs." Many people looked green around the gills! The unfurling of the sail as we left port will stay with me for ever. There is so much space. Do not forget she is an ocean going vessel and you can really feel her move. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise as it was a small ship sailing out of Barbados where we winter. Having always cruised on larger ships with all the usual entertainment we thought we would be at a loss for things to do, however not so. Sail aways ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a small ship sailing out of Barbados where we winter. Having always cruised on larger ships with all the usual entertainment we thought we would be at a loss for things to do, however not so. Sail aways before dusk was always spectacular and shouldn't be missed. The marina platform at the back of the ship offered many water sport activities which we enjoyed daily. The crew could not have been more helpful than they were. The cabins although small were well appointed with more than enough storage and the beds very comfortable. Ports of call met expectations except Martinique and that was personal as we could have gone snorkelling or diving which we don't do, but we did a short hike into the hills which only gave us some exercise, no views. If there was one disappointment it was that my diet provided a bit of a challenge at dinner, breakfast and lunch buffets not a problem. The fact that we were under sail the majority of the voyage puts this ship over the top for me. I will definitely cruise with Star Clippers again. Read Less
47 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
After 27 cruises on mainstream cruise lines we decided to try something a bit different. With only 200 passengers, our Grenadines cruise was a welcome breath of air after the mega ships that are becoming more and more prevalent in the ... Read More
After 27 cruises on mainstream cruise lines we decided to try something a bit different. With only 200 passengers, our Grenadines cruise was a welcome breath of air after the mega ships that are becoming more and more prevalent in the industry. The passenger breakdown was about half US and half European, with the average age probably being a VERY active 65. (But with a health sprinkling of 30 somethings thrown in) What struck us was how friendly and outgoing the passengers were. Far more gregarious than we have encountered on any other cruise line, and absolutely no "airs" that you sometimes encounter on upscale cruises. If you are looking for "entertainment" on board, this is not you cruise. In this case the ship and experience ARE the entertainment. To expand on that, this company gives you far more "freedoms" than we have ever experienced. You want to lay on the bow sprint? great. Curious about the bridge? Come on in. Curious about what the captain does on departure or arrival? Stand next to him while he works (Just dont talk to him then, he is busy!) Want to climb the mast? go for it. Cabins were absolutely beautiful, if not a bit small, and drawer/closet space is limited for anything more than a one week cruise. I understand that the higher category cabins are a bit larger, but our (mid line category 3) cabin fine for our needs. Food..... Well, we are not "foodies", but we found the food as good (if not better and more varied) than in the main dining room of any mass market cruise line. The most notable difference is that breakfast and lunch are always buffets, and dinner is a single 7:30 sitting. (With a 5:30 lite spread offered at the main bar for those who would starve before 7:30) Crew... "Efficient and happy"..... Being a small ship you see more of the crew than you normally do, and they always seemed to have a smile and a nod for you when you cross paths. Speaking of crew, the "senior management" is always around and VERY approachable. Makes resolving any issues a lot easier than normal. All in all, a very enjoyable experience, one that we will repeat in different parts of the world. Read Less
Royal Clipper Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 3.0 2.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 3.6

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