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1 Helpful Vote
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 ... 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
7 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
2 Helpful Votes
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: ... 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 ... 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
31 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
49 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We have never been on a Cruise before and I don't think we would go on the big ships but we would go on one of the star clippers again as we were captivated by the experience. I can't compare it to other cruises in terms of cabin ... Read More
We have never been on a Cruise before and I don't think we would go on the big ships but we would go on one of the star clippers again as we were captivated by the experience. I can't compare it to other cruises in terms of cabin or food or condition of the boat but somehow I think these are immaterial when compared to the elegance and romanticism of being under sail on such a lovely boat. However, to my mine the cabins were great, comfortable and rather elegant, the food and general dining experience was wonderfully classy without being stuffy and formal and we loved it. The ports of call were well thought out. One issue would be that there was little or no information about most of the ports of call. If you planned a trip that would be fine but if just going ashore a simple information sheet with that small map would have been useful. We are thinking of another cruise shortly but no more than 200 passengers and the gentle swaying of the ship under the starlit sky is just about right so it will have to be one of the star clippers. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the ... Read More
The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the engine during the entire seven days in the Caribbean. We motored our way from Saint Maarten's to Barbados sometimes navigating in bad weather. Unfortunately, we succumbed to a lot of rain. When we took the tender to an island beach, either it was Antigua or Dominica, the beach was narrow and the water was murky. We were expecting white sands with turquoise beaches. Perhaps our expectation was a bit unrealistic. We don't fault the captain or the cruise director for the 4 days of bad weather. However, the cruise director, Gabor did not offer us opportunities to learn about the islands that we could not visit on those rainy days. We think it would have been very educational if they had films about the islands in the lounge. We could have learned about the culture, economy, history and what influenced The Royal Clipper to choose these islands to visit. Upon many occasions as we motored in the rain, clear skies and sunshine were only a few miles away, If weather reports showed socked-in conditions at the next port-of-call, a leisurely sail under sunny skies would be monumentally favorable to hovering under the rain tarps provided. When this alliterative was put to the captain, the response was that he was strictly prohibited from deviating his course. Is it more important to stay on a rainy track or to make the passengers happy and comfortable? One of the islands that we did visit was called Saint Barts. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and most of the stores were closed. It would have been great if we had some kind of tour guide to direct us to different landmarks on this island to see. To make matters worse, the captain on the ship wasn't very accessible to many of the guests when asked questions. We would think some public relations officer would be at hand here. Towards the end of the cruise, there was a gentleman walking around with a petition to sign complaining about the excursions and the poor communications between the captain and the guests. We found that very troubling. Overall, the food was very good. The dining room waiters and the cabin stewards worked very hard to help make our trip comfortable. They are the backbone of the Royal Clipper. There is always a possibility on any cruise, that inclement weather will put a damper on the journey. We think it's in the ship owner's interests to anticipate the possibility of inclement weather and provide alternatives to make the trip more enjoyable. After all, we are cooped up on a ship with no alternate activities. Most of the passengers like ourselves were bored and the only highlight of our trip was eating. You could go on any big ship for that! We did not feel we got our moneys worth. Lastly, the intercom system was very poor. Some of the speakers were inaudible, because the intercom system is only in the hallways. Having an effective intercom system allows the passengers to hear important information. Perhaps a closed caption line could be added to the TV to facilitate hearing announcement while in the room. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Vacation date: November 26, 2016-December 3, 2016 St. Maarten - Barbados The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. ... Read More
Vacation date: November 26, 2016-December 3, 2016 St. Maarten - Barbados The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the engine during the entire seven days in the Caribbean. We motored our way from Saint Maarten's to Barbados sometimes navigating in bad weather. Unfortunately, we succumbed to a lot of rain. When we took the tender to an island beach, either it was Antigua or Dominica, the beach was narrow and the water was murky. We were expecting white sands with turquoise beaches. Perhaps our expectation was a bit unrealistic. We don't fault the captain or the cruise director for the 4 days of bad weather. However, the cruise director, Gabor did not offer us opportunities to learn about the islands that we could not visit on those rainy days. We think it would have been very educational if they had films about the islands in the lounge. We could have learned about the culture, economy, history and what influenced The Royal Clipper to choose these islands to visit. Upon many occasions as we motored in the rain, clear skies and sunshine were only a few miles away, If weather reports showed socked-in conditions at the next port-of-call, a leisurely sail under sunny skies would be monumentally favorable to hovering under the rain tarps provided. When this alliterative was put to the captain, the response was that he was strictly prohibited from deviating his course. Is it more important to stay on a rainy track or to make the passengers happy and comfortable? One of the islands that we did visit was called Saint Barts. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and most of the stores were closed. It would have been great if we had some kind of tour guide to direct us to different landmarks on this island to see. To make matters worse, the captain on the ship wasn't very accessible to many of the guests when asked questions. We would think some public relations officer would be at hand here. Towards the end of the cruise, there was a gentleman walking around with a petition to sign complaining about the excursions and the poor communications between the captain and the guests. We found that very troubling. Overall, the food was very good. The dining room waiters and the cabin stewards worked very hard to help make our trip comfortable. They are the backbone of the Royal Clipper. There is always a possibility on any cruise, that inclement weather will put a damper on the journey. We think it's in the ship owner's interests to anticipate the possibility of inclement weather and provide alternatives to make the trip more enjoyable. After all, we are cooped up on a ship with no alternate activities. Most of the passengers like ourselves were bored and the only highlight of our trip was eating. You could go on any big ship for that! We did not feel we got our moneys worth. Lastly, the intercom system was very poor. Some of the speakers were inaudible, because the intercom system is only in the hallways. Having an effective intercom system allows the passengers to hear important information. Perhaps a closed caption line could be added to the TV to facilitate hearing announcement while in the room. I would give this particular trip a 5 out of 10. UPDATE: We did receive a response back from the manager of passenger services. Unfortunately, the answers provided were unsatisfactory. Here it is for your information.: I am sorry the cruise didn’t meet your expectation. We try to use wind power as much as possible but when the wind is not sufficient or the Captains feels we need to use the engines to get to the next port of call, it is ultimately his decision to make sure we arrive on time. You mentioned why we didn’t veer off course to encounter more favorable weather, I know the Captain has his orders and he will do what he can in his means but at times he will need to stay the course. When it rains in the Caribbean and depending on how rough the seas are in that area it can stir up the silt and other marine material at the bottom of the sea which will make the water cloudy at the different ports. Usually these places have blue seas with white sandy beaches but weather can disrupt this and we do not have control over that. We have a small staff onboard so we do not have any type of elaborate production like the larger lines. I know you were not looking for much but more than what was offered. I have forwarded your comments to my director regarding activities onboard the ship, especially on rainy days, and to include more information about the different ports of call. In regards to the stores closed in St. Barts on Sunday, this is the norm in most Caribbean islands to close shops on Sundays. Unfortunately it was St. Barts but I can assure you since our sailings are 7 days or longer regardless of which sailing we do in the Caribbean the port we call on on a Sunday is usually slow. You will also find this to be true in Europe especially when you are in Spain or the Balearic islands. I have forwarded your comments about the intercom system and will have the ship look into this. By any chance did you mention the intercom issues with any staff member? I am glad you enjoyed the food but I understand you didn’t come for the food, you came for the sailing experience. The weather didn’t help and the lack of activities due to the weather really dampened your vacation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
The Royal Clipper is the best ship to sail across the Ocean to Barbados. This was my second crossing and it was great that Captain Marius was onboard again. Great to see so many crew I knew and Manolito was back. Gabor was brilliant as ... Read More
The Royal Clipper is the best ship to sail across the Ocean to Barbados. This was my second crossing and it was great that Captain Marius was onboard again. Great to see so many crew I knew and Manolito was back. Gabor was brilliant as cruise director, Franjo makes dinner fun for the second year I am still in touch with fellow sailors I met on the table he sat us at. Anita our hotel manager greeted everyone with a lovely smile as we descended the stairs to dinner. Jonathan remembered how I liked the iced coffee how does he manage that I had not seen him for a year!! I love the low key entertainment our team won the music quiz and came third in the Crossing Olympics. The days at sea went by far too quickly cannot wait to do it again. There is nothing like being up on deck at night under the stars sails up listening to the ocean and he wind in the sails. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Looking for a unusual island hopping experience in the Aegean and stumbled across the stunningly beautiful Royal Clipper. The holiday was arranged through travel who arranged flights to Athens and from Istanbul. Because of the situation ... Read More
Looking for a unusual island hopping experience in the Aegean and stumbled across the stunningly beautiful Royal Clipper. The holiday was arranged through travel who arranged flights to Athens and from Istanbul. Because of the situation in Syria/Turkey the boat was uncrowded, in fact more staff than passengers so we were looked after with great efficiency. The Sail Away each evening as we moved to our next destination was memorable - sometimes enjoyed with a sunset and always with the cocktail of the day. The boat was incredibly quiet especially when under sail when all you can hear are the waves and lapping water. The tour trips were, on the whole, well managed but were not up to the luxurious feeling of being spoilt on board the Royal Clipper. Not a cruise if you are looking for endless restaurants, dressing up and entertainment. But if you want to spend time visiting exotic places, enjoying good food in a relaxed and informal atmosphere then this will be right up your street. Not for children, not for the infirm or those unable to cope with stairs or coils of loose ropes, not for teenagers or those looking for a riotous time. But for the rest of us... pure heaven. Read Less
75 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I initially planned to be onboard for one week for the cruise to the Windward Islands. I have been on many regular cruises, and I have been on sailing vacations on 50 - 60 foot yachts. This was completely different from either. What a ... Read More
I initially planned to be onboard for one week for the cruise to the Windward Islands. I have been on many regular cruises, and I have been on sailing vacations on 50 - 60 foot yachts. This was completely different from either. What a special experience! The Royal Clipper is a true sailing ship, and the captain had her sailing without the diesel engine running, as much as possible. To see the sails unfurled each time we weighed anchor as the Vangelis music from 1492 played -- it was powerful. How much did I like being on the Royal Clipper? By mid-week, I knew I was not ready to return home. One call to my travel agent, and I was on for the second week to the Grenadines. Practical Things: As many have mentioned, you need to be physically fit to be a passenger on the Royal Clipper. There are many stairs and no elevators. You will feel the water. The ship moves -- she's supposed to -- that's the point. You are sailing. Then at almost every port, you will tender to the shore. If you are unsteady on your feet, this is not the cruise for you. Seasickness: the ship moves a lot. I have had problems with seasickness in the past. I simply brought tablets, and I used them. I was fine. I had no problems, and would simply say, go prepared. The ship is in fine condition. It looked like carpet in many places was new. Someone onboard mentioned seeing the Royal Clipper in dry dock last year, so some freshening was probably done at that point. Embarkation was easy and well organized. I was in two different cabins (since the second week was a last minute addition). Cabin 206, week 1, was wider than cabin 201. This makes sense of course, because the clipper tapers towards the bow. I was by myself, and the cabins were very comfortable for one person. For two people, I would recommend staying away from the narrower cabins -- 201 and 202, and corresponding cabins on the deck below. Several couples that I met on the the cruise were in the luxury cabins one floor up, and said they were very spacious. I was quite happy with my cabins. The food onboard was outstanding. Our chef, Devon, was from Jamaica, and his staff produced amazing meals from what I am sure is a fairly small galley. Dinner entrees between the two weeks did not repeat, with the exception of the lobster, which is served for the Captain's dinner. The bar staff was equally fine -- friendly, funny. And they may make the best mojito I've ever tasted. Ports and excursions: okay, this is different from what I was accustomed to on a large ship. I took 2 - 3 excursions from the ship each week, and they were all well done. On all cruises in the past, I have made arrangements myself through local vendors. This is more difficult to do on Star Clippers, for two reasons. One, she rarely docks where the big ships go (a wonderful thing) so meeting other excursion people can be difficult. Two, you are often not in port as long as you would be on a regular ship. I would tell you that over my two weeks on the Royal Clipper, I am very content with the way this works. We were in some small, amazing places. They sent us on tenders into lovely beaches . . . excursion? who needs an excursion? I borrowed a mask and fins each week from the water crew onboard the ship, would hit the beach, snorkel, have a drink at the beach bar . . . Places that I strongly recommend taking an excursion: Fort de France, Martinique. Lovely island, gorgeous gardens. The city of Fort de France -- um, no. Get out of the town, and you will like Martinique. Soufriere in St. Lucia: this is a great stop because the Pitons, the most photographed mountains in St. Lucia, are right there. But the town is not wonderful. I have been to St. Lucia a number of times, and the perfect thing to do is to take a water taxi from Soufriere to the beautiful beach between the two Pitons. It's perhaps a fifteen/twenty minute ride. Two resorts share the white sand beach. Water is gorgeous, and there is snorkeling along the right side (right side, as you stand on the beach and look out to sea). Lovely bar and restaurant. What can I say? I loved my experience with Star Clippers. I am not sure that I will ever be able to return to a large ship. The sailing experience is the heart of a cruise on the Royal Clipper. Doing things like crawling out onto the net along the bowsprit as the ship sails -- transformative. I am obviously a convert -- and I would say, with great enthusiasm, if my description sounds appealing to you, you will have a wonderful time. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We sailed on Royal Clipper from Venice to visit the Dalmation coast. Following a day at sea we visited Kotor, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Rovinj and Piran before returning to Venice. Leaving Venice on a ship such as this, especially as the sun is ... Read More
We sailed on Royal Clipper from Venice to visit the Dalmation coast. Following a day at sea we visited Kotor, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Rovinj and Piran before returning to Venice. Leaving Venice on a ship such as this, especially as the sun is setting, is a splendid experience, passing the famous sights as you head for the open sea. Returning at dawn is also pretty special. Life on board Royal Clipper is a succession of sumptuous meals. Unfortunately the dining room, though opulent, is poorly designed. The buffet arrangements for breakfast and lunch are not ideal as the buffet itself is subject to logjams of people due to poor access. Dinner is served at your table. The tables are arranged on three levels and the low ceiling height on the uppermost level resulted in the overall noise level being uncomfortably high. The service itself was a little erratic, the first courses being served fairly slowly while the cheese, dessert and coffee came all in a rush. Entertainment on board is very low-key. There is a resident "musician" who "serenades" you during the afternoon snack and again before dinner. His singing leaves a lot to be desired and he managed to reduce every song to the same dreary tempo. One evening we had a visit from a local traditional signing group who were very good, but otherwise the evening entertainment was provided by the crew, whether it be a fashion show (to encourage purchases from the on-board shop) or a "talent" show. Cabins are comfortable but, certainly in our case, of minimal size. The crew were, in general, excellent at their jobs but not necessarily as friendly as you might expect. In the past we have sailed on both the smaller ships in the fleet, and our feeling is that they provide a more intimate and generally better experience, especially with regard to the dining arrangements. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Embarkation was fairly smooth. We managed to get an upgrade to a deluxe cabin, which was lucky as we were late bookers. We found the welcome tedious as the girl repeated everything in four languages. The cabin was fine with a shower ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly smooth. We managed to get an upgrade to a deluxe cabin, which was lucky as we were late bookers. We found the welcome tedious as the girl repeated everything in four languages. The cabin was fine with a shower and a balcony. The steward was good. We met some interesting people from various countries. Most of the excursions we went on were good, particularly the first one in Montenegro, which was a gastronomy trip to a lovely lady's house, where we had a choice of aperitifs, made by her husband. The wine was also produced by him. The lady was a well known cook locally and produced a feast for us to sample the local food. The description said the evening meal time was from 7.30 to 10.30 and to arrive when you want to and sit where you want. However the reality was far from this relaxed attitude. We arrive some time after 8.30 to be greeted by a disgruntled head waiter, telling us off for being late and saying we had to sit in an overspill area with the other sinners!! Breakfast was as bad, we arrived a quarter of an hour before finishing time, as we only wanted cereal and coffee, to be greeted again by this awful man, saying "last in dinner, last in breakfast, WHY???" We have sailed on the QE2, the Canberra and the Norway and never had such rudeness. If late sittings aren't allowed then it should be stated in the brochure or two sittings arranged. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
As this was our fourth cruise with Star Clippers it would seem obvious we were fans of this line. Unfortunately this latest experience will not encourage us to return. Yes Royal Clipper is starting to show her age but the actual sailing ... Read More
As this was our fourth cruise with Star Clippers it would seem obvious we were fans of this line. Unfortunately this latest experience will not encourage us to return. Yes Royal Clipper is starting to show her age but the actual sailing is still a special event. However with a cruise priced at something around £3000 per head for a grade 2 cabin the overall experience was disappointing. The food and dining room service was still very good as was the cabin stewards attention to detail in the tired cabin but the real problem was the attitude of the senior personnel. From the cruise director, hotel manager, restaurant manager and other ranking officers, passengers were basically ignored or treated as if they were a nuisance for any kind of request or help on different issues which were small but escalated as the cruise progressed. Unable to guarantee a table for our family of 7 people for dinner unless we were first in queue at the start of service. In fact these people were more interested in telling us to observe the rules and their own importance than trying to ensure people were happy. Having taken the trouble to write to Star Clippers - Mr. M. Krafft Owner - to try and explain some of the shortcomings - and without the courtesy of a reply I can only presume the line does not care about return bookings. Great Pity! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
good: - excellent service of the stuarts and very friendly service people - very friendly and urbanity Capt'n and Officers poor to absolutely inaceptable: Ship & interieur & equipment is 15 years old with year ... Read More
good: - excellent service of the stuarts and very friendly service people - very friendly and urbanity Capt'n and Officers poor to absolutely inaceptable: Ship & interieur & equipment is 15 years old with year round refurbishing during the cruises! -> means: lots of noise the whole day and you get much more of it when you paid much more = for a luxury cabin. So be sure that you won't get anny rest. At least once a day is the toilet not working (on the whole ship). Pool was (except the last day) the whole cruise under construction. Restaurant manager is unfriendly. Backslapper cruise manager is unprofessional and telling more private stories than informative stuff. Hotel Manager ist super rude without any acceptable manners and not helpful at all (just two examples: our toilet was leaking, over night the half cabin/ carpet was wet and after a while stinky but we had to stay in this cabin for 2 more nights even there was another free luxury cabin; 8h before an excursion he wasn't able to tell us if that will take place or nit but was asling on the next morning to the money and so on) Seemt like cruise and hotel manager are low budget stuff - you get what you paid for. We did not get any apology - not for the noise, not for the stinky cabin ... Everything there is third rate but the price is higher than for any other cruise. Incredible! Equipment at the gym is old enough to open up a musem. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Ship was contracted out so majority of passengers were from UK. The embarkation could have been a better experience as it was very hot and we didn't see the drinks on offer in tent until it was too late. Once om board the queuing and ... Read More
Ship was contracted out so majority of passengers were from UK. The embarkation could have been a better experience as it was very hot and we didn't see the drinks on offer in tent until it was too late. Once om board the queuing and processing of cards meant we stood in line for a long time and when they tried to take photos the uSB wouldn't work. We helped them reboot the laptop. cant fault the service and as always the ship was sparkling clean. Lots of choice for breakfast, lunches and main meals. All were well cooked and presented. good choice of desserts as well at lunch, but those involving pastry or cake I felt lacked a good flavour - perhaps they had used cheaper margarine. Lovely touch of the late afternoon food on the deck. Great to swim off the platform when we were moored and the chance to kayak. good aquarobics class at the swimming pool - shame they have cut down on the number of qualified sports crew, but they did their best. I even joined the 0700 yogalates class run by the excellent cruise director. Climbing the crows nest was great fun, but the booking process was a bit chaotic. Cabins are compact but have everything you need and air conditioning relatively quiet. Tours arranged by ship were a bit overpriced but well organised. All in all still a great cruise- just felt standards had slipped - you don't hose down a zodiac above the route for passengers going ashore! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our first clothing optional cruise, but definitely not our last. The boat was full of nothing but cheerful people. I guess it's hard to be crabby when your not wearing pants! This was truly a clothing OPTIONAL cruise. ... Read More
This was our first clothing optional cruise, but definitely not our last. The boat was full of nothing but cheerful people. I guess it's hard to be crabby when your not wearing pants! This was truly a clothing OPTIONAL cruise. Most folks chose to take full advantage of the sun and ocean breezes, but some preferred full or partial covering and that was OK. I can't recommend the Bare Necessities folks and organization highly enough. there were 16 first time couples, and we all said we'd come back in a heartbeat. The ship, meanwhile is great. When the wind blew the Captain shut off the engine and hoisted all 42 sails. Stunning! There isn't much choice of activities on this 200+ passenger ship, but all we wanted to do was lounge around on deck, with occasional (and voluntary) sail hoisting and mast climbing. One day he raised all the sails in a very light breeze, and launched two tenders full of photographers to circle the ship. She is a BEAUTIFUL ship! There is a minuscule library, comprised solely of donated books in many different languages. And the entertainment is very low key. Shoe excursions were very reasonably priced, with a good variety. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
5th time traveling with an old friendy crew. While the ship holds 220 we only had 155 guests on board with a crew of 110. On this ship you are special, as other cruise ship passengers photograph the majesty of this ship. But being the ... Read More
5th time traveling with an old friendy crew. While the ship holds 220 we only had 155 guests on board with a crew of 110. On this ship you are special, as other cruise ship passengers photograph the majesty of this ship. But being the worlds largest sailing ship offers many challenges. There are no elevators. The ship moves and rocks. You need to be fit and able to climb stairs and manuver thru bulkheads. Children don't fit this ship. Most of the guests are 45 and older, well traveled and educated. Of the 155 guest 66 were repeat customers. But on this ship the accomodations are first class. You get to know the crew, the captain and even the owner if he is on board. Don't be afraid to ask the captain aquestion as he is eating lunch, dinner or breakfast at the table next to you. Take a tour of the ships engine room and see the marvels that keep this a five star experience. Then sports team keeps you busy, climb the mast to the crow nest, or lounge out on the front nets. This ship gets to go where the big ships don't go. When you go ashore you are welcomed as opposed to the shore drops of 6-7,000 people invding the shore excursion. This is a life experience unlike the boring "big Box" cruises... Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Have never sailed on a ship like this. Have been on much larger cruises and smaller sailing ships. The Royal Clipper was just fabulous. The cabins are very nice ( ours was grade 3 with a nice bathroom and shower, TV, good hairdryer and ... Read More
Have never sailed on a ship like this. Have been on much larger cruises and smaller sailing ships. The Royal Clipper was just fabulous. The cabins are very nice ( ours was grade 3 with a nice bathroom and shower, TV, good hairdryer and comfy bed) but we saw the luxury ones which had a private veranda and whirlpool bath which looked very nice indeed. It's got a nice gym and 3 small pools on the top deck. There loads of room to wander about and never any shortage of sun beds. The crew are marvellous, from the cruise director Anna, Hotel manager Steve to the waiters , bar staff and cabin stewards. The food is fantastic with sit down a la carte for lunch and dinner and the tour excursions really well planned. They even have lobster on the menu. Only breakfast was a buffet. Drinks are very reasonably priced with house wine at € 15 and a great wine selection. Also as this ship uses Euros, its a really good deal at the moment for Brits. The guests were mainly Brits Americans and Canadians and a few French and German. The only Russian ( actually Estonian ) was the Captain, Sergei who was amazing and very visible. I cannot recommend this ship highly enough. You need to be pretty mobile as there are no lifts and lots of stairs and it's a sailing ship so it does list and roll at times. The entertainment programme is basic so if you want dancing girls and bingo, this ship is not for you. To see it in full sail (which it does at every opportunity) is just awesome Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
First the good stuff: The service staff (waiters and barmen) were consistently excellent. The sailing experience was great especially when you could see the spectacular stars at night. The food was surprisingly good given the galley ... Read More
First the good stuff: The service staff (waiters and barmen) were consistently excellent. The sailing experience was great especially when you could see the spectacular stars at night. The food was surprisingly good given the galley conditions and a difficult dining room but the second week was a repeat of the first and while the quality was the same it got a little repetitive, on balance no more than adequate. It is obvious that The Royal Clipper is in the throes of extensive cost cutting the general condition of the ship showed signs of lack of maintenance, staff uniforms often tatty, the sun loungers were dirty, paint stained and often broken and just to show how bad it was they frequently reused cardboard beer coasters. Staff member comments confirmed this. Apparently the ship is going into dry dock soon and the planning for important repairs has been cut back extensively. Either the Star Clipper company is in deep financial trouble or they are attempting to dress up the P&L accounts for a sale. More seriously standards of customer service have declined considerably. When things are going well all is sweetness and light. Try and complain and the management's first tactic is to tell you that you are wrong as others have not complained. The second tactic is to ignore you from then on, hardly an adequate customer management strategy. The first instance was on the second half of the cruise when a Snorkelling trip was planned. At the Marina because of the sea state we asked the skipper of the catamaran Shadowfax was he going to go ahead with the trip. The answer was yes and we would see what the reef was like when we got there. Towards the end of a rough and wet trip, but before we got to the reef, it was announced that the snorkelling was off due to adverse conditions. When we got to the beach where the post snorkelling BBQ was to be held 14 of us requested to get back to the Royal Clipper as we had had enough. After a bit of wrangling this was organised and we did get home. When my wife tried to complain to the cruise director she was told that there had no other complaints with the strong implication that we were in the wrong. During the night we received a form letter that despite the inclement weather only the snorkelling was not possible and the rest of the trip was satisfactorily completed. Given that the primary reason to go on the trip was to snorkel this seemed extremely disingenuous. We were told that we would be refunded 50% of the cost. What is so galling is that had the issue been handled competently it could have been a win for Star Clippers. In disgust I wrote to the Captain with my issues but got no reply. I did get a note from the Hotel Manager letting me know he would investigate and get back to me. After 2 days I found him at the bar and I had to initiate the discussion which gave no satisfaction. Another customer service issue was when we were on a tender to return to the ship from the marina at Bequia and over the open radio we heard the cruise director and captain tell the tender crew to wait for a ferry bringing a tour back. the tender was scheduled to run every 30 minutes. we complained but, as is obvious above, customer service is not a priority. Had they taken us back on schedule the arriving tour group would have had to wait 4 minutes for the next scheduled tender while we had to cool our heels for almost half an hour. Perhaps more upsetting was an incident the day after the failed attempt to snorkel. We were scheduled on another tour and taken to the catamaran taking us to a reef. The sea state was poor and it proved impossible to effect the tender to catamaran transfer safely and the tour was called off. However while we heaved around the catamaran an extremely obese and unsteady couple, who had missed the tender, were placed in a Zodiac to get them out to join us. Well the crew of the Zodiac were literally in tears and the whole effort was botched as the passengers in the Zodiac were completely incapable of getting from the Zodiac to the tender. We later heard that one of them fell badly trying to get back on board the ship. Apparently the two passengers desperately wanted to come on the trip but no one would stop them even though it was so obviously dangerous. If this callous disregard for what were very real dangers for these folk are repeated there will be a serious accident or death at the door of Star Clipper . It is all so disappointing. We chose the Royal Clipper for our first visit to the Caribbean because of a previous fabulous experience on the Star Flyer around Tahiti and the Society Islands. Had we have known how we were to be treated and the general lack of care we would have given up on the romance of a tall ship and gone to an alternative. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
I had done extensive research on the Star Clipper website, YouTube, and Cruise Critic prior to deciding on the Royal Clipper Grenadine Islands itinerary as my husband was looking to visit smaller ports not available on the regular cruise ... Read More
I had done extensive research on the Star Clipper website, YouTube, and Cruise Critic prior to deciding on the Royal Clipper Grenadine Islands itinerary as my husband was looking to visit smaller ports not available on the regular cruise ships. We had visited all the islands (Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia and Barbados) other than the Grenadines (Union Island, Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and Bequia) and wanted to return to them. We are avid snorkelers and water sports are a big part of Star Clippers in addition to the sailing aspect. My previous 20 cruises had been on the usual cruise lines (Celebrity, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Norwegian), usually on smaller or medium size ships, to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska and South America. When booking our cat 3 cabin, I was informed that most cabins are somewhat small, but adequate. We were on the Clipper Deck overlooking the atrium area (including the dining room) after entering an access door at the bottom of the stairs to the cabin corridor. This was an ideal location due to its availability to all points forward and aft. There are many gateway cities for included air and although Pittsburgh was not one of them, our agent was able to give us comp air due to connecting at Charlotte, NC directly to Barbados. After meeting the SC (Star Clipper) rep at the airport, we were accompanied to the small van (taxi) for our ride to the ship. The driver was very pleasant and in fact tried to get us to commit to a private tour upon our return to Barbados the following Saturday. Upon arrival at the ship, there was a large P&O ship and the Windstar sailing ship berthed as well. There is no embarkation procedure prior to boarding due to the ship's small size. We climbed the gangway and were greeted by the hotel director and a cold towel at the tropical bar and guided to the embarkation desk inside the piano bar area around the atrium. This took approximately 5 minutes and we then went to our cabin down one flight of stairs. We then took a short walk around the ship to get our bearings and returned to the tropical bar (location for many activities including the life boat drill at 6:45 pm as it is where the two muster stations are. Dinner was served from 7:30-11:00 pm every evening where guests can choose how large a table to be seated at and where. We therefore met many different guests mostly from the US and the UK, but some also from Canada. There were others from France, Germany, Italy and other European countries we learned later as we met them on excursions. All announcements were given in three languages (English-primary, German and French). Sailaway was at 10 pm and there was a moonlit sky, but little wind not necessarily from the direction needed so only a few sails were unfurled and the engines assisted. Breakfast buffet was served from 8-10 am everyday, with early bird coffee and hot tea, pastries and breads available at the piano bar from 6:30-10:30. Buffet lunch was from noon to 2 pm with a different emphasis (i.e.,seafood, international, Italian, Caribbean, Oriental) daily. Afternoon snacks were available from 5-6 pm at the tropical bar as well as midnight snack at the piano bar which we never saw due to our retiring prior, from 11:45 pm to 1 a.m. daily. Iced tea was only available during dinner. Beverages such as soda and all alcoholic drinks were charged to your onboard account which uses Euros, not dollars. We prepaid our gratuities in dollars. A second life boat drill was conducted while at sea on the first day, followed by introduction of the officers and crew. The ship anchored at every port except Fort-de-France, Martinique and therefore tenders were needed to go ashore. The Sports Team would always get the water activities set up at the onboard marina or take the equipment ashore to the beaches when we anchored at a beach (all the Grenadine islands). General info on the ship: There are no elevators and negotiation of steps is required throughout the ship and it is therefore not for those who are not ambient. There is no theater (therefore no production shows) but there was an excellent Steel Band on board for an hour prior to sailing from Grenada, no casino, no professional photographer and no manned excursion desk. There are signup sheets with descriptions in the 3 languages for excursions and the Cruise Director Anna previewed them as well as you can preview descriptions online. Some activities such as a fashion show, line dancing, pirate night and a talent show encouraged guests (189 on our sailing) to participate. No special facilities or activities for children (none on our cruise in late January). The crew of 100+ is multinational with a majority of European nationalities (the ship sails in the Med in summer). There is a beautiful relatively large library, three small pools, several bars, an observation lounge which we learned was partially removed to load supplies and food on pallets on embarkation day, and a small gym and spa which I was too busy to utilize. There are two lifeboats, two tenders (with ramps for wet landings) and multiple zodiacs which seemed to be used only by crew on our cruise. Royal Clipper provides complimentary use of all water sports including snorkeling gear which is issued the first day for the use of the cruise. The Sloop Shop has an extensive SC line of clothing/accessories and the shop doubles as the Purser's Office. This sailing ship does offer opportunities (usually more than once to participate in sailing activities including unfurling the sails, enjoying the bowsprit net, and climbing the crows nest. I thoroughly enjoyed my time up on the Crows Nest as we were beginning to sail from St. Vincent to Bequia and this afforded me great views of all the nearby islands (though it was very windy). Excursions booked through SC: Grenada - Shadowfax Sailing/Snorkeling/BBQ lunch - we were disappointed with this excursion as the catamaran sailing was very rough which was normal around the southern point (thought the excursion should not have gone). Lunch was OK - it included Lobster and champagne, but the beach was shaded by trees and we were cold from the windy sailing. The snorkeling was also not in a tranquil location. Tobago Cays - Snorkeling was a bit rough as well (around the back side of the island where the SC beach BBQ was held). St. Vincent - Reef life tour -- excellent snorkeling at two locations (one was black sand beach). Almost all of the snorkeling on our excursions including the complimentary ones from the ship requires a bit of experience - not for newbies. The final three days of our cruise involved two ports at each island (St. Vincent/Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia) and since we were involved in snorkeling every day, we did not get the chance to "see the ports" as time was just too limited (3-4 hrs each). I enjoyed seeing many sunsets and on our last day sailing from Soufriere, St. Lucia, saw porpoises as well. This occurred after our awesome, amazing "Full Sail Sailaway" viewing the Royal Clipper unfurling her sails from a tender with the Pitons in the background - a superb way to end our cruise. Thanks to Capt. Sergey Utitsyn of Estonia, Hotel Manager Steve Adamson, Cruise Director Anna Alice Langstrom of Switzerland and all the crew for a special unforgettable sailing cruise. We took an island discovery excursion after disembarking in Barbados which included driving through Holetown and Speightstown, stopping at Farley Hill National Park with its Great House ruins and views of the East Coast, driving through St. John's Parish and ending at Sunbury Plantation where we also had a buffet lunch. The Great House has extensive antiques and the tour gave insight into the life of a wealthy planter 300 years ago. Last stop was the airport where we picked up our luggage around 1:15 pm. Return flight was through Charlotte as well. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
It was a different way to cruise the Caribbean. Just the sight of all the sails flying above the ship peaked our interest in going on this unique type of vessel. We had cruised about 15 times prior on the typical cruise ships (Carnival, ... Read More
It was a different way to cruise the Caribbean. Just the sight of all the sails flying above the ship peaked our interest in going on this unique type of vessel. We had cruised about 15 times prior on the typical cruise ships (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess) and not-so-typical types of ships (Delta Queen river boat on the Mississippi, river boat for 7 nights on the Amazon, another on the Nile), so we certainly had many points of reference. After reading their brochure and website and many reviews, we were excited and looking forward to sailing on a clipper ship. It promised to visit the smaller ports and towns which were otherwise not accessible to the larger cruise ships. Well, it was a funny outcome in some ways. We were not disappointed, yet we found the trip lacking in many important ways. First the positives: The dinner food was one of the best we had on any trip. It was always delicious. Even the daily soup garnered rave reviews from our two older children (age 15 & 16) who usually do not like too many soups. For breakfast and lunch there were buffets daily. Unfortunately, the breakfast, while consistently good, lacked variety and each day very little was changed, leaving one a bit bored at the end of the week. Ordering for example, an “eggs benedict”, or even a “boiled egg”, was not available and never appeared on the buffet. The ship itself was lovely and majestic when in full sale. The setting of the sails were, in itself, an inspiring event. Rooms were small yet comfortable with enough room for two people to move about without consistently bumping into themselves. The itinerary was great with often two ports per day, so you were always busy. Getting into some smaller ports of call was also something to enjoy. As well, the on-shore excursions were terrific. Note that if you are prone to getting sea-sick, give this one a pass or at the least, use the sea-sick ear tab or Gravol. The smaller size of the ship, when compared to the typical cruise ships, often makes for rocky times while eating dinner or getting to sleep. We all used the tab as insurance and that neutralized the sea’s effects. That being said, it is a great experience to find yourself on such a vessel and really experience what it is like to be at sea. You can let your imagination run wild and pretend, like our toddler son did, that you are on a pirate ship! Now, unfortunately, while the ship was positioned as being a “high-end” cruise with correspondingly high-end service, etc., it failed to measure up in several ways. I am listing them all below because there were many areas which needed improvement. Keep in-mind, while these seem like many points, none-the-less, the trip was enjoyed by all and would still be an experience which would be appreciated by most travellers. 1. You would have expected that on such a small ship, the crew would be extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. This was definitely not the case. While the crew hands were always smiling, the ship’s mid-level officers, (with the exception of its “hotel manager” and “captain”) were usually without smiles or greetings, and when questioned about some ship timings or activities failed to know the answer (e.g. What are the lunch buffet times? What time do we get in port tomorrow?). Even at the information desk on-board, the junior office could not answer these simple questions. The ships tour director would not often be able to provide information about tours and excursions, or details about debarking. Once our toddler dropped some pasta on the floor en-route to his table. Three crew passed by stepping over the spill without any offer to help, or to clean it up; but instead we did. 2. This trip is really not recommended for young children. Prior to leaving we spoke to the “Star Clipper booking agent” about taking this with our almost 3-year old. She said it was welcomed and, while there would be no child facilities on board, there would be no issues. We were surprised to learn upon arrival that we could not even get a booster seat or high-chair for dining. We spoke to a senior officer about this and were told, “the owner board are old and conservative, and do not like to change things they have been doing for years.” He had offered to go ashore on a previous trip to buy a toddler chair for $40, and was told by the owners, “definitely not because we do not cater to young children”. He admitted they had no interest in targeting a “family” clientele. On that previous trip there were 3 young toddlers. On the positive side they did prepare special meals for our son at dinner … after the third night. 3. While still on the ship situation, this would not be a ship recommended to anyone with a physical disability. The stairs are long, very steep and narrow. There are no elevators. With the frequent rocking, this would make for a dangerous situation for handicapped or frail travellers. 4. While the cabins were cleaned daily, and there was a nightly turn-down service, no cleaning or refreshing was done throughout the day. So, if you came back from a tour in the morning and took a shower, you would be left with damp towels for your pre-dinner shower. The same lack of daily cleaning was evident when we noticed some dirty plates outside someone’s cabin early morning. They stayed there for TWO days. Not what you would consider first-class service. 5. There is an odd practice on this ship which allows crew officers to eat at the same time and place as the clients. Now by itself this would not seem to be a problem if not for the fact we experienced them jumping in-line to get their food, or eating the last portions of some foods, leaving passengers who paid significant amounts lacking their food. When this point was observed frequently, we brought it up to another senior officer who said again it was the policy of the “older owners”. Even the First Mate just shrugged his shoulders and said “that is the way it is on this ship”! 6. The Clipper should introduce a practice of having some food available to its passengers all throughout the day. The current practice is only to have the three meal times and midnight food available. There is also a small snack laid out at 5pm for one hour. That 5pm snack is very small and usually is taken quickly as passengers are hungry by then. So, if you are not there quickly you may find all the food gone and you have to wait until 7:30 for dinner. (This issue is further compounded as crew usually come and get their “snack” as well even though there is usually not enough for the passengers!) Even having some cookies or pound cake laid out in the lounge would work to take the edge of your appetite. 7. The above practice often sees passengers very hungry by the time dinner comes around – which is at 7:30pm. Normally such a late time for dinner is not an issue but given it is somewhat late to eat dinner for many people, the firm should change the policy and begin dinner a bit earlier, say at 6:30pm. Those who wish to eat later can still arrive at 7:30pm. 8. The ship does not have a “wine” package whereby you can buy bottles at a discount if you agree to purchase 8, 9, etc. This is common practice among other cruise ships and one which we find very client focused. Having to pay top dollar for wine with dinner can add up very fast. Similarly, there is not a soft-drink package for teens, and we know how much they can drink pop (at the price charged by the Clipper, that too adds up quickly). 9. When the Ship sails out on the first night, all passengers are invited on deck to see the opening of the sails. This is a great event to see. However, they invite you there to have a glass of champagne to celebrate this event. The word “invite” is misleading as they charge you 10 euros for that glass. It should be free as part of their welcome. 10. While this ship is relatively new, you can see signs that a retrofit is needed. In our washroom much of the marble on the floor has yellowed. Other areas you can see carpet showing wear. It is just starting to look a bid “old”. Perhaps this is intended by the owners to add character. 11. There is a “safety” speech given on the first day. Such a practice is also done on other cruise lines. However, it was longer than should be and was repeated the second evening. The tone was also very condescending as passengers were, for over 5-10 minutes, reminded there was unique plumbing on the ship and only the ship’s toilet paper should go in the toilet otherwise the entire system could block. This point seemed to go on forever on both evenings. Added to the length of this briefing is the fact it was given in three languages (English, German, French) so it took seemingly forever. I believe one such safety briefing to be sufficient. Now, you may think some of these points are too critical or trivial, perhaps so, but we did expect a 5-star trip and we feel we received a 3-star one. If the Star Clipper firm is to measure up to 5-stars, or even 4, none of the above should be evident in our opinion. We had the luck of meeting a couple who had just returned from a similar “sailing ship” with Oceania Cruises. They raved about it, the ship, and crew. Similarly none of our above issues were noticed by them. They did consider it 5-star. We would suggest anyone considering a clipper ship trip to consider that cruise line. We picked Star Clipper above them based on the fact they did take children (Oceania Cruises does not take children but does state that up-front). Little did we know those were just words and did not reflect anything on the ship. Too bad they are missing on a large market of family clients. Overall, let me restate we all had a terrific time for the week and would recommend it to others (and also to consider the other sail line options), however keeping in-mind the above limitations. We heard they are launching a new ship next year. You may be advised to wait for that one.   Read Less
Royal Clipper Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.4
Family 1.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.9
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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