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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
It was our hearts desire to sail on the Royal Clipper after seeing her come into view at Rodney Bay when we were staying in St Lucia some years ago. We love cruising and the luxury of visiting interesting and beautiful destinations. Not so ... Read More
It was our hearts desire to sail on the Royal Clipper after seeing her come into view at Rodney Bay when we were staying in St Lucia some years ago. We love cruising and the luxury of visiting interesting and beautiful destinations. Not so with this sailing vessel. Embarkation was a nightmare. No one to greet you at the terminal. Once boarding the ship the we had to queue for over forty minutes in the lounge/piano bar to be registered and assigned keys. It was an awful experience as the Crewe admitted the air conditioning had been turned off. The sweat was pouring off the couple in front of us and a gentleman behind us had to leave the queue to go outside for fresh air. No apology was given - the explanation was that they were short staffed!! We booked the deluxe cabin with balcony Sadly it had seen better days - clean yes as our steward was wonderful - upholstery was tired and worn - woodwork also. Bathroom needed regrouting . The outside table had chipped edges and stained. Not what you would expect from their so called top accommodation. You would think being under sail is a soothing experience then think again. The noise from the whinches turning the sails and constant noisy hmmming from generators etc meant interrupted sleep every night. If you like to dine at a reasonable time then be prepared to share a table with strangers. We had to wait until after 9.30pm to eat to ensure a table for two - albeit we were invariably sat on tables for 6 or more as there were only two tables for 2 and unfortunately they were positioned directly at the bottom of the staircase into the dining room - therefore on full view to diners entering and leaving the restaurant - not ideal. The Tropical Bar should have been paradise on the sea however. to enjoy cocktails propped up on high wooden stools all evening is neither comfort or luxury. Tables with comfortable chairs were nowhere to be found. On deck and around the pool areas there were sun beds dating back to the 80’s. Steamers with padded cushions did not exist. Wooden benches facing inwards were the only seating. We have enjoyed many cruises over the years from the mighty Queen Mary to the smaller Seabourn’s and the ports of call have been fabulous. Not so with the Royal Clipper. Unless you were a dedicated excursionist you would be sorely disappointed with where tendered. Martinique beaches where we we dropped off to were severely below par as was St Lucia - dirty and unlike beaches we had seen and enjoyed on many trips to the Caribbean before therefore knowing these islands to have fabulous beaches this was unacceptable. The cruise director even warned us the night before that we probably wouldn’t want to spend time at the ‘beach’ thus promoting an excursion! Star Clippers really must be honest when arranging bookings and take out the words luxury comfort and relaxation. A big plus was that the cabin and waiter staff were excellent - friendly , accommodating, fun and our steward Angel was as his name implies an angel.... nothing was too much trouble. 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
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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
The best part of the cruise was the fabulous staff. The food and the staff were wonderful. I thought we were in trouble when check was a terrible experience. All other ships had signs and staff to organize the incoming passengers. Star ... Read More
The best part of the cruise was the fabulous staff. The food and the staff were wonderful. I thought we were in trouble when check was a terrible experience. All other ships had signs and staff to organize the incoming passengers. Star Clippers...nothing. Several stops at ports the tender left us at a sport and we had to figure out how to get to town. Taxis took full advantage and we were told it would be perhaps 5 euros a person and it would be 10-15. Also disappointing was most of the off shore excursions. For about half of them the review by the passengers was that they were very expensive and not quite what was advertised. I will note that one of the biggest disappointments was that we only sailed twice (while I was awake) After several days I asked when we would sail and I was told that perfect conditions were required. Not TOO windy and windy enough. For a sailing experience I recommend a MUCH smaller ship. Looking at other reviews I see others had a different experience; however, I would not go again and would not recommend them. For the money, I would look elsewhere. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2010
We flew to Barbados a day early so as not to miss the departure, had a reservation with the Pirates Cove Inn. That was a glorious experience. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.We were not able to board the ship until 4PM even tho' ... Read More
We flew to Barbados a day early so as not to miss the departure, had a reservation with the Pirates Cove Inn. That was a glorious experience. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.We were not able to board the ship until 4PM even tho' it docked at 7AM, so we had a lot of time to kill with our bags. It is an expensive cab ride from the hotel to Bridgetown and the pier. Pre-boarding we had to sign a health waiver and submit to a temperature test. We were also required to sign a form agreeing the line could only be sued from Monaco. OK we submit and sign because we are after all here to take the cruise. At 10PM we are underway with much pomp and ceremony for the raising of the sails. The music is very theatrical 1492 Conquest of the Caribbean. We actually made 8 ports in the 7 days. Only 2 were docked all the others were tendered. The sea was rough and getting off the ship and into the tender boats was difficult for able bodied folks. We had a number of older guests, some with limited dexterity so they were always presented with the dilemma of staying on board and missing the port or daring the transfer. Shopping was an absolute "nothing"...our day in Grenada was a national holiday...our day in Martinique was the beginning of Carnival. All the other stops were for snorkelling or scuba. Wrong cruise if you are not into water sports and raw beaches. The food is buffet style breakfast and lunch, full service dinner. The service good, not excellent but OK...same with the food. Our cabin steward kept us tidy, but had the flu. So if the guests have to submit to a health check, what about the crew. The Islands are beautiful, and are regardless of how you get there. My favorite stop was in Barbados where we had a great driver take us to the northernmost point of the Island to Flower Cave, and a great waterside restaurant for lunch before the trip to the airport. The staff on the ship especially the deck hands were eager to explain the tasks they were assigned to. As for the climbing of the mast...available for 2 hours one morning and one hour another...not quite like described in the brochures. Many who wanted to climb to the crows nest were not able to because they could not be accomodated. Entertainment was of the amateur variety, but since smoking is allowed in the Tropic Bar where the entertainment took place , those who choose not to inhale other peoples smoke could not participate. The currency on board is the Euro...makes drinks bloody expensive..... The captain on this vessel was very friendly and available to anyone who wished to speak with him...one could not say the same for the Hotel Manager who never got back to any guest about anything as near as I could tell. When all was said and done, spending the week in Barbados would have been more enjoyable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2008
I sailed on Royal Clipper on her New Year's cruise with my partner and another couple. We are in our early 40's and this was our 46th cruise. Embarkation involved standing in line for an excruciating hour and a 10 minute walk to ... Read More
I sailed on Royal Clipper on her New Year's cruise with my partner and another couple. We are in our early 40's and this was our 46th cruise. Embarkation involved standing in line for an excruciating hour and a 10 minute walk to the ship as we didn't feel like waiting in another long line for the shuttle. The cabin was compact but well-appointed. The low shower-floor lip and lack of enclosure walls except for a curtain all but guaranteed flooding of the bathroom with each use. The ship was beautifully decorated in an Edwardian yachting motif. The gym was minimally equipped with two treadmills limited by a low ceiling and two ancient recumbent bicycles. The open-seating dinners were fine with good service and reasonably priced wines but the seating could be extremely tight depending on location. Breakfast and lunch buffets were of variable quality but a beach barbecue was terrific. Those accustomed to large ships were shocked by the ship's extreme movements in all directions but this was to be expected. The sails were magnificent but generally used more as a display than as an active means of propulsion. The ship primarily sails under diesel power and usually engine noise and cooking exhaust smells were present on the open decks. Activities are minimal to nonexistent. The Cruise Director is a glorified shore-excursion salesman and a font of misinformation. He lead no activities and showed no leadership or entertaining skills. There are few onboard activities, no daily summaries or navigational information and a surprising lack of sailing-related information or exercises. Entertainment consists of a solo piano player generally playing 70's melodies backed up by preprogrammed disco beats. New Year's Eve was particularly poorly planned. We were told to go on deck at 11:30, were served warm "bubbly" and looked at each other until 12:05 when some passengers counted down to artificially start the year. No music, no horn, no sign of the Captain or officers and no Cruise Director. When questioned the next day, the Cruise Director said the Captain was "ill" and that he himself was "elsewhere". When we returned to the cabin after the New Year's Eve "celebrations", the annoying nightly noise (I had previously used ear plugs and sleeping pills) of the Crew Mess located directly under our cabin became intolerable with loud singing, yelling and music. There was no-one on duty at the front desk and when I brought the matter to the Hotel Manager the next day, he basically "blamed" me for only complaining on the fifth day. When I said that I hadn't complained earlier as the ship was full and there was likely no recourse, he agreed and offered me a complimentary downgrade (he actually used the expression "downgrade") where we could sleep in a smaller cabin while occupying our original cabin. Uh, right. He acknowledged the noise problem, showed no particular concern and offered no apology. Other passengers expressed numerous concerns about the senior officers and their ill-treatment of the general staff and the overall unhappiness of the crew. It was also extremely concerning to hear passengers commenting on how they observed heavy alcohol consumption of officers at some of our beach stops. Disembarkation was extremely relaxed and their was no hurry to get us off the ship although our requested wake-up call was never delivered. While Royal Clipper is a first-rate ship, she offers an overall disappointing cruise experience, generally omitting any and all of the sailing-themed activities and ambiance that attracted us to her in the first place. Her poor onboard atmosphere, absence of "joie de vivre" and lack of understanding of what makes passengers happy will ensure that I avoid Star Clippers in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
We were so looking forward to being on a real clipper and sailing around Italy. The Royal Clipper was a beautiful ship, meticulously maintained and our deluxe suite was very adequate with a balcony. BUT, the service was quite bad- no ... Read More
We were so looking forward to being on a real clipper and sailing around Italy. The Royal Clipper was a beautiful ship, meticulously maintained and our deluxe suite was very adequate with a balcony. BUT, the service was quite bad- no bartenders to be found on the pool deck except the last day so you had to go downstairs to get even a coke or water. Most of the waiters can hardly speak english and the meals were just okay. Nothing spectacular and most times the food came out luke warm, (must have been all pre-prepared). And if you ask for seconds of anything, they are a little surly about it. The dining room maitre-d just catered to people from his country. Wine stewards were just bartenders brought to the dining room. It was hard to get a drink at dinner as you had to chase them down. I will say the dining room was spectacular. The sloop shop has nothing really, movie selection for the room is extremely limited and old. The spa is in the fitness room and you cannot relax due to the high power music coming through the door.Our cabin steward was the best thing on on the ship- he got us whatever we wanted. The security to get on the ship is virtually non-existent. They just tell you to put your luggage thru the machine and no one marks them or anything. Most people did not even bother to do this as on one is watching. A little scary. I'll go back to the Windstar ships as they are spectacular all around. 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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