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Sail Date: January 2014
Our cruise started in St martin. This was a trip my husband won through work, the entire boat was chartered by this company. We were greeted warmly with a cool towel, snacks and tropical drink upon arrival. The boat was extremely clean and ... Read More
Our cruise started in St martin. This was a trip my husband won through work, the entire boat was chartered by this company. We were greeted warmly with a cool towel, snacks and tropical drink upon arrival. The boat was extremely clean and well kept. After checking into our room (would recommend asking for a larger room- very small) we were able to leave the boat for the afternoon and explore the island. Embarking/disembarking was a very quick and easy process. We returned to the boat for dinner. I will say this was my main complaint. The main dishes served at dinner were not great. Meats were a bit tough. All other courses were good though and we had a good selection. Servers were flawless and had it down to a T. Breakfast and lunch were much better. I would recommend having dinner off the boat when possible. After dinner there was entertainment at the tropical bar. This was so much fun! Nickola played dance music each night and we enjoyed him so much! Igor was our bartender and he was prompt and had a great sense of humor. Excursions were wonderful! We were accompanied by Matt from the Clipper each time and enjoyed his young energy. We enjoyed kayaking in St Kitts and the ATV tour in St. Barths was so much fun! The seas were rough at night (apparently worse this time of year), but we didn't mind. We enjoyed "adventure sleeping". Our room was made up 2x a day and kept very clean. Liked the chocolates on our pillows each evening. Peter (cruise director) and his staff were all very accommodating and did everything to make our trip more enjoyable. I would recommend going with a group on this trip. The people we hung out with were my husband's co-workers (although we got to know them a lot better on the trip), so it made it fun dining with them each night and doing excursions together. So, other than sub-par main entrée and rough seas, it was still the most amazing trip I have ever taken. Something about that gorgeous ship made the whole thing so romantic too. Loved the staff and would definitely do the Star Clipper again (just work on that food a little bit guys). The memories we made here will last a lifetime! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
We were so excited for this trip on Star Clipper. What an adventure it was going to be. Well a disappointment it turned out to be. The ship and the sailing experience was really amazing and that is where the positive stops.... staff does ... Read More
We were so excited for this trip on Star Clipper. What an adventure it was going to be. Well a disappointment it turned out to be. The ship and the sailing experience was really amazing and that is where the positive stops.... staff does not make any effort to make the experience special in any way. The Cruise director ridicules and belittles passengers in front of everyone. The staff bicker and fight openly in front of all the guests. I felt that we paid for the privilege of sharing their boat and that we were of little importance to them. THERE IS NO DRINK PACKAGE and the bar tender actually argued with me that the Windstar didn't have one either... even though I told him we were on it and YES THEY DO HAVE A DRINK PACKAGE. BE WARY OF THE LIABILITY RELEASE: We encountered a few times where reckless disregard for the guests welfare. We met one guest on the 2nd day. He was 91 years old and had taken a fall in his cabin overnight. He was in a very bad way and although the Nurse was assisting him. There was no offer off assistance to him past that. He couldn't walk well and was offered no assistance even when getting his food from the buffet to the table. On the second night, the captain steered into an oncoming storm. It was questioned by staff members, but he told them to go ahead anyway. It was so rough that approx 60% of the ship did not attend dinner. During the course of dinner the ship listed so badly that a guest;s chair fell backwards and all the dishes on the table fell on her cutting her head open. NOTE; storms we are told happen regularly, and there are no lips around the tales to protect guests. The beaches that we were taken to, were unchecked and contained sea urchins in the shallow area's. We were there a short time when a guest was stung by one in knee deep water. She was sent back to ship unescorted to get the stinger out. Why are they not telling us this..... I felt that because we all signed a waiver they just didn't care. NOTE: We have NEVER EVER signed a waiver for ANY other ship we have been on. FOOD; Heaven forbid if you have special food requirements because you will not get accommodated. There are no heart healthy or Diabetes friendly options. My husband has to watch his salt intake due to high blood pressure and could not get any assistance in an alternate menu. When we were on RCL last December it was not problem at all. I actually had a sports staff member, sitting at our dinner table, say to me. " what? do you think your special or something?" Because after asking for a sugar free option at dinner, and being served deep fried banana one day, and then deep fried apple the next, I finally said to the Maitre'd , that I would just like a fresh grapefruit please. The deep fried fruit was not a healthy option. As a matter of fact there were no healthy options. My first breakfast, I requested egg white's for my omelet and was told by the cook (with a bowl of 20 eggs in front of him) that he had no egg whites ! seriously??? can you not separate the eggs in front of you? he agreed... separated 2 egg whites and cooked them in oil????? there was no opportunity to not cook them in oil. it was an awful omelet. The next day I asked for a 6 egg white omelet, and thought the cook was going to die. He was quite discussed with my request and still had no egg white. I gave up after that morning as the eggs were all cooked in oil. This kind of behaviour continued throughout the cruise. ALL of the food is guided toward the european palette and everyone else is out of luck. Buffet breakfast with an array of cheeses, deli meat, and rye bread... oh and green peas and minute steak (Yuk). Lunch is no better...we tried eat there but there were NO heart healthy choices... so we mainly ate off ship. A British couple we met asked for a second dish of cream cheese at the table and were refused. They also asked for an entree to be served as an appi, so they they choose another entree for the main and were told NO! In all the years that we have been cruising we have NEVER experienced such poor service and food. Aside from a princess cruise we have taken..... but honestly.... as bad as that was.... the star clipper was worse. Its really sad when a "highlight moment in culinary experience" is when the ship served taco's at midnight. We CONTINUALLY felt that we were no more than an annoyance to the staff who were putting them out there way on every turn. PORTS: We found out the hard way that the stops they make are horrific. They are all, with the exception of St. Barths, in the middle of no where. This is NOT disclosed on their itinerary anywhere. They name the island, but not the port which to me was a significant oversight and a convenient one.... had I known I would NOT have taken this ship. NEVIS- they dropped us at a beach with nothing... not even an umbrella..... or a cab???? we walked to the nearest beach with life which was the four seasons and were refused service as this was a private hotel. Even offered to pay for service and was declined. It was a useless port. DOMINICA- We were so excited about this port because we have been to Rouseau before... had plans for Champagne bay and snorkelling. Um and that is where it ends. We were not in Rouseau... we were in the middle of NO WHERE!!!!! Peter the cruise director was approached about taking a cab to Rouseau and he flat out told me NO you cannot. Then after consulting someone told me that it was a 2 hour trip there and back and the ship would leave without us if we weren't back....Nice.... he was very curt and rude with me. We later found out that it was actually only a 45 min journey each way. IMPORTANT: at this time I must note that Peter is a very good historian... but a lousy cruise director! The daily newsletter have pages and pages of 1423 History and ZERO information about the actual port we were in and what there was to do.... and I mean ZERO. The Pursers also were of no use as they could answer no questions that we presented them. They didn't even know what port we were in. The staff were of no assistance. The shuttle boat staff dropped at the dock and left us.... and there was no one to welcome us when we returned. I am unaccustomed to this, as even CARNIVAL have welcoming staff. We got nothing..... ILSE DE SAINTE: again we were shuttled into the dock area. It was Christmas eve and so everything was closing early. Again there was no info from the ship as to what was where on the island.... This island was Goat island. I have never seen so many goats as here. GUADELUPE; We were there on Christmas day and pretty much everything was closed. We and 3 other decided to find a beach that a fellow passenger found on his GPS. Now that was an adventure that was amazing.... and if it weren't for our new found friends, would never have occured. ANTIGUA; This was our only Excursion port. Important to note. We booked this excursion and received no confirmation of it or anything. We didn't even know the time it started and again phoned the Purser's office to be told to refer to the newsletter.... which had 4 pages of history and no other information. This was the port that the ship held the bbq on the beach. Our excursion, as we found out was at 1pm, and the bby started at noon... great. Had we known this we would not have booked the excursion but were now told it was too late. This annoyed me as we were only given 24 hours notice about the bbq and they wanted more than 24 hrs notice to cancel the excursion. As it turns out the bbq was well done. But again they failed when put up against the Windstar...... who not only bring the Bbq and Beach toys... they brought the bar and the deck chairs and towels !!!! ST BARTHS: This was a great port and if it weren't for our friends we wouldn't have known what to do. He pulled up his GPS and we went to some great beaches. Shell beach is where we ate at Do Brazilian, and it was AMAZING FOOD. Try the Octopus salad.... WOW. The kind of food we expected from the ship but never even came close. We also say Paul McCartmey at this beach. Then we toured off to Eden Rock for a snack and swim at the beach..... all in all a great day with some great friends. The tenders back to the ship are to run every 30 minutes. We arrive back at the dock at 645pm. No shuttle.... 7pm... no shuttle.... ( the winstar has had 3 shuttles in this time, and one doesn't leave until its replacement is there) there is no one from Clipper to welcome us or give us any information. Windstar has their full welcoming staff there.... We wait and wait. Finally at 710pm a shuttle arrives. Another passenger asks if we are leaving at 715, and was told no, we are waiting until 730. The customer then says that they are supposed to run every 30 minutes and we were here for the 7pm shuttle and there was no one here. At that point the staff member JOE starts yelling at the customer !!!! I am outraged at this behaviour as it continues and the crew member has now escalated it to a yelling match. The fact was that we were all being made to wait 45 minutes just to get back to the ship. I file a complaint with Arthur and one of the Purser's once back on ship. We told them that they have some SERIOUS staff issues with this situation and the constant bickering the whole week between staff members..... they said nothing.....like they were unaware of any of it. Finally Arthur apologized and said he would look into the matter. WE HEARD NOTHING BACK. EXCURSIONS; Well what to say about this..... they provide you with no direction at all in port. You are left to your own devises. Even the sports staff have no clue what is in the ports as they are given ZERO training or time off in any of the ports. If you are booking an excursion.... don't expect to get any information about it delivered to your cabin as there is none provided. OVERVIEW: There are some serious issues on board this boat. Unfortunately the negative outweighed the positive. For the cost of the cruise I personally will choose the Windstar over the Star Clipper. Climbing the mast was amazing..... the sailing experience was also amazing. Being spoken too as some one less than important... was not okay and happened over and over again. A guest that we met broke a glass in her cabin and was made to clean it up herself, as she was told staff was not allowed to enter into the cabins. However, this rule did not apply when an Officer, pursuing a female guest, entered into her room, only to be rebuffed by her and later on by her spouse. IMPORTANT; The open fraternization between the staff and the guests is unacceptable. I have never in 20 years seen such blatant and open fraternization between guests and staff. I myself was approached by a staff member on numerous occasions through the cruise with no regard to my husband being on board. We witnessed staff leaving with young girls from the age of 17 to 27, and the bar tender offering them a condom right in front of us. This is unacceptable behaviour on every level. Although we are not oblivious to the fact that this happens, it was openly occurring in front of the guests. We are very thankful that we did not bring our teens on this ship. We had reserved our next cruise on the Star Clipper but will be cancelling it due to this horrible experience. We are going back to the Windstar, and Celebrity.... where we are treated and fed like royalty. This cruise is overpriced and lacking in so many ways. I was expecting Windstar quality in a Sail ship, as they are constantly ridiculing the Windstar, and they didn't deliver. On a final note. Clipper staff states that they are a sail ship and that the Windstar uses motor. However, Clipper uses their motors also, and Windstar uses their sails too. The difference between the two.....The CLIPPER captain will take his sail ship into an oncoming storm with little regard for the guests.... the WINDSTAR captain will avoid taking his vessel into an oncoming storm (as we experienced in March 2012) for the enjoyment and benefit of the guests! THAT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
The trip just fell short on everything. Started badly by having a toilet blockage in the public bathroom having to be fixed through our cabin. Because we couldn't dress for dinner I asked for another cabin (there were plenty that were ... Read More
The trip just fell short on everything. Started badly by having a toilet blockage in the public bathroom having to be fixed through our cabin. Because we couldn't dress for dinner I asked for another cabin (there were plenty that were empty). The cabin they offered was supposedly an upgrade because it was upstairs, but it was significantly smaller and noisier and had less storage space. We moved back the next morning. The food was bland and lacked imagination. In comparison, the Wind Star had a port-inspired dish on the menu each night, offered fresh made menu items at all three meals, plus the buffets at breakfast and lunch, and the option for room service whenever you desired, and there was free soda and water in your cabin at all times. Star Clipper's breakfast and lunch buffets were truly disappointing; buttered noodles should not ever be a dish on a cruise, yet Star Clipper offered it at three buffet lunches. There was the option for fresh eggs at breakfast, and I was told by another passenger that you could also order toast. You must pay for all drinks on the Star Clipper, soda and bottled water included. Lastly, on the food, the service on the Star Clipper couldn't hold a candle to Wind Star. Some, not all, of the staff were often unkempt and unfriendly, and seemed put out by any request. All they wanted to do was what they must, fill glasses, clear plates, etc. On the Wind Star the staff was professional, courteous, and seemed to genuinely enjoy making your experience the best it could be. We got the opportunity to see one of the Star Clipper's "luxury" cabins when we befriended another couple, and I'd have to say aside from the bathtub, it was no bigger or nicer than our standard cabin on the Wind Star. Certainly not worth the price. Our Star Clipper cabin was significantly smaller and older looking than the Wind Star. Also the old TV had no reception and could only be used for DVDs, which you could borrow from the Purser's Office, two at a time. We spent much more time watching movies than on any other cruise, as there is no real entertainment to speak of. Whereas the Wind Star had cultural dance troops and the like, the Star Clipper had a fashion show, where if you had bought any of their apparel, you could walk the "runway" in hopes of getting other passengers to buy stuff. Robert, the piano player was nice enough, but didn't add much to the experience. The piano player on the Wind Star was not particularly nice, but did his job very well, engaging the passengers and playing a wide variety of tunes. Oh, and on the last day they wouldn't give me my passport because they said I hadn't returned a DVD, when in reality the "Sports team" had taken it without signing it out, so they just accused the last passenger who had borrowed it. You sign them out, but don't sign them in, so if they say you haven't returned it, they hold your passport, which made me late for my prescheduled tour that morning. As for the excursions, make sure you know what you are signing up for because a lot of people were disappointed with how they handled the Barcelona tour. The tour ended at the airport, whether you were staying in the city for a couple of days or even continuing on the Star Clipper, you got left at the airport. I've never had that experience before and it was less than clear. Also, there was one couple that wanted to cancel their tour and were told they could not even though they stood before the cruise director with another couple who wanted to take that very tour, but were told it was sold out. All they had to do was switch credit card numbers, but instead both couples were left unsatisfied. In general, I found the cruise director, Anna, unfriendly, unhelpful and unapproachable outside her regular passenger interaction. Many passengers on the ship were happy repeat customers, which left my husband and I confused. What we learned was they were often sailors themselves who were looking for a "real" sailing experience. It is true that the Wind Star used their engine more (usually during sleeping hours) but in all fairness they also sailed farther and all the ports were significant, culturally or historically. I felt like the Star Clipper simply chose ports they could get to under sail. The other thing though was that none of these happy repeat customers had been on a Wind Star cruise and therefore had nothing really to compare. We were sure to encourage all to try Wind Star; I really believe they will all be more than happy with the decision! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We and another couple of our sailing friends embarqed on a weeks cruise in paradise. As sailors, we were not interested in the usual cruise ship with thousands of passengers, but to be under sail with a small group going to ports that the ... Read More
We and another couple of our sailing friends embarqed on a weeks cruise in paradise. As sailors, we were not interested in the usual cruise ship with thousands of passengers, but to be under sail with a small group going to ports that the mega cruise ships can't access. We found the Star Clipper to be well found, maintained, and a very pleasant stay for out weeks trip. The class 3 cabin was compact, but very functional. The food offerings were well done, with sufficient choices. The bar offerings were reasonable in price, as were the wine offerings for dinner. The crew performed well, and the watersports team were over the top great! We found the dining room service efficient, but not very engaging. The passengers represented 14 nations, so the announcements got somewhat tedious in 3 languages. The european contigent pretty much ignored the non smoking rules, and smoked wherever they pleased. We also discovered that they don't feel much like being at the back of any lines, and will cut to the front unless confronted. We had hoped to be under full sail like in all the brochures, but our best day had 9 of the 14 sails out, and usually it was 4 or 5, but we were sailing. It seemed like they were more concerned with keeping the ship level, and passengers comfortable as opposed to really cranking under sail which we were of course hoping for. The music playing and sails unfurling was a very nice touch that everyone appreciated whenever we got underway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
Having sailed a 21-day Royal Clipper Transatlantic crossing in 2001, we anticipated another special voyage on the Star Clipper. We were definitely not disappointed. The officers and crew were most pleasant, accessible, and answered our ... Read More
Having sailed a 21-day Royal Clipper Transatlantic crossing in 2001, we anticipated another special voyage on the Star Clipper. We were definitely not disappointed. The officers and crew were most pleasant, accessible, and answered our questions. This ship transports one to the feeling of owning one's own luxury yacht plus having many many international guests on board to converse with at most times during the journey. We were fortunate to become long distance friends with several passengers Missing a few ports because of a storm in the Med was a slight disappointment, but that is to be expected on a cruise of any kind. We did feel badly for the passengers experiencing "mal de mer", but then again, the Star Clipper IS a sailing vessel. We chose our cabin in the center stern area for this very reason - less motion. Excursions were, for the most part well done, led by good guides, but pricey. The Alhambra tour stands out since personal head phones were most helpful and the tour guide was most informative. Ports we visited within walking distance to the city were: Pilos, Gr., Siracusa,It., Valletta, Malta, Trapani, It, Malaga,Sp., and Las Palmas,C.I. Other ports requiring taxi or tour bus were: Empedocle, It., Motril, Sp., Tangiers, Casa Blanca & Safi, Morocco, and Aricife on Lanzarote, C.I. Food was generally very tasty, nicely presented, and there were nice selections on the breakfast and lunch buffets. Some special items like toast in the a.m. and other requests were usually available also. Of course, after 5 weeks, we became familiar with the dinner menu rotation and just made different selections for variety. We found the breads, rolls, pastries, desserts, and ice cream especially good. MaitreD, Waiters, Hotel Mgr.,and Bar staff were most attentive and cheerful. As for activities, most passengers seemed to prefer lounging and reading on the sundeck, library, or in the piano lounge area. I looked forward to the morning stretch/exercise class, other daily scheduled activities and fun groups such as the noon time singing, trivia games, etc. Water aerobics, deck golf, coits, darts talent shows (passenger and crew), cocktail hour music and much more was available for guests to enjoy at their leisure. Our cabin was always keep spotless as was the entire ship. Crew are always seen cleaning or maintaining some area of the ship. After cruising with a most congenial crew and meeting many new friends (many of whom were on board for the Transatlantic crossing)who also love sailing, we found this voyage to be a most memorable trip of our lifetimes. This is one of the most magnificent sailing vessels in the world. We would do a repeat trip and highly recommend the Star Clipper to those who appreciate or love sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
This was our first "cruise" experience, chosen not for cruising as such but because it was a sailing ship and seemed infinitely more exciting. Although a cheaper cabin, ours was well fitted out with plenty of storage, a safe, ... Read More
This was our first "cruise" experience, chosen not for cruising as such but because it was a sailing ship and seemed infinitely more exciting. Although a cheaper cabin, ours was well fitted out with plenty of storage, a safe, 2 hairdryers and clean linen as needed and enough sockets to keep our technology charged. We took our own adapters. The shower room was a bit small but quite sufficient. Food was to a high standard although there is rather a lot of choice and not all of it is enjoyable. For me the fruit variety for breakfast was a bit boring, no strawberries, raspberries, blueberries but lots of melon varieties, oranges and prunes, bananas only twice. The cooked breakfast was a bit disappointing, bacon rather solid, sausages - less said the better, scrambled eggs cooked to standstill and beans not the tomato sauce variety. Fresh omelettes though. It wasn't too difficult to find something. Lunch was probably the best meal, lots of variety, most well done and tasty, lovely roast beef, lamb and pork. Dinner, served formally and usually pretty good but not really enough vegetables. If you don't eat carbs then you're stuck a little. Rather too much food but if you're strong willed you'd be ok. The trips can be changed if the weather prevents the Clipper from docking anywhere and this happened twice on our trip. The places varied but generally included ruins, shops and bars. Beach time happened only once which was a shame, I'd have like more opportunity to swim in the sea. The staff are all delightful, the entertainment is varied and none of it professional but all the more fun for that. The ships talent contest was hilarious. The niggles? Well the same as others have noted, the sunbed hoggers were well in evidence (and an all British clientele) and although saving a bed is against the "rules", it went on and the staff turned a blind eye, unlucky for those of us who went on excursions and were looking forward to resting in the sun, we rested in our cabins instead. The dress code for dinner was also breached by passengers in shorts and this was also ignored, disappointing when most made the effort to be smart. A real occasion was made of setting off under sail and I found this really uplifting, watching the sails unfurl to the music of Vangelis and flying along. The sail time though is often curtailed by the weather and takes place mainly at night, if at all. Still, lovely to see the ship when it did happen. Dining with the captain, you had to pay and as he only appeared once not much chance really as this seemed to have been an option paid for in advance and thus not really open to most of us. All in all, I was glad to have sailed on The Clipper, just for the experience, I don't desire to "cruise" with hordes of people and children and eat bland food. I enjoyed it, loved it even. The weather was kind, never less than 30c and often hotter. No rain, yippee, pity you can't book the weather wherever you go. The one downside was the reports that there had been two and maybe three incidences of theft, almost certainly crew related. I am also against having to tip up for gratuities, in this day and age the crew should not have to rely on them for a decent wage. I know they are "voluntary" but who wouldn't feel obliged, especially when envelopes are provided for you do so. Who knows if the crew even receive the tips? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
The most important thing to bear in mind if you are looking at the Star Clipper is that this is a sailing holiday and not a cruise. Unlike the big cruise ships, these ships do not have stabilizers and therefore there can be quite a lot of ... Read More
The most important thing to bear in mind if you are looking at the Star Clipper is that this is a sailing holiday and not a cruise. Unlike the big cruise ships, these ships do not have stabilizers and therefore there can be quite a lot of rocking and rolling if the sea is anyway rough. On the first night's sailing a substantial number of passengers suffered from sea sickness including my wife! The ship's nurse was on hand with sea sickness tablets and if you feel that you may be prone to this, takes a tablet early. Getting on board Arrival and check-in was quite painless and as there is a maximum of 170 passengers, there was no queuing. The company do the usual thing on cruise ships by welcoming you on board with a cocktail and a buffet but on this ship you can probably meet most of you fellow passengers in one go! Cabins are quite compact compared to some of the bigger cruise ships but they were very comfortable. During the trip I found that if I went to the bar it gave my wife room to do whatever women do. The price of drinks at the bar is reasonable compared to other cruise ships I have been on and tea, coffee and drinking water are all complimentary for the duration of the trip. Bring a southern European adapter, the ship can supply you with one but have a very limited supply. Dining Apparently the ship has a Michelin Star chef and the standard of food reflected this. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and evening was a la carte. You can sit wherever with whoever which was helpful for those travelling alone. The house wine was fine and cost around 15 Euros for a bottle. There were also early morning, late afternoon and mid-night snacks for those of us with a big appetite. It would be worth going on this cruise just for the food which was outstanding. Sailing As I said earlier, this holiday is all about the sailing experience and the shore excursions are an optional extra. I had heard some complaints from passengers who had travelled on a Clipper and the Captain had used the sails very infrequently. Fortunately this was not our experience and we appeared to travel under sail all the time. It was nice to get ashore to shop and see the sights but I could have as easily stayed on board for the duration of the trip. Organized excursions are generally expensive but it is worth paying for the Dalyan River trip. The Cruise Director was either poorly trained or was in the wrong job. What information he did manage to communicate to the passengers was generally wrong, including simple things like paying for entrance to the castle and museum in Bodrum. No, you cannot pay in any currency, they only accept Turkish Lira but if you stop at the nearest bar they will exchange your Euros for Lira. You get a really poor rate but it was worth it to get in. Entrance was 10 Lira. Also unknown to the Director was that some of the sights were closed on the day of visiting. Fortunately we and a number of the other passengers treated this all as a bit of extra entertainment and it did not spoil our holiday Some passengers came on the trip just to see Santorini but if I go again I would give it a miss, particularly if there are other big cruise ships in. We choose this holiday to get away from the queues but queued for about an hour to get the venicular railway back down to the harbor to board the ship again. Couple this with the problem of getting ashore on time due to the rough sea, it just wasn't worth the bother. The place was pretty but very crowded and very expensive. Setting sail each evening to the sound of Vangelis was an exhilarating experience and there was always something going on deck during the day. This is not a big ship but the deck and bar never appeared to be crowded. You should also be aware that if the sea is rough, it is possible that the ship will be unable to berth or drop anchor. They usually have a plan B! Last but not least, the crew and staff were very friendly and helpful making this a lovely holiday and we will go back, perhaps taking the trip through the Panama Canal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
Star Clipper--Barbados to Panama Canal, 15 January 2011—14 Days Overall, we had a very good trip. However, we were a little disappointed with the "on board" experience compared to our 5 previous Star Clipper voyages. I ... Read More
Star Clipper--Barbados to Panama Canal, 15 January 2011—14 Days Overall, we had a very good trip. However, we were a little disappointed with the "on board" experience compared to our 5 previous Star Clipper voyages. I identified the major issues below, and just took the smaller issues with a grain of salt. It is all part of the adventure. We made some great friends and laughed ourselves silly. I hope this info helps you with your planning! Barbados Stayed at Butterfly Beach Hotel—Good value, on the water, had A/C, great rum punch with Bitters and nutmeg. Walking distance to food store—our room had a kitchenette. Used the local buses and small white vans-- very easy--$1 US each way. On Friday, went to Oistins for the fish fry. It was crowded and loud (as expected). Flying fish are very tasty. The locals take pride in the preparation—they are not fishy tasting or boney. Star Clipper (SC) SC had just arrived at noon for a 1600 boarding. They had just been in dry dock in Martinique for 10 days. She has a rebuilt engine and new hull paint. Not sure what else they did. Ship was in "Good" condition. The 4 hour turn was a little tight for them, as they were still cleaning up when we boarded at 1645. There had been a change out of some crew, and also there were some "brand new" crew. The Royal was also in port for its standard 7 day sailing. This itinerary does not sail very often—when I booked in May 2010 (8 months prior) there were only about 5 or 6 cabins left. We ended up with an interior room, #404-cat 5. It is a little smaller than cat 2 & 3. The location was very quiet. I didn't mind it, but my DH did not care for it—he called it the "Rabbit Hole". It is very dark at night, and in the morning you have to depend on your watch as there is no morning light. That being said, we spent most of our time on deck anyway. Some people were wait-listed for this cruise, and some of them made it after some cancellations. Only 2 cabins were empty on the cruise and some cabins that held 3 people (like ours with a fold up bunk) had just 2 people. There were 157 passengers on board, one half were Americans, next came the UK, followed by Germans. The passengers represented 9 nationalities--80% were returning passengers! The Royal left at 2200; we departed next and trailed her for awhile. Captain's Best Grenadines Anchored Chatham Bay, Union Island, 1200-1600 The Royal anchored here just before we arrived. She left right before we did—good picture ops. Water toy day. Snorkeling at the rocks on the left side (looking from the boat) of the bay was good. Nice beach to walk all the way down. Beers at Bollhead's (left side of beach) $3 US—bring small bills, esp. $1. We met Bollhead several years back. Smart guy, fun to talk to—lived in the US for quite awhile. Grenada Docked, St Georges, 0900-1700 The Royal arrived after us and anchored out. Because we were at the dock the sports team could not take out the toys or even take scuba divers out—"it would take business away from the locals". Nice terminal, free Wi-Fi in secured area. Duty free and a lot of shopping in terminal; supermarkets nearby if you need supplies. We had already toured the island during previous trips—waterfalls, gardens, nutmeg/spice farms, hiking, etc. A newbie might consider the tours. We took a water taxi to Grand Anse Beach ($8 pp return) which you can see from the dock. Very nice clean beach @ 2 miles long. There is a nice bar/ restaurant with clean restrooms at a small hotel at the right end of the beach. The inner harbor is also a nice walk. A few people did the "challenging" hike. Some fell on the trail, and most were muddy when they returned. They had a good time. Isla Margarita, Venezuela Anchored 1000-1700 Port area remote, @ 45 minute taxi ride to largest town—Porlamar. I don't know if anyone went to that town. We got off the ship, looked at the local vendor stalls, looked at the beach, and went back to the ship. An Aida cruise ship was there, and this is also a favorite of Venezuelan day trippers. Some shipmates said the tiny/crowded beach was full of rubbish and broken glass. Two tours offered—not too thrilling according to the takers. Island very third world and dirty, with partially built abandoned buildings. Very arid. Most shipmates did not like this port. There might have been a political reason why the ship visited this port---in order to visit anywhere else in Venezuela. The immigration team came by boat with @ 10 people! Blanquilla, Venezuela -------This was substituted for Los Roques by the Venezuelans, not the Star Clippers. Anchored 0800-1400 Another immigration team by boat—with a dog! Beach/water toy stop. Flat, scrubby island. Nice beach, no buildings in sight. Cruisers anchored. Weather was rainy and windy with whitecaps upon arrival. Went toward beach via tender, transferred to zodiac for final wet landing. Worked OK, except some people had a hard time getting back into the zodiac. It eventually got sunny, but the wind was off and on. Many people just chilled out on the ship. Only 3 divers went out with the dive team—not the best conditions. Snorkeling "fair to good" depending on sea state. Bonaire Docked at Kralendijk, 1400-2000 Wonderful clean, clear water everywhere—even under our boat at the dock (could see the bottom). You could swim and dive just N of Karel's pier—a 5 minute walk along the nice waterfront promenade. It is located by the boats on moorings. A lot of parrot fish and other types can be viewed from the promenade—a very nice walk. We walked around to the marina. A few waterfront bars. The Caribbean Princess was also in port (3000+ people) and had hired most of the water taxis to take passengers snorkeling to Klein Bonaire (a small island just across the harbor). Some people on the SC hired a taxi ($12 return per couple) to go to a nice beach south of town near the airport. They said the visibility was great. The town had some standard shopping—not much else. It was a nice stop. This island is known for its pristine waters and great snorkeling and diving. Curacao Docked at Willemstad, 1000-2330 Fun arrival, passed through the Queen Emma swinging bridge—docked in the middle of town. You can walk to everything in town. Very colorful—don't forget your camera. Floating market, narrow alleyways, old buildings, lots of shopping opportunities. Waterfront cafes, friendly locals. Punda side was more interesting. We stayed in town all day, some took the tours. Most people thought this was the best stop. Grand Princess (3000+) in town-they left @ 1700. Town pretty much shuts down at 1800 except for bars and restaurants (even on Friday). Aruba Docked at Oranjestad, 1000-2000 Main area seemed like a tacky little Las Vegas. A lot of jewelry and watch shops. Walked around the marina and checked out the big yachts. Island Princess in town, but it left @ noon. Internet/Wi-Fi was $5 an hour in main terminal building. Bus station a 5 minute walk from ship. #10 line to low and hi-rise beaches--$1.30 one way, or $2 return pp. Driver has US dollars and gives change. Nice A/C bus. About a 12-15 minute ride—runs @ every 20 minutes. These beaches are for walking and swimming—nothing to see underwater. You can take a good long walk on the sand or the paved walkway. Hi-rise area (Eagle and Palm Beaches) has lots of bars and restaurants (Hard Rock, Fridays, Tony Romas, Burger King, etc). Some people took a taxi to Arashi Beach (past Palm Beach) for excellent snorkeling. Only 2 people signed up to dive, the sports team wanted a minimum of 5, so that was cancelled. Tour was supposedly "so-so". It is a very small arid island. Recommend walking the main town, then head out to Eagle and Palm Beaches. At Sea 2 days Lots of activities—mast climbing on day one (second time so far), but cancelled the next day due to large swells and 33 knot winds. Great sailing! A pod of dolphins played with the bow for @ 15 minutes the first afternoon. The second afternoon, there were thousands of flying fish off the bow. Even though they were asked not to, quite a few people "reserved" their lounge chairs by leaving books and towels on them all day—even when they were gone for hours at a time (this happened everyday). Some passengers got pretty upset with this and there were some heated exchanges. Cartagena, Columbia Docked, 0830-2345 The modern cruise terminal is about 10 minutes from Old Town (Centro) by taxi. The terminal is in an industrial area—you will need transportation. Most passengers took the 3 ½ hour ships tour of the Old City—33 Euros. That tour was well received by most, especially since the city is very hot and the buses had A/C. We took a taxi to town. Unfortunately when we walked out of the terminal, we were harassed by way too many taxi drivers/ tour guides that had a "special deal" for us. The going standard is $10 US for a cab to or from Centro. Current rate $1 US= $1860 pesos (they use the dollar sign too). Some drivers were quoting as high as $20 per person one way. There is actually a taxi rate sign in front of the larger terminal building, but we came through the smaller building and the drivers steered us away from that sign so we never saw it until we returned. The Old City is very interesting to stroll through. Great photo opportunities. You can walk part of the wall. It does get hot and crowded by mid-morning. The cruise terminal has a very nice Wi-Fi area. $1 US for 15 minutes, $5 for 2 hours. The ship took on a full container of food during the afternoon. It was loaded through the service elevator in the Tropical Bar floor—check it out if you can. At 2215, the ship had a "Local Folklore" program. It was "OK" according to some passengers that attended. At Sea 1 day A following sea—a lot of rolling. Mast climbing cancelled. Sails were lowered and we slowed down during meals. Standard day at sea. San Blas Islands Anchored, 0900-1800 Hot, humid, and hazy. Quite a few cruisers anchored off the islands. The local "chief" came aboard to negotiate with the ship's Captain and officers about what we could do. Negotiations took about 80 minutes. Tenders started taking people to the village on Crab Island (Sugtupu or Suitupo) first. It is very poor and sanitation is nonexistent. The Kuna's are friendly and not too pushy. The cloth molas were lovely. Some mola favorites of the shoppers were: purses, bags, potholders, eyeglass cases, and molas to frame or use on pillow covers. There was a mola table set up in the tropical bar until about 1700. The beach was another tender ride to Needle Island (Abjuja?). This was a beautiful, clean little island full of coconut trees and sandy beaches. The sports team set up all the water toys there. Panama Canal Transit We were originally supposed to arrive at Cristobal for the "authority arrangements" by 0600, and then expected to go through the Panama Canal in the evening. We lucked out. Due to mast clearance and the tides, we had to be through the canal by 1700 in order to get under the Bridge of the Americas. We got "bumped up" on the list and were headed to the first set of locks by 0600. Star Clippers brought on a Panama Canal expert, so we had live commentary throughout the journey—very informative. It took about ten hours. We cleared the canal, and had to kill about half an hour for the tide to finish going out. We made it under the bridge by 1700 (boy, was that tight!) and anchored off Isla Flamenco by 1800. There is no pier here and cruise ships have to tender people in. Although it was not scheduled to arrive until 0800 the next morning, the ship was cleared through customs and immigration, and provided tender service until midnight. There are quite a few restaurants in the area and on the Causeway. Regular disembarkation started the next morning around 0800. Suitcases went out first in the wee hours of the morning. Panama City Stayed at a nice 4 room B&B, Dos Palmitos, on Ancon Hill. Very international flair—guests and owner. You could walk or take a $2 taxi ride to Old Town, which was a fun place to go. Had a wonderful lunch there at Cafe Rene'. For $8.50 you get an appetizer, salad, entrEe, rice, and dessert. It was great and so light tasting. Another day, we walked to the summit of Ancon Hill. Lots of fauna and wildlife; and views of the canal, Old Town, and Panama City proper. It was a $30 taxi ride to the airport—about 25 minutes at 0600. Allow two hours for international check-in/security. You cannot take drinks or water bottles on the planes even if you bought them in the terminal after going through security. There is another security check where they go through your carry-ons right at the gate. Misc Sailed quite a bit on this cruise. House wine---glass 3.5E, bottle 14.5E Draft beer---glass 2.8E Spirits---3.5E+ Cocktails---5.3E+ Ships laundry—cost in Euros: Dress-4.5, blouse-3, pants-3.5, shorts-1.5, sports shirt-2, regular shirt-3, t-shirt-1.5 with 24 hour turn time. This sailing lacked good port info (do your homework ahead of time). Also, we have been used to daily updates made by the Captain (via intercom) on sea status, depth, weather, and ships progress—it did not happen on this voyage. The ships temperature was warmer than normal. People complained about the heat, especially in the dining room at dinner time, and in their cabins. The heat was almost unbearable during the Captain's Dinner. Smoking (cigarette and cigar) was an issue. People left scheduled programs due to the smoke. The Captain smoked in most public places--including the bridge. There appeared to be a lot of crew change-outs and brand new crew on board, so it took quite awhile for the teamwork to develop. Due to all the new technology, internet cafes with computers seem to be a dying breed. Mostly found Wi-Fi places. Bring your own notebook or I-Pad or whatever. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
We travelled to Venice and stayed in a gem of a hotel away from the crowds but within walking distance of our embarkation port - San Basilio. Trundling our luggage over bridges and along side alleys, we quickly reached the port and joined ... Read More
We travelled to Venice and stayed in a gem of a hotel away from the crowds but within walking distance of our embarkation port - San Basilio. Trundling our luggage over bridges and along side alleys, we quickly reached the port and joined the queue. Even at this early stage the crew were there to help and guide us through the formalities of boarding Star Clipper. In no time at all we were climbing the gang plank to be met by members of the crew, music, welcome drinks and snacks. We were shown to our cabin - clean, inviting and with lots of storage space, a comfortable queen size bed, bathrobes, and a bathroom to dream about - marble surrounds, mirrors, a large Jacuzzi bath and shower, lots of fluffy white towels and complimentary toiletries, shower caps and emery boards. We then explored the ship - several decks, two pools, a cocktail bar and a small but well equipped library, containing books, board games, information on excursions and a daily potted news summary in English and German. It was then time for our first meal. We descended an elegant staircase to a dining room big enough to seat all the passengers and officers - who always joined a table at meal times. We could sit alone or ask to be seated with other passengers, and in this way we met most of the 130 or so people on the small ship who were all very interesting and added to the enjoyment of the holiday. The dinner menu included several starters, followed by a soup, a sorbet, a salad, a choice of main course and a choice of dessert. All meals were beautifully presented, cooked to perfection and catered for a wide variety of tastes. We were to learn that food was also available round the clock. An early bird breakfast of juices, pastries and fruit appeared at 6 a.m. A full self service breakfast which included fruit, cereals, English breakfasts, cold meats, salads and eggs cooked by a chef to order before your eyes, was offered from 8.30 until 10.00a.m. At twelve noon a buffet lunch appeared, with too wide a variety of dishes to list here, but all tasty and tempting. Midway through the afternoon a cake tray with chocolated fruits and cookies appeared in our cabin. At half past five it was canapE time and later it was dinner. As if this were not enough, there was a midnight snack (which I was never awake to see, but I am sure it was as good as the rest of the food.) There were plenty of ship's activities. I was up at eight each morning for thirty minutes keep fit, and later in the afternoon took part in the mile walk, where we explored parts of the ship I didn't know existed, as well as making several trips round the deck to the amusement of more laid back passengers. There was also water aerobics in one of the two rather small pools. We had severaltalks from the Ship's Captain (who was passionate about his sailing ship) and Doctor and updates from the Cruise Director. We had tours of the Bridge and Engine Room, demonstrations of knot making, games of deck golf and quoits, treasure hunts and quizzes. Nobody was coerced into doing any of these, but there was something to interest everyone. Likewise the entertainment after dinner was a mixture of talent shows, Pirate Nights, Folklore, Comedy Shows and a final night Slide Show of the passengers and sights on this particular trip. And every night there was music and dancing. We also had a massage tent which was very popular. We were fortunate to have the company of the ship's owner for part of the trip and he and his wife mixed easily with us, asking our views and answering our questions with patience and good humour. During our ten days, we visited eight ports before arriving at Athens, and had one day entirely at sea. The ship's tenders transported us to shore and optional excursions were offered at all but one of the ports. I had come on this trip to relax, so only participated in one - a coach tour in Corfu which was well organised and allowed us free time in the town after visiting Achilleion and the Old Town. For the rest, I wandered through the harbour at Losinj, swam from the boat at Hvar and Yithion,explored Dubrovnik from the city walls, walked through a deserted Old Town in Montenegro in the early morning and had a day on the beach at Mykonos. My husband went sailing once, and there were snorkelling or scuba diving available. I have not yet mentioned the part of the trip which gave it that extra touch - the excellent service from every member of the crew. Our cabin boy kept the cabin spotless and folded and laid out clean towels every day. The waiters always had a smile on their faces and seemed to remember everyone's names from day one. The chef frequently came into the dining room to check all was well, as did the maitre d' . The activities team were always available and helpful. My husband spent a lot of time on the Bridge and talking to the Engineer and Captain about the sailing aspects of the ship and found the officers informative and more than willing to answer his questions. The Cruise Director seemed to be on duty round the clock - and she never lost her smile or her temper! Disembarkation could not have been simpler. We received most of our bill the day before so there was plenty of time to check it. We settled up, handed in our keys in return for our passports, went into the customs hall and collected our luggage which we took to the transfer bus. Then we said our final goodbyes to the crew and were whisked away to the airport. Looking back, I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable holidays I have ever taken, and as many of the passengers were on their second, third - and in one case sixth - cruise, I was obviously not alone in feeling this way. There was so much to enjoy - the ship's amenities, the lovely cabin, the attentive crew, the information on board, the ports we visited and the wonderful food. However, no holiday is without a down side and if I must find one it will be - the food. There was too much, too often, and it was too good to resist!! I was also a little disappointed that there was not more swimming. The pools were tiny and we only swam off the side twice, but apparently this was because of port restrictions. There was also a tendency among a small minority of passengers to hog the sun-beds, in spite of written pleas by the cruise managers. And in fairness it was not just one nationality which was guilty of this! This was my first cruise, and I was not at all keen to share the experience with hundreds of others, so I chose a small sailing ship. I can honestly say that the ambience, the amenities, the experience and the fellow passengers, many of whom I got to know quite well, made it the holiday of a lifetime and I am already looking at the brochures to decide when to book my next. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2006
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the February 18, 2006 voyage of the Star Clipper round-trip from St. Maarten. It was by far the best vacation we have experienced. This was our eighth cruise overall, but first on a Clipper ship ... Read More
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the February 18, 2006 voyage of the Star Clipper round-trip from St. Maarten. It was by far the best vacation we have experienced. This was our eighth cruise overall, but first on a Clipper ship type vessel. We have previously cruised twice each on Celebrity, Carnival and NCL, and once on Royal Caribbean. We have grown tired of the larger ships and have wanted to try a sailing cruise for some time now. After sailing on the Star Clipper, we have no desire to return to the mass market cruise ships. ARRIVAL We arrived at the pier in St. Maarten about 3:30. We were told at the pier that check-in would begin at 4:00, but it actually began about 10 minutes early. Check-in consisted of receiving our room keys and ID cards and leaving an imprint of our credit card for purchases on the ship. We were finished with the process and were walking to the ship in a few minutes. We were met as we boarded by the Cruise Director and Hotel Manager and given a complementary cold drink. Light snacks were available on deck. We were escorted to our cabin and our luggage was delivered to our room shortly after our arrival. SHIP The Star Clipper is a fabulous ship. It is a sailing vessel, not a cruise ship. The ship is very elegant and sophisticated with none of the glitz of the bigger cruise ships. There are no casinos, atriums, show lounges, elevators or rooms with a verandah. There are two bars on board, the outside Tropical Bar and the inside Piano Bar. All of the nightly entertainment occurs at the Tropical Bar. The ship has plenty of teak and mahogany wood, all varnished to a high gloss. Additionally, there is a lot of brass, which is also kept polished. The crew was working every day doing routine maintenance around the ship. The ships passenger capacity is 170, but this week there were only 94 passengers on board, along with 73 crew members. The breakdown of passengers was very international - 41 were from the United States, six from Canada, one from Costa Rica and the remaining 46 passengers were from Europe. Of the 94 passengers, 63 had previously sailed with Star Clippers. The 73 crew members were from 25 different countries. The ship never seemed crowded. It is an easy walk from one end of the ship to the other. Because of its small size, the ship can fit into ports that the larger ships cannot. The ship offered several features not found on cruise ships: passengers could climb the mast to the first level crows nest (with appropriate safety equipment) on three separate occasions during the week; we could relax on the widows netting at the bow of the ship anytime the crew was not operating the sails; there was an open bridge policy throughout the week; the crew lowered lifeboats one day during the week to give the passengers the opportunity to photograph the Star Clipper at sea under full sails; and passengers were given the opportunity to steer the ship while at sea. Each day as the sails were raised as we were leaving a port, the ship would play the Vangelis symphony, 1492: Conquest of Paradise over the sound system. The passengers would congregate on deck to watch the crew raising the sails and to listen to the music. We felt there would be a lot of free time for reading - we brought several books along with us. However, we were only able to sit and read on deck one day out of the week because there was so much to do - each day was full of activities. The sailing throughout the week was rough. We had constant winds of 25-30 knots and the sea was rough while sailing. Several passengers were ill at points during the week due to the ships movement. CABIN We booked a Category 5 room and were assigned cabin 342. The room was small, but very efficiently designed, as was the rest of the ship. The room had a raised double bed, four feet off the floor - we had to use a block of steps or a ladder to reach the bed. The bathroom had a shower, toilet, sink and a medicine cabinet with plenty of shelving for storing toiletries. The cabin had sufficient storage and closet space for the two of us. A safe with a programmable lock was located in one of the closets. There was a TV in the room, which only received one English speaking program, Euro News (similar to CNN). A DVD player was also in the room, and video disks could be borrowed from the ships collection. There was a two channel audio system in room, one channel for classical music and the second channel for popular music. Our cabin attendant was very good and efficient. Towels were exchanged each morning and evening. MEALS All meals were served in the main dining room. Like the rest of the ship, the main dining room was very elegant. Booths lined the outside walls and accommodated four persons each. Tables in the middle of the room seated either six or eight. It was very common for the ships officers, including the captain, to join a group of diners at each meal. All dining is open seating, with service between 8:00 and 10:00 for breakfast, 12:00 and 2:00 for lunch and 7:30 and 10:00 for dinner. There are no formal nights - dress for dinner is resort casual for men and women. Buffet meals were served for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, there was an assortment of cereal, yogurts, pastries and fruits, along with scrambled eggs, french toast or pancakes, bacon and potatoes. There was also an omelet station for fresh omelets each morning. Lunchtime had a nice assortment of salads, cold cuts, cheeses, homemade soups and fruit. There was also a carving station each day with either fish or meat. The breakfasts and lunches were all very good. Each day between 5:00 and 6:00, an afternoon snack would be served at the Tropical Bar. Like the breakfasts and lunches, the afternoon snack was very good. We felt it was better than the dinners. The snack would consist of finger sandwiches, fruit, a hot dish and dessert. We were disappointed in the dinners served, both in the nightly selection and quality of food. Dinner would always have a seafood entree, a vegetarian entree and the two of the following: beef, pork, lamb or chicken. I only had one dinner I would classify as very good - a grilled sea bass. Lobster Tail was served on Thursday night, which is the Captains Dinner. My wife had the lobster, and said it was good, but not great. On two of the nights, I ordered the vegetarian selection when nothing on the main menu looked promising. The beef and pork dishes were consistently under cooked. I ordered a steak one night as medium well, and it came out very rare. On a different night, my wife ordered a steak very well done, and it came out rare. Others sitting at our table had pork and lamb dishes on different nights, and they were also done very rare. Coffee, tea and fresh fruit is available 24 hours a day in the Piano Bar. An early morning breakfast of croissants and pastries is also available in the Piano Bar from 6:00 to 8:00 in the mornings. Many mornings, we would be up early and grab a croissant and our coffee and tea and sit on the deck as the ship sailed to the next stop. SERVICE The service in the main dining room and throughout the ship was outstanding. Our waiters in the dining room were very attentive and we tried to sit in the same area each day with our favorite waiters. Bar service was mainly at the bar, with no bar waiters hounding you to purchase drinks every few minutes. The guys on the sports crew were excellent. The crew that worked the sails was also very good, showing great patience as the passengers were on deck as the crew was trying to raise or lower the sails. They were also very helpful with any information that the passengers asked them for. ENTERTAINMENT As mentioned above, entertainment on this sailing was very limited. There was one entertainer on board who sang and played the keyboard during the afternoon snack period. He also played the piano in the Piano Bar during the dinner hours and served as the deejay for nighttime dancing. There was an organized entertainment activity each night at 10:00 at the Tropical Bar. One night was crab races, another night was a Best Couples contest and a crew and passenger talent show was held on another night. These activities were very entertaining, and better than a lot of cruise line entertainment. The Best Couples contest was very hilarious, and the talent show with the crew performing was very enjoyable as well. Other forms of entertainment centered around the cruise directors daily talk on the upcoming port and the captains story time. Every morning before we reached a port, the cruise director would hold a briefing on the bridge. He would explain the history of the island and places of interest to visit. He detailed what times the tenders would operate to the town or to the beach, and what time the last tender would return to the ship at the end of the day. On two of the mornings, the captain held a story time on the bridge. These sessions lasted 60-90 minutes and consisted of mainly questions from the passengers regarding the ship and sailing in general, with the captain answering the questions. ITINERARY This is not a typical cruise ship itinerary. As was pointed out to the passengers on more than one occasion: This is a sailing vacation, not a cruise. The stops are in remote islands and harbors. The focus on the stops is enjoying the nature and natural history of the islands. There is not a lot of activity going on in most of the ports. At many of the stops during the week, French was the main language and the official currency was the Euro Dollar. English was not spoken in some of the locations and the US Dollar was not universally accepted. At each stop, the ship would run two tenders, one to the town for limited shopping and to meet the shore excursions and one to the beach. For each beach stop, the crew would take a banana boat, water ski equipment, a wave board (similar to a snow board), a windsurf board, sea kayaks, and a small sailboat. All of these activities were provided with no additional charge. Snorkeling gear was also issued at the beginning of the week for use throughout the cruise, again at no additional charge. The stop on Sunday was the island of Nevis. However, all shops in town are closed on Sundays. The beach tender stopped at a nice section of the beach near the Four Seasons Hotel. The Sunshine Bar is an open-air bar located next to the Four Seasons. This bar is famous for its signature drink, the Killer Bee. The walls of the bar are adorned with photos of celebrities who have sampled a Killer Bee. On Monday the ship stopped at Deshaies in Guadeloupe. As with many of the other islands the ship visited during the week, the shops in town were closed between 12:00 and 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon. We took the tender into the town, walked around for a few minutes and returned to the ship for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing at the beach. On Tuesday the ship stopped at Iles des Saintes in the French Antilles. We hiked up a steep road to the fort at the top of the harbor, with great view of the island. After returning to the ship for lunch, I took the beach tender in the afternoon for some snorkeling. While sailing into Iles des Saintes, we met up with another Star Clippers ship, the Royal Clipper, and both ships sailed side-by-side for a period of time. On Wednesday, prior to arriving in Dominica, the captain arranged for the life boats to be lowered and the passengers had the opportunity to ride in the life boats and photograph the Star Clipper at sea under full sail. This event was originally scheduled for Monday afternoon, but had to be canceled on Monday due to high winds. The fact the captain rearranged the schedule to fit in the photo opportunity is another example of the great service offered during the week. The stop on Wednesday was at Cabrits National Park in Dominica. This was the only stop where we docked at a pier, versus anchoring offshore and taking a tender to shore. The park had another fort overlooking the harbor and several hiking trails. We hiked up one side and down the other, ending up at a remote stretch of rocky beach on the other side of the island. After lunch, we sat on deck and read, as the ship left the dock at 3:00. The Thursday stop in Antigua was at Falmouth Harbour in Antigua. The large cruise ships that visit Antigua stop in the countrys capital, St. Johns, on the other side of the island. Nelsons Dockyard, home of the British Navy during the battles for supremacy of the Caribbean, is located at Falmouth Harbour. The beach visit today was very nice. The ships crew set up a barbecue on the beach and offered grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, fish and ribs for lunch. There was also good snorkeling at this beach. The final stop on Friday was at Gustavia in St. Barthelemy (also referred to as St. Barth or St. Barts), a very exclusive and wealthy island. Many large private yachts and sailboats were at the dock or anchored just offshore. There are many shops and restaurants surrounding the harbor. This was the only day the ship did not offer a beach tender. We were able to walk to Shell Beach, which was about a 10 or 15 minute walk from the dock where the tender stopped. It is a very nice beach, with plenty of shade and a small bar and restaurant. In the evening, we took the tender back into town for a little shopping and a drink at a harbor front restaurant. SUMMARY Despite our disappointment with the dinner food and the ships constant rolling movement, this was a fabulous vacation, and we would definitely love to take another Star Clippers cruise in the future. Read Less
Star Clipper Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 2.5 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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