1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Star Clippers
  4. Star Clipper Review
  5. Star Clipper Cruise Reviews
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Having been before on the Star Clipper we liked the format and knew what to expect - good quality cabin, great choice of food and plenty of it. Most of all that great feeling as the sails are hoisted to the stirring sound of Vangelis' ... Read More
Having been before on the Star Clipper we liked the format and knew what to expect - good quality cabin, great choice of food and plenty of it. Most of all that great feeling as the sails are hoisted to the stirring sound of Vangelis' Conquest of Paradise. Oh dear, seems the owner has instructed that the stirring music be relegated to background music thus destroying the magic that so many returning passengers have booked for, and encouraged others to do so. A passenger petition managed to raise one click on the volume control but the issue remains and would make me, and others, seriously consider whether to go again. Our cruise started from Phuket (Penang was nearest departure port in the drop down options). The usual life jacket and lifeboat drills took place on day 1 & 2 and at 7am on day 3 we pulled alongside the dock in Penang. All of a sudden there was a series of lurches followed by random blasts on the ship's siren and the call to "abandon ship". Luckily the incident was down to an over-enthusiastic tug having caused the ship to scrape along the rather crude dockside - the nautical equivalent of a supermarket trolley damaging your car door. Anyway we didn't sink and breakfast wasn't burnt! After that we seemed to have an incident a day - one of the tenders broached on a beach whilst attempting to pick up passengers from the beach. Could have been very dangerous and the crew clearly were out of there depth (sorry). A minor fire happened in the dining room when a plate warmer caught fire. The bar nearly ran out of alcohol, and the galley similarly out of food due to a container of supplies not having been cleared by customs at Penang. Incidents that could have made this the cruise from hell were handled admirably by the captain and crew in a professional, well mannered and good natured way meaning that passengers were never really inconvenienced. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our 4th cruise on Star Clipper so we knew what to expect. This one disappointed us, however. Pros: Food was good. Breakfast Buffett, Lunch Buffett, Dinner service. Cabin was clean. Ship was in great shape. The crew talent ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on Star Clipper so we knew what to expect. This one disappointed us, however. Pros: Food was good. Breakfast Buffett, Lunch Buffett, Dinner service. Cabin was clean. Ship was in great shape. The crew talent show was more fun and varied than usual. Cons: The wait staff and room stewards did not clearly understand English and spoke it with such accents at a such speed that they were very difficult to understand. Wait service at Dinner was slow - in one case we waited 25 minutes between appetizer and entree. Often when you asked someone on the crew a question, he would refer you to someone else. The all-day coffee was left to stand so that in the afternoon it was burnt. The cruise director checked off excursion passengers departing the ship but did not interface with the sponsors on shore. In our one excursion to the Indian River in Dominica, the sponsor was disorganized and left us stranded at one point. Disembarking, our luggage was taken to a tent for pickup but there were no signs off the ship to tell you how to find the tent that was quite a distance away. There were other minor annoyances. It just took away the joy we had sailing with Star Clipper in the past. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I took the Christmas 2015 voyage on Star Clipper through the leeward West Indies islands (St Maarten to St. Maarten) as a single traveler. There was no single supplement, which was a bonus. I’ve been a long time Windstar cruiser for over ... Read More
I took the Christmas 2015 voyage on Star Clipper through the leeward West Indies islands (St Maarten to St. Maarten) as a single traveler. There was no single supplement, which was a bonus. I’ve been a long time Windstar cruiser for over 20 years and, in my experience, the only difference between the two is that Clipper will give you a more authentic sailing, if that’s what you’re looking for. As someone who has lots of sailing experience, I have no problems with rocking and rolling but if you have a queasy stomach and easily prone to seasickness, you should be prepared for it, especially while sleeping and using the head. I found the passenger demographics between the typical Windstar passenger types very similar to that of Clipper (couples in their 40s -70s). There were more teens on this cruise, mostly due to the fact that it was over Christmas. Here’s my key dislikes about Star Clipper: -There’s no exercise room and no exercise equipment. If you want to workout while aboard, you’re hosed. Plan to go on excursions that require you to get a workout. Oh yes,they do post a daily workout in the center of the ship but just try stretching and exercising while the ship is listing steadily from side to side! -You can’t get your meals –or anything—delivered to cabin. And, you can’t eat your meals at the ship’s bar. This is a problem if you happen to be single, or even a couple, and simply don’t want to mix with others on any given night. -The ship’s pursars were very snarky and not helpful. Also, you can’t buy anything practical in the ship’s store, i.e, sunglasses, last minute toiletries, etc. They also keep the fact that they offer movies on CDs a secret. -While the ship’s cruise director is very knowledgeable about maritime history, he doesn’t provide much useful info on the islands prior to embarking if you want to go it alone outside of the excursions. He typically mentions just one thing (“take a walk to the fort”) if you are on your own. Be sure to Google the island to make your own way. -If you scuba dive like me, you won’t be able to aboard Clipper. They stopped it, however, they still have tanks aboard the boat. -The ship’s water sports equipment is dated and worn out. Also, I found the sports staff incredibly unfriendly and nonchalant about safety issues. -The food is simply “ok” but not great or anywhere near inspired. You won’t find anything out of the ordinary here. -Clipper glorifies the days of sailing yore (they say you’re welcome to help the crew with hoisting lines, etc., but don’t believe it. Its only hype.) and really plays this theme up as part of their brand. Problem is those days are in fact over and most people can’t really relate to them anymore. I kept thinking that they have a far better opportunity to provide some education on the importance of preserving ocean life, something that better resonates with today’s customer. -The interiors, especially the dining room, looks like a Red Lobster restaurant only with linen. It's a dated look and should be updated without losing its sea faring branding. -The house staff, with the exception of the bartenders and head waiter, seem relatively unfriendly and not happy. Some bad attitudes. -Entertainment. I don’t go on cruises for the entertainment but keyboardist Charlie from Budapest will have you craving for Weird Al Yankovitch before the end of the cruise. They also put on a “Talent Contest,” which is really cheesy and should be retired. Its downright painful to watch the crew be forced to perform. What I liked: -No single supplements -Low alcohol prices. Cocktails were $6; wine was $3. -Ship exteriors—and cabin interiors-- were kept clean and well maintained. I didn’t notice a speck of rust on her decks. Clipper clearly takes pride in her fleet. 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
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

Find a Star Clipper Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise