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Sail Date: March 2018
I booked this cruise when they offered a no single supplement offer as I have wanted to get to BVI for a long time and my Windstar cruise to BVI in December was moved to Barbados. Flew in one day earlier as few flights available and ... Read More
I booked this cruise when they offered a no single supplement offer as I have wanted to get to BVI for a long time and my Windstar cruise to BVI in December was moved to Barbados. Flew in one day earlier as few flights available and stayed at Alicia's Inn and enjoyed being on the Boardwalk and warm temperatures. Boarding began at 4:00 PM and quickly we were led to the ship, I had cat. 6 cabin 218 which is two bunk beds. Cabin was as small as I expected and two people in room would really be cramped and no way I would risk the ladder for the upper bunk. (if you are in this room as a single the ladder will rattle on it's hanger at night so I used towel to cushion) For one person it was perfect and no problems at all. There were 82 passengers on this trip with half from US and other half from UK, Austria, Germany, Australia, Switzerland and I met a wonderful family from Austria at Alicia's Inn and they included me at their table and for meals and we spent the day together in port and they were a big reason I had such a good time, thank Alex, Jutta, and Mario. Since this is a sailing ship there is less deck space thank my past experiences and shade was at a premium. Stairs are steep and thresholds are high but I had no problems during the cruise and you do notice the motion more but I was expecting this. Best food of any cruise I have been on and I only had breakfast and dinner with lunch being on the islands we stopped at, I had fish every night and was done perfectly and so good. They do have appetizers on deck from 5-6 and start with heavier apps first few days and less as week goes by but still plenty to choose from. I only drink beer and they listed carib on the menu but was not available but they did have a german draft that was fine once I gave it a chance. I enjoyed each Island and only wish we could have stayed longer like we did with Windstar but each was fun. They offered an excursion to the Baths in Virgin Gorda but you can get a taxi there for $4 each but I did do the train in St Kitts and enjoyed that experience. I did not care for the beach club they take you to catch the tender so I went back to my old favorite the Dock at Timothy Beach resort after the train and that was good as ever. Only one night did we have what would consider rough seas and glad it was at night and not during the day. Light shower one morning for 45 minutes and could see if in a rain storm for many hours during the day that could be a problem with where to go and do if not in port. Crew was friendly and ready to help for the most part except for the sport team. As this was my first cruise with Star Clipper I read everything I could find before my trip to know what to expect and not a whole lot of info available but I really enjoyed my trip and seeing some Islands that I have longed to visit and sorry I had to do this after the storm as the damage visible is terrible but there are enough places open to visit and I am sure the vegetation will be coming back also. I hope to do another cruise with Star Clipper and hope this review will help others looking for information. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We booked this cruise as we wished to see some of the smaller islands in the BVI's and other neighbouring islands. We booked a cabin on the deck as is it the only accommodation that offers a double bed where you do not have to climb over ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we wished to see some of the smaller islands in the BVI's and other neighbouring islands. We booked a cabin on the deck as is it the only accommodation that offers a double bed where you do not have to climb over one another to get in and out of bed. The space was restrictive but the bathroom was a good size. We were kept awake every night by the electric sail motors and banging from the deck above. The food was OK and the waiting staff very friendly and helpful. There was a complete lack of information about the ports of call and the history of the area. No maps or information sheets were provided. What a pity lectures were not available. We wonder why we went to some of the locations often just a beach with a bar and no means of transport to other places on the islands. We left the ship exhausted and needing another holiday. Never again! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
there was no communication between crew and passengers and because of this rumors were flying every day. We were told nothing and crew was mean. We did not stop at any ports because of bad weather but we should have been compensated in ... Read More
there was no communication between crew and passengers and because of this rumors were flying every day. We were told nothing and crew was mean. We did not stop at any ports because of bad weather but we should have been compensated in some way. We got free drinks one evening. The captain did not answer any questions. There was absolutely nothing to do onboard for those 5 days at sea. It seems they could have had some games or dances or something to take up some of the time. The cruise director was very mean answering questions. Leaving the ship in the Caymans was a true lesson in hurry up and wait. We came into port around 9 and was not permitted off until 3PM. Even then passports and customs forms were not filled out properly and many passengers had to return to ship for different forms. It was terrible. We should have received something from the cruise line Star Clipper. This was a terrible cruise and I will never go on this cruise line again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Having never cruised previously the idea of going on a tall ship was attractive because of the limited number of passengers and multiple ports of interest. My observations were as follows: 1. Sign in Barbados was not well run. As we ... Read More
Having never cruised previously the idea of going on a tall ship was attractive because of the limited number of passengers and multiple ports of interest. My observations were as follows: 1. Sign in Barbados was not well run. As we were initially attempting to board the ship we were told that we could not board until we had to present an identification card. We had not been given this at the sign in for some reason and no one really knew why. 2. Staff was arrogant and not particularly helpful. The activity director was an Italian whose English was not very well understood and between attempting to speak in both German and English alternately the meaning of what she was attempting to relate was completely lost. She certainly knew very little about each port of call and we could have learned much more by reading a note in trip adviser. She was not helpful at all and I would say a complete waste. 3. The crew was mainly eastern European (Ukrainian) and were not at all friendly. The captain had the most personality and at least gave folks a smile in the morning. The other grew members were sour at best. 4. The dining room waiters and cabin attendants were excellent. The dining room was quite loud and difficult to hold a conversation. 5. The food was plentiful. I would rate the quality as fair. Somewhat repetitive breakfast and lunch selections. Scrambled Eggs for example were under cooked and therefore folks would like up for up to 20 minutes each morning for omelets that a staff member would cook to requests. Staff would not always get your orders correct for dinners because they were obviously overworked as they took orders, bused tables, served, cleaned up, etc.. They tried their best and always with a smile. 6. Accommodations were fine. The ship was tidy although no enough canvas covers to protect passengers from the sun. 7. Evening programs or lectures were adequate if you could understand the descriptions. 8 Prior to leaving 2 ports in Venezuela were cancelled because of the political unrest and therefore we had 4 days at sea. Way too many days at sea. The crew was not helpful nor pleasant at all in describing what one might see regarding sea life, navigation, winds, or sailing. The captain gave a very information talk about the ship itself which was quite helpful. 9. The most concerning aspect of the trip was the last day during disembarking. The seas were not calm and the captain anchored off the port in Panama City. Each passenger leaving the ship had to go down the gang plank as the tenders were crashing into the ship. It was a very dangerous situation with some passengers coming close to having limbs crushed between the ship and the tenders. It was not an acceptable situation at all. I know for a fact that one of the passengers actually phoned the captain to tell him to move the ship as someone was going to get seriously injured. All in all, I doubt if I would recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
A masted sailing ship, 14 nights and sail power 83% of the time. What an adventure! The ship built in 1992 was well maintained, staff friendly and food fantastic. Cabins are an adequate size; we were on the Commodore deck, #131. ... Read More
A masted sailing ship, 14 nights and sail power 83% of the time. What an adventure! The ship built in 1992 was well maintained, staff friendly and food fantastic. Cabins are an adequate size; we were on the Commodore deck, #131. It is located over the air conditioner, so there was a constant "hum" which bothered us the first night. The under bed storage did accommodate our two suitcases and the three small closets held all of our clothes with room to spare. We do tend to pack light and took advantage of the laundry service offered. There was also a clothes line in the shower and found you could rinse out a t-shirt or underwear and it would dry overnight. The bed in this cabin was fixed double and could feel cramped if you are used to a king. Breakfast and lunch were buffet and more than adequate. At 5 daily there was an afternoon "snack" on the tropical deck that consisted of sandwiches or a hot snack like egg rolls or cocktail franks, fresh fruit and cookies. Dinner offered appetizer, soup, sorbet, salad a main course and dessert. Main course had a vegetarian offering and two fish or meat dishes to choose from. Also you could order a steak and fries or a pasta dish each evening. Seating at all meals is open and tables hold 6 or 8 people. The staff did designate a "french speaking table" but after the first few nights it was more mix and mingle. The passengers were aged from about 45 to 80 and were from the Us (mostly west coast), France, Germany, Austria and the UK. Most spoke English and we enjoyed learning where people were from; 80% were repeat clients. This was our first Star Clipper experience. Due to the ships size there is not glitzy evening shows, no casino, and not hourly passenger entertainment. We enjoyed watching the sails go up and down, reading, lounging in one of the two small pools and the occasional shuffleboard or ring toss tournament. There was also morning yoga and a daily mile walk around the ship. Shore excursions were offered ranging from bus tours around the islands we stopped at to snorkeling, 4x4 tours and eco hikes. Snorkeling equipment is free, but take your own masks if you have them. We found the free ones did not fit our faces and leaked. Getting off via the tender on beach days if the sea is rough can be a challenge. The last debarkation in Panama City was scary. We were anchored in the ocean by Balboa, all passengers were getting off for flights home or an excursion and the ocean swells and rough sea delayed us over an hour and a half. Passengers could only go down the gangway one at a time and then had to time their stepping into the tender as the gangway and tender rode the waves. One women ending up wet to the knees and a crew member broke his finger when it got caught between the gangway and the ship. This 14 day cruise stopped in The Grenadines, Greneda, Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, Cartegena, the San Blas Islands and transited the Panama Canal. The Canal was the highlight, being in a lock with a mega cargo ship in the adjacent lock was a marvel. A Canal historian was on board forr the day to give us a narrative on what we were seeing. We are hooked! We will continue to seek out this cruise line over the huge cruise ships. This was like stepping back in time to a far more intimate way to sail the seas. I did use the ear patch as I get sea sick- it worked and I had not problem as it is a sailboat and does rock. My husband was not bothered in the least by the motion even during our one "rough" day at sea. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had previously sailed with Star Clippers aboard the Royal Clipper in the Caribbean --one of our best cruises. We were intrigued by sailing the small clipper ship in the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas and chose this back-to-back ... Read More
We had previously sailed with Star Clippers aboard the Royal Clipper in the Caribbean --one of our best cruises. We were intrigued by sailing the small clipper ship in the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas and chose this back-to-back cruise from Venice, allowing us to spend time seeing that port first, and disembarking in Malta, a port not found on a lot of itineraries due to its out of the way location south of Sicily. Ports for this cruise after sailing from Venice included Mali Losinj, Hvar, and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Katakolon (for Olympia), Santorini, Mykonos, Athens (end of first leg), Monemvasia, and Pilos, Greece; Syracuse, Sicily, and disembarkation was in Valletta. We took two private tours during the day in Venice, having arrived the day prior, arriving for embarkation (which began at 4 pm) at the terminal at 4:45 pm and being exhausted already, having arrived via a water taxi with 2 suitcases of 50 lbs.+ each which we dropped off at a different point of the terminal (to be scanned and sent to our stateroom), 2 roll-on carry-ons, and two backpacks, we found quite a few fellow passengers were in line, so we had a fair wait to go through security before boarding which also was compounded by another ship embarking in the same terminal. Upon embarkation via gangway to the Tropical Bar, we were met by the Captain and Hotel Manager with an alcoholic beverage. We elected to complete check-in in the piano bar and take carry-ons to our cabin, then return for snacks being provided at 5-6 pm that night as well as every evening on deck at the Tropical Bar. Muster drill was at 6:30 and was very comprehensive (with life jacket on and detailed instructions), compared to most cruise lines' drills nowadays. Second muster drill was the following morning (without donning life jackets). Sail away party was at 7:30 on Sundeck (top) to views the sails being raised. Dinner was served by waiters most evenings 7:30-10 as previously mentioned, open seating style (come at any time and join others at a table). The "tall ship" Star Flyer was built in 1991, is 360 feet long, and can accommodate just 170 guests. She spends her summers in various parts of Europe and her winters in the Caribbean. Life aboard is blissfully relaxed, much like traveling on a private yacht. You’ll never feel confined on Star Flyer. The ship offers spacious accommodations and expansive teak decks with ample space and not one, but two swimming pools. In fact, you’ll find that the ship offers more outdoor space per passenger than most conventional cruise ships. The décor of Star Flyer and her sister Star Clipper is reminiscent of the grand age of sail. Antique prints and paintings of famous sailing ships please the eye, while teak and gleaming mahogany rails are richly reminiscent of Star Clippers’ proud nautical heritage. All Star Clippers ships feature open-seating dining in an elegantly appointed dining room where formal wear is never required (but country club casual in the evening is the norm), their convivial indoor-outdoor Tropical Bar and Piano Bar, and an Edwardian style library where a Belle Époque fireplace glows with a warmth that reflects the friendliness and enthusiasm of Star Clippers’ hospitable officers and crew. I enjoyed climbing the Crow's Nest and had I been inclined, I could have manned the winches and raised or lowered sails. The bridge is open more than 95% of the time and passengers are encouraged to learn about sailing on this vessel. All crew (72 staff) "wear several hats", assisting in multiple tasks when needed, especially on embarkation & disembarkation day. Service in the dining room was erratic, depending on the number of patrons already there upon our arrival; we also felt that total number of waiters was insufficient, given the number of tables. We were privileged to "watch" provisions be lowered through several decks in an opening starting on the main deck not much larger than 10 feet X 10 feet, if that, (while eating lunch in the dining room) to the storage bulkheads in the lowest level of the ship during one such embarkation day mid-cruise. We wish to alert you that this type of cruise is not for everyone as it has no casino, entertainment is limited, and activities on board are minimal, but the benefits of feeling like you are a part of the sailing, and not one of thousands of people, and the staff and passengers you meet, endears it to your heart forever. Most days of the cruise were spent in a charming port where one could explore on their own or participate in a ship-sponsored cruise which were limited for this small cruise line, and in some cases were canceled if not enough participants signed up. About half the ports allowed for evening exploration as well, as sail away could occur between 6 pm and midnight. Local entertainment similar to a barbershop quartet was brought on board in Dubrovnik, while most nights the entertainment was provided by the crew (or passengers in a fashion show or talent show) or a movie was shown. Most mornings we continued sailing awhile before arriving into a port and our first morning was no exception. Gymnastics class was available at 8 am (most mornings). Early Bird Breakfast (continental) is available 6:30-10:30 in the Piano Bar with coffee, tea and juices as well. Full buffet breakfast was usually from 8-10 with an egg station, fresh fruits, numerous bread options, and several hot offerings ranging from bacon and sausage & potatoes to crepes, french toast, pancakes, dry cereal, and oatmeal. Yogurt, juices, cold cuts, cheeses and a smoothie were also available daily. Lunch buffet was usually 12-2, but varied slightly depending upon arrival in port. There was always a daily meat at the carving station as well as hot meat options and various potatoes, vegetables, breads, fruits and desserts at all lunch buffets, each of which featured a specific theme. We visited the small Croatian port of Mali Losinj on our first stop (Sunday) and there was not a lot to do, but it was an enjoyable relaxation port. If one stayed aboard in port, the Sports Team had offerings of Shuffle Board and deck golf most days. This night there was a cocktail demo and the passenger/Sports Team fashion show. Dancing on deck in the Tropical Bar was always available at 11 pm or so with music by the keyboardist who also played on deck during evening snacks (5-6 pm) and other times. There is a small Sloop Shop selling a variety of logo items (some of which were modeled in the fashion show). There is no gymnastics equipment, but the sports team did off activities daily. The ship then stopped in Hvar, Croatia where we arrived at 11:30 am and sailed at 6 pm. There were quite a few optional excursions in this port. Evening entertainment was a Dance Night on deck. The next morning, our next "sea stop" was for two hours allowing those who were inclined to swim from the ship via gangway from 9-11:30; other optional equipment included floaties, kayaks and paddle-boards. Tuesday afternoon at 2 pm brought our return to Dubrovnik, Croatia, one of my favorite culturally enriched and quaint ancient ports, and several excursions were offered by the ship as well. Water sports activities from the gangway were available late afternoon for those on board. The evening entertainment after dinner was provided by a local folklore group similar to a barbershop quartet, followed by sail away at 11:45 pm. We had been informed by the Captain the previous night that we would be entering the Bay of Kotor before daybreak, and arose to view the calm waters and tall mountains of the Dalmatian Coast forming fjords as we sailed towards Kotor and arrived at 7 am. We participated in a short excursion (the other biking option was canceled due to lack of participants), with no free time and definitely not enough time in Montenegro. We sailed at noon with a deck lunch which afforded us a chance to view the beautiful scenery and the afternoon was spent sailing towards our next port of Corfu, not reached until the following afternoon. Available activities after exiting the Bay of Kotor included mast climbing, knot tying and deck golf. After dinner, a virtual tour on the operations of the hotel department was available. Our arrival in Corfu, Greece, was at 2:30 pm and several ship excursions were offered. Sail away for the next Greek port of Katakolon was 8 pm. Friday morning offered mast climbing as our arrival at this port was not until 2 pm; most passengers took the tour to Olympia, a definite highlight for this port. We, however, enjoyed shopping through several small blocks on the main street, one block off the shore and relaxing, as we had visited Olympia previously. We did not sail until 10 pm, allowing passengers to watch two other ships in port sail away ahead of us, and a movie was featured after Star Flyer sailed onward towards Santorini, but first a sea day in the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Crete, and a chance to view the Star Flyer from tenders with sails raised. Days at sea are usually very relaxing, and like the large cruise lines, the chair hogs have "reserved" their lounger for the day by 9 am. Gymnastics at 8, followed by a sea stop to view the ship sailing as we followed in tenders. Upon reboarding, mast climbing, a treasure hunt, a "tour" of the wheelhouse/bridge, deck golf, shuffleboard, walk-a-mile fitness, knot tying class, water gym, and creating towel animals were options to keep one busy if not occupying a lounger all day. Captain's dinner was this evening; however, he was kept busy determining whether Star Flyer would actually sail into Santorini, due to extreme winds and rough seas to traverse during the night. Once the ship passed into naturally sheltered waters around Santorini, the swells diminished and it was determined we would be able to tender ashore to this beautiful Greek island. The excursion to Akrotiri Archaeological site began once we anchored before noon for most passengers. We had visited that site previously and decided to see a few sites in Fira not explored on past cruises, including the Archaeological Museum, where some of the larger pieces from Akrotiri are housed. We also enjoyed a leisurely lunch of locally caught and superbly prepared calimari while I caught up with my wi-fi work. While back on board, sunset occurred behind Nea Kameni, the island in the middle of the caldera, just prior to our sail away for Mykonos at 7:30. I had signed up for the volcano hiking scheduled there, but I was disappointed as not enough participants forced a cancellation. After another rocky night sailing, we anchored off Mykonos at 10 am. Tender rides were rough and a bit wet. This was to be another port to explore on our own as we had visited once before and there were no ship sponsored excursions. We climbed up hills to a vantage point for many beautiful photos and then walked down to the 5 windmills and Little Venice which we had not explored during our previous visit. Walking kept us in shape and we spent some leisure time at a local bar in Little Venice. Our return tender trip was even more of a sea christening with a lot of bobbing/rocking/dousing with water. Sail away was at 5 pm, after which options included an engine room visit and napkin folding demo. Movie at night was "Around Cape Horn". October 17 brought the end of the first leg of our back-to-back cruise, with many disembarking in Piraeus, the port for Athens. Since we had seen most sites in Athens on previous visits, we had booked online an independent tour to visit Cape Sounion, home of the Temple of Poseiden located at the tip of the Pelopennese peninsula with fabulous views, for the afternoon after exploring the port during the morning. There were a number of ships in port and a shopping mall there. After reboarding our home for another 5 day cruise, we noticed many new faces, but continued our meal time gatherings with friends we made on the first leg of the cruise. Sail away was at 9:30 towards Monemvasia, Greece, arriving at noon the next day. This was a very unique small port with lots of history built on a hillside where there was a recently restored (exterior, with the interior restoration just beginning) Church of Agios Sophia at the top. No roads or vehicles are allowed in the small town, necessitating climbing to the top taking more than 1/2 hour where one traversed a very craggy uneven rock path, but the views were amazing, as was the church. Water sport activities were available for those staying on board. The second fashion show was presented following our sail towards Pilos at 6 pm. Our last port in Greece was Pilos where we anchored at 10 am, another port built on hills with a protected fort. There was a ship-sponsored excursion, but we elected to climb the hills of the town which  afforded great views once again. On board options featured walk-a-mile and mast climbing with the sports team. We raised the anchor at 6 pm, sailing towards Syracuse, Sicily. Evening entertainment provided by the passengers was a game show with three teams competing. Our sea day in the Ionian Sea offered another opportunity to view the ship from tenders sailing and the usual events with the sports team plus another bridge visit option. Another talent show after the Captain's Dinner for the second 5-day sailing. Our last day arriving in Sicily at 10 am was bittersweet as usual. I spent an hour of the morning walking around town and later our excursion (one of two offered) took us to some of the same spots, but included others as well. Shuffle board, deck golf, and another engine room tour were available late afternoon prior to our final sail away at 6 pm. Evening movie shown was "Around Cape Horn" again. Thanks to Capt. Yuriy Slastenin and all the staff and crew for wonderful memories sailing the Dalmation Coast, Greece and the Ionian Sea. We arose early Sunday, October 21, so as to view the entrance into the port of Valletta, Malta and have a relaxing breakfast before disembarking at our leisure around 9:30. We then got a taxi to our hotel, followed by a day exploring Valletta. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
A small ship able to visit the smaller, uncrowded islands, excellent food, fantastic and reasonable shore excursions with a wonderful cruise director, and pleasant company. What more can one ask? Well, maybe rolling out of bed and ... Read More
A small ship able to visit the smaller, uncrowded islands, excellent food, fantastic and reasonable shore excursions with a wonderful cruise director, and pleasant company. What more can one ask? Well, maybe rolling out of bed and walking 20 feet to a buffet breakfast, basking in the sun on the webbing slung from the bowsprit, climbing to the crow's nest for a fantastic view, or listening to the captain of the ship play classical guitar on the amateur entertainment night. We always wanted to try a sailing cruise and to see the Greek islands. The Star Flyer (or its sister ships in the Star Clipper line) was the ideal way to satisfy both desires for a reasonable price. We've done many large ship cruises but now we're sold on the intimacy and informality of the Star Clipper approach. It's great not to have any queues boarding, eating, visiting islands, or disembarking. While the dining was informal dress the food was great and the service elegant and attentive. The big name visit was to Mykonos, which we preferred least because it's too touristy and it was crowded with other cruise ships in port. We loved Amorgos: We were the only ship visiting this small Greek gem. We did a cruise tour to a monastery overlooking the beach where a famous diving movie, Le Grand Bleu, was filmed. Our guide was a local Greek woman who knew well the history of the monastery and the island. After the tour we spent the remaining hours in the small town and ran into the guide at her sister's patisserie. We then enjoyed watching the boats and locals at a port front restaurant while sipping wine and ouzo, for a few Euros each. Once again the guide appeared because her parents owned the restaurant. Our experiences on another small island, Patmos, where we visited the cave where St. John dictated the Apocalypse, was similar. For Monemvassia the cruise director Monica had the sports team organize a free walking tour to the fort at the peak of the island with a commanding view of the walled town at its base, the port, and the Peloponnese peninsula. Visits to the Greek ruins at Ephesus and Melos (an island just across from Mykonos) provided the cultural enrichment for the trip. We now understand why the majority of our fellow sailors were multiple repeat customers. One of them had been on 20+ Star Clipper cruises. But he's far from the record: One lady has sailed with the Star Clippers 190+ times. Well, we're on our way to compete! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Since this forum helped me decide to travel with Star Clippers, I feel obligated to report on the marvelous experience I have just completed, March 25-April 1 on the Star Flyer, Treasure Islands itinerary, and to counter the mutterings and ... Read More
Since this forum helped me decide to travel with Star Clippers, I feel obligated to report on the marvelous experience I have just completed, March 25-April 1 on the Star Flyer, Treasure Islands itinerary, and to counter the mutterings and nitpicking of some disgruntled previous posters. Most importantly, this is a far different experience than traveling on a behemoth cruise ship with thousands of passengers. Harking to the bygone days of clipper ships, it replicates a much quieter, more intimate, more collegial journey. You get to know your fellow passengers (there were 155 of us, and 70 crew, total) far better, since you see each other frequently. Most are veteran travelers, with stories and advice to generously share, both with previous Star Clippers trips, and with other cruise lines. On my trip they were a pleasant mix of Americans and Europeans (British, German, Swiss, and French), although most nationalities tended to keep to themselves. All shipboard announcements were made in English, German, and French. I traveled solo, and found several other passengers who were as well. This presents no problem at all, as seating at meals and participation in on-ship and on-shore events allow constant mingling; I never felt like a fifth wheel, and was always welcomed to a table or to a social group. I was able to form some delightful friendships. The ship’s entire staff and crew, top to bottom, deserve the highest praise for their unremitting professionalism, courtesy, and efficiency. It must take a special kind of crew to work amidst a bunch of always-in-your-way passengers, asking you questions, but every one of them handled their duties with aplomb and patience, every, every minute. Meriting special commendation is the cruise director, Steffi, who was worth her weight in gold! She was always on top of everything, giving clear information, and exhibiting a wonderful combination of enthusiasm, patience, and efficiency. Captain Yuriy, too, was a welcome, knowledgeable, reassuring presence (and many of us appreciated his early request that we eschew any talk of politics or religion!) Was the rocking a problem? Not really. A few people wore patches or took tablets, but I found that you very easily, very quickly adapt to instinctively shifting your weight to accommodate. Even with a cabin in the aft area, clipper deck (#343), it was not particularly noticeable (although, admittedly, we had calm seas the entire trip). The appearance of the ship was absolutely top-flight at all times, in every single area. The stress on safety was appreciated, and clearly more necessary than on large cruise ships, since we were much closer to the ship’s operation. Safety instructions were reiterated and explicit, as they needed to be. The food was far, far better than we had any right to expect. Absolutely superb. Day after day, night after night we marveled at how the chef and his staff (in that little galley) could continue to produce such wonderful meals. Everything was absolutely delicious and in many ways superior to that of the large cruise ships. The bars, too, were well-stocked and well-tended. The service of everyone was excellent in all respects, from stewards to waiters, to tender operators, to engineers and sail crew, to officers, consistently exhibiting a high standard of quality and exemplary work ethic. My room steward was every bit as attentive and responsive as those on large ships. The tender operators diligently toiled in the hot sun hour after hour to ferry passengers to and from shore, always providing extremely helpful, safe, and efficient service. I was originally apprehensive about using tender service to and from the shore, as all but the initial embarking in St. Maarten and final debarking there was accomplished by tender. But at every moment I felt safe and under careful supervision and attention. Not to worry! I am not a lie-on-the-beach person, and traveled mainly for the experience of enjoying the working of the ship itself and the destinations, so I found these latter, especially in Anguilla and the BVI, to be a little too remote for my taste. In Tortola, we had no chance to visit Road Town, the capital of the BVI, as we were there only one evening, anchored far from the town, in which everything was closed, anyway (which was regrettable). There are very few excursions provided (one or two per port), along with a few sports activities on shore and on the ship. I made my own arrangements for tours on St. Martin and St. Kitts, so I can’t effectively evaluate those provided by the ship. The highlight of each day was the departure, with sails going up and music playing—really stirring, and unlike anything I had experienced before—a time we all looked forward to each day. I found no problem whatsoever with anyone hogging deck lounge chairs as some have mentioned on this board; everyone courteously vacated them, taking their towels, when no longer needed. The aft area under the awning was a refreshing hangout location, but it never became contentious. I found extremely helpful, and would highly recommend viewing, the 360-degree virtual tour of the Star Flyer provided by Star Clippers: http://www.starclippers.com/us-dom/explore-star-clippers/virtual-tours/star-flyer-virtual-tour.html A few quibbles: • The embarkation process in the terminal was too slow, with only the cruise director valiantly trying to handle everything in the embarkation area, and long lines resulting. More help is needed on this. • Even restricted to two areas, it was hard to avoid the smokers. Might Star Clippers give any thought to a smoke-free cruise? Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This is a very hard one to score. The vessel is a sailing cruise ship (barquentine) which takes a maximum of 170 guests. It is extremely well-appointed and the crew are enthusiastic and attentive. We would particularly comment on the ... Read More
This is a very hard one to score. The vessel is a sailing cruise ship (barquentine) which takes a maximum of 170 guests. It is extremely well-appointed and the crew are enthusiastic and attentive. We would particularly comment on the outstanding food which was served throughout our 7-day cruise. So far, it rates 5 stars. The problem was that it failed to deliver us to several of the destinations advertised. Some while before our holiday, we were informed that the Cuban authorities had revoked cruise ship licences to two of the islands and, instead, we would have to spend an additional night in each of Havana and Cienfuegos. (There was no evidence that the company had tried to substitute some different islands). Neither Havana nor Cienfuegos were appealing to us as we had already built more than enough time in those locations into our itinerary but, by then, it was too late to change our other travel plans. So, before the holiday starts, we have effectively lost two days. We embarked on Saturday afternoon, sailed Monday evening and were due to visit our first stop, Punta Francis, on the Tuesday morning. On arrival at Punta Francis, we were advised that the Port Authorities were unable to clear us in as their car had broken down. The company was unable to resolve this problem so we had now lost the third of our five stops. The company blames the Cuban authorities, but we now understand that this is quite common (we were told by staff that this was the third time in the last four visits to Punta Francis that guests were unable to go ashore) yet we were never warned of this possibility. The company needs to understand that travelling on the Star Flyer is an experience but not the end in itself. And it needs to come clean about the likelihood that they will not be able to deliver what they advertise in their brochure. The whole point for us was to visit some outlying parts of Cuba in addition to the main towns and cities. Instead, we sailed from Havana to Cienfuegos, stopping in one position which allowed us to visit just two different beaches. Overall, a hugely expensive disappointment. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We crafted our whole 5 week holiday from Australia around this cruise. It all sounded so fabulous that we were prepared to make significant concessions with our other travel arrangements to work with the cruise dates. Unfortunately, ... Read More
We crafted our whole 5 week holiday from Australia around this cruise. It all sounded so fabulous that we were prepared to make significant concessions with our other travel arrangements to work with the cruise dates. Unfortunately, the ship only stopped at one port in 7 days and that was only for a few hours. For a cruise that is billed as a cruise of Cuba it's ironic to say that this stop was not even in Cuba, but in Grand Cayman. We got off the ship but no one bothered to give us even a map, or tell us what we could do there, so we wandered around aimlessly for a few hours. (I should say that we had booked to do the Stingray City tour with the boat but they cancelled it and warned us that we should not take the trip with anyone else once on shore.) There were so many excuses made for not adhering to the itinerary - the whether and the Cuban authorities, being the most offered. Those excuses are very hollow when you have paid several thousand dollars for effectively a cruise to nowhere. On board there were not enough sun lounges and those which were there were taken from early morning, by people placing their belongings on them and then leaving for hours. I know of one very unpleasant showdown which could have caused World War 111 between Germany and England. The "fun" on board activities consisted of learning to fold napkins and towels, or listen to how great the Star Clipper Experience was, which was even further infuriating. The library only held a few people at a time and there were only very boring activities there anyway, when they were scheduled. The two pools, which are comical descriptions of what they were (more like spa tubs for a few people) always seemed to be without water. I accept that the food was fine -although there was not a trace of Cuban or even Caribbean cuisine. The wait staff, who we were advised were to be tipped significantly according to the instructions, were indifferent. Overall this cruising experience was a disaster. Star Clippers should really consider whether they want to operate this route. Read Less
Star Flyer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 2.0 2.9
Family 2.0 2.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 2.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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