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I had done extensive research on the Star Clipper website, YouTube, and Cruise Critic prior to deciding on the Royal Clipper Grenadine Islands itinerary as my husband was looking to visit smaller ports not available on the regular cruise ships. We had visited all the islands (Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia and Barbados) other than the Grenadines (Union Island, Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and Bequia) and wanted to return to them. We are avid snorkelers and water sports are a big part of Star Clippers in addition to the sailing aspect. My previous 20 cruises had been on the usual cruise lines (Celebrity, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Norwegian), usually on smaller or medium size ships, to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska and South America. When booking our cat 3 cabin, I was informed that most cabins are somewhat small, but adequate. We were on the Clipper Deck overlooking the atrium area (including the dining room) after entering an access door at the bottom of the stairs to the cabin corridor. This was an ideal location due to its availability to all points forward and aft. There are many gateway cities for included air and although Pittsburgh was not one of them, our agent was able to give us comp air due to connecting at Charlotte, NC directly to Barbados. After meeting the SC (Star Clipper) rep at the airport, we were accompanied to the small van (taxi) for our ride to the ship. The driver was very pleasant and in fact tried to get us to commit to a private tour upon our return to Barbados the following Saturday. Upon arrival at the ship, there was a large P&O ship and the Windstar sailing ship berthed as well. There is no embarkation procedure prior to boarding due to the ship's small size. We climbed the gangway and were greeted by the hotel director and a cold towel at the tropical bar and guided to the embarkation desk inside the piano bar area around the atrium. This took approximately 5 minutes and we then went to our cabin down one flight of stairs. We then took a short walk around the ship to get our bearings and returned to the tropical bar (location for many activities including the life boat drill at 6:45 pm as it is where the two muster stations are. Dinner was served from 7:30-11:00 pm every evening where guests can choose how large a table to be seated at and where. We therefore met many different guests mostly from the US and the UK, but some also from Canada. There were others from France, Germany, Italy and other European countries we learned later as we met them on excursions. All announcements were given in three languages (English-primary, German and French). Sailaway was at 10 pm and there was a moonlit sky, but little wind not necessarily from the direction needed so only a few sails were unfurled and the engines assisted. Breakfast buffet was served from 8-10 am everyday, with early bird coffee and hot tea, pastries and breads available at the piano bar from 6:30-10:30. Buffet lunch was from noon to 2 pm with a different emphasis (i.e.,seafood, international, Italian, Caribbean, Oriental) daily. Afternoon snacks were available from 5-6 pm at the tropical bar as well as midnight snack at the piano bar which we never saw due to our retiring prior, from 11:45 pm to 1 a.m. daily. Iced tea was only available during dinner. Beverages such as soda and all alcoholic drinks were charged to your onboard account which uses Euros, not dollars. We prepaid our gratuities in dollars. A second life boat drill was conducted while at sea on the first day, followed by introduction of the officers and crew. The ship anchored at every port except Fort-de-France, Martinique and therefore tenders were needed to go ashore. The Sports Team would always get the water activities set up at the onboard marina or take the equipment ashore to the beaches when we anchored at a beach (all the Grenadine islands). General info on the ship: There are no elevators and negotiation of steps is required throughout the ship and it is therefore not for those who are not ambient. There is no theater (therefore no production shows) but there was an excellent Steel Band on board for an hour prior to sailing from Grenada, no casino, no professional photographer and no manned excursion desk. There are signup sheets with descriptions in the 3 languages for excursions and the Cruise Director Anna previewed them as well as you can preview descriptions online. Some activities such as a fashion show, line dancing, pirate night and a talent show encouraged guests (189 on our sailing) to participate. No special facilities or activities for children (none on our cruise in late January). The crew of 100+ is multinational with a majority of European nationalities (the ship sails in the Med in summer). There is a beautiful relatively large library, three small pools, several bars, an observation lounge which we learned was partially removed to load supplies and food on pallets on embarkation day, and a small gym and spa which I was too busy to utilize. There are two lifeboats, two tenders (with ramps for wet landings) and multiple zodiacs which seemed to be used only by crew on our cruise. Royal Clipper provides complimentary use of all water sports including snorkeling gear which is issued the first day for the use of the cruise. The Sloop Shop has an extensive SC line of clothing/accessories and the shop doubles as the Purser's Office. This sailing ship does offer opportunities (usually more than once to participate in sailing activities including unfurling the sails, enjoying the bowsprit net, and climbing the crows nest. I thoroughly enjoyed my time up on the Crows Nest as we were beginning to sail from St. Vincent to Bequia and this afforded me great views of all the nearby islands (though it was very windy). Excursions booked through SC: Grenada - Shadowfax Sailing/Snorkeling/BBQ lunch - we were disappointed with this excursion as the catamaran sailing was very rough which was normal around the southern point (thought the excursion should not have gone). Lunch was OK - it included Lobster and champagne, but the beach was shaded by trees and we were cold from the windy sailing. The snorkeling was also not in a tranquil location. Tobago Cays - Snorkeling was a bit rough as well (around the back side of the island where the SC beach BBQ was held). St. Vincent - Reef life tour -- excellent snorkeling at two locations (one was black sand beach). Almost all of the snorkeling on our excursions including the complimentary ones from the ship requires a bit of experience - not for newbies. The final three days of our cruise involved two ports at each island (St. Vincent/Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia) and since we were involved in snorkeling every day, we did not get the chance to "see the ports" as time was just too limited (3-4 hrs each). I enjoyed seeing many sunsets and on our last day sailing from Soufriere, St. Lucia, saw porpoises as well. This occurred after our awesome, amazing "Full Sail Sailaway" viewing the Royal Clipper unfurling her sails from a tender with the Pitons in the background - a superb way to end our cruise. Thanks to Capt. Sergey Utitsyn of Estonia, Hotel Manager Steve Adamson, Cruise Director Anna Alice Langstrom of Switzerland and all the crew for a special unforgettable sailing cruise. We took an island discovery excursion after disembarking in Barbados which included driving through Holetown and Speightstown, stopping at Farley Hill National Park with its Great House ruins and views of the East Coast, driving through St. John's Parish and ending at Sunbury Plantation where we also had a buffet lunch. The Great House has extensive antiques and the tour gave insight into the life of a wealthy planter 300 years ago. Last stop was the airport where we picked up our luggage around 1:15 pm. Return flight was through Charlotte as well.

Awesome Clipper Cruise Lived Up To the Hype

Royal Clipper Cruise Review by Mimi A

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Trip Details
I had done extensive research on the Star Clipper website, YouTube, and Cruise Critic prior to deciding on the Royal Clipper Grenadine Islands itinerary as my husband was looking to visit smaller ports not available on the regular cruise ships. We had visited all the islands (Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia and Barbados) other than the Grenadines (Union Island, Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and Bequia) and wanted to return to them. We are avid snorkelers and water sports are a big part of Star Clippers in addition to the sailing aspect. My previous 20 cruises had been on the usual cruise lines (Celebrity, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Norwegian), usually on smaller or medium size ships, to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska and South America. When booking our cat 3 cabin, I was informed that most cabins are somewhat small, but adequate. We were on the Clipper Deck overlooking the atrium area (including the dining room) after entering an access door at the bottom of the stairs to the cabin corridor. This was an ideal location due to its availability to all points forward and aft.
There are many gateway cities for included air and although Pittsburgh was not one of them, our agent was able to give us comp air due to connecting at Charlotte, NC directly to Barbados. After meeting the SC (Star Clipper) rep at the airport, we were accompanied to the small van (taxi) for our ride to the ship. The driver was very pleasant and in fact tried to get us to commit to a private tour upon our return to Barbados the following Saturday. Upon arrival at the ship, there was a large P&O ship and the Windstar sailing ship berthed as well. There is no embarkation procedure prior to boarding due to the ship's small size. We climbed the gangway and were greeted by the hotel director and a cold towel at the tropical bar and guided to the embarkation desk inside the piano bar area around the atrium. This took approximately 5 minutes and we then went to our cabin down one flight of stairs. We then took a short walk around the ship to get our bearings and returned to the tropical bar (location for many activities including the life boat drill at 6:45 pm as it is where the two muster stations are. Dinner was served from 7:30-11:00 pm every evening where guests can choose how large a table to be seated at and where. We therefore met many different guests mostly from the US and the UK, but some also from Canada. There were others from France, Germany, Italy and other European countries we learned later as we met them on excursions. All announcements were given in three languages (English-primary, German and French). Sailaway was at 10 pm and there was a moonlit sky, but little wind not necessarily from the direction needed so only a few sails were unfurled and the engines assisted.
Breakfast buffet was served from 8-10 am everyday, with early bird coffee and hot tea, pastries and breads available at the piano bar from 6:30-10:30. Buffet lunch was from noon to 2 pm with a different emphasis (i.e.,seafood, international, Italian, Caribbean, Oriental) daily. Afternoon snacks were available from 5-6 pm at the tropical bar as well as midnight snack at the piano bar which we never saw due to our retiring prior, from 11:45 pm to 1 a.m. daily. Iced tea was only available during dinner. Beverages such as soda and all alcoholic drinks were charged to your onboard account which uses Euros, not dollars. We prepaid our gratuities in dollars.
A second life boat drill was conducted while at sea on the first day, followed by introduction of the officers and crew. The ship anchored at every port except Fort-de-France, Martinique and therefore tenders were needed to go ashore. The Sports Team would always get the water activities set up at the onboard marina or take the equipment ashore to the beaches when we anchored at a beach (all the Grenadine islands).
General info on the ship: There are no elevators and negotiation of steps is required throughout the ship and it is therefore not for those who are not ambient. There is no theater (therefore no production shows) but there was an excellent Steel Band on board for an hour prior to sailing from Grenada, no casino, no professional photographer and no manned excursion desk. There are signup sheets with descriptions in the 3 languages for excursions and the Cruise Director Anna previewed them as well as you can preview descriptions online. Some activities such as a fashion show, line dancing, pirate night and a talent show encouraged guests (189 on our sailing) to participate. No special facilities or activities for children (none on our cruise in late January). The crew of 100+ is multinational with a majority of European nationalities (the ship sails in the Med in summer). There is a beautiful relatively large library, three small pools, several bars, an observation lounge which we learned was partially removed to load supplies and food on pallets on embarkation day, and a small gym and spa which I was too busy to utilize. There are two lifeboats, two tenders (with ramps for wet landings) and multiple zodiacs which seemed to be used only by crew on our cruise. Royal Clipper provides complimentary use of all water sports including snorkeling gear which is issued the first day for the use of the cruise. The Sloop Shop has an extensive SC line of clothing/accessories and the shop doubles as the Purser's Office. This sailing ship does offer opportunities (usually more than once to participate in sailing activities including unfurling the sails, enjoying the bowsprit net, and climbing the crows nest. I thoroughly enjoyed my time up on the Crows Nest as we were beginning to sail from St. Vincent to Bequia and this afforded me great views of all the nearby islands (though it was very windy).
Excursions booked through SC: Grenada - Shadowfax Sailing/Snorkeling/BBQ lunch - we were disappointed with this excursion as the catamaran sailing was very rough which was normal around the southern point (thought the excursion should not have gone). Lunch was OK - it included Lobster and champagne, but the beach was shaded by trees and we were cold from the windy sailing. The snorkeling was also not in a tranquil location. Tobago Cays - Snorkeling was a bit rough as well (around the back side of the island where the SC beach BBQ was held). St. Vincent - Reef life tour -- excellent snorkeling at two locations (one was black sand beach). Almost all of the snorkeling on our excursions including the complimentary ones from the ship requires a bit of experience - not for newbies.
The final three days of our cruise involved two ports at each island (St. Vincent/Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia) and since we were involved in snorkeling every day, we did not get the chance to "see the ports" as time was just too limited (3-4 hrs each). I enjoyed seeing many sunsets and on our last day sailing from Soufriere, St. Lucia, saw porpoises as well. This occurred after our awesome, amazing "Full Sail Sailaway" viewing the Royal Clipper unfurling her sails from a tender with the Pitons in the background - a superb way to end our cruise. Thanks to Capt. Sergey Utitsyn of Estonia, Hotel Manager Steve Adamson, Cruise Director Anna Alice Langstrom of Switzerland and all the crew for a special unforgettable sailing cruise.
We took an island discovery excursion after disembarking in Barbados which included driving through Holetown and Speightstown, stopping at Farley Hill National Park with its Great House ruins and views of the East Coast, driving through St. John's Parish and ending at Sunbury Plantation where we also had a buffet lunch. The Great House has extensive antiques and the tour gave insight into the life of a wealthy planter 300 years ago. Last stop was the airport where we picked up our luggage around 1:15 pm. Return flight was through Charlotte as well.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 248
Cabins were small, but adequate - as mentioned in many reviews and their literature, some beds cannot be separated and are only accessible from one side or the bottom; reading lights over the bed; the bathroom is adequate, but the shower has a curtain with a gap to the very small lip on the floor to contain the water but there is an additional drain to allow overflow water to exit; toiletries for two which are replenished if necessary; plenty of storage space/hangers; a safe; two portholes; a small settee and a complimentary bottle of water. All electrical outlets are European 220V so I brought an adaptor, but there are some on board which can be borrowed.
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