Royal Clipper Cruise Review by pgcally
- Sail Date: January 2018
- Destination: Caribbean
We arrived at the cruise port about an hour before 4.00pm (boarding time) and found the line for checking in. We were given a temporary card and then could board from 4.00pm. When we boarded we had to queue to get our proper cards and do the financials etc. Our bags came within an hour. Before we sailed we had to go the safety briefing with our life jackets. This was repeated the next day in the morning (without life jackets).
The boat is very interesting - great if you love sailing. If you get sea sick then it won't be for you! it moves all the time so everyone is staggering around constantly but that's part of the charm. You also move in bed a lot! when going up and down decks the stairways are narrow with sprung doors at the end - it's quite amusing watching people being eaten by the doors (especially when they've had a drink or two...).
It's not a luxury cruise - it is a replica of a sailing ship and is just that with some nice touches. Cabins aren't big like you get on a normal cruise ship but adequate for 2. We were able to stow our bags under the bed and were able to put all our clothes away. The bathroom had a good shower, with toiletries but no hair conditioner (not sure why!) It was kept immaculate by our steward Sonny.
Dining is communal so you always sit on a table with other people. We met some interesting people. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style. There are sandwiches and snacks (sort of afternoon tea) at 5.00pm daily. Dinner starts at 7.30pm. There was a good menu choice about 6 courses (if you wanted). there are standard choices of a pasta dish or steak if you don't want any of the daily main courses. There are no 'formal' nights as its not that type of cruise. you could wear anything except shorts in the evening.
Entertainment is a bit ad hoc, but fun. We had a crew and passenger talent show, passenger fashion show (modelling clothes from the shop), a music quiz night. Otherwise there was someone playing and singing on the piano or playing music to dance to.
We didn't use the gym (neither did anyone else when we went down there). Didn't use the spa either.
shore excursions are a bit expensive -we just sorted ourselves out when we got ashore. You can get snorkelling equipment on the second day which you keep for the duration of the cruise. They have the marina platform with paddle boards, kayaks etc and these were taken ashore a couple of times when we had 'beach days'.
Drinks are fairly cheap (in comparison to normal cruise liners) and you don't get a 'service' charge added on. A cocktail was about 5 euros, beer about 4.
The staff on the ship are the best - they are a small team so you get to know them and they you. It's all very informal and they seem to enjoy working on the boat.
There are plenty of sun loungers for everyone (they were never full anyway) as you don't have any 'sea days'. You stop somewhere every day (sometimes 2 places a day - which can be a bit of a rush). Our best day was in Tobago Cays as this was our beach bbq. They took everything off the ship and took it to the beach (bar as well!).
Getting on and off the ship was nearly all by tender bar one place. Fellow guests tended to be on the more mature side but there were some younger people but no kids. Passengers were mainly from the UK, USA and Germany.
My one gripe was that the tv channels were all in French (don' t know why as there were hardly any French people on the ship!). I like to have the tv on when getting ready etc, so it got a bit annoying after a while. But hey - if that's my only gripe then it's not too bad!
they raise the sails every time you depart somewhere so they are up and down all the time and they play the Vangelis music so it's quite stirring! They have you helping with the ropes on the odd occasion. You can go up the mast - they did that about 4 times (weather permitting of course).
we didn't go in the plunge pools - the water seemed very cold when I stuck my hand in and I didn't really see anyone in them. The sea was warmer!
In comparison, we have sailed on the Wind Surf which is more luxurious as it's modern, however it is like comparing apples and oranges....
You are going on a sailing ship not a luxury yacht so you are going for the experience. If you are happy staggering around like you are drunk for a week (which is quite funny as everyone does it) then it's the cruise for you!
Would we go again - of course! Am off to book it now.....
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