Royal Clipper Cruise Review by Barfootslow
- Sail Date: February 2018
- Destination: Caribbean
Some confusion initially on arrival at the port for embarking, a “man with a van” wanted to take our luggage to load onto his truck. We hadn’t been advised of this so there was some concern if it was legitimate as he wasn’t wearing any ID and no Star Clippers rep for about 10 minutes. But all was well in the end as they were taking the luggage to the boat so we didn’t need carry it on board. Bit of paperwork to complete before going over to the ship (could be sent to passengers in advance to complete?) but considering the number of passengers and the confined space in the terminal it went quite smoothly.
First impression of the ship was WOW!! Shown to our cabin and had been anticipating cramped quarters but was pleasantly surprised and not as cramped as we thought considering the size of the ship. Enough storage in the cabin, bathroom adequate with plenty of toiletries provided and kept topped up throughout the cruise.
The ship definitely has the WOW factor, mixing the old classic cruise liner decor with the requirements of modern living. Public areas were kept immaculately throughout the cruise and it was great to see ongoing daily maintenance which helps keep the ship looking fresh for her age rather than old and tired. When the ship is decked out in all her sails, she is a sight to behold - which on this cruise was over 50% of the time. On a balmy night departing Barbados at the start of the cruise, the sails being set as Vangelis' Conquest of Paradise is played was a truly magical start to the cruise.
The quality of service by everyone throughout the cruise was fantastic. A special mention does have to go to the waiters and the cabin stewards for whom no request was too much trouble. Cabin was always immaculate and always a cheerful welcome whenever we bumped into him. Waiters were attentive without being intrusive and always very friendly. Considering you are at sea and a captive audience was pleasantly surprised to find the bar prices were not extortionate.
We went on a shore extension at each stop one was offered including reef riding in Antigua and river tubing in Dominica which were the two standout excursions of our trip. The organisation of the excursions was fine. Considering the devastation to Dominica caused by last years hurricane, which was evident everywhere you looked, the fact that the local supplier of the river tubing (Wacky Rollers) was able to organise such a fun excursion was nothing short of miraculous.
If your entertainment requirements require big production numbers, then this isn’t the boat for you. The steel band that came on to perform for an hour in Antigua were however fantastic. With the sea and sails and the Caribbean as your backdrop, what other entertainment do you really need. The pleasure of climbing the rigging up to the first viewing platform was a great experience and one everyone should try. The facilities available for water sports at the beach stops and off the marine platform at the back of the boat were good.
We had read some reviews with negative comments before we went and consequently had some reservations, which in our experience were completely unfounded. In summary a magical, memorable, marvellous cruise onboard a beautiful, graceful queen of the sea.
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