We had looked longingly at Star Clipper ships in port so many times, so finally decided to bite the bullet and book a cruise. We expected a glorious ship ( which it was) and a fabulous experience ( which sadly, it wasn’t)
We joined in Piraeus, received a perfunctory welcome, a small glass of juice , and found our way up and down steps to our stern middle deck cabin. We weren’t expecting luxury, though the prices indicated that we would be at least comfortable, but this cabin didn’t even meet our modest hopes! The bed was at head height, with two tall steps leading to a platform by the porthole. From there, you had to wriggle onto the bed , with barely enough room to sit up! The mattress was thin, the duvet was thin too, barely covering the bed. Needless to add the pillows were poor, as were the hard bathroom towels. Fortunately we had brought some quality toiletries, as those provided were of a chain hotel standard. The bathroom had a hole in the floor shower, plastic curtain and poor lighting. All so disappointing!
We went out on deck to explore, and it was as wonderful as we’d expected, especially when sails were unfurled , a fabulous sight. Fortunately we had favourable winds most of our cruise,so were usually under sail, an amazing , unforgettable ,experience. We were lucky enough to have beautiful Mediterranean sunshine, so were able to enjoy relaxing on deck much of the day time. We wondered if it might be possible to sleep under the stars, but the idea was quickly dampened by the negative attitude of the purser. Negativity was unfortunately a prevailing attitude by many of the staff. We are no longer young, but fit and enthusiastic about trying new experiences, and Star clippers was one of the few cruise lines we hadn’t experienced in over 40 years of cruising as often as possible, on ships large and small,modest and luxurious.
Dining was very basic a lot of the time, at best adequate and generous. For a non meat eater my choices were limited, the same fish proffered almost every day, the same few bland cheeses as alternative. Drinks were fairly expensive , so we bought shore wines to enjoy by the glass. Many guests enjoyed the beers on offer, and we saw few drinking spirits at the after dinner bar. At the price the cruise line charges, we felt wine with lunch and dinner might have been included.
There was a tiny piano bar, where the resident pianist played each evening, but seating was limited. The midship bar was popular until quite late, and many guests enjoyed relaxing on deck after dinner looking at the stars and distant port lights,
All ports except Valletta were visited by tender, quite a difficult task , as the steps down were steep and the crewmen often seemed to have difficulties steadying the boat to enable passengers to embark. A couple of times we decided that sea conditions were a little too challenging , and stayed on the ship enjoying the sound of the wind and waves in October sunshine .
If you fancy the thrill of being under full sail then this would certainly be a cruise for you to try, but for us, this was a one-off experience so we will go back to enjoying cruising in comfort
Small, cramped and far from comfortable, with poor lighting and one tiny chair. The bed was raised to head height, looking out through the brass bound porthole, leaving little headroom. There were two tiny wardrobes, adequate for a week’s cruise, and a large underbed storage for suitcases.
A wonderful city, very busy, with good local buses. Piraeus is a long bus ride from the port. A better option is to use the train, taking the train from Piraeus centre into Athens centre
A pleasant port, with a wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants
A glorious harbour and much to see in the old town
Pretty places to see, but not much to do