Royal Clipper Cruise Review by pljonesey
- Sail Date: January 2019
- Destination: Caribbean
We stayed for a week in Barbados before boarding, which we found to be better rather than rushing straight onto the boat. We stayed post cruise also.
We arrived at the cruise port about 3.30pm and were onboard for 4.00pm straight to a welcome cocktail and the captain and crewe. we had to queue to get our passports/credit cards etc for about 20 mins. 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 mega 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 still no hair conditioner (not sure why!) It was kept immaculate by our steward.
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 and Pirate Night. Otherwise there was a young duo who were really good, together with dancing after dinner. Our cruise director this year Mino was fantastic. Really got everyone going, line dancing, salsa all sorts of things.
We didn't use the gym (neither did anyone else when we went down there). Didn't use the spa either. They only offer massages no beauty treatments.
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).
Getting on and off the ship was all by tender. Fellow guests tended to be on the more mature side but there were some younger people. Passengers were mainly from the UK, USA, Canada, France and Germany.
My one gripe was that the tv channels are still 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 or onto the net at the front.
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!
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!
There are lots of repeat passengers - we even saw a few who were on it the same time as us last year. We will be going again next year for sure.
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toiletries are provided but NO hair conditioner still!