Royal Clipper Review

4.0 / 5.0
107 reviews

Wonderful, Intimate, Small Ship Experience

Review for the Caribbean Cruise on Royal Clipper
2-5 Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Dec 2022

This was our first time on Star Clippers – a choice we made due to the interesting small port itinerary not typical of larger cruise ships and the fact that it was a working tall ship with a small complement of passengers. The Royal Clipper is hand’s down a fun and dramatic ship to sail on. The fact that they raise the staysails with each port departure and play Vangelis’ Conquest of Paradise adds a true touch of wow - especially when we sailed away at sunset. The ship is grandly proportioned at 449’ in length (133 meters) - nearly half the avg length of a mega cruise ship - with 5-masts and 42 sails, yet intimate in so many respects. There are only 3 decks for the 108 cabins total, holding a complement of 227 passengers (we had only ~150 on our cruise). At only 22 years old, it’s a completely modern passenger ship with required redundant systems and was influenced based on plans of the 1902 SV Preussen. On a tour of the engine room, the chief engineer walked us through the multiple power plants fueled by high-grade marine gas oil - both for propulsion when there is insufficient wind to power the sails and for powering the electrical needs for the ship including the very comfortable air conditioning system (public areas and fully adjustable in our cabin). When we were not on a shore excursion or taking the landing craft tenders that could pull directly up onto a beach, we were given the opportunity to climb the rigging with a proper harness up to one of the crows nests on a forward mast or hang out in the bowsprit netting or swim and kayak from the rear marine platform that lowered from the stern of the ship. Those highly maneuverable tenders allowed the Royal Clipper to drop anchor in small bays far from the major cruise ship ports in the Lesser Antilles - such as Terre-de-Haut in les Saintes - a tiny island you can walk across in 15 minutes to a beautiful beach - located just south of Guadeloupe.

We found that passengers were from the US and a variety of European countries and skewed older (read 60+) and many were repeat cruisers on Star Clipper ships. All announcements were in English, French and German. And the food and waitstaff – were excellent. At least 4 mains (entree to us in the US) options at dinner (seafood, poultry, beef and vegetarian) and the desserts at dinner, but especially at lunch were downright scrumptiously amazing. Some of the best I’ve ever tasted and the variety just begged you to try several. Breakfast and lunch were buffets and we ate several lunches while on shore excursions in Dominica and at a beach barbeque set up by staff in the Tobago Cays (part of the Grenadines between St Vincent and Grenada).

Our cabin (#254) was near the center of the ship and just off the 3-story atrium (with the glass-bottomed swimming pool on the Sun Deck at the top) and felt just right in size and design with rich wood paneling and a marble bathroom. Note plugs are only in one location in the room and are the two round prong European plugs. Note on the bathroom - it’s a combo sink, toilet and shower, and even with the shower curtain closed, the small lip to hold the water in the shower area can be foiled and slop over if the ship is leaning or swaying. There are multiple drains in the bathroom floor however. And a note on swaying and rolling - not being regular sailors, we found a lot more motion on this ship than on a larger cruise ship, BUT a combination of the non-drowsy Dramamine and sea bands on our wrists eliminated us feeling any seasickness. The only impact of that rolling was attempting to sleep as it rolled side to side on some nights – but we found that in several days we could sleep. It became pleasant vs unpleasant. Wow and we had rocking sea legs when we disembarked in Barbados!

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