A Magical 7 days on Royal Clipper: Royal Clipper Cruise Review by Eleanor Godwin

Royal Clipper 5
Eleanor Godwin
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

A Magical 7 days on Royal Clipper

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
We organized 5 couples for the trip of a lifetime aboard the Royal Clipper, the largest of the Star Clipper Cruise Line. When we first stepped onto this boat, we knew we were in for a treat. Everything about it was perfect - the entire staff made us feel welcome from the first bellini to the final goodbye. Food could not have been better, and was more than plentiful, and the cabins (we were in Category 2 staterooms on the clipper deck) were more spacious than one on a recent Royal Caribbean cruise. Storage galore, as well - we had cabinets we did not even use. There were plenty of hangers in the closet for all of our clothes, and the best part is that there are no dress-up evenings!

We sailed from Civitavecchia (port of Rome) to the Amalfi Coast, and most port stops were spectacular. Weather was rough on day one at Ponza, so we could not take the tender, but enjoyed beautiful views from the boat.

Please see the individual port descriptions below, other than Ponza, More Amalfi, and Lipari (not included in Cruise Critic's master list).

Amalfi was our fourth stop - a charming place, where we chose a side trip to Positano, clearly Italy's most beautiful town. We took the hair-raising bus ride around twists and turns to Positano, then a boat back to Amalfi. This was worth the price of the entire cruise, as the views from the water looking back up the steep cliffs is magnificent. The Amalfi coast is truly beautiful, and June is a perfect time, as everything is in full bloom. We wandered some side streets in Positano, then found a little cafe for a drink before heading back to Amalfi. Many pretty linens and cottons here as well, and more of the pretty stoneware we saw in Sorrento. Amalfi was fun to wander as well - be sure to explore the bustling piazza around Sant' Andrea, the duomo mid town. We highly recommend this shore excursion, as it provides the best of both worlds with the bus trip and boat return, as well as visits to two top destinations.

The last port of call was my favorite. Lipari is a little known island just north of Sicily. It is quaint and very "old Italy", not yet tarnished by the many tourists of places like Capri. Cute shops, good food, and some interesting ruins at the top of the hill, highlighted by another fabulous view. There is a beautiful church at the top, interesting to trace its many phases of construction through the ages. It closes at noon, but worth the visit if you time it right.

The boat itself is a treat - at every port, the sails are raised with great ceremony, with Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis playing on loudspeakers. Something we will not forget. After the last port stop, we were able to board the tenders with cameras, as the sails were raised for some great photo ops. Everything about this cruise provides their "guests" top notch service and hospitality.

The only thing I would do differently in the future is that I would book my own transfer from Rome to the boat. We look their arranged bus from the Airport Hilton, and were told to be there by 3pm. Bus did not leave until 5, and we just sat in a very hot room for 2 hours. Food and drinks were provided, but it was not a comfortable place to wait. It's an hour to the port, and when we got on board (boarding process very easy), they were just finishing up a free happy hour with appetizers and bellinis. We totally missed that! Perhaps this was a good option for folks flying in that day, but could have had almost a full day in Rome day rather than getting to and from the airport hotel and waiting. Other than that, all was perfect and I would not hesitate to recommend this cruise to anyone. Less

Published 07/06/11

Cabin review: 02

We were in a Category 2 outside cabin on the Clipper Deck. We were right at the top of the stairs coming up from the dining room, so a convenient spot. Not noisy. Storage was perfect, even in the bathroom, and we liked the fact that the shower had a curtain instead of an enclosure. Seemed roomier.

Port and Shore Excursions

Mid afternoon, the boat sailed for Capri, where we just wandered the town for a few hours. It was too late in the day to be able to do the Blue Grotto, an unfortunate fact. Many passengers suggested that a better option would be to have eliminated Ponza from the schedule and allowed a day at Capri so that the grotto might be included. Capri is beautiful, but expensive and full of tourists. Be sure to take the funicular (tram) up to the top to enjoy the breathtaking views.

Read 41 Capri Reviews

Wonderful views as we near the port of Sorrento - get on deck for some good photos. Sorrento was gorgeous, and some of our group enjoyed the side trip to Pompeii. If you have never been to Pompeii, this is a good option, and you still have some time to explore Sorrento before the ship sails. We just chose to wander the town on our own - a delightful day, wrapped up with a stop at a cute sidewalk cafe to sample some local wine and lemoncello. It's a long walk (20 minutes or so) from the dock up to the main part of town, but you have several options. You can take the steep stairs if you are very fit, or walk the winding path with only a few steps. Either way, stop along the way to enjoy the view back to the harbor. If you don't want to walk, there is a bus. Sorrento has some cute shops and a fun, narrow shopping street, Via San Cesareo, that takes you to the Sedile Dominova, an ancient open air site of civic meetings. The loggia is decorated with beautiful 3-D frescoes that look like columns, vases, and coats of arms, but are all done with just paint! Beautiful. Generally, you will find a group of older gentleman drinking coffee, solving the problems of the day - great photo ops. Linens are a specialty here, as is some very pretty stoneware.

Taormina, Sicily is the next to last port, a lovely town, high on the hill. You dock at Giardini Naxos, and it is difficult to find the bus to Taormina on your own. Best take a shore excursion or get a cab, even though both are expensive. The view from Taormina is wonderful and the Greek Theater there very interesting. We had a lovely lunch back in Giardini Naxos, a very authentic Sicilian appetizer tray and a seafood antipasto tray. With a cold beer to top it off, it was a great way to enjoy the view of the beach and back to the boat in the harbor.

Some of our group took the shore excursion to Mt. Etna, but the weather was not good - very cold, so take a jacket if you plan on this. Views are great if it is clear, but this particular day it was overcast on the mountain.

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Eleanor Godwin
Member Since 2011
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