We chose this cruise as it was a small ship sailing out of Barbados where we winter. Having always cruised on larger ships with all the usual entertainment we thought we would be at a loss for things to do, however not so. Sail aways ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a small ship sailing out of Barbados where we winter. Having always cruised on larger ships with all the usual entertainment we thought we would be at a loss for things to do, however not so. Sail aways before dusk was always spectacular and shouldn't be missed. The marina platform at the back of the ship offered many water sport activities which we enjoyed daily. The crew could not have been more helpful than they were. The cabins although small were well appointed with more than enough storage and the beds very comfortable. Ports of call met expectations except Martinique and that was personal as we could have gone snorkelling or diving which we don't do, but we did a short hike into the hills which only gave us some exercise, no views. If there was one disappointment it was that my diet provided a bit of a challenge at dinner, breakfast and lunch buffets not a problem. The fact that we were under sail the majority of the voyage puts this ship over the top for me. I will definitely cruise with Star Clippers again. Read Less
This is a very hard one to score. The vessel is a sailing cruise ship (barquentine) which takes a maximum of 170 guests. It is extremely well-appointed and the crew are enthusiastic and attentive. We would particularly comment on the ... Read More
This is a very hard one to score. The vessel is a sailing cruise ship (barquentine) which takes a maximum of 170 guests. It is extremely well-appointed and the crew are enthusiastic and attentive. We would particularly comment on the outstanding food which was served throughout our 7-day cruise. So far, it rates 5 stars.
The problem was that it failed to deliver us to several of the destinations advertised. Some while before our holiday, we were informed that the Cuban authorities had revoked cruise ship licences to two of the islands and, instead, we would have to spend an additional night in each of Havana and Cienfuegos. (There was no evidence that the company had tried to substitute some different islands). Neither Havana nor Cienfuegos were appealing to us as we had already built more than enough time in those locations into our itinerary but, by then, it was too late to change our other travel plans. So, before the holiday starts, we have effectively lost two days. We embarked on Saturday afternoon, sailed Monday evening and were due to visit our first stop, Punta Francis, on the Tuesday morning. On arrival at Punta Francis, we were advised that the Port Authorities were unable to clear us in as their car had broken down. The company was unable to resolve this problem so we had now lost the third of our five stops. The company blames the Cuban authorities, but we now understand that this is quite common (we were told by staff that this was the third time in the last four visits to Punta Francis that guests were unable to go ashore) yet we were never warned of this possibility. The company needs to understand that travelling on the Star Flyer is an experience but not the end in itself. And it needs to come clean about the likelihood that they will not be able to deliver what they advertise in their brochure. The whole point for us was to visit some outlying parts of Cuba in addition to the main towns and cities. Instead, we sailed from Havana to Cienfuegos, stopping in one position which allowed us to visit just two different beaches. Overall, a hugely expensive disappointment. Read Less
After 27 cruises on mainstream cruise lines we decided to try something a bit different. With only 200 passengers, our Grenadines cruise was a welcome breath of air after the mega ships that are becoming more and more prevalent in the ... Read More
After 27 cruises on mainstream cruise lines we decided to try something a bit different. With only 200 passengers, our Grenadines cruise was a welcome breath of air after the mega ships that are becoming more and more prevalent in the industry.
The passenger breakdown was about half US and half European, with the average age probably being a VERY active 65. (But with a health sprinkling of 30 somethings thrown in) What struck us was how friendly and outgoing the passengers were. Far more gregarious than we have encountered on any other cruise line, and absolutely no "airs" that you sometimes encounter on upscale cruises.
If you are looking for "entertainment" on board, this is not you cruise. In this case the ship and experience ARE the entertainment. To expand on that, this company gives you far more "freedoms" than we have ever experienced. You want to lay on the bow sprint? great. Curious about the bridge? Come on in. Curious about what the captain does on departure or arrival? Stand next to him while he works (Just dont talk to him then, he is busy!) Want to climb the mast? go for it.
Cabins were absolutely beautiful, if not a bit small, and drawer/closet space is limited for anything more than a one week cruise. I understand that the higher category cabins are a bit larger, but our (mid line category 3) cabin fine for our needs.
Food..... Well, we are not "foodies", but we found the food as good (if not better and more varied) than in the main dining room of any mass market cruise line. The most notable difference is that breakfast and lunch are always buffets, and dinner is a single 7:30 sitting. (With a 5:30 lite spread offered at the main bar for those who would starve before 7:30)
Crew... "Efficient and happy"..... Being a small ship you see more of the crew than you normally do, and they always seemed to have a smile and a nod for you when you cross paths. Speaking of crew, the "senior management" is always around and VERY approachable. Makes resolving any issues a lot easier than normal.
All in all, a very enjoyable experience, one that we will repeat in different parts of the world. Read Less
We crafted our whole 5 week holiday from Australia around this cruise. It all sounded so fabulous that we were prepared to make significant concessions with our other travel arrangements to work with the cruise dates.
Unfortunately, ... Read More
We crafted our whole 5 week holiday from Australia around this cruise. It all sounded so fabulous that we were prepared to make significant concessions with our other travel arrangements to work with the cruise dates.
Unfortunately, the ship only stopped at one port in 7 days and that was only for a few hours. For a cruise that is billed as a cruise of Cuba it's ironic to say that this stop was not even in Cuba, but in Grand Cayman. We got off the ship but no one bothered to give us even a map, or tell us what we could do there, so we wandered around aimlessly for a few hours. (I should say that we had booked to do the Stingray City tour with the boat but they cancelled it and warned us that we should not take the trip with anyone else once on shore.)
There were so many excuses made for not adhering to the itinerary - the whether and the Cuban authorities, being the most offered. Those excuses are very hollow when you have paid several thousand dollars for effectively a cruise to nowhere.
On board there were not enough sun lounges and those which were there were taken from early morning, by people placing their belongings on them and then leaving for hours. I know of one very unpleasant showdown which could have caused World War 111 between Germany and England.
The "fun" on board activities consisted of learning to fold napkins and towels, or listen to how great the Star Clipper Experience was, which was even further infuriating. The library only held a few people at a time and there were only very boring activities there anyway, when they were scheduled. The two pools, which are comical descriptions of what they were (more like spa tubs for a few people) always seemed to be without water.
I accept that the food was fine -although there was not a trace of Cuban or even Caribbean cuisine. The wait staff, who we were advised were to be tipped significantly according to the instructions, were indifferent.
Overall this cruising experience was a disaster. Star Clippers should really consider whether they want to operate this route. Read Less
We choose this cruise because we were already going to Cuba for 5 days prior and 3 days following; but we wish that we hadn't! We boarded on January 7: We were picked up by Star Flyer bus at Iberostar. We were not on the passenger list. ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we were already going to Cuba for 5 days prior and 3 days following; but we wish that we hadn't! We boarded on January 7: We were picked up by Star Flyer bus at Iberostar. We were not on the passenger list. Fortunately, a Star Flyer person said he remembered our name and that we should board the bus! After almost an hour of driving we stopped because the Star Flyer person had left two people behind at Iberostar. They arrived after another hour while we waited. Eventually, they arrived and we continued. They said that they were in the lobby waiting at 1:50pm. We arrived at Cienfuegos after 6:00pm – it was dark!
The bus had us all disembark at the far end of the parking lot (thank goodness it wasn’t raining!). We had to select our luggage which was put onto carts to be taken to the ship.
Then we had to enter customs and immigration. We were second in line when we were given two forms to complete
2 Immigration, or maybe emigration!
By the time we had completed these forms we were the penultimate couple to walk to the ship and board. We were given our cards OK.
Why weren’t these forms in the package? We were the only ones without the medical forms!
We had to walk at least 200 metres to the ship across an open parking lot!
Our cabin 509 was what we expected although the only window looked out onto a deck and was non-operable.
Dinner was served – NOTE: all meals on board were very good and the serving staff excellent!
January 8: We discovered that a trip to Trinidad was to be taken starting at 7:30am. Others on board were aware of this – we were not. We didn’t go, which was just as well since those who did thought that it was a waste of time. An hour and a half to get there. Just over an hour in Trinidad, and an hour and a half return because the ship was sailing at 2:00 for Cienfuegos.
January 9: The sail was uncomfortable due to heavy seas and some of the sails were raised
We were advised that we had to buy visas at 15Euros each for our return to Cuba. These could have been in the package!
The visit to Cayman Brac was cancelled
January 10: Docked at Georgetown Grand Cayman. The Mission House was closed due to renovations, so we went to Pedro St James, a renovated house, then onto the Botanical Gardens. Both were interesting. The trip director returned us to Georgetown at noon where we were left to our own devices since the ship was sailing at 3:30pm. We had a very good lunch at Breezes – Grouper!
January 11: When back on board the captain advised that the stop at Cayo Largo was next. We thought better of this since the sea was rough. People who chose to go went by tender – a forty five minute trip! The first off were late and three hours later the final guests were taken. Later we discovered that there was nothing there other than sand and that the snorkelling dive had been cancelled. Also, there was a charge of 90CUCs each!
Miserable sail with rough weather
January 12: Again a very rough sea
Punta Frances docking was also cancelled! This time apparently due to a previous vessel leaving garbage on the island!
Since most of the time was spent on board there was a rush on the insufficient number of deckchairs. There were several arguments about who had what! There was a rule that if you left your chair for more than fifteen minutes you lost it – that was not enforced. The Cruise people ned to allocate access better. It didn’t matter to us frankly, but it was another aggravation.
So, another day on the ship!
January 13: Overnight the weather improved and the sailing was fairly calm.
January 14: Disembarkation by 10:00am. After going through customs/immigration etc. we looked for our driver. Again, many drivers with passenger’s names but no one for us! Read Less
We have never been on a Cruise before and I don't think we would go on the big ships but we would go on one of the star clippers again as we were captivated by the experience. I can't compare it to other cruises in terms of cabin or food ... Read More
We have never been on a Cruise before and I don't think we would go on the big ships but we would go on one of the star clippers again as we were captivated by the experience. I can't compare it to other cruises in terms of cabin or food or condition of the boat but somehow I think these are immaterial when compared to the elegance and romanticism of being under sail on such a lovely boat.
However, to my mine the cabins were great, comfortable and rather elegant, the food and general dining experience was wonderfully classy without being stuffy and formal and we loved it. The ports of call were well thought out. One issue would be that there was little or no information about most of the ports of call. If you planned a trip that would be fine but if just going ashore a simple information sheet with that small map would have been useful.
We are thinking of another cruise shortly but no more than 200 passengers and the gentle swaying of the ship under the starlit sky is just about right so it will have to be one of the star clippers. Read Less
The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the ... Read More
The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the engine during the entire seven days in the Caribbean.
We motored our way from Saint Maarten's to Barbados sometimes navigating in bad weather. Unfortunately, we succumbed to a lot of rain. When we took the tender to an island beach, either it was Antigua or Dominica, the beach was narrow and the water was murky. We were expecting white sands with turquoise beaches. Perhaps our expectation was a bit unrealistic.
We don't fault the captain or the cruise director for the 4 days of bad weather. However, the cruise director, Gabor did not offer us opportunities to learn about the islands that we could not visit on those rainy days. We think it would have been very educational if they had films about the islands in the lounge. We could have learned about the culture, economy, history and what influenced The Royal Clipper to choose these islands to visit. Upon many occasions as we motored in the rain, clear skies and sunshine were only a few miles away, If weather reports showed socked-in conditions at the next port-of-call, a leisurely sail under sunny skies would be monumentally favorable to hovering under the rain tarps provided. When this alliterative was put to the captain, the response was that he was strictly prohibited from deviating his course. Is it more important to stay on a rainy track or to make the passengers happy and comfortable?
One of the islands that we did visit was called Saint Barts. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and most of the stores were closed. It would have been great if we had some kind of tour guide to direct us to different landmarks on this island to see. To make matters worse, the captain on the ship wasn't very accessible to many of the guests when asked questions. We would think some public relations officer would be at hand here. Towards the end of the cruise, there was a gentleman walking around with a petition to sign complaining about the excursions and the poor communications between the captain and the guests. We found that very troubling.
Overall, the food was very good. The dining room waiters and the cabin stewards worked very hard to help make our trip comfortable. They are the backbone of the Royal Clipper. There is always a possibility on any cruise, that inclement weather will put a damper on the journey. We think it's in the ship owner's interests to anticipate the possibility of inclement weather and provide alternatives to make the trip more enjoyable. After all, we are cooped up on a ship with no alternate activities. Most of the passengers like ourselves were bored and the only highlight of our trip was eating. You could go on any big ship for that! We did not feel we got our moneys worth.
Lastly, the intercom system was very poor. Some of the speakers were inaudible, because the intercom system is only in the hallways. Having an effective intercom system allows the passengers to hear important information. Perhaps a closed caption line could be added to the TV to facilitate hearing announcement while in the room. Read Less
We had been out to the tall ship festival in Green Bay, WIsconsin in August 2016 and got a brochure about the Star Clipper tall ships. When our 1st vacation fell through we decided to do a cruise with Star Clippers. We had never been on ... Read More
We had been out to the tall ship festival in Green Bay, WIsconsin in August 2016 and got a brochure about the Star Clipper tall ships. When our 1st vacation fell through we decided to do a cruise with Star Clippers. We had never been on a cruise before but we wanted to travel with 170 people rather than 3,500 or more.
Everything about the Star Flyer was great. The crew knew our names after the 1st day which was really astonishing. The food was very good and we had plenty of choices. The best part of the whole cruise was getting to meet all the different passengers from the 14 different countries. We became very close for only knowing them for 7 days and will stay in touch with them for years to come.
We can't wait to go on another cruise with the Star Clipper company. You really need to give them a try. It is totally different from the big cruise lines were you are just a number.
If we could change anything about our cruise is that we needed a longer period of time in each port. However, each port of call was outstanding and the choices for shore excursions were great. I can't say enough good things about Star Clippers. Read Less
Having been before on the Star Clipper we liked the format and knew what to expect - good quality cabin, great choice of food and plenty of it. Most of all that great feeling as the sails are hoisted to the stirring sound of Vangelis' ... Read More
Having been before on the Star Clipper we liked the format and knew what to expect - good quality cabin, great choice of food and plenty of it. Most of all that great feeling as the sails are hoisted to the stirring sound of Vangelis' Conquest of Paradise.
Oh dear, seems the owner has instructed that the stirring music be relegated to background music thus destroying the magic that so many returning passengers have booked for, and encouraged others to do so. A passenger petition managed to raise one click on the volume control but the issue remains and would make me, and others, seriously consider whether to go again.
Our cruise started from Phuket (Penang was nearest departure port in the drop down options). The usual life jacket and lifeboat drills took place on day 1 & 2 and at 7am on day 3 we pulled alongside the dock in Penang. All of a sudden there was a series of lurches followed by random blasts on the ship's siren and the call to "abandon ship". Luckily the incident was down to an over-enthusiastic tug having caused the ship to scrape along the rather crude dockside - the nautical equivalent of a supermarket trolley damaging your car door. Anyway we didn't sink and breakfast wasn't burnt!
After that we seemed to have an incident a day - one of the tenders broached on a beach whilst attempting to pick up passengers from the beach. Could have been very dangerous and the crew clearly were out of there depth (sorry). A minor fire happened in the dining room when a plate warmer caught fire. The bar nearly ran out of alcohol, and the galley similarly out of food due to a container of supplies not having been cleared by customs at Penang.
Incidents that could have made this the cruise from hell were handled admirably by the captain and crew in a professional, well mannered and good natured way meaning that passengers were never really inconvenienced. Read Less
The sailing adventure through Thailand was excellent. The food was great! You have 4 choices for your entree for dinner. The wine selections are also excellent. The crew is nice and helpful. Water sports are available at most port ... Read More
The sailing adventure through Thailand was excellent. The food was great! You have 4 choices for your entree for dinner. The wine selections are also excellent. The crew is nice and helpful. Water sports are available at most port stops. The itinerary was great - not touristy! The passengers were 95% Europeans, mostly Brits and Germans. Everyone was a well traveled adult - average age 65. No kids and everyone seemed happy about that. The cruise was comfortable, beautiful, quiet, pleasant. Not for under age 45, in my opinion and definately not for kids - not kid activities and the passengers will be unhappy if you drag your loud kids along and the kids will get bored. This is for adults who love to travel and love the sea and want an adult, quite refined travel experience. I will travel the Star Ship again and again! An adult only - age 45 on up cruise - and so wonderful and comfortable! Recommended for people who love to travel and love the sea and who are at least 45 years of age - average age is 65. Read Less
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