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6 Star Clippers Star Clipper Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

A cruise on a tall mast ship was on my bucket list for some time. I tried to get a friend to go with me but they either were afraid of being seasick or didn't want to spend the money. I am SO glad I went solo - it really was a trip ... Read More
A cruise on a tall mast ship was on my bucket list for some time. I tried to get a friend to go with me but they either were afraid of being seasick or didn't want to spend the money. I am SO glad I went solo - it really was a trip of a lifetime. Islands on this trip (St. Maarten, Nevis, Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua, St. Barts) I flew to St. Maarten and stayed one night at the Holland House Hotel on Front Street. This will put you close to the pier, right on the beach and on Front Street (the main commercial street in Philipsburg). Check in was smooth and organized. There were refreshments/fresh fruit and tents were set up to provide shelter from the sun. It was a short walk to the Star Clipper from check-in. Once welcomed onboard I received my room key. I was in room 325 right off the dining room and across from the gift shop. My room was a Category 2 stateroom with the beds pushed together. The stateroom was very nice with a flat screen TV (which I never turn on) and a safe. I didn't pay a single supplement which was a major incentive for me to go on this cruise. I honestly wasn't in my stateroom that much. I took advantage of the adventure of being on a sailing ship and of the excursions. I was very pleased with the food. There was early bird breakfast (juices and danishes), full breakfast, lunch, 5 pm hors d'oeuvre, dinner and midnight snack. Breakfast and lunch were buffets with a large selection. Dinner had appetizer, soup, sorbet, salad, main course, cheese plate and dessert. Considering that the food was prepared for 150 people that often in a small galley kitchen - I was very impressed with the quality. Excursion Nevis - Hiking: this was a pretty challenging hike made more challenging my rain, but I loved it. Dominica - Rowing on the Indian River: 8 person row boat manned by a local guide. Iles des Saintes (no excursions) I explored the island on my own. Hiked up to Fort Napoleon in the morning and then took the tender to Cabrits and hiked up to the ruins of Fort Josephine. I fell in love with Iles des Saintes - this is why you go on a Star Clipper ship. An island off the tourist radar. Guadeloupe - Solar Power Boat Tour of the Mangrove and Lunch - It poured but we still had a great time. Antigua - Zip Lining - So much fun. St. Barts - ATVing around the island. My favorite. I made sure to get up at 6 am every morning for sunrise and I wasn't disappointed. The sunrise and sunsets were breathtaking. I was in bed most nights between 10 and 11. There really isn't much entertainment on the ship beyond your shipmates and some tunes on a piano. For me that was perfect. I have three minor complaints: one has been mentioned before - there isn't a lot of shade on the top deck. This didn't turn out to be a big issue for me because I was exploring each island so much that I was off the ship in port. This might be an issue if you want to stay onboard. The staff are very reserved to the point of being distant. I'm not sure if this is something to accommodate the large amount of European onboard or if this is a company policy. It did feel at times cold and indifferent. I never could figure out if out. I've been on several cruises and the staff are always so friendly. I missed this very much. Finally there seemed to be tension on my cruise between some of the Europeans and the Americans. Americans are loud. I actually never realized how loud we were until this trip - add alcohol to the mix and we are louder yet. This really seemed to upset some of our European companions. THIS IS NOT A TRIP FOR ANYONE WITH LIMITED MOBILITY. I can't reiterate this enough. I saw people struggling to get in and out of the tenders. The water was quite rough off St. Barts and the tender was really bouncing in the water. If you have any mobility issues - this will be a problem. This was a magical trip: I climbed the mast, I relaxed in the net, I was up for sunrise, I got to sail the Caribbean and I was able to explore new destinations. I would definitely go on another Star Clipper cruise. For solo travelers - go! Take advantage of the lack of a single supplement. I'm 46 so I was at the lower end of the age range and I knew that in advance. Being solo wasn't an issue at all. I met many nice people who included me in their group. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our 4th cruise on Star Clipper so we knew what to expect. This one disappointed us, however. Pros: Food was good. Breakfast Buffett, Lunch Buffett, Dinner service. Cabin was clean. Ship was in great shape. The crew talent ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on Star Clipper so we knew what to expect. This one disappointed us, however. Pros: Food was good. Breakfast Buffett, Lunch Buffett, Dinner service. Cabin was clean. Ship was in great shape. The crew talent show was more fun and varied than usual. Cons: The wait staff and room stewards did not clearly understand English and spoke it with such accents at a such speed that they were very difficult to understand. Wait service at Dinner was slow - in one case we waited 25 minutes between appetizer and entree. Often when you asked someone on the crew a question, he would refer you to someone else. The all-day coffee was left to stand so that in the afternoon it was burnt. The cruise director checked off excursion passengers departing the ship but did not interface with the sponsors on shore. In our one excursion to the Indian River in Dominica, the sponsor was disorganized and left us stranded at one point. Disembarking, our luggage was taken to a tent for pickup but there were no signs off the ship to tell you how to find the tent that was quite a distance away. There were other minor annoyances. It just took away the joy we had sailing with Star Clipper in the past. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After sailing on mainstream cruises for years we decided to try Star Clippers. Wow, what a difference and what an experience. The ship was beautiful, the service was top notch and the food was delicious. The best part of the trip ... Read More
After sailing on mainstream cruises for years we decided to try Star Clippers. Wow, what a difference and what an experience. The ship was beautiful, the service was top notch and the food was delicious. The best part of the trip was the people we met. The ship was booked with about half European guest and half American. The Europeans were mainly from Germany, Italy and Great Britain. The Americans were a nice mixture from coast to coast. WIthin two days you recognized everyone on the ship and the camaraderie was almost instant. A few guests kept to themselves but for most is was one big friendly group. The islands were beautiful and the fact we had them to ourselves really sets Star Clippers apart from the mega ships. Our Cruise Director, Peter, was a font of useful and trivial information. The Sports Team kept us busy in port and entertained on the ship. The cabin was smaller than a standard cruise ship cabin but it was still very comfortable and functional. Loved the open seating dining - sit with who you want when you want!! Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. No long lines, no stress. The evening "entertainment" was cute and fun - it consisted of a passenger/crew talent show, a trivia contest, frog racing (proud to say our frog won!!) a steel drum band or a piano player. Sitting under the stars while under sail was the only entertainment most people needed. We only took one shore excursion (tubing in Dominica) and it was a great value. Nothing on board is overpriced - bottled water (large) and sodas were about $2, beer and cocktails were between $3-5 and good wine at dinner was only $15 a bottle. We had an amazing time and we are already planning our next trip top Asia in 2017!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Wanting something special to celebrate our 40th anniversary we chose the Star Clipper. We could not have made a better choice. There were only 100 passengers (out of a possible 170) on the first Caribbean sailing of the season so we felt ... Read More
Wanting something special to celebrate our 40th anniversary we chose the Star Clipper. We could not have made a better choice. There were only 100 passengers (out of a possible 170) on the first Caribbean sailing of the season so we felt very pampered by the staff of over 70. We upgraded to one of the 6 deck cabins on the main deck near the bow. The cabin has a large picture window and direct access to the deck. We had plenty of closet and drawer space. The bathroom is quite spacious and has a whirlpool tub. The bed was quite comfortable and the cabin steward took excellent care of our needs. The food and service was excellent. We had a very large breakfast buffet with the usual options plus meats, cheeses, hot entrees and made to order eggs and more. Lunch was usually themed, again with many hot and cold options and great desserts to choose from. Dinner is served from an extensive menu with several options for appetizers, salads, soup, cheese course, entrees and desserts. Wine pairings are suggested for each course. Coffee and teas, as well as fresh fruit, are available all day in the piano bar. The entertainment is generally silly (in a good way) and interactive with the crew and passengers providing most of the fun. One night we had a steel drum band on board. Peter, our cruise director, is an amazing storyteller who captivated the passengers once or twice a day with tales of the sea, tall ships and the islands we were visiting. He is fluent in English and German and tells the stories in both languages quite easily. Since about half of the passengers were from Germany this was most appreciated. The islands we visited were almost secondary to the sailing adventure. Raising the sails each day was accompanied by stirring music and many passengers took advantage of enjoying time on deck while sailing. The captain prides himself on sailing whenever possible vs using power so we were able to truly enjoy a sailing trip. There is plenty of room on the sun deck to enjoy the sunshine and cool off with quick dip in one of the two small pools. the sunrises and sunsets were memorable and the bonus of a full moon during our cruise was a real treat. A few of the excursions were not quite as advertised and I wish we had just made our own arrangements to tour some of the islands vs paying to join the tour. There is a sports crew that provides snorkel equipment, sailboards, laser sailing, water skiing and trips to some gorgeous beaches. They also lead a 30 minute fitness session each morning that was a nice way to start the day. There were several on our cruise that had just sailed the ocean crossing from Spain and a few who opted to stay on another week rather than get off after one week. I wish we could have done that. We will definitely take another cruise on a Clipper line ship - hopefully in the Mediterranean - maybe for our 45th anniversary. This was the only vacation we've been on where the getting there was better than the destination. We loved the sailing adventure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We were so excited for this trip on Star Clipper. What an adventure it was going to be. Well a disappointment it turned out to be. The ship and the sailing experience was really amazing and that is where the positive stops.... staff does ... Read More
We were so excited for this trip on Star Clipper. What an adventure it was going to be. Well a disappointment it turned out to be. The ship and the sailing experience was really amazing and that is where the positive stops.... staff does not make any effort to make the experience special in any way. The Cruise director ridicules and belittles passengers in front of everyone. The staff bicker and fight openly in front of all the guests. I felt that we paid for the privilege of sharing their boat and that we were of little importance to them. THERE IS NO DRINK PACKAGE and the bar tender actually argued with me that the Windstar didn't have one either... even though I told him we were on it and YES THEY DO HAVE A DRINK PACKAGE. BE WARY OF THE LIABILITY RELEASE: We encountered a few times where reckless disregard for the guests welfare. We met one guest on the 2nd day. He was 91 years old and had taken a fall in his cabin overnight. He was in a very bad way and although the Nurse was assisting him. There was no offer off assistance to him past that. He couldn't walk well and was offered no assistance even when getting his food from the buffet to the table. On the second night, the captain steered into an oncoming storm. It was questioned by staff members, but he told them to go ahead anyway. It was so rough that approx 60% of the ship did not attend dinner. During the course of dinner the ship listed so badly that a guest;s chair fell backwards and all the dishes on the table fell on her cutting her head open. NOTE; storms we are told happen regularly, and there are no lips around the tales to protect guests. The beaches that we were taken to, were unchecked and contained sea urchins in the shallow area's. We were there a short time when a guest was stung by one in knee deep water. She was sent back to ship unescorted to get the stinger out. Why are they not telling us this..... I felt that because we all signed a waiver they just didn't care. NOTE: We have NEVER EVER signed a waiver for ANY other ship we have been on. FOOD; Heaven forbid if you have special food requirements because you will not get accommodated. There are no heart healthy or Diabetes friendly options. My husband has to watch his salt intake due to high blood pressure and could not get any assistance in an alternate menu. When we were on RCL last December it was not problem at all. I actually had a sports staff member, sitting at our dinner table, say to me. " what? do you think your special or something?" Because after asking for a sugar free option at dinner, and being served deep fried banana one day, and then deep fried apple the next, I finally said to the Maitre'd , that I would just like a fresh grapefruit please. The deep fried fruit was not a healthy option. As a matter of fact there were no healthy options. My first breakfast, I requested egg white's for my omelet and was told by the cook (with a bowl of 20 eggs in front of him) that he had no egg whites ! seriously??? can you not separate the eggs in front of you? he agreed... separated 2 egg whites and cooked them in oil????? there was no opportunity to not cook them in oil. it was an awful omelet. The next day I asked for a 6 egg white omelet, and thought the cook was going to die. He was quite discussed with my request and still had no egg white. I gave up after that morning as the eggs were all cooked in oil. This kind of behaviour continued throughout the cruise. ALL of the food is guided toward the european palette and everyone else is out of luck. Buffet breakfast with an array of cheeses, deli meat, and rye bread... oh and green peas and minute steak (Yuk). Lunch is no better...we tried eat there but there were NO heart healthy choices... so we mainly ate off ship. A British couple we met asked for a second dish of cream cheese at the table and were refused. They also asked for an entree to be served as an appi, so they they choose another entree for the main and were told NO! In all the years that we have been cruising we have NEVER experienced such poor service and food. Aside from a princess cruise we have taken..... but honestly.... as bad as that was.... the star clipper was worse. Its really sad when a "highlight moment in culinary experience" is when the ship served taco's at midnight. We CONTINUALLY felt that we were no more than an annoyance to the staff who were putting them out there way on every turn. PORTS: We found out the hard way that the stops they make are horrific. They are all, with the exception of St. Barths, in the middle of no where. This is NOT disclosed on their itinerary anywhere. They name the island, but not the port which to me was a significant oversight and a convenient one.... had I known I would NOT have taken this ship. NEVIS- they dropped us at a beach with nothing... not even an umbrella..... or a cab???? we walked to the nearest beach with life which was the four seasons and were refused service as this was a private hotel. Even offered to pay for service and was declined. It was a useless port. DOMINICA- We were so excited about this port because we have been to Rouseau before... had plans for Champagne bay and snorkelling. Um and that is where it ends. We were not in Rouseau... we were in the middle of NO WHERE!!!!! Peter the cruise director was approached about taking a cab to Rouseau and he flat out told me NO you cannot. Then after consulting someone told me that it was a 2 hour trip there and back and the ship would leave without us if we weren't back....Nice.... he was very curt and rude with me. We later found out that it was actually only a 45 min journey each way. IMPORTANT: at this time I must note that Peter is a very good historian... but a lousy cruise director! The daily newsletter have pages and pages of 1423 History and ZERO information about the actual port we were in and what there was to do.... and I mean ZERO. The Pursers also were of no use as they could answer no questions that we presented them. They didn't even know what port we were in. The staff were of no assistance. The shuttle boat staff dropped at the dock and left us.... and there was no one to welcome us when we returned. I am unaccustomed to this, as even CARNIVAL have welcoming staff. We got nothing..... ILSE DE SAINTE: again we were shuttled into the dock area. It was Christmas eve and so everything was closing early. Again there was no info from the ship as to what was where on the island.... This island was Goat island. I have never seen so many goats as here. GUADELUPE; We were there on Christmas day and pretty much everything was closed. We and 3 other decided to find a beach that a fellow passenger found on his GPS. Now that was an adventure that was amazing.... and if it weren't for our new found friends, would never have occured. ANTIGUA; This was our only Excursion port. Important to note. We booked this excursion and received no confirmation of it or anything. We didn't even know the time it started and again phoned the Purser's office to be told to refer to the newsletter.... which had 4 pages of history and no other information. This was the port that the ship held the bbq on the beach. Our excursion, as we found out was at 1pm, and the bby started at noon... great. Had we known this we would not have booked the excursion but were now told it was too late. This annoyed me as we were only given 24 hours notice about the bbq and they wanted more than 24 hrs notice to cancel the excursion. As it turns out the bbq was well done. But again they failed when put up against the Windstar...... who not only bring the Bbq and Beach toys... they brought the bar and the deck chairs and towels !!!! ST BARTHS: This was a great port and if it weren't for our friends we wouldn't have known what to do. He pulled up his GPS and we went to some great beaches. Shell beach is where we ate at Do Brazilian, and it was AMAZING FOOD. Try the Octopus salad.... WOW. The kind of food we expected from the ship but never even came close. We also say Paul McCartmey at this beach. Then we toured off to Eden Rock for a snack and swim at the beach..... all in all a great day with some great friends. The tenders back to the ship are to run every 30 minutes. We arrive back at the dock at 645pm. No shuttle.... 7pm... no shuttle.... ( the winstar has had 3 shuttles in this time, and one doesn't leave until its replacement is there) there is no one from Clipper to welcome us or give us any information. Windstar has their full welcoming staff there.... We wait and wait. Finally at 710pm a shuttle arrives. Another passenger asks if we are leaving at 715, and was told no, we are waiting until 730. The customer then says that they are supposed to run every 30 minutes and we were here for the 7pm shuttle and there was no one here. At that point the staff member JOE starts yelling at the customer !!!! I am outraged at this behaviour as it continues and the crew member has now escalated it to a yelling match. The fact was that we were all being made to wait 45 minutes just to get back to the ship. I file a complaint with Arthur and one of the Purser's once back on ship. We told them that they have some SERIOUS staff issues with this situation and the constant bickering the whole week between staff members..... they said nothing.....like they were unaware of any of it. Finally Arthur apologized and said he would look into the matter. WE HEARD NOTHING BACK. EXCURSIONS; Well what to say about this..... they provide you with no direction at all in port. You are left to your own devises. Even the sports staff have no clue what is in the ports as they are given ZERO training or time off in any of the ports. If you are booking an excursion.... don't expect to get any information about it delivered to your cabin as there is none provided. OVERVIEW: There are some serious issues on board this boat. Unfortunately the negative outweighed the positive. For the cost of the cruise I personally will choose the Windstar over the Star Clipper. Climbing the mast was amazing..... the sailing experience was also amazing. Being spoken too as some one less than important... was not okay and happened over and over again. A guest that we met broke a glass in her cabin and was made to clean it up herself, as she was told staff was not allowed to enter into the cabins. However, this rule did not apply when an Officer, pursuing a female guest, entered into her room, only to be rebuffed by her and later on by her spouse. IMPORTANT; The open fraternization between the staff and the guests is unacceptable. I have never in 20 years seen such blatant and open fraternization between guests and staff. I myself was approached by a staff member on numerous occasions through the cruise with no regard to my husband being on board. We witnessed staff leaving with young girls from the age of 17 to 27, and the bar tender offering them a condom right in front of us. This is unacceptable behaviour on every level. Although we are not oblivious to the fact that this happens, it was openly occurring in front of the guests. We are very thankful that we did not bring our teens on this ship. We had reserved our next cruise on the Star Clipper but will be cancelling it due to this horrible experience. We are going back to the Windstar, and Celebrity.... where we are treated and fed like royalty. This cruise is overpriced and lacking in so many ways. I was expecting Windstar quality in a Sail ship, as they are constantly ridiculing the Windstar, and they didn't deliver. On a final note. Clipper staff states that they are a sail ship and that the Windstar uses motor. However, Clipper uses their motors also, and Windstar uses their sails too. The difference between the two.....The CLIPPER captain will take his sail ship into an oncoming storm with little regard for the guests.... the WINDSTAR captain will avoid taking his vessel into an oncoming storm (as we experienced in March 2012) for the enjoyment and benefit of the guests! THAT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the February 18, 2006 voyage of the Star Clipper round-trip from St. Maarten. It was by far the best vacation we have experienced. This was our eighth cruise overall, but first on a Clipper ship ... Read More
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the February 18, 2006 voyage of the Star Clipper round-trip from St. Maarten. It was by far the best vacation we have experienced. This was our eighth cruise overall, but first on a Clipper ship type vessel. We have previously cruised twice each on Celebrity, Carnival and NCL, and once on Royal Caribbean. We have grown tired of the larger ships and have wanted to try a sailing cruise for some time now. After sailing on the Star Clipper, we have no desire to return to the mass market cruise ships. ARRIVAL We arrived at the pier in St. Maarten about 3:30. We were told at the pier that check-in would begin at 4:00, but it actually began about 10 minutes early. Check-in consisted of receiving our room keys and ID cards and leaving an imprint of our credit card for purchases on the ship. We were finished with the process and were walking to the ship in a few minutes. We were met as we boarded by the Cruise Director and Hotel Manager and given a complementary cold drink. Light snacks were available on deck. We were escorted to our cabin and our luggage was delivered to our room shortly after our arrival. SHIP The Star Clipper is a fabulous ship. It is a sailing vessel, not a cruise ship. The ship is very elegant and sophisticated with none of the glitz of the bigger cruise ships. There are no casinos, atriums, show lounges, elevators or rooms with a verandah. There are two bars on board, the outside Tropical Bar and the inside Piano Bar. All of the nightly entertainment occurs at the Tropical Bar. The ship has plenty of teak and mahogany wood, all varnished to a high gloss. Additionally, there is a lot of brass, which is also kept polished. The crew was working every day doing routine maintenance around the ship. The ships passenger capacity is 170, but this week there were only 94 passengers on board, along with 73 crew members. The breakdown of passengers was very international - 41 were from the United States, six from Canada, one from Costa Rica and the remaining 46 passengers were from Europe. Of the 94 passengers, 63 had previously sailed with Star Clippers. The 73 crew members were from 25 different countries. The ship never seemed crowded. It is an easy walk from one end of the ship to the other. Because of its small size, the ship can fit into ports that the larger ships cannot. The ship offered several features not found on cruise ships: passengers could climb the mast to the first level crows nest (with appropriate safety equipment) on three separate occasions during the week; we could relax on the widows netting at the bow of the ship anytime the crew was not operating the sails; there was an open bridge policy throughout the week; the crew lowered lifeboats one day during the week to give the passengers the opportunity to photograph the Star Clipper at sea under full sails; and passengers were given the opportunity to steer the ship while at sea. Each day as the sails were raised as we were leaving a port, the ship would play the Vangelis symphony, 1492: Conquest of Paradise over the sound system. The passengers would congregate on deck to watch the crew raising the sails and to listen to the music. We felt there would be a lot of free time for reading - we brought several books along with us. However, we were only able to sit and read on deck one day out of the week because there was so much to do - each day was full of activities. The sailing throughout the week was rough. We had constant winds of 25-30 knots and the sea was rough while sailing. Several passengers were ill at points during the week due to the ships movement. CABIN We booked a Category 5 room and were assigned cabin 342. The room was small, but very efficiently designed, as was the rest of the ship. The room had a raised double bed, four feet off the floor - we had to use a block of steps or a ladder to reach the bed. The bathroom had a shower, toilet, sink and a medicine cabinet with plenty of shelving for storing toiletries. The cabin had sufficient storage and closet space for the two of us. A safe with a programmable lock was located in one of the closets. There was a TV in the room, which only received one English speaking program, Euro News (similar to CNN). A DVD player was also in the room, and video disks could be borrowed from the ships collection. There was a two channel audio system in room, one channel for classical music and the second channel for popular music. Our cabin attendant was very good and efficient. Towels were exchanged each morning and evening. MEALS All meals were served in the main dining room. Like the rest of the ship, the main dining room was very elegant. Booths lined the outside walls and accommodated four persons each. Tables in the middle of the room seated either six or eight. It was very common for the ships officers, including the captain, to join a group of diners at each meal. All dining is open seating, with service between 8:00 and 10:00 for breakfast, 12:00 and 2:00 for lunch and 7:30 and 10:00 for dinner. There are no formal nights - dress for dinner is resort casual for men and women. Buffet meals were served for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, there was an assortment of cereal, yogurts, pastries and fruits, along with scrambled eggs, french toast or pancakes, bacon and potatoes. There was also an omelet station for fresh omelets each morning. Lunchtime had a nice assortment of salads, cold cuts, cheeses, homemade soups and fruit. There was also a carving station each day with either fish or meat. The breakfasts and lunches were all very good. Each day between 5:00 and 6:00, an afternoon snack would be served at the Tropical Bar. Like the breakfasts and lunches, the afternoon snack was very good. We felt it was better than the dinners. The snack would consist of finger sandwiches, fruit, a hot dish and dessert. We were disappointed in the dinners served, both in the nightly selection and quality of food. Dinner would always have a seafood entree, a vegetarian entree and the two of the following: beef, pork, lamb or chicken. I only had one dinner I would classify as very good - a grilled sea bass. Lobster Tail was served on Thursday night, which is the Captains Dinner. My wife had the lobster, and said it was good, but not great. On two of the nights, I ordered the vegetarian selection when nothing on the main menu looked promising. The beef and pork dishes were consistently under cooked. I ordered a steak one night as medium well, and it came out very rare. On a different night, my wife ordered a steak very well done, and it came out rare. Others sitting at our table had pork and lamb dishes on different nights, and they were also done very rare. Coffee, tea and fresh fruit is available 24 hours a day in the Piano Bar. An early morning breakfast of croissants and pastries is also available in the Piano Bar from 6:00 to 8:00 in the mornings. Many mornings, we would be up early and grab a croissant and our coffee and tea and sit on the deck as the ship sailed to the next stop. SERVICE The service in the main dining room and throughout the ship was outstanding. Our waiters in the dining room were very attentive and we tried to sit in the same area each day with our favorite waiters. Bar service was mainly at the bar, with no bar waiters hounding you to purchase drinks every few minutes. The guys on the sports crew were excellent. The crew that worked the sails was also very good, showing great patience as the passengers were on deck as the crew was trying to raise or lower the sails. They were also very helpful with any information that the passengers asked them for. ENTERTAINMENT As mentioned above, entertainment on this sailing was very limited. There was one entertainer on board who sang and played the keyboard during the afternoon snack period. He also played the piano in the Piano Bar during the dinner hours and served as the deejay for nighttime dancing. There was an organized entertainment activity each night at 10:00 at the Tropical Bar. One night was crab races, another night was a Best Couples contest and a crew and passenger talent show was held on another night. These activities were very entertaining, and better than a lot of cruise line entertainment. The Best Couples contest was very hilarious, and the talent show with the crew performing was very enjoyable as well. Other forms of entertainment centered around the cruise directors daily talk on the upcoming port and the captains story time. Every morning before we reached a port, the cruise director would hold a briefing on the bridge. He would explain the history of the island and places of interest to visit. He detailed what times the tenders would operate to the town or to the beach, and what time the last tender would return to the ship at the end of the day. On two of the mornings, the captain held a story time on the bridge. These sessions lasted 60-90 minutes and consisted of mainly questions from the passengers regarding the ship and sailing in general, with the captain answering the questions. ITINERARY This is not a typical cruise ship itinerary. As was pointed out to the passengers on more than one occasion: This is a sailing vacation, not a cruise. The stops are in remote islands and harbors. The focus on the stops is enjoying the nature and natural history of the islands. There is not a lot of activity going on in most of the ports. At many of the stops during the week, French was the main language and the official currency was the Euro Dollar. English was not spoken in some of the locations and the US Dollar was not universally accepted. At each stop, the ship would run two tenders, one to the town for limited shopping and to meet the shore excursions and one to the beach. For each beach stop, the crew would take a banana boat, water ski equipment, a wave board (similar to a snow board), a windsurf board, sea kayaks, and a small sailboat. All of these activities were provided with no additional charge. Snorkeling gear was also issued at the beginning of the week for use throughout the cruise, again at no additional charge. The stop on Sunday was the island of Nevis. However, all shops in town are closed on Sundays. The beach tender stopped at a nice section of the beach near the Four Seasons Hotel. The Sunshine Bar is an open-air bar located next to the Four Seasons. This bar is famous for its signature drink, the Killer Bee. The walls of the bar are adorned with photos of celebrities who have sampled a Killer Bee. On Monday the ship stopped at Deshaies in Guadeloupe. As with many of the other islands the ship visited during the week, the shops in town were closed between 12:00 and 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon. We took the tender into the town, walked around for a few minutes and returned to the ship for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing at the beach. On Tuesday the ship stopped at Iles des Saintes in the French Antilles. We hiked up a steep road to the fort at the top of the harbor, with great view of the island. After returning to the ship for lunch, I took the beach tender in the afternoon for some snorkeling. While sailing into Iles des Saintes, we met up with another Star Clippers ship, the Royal Clipper, and both ships sailed side-by-side for a period of time. On Wednesday, prior to arriving in Dominica, the captain arranged for the life boats to be lowered and the passengers had the opportunity to ride in the life boats and photograph the Star Clipper at sea under full sail. This event was originally scheduled for Monday afternoon, but had to be canceled on Monday due to high winds. The fact the captain rearranged the schedule to fit in the photo opportunity is another example of the great service offered during the week. The stop on Wednesday was at Cabrits National Park in Dominica. This was the only stop where we docked at a pier, versus anchoring offshore and taking a tender to shore. The park had another fort overlooking the harbor and several hiking trails. We hiked up one side and down the other, ending up at a remote stretch of rocky beach on the other side of the island. After lunch, we sat on deck and read, as the ship left the dock at 3:00. The Thursday stop in Antigua was at Falmouth Harbour in Antigua. The large cruise ships that visit Antigua stop in the countrys capital, St. Johns, on the other side of the island. Nelsons Dockyard, home of the British Navy during the battles for supremacy of the Caribbean, is located at Falmouth Harbour. The beach visit today was very nice. The ships crew set up a barbecue on the beach and offered grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, fish and ribs for lunch. There was also good snorkeling at this beach. The final stop on Friday was at Gustavia in St. Barthelemy (also referred to as St. Barth or St. Barts), a very exclusive and wealthy island. Many large private yachts and sailboats were at the dock or anchored just offshore. There are many shops and restaurants surrounding the harbor. This was the only day the ship did not offer a beach tender. We were able to walk to Shell Beach, which was about a 10 or 15 minute walk from the dock where the tender stopped. It is a very nice beach, with plenty of shade and a small bar and restaurant. In the evening, we took the tender back into town for a little shopping and a drink at a harbor front restaurant. SUMMARY Despite our disappointment with the dinner food and the ships constant rolling movement, this was a fabulous vacation, and we would definitely love to take another Star Clippers cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
Star Clipper Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.4
Family N/A 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 2.5 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates N/A 3.9

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