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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had looked longingly at Star Clipper ships in port so many times, so finally decided to bite the bullet and book a cruise. We expected a glorious ship ( which it was) and a fabulous experience ( which sadly, it wasn’t) We joined ... Read More
We had looked longingly at Star Clipper ships in port so many times, so finally decided to bite the bullet and book a cruise. We expected a glorious ship ( which it was) and a fabulous experience ( which sadly, it wasn’t) We joined in Piraeus, received a perfunctory welcome, a small glass of juice , and found our way up and down steps to our stern middle deck cabin. We weren’t expecting luxury, though the prices indicated that we would be at least comfortable, but this cabin didn’t even meet our modest hopes! The bed was at head height, with two tall steps leading to a platform by the porthole. From there, you had to wriggle onto the bed , with barely enough room to sit up! The mattress was thin, the duvet was thin too, barely covering the bed. Needless to add the pillows were poor, as were the hard bathroom towels. Fortunately we had brought some quality toiletries, as those provided were of a chain hotel standard. The bathroom had a hole in the floor shower, plastic curtain and poor lighting. All so disappointing! We went out on deck to explore, and it was as wonderful as we’d expected, especially when sails were unfurled , a fabulous sight. Fortunately we had favourable winds most of our cruise,so were usually under sail, an amazing , unforgettable ,experience. We were lucky enough to have beautiful Mediterranean sunshine, so were able to enjoy relaxing on deck much of the day time. We wondered if it might be possible to sleep under the stars, but the idea was quickly dampened by the negative attitude of the purser. Negativity was unfortunately a prevailing attitude by many of the staff. We are no longer young, but fit and enthusiastic about trying new experiences, and Star clippers was one of the few cruise lines we hadn’t experienced in over 40 years of cruising as often as possible, on ships large and small,modest and luxurious. Dining was very basic a lot of the time, at best adequate and generous. For a non meat eater my choices were limited, the same fish proffered almost every day, the same few bland cheeses as alternative. Drinks were fairly expensive , so we bought shore wines to enjoy by the glass. Many guests enjoyed the beers on offer, and we saw few drinking spirits at the after dinner bar. At the price the cruise line charges, we felt wine with lunch and dinner might have been included. There was a tiny piano bar, where the resident pianist played each evening, but seating was limited. The midship bar was popular until quite late, and many guests enjoyed relaxing on deck after dinner looking at the stars and distant port lights, All ports except Valletta were visited by tender, quite a difficult task , as the steps down were steep and the crewmen often seemed to have difficulties steadying the boat to enable passengers to embark. A couple of times we decided that sea conditions were a little too challenging , and stayed on the ship enjoying the sound of the wind and waves in October sunshine . If you fancy the thrill of being under full sail then this would certainly be a cruise for you to try, but for us, this was a one-off experience so we will go back to enjoying cruising in comfort Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
.We chose to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on Star Flyer. The real let down was our cabin no.301 (300 would be the same). So small, only suitable for one person. Had to get out of bed at the bottom as bed fixed both sides. Bed ... Read More
.We chose to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on Star Flyer. The real let down was our cabin no.301 (300 would be the same). So small, only suitable for one person. Had to get out of bed at the bottom as bed fixed both sides. Bed was comfortable but difficult getting out as there was a metre drop to the floor. Quite dangerous at night! We feel this aspect really was not value for money as we paid nearly £5,000 not including flights for a small room cupboard. Did have a port hole but very small and high up on the wall. Better cabins are available but at a huge price hike. Enjoyed the food, varied and plentiful and the drink prices very reasonable, 3.50 euros for glass of wine/beer and 16 euros for bottle of wine. Cocktails around 5 euros. No problem with sunbeds, two very small splash pools which were fine with us but not so good if you you wanted to swim. The excursions were incredibly expensive for what was on offer and many people felt poor value for money. We did our own thing at each port which we preferred. Entertainment is patchy to say the least so if you want full on entertainment a Star Clipper would not be for you. Mr and Mrs contests, fitness programme in the morning etc. all very low key. Mainly tenders were used which surprised us and very dangerous for people with disabilities trying to get on as the ship was rocking plus the tender - pretty scary sometimes! Staff friendly and helpful but we would not do this again as we do not feel it was value for money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
All in all, this was a superb experience especially when the ship was at full sail. The food was excellent, the cabin small but adequate and very well-maintained, cabin and restaurant staff were very helpful and obliging. The bar menu was ... Read More
All in all, this was a superb experience especially when the ship was at full sail. The food was excellent, the cabin small but adequate and very well-maintained, cabin and restaurant staff were very helpful and obliging. The bar menu was reasonably priced and hot drinks and water were always available. However, I need to make some comments which I hope will be addressed in the future: There was no map included in our pre-cruise information, nor was there one in our cabin. The only map, apart from atlases in the library, was the maritime one on the bar deck which was not easy to read. When asked for names of the islands we were passing, the senior deck crew -(apart from the captain who was always charming ) - were very dismissive and quite arrogant e.g. one response was "it is all sea to me"! Another simply said " I don`t know". The sports staff were very new and lacked charisma - the stretch class was exactly the same each day with instructions delivered in a very quiet monotone so that one had to keep looking to see what the exercise was as it was impossible to hear clearly. The cruise director was full of energy and enthusiasm but it seemed that she was having to find her own maps and information on each port - surely she should have been given a pack with all the necessary info sheets before the departure of the cruise. I only took one tour which was fine but I know that there were complaints about these tours. We thought that, as the ship was small, we would dock at most ports so were disappointed to find that tenders were used on all but one occasion whilst the enormous ships were in the dock without having to tender. As the ship was self-contained regarding fresh water production and waste treatment, it did not need to dock so saved a lot of charges from the port authorities but tendered. These comments are all easy to put right in order to enhance a wonderful experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We were in Athens a few days before we left, which helped us get acclimated both to the time zone and to the heat/humidity of Greece (and the Greek islands we would visit). Embarkation was not well organized in Piraeus, and we had ... Read More
We were in Athens a few days before we left, which helped us get acclimated both to the time zone and to the heat/humidity of Greece (and the Greek islands we would visit). Embarkation was not well organized in Piraeus, and we had little guidance as to what to expect, but once we were aboard ship all was well. Disembarkation in Venice was very smooth. I've been on a couple of standard cruises before (Disney, Royal Caribbean). What stood out most about this trip was the sense of actual *sailing*. This was not just getting a small hotel room on a floating luxury resort that ended up in a different place each morning. The feel of the ship, the ability to stand on the deck as sails were let out or taken in, listening to the music play as we left each port ... it all felt like we were actually sailing (which we were!), not just being transported. Going up on deck in the evening and seeing the sea passing around us, the star fields above us, the wind blowing past us -- it was all a remarkably special experience, and one that I will seek to repeat in the future. The cabin was comfortable and well-appointed. The dining was tasty, upscale without being hoity-toity, and quite satisfactory. The nature of the Star Flyer is such that evening entertainment was a bit constrained -- some DJ dancing, some occasional talent show stuff -- but, honestly, I spent my evenings up on deck, enjoying the air and the sea (and the cocktails). Shore excursions were generally good. Lots to see, usually multiple options, and guide selections ran from fair to excellent. We actually enjoyed just visiting some towns on our own, without doing a formal excursion. Service was efficient and friendly. The passenger count (around 150 on our cruise) was small enough that the bar and dining room staff got to know us ad our preferences. The entertainment director, Simona, was dedicated and excellent. The ports we visited were highly varied. I particularly enjoyed Corfu, Kotor, and Hvar, but they all had something to recommend them, depending on what you were looking for, and, as noted, instead of the excursions either just self-directed wandering at the ports or hanging out on the ship and relaxing were both fine alternatives. A few things I could have asked to be better: - The shipboard Wifi was pricey and spotty in coverage around the ship. - The "drink of the day" at the bar was usually pretty mediocre (the bartenders could make much better cocktails or straight pour drinks). Honestly, sailing the Star Flyer has spoiled me for hotels-with-a-keel style cruising. I will definitely be looking to them for further experiences. It was a memorable and wish-I-could-repeat-it experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We wanted to try the small boat experience. Wind in the sails etc.Freedom. What happened was unexpected and not very good. Worse parts first I think - which may take a while. The sails only went up when the boat was becalmed and ... Read More
We wanted to try the small boat experience. Wind in the sails etc.Freedom. What happened was unexpected and not very good. Worse parts first I think - which may take a while. The sails only went up when the boat was becalmed and not moving. Then only for short periods to take photos.So travel was by engine - noisy and smelly. We missed one important port due to weather conditions. Larger boats didn't have this problem. The substitute port was of no interest to us. Little to see, no maps or information. No excursions organised or even ideas on what to do or see. There was no time or research or plan. We were just dumped. No internet access to research ourselves. Lack of professionalism and unfriendly staff. It was obvious that no one really cared if we had a pleasant voyage. The staff were terrible in some cases. There was a lack of language proficiency. German was the main language. English and French and other speakers were badly treated. There was a large group of German travel agents onboard and all efforts were made to make them happy. The staff ignored the rest of us. There was no "sail away" from ports with music and sails. On departure from Athens it was pitch black on deck. Very crowded and no one could see or knew what was happening. I think I could vaguely hear the famous Vangelis music but although I walked around the deck it didn't get any louder. Staff were only there to sell champagne. The dining room was too cramped and full. Staff canteen feeling. Staff didn't engage with passengers, We sat with a delightful French couple one night and tried to find other french speakers for them. Asked the Maitre D' but he didn't bother to even think about it. Summed up the voyage I've saved the worst for last. Embarkation was easy but we were told to wait on deck for the safety talk. I'm guessing that the cabins weren't ready and they wanted to "manage" us there. Waited and waited. Sickly cheap drink offered. Eventually gave up and found our cabin. No map or introduction to the boat or schedule was given to us on day 1. Staff were here and there but no talking or engaging with passengers. They were mainly Filipino with poor english. Returned later for the safety talk. Disorganised mess. There are simply not enough European speakers there to manage the amount of passengers. Not enough space to do this properly. If that wasn't bad enough we had to sit while a staff member went through a long rambling talk in German, English and French. Went on and on. We can only hope that her German was good as the rest wasn't. All the briefings on deck were like this. Long, long waits. Long, long mangled talks that were often unintelligible. We wasted so much room waiting and enduring these. When we were on deck there was no where to sit and enjoy the feeling of the sea air. All seats were taken early and aggressively defended and were too few for the number of passengers. We had to stand or stroll but that was hard given the number of people packed into such a small space. The public rooms had very small windows and missed the sea experience. We didn't dock in ports. Apart from Athens all were done by tender or even zodiac. Now for the good bits. We found prices for drinks very reasonable. There was a great cheap laundry service. Food was plentiful. It was easy to move around the boat even for those with slight mobility problems. Not suitable for wheelchair users but there were plenty of elderly and/ or walking stick users. We did like our small but very comfortable cabin and the whole boat was very clean. Being on a small boat could be pleasant but there were far too many people for that to happen here. The overcrowding made the staff too stressed to do a good job and the passengers unhappy. It was not a happy voyage. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
A small ship able to visit the smaller, uncrowded islands, excellent food, fantastic and reasonable shore excursions with a wonderful cruise director, and pleasant company. What more can one ask? Well, maybe rolling out of bed and walking ... Read More
A small ship able to visit the smaller, uncrowded islands, excellent food, fantastic and reasonable shore excursions with a wonderful cruise director, and pleasant company. What more can one ask? Well, maybe rolling out of bed and walking 20 feet to a buffet breakfast, basking in the sun on the webbing slung from the bowsprit, climbing to the crow's nest for a fantastic view, or listening to the captain of the ship play classical guitar on the amateur entertainment night. We always wanted to try a sailing cruise and to see the Greek islands. The Star Flyer (or its sister ships in the Star Clipper line) was the ideal way to satisfy both desires for a reasonable price. We've done many large ship cruises but now we're sold on the intimacy and informality of the Star Clipper approach. It's great not to have any queues boarding, eating, visiting islands, or disembarking. While the dining was informal dress the food was great and the service elegant and attentive. The big name visit was to Mykonos, which we preferred least because it's too touristy and it was crowded with other cruise ships in port. We loved Amorgos: We were the only ship visiting this small Greek gem. We did a cruise tour to a monastery overlooking the beach where a famous diving movie, Le Grand Bleu, was filmed. Our guide was a local Greek woman who knew well the history of the monastery and the island. After the tour we spent the remaining hours in the small town and ran into the guide at her sister's patisserie. We then enjoyed watching the boats and locals at a port front restaurant while sipping wine and ouzo, for a few Euros each. Once again the guide appeared because her parents owned the restaurant. Our experiences on another small island, Patmos, where we visited the cave where St. John dictated the Apocalypse, was similar. For Monemvassia the cruise director Monica had the sports team organize a free walking tour to the fort at the peak of the island with a commanding view of the walled town at its base, the port, and the Peloponnese peninsula. Visits to the Greek ruins at Ephesus and Melos (an island just across from Mykonos) provided the cultural enrichment for the trip. We now understand why the majority of our fellow sailors were multiple repeat customers. One of them had been on 20+ Star Clipper cruises. But he's far from the record: One lady has sailed with the Star Clippers 190+ times. Well, we're on our way to compete! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Looking for a unusual island hopping experience in the Aegean and stumbled across the stunningly beautiful Royal Clipper. The holiday was arranged through travel who arranged flights to Athens and from Istanbul. Because of the situation ... Read More
Looking for a unusual island hopping experience in the Aegean and stumbled across the stunningly beautiful Royal Clipper. The holiday was arranged through travel who arranged flights to Athens and from Istanbul. Because of the situation in Syria/Turkey the boat was uncrowded, in fact more staff than passengers so we were looked after with great efficiency. The Sail Away each evening as we moved to our next destination was memorable - sometimes enjoyed with a sunset and always with the cocktail of the day. The boat was incredibly quiet especially when under sail when all you can hear are the waves and lapping water. The tour trips were, on the whole, well managed but were not up to the luxurious feeling of being spoilt on board the Royal Clipper. Not a cruise if you are looking for endless restaurants, dressing up and entertainment. But if you want to spend time visiting exotic places, enjoying good food in a relaxed and informal atmosphere then this will be right up your street. Not for children, not for the infirm or those unable to cope with stairs or coils of loose ropes, not for teenagers or those looking for a riotous time. But for the rest of us... pure heaven. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I have always been a sailing freak but advancing age has prevented me from sailing the Greek Islands myself. This trip was pure indulgence for me. On arrival before embarkation the cruise line organised a pickup from our hotel. It was ... Read More
I have always been a sailing freak but advancing age has prevented me from sailing the Greek Islands myself. This trip was pure indulgence for me. On arrival before embarkation the cruise line organised a pickup from our hotel. It was on time even calling the hotel to inform us of its immediate arrival. Embarkation was painless, thorough and subject to the normal security screening. On boarding we were met by the Captain and some of his officers. Our room (504) was clean tidy and well appointed. The food during the trip was excellent. I now eat olives with my cooked breakfast that includes feta cheese. Cabin service was outstanding. Both English and German were spoken fluently by the cruise director and most of the crew. The entertainment was home grown but wonderful despite not being a Broadway production. My compliments to Delicia and Joseph for the entertainment. The shore expeditions ranged from ordinary (2) to excellent (the rest). Ordinary because the others were so good that good became ordinary. If Rhodes had beaches like Australia I would have to live there. Despite this trip being my indulgence my wife reckons this is one of the best holidays we have had. I can only second her opinion. Great crew, great staff, great food and a great ship. Thank you Captain Yuri (Not Russian) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
If you have any understanding of sailing you will love this. Lots of passengers didn't know anything about sailing but still loved it because of the small number of passengers, delightful crew, fab service, comfortable cabins, air ... Read More
If you have any understanding of sailing you will love this. Lots of passengers didn't know anything about sailing but still loved it because of the small number of passengers, delightful crew, fab service, comfortable cabins, air con, fantastic food, and every extra thought of. Hairdryer - tick, cups of tea of coffee anytime and you can trot back to your cabin with a brew in the mornings, charging points - tick, reliable shower - tick, cool air conditioning below deck - tick, tiny pools but great to just get cool when sunbathing, plenty of sun loungers. Loads of food - beautifully presented and served and you did not have to sit with any particular person - so people tended to go down in groups or with a couple of people they met on the way down and sat together. If not, the staff allocated you to a suitable table. Excitement every time the sails went up and I even got to steer. Yesss! Wish they'd given us more beach outings and had a working windsurfer or two! Only one SUP and one dinghy and couple of canoes. We were on a week that was block booked - so not sure if we had the same shore visits as most Eastern Med cruises on the star clipper. Had been on a cruise with Norwegian line - hated it. This one was something else! With a small number of passengers you are on nodding terms with everyone within a couple of days and begin to pal up with like-minded people and sit together for some meals. And the whole sailing thing - to die for! Drinks are sensible prices too. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Star Clippers are unlike any other cruise line,you are sailing in every sense of the word We chose the Star Clipper sailing from Athens to Venice via Greek Islands Montenegro the Damatia Coast and finally Venice. Being a smaller ship ... Read More
Star Clippers are unlike any other cruise line,you are sailing in every sense of the word We chose the Star Clipper sailing from Athens to Venice via Greek Islands Montenegro the Damatia Coast and finally Venice. Being a smaller ship we can get into much more exclusive ports, Our Captain was ever present ever professional ever friendly and approachable his knowledge of sailing the sea and clipper ships of which is so proud is astounding We had a grade one cabin opening in to the deck very special Sailing on the Star clipper is unlike a sailing on a large cruise ship if it's nightly shows and fancy cinema and choice of restaurant all drinks included, this is not for you, but if you want feel as though you are going back into time to a proper era of sailing this is it, The food is good the bar is excellent the cabin is looked after imaculately the crew are brilliant the cruise director so knowledgable I cannot praise everyone highly enough Sailing out of each port with the sails hoisted to the music of Van Gellis makes you swell with pride each time The clipper is the most elegant and admired lady all who see her look on in awe All of us passengers on our beautiful ship would hate to go on one of those floating hotels but all the passengers on the floating hotels would love to be on our ship Sailing into Montenegro on the Star Clipper was just fantastic the scenery is astounding and when we left the with wind her sails we made a magical sight Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
A wonderful experience! We just returned from a week aboard the Star Clipper which sailed to the three of the Greek Islands and two port in Turkey. We totally enjoyed are overall experience with a wonderful attentive staff, the ability to ... Read More
A wonderful experience! We just returned from a week aboard the Star Clipper which sailed to the three of the Greek Islands and two port in Turkey. We totally enjoyed are overall experience with a wonderful attentive staff, the ability to have easy on/easy off in each port and the option of water sports in many of the islands. The ship was lovely and although the cabin was small in size, we were greatly surprised how well it was laid out and how every bit of space with well utilized. The shore excursions were extremely reasonable compared to any other cruise ship and we took advantage of two out of the 5 days. Both were well organized and offered the opportunity to experience and view what the port offered. We enjoyed the reasonable prices of wine and cocktails as well plus the option to purchase a bottle of wine and have it kept for you for the next evening. I enjoy a wonderful massage by Marietta. Although there is no real "spa", the opportunity to have a massage in a covered area outside on the top deck, allows you to hear the sea water and feel the breeze. It actually enhanced the experience. The food was more than plentiful and offered a great range of entrees each evening. We enjoyed shrimp, lobster, Chateaubriand, lamp chops and was impressed that the portions were of a reasonable size and not too big or too small. No formal entertainment but a solo musician entertains nightly and there are local dance groups brought on, as well as, some fun evenings with the staff entertaining. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
The finest sailing vacation ever, the Star Clipper cruise from Athens to the Greek Islands and several ports in Turkey afforded fabulous food, rest and sightseeing plus water sports and historical/cultural backgrounds during on-ship talks. ... Read More
The finest sailing vacation ever, the Star Clipper cruise from Athens to the Greek Islands and several ports in Turkey afforded fabulous food, rest and sightseeing plus water sports and historical/cultural backgrounds during on-ship talks. My husband and I shared a cabin on deck 3 - more than roomy and well cared after by housekeeping staff. The Captain of the ship was extremely passenger-attentive and allowed us deck access during sailing and, to some extent, during port entry and exit. We could help hoist sails if we wanted to and my, what a hard job that is even with 20 passengers pulling the sail lines. Land trips - all optional but with extra, reasonable cost - were very informative and led by good local guides. When steps or uneven ground could be a problem for those with walking or balance difficulties we were warned beforehand. Every member of the crew was absolutely accommodating and totally delightful to sail with. Other passengers are very collegial and many seemed like old friends by the end of the trip. Most passengers are retired or nearing retirement age with adult children. Some brought their 10 to 18-year-old children who seemed to enjoy themselves, but there are no special programs for kids, just fun sailing that kids enjoy, too. If you tend toward sea sickness (as I do) over-the-counter tablets taken daily and those elastic wrist-bands that promise relief can counter any queasiness. Don't let another day go by without checking out the trip offerings from this wonderful 3-sailing-ship company. You will never forget Star Clipper cruises and hope to book another soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
The most important thing to bear in mind if you are looking at the Star Clipper is that this is a sailing holiday and not a cruise. Unlike the big cruise ships, these ships do not have stabilizers and therefore there can be quite a lot of ... Read More
The most important thing to bear in mind if you are looking at the Star Clipper is that this is a sailing holiday and not a cruise. Unlike the big cruise ships, these ships do not have stabilizers and therefore there can be quite a lot of rocking and rolling if the sea is anyway rough. On the first night's sailing a substantial number of passengers suffered from sea sickness including my wife! The ship's nurse was on hand with sea sickness tablets and if you feel that you may be prone to this, takes a tablet early. Getting on board Arrival and check-in was quite painless and as there is a maximum of 170 passengers, there was no queuing. The company do the usual thing on cruise ships by welcoming you on board with a cocktail and a buffet but on this ship you can probably meet most of you fellow passengers in one go! Cabins are quite compact compared to some of the bigger cruise ships but they were very comfortable. During the trip I found that if I went to the bar it gave my wife room to do whatever women do. The price of drinks at the bar is reasonable compared to other cruise ships I have been on and tea, coffee and drinking water are all complimentary for the duration of the trip. Bring a southern European adapter, the ship can supply you with one but have a very limited supply. Dining Apparently the ship has a Michelin Star chef and the standard of food reflected this. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and evening was a la carte. You can sit wherever with whoever which was helpful for those travelling alone. The house wine was fine and cost around 15 Euros for a bottle. There were also early morning, late afternoon and mid-night snacks for those of us with a big appetite. It would be worth going on this cruise just for the food which was outstanding. Sailing As I said earlier, this holiday is all about the sailing experience and the shore excursions are an optional extra. I had heard some complaints from passengers who had travelled on a Clipper and the Captain had used the sails very infrequently. Fortunately this was not our experience and we appeared to travel under sail all the time. It was nice to get ashore to shop and see the sights but I could have as easily stayed on board for the duration of the trip. Organized excursions are generally expensive but it is worth paying for the Dalyan River trip. The Cruise Director was either poorly trained or was in the wrong job. What information he did manage to communicate to the passengers was generally wrong, including simple things like paying for entrance to the castle and museum in Bodrum. No, you cannot pay in any currency, they only accept Turkish Lira but if you stop at the nearest bar they will exchange your Euros for Lira. You get a really poor rate but it was worth it to get in. Entrance was 10 Lira. Also unknown to the Director was that some of the sights were closed on the day of visiting. Fortunately we and a number of the other passengers treated this all as a bit of extra entertainment and it did not spoil our holiday Some passengers came on the trip just to see Santorini but if I go again I would give it a miss, particularly if there are other big cruise ships in. We choose this holiday to get away from the queues but queued for about an hour to get the venicular railway back down to the harbor to board the ship again. Couple this with the problem of getting ashore on time due to the rough sea, it just wasn't worth the bother. The place was pretty but very crowded and very expensive. Setting sail each evening to the sound of Vangelis was an exhilarating experience and there was always something going on deck during the day. This is not a big ship but the deck and bar never appeared to be crowded. You should also be aware that if the sea is rough, it is possible that the ship will be unable to berth or drop anchor. They usually have a plan B! Last but not least, the crew and staff were very friendly and helpful making this a lovely holiday and we will go back, perhaps taking the trip through the Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
We travelled to Venice and stayed in a gem of a hotel away from the crowds but within walking distance of our embarkation port - San Basilio. Trundling our luggage over bridges and along side alleys, we quickly reached the port and joined ... Read More
We travelled to Venice and stayed in a gem of a hotel away from the crowds but within walking distance of our embarkation port - San Basilio. Trundling our luggage over bridges and along side alleys, we quickly reached the port and joined the queue. Even at this early stage the crew were there to help and guide us through the formalities of boarding Star Clipper. In no time at all we were climbing the gang plank to be met by members of the crew, music, welcome drinks and snacks. We were shown to our cabin - clean, inviting and with lots of storage space, a comfortable queen size bed, bathrobes, and a bathroom to dream about - marble surrounds, mirrors, a large Jacuzzi bath and shower, lots of fluffy white towels and complimentary toiletries, shower caps and emery boards. We then explored the ship - several decks, two pools, a cocktail bar and a small but well equipped library, containing books, board games, information on excursions and a daily potted news summary in English and German. It was then time for our first meal. We descended an elegant staircase to a dining room big enough to seat all the passengers and officers - who always joined a table at meal times. We could sit alone or ask to be seated with other passengers, and in this way we met most of the 130 or so people on the small ship who were all very interesting and added to the enjoyment of the holiday. The dinner menu included several starters, followed by a soup, a sorbet, a salad, a choice of main course and a choice of dessert. All meals were beautifully presented, cooked to perfection and catered for a wide variety of tastes. We were to learn that food was also available round the clock. An early bird breakfast of juices, pastries and fruit appeared at 6 a.m. A full self service breakfast which included fruit, cereals, English breakfasts, cold meats, salads and eggs cooked by a chef to order before your eyes, was offered from 8.30 until 10.00a.m. At twelve noon a buffet lunch appeared, with too wide a variety of dishes to list here, but all tasty and tempting. Midway through the afternoon a cake tray with chocolated fruits and cookies appeared in our cabin. At half past five it was canapE time and later it was dinner. As if this were not enough, there was a midnight snack (which I was never awake to see, but I am sure it was as good as the rest of the food.) There were plenty of ship's activities. I was up at eight each morning for thirty minutes keep fit, and later in the afternoon took part in the mile walk, where we explored parts of the ship I didn't know existed, as well as making several trips round the deck to the amusement of more laid back passengers. There was also water aerobics in one of the two rather small pools. We had severaltalks from the Ship's Captain (who was passionate about his sailing ship) and Doctor and updates from the Cruise Director. We had tours of the Bridge and Engine Room, demonstrations of knot making, games of deck golf and quoits, treasure hunts and quizzes. Nobody was coerced into doing any of these, but there was something to interest everyone. Likewise the entertainment after dinner was a mixture of talent shows, Pirate Nights, Folklore, Comedy Shows and a final night Slide Show of the passengers and sights on this particular trip. And every night there was music and dancing. We also had a massage tent which was very popular. We were fortunate to have the company of the ship's owner for part of the trip and he and his wife mixed easily with us, asking our views and answering our questions with patience and good humour. During our ten days, we visited eight ports before arriving at Athens, and had one day entirely at sea. The ship's tenders transported us to shore and optional excursions were offered at all but one of the ports. I had come on this trip to relax, so only participated in one - a coach tour in Corfu which was well organised and allowed us free time in the town after visiting Achilleion and the Old Town. For the rest, I wandered through the harbour at Losinj, swam from the boat at Hvar and Yithion,explored Dubrovnik from the city walls, walked through a deserted Old Town in Montenegro in the early morning and had a day on the beach at Mykonos. My husband went sailing once, and there were snorkelling or scuba diving available. I have not yet mentioned the part of the trip which gave it that extra touch - the excellent service from every member of the crew. Our cabin boy kept the cabin spotless and folded and laid out clean towels every day. The waiters always had a smile on their faces and seemed to remember everyone's names from day one. The chef frequently came into the dining room to check all was well, as did the maitre d' . The activities team were always available and helpful. My husband spent a lot of time on the Bridge and talking to the Engineer and Captain about the sailing aspects of the ship and found the officers informative and more than willing to answer his questions. The Cruise Director seemed to be on duty round the clock - and she never lost her smile or her temper! Disembarkation could not have been simpler. We received most of our bill the day before so there was plenty of time to check it. We settled up, handed in our keys in return for our passports, went into the customs hall and collected our luggage which we took to the transfer bus. Then we said our final goodbyes to the crew and were whisked away to the airport. Looking back, I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable holidays I have ever taken, and as many of the passengers were on their second, third - and in one case sixth - cruise, I was obviously not alone in feeling this way. There was so much to enjoy - the ship's amenities, the lovely cabin, the attentive crew, the information on board, the ports we visited and the wonderful food. However, no holiday is without a down side and if I must find one it will be - the food. There was too much, too often, and it was too good to resist!! I was also a little disappointed that there was not more swimming. The pools were tiny and we only swam off the side twice, but apparently this was because of port restrictions. There was also a tendency among a small minority of passengers to hog the sun-beds, in spite of written pleas by the cruise managers. And in fairness it was not just one nationality which was guilty of this! This was my first cruise, and I was not at all keen to share the experience with hundreds of others, so I chose a small sailing ship. I can honestly say that the ambience, the amenities, the experience and the fellow passengers, many of whom I got to know quite well, made it the holiday of a lifetime and I am already looking at the brochures to decide when to book my next. Read Less
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