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5 Star Clippers Cannes Cruise Reviews

We are experienced cruisers in our late 60's and decided to try something different. We loved the itinerary of this particular cruise, going to ports that are not usually visited by big cruise ships, apart from Portofino. Royal ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers in our late 60's and decided to try something different. We loved the itinerary of this particular cruise, going to ports that are not usually visited by big cruise ships, apart from Portofino. Royal Clipper is a beautiful vessel and is kept spotlessly clean and well maintained. We knew ahead of time that the cabin would be smaller than what we are used to and that we would not be having a balcony but only two portholes. Storage was adequate but very limited and the bathroom small. The bed was pushed against the wall, which made getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night very awkward. Sail way, when the sails are raised, music playing and champagne served, is quite magical. The final evening, with the under the stars disco and the sails lit up was breathtaking. Food is quite good. Not as extensive a menu as a larger cruise of course, but quite adequate. Breakfast and lunch are buffets and dinner, waiter service. Service is excellent by both dining room staff and bar staff. All crew are exceptionally friendly but it is unfortunate that the same cannot be said about some of the officers, who appeared standoffish. Room stewards were friendly and our cabin was kept spotless. He even made towel animals. Embarkation in Cannes was clumsy due to the ship being anchored rather than docked. Disembarkation in Rome went a lot more smoothly. Safety drill on the first evening took an hour and then a second drill on the first morning also took an hour. This seemed excessive and disorganized. The dining room itself seems to have too many tables and chairs for comfort and the buffet is poorly designed, so that only a few passengers can access it at once. Up on deck, the sun beds are far too close together so that it is impossible to alter the reclining position without pulling it out of the line. There is very little shade on deck. Although a small area has an awning. The atmosphere on the ship was very different to other cruises we have enjoyed. A large contingent of German doctors on a 'conference' were on board. It did not seem to make for a particularly friendly atmosphere on the ship. We understand that many such 'conferences' are a staple on Star Clipper lines. A beach stop was offered on Corsica. I understand that this is at the discretion of the harbour master and that no choice is made by the Captain. The beach offered could not accommodate the tenders, so Zodiacs were used. The sea was choppy and entry onto the Zodiac difficult. When we saw the state of the beach as we approached it, we were not impressed. The sea was full of weed, and the beach strewn with debris. There were no facilities whatsoever. Passengers were expected to get out of the Zodiac with waves going up to their waists. We decided not to get off and returned to the ship. Upon disembarking from the Zodiac, my husband slipped against the metal edge of the dock, injuring his shin and requiring stitches. This was promptly dealt with by the ship's nurse. I made a complaint to the Hotel Manager that the beach was not of the standard we would have expected and that the sea was too choppy to get on and off the Zodiacs safely. No phone call to our cabin was received to answer my complaint. In fact the Hotel Manager approached me at the bottom of the staircase as I was going to dinner. In a curt manner she told me that the beach had nothing to do with the Captain and that the seas were of acceptable limits. My husband was right behind me. She did not speak to him but merely asked me how he was. I said he was not good and I was unimpressed with her handling of the situation and how on other lines, it would have been dealt with differently. No concern or follow up was made by her for the rest of the cruise. The only people who appeared to care were the waiters and the bar staff. This left a bitter taste in our mouths about the level of concern shown when one of the passengers was injured. Very little entertainment was offered apart from talent show, fashion show, quiz evening and Mr. and Mrs. Contest. For a line that prides itself on being a cut above the average cruise line, these entertainments seemed to me to be childish and banal. The only talks given were Captain's stories and a talk on pirates. Napkin folding and knot tying class were given. A visit to the Bridge was advertised but the officers had forgotten until they were reminded twenty minutes late ....An engine room visit was also included. Mast climbing was offered but was so poorly organized that many of the passengers were disappointed they did not get a chance to climb. Water sports were often cancelled but some people enjoyed swimming off the marina platform. Excursions were few but were reasonably priced. Drinks were reasonably priced. My husband found the fitness room had exercise bikes which were old and in poor condition, the ceiling is low above the treadmill making it difficult for someone of any height to use. In summary we were glad to have experienced this cruise line, but would be unlikely to again. These cruises are not cheap and many compromises are made, for the sake of seeing sails go up and down. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
You travel on these ships for the romance of sailing child-free, and the barque Royal Clipper is indeed a beautiful ship. You don't choose these cruises if you are someone who needs constant professional entertainment or you want to ... Read More
You travel on these ships for the romance of sailing child-free, and the barque Royal Clipper is indeed a beautiful ship. You don't choose these cruises if you are someone who needs constant professional entertainment or you want to be chatting continuously on 'anti-social' media. In 2001 we sailed the Greek Islands on the same cruise line's barquentine Star Flyer and had a wonderful trip. We wanted to try to recapture that experience on the Clipper, a larger fully square-rigged tall ship. Unfortunately that didn't quite happen. At the beginning we were caught for two days in a violent Mediterranean storm (force 10) and some people were injured. Broken glass and crockery everywhere. This took the edge off the cruise for some fair weather sailors like us. The crew did their best but passengers should have been told to remain in their cabins until it passed. They weren't, hence some injuries, a couple of them quite nasty. There was a skilled professional nurse on board but no doctor. The rest of the 12 day cruise was uneventful weather-wise. However, except for the last night the ship had to motor to maintain schedule. There was precious little sailing. Some officers seemed to take passenger comments offered in a spirit of co-operation as criticism. There was an edge of defensiveness. This was explained by repeat travellers who suggested the owners are very tough on staff about passenger complaints. If so that would certainly affect crew morale. The stewards, waiters and staff with whom we had regular contact were all very kind and attentive. The food, which is all important, was the key disappointment on the Clipper. I was reminded of an upmarket version of the plant canteen buffet lunches experienced during my career. Breakfast and lunch were the best meals. The exception was the Captain's Dinner. The main courses offered that night were lobster and a fillet steak. Those at our table ate the lobster as a starter and the steak as our main. A steak on any other night was of the 'minute' variety. (Pronounce that as you will.) Another passenger, a chef who owned restaurants in Europe, gave his spin on this circumstance. He said the food problem was not the skill of those in the galley but that they had an insufficient budget to prepare anything really first class other than on the night of the Captain's Dinner. That made sense, but if it is so it represents a dramatic change of policy from the experience we had enjoyed previously on the Star Flyer, where every meal was a culinary delight. It seems the management is cutting corners on a key item. For the money we expected Captain's Dinner quality every night. We thought the house wines were low-end, and costly for their quality. Let's face it, eating and drinking are still mankinds' second greatest pleasures. That said, the highlight of the on-board cruise for us was definitely the many nice people we met and the kindness of the staff with whom we had direct contact. We were satisfied with the excursions we took. They fulfilled our expectations. There was no opportunity on this cruise for water sports, a function of the weather and the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I booked this cruise one year ahead for our special anniversary, I told the UK agents and my own travel agent told them that it was a special time, yet it was forgotten about. No mention of it in spite of others having the waiters sing ... Read More
I booked this cruise one year ahead for our special anniversary, I told the UK agents and my own travel agent told them that it was a special time, yet it was forgotten about. No mention of it in spite of others having the waiters sing happy birthday and such. Also we do not eat meat and ordered vegetarian food. On arrival the restaurant had no idea of our request and could only offer frozen items of poor quality. They did try their best but did not understand any menu that was not pre planned. Your passports are withheld until you pay any extra's although they have your credit card and landing in France without ID was very risky as everyone was asking for ID prior to entry. Beware they take your money and promise a lot yet deliver very little. The ship really sails by motor and the sails are for effect, when they go up they offer Champagne at €7.50 per glass. Everything was for the ships benefit and very little customer comfort. The cabin air condition does not turn off and the air is very stale, I was told that the whole ship was like that and nothing could be done. The towels were so small it would not cover your embarrassment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for ... Read More
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for another without a doubt. With about 200 passengers, a 3rd from the US and the rest from Europe mainly, it was easy and comfortable meeting each other especially with the open seating policy for dinner which we particularly appreciated. Due to minimal winds, we motored for the most part but when leaving a port, all the sails are down, the send off music plays and the magic is felt. We found the food very good and the room sizes quite adequate and comfortable. The staff from program director, waitstaff, cabin crew to the chef and captain could not have been more professional, friendly and attentive. We recommend this ship in particular but the Star Clipper line without reservation. The whole experience left me nostalgic and yearning to return even 2 weeks after it ended. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My Experience on the Star Flyer I’m surprised by the tenor of the reviews here. We just returned from a 7-day cruise on the Star Flyer, where we had a wonderful time. Overall The ship is a working sailing vessel and, as such, ... Read More
My Experience on the Star Flyer I’m surprised by the tenor of the reviews here. We just returned from a 7-day cruise on the Star Flyer, where we had a wonderful time. Overall The ship is a working sailing vessel and, as such, provides a different experience than the typical ‘big ship cruise’. There is no casino, exercise room or spa, and the maximum number of passengers on board is only 170. Our trip had 120 passengers and 77 crew. 62% of the passengers were repeat travellers. I travelled with my spouse, Two adult sisters, their husbands and my parents. Our ages ranged from 47 to 79. The Trip We were warned that travel by sail is weather dependent and, consequently, the ship may not make all its scheduled destinations. But Captain Yuriy Slastein and his capable crew hit every port as scheduled, despite some very challenging weather. Our first night, we encountered a heavy storm at sea that claimed at least 17 lives on shore. Although there was some sea sickness on board, the crew handled the storm well and, thankfully, kept us all safe. Only one sail was torn, no one was injured — and we made port the next day on schedule. Amazing. The next day, the damaged sail was taken down and repaired out on the deck where passengers could watch the process in action. A nice touch, and an indulgence for the avid sailors among us. The Star Flyer’s reduced size also made it possible for us to go to smaller ports the larger cruise ships would have to miss. Accommodation & Cleanliness Rooms were cleaned at least twice a day, with fresh towels as needed. Each block of rooms had a dedicated steward to provide cleaning and turn-down service — plus the occasional towel animal and a chocolate on the pillow each night. The ship and rooms were impeccably clean. There was no garbage or dirty dishes/glassware on deck, as others have described. And there always seemed to be plenty of deck chairs to go around. Common Areas The library and piano bar are comfortable environments, clean and well-maintained. The low-key ambience was conducive to relaxation and family fun; guests and crew alike were friendly and good-humoured. The Tropical Bar is the social hub of the ship, serving as a general meeting point for many activities, while the upper decks (one fore, one aft) housed the pool, the jacuzzi, and the best vantage point for seeing the ship’s workings in action. Passengers Our fellow passengers were mainly adults, aged 35-80, plus one small child and two teenagers. Passengers were multi-national: mostly American, German, Canadian, British, Swiss and Australian. I wonder how the nationalities vary on different schedules and locations. (Our trip was in October, travelling the Cote D’Azur from Nice to Barcelona.) The atmosphere on board was congenial, and passengers generally easy-going and courteous. Crew The crew were approachable, friendly, and very accommodating, cultivating a more personal experience than we’ve had on larger cruises. Perhaps this is due to the vastly-reduced passenger capacity. Or maybe it’s just the way the staff are trained. Many crew and staff members had been with the Star Clipper ships for a decade or more. The crew were quite open about the workings of the ship, with many tasks, like the aforementioned sail repair, taking place in full view of the passengers. Over the course of our trip, the crew invited guests to climb one of the masts, to lie in the nets on the bow sprit, to take a tour of the engine room with the engineers -- and to watch the ship set off and land every morning and evening, which was undoubtably a highlight of the entire experience. A non-negligible percentage of passengers were avid sailors; it’s easy to see why. Entertainment Wifi is limited! But board games, card games, and regularly-scheduled group activities were welcome diversions from our screen-based habits. We were never bored. Much of the daytime entertainment came from self-guided or pre-arranged tours. On our trip, one of the day excursions was cancelled due to lack of interest, but the two tours we participated in were well-organised. Often we chose to wander the destination cities on our own. In the evening, the pianist, Bela, was the focal point of much of the entertainment, assisted by local talent, crew members and passengers. During our trip, there was a fashion show, a passenger/crew talent show, and a couple of live music acts. The Pursor’s office had DVDs available to check out, as each room is equipped with a DVD player. Books in the library were also available for anyone to read. Meals Meals consisted of: • An early-bird continental breakfast (juice and pastries) • A large buffet breakfast with omelette station • A substantial, themed, lunch buffet • An afternoon snack in the Tropical Bar • A 5-course sit-down dinner with multiple menu choices • A midnight snack in the Piano Bar • An all-day self-serve coffee and tea station • An all-day bar (with bartender) All meals were open-seating, with dinner slightly more formal (no shorts or collarless shirts). All meals and snacks were served on china, with real glassware and utensils. Because we were travelling in a group of eight, the dining room staff reserved a table where our family could sit together throughout the trip. The food was much nicer than we expected — often it was excellent — and the number of choices was more than adequate. Once again, we were pleasantly surprised. Lasting Impressions ‘Pleasantly surprised’ is how I would describe much of my experience on this trip. Based on the reviews I read before departure, I thought I would struggle with aspects of the Star Flyer experience. Instead, I’m so glad I came. The service, the accommodation, and the personable, intimate atmosphere were much more than I’d hoped for. Our family has sailed on smaller vessels for generations, but this trip was something quite different: the silent gliding of the tall ship through the water, the scale and beauty of the vessel herself, and our own experience as an integral part of the sail — this was something unique indeed, and truly unforgettable. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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