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18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Since this forum helped me decide to travel with Star Clippers, I feel obligated to report on the marvelous experience I have just completed, March 25-April 1 on the Star Flyer, Treasure Islands itinerary, and to counter the mutterings and ... Read More
Since this forum helped me decide to travel with Star Clippers, I feel obligated to report on the marvelous experience I have just completed, March 25-April 1 on the Star Flyer, Treasure Islands itinerary, and to counter the mutterings and nitpicking of some disgruntled previous posters. Most importantly, this is a far different experience than traveling on a behemoth cruise ship with thousands of passengers. Harking to the bygone days of clipper ships, it replicates a much quieter, more intimate, more collegial journey. You get to know your fellow passengers (there were 155 of us, and 70 crew, total) far better, since you see each other frequently. Most are veteran travelers, with stories and advice to generously share, both with previous Star Clippers trips, and with other cruise lines. On my trip they were a pleasant mix of Americans and Europeans (British, German, Swiss, and French), although most nationalities tended to keep to themselves. All shipboard announcements were made in English, German, and French. I traveled solo, and found several other passengers who were as well. This presents no problem at all, as seating at meals and participation in on-ship and on-shore events allow constant mingling; I never felt like a fifth wheel, and was always welcomed to a table or to a social group. I was able to form some delightful friendships. The ship’s entire staff and crew, top to bottom, deserve the highest praise for their unremitting professionalism, courtesy, and efficiency. It must take a special kind of crew to work amidst a bunch of always-in-your-way passengers, asking you questions, but every one of them handled their duties with aplomb and patience, every, every minute. Meriting special commendation is the cruise director, Steffi, who was worth her weight in gold! She was always on top of everything, giving clear information, and exhibiting a wonderful combination of enthusiasm, patience, and efficiency. Captain Yuriy, too, was a welcome, knowledgeable, reassuring presence (and many of us appreciated his early request that we eschew any talk of politics or religion!) Was the rocking a problem? Not really. A few people wore patches or took tablets, but I found that you very easily, very quickly adapt to instinctively shifting your weight to accommodate. Even with a cabin in the aft area, clipper deck (#343), it was not particularly noticeable (although, admittedly, we had calm seas the entire trip). The appearance of the ship was absolutely top-flight at all times, in every single area. The stress on safety was appreciated, and clearly more necessary than on large cruise ships, since we were much closer to the ship’s operation. Safety instructions were reiterated and explicit, as they needed to be. The food was far, far better than we had any right to expect. Absolutely superb. Day after day, night after night we marveled at how the chef and his staff (in that little galley) could continue to produce such wonderful meals. Everything was absolutely delicious and in many ways superior to that of the large cruise ships. The bars, too, were well-stocked and well-tended. The service of everyone was excellent in all respects, from stewards to waiters, to tender operators, to engineers and sail crew, to officers, consistently exhibiting a high standard of quality and exemplary work ethic. My room steward was every bit as attentive and responsive as those on large ships. The tender operators diligently toiled in the hot sun hour after hour to ferry passengers to and from shore, always providing extremely helpful, safe, and efficient service. I was originally apprehensive about using tender service to and from the shore, as all but the initial embarking in St. Maarten and final debarking there was accomplished by tender. But at every moment I felt safe and under careful supervision and attention. Not to worry! I am not a lie-on-the-beach person, and traveled mainly for the experience of enjoying the working of the ship itself and the destinations, so I found these latter, especially in Anguilla and the BVI, to be a little too remote for my taste. In Tortola, we had no chance to visit Road Town, the capital of the BVI, as we were there only one evening, anchored far from the town, in which everything was closed, anyway (which was regrettable). There are very few excursions provided (one or two per port), along with a few sports activities on shore and on the ship. I made my own arrangements for tours on St. Martin and St. Kitts, so I can’t effectively evaluate those provided by the ship. The highlight of each day was the departure, with sails going up and music playing—really stirring, and unlike anything I had experienced before—a time we all looked forward to each day. I found no problem whatsoever with anyone hogging deck lounge chairs as some have mentioned on this board; everyone courteously vacated them, taking their towels, when no longer needed. The aft area under the awning was a refreshing hangout location, but it never became contentious. I found extremely helpful, and would highly recommend viewing, the 360-degree virtual tour of the Star Flyer provided by Star Clippers: http://www.starclippers.com/us-dom/explore-star-clippers/virtual-tours/star-flyer-virtual-tour.html A few quibbles: • The embarkation process in the terminal was too slow, with only the cruise director valiantly trying to handle everything in the embarkation area, and long lines resulting. More help is needed on this. • Even restricted to two areas, it was hard to avoid the smokers. Might Star Clippers give any thought to a smoke-free cruise? Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise as it was a small ship sailing out of Barbados where we winter. Having always cruised on larger ships with all the usual entertainment we thought we would be at a loss for things to do, however not so. Sail aways ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a small ship sailing out of Barbados where we winter. Having always cruised on larger ships with all the usual entertainment we thought we would be at a loss for things to do, however not so. Sail aways before dusk was always spectacular and shouldn't be missed. The marina platform at the back of the ship offered many water sport activities which we enjoyed daily. The crew could not have been more helpful than they were. The cabins although small were well appointed with more than enough storage and the beds very comfortable. Ports of call met expectations except Martinique and that was personal as we could have gone snorkelling or diving which we don't do, but we did a short hike into the hills which only gave us some exercise, no views. If there was one disappointment it was that my diet provided a bit of a challenge at dinner, breakfast and lunch buffets not a problem. The fact that we were under sail the majority of the voyage puts this ship over the top for me. I will definitely cruise with Star Clippers again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Vacation date: November 26, 2016-December 3, 2016 St. Maarten - Barbados The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. ... Read More
Vacation date: November 26, 2016-December 3, 2016 St. Maarten - Barbados The Royal Clipper is a beautiful sailing ship. What excited us the most was the chance to see the five masted fully rigged ship from one of our excursions. Unfortunately, Captain Mariusz Szalek sailed the tall ship using mostly the engine during the entire seven days in the Caribbean. We motored our way from Saint Maarten's to Barbados sometimes navigating in bad weather. Unfortunately, we succumbed to a lot of rain. When we took the tender to an island beach, either it was Antigua or Dominica, the beach was narrow and the water was murky. We were expecting white sands with turquoise beaches. Perhaps our expectation was a bit unrealistic. We don't fault the captain or the cruise director for the 4 days of bad weather. However, the cruise director, Gabor did not offer us opportunities to learn about the islands that we could not visit on those rainy days. We think it would have been very educational if they had films about the islands in the lounge. We could have learned about the culture, economy, history and what influenced The Royal Clipper to choose these islands to visit. Upon many occasions as we motored in the rain, clear skies and sunshine were only a few miles away, If weather reports showed socked-in conditions at the next port-of-call, a leisurely sail under sunny skies would be monumentally favorable to hovering under the rain tarps provided. When this alliterative was put to the captain, the response was that he was strictly prohibited from deviating his course. Is it more important to stay on a rainy track or to make the passengers happy and comfortable? One of the islands that we did visit was called Saint Barts. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and most of the stores were closed. It would have been great if we had some kind of tour guide to direct us to different landmarks on this island to see. To make matters worse, the captain on the ship wasn't very accessible to many of the guests when asked questions. We would think some public relations officer would be at hand here. Towards the end of the cruise, there was a gentleman walking around with a petition to sign complaining about the excursions and the poor communications between the captain and the guests. We found that very troubling. Overall, the food was very good. The dining room waiters and the cabin stewards worked very hard to help make our trip comfortable. They are the backbone of the Royal Clipper. There is always a possibility on any cruise, that inclement weather will put a damper on the journey. We think it's in the ship owner's interests to anticipate the possibility of inclement weather and provide alternatives to make the trip more enjoyable. After all, we are cooped up on a ship with no alternate activities. Most of the passengers like ourselves were bored and the only highlight of our trip was eating. You could go on any big ship for that! We did not feel we got our moneys worth. Lastly, the intercom system was very poor. Some of the speakers were inaudible, because the intercom system is only in the hallways. Having an effective intercom system allows the passengers to hear important information. Perhaps a closed caption line could be added to the TV to facilitate hearing announcement while in the room. I would give this particular trip a 5 out of 10. UPDATE: We did receive a response back from the manager of passenger services. Unfortunately, the answers provided were unsatisfactory. Here it is for your information.: I am sorry the cruise didn’t meet your expectation. We try to use wind power as much as possible but when the wind is not sufficient or the Captains feels we need to use the engines to get to the next port of call, it is ultimately his decision to make sure we arrive on time. You mentioned why we didn’t veer off course to encounter more favorable weather, I know the Captain has his orders and he will do what he can in his means but at times he will need to stay the course. When it rains in the Caribbean and depending on how rough the seas are in that area it can stir up the silt and other marine material at the bottom of the sea which will make the water cloudy at the different ports. Usually these places have blue seas with white sandy beaches but weather can disrupt this and we do not have control over that. We have a small staff onboard so we do not have any type of elaborate production like the larger lines. I know you were not looking for much but more than what was offered. I have forwarded your comments to my director regarding activities onboard the ship, especially on rainy days, and to include more information about the different ports of call. In regards to the stores closed in St. Barts on Sunday, this is the norm in most Caribbean islands to close shops on Sundays. Unfortunately it was St. Barts but I can assure you since our sailings are 7 days or longer regardless of which sailing we do in the Caribbean the port we call on on a Sunday is usually slow. You will also find this to be true in Europe especially when you are in Spain or the Balearic islands. I have forwarded your comments about the intercom system and will have the ship look into this. By any chance did you mention the intercom issues with any staff member? I am glad you enjoyed the food but I understand you didn’t come for the food, you came for the sailing experience. The weather didn’t help and the lack of activities due to the weather really dampened your vacation. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I wasn't sure if I would be any good on a sailing ship but wanted to see the smaller island in the Virgin Islands...I was thrilled by how well appointed Star Clipper is....It's a newish ship built in a style one used to see in ... Read More
I wasn't sure if I would be any good on a sailing ship but wanted to see the smaller island in the Virgin Islands...I was thrilled by how well appointed Star Clipper is....It's a newish ship built in a style one used to see in films....Wonderful amenities when it came to dining, cocktail hours, two pools, comfortable cabins was a surprise yet basic. The variety and quality of food was amazing partly because unlike mega ships the Clipper food is cooked fresh for each meal, Whole Turkey, Lobster, Suckling Pig, Aso Buco, fresh veg and amazing deserts. Wine was amazingling cheap by comparison. The crew quickly became more good friends than crew and because it only holds 180 you get to meet so many others in the open seating plan. Everyday a different island, excersions or just fabulous beach days...mostly taken ashore by tender and there was a Sport crew who took all the toys ashore for you to play with. Casual all day and evenings were less formal but guys should wear long pants and short sleeve shirt or similar but some ladies did it all and looked fabulous....that's what its about....you do your thing and everybody loves it. There internet...can you beleive $6. an hour. Wine starts at $15. and a good bottle might be $35. Endless cocktail choices expertly made at the Tropical Bar on the open deck or in the Piano Bar and what a talented guy on the synthasizer. This is the first of more than 30 cruises where I felt posessive about the ship and didn't want to leave the crew and all...its great to know I can go back....I'm not a kid but nobody cared that it took me a bit longer on the stairs. I must add...we had two wonderful little girls on the ship...so sweet and sadly we mostly thought it was not a ship for children....there's nothing for them to do. Kids need to run, jump, twirl, hop, kick, spin and bounce all over so when the ship is doing the same thing and thee are so many stairs and obsticals we feared something would happen and finally one of the little girls when dashing off along and went head first down the stairs and we had to turn the ship around and rush her to hospital in St. Kitts. She was kept in but magically re-appeared the last night to all our applause. We were returned to St. Martin where we began, and our luggage was already ashore and waiting for us...Sad to say good-by...so I said..."I'll be back". Next time I expect to see the ghosts of Bette Davis and Peter Lorrie sipping a cocktail on deck ... it just that sort of great experience. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I took the Christmas 2015 voyage on Star Clipper through the leeward West Indies islands (St Maarten to St. Maarten) as a single traveler. There was no single supplement, which was a bonus. I’ve been a long time Windstar cruiser for over ... Read More
I took the Christmas 2015 voyage on Star Clipper through the leeward West Indies islands (St Maarten to St. Maarten) as a single traveler. There was no single supplement, which was a bonus. I’ve been a long time Windstar cruiser for over 20 years and, in my experience, the only difference between the two is that Clipper will give you a more authentic sailing, if that’s what you’re looking for. As someone who has lots of sailing experience, I have no problems with rocking and rolling but if you have a queasy stomach and easily prone to seasickness, you should be prepared for it, especially while sleeping and using the head. I found the passenger demographics between the typical Windstar passenger types very similar to that of Clipper (couples in their 40s -70s). There were more teens on this cruise, mostly due to the fact that it was over Christmas. Here’s my key dislikes about Star Clipper: -There’s no exercise room and no exercise equipment. If you want to workout while aboard, you’re hosed. Plan to go on excursions that require you to get a workout. Oh yes,they do post a daily workout in the center of the ship but just try stretching and exercising while the ship is listing steadily from side to side! -You can’t get your meals –or anything—delivered to cabin. And, you can’t eat your meals at the ship’s bar. This is a problem if you happen to be single, or even a couple, and simply don’t want to mix with others on any given night. -The ship’s pursars were very snarky and not helpful. Also, you can’t buy anything practical in the ship’s store, i.e, sunglasses, last minute toiletries, etc. They also keep the fact that they offer movies on CDs a secret. -While the ship’s cruise director is very knowledgeable about maritime history, he doesn’t provide much useful info on the islands prior to embarking if you want to go it alone outside of the excursions. He typically mentions just one thing (“take a walk to the fort”) if you are on your own. Be sure to Google the island to make your own way. -If you scuba dive like me, you won’t be able to aboard Clipper. They stopped it, however, they still have tanks aboard the boat. -The ship’s water sports equipment is dated and worn out. Also, I found the sports staff incredibly unfriendly and nonchalant about safety issues. -The food is simply “ok” but not great or anywhere near inspired. You won’t find anything out of the ordinary here. -Clipper glorifies the days of sailing yore (they say you’re welcome to help the crew with hoisting lines, etc., but don’t believe it. Its only hype.) and really plays this theme up as part of their brand. Problem is those days are in fact over and most people can’t really relate to them anymore. I kept thinking that they have a far better opportunity to provide some education on the importance of preserving ocean life, something that better resonates with today’s customer. -The interiors, especially the dining room, looks like a Red Lobster restaurant only with linen. It's a dated look and should be updated without losing its sea faring branding. -The house staff, with the exception of the bartenders and head waiter, seem relatively unfriendly and not happy. Some bad attitudes. -Entertainment. I don’t go on cruises for the entertainment but keyboardist Charlie from Budapest will have you craving for Weird Al Yankovitch before the end of the cruise. They also put on a “Talent Contest,” which is really cheesy and should be retired. Its downright painful to watch the crew be forced to perform. What I liked: -No single supplements -Low alcohol prices. Cocktails were $6; wine was $3. -Ship exteriors—and cabin interiors-- were kept clean and well maintained. I didn’t notice a speck of rust on her decks. Clipper clearly takes pride in her fleet. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We went with a group of 60 or so. Vast majority were first timers with the exception of our travel agent, her assistant and their husbands. The ship was just great. Beautiful and nostalgic. The staff overall did a good job. Igor, the main ... Read More
We went with a group of 60 or so. Vast majority were first timers with the exception of our travel agent, her assistant and their husbands. The ship was just great. Beautiful and nostalgic. The staff overall did a good job. Igor, the main bartender was just great. Slybert, also did a great job. Room stewards did a great job as well. We especially liked that you could order a bottle of wine, and if you did not finish it, they would tag it and you could finish it the next night. I thought that was very innovative in lieu of a beverage package, gave you more options than only ordering house wines and cut down on the waste. Weather, good or marginal, was what it was and gave you the romance of the high seas. The activities were ample and diverse both on the ship and off. At meals, our people were segregated to one side of the dining room. Talk about squashing that aura of meeting other travelers. The only problem was that food poisoning afflicted a number of our group. After just a couple of days in, the first cases started and rippled through our group; eventually taking probably more than 20%, even on their way home. It was not the flu and not motion sickness. You could never pinpoint where you contracted it. But, trying to be fair, we just felt we contracted it on ship. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
First the good stuff: The service staff (waiters and barmen) were consistently excellent. The sailing experience was great especially when you could see the spectacular stars at night. The food was surprisingly good given the galley ... Read More
First the good stuff: The service staff (waiters and barmen) were consistently excellent. The sailing experience was great especially when you could see the spectacular stars at night. The food was surprisingly good given the galley conditions and a difficult dining room but the second week was a repeat of the first and while the quality was the same it got a little repetitive, on balance no more than adequate. It is obvious that The Royal Clipper is in the throes of extensive cost cutting the general condition of the ship showed signs of lack of maintenance, staff uniforms often tatty, the sun loungers were dirty, paint stained and often broken and just to show how bad it was they frequently reused cardboard beer coasters. Staff member comments confirmed this. Apparently the ship is going into dry dock soon and the planning for important repairs has been cut back extensively. Either the Star Clipper company is in deep financial trouble or they are attempting to dress up the P&L accounts for a sale. More seriously standards of customer service have declined considerably. When things are going well all is sweetness and light. Try and complain and the management's first tactic is to tell you that you are wrong as others have not complained. The second tactic is to ignore you from then on, hardly an adequate customer management strategy. The first instance was on the second half of the cruise when a Snorkelling trip was planned. At the Marina because of the sea state we asked the skipper of the catamaran Shadowfax was he going to go ahead with the trip. The answer was yes and we would see what the reef was like when we got there. Towards the end of a rough and wet trip, but before we got to the reef, it was announced that the snorkelling was off due to adverse conditions. When we got to the beach where the post snorkelling BBQ was to be held 14 of us requested to get back to the Royal Clipper as we had had enough. After a bit of wrangling this was organised and we did get home. When my wife tried to complain to the cruise director she was told that there had no other complaints with the strong implication that we were in the wrong. During the night we received a form letter that despite the inclement weather only the snorkelling was not possible and the rest of the trip was satisfactorily completed. Given that the primary reason to go on the trip was to snorkel this seemed extremely disingenuous. We were told that we would be refunded 50% of the cost. What is so galling is that had the issue been handled competently it could have been a win for Star Clippers. In disgust I wrote to the Captain with my issues but got no reply. I did get a note from the Hotel Manager letting me know he would investigate and get back to me. After 2 days I found him at the bar and I had to initiate the discussion which gave no satisfaction. Another customer service issue was when we were on a tender to return to the ship from the marina at Bequia and over the open radio we heard the cruise director and captain tell the tender crew to wait for a ferry bringing a tour back. the tender was scheduled to run every 30 minutes. we complained but, as is obvious above, customer service is not a priority. Had they taken us back on schedule the arriving tour group would have had to wait 4 minutes for the next scheduled tender while we had to cool our heels for almost half an hour. Perhaps more upsetting was an incident the day after the failed attempt to snorkel. We were scheduled on another tour and taken to the catamaran taking us to a reef. The sea state was poor and it proved impossible to effect the tender to catamaran transfer safely and the tour was called off. However while we heaved around the catamaran an extremely obese and unsteady couple, who had missed the tender, were placed in a Zodiac to get them out to join us. Well the crew of the Zodiac were literally in tears and the whole effort was botched as the passengers in the Zodiac were completely incapable of getting from the Zodiac to the tender. We later heard that one of them fell badly trying to get back on board the ship. Apparently the two passengers desperately wanted to come on the trip but no one would stop them even though it was so obviously dangerous. If this callous disregard for what were very real dangers for these folk are repeated there will be a serious accident or death at the door of Star Clipper . It is all so disappointing. We chose the Royal Clipper for our first visit to the Caribbean because of a previous fabulous experience on the Star Flyer around Tahiti and the Society Islands. Had we have known how we were to be treated and the general lack of care we would have given up on the romance of a tall ship and gone to an alternative. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
5th time traveling with an old friendy crew. While the ship holds 220 we only had 155 guests on board with a crew of 110. On this ship you are special, as other cruise ship passengers photograph the majesty of this ship. But being the ... Read More
5th time traveling with an old friendy crew. While the ship holds 220 we only had 155 guests on board with a crew of 110. On this ship you are special, as other cruise ship passengers photograph the majesty of this ship. But being the worlds largest sailing ship offers many challenges. There are no elevators. The ship moves and rocks. You need to be fit and able to climb stairs and manuver thru bulkheads. Children don't fit this ship. Most of the guests are 45 and older, well traveled and educated. Of the 155 guest 66 were repeat customers. But on this ship the accomodations are first class. You get to know the crew, the captain and even the owner if he is on board. Don't be afraid to ask the captain aquestion as he is eating lunch, dinner or breakfast at the table next to you. Take a tour of the ships engine room and see the marvels that keep this a five star experience. Then sports team keeps you busy, climb the mast to the crow nest, or lounge out on the front nets. This ship gets to go where the big ships don't go. When you go ashore you are welcomed as opposed to the shore drops of 6-7,000 people invding the shore excursion. This is a life experience unlike the boring "big Box" cruises... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
Margaret and I have a couple of friends who seem to be on cruises all the time, so we had become curious about the experience. However, having sat on Riva deli Schiavoni in Venice with a cold glass of something white and Italian, watching ... Read More
Margaret and I have a couple of friends who seem to be on cruises all the time, so we had become curious about the experience. However, having sat on Riva deli Schiavoni in Venice with a cold glass of something white and Italian, watching packs of tourists from one of the large cruise ships being dragged towards Plazza San Marco by a brolly wielding guide, we had decided it probably wasn’t for us. So when we stumbled across the Star Clipper cruises, we realised there might be a way we could cruise and have a relaxing time, and the icing on the cake (at least for me) was that this was a ship with sails….and it actually sailed. Margaret was perhaps not so keen on this latter characteristic of the cruise, since I had taken her sailing a couple of years ago and I’m not sure she has yet forgiven me for the competitive nature of my “requests” to haul in the jib during the charity regatta we found ourselves in! But it was the Caribbean, it was warm and it looked beautiful, so the Treasure Island cruise was duly booked. It’s hard to summarise the trip in a few words, but from the first moment we saw the Star Clipper to the moment we left her (were those tears in our eyes…?) we both had a great time and a holiday with memories we will cherish. The staff were always on hand and nothing seemed too much trouble, the food was delicious and plentiful and the sailing was impressive indeed (Vangelis will always invoke a recollection of those sails being hauled high into the rigging). The highlights for us, well, that first sailaway, the beach BBQ, the Soggy Dollar on Josh Van Dyke, laying in the Widow’s net with the wind in our hair, the view from the Crow’s nest and not least the new friends we made….with only 130 passengers onboard I guess we spoke with just about everyone and all of them were friendly and having a good time. In all of this, I learnt a few things too, the largest sail on a Barquetine (which is what the Star Clipper is so I believe) is a Fisherman, the Lake District is in Cumbria (how did I not know that), and even after a 20 year break, I can still get up on a pair of waterskis! Would we do it again, absolutely. As has been said elsewhere, this is not something to do 3 times a year, but it is a definite repeat, and now I come to think of it given the relaxed intimate nature of the cruise, I have no doubt sailing along the Grande Canal would be quite an experience and we would almost certainly have the time to visit our little Tratorria for a glass or two of something white and cold. Oh, and one last thing, the Skipper really was a sailing nut, on the last day he anchored us close to the finish line for the St Barts Regatta. To say we had goose bumps watching a billion dollars of huge yachts gunning for the line inches from the bowsprit would be a bit of an understatement! There are some photos here http://www.dd1961.com/StarClipper - Enjoy Take Care and Happy Sailing   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
I truly enjoyed our week upon the Star Clipper. Although my husband and I have cruised several large lines including Celebrity and Princess, nothing prepared us for this incredible sailing vessel.It is a sight to behold and the sound of ... Read More
I truly enjoyed our week upon the Star Clipper. Although my husband and I have cruised several large lines including Celebrity and Princess, nothing prepared us for this incredible sailing vessel.It is a sight to behold and the sound of the rising masts and the wind blowing thru them stay with you way beyond your 7 days aboard! The accommodations are very nice, the ship is kept in superb condition, the service excellent and the food,quality,presentation and variety was the best of any cruise line. 5 star!! Although I have always requested a balcony with any cruise line we have used before I was extremely worried about being sea level. I gave to admit we really enjoyed our little porthole to the world. I have some wonderful pictures out that porthole.....and at times it looked like a washing machine.....Makes me realize I do not need a balcony to enjoy other cruises...think of the money I can now save. The Treasure Islands were perfect ...white sand...turquoise waters ...lots of yummy rum concoctions....but I don't think I would care where this ship was going. I just loved being on board. The small international passenger count of 160 made it easy to make long lasting friendships via pictures and email exchanges even if you do not speak the same language. Helping to hoist the masts, watching the brave actually climb them....or just sun bathing on the deck....there is something for everyone. I can not wait to start to plan our next voyage....we are looking forward to the magnificent Royal a Clipper this time. I would highly recommend this line!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
It is important to remember that this is not a cruise ship, but a superbly equipped five-masted yacht, albeit a rather bigger yacht than one might expect to find. We sailed from Barbados at 10pm, when it was dark. The sky was clear with ... Read More
It is important to remember that this is not a cruise ship, but a superbly equipped five-masted yacht, albeit a rather bigger yacht than one might expect to find. We sailed from Barbados at 10pm, when it was dark. The sky was clear with bright stars, a full moon, and with the mast lights on as the Clipper moved away from the dockside, the sails started to unfurl, and the music of Vangelis' Conquest of Paradise 1492 started to play. If anyone had any doubts about moving away from the big ship cruise experience, the early feelings evoked by just leaving the port were positive. After eight cruises before Royal Clipper with P&O (2), Cunard (2), and Celebrity (4), this was a brave departure from the norm. At less than half the length of a typical ship, and maybe 1/20th or less of the weight, some movement is to be expected, but it was not troubling - apart from the last day when a few passengers were perhaps a bit off colour, owing to the larger swells between Martinique and Barbados as the Captain picked up speed for the 18 hour sail to Barbados. Like the other review made in February this year, we had the cabin on the port side at the back near the aft deck. It has an outside window (covered by a horizontal blind), so it was kept 'slatted' to prevent folk passing by from looking in. It was also advisable to keep the door locked, as other passengers often thought it was door to the inside of the yacht. On the occasion we forgot I reckon the wayward passenger was the most embarassed.The bathroom had a bath, which is unusual when cruising, unless paying a lot of money, with a jacuzzi. And whilst the cabin is smaller than what can be found for similar cost on a larger cruise ship, it was not intrusive to the point where the extra space was missed. The cabin steward, meanwhile, was an expert at making animals out of towels, and one was always waiting on the bed, with chocolates, by the time we were ready to settle down for another night. And speaking of the Captain, never has a man been so visible. He seemed to be everywhere, always smiling and interacting with the passengers, who numbered only 204 on this trip. The crew were also amongst the most friendly we have met, especially the Cruise Director, Lidija, who had so much energy I wish I knew what vitamins she took. Was there a downside? Not really, or nothing that caused such concern that it detracted from the experience, at least for me. Maybe I was fortunate, because my wife was one of those who were off-colour on the final day, so potential sea-sickness apart, nothing to worry about. Getting on and off was a doddle, whether by tender or quayside, and the Clipper never once felt crowded. Entertainment? Generally make your own and get to know other passengers more easily in a relaxed and informal setting. There was a crab race, which was funny, and a talent (sic) night, which we missed, but were assured as being hilarious - the crew apparently were not shy to entertain! Food was more limited than the bigger ships, but only from the number of choices available, and the quality was never in doubt. I was never left hungry, put it that way. The most important part, I feel, about making any review is - would we do it again? Absolutely! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
My wife and I recently returned from our sixth Star Clipper cruise. This cruise took us around the BVI's, St Bart's and St Kitts. First the positive, great crew, excellent food and the ship was as stunning as ever. Don't ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned from our sixth Star Clipper cruise. This cruise took us around the BVI's, St Bart's and St Kitts. First the positive, great crew, excellent food and the ship was as stunning as ever. Don't expect gourmet cuisine, if you want that then pay gourmet prices. Our deck cabin was clean and comfortable. Great mix of passengers from many countries. The negatives on Star Clipper are a lack of shaded areas on top deck (Royal Clipper is much better). This is a serious issue and should be addressed.The house wines have definitely gone downhill since our last cruise and should be improved. The choice of destinations was in the main good, but St Kitts was a disaster, no one was allowed off in the Port unless on an excursion, we dropped anchor a little way up the coast opposite the most appalling beach in the Caribbean. Not good enough Star Clippers. In the main still a great cruise, but I would maintain that the Med cruises are better and I would in future choose the more passenger friendly Royal Clipper Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Our cruise started in St martin. This was a trip my husband won through work, the entire boat was chartered by this company. We were greeted warmly with a cool towel, snacks and tropical drink upon arrival. The boat was extremely clean and ... Read More
Our cruise started in St martin. This was a trip my husband won through work, the entire boat was chartered by this company. We were greeted warmly with a cool towel, snacks and tropical drink upon arrival. The boat was extremely clean and well kept. After checking into our room (would recommend asking for a larger room- very small) we were able to leave the boat for the afternoon and explore the island. Embarking/disembarking was a very quick and easy process. We returned to the boat for dinner. I will say this was my main complaint. The main dishes served at dinner were not great. Meats were a bit tough. All other courses were good though and we had a good selection. Servers were flawless and had it down to a T. Breakfast and lunch were much better. I would recommend having dinner off the boat when possible. After dinner there was entertainment at the tropical bar. This was so much fun! Nickola played dance music each night and we enjoyed him so much! Igor was our bartender and he was prompt and had a great sense of humor. Excursions were wonderful! We were accompanied by Matt from the Clipper each time and enjoyed his young energy. We enjoyed kayaking in St Kitts and the ATV tour in St. Barths was so much fun! The seas were rough at night (apparently worse this time of year), but we didn't mind. We enjoyed "adventure sleeping". Our room was made up 2x a day and kept very clean. Liked the chocolates on our pillows each evening. Peter (cruise director) and his staff were all very accommodating and did everything to make our trip more enjoyable. I would recommend going with a group on this trip. The people we hung out with were my husband's co-workers (although we got to know them a lot better on the trip), so it made it fun dining with them each night and doing excursions together. So, other than sub-par main entrée and rough seas, it was still the most amazing trip I have ever taken. Something about that gorgeous ship made the whole thing so romantic too. Loved the staff and would definitely do the Star Clipper again (just work on that food a little bit guys). The memories we made here will last a lifetime! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
I can’t stop thinking about my wonderful holiday aboard the Royal Clipper in the Grenadines. I have travelled a lot, but this ranks as one of the best holidays ever. The ship is beautiful with its mahogany and brass, and the cabins are ... Read More
I can’t stop thinking about my wonderful holiday aboard the Royal Clipper in the Grenadines. I have travelled a lot, but this ranks as one of the best holidays ever. The ship is beautiful with its mahogany and brass, and the cabins are comfortable, if a little small, with enough storage for everything we took. The only thing I would advise is to shower when the ship is in port, otherwise water sloshes everywhere if you are at sea. The entertainment was good – this is not like the entertainment on the big cruise ships, it is very much in-house with audience participation. A steel band came onboard one night and provided excellent entertainment. The resident singer and musician were very good, providing a range of music, and there was dancing every evening, (not always easy when the sea got a bit choppy). One night there was a quiz with a bottle of champagne as the prize. The talent show was great, with crew members showing us what they could do –the highlight being the puppet show, which was hilarious, I haven’t laughed so much in years. I think I could sum it up as luxury with fun. The food was very good, I have no complaints. The waiters were lovely and so helpful, in fact all the crew were great. Steve, the hotel manager, and Tanje, the Cruise Director, were particularly accommodating to all our requests, and Prabhakar, the bosun, giving us a lesson on knot tying was lovely. With only 188 passengers on board it was easy to get to know other people very quickly, and this added to the fun of the holiday. The sail away from every port was always special. Standing on the bridge watching the sails unfurl and flap in the wind to the sound of Conquest of Paradise music was just magical. This cruise is about the beautiful ship as much as everything else, but the crew and the other passengers we met made it a lot of fun. I can't wait to do it again.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
In my opinion this ship made too many beach stops and spent nowhere near enough time at the towns we visited, it is ridiculous to have a 3-4 hour stop in at a town in the morning and then 4-5 hours on the beach, I really do not think there ... Read More
In my opinion this ship made too many beach stops and spent nowhere near enough time at the towns we visited, it is ridiculous to have a 3-4 hour stop in at a town in the morning and then 4-5 hours on the beach, I really do not think there is any need to have a beach stop every day, even we did make a beach stop most of the beaches were just that, beaches with little or no shade or anything to do, what is the point, Staff and crew were in the main excellent with very few exceptions, the one exception being the cruise director Renate, she had to re-arrange the shore excursions one day,resulting in a change of time for one we had booked, this was originally horse riding through a plantation in the morning, which was changed to the afternoon and we decided we did not want the sun on our backs when it was at its height. When we spoke to Renate she was rude and defensive saying we had to go as we had booked it, she finally accepted our reasons for cancelling but not util quite a bit of discussion, on this occasion she was outright rude, but at other times, especially when things were going well she was fine Our cruise was fully booked and somewhat spoiled buy a large group of Americans on a tour of some-kind from BoatUS, most were loud and drunk way too much, As expected our cabin was small(tiny actually) cabins 101-104 are sold as double cabins in reality they are more like single cabins, true they have a double bed but in order to fit them in the cabin they have a corner cut of the bottom of the bed making it a strange shape and not easy to get comfy Overall an enjoyable experience but not sure I would do it again Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We and another couple of our sailing friends embarqed on a weeks cruise in paradise. As sailors, we were not interested in the usual cruise ship with thousands of passengers, but to be under sail with a small group going to ports that the ... Read More
We and another couple of our sailing friends embarqed on a weeks cruise in paradise. As sailors, we were not interested in the usual cruise ship with thousands of passengers, but to be under sail with a small group going to ports that the mega cruise ships can't access. We found the Star Clipper to be well found, maintained, and a very pleasant stay for out weeks trip. The class 3 cabin was compact, but very functional. The food offerings were well done, with sufficient choices. The bar offerings were reasonable in price, as were the wine offerings for dinner. The crew performed well, and the watersports team were over the top great! We found the dining room service efficient, but not very engaging. The passengers represented 14 nations, so the announcements got somewhat tedious in 3 languages. The european contigent pretty much ignored the non smoking rules, and smoked wherever they pleased. We also discovered that they don't feel much like being at the back of any lines, and will cut to the front unless confronted. We had hoped to be under full sail like in all the brochures, but our best day had 9 of the 14 sails out, and usually it was 4 or 5, but we were sailing. It seemed like they were more concerned with keeping the ship level, and passengers comfortable as opposed to really cranking under sail which we were of course hoping for. The music playing and sails unfurling was a very nice touch that everyone appreciated whenever we got underway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
Having sailed a 21-day Royal Clipper Transatlantic crossing in 2001, we anticipated another special voyage on the Star Clipper. We were definitely not disappointed. The officers and crew were most pleasant, accessible, and answered our ... Read More
Having sailed a 21-day Royal Clipper Transatlantic crossing in 2001, we anticipated another special voyage on the Star Clipper. We were definitely not disappointed. The officers and crew were most pleasant, accessible, and answered our questions. This ship transports one to the feeling of owning one's own luxury yacht plus having many many international guests on board to converse with at most times during the journey. We were fortunate to become long distance friends with several passengers Missing a few ports because of a storm in the Med was a slight disappointment, but that is to be expected on a cruise of any kind. We did feel badly for the passengers experiencing "mal de mer", but then again, the Star Clipper IS a sailing vessel. We chose our cabin in the center stern area for this very reason - less motion. Excursions were, for the most part well done, led by good guides, but pricey. The Alhambra tour stands out since personal head phones were most helpful and the tour guide was most informative. Ports we visited within walking distance to the city were: Pilos, Gr., Siracusa,It., Valletta, Malta, Trapani, It, Malaga,Sp., and Las Palmas,C.I. Other ports requiring taxi or tour bus were: Empedocle, It., Motril, Sp., Tangiers, Casa Blanca & Safi, Morocco, and Aricife on Lanzarote, C.I. Food was generally very tasty, nicely presented, and there were nice selections on the breakfast and lunch buffets. Some special items like toast in the a.m. and other requests were usually available also. Of course, after 5 weeks, we became familiar with the dinner menu rotation and just made different selections for variety. We found the breads, rolls, pastries, desserts, and ice cream especially good. MaitreD, Waiters, Hotel Mgr.,and Bar staff were most attentive and cheerful. As for activities, most passengers seemed to prefer lounging and reading on the sundeck, library, or in the piano lounge area. I looked forward to the morning stretch/exercise class, other daily scheduled activities and fun groups such as the noon time singing, trivia games, etc. Water aerobics, deck golf, coits, darts talent shows (passenger and crew), cocktail hour music and much more was available for guests to enjoy at their leisure. Our cabin was always keep spotless as was the entire ship. Crew are always seen cleaning or maintaining some area of the ship. After cruising with a most congenial crew and meeting many new friends (many of whom were on board for the Transatlantic crossing)who also love sailing, we found this voyage to be a most memorable trip of our lifetimes. This is one of the most magnificent sailing vessels in the world. We would do a repeat trip and highly recommend the Star Clipper to those who appreciate or love sailing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
After reading some great reviews (especially from Budaman) for Royal Clipper nearly 12 months ago we decided to book the 10 day Christmas cruise from Barbados to the BVI's. Thanks to all for the advice given in the forums, the best of ... Read More
After reading some great reviews (especially from Budaman) for Royal Clipper nearly 12 months ago we decided to book the 10 day Christmas cruise from Barbados to the BVI's. Thanks to all for the advice given in the forums, the best of which was to go with the flow. This was our first cruise and while a little apprehensive we were really looking forward to it. Sorry if this is a little long winded but we have tried to answer the questions we wanted to know. Overall the cruise exceeded high expectations. Pre-cruise We were concerned that weather could delay us so we headed off from Dublin via Gatwick on the 15th December. After a pleasant flight with BA we arrived in Barbados and within an hour, we had our bags and were on our way to Bougainvillea Resort near St. Laurence Gap for 2 nights. We had never been to the Caribbean before and were very pleasantly surprised by the welcome and particularly the beach. 2 very relaxing and quite reasonable nights followed (€130 a night) and can definitely recommend. Friday night in Oistins was great fun and memorable. Best fish I have ever had. First Day - 17th Dec On advice from others, we arrived for check in at about 3.30 or so. The check in was done inside the terminal building by the sports team and was quite efficient as we were on the ship at about 4.30pm where we were welcomed by a drink and some bites. After a while we were brought down to our cabin with our bags arriving soon afterwards. We then took a tour of the boat (library, gym, restaurant, deck etc..) and then went to the tropical bar for a drink where we got talking to a few of our fellow travelers. At this stage there was an orientation done by the cruise director who warned us of heavy seas that night (in the end they were ok) and the offer of seasick tablets at the pursers desk). We had dinner at 7.30 and then went on deck for sailaway which was memorable we recommend to go on deck for all of these . Day 2 -- At sea Relaxing and pleasant day at sea. Great to get to explore the ship a bit more, enjoy the great food and get to know some of our fellow guests. Did the compulsory lifeboat drill in the morning. Climbing the mast was offered in the afternoon and snorkelling gear was given out before dinner. Would recommend taking your own mask and snorkel but use their fins Entertainment was a fashion show from the sports team which highlighted what was on offer in the shop. Light hearted fun. After a few after dinner drinks, had a good night's sleep as had got my sea legs at that stage. Day 3 -- St. Barth After a pleasant breakfast the ship arrived in St.Barth at about 11am. We had lunch on board and then went into town for a wander around and buying a few souvenirs. Gustavia is a pretty town but a lot of the shops were closed. Also had to deal with our first experience of feeling nauseous on land -- weird experience. We came back and did the organised snorkelling safari. Saw a few nice fish but the compulsory life jacket was awkward. The ship should invest in better buoyancy aids given the prices paid -- one of very few criticisms. We did not do any of the organised excursions. If we were back we would recommend renting a car and seeing some of the island -- there are some notable beaches on the other side. That night, there was bingo in the bar which was a good laugh although the cruise director should learn some of the bingo sayings to make it a bit more fun. As on other nights we enjoyed the company of our fellow guests with a few drinks in the Tropical Bar. Day 4 -- BVIs -- Norman Island and Sopers Hole (Tortola) Sailing up to the BVIs is memorable and can highly recommending as much time on deck as you can. It is incredible scenery with all those little islands. We went over to the beach on Norman Island as early as we could. It was a fun place to snorkel and we had a few beers over in Pirates before making our way back to the ship for lunch. This was one of our favourite beaches -- had a real isolated feel about the place and one you will never experience on a big cruise ship. After arriving back for lunch, we had a relaxing afternoon as we set sail for Sopers hole where we would be docked for the night. After another pleasant dinner we got the tender into Sopers Hole to go to a local bar. A lot of the crew were there, and after dancing and drinking we got back to the ship about 2am (even the midnight snack was gone) Day 5 -- Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda Similar to the previous day, we (tenderly) went over to the beach which was pretty cool with the soggy dollar bar and one love. We did some snorkelling, walked the beach, bought a t shirt and headed back for lunch...perfect!! It is hard to describe these places but paradise comes to mind. Afternoon was again similar, reading on deck, having a beer, and enjoying the scenery as we sailed the short but very scenic distance to Virgin Gorda where we arrived at about 6.30. We did not go over to Virgin Gorda (Bitter end) as we would be there the next morning -- we were told it was pretty quiet so no regrets. After dinner the music quiz was held which was surprisingly competitive for some -- men v women. Might have been better to have teams but so be it. Day 6 -- Virgin gorda Had an early start for breakfast as we wanted to do the mast climb which was good fun, and is for all ages. We are in our 30's but a fellow guest in his mid 80's went up in about half the time I did. After that we went over to the Bitter End yacht club in Virgin Gorda. Unfortunately due to rough seas the trip to the baths was cancelled but this was a pleasant place to spend a few hours, and an excuse to come back. We walked some of the trails and got t shirts and Christmas decorations plus some props for the Pirate evening. Came back to the ship for lunch on the deck and then chilled for the afternoon particularly as we sailed off from the BVIs on our way to St. Kitts. Unfortunately we soon hot some very rough weather. While I did get a little ill, with the help of a sea sick tablet and plenty of bread I was ok for dinner but at least half the guests did not make it. Unfortunately Pirates night was cancelled but still had a very memorable meal and a good laugh. Surprisingly I slept very well -- was getting used to this living on a ship!!. Day 7 -- St Kitts We arrived at breakfast time in Basseterre but only the people for excursions got off the boat here. We then sailed to South friar's Bay and tenders went off at 11am. We (and our crew) decided that we would visit the ship wreak bar which is a ten minutes walk up from where the tender lets you off where we would sunbathe, snorkel and have lunch. Had a really enjoyable day with a few Caribs and a burger before heading back to the ship. That night was Captains Dinner so as all the women got dolled up for dinner, we had a nice pre dinner drink and a very enjoyable meal, followed by the excellent talent show. Who knew there was so much talent on the ship, especially the captain!! Day 8 -- Antigua -- Christmas Eve Arrived fairly early in Falmouth Harbour with tenders to the beach and the marina. We walked over to Normans dockyard which is very dinky. Admired the buildings and the boats, before having a nice beer and then heading over (15 mins walk) to the beach for the beach BBQ. Went back to the ship early afternoon as we had an unscheduled stop in St. Johns to pick up water supplies. While unscheduled the ship arranged for taxis to bring guests to Christmas eve mass in the local church. This was a welcome surprise for many, there was also a special afternoon tea with nice Christmas treats on board. Another nice dinner was followed by the excellent steel band in the tropical bar. This was a great experience to see local culture and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. We had a very special sail away at 12.30 which followed stories by the captain on deck. We were led out by the pilot and bonfires were burning in St john to mark Christmas. A very special experience. Day 9 -- Ils des Saintes -- Christmas Day Unfortunately it was raining in les Saintes when we got over there but it was a pleasant wander around the town, visited the nice little church, bought a few bits in the shops and then went back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we took the tender over to the beach, which was on a small island. Did some snorkelling and kayaking and then back to the ship. Very pleasant time on deck watching the kite surfers and the boats. Christmas evening was great fun. Started off with Irish Coffees in the bar, followed by a lovely meal and then adjourned to the bar with our friends for what ended up being a late night. I was also talking to the owner's daughter who works for the company and was on board for her holidays. She was interested in the guests and their experiences, was down to earth and showed exactly why this ship differentiates itself from the floating vegas ships. Certainly very different to normal Christmas days!! Day 10 -- St Lucia Unfortunately our last day and the atmosphere was changing a little as people realised that we would have to start packing. The morning stop was in Marigot Bay -- it was not the most exciting but one thing to note is that there is free wifi if you want to email/skype home. Over lunch we sailed to Soufriere where were to do the zip lining excursion. This was good fun and suits all ages. Only regret was that it clashed with what we were told was the best snorkelling of the trip. After getting back to the ship, we were back on a tender within 15 mins while we got the opportunity to see the ship in full sail. All I can say is wow. Back on board, we did our packing and then went to dinner where everyone was a little sad to see the trip coming to an end. One of our friends had her birthday so we had a nice cake and sang happy birthday. A few post dinner drinks was followed by star gazing on deck and then an earlyish night. Day 11 -- Barbados The ship arrived into Barbados early. We spent the morning saying our goodbyes, had our breakfast, settled the bill and were off the ship at 9.30. there are excursions for those who have late flights (a tour or a beach day). We were staying 2 more nights in barbados so we headed off to get a taxi. After messing from a driver at the rank where he wanted to stick 2 more people into the taxi when we clearly would not fit we decided get our bags and walked outside the port. Here we got a taxi for less and no messing. While the next 2 days were pleasant it was a little bit of an anti-climax so next time we will just leave for home that day. Food Generally the food was excellent, with Early bird Breakfast from 6 -- 1030 in the paino bar Main breakfast from 8 -- 10 Lunch from 12 -- 2pm Afternoon snack from 5 -- 6pm in the tropical bar Dinner from 7.30pm to 10pm Midnight snack from 11.45 pm to 1am n the piano bar Early breakfast was usually fruit and some pastries. Main breakfast was buffet style in the dining room. There was a good choice of cooked breakfast, cheeses, omelette station and fruits. Lunch was also a buffet and had different selections everyday and sometimes themes like seafood, international, Italian etc. The desserts at lunchtime were generally better than at dinner as you could try more than one. Afternoon tea involved fruit and snacks such as chicken wings, goujons etc.. We tried to stick to the fruit to save our appetite for dinner. Dinner was a la carte and the food was generally of an excellent standard with soup, starter, sorbet, main, salad, cheese, dessert. There was also the option to have Steak and Chips every night. This sometimes made a change from the richer foods served. Overall very happy with the food, and dinner was usually a 2 hour affair. Midnight snack was fruit and something hot like chicken goujons, tacos, spring rolls etc. Tea (good selection) and coffee was always available in the Piano Room. This was great although sometimes the bar staff had to be reminded to top up the kettle. No big deal. Drinks Beers started at 3 euros including service. Cocktail of the day is 4.50. Others are 5.50. Wines ranged from 13.50 for the house wines (white was wine, red was not), to 18 for a bottle of prosecco to early 20's for decent wines to 30 for very decent wines. If you don't finish your wine, it can be stored or they will bring it up to the bar for you. Staff All the staff were great from the captain to the bar staff to the rigger. Special mention to Vira, Sylbert and Peter in the Bar, Manny and the omelette chef in the restaurant, and to Sunny the chief engineer who we hope to see again. Excursions We only did ziplining as the baths were cancelled. Others mentioned the swimming with rays as a highlight. Highlights The Sailaways Looking at the stars as we sailed Fun dinners Nice beach stops Interesting people Great staff You can do as little or as much as you want The Ship itself Things to improve Better instruction from the watersports team. Some also said the snorkelling was not as good as before. We will definitely do this again and don't think that a regular cruise ship would suit us. The people on board are very interesting with a mix of backgrounds and ages. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Having spent the previous four months planning our honeymoon and dreaming about it every minute of every day, I was sure that the SPV Royal Clipper could not live up to my very high expectations. Three days later I still have a high (as ... Read More
Having spent the previous four months planning our honeymoon and dreaming about it every minute of every day, I was sure that the SPV Royal Clipper could not live up to my very high expectations. Three days later I still have a high (as well as sea legs!) We spent our final night in the Executive Suite at the Barbados Hilton, and all we did was wish we were still on the ship. (P.S.The Hilton is very nice, though. I do recommend them as well.) Before I left, I had some concerns, so I'll address them as I imagine many of you reading this are in a similar age group or circumstance: Average age: Since my wife and I are 25 and 31 years old, we feared getting on a ship where the average age is (at least) 65. Truth be told, it was the best thing we could have done. There were several young couples on the ship and we formed close bonds, but we also found that we very much enjoyed hanging out with the older couples. They had much more in the way of interesting life stories, and all of them had very healthy marriages and very positive outlooks on marriage. You don't notice how down most people are on marriage until you're around people who treasure their own. It was very encouraging. These people are also not your standard cruisers. Each were adventure travelers and had no interest in being trough-fed on a huge floating Las Vegas. Eating with others: See above. We LOVED sitting with our new friends that were our age, but hearing about the adventures of our older counterparts and getting good solid advice from people who have made marriages work left us dreaming about what stories we'd have to tell when we reached retirement.Not to mention - older people like to buy younger people drinks. Sea sickness: On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd say most people at some point reached at least a 3, a few people got to a 5 or 6, and some people were full-blown 10s. HOWEVER, I would bet a lot of money that even the people who got the most sick would not even mention it in the conversation when asked about the cruise. It just wasn't a big deal at all. Make sure to bring some over the counter seasickness pills (NOT the prescription kind, which are gel bandages you put on your neck. They fall of when swimming.) Drinking/Nightlife: About 30% of the people on board are Brits, and we made quick friends as we defended our countries' honor by trying to hang with them. (We did.) You won't have any 3:00 AM parties, but I'd say there are at least 15 people out in the Tropical Bar until after midnight. Shopping: There weren't as many opportunities to shop as my wife would have liked. Most of the time we anchored off of a remote shore - most of the good shopping in located near major ports. Adventure/activities: Adventure is built into the ship. You can't help but feel like Jack Sparrow when the sails are up. Beach activities were great. Most people just laid there sunbathing, but many others went exploring (very remote beaches) or snorkeling either by themselves or with the resident Marine Biologist, Mariano. That was great because even an ordinary day of snorkeling was fascinating when he explained the details of seemingly trivial ocean creatures. Snorkeling on most days was fantastic, though! There were many other wonderful features of the honeymoon on-board the Royal Clipper in the Windward Islands, but I can't write about them all. Please contact me if you have any questions. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2010
We are senior citizens who also were sailors for about 40 years! We have sailed twice on the ROYAL CLIPPER - January 2005 & January 2010. We adore her! Best cruises we have ever had - no casinos, no kids on board just plain ... Read More
We are senior citizens who also were sailors for about 40 years! We have sailed twice on the ROYAL CLIPPER - January 2005 & January 2010. We adore her! Best cruises we have ever had - no casinos, no kids on board just plain "relaxation". Shore excursions during the day and sailed at night! Wonderful lectures on board, water activities ashore, sightseeing on the islands, on board entertainment by the crew & occasional steel band aboard for a few hours before our night sails! We used Star Clipper Lines to book our plane reservations so that we wouldn't have any issues with delayed flights. Actually, we flew to Miami from Providence, RI the night before we were to fly to Barbados to meet the ship just to be sure that we would bot be delayed by weather! Would sail on her again if we can! Mediterranean by way of the seasonal transatlantic repositioning crossing would be next on our list. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2009
Our 08 cruise to the Black Sea was not as much fun as previous trips and so when our niece announced he wedding in Croatia, we decided to see if we could cruise before the ceremony. We selected the cruise because the last port was close to ... Read More
Our 08 cruise to the Black Sea was not as much fun as previous trips and so when our niece announced he wedding in Croatia, we decided to see if we could cruise before the ceremony. We selected the cruise because the last port was close to our destination and we had never done the "sailing vessel" thing before. We liked the idea of only 200 guests. My observations are possibly tainted as I have cruised NCL, Celebrity and HAL, I am always amazed at the star ratings that certain lines and ships receive but these are my observations and I recognize that not everyone grew up in my house, I just hope my review is helpful cause a vacation is a terrible thing to waste. We had calm seas, except for the first night, my wife was sick, there is much more motion on these smaller ships, caveat emptor. We upgraded to a first class cabin, classes 2-5 were basically large closets with port holes, this basically doubled the cost of the cruise, it was nice and the cabin steward was excellent. The lunch buffets were excellent, breakfast got a little boring and dinner was good, but just not the overall quality and depth of selection I have enjoyed with Holland America. We made some great friends, there were several ugly americans about however and unfortunately we were paired with them for one meal which was not pleasant. An interesting trip, I did not think the "sailing" was that big a deal and I think there are much better values out there, but then Star Clippers does not tell you they are about value, but there virtual tour of there cabins is a little misleading, Bon Voyage, Veindoc Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2008
I sailed on Royal Clipper on her New Year's cruise with my partner and another couple. We are in our early 40's and this was our 46th cruise. Embarkation involved standing in line for an excruciating hour and a 10 minute walk to ... Read More
I sailed on Royal Clipper on her New Year's cruise with my partner and another couple. We are in our early 40's and this was our 46th cruise. Embarkation involved standing in line for an excruciating hour and a 10 minute walk to the ship as we didn't feel like waiting in another long line for the shuttle. The cabin was compact but well-appointed. The low shower-floor lip and lack of enclosure walls except for a curtain all but guaranteed flooding of the bathroom with each use. The ship was beautifully decorated in an Edwardian yachting motif. The gym was minimally equipped with two treadmills limited by a low ceiling and two ancient recumbent bicycles. The open-seating dinners were fine with good service and reasonably priced wines but the seating could be extremely tight depending on location. Breakfast and lunch buffets were of variable quality but a beach barbecue was terrific. Those accustomed to large ships were shocked by the ship's extreme movements in all directions but this was to be expected. The sails were magnificent but generally used more as a display than as an active means of propulsion. The ship primarily sails under diesel power and usually engine noise and cooking exhaust smells were present on the open decks. Activities are minimal to nonexistent. The Cruise Director is a glorified shore-excursion salesman and a font of misinformation. He lead no activities and showed no leadership or entertaining skills. There are few onboard activities, no daily summaries or navigational information and a surprising lack of sailing-related information or exercises. Entertainment consists of a solo piano player generally playing 70's melodies backed up by preprogrammed disco beats. New Year's Eve was particularly poorly planned. We were told to go on deck at 11:30, were served warm "bubbly" and looked at each other until 12:05 when some passengers counted down to artificially start the year. No music, no horn, no sign of the Captain or officers and no Cruise Director. When questioned the next day, the Cruise Director said the Captain was "ill" and that he himself was "elsewhere". When we returned to the cabin after the New Year's Eve "celebrations", the annoying nightly noise (I had previously used ear plugs and sleeping pills) of the Crew Mess located directly under our cabin became intolerable with loud singing, yelling and music. There was no-one on duty at the front desk and when I brought the matter to the Hotel Manager the next day, he basically "blamed" me for only complaining on the fifth day. When I said that I hadn't complained earlier as the ship was full and there was likely no recourse, he agreed and offered me a complimentary downgrade (he actually used the expression "downgrade") where we could sleep in a smaller cabin while occupying our original cabin. Uh, right. He acknowledged the noise problem, showed no particular concern and offered no apology. Other passengers expressed numerous concerns about the senior officers and their ill-treatment of the general staff and the overall unhappiness of the crew. It was also extremely concerning to hear passengers commenting on how they observed heavy alcohol consumption of officers at some of our beach stops. Disembarkation was extremely relaxed and their was no hurry to get us off the ship although our requested wake-up call was never delivered. While Royal Clipper is a first-rate ship, she offers an overall disappointing cruise experience, generally omitting any and all of the sailing-themed activities and ambiance that attracted us to her in the first place. Her poor onboard atmosphere, absence of "joie de vivre" and lack of understanding of what makes passengers happy will ensure that I avoid Star Clippers in the future.   Read Less
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