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18 Star Clippers Family Cruise Reviews

My family and friends took this trip to celebrate our 50th, 53rd, and 75th birthdays. The ship was wonderful. The staff were amazing. Prices for the bar were very reasonable. The ports were really beautiful and not very crowded. We ... Read More
My family and friends took this trip to celebrate our 50th, 53rd, and 75th birthdays. The ship was wonderful. The staff were amazing. Prices for the bar were very reasonable. The ports were really beautiful and not very crowded. We did a wine tasting and Godfather tour in Sicily that was wonderful. We did the Ravello tour from the ship and that was also very beautiful. We did a Joe Bananas tour in Sorrento - private tour of Capri by boat. Loved it!! We had the same seating for dinner every night so our family could be together and they brought us a cake almost every night to celebrate one of our days. The pool was small, but it was nice to cool off in and close to the pool bar. The piano bar was fun and he let us sing with him. Talent night and white night were a lot of fun. We sailed a good bit and never had any really bad seasickness. The food selections for dinner were very good and lunch was amazing. Breakfast was pretty crowded and people sat wherever. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date July 2018
We picked this cruise because we are loyal repeat customers, but no longer. It was such a disappointment. The crew were rude and room had no air conditioning. The staff did nothing to help us, the higher up we went with our concerns the ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we are loyal repeat customers, but no longer. It was such a disappointment. The crew were rude and room had no air conditioning. The staff did nothing to help us, the higher up we went with our concerns the worse we were treated. We finally had to get wifi off ship and have the main company help us with the issues. It was so stressful. Many others aboard had similar troubles, poor food, rude comments from staff, poor communication and no maps or names to go with the scenery around us. The ship looked old, dirty and dated and lacked the water equipment they had advertised. With no flippers available, we got stung by sea urchins and cut up on coral. The cruise director said it was our fault for not packing flippers, but the advertisement for this particular cruise promised flippers available for "all". The food was so recycled, it became a bore after the third day. Lots of dry bread at dinner, bread pudding the next day, of course. Very sad experience, last sail for us with this company. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This cruise was a gift from my parents, otherwise we wouldn't have gone. However, we are so glad we did and we will do it again, and again, and again! My husband and I took our 4 yr old son on the cruise and he had a blast. He ... Read More
This cruise was a gift from my parents, otherwise we wouldn't have gone. However, we are so glad we did and we will do it again, and again, and again! My husband and I took our 4 yr old son on the cruise and he had a blast. He was the only child on the ship, but he didn't even notice because he was having so much fun. This cruise was so much better than staying at a resort. The food was delicious and the staff and crew were very accommodating and attentive. Mr. J was even able to arrange a bottle of Dom, chocolate strawberries, and other delicacies as a thank you for my parents, which isn't easy when you don't have access to Amazon. Also, we didn't feel overwhelmed by the activities/excursions and felt perfectly happy either staying on the ship or strolling through town. I only have one very minor suggestion. It seems very petty and I hesitate to mention it, but it would be nice if they would lower the price of chocolate milk. I think 1/3 of the bar bill belonged to my son, and that includes the bottle of Dom! Once we realized that the chocolate milk cost more than beer and wine, we had to limit him to just one a day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Be in no doubt this is a beautiful ship. This was our third voyage with them this year. We did one last year and we have another to come in 2016. On the other hand we may not book any more. Only vague thought seems to have been given ... Read More
Be in no doubt this is a beautiful ship. This was our third voyage with them this year. We did one last year and we have another to come in 2016. On the other hand we may not book any more. Only vague thought seems to have been given to the ports of call on this trip. The Panama Canal was interesting but it went down hill from there. Two Colombian Islands one of which was little more than a shopping centre with a scruffy beach, the cruise director Steffi, announced, with a straight face, that there was a better beach an $80 taxi ride away. You couldn't make it up. Providencia was very pretty but we exhausted it after two hours and most people were back on board very quickly. Grand Cayman , on a Sunday, in the rain (not their fault !!) with NO shops open. I would sooner drink battery acid than do that again. We finished in Cuba. Which is always worth seeing and the Island of Cayo Largo is gorgeous Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our fourth cruise via Star Clippers and a disappointment. Our accommodations were fine and the overall service was great, especially in the dining room. The Hotel Manager (Arnold Deutchl) was exceptionally helpful and competent. ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise via Star Clippers and a disappointment. Our accommodations were fine and the overall service was great, especially in the dining room. The Hotel Manager (Arnold Deutchl) was exceptionally helpful and competent. Unfortunately the Cruise Director (Monica) was only interested in promoting excursions and next year's cruises. She was unwilling or incapable of providing information about the ports of call along the way. As a result, available shore activities had to be scouted out after docking, limiting enjoyment of the ports. Expensive access to low speed internet service made it difficult to research destinations in advance. (The cost and availability of internet access on board is a disgrace in this connected age). The ship Captain was ill most of the time and remained aloof. The Sports Team did very little except conduct morning yoga exercises and mast climbing events. The crew in general was not as friendly and happy as we have experienced in the past. We will avoid this cruise line in the future since the quality of the service has apparently deteriorated. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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
Embarkation was fairly smooth. We managed to get an upgrade to a deluxe cabin, which was lucky as we were late bookers. We found the welcome tedious as the girl repeated everything in four languages. The cabin was fine with a shower ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly smooth. We managed to get an upgrade to a deluxe cabin, which was lucky as we were late bookers. We found the welcome tedious as the girl repeated everything in four languages. The cabin was fine with a shower and a balcony. The steward was good. We met some interesting people from various countries. Most of the excursions we went on were good, particularly the first one in Montenegro, which was a gastronomy trip to a lovely lady's house, where we had a choice of aperitifs, made by her husband. The wine was also produced by him. The lady was a well known cook locally and produced a feast for us to sample the local food. The description said the evening meal time was from 7.30 to 10.30 and to arrive when you want to and sit where you want. However the reality was far from this relaxed attitude. We arrive some time after 8.30 to be greeted by a disgruntled head waiter, telling us off for being late and saying we had to sit in an overspill area with the other sinners!! Breakfast was as bad, we arrived a quarter of an hour before finishing time, as we only wanted cereal and coffee, to be greeted again by this awful man, saying "last in dinner, last in breakfast, WHY???" We have sailed on the QE2, the Canberra and the Norway and never had such rudeness. If late sittings aren't allowed then it should be stated in the brochure or two sittings arranged. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
A cruise on a sailing cruise ship sounds like unbelievable heaven. Sailing on the Mediterranean, to all the beautiful ports on the French Riviera, sounds wonderful right? Boy was I wrong. First off we got rooms, side by side on the top. ... Read More
A cruise on a sailing cruise ship sounds like unbelievable heaven. Sailing on the Mediterranean, to all the beautiful ports on the French Riviera, sounds wonderful right? Boy was I wrong. First off we got rooms, side by side on the top. Our cabins were the top of the choices we could have. They were very cute and roomy. I went with my 2 daughters. Rather than going on and on about the trip in detail, Ill just write what the disappointments were. 1-The food. It was poor. More like cafeteria food. The omelet bar in the morning was the highlight of all meals. I wasn't the only one who thought this. I had many conversations with at least 15 passengers at tables that agreed. 2- The staff. All except one guy (His name was Michal) were far below average. When I asked a question about the name of a port or how long we were there..it was a shrug, and a simple " I don't know" he was uninterested in me or my question. I was a bother to him just by asking. 2- If I tried to ask a question about how something was cooked, no one had any idea about any of the food. When I pointed out that a vegetarian meal was NOT a vegetarian meal and was flagged as so, because it had crab in it, the food manager replied with a snotty remark " Oh are you going to point out every screw that's not right on the ship?" The others at the table couldn't believe how rude he was. 3- The cruise director was always MIA. She was never able to be found, when we wanted to ask any questions. 4- In the brochure it stated water sports included. But when we got our room fliers delivered, it stated that there was No jet skiing, No water skiing, and there was only 1 Stand up paddle board, and 1 Kayak offered. So we had to wait and take turns. There was only 2 guys dealing with all the water sports and bringing things back and forth from the ship. I believe, they were completely understaffed! 5-No Wifi offered. Period. You have to pay extra. 6- The pictures of my higher priced room, showed a lovely marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. I envisioned taking a Jacuzzi in the evening after a long day at the ports. But much to my surprise, the Jacuzzi didn't work and barely had bubbles coming out. In fact the room needed a face lift badly. Everything seemed old and in need of some kind of repair. 7-Staff, as I stated earlier, there was only one guy that was kind, and nice and helpful. His name was Michal. The massage therapist was also wonderful, well trained and very sweet and professional. That's about it. No one was ever around to help. To get towels, to pick up dishes left by the pool. There was no cocktail waitress to help, and dishes were left sometimes all night long. The pool area was left a mess and at one point, I went around and picked up dirty wet towels and put them into the basket. This was about 7pm. I had glasses and dishes under my chair that were left for over 8 hours. 8- There were no table and chairs set up to sit outside. So if you wanted to sit out and look at the water and have a drink, good luck. No place to sit. 9-There was a bridge tournie. Fun right? Until we all showed up to play and there were no cards!! It seems that no one was prepared at all. If you have a game planned, and you know its coming up, go buy some cards at the next port. 10- At one port, I believe it was Corsica, they wouldn't let the transport boat drop off. So we were in the boat for an hour, roaming around trying to find a place they would allow us to be dropped off. Why wasn't this discussed with them way prior to us landing at that port? Very maddening!! 11- Water bottles would have been a nice touch each day, perhaps offered by staff when the water transport picked us up or dropped us off. It was extremely hot and we were very thirsty. 12- Music. What can I say. They have an organ player. He was ok, but I felt like I was in a bad wedding movie. They should perhaps offer a DJ at night to dance to or listen to? Just an idea. By the pool as well. 13- Towels. Never enough, and always seemed to be a fight for chairs and seats. I saw two angry discussions about who's towel was who's, and someone took someone else's chair. There should be more then enough to go around. But the clean towel ben was always empty. When I went to look for someone to ask for towels, it took a long time just to find someone to bring some! To be totally fair, the ports were lovely. Sailing in the middle of the ocean was wonderful. Waking up to the warm sun and watching a sunrise from the front of the ship, while sipping my coffee, before anyone else was awake yet, was beautiful. My cabin steward was very good, the room was cleaned daily and he made a few towel animals that were left. The chocolates and treat tray was also a plus for my high end room. It was filled daily with new treats. There were 2 channels of music in the room. That was nice, would be nice if there were maybe 1 or 2 more channels. All in all...we made the best of the trip. We laughed about all the mishaps and decided to write a log of all things that we felt could improve. This is the list I wrote in our travel journal. Will I cruised with the Clippers again? No way. Unless I'm given a free cruise, on a new , and improved sip...then I might. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
As this was our fourth cruise with Star Clippers it would seem obvious we were fans of this line. Unfortunately this latest experience will not encourage us to return. Yes Royal Clipper is starting to show her age but the actual sailing ... Read More
As this was our fourth cruise with Star Clippers it would seem obvious we were fans of this line. Unfortunately this latest experience will not encourage us to return. Yes Royal Clipper is starting to show her age but the actual sailing is still a special event. However with a cruise priced at something around £3000 per head for a grade 2 cabin the overall experience was disappointing. The food and dining room service was still very good as was the cabin stewards attention to detail in the tired cabin but the real problem was the attitude of the senior personnel. From the cruise director, hotel manager, restaurant manager and other ranking officers, passengers were basically ignored or treated as if they were a nuisance for any kind of request or help on different issues which were small but escalated as the cruise progressed. Unable to guarantee a table for our family of 7 people for dinner unless we were first in queue at the start of service. In fact these people were more interested in telling us to observe the rules and their own importance than trying to ensure people were happy. Having taken the trouble to write to Star Clippers - Mr. M. Krafft Owner - to try and explain some of the shortcomings - and without the courtesy of a reply I can only presume the line does not care about return bookings. Great Pity! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
It was a different way to cruise the Caribbean. Just the sight of all the sails flying above the ship peaked our interest in going on this unique type of vessel. We had cruised about 15 times prior on the typical cruise ships (Carnival, ... Read More
It was a different way to cruise the Caribbean. Just the sight of all the sails flying above the ship peaked our interest in going on this unique type of vessel. We had cruised about 15 times prior on the typical cruise ships (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess) and not-so-typical types of ships (Delta Queen river boat on the Mississippi, river boat for 7 nights on the Amazon, another on the Nile), so we certainly had many points of reference. After reading their brochure and website and many reviews, we were excited and looking forward to sailing on a clipper ship. It promised to visit the smaller ports and towns which were otherwise not accessible to the larger cruise ships. Well, it was a funny outcome in some ways. We were not disappointed, yet we found the trip lacking in many important ways. First the positives: The dinner food was one of the best we had on any trip. It was always delicious. Even the daily soup garnered rave reviews from our two older children (age 15 & 16) who usually do not like too many soups. For breakfast and lunch there were buffets daily. Unfortunately, the breakfast, while consistently good, lacked variety and each day very little was changed, leaving one a bit bored at the end of the week. Ordering for example, an “eggs benedict”, or even a “boiled egg”, was not available and never appeared on the buffet. The ship itself was lovely and majestic when in full sale. The setting of the sails were, in itself, an inspiring event. Rooms were small yet comfortable with enough room for two people to move about without consistently bumping into themselves. The itinerary was great with often two ports per day, so you were always busy. Getting into some smaller ports of call was also something to enjoy. As well, the on-shore excursions were terrific. Note that if you are prone to getting sea-sick, give this one a pass or at the least, use the sea-sick ear tab or Gravol. The smaller size of the ship, when compared to the typical cruise ships, often makes for rocky times while eating dinner or getting to sleep. We all used the tab as insurance and that neutralized the sea’s effects. That being said, it is a great experience to find yourself on such a vessel and really experience what it is like to be at sea. You can let your imagination run wild and pretend, like our toddler son did, that you are on a pirate ship! Now, unfortunately, while the ship was positioned as being a “high-end” cruise with correspondingly high-end service, etc., it failed to measure up in several ways. I am listing them all below because there were many areas which needed improvement. Keep in-mind, while these seem like many points, none-the-less, the trip was enjoyed by all and would still be an experience which would be appreciated by most travellers. 1. You would have expected that on such a small ship, the crew would be extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. This was definitely not the case. While the crew hands were always smiling, the ship’s mid-level officers, (with the exception of its “hotel manager” and “captain”) were usually without smiles or greetings, and when questioned about some ship timings or activities failed to know the answer (e.g. What are the lunch buffet times? What time do we get in port tomorrow?). Even at the information desk on-board, the junior office could not answer these simple questions. The ships tour director would not often be able to provide information about tours and excursions, or details about debarking. Once our toddler dropped some pasta on the floor en-route to his table. Three crew passed by stepping over the spill without any offer to help, or to clean it up; but instead we did. 2. This trip is really not recommended for young children. Prior to leaving we spoke to the “Star Clipper booking agent” about taking this with our almost 3-year old. She said it was welcomed and, while there would be no child facilities on board, there would be no issues. We were surprised to learn upon arrival that we could not even get a booster seat or high-chair for dining. We spoke to a senior officer about this and were told, “the owner board are old and conservative, and do not like to change things they have been doing for years.” He had offered to go ashore on a previous trip to buy a toddler chair for $40, and was told by the owners, “definitely not because we do not cater to young children”. He admitted they had no interest in targeting a “family” clientele. On that previous trip there were 3 young toddlers. On the positive side they did prepare special meals for our son at dinner … after the third night. 3. While still on the ship situation, this would not be a ship recommended to anyone with a physical disability. The stairs are long, very steep and narrow. There are no elevators. With the frequent rocking, this would make for a dangerous situation for handicapped or frail travellers. 4. While the cabins were cleaned daily, and there was a nightly turn-down service, no cleaning or refreshing was done throughout the day. So, if you came back from a tour in the morning and took a shower, you would be left with damp towels for your pre-dinner shower. The same lack of daily cleaning was evident when we noticed some dirty plates outside someone’s cabin early morning. They stayed there for TWO days. Not what you would consider first-class service. 5. There is an odd practice on this ship which allows crew officers to eat at the same time and place as the clients. Now by itself this would not seem to be a problem if not for the fact we experienced them jumping in-line to get their food, or eating the last portions of some foods, leaving passengers who paid significant amounts lacking their food. When this point was observed frequently, we brought it up to another senior officer who said again it was the policy of the “older owners”. Even the First Mate just shrugged his shoulders and said “that is the way it is on this ship”! 6. The Clipper should introduce a practice of having some food available to its passengers all throughout the day. The current practice is only to have the three meal times and midnight food available. There is also a small snack laid out at 5pm for one hour. That 5pm snack is very small and usually is taken quickly as passengers are hungry by then. So, if you are not there quickly you may find all the food gone and you have to wait until 7:30 for dinner. (This issue is further compounded as crew usually come and get their “snack” as well even though there is usually not enough for the passengers!) Even having some cookies or pound cake laid out in the lounge would work to take the edge of your appetite. 7. The above practice often sees passengers very hungry by the time dinner comes around – which is at 7:30pm. Normally such a late time for dinner is not an issue but given it is somewhat late to eat dinner for many people, the firm should change the policy and begin dinner a bit earlier, say at 6:30pm. Those who wish to eat later can still arrive at 7:30pm. 8. The ship does not have a “wine” package whereby you can buy bottles at a discount if you agree to purchase 8, 9, etc. This is common practice among other cruise ships and one which we find very client focused. Having to pay top dollar for wine with dinner can add up very fast. Similarly, there is not a soft-drink package for teens, and we know how much they can drink pop (at the price charged by the Clipper, that too adds up quickly). 9. When the Ship sails out on the first night, all passengers are invited on deck to see the opening of the sails. This is a great event to see. However, they invite you there to have a glass of champagne to celebrate this event. The word “invite” is misleading as they charge you 10 euros for that glass. It should be free as part of their welcome. 10. While this ship is relatively new, you can see signs that a retrofit is needed. In our washroom much of the marble on the floor has yellowed. Other areas you can see carpet showing wear. It is just starting to look a bid “old”. Perhaps this is intended by the owners to add character. 11. There is a “safety” speech given on the first day. Such a practice is also done on other cruise lines. However, it was longer than should be and was repeated the second evening. The tone was also very condescending as passengers were, for over 5-10 minutes, reminded there was unique plumbing on the ship and only the ship’s toilet paper should go in the toilet otherwise the entire system could block. This point seemed to go on forever on both evenings. Added to the length of this briefing is the fact it was given in three languages (English, German, French) so it took seemingly forever. I believe one such safety briefing to be sufficient. Now, you may think some of these points are too critical or trivial, perhaps so, but we did expect a 5-star trip and we feel we received a 3-star one. If the Star Clipper firm is to measure up to 5-stars, or even 4, none of the above should be evident in our opinion. We had the luck of meeting a couple who had just returned from a similar “sailing ship” with Oceania Cruises. They raved about it, the ship, and crew. Similarly none of our above issues were noticed by them. They did consider it 5-star. We would suggest anyone considering a clipper ship trip to consider that cruise line. We picked Star Clipper above them based on the fact they did take children (Oceania Cruises does not take children but does state that up-front). Little did we know those were just words and did not reflect anything on the ship. Too bad they are missing on a large market of family clients. Overall, let me restate we all had a terrific time for the week and would recommend it to others (and also to consider the other sail line options), however keeping in-mind the above limitations. We heard they are launching a new ship next year. You may be advised to wait for that one.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
It was a different way to cruise the Caribbean. Just the sight of all the sails flying above the ship peaked our interest in going on this unique type of vessel. We had cruised about 15 times prior on the typical cruise ships (Carnival, ... Read More
It was a different way to cruise the Caribbean. Just the sight of all the sails flying above the ship peaked our interest in going on this unique type of vessel. We had cruised about 15 times prior on the typical cruise ships (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess) and not-so-typical types of ships (Delta Queen river boat on the Mississippi, river boat for 7 nights on the Amazon, another on the Nile), so we certainly had many points of reference. After reading their brochure and website and many reviews, we were excited and looking forward to sailing on a clipper ship. It promised to visit the smaller ports and towns which were otherwise not accessible to the larger cruise ships. Well, it was a funny outcome in some ways. We were not disappointed, yet we found the trip lacking in many important ways. First the positives: The dinner food was one of the best we had on any trip. It was always delicious. Even the daily soup garnered rave reviews from our two older children (age 15 & 16) who usually do not like too many soups. For breakfast and lunch there were buffets daily. Unfortunately, the breakfast, while consistently good, lacked variety and each day very little was changed, leaving one a bit bored at the end of the week. Ordering for example, an “eggs benedict”, or even a “boiled egg”, was not available and never appeared on the buffet. The ship itself was lovely and majestic when in full sale. The setting of the sails were, in itself, an inspiring event. Rooms were small yet comfortable with enough room for two people to move about without consistently bumping into themselves. The itinerary was great with often two ports per day, so you were always busy. Getting into some smaller ports of call was also something to enjoy. As well, the on-shore excursions were terrific. Note that if you are prone to getting sea-sick, give this one a pass or at the least, use the sea-sick ear tab or Gravol. The smaller size of the ship, when compared to the typical cruise ships, often makes for rocky times while eating dinner or getting to sleep. We all used the tab as insurance and that neutralized the sea’s effects. That being said, it is a great experience to find yourself on such a vessel and really experience what it is like to be at sea. You can let your imagination run wild and pretend, like our toddler son did, that you are on a pirate ship! Now, unfortunately, while the ship was positioned as being a “high-end” cruise with correspondingly high-end service, etc., it failed to measure up in several ways. I am listing them all below because there were many areas which needed improvement. Keep in-mind, while these seem like many points, none-the-less, the trip was enjoyed by all and would still be an experience which would be appreciated by most travellers. 1. You would have expected that on such a small ship, the crew would be extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. This was definitely not the case. While the crew hands were always smiling, the ship’s mid-level officers, (with the exception of its “hotel manager” and “captain”) were usually without smiles or greetings, and when questioned about some ship timings or activities failed to know the answer (e.g. What are the lunch buffet times? What time do we get in port tomorrow?). Even at the information desk on-board, the junior office could not answer these simple questions. The ships tour director would not often be able to provide information about tours and excursions, or details about debarking. Once our toddler dropped some pasta on the floor en-route to his table. Three crew passed by stepping over the spill without any offer to help, or to clean it up; but instead we did. 2. This trip is really not recommended for young children. Prior to leaving we spoke to the “Star Clipper booking agent” about taking this with our almost 3-year old. She said it was welcomed and, while there would be no child facilities on board, there would be no issues. We were surprised to learn upon arrival that we could not even get a booster seat or high-chair for dining. We spoke to a senior officer about this and were told, “the owner board are old and conservative, and do not like to change things they have been doing for years.” He had offered to go ashore on a previous trip to buy a toddler chair for $40, and was told by the owners, “definitely not because we do not cater to young children”. He admitted they had no interest in targeting a “family” clientele. On that previous trip there were 3 young toddlers. On the positive side they did prepare special meals for our son at dinner … after the third night. 3. While still on the ship situation, this would not be a ship recommended to anyone with a physical disability. The stairs are long, very steep and narrow. There are no elevators. With the frequent rocking, this would make for a dangerous situation for handicapped or frail travellers. 4. While the cabins were cleaned daily, and there was a nightly turn-down service, no cleaning or refreshing was done throughout the day. So, if you came back from a tour in the morning and took a shower, you would be left with damp towels for your pre-dinner shower. The same lack of daily cleaning was evident when we noticed some dirty plates outside someone’s cabin early morning. They stayed there for TWO days. Not what you would consider first-class service. 5. There is an odd practice on this ship which allows crew officers to eat at the same time and place as the clients. Now by itself this would not seem to be a problem if not for the fact we experienced them jumping in-line to get their food, or eating the last portions of some foods, leaving passengers who paid significant amounts lacking their food. When this point was observed frequently, we brought it up to another senior officer who said again it was the policy of the “older owners”. Even the First Mate just shrugged his shoulders and said “that is the way it is on this ship”! 6. The Clipper should introduce a practice of having some food available to its passengers all throughout the day. The current practice is only to have the three meal times and midnight food available. There is also a small snack laid out at 5pm for one hour. That 5pm snack is very small and usually is taken quickly as passengers are hungry by then. So, if you are not there quickly you may find all the food gone and you have to wait until 7:30 for dinner. (This issue is further compounded as crew usually come and get their “snack” as well even though there is usually not enough for the passengers!) Even having some cookies or pound cake laid out in the lounge would work to take the edge of your appetite. 7. The above practice often sees passengers very hungry by the time dinner comes around – which is at 7:30pm. Normally such a late time for dinner is not an issue but given it is somewhat late to eat dinner for many people, the firm should change the policy and begin dinner a bit earlier, say at 6:30pm. Those who wish to eat later can still arrive at 7:30pm. 8. The ship does not have a “wine” package whereby you can buy bottles at a discount if you agree to purchase 8, 9, etc. This is common practice among other cruise ships and one which we find very client focused. Having to pay top dollar for wine with dinner can add up very fast. Similarly, there is not a soft-drink package for teens, and we know how much they can drink pop (at the price charged by the Clipper, that too adds up quickly). 9. When the Ship sails out on the first night, all passengers are invited on deck to see the opening of the sails. This is a great event to see. However, they invite you there to have a glass of champagne to celebrate this event. The word “invite” is misleading as they charge you 10 euros for that glass. It should be free as part of their welcome. 10. While this ship is relatively new, you can see signs that a retrofit is needed. In our washroom much of the marble on the floor has yellowed. Other areas you can see carpet showing wear. It is just starting to look a bid “old”. Perhaps this is intended by the owners to add character. 11. There is a “safety” speech given on the first day. Such a practice is also done on other cruise lines. However, it was longer than should be and was repeated the second evening. The tone was also very condescending as passengers were, for over 5-10 minutes, reminded there was unique plumbing on the ship and only the ship’s toilet paper should go in the toilet otherwise the entire system could block. This point seemed to go on forever on both evenings. Added to the length of this briefing is the fact it was given in three languages (English, German, French) so it took seemingly forever. I believe one such safety briefing to be sufficient. Now, you may think some of these points are too critical or trivial, perhaps so, but we did expect a 5-star trip and we feel we received a 3-star one. If the Star Clipper firm is to measure up to 5-stars, or even 4, none of the above should be evident in our opinion. We had the luck of meeting a couple who had just returned from a similar “sailing ship” with Oceania Cruises. They raved about it, the ship, and crew. Similarly none of our above issues were noticed by them. They did consider it 5-star. We would suggest anyone considering a clipper ship trip to consider that cruise line. We picked Star Clipper above them based on the fact they did take children (Oceania Cruises does not take children but does state that up-front). Little did we know those were just words and did not reflect anything on the ship. Too bad they are missing on a large market of family clients. Overall, let me restate we all had a terrific time for the week and would recommend it to others (and also to consider the other sail line options), however keeping in-mind the above limitations. We heard they are launching a new ship next year. You may be advised to wait for that one.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
In booking our cruise aboard the Royal Clipper, I searched for any family reviews and found very few, prompting this review. Our cruising family including myself and DH, 2 girls ages 8 and 10 (turned 11 aboard the ship), parents (mid ... Read More
In booking our cruise aboard the Royal Clipper, I searched for any family reviews and found very few, prompting this review. Our cruising family including myself and DH, 2 girls ages 8 and 10 (turned 11 aboard the ship), parents (mid 60's, active) and brother- 36. We are seasoned cruisers- many trips aboard RCL, NCL, Celebrity and most recently the Galapagos aboard the SS MaryAnne, a 12 Pax sailboat. The Royal Clipper is gorgeous at full sail and inside. Deck chairs and pools could be improved in our opinion, but when outside, most of the time we could be found relaxing in the bow net, climbing the mast, playing off the marine platform or sailing the ship! The girls loved these sailboat specific activities. While there is not the variety of activities that a large cruise ship offers, our Italy itinerary was port intensive with just 1 day at sea. We loved the ability to tender in at a close distance and visit smaller ports of call. Rooms are small (max 3 pax) but efficient. Bathrooms are all Marble and surprisingly beautiful. My 10 year old daughter celebrated her 11th birthday aboard the ship and said that it was her very best birthday ever! All the staff aboard the ship sincerely enjoyed having our girls on board and everyone knew their names....something not found on a large cruise ship. Children are a rarity on the Royal Clipper- most of the passengers were 50 plus. So, I would only consider bringing your children if they are comfortable around adults and able to amuse themselves. There is certainly no kids program, but the on board sports activities were all kid friendly....Kyaking, Mast climbing, Paddle Boarding. Our girls loved the sail by the active Stromboli Volcano where we were treated to amazing eruptions several hundred feet in the air under cover of darkness...(the perfect end to DD's birthday). Waiters and staff were very accomodating of DD's peanut allergy as well. Captain is wonderful and invited the girls to sail the ship- something they each did for about 30 minutes under supervision of the Captain and Professor....a highlight for them! Ship was small enough that we felt comfortable letting the kids explore/walkabout together on their own- something we won't let them do on the mega cruise lines. We had one morning only of rough seas which prompted a port of call change. Otherwise, smooth as glass sailing and fantastic weather the entire week. Cruise Director Lidija is spunky, and amazing! The best measure of a cruise ship and line...would you do it again? All in our party said, absolutely YES! Kids included. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The trip just fell short on everything. Started badly by having a toilet blockage in the public bathroom having to be fixed through our cabin. Because we couldn't dress for dinner I asked for another cabin (there were plenty that were ... Read More
The trip just fell short on everything. Started badly by having a toilet blockage in the public bathroom having to be fixed through our cabin. Because we couldn't dress for dinner I asked for another cabin (there were plenty that were empty). The cabin they offered was supposedly an upgrade because it was upstairs, but it was significantly smaller and noisier and had less storage space. We moved back the next morning. The food was bland and lacked imagination. In comparison, the Wind Star had a port-inspired dish on the menu each night, offered fresh made menu items at all three meals, plus the buffets at breakfast and lunch, and the option for room service whenever you desired, and there was free soda and water in your cabin at all times. Star Clipper's breakfast and lunch buffets were truly disappointing; buttered noodles should not ever be a dish on a cruise, yet Star Clipper offered it at three buffet lunches. There was the option for fresh eggs at breakfast, and I was told by another passenger that you could also order toast. You must pay for all drinks on the Star Clipper, soda and bottled water included. Lastly, on the food, the service on the Star Clipper couldn't hold a candle to Wind Star. Some, not all, of the staff were often unkempt and unfriendly, and seemed put out by any request. All they wanted to do was what they must, fill glasses, clear plates, etc. On the Wind Star the staff was professional, courteous, and seemed to genuinely enjoy making your experience the best it could be. We got the opportunity to see one of the Star Clipper's "luxury" cabins when we befriended another couple, and I'd have to say aside from the bathtub, it was no bigger or nicer than our standard cabin on the Wind Star. Certainly not worth the price. Our Star Clipper cabin was significantly smaller and older looking than the Wind Star. Also the old TV had no reception and could only be used for DVDs, which you could borrow from the Purser's Office, two at a time. We spent much more time watching movies than on any other cruise, as there is no real entertainment to speak of. Whereas the Wind Star had cultural dance troops and the like, the Star Clipper had a fashion show, where if you had bought any of their apparel, you could walk the "runway" in hopes of getting other passengers to buy stuff. Robert, the piano player was nice enough, but didn't add much to the experience. The piano player on the Wind Star was not particularly nice, but did his job very well, engaging the passengers and playing a wide variety of tunes. Oh, and on the last day they wouldn't give me my passport because they said I hadn't returned a DVD, when in reality the "Sports team" had taken it without signing it out, so they just accused the last passenger who had borrowed it. You sign them out, but don't sign them in, so if they say you haven't returned it, they hold your passport, which made me late for my prescheduled tour that morning. As for the excursions, make sure you know what you are signing up for because a lot of people were disappointed with how they handled the Barcelona tour. The tour ended at the airport, whether you were staying in the city for a couple of days or even continuing on the Star Clipper, you got left at the airport. I've never had that experience before and it was less than clear. Also, there was one couple that wanted to cancel their tour and were told they could not even though they stood before the cruise director with another couple who wanted to take that very tour, but were told it was sold out. All they had to do was switch credit card numbers, but instead both couples were left unsatisfied. In general, I found the cruise director, Anna, unfriendly, unhelpful and unapproachable outside her regular passenger interaction. Many passengers on the ship were happy repeat customers, which left my husband and I confused. What we learned was they were often sailors themselves who were looking for a "real" sailing experience. It is true that the Wind Star used their engine more (usually during sleeping hours) but in all fairness they also sailed farther and all the ports were significant, culturally or historically. I felt like the Star Clipper simply chose ports they could get to under sail. The other thing though was that none of these happy repeat customers had been on a Wind Star cruise and therefore had nothing really to compare. We were sure to encourage all to try Wind Star; I really believe they will all be more than happy with the decision! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
When booking our first ever cruise, I was nervous about what I had read on the boards regarding kids on Star Clipper. So I thought I would share our experience which can be summoned up in a single word- Great!!!!!I have 9 year old son and ... Read More
When booking our first ever cruise, I was nervous about what I had read on the boards regarding kids on Star Clipper. So I thought I would share our experience which can be summoned up in a single word- Great!!!!!I have 9 year old son and a daughter who actually turned 12 on our trip. My husband is a Scientist who despises crowds, shopping casinos, & cheesy Broadway reviews. When my daughter asked us if we could go on a cruise for our annual family vacation I was in a bit of pickle given that her Dad's idea of a vacation is not a big traditional cruise ship. He loves nature, adventure, history and science. After months of research we had zeroed in on Star Clipper. We signed up for the 6 night repositioning cruise from Costa Rica to Panama and booked the 2 day pre-land package in Monteverde cloud forest. The land package was fabulous. From the moment we landed we where taken care of. Our transfer driver showed us all sorts of things on the way to Monteverde, including stopping for lunch, monkeys and other wildlife. The visit to Selvatura park was lots of fun and we where able to add in Zip-lining which was heart stopping action adventure. The hummingbirds where amazing and the coatis just wandered all around the hummingbird garden. My family was entranced. The Hotel Fonda Vela had a lovey hot tub and pools with a gorgeous view. A real highlight for my daughter was eating a big bowl of Ice cream made locally at the Monteverde dairy, which the hotel brought to her in the hot tub. Pura Vida!!!! On the last Morning the Hotel helped me book a tour at Monteverde National Park and we where lucky enough to see a female Quetzal and a toucanette plus Coatis, agoutis and trogans. The guide was great! After a terrific lunch we headed to Puerte Caldera.We got to Puerte Caldera about an hour before the boat sailed which was a bit boring as the terminal is minimal but the line did have some apple juice and a nice plate of fruit for us. We killed the time watching the Star Flyer being moved further down the dock to make way for huge container ship so even that was interesting. Embarkation was easy and we where greeted with a nice fruit drink and music.Since there was 4 of us we booked 2 cabins a cat 6 and a cat 4 that where across the hall from each other. The cat 6 is tiny and no frills We joked with the kids it was a combination vacation and "scared straight"., but the kids did like the bunk beds. The cabin across the way was just fine with a port hole, DVD player and between the two we never felt cramped.When we first got on board my daughter said to me mom I think people are staring at us we are the ONLY family. Looking around I think we where attracting some looks. As it turns out we weren't the only family as a set of grandparents where traveling with their 14 year old grandson. The next day at the Captain's welcome speech he made a point to note how happy Star Flyer was to have a family aboard and to publicly welcome us. It was a nice feeling.At dinner Godwin and Herman went out of their way to make sure my super picky 9 year old eater knew that he could always have pasta or steak and french fries. The bar tender also made a point to tell the kids he could make them special fun fruit cocktails just for them.Pretty soon my kids where entranced with ship and the grand adventure. Our first stop was Quepos. We wanted to do the horseback riding but not enough people signed up. Ximena managed to switch us to white water rafting. Our guide was great. Just as we arrived the heavens opened up and drenched us. My son who had a cough was soon shivering. Our guide noticed his discomfort and quickly made him a plastic raincoat from a plastic bag which was very kind. The weather soon cleared and our guide was terrific. Helped us spot all sorts of wildlife and picked a perfect line through every rapid. After white water rafting back on board the kids hit the pools and tried out the bow net both of which where big hits! My son especially enjoyed diving down into the bottom of the pool and waving through the windows down there at the tropical bar.The next few days passed by a in a whirl. Tour of Corvacado National Park, Climbing the crows nest, even my 9 year old, plus raising the sails and swimming. The only tour that was a disappointment was the wildlife rescue center and orchid garden. Definitely not worth 80 E. Our best day was at Isla de Coiba in Panama. The most gorgeous beach I have ever seen. My 12 year old enjoyed the beach while my husband, son and I snorkeled. The snorkeling was fabulous. The highlight for my son was finding a harmless white tipped reef shark while snorkeling. He was so excited it was amazing to watch. The sports team nick named him shark boy after that. Our last stop at Isla Iguana was canceled because the seas where too rough to safely get us off the boat and instead we had a day at sea. While disappointed I appreciated the crews concern for our safety.The kids also had a blast with the evening entertainment. My daughter loved making us pirate costumes out of our daily bulletins (hats) tying our red t-shirts on our heads, dressing yus in strips, and making herself an eye patch from mom's band aids. The frog races where also a highlight for them followed by dancing. The night of the crew talent show my guys where too exhausted to stay up so it was just us girls. We laughed our selves silly a the funny corny show and we topped the evening off with the Macarana. Another funny thing happened as folks began to realize our kids weren't going to be badly behaved or rude they became so friendly it was great. People we didn't even know cheered us as we climbed the crows nest. People called us aside to show us pictures of the kids at pirate night, frog races etc that they had taken. The atmosphere was just wonderful. Apart from that first day we never felt anything but warmth and acceptance.All too soon it was over and we sadly disembarked but then spent another great week touring the Panama Canal zone. As we booked the Star Clipper, what our cruise agent was most worried about was "will the kids be board?" The truth of the matter was they where actually exhausted by the end of every day because there was a lot of fun things to do. However, I do have to caveat a few things. Our kids are used to vacations in the US National parks where there is no TV and a fun time is a ranger lead campfire. We also came prepared, our own DVDs and a Nintendo DS for each kids with plenty of games. Also I wouldn't want to be chasing after a toddler as the tours require a degree of mobility and a kid screaming in the dinning room would not be good, but for a family with tweens (7-13). It was great.If your family loves adventure its a blast! My daughter is already scheming to do one of their Mediterranean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We flew to Barbados a day early so as not to miss the departure, had a reservation with the Pirates Cove Inn. That was a glorious experience. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.We were not able to board the ship until 4PM even tho' ... Read More
We flew to Barbados a day early so as not to miss the departure, had a reservation with the Pirates Cove Inn. That was a glorious experience. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.We were not able to board the ship until 4PM even tho' it docked at 7AM, so we had a lot of time to kill with our bags. It is an expensive cab ride from the hotel to Bridgetown and the pier. Pre-boarding we had to sign a health waiver and submit to a temperature test. We were also required to sign a form agreeing the line could only be sued from Monaco. OK we submit and sign because we are after all here to take the cruise. At 10PM we are underway with much pomp and ceremony for the raising of the sails. The music is very theatrical 1492 Conquest of the Caribbean. We actually made 8 ports in the 7 days. Only 2 were docked all the others were tendered. The sea was rough and getting off the ship and into the tender boats was difficult for able bodied folks. We had a number of older guests, some with limited dexterity so they were always presented with the dilemma of staying on board and missing the port or daring the transfer. Shopping was an absolute "nothing"...our day in Grenada was a national holiday...our day in Martinique was the beginning of Carnival. All the other stops were for snorkelling or scuba. Wrong cruise if you are not into water sports and raw beaches. The food is buffet style breakfast and lunch, full service dinner. The service good, not excellent but OK...same with the food. Our cabin steward kept us tidy, but had the flu. So if the guests have to submit to a health check, what about the crew. The Islands are beautiful, and are regardless of how you get there. My favorite stop was in Barbados where we had a great driver take us to the northernmost point of the Island to Flower Cave, and a great waterside restaurant for lunch before the trip to the airport. The staff on the ship especially the deck hands were eager to explain the tasks they were assigned to. As for the climbing of the mast...available for 2 hours one morning and one hour another...not quite like described in the brochures. Many who wanted to climb to the crows nest were not able to because they could not be accomodated. Entertainment was of the amateur variety, but since smoking is allowed in the Tropic Bar where the entertainment took place , those who choose not to inhale other peoples smoke could not participate. The currency on board is the Euro...makes drinks bloody expensive..... The captain on this vessel was very friendly and available to anyone who wished to speak with him...one could not say the same for the Hotel Manager who never got back to any guest about anything as near as I could tell. When all was said and done, spending the week in Barbados would have been more enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
I booked this cruise for myself and my 17 year old daughter as a high school graduation present. Our first night on the cruise couldn't have been better. We got there at midnight so we were exhausted. When we started sailing it ... Read More
I booked this cruise for myself and my 17 year old daughter as a high school graduation present. Our first night on the cruise couldn't have been better. We got there at midnight so we were exhausted. When we started sailing it was like two in the morning. I was already in my room but my daughter went up to check it out. She came back down immediately to tell me I had to see this. We went back up and the sails were going up and they were playing some great music. There was a huge full moon so the whole scene was like something from a movie. You could see the mountains in the back ground and the moon thru the sails. It was truly magical. We stayed up there another 2 hours so it was four in the morning before we went back to the cabin. We had been up well over 24 hours at that time but it was worth it. The cabins are fine or how little time you spend in them. I was surprised by how much storage there was. We didn't have any noise problems either which surprised me because I figured we would. The crew was great especially the cruise director angela and the sports team. By day they take you on activities like snorkeling, water skiing diving, etc. By night, they are part of the entertainment and did a good job of pretending to enjoy it. The food was fineespecially breakfast and lunch. The dinners were too formal for meits a sailboatI didn't want to have to change into a dress. I figured my daughter who is a picky eater might have problems finding something to eat on the boat but she did fine because there was a decent selection. They could use an update to their music but they were good about taking requests later in the evening when trying to get folks to dance. We didn't have much luck with that. But you do get so tired from the days activities that most people just went to bed after dinner. The bar was great and the bartenders were fun. The ATV ride on Moorea is not to be missed. It was worth every penny. Make sure you take the full 3.5 hour oneit is unreal. The Helmet dive is also a great excursion. I didn't care for the jeep safari I took on raieeta We were crammed into the back of a covered jeep and looked more at each other than anything else. My daughter took the hiking trip up the water fall and loved it. The picnic on the private beach is great and you should just do that and save money on excursions on that day. The island is wonderful and the snorkeling is great. The also have all the activities so there is plenty to do. We took the Robinson Crusoe lagoon/snorkeling tour in bora bora and that was a BIG waste of money. 150 euros per person. The took us around the lagoon in a boat which was fine. Then he stopped and said this is one of our snorkeling stops even there are never any fish this time of day. Then he took us to his motuwhich was dirty and shabby. We walked across some coral and then were put into the tip of a drift snorkel which washed us back up on the island so fast you couldn't see anything. I wish we had just went to the beach and saved our money. Some fellow passengers did the jet skis and loved it but that was huge money. We got tired of doing excursions (and paying for them) so we started just going to whatever beach they were taking people too on any given day. We saw great beaches and they were close to some villages so we could walk to do some shopping. We took a 3 week trip to tahiti and the cruise was the first week. it was the best part of the trip. We will def hit them again Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the January 17, 2009 voyage of the Royal Clipper round-trip from Barbados. This was our second cruise with Star Clippers, having also sailed on the Star Clipper in 2006. Our previous cruises were on ... Read More
INTRODUCTION My wife and I sailed on the January 17, 2009 voyage of the Royal Clipper round-trip from Barbados. This was our second cruise with Star Clippers, having also sailed on the Star Clipper in 2006. Our previous cruises were on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and NCL. We had grown tired of the larger ships and wanted to try a sailing cruise for a change. After sailing on the Star Clipper and Royal Clipper, we have no desire to return to the mass market cruise ships. ARRIVAL We took a taxi from the airport and arrived at the pier in Barbados around 4:00, and the check-in process had already begun. Check-in consisted of receiving our ID cards (which doubled as our room keys), dropping off our passports and leaving an imprint of our credit card for purchases on the ship. We finished with the process and were taken to the ship via a very short shuttle ride. As we boarded the ship, we were met by the Captain and Hotel Manager and given complementary cold drinks and light snacks on deck. We then were escorted to our cabin and our luggage was delivered to our room shortly after our arrival. SHIP The Royal Clipper is a fabulous ship. It is a sailing vessel, not a cruise ship. The ship is very elegant and sophisticated with none of the pseudo-glitz of the large ships. There are no casinos, ship's photographers, show lounges or elevators. There are three bars on board: the outside Tropical Bar; the inside Piano Bar and a Pool Bar. All of the nightly entertainment occurs at the Tropical Bar. The ship has plenty of teak and mahogany wood, all varnished to a high gloss. Additionally, there is lots of brass, which is also kept polished. The crew was working every day doing routine maintenance around the ship. The ship's passenger capacity is 220, and this week it seemed filled. The breakdown of passengers was international - from the United States, Canada and Europe. About one-half of the passengers had previously sailed with Star Clippers. There were several passengers on board for two weeks, combining the Grenadine Islands itinerary of this sailing with the Windward Islands sailing the week immediately prior to or after our sailing. The crew members were from 25 different countries. The ship offers several features not found on cruise ships: passengers could climb the main mast to the first level crow's nest (with appropriate safety equipment) on two separate occasions during the week; we could relax on the widow's netting at the bow of the ship anytime the crew was not operating the sails; there was an open bridge policy throughout the week; the crew lowered tenders one day during the week to give the passengers the opportunity to photograph the Royal Clipper at sea under full sails; and passengers were given the opportunity to steer the ship while at sea. Each day as the sails were raised as we were leaving a port, the ship would play the Vangelis soundtrack, "1492: Conquest of Paradise" over the sound system. The passengers would congregate on deck to watch the crew raising the sails and to listen to the music. The sailing during certain periods throughout the week was rough. We heard that some passengers were ill at points during the week due to the ship's movement. However, we did not feel any discomfort during the week. CABIN We booked a Category 6 (Inside) room, cabin 228. In retrospect, we would have booked a higher category (Outside) room to give us a little more space. The room had a fixed double bed. The bathroom had a shower, toilet, sink and a two-door medicine cabinet with plenty of shelving for storing toiletries. While most of the electrical outlets in the cabin are 220 volts, there are two outlets in the bathroom for 110 volts, which I used for charging our digital camera's battery. These outlets could also be used for electric razors or charging cell phones. There was a hair dryer attached to the wall in the bathroom. The cabin had just enough storage and closet space for the two of us. A safe with a programmable lock was located in one of the cabinets. There was a TV in the room, which received a few English speaking programs, including CNN International. A DVD player was also in the room, and video disks could be borrowed from the ship's collection. Our cabin attendant was excellent. Towels were exchanged each morning and evening. MEALS All meals were served in the main dining room. Like the rest of the ship, the main dining room was very elegant. It was very common for the ship's officers, including the captain, to join a group of diners at each meal. All dining is open seating, with service between 8:00 and 10:00 for breakfast, 12:00 and 2:00 for lunch and 7:30 and 10:00 for dinner. There are no formal nights - dress for dinner is resort casual for men and women. Buffet meals were served for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, there was an assortment of cereal, yogurts, pastries and fruits, along with scrambled eggs, French toast or pancakes, bacon, sausage or ham and potatoes. There was also a station for fresh omelets and eggs each morning. Lunchtime had a nice assortment of salads, cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and homemade soups, plus one or two hot entrEes. There was also a carving station each day with either fish or meat. The breakfasts and lunches were all very good. An afternoon snack would be served daily between 5:00 and 6:00 at the Tropical Bar. Like the breakfasts and lunches, the afternoon snack was very good. The snack would consist of items such as finger sandwiches, fruit, a hot dish and dessert. The dinners have improved since our last cruise on the Star Clipper. On our prior cruise, we were disappointed in the dinners served, both in the nightly selection and quality of food. We were much more pleased with the dinners on this cruise. Dinner would feature four choices for the main course: a seafood entree; a vegetarian entree; a meat entrEe and a Caribbean chef's special. Lobster Tail was served on Thursday night, which is the Captain's Dinner. One nice thing about the dinner food on this cruise (and on the prior Star Clipper cruise) was that each night, the various entrEes would be displayed in the piano bar for the passengers to get an idea of what would be served that evening. An early morning breakfast of croissants and pastries was also available in the Piano Bar from 6:00 to 8:00 in the mornings. Many mornings, we would be up early and grab a croissant and coffee and tea and sit on the deck as the ship sailed to the next stop. Coffee, tea and fresh fruit are available 24 hours a day in the Piano Bar. The coffee on the ship is barely drinkable. I think that they must let it brew too long and leave it on the heat after it has finished brewing. The best thing I found was to grab a fresh cup as soon as the brew cycle finished or to mix the coffee with hot water to dilute it somewhat. SERVICE The service in the main dining room and throughout the ship was good. However, with the ship filled to capacity, the service seemed slower than three years ago. We often had to ask for refills on water or coffee. Bar service was mainly at the bars, with no bar waiters hounding you to purchase drinks every few minutes. The guys (and one young lady) on the sports crew were excellent. As noted above, our cabin steward was excellent. The crew that worked the sails was also very good, showing great patience as the passengers were on deck as the crew was trying to raise or lower the sails. They were also very helpful with any information that the passengers asked them for. ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment on the clipper ships is very limited - this is one area that could use improvement by Star Clippers. There was one entertainer on board who sang and played the keyboard during the afternoon snack period. He also played the piano in the Piano Bar during the dinner hours and served as the deejay for nighttime dancing. The music selection for nighttime dancing seemed strange and hardly anyone danced after the organized entertainment ended each evening. It would have been much nicer to have a talented duo or trio providing the dancing music in the evenings. There were organized entertainment activities each night at 10:00 at the Tropical Bar. The first night was a Welcome Aboard party. Other nights featured crab races, a musical trivia quiz contest and a fashion show. A crew and passenger talent show was held on another night, which was very funny and enjoyable. While we were docked Monday night in Grenada, a very good steel drum band came aboard to play for us. Other forms of entertainment centered around the cruise director's daily talk on the upcoming port and the captain's story time. Every morning before we reached a port, the cruise director would hold a briefing on the bridge. He would explain the history of the island and places of interest to visit. He detailed what times the tenders would operate to the town or to the beach, and what time the last tender would return to the ship at the end of the day. The captain held two story times. The first session lasted about one hour and consisted of the captain narrating a slide show of sailing ships and then answering questions from the passengers regarding the ship and sailing in general. He also held another story time later in the week, demonstrating sailing maneuvers from the bridge area. ITINERARY This is not a typical cruise ship itinerary. Because of its small size, the ship can fit into ports that the larger ships cannot. The stops are in remote islands and harbors. The focus on the stops is on sailing and enjoying the natural beauty of the islands. There is not a lot of activity going on in most of the ports. At most stops, the ship would run two tenders, one to the town for limited shopping and to meet the shore excursions and the second one to a beach. For each beach stop, the sports crew would take water ski equipment, a wave board (similar to a snow board), a windsurf board, sea kayaks, and small sailboats. All of these beach activities were provided with no additional charge. Snorkeling gear was also issued at the beginning of the week for use throughout the cruise, again at no additional charge. After departing Barbados on Saturday, Sunday we stopped at uninhabited Young Island for a full beach day. On Monday the ship called at Grenada and spent all day docked at the pier in St. Georges. Several excursions were offered by the ship but we opted to walk into town in the morning and stopped at a public library to use the Internet connection. During the afternoon, we took a private taxi tour of the island, stopping at a spice plantation, Annandale Falls and a scenic point overlooking the harbor. On Tuesday the ship stopped at an uninhabited island in the Tobago Cays for a full day. This was probably the most beautiful beach we have ever been on. In addition to the beautiful beach, the natural harbor was filled with sailboats in the area for the day. You could take a short walk to the other side of the island where more sailboats were anchored offshore. There was good snorkeling right off of the beach. The ship's crew provided a full beach barbecue for lunch at this island stop. On Wednesday morning, we stopped in St. Vincent at the capital city of Kingstown. This was by far the worst stop of the week. No one could understand why the ship stops at this island. The pier area is crowded and dirty. Once you leave the protected area of the pier, you are hounded by taxi drivers. We did not feel comfortable walking through the city and headed back to the ship. Fortunately, we left St. Vincent around noon and sailed to Port Elizabeth, Bequia. As bad as St. Vincent was, Bequia was just as good. It is a beautiful island. The beach area is wide and sandy, without any rocks. There is a small town at the pier with many charming shops, restaurants and pubs. I know that many passengers made suggestions that St. Vincent should be dropped and the whole day should be spent in Bequia. There were two stops on Thursday on Martinique. During the morning, we stopped at the capital city, Fort de France. We spent the morning walking the city streets. During the afternoon, we anchored off of Grand Anse Beach. While on the beach, the sports crew led a snorkeling excursion to another part of the island on their Zodiac boats. Two excursions were offered, each with a capacity of eight persons. I was fortunate enough to go on the first excursion, and it was simply the best snorkeling I have ever done. Our excursion stopped at the same site as the local scuba dive tours. The water was incredibly clear, as we were able to see the ocean floor at least 70 feet below us. The coral formations living on the rocks were fabulous. During our time in the water, we saw two eels and an octopus, along with many other colorful fish. The best part of the snorkeling excursion was that it was free - no additional charge for the side trip. After snorkeling, we stayed on the beach until the last tender at 6:00 and witnessed a beautiful sunset on the tender ride back to the ship. The final stops on Friday were St. Lucia. In the morning, we stopped at Marigot Bay. A tender service was offered into a small marina, which turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. There was a coffee shop with nice patio seating along with several small specialty stores. There were several beautiful sailboats and yachts docked at the marina. A very nice resort hotel with beautiful grounds, Discovery at Marigot Bay, was located at the end of the marina. In the afternoon, we sailed to Soufriere Bay, where the sports team offered another snorkeling excursion - this time a one Euro fee was charged as we snorkeled at a St. Lucia national park, and the one Euro fee was the entrance fee to the park. During this snorkeling excursion, we saw and swam with a sea turtle for 10 or 15 minutes. The ship also offered shore excursions and a tender service to the town of La Soufriere. The passengers who went into the town were very disappointed, as they were harassed by local youths begging for money. SUMMARY This was another great week with Star Clippers, and we would definitely love to sail with them in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
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