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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had previously sailed with Star Clippers aboard the Royal Clipper in the Caribbean --one of our best cruises. We were intrigued by sailing the small clipper ship in the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas and chose this back-to-back ... Read More
We had previously sailed with Star Clippers aboard the Royal Clipper in the Caribbean --one of our best cruises. We were intrigued by sailing the small clipper ship in the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas and chose this back-to-back cruise from Venice, allowing us to spend time seeing that port first, and disembarking in Malta, a port not found on a lot of itineraries due to its out of the way location south of Sicily. Ports for this cruise after sailing from Venice included Mali Losinj, Hvar, and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Katakolon (for Olympia), Santorini, Mykonos, Athens (end of first leg), Monemvasia, and Pilos, Greece; Syracuse, Sicily, and disembarkation was in Valletta. We took two private tours during the day in Venice, having arrived the day prior, arriving for embarkation (which began at 4 pm) at the terminal at 4:45 pm and being exhausted already, having arrived via a water taxi with 2 suitcases of 50 lbs.+ each which we dropped off at a different point of the terminal (to be scanned and sent to our stateroom), 2 roll-on carry-ons, and two backpacks, we found quite a few fellow passengers were in line, so we had a fair wait to go through security before boarding which also was compounded by another ship embarking in the same terminal. Upon embarkation via gangway to the Tropical Bar, we were met by the Captain and Hotel Manager with an alcoholic beverage. We elected to complete check-in in the piano bar and take carry-ons to our cabin, then return for snacks being provided at 5-6 pm that night as well as every evening on deck at the Tropical Bar. Muster drill was at 6:30 and was very comprehensive (with life jacket on and detailed instructions), compared to most cruise lines' drills nowadays. Second muster drill was the following morning (without donning life jackets). Sail away party was at 7:30 on Sundeck (top) to views the sails being raised. Dinner was served by waiters most evenings 7:30-10 as previously mentioned, open seating style (come at any time and join others at a table). The "tall ship" Star Flyer was built in 1991, is 360 feet long, and can accommodate just 170 guests. She spends her summers in various parts of Europe and her winters in the Caribbean. Life aboard is blissfully relaxed, much like traveling on a private yacht. You’ll never feel confined on Star Flyer. The ship offers spacious accommodations and expansive teak decks with ample space and not one, but two swimming pools. In fact, you’ll find that the ship offers more outdoor space per passenger than most conventional cruise ships. The décor of Star Flyer and her sister Star Clipper is reminiscent of the grand age of sail. Antique prints and paintings of famous sailing ships please the eye, while teak and gleaming mahogany rails are richly reminiscent of Star Clippers’ proud nautical heritage. All Star Clippers ships feature open-seating dining in an elegantly appointed dining room where formal wear is never required (but country club casual in the evening is the norm), their convivial indoor-outdoor Tropical Bar and Piano Bar, and an Edwardian style library where a Belle Époque fireplace glows with a warmth that reflects the friendliness and enthusiasm of Star Clippers’ hospitable officers and crew. I enjoyed climbing the Crow's Nest and had I been inclined, I could have manned the winches and raised or lowered sails. The bridge is open more than 95% of the time and passengers are encouraged to learn about sailing on this vessel. All crew (72 staff) "wear several hats", assisting in multiple tasks when needed, especially on embarkation & disembarkation day. Service in the dining room was erratic, depending on the number of patrons already there upon our arrival; we also felt that total number of waiters was insufficient, given the number of tables. We were privileged to "watch" provisions be lowered through several decks in an opening starting on the main deck not much larger than 10 feet X 10 feet, if that, (while eating lunch in the dining room) to the storage bulkheads in the lowest level of the ship during one such embarkation day mid-cruise. We wish to alert you that this type of cruise is not for everyone as it has no casino, entertainment is limited, and activities on board are minimal, but the benefits of feeling like you are a part of the sailing, and not one of thousands of people, and the staff and passengers you meet, endears it to your heart forever. Most days of the cruise were spent in a charming port where one could explore on their own or participate in a ship-sponsored cruise which were limited for this small cruise line, and in some cases were canceled if not enough participants signed up. About half the ports allowed for evening exploration as well, as sail away could occur between 6 pm and midnight. Local entertainment similar to a barbershop quartet was brought on board in Dubrovnik, while most nights the entertainment was provided by the crew (or passengers in a fashion show or talent show) or a movie was shown. Most mornings we continued sailing awhile before arriving into a port and our first morning was no exception. Gymnastics class was available at 8 am (most mornings). Early Bird Breakfast (continental) is available 6:30-10:30 in the Piano Bar with coffee, tea and juices as well. Full buffet breakfast was usually from 8-10 with an egg station, fresh fruits, numerous bread options, and several hot offerings ranging from bacon and sausage & potatoes to crepes, french toast, pancakes, dry cereal, and oatmeal. Yogurt, juices, cold cuts, cheeses and a smoothie were also available daily. Lunch buffet was usually 12-2, but varied slightly depending upon arrival in port. There was always a daily meat at the carving station as well as hot meat options and various potatoes, vegetables, breads, fruits and desserts at all lunch buffets, each of which featured a specific theme. We visited the small Croatian port of Mali Losinj on our first stop (Sunday) and there was not a lot to do, but it was an enjoyable relaxation port. If one stayed aboard in port, the Sports Team had offerings of Shuffle Board and deck golf most days. This night there was a cocktail demo and the passenger/Sports Team fashion show. Dancing on deck in the Tropical Bar was always available at 11 pm or so with music by the keyboardist who also played on deck during evening snacks (5-6 pm) and other times. There is a small Sloop Shop selling a variety of logo items (some of which were modeled in the fashion show). There is no gymnastics equipment, but the sports team did off activities daily. The ship then stopped in Hvar, Croatia where we arrived at 11:30 am and sailed at 6 pm. There were quite a few optional excursions in this port. Evening entertainment was a Dance Night on deck. The next morning, our next "sea stop" was for two hours allowing those who were inclined to swim from the ship via gangway from 9-11:30; other optional equipment included floaties, kayaks and paddle-boards. Tuesday afternoon at 2 pm brought our return to Dubrovnik, Croatia, one of my favorite culturally enriched and quaint ancient ports, and several excursions were offered by the ship as well. Water sports activities from the gangway were available late afternoon for those on board. The evening entertainment after dinner was provided by a local folklore group similar to a barbershop quartet, followed by sail away at 11:45 pm. We had been informed by the Captain the previous night that we would be entering the Bay of Kotor before daybreak, and arose to view the calm waters and tall mountains of the Dalmatian Coast forming fjords as we sailed towards Kotor and arrived at 7 am. We participated in a short excursion (the other biking option was canceled due to lack of participants), with no free time and definitely not enough time in Montenegro. We sailed at noon with a deck lunch which afforded us a chance to view the beautiful scenery and the afternoon was spent sailing towards our next port of Corfu, not reached until the following afternoon. Available activities after exiting the Bay of Kotor included mast climbing, knot tying and deck golf. After dinner, a virtual tour on the operations of the hotel department was available. Our arrival in Corfu, Greece, was at 2:30 pm and several ship excursions were offered. Sail away for the next Greek port of Katakolon was 8 pm. Friday morning offered mast climbing as our arrival at this port was not until 2 pm; most passengers took the tour to Olympia, a definite highlight for this port. We, however, enjoyed shopping through several small blocks on the main street, one block off the shore and relaxing, as we had visited Olympia previously. We did not sail until 10 pm, allowing passengers to watch two other ships in port sail away ahead of us, and a movie was featured after Star Flyer sailed onward towards Santorini, but first a sea day in the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Crete, and a chance to view the Star Flyer from tenders with sails raised. Days at sea are usually very relaxing, and like the large cruise lines, the chair hogs have "reserved" their lounger for the day by 9 am. Gymnastics at 8, followed by a sea stop to view the ship sailing as we followed in tenders. Upon reboarding, mast climbing, a treasure hunt, a "tour" of the wheelhouse/bridge, deck golf, shuffleboard, walk-a-mile fitness, knot tying class, water gym, and creating towel animals were options to keep one busy if not occupying a lounger all day. Captain's dinner was this evening; however, he was kept busy determining whether Star Flyer would actually sail into Santorini, due to extreme winds and rough seas to traverse during the night. Once the ship passed into naturally sheltered waters around Santorini, the swells diminished and it was determined we would be able to tender ashore to this beautiful Greek island. The excursion to Akrotiri Archaeological site began once we anchored before noon for most passengers. We had visited that site previously and decided to see a few sites in Fira not explored on past cruises, including the Archaeological Museum, where some of the larger pieces from Akrotiri are housed. We also enjoyed a leisurely lunch of locally caught and superbly prepared calimari while I caught up with my wi-fi work. While back on board, sunset occurred behind Nea Kameni, the island in the middle of the caldera, just prior to our sail away for Mykonos at 7:30. I had signed up for the volcano hiking scheduled there, but I was disappointed as not enough participants forced a cancellation. After another rocky night sailing, we anchored off Mykonos at 10 am. Tender rides were rough and a bit wet. This was to be another port to explore on our own as we had visited once before and there were no ship sponsored excursions. We climbed up hills to a vantage point for many beautiful photos and then walked down to the 5 windmills and Little Venice which we had not explored during our previous visit. Walking kept us in shape and we spent some leisure time at a local bar in Little Venice. Our return tender trip was even more of a sea christening with a lot of bobbing/rocking/dousing with water. Sail away was at 5 pm, after which options included an engine room visit and napkin folding demo. Movie at night was "Around Cape Horn". October 17 brought the end of the first leg of our back-to-back cruise, with many disembarking in Piraeus, the port for Athens. Since we had seen most sites in Athens on previous visits, we had booked online an independent tour to visit Cape Sounion, home of the Temple of Poseiden located at the tip of the Pelopennese peninsula with fabulous views, for the afternoon after exploring the port during the morning. There were a number of ships in port and a shopping mall there. After reboarding our home for another 5 day cruise, we noticed many new faces, but continued our meal time gatherings with friends we made on the first leg of the cruise. Sail away was at 9:30 towards Monemvasia, Greece, arriving at noon the next day. This was a very unique small port with lots of history built on a hillside where there was a recently restored (exterior, with the interior restoration just beginning) Church of Agios Sophia at the top. No roads or vehicles are allowed in the small town, necessitating climbing to the top taking more than 1/2 hour where one traversed a very craggy uneven rock path, but the views were amazing, as was the church. Water sport activities were available for those staying on board. The second fashion show was presented following our sail towards Pilos at 6 pm. Our last port in Greece was Pilos where we anchored at 10 am, another port built on hills with a protected fort. There was a ship-sponsored excursion, but we elected to climb the hills of the town which  afforded great views once again. On board options featured walk-a-mile and mast climbing with the sports team. We raised the anchor at 6 pm, sailing towards Syracuse, Sicily. Evening entertainment provided by the passengers was a game show with three teams competing. Our sea day in the Ionian Sea offered another opportunity to view the ship from tenders sailing and the usual events with the sports team plus another bridge visit option. Another talent show after the Captain's Dinner for the second 5-day sailing. Our last day arriving in Sicily at 10 am was bittersweet as usual. I spent an hour of the morning walking around town and later our excursion (one of two offered) took us to some of the same spots, but included others as well. Shuffle board, deck golf, and another engine room tour were available late afternoon prior to our final sail away at 6 pm. Evening movie shown was "Around Cape Horn" again. Thanks to Capt. Yuriy Slastenin and all the staff and crew for wonderful memories sailing the Dalmation Coast, Greece and the Ionian Sea. We arose early Sunday, October 21, so as to view the entrance into the port of Valletta, Malta and have a relaxing breakfast before disembarking at our leisure around 9:30. We then got a taxi to our hotel, followed by a day exploring Valletta. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We sailed on Royal Clipper from Venice to visit the Dalmation coast. Following a day at sea we visited Kotor, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Rovinj and Piran before returning to Venice. Leaving Venice on a ship such as this, especially as the sun is ... Read More
We sailed on Royal Clipper from Venice to visit the Dalmation coast. Following a day at sea we visited Kotor, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Rovinj and Piran before returning to Venice. Leaving Venice on a ship such as this, especially as the sun is setting, is a splendid experience, passing the famous sights as you head for the open sea. Returning at dawn is also pretty special. Life on board Royal Clipper is a succession of sumptuous meals. Unfortunately the dining room, though opulent, is poorly designed. The buffet arrangements for breakfast and lunch are not ideal as the buffet itself is subject to logjams of people due to poor access. Dinner is served at your table. The tables are arranged on three levels and the low ceiling height on the uppermost level resulted in the overall noise level being uncomfortably high. The service itself was a little erratic, the first courses being served fairly slowly while the cheese, dessert and coffee came all in a rush. Entertainment on board is very low-key. There is a resident "musician" who "serenades" you during the afternoon snack and again before dinner. His singing leaves a lot to be desired and he managed to reduce every song to the same dreary tempo. One evening we had a visit from a local traditional signing group who were very good, but otherwise the evening entertainment was provided by the crew, whether it be a fashion show (to encourage purchases from the on-board shop) or a "talent" show. Cabins are comfortable but, certainly in our case, of minimal size. The crew were, in general, excellent at their jobs but not necessarily as friendly as you might expect. In the past we have sailed on both the smaller ships in the fleet, and our feeling is that they provide a more intimate and generally better experience, especially with regard to the dining arrangements. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Boarding the Royal Clipper in Venice, we knew we were in for a voyage of a lifetime, such a magnificent sailing ship with its 5 masts standing tall and erect. Champagne to welcome us as we made our way to our cabin on level 3. If you can ... Read More
Boarding the Royal Clipper in Venice, we knew we were in for a voyage of a lifetime, such a magnificent sailing ship with its 5 masts standing tall and erect. Champagne to welcome us as we made our way to our cabin on level 3. If you can afford it get the best cabins which are on this deck as it gives you private balconies with chairs and table. The cabin was superbly fitted out and a bottle of champagne and petite fours awaited us while unpacking. The Lounge, Dining area, Library and Bar areas are superb. The staff were great and always willing to help and put on a smile. The food was excellent and you were never left wanting. Sailing out of Venice down the Grand Canal to the sounds of The Conquest of Paradise by Vangellis taken from the soundtrack of the film Vangellis 1492 was itself a memorable experience conjuring up all sorts of emotions within the passengers. From thereon a journey of a lifetime saw us sailing to various destinations in the Istrian Peninsular, Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Scicily, Capri, and Sorrento eventually arriving in Rome. During the sail we raced the sister ship Star Clipper in the Med for 2 hrs with 42 sails against her 8, no contest really but nevertheless exciting. Travelling up the Kotor fiord whilst climbing the rigging to the first cows nest - brilliant. The ship does roll with a swell if about 2 metres but normally nothing that upsets you. This is not a ship for the disabled however as it is all stairs, obstructions such as ropes and sail mending but you are on a real ship as opposed to those large, sterilised containers called cruise ships. Captain Sergiey Utitsyn and his crew are to be congratulated on their provision to their guests. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We recently sailed on the Royal Clipper on their Eastern Med cruise starting at Venice and finishing in Rome having visited Croatia, Montenegro, Sicily, Corfu and Capri, This was a truly wonderful experience and without a doubt the most ... Read More
We recently sailed on the Royal Clipper on their Eastern Med cruise starting at Venice and finishing in Rome having visited Croatia, Montenegro, Sicily, Corfu and Capri, This was a truly wonderful experience and without a doubt the most unique experience I have had cruising. It was a truly magical and our fellow passengers were the most interesting I have met on the 15 cruises I have been on before. The ports of call were excellent and the suite we had ( owners suite) was luxurious. The crew were friendly and most helpful and the food was excellent. If you like to have others passengers who speak English then I would advise you to book through Riviera Travel as they charter several of the clippers ships throughout the year and sell them exclusively in the UK. Also if you book through Riviera they include quite a few of the excursions in the price so very good value and the couriers were excellent. This cruise should not be compared with the huge gin palaces on the sea it is very much more select and stylish so don't expect children running around and flash cabarets. The Royal Clipper has a library and a small spa and a couple of bars and cabins have a DVD and BBC World. It also has three plunge pools on the deck and a marina at the back where you can swim from and do water sports. It was a great experience travelling under sail and we had no turbulence at all throughout the entire cruise. If there is no wind it travels under engine power. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2011
My husband and I are in our mid 30s and decided on Royal Clipper for our Honeymoon cruise. The ship was under capacity with only about 130 on board mostly Germans and Brits. Only about 20 Americans(which we are). Announcements were done in ... Read More
My husband and I are in our mid 30s and decided on Royal Clipper for our Honeymoon cruise. The ship was under capacity with only about 130 on board mostly Germans and Brits. Only about 20 Americans(which we are). Announcements were done in French, German and English. Other travelers were well traveled and business 'white collar' types. We enjoyed their company greatly. The average age range was 40-60 year olds. We opted to stay at the Clipper's hotel in Venice two days before boarding. The hotel was in a good part of the city away from too much touristy stuff, but still close enough to get around. Also they served free breakfast which was a nice surprise. Getting to the port was simple and check in was fine. There was quite a line, but by the time we had all forms filled out we easily did the passport check and photo. On board we were treated to music, drinks and light snacks and our bags were in the room waiting for us. Royal Clipper is BEAUTIFUL. We were shocked at the care being given to the ship. It looked and smelled brand new. Every day we would see the friendly crew scrubbing, polishing, or painting something. The decor is tastefully done and all rooms compliment each other. On board each evening there was a different type of entertainment. From the first night introductions and fashion show, to crab races, to Greek dancers and finally the crew talent show. We went to and enjoyed each event especially the Mr. and Mrs. Royal Clipper game which we won. These all took place in the bar which was the usual evening hang out spot. We also watched the sail raising when departing each port, listened to all the port information as we arrived(got some great information and tips on what to do and see), climbed the mast( a MUST do), lied in the front netting, swam off the back dock, listened to music in the piano bar, read in the library, and relaxed in the 3 pools. We also checked out a few dvds from their rental. Not a huge selection, but enough. For such a small ship, we never ran out of things to do. We also enjoyed pirate night though wish we had known about it ahead of time so we could have brought costumes. The service was wonderful. We were so spoiled and felt we had our own personal butlers for the 11 days. Crew members always had smiles on their faces and knew our names, who we hung out with and which wine we drank. We also loved the laundry service, reasonably priced and we got the joy of seeing our undies and swimsuits ironed! We did an excursion at each port and though they are slightly overpriced(as is expected on all cruise lines) none were a disappointment. All the guides were well traveled and bilingual, plus we were usually served food and drink. Our budget would only allow us the cheapest room. It was small, but nice. All we do in the room is sleep and shower anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. Compared to the room size, the bathroom was quite large which was a plus. We had been told that small ships feel the movement of the ocean a lot, but did not find this to be the case. It was a smooth ride the entire time. The dining room had a great menu that changed each day. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with a theme each day. Every breakfast had a different smoothie which I looked forward to trying. There was also an omelette bar which was my husband's favorite. Lunch included a dessert bar which was wonderful. Dinner was the only meal that required dressing up. I wore a skirt while my husband went in khakis and a Polo shirt. Most people dressed slightly more for the captains dinner. However ties, gowns and all that nonsense are not expected(thank goodness). There was no assigned seating or times which is exactly what we enjoy. The meals were wonderfully made and presented well. About an hour before dinner began there would be a menu and sample dissed placed outside the dining entrance so you knew exactly what you were ordering ahead of time. If nothing on the menu met your needs steak and fries were always an option. One of our favorite things about this ship: no kids! We love kids, but the purpose of our holiday was our honeymoon. We wanted an adult only vacation. There was a 5 year old with his nanny that we saw about 3 times. An out of control 11 year old who someone complained to the crew about and 3 teenagers that easily blended in with the adults. My husband and I have a child now, but would not bring him on this cruise until he is at least 10 if not 15. They have a small fitness room and spa which we used a bit. I got a massage and facial at the spa which was great. On the daily schedule there were several specials for treatments. Each day they'd feature a drink special as well which was always cheaper and usually quite good. You are not supposed to bring alcohol on board, but they do not make a big deal out of this. The ship does not have a party/drunk type atmosphere so anyone getting wasted in their own room would look rather foolish. Leaving was also simple, the procedures were explained to us in a meeting the day before and we were able to quickly get our things and leave to our next destination(Rome). We were very sad to say good bye to Royal Clipper and are planning a return in the near future. Read Less
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