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8 Star Clippers Star Flyer Family Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
Star Flyer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 2.0 2.7
Family 2.0 2.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 2.0 3.1
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.1

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