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4 Star Clippers Star Flyer Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We had looked longingly at Star Clipper ships in port so many times, so finally decided to bite the bullet and book a cruise. We expected a glorious ship ( which it was) and a fabulous experience ( which sadly, it wasn’t) We joined ... Read More
We had looked longingly at Star Clipper ships in port so many times, so finally decided to bite the bullet and book a cruise. We expected a glorious ship ( which it was) and a fabulous experience ( which sadly, it wasn’t) We joined in Piraeus, received a perfunctory welcome, a small glass of juice , and found our way up and down steps to our stern middle deck cabin. We weren’t expecting luxury, though the prices indicated that we would be at least comfortable, but this cabin didn’t even meet our modest hopes! The bed was at head height, with two tall steps leading to a platform by the porthole. From there, you had to wriggle onto the bed , with barely enough room to sit up! The mattress was thin, the duvet was thin too, barely covering the bed. Needless to add the pillows were poor, as were the hard bathroom towels. Fortunately we had brought some quality toiletries, as those provided were of a chain hotel standard. The bathroom had a hole in the floor shower, plastic curtain and poor lighting. All so disappointing! We went out on deck to explore, and it was as wonderful as we’d expected, especially when sails were unfurled , a fabulous sight. Fortunately we had favourable winds most of our cruise,so were usually under sail, an amazing , unforgettable ,experience. We were lucky enough to have beautiful Mediterranean sunshine, so were able to enjoy relaxing on deck much of the day time. We wondered if it might be possible to sleep under the stars, but the idea was quickly dampened by the negative attitude of the purser. Negativity was unfortunately a prevailing attitude by many of the staff. We are no longer young, but fit and enthusiastic about trying new experiences, and Star clippers was one of the few cruise lines we hadn’t experienced in over 40 years of cruising as often as possible, on ships large and small,modest and luxurious. Dining was very basic a lot of the time, at best adequate and generous. For a non meat eater my choices were limited, the same fish proffered almost every day, the same few bland cheeses as alternative. Drinks were fairly expensive , so we bought shore wines to enjoy by the glass. Many guests enjoyed the beers on offer, and we saw few drinking spirits at the after dinner bar. At the price the cruise line charges, we felt wine with lunch and dinner might have been included. There was a tiny piano bar, where the resident pianist played each evening, but seating was limited. The midship bar was popular until quite late, and many guests enjoyed relaxing on deck after dinner looking at the stars and distant port lights, All ports except Valletta were visited by tender, quite a difficult task , as the steps down were steep and the crewmen often seemed to have difficulties steadying the boat to enable passengers to embark. A couple of times we decided that sea conditions were a little too challenging , and stayed on the ship enjoying the sound of the wind and waves in October sunshine . If you fancy the thrill of being under full sail then this would certainly be a cruise for you to try, but for us, this was a one-off experience so we will go back to enjoying cruising in comfort Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
A small ship able to visit the smaller, uncrowded islands, excellent food, fantastic and reasonable shore excursions with a wonderful cruise director, and pleasant company. What more can one ask? Well, maybe rolling out of bed and walking ... Read More
A small ship able to visit the smaller, uncrowded islands, excellent food, fantastic and reasonable shore excursions with a wonderful cruise director, and pleasant company. What more can one ask? Well, maybe rolling out of bed and walking 20 feet to a buffet breakfast, basking in the sun on the webbing slung from the bowsprit, climbing to the crow's nest for a fantastic view, or listening to the captain of the ship play classical guitar on the amateur entertainment night. We always wanted to try a sailing cruise and to see the Greek islands. The Star Flyer (or its sister ships in the Star Clipper line) was the ideal way to satisfy both desires for a reasonable price. We've done many large ship cruises but now we're sold on the intimacy and informality of the Star Clipper approach. It's great not to have any queues boarding, eating, visiting islands, or disembarking. While the dining was informal dress the food was great and the service elegant and attentive. The big name visit was to Mykonos, which we preferred least because it's too touristy and it was crowded with other cruise ships in port. We loved Amorgos: We were the only ship visiting this small Greek gem. We did a cruise tour to a monastery overlooking the beach where a famous diving movie, Le Grand Bleu, was filmed. Our guide was a local Greek woman who knew well the history of the monastery and the island. After the tour we spent the remaining hours in the small town and ran into the guide at her sister's patisserie. We then enjoyed watching the boats and locals at a port front restaurant while sipping wine and ouzo, for a few Euros each. Once again the guide appeared because her parents owned the restaurant. Our experiences on another small island, Patmos, where we visited the cave where St. John dictated the Apocalypse, was similar. For Monemvassia the cruise director Monica had the sports team organize a free walking tour to the fort at the peak of the island with a commanding view of the walled town at its base, the port, and the Peloponnese peninsula. Visits to the Greek ruins at Ephesus and Melos (an island just across from Mykonos) provided the cultural enrichment for the trip. We now understand why the majority of our fellow sailors were multiple repeat customers. One of them had been on 20+ Star Clipper cruises. But he's far from the record: One lady has sailed with the Star Clippers 190+ times. Well, we're on our way to compete! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My Experience on the Star Flyer I’m surprised by the tenor of the reviews here. We just returned from a 7-day cruise on the Star Flyer, where we had a wonderful time. Overall The ship is a working sailing vessel and, as such, ... Read More
My Experience on the Star Flyer I’m surprised by the tenor of the reviews here. We just returned from a 7-day cruise on the Star Flyer, where we had a wonderful time. Overall The ship is a working sailing vessel and, as such, provides a different experience than the typical ‘big ship cruise’. There is no casino, exercise room or spa, and the maximum number of passengers on board is only 170. Our trip had 120 passengers and 77 crew. 62% of the passengers were repeat travellers. I travelled with my spouse, Two adult sisters, their husbands and my parents. Our ages ranged from 47 to 79. The Trip We were warned that travel by sail is weather dependent and, consequently, the ship may not make all its scheduled destinations. But Captain Yuriy Slastein and his capable crew hit every port as scheduled, despite some very challenging weather. Our first night, we encountered a heavy storm at sea that claimed at least 17 lives on shore. Although there was some sea sickness on board, the crew handled the storm well and, thankfully, kept us all safe. Only one sail was torn, no one was injured — and we made port the next day on schedule. Amazing. The next day, the damaged sail was taken down and repaired out on the deck where passengers could watch the process in action. A nice touch, and an indulgence for the avid sailors among us. The Star Flyer’s reduced size also made it possible for us to go to smaller ports the larger cruise ships would have to miss. Accommodation & Cleanliness Rooms were cleaned at least twice a day, with fresh towels as needed. Each block of rooms had a dedicated steward to provide cleaning and turn-down service — plus the occasional towel animal and a chocolate on the pillow each night. The ship and rooms were impeccably clean. There was no garbage or dirty dishes/glassware on deck, as others have described. And there always seemed to be plenty of deck chairs to go around. Common Areas The library and piano bar are comfortable environments, clean and well-maintained. The low-key ambience was conducive to relaxation and family fun; guests and crew alike were friendly and good-humoured. The Tropical Bar is the social hub of the ship, serving as a general meeting point for many activities, while the upper decks (one fore, one aft) housed the pool, the jacuzzi, and the best vantage point for seeing the ship’s workings in action. Passengers Our fellow passengers were mainly adults, aged 35-80, plus one small child and two teenagers. Passengers were multi-national: mostly American, German, Canadian, British, Swiss and Australian. I wonder how the nationalities vary on different schedules and locations. (Our trip was in October, travelling the Cote D’Azur from Nice to Barcelona.) The atmosphere on board was congenial, and passengers generally easy-going and courteous. Crew The crew were approachable, friendly, and very accommodating, cultivating a more personal experience than we’ve had on larger cruises. Perhaps this is due to the vastly-reduced passenger capacity. Or maybe it’s just the way the staff are trained. Many crew and staff members had been with the Star Clipper ships for a decade or more. The crew were quite open about the workings of the ship, with many tasks, like the aforementioned sail repair, taking place in full view of the passengers. Over the course of our trip, the crew invited guests to climb one of the masts, to lie in the nets on the bow sprit, to take a tour of the engine room with the engineers -- and to watch the ship set off and land every morning and evening, which was undoubtably a highlight of the entire experience. A non-negligible percentage of passengers were avid sailors; it’s easy to see why. Entertainment Wifi is limited! But board games, card games, and regularly-scheduled group activities were welcome diversions from our screen-based habits. We were never bored. Much of the daytime entertainment came from self-guided or pre-arranged tours. On our trip, one of the day excursions was cancelled due to lack of interest, but the two tours we participated in were well-organised. Often we chose to wander the destination cities on our own. In the evening, the pianist, Bela, was the focal point of much of the entertainment, assisted by local talent, crew members and passengers. During our trip, there was a fashion show, a passenger/crew talent show, and a couple of live music acts. The Pursor’s office had DVDs available to check out, as each room is equipped with a DVD player. Books in the library were also available for anyone to read. Meals Meals consisted of: • An early-bird continental breakfast (juice and pastries) • A large buffet breakfast with omelette station • A substantial, themed, lunch buffet • An afternoon snack in the Tropical Bar • A 5-course sit-down dinner with multiple menu choices • A midnight snack in the Piano Bar • An all-day self-serve coffee and tea station • An all-day bar (with bartender) All meals were open-seating, with dinner slightly more formal (no shorts or collarless shirts). All meals and snacks were served on china, with real glassware and utensils. Because we were travelling in a group of eight, the dining room staff reserved a table where our family could sit together throughout the trip. The food was much nicer than we expected — often it was excellent — and the number of choices was more than adequate. Once again, we were pleasantly surprised. Lasting Impressions ‘Pleasantly surprised’ is how I would describe much of my experience on this trip. Based on the reviews I read before departure, I thought I would struggle with aspects of the Star Flyer experience. Instead, I’m so glad I came. The service, the accommodation, and the personable, intimate atmosphere were much more than I’d hoped for. Our family has sailed on smaller vessels for generations, but this trip was something quite different: the silent gliding of the tall ship through the water, the scale and beauty of the vessel herself, and our own experience as an integral part of the sail — this was something unique indeed, and truly unforgettable. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
After our cruise in 2013 on the Star Flyer, we didn't plan to ever book another cruise with them. There were just too many problems including unsafe tender transfers. However, we saw a sweet deal that included airfare and decided to ... Read More
After our cruise in 2013 on the Star Flyer, we didn't plan to ever book another cruise with them. There were just too many problems including unsafe tender transfers. However, we saw a sweet deal that included airfare and decided to give them another try. Our experience was better, but still with significant negative issues. The people who seem happiest with Star Clippers are those who don't really care where they are going or what they do -- don't worry, be happy. During the two weeks we were on board, there was confusion over excursions, because of the poor performance of the cruise director, and strong winds meant that several port stops were cancelled. None of the beach stops ever occurred, so those who wanted to use the kayaks and small sailboats were disappointed. We also never got to the Scandola Nature Reserve, which was to be a highlight even though there were three ways we should have had a chance to see it -- access from Ile Rousse, access from Porto, and a sail by on the Star Flyer herself. On the plus side, the "hotel" side of the ship was very well run this time. All of the staff who participated in the tip pool performed very well. The food was also better than I remembered on prior cruises. Also, this was our third time on Star Clipper's ships, but the first time that the sails were used for propulsion. This captain liked to use the sails. The bad news was that the schedule was much too aggressive for the wind conditions. We had no rain, but we skipped Ile Rousse, Corsica where we had hoped to take an excursion to the Scandola Nature Reserve (more on that later) and the beach stop that day. We did get to go ashore in St. Florent instead of Ile Rousse. The other opportunity to see the Scandola Nature Reserve and Porto also was canceled because of high wind and slow speed. That day, which was to have been a highlight turned into a full day at sea with virtually no activities. We also skipped a beach stop the last full day of the cruise. My impression was that the port schedule was much too aggressive given the speed at which the ship could to travel. The published itinerary should not depend on perfect weather to avoid cancelling numerous stops. Our two-week cruise really consisted of two back-to-back one-week segments. The first week the cruise director turned in an unimpressive performance. He provided very little info on the ports and there was poor quality control of the excursions. On the excursion in Majorca, the guide skipped the most beautiful view in the monastery we visited. Many on the tour wondered out to take pictures including my husband. The guide raced on without collecting people and vanished into a maze of small rooms. My husband could never find us until we exited the building. Mid-day on the "changeover" day between cruises in Monaco, I signed us up for a couple of excursions, but was confused about the difference between two different tours of the Scandola Nature Reserve. One excursion was from the port of Ile Rousse, Corsica and the other was from Porto, Corsica. When I saw the cruise director at the cruise terminal a little before 5 PM (when the new passengers couldn't board until 4 PM), I asked him about the two excursions. First he insisted that the two excursions were very different. Then he reversed himself and said that the excursion to the Scandola Nature Reserve that was to be offered the next day would be cancelled, because of insufficient interest. I asked him how people could sign up if they hadn't yet boarded? The cruise director insisted that I would get a note under my door that evening cancelling the excursion. When I returned to the ship, I saw that the minimum number of passengers had signed up for the excursion. That night we received a note in our cabin saying, "Unfortunately our excursion "Girolata & Scandola Reserve" tomorrow has to be cancelled due to low numbers of participants." We were subsequently told that the excursion was cancelled because of too much wind. Then we were told that they were trying to replace the cruise director. The captain further muddied the waters, by trying to coverup the lies that we had been told by the cruise director, insisting that the excursion was cancelled due to weather, when we had the letter saying the problem was lack of participants even though I knew a sufficient number had subscribed. The cruise director must have been told that night that they were looking for a replacement, because his performance sank to new lows and stayed there. (Subsequently we heard that he would be leaving his position the day we disembarked in Cannes.) The cruise director's performance the second week made his service the first week look good by comparison. He repeatedly got the names of ports and excursions confused. In one port, he incorrectly announced in three languages a tour to the Scandola Reserve, when the only excursion was going somewhere else entirely. His port briefings became a bigger and bigger joke. The disembarkation briefing turned into shambles when he posted lists that had scrambled the transfers for people. We had one very bad tender transfer in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia. The ship was supposed to depart immediately after our excursion returned. In high wind, we all marched down to the tender and boarded. There were 30 passengers packed in and about 7 crew. The cruise direcotr was looking for the port agent to get clearance, so we smashed up and down banging into the dock. My husband said that at least one of the boat bumpers was destroyed by the banging. Then the cruise director jumped off the boat and stood on the dock looking for the ostensibly missing port agent while we circling in the heaving waves. A number of us asked to be taken to the boat, but we were kept churning for about 20 minutes. Later we got all kinds of mixed messages as to what the problem was. The captain said that there was no need for the port agent to come out to the boat and that the agent just needed to call in the clearance. He claimed the problem was that he was dragging his anchor and had to reposition the ship. The web of conflicting info made it very difficult to know what was lies and what was the truth. I did complain that in such seas life jackets should have been available. The captain then told me that life jackets made the situation more dangerous because people couldn't see their feet. He claimed that if someone fell in the water, they could immediately pull them out. (When we sailed with Hurtigruten to Greenland and with Swan Hellenic to Antarctica, we always wore compact life jackets for tender transfers.) Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Star Flyer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 2.0 N/A
Family 2.0 2.7
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 2.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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