Star Clipper Cruise Review
Last winter Clint and I were gazing out to sea at sunset from a funky beach bar on St. Kitts. Off in the distance was the most beautiful sailing ship gliding majestically through the bay with soft sunlight reflecting off its billowing sails. Right then and there I knew I had to get on that ship! A bit of detective work determined that the gorgeous 4 masted schooner was one of Star Clipper’s sailing ships and you guessed it… this winter we went sailing with Star Clipper on a journey through the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. Join me on this memorable journey:
Star Clippers Cruise Line – The Basics
The most important thing to know about vacationing with Star Clippers Cruise Line is that they REALLY SAIL (rather than transit port to port by motor). This experience is more of a sailing adventure than a cruise. As the Captain told us on the first night, “I love to sail and we’ll be sailing under wind power as often as possible.” True to his word we were under full sail for the first two nights, come high winds or high seas – oh my what a ride! I was thankful that I had taken (non-drowsy) Dramamine for the first two days until my body adjusted to life at sea. Star Clipper is a wonderful experience for anyone who loves sailing, boating, adventuring and meeting interesting people. If you’re prone to motion sickness, I would definitely consult with your physician before taking this type of cruise.
About The Ship
We sailed out of St. Maarten aboard Star Clipper, one of three ships in the fleet; sister-ships Star Clipper and Star Flyer as well as the crown jewel, Royal Clipper. Star Clipper has a capacity for 170 passengers and we sailed with 120 on board. Passengers and crew represented 24 countries which made for fascinating conversations.
Attractive wood paneled cabins are snug and comfortable with queen beds (or two singles), an efficient bathroom, sufficient closet space, port hole window, small desk, and TV (CNN, ESPN and company promo channels) and ample air conditioning.
Lots of short stairways lead to the public rooms – a lovely dining room, navigator bar, (Beer 3 euros, mixed drinks 5.50), Edwardian style library, two swimming pools, sun deck and aft deck for relaxing with plenty of lounge chairs.
Star Clipper Cuisine
In a word – wonderful! Two meals per day are served as elaborate buffets in the dining room (breakfast and lunch) and dinner is an elegant affair ordered by menu with plated service. Every day at 5pm there’s a cocktail hour complete with nibbles by the Tropical Bar on the main deck and for those who are night owls there’s a midnight snack. While all the meals were terrific, we found lunch to be extraordinary every single day – a different carving station each day and oh those sinfully delicious deserts!!!
Life On Board
There were a few families with school-age children and several young couples on board, but for the most part passengers were in the 50+ set. Everyone was very congenial and anxious to have conversations about the cruise and their past adventures. It seemed the majority of passengers were also boaters of one type or another. During the cruise we had the chance to meet and chat will ALL the other passengers – what a treat.
Aside from the delicious meal-times and cocktail hours, time was spent relaxing on deck, gazing out to sea or reading a book. Wifi was available at 20 euros for 3 hours. The ship visits a different port every day offering shore excursions and water sport activities – we did the Leeward Islands of Nevis, Dominica, Il de Saints, Guadeloupe, Antigua, and St. Barths. The ship usually sets sail at sunset, making for a very dramatic end of day; watching the sun go down as the sails go up – Norwegian music blasting – gets the blood flowing for sure!
We loved the Star Clipper product as much for what it doesn’t have as what it does…. no Jimmy Buffet music, no wait lines, no assigned dining tables or time, no pushy cruise photographers, no ‘art’ sales. In other words these cruises are all about relaxation and love for the sea without the annoying big ship tactics to squeeze every possible dollar out of your pocket. What a refreshing difference!
Interested in sailing through Europe on Star Clipper? Don’t miss their last minute promotion with fares as low as $1,300 per person.