Words of Wisdom


Port Spotlight: Pompeii, Italy

[caption id="attachment_16827" align="aligncenter" width="550"] "Veduta Scavi Pompei 3" by Mentnafunangann - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Situated near Naples, Italy, Pompeii is a legendary destination with one of the most fascinatingly preserved histories in the world.

Ancient Pompeii was a prosperous provincial center with an estimated population of 20,000. An earthquake destroyed much of the town in 63 AD. Rebuilding was still in process when the volcano erupted again 16 years later. The whole town was buried beneath more than 20 feet of ash and pumice stone.

Many residents were killed by lethal sulphur fumes or struck by lava and pumice stone that rained down upon the city, but others escaped. Abandoned until the 18th century, Pompeii was frozen in time until excavations revealed this amazing archaeological site. Plaster was poured into empty spaces in the lava to make body casts of some of the victims, such as a young man stretched out to protect his mother and the famous twisted body of a dog still tethered by its chain.

The eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. not only preserved structures but also evidence of the ancient way of life, such as a fully-equipped tavern with the last customer’s money still on the counter. Admire the luxurious mansions and fabulous art of wealthy patricians who came to Pompeii to escape the turmoil in Rome. Their houses were designed around an inner garden with few windows on the exteriors, so residents could forget the outside world and get sunlight from their own courtyards. Visit some of the more modest homes, and explore ancient baths, temples, theaters, markets and the huge forum.

Check it out on a Star Clippers excursion this summer!


TGIF! Cheers to the weekend. Are you sailing with us this weekend, next weekend, or sometime down the line? Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter!

We hope to hear from you soon.

Sailing the Secret Caribbean

Thanks to Michele Peterson for this fabulous story in The Montrealer about sailing the "secret" Caribbean with Star Clippers.

I realize something as soon as our ship sets sail. It’s not about the posh cabins, the exotic ports of call or even the 5-course gourmet dinners, the magic of the Royal Clipper, the world’s largest sailing vessel, is all about the wind. A warm gust catches the sails lifting our schooner high on the water and waves splash the bow as we glide away from port of Bridgetown, Barbados. Its 10 pm, the moon is high in the indigo sky and the captain’s white uniform bright against the teak bridge. A crescendo of symphonic music from 1492: The Conquest of Paradise fills the air. An audible sigh at the sheer beauty of it all, rises from the passengers on deck.

“This is unlike any cruise I’ve ever been on,” says the woman next to me, as she raises a glass of white wine.

I have to agree. The romance of great sailing vessels certainly captures the imagination. From the earliest Egyptian mariners to the great explorers of the British Empire, mankind has long relied on the power of the wind to take him to unknown territories. In my case, I’ve chosen the Royal Clipper, modeled on the Preussen a 1902 merchant ship, because unlike larger cruise ships, at just 439 feet she is able to access hidden ports and less-visited islands of the Caribbean. Our itinerary is the Windward Islands of Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St Kitts, Îles des Saintes and Martinique.

Although the ship is inspired by the past, it offers all the modern conveniences. My room Category 2 gets me an outside cabin with a double bed and marble bath with shower and a porthole window, TV, writing desk and closet. Located on the Clipper Deck, one level below the main deck, it’s compact but comfortable.

St. Lucia and Dominica
The next morning, the ship drops anchor at Rodney Bay, St Lucia and we awaken to the sight of the pitons, dramatic rainforest-clad volcanic mountains. While there are plenty of shore excursions available – from a rugged 4 x 4 jeep tour to a Segway experience. I decide to play castaway and go for a solo hike.

The tenders, small boats with gangplanks for easy disembarkation, drop us off on a white sand beach and within minutes I’m at Pigeon Island, a 40-acre (16 hectare) islet connected by a causeway to St. Lucia’s northwest coast. There, I discover the remains of an 18th century British fort and Fort Rodney, reminders of the days when the Caribbean was a naval battleground. For a post-hike cool-down, I find a secluded cove where my only company is a pair of dappled grey horses grazing on sea grass. I float on my back daydreaming of pirate ships until it’s time to return to the Royal Clipper.

[caption id="attachment_16812" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Walkway to Champagne Reef on Dominica. (Photo by Michele Peterson)

More seclusion awaits at Dominica our next port stop. Although sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493, it’s still relatively undeveloped and is so lush it’s known as the ‘nature island.’ I opt for an easy 15-minute hike to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trafalgar Falls in Morne Trois Pitons National Park where we’re surrounded by hummingbirds, giant ferns and graceful orchids. At the end of the misty trail, twin waterfalls (one as high as a 10-story building) cascade into reflecting pools and I feel as though I’ve stumbled into an undiscovered corner of the Caribbean.

To cool off after the steaming rainforest, we journey to Champagne Reef, a snorkelling site with a unique geo-thermal spring. Warm bubbles caress our bodies as we float across a colourful reef just a few steps from shore. “It’s like swimming in a glass of sparkling champagne,” says Clem Johnson, the owner of Champagne Reef Dive and Snorkel as he points out parrot fish, sea sponge and hawksbill sea turtles.

Back on the Royal Clipper, with my appetite whetted by all the exercise, it’s soon time to head to the dining room. Set in a soaring three-storey atrium with curving staircase, the Edwardian décor of polished brass and mahogany woodwork is formal but the dress code casually elegant – no evening gowns required. The open seating plan encourages mingling. The ship’s 227 passengers are an eclectic mix of nationalities; many of them repeat cruisers on the Star Clippers sailing fleet. My tablemates are a group of well-travelled couples from Florida and we enjoy a five-course meal, featuring Chateaubriand with truffle sauce and fresh-caught grouper in delicate meunière sauce, and chat about our island experiences.

“Join me for dolphin and sea turtle watching in the morning,” encourages Clara, the staff biologist as she stops by our table. “The best time to see them is in the early morning.”

Antigua and St. Kitts
Although looking for dolphins is tempting, I begin the next day with a 30 minute class of gentle aerobics held on the open-air deck beside the Tropical Bar and Library. Energized, I’m ready for the island of Antigua.

Naval history looms large here so it’s fitting to sail into Falmouth Harbour. With its pretty Easter egg hued buildings with Caribbean fretwork, it’s hard to imagine Antigua was once Britain’s most strategic colony due to its protected bays and location on important trade routes. I immerse myself in history at Nelson’s Dockyard, named for Admiral Horatio Nelson, the famous commander in the Napoleonic wars and then walk to secluded Pigeon Beach to enjoy a group barbecue under the palms, dance to live music by local steel drum band and swim in tranquil waters.

More tranquility awaits on the next shore excursion, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, on the island of St. Kitts. Built between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane from the island’s plantations to processing factories, the restored double-decker “Sugar Train” makes a 2-3 hour loop around the island on a narrow-gauge railway while we sip rum punch and take in the 360 views.

Taking the sun topside
Taking the sun with only the sounds of the sea and the wind in the rigging

Ship Life

With so many islands to explore it would be easy to overlook the pleasures of ship life. That would be a mistake. With more outdoor space per passenger than conventional sailing ships, it’s easy to find solitude with a paperback, socialize at one of the three swimming pools or indulge in a Thai massage at the Captain Nemo spa.

Other diversions include chatting with Captain Sergey Tunikov, Chief Officer Dominique Rollin and the crew on the bridge who are happy to explain the difference between a mizzen-mast and a jigger-mast. While some passengers climb the rigging, help raise the sails or scramble up to the crow’s nest under their supervision, I enjoy steering the ship and feeling the power of the 42 sails.

[caption id="attachment_16813" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Large cruise ships can’t dock at tiny islands
such as Îles des Saintes
(Photo by Michele Peterson)

Îles des Saintes and Martinique
Sailing into the island archipelago of Iles des Saintes is so picturesque, the bay has been designated a member of Les Plus Belles Baies du Monde (The World’s Most Beautiful Bays), an association established in Berlin in 1997. On shore, we soak up some French flair by sipping café au lait in local cafes, shopping for lacy French lingerie and exploring the tiny island by scooter. Îlet à Cabrit offers pristine swimming, easy snorkelling and the rustic studio of French artist Ulrich, who offers hands-on pottery lessons.

Few things are as vital to the French lifestyle as cuisine and our final stop in the city of Fort de France, Martinique doesn’t disappoint. It offers an inventive blend of French haute cuisine and Creole culinary traditions drawn from a mix of African, Indian and Caribbean influences. There’s no better place to dive in than at the colourful market brimming with spices, madras tablecloths, vanilla and fine aged rum.

Cuisine, beaches, history—as intriguing as each Caribbean island is, the highlight of each day is when we join Captain Sergey and his crew as they raise the sails and we launch into the seas like the great explorers before us. While private yachts are certainly quicker and mega cruise ships larger, no other boat plying the waters of the Caribbean sparks the imagination more than the sight of the Royal Clipper under full sail.

Words of Wisdom


Sailing Across the Sea

It's that time of year! Star Clipper set sail this weekend from the beautiful blues of the Caribbean and is crossing the Atlantic to the Med where the fun continues!

Have you ever considered a transatlantic sailing? Let us know below!

Sail of the Century

The Australian recently published this piece by Maggy Oehlbeck in a roundup of sailing opportunities entitled "Sail away to adventure of your dreams." Read on for an excerpt or check out the whole story here.

[caption id="attachment_16800" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A yoga class on deck for all ages and skill levels.

We cluster on Royal Clipper’s deck, casting lingering looks over Venice’s profile as we glide along the Giudecca then cross the lagoon, Adriatic bound.

Astride the helm, the captain signals and 42 sails unfurl . Given fair winds, our odyssey will take us to Croatia, Corfu, Sicily, Capri, Ponza then Rome. Royal Clipper, the brainchild of Star Clipper founder Mikael Krafft, is the first five-masted, fully rigged sailing ship built since Germany’s Preussen in 1902.

It is poetry to watch the sailors nimbly shimmying up 60m masts to perform the masterful skills of tall-ship sailing. Below decks, cruise-ship features include 114 cabins, a two-tiered dining room, piano lounge and library. Polished wood, brass and nautical paintings create a clubby ambience. Facilities include three swimming pools and a marina platform. It’s best suited for 35 to 65-year-olds who adore the thrill of sea and sail on a fantastic tall ship.

Have you had the adventure of your dreams with Star Clippers? Tell us about it in the comments!

Postcard from Jost Van Dyke

Thanks to travel photographer Diane Persephone for sharing this fabulous photo of Star Clipper on Instagram.

[caption id="attachment_16792" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clipper at Jost Van Dyke by Diane Persephone.

"Tall Ships!...just too hard to resist! Spotted while high above Jost Van Dyke, B.V.I. #starclippers." - @diane_persephone


Words of Wisdom


Port Spotlight: Cadíz, Spain

[caption id="attachment_16789" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Cadiz is one of the oldest continually settled cities in Europe. (Photo by Jose Ra)

Situated on a narrow strip of land surrounded by the glittering sea, Cadíz is one of the oldest and well-preserved cities in southwestern Europe. Cadíz also boasts a unique experience, categorized by the distinct cultures of each historical old barrio, (village) a sharp contrast from more urbanized areas.

A visit to the Cathedral in the Old Town provides a spectacular panoramic view of the entire city.

Christopher Columbus is said to have brought over many of the trees that line Cadíz’s picture-perfect parks, perfect for a romantic stroll set behind a backdrop of colorful flowers.

You will discover narrow streets filled with charming cafés that arguably serve the world’s freshest fish. Europe’s oldest covered market, El Mercado Central, is a must-do if you’re looking for fresh groceries and an authentic Andalusian experience.


Happy First Day of Spring!

Today is the first day of spring and we've got flowers in mind!

Star Clippers will return to the Med shortly and we're looking forward to the bright hues of the Amalfi Coast! Will you visit?


Guests Look Forward to the Next Star Clippers Cruise

[caption id="attachment_16733" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clippers guests and crew are always looking forward to the next destination! Photo by Richard A. Auchter.

Michael Palin, the British comedian and writer best known for Monty Python once wrote, "Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life."

It seems the same goes for Star Clippers cruises. A great majority of Star Clippers guests are return passengers, whether returning to their ship of choice or cruising all three tall ships in the fleet. The environment is congenial and a cruise under sail is a unique vacation. We asked fans on Facebook to let us know how many Star Clippers cruises they've been on. Responses ranged, with some guests saying they've been on one and are gearing up for the next, to some truly dedicated sailors -- up to 30 sailings!

Twice is Nice!

In the informal poll 26 percent of guests said they had sailed on Star Clippers twice, with many saying that they couldn't wait to board again. Diane Siegrist, Barabara Pinter, and Melissa Zamora were among guests who said they've been twice and have more trips planned already!

Barbara Pinter: Two times, first Amalfi, second crossing, third will be in September - Venice.

Third Time's a Charm

18 percent of guests had three knots in their rope. Susanne Dixon Bywater said she's sailed once on each ship! Deborah Castillo just completed her third sailing, and Sally Raphael sailed three times and vowed to return soon!

[caption id="attachment_16732" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clipper in the Caribbean. Photo by Birgit Sieliger.

[caption id="attachment_16734" align="alignright" width="225"] Love for Star Clippers is permanent! André M. Piquet shared this photo of his Star Clippers tattoo!

Four is more -- Five's Arrive

Of guests polled 24 percent have sailed with Star Clippers four or five times. That's commitment!

Kathy Mock: 4 times, and loved every minute of them. Can't wait for the next one.

Janet Blair: 5 times. 3 on the Caribbean aboard the Royal and twice on the Star sailing the Eastern Mediterranean. Looking forward to next February when we sail again on the Royal. I think we are addicted!!!!

Super Sailors

Some guests sail once and can't get enough! Alice Renier has sailed Star Clippers 12 times, and Christine Koeppe Wickliff has sailed 22 times, covering all three ships! Andre M. Piquet adds another knot to the perimeter of his Star Clippers tattoo each time he sails -- no that's dedication. Anita Brew has been on 15 sailings, but said that April and May bring Star Clippers cruises 16 and 17!

AnnMarie Godwin: April will be my 30th time sailing on the clippers. I started in 2001.

Star Flyer's Balearic Islands Itinerary Named Among the World's Best Intimate Cruises

The Points Guy listed Star Clippers' Balearic Islands itineraries as one of the best "intimate cruises" in the world. Check out an excerpt from that story below!

Star Clippers. Spread off the Spanish coast like fragments of a shattered shell, the Balearics include islands both well charted (Mallorca, Ibiza) and less explored (Menorca, Formentera). A new Balearic Islands summer itinerary from Star Clippers visits each on the four-mast, 16-sail, 170-passenger Star Flyer. Visit ruins and ancient monasteries, graze at beachside seafood shacks, dance all night and splash in sheltered Mediterranean coves. As a bonus, this cruise also docks on mainland Spain, with a day to explore the gorgeous city of Valencia.

Have you sailed the Balearic Islands? Let us know what you think in the comments!


Port Spotlight: Basseterre, St. Kitts

[caption id="attachment_16769" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

Originally called the “fertile isle” by the Carib Indians, St. Kitts (officially named St. Christopher) still fits the description. A mountainous island of volcanic origin its slopes rise up to almost 4000 feet, providing an ideal climate for abundant vegetation and one of the Caribbean’s largest rain forests. St. Kitts also has the distinction of being one of the only islands the French and British ever shared. This lasted only long enough to ward off the Caribs and the Spanish before they turned on each other. Possession of the island changed several times between the two before the British took final sovereignty with the Treaty of Versailles.

[caption id="attachment_16770" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

The British also used St. Kitts as a mother colony of sorts, sending parties out to other nearby islands to begin colonization. In many ways, St. Kitts has changed little since those days. It has never developed into a tourist mecca as some of its neighbours have, and sugar is still its primary source of income just as it was in the 17th century. St. Kitts gained independence in 1967 with its sister island of Nevis, just 2 miles off the southern coast; and has since been striving for controlled development in an effort to maintain its original attributes. Today the island still remains quiet in comparison to other Caribbean nations, but St. Kitts and Nevis are beginning to gain recognition for exactly that reason. They are very much alive with their own unique characteristics, serene atmosphere, beautiful unspoiled scenery and palm-lined beaches.

[caption id="attachment_16771" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Views from St. Kitts. Shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

Star Clippers' "Essential St. Kitts Tour" could very well be the Caribbean’s most memorable island tour. It includes Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, Romney Gardens, Caribelle Batik Studio and an interesting drive through Basseterre. Brimstone Hill Fortress is perched on a 40 acre hilltop, 780 ft above sea level. For three hundred years it has borne witness to innumerable sea battles between the British and the French, more than at any other place in the two nation’s naval history. The first cannons were mounted on Brimstone Hill in 1690 as the English and French fought for control of the island. The next 200 years saw the intermittent construction of an amazing work of architectural and engineering genius.

This magnificent structure is the second largest of its type in the entire western hemisphere and one of the best preserved. Its spectacular panoramic views include coastline, country side and five neighbouring islands. The Brimstone Hill Fortress, also known as The Gibraltar of the West Indies, is of world heritage value and is a recommended must-see for all visitors to St. Kitts. No visit to St. Kitts is complete without a visit to Romney Gardens and Caribelle Batik Studios. This 10-acre garden setting is quite simply stunning. It is at this glorious location that local artists produce the fabric and apparel for which Caribelle Batik has become widely acclaimed. The garden setting and picturesque experience is a photographer’s dream and will be remembered by visitors for years to come. You will also get to drive through beautiful Basseterre. This historic Capital City is a perfect example of an original Caribbean town. Observe the traditional French architecture and Victorian structures. Old churches, West Indian cottages and a former slave market are also included in this interesting driving tour of Basseterre.

Visit St. Kitts on Royal Clipper's Windward Islands and Star Clipper's Treasure Islands itineraries!

Have you sailed to St. Kitts? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Sunsets Through the Lines

[caption id="attachment_16764" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The bowsprit net is an amazing place to watch the sun set.

Mediterranean and Caribbean landscapes might be different, but one there is one constant between the two destinations: Star Clippers and gorgeous sunsets go hand in hand. There's something so magical about watching the sun sink into the horizon through the frame of the line or crosshatch of the bowsprit net. It's no wonder guests are constantly sharing their favorite Star Clippers sunset photos. Here's a roundup of some recent "greats."

[caption id="attachment_16762" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunset in the Med. Photo by Kathi King.

[caption id="attachment_16753" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunset photo shared on Instagram by @burlesque1989.

[caption id="attachment_16761" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A gorgeous scene through the lines. Photo by Kathi King.


Words of Wisdom


Postcards from the Caribbean: Shared by Sailors

[caption id="attachment_16751" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Pitons of St. Lucia. Shared on Instagram by @burlesque1989.

As Star Clippers sail throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean guests and crew alike share photos of their experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It's hard to say which are more photogenic -- the ships or destinations! We'll call it a tie. Here's a roundup of some fabulous recent social media posts from the Caribbean.

[caption id="attachment_16746" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Looking out on Star Clipper from Royal Clipper. Shared on Instagram by @burlesque1989.

[caption id="attachment_16754" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Regal Royal Clipper. Shared on Instagram by @natnhouston.

[caption id="attachment_16752" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A view of the beautiful blue waters as Royal Clipper sails into Antigua. Shared on Instagram by @burlesque1989.

Port Spotlight: Bodrum, Turkey

A glistening ocean surrounding a towering castle. Pristine beach after beach. Mediterranean nightlife that could even make Las Vegas a bit jealous. This can all be found at Bodrum, one of Turkey’s most magical cities, found on Star Clipper's Southern Cyclades itineraries.

If history and architecture are more your style, Bodrum also offers a great deal of wonderful places to see.

The Castle of St. Peter has a long history dating back from the 15th century. Serving as a refuge for Christians in the Asia Minor, the castle came under attack during the rise of the Ottoman Empire. In 1894, it became a military base for the Turkish army during the Greek Revolt. In 1962 part of the castle became a museum for underwater archeology. Other sights of interest inside the castle include the French Tower, where Queen Ada is rumored to be buried, and a spectacular museum of ancient glass pieces. At the northern end of the castle lie the world’s oldest shipwreck and the formerly tortuous dungeons at Gatineau Tower.

Bodrum also houses one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum, where ancient stairways, tomb chambers and a drainage system built in the late 300 B.C. are still intact.

Have you sailed to Bodrum? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

Guest Post: Dream Vacation on Royal Clipper

Thanks to Barbara Molmod for submitting this account of her Grenadine Islands cruise on Royal Clipper.

[caption id="attachment_16727" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Guests reflect on a Star Clippers cruise.

Several friends from the USA had cruised the Treasure Islands aboard the Star Clipper in 2014 and enjoyed it so much we were determined to sail upon the Royal Clipper in 2015. We have just returned from our cruise leaving from Barbados touring the Grenadine Islands, Grenada, Martinique and St. Lucia.

The majestic Royal Clipper was everything we were expecting. It is a magnificent sailing vessel. We did not want to leave.

One of our couples had an anniversary aboard ship and renewed their vows at sea. What an amazing experience this was. The crew made this evening so very special.It will be remembered forever by all of us. As we stepped on land the only thing we could think of was where will we go next!

Thank you for making our dreams come true.

Barbara Molmod

Peoria, Arizona

[caption id="attachment_16728" align="aligncenter" width="550"] One guest carried a bouquet of seashells as she and her husband renewed vows onboard.

[caption id="attachment_16725" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The happy couple before a dinner celebration.

[caption id="attachment_16726" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Regal Royal Clipper.

Do you have a Star Clippers experience that you'd like to share? Email info@starclippersblog!

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Words of Wisdom


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