Studies show vacation is good for your health, resulting in lower blood pressure, lower stress and even smaller waistlines. Star Clippers adds yoga to the mix for an extra burst of energy and stress-reduction!
This weekend Star Clipper departed on a 7-day yoga-themed cruise with yoga instructor, author and life coach Inge Schöps. Schöps is based in Cologne, Germany, where she teaches, and she also runs yoga retreats in the Mediterranean on the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Formentera. She is an author and has published yoga apps and e-books.
On Royal Clipper’s May 16 and 23 seven-night western Mediterranean cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, guests can learn Ishta-style yoga, focusing on asana, meditation, anatomy and yogic and tantric philosophy under the instruction of Raphaella Rose. A yoga practitioner for 17 years, Rose promotes friendly and accessible yoga, and has taught classes in the U.S., Great Britain and Spain, running regular retreats alongside her class schedule.
Christel Vollmer returns to join the seven-night Balearic Islands sailings on Star Flyer roundtrip from Palma de Mallorca, Aug. 1 and 8. She will give two classes daily: 60 minutes of power yoga in the morning and a 40-minute wind-down class at sunset, followed by meditation. Vollmer brings many years of teaching experience to Star Clippers, having trained under Bryan Kest, yoga guru to celebrities including Madonna, Cindy Crawford and Sting.
All classes and lectures will be conducted in English and are optional. Additional ship activities will be offered as part of the standard daily program.
Have you sailed on a yoga-themed cruise? Let us know what you thought in the comments!
The lushest (and some say the loveliest) of all the Greek Islands, Corfu lies just a stone's throw from the Albanian coast. Nowhere is the stunning natural beauty of Corfu more evident than in the small village of Paleocastritsa, where legend says Odysseus was washed ashore to be rescued by Nausicaa.
Corfu is studded with white washed houses, Byzantine architecture and gorgeous beaches with gin-blue waters. Compared to other Greek islands Corfu is very green, due to the winter rains. Summers are hot and dry, making it a perfect beach holiday and fabulous tourist destination.
Beyond tourism, Corfu is known for an abundance of olive trees -- over 2 million olive trees cover the island in cool groves, some even date back 400 years to the Venetian rule of Corfu!
You can visit Corfu on Star Clipper's 10- and 11-day Greece, Montenegro & Croatia sailings! For more information on Star Clippers' easter Mediterranean sailings click here.
Have you visited Corfu, Greece, before? Let us know what you thought in the comments!
Star Clippers was featured in not one but two countdown lists of top cruise holidays by The Daily Telegraph. Jane Archer included Star Clippers eastern Mediterranean cruise to Momnevasia on the list of top 10 cruise holidays in Greece, and John Wilmott featured Star Flyer's western Mediterranean cruise to Menorca on his list of top 10 cruise holidays in Spain. Read on for excerpts from both stories!
This photo of Minorca is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Star Clippers cruise to Menorca
by John Wilmott
Tall-ship cruising is a rare chance to cruise, wind permitting, under sail. Star Clippers’ ship, Star Flyer, has 16 sails on four lofty masts and plenty of nimble-footed crew to handle the ropes. Designed to replicate a tea clipper the ship is a majestic sight when in full flow and has copious creature comforts including comfy cabins (some with balcony), a small pool, bar, library and plush dining room, all for just 170 guests.
The itinerary is very Spain-intensive, beginning in Barcelona and calling at Menorca (quite a rarity), Majorca, Cartagena, Motril – the closest port to Granada and its Alhambra – chic Puerto Banus and Málaga.
[caption id="attachment_16556" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Star Clippers cruise includes a visit the old square in Monemvasia. Photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph.
Star Clippers cruise to Monemvasia
by Jane Archer
Known as the Gibraltar of the East, Monemvasia sits on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese, connected by a causeway. The name comes from the Greek mone and emvasia, which means single entrance. When you enter through the fortress gate you’ll see it’s the perfect moniker. The town one was sizeable; today just a few hundred people live in the beautifully-restored houses crowded around narrow streets and placas filled with tavernas and cafés. Star Clippers brings you here under sail on the last day of a cruise around the Greek Islands that also visits Patmos, said to be where John received a vision from Jesus, and Amorgos, where the dazzling white monastery of Hozoviotissis is the main attraction.
Which holiday would you prefer, the Eastern Mediterranean or the Western Mediterranean? Let us know in the comments!
Today's the day! Now and again Star Clipper and Royal Clipper meet in the Caribbean to share a photo opportunity and wind for a fabulous race. Guests crowd the decks and crew wave to one another as the ships clip the waves below.
It's a fabulous event and adds another element of beauty to an already gorgeous scene. Typically, in the Caribbean, this meeting takes place a few days into the journey. Star Clipper and Royal Clipper meet southwest of Iles des Saintes and sail alongside one another all the way to Cabrits, Dominica.
If winds permit racing takes place. While Royal Clipper does have an advantage with more sails, Star Clipper is lighter and can pull weight as well!
Who do you think would win in a race? Let us know in the comments below!
Guest Josefine shared this fabulously joyous photo of Star Clippers crew on the bow, with Royal Clipper sailing by in the background. We think it perfectly captures the spirit of Star Clippers sailings, don't you?
Claire Isabelle Delancray was kind enough to share these photos that offer a snapshot of life onboard Star Clipper in the Caribbean. Guests collect around cocktails, goof around on deck, climb the mast and hoist the sails.
The attitude onboard is relaxed and casual, and even when the ship lists guests are all smiles! Scroll down for more photos, including a guest appearance from Royal Clipper!
[caption id="attachment_16523" align="aligncenter" width="550"] All hands on deck! Guests can get in on the action when sailing.
[caption id="attachment_16534" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Get up close to the sea with a porthole view!
[caption id="attachment_16528" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Just in case you weren't sure, Star Clippers sail for real!
[caption id="attachment_16530" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Now and again Star Clippers guests have the chance to ride alongside Royal Clipper in the Caribbean!
[caption id="attachment_16529" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Royal Clipper ride along offers fabulous photo ops!
[caption id="attachment_16531" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Land ho! Sailing into the beautiful Caribbean ports is a sight to see!
[caption id="attachment_16519" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Views from the mast are extraordinary ...
[caption id="attachment_16532" align="aligncenter" width="550"] ... and nothing beats a sunset at sea!
[caption id="attachment_16516" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by Tom & Barbara Witter.
As if a cruise on Royal Clipper couldn't get any sweeter, rainbows are frequently spotted throughout the Caribbean! Island rainforests and sunshine spotted with brief intervals of tropical rain create the perfect conditions for this natural phenomenon. St. Lucia is particularly known to be blessed with rainbows!
[caption id="attachment_16510" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Calvi’s picturesque palm-lined harbor is the starting point for exploring the town and its 15th century Citadel. Photo by Debbra Dunning Brouillette.
Passengers congregated on the top deck as we neared Corsica’s southern tip into Bonifacio.
Its chalk-white limestone cliffs, separated from the Italian island of Sardinia by a seven-mile-wide strait, are among the island’s most distinctive sights, in contrast to its mountainous granite interior.
Leaving the ship, we walked past an impressive row of yachts to the tourist train, which transported us from Bonifacio’s Old Town to the upper part of the city, built on the site of a ninth-century citadel. We walked through the battlements of the reconstructed fortress, and then along the wall of the medieval city, where buildings appeared to teeter on the edges of the cliffs.
After seizing the opportunity to descend to ocean level via the legendary King Aragon’s steps, a steep stairway of 187 steps cut into the limestone cliffs, we stopped at a cafe near the fortress for a glass of wine and a fortifying snack of local cheeses, crusty bread and fig preserves before walking back to the harbor down a sloping set of steps.
The star of our second Corsican port is Napoleon Bonaparte, born in Ajaccio in 1769.
Bonaparte’s name graces everything from the airport to a hotel, street, shops, bars, and even a gelateria. The French first gained control of Corsica the year of Bonaparte’s birth. Before that, it had spent more than 500 years as an Italian Genoese republic. A brief period of independence followed, but since 1796, when Napoleon moved in with his army, Corsica has been a department of France.
From the top of a double-decker sightseeing bus, we passed multiple monuments to the ex-emperor and military leader on our way out of the city. Soon, we reached the nearby Sanguinaires Islands, a popular resort location for vacationers from the French mainland, then toured his birthplace, a Bonaparte family home until the 1920s and now a national museum.
While Bonaparte left his mark on Ajaccio, our final Corsican port claims another major historical figure as its own. Although still in dispute, Calvi is widely believed to have been the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. A statue at the site of his presumed home commemorates his birth in 1436, with one wall remaining within the 15th-century citadel.
Given a full day in port, we explored the town and citadel, then toured two medieval villages in the Balagne region north of Calvi, which is known for its figs, olive oil, and wine.
The first was Sant’Antonino, a ninth-century village said to be the oldest inhabited village in Corsica and officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its hilltop location at an elevation of 1,800 feet is often compared to an eagle’s nest, as it offers bird’s-eye views of the Balagne plain and the bay of Calvi.
Pigna, one of several villages on the Balagne Craft Trail, was our second all-too-brief stop.
Its distinctive blue-shuttered stone buildings line narrow streets branching out from a central courtyard, and we spied several artisans’ workshops offering pottery, music boxes, woodcarvings and other traditional crafts. I purchased a small ceramic plate incised with a fish design as a memento of our day.
For more of Debbra's story, including calls at Menorca, St. Tropez and Monaco, click here.
Barcelona has a distinct quality that separates itself from the rest of Spain. Besides the chatter of Catalán (the city’s native language) that you’ll hear instead of Spanish, Barcelona boasts architectural sights unlike anywhere else in the world.
There’s no way you can roam Barcelona for long without coming across La Sagrada Familia, a massive but incomplete Roman Catholic church designed by the late Antoni Gaudí. Described by Paul Goldberger as "The most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages,” La Sagrada Familia is perhaps one of the world’s most spectacular churches.
In true Gaudí fashion, the church’s exterior has a system of angled columns and complex geometries with finely crafted adornments depicting the life of Jesus Christ. Equally stunning is its interior. Filled with bright colors reflecting off ornate stained-glass windows, you will be in awe of just how small you feel relative to the sanctuary.
La Rambla is another must-see while in Barcelona, a mile-long bustling street capturing the essence of Barcelonan culture.
Lined with restaurants and little shops, you’re most likely to experience a favorite memory at the Boqueria Market right off of La Rambla.
Once inside, you are surrounded by stands of brightly colored fruit juices and affordable fruits among palatable meats and cheeses.
[caption id="attachment_16495" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Star Clipper at anchor off Virgin Gorda. Photo by Betsa Marsh.
Under Caribbean stars, cruising seems stripped to its essentials. The ship, her masts and, finally, those clouds of sail unfurling in slow motion, gleaming white in warm, inky night.
Then, a faint chord seems to rise like fog from the deck into the salt air, and passengers turn toward the sound. The chorus builds as the main staysail and flying jib fill with Leeward breeze. The voices swell in Vangelis’ Conquest of Paradise as the Star Clipper cuts her way through ultramarine waves.
Sail Away is 10 p.m. embarkation day, lifting anchor in St. Maarten and heading for Anguilla. Passengers are up on the Sun Deck as the crew turns winches, coils ropes and hoists sails, all to that rich chorus. It’s an elegant, stately show because the Star Clipper, with 16 sails, ties with her sister ship, Star Flyer, as one of the tallest Tall Ships in the world.
[caption id="attachment_16500" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photos by Betsa Marsh. Clockwise from left: Ten-year-old Celia Klein of Strasbourg, France, has captured the Star Clipper spirit, here at Prickly Pear Beach, Virgin Gorda. The Star Clipper lies at anchor behind her; Capt. Peter Kaaling at the helm in the Sir Francis Drake Channel; Kayakers head out from an Anguillan beach; Beachcombing on Jost von Dyke.
The soundtrack to Vangelis’ 1492 crescendos with each rise of the sails during this voyage through the Leeward Islands and French Antilles. Every time, there are moments that feel like stepping inside someone’s fantasy. In this case, Mikael Krafft’s, the Swede who so loved clipper ships as a boy that he vowed to return the bygone beauties to the world’s oceans.
Krafft’s three grand clippers are the fulfillment of his vow: Star Flyer, Star Clipper and the massive Royal Clipper. They sail from Greece to Grenada, from Morocco to Martinique. They cross the Atlantic in 14 days.
As we sail into the new year, Star Clippers decided to propose a few resolutions.
In 2015 we resolve ...
... to explore!
Heading into off the beaten path ports like the Balearic Islands and small ports in the Caribbean, going ashore for adventures in biking, snorkeling and culture, and always chasing the horizon are all things we look to do in 2015.
... to be brave!
Whether it's climbing the mast, getting up on waterskis or taking a running jump into the middle of the ocean -- we're going to do it all in 2015! Mimi Mary Skinner Auchter said,
"I plan to climb to the Crows Nest and assist with the winches for the sails."
... to connect with friends, new and old!
Guests become family onboard Star Clippers. In 2015 the crew and guests look forward to welcoming back old friends and greeting new friends alike! Guest Jackie Reay said,
"My resolution is to return soon to see all my friends onboard! Miss you all!"
... to love the earth we travel!
Sailing has a much lower environmental impact than other forms of travel, and
Star Clippers are always looking to continue reducing the carbon footprint.
[caption id="attachment_16419" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sails up! Royal Clipper takes off in the Caribbean.
If you think that all Caribbean cruises are more or less just variations on a theme, then the Royal Clipper will truly take the wind out of your sails. And yes, the pun is wholly intentional.
Having done more than thirty Caribbean cruises on every style of ship- from the boutique to the mainstream- I can tell you that the Royal Clipper offers a totally unique way of experiencing those warm, winter sailing grounds. The differences are so pronounced and absolute that they actually equate to what is, in effect, a totally unique kind of Caribbean voyage.
In this blog, I’d like to highlight some of the ways in which the Royal Clipper is a stand apart way of close up cruising, and throw some light on the day to day practicalities of traveling on this magnificent, floating throwback.
THE WAY SHE SAILS
This is dictated entirely by her hull shape; long, low and narrow, the Royal Clipper is a sailing ship that contains comfortable cabins, an excellent food and beverage operation, and plenty of deck space. But she does not have stabilizers and, as a result, she is susceptible to roll. At times, waves washed against our porthole windows as the ship heeled into a turn. Nothing to worry about, but you should be aware of it. It’s all part of the adventure.
Chris Newman shared these fabulous shots from his vacation on Royal Clipper. As the ship sailed along off the coast of Antigua his wife took the helm! It is an incredible experience to steer such a magnificent vessel! That is one of the lovely advantages of Star Clippers' open bridge policy.
Have you taken the wheel on one of Star Clippers' ships? Let us know how what you thought in the comments!
Just in case any big guy in a sled is looking for Star Clippers, Royal Clipper will be spending Christmas Eve at Basseterre, St. Kitts and Christmas Day at Terre de Haut. Star Clipper, is at Deshaies, Guadeloupe and will sail to St. Barts tomorrow for the holiday.
Guests onboard are enjoying sweet treats and champagne during their holiday at sea! On Royal Clipper, renowned Austrian performer Peter Grimberg is sailing as well, entertaining guests with his unique blend of music and comedy.
Have you ever spent the holidays with Star Clippers? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!
Did you know that you can climb the mast while sailing along? Imagine the thrill of climbing high as the ship glides along the Caribbean or Mediterranean Sea! That adds another facet to what could otherwise feel like a traditional ropes course!
Once in the crow's nest you'll find spectacular views to go along with your feeling of triumph. This is just one more adventure that is unique to Star Clippers!
Have you climbed the mast before? Or is it on your "bucketlist"? Let us know in the comments below!