[caption id="attachment_15804" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Kavi & Tejas helping to raise the sails. Photo by Heidi Sarna.
Travel writer Heidi Sarna recently enjoyed a family sailing on Star Clipper. Heidi, her husband and their two kids, Kavi and Tejas, sailed through the Med calling at beautiful ports in Greece and Turkey. Highlights of the cruise included hiking at Monemvassia and climbing the mast for a gorgeous view of the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea.
Kavi and Tejas weighed in on their Star Clippers experience, saying:
"It's different than all the other ships, it's better. You feel free, there aren't so many guidelines and rules." -Kavi
"I liked that we could climb the masts, crawl down into the bowsprit net and experience what a ship was like from a long time ago. Plus I liked the Greek ports and the food was really good on board, especially the pastas and tea time snacks." -Tejas
[caption id="attachment_15807" align="aligncenter" width="550"] One for the history books: the call at Ephesus. Photo by Heidi Sarna.
[caption id="attachment_15803" align="aligncenter" width="550"] "How else could we have gotten to gorgeous Amorgos?" Asks journalist Heidi Sarna.
[caption id="attachment_15806" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Foodie pics! Kavi loving the belgian waffles and delicious lobster. Photos by Heidi Sarna.
[caption id="attachment_15809" align="aligncenter" width="550"] "Climbing the mast is an event!" said Heidi.
[caption id="attachment_15811" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Approaching lovely Monemvassia and Tejas, 11, climbed the mast with his dad! Photos by Heidi Sarna.
[caption id="attachment_15812" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The family hiked up the mountain at Monemvassia - what a view! Photo by Heidi Sarna.
[caption id="attachment_15810" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Beautiful Mykonos. Photo by Heidi Sarna.
Many guests check sailing Star Clippers off their "travel bucket lists," and Melanie checked off three important tasks on her list in one vacation! See what she had to say and photos of the group's ziplining expedition below. If you look closely you can see Royal Clipper in the background!
"My husband and I recently checked off three items on our "bucket list"... sailing the Royal clipper, snorkeling, and traversing the forest on a zipline. Now, I am hooked on all three!" - Melanie R. Brimhall
What's on your travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
A special thanks to Sharon Lumley for writing in about her Star Flyer adventure in Costa Rica, and to Walter and Lori Lumley for the fabulous photographs.
Ninety-four passengers boarded the Star Flyer Clipper ship at Port Caldera, Costa Rica to cruise the southern coastline of Costa Rica and a Port of Call to Isla Parida, Panama. After everyone had settled into their cabins it was an all hands on deck call for crew and passengers to set sail. With Captain Yuriy at the bridge, the crew proceeded to raise the sails as the music drifted over the intercom – Vangelis 1492 Conquest of Paradise. Warm Pacific winds billowed her sails as she leaned gracefully. The bow cut sharply thru the dark blue waters, heading south.
Adventure arouses new experiences and develops character. The first day at sea the clipper ship was under sail and the quest began. For the brave at heart there was an opportunity for a challenge by climbing the mast. Like the pirates of olden days the rope ladder went upward to the crow’s nest. Fear of heights would have to be subdued. A youngster of eighty six years went up with the first daring souls, giving others the courage they needed. Passengers could relax in a deck chair with a good book, listen to music, nap or choose to go on excursions to learn the wonders of Costa Rica. Each port of call offered a new escapade. Isla Parida, Panama: A white sandy beach with calm waters for snorkeling, swimming or hiking thru the island rain forest.
Rescue Center and Gardens, Off-Road Canopy Tour, or the National Wildlife Refuge. If those excursions were not of interest then after a dry landing, a short walk into town and talking with the locals surely would. Explanation: A dry landing is when a smaller boat called a tender brings passengers ashore and they disembark at a dock. A wet landing is when there is no dock and they tender as close as they can and you get off in about knee deep water.
Drake Bay: Corcovado National Park or Horseback Riding. Of course if you chose to stay aboard you could cool off in the crystal clear blue water of the ocean and lounge on a blue float (tied to the zodiac of course so that the waves would not sweep you away and leave you stranded at sea).
Quepos: Savegre River Floating, Manuel Antonio National Park, Titi Canopy Tour or Snorkeling Safari.
Isla Tortuga: Music, bar and barbeque provided by the crew for a beach party. Costa Rica is a mecca for nature lovers. There are an abundance of exotic birds, flora of every color, alligators and either spider monkeys to charm you with their sweet smiles or Howler monkeys to entertain you.
FOOD, FUN AND NEW FRIENDS
Eating seems like such a simple pleasure but trying new foods can in itself be an adventure. The Jamaican Chef and his staff spent endless hours in preparation of meals and snacks. Imagine arising early to see the sunrise and the coffee, juices, sweet rolls and croissants are waiting for you. Lunch buffets were seafood, Italian, Caribbean, South American, Oriental and a barbeque prepared on the beach.
Dining was casual-elegant and you were handed a menu with several choices. In the Tropical Bar you could sit on deck, listen to music and choose an exotic cocktail, beer or wine.
Every day there was no shortage of entertainment. The talented Tamas was frequently in concert in the Piano Bar or playing his accordion on deck in the Tropical Bar. Crew and passengers amused us with a fashion show, a talent show and even a couples’ contest to crown “Mr. and Mrs. Star Flyer." By the middle of the week laughter radiated from port to starboard, stern to aft, echoing throughout the ship as different groups of people gravitated to each other either by similarities or differences and new friendships were created that would last a lifetime.
Debarkation at Purto Caldera, Costa Rica, brought an end to a week of adventure, fantastic cuisine, fun and many goodbyes to new friends and acquaintances. As passengers slowly proceeding up the ramp to board the tourist bus with suitcase in tow there was time for one last glance at the grandeur of the Star Flyer. She rolled with each wave as she awaited the time to raise her sails into the wind with another set of exciting passengers on their journey to paradise.
Hello, my name is Ellie! Some of you may remember me from three years ago... That's when I blogged last, when I was on Star Flyer in Costa Rica. I'm fifteen years old now, and I'm back again, just on a different ship, Royal Clipper, and having more fun than ever. I'm from Oregon (in the USA) and my favorite sport is sailing, so this is a really fun experience for me.
[caption id="attachment_12660" align="alignnone" width="550"]Lunch in the hills of Croatia.
After writing last, I went swimming in the pool with my buddies, and then went straight to bed... I was exhausted, and I knew that I had to get up early in the morning for a big hike! Well, I'm glad to say that waking up early was well worth it, though my mom had to drag me out of bed.
I woke up at nine o'clock (which is early for me when I'm on the ship) and ran up and had breakfast. Then, pretty much right when I finished, we boarded the tender, and headed ashore to meet our tour guides in the port of Hvar, Croatia. When we got to shore, just like what I experienced in Venice, there was some major culture shock going on inside all of us... Because even though every place we go is in the same general vicinity, every place is very, very different from every other place. We met our tour guides, and then went in a small bus, up into the abandoned city of Malo Grabje, and other cities that surrounded it, outside of Hvar. What I saw was indescribable, but I will try to paint a picture for you:
I looked out the window on my left, and saw little rosemary bushes, and very short olive trees, all very green... And on my right I saw that same thing. But the greenery was not what stunned me. It was the walls. Everywhere you looked, for miles and miles and miles, there were these four-foot tall walls, perfectly spaced, and connecting in some places. The stones used were about the size of a loaf of bread and appeared to weigh quite a bit more than one. And then in the distance, sat the ocean: gentle, swelling, and full-of-life.
The bus kept on for twenty more minutes and then stopped on the top of a huge hill (it could probably be classified as a mountain) for us to get out.
We walked for an hour or two, and then my dad, a photojournalist, and I got very lost from the group... It wasn't too bad; actually it was pretty fun. It really felt like an actual adventure, and we both love adventures, especially when we're in an abandoned village, in a foreign country. We enjoyed ourselves, and my dad continued to shoot photos, and he loved it. Finally, after getting directions from a very nice Croatian lady who spoke perfect English, we began walking in the right direction. After about two minutes, one of the tour guides came back to find us. Please don't let that story make you not want to go on this hike... Just be sure to stick with the group!
Just when we all thought we were going to drop on the ground from the heat, we spotted a little "oasis" called Malo Grabje (pronounced Mah-lo Grawb-yay). The guide said, "And here we are! Lunchtime, ladies and gents." I will just put it out there right now that I probably will never have such an incredible lunch. And it wasn't just the food... It was everything: the enchanting olive trees, the fact that I WAS IN CROATIA, the smells, the people, the wonderful feeling of a gentle trickle of sparkling water going down my throat, the tall mountains of white rock. Everything was just so perfect.
And the perfection continued as we walked down the mountain.
As we neared the ocean, we all began to speed up, because I will tell you, it was really hot. The tour guide said that there were forty-five minutes to hang out on the beach and in the water, and then the bus would come. Wow, did that water feel good!
I've said it once and I'll say it again... I really hope every one of you reading my blog gets to come on this cruise. You'll never forget it. Goodbye for today!