Top 10 Unique Experiences on a Star Clippers Cruise

[caption id="attachment_16434" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper in the Med by Kathi King.

Relaxing on a sun lounger under a mass of billowing sails is a big draw while cruising with Star Clippers. In addition to taking time to simply watching the world sail by, there are multiple opportunities on each voyage to enhance the experience -- from learning a new skill to becoming immersed in some of the world's most beautiful sailing destinations.

Here are the top 10 unique experiences on a Star Clippers cruise:

Learn to tie knots like a sailor
Guests can fine-tune their sailors' knots with a complimentary lesson on deck from the crew and master the art of tying a bowline and a clove hitch. The Balearic Islands are a fine inspiration for sailing fanatics, as the region has some of the Mediterranean's most popular sailing areas among yacht owners, including the Spanish royal family.

[caption id="attachment_16435" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Learn to tie knots like a sailor! Photos by Kathi King.

A roundtrip voyage from Palma, Mallorca, on Star Flyer starts at $1,575 per person, double occupancy, and calls at Ibiza, Formentera, Valencia, Mahon and Port de Soller, all in the Balearics, departing June 27; July 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Aug. 1 and 8.

Shin up the mast of a tall ship
One of the most popular activities is when guests get harnessed and shin up the steel rigging supporting the ship's mast to the first Crow's Nest like a professional deck hand. The 360-degree views and photo opportunities from aloft are spectacular, looking down onto the teak decks and up into the mass of rigging and billowing sails. There's a chance to climb the mast -- no experience required -- on every voyage, weather permitting.

A seven-night cruise on Royal Clipper roundtrip from Rome, Italy, starts at $1,740 per person, double occupancy, and calls at Ponza, Sorrento and Amalfi, Italy; Taormina, Sicily; and Lipari, Aeolian Islands; departing May 16, 23, 30 and June 6, 2015.

Water ski in the Greek islands
Each of the three Star Clippers ships carries watersports equipment and a fleet of powerful inflatable Zodiac craft. Water skiing and wakeboarding are complimentary activities, subject to sea conditions, in every port where the sports team is able to set up on the beach. This is a great opportunity for guests to have a free go at a sport that would be expensive at a shoreside hotel.

Fares for a voyage on Star Clipper between Istanbul, Turkey, and Athens, Greece, start at $1,575, calling at Canakkale, Turkey; and Limnos, Athos, Ouranopolis, Skiathos, Skopelos and Poros, Greece, with plenty of opportunities for watersports from the islands' beaches, especially Poros, which has a sheltered bay perfect for water skiing. Departures are May 2, June 20, Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, 2015.

[caption id="attachment_16437" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Barbecue tastes better on the beach! Photo by Jim Bottoms.

Enjoy a fantastic beach barbecue in the Caribbean
On every Caribbean cruise, weather permitting, a special day is set aside to feature Star Clippers' popular beach barbecue. Culinary delights are prepared ashore and guests can relax on golden sands and lounge in hammocks while enjoying delicious barbecue favorites prepared by Star Clippers' acclaimed chefs.

A voyage on Star Clipper roundtrip from St. Maarten costs from $1,510. The seven-night cruise calls at Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua and St. Barts, departing Jan. 10 and 24; Feb. 7 and 21; and March 7, 2015.

Master the art of paddleboarding
A relatively new craze, paddleboarding is peaceful, has zero environmental impact and is great for strengthening core muscles. Each of the three Star Clippers ships carries boards. Guests start by kneeling, and once balanced, stand up. Relatively flat sea is required for beginners, but paddleboarders often can be seen in Croatia and Montenegro, both excellent locations for gentle watersports.

A 10-night voyage on Star Clipper from Venice, Italy, to Athens, Greece, starts at $2,140 per person, double occupancy, with calls at Hvar and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Santorini; and Mykonos, Greece; departing July 8 and Sept. 23, 2015. 

Admire the underwater world in the Grenadines
Each of the three ships has a large supply of masks, fins and snorkels, all free of charge for guests to use. Where possible, a guided snorkel safari is offered by the watersports team. There's no better place to snorkel in the Caribbean than the Grenadines, where marine life teems in the crystal-clear waters of Tobago Cays National Park where Royal Clipper spends a day.

A seven-night voyage on Royal Clipper roundtrip from Bridgetown, Barbados, starts at $1,560 per person, double occupancy, and calls, Grenada, Tobago Cays, Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia in the Grenadines, departing Jan. 10 and 24; Feb. 7 and 21; and March 7 and 21, 2015.

Navigate the Atlantic using the stars
Every day Captain's Story Time on the ship's bridge provides insight into a different aspect of sailing, including an introduction to celestial navigation, a talk on wind and explanation of the different sails and their function. Guests are welcome to help the crew raise the sails and practice sailing maneuvers as well. On a trans-Atlantic voyage, there are plenty of opportunities for guests to take the helm, as the ships depend largely on the warm trade winds to make the crossing.

A 15-night trans-Atlantic crossing on Star Flyer from Las Palmas, Grand Canary Islands, to Bridgetown starts at $1,790 per person, double occupancy, calling at Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, departing Oct. 24, 2015.

[caption id="attachment_16433" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunrise yoga is a great way to start the day! Photo by Kathi King.

Chill out on deck with sunrise yoga
Several times a year Star Clippers offers themed yoga cruises with a highly qualified instructor onboard who conducts classes in the morning and evening, free of charge, as well as meditation sessions. Instruction is in English and German, and no experience is required.


In 2015 yoga cruises depart Jan. 24 and 31 (roundtrip St. Maarten from $1,510 per person, double occupancy); May 16 and 23 (roundtrip Rome from $1,740 per person, double occupancy); May 30 and June 6 (roundtrip Athens); Sept. 7 (from Malaga to Las Palmas); and Aug. 1 and 8 (roundtrip Palma) from $1,575 per person, double occupancy). 

Learn from a master mixologist
Learn how to make cocktails with a dash of panache through demonstrations by the friendly and talented bartenders in the Tropical Bar. There's no better time to study the art of the perfect rum punch than late afternoon in the Caribbean as the sun begins to set and cocktail hour approaches.

A voyage on Star Flyer through the Panama Canal from Bridgetown to Balboa, Panama, starts at $2,910 per person, double occupancy. The 14-night cruise departs Nov. 8, 2015, calling at ports in the Grenadines, Grenada, Venezuela, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba, Colombia and Panama.

[caption id="attachment_16439" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photos from a Star Clippers sailing in the Mediterranean.


Cultural immersion in the Mediterranean
Star Clippers offers optional shore excursions in every port, and this 14-night Grand Mediterranean voyage from Athens to Malaga, Portugal, takes in some of the great historical sites of the region, including Syracuse in Sicily; the Maltese capital of Valletta; Cartagena in Spain, a magnificent port more than 2,000 years old; and Tunis, a mélange of ancient and modern cultures. Late October, when the temperatures cool and the summer crowds are gone, is the perfect time to explore.

Do you have anything to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
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Travel Channel Names Royal Clipper "Best Caribbean Cruise"

The Travel Channel has named a cruise on Royal Clipper the best in the Caribbean!

[caption id="attachment_15760" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper sailing by the pitons of St. Lucia.

The Travel Channel just published their list of Travel's Best Cruises 2014 and Star Clippers took the cake for Best Caribbean Cruise!

The article cited Star Clippers sophisticated travelers, fine wine, fabulous destinations and laid back beach barbecues among the reasons that a cruise on Royal Clipper topped all others:

Best Caribbean Cruise, Star Clippers, Royal Clipper
You'll find a very different tropical seagoing experience aboard Star Clippers' 227-passenger Royal Clipper, the world's largest and only 5-mast, full-rigged sailing ship.

The elegant tall ship frequents small exclusive ports like Bequia, Tobago Cays and Iles des Saintes. “Attracting sophisticated travelers (roughly half are European), Royal Clipper offers open-seating, dining on sumptuous fare and fine wine. After dinner, guests gather around the grand piano or on deck to watch the enormous sails unfurl in the wind,” adds Anne Campbell. Don’t miss the beach-side barbecue on a deserted beach.

[caption id="attachment_15763" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper's Windward Islands itinerary.

Royal Clipper -- along with 4-masted sister ships Star Clipper and Star Flyer -- will return to the Caribbean Nov. 2014 where the ship will resume the popular Windward Islands and Grenadine Islands itineraries. The Windward Islands itinerary departs Bridgetown, Barbados and calls include Rodney Bay, St. Lucia; Cabrits & Roseau, Dominica; Falmouth Harbour, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Terre de Haut, Iles des Saintes; Fort de France, Martinique;

[caption id="attachment_15764" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper's Grenadine Islands itinerary.

The Grenadine Islands itinerary also departs Bridgetown, Barbados, but follows an alternate route first calling at the Captain's choice, Grenadines, followed by calls at St. George's, Granada; Tobago Cay, Grenadines; St. Vincent, St. Vincent and Bequia; Fort de France, Martinique; and Marigot Bay, St. Lucia.

Both itineraries are fabulous and life at sea on a tall ship brings the beauty of sails to these already stunning destinations. To learn more about departure dates as well as Star Clipper's Caribbean itineraries and Star Flyer's Panama Canal Crossing visit the website.

Have you sailed on one of these Royal Clipper itinearies before? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!
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Photo Journal: Swimming with the Sting Rays

Jim Bottoms is a travel consultant based out of Annapolis, Maryland, who recently sailed on Royal Clipper's Windward Islands itinerary. Along the way he took some fabulous photos. In this edition of Jim's photo journal, guests of Royal Clipper are swimming with the Stingrays on a call at Antigua.

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Photo Journal: Beach Barbecue at Antigua

Jim Bottoms is a travel consultant based out of Annapolis, Maryland, who recently sailed on Royal Clipper's Windward Islands itinerary. Along the way he took some fabulous photos. For the first of Jim's photo series, here's the ever-popular beach barbecue at Antigua. Stay tuned for more.

[caption id="attachment_15215" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The view doesn't get much better than this!

[caption id="attachment_15206" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Tendering toward shore, guests take in the white sands and turquoise waters of Antigua.

[caption id="attachment_15207" align="aligncenter" width="550"] No need for a dock -- the tender eases gently into shore.

[caption id="attachment_15208" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The beautiful beaches of Antigua.

[caption id="attachment_15210" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The more the merrier!

[caption id="attachment_15212" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The beach barbecue begins!

[caption id="attachment_15211" align="aligncenter" width="550"] It's all about fun, sun, and feast at Antigua.

[caption id="attachment_15213" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A beautiful ship on a beautiful day.

Stay tuned for Jim's next photo diary, "Snorkel & Swim with the Sting Rays."

Do you have a series of photos you'd like to share? Send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be featured!
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Antigua Welcomes Star Clippers, Royally

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog,

As if island-hopping in the Caribbean on a ship with sails is not adventure enough, passengers on Star Clippers Royal Clipper had a select list of shore excursions from which to choose. An Antigua Rhino Adventure, Kayak Echo Tour and an Island Jeep Safari kept many passengers off the ship all day. Add in a beach barbecue, with a relaxing massage or water gymnastics with the ship’s sports team and it was a full day ashore. Or not. Other passengers chose to stay on board and read a book, lounge on deck or do nothing at all.

Comparing the Star Clippers experience to other niche cruise options is no easy task. There simply is no other cruise choice that comes close. Wind Star cruises has ships with sails that appear from a distance to be sailing ships. But the able bodied seamen on Royal Clipper are quick to dismiss their mock sails as ‘just for show’ in a very matter of fact way.

Previous visits to Antigua took us to Pineapple Beach resort, a beautiful place with a wedding chapel perched high on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We thought that location was about as good as it could get on this island if not in the entire Caribbean. But approaching Antigua’s Falmouth Harbour via a ship with sails turns the focus in an entirely different direction.

It’s a common scene when Royal Clipper enters any populated area. Rather than local residents lining shores to wave good bye to the cruise ship, a common scene when big ships leave port, the focus is reversed. Local residents, boat and yacht owners and those on the few other ships we see in port line up to see the ship with sails arrive. I can see why too; Royal Clipper casts a striking image against just about any backdrop.

Upon arrival in Antigua, small sailing craft raced to get an up close view of the Guinness-record holding largest masted ship in the world. At the private beach barbecue, our Executive Chef prepared lunch on an open fire while the Maitre ‘d made sure everyone was well taken care of, all within sight of our ship. Some guests relaxed on the beach, others engaged in complementary water sports or went on to their shore excursion while a few returned to the ship or explored the island on their own.

We did a little of both; walking through town, drinking in the local flavor then returning to the ship for a leisurely afternoon. As we continue our voyage on Royal Clipper, one element of the experience seems universal: you can do whatever you want to do but don’t miss sailaway for any reason.

After this experience, the term “set sail” has an entirely different meaning than it has on any other ship we have ever sailed on. The correct term, we learned early in the voyage was to “set the sails” and that indeed is a major event every single day. Setting the sails are sailors who work in unison, right in front of the passengers as the Captain calls out commands that are instantly repeated by the seaman responsible for executing the order. Every single time. It’s a military-precision operation that results in a breathtaking event that is totally over the top for those who appreciate such things. There is a huge undeniable difference between a big ship where someone we don’t see uses a joystick and thrusters to move the vessel into a launch position and sailors setting the sails.

Antigua is a beautiful port with captivating aquamarine water that is just as pretty as a picture. Ply those waters on a ship with sails and the experience is simply something you have to do to appreciate.
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Favorite Port, Favorite Island

Star Clippers veteran guests Nancy & Ed shared some of his Antigua experience with us, his favorite stop on Royal Clipper's Windward Islands itinerary. Thanks, Nancy & Ed!

"Today is Tuesday and we are in our favorite port on our favorite island: Nelson's Harbor, Antigua.

We are having lunch at Cloggy's around the corner in Falmouth Harbor...We walked around Nelson's Dockyard and the yachts moored there are pretty amazing! There is a boat race as one of the sign ups on the boat.

...Steel drum band on board tonight, we love it!

Wonderful ship, wonderful crew and guests, what's not to love!"

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Rockin' the Ship Part III: Island Hopping

Kevin Wierzbicki writes for, a site devoted to the rock n roll lifestyle, and like a rockstar he takes to the road quite a bit. For his segment Road Trip: Rockin' Down the Highway he's reviewed concerts and destinations all over, from the World Music Expo in Cardiff, Wales, to Frankfurt Germany's Museum Embankment Festival. Kevin recently sailed on Star Clipper, which he called "The coolest vessel plying the Caribbean..." Read on for Part 3 of his 3-part review!

[caption id="attachment_14146" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Star Clipper at Antigua

Let's wrap up our Caribbean adventure aboard Star Clipper with stops in Antigua, the rarely-visited Iles de Saintes and Guadeloupe. This particular itinerary is so packed with exciting destinations relatively close to each other that no "at sea" days are experienced; passengers will arrive in a different port every day. That means it's a good idea to look at the daily newsletter that'll be delivered to your cabin so you can keep up with what's going on shipboard and when it's happening.

There'll be a couple of opportunities for the daring to climb high up into the ship's rigging (with a safety harness attached) to a "crow's nest" observation platform; this unique activity is limited in number of participants and must be booked in advance. The newsletter will also be a handy reference if you want to take part in things like morning gymnastics and workouts, water gym activities or attend one of the many "story time" sessions led by various crew members. No appointment is needed to get behind the wheel of the Star Clipper and steer her for a bit though; amazingly the ship has an open bridge policy and (with a few exceptions) passengers are welcome to add "sea Captain" to their resume at any time. As to meal times and after dinner entertainment; you'll get the hang of that pretty quick. All of this while you're fantasizing about the next island and the next adventure!

[caption id="attachment_14145" align="aligncenter" width="338"] Sugar Mill at Betty's Hope, Antigua

Shore excursions in Antigua, Guadeloupe and Iles de Saintes are quite varied. In Antigua passengers can take a snorkeling excursion, go on a canopy tour (zip lines) or participate in a yacht race (tons of fun!) For those who've done these things already or those that just want to see more of the island there's a three-hour jeep tour that goes through mountains clad in lush greenery, to Betty's Hope (former sugar plantation) and to a scenic overlook of Falmouth Harbor. The jeep tour also includes samplings of sugarcane and the delicious nectar that's made from it, rum. There is also a mini-mall of sorts near where the excursion begins that's well stocked with souvenirs of all sorts and inexpensive bottles of Antiguan beer.

[caption id="attachment_14144" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Caret Island, Guadeloupe

There are multiple choices for shore excursions on Guadeloupe as well but one of the most popular (be aware this one will sell out) adventures is a boat ride out to tiny Caret Island for a picnic lunch. The boat will stop at a reef for some snorkeling before reaching the islet; there excursion-goers will need to hop into the warm water and wade ashore, a precaution to keep the boat from running aground.

[caption id="attachment_14143" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Fresh coconut!

[caption id="attachment_14142" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Scooters for rent, Iles des Saintes

Once everyone is ashore the crew will start serving rum (and plenty of it) while preparing a lunch that includes freshly chopped coconut, chicken, sweet potatoes and other delights all sourced in Guadeloupe. Beachcombers will find lots of shells and coral pieces here as well. Lastly, the boat will cruise into a cove where mangroves grow and here you may see some local wildlife amongst the flora.

At Iles de Saintes, a multi-island possession of Guadeloupe, Star Clipper will tender at the sleepy fishing village of Le Bourg on the island of Terre de Haut. There are a few places in Le Bourg geared to tourists but you won't find pesky souvenir hawkers or dozens of souvenir stands here. The village is very small and it is quite pleasant to stroll among the homes and shops as the locals go about their business. There are lots of photo opportunities in Le Bourg ranging from a monument to the fishing industry to fishermen themselves to friendly produce vendors. If you'd like to go beyond the village there are places where you can rent bicycles or, more popularly, one of the island's ubiquitous scooters.

[caption id="attachment_14141" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Happy Hour aboard Star Clipper

Alas, all good things come to an end and before you know it your week-long Star Clipper sailing will conclude as she once again moors in St. Maarten. As previously mentioned, there's a post-cruise shore excursion you can take there should you have the time before your flight leaves. If not, you'll certainly be a happy camper (sailor!) as you head to the airport. And your journey home will give you plenty of time to dream about the next time.

To read more of Kevin's work click here.
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In Watercolor: Royal Clipper in the Caribbean

Talented artist John D. Benson was so kind to share his watercolors inspired by a Caribbean sailing on Royal Clipper.

Prints can be purchased on his website,

[caption id="attachment_13456" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper Leaving St. Lucia

[caption id="attachment_13457" align="aligncenter" width="550"] St. Lucia

[caption id="attachment_13455" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Rawlins Plantation Inn

[caption id="attachment_13454" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Nelson Dockyard Antigua

[caption id="attachment_13453" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Iles Des Saints

[caption id="attachment_13452" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Barbados Promenade

[caption id="attachment_13451" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Barbados Bathsheba

[caption id="attachment_13450" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Balata, Matinique

[caption id="attachment_13458" align="aligncenter" width="345"] Ship's Tackel

To visit John's website click here.
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