A Guide to Dining on Star Clippers

[caption id="attachment_16693" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper's dining room by Holger Leue.




Guests new to Star Clippers might not be exactly sure of what to expect as far as dining goes on a tall ship cruise. Unlike many mega cruise ships, Star Clippers ships have one dining room but that's not to say they're short on options! Star Clippers guests are treated to a variety of choices onboard, from a fresh and casual breakfast to lobster entrees prepared by culinary experts.



Breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with an early bird option in the Piano Bar, made-to-order omelets in the Main Dining Room and buffets full of fresh fruits and pastries. At noon the lunch buffet rolls out in the main dining room with a different thematic option each day. For instance, if you're traveling near Italy the theme might be Italian, with different prosciutto options, cheeses, and pastas and perhaps a caprese salad. There are always fruit and vegetable options available.







[caption id="attachment_16694" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Italian buffet lunch in Atrium dining room aboard sailing cruise ship Royal Clipper. Mediterranean, near Italy. © Holger Leue / www.leue-photo.com




A highlight of Star Clippers' food and beverage program for many guests is cocktail hour at The Tropical Bar. With a wide open-air portion of the deck and views of the sea all around, The Tropical Bar is the social hub of Star Clippers. Guests congregate there to share a cocktail and wind down after a day of exploration or mast climbing. Cheerful servers and live music add to the ambience, and many could say that The Tropical Bar is the reason guests of Star Clippers get to know one another so well.



[caption id="attachment_16697" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Tropical Bar is the social hub of Star Clippers thanks to congenial guests and cheerful servers like Manolito (pictured in a photo by Holger Leue / www.leue-photo.com).




Dinner begins at 7:30 with open seating available until 10 p.m. Menus are available in English, French and German. Dinner is sit-down, and the tables are formally set, however the dress code is casually elegant. Ladies typically wear sundresses or blouses, gentlemen lean towards golf shirts and pants. A selection of appetizers and entrees and wines are available.



[caption id="attachment_16701" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Star Clippers dining experience is elegant and casual.




When you sit down to dinner don't forget to save room for dessert! Popular options include creme brûlée, warm bread pudding and flan. Sometimes the servers even put on a song and dance!



If you've got a late night appetite don't worry! After dinner Star Clippers serves a midnight snack in the Piano Bar from 11:45 until 1 a.m., and guests often enjoy treats, cocktails and tunes.



[caption id="attachment_16703" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Have you got a sweet tooth? Don't forget to save room for dessert on Star Clippers!




In addition to Star Clippers regular food and beverage programming, from time to time guest chefs and sommeliers join a cruise to prepare special menus, and (weather permitting) guests are treated to beach barbecues or beach-themed barbecues at The Tropical Bar. Follow Star Clippers on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on guest chef information.



Are you preparing for a Star Clippers sailing? Let us know if you have any questions about dining below!
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Sailing with a Sommelier




Star Clipper guests were treated to a fabulous event when Sommelier Cécile Montout, joined the ship sailing the eastern Mediterranean. Montout, who represents Louis Jadot winery, joined Michelin-star chef Daniel Schönberger onboard for a week of culinary delights.



As Chef Schönberger produced fabulous food for the guests Montout was available to discuss all-important pairings. Wines were chosen to compliment the flavors of the dishes.







[caption id="attachment_16140" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Chef Daniel Schönberger presented a fabulous menu.




[caption id="attachment_16147" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Cécile Montout, sales manager, Louis Jadot, expertly pairs wines with Chef's courses.




"Our aim is to express the true nature of Burgundy through our wines, a terroir that can be both proud of its past and optimistic about its future." -- Louis Jadot







Louis Jadot winery was founded in 1859 in Burgundy, France. Today the winery produces more than two dozen distinct wines concentrating on just a few varietals, pinot noir for red wines, chardonnay for whites, and gamay for beaujolais.

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Chris Features the Finer Points

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, chriscruises.com.





Spending the day in Terre de Haute, a French island in the Caribbean never visited by big ships, I was reminded of the obvious: Star Clipper ships go where big ships can not. But more than the small size of their ships and that they are powered by wind for the most part, there are other features that we discovered on a Windward Islands sailing of Royal Clipper.






Small, But Nicely Appointed Cabins
We had stateroom 208, an Oceanview cabin with two porthole windows that was laid out quite nicely. Two twin beds that could be converted to a double like most other cruise lines are standard. Under-bed storage took our biggest pieces of luggage and a built in storage drawer was a nice addition. Cabin lighting options provided a number of different possibilities ranging from full light to sectional lighting appropriate for working at the built in desk, illuminating a curtained changing area only and more. One closet with hangars was about half what many other lines offer but with hangers mounted high, additional storage below made up for it. The star of the show in cabin appointments though is the marble-floored bathroom which is a generous size with adequate storage behind a triple pane mirror and under the sink.






At the Purser’s Desk/Sloop Shop onboard clothing and logo shop, DVDs are available to borrow at no charge. Passengers can choose from hundreds of titles but I can’t for the life of me see why someone would want to watch television on this ship. Cabins have TV’s and a DVD player but we turned on CNN once and it was such a bad fit for the ambience of Royal Clipper that we turned it off rather quickly.



These are sailing ships with sailors that man the decks as the captain calls out commands. They make quite a show of it too, playing grand orchestral compositions of seagoing music as the ship’s sails are set, every single time. Initially, I thought that would get old pretty fast. On the contrary, as the voyage proceeded and we learned more about sailing ships from the crew and well-traveled passengers we came to appreciate it more each time. As I write this we have two more sailaways left on our itinerary and I’d imagine that the last one will be quite difficult to bear.






A Captain’s Captain
Never has the term “master of the vessel” had more meaning than on this ship. Frankly, I respected that position on other sailings and appreciated the tremendous weight of responsibility that rested on the Captain’s shoulders. Still, on Royal Clipper we see navigation happening in many ways as it has for hundreds of years at sea. Sails are made of longer lasting material now and not canvass. Voyages take weeks rather than months. Modern technology supplements age-old sailing ways. But the Captain is an active, working part of the crew and is constantly present.



One day we met up with another Star Clipper ship and a traditional salute had crew members on the Bow Sprit (pointy thing on the front) of both ships, displaying the flags of their home nations. Another day passengers boarded tender boats to see Royal Clipper with all sails deployed. The masterful seamen on board were able to do that and not outrun the tenders but place the ship in nearly a station-keeping position (to borrow a Star Trek term), one sail set for forward motion while another compensated with equal force in the opposite direction.



After that event, when passengers were back on the ship, they were invited to take a photo of the crew, assembled as a group on deck. Captain Tunikov was quick to give credit to his crew, inviting passengers to get a photo of “the best sailing crew in the world,” a hearty approbation of which no passenger had any doubt.






The Cuisine
Sure, food is a big part of any cruise experience and it has evolved over time. Big ships have gone from “let me fill my gaping maw” buffets to healthy-choice options and a variety of onboard venues from which to choose. On Star Clippers, the attention to detail on culinary offerings is nearly beyond description. I say “nearly” because this is the topic of an upcoming post covering dining from A to Z and we will get into great detail there.



But researching this cruise line and ship prior to boarding, we found very little information about dining. Few details, reviews, menus…nothing. We’ll correct that omission from the body of knowledge available about Royal Clipper shortly. For now, describing the culinary offerings on Royal Clipper one word stands out as quite appropriate: Fabulous. No, really fabulous and not in a gaudy, showy way. Stay tuned for more on that topic shortly.



Let’s put it this way: I can’t remember the last time I had food so good on a cruise ship that I wanted and nearly did eat everything on the menu.






There are other unique features of the Star Clippers experience and we’ll get into those when we reader answer questions, gathered along the way.



To visit Chris' blog click here: www.chriscruises.com
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