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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Happy Thanksgiving!

For all who are celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving from our dining room to yours!
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Sailing and Star Gazing on Star Clipper

As Star Clippers guest Hilary Casey prepares for an upcoming voyage she reflects with fondness on the people and ports that make the trip so special.

My husband and I have many friends who cruise very regularly, upwards of 3 or 4 per year and without exception they always told us 'we would simply adore cruising'!

We were determined that there must be something in the way of cruising for us as we love the sea and had dinghy sailed for many years.

Research indicated that Star Clippers might be for us and we duly booked our first trip to and from St. Maarten aboard Star Clipper and can honestly say that there was not a single thing that we would have changed.

The cabin, although small was very well furnished and extremely comfortable. The crew, from the Captain downwards were simply delightful and through my time laying on a lounger even on the middle of the night while under sail simply star watching I made many friends amongst the crew with whom I am still in touch.

[caption id="attachment_16035" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clipper's dining room.

The food was excellent and although we don't eat lunch or the late night snacks, breakfast and dinner was first class with a wonderful choice on the menu and reasonably priced wines.

The ports of call on the Leeward Islands cruise were excellent. St Barts was probably our favourite but they were all superb.

We stayed at Grand Case Beach Club for a week before our cruise and for 5 days afterwards so just under 3 weeks in all and felt that was a good decision for us.

We decided very early on that we would do this again but wanted more actual sailing time and tried to book an Eastward bound transatlantic crossing last year only to be informed that the Star Clipper was going to undergo a refit whilst crossing so was not taking passengers much to our regret.

However we decided upon a trip again on Star Clipper this October from Athens on the 11th and after the cruise we are staying on in Athens for a few days so had our return flight delayed.

We have also already booked and paid the deposit for a a Westbound transatlantic crossing from Malaga to St Maarten at the end of October 2015.

I am sure Star Flyer is also as good as Star Clipper but we feel that we want to go back in the hope that many of the crew will be the same.

This year has been a busy one for us as we celebrated our Golden Wedding at the end of July with a long weekend of many events culminating in a large dinner and dance and as I am writing this we are still in France, returning to the UK on October 5th just a week before flying to Athens.

We would book more but have a beautiful home in South West France and also spend several months there a year.

Family and friends asked what we were going to do in our retirement?? For the foreseeable future having superb holidays aboard Star Clipper features large.
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Dining on Star Clippers

Dining with Star Clippers is a casual yet elegant experience. Whether in Royal Clipper's dining room or at a Caribbean beach barbecue, passengers bond over options like fresh fruit, premium wines and just-caught seafood. We asked our guests on Facebook about their favorite dining experiences on Star Clippers voyages and here are some of the results.

[caption id="attachment_14947" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo of the beach barbecue food by Chris Owen www.chriscruises.com.

First, here's an excerpt of what Chris Owen of www.chriscruises.com had to say:

Breakfast and Lunch are served buffet-style and include a nice variety of entrees. At breakfast, a chef on duty at made omelettes and cooked-to-order eggs. The lunch buffet provided more of a culinary experience with a different theme every day, including Italian, Seafood, Caribbean and Oriental styles. Also, one day (weather permitting) is a Beach Barbecue and another is served on deck in the ship’s Tropical Bar, a meeting place for all passengers, all the time.

Many of our guests had a tough time choosing, but lobster seemed to take the lead! Here's the guest take on favorite dishes and meals on Star Clippers voyages.

Peter Dyke: Anything served on Royal Clipper, yum!

Marie-therese Geday: Asking me to chose, is torture

Sabine Wohler Suter: Grilled shrimps at a bbq on deck, served by Hotel Manager alain

[caption id="attachment_14951" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by Svetlana Suter

Svetlana Suter: Lobster. Yummi !

Rachel Price: Def the lobster!

Jack Pennington: Lobster in Antigua!

International Railway Travelers: Christmas dinner on board the Star Flyer. What a blast.

Fred Parle: The Beef Carvery on board the Clipper was my favourite every time , in Capt Lichfelds time.

[caption id="attachment_14956" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by Paul Vandevelder.

Mary Murray: Paul VanDevelder's photo above would top my list also. Who knew you could have an incredible lunch in an abandoned medieval village. Loved it!

Mike Davis: Dubrovnik plate in Dubrovnik, but every meal I've had on your ships was outstanding!

[caption id="attachment_14949" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by André M. Piquet

[caption id="attachment_14958" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by André M. Piquet

André M. Piquet: There have been many memorable meals...

Gaby Hracek: Everything was delicious, even as the waves were high.

[caption id="attachment_14948" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by Chris Owen, www.chriscruises.com

Michaela Siebenhaar I look forward to testing it and will advise beginning of June!

What do you think? Do you have a favorite dish or memory of a meal from sailing on Star Clippers?
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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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BJ's Travels Part 5, Thanksgiving Day at Drake Bay

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!

Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112813 (Thursday - Thanksgiving) Drake Bay

Thursday started with our usual routine. Exercise with Steffi for me, and then breakfast in the dining room. We had not planned an excursion for the day so we found some lounge chairs in the shade and relaxed while all of the excursion-goers boarded tenders for their tours.

For the first time in several days, we were able to get a phone signal so we spent some time answering emails and wishing our friends back home a happy Thanksgiving.

We thought we would take a tender to Drake Bay to look around a bit, but we got caught up in conversation with some other travel agents and missed the first tender. By then, Steffi and Erik had the water sports equipment in the water so we decided to take a kayak out. We were told to stay within 150 yards of the ship so we didn't get to explore much. We circled the ship a few times looking for dolphin without any luck.

After we watched that bit of entertainment, it was lunchtime. In the afternoon, we found another shady spot to relax with our books. We got our usual afternoon rainstorm which delayed the photo excursion of the Star Flyer with all of her sails up by a half hour.


We had an impromptu meeting with the captain, the hotel manager and the activities director for a brief information session at 5, then we showered and got ready for the captains dinner.

Tonight, we had dinner with a passenger who had gone on the horseback riding excursion and loved it. She said one man had fallen off of his horse and landed under the horse! He claimed not to be hurt and finished the ride. The captains dinner offered lobster tail and beef tenderloin along with the option of Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing.

Dessert was flaming baked Alaska!


The talent show after dinner was entertaining and got everyone up dancing at the end.
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Cruise Journal: Settling in on Royal Clipper

Nancy has been writing about her summer travels. Celebrating 46 years of marriage, she and her husband Joe left the city of brotherly love and landed in Venice, Italy, to begin their journey. She is sailing the Mediterranean aboard Royal Clipper, and was kind enough to share her experience with us. Below are some excerpts from her blog. For her whole story you can visit her personal blog Nancy Near Philadelphia.

On at least two occasions, passengers were offered the opportunity to climb the mast. Here goes Joe up once again!

I'm not much of a sailor myself, but I always enjoyed watching the folks who man the sails. There is a certain beauty in their work.

One day the passengers were offered the opportunity to go out in the tenders to photograph the ship under full sail. A group of the deck hands posed for this shot.

Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style, with a different theme for the lunch each day. In the morning there was an omelette station in addition to hot and cold offerings at the buffet. Lunch usually included a carving station. Sometimes the lunch buffet is served at the Tropical Bar on the main deck. Dinner was served beginning at about 7:30 in the evening. Around 7:00 we'd make our way to the Piano Bar where the menu, in three languages, would be posted.

To visit Nancy Near Philadelphia click here.
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