Postcard from Iles des Saintes




Thanks to @micheleserreri for posting this fabulous photo of Royal Clipper anchored at Iles des Saintes. Looks like a gorgeous day for watersports!
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Photo Journal: Iles des Saintes

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 we take a look at the Iles des Saintes.






























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Sister Ships Meet in the Caribbean

Several times a season Star Clipper and Royal Clipper sail together. The beauty of two Star Clippers ships side by side against a Caribbean background is breathtaking, and guests have the opportunity to view one ship from the other. It's a chance to step back and take in the whole picture. These photos were taken by Star Clippers' Bill Dwyer on Royal Clipper near Iles des Saintes as the two ships sailed alongside one another toward Dominica.
























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Rockin' the Ship Part III: Island Hopping

Kevin Wierzbicki writes for antiMusic.com, 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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Port Spotlight: Iles des Saintes

Star Clipper will be spending Christmas Eve 2013 at the port of Haute-de-Terre, Iles des Saintes. Iles des Saintes is a small chain of islands nearby Guadeloupe, relatively untouched compared to some of the larger ports. Read on to learn more about this Caribbean gem!



This photo of Terre-de-Haut is courtesy of TripAdvisor



On Dec. 23, 2013, Star Clipper and Royal Clipper will meet in the Caribbean and sail side by side to Cabrits, Dominica. We often share photos of the two sailing together, so this will provide another exciting photo opportunity.



Once the two part ways Star Clipper will continue on to spend Christmas Eve at Terre-de-Haut, the largest and most populous island in the idyllic Iles des Saintes archipelago. When describing Iles des Saintes one guest said,




"Imagine if Disney were asked to create a French/Caribbean island with a fort at the top -- that's what Iles de Saintes is like!"



Ships provide the main entry to Iles des Saintes, which creates a feeling of exclusivity and true adventure! You won't find a large commercial port here, but rather quaint restaurants and shops, and the preserved beauty of the islands.




This photo of Terre-de-Haut is courtesy of TripAdvisor



[caption id="attachment_14091" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Carol & her husband traveling in style.




A great way to see the island is to rent a scooter and head through the hills of Terre-de-Haut, which is exactly what Star Clippers guest Carol Hintermeir and her husband did on their visit. Carol said,"Going up the hills hanging on for dear life was harrowing! The fort and the views were worth it!"



At the peak of the island lies Fort Napoleon, which was destroyed by British soldiers in 1809 and then restored in 1867. The Fort is now a museum dedicated to the history and culture of the archipelago. There are spectacular views of the harbor, and a sweeping garden full of tropical flowers and succulents.



For anyone looking for an authentic and relaxing experience, Iles de Saintes is unrivaled.




This photo of Fort Napoleon is courtesy of TripAdvisor.


This photo of Fort Napoleon is courtesy of TripAdvisor.


This photo of Terre-de-Haut is courtesy of TripAdvisor.


This photo of Terre-de-Haut is courtesy of TripAdvisor.


This photo of Terre-de-Haut is courtesy of TripAdvisor.



Star Clipper will visit Iles de Saintes eight times in the 2013/2014 Caribbean season. Check out our website for upcoming itineraries!
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