Postcard from Sicily

[caption id="attachment_16889" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo of Star Clipper shared on Instagram by user @gerpongo.

This fabulous photo of Star Clipper was shared on Instagram by user gerpongo. Here the four-masted tall ship is at port at Porto Ortigina, Syracuse, Sicily.

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Port Spotlight: Pompeii, Italy

[caption id="attachment_16827" align="aligncenter" width="550"] "Veduta Scavi Pompei 3" by Mentnafunangann - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Situated near Naples, Italy, Pompeii is a legendary destination with one of the most fascinatingly preserved histories in the world.

Ancient Pompeii was a prosperous provincial center with an estimated population of 20,000. An earthquake destroyed much of the town in 63 AD. Rebuilding was still in process when the volcano erupted again 16 years later. The whole town was buried beneath more than 20 feet of ash and pumice stone.

Many residents were killed by lethal sulphur fumes or struck by lava and pumice stone that rained down upon the city, but others escaped. Abandoned until the 18th century, Pompeii was frozen in time until excavations revealed this amazing archaeological site. Plaster was poured into empty spaces in the lava to make body casts of some of the victims, such as a young man stretched out to protect his mother and the famous twisted body of a dog still tethered by its chain.

The eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. not only preserved structures but also evidence of the ancient way of life, such as a fully-equipped tavern with the last customer’s money still on the counter. Admire the luxurious mansions and fabulous art of wealthy patricians who came to Pompeii to escape the turmoil in Rome. Their houses were designed around an inner garden with few windows on the exteriors, so residents could forget the outside world and get sunlight from their own courtyards. Visit some of the more modest homes, and explore ancient baths, temples, theaters, markets and the huge forum.

Check it out on a Star Clippers excursion this summer!

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Summer in Ponza

There's nothing like strolling Ponza in the summertime! Royal Clipper guest Kathi King shared these photos from her call at the Italian gem.

A popular holiday destination for Romans, Ponza is a sight to behold from the sea. Porto rises from the water, a mosaic of pastel boxes against volcanic cliffs. Once there you'll find plenty to see, eat and drink! Scroll on for more images of this popular port.

Do you have a favorite Star Clippers port? Let us know in the comments!

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Postcards from Venice: Royal Clippers Sails In

Could sailing into Venice, Italy, be any more lovely?

The city is among the most romantic in the world.

Tien-Lun Yao spotted Star Clippers' flagship, Royal Clipper at the port as he was sailing away and again a week later.

Do you have a favorite port in which to sail? Let us know in the comments below!

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Small World

Kristen of the blog Camels & Chocolate recently sailed Royal Clipper in the eastern Med. Nearly a week after she disembarked she was delighted to spot the ship off the coast of Italy!

"Small world: We passed this lovely lady three times today! Funny, we disembarked the Royal Clipper a full week ago and are running into her on the other side of the Med. She's clearly following us..." -@lunaticaatlarge via instagram

Have you spotted one of the Star Clippers ships while you weren't a guest on board? Send your stories or photos of Star Clippers spottings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be featured on social media!

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Jazz and a Journey

Jochem Laabs is a jazz aficionado and former advertising and PR pro who recently sailed on Star Flyer. He sailing was from Cannes with calls at St. Tropez, France; Calvi, Corsica; Rapallo, Italy; and Monte Carol, Monaco. He is also an avid sailor and was kind enough to put together this video to share the experience of a Star Clippers cruise.

To visit Jochem's YouTube page for more travel and jazz videos click here.

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Postcards from the Amalfi Coast

Mary Stuart-Miller recently sailed on Royal Clipper's Amalfi Coast itinerary and shared these fantastic shots of the rugged Amalfi Coast. Thanks, Mary!

Have you visited Amalfi? Did you hike the coast? Let us know in the comments below!

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Royal Clipper: Postcard from Amalfi

Spotted off the Amalfi Coast -- Royal Clipper under full sail! Thanks to Daryl L. Hunter for sharing.

[caption id="attachment_15391" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by Daryl L. Hunter - The Hole Picture

"Stretching about 30 miles or 50km along the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula, most famous for the town of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana) is one of Europe’s most breathtaking. Cliffs terraced with scented lemon groves sheer down into sparkling seas; whitewashed and pastel colored villas cling precariously to unforgiving slopes while sea and sky merge in one vast blue horizon. -Daryl L.Hunter - The Hole Picture

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Champagne Sailaway on Royal Clipper

Mary Stuart-Miller works for Star Clippers in the UK and had some time to step away form the desk and sail away with champagne. Cheers to smooth seas!

"The decks are full of guests enjoying a champagne sail away in the sunshine! Leaving Lipari now en route for an evening sail past Stromboli and a sea day tomorrow." - Mary

[caption id="attachment_15336" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper's champagne sail away.

[caption id="attachment_15335" align="aligncenter" width="550"] All hands on deck!

[caption id="attachment_15334" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Bar tender Sylbert dispenses champagne on deck for the sailaway from Lipari.

What's your favorite part of sail-away on Star Clippers — the views, the champagne or the music? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sailing the Med on a Clipper

The following is an excerpt from Preferred Magazine. For the full article visit the website or, if you live in Canada, look for the next issue on your local newstand.

By Bart Card

All my working life I have traveled; first while working in the hotel industry and more recently as a travel writer. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to include my children on my trips. Each of them has joined me individually, some more than once. In more recent years however, the children have all grown. I manage an annual trip with my wife but she has never travelled with the children separately. This year both she and our only daughter passed milestone birthdays and decided that it was time that they took a vacation together, on their own.

Collectively, we started planning the Thirty/Sixty trip earlier this year. First they had to decide what kind of vacation they would enjoy most. Both appreciate historical sites, reading, the sea and a more intimate setting. With those things in mind, we settled on a voyage that both my wife and I had enjoyed several years ago on one of the tall ships of the Star Clipper fleet. The following is their experience in their own words.

Told by Catherine Card

We arrived in Rome in the early morning via Toronto. Anyone who has been to Rome before knows that it is impossible to see the city in a single day, so we settled for a coffee and a tomato and mozzarella baguette at a local shop instead. Later that day, we boarded a coach and headed to the coast to catch our ship. My mother had been on the Royal Clipper a few years before and had absolutely loved the experience. I, on the other hand, had never been on a cruise, much less a tall ship in the Mediterranean. When we pulled up to the port, I was surprised by the size of the ship; it looked much smaller than I had envisioned. We boarded, found our room, and spent the evening exploring. I quickly discovered that there is a lot of hidden space on this magnificent vessel.

Built in 1992, and refurbished in 2011, the ship is intimate, with room for 170 passengers. Although seemingly small, the spacious accommodations and expansive teak decks provide ample space for relaxation or recreation. There is an indoor-outdoor Tropical Bar, Piano Bar, and an Edwardian-style library with a variety of books in a multitude of languages. Antique prints and paintings of famous sailing ships line the walls, while teak and gleaming mahogany rails add a feeling of nautical nostalgia to this incredible sea going experience. All cabins have marble-lined bathrooms with showers and include double or twin beds that can be converted to queen-size. On our first night aboard, we decided to head up to the deck for the sail away. The sails were breathtaking. Having travelled for the better part of two days, we called it an early night so that we could enjoy our first port, Portoferraio.

Portoferraio is the largest city on the island of Elba, Italy; a small Tuscan island boasting 145 km of Mediterranean coastline. For those traveling on foot, the waterfront with its elegant shops and the town-square with its old churches and terraced streets are a great way to spend the day. The most popular excursions include Napoleon’s country home in San Martino, the port town of Porto Azzurro, the fishing village at Marciana Marina, and the pebble beaches. We opted to wander through the town and take in the sights. Portoferraio is all that you would imagine a quintessential Italian town to be.

Back on board, we got ready for dinner and headed to the dining room. Even though we had dinner aboard the night before, we were far too weary from travelling to fully appreciate all that the Star Clipper had to offer. Dinner on the Star Clipper is an adventure in itself. The elegant dining room is accentuated by the chef’s finest culinary creations designed to please the eye and the palate, and is complimented by a selection of exceptional wines. Dinner is a seven-course masterpiece that never gets boring. Each night you can choose to dine with guests who you have inevitably already met, or you can choose to be daring and meet new people. Either way, the conversation always flows and the laughter never stops.

The next morning we were up early and ready to go. Next stop, Porto Vecchio on the island of Corsica, France. According to legend, the ancient Greeks named Corsica ‘The Island of Beauty’, because of its rugged coastline of jagged peaks and its scented vegetation of eucalyptus, honeysuckle, lavender and wild mint. The island certainly lives up to its name. Porto Vecchio, the walled southeastern town, is lined with medieval streets. Visitors to French Corsica enjoy the beautiful beaches and the Golfe de Porto Vecchio. It’s warm, sandy shores rest before the island’s only cork forest.

When planning this trip, there were two ports that I wanted to experience. The first was Monte Carlo, Monaco and the second was St. Tropez, France. As with most things in life, neither destination was what I had expected. Monte Carlo is an amazing city. A favorite destination for the rich and famous, Monte Carlo is a great place to people watch. The streets are lined with elegant boutiques and cafes, and the choice tours include the casino, the posh Hotel de Paris, the Oceanographic Museum, and the cathedral where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier are entombed. We opted for a hop-on hop-off bus that allows tourists to see the city in one day and choose where they want to stop. We visited the gardens, had a coffee and photo opportunity at the casino and Café de Paris, and took a walk and shopping stop in the old town. All in all, Monte Carlo was a pleasant visit.

Our next port was the city of Calvi, on the island of Corsica in France. Calvi sits on the northwestern tip of the island of Corsica. Above the town’s marina is the Citadelle, and below the Citadelle extends the elegant Quai Landry, lined with restaurants and cafes. Having seen a few small port towns, we decided to take a tour of some neighbouring citadels instead of remaining in Calvi. Well worth the ride, the countryside of Corsia is lined with olive trees, cork and small villages. When travelling, both my mother and I like to purchase local goods, specifically kitchen or household items and foods. Corsica is a dream for anyone looking to bring home local olive oil, honey, salt, wine or cork. After a day on the island our bags were full of local treasures.

Nearing the end of our trip, the second last stop on our journey was Palamos, Spain. Palamos is located at the foot of the coastal mountains in the heart of Spain’s Costa Brava region. The area’s seven beaches have shorelines that range from rocky to smooth and sandy. Interesting archaeological sites include the Iberian settlement at Castell beach, the Iberian archaeological ruins dating to 6 B.C., and the medieval castle of Saint Esteve at La Fosca beach. The 16th-century church of Santa Eugenia Villarroma is located in the town center. I was desperate to swim in the Mediterranean, and since our trip was coming to an end, it was looking like Palamos would be my last chance. Lucky for me, the port is located directly adjacent to a beautiful stretch of beach. The water was a little cold, but we both braved it and took the plunge. Afterward, we rewarded ourselves by sampling some of the regions famous prawns. We were not disappointed.

Our Thirty/Sixty trip was a fantastic way to spend a milestone mother-daughter year. For anyone who enjoys being on the sea, reading, fine dining and exploring foreign cultures, the Star Clipper cruises are ideal. Not only do they offer an exciting and ever changing itinerary of ports, but the crew are amazing and truly make you feel right at home. Each night there is entertainment put on by the cruise director and piano music with a live in musician. Back home and reminiscing on our incredible adventure, only one question remains: how can we top this for our Thirty-Five/Sixty-Five trip?

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Sail Sighting: Royal Clipper at Citiavaecchia

David and Maradee P. sailed on Royal Clipper in the Caribbean in 2003 and recently spotted the ship sailing in Italy. We were delighted to hear of their nice memories with Star Clippers.

[caption id="attachment_13858" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper lit up at night. From Star Clippers photo library.

On Saturday we got up early in our cabin on the ship of another line (NCL), and went onto our balcony to see what was happening in the harbor at Civitavecchia, even though it was still dark.

We could see a large cruise ship in the distance with lots of lights. Some distance ahead of it was another vessel with an arc of lights as well as horizontal spars with lights. I suggested that it could be a sailing ship with lights strung over the mast tips. I came up with a count of five masts, which meant that it had to be "The Royal Clipper", a ship on which we had sailed in the Caribbean in 2003. A ship and a cruise by which we judge all others, and which holds wonderful memories. As the ship got closer, and the sun rose, our identification was confirmed and she ended up passing right by us on her way to her berth in the inner harbor. It was a beautiful sight that ended our current cruise on a high note.

We hope that we will have the opportunity to sail on a Star Clipper ship again in the future, and we always enjoy the beautiful brochures that we receive from you on a regular basis.

Thank you for starting our day with an unexpected sighting.

David & Maradee

Franktown, Colorado

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Cruise Maven Aboard Royal Clipper

We've been following along with travel writer Sherry Laskin of Cruise Maven on instagram and twitter as she sails Royal Clipper in the Mediterranean. Here are some fun snapshots of a week in the life of a Star Clipper's guest.

[caption id="attachment_13847" align="alignnone" width="550"] Fully-rigged and ready to sail away from Amalfi. @StarClippers #RoyalClipper

[caption id="attachment_13846" align="alignnone" width="550"] Positano in the morning sun. #italy #liveyourdream @StarClippers #royalclipper

[caption id="attachment_13843" align="alignnone" width="550"] Wine tasting and brunch in Sicily at VillaGrande. Built in 1727 by Spanish royalty on the slopes of Mt. Etna.

[caption id="attachment_13844" align="alignnone" width="550"] Sunset on the Amalfi coast. @StarClippers #RoyalClipper #beautiful #Italy

[caption id="attachment_13845" align="alignnone" width="550"] Aboard #RoyalClipper @StarClippers - full-rigging and a full moon leaving Italy. #sailing #instabeautiful

[caption id="attachment_13842" align="alignnone" width="550"] Bye bye @StarClippers #RoyalClipper It was an awesome week aboard the largest fully-rigged sailing ship in the world. #cruise #travel #instamemories

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Nancy calls at Taormina, Capri and Ponza

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.

As our time aboard Royal Clipper drew to a close, we came to the southern part of Italy where we visited three ports. First was Taormina; from there we could see Mt. Etna.

Taormina was a relatively quiet place with some beautiful buildings and not a lot of activity. We liked it. We visited two churches and at one point I watched a gorgeously dressed young girl posing for photographers against the scenic town. My guess was that these pictures would appear in an Italian magazine.

Next came a place we'd heard about since about forever: Capri. We learned that the correct pronunciation is actually KA-pri and as we drew near we could see how lovely it was, with all of the pastel buildings climbing up the hillside. To get up to the top, we had to take a tram.

Once there, I found that Capri was my least favorite port on our trip. There were more people there than we had encountered anywhere else. The streets were crowded to the point of sometimes being impassible. Everywhere were ultra expensive shops with very famous names: Prada, Ferragamo, Armani, for example; stores I had no interest in and certainly no budget for.

We had a late sailing that evening, and some of our shipmates stayed ashore and had dinner high up in Capri; they said that once the crowds had dissipated and the sun had gone down, it was actually very, very lovely.

Finally we come to Ponza! As unimpressed as I was with Capri, Ponza was simply delightful: a pretty seaside town on a hill.

We wandered around, seeing the sights, exploring the shops, and loitering for a long, long time at a hilltop cafe sipping iced tea and looking down at the water, the bustle of activity on the docks as huge ferry boats came and went, and gazing fondly at Royal Clipper at anchor.

Our time on Royal Clipper was growing very short indeed. All too soon we would bid farewell to the captain, the crew, our charming stateroom, and the wonderful friends we had made. We would be pulling into port the next morning, ready for the final phase of our adventure!

To visit Nancy's blog, Nancy Near Philadelphia click here.

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Ellie's Journal: 'See You'

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.

Hey, so culpa mea!, I apologize for how long it has taken me to write this final entry... but you have to understand, I was always doing stuff and running around having fun, and I never really got the time to sit down and write one last time, but now I can!

A couple days ago, my parents, my friend Ryan, and I climbed on the tender together to begin our adventures in Capri. My mom had done a little bit of research about Capri, and told us that we needed to get on the funicular (cable car), which would take us to the saddle; the docks are on one side of the mountains, and the swimming beaches (a lot of them) are on the other side, so you have to take the bus or the funicular to the top, then ride or walk down the other side to the beach. Anyway, we looked for the “Biglieteria” sign, which pretty much translates into English as “ticket booth”. We soon found it, bought our tickets (biglietti) and climbed to the upper town in the cable car. The view was simply amazing. The higher we got, the more we could see. The happy blue ocean spread-out in front of our eyes.

[caption id="attachment_12713" align="aligncenter" width="345"] Ellie and Ryan shopping in the Ferrari store on Capri.

We reached the top, and so began our journey down the other side. It was a medium-length walk, and we were on a road, but it wasn’t busy. We saw a bus or moped every 5 minutes. At one point, there were two buses, coming from different directions, and it was so narrow a road that they had to stop, back up a little bit, and reposition the buses so that they could both squeak by... The bus nearest the wall of rock scraped up against it and the side of the other bus; we saw this happen multiple times, it even happened when we were riding back up the mountain at the end of the day.

After 30 minutes of walking and drinking lots of water, we finally saw the beautiful beach. It would’ve been more beautiful if there weren’t hundreds of people there, but it was still super nice. We climbed down countless stairs to the rock beach, and found a little space of ground that wasn’t covered by another person’s towel. We set our stuff down, and Ryan and I jumped in the water. It was the coolest place ever... There was a tunnel made by this huge mass of rock, and it got deep a little farther out, so people could jump off of the taller rocks into the water. I didn’t jump, though, because I’m too chicken.

[caption id="attachment_12714" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Making friends everywhere we go....Ellie and our friendly waiter at the Marina Piccolo on Capri.

We headed back to the ship after a couple hours at the beach, knowing that soon our holiday would be over, and that we would all have to say goodbye. I’ve found that the saying “goodbye” part of every cruise is the hardest. Everything seems perfect until you have to say that one word... “Goodbye.” So I’ve made a rule for myself (feel free to apply to your own self, too): don’t say “goodbye”, say “see you”, because who knows? There’s a good chance that you’ll see again all of the people you’ve met. This world really isn’t that big, but sometimes it seems like it is because we haven’t gone out and seen what’s in it.

Having the privilege to cruise on Star Flyer and Royal Clipper has opened up new doors for me. I now have a better understanding of what the world is: beautiful. These cruises are special because, unlike those huge ships, you get to know everyone, including all the wonderful people on the staff who make the voyage so special. I've also learned that a ten day cruise can form friendships that last a lifetime. And furthermore, on every one of these cruises that I’ve been on, I’ve learned one thing, and each time I board the ship again, it seems even more true: the world is one, and no matter what country you come from, what social standing you have, who you are... We all stand as one, because We Are the World. And when we sing that song at the end of each cruise, in the dining room, it always gets me. Because it's true!

I hope that everyone who has read this blog (and, of course, everyone who hasn’t) gets the opportunity to go on Star Flyer, Star Clipper, or Royal Clipper... They're amazing, and something you don’t want to miss. Have a great rest of your summer.


Ellie VanDevelder

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Lounging at Beautiful Amalfi

Today Royal Clipper is at Amalfi, Italy. It's a gorgeous call with beautiful beaches and fabulous eateries.

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Spotted: Star Clipper at Porto Empedocle, Italy

While surfing the Internet, we found these photos of Star Clipper at Porto Empedocle, a small town in Italy on the coast of Sicily. Special thanks to "Andreamo" for posting these photos to his Panoramio gallery.

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