BJ's Travels: Part 3, Dolphins, the Mast & Secluded Beaches

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 112613 (Tuesday) Isla Parida


The boat rocked pretty steadily for most of the night. We awoke to the sound of the waves splashing our porthole. Because we had set our watches back an hour, it was easier to get up. Well, at least for me. I joined some other ladies on the deck for coffee. We watched some little black dolphins running alongside the boat.



Gymnastics class was pretty crowded today. Tony made an appearance just as the class was finishing.



We had a light quick breakfast because I wanted to climb up to the crows nest. It was a bit scary, but I would do it again.







Afterward we climbed out onto the trampoline and watched the dolphins racing under the prow. 

 

When the dolphins tired of racing, we leaned back and enjoyed the breeze. It was very relaxing!



I took a tour of the ship. We looked at each category of cabin and finished in the owners suite. There wasn't a huge difference in the size of the cabins (except for the owner's suite). The biggest difference between the top cabin categories and the lower ones was the bathroom. The separate jacuzzi/shower combo was nice. 



Some of the cabins have fixed double beds and some can be configured as twin beds.  There are a few cabins that can accommodate 3 people.



The lowest cabin category is inside rooms with bunk beds.






One of the cabin categories has a raised bed with storage underneath. The hotel manager said that this one usually rents to honeymooners.



The tour ended in the spacious owner's suite with plentiful seating and an elaborate bathroom.



After the tour, it was time for lunch. Today we had an Italian buffet. We both tried to stick with mostly salad and some grilled veggies, saving our calories for cocktails and dinner.



We watched the crew set the anchor near Isla Parida and then went to the cabin to change into our swim suits and slather on some sunscreen.






The tender took us to the beach for another wet landing. 



We stopped at the restaurant to ask if there were nature trails. The owner, an American, directed us up a path behind the restaurant that led to a hotel that he owns. 



We saw vultures, crabs and banana trees on our walk. It took us about 25 minutes to reach the small hotel. A couple of pit bulls greeted us with their barking, making us a bit nervous, but thankfully they were tied up.






In front of the hotel was a beautiful secluded beach. It was worth the walk.



We hurried back to the restaurant to have a beer before boarding the tender back to the ship.

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Happy Holidays from Star Clippers!

Warmly wishing all of our guests -- past, present and future -- a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



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Shades of Gray in Costa Rica

Enjoy this black & white snapshot of life at sea courtesy of Star Clippers Facebook fan Susan Pilcher. These shots were taken during Susan's weeklong journey on Star Flyer through Costa Rica. It's nice to see the beautiful photos of our hard-working crew looking out to the horizon and up to the sails. We're grateful for all they do.


















Thanks, Susan!



Follow Star Clippers on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to see beautiful photos of our Tall Ships daily.
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BJ's Travels: Part 2, Snorkeling at Isla Iguana

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 112513 (Monday) Isla Iguana


We wondered, "Is it really only day 3?"



As usual, I awoke early. I found the 24 hour coffee station and enjoyed a cup on the front deck while watching more sails being hosted.



After the talk, we went to the sports deck to check out snorkels and fins. 



While we were standing in line, we noticed several water spouts in the distance. The captain announced that, due to the 'tornados' the crew would take down the sails and start the engines...






We anchored around noon and had lunch before going ashore. Lunch was a buffet of mostly seafood items. There was a carving station with baked salmon. 



We changed into our swimsuits, slathered up with sunscreen, grabbed our snorkel equipment and took a tender to Isla Iguana for our first "wet landing". That means the tender pulled up "near" shore and dropped a ladder into a few feet of water. Who cares? We're going snorkeling anyway!

 

The beach was deserted except for our little group!












We snorkeled until our fingers shriveled up. We saw lots of big parrot fish, a pregnant puffer fish, some clown fish and some tiny purple fish.



After snorkeling, Tony took the next tender back to the boat so he could have his turn in the shower. I did some exploring on the island and found a path that led to a smaller, even more isolated beach on the other side of the island. 



I also followed the path by the sunning iguanas up to the round visitors center with posters about the area.

 

Back on the boat, I found Tony at the bar, let him know I made it back, and then went to shower.



We went to the top deck to watch the sails being raised and the anchor being lifted. There was always some Russian sounding music as we set sail. Tony said it sounded like the soundtrack from Hunt for Red October.

  




We visited with our new friends on the deck and then went downstairs for cocktail hour where we met more new friends.



Next we went to the back of the boat and sat on the stern. We felt a few drops of rain and started inside. We heard the captain say, 'lots of rain coming' and sure enough, we barely made it under cover before the bottom dropped out.



By then it was 7 and time to meet friends for cocktails.



We had dinner with two other couples. By now, Tony had discovered that the wine list had an extra page he hadn't seen the night before with the house wines - much more reasonably priced, and totally drinkable, especially the Chardonnay and the Cabernet.



After dinner, I went to the fashion show and Tony went to the cabin to model his PJs. The fashion show featured some of the young crew members who were quite entertaining.



There would be a time change when we got to Costa Rica so we set our watches back one hour before going to bed.
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Star Clippers Words of Wisdom Wednesday




Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States, and the only one to serve four terms.
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BJ's Travel's: Part 1 Sailaway from Isla Flamenco

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 112413 (Sunday - Embarkation Day) Isla Flamenco


I woke up early to find a parade passing by between the hotel and the ocean. A few minutes later, a bike race went by, and then a helicopter landed on a pad over the ocean. It was a busy Sunday morning in Panama City...



...We made our way to the marina on Isla Flamenco but there were no signs directing us to the ship. We wandered around for a bit until a man with a walkie-talkie directed us to another man with a walkie-talkie who directed us to another man with a walkie-talkie who showed us to the tender that would take us to the Star Flyer.



We were handed a rum punch and directed to the library to check in.






We took a few minutes to look around the ship. We found two nice sized swimming pools and a massage room. We had to hurry back to our cabin to get our life jackets for the lifeboat drill. The crew is very serious about the drill!

  

After the drill we went to the dining room for dinner. We sat with two other couples and a single guy. One of the couples was starting their 3rd week aboard the ship, having started in Barbados. They gave us an idea of what to expect. There were more than 20 people who were on their third week aboard the Flyer!



For dinner, I started with the seafood chowder and Tony, the Mac and cheese. For our second course, we had watermelon sorbet, followed by the entree (flounder for me and vegetable curry for Tony). Dessert was strawberry ice cream for Tony and chocolate mousse for me.



The ship pulled up anchor at 10pm. We went up top to watch them hoist the sails then it was off to bed for our first night onboard.

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A Tall Ship and a Star to Sail by

Photographer Andrew Horwitz sailed Royal Clipper this past summer.



He captured this magical photo from the deck at midnight as the ship sailed back toward Venice, and named it "A Tall Ship and a Star to Sail by". It is absolutely stunning -- thanks Andrew!




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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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Star Clippers Words of Wisdom Wednesday




Jason Mraz is a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter.
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What to do on a Star Clippers Sailing

In the past we've mentioned the exhilaration of a Star Clippers ocean crossing. It is an excellent opportunity to take a break from technology, catch up on some reading and enjoy life on the open sea. Whether you're at sea for one day or 10, Star Clippers offers a range of activities to keep you occupied.






On a Star Clippers sailing guests are treated to onboard lessons and informal chats with the crew. Topics can cover anything from sailing to oceanography, with the open air and ocean as a backdrop.



The ever-popular task of climbing the mast is one that every able body should try. The view from the top is absolutely stunning, and a fabulous change of perspective.







The onboard pools are a fabulous way to cool off in the warm weather, and you even can peek through the portholes into the ship's interior!



Star Clippers crew members sure know how to shake a cocktail -- happy hour at the Tropical Bar or a nightcap at the Piano Bar create a warm atmosphere. Here fellow passengers from all over the world get to know one another. There also are onboard wine-tastings on some sailings, and a pirate party on nearly every trip!









Group exercise classes are offered and can be a great way to start the day, or to work up the muscle and courage to climb the mast!



On Royal Clipper's spring ocean-crossing there will be an onboard yoga class everday. Said Alastair McKenzie:



With nothing but the vast, open ocean as a distraction, yoga classes will take place in the open air, on the spring and autumn 2014 transatlantic crossing of the line's flagship, the 227-passenger Royal Clipper.



Qualified yoga teacher Christel Vollmer will be holding the daily sessions of Astanga yoga, also known as power yoga, on deck in the cool morning air, with a second session just before sunset, including meditation. Christel will also deliver lectures on the philosophy of yoga and advice for practice at home.



These are just a few of the options available onboard. Whether you want to kick back in the bowsprit net or stay active at sea there is really something for everyone.



Are you a lounger, or do you prefer to stay active on sea days? Let us know in the comments below!
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On Star Clippers Guests can Take the Helm




Star Clippers has an open bridge policy that allows guests not only to chat with the captain, but to take the wheel! Sail enthusiasts love to feel the power of Royal Clipper's 42 sails.



Thanks to Star Clippers Facebook fans for sharing their moments at the helm with us!



Do you have a story or photo you'd like to share?



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Star Clippers Words of Wisdom Wednesday!




Webb Chiles is a writer and sailor, or as he put it himself (in the third person):







Webb Chiles is a writer and a sailor, an artist of words and wind. Married six times, he lived with passion on land as well as water and at one time liked to believe himself an artist of women, too, but this may have been a delusion. As a writer: seven books and hundreds of articles published. As a sailor: five circumnavigations and several world records; and long ago he became the first American to sail alone around Cape Horn. He wanted to live an epic life. Perhaps he did. Spend some time and decide for yourself.



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A Royal Silhouette

Thanks to Star Clippers Facebook fan Nancy Birnbaum shared this stunning picture of Royal Clipper at Hvar, Croatia.






In this silhouette you can really appreciate the intricate rigging put in place to support Royal Clipper's 42 sails!



Do you have a photo or story to share?



Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Post to Star Clippers' Facebook.

Contact @StarClipper on Twitter.

Pin 'em up on Star Clippers' Pinterest.



We look forward to hearing from you!

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Star Flyer Transiting the Panama Canal

Star Clippers Facebook fan Noreen Blank Goldwasser posted this compilation of photos that come together to make a fabulous stop-motion video of Star Flyer transiting the Panama Canal. Here you see Star Flyer passing through the Miraflores locks on Nov. 23, 2013.






Thanks for sharing, Noreen!



Have you transited the Panama Canal with Star Clippers? If so we'd love to hear about it! Send your stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!
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Rockin' the Ship: Kevin in St. Maarten, Nevis & Dominica

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 an excerpt from Part 1 of his 3-part review!






Star Clipper is a tall ship, a multi-masted clipper that sails under the power of the wind; also often referred to as a mega-yacht, she's big enough to hold 85 cabins (and a whole lot of fun!) Nearly the complete opposite of the cruising experience you get aboard the huge liners, there's no jostling for a place in the buffet line aboard Star Clipper, no one hustling to sell you art or jewelry, and no juddering of massive engines to shake you awake at night. Star Clipper does have engines but she rarely uses them; generally they're only employed when leaving a pier. Otherwise it's all peace and quiet with just the gentle flapping of sails to serenade passengers.



And speaking of sails, passengers can also learn a little bit about how they work; there are plenty of hands-on opportunities to help with the rigging. The authentic sailing adventure is a big part of a voyage aboard Star Clipper but her small size also allows her to go places that the big ships can't, like Iles de Saintes, a rarely-visited territory of Guadeloupe. One of the ship's most popular Caribbean itineraries begins in St. Maarten and includes calls in Nevis, Dominica, Antigua, St. Barts and the aforementioned Iles de Saintes and Guadeloupe.



[caption id="attachment_14008" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Star Clippers Tender Ships




Embarkation is in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, on the Dutch side of the island that also has a French side known as St. Martin. The ride from the airport to where Star Clipper is moored is a fun one; the ship arranges for a shuttle to bring you to the pier and the route goes through the heart of Philipsburg where you'll see the bustling little city at work and play. After you leave the downtown area you'll get a magnificent view of the harbor and the warm Caribbean beyond, a sort of preview of what's in store in the coming days. Tours of the entire island can be arranged on board for the day the cruise ends should you have an outgoing flight that allows you the time, but tonight is for getting to know the Star Clipper. On most cruise ships you'd be lucky to even meet the cruise director but on Star Clipper you'll meet the entire crew, including the Captain, in your first couple of hours on board. Being able to put a name to the faces is a nice thing; after all you'll be seeing these folks a lot! On the first day of this particular itinerary Star Clipper doesn't sail until shortly before dinner time so passengers have plenty of time to chat each other up while sipping cocktails, enjoying the sunset and just generally getting to know their way around. This is also the best time to visit the ship's library where sign-ups for the week's shore excursions (organized tours) are handled. The most exciting part of the evening comes when the ship's sound system plays a dramatic instrumental by Greek composer Vangelis. When the music is heard the crew is hoisting the sails and Star Clipper is leaving port, bound for untold adventure in some distant land. In this case, the enchanting island of Nevis.






As is the case in many of the ports Star Clipper visits, her tender boats are used to get passengers ashore in Charlestown, Nevis (pronounced nee-vis.) Some passengers choose to just hang out in Charlestown but most want to see a bit more of the island and one of the most popular shore excursions is the "Flavors of Nevis" tour. The Flavors tour visits several historic properties that were once sugar plantations where you'll see things like the remains of a 300-year-old windmill, cozy inns housed in restored 18th-century buildings and even the place at Montpelier Plantation where the renowned British flag officer Lord Nelson of the Royal Navy famously married Fanny Nisbet.






Just kicking it in the port city of Cabrits is not too shabby either; here the mountains meet the sea majestically, making the harbor area a perfect spot for daydreaming and watching sailboats come and go. Sometimes Star Clipper even crosses paths with her big sister Royal Clipper here; watching her sail off into the horizon is nothing short of spectacular. But then again, that's an adjective that applies to just about everything on this week-long adventure.






Stay tuned for Part 2 of Kevin's Star Clippers Adventure!



To read this story in it's entirety click here.
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Sunsets and Silhouettes

Dan Regan of Small Ships Only sailed the Mediterranean on Royal Clipper and caught a rare glimpse of Star Clipper and Royal Clipper sailing side by side.



Just returned from an amazing 12 nights on the Royal in the Mediterranean and were treated to an amazing sunset experience when the two ships met and had tenders in the water... Incredible cruise experience!









One more photo after the jump!










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Words of Wisdom Wednesday




Who could be wiser than Aristotle.



Such a simple but strong message. Don't you agree?
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Star Clipper's Rythmic Sailaway

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, Star Clipper bid farewell to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This was the final call of the ship's 2013 Mediterranean season, and musicians from the island played Batucada to see the guests and crew off as they began their two week journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.






Batucada is a fast-paced rhythmic performance based in Samba, and the band is called a bateria, which translates to "drum kit" in Spanish and Portuguese. The energy of the bateria was a fantastic and memorable sendoff. We shall see our Mediterranean friends again in the spring. In the meantime the fleet is headed to warmer waters.



The next stop for Star Clipper is Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. As sister ship, Star Flyer spends the majority of the winter season sailing around Costa Rica, Royal Clipper and Star Clipper will explore the Virgin Islands, Antigua, Tortola and Dominica.
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Memories From Monte Carlo to Malaga

Star Clippers guest Pam recently sailed for two weeks from Monte Carlo to Malaga on Star Clipper and caught a rare glimpse of Royal Clipper and Star Clipper sailing side by side.










"This is a photo of the Star Clipper taken while leaving Port Vendres. The tenders took us out for a photo op during the calmest seas we had experienced in our incredible 14 night tour from Monte Carlo to Malaga! We had the time of our lives and cannot believe it is over!



During this photo op we also had the Royal Clipper alongside. We were told that this is a rare event, that they do not often have an opportunity to be in the same place at the same time and we felt very lucky to have had the chance to witness them both, dancing amongst each other on the sea."










Thanks, Pam, for sharing your experience and photos with us!



If you have a Star Clippers photo or story that you'd like to share on our blog contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. -- We hope to hear from you!

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Sailing Sisters

Camille from Toronto shared these beautiful photos from her 2012 Star Clippers Spain & Northern Africa sailing. She tells us that her sister, Laura convinced her to take the trip.



Thanks for sharing, Camille, and thanks, Laura, for getting your sister on a Clipper!










"My sister Laura convinced me to go with her on the Mediterranean 2012 sail.



Soooo glad she did. Laura's so been many times aboard sailing ships and I had never been.



Best trip ever even with days of rough water off of North Africa on the way to Spain. Great crew and nice bunch of fellow passengers.



Me looking out as we dock in Trapani and the other is my snap of the perfect view of Valletta as we left the first night!



Working on going to the Caribbean next. Your facebook page photos keep reminding me of what I'm missing. Love it."








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