Ellie's Journal: Lunch in the Hills of Croatia

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.

[caption id="attachment_12660" align="alignnone" width="550"]Lunch in the hills of Croatia.

After writing last, I went swimming in the pool with my buddies, and then went straight to bed... I was exhausted, and I knew that I had to get up early in the morning for a big hike! Well, I'm glad to say that waking up early was well worth it, though my mom had to drag me out of bed.

I woke up at nine o'clock (which is early for me when I'm on the ship) and ran up and had breakfast. Then, pretty much right when I finished, we boarded the tender, and headed ashore to meet our tour guides in the port of Hvar, Croatia. When we got to shore, just like what I experienced in Venice, there was some major culture shock going on inside all of us... Because even though every place we go is in the same general vicinity, every place is very, very different from every other place. We met our tour guides, and then went in a small bus, up into the abandoned city of Malo Grabje, and other cities that surrounded it, outside of Hvar. What I saw was indescribable, but I will try to paint a picture for you:

I looked out the window on my left, and saw little rosemary bushes, and very short olive trees, all very green... And on my right I saw that same thing. But the greenery was not what stunned me. It was the walls. Everywhere you looked, for miles and miles and miles, there were these four-foot tall walls, perfectly spaced, and connecting in some places. The stones used were about the size of a loaf of bread and appeared to weigh quite a bit more than one. And then in the distance, sat the ocean: gentle, swelling, and full-of-life.

The bus kept on for twenty more minutes and then stopped on the top of a huge hill (it could probably be classified as a mountain) for us to get out.

We walked for an hour or two, and then my dad, a photojournalist, and I got very lost from the group... It wasn't too bad; actually it was pretty fun. It really felt like an actual adventure, and we both love adventures, especially when we're in an abandoned village, in a foreign country. We enjoyed ourselves, and my dad continued to shoot photos, and he loved it. Finally, after getting directions from a very nice Croatian lady who spoke perfect English, we began walking in the right direction. After about two minutes, one of the tour guides came back to find us. Please don't let that story make you not want to go on this hike... Just be sure to stick with the group!

Just when we all thought we were going to drop on the ground from the heat, we spotted a little "oasis" called Malo Grabje (pronounced Mah-lo Grawb-yay). The guide said, "And here we are! Lunchtime, ladies and gents." I will just put it out there right now that I probably will never have such an incredible lunch. And it wasn't just the food... It was everything: the enchanting olive trees, the fact that I WAS IN CROATIA, the smells, the people, the wonderful feeling of a gentle trickle of sparkling water going down my throat, the tall mountains of white rock. Everything was just so perfect.

And the perfection continued as we walked down the mountain.

As we neared the ocean, we all began to speed up, because I will tell you, it was really hot. The tour guide said that there were forty-five minutes to hang out on the beach and in the water, and then the bus would come. Wow, did that water feel good!

I've said it once and I'll say it again... I really hope every one of you reading my blog gets to come on this cruise. You'll never forget it. Goodbye for today!
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Ellie's Journal: Sailaway from Venice and Learning to Dance in the Rain

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.

[caption id="attachment_12653" align="alignnone" width="550"] Ellie in Venice

I've only been on the ship for a couple of days, and I've already made many friends, kids and adults.

My parents and I flew into Venice in the morning of Wednesday, the day that the ship departed. Unlike some of the people on this cruise, we actually had some time to explore the city... I'd seen lots of pictures of Venice before, but seeing it in person makes it so real, and, though there are countless tourist shops, it's so genuine. The canals and bridges and buildings going into the crystal blue water... It is enchanting. It's, simply said, a feast for the eyes.

[caption id="attachment_12638" align="alignnone" width="550"] Musicians on St. Mark's Square

If I were to give you one place that I really think you should go, I think I'd have to say St. Marco Square, la piazza. And I'd also tell you that you should take back alleys, and not follow crowds. My parents and Idid kind of have to go with instincts when we were walking, because it wasn't obvious where to go, or how to get where we wanted to be, but I choose back alleys over the main drags with throngs of people any day. What would life be like without a bit of wandering through a maze of unknown pathways. It sure wouldn't be the Venice charmed us from every unknown square and alleyway.

But finally the big moment came. Our adventure to Croatia, Greece, Sicily, Rome and points inbetween, was set to begin. As the sails rose, and familiar Vangelis song played over the loudspeakers, and everything just sat still for a second. The sun stopped setting, the people stopped talking, the water stopped splashing, and the wind stopped blowing. And that last one wasn't actually a good thing because, you know, we're on a sailing cruise, and sailing involves some wind. And then, it started raining. Pouring. The sky opened up and dumped itself on us.

Everyone ran under the sun covers, because they didn't want to get all wet, but me? Naw, I'm an Oregonian... rain is our sunshine! I thought, "Well now that everyone has cleared out of the prime watching spots, I may as well take advantage of this. Their loss, my gain." So I did just that. I went out on the bow, where there was not a soul to be seen, and stood in the gentle, warm rain, and watched as Venice, Italy quietly slide by and disappear off our stern as night fell. About five minutes went by, and I was still the only person in the rain. Then, one-by-one, people started coming out to stand in the rain with me. So we sailed out of the Grand Canal in a warm, pouring rain, and some people would be upset, but we have to remember that learning how to dance in the rain is one of the biggest lessons in life.

Anyway, we arrived in Rovinj, Croatia at noon yesterday, and it was beautiful. There is an amazing church at the top of a hill in Rovinj, and it has a bell tower that can be seen from far out at sea, and if it fits your idea of fun, you can climb to the top! I wanted to do that very badly, but there's a catch to it. Though going into the church is free (unlike some churches in Venice and other parts of this cruise), you must be wearing appropriate clothing; this means shorts or skirts longer than your knees (or pants, of course) and a shirt that covers your shoulders... If you go on this cruise, which I really hope you do, be sure to plan out your sailing wardrobe and your shore side wardrobe! One thing that I found very helpful was just carrying a long-sleeved shirt, and a longer pair of shorts in a bag. That was my mom's idea... Only a mom would be smart enough to think of that, right? Well, it worked!

I'm off to go swimming with my friends, but I will post again soon! Goodnight.
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Time to Get a Better View

Nothing beats climbing the mast on one of our ships to get a better view from the Crow's Nest.

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Video: Scenes from a Star Clippers Sailing

Thanks to guest Helen for sharing this wonderful video taken on her Star Clippers sailing.

We have just returned from a fabulous cruise on the Star Clipper (Athens to Venice 29th June - 10th July). While I was taking photos my husband was filming and so we have made a short video to try to convey how and why we love sailing on that beautiful ship. — Helen Heinel-Szesch

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Royal Clipper at Ponta Delgada

Here are two beautfiul photos of Royal Clipper at Ponta Delgada, Azores. Check out more work by the photographer at http://carloscarvalhofotografia.blogspot.pt/

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Royal Clipper Lights up Kotor

Thanks to Facebook fan Zvonko Djukic from Kotor, Montenegro, for sending in this great photo of Royal Clipper. The ship's silhouette matches the lines of the landscape perfectly.

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'Boats' of a Different Size at Kotor, Montenegro

Royal Clipper was at Kotor, Montenegro, but the tall ship was not alone in the harbor...

Thanks to KotorBayConnect for the image.
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Sunsets Over the Caribbean Sea

Dominique and Philippe snapped these beautiful photos on their Star Clipper Caribbean sailing in November.

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Beautiful Postcards from a Caribbean Sailing

Here are some photos from guests Dominique and Philippe taken on their fabulous Star Clipper Caribbean sailing this past season.

[caption id="attachment_12592" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

[caption id="attachment_12593" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

[caption id="attachment_12594" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Nevis.

[caption id="attachment_12595" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Nevis.

[caption id="attachment_12596" align="aligncenter" width="550"] St. Barts.

[caption id="attachment_12597" align="aligncenter" width="550"] St. Barts.

[caption id="attachment_12598" align="aligncenter" width="550"] St. Barts.

[caption id="attachment_12599" align="aligncenter" width="550"] St. Barts.

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Royal Clipper Along the Shores of Piran

Thanks to Slavica Tucakov, the head of PR for the Municipality of Piran, Slovenia, for sending us this beautiful photo taken by Ubald Trnkoczy. Don't you agree that Royal Clipper makes a pretty addition to the landscape?

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Happy Fourth of July

In observance of the U.S. Independence Day, we will not be posting today. We want to wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July! On this holiday, Star Clippers ships will be in locations as diverse as Sweden, Greece and Italy. No matter where you are, we invite you to take a moment and reflect on the many freedoms we all are fortunate enough to enjoy. We will return tomorrow with more great Star Clippers Blog content.
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Star Clippers Named to Travel + Leisure World’s Best List in Top Small-Ship Cruise Lines Category

Exciting news, Star Clippers fans! It was announced yesterday that Star Clippers was named among the Top Small-Ship Cruise Lines in Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2013 World’s Best Awards!

The awards are voted on by the readers of Travel + Leisure who select their favorite hotels, spas, airlines, cruise lines, outfitters, cities and islands around the world. Among other winners in the Small-Ship Cruise Line category were Seabourn, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.

The World’s Best Awards were developed in 1996 to recognize excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry, as chosen by the magazine’s readers, and the winners comprise a “who’s who” of the hospitality community.

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Postcards from a Baltic Sailing

Thanks to Star Clippers' avid guest AnnMarie Godwin for sending in these great photos from her June 2013 Baltic sailing on Star Flyer.

[caption id="attachment_12566" align="aligncenter" width="550"] My certificate for sailing 25 times with Star Clippers.

[caption id="attachment_12567" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunset in the Baltic.

[caption id="attachment_12568" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Enjoying the Tropical Bar.

[caption id="attachment_12569" align="aligncenter" width="345"] Sailing toward St. Petersburg.

[caption id="attachment_12570" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Love this old ship with the hammer and sickle on the funnel. Sailing up the river to our berth in St. Petersburg.

[caption id="attachment_12571" align="aligncenter" width="345"] Church of the Spilled Blood, just amazing.

[caption id="attachment_12572" align="aligncenter" width="345"] Church of the Spilled Blood.
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You Know You're on A Ship...

...when you are surrounded by all of these beautiful nautical images. Thanks to photographer Jack Hollingsworth for sharing them.

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Port of the Week: Piran, Slovenia

Royal Clipper calls at the port of Piran, Slovenia, this season, which is one of our special, off-the-beaten-path calls. Located on the tip of a long, tapering peninsula that projects like a lizard's tail into the Adriatic, Piran – the most Italianate of the coastal towns – is simply delightful. Having retained its compact medieval shape and character, the town is a tangle of arched alleys and tightly packed ranks of houses, fantastic Venetian-inspired architecture and exquisite little churches.

Tartini Square is the gem found in the very center of Piran. It was named after the famous violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini, who made the town world-famous. His statue is located in the center of the square. Piran is surrounded by a circular wall and is a member of the European Walled Cities Association. The city of Piran is a national historical monument.

The Church of. St. George, the patron saint of Piran, rises above the town. From its lookout tower you have a wonderful view of Piran and its surroundings and all the way across the sea to the Croatian and Italian Coast.

Thanks to Yahoo! Travel and www.slovenia.info for their insight into Piran.

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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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A Stunning Sunset at Hamburg, Germany

Thanks to Facebook fan Jürgen Scholüke for sharing this stunning image of Star Flyer at Hamburg, Germany.

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Having Fun Aboard Star Clipper

Special thanks to Star Clipper guest Virgie Vuylsteke for sending these photos of her recent trip.

Here are a few photos from our fun cruise aboard the Star Clipper.

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Postcards from Kotor, Montenegro

Thanks to Ffion Llwyd-Jones for sharing photos from Kotor, Montenegro!

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Wishing You a Happy Easter

To all our fans, Star Clippers wishes you a great Easter weekend with family and friends.

Sail on!

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