Top Travel & Adventure Books

[caption id="attachment_16884" align="aligncenter" width="550"] What's your favorite travel book?




Sailing is a great adventure, but so is reading! In between Star Clippers outings enjoy a fabulous tale of travel to take you away. In honor of World Book Day here's a list (in no particular order) of some favorite travel and adventure books to spark your wanderlust!







Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck



The Great Railway Bazaar, by Paul Theroux



On the Road, by Jack Kerouac







A Ship of War, by Seth Hunter (submitted by guest Jamie Hartshorn)



Wild, by Cheryl Strayed



The Motorcycle Diaries, by Ernesto Che Guevara



Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walker



Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert



The Master and Commander Series (submitted by guest Anita Brew)



Shadow of the Silk Road, by Colin Thubron



Do you have a favorite you'd like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
  104 Hits
  0 Comments

Star Clippers Brings Back Legendary Captain Klaus Mueller As a Guest Speaker

[caption id="attachment_16872" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Captain Klaus Mueller was known to pull out the bagpipes and entertain the crowd during his time onboard.




Do you hear that ... could it be ... bagpipes?



Star Clippers has announced a special guest speaker on three of its Mediterranean sailings this summer, the legendary Captail Klaus Mueller! Captain Mueller, now retired, is one of the company’s best-loved characters, having taken Star Clippers’ ships all over the world during a long and illustrious career at sea.





[caption id="attachment_16877" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Captain Klaus Mueller performs a vow renewal ceremony on Star Flyer.




The charismatic captain will give talks to guests, many of whom sailed with him in the past. Lectures will cover varying subjects including tall ship history, celestial navigation and the challenges of sailing big ships today.



You can join Captain Mueller onboard Star Flyer for three Balearics sailings roundtrip from Palma, Mallorca: July 11, 18 and 25.



A week starts at $1,575 per person for a category 6 cabin based on double occupancy including all meals on the ship, entertainment and all talks. Port charges and flights are extra.

  218 Hits
  2 Comments

Cruise Critic Names Star Clippers Among the Best Small Ship Cruise Lines

In an article for Cruise Critic travel writer Elissa Garay named Star Clippers among the best small ship cruise lines in the business! Read on for an excerpt or click here to read the whole story.





If you long for the open ocean but bristle at the thought of all-night discos, thousand-seat dining rooms or congested Caribbean ports-turned-duty-free-shopping-malls, know this: not all cruise ships are vast, floating resorts. A burgeoning industry niche revolves around small vessels -- a wide-ranging group that includes yachts, rugged expedition ships, riverboats and classic sailing schooners -- where passenger counts top out at closer to 300, rather than 3,000.







For the tall-ship enthusiast, there's nothing quite like sailing under a starry or sunny sky, powered by the bluster of ocean winds. If you want to float along with the wind while exploring less-traveled ports in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, Star Clippers is tough to beat. The fleet's three vessels -- flagship 227-passenger Royal Clipper and 170-passenger twins Star Clipper and Star Flyer -- are some of the fastest clipper ships ever built. Feel the sails catch the breeze, help with the raising and trimming or morph into a spider and climb high in the rigging.



Onboard, passengers don't adhere to rigid timetables as they might on more conventional cruise ships, and the evening dress code is always elegantly casual (with the exception of themed evenings, like Pirate Night). Water sports are also a major component of each tall ship sailing cruise, with complimentary snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and other sea-based activities offered directly from the ship.
  184 Hits
  0 Comments

Sail of the Century

The Australian recently published this piece by Maggy Oehlbeck in a roundup of sailing opportunities entitled "Sail away to adventure of your dreams." Read on for an excerpt or check out the whole story here.


[caption id="attachment_16800" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A yoga class on deck for all ages and skill levels.




We cluster on Royal Clipper’s deck, casting lingering looks over Venice’s profile as we glide along the Giudecca then cross the lagoon, Adriatic bound.



Astride the helm, the captain signals and 42 sails unfurl . Given fair winds, our odyssey will take us to Croatia, Corfu, Sicily, Capri, Ponza then Rome. Royal Clipper, the brainchild of Star Clipper founder Mikael Krafft, is the first five-masted, fully rigged sailing ship built since Germany’s Preussen in 1902.







It is poetry to watch the sailors nimbly shimmying up 60m masts to perform the masterful skills of tall-ship sailing. Below decks, cruise-ship features include 114 cabins, a two-tiered dining room, piano lounge and library. Polished wood, brass and nautical paintings create a clubby ambience. Facilities include three swimming pools and a marina platform. It’s best suited for 35 to 65-year-olds who adore the thrill of sea and sail on a fantastic tall ship.



Have you had the adventure of your dreams with Star Clippers? Tell us about it in the comments!
  87 Hits
  0 Comments

Guests Look Forward to the Next Star Clippers Cruise

[caption id="attachment_16733" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clippers guests and crew are always looking forward to the next destination! Photo by Richard A. Auchter.




Michael Palin, the British comedian and writer best known for Monty Python once wrote, "Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life."



It seems the same goes for Star Clippers cruises. A great majority of Star Clippers guests are return passengers, whether returning to their ship of choice or cruising all three tall ships in the fleet. The environment is congenial and a cruise under sail is a unique vacation. We asked fans on Facebook to let us know how many Star Clippers cruises they've been on. Responses ranged, with some guests saying they've been on one and are gearing up for the next, to some truly dedicated sailors -- up to 30 sailings!







Twice is Nice!


In the informal poll 26 percent of guests said they had sailed on Star Clippers twice, with many saying that they couldn't wait to board again. Diane Siegrist, Barabara Pinter, and Melissa Zamora were among guests who said they've been twice and have more trips planned already!







Barbara Pinter: Two times, first Amalfi, second crossing, third will be in September - Venice.



Third Time's a Charm


18 percent of guests had three knots in their rope. Susanne Dixon Bywater said she's sailed once on each ship! Deborah Castillo just completed her third sailing, and Sally Raphael sailed three times and vowed to return soon!



[caption id="attachment_16732" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clipper in the Caribbean. Photo by Birgit Sieliger.




[caption id="attachment_16734" align="alignright" width="225"] Love for Star Clippers is permanent! André M. Piquet shared this photo of his Star Clippers tattoo!


Four is more -- Five's Arrive


Of guests polled 24 percent have sailed with Star Clippers four or five times. That's commitment!







Kathy Mock: 4 times, and loved every minute of them. Can't wait for the next one.



Janet Blair: 5 times. 3 on the Caribbean aboard the Royal and twice on the Star sailing the Eastern Mediterranean. Looking forward to next February when we sail again on the Royal. I think we are addicted!!!!



Super Sailors


Some guests sail once and can't get enough! Alice Renier has sailed Star Clippers 12 times, and Christine Koeppe Wickliff has sailed 22 times, covering all three ships! Andre M. Piquet adds another knot to the perimeter of his Star Clippers tattoo each time he sails -- no that's dedication. Anita Brew has been on 15 sailings, but said that April and May bring Star Clippers cruises 16 and 17!









AnnMarie Godwin: April will be my 30th time sailing on the clippers. I started in 2001.
  149 Hits
  0 Comments

Star Flyer's Balearic Islands Itinerary Named Among the World's Best Intimate Cruises

The Points Guy listed Star Clippers' Balearic Islands itineraries as one of the best "intimate cruises" in the world. Check out an excerpt from that story below!









Star Clippers. Spread off the Spanish coast like fragments of a shattered shell, the Balearics include islands both well charted (Mallorca, Ibiza) and less explored (Menorca, Formentera). A new Balearic Islands summer itinerary from Star Clippers visits each on the four-mast, 16-sail, 170-passenger Star Flyer. Visit ruins and ancient monasteries, graze at beachside seafood shacks, dance all night and splash in sheltered Mediterranean coves. As a bonus, this cruise also docks on mainland Spain, with a day to explore the gorgeous city of Valencia.







Have you sailed the Balearic Islands? Let us know what you think in the comments!




  82 Hits
  0 Comments

Sunsets Through the Lines

[caption id="attachment_16764" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The bowsprit net is an amazing place to watch the sun set.




Mediterranean and Caribbean landscapes might be different, but one there is one constant between the two destinations: Star Clippers and gorgeous sunsets go hand in hand. There's something so magical about watching the sun sink into the horizon through the frame of the line or crosshatch of the bowsprit net. It's no wonder guests are constantly sharing their favorite Star Clippers sunset photos. Here's a roundup of some recent "greats."



[caption id="attachment_16762" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunset in the Med. Photo by Kathi King.




[caption id="attachment_16753" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunset photo shared on Instagram by @burlesque1989.




[caption id="attachment_16761" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A gorgeous scene through the lines. Photo by Kathi King.






  91 Hits
  0 Comments

Words of Wisdom

  0 Hits
  0 Comments

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!
  232 Hits
  1 Comment

Words of Wisdom

  0 Hits
  0 Comments

Top 10 Sailing Superstitions in Honor of Friday the 13th

[caption id="attachment_16648" align="aligncenter" width="550"] "Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky in the morning, sailor's warning!"




Star Clippers evokes the golden age of sailing, a time hundreds of years ago when the seas teemed with tall ships and clippers traveled the seven seas carrying cargo along trade routes. Sailors developed some pretty interesting superstitions in that time, with some even dating back to the ancient days of sailing. In honor of Friday the 13th -- and in no particular order -- here are some of the top 13 sailing superstitions of yesteryear!



1. Red sky at night, sailor's delight ...


The old adage goes, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in the morning, sailor's warning!" In the old days weather deeply affected ships. There is some scientific backing to this saying regarding the presence of clouds and weather patterns, but that depends on the direction of the ship, of course! While not a hard-and-fast rule, many still take to the sea with this saying in mind.







2. Good Luck Ladies!


While conservative ladies were once considered bad luck as they distracted sailors from their duties, a topless woman was welcomed. Sailors believed a nude woman calmed the sea. This is why ships typically had a figure of a topless woman at the bow. Her breasts calm the sea and her open eyes guide the sailors safely. That tradition continues today!



[caption id="attachment_16644" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper's figurehead guides sailors safely with open eyes.




3. Bananas are bad luck!


Back when trade routes between Spain and the Caribbean were well-traveled, bananas almost always seemed to be onboard when disaster struck! It could be that sailors made hasty decisions trying to transport the bananas before they spoiled, or that deadly insects and spiders traveled along with the bananas. Whatever the case, some boaters still avoid bananas at sea!



4. Don't throw stones!


They say people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones -- the same goes for sailors! Sailors don't throw stones into the water, as it's seen as disrespectful to the sea and can stir up the waves.



5. Dolphins are a good omen ...


Have you ever sat in the bowsprit net and watched dolphins frolic along in the sea? There's no doubt that they bring joy to those who see them. Ancient sailors also took them as a sign of good luck, which probably had something to do with the fact that they were the first clear sign that land was near.



[caption id="attachment_16646" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Dolphins, like these seen swimming along with Star Clipper, are known as a good omen.




6. As are albatross!


The albatross is known as good luck, as a symbol of hope and -- like dolphins -- that land is near. Some sailors even believed that the albatross carried the well-wishing souls of sailors that had passed on. Conversely, however, a dead albatross is very bad luck. Samuel Taylor Coleridge chronicled the good and bad luck brought by the albatross in his epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.




At length did cross an Albatross,

Thorough the fog it came;

As if it had been a Christian soul,

We hailed it in God’s name.

It ate the food it ne’er had eat,

And round and round it flew.

The ice did split with a thunder-fit;

The helmsman steered us through!



‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!--

Why look’st thou so?’--With my cross-bow

I shot the ALBATROSS.

And I had done an hellish thing,

And it would work ’em woe:

For all averred, I had killed the bird

That made the breeze to blow."



- Excerpt from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge






7. Keep that tune to yourself!


No matter what kind song you have in your head, don't dare to whistle if you're around a superstitious sailor! Whistling or singing into the wind is thought to "whistle up the wind," causing adverse weather conditions. If you do decide to whistle a bar, beware, clapping along was thought to incite thunder and really toss up the sea!



8. Don't look back!


Some say looking back as you set sail could bring on a shaky ride. Who wants to look back anyway as you're sailing into the horizon?



[caption id="attachment_16657" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Look forward to the next horizon -- not back -- as you depart!




9. Don't change the name of the ship.


It was thought to be very bad luck to change the name of a ship. Initially this was thought to anger the gods. As commerce became a big money business, a name change indicated change of ownership, and thieves would keep an eye out for these changes, as they could potentially mean the ship was full of booty.



10. Don't depart on a Friday.


Long-standing superstition says do not begin a voyage on a Friday! Friday the 13th is a particularly dicey day to the superstitious! Fearful guests need not worry, though, as Star Clippers typically begins voyages on Saturdays!



So, are these superstitions credible or kooky? You be the judge! Let us know what you think in the comments!
  80 Hits
  0 Comments

The Star Clippers Experience in Five Words




Fine dining, friends, fabulous destinations! That's what we think of when we think of Star Clippers. We asked guests to describe their own Star Clippers experiences in five words. Here are the top ten answers!



Chris von Volborth: Nothing like cruising under sail!



Janet Rusin: Too many stars to count!







Jeanne C Latshaw: Best week of our lives!



André M. Piquet: Sail Drink Eat Play Repeat



Lynnie Hampson: Microcosm of all that's fun!



Susan McIntyre Bates: Can hardly wait for July!



Anita Brew: Utterly addicting. Made amazing friends.



Mimi Mary Skinner Auchter: Most amazing cruise experience ever!



Barbara Pinter: The dream of my life



Janet Covington: Best vacation of my life.



Bonus:



Klaus Franz: A few words can not explain the Star Clippers experience !!!!!!!!!! Sorry!



How would you describe the Star Clippers experience? Let us know in the comments!
  87 Hits
  0 Comments

Family Fun on Star Clippers

[caption id="attachment_16627" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Fun in the sun and sailing -- Star Clippers is an adventure for all.




Star Clippers is a family company. The Krafft family owns and operates the fleet of record-holding tall ships, and encourages families to take to the sea, sharing their love of travel and sailing between generations.



One guest recently sailed Star Clippers with their children and grandchildren, and had a delightful time, saying,







"A wonderful family experience! This was our sixth Star Clipper cruise but the first that included our grown kids, their spouses and our grandchildren. Every minute of every day was wonderful. The kids had a great time. The crew went to great lengths to make sure the grandchildren had fun ... My eight-year-old granddaughter had the run of the ship; she reminded us of Eloise at the Plaza."







As the only modern-day tall ship fleet, Star Clippers offers an extraordinary vacation for the whole family. Parents and grandparents appreciate visiting the beautiful, cultural and historical ports of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and children can let their imaginations run wild while cruising on an authentic sailing ship that looks like it’s from the pages of a bedtime story or the latest blockbuster film.










Onboard the ships, kids (and adults) can climb the mast in the safety of a harness for a panoramic view, plunge into a pool with portholes that peek into the dining room and participate in talent shows and pirate-themed parties. Kids and parents alike can kick back in the bowsprit netting and watch the sails billow overhead while looking out for a pod of porpoises. On shore, complimentary watersports like snorkeling and kayaking, and fun active tours keep everyone engaged.



While a Star Clippers sailing is relaxing, there are plenty of educational opportunities, including sailing lessons and historical tours where the whole family can learn about a port or region.



Have you sailed Star Clippers with kids? Let us know in the comments!
  145 Hits
  0 Comments

Star Clippers Named Among Top Holidays in Spain & Greece

[caption id="attachment_16559" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clippers' Balearic Island and Greek itineraries were named among the best in the Med!




Star Clippers was featured in not one but two countdown lists of top cruise holidays by The Daily Telegraph. Jane Archer included Star Clippers eastern Mediterranean cruise to Momnevasia on the list of top 10 cruise holidays in Greece, and John Wilmott featured Star Flyer's western Mediterranean cruise to Menorca on his list of top 10 cruise holidays in Spain. Read on for excerpts from both stories!








This photo of Minorca is courtesy of TripAdvisor



Star Clippers cruise to Menorca
by John Wilmott







Tall-ship cruising is a rare chance to cruise, wind permitting, under sail. Star Clippers’ ship, Star Flyer, has 16 sails on four lofty masts and plenty of nimble-footed crew to handle the ropes. Designed to replicate a tea clipper the ship is a majestic sight when in full flow and has copious creature comforts including comfy cabins (some with balcony), a small pool, bar, library and plush dining room, all for just 170 guests.



The itinerary is very Spain-intensive, beginning in Barcelona and calling at Menorca (quite a rarity), Majorca, Cartagena, Motril – the closest port to Granada and its Alhambra – chic Puerto Banus and Málaga.



[caption id="attachment_16556" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Star Clippers cruise includes a visit the old square in Monemvasia. Photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph.




Star Clippers cruise to Monemvasia
by Jane Archer







Known as the Gibraltar of the East, Monemvasia sits on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese, connected by a causeway. The name comes from the Greek mone and emvasia, which means single entrance. When you enter through the fortress gate you’ll see it’s the perfect moniker. The town one was sizeable; today just a few hundred people live in the beautifully-restored houses crowded around narrow streets and placas filled with tavernas and cafés. Star Clippers brings you here under sail on the last day of a cruise around the Greek Islands that also visits Patmos, said to be where John received a vision from Jesus, and Amorgos, where the dazzling white monastery of Hozoviotissis is the main attraction.



Which holiday would you prefer, the Eastern Mediterranean or the Western Mediterranean? Let us know in the comments!
  207 Hits
  0 Comments

Playing tourist in Bonifacio, Ajaccio and Calvi

Debbra Dunning Brouillette sailed a fabulous Balearic Islands itinerary on Star Flyer. Take a look at an excerpt from her feature in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram!


[caption id="attachment_16510" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Calvi’s picturesque palm-lined harbor is the starting point for exploring the town and its 15th century Citadel. Photo by Debbra Dunning Brouillette.




Passengers congregated on the top deck as we neared Corsica’s southern tip into Bonifacio.



Its chalk-white limestone cliffs, separated from the Italian island of Sardinia by a seven-mile-wide strait, are among the island’s most distinctive sights, in contrast to its mountainous granite interior.



Leaving the ship, we walked past an impressive row of yachts to the tourist train, which transported us from Bonifacio’s Old Town to the upper part of the city, built on the site of a ninth-century citadel. We walked through the battlements of the reconstructed fortress, and then along the wall of the medieval city, where buildings appeared to teeter on the edges of the cliffs.







After seizing the opportunity to descend to ocean level via the legendary King Aragon’s steps, a steep stairway of 187 steps cut into the limestone cliffs, we stopped at a cafe near the fortress for a glass of wine and a fortifying snack of local cheeses, crusty bread and fig preserves before walking back to the harbor down a sloping set of steps.



The star of our second Corsican port is Napoleon Bonaparte, born in Ajaccio in 1769.



Bonaparte’s name graces everything from the airport to a hotel, street, shops, bars, and even a gelateria. The French first gained control of Corsica the year of Bonaparte’s birth. Before that, it had spent more than 500 years as an Italian Genoese republic. A brief period of independence followed, but since 1796, when Napoleon moved in with his army, Corsica has been a department of France.



From the top of a double-decker sightseeing bus, we passed multiple monuments to the ex-emperor and military leader on our way out of the city. Soon, we reached the nearby Sanguinaires Islands, a popular resort location for vacationers from the French mainland, then toured his birthplace, a Bonaparte family home until the 1920s and now a national museum.



While Bonaparte left his mark on Ajaccio, our final Corsican port claims another major historical figure as its own. Although still in dispute, Calvi is widely believed to have been the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. A statue at the site of his presumed home commemorates his birth in 1436, with one wall remaining within the 15th-century citadel.



Given a full day in port, we explored the town and citadel, then toured two medieval villages in the Balagne region north of Calvi, which is known for its figs, olive oil, and wine.



The first was Sant’Antonino, a ninth-century village said to be the oldest inhabited village in Corsica and officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its hilltop location at an elevation of 1,800 feet is often compared to an eagle’s nest, as it offers bird’s-eye views of the Balagne plain and the bay of Calvi.



Pigna, one of several villages on the Balagne Craft Trail, was our second all-too-brief stop.



Its distinctive blue-shuttered stone buildings line narrow streets branching out from a central courtyard, and we spied several artisans’ workshops offering pottery, music boxes, woodcarvings and other traditional crafts. I purchased a small ceramic plate incised with a fish design as a memento of our day.



For more of Debbra's story, including calls at Menorca, St. Tropez and Monaco, click here.
  80 Hits
  0 Comments

Facebook Fans Share First Impressions

[caption id="attachment_16400" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper photo by Valerie Jenkins Fors.




As according to Star Clippers' latest bit of wisdom, "It's better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times." Some guests hear all about the Star Clippers experience, but nothing compares to the moment when you come on board for the first time.



We recently asked fans on Facebook to fill in the blank: My first impression of Star Clippers was _____________



The results are in and here's what the sailing veterans had to say!



Matthias Wunsch: A dream I had in my childhood about a replica of the Preussen as a cruise ship come true!



Rosamond Koether Stephanak: Awesome perfection!



Janet Covington: Wow! Yay! (In rapid succession)



Michael Barkström: Amazing!!



Liliana Patricia Locicero: Admiration and shocked, My first sight was in St Marteen Island.....I thought " This in incredible....I will sailing in this faboulus clipper as in XIX century!!!!!!!!!!!



Brenda Worthington: Wonderment



Daniel Habenicht: Wow! Just wow! And every time since!



Debbie Cates Pearson: Awe...



Janet Blair: Breathtaking!!



Kymber Habenicht: I now have a sense of what sailing travel was like long ago (except with much better amenities).



[caption id="attachment_16446" align="alignright" width="235"] Royal Clipper sailing into Antigua. Photo shared by Ursula Sobotta.




Birgit Weber: Just amazing ...



Pat Floegel: Awe, joy and excitement!!



Helene Karatas Fd Nykänen: What an exciting work environment and such great crew members to get to know!



Cathy McCallister: Wow, I've just stepped through a time warp.



Leslie Kahn: Gorgeous!



Margaret Bonds Podlich: Magestic!



Valerie Jenkins Fors: Magical, experiencing the past! Just left her 2 days ago!



Ursula Sobotta: More than amazing!!



Nicole Mieding: ...breathtaking. And also lifechanging.



BoB Smith: WOW!!!!!



Linda Kirchner Griffin: Wow was the word for Royal Clipper 4 years ago, get to find out what I think when I see Star Clipper on January 3 in St. Maarten...



Patty Jordan: Awesome!!!



Rebecca Leonard: Classic sailing ship! Felt like we had stepped back in time.



Oliver Coenen: Freedom!



Jane Gunnell: Feels like home!



What did you think the first time you saw a Star Clippers ship? Whether virtually or in person. Let us know in the comments!
  118 Hits
  0 Comments

Top 10 Unique Experiences on a Star Clippers Cruise

[caption id="attachment_16434" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper in the Med by Kathi King.




Relaxing on a sun lounger under a mass of billowing sails is a big draw while cruising with Star Clippers. In addition to taking time to simply watching the world sail by, there are multiple opportunities on each voyage to enhance the experience -- from learning a new skill to becoming immersed in some of the world's most beautiful sailing destinations.



Here are the top 10 unique experiences on a Star Clippers cruise:



Learn to tie knots like a sailor
Guests can fine-tune their sailors' knots with a complimentary lesson on deck from the crew and master the art of tying a bowline and a clove hitch. The Balearic Islands are a fine inspiration for sailing fanatics, as the region has some of the Mediterranean's most popular sailing areas among yacht owners, including the Spanish royal family.





[caption id="attachment_16435" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Learn to tie knots like a sailor! Photos by Kathi King.




A roundtrip voyage from Palma, Mallorca, on Star Flyer starts at $1,575 per person, double occupancy, and calls at Ibiza, Formentera, Valencia, Mahon and Port de Soller, all in the Balearics, departing June 27; July 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Aug. 1 and 8.



Shin up the mast of a tall ship
One of the most popular activities is when guests get harnessed and shin up the steel rigging supporting the ship's mast to the first Crow's Nest like a professional deck hand. The 360-degree views and photo opportunities from aloft are spectacular, looking down onto the teak decks and up into the mass of rigging and billowing sails. There's a chance to climb the mast -- no experience required -- on every voyage, weather permitting.



A seven-night cruise on Royal Clipper roundtrip from Rome, Italy, starts at $1,740 per person, double occupancy, and calls at Ponza, Sorrento and Amalfi, Italy; Taormina, Sicily; and Lipari, Aeolian Islands; departing May 16, 23, 30 and June 6, 2015.



Water ski in the Greek islands
Each of the three Star Clippers ships carries watersports equipment and a fleet of powerful inflatable Zodiac craft. Water skiing and wakeboarding are complimentary activities, subject to sea conditions, in every port where the sports team is able to set up on the beach. This is a great opportunity for guests to have a free go at a sport that would be expensive at a shoreside hotel.



Fares for a voyage on Star Clipper between Istanbul, Turkey, and Athens, Greece, start at $1,575, calling at Canakkale, Turkey; and Limnos, Athos, Ouranopolis, Skiathos, Skopelos and Poros, Greece, with plenty of opportunities for watersports from the islands' beaches, especially Poros, which has a sheltered bay perfect for water skiing. Departures are May 2, June 20, Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, 2015.



[caption id="attachment_16437" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Barbecue tastes better on the beach! Photo by Jim Bottoms.




Enjoy a fantastic beach barbecue in the Caribbean
On every Caribbean cruise, weather permitting, a special day is set aside to feature Star Clippers' popular beach barbecue. Culinary delights are prepared ashore and guests can relax on golden sands and lounge in hammocks while enjoying delicious barbecue favorites prepared by Star Clippers' acclaimed chefs.



A voyage on Star Clipper roundtrip from St. Maarten costs from $1,510. The seven-night cruise calls at Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua and St. Barts, departing Jan. 10 and 24; Feb. 7 and 21; and March 7, 2015.



Master the art of paddleboarding
A relatively new craze, paddleboarding is peaceful, has zero environmental impact and is great for strengthening core muscles. Each of the three Star Clippers ships carries boards. Guests start by kneeling, and once balanced, stand up. Relatively flat sea is required for beginners, but paddleboarders often can be seen in Croatia and Montenegro, both excellent locations for gentle watersports.



A 10-night voyage on Star Clipper from Venice, Italy, to Athens, Greece, starts at $2,140 per person, double occupancy, with calls at Hvar and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Santorini; and Mykonos, Greece; departing July 8 and Sept. 23, 2015. 



Admire the underwater world in the Grenadines
Each of the three ships has a large supply of masks, fins and snorkels, all free of charge for guests to use. Where possible, a guided snorkel safari is offered by the watersports team. There's no better place to snorkel in the Caribbean than the Grenadines, where marine life teems in the crystal-clear waters of Tobago Cays National Park where Royal Clipper spends a day.



A seven-night voyage on Royal Clipper roundtrip from Bridgetown, Barbados, starts at $1,560 per person, double occupancy, and calls, Grenada, Tobago Cays, Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia in the Grenadines, departing Jan. 10 and 24; Feb. 7 and 21; and March 7 and 21, 2015.



Navigate the Atlantic using the stars
Every day Captain's Story Time on the ship's bridge provides insight into a different aspect of sailing, including an introduction to celestial navigation, a talk on wind and explanation of the different sails and their function. Guests are welcome to help the crew raise the sails and practice sailing maneuvers as well. On a trans-Atlantic voyage, there are plenty of opportunities for guests to take the helm, as the ships depend largely on the warm trade winds to make the crossing.



A 15-night trans-Atlantic crossing on Star Flyer from Las Palmas, Grand Canary Islands, to Bridgetown starts at $1,790 per person, double occupancy, calling at Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, departing Oct. 24, 2015.



[caption id="attachment_16433" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunrise yoga is a great way to start the day! Photo by Kathi King.




Chill out on deck with sunrise yoga
Several times a year Star Clippers offers themed yoga cruises with a highly qualified instructor onboard who conducts classes in the morning and evening, free of charge, as well as meditation sessions. Instruction is in English and German, and no experience is required.

 

In 2015 yoga cruises depart Jan. 24 and 31 (roundtrip St. Maarten from $1,510 per person, double occupancy); May 16 and 23 (roundtrip Rome from $1,740 per person, double occupancy); May 30 and June 6 (roundtrip Athens); Sept. 7 (from Malaga to Las Palmas); and Aug. 1 and 8 (roundtrip Palma) from $1,575 per person, double occupancy). 



Learn from a master mixologist
Learn how to make cocktails with a dash of panache through demonstrations by the friendly and talented bartenders in the Tropical Bar. There's no better time to study the art of the perfect rum punch than late afternoon in the Caribbean as the sun begins to set and cocktail hour approaches.



A voyage on Star Flyer through the Panama Canal from Bridgetown to Balboa, Panama, starts at $2,910 per person, double occupancy. The 14-night cruise departs Nov. 8, 2015, calling at ports in the Grenadines, Grenada, Venezuela, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba, Colombia and Panama.



[caption id="attachment_16439" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photos from a Star Clippers sailing in the Mediterranean.


 

Cultural immersion in the Mediterranean
Star Clippers offers optional shore excursions in every port, and this 14-night Grand Mediterranean voyage from Athens to Malaga, Portugal, takes in some of the great historical sites of the region, including Syracuse in Sicily; the Maltese capital of Valletta; Cartagena in Spain, a magnificent port more than 2,000 years old; and Tunis, a mélange of ancient and modern cultures. Late October, when the temperatures cool and the summer crowds are gone, is the perfect time to explore.



Do you have anything to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
  142 Hits
  1 Comment

Crossing the ocean on a sailing ship: Is It For You?

The following story is from Dave G. Houser's feature in All Things Cruise.





Assessing this voyage and your suitability for it, I must caution that such a crossing is not for everyone. If your sea-going experiences have been limited to traditional cruise ships you’ll have to ask yourself if you’re willing to forgo the casino action, night club shows, specialty restaurants, spa treatments, mani-pedis and daily shore excursions.



On the other hand, if you’re a sailing enthusiast you’ll definitely want to consider a Clipper crossing — nobody does it better or more authentically. Testifying to that is the fact that 61 of the 90-odd passengers had sailed previously with Star Clipper and, as I mentioned earlier, 35 had made one or more crossings. Or, it may be that you’d simply like to escape the frenetic activities of your landlocked life by surrendering yourself to the vastness and vacancy of the sea.



If you’re still undecided, ponder this from Mark Twain:







“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”






During his 34-year freelance career, Dave G. Houser has established himself as one of America’s most widely published travel journalists. More than 1,200 of his articles and tens of thousands of his photos have appeared in leading magazines, newspapers and online publications worldwide. He has received nearly 40 awards for his work, including three Lowell Thomas Awards. Dave has journeyed to 150 countries and is an avid cruiser, having experienced more than 40 voyages, most of them small-ship expeditions. He resides in St. Augustine, Florida.
  99 Hits
  0 Comments

Postcard from Ibiza

[caption id="attachment_16289" align="aligncenter" width="545"] Photo shared on instagram by @georgwesch.




  62 Hits
  0 Comments

Cruise Diary: Crossing the Atlantic aboard a sailing ship, the Star Flyer

The following story is from Dave G. Houser's feature in All Things Cruise.


[caption id="attachment_16269" align="aligncenter" width="550"] View of Malaga from Gilbafaro Castle, Malaga, Spain.




Crossing the Atlantic on a sailing ship had been on my bucket list for many years – inspired largely by a couple of voyages I made with Star Clipper vessels Star Flyer and Royal Clipper in 1991 and 1995 respectively. When the opportunity came about to join Star Flyer on a 22-day transatlantic crossing from Malaga, Spain to Bridgetown, Barbados in October, I jumped at the chance.



To sail before the mast, following the trade winds along the same route taken by Columbus and other early explorers venturing from Europe to the New World, seemed to me a romantic and venturesome undertaking – a travel experience well beyond the ordinary.







It was my original plan to author a daily blog during the voyage, but after discovering that internet service onboard Star Flyer during such crossings is very slow, often unreliable and quite expensive (at about $8 an hour), I opted to post this report upon my return home.



Mercado de Atarazanas, Malaga, Spain.
Having never visited Malaga, in the heart of Spain’s fabled Costa del Sol, I booked a three-day stay in the city prior to my October 18 sailing. This proved to be a good decision and I heartily recommend such a pre-cruise visit to any of you who might join future fall crossings of the Star Clipper fleet. All three of the company’s vessels, Star Flyer, Star Clipper and Royal Clipper, routinely make the transatlantic crossing from the Mediterranean each October/November to reposition for the winter sailing season in the Caribbean. Here are some of my impressions and observations of the historic port city of Malaga:



[caption id="attachment_16271" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Marble-paved Calle de Marques Larios is Malaga's main shopping street, Malaga, Spain.




Malaga, like many Spanish cities, bears witness to a long and storied past. Founded by the Phoenicians more than 3,000 years ago, it was next colonized by the Carthaginians, the Romans, Visgoths and then by the Moors who held it for more than eight centuries. Finally Malaga came under Christian rule following the Reconquest in 1492. Aside from some damage and casualties suffered during the civil war of the 1930s, the city has subsequently enjoyed relative peace and prosperity.



Monuments to the Roman and Moorish times are to be seen around the city, including most visibly the Moorish Gilbafaro Castle and Alcazaba Fortress, and a well-preserved Roman Theater.



Built in the 14th century over the ruins of a Phoenician lighthouse, Gilbafaro Castle proved a good place to begin my visit as it affords a magnificent view of the city and harbor, and a good look too at Plaza de Toros de la Malgueta, the region’s top bull ring. Just below the castle sits the Alcazaba, built between the 8th and 11th centuries as the palace fortress of the Muslim governors.



I enjoyed meandering through the Alcazaba’s network of courtyards interspersed with tile and marble pools and fountains. It’s a relaxing setting, dappled in the shade of orange trees and draped with bougainvillea. A small museum houses a display of ceramics from the Muslim period and scattered all about the place are marble columns and other relics from the Roman times.



Situated at the foot of the Alcazaba, the Roman Theater rounds out Malaga’s most important archaeological collection. It was built in the 1st century BC during the reign of Augustus I and was used through the 3rd century AD. I paused to sit among the arching tiers of ancient stone – just to let my imagination wander for a moment.



[caption id="attachment_16273" align="alignright" width="245"] Malaga Cathedral, Malaga, Spain.
Malaga’s Cathedral draws a lot of attention, mainly due to a quirk in its construction. Building began in the 16th century but work was halted due to a lack of funds in 1782, leaving the south tower unfinished. This led residents to give it the nickname “One-Armed Lady.” It is nonetheless an impressive structure.



Iglesia de Santiago, built in the 15th century in Moorish-Gothic style, is another of Malaga’s most important and beloved churches. It is an aesthetic masterpiece, brimming with artistry. Malaga-born artist Pablo Picasso was christened therein and the church is home as well to some of the leading cofradias (brotherhoods) who lead the city’s huge Holy Week parade. The cofradias’ gleaming silver-plated parade floats are on display there.



Without question, Picasso is Malaga’s most famous native son – and I made it a point to visit both his birthplace and an extraordinary museum dedicated to his life and work.



Casa Natal, the house where Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in 1881, occupies a corner overlooking Plaza de la Merced and now serves as a museum housing a collection of his original works, along with books, documents and personal possessions of the painter and his family.



Just a few steps away is Museo Picasso Malaga, which opened to great fanfare in 2003 in the beautifully restored Palacio de Buenavista, a 16th century Renaissance-style palace. Brilliantly exhibited there in 12 galleries are more than 200 works – paintings, sketches, sculptures and ceramics – by Picasso, who is often described as the most influential artist of the 20th century. For me, Museo Picasso was the highlight of my stay in Malaga.



[caption id="attachment_16270" align="alignleft" width="245"] Mercado de Atarazanas, Malaga, Spain.
Another of the city’s attractions I found fascinating was Mercado de Atarazanas, a bustling market lined with stalls spilling over with local produce, meat, fish and baked goods. Housed in an iron structure typical of French markets of the 19th century, this one incorporates the original Puerta de Atarazanas, the exquisitely crafted 14th century Moorish gate that once connected the city with the port. A large stained glass window composed of scenes depicting Malaga’s history adds color and charm to the old marketplace.



My evenings in Malaga were spent dining al fresco on tapas and salad at whatever sidewalk café struck my fancy around Plaza de la Constitucion or along the busy and festive marble-paved shopping and entertainment thoroughfare Calle de Marques Larios.



On my final night I dined once again on those tasty, traditional tapas – but this evening accompanied by a rousing flamenco performance at Kelipe. This cultural center and dinner theater features a troupe of professional singers and dancers who really put their hearts into the soulful music and dance of Andalusia. The theater is situated on Calle Alamos, which, like most of Malaga’s major sites and attractions was just a short walk from my hotel, the comfortable, reasonably priced Salles Hotel Malaga Centro.



I’ll say again that electing to arrive early and spend a few days in Malaga was a smart move – leaving me in a Mediterranean state of mind – relaxed and ready for my long Star Flyer voyage.






During his 34-year freelance career, Dave G. Houser has established himself as one of America’s most widely published travel journalists. More than 1,200 of his articles and tens of thousands of his photos have appeared in leading magazines, newspapers and online publications worldwide. He has received nearly 40 awards for his work, including three Lowell Thomas Awards. Dave has journeyed to 150 countries and is an avid cruiser, having experienced more than 40 voyages, most of them small-ship expeditions. He resides in St. Augustine, Florida.



To view the original story on All Things Cruise click here.
  119 Hits
  0 Comments