Postcard from Sicily

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




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

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Wellness Travel is on the Rise

[caption id="attachment_16865" align="aligncenter" width="550"] As travelers lead healthier, more active lifestyles, wellness activities like yoga are becoming part of their vacations.




Studies show that a yearly vacation is invaluable for health with benefits varying from lower stress levels to cardiovascular improvements. Adding to these benefits, many travelers are now combining traditional vacations with wellness-geared getaways.



A panel of experts at the annual International Travel Mart in Cannes, France, predicted that by 2040 90 percent of luxury tourism would include some aspect of health and wellness.







The global market size of the wellness tourism industry is growing rapidly — faster than travel in general — and is predicted to account for $678.5 billion by 2017, compared with $438.6 billion in 2012, according to Statistica Inc.



Much of this growth can be attributed to the maturation of the baby boomer generation, which is more health-conscious than preceding generations. These travelers look for a vacation that integrates their daily healthful routine with traditional aspects of travel. But it’s not just baby boomers who are looking to travel in good health — the active family travel market is burgeoning and is expected to continue to grow as well.



So what is wellness travel? The trend covers all aspects of health, including nutritious menu options, spa offerings and fitness activities. Across the globe tourism professionals are responding to growing demands by introducing whole food, vegetarian and vegan menus, spa packages and active excursions. Hiking, cycling, paddle boarding and kayaking continue to gain popularity.



Star Clippers offers a complete wellness experience. Shoreside the features include complimentary water sports and adventurous shore excursions such as mountain biking and kayaking in some of the most beautiful destinations in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.



Guests are invited to participate in yoga on deck under billowing sails on select yoga-themed sailings, and most cruises afford the opportunity to climb the mast for an exhilarating workout. Massages are available on each ship and flagship Royal Clipper features a full-service spa. Healthy gourmet meal options are available on all three ships in the fleet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.



Do you like to stay active when you cruise? Let us know how in the comments below!
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Words of Wisdom

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Star Clipper to Feature Michelin Chefs and Culinary Experts in 2015

[caption id="attachment_16851" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clipper will feature fabulous chefs for summer 2015.




Star Clippers is excited to feature an outstanding line up of guest chefs and lecturers on culinary-themed journeys in 2015. Whether you consider yourself a foodie or you're just hungry, you're sure to learn a lot from these fabulous professionals. Join chefs from top Michelin Starred Restaurants and Expert Sommeliers on select Star Clippers cruises.










Star Clipper will be host to Michelin Star Chefs Markus Semmler of Das Restaurant, Berlin, Germany; Jens Kirchenwitz of Le Jeton Restaurant, Bad Kissingen, Germany; and Christian Loisl of Junge Wilde. In the beverage arena guests inclule Sommelier Brice Faluelle and Mixologist Uwe Chistiansens.



These culinary-centered cruises will take place in July and August on the 170 passenger ship and cover the eastern Mediterranean including Southern Cyclades, Yachtsman's Paradise, and Northern Cylcades itineraries. For more information click here.



Stay tuned for more info next week on Royal Clipper's culinary cruises!



What culinary cruise do you want to sail on? Let us know in the comments!
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Port Spotlight: Cadíz, Spain

[caption id="attachment_16789" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Cadiz is one of the oldest continually settled cities in Europe. (Photo by Jose Ra)




Situated on a narrow strip of land surrounded by the glittering sea, Cadíz is one of the oldest and well-preserved cities in southwestern Europe. Cadíz also boasts a unique experience, categorized by the distinct cultures of each historical old barrio, (village) a sharp contrast from more urbanized areas.







A visit to the Cathedral in the Old Town provides a spectacular panoramic view of the entire city.



Christopher Columbus is said to have brought over many of the trees that line Cadíz’s picture-perfect parks, perfect for a romantic stroll set behind a backdrop of colorful flowers.



You will discover narrow streets filled with charming cafés that arguably serve the world’s freshest fish. Europe’s oldest covered market, El Mercado Central, is a must-do if you’re looking for fresh groceries and an authentic Andalusian experience.

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True Blue




Fun fact: did you know that blue is the world's most favorite color? It is by a long shot -- in a poll over 40% of respondents chose blue as their favorite color. According to the New York Times a study by the University of Japan found that blue can reduce fatigue and anxiety, and even regulate heartbeat and breathing! Blue aids in creative problem solving, dieting, and is even children's preferred color of care-takers' wardrobes!



Looking at this photo of Star Clipper gliding across the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea it's easy to see why! Blue equals freedom, serenity, and vacation!



Happy Sailing!



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On Your Mark ...

[caption id="attachment_16549" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo of Star Clippers sailing side by side from www.starclippers.com.




Today's the day! Now and again Star Clipper and Royal Clipper meet in the Caribbean to share a photo opportunity and wind for a fabulous race. Guests crowd the decks and crew wave to one another as the ships clip the waves below.



It's a fabulous event and adds another element of beauty to an already gorgeous scene. Typically, in the Caribbean, this meeting takes place a few days into the journey. Star Clipper and Royal Clipper meet southwest of Iles des Saintes and sail alongside one another all the way to Cabrits, Dominica.







If winds permit racing takes place. While Royal Clipper does have an advantage with more sails, Star Clipper is lighter and can pull weight as well!



Who do you think would win in a race? Let us know in the comments below!
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The Joy of Star Clippers




Guest Josefine shared this fabulously joyous photo of Star Clippers crew on the bow, with Royal Clipper sailing by in the background. We think it perfectly captures the spirit of Star Clippers sailings, don't you?
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A Snapshot of Life Onboard Star Clipper

[caption id="attachment_16524" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Tropical bar is the social hub of a Star Clippers cruise.




Claire Isabelle Delancray was kind enough to share these photos that offer a snapshot of life onboard Star Clipper in the Caribbean. Guests collect around cocktails, goof around on deck, climb the mast and hoist the sails.



The attitude onboard is relaxed and casual, and even when the ship lists guests are all smiles! Scroll down for more photos, including a guest appearance from Royal Clipper!







[caption id="attachment_16523" align="aligncenter" width="550"] All hands on deck! Guests can get in on the action when sailing.




[caption id="attachment_16534" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Get up close to the sea with a porthole view!




[caption id="attachment_16528" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Just in case you weren't sure, Star Clippers sail for real!






[caption id="attachment_16530" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Now and again Star Clippers guests have the chance to ride alongside Royal Clipper in the Caribbean!




[caption id="attachment_16529" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Royal Clipper ride along offers fabulous photo ops!




[caption id="attachment_16531" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Land ho! Sailing into the beautiful Caribbean ports is a sight to see!




[caption id="attachment_16519" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Views from the mast are extraordinary ...




[caption id="attachment_16532" align="aligncenter" width="550"] ... and nothing beats a sunset at sea!
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Port Spotlight: Barcelona, Spain

[caption id="attachment_16503" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper taken off the coast of Barcelona on a dark, stormy night. A beautiful chance shot by Carlos Castillejo.




Barcelona has a distinct quality that separates itself from the rest of Spain. Besides the chatter of Catalán (the city’s native language) that you’ll hear instead of Spanish, Barcelona boasts architectural sights unlike anywhere else in the world.







There’s no way you can roam Barcelona for long without coming across La Sagrada Familia, a massive but incomplete Roman Catholic church designed by the late Antoni Gaudí. Described by Paul Goldberger as "The most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages,” La Sagrada Familia is perhaps one of the world’s most spectacular churches.



In true Gaudí fashion, the church’s exterior has a system of angled columns and complex geometries with finely crafted adornments depicting the life of Jesus Christ. Equally stunning is its interior. Filled with bright colors reflecting off ornate stained-glass windows, you will be in awe of just how small you feel relative to the sanctuary.



La Rambla is another must-see while in Barcelona, a mile-long bustling street capturing the essence of Barcelonan culture.



Lined with restaurants and little shops, you’re most likely to experience a favorite memory at the Boqueria Market right off of La Rambla.



Once inside, you are surrounded by stands of brightly colored fruit juices and affordable fruits among palatable meats and cheeses.

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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!
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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!
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Yoga on Deck a Hit - More to Come in 2015!

[caption id="attachment_16407" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo shared by Christel Vollmer.




Yoga expert Christel Vollmer was onboard Royal Clipper's transatlantic sailing offering twice-daily yoga lessons at sunrise and sunset. Yoga on the beautiful teak decks as the sun rises or sets over sea is an ethereal experience and all were welcomed.



Christel praised the "super supportive" Captain Sergey Tunikov and cruise director Lidija Jovic, who is also a yoga lover.



"We all had a lot of fun and very good yoga practice twice a day. Paradise!" she said.







If you missed one of the recent yoga cruises don't worry -- you can set sail on one of Star Clippers’ six scheduled yoga-themed itineraries in 2015. Christel returns along with more world-class yoga instructors on Star Clipper’s Jan. 24 and 31 Caribbean sailings, Royal Clipper’s May 16 and 23 western Mediterranean cruises and Star Flyer’s Aug. 1 and 8 Balearic Islands itineraries.



[caption id="attachment_16408" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo shared by Christel Vollmer.




All classes are complimentary and will take place on deck in the fresh air under the billowing sails at sunrise and sunset. The instructors also will give lectures on the philosophy of yoga and advice for practice at home. All of the classes are appropriate for all skill levels, so beginners are as welcome as advanced participants.



Yoga teacher, author and life coach Inge Schöps will join the seven-night Caribbean sailings on Star Clipper roundtrip from St. Maarten, Jan. 24 and 31, offering yoga and meditation classes. Schöps is based in Cologne, Germany, where she teaches, and she also runs yoga retreats in the Mediterranean on the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Formentera. She is an author and has published yoga apps and e-books.



[caption id="attachment_16405" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo shared by Christel Vollmer.




On Royal Clipper’s May 16 and 23 seven-night western Mediterranean cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, guests can learn Ishta-style yoga, focusing on asana, meditation, anatomy and yogic and tantric philosophy under the instruction of Raphaella Rose. A yoga practitioner for 17 years, Rose promotes friendly and accessible yoga, and has taught classes in the U.S., Great Britain and Spain, running regular retreats alongside her class schedule.



Christel Vollmer returns to join the seven-night Balearic Islands sailings on Star Flyer roundtrip from Palma de Mallorca, Aug. 1 and 8. She will give two classes daily: 60 minutes of power yoga in the morning and a 40-minute wind-down class at sunset, followed by meditation. Vollmer brings many years of teaching experience to Star Clippers, having trained under Bryan Kest, yoga guru to celebrities including Madonna, Cindy Crawford and Sting.



All classes and lectures will be conducted in English and are optional. Additional ship activities will be offered as part of the standard daily program.



Have you practiced yoga under sail? Let us know what you thought in the comments!


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Words of Wisdom

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Summer in Ponza




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



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















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




The holiday season is upon us and it is all about togetherness! Who are you grateful for?
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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.
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Port Highlight: Arrecife, Canary Islands

[caption id="attachment_16232" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo courtesy of spain-lanzarote.com.




In Spanish, “arrecife” means reef, a fitting word to describe the beautiful seafront promenades you’ll encounter at this port of call in the Canary Islands. The capital city of the island of Lanzarote, Arrecife is a prime spot to view colorful fish, go golfing or just take a peaceful stroll.







Popular attractions in Arrecife include the St. Gabriel Castle, a defensive fortress that was destroyed by pirates and rebuilt as a stone castle in the 16th century. Now housing an ethnographic museum, the St. Gabriel Castle also provides one of the best views of the city and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.



Other sites include the Playa Reducto, Arrecife’s most popular beach, and the Charco de San Ginés, a man-made lagoon surrounded by fishermen’s white cottage homes and charming cafés.

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We've Arrived!

[caption id="attachment_16214" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Flyer transits the Panama Canal.




Star Clippers' Caribbean season has begun!



After two weeks at sea Star Flyer arrived yesterday at Bridgetown, Barbados, and is now en route to the Panama Canal with some amazing calls along the way including Kralendjik, Bonaire; Willemstad, Curacao and Oranjestad, Aruba.







Star Clipper and Royal Clipper will arrive in the Caribbean soon, and the fleet will spend the coming months sailing from island to island enjoying beach barbecues, pirate parties and warm, crystal waters.



Will you be joining us in the Caribbean this season? Let us know in the comments!
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