Traveling Teddy 'Elizabeth' Sails in the Caribbean

This adorable account of Elizabeth the traveling teddy initially appeared in the blog Globespinners by Betsa Marsh. Read on to see how the little bear is traveling the world and sending back geography lessons to teach kids in the states.






Elizabeth the SATW Traveling Teddy rubbed on her sunscreen and headed for the exotic ports of the Caribbean aboard the four-masted mega-yacht, Star Clipper. With 16 sails, the Star Clipper ties with her sister ship Star Flyer as the tallest Tall Ship in the world.



Elizabeth travels for the third-grade class of Meredith Schroeder at St. Joseph Consolidated School in Hamilton, Ohio, and the kindergarten class of Barbara Hill at Crawford Street Playschool in Vicksburg, Miss.






The Traveling Teddy program is a geographic outreach program of the Society of American Travel Writers. As ambassadors for school classes in the U.S. and Canada, the Traveling Teddies explore the globe with SATW professionals and send home postcards, souvenirs and blog posts to help the students discover the world beyond their classrooms.



Elizabeth sailed through the Leeward Islands and French Antilles. The itinerary, round trip from St. Maarten, mad sandy stops in Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Jost von Dyke, St. Kitts and St. Barthelemy,



Elizabeth shared the Star Clipper with passengers from 17 countries, with Yankees claiming a bit more than a third of the manifest. She practiced her French and German, because all the shipboard announcements are tri-lingual, in English, French and German.









And Elizabeth made new friends on the islands, from a little girl playing in the waves at Virgin Gorda to hard-working Quincy Browne, who was mowing the grass at Brimstone Fortress on St. Kitts, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Everyone was so friendly to a little sunburned bear.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!




Happy St. Patrick's Day! As the Irish blessing goes, "may the wind be always at your back."



Guests are often sharing photos of Star Clippers framed by - or sailing towards - beautiful rainbows. In honor of the imagery of the emerald isle here's a roundup of some of our best rainbow shots through the years. Browse through the blog and you're sure to find more!
























Have you spotted a rainbow while cruising under sail? Share your photos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be featured in a post.
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Chris Features the Finer Points

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog, chriscruises.com.





Spending the day in Terre de Haute, a French island in the Caribbean never visited by big ships, I was reminded of the obvious: Star Clipper ships go where big ships can not. But more than the small size of their ships and that they are powered by wind for the most part, there are other features that we discovered on a Windward Islands sailing of Royal Clipper.






Small, But Nicely Appointed Cabins
We had stateroom 208, an Oceanview cabin with two porthole windows that was laid out quite nicely. Two twin beds that could be converted to a double like most other cruise lines are standard. Under-bed storage took our biggest pieces of luggage and a built in storage drawer was a nice addition. Cabin lighting options provided a number of different possibilities ranging from full light to sectional lighting appropriate for working at the built in desk, illuminating a curtained changing area only and more. One closet with hangars was about half what many other lines offer but with hangers mounted high, additional storage below made up for it. The star of the show in cabin appointments though is the marble-floored bathroom which is a generous size with adequate storage behind a triple pane mirror and under the sink.






At the Purser’s Desk/Sloop Shop onboard clothing and logo shop, DVDs are available to borrow at no charge. Passengers can choose from hundreds of titles but I can’t for the life of me see why someone would want to watch television on this ship. Cabins have TV’s and a DVD player but we turned on CNN once and it was such a bad fit for the ambience of Royal Clipper that we turned it off rather quickly.



These are sailing ships with sailors that man the decks as the captain calls out commands. They make quite a show of it too, playing grand orchestral compositions of seagoing music as the ship’s sails are set, every single time. Initially, I thought that would get old pretty fast. On the contrary, as the voyage proceeded and we learned more about sailing ships from the crew and well-traveled passengers we came to appreciate it more each time. As I write this we have two more sailaways left on our itinerary and I’d imagine that the last one will be quite difficult to bear.






A Captain’s Captain
Never has the term “master of the vessel” had more meaning than on this ship. Frankly, I respected that position on other sailings and appreciated the tremendous weight of responsibility that rested on the Captain’s shoulders. Still, on Royal Clipper we see navigation happening in many ways as it has for hundreds of years at sea. Sails are made of longer lasting material now and not canvass. Voyages take weeks rather than months. Modern technology supplements age-old sailing ways. But the Captain is an active, working part of the crew and is constantly present.



One day we met up with another Star Clipper ship and a traditional salute had crew members on the Bow Sprit (pointy thing on the front) of both ships, displaying the flags of their home nations. Another day passengers boarded tender boats to see Royal Clipper with all sails deployed. The masterful seamen on board were able to do that and not outrun the tenders but place the ship in nearly a station-keeping position (to borrow a Star Trek term), one sail set for forward motion while another compensated with equal force in the opposite direction.



After that event, when passengers were back on the ship, they were invited to take a photo of the crew, assembled as a group on deck. Captain Tunikov was quick to give credit to his crew, inviting passengers to get a photo of “the best sailing crew in the world,” a hearty approbation of which no passenger had any doubt.






The Cuisine
Sure, food is a big part of any cruise experience and it has evolved over time. Big ships have gone from “let me fill my gaping maw” buffets to healthy-choice options and a variety of onboard venues from which to choose. On Star Clippers, the attention to detail on culinary offerings is nearly beyond description. I say “nearly” because this is the topic of an upcoming post covering dining from A to Z and we will get into great detail there.



But researching this cruise line and ship prior to boarding, we found very little information about dining. Few details, reviews, menus…nothing. We’ll correct that omission from the body of knowledge available about Royal Clipper shortly. For now, describing the culinary offerings on Royal Clipper one word stands out as quite appropriate: Fabulous. No, really fabulous and not in a gaudy, showy way. Stay tuned for more on that topic shortly.



Let’s put it this way: I can’t remember the last time I had food so good on a cruise ship that I wanted and nearly did eat everything on the menu.






There are other unique features of the Star Clippers experience and we’ll get into those when we reader answer questions, gathered along the way.



To visit Chris' blog click here: www.chriscruises.com
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Sail Along in Dominica

Star Clippers' guest Nancy Geczy kindly shared these photos from Royal Clipper and Star Clipper's sail along near Dominica. The two ships sailing alongside one another is always a fabulous sight, and leaves quite the impression on those lucky enough to experience it. Nancy summed it up, saying:



" Today was beautiful as you will see by the pictures. We were along the coast of Dominica and our 'sister ship' the Star Clipper was at sea next to us. The

tenders went down and guests boarded for an incredible photo op. It doesn't get any better than this!! Truly awesome!!"



















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Salute to a Sister Ship

Here's Royal Clipper sailing alongside Star Clipper in Feb. 2013 in the Caribbean. Thanks to guest Maria Nygren of Stockholm, Sweden, for taking the time to share the video.



Says Maria,







"Well, a little more than a year ago we experienced such a moment, on our Leeward Islands cruise with Star Clipper. We all felt like taking part in a feast, and being Swedish, we of course enjoyed the moment even more!"










Do you have a video from your Star Clippers experience that you would like to share? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!
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Star Clippers Attention To Detail: On And Off The Ship

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog, www.chriscruises.com.





The Star Clipper experience we are working through on our Windward Islands itinerary has some common elements, core components of what they do that keeps passengers coming back year after year. Details in the culinary department make each meal an event. Stateroom stewards customize their services for each guest. Marine operations has sailors raising sails with precision timing. No detail is overlooked, including photo opportunities for passengers on board.



We were told that the end of our day on the island of St Kitts, what Star Clippers calls a Photo Tender opportunity would take place, shortly before sunset. This is where passengers could board tender boats, head out to sea then watch as all of Royal Clipper’s sails were raised. It is a sight that draws the attention of others who live on or are visiting the ports of call on our itinerary, every time we arrive.



Prior to the event, passengers (including myself) wondered how they could do that; have all sails raised but not sail off without us. “Surely the tender boats can not keep up with Royal Clipper under full sail,” said one puzzled passenger. “Maybe they set all the sails then put the ship’s engine in reverse to hold it in place,” pondered another. As it turns out, it was the flexibility of the sails combined with some pretty tricky seamanship that allowed Royal Clipper to have all her glorious sails unfurled but move slowly enough that tender boats could outrun and circle around her.



This sampling of photos shows the variety of angles afforded us as well as the changing silhouette of the ship as the sun set. It’s just one example of Star Clippers attention to detail.

































To visit Chris' blog click here: www.chriscruises.com
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Words of Wisdom Wednesday




"Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me,

Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me,

Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me"


-Styx



It doesn't get much simpler than that! What's your favorite sailing song?
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Smaller Ships can Stop Twice A Day

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog, www.chriscruises.com.





Taking advantage of the ship’s small size, Royal Clipper often makes two port calls in one day. Visiting St Kitts, for example, we first stopped at Basseterre for a couple hours then went on to a different location for a day at the beach. It’s all a part of the Star Clippers cruise line experience that draws attention to the flexibility of their itineraries.



Stopping first at one port early in the morning, passengers on shore excursions get off the ship and get deep into the destination. On a standard ocean cruise experience, time getting to and from points of interest chew up a lot of the day. Repositioning the ship, often on the other side of any given island, allows more immersion into the destination. This is where Royal Clipper passengers who might want to shop, get cash or just do some people watching. If there is a crowd, this is where we see it.









Interestingly, in St Kitts, taxi drivers and tour operators pitched their services as we had seen when visiting before. But for the most part, once they found that we would be there a brief time, we were left alone…with one exception. One aggressive cab driver started a rumor that our ship would be staying in port a bit longer, allowing more time to employ his services. We quickly found out that the scam here was to lead us into believing that, taking them up on a short tour then, when the ship sails away without us needing their services to get to the next stop, for an additional fee. Pretty clever really.



The second port of call in the day is the longer of the two and happens at a beachfront location. Running continuous tender operations all day, those coming off an excursion can spend time at the beach or go back to the ship upon completion of their tour. On our Windward Islands itinerary, that meant a day at a variety of beaches throughout the Caribbean and many passengers took full advantage of the opportunities.






Interestingly, the only big ship we encountered was Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, there for the day in St Kitts. Later, after repositioning, we could still see Independence in the distance but were at a nearly-private beach with few other travelers around. That’s also a key ingredient in the Star Clippers experience; few other travelers vying for a destination’s resources and few lines to stand in makes for more quality time off-ship.



Back at the ship with sails, a cocktail hour from five to six in the afternoon became more popular as the itinerary continue, a way for passengers to reunite and discuss what they had done during the day. Normally. On our day in St Kitts, the off-ship events ended with what Star Clippers calls a Photo Tender. This is where those passengers interested board tenders and head out to sea, followed by Royal Clipper under full sail. It’s something we can’t see while on the ship and allows some wonderful photo opportunities of our magnificent ship.



That’s next.



To visit Chris' blog click here: www.chriscruises.com
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Antigua Welcomes Star Clippers, Royally

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog, www.chriscruises.com.





As if island-hopping in the Caribbean on a ship with sails is not adventure enough, passengers on Star Clippers Royal Clipper had a select list of shore excursions from which to choose. An Antigua Rhino Adventure, Kayak Echo Tour and an Island Jeep Safari kept many passengers off the ship all day. Add in a beach barbecue, with a relaxing massage or water gymnastics with the ship’s sports team and it was a full day ashore. Or not. Other passengers chose to stay on board and read a book, lounge on deck or do nothing at all.



Comparing the Star Clippers experience to other niche cruise options is no easy task. There simply is no other cruise choice that comes close. Wind Star cruises has ships with sails that appear from a distance to be sailing ships. But the able bodied seamen on Royal Clipper are quick to dismiss their mock sails as ‘just for show’ in a very matter of fact way.



Previous visits to Antigua took us to Pineapple Beach resort, a beautiful place with a wedding chapel perched high on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We thought that location was about as good as it could get on this island if not in the entire Caribbean. But approaching Antigua’s Falmouth Harbour via a ship with sails turns the focus in an entirely different direction.






It’s a common scene when Royal Clipper enters any populated area. Rather than local residents lining shores to wave good bye to the cruise ship, a common scene when big ships leave port, the focus is reversed. Local residents, boat and yacht owners and those on the few other ships we see in port line up to see the ship with sails arrive. I can see why too; Royal Clipper casts a striking image against just about any backdrop.



Upon arrival in Antigua, small sailing craft raced to get an up close view of the Guinness-record holding largest masted ship in the world. At the private beach barbecue, our Executive Chef prepared lunch on an open fire while the Maitre ‘d made sure everyone was well taken care of, all within sight of our ship. Some guests relaxed on the beach, others engaged in complementary water sports or went on to their shore excursion while a few returned to the ship or explored the island on their own.












We did a little of both; walking through town, drinking in the local flavor then returning to the ship for a leisurely afternoon. As we continue our voyage on Royal Clipper, one element of the experience seems universal: you can do whatever you want to do but don’t miss sailaway for any reason.



After this experience, the term “set sail” has an entirely different meaning than it has on any other ship we have ever sailed on. The correct term, we learned early in the voyage was to “set the sails” and that indeed is a major event every single day. Setting the sails are sailors who work in unison, right in front of the passengers as the Captain calls out commands that are instantly repeated by the seaman responsible for executing the order. Every single time. It’s a military-precision operation that results in a breathtaking event that is totally over the top for those who appreciate such things. There is a huge undeniable difference between a big ship where someone we don’t see uses a joystick and thrusters to move the vessel into a launch position and sailors setting the sails.



Antigua is a beautiful port with captivating aquamarine water that is just as pretty as a picture. Ply those waters on a ship with sails and the experience is simply something you have to do to appreciate.
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Favorite Port, Favorite Island

Star Clippers veteran guests Nancy & Ed shared some of his Antigua experience with us, his favorite stop on Royal Clipper's Windward Islands itinerary. Thanks, Nancy & Ed!





"Today is Tuesday and we are in our favorite port on our favorite island: Nelson's Harbor, Antigua.



We are having lunch at Cloggy's around the corner in Falmouth Harbor...We walked around Nelson's Dockyard and the yachts moored there are pretty amazing! There is a boat race as one of the sign ups on the boat.



...Steel drum band on board tonight, we love it!



Wonderful ship, wonderful crew and guests, what's not to love!"



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Star Clippers Words of Wisdom Wednesday




Mahatma Gandhi said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed." Slow down, lower your sails and enjoy the world from the bowsprit net.



For more words of wisdom and sailing inspiration visit Star Clippers' favorite travel quotes board on Pinterest.
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Having a 'Double Wow' Vacation on Royal Clipper

Guests Ed and Nancy are on Royal Clipper, and as you can read they are having the time of their lives. Thanks to them for sharing their thoughts and photos!





It is just incredible, this trip ... one has to be here to fully understand this unique experience. We're sitting in the newly opened Nutmegs in Grenada, a place we've been coming to every time we've been here except they had closed last year. A beautiful day, no rain, sunny, almost hot and we're being treated with a steel drum concert on board tonight before sail away at midnight. The food is beyond over the top, the crew are beyond exceptional, the beds are very comfortable, and the wind in the sails lulls us to sleep at night. We're meeting many guests, mostly English, however, they are from all over the world. It is beautiful and casual at the same time.







Our group is now well known (in two short days) and we are having such a great time. Sail away is magnificent ... it is magical ... and when we left Barbados, the guests on a cruise ship in port were hanging off the rails waving and taking pictures as we left port. And the music ... oh, the music ... we were enchanted! We wish that all of you could be on board with us ... and today as we got into the tender, all these rafts were tied together floating off the marina deck of the boat for those who wanted to enjoy. More like the catamaran than a cruise ship! BUT WE ARE GUESTS TREATED ROYALLY!



Beautiful ship, beautiful people, double wow ... what more can I say.









[caption id="attachment_14634" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Lunch at Barbados with Karen, Gloria, Mike, Bob, Dick and Nan.







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Sister Ships Meet in the Caribbean

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog, www.chriscruises.com.

On the way to Cabrits in Dominica, we happened upon another ship with sails, smaller 172-passenger Star Clipper, little sister to our ship, Royal Clipper. As custom would have it, crewmembers gather on deck with the flags of their nations to salute one another. Under the watchful eye of Captain Tunikov, the two ships come close together for a while, with crew and passengers alike waving as songs from the variety of nationalities on board play.



It’s a huge photo opportunity for passengers, able to see a version of their ship up close while at sea. After nearly an hour together, the two ships parted ways as Star Clipper made her way to dock in Dominica and Royal Clipper would anchor not far away. While in port, crew members from either ship will come aboard, see old friends and have some special time during a rendezvous that happens every few weeks during the Caribbean season.






























To visit Chris' blog click here: www.chriscruises.com
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Memories Come Full-Circle for Orlando Chris

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog, www.chriscruises.com.





We first saw Royal Clipper docked in Barbados a decade ago, then visiting the port off an 8-day Southern Caribbean sailing of Carnival Legend. Walking by the ship with sails that day, I casually admired the vessel but did not really think much about it; only that it would have been of great interest to my father, at one time fascinated by sailing. But then he had a passing fancy with a number of interests and often brought us along for the ride. Funny how things come full circle sometimes.



First it was golf and we joined a country club. Everyone in the family got a set of clubs, took golf lessons and we learned to love a sport. Then it was flying so dad bought an airplane, we all took flying lessons and learned how to soar. Along came sailing and a sailboat owners we became, learning the basics of seamanship and how to survive the elements. As the sails unfurled aboard Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper, on our first night heading out of Barbados, I thought of my dad and how much he would have enjoyed the experience



And an experience it was.












We talk a lot in this space about the current focus of cruise lines on the experiential element of what they do, regardless of the line. Big ocean ships, once the exclusive domain of the masses doing mass things are honing in on allowing us to step out of our comfort zone and into a new experience, no easy undertaking with thousands of souls aboard. Smaller ocean ships come by it naturally, going to places big ships can’t get close to. On the river, it’s an up close and personal experience with iconic destinations we may have only read about or seen in films or on television.



Just one day into our Windward Islands sailing of Royal Clipper and we see yet another totally unique experience ahead of us.



The largest fully rigged ship that the planet has ever seen, Royal Clipper’s numbers speak for themselves. In this world, it’s not how many tons the ship displaces but how many square feet of sail that counts. And count it does.










As Captain Sergey Tunikov ordered Royal Clipper to sea, music that otherwise might have been coined the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean played to a deck full of well-traveled guests. Random conversation was overheard while we waited for that event to happen, but was silenced as the Royal Clipper’s canvas was unfurled one by one, small sails feeding life into larger ones.



Sailing aficionados on board threw around sailing jargon, most of which had a familiar ring to it. As Royal Clipper moved farther and farther away from shore, sailing off into the night, I couldn’t help but think of my father and how much he would have enjoyed this. I was glad I had that sailing experience as a boy, happy that I could share it with Whitney, along with me on this sailing and humbled by what looks to be quite a unique travel experience, right from the start. Dad would have especially liked that thought.



Stay tuned as we go through the ship and onboard experience as well as the various ports of call seen along the way. This is going to be one amazing ride.



To visit Chris' blog click here: www.chriscruises.com
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Postcard from St. Kitts

Sophie was vacationing in St. Kitts when she caught sight of Star Clipper sailing off into the sunset.

What a fabulous shot! Thanks for sharing, Sophie.






St. Kitts, known for it's white sand beaches, warm waters and lush landscapes is a prime example of the beauty of the Caribbean. On Treasure Island itineraries Star Clipper calls at Basseterre, St. Kitts and guests enjoy the beach South Friar's bay, a gorgeous spot for snorkeling and sunbathing.



After St. Kitts it was off to Iles des Saintes for Star Clipper, another Caribbean jem.



Have you captured a Star Clippers sail-away? Send your photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to share the sight!
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Cheers to the Crew!

Last summer Linda from Scorby Travel in St. Charles, IL, enjoyed a Star Clippers Ocean Crossing onboard Royal Clipper. We were so pleased to hear her impression of the sailing. Here she gives credit to our fabulous crew.



[caption id="attachment_14368" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A toast on deck. Photo from www.starclippers.com




The staff was amazing. Monya was fantastic and so patient with all of the people who were wanting the seas to be less rough! She does a fabulous job! Paolo was equally fabulous and the purser staff was so gracious and incredibly professional. Captain Sergi was so wonderful, and you can just see that sailing is completely in his blood. Loved the discussions he had about sailing and tall ships.



The entire restaurant staff was so amazing, talented, and accommodating. I loved the meal choices, the lunch buffets, the marvelous compound butters we were given each evening. Dinner was always amazing. The one I must give special recognition to was your pastry chef. His dinner and lunch creations were over the top!!!! Even though I am not a super big desert lover, there was not one day nor one meal where I did not have one of his amazing creations. I must also give the restaurant staff great praise for their ability to serve in the kind of rough conditions where chairs were tilting and glasses were breaking and they kept their professional yet jovial manner the entire time.



[caption id="attachment_14370" align="aligncenter" width="550"] A cocktail demonstration at The Tropical Bar. Photo from www.starclippers.com




Loved the various activities: the carom games with the staff, the trivial pursuit Olympics, the knot tying with the bosin, the King Neptune ceremony, it was all wonderful...



On the last evening, I stood on the bridge (the seas were incredibly rough) and was so teary eyed thinking that this was my last night on what I can only describe as again a life changing experience! I reflected back to the first night when I and about seven other passengers stayed awake until 4am just being at one with the sea and the stars. That last evening and the first time the full sails were put up will be memories that are permanently etched in my memory bank of some of the most incredible moments of my life!
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Sailing the Med on a Clipper

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



By Bart Card



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



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







Told by Catherine Card



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



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



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






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



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



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






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



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



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

Nina and Jempi just came off a Leeward Islands sailing on Star Clipper. The duo run the blog Travel Boulevard, whose tagline is "explore the world. and have fun." Here Nina shares the top 7 reasons she believes anyone will become "addicted" to Star Clippers, which she calls a cruise for non-cruise lovers. Enjoy!





Although I had been on a ‘typical’ cruise before there was nothing that could prepare me for the experience of cruising with the Star Clipper...Here are 7 reasons why you too might get addicted to cruising with Star Clippers:



1. It feels like sailing a private yacht (but is so much cheaper)


I once had the chance to talk to Michael Krafft, the owner of the ships, and he told me he wanted to give his passengers the feeling as if they were sailing their private yacht: to be one with the ocean, the ship, the sails and fellow travelers. “Sailing brings people together”, he stated.



When I finally was cruising with Star Clippers myself, I understood what he meant. Star Clipper carries only 170 guests. You’ll never get lost in the crowd, there’s a relaxed atmosphere on board and the other passengers soon become more like friends instead of just fellow-cruisers. You really feel like this is your own private sailing ship, without having to pay a fortune (Star Clipper cruises are very affordable).






2. The ships stop at smaller ports


The ships are smaller so they can stop in ports other cruise chips can’t reach. Think: tropical beaches and small, sleepy islands.



3. There’s no animation team to haunt you


There are no pool games or mister- & miss-cruiseship-contest to keep you busy. But trust me, there are far more exciting things to do on board the Star Clipper.



Think about climbing the ship’s mast or laying in the bow spirit net out in front of the ship, watching the dolphins playing around.






4. You’ll never eat better at sea


I had heard that the food could do with some improvement, but perhaps we had a better chef because the cuisine on our cruise was exquisite. All meals are open seating, the dress code is casual (although during the captain’s evening it’s better if you dress up).



5. You may want to cry (but these are tears of joy)


Imagine traveling half way around the world. Finally you reach your destination: the Star Clipper, waiting for you in a tropical port. The captain and his crew welcome you like you’re their lost and found again friend, and you feel a bit overwhelmed by being on a grand clipper.



It’s already dark when the Star Clipper starts to set sail, and then the music begins: Vangelis soundtrack for ‘Conquest of Paradise, 1492‘...



6. It’s all about romance


Do I really need to explain this one?



It’s the sea, the stunning surroundings, the spectacular sunsets, the stars at night, the clipper, the relaxed atmosphere…






7. It’s a cruise for grownups


...We think kids are great fun and adore them, but if you are a couple looking for a ‘private’ holiday, then this is definitely your kind of cruise.



Our fellow passengers varied in age from 30 till 70, some of them were traveling alone, others with their spouse or friends. We noticed that many passengers were repeat cruisers and/or sailing fanatics.



Did I say there were 7 reasons to go sailing with Star Clippers? Okay, so I lied. There are really 8 reasons I wanted to share with you:






8. Behind Star Clippers is a man with a dream


Meet Mikael Krafft, a Swedish entrepreneur who’s been obsessed with sailing ever since he was a little boy. He was only 6 years old when he worked at a shipyard near Stockholm, and at 12 years he already sailed his 18-foot boat in open seas. When he grew up, he relocated to Belgium in 1986 and became a successful real estate developer.



But his love for the open sea and tall ships never faded. At long last Krafft couldn’t ignore his dream any longer and although people thought he had gone crazy, he took a big risk and began building two tall ships, based on original 19th century drawings but adapted to modern times.



Krafft made his dream come true: Star Flyer and Star Clipper, two four-masted clippers were launched at a Belgian shipyard in 1991 and 1992.



In mid-2000, Krafft launched Royal Clipper, a five-masted clipper inspired by the mythical famed Preussen, a German clipper built in 1902. Royal Clipper is still the largest clipper cruise ship in the world.



I’ve heard that Michael Krafft has plans for building a forth, even more spectacular ship than Royal Clipper. Let’s hope so, I’m sure it will be impressive.



This is an excerpt from Nina's piece that was originally published on Travel Boulevard. To view the article in it's entirety click here.
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BJ's Travel's Part 7: BBQ in Tortuga and Farewell

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 113013 (Saturday) Tortuga


We boarded a tender at 10AM for the beach on Tortuga. There were lots of rental chairs set up and a tent with a lot of tables...



We took the kayak out and scoped the area to see if there was a good place to snorkel, but didn't see anything that looked promising. The ships crew set up a great beach BBQ and Tamas the piano player played the accordion while we ate.






After lunch, we headed back to the ship and found a shady spot for an afternoon nap. After our shower, we took turns packing and then played a couple of games of casino in the piano bar.



We had a cocktail party on the back deck followed by dinner with a few of our new friends. The crew paraded through the dining room with flags and sang 'We are the world'.






We exchanged contact information with some of the passengers and then retired to our cabin.



Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 120113 (Sunday - Disembarkation Day) Puerta Caldera 


We woke up early so we could finish packing and get breakfast before disembarking. We closed our account on the ship and were the first ones on the tender to shore.






We were pleased to see our driver from Odyssey tours holding a sign with our name. We had a large van all to ourselves!

 

Our driver was quite informative about Costa Rica during the drive. We were off of the boat at 8:15AM and at the airport at 9:30AM... 



...We were happy to be home. Little Lucy, our Chihuahua, was beside herself and even Lola, our aloof cat, seemed glad to see us. Now we start the cruise diet. :(



Conclusion?  We would enthusiastically recommend a sailing trip on Star Clippers.
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From Ship to Ship

Jorge recently sailed on both Royal Clipper and Star Clipper in the Caribbean. As if cruises on both ships weren't enough luck, he was able to catch a rainbow in his photos. Thanks, Jorge, for sharing these great photos.



The Clippers will continue to sail the Caribbean for the next several months before sailing across the Atlantic to spend the summer months in the Mediterranean Sea.














If you would like to share stories or photos, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or reach us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest! We hope to hear from you.



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