View From The Tropical Bar

Thanks to Royal Clipper guest Anthony Nicholas of “Travels with Anthony” for sharing his onboard experience.

So I’m nursing a Margarita- aptly, at five o’clock- at the Tropical Bar of the Royal Clipper. We are close cruising the lush, verdant coast of Dominica, and the mood is quietly electric.

Across my line of vision, a rainbow splits the landscape like some amazing, technicolor lightning rod, even as the last rays of the setting sun turn the still, silent ocean into a glorious, golden carpet. There are hot hors d’oevres on offer on a central display base- watermelon slices, cookies, and some absolutely delicious hot spring rolls, and the crowd milling around the open bar devours them with obvious relish. It’s a relaxed, dreamy vibe in a location that soon became the social centre of the entire cruise.

The Tropical Bar is not one of those cushioned, faux Miami Beach luxe style areas that are so currently popular on the mega ships. Here, it is very much a case of ‘less being more'; with an open view on both sides (covered by canvas screens when the sea gets up), the wooden deck area is sprinkled with a few tables surrounded by wooden stools, bolted to the floor. Immaculately varnished benches flank the edges, seeming to recoil from the three sided, central bar and the crowd that throngs it at this magical hour every evening.

Over our week in the Caribbean on this extraordinary, five masted flyer of a sailing ship, the Tropical Bar would pull in people like moths to a flame. At any hour up until midnight, and sometimes beyond, you would always find a few hardy souls braced there, sampling good German beer, or the potentially deadly Long Island Iced Teas served up with such deft aplomb.

[caption id="attachment_16415" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Sunset from the Tropical Bar.

And you needed to be hardy at times. As befits any royal lady with a temperament, there were moments when the Royal Clipper would suddenly heel sharply, almost as if she were trying to keep us on our toes. Or, perhaps, throw us off them. In so many ways, this magnificent paragon really does dance to her own, unique tune. And to hear it, well- that was to love it.

There was actual music, too, from a wonderful Hungarian guitarist/organ player by the name of Gabor. Like everything on board, it was subtle, understated, and it seemed to fit the mood of the moment with almost cosmetic perfection. Listening to his version of Hotel California as the last rays of the sun threw long, fading fingers of light across the wooden deck was a spine tingling moment.

With the vast, tree shrouded slopes of Dominica darkening slowly and almost within touching distance, a warm breeze ruffled my hair. The drinks straw in my glass did an idle, skittish little dance as the ice cubes in it clinked together, as if huddling together for protection. Suddenly, a thoughtlessly discarded plate slid down the bar like a runaway train. The barman caught it mid stream without even batting an eyelid. And so catastrophe was averted once more.

With that, I gazed out once more across the deep red carpet of the Caribbean, so lost in it’s vast, rolling beauty that I almost missed his words.

Another one? Hmm, why not? You don’t get to hang out in a bar like this one every day, that’s for sure.

So, when you do get the chance to do it, you absolutely owe it to yourself- and to your fellow travellers- to make every moment count.

Whether we’re talking food, drink or good music, there’s always something nice cooking at the Tropical Bar. Often as not, it’s all three.

Don’t exist-live. Get out there.
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Photo Journal: Arr! A Pirate Party!

Everybody loves a pirate party! Patches and parrots and planks, oh my! These photos from travel agent Jim Bottoms show the Royal Clipper crew dressed to impress for a night of festive fun at the Tropical Bar.

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What to do on a Star Clippers Sailing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you a lounger, or do you prefer to stay active on sea days? Let us know in the comments below!
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