Star Clippers Fam Trip 20th May 2017 onboard Royal Clipper.
Recently I was lucky enough to be invited on-board the Royal Clipper from Star Clippers. This particular itinerary would be seeing me sail through the beautiful European destinations of Cannes, Lerici Italy, Portoferraio Elba, Palombiaggia Corsica, Bonifacio Corsica, Poriccio Beach Corsica and Ajaccio Corsica.
The new vessel has a tonnage of 5000 and sits at 439 feet wide, with a mast height of 197 feet. On board there are 106 crew members with a passenger count of 227. As with all Start Clipper vessels its main focal point are the crisp sails – with the Royal Clipper boasting an impressive 42 sails! So obviously I was excited about my week onboard this unique liner; here’s how I got on.
20th May 2017 Cannes
I flew into Nice airport and transferred to Cannes to embark the ship which was tendered. The Captain, Hotel Manager, Cruise Director and crew were lined up to greet us with a welcome drink. We were shown to our cabins, I had a Category 2 which is described as a large outside cabin in the brochure (it is on the small side) but practical and comfortable with 2 portholes, double bed and bathroom with shower. We had dinner at leisure with the rest of our group and then went up to Sun Deck for the sail away party. I have been lucky enough to see lots of sail away parties but this was extra special as the sails slowly go up with Vangelis playing and it is breath-taking!
21st May 2017 Lerici Italy
As the sea was calm overnight and they couldn't use the sails we had to use the engine to get us to Lerici and arrived 3 hours late, we completed our 2nd muster drill (a new maritime law) and then disembarked the ship by tender for our excursion into Pisa which had been rearranged for the afternoon. Excursions are good value for money: 60 Euro for a 4 hour trip which included entrance fees into the Leaning Tower of Pisa and located in the Piazza dei Miracoli which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
22nd May 2017 Portoferraio Elba.
We were doing the beautiful port of Portoferraio independently with our group so set off to explore the Italian island Elba. We visited the Pisan Fortress that overlooks the town of Marciana and then back on-board to sunbathe on deck. Daily activities are Boules, Zumba, Walk a mile around the top deck. There are two outdoor bars that are open all day and snacks are served in the Tropical bar between 17.00 – 18.00 with live piano music. Tonight’s theme was Nautical and all the crew all dressed up.
23rd May 2017 Polombiaggia Corsica/Bonifacio Corsica
We arrived into Polombiaggia at 8am and a tender service was running to and from the beach. As we were tendered the water sports team opened up the Marina on the back of the ship for guests to do paddle boarding, kayaking etc.
We arrived into Bonifaciio at 14.00 and took a tender into port, we had a very steep walk to the top of the old town and enjoyed a nice cold glass of wine while watching the views. Back on board we had knot tying lessons with the crew. Tonight's theme was Pirate Night and all the crew were dressed up in fancy dress. Dinner is always smart/casual and very laid back, anything is acceptable other than shorts.
24th May 2017 Porticcio Beach/Ajaccio Corsica
We had a quick stop at Porticcio Beach and the Watersports Team brought over paddle boards and kayaks to the beach for us to use – all free of charge, back onboard by 11.30 we had an early lunch which is always buffet style and set sail for Ajaccio, Corsica's largest port.
On arrival into Ajaccio the group decided we would do a mini train tour of the town as it was very hot. Ajaccio is the birth place of Napoleon and we visited his house, the church he was baptised in and d'Austerlitz a monumental statue which lists Napoleons victories.
Back on board the crew had put together a random jam session, entertainment on-board usually consists of live piano or guitar music, talks from the Captain, star gazing and bridge visits. Dinner is a six course silver service menu every evening as is mainly European dishes (however they will do you a steak or pasta dish if you don't like it).
25th May 2017 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Today we are disembarking and flying home however the cruise officially ends back in Nice on 27th. We had a quick breakfast in the dining room which is always buffet the same as lunch. We took a tender into port and caught some glimpses of the Palace and Casino and heard the cars practising for the Formula 1 trials, we had a short transfer from Monaco to Nice for our flight home.
Is it for you?
There are no lifts onboard and the ship is mainly tendered so passengers must be able bodied. There were no children onboard, they don't offer a kids club but children are welcomed and it would suit adventurous families who would like to do something different to what the standard cruise lines offer. On my cruise there was a mix of passengers, mainly mid-40s to early seventies so quite young compared to standard cruise lines.
As the ship in only 5000 tonnes she can get into beautiful small ports not accessed by major cruise lines and also tender off beaches. I would recommend this line to passengers that have already done the standard ports in the Mediterranean and would like to explore new places. Not really suited for the luxury market, cabins are on the small side and there is noise and vibration in all cabins due to the nature of the ship. Food is good and varied and service is excellent, crew remember your name, what you like to drinks and are happy to chat about the running of the ship and are passionate about their jobs. Star Clippers is rated as 4* but when making a booking all of the above needs to be explained so passengers are aware that although it is an amazing experience it is not luxurious.
Facilities & Amenities
3 small plunge pools.
1 dining room
Tropical bar, sun deck bar, piano bar
24 hour tea and coffee machine (piano bar)
Deck with sunloungers
Language onboard is English first and then German.
Gratuities can be paid on your bill 8 Euro's pp per day, or you can put cash in an envelope and give to the purser.
Angie - Cruise Consultant
- 7th June 2017