Caribbean Cruise on the Royal Clipper
22nd March 2015
Day Three - Union Island
There are certain aspects of cruising that you can only get away with on a smaller and more personal ship such as Royal Clipper. In the brochure today is highlighted as Captain's Best, which is exactly that. The Captain has decided to anchor off the coast of a small island called Union Island, a half-moon shaped beach engulfed in rich foliage and lapping tides. After a morning watching us sail gracefully towards the island, I was soon on the tender towards the secluded shore.
Union Island has a very Robinson-Crusoe feel to it, a destination untouched by larger cruise ships and full of unspoilt character. I found myself stood in front of what can only be described as a shack, where locals were distributing rum punch as we arrived on the beach. The water sports team were on hand if anyone wanted to give some sports a go - kayaking and snorkelling were a popular choice of the day. Others decided to lay on the beach listening to the music playing from the drinks shack.
From the shore, Royal Clipper stands proud and graceful, slowly rotating around the anchor as if to give us a show and display her beauty from all angles. She slots into the shoreline and other vessels that are scattered around, like one of the crowd.
Once back on board, the crew are making preparations for the sail-away, this time in the daylight and heat of the afternoon sun. As before, the music draws everyone in and immediately the atmosphere on board becomes one of dramatic grandeur. A guest has taken the helm and he steers us out of the port, under the watchful eye of the Captain and crew who are unfurling the sails. Everyone comments that the atmosphere during this time cannot be summed up in words, the best way is to experience it yourself.
Our post-dinner entertainment tonight is a light-hearted fashion show, where the crew and a few passengers model the items from the ship's Sloop Shop. Seamlessly this lead into a late-night disco, where the DJ played our requests as the guests danced the night away. The bar closes when the last person goes to bed, so 'last orders' are two words you will never hear on board.