Sailing the Western Mediterranean on board Royal Clipper
Part 1

15th June 2017

Day 1

We arrived into the beautiful Cannes and transferred to the port, where we went through security ready to await our tender to board the Royal Clipper.

I would highly recommend walking around the port, as you can gasp at the pristine mega yachts with jets skis on board dripping in money. There are also many boutique shops, bars and delicious restaurants.

Upon embarking the tender boat to get on the Royal Clipper, the sheer elegance and enormity took my breath away. It's certainly a ship you can't not brag about when getting on board as everyone is taking pictures!

Once on board, we were greeted with welcome drinks and shown to our lavish cabins where our suitcases were sat waiting. Our well-appointed room came complete with a marble bathroom, dressing table, TV, porthole and plenty of space for those ‘just in case’ outfits.

After settling in and taking in all of the Royal Clippers beauty, passengers met at the Tropical Bar for a thorough safety talk with the Hotel Manager, Anita; Cruise Director, Gabor; and all of the fantastic staff aboard.

When walking through the core atrium of the ship, you can really take in the intricacy of the authentic design that was based on the German Preussen - a five-masted windjammer built in 1902.

Cannes

The Royal Clipper is the largest square-rigged sailing ship in service. With five masts consisting of 5,202 square metres of sail, the Royal Clipper is worthy of Guinness World Record status!

As the night slowly drew in, we met at the Tropical Bar for a glass of prosecco ready for the famous Sunset and Sail away. Frequent sailors have told me about this memorable moment, but I had not realised how amazing it really is.

Up on deck, everyone watched in awe as all of the sailors hoisted the sails, with the majestic Vangelis music booming through the deck. We slowly pulled out of the port and the masts twinkled in the darkness amongst the tea lighthouses near the shore.

This magical moment on board was unforgettable.

A five-course a la carte meal was awaiting us, with the spacious dining room seating all passengers at any one time. We quickly headed downstairs to savour the courses. Our attentive servers brought over a phenomenal menu of sorbets, starters, entrée’s, la salade, le fromage and desserts!

We were certainly looked after immensely well, with every need being catered for. Drinks flowing and food galore, we finished our plates and walked up to the Tropical Bar for the evening entertainment, which consisted of fantastic music and the bar person at the ready.

Day 2

Elba

There is nothing like waking up to look through your porthole and seeing a new destination to explore!

We arrived in Lerici, on the Italian island of Elba.

Lerici

The picturesque town is a sight of terracotta, mustard-yellow buildings that sit amongst a sea of boats. Well worth walking around the town itself, as there is plenty of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops that enable you to soak up the Italian culture. Let alone basking in the quaint scenery, with the Royal Clipper floating amongst the towns boats.

Passport at the ready, we boarded the tender to the town where we got onto a coach to Pisa.

With our tour guide, we flowed through the market stalls to reach the famous Leaning Tower!

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Flocks of tourists pretend to hold and hold up the leaning tower, while others relax on the well-maintained grass around the stunning monument. You can visit the splendid Piazza dei Miracoli, the Cathedral and Baptistery, and the Museum of the Synopses.

Our tour guide showed the group around, offering an in-depth background into the area. We then had a few hours at leisure to sit in a real Italian café nearby to the peering monument before boarding the coach back to Lerici.

I would highly recommend this tour as it gives you a great insight into not only the leaning tower itself, but also the beautiful monuments next to it and a picturesque drive through Tuscany.

Royal Clipper

When leaving the coach and walking to our tender boats, we had our cameras at the ready as the sky turned into a water painting of pinks and blues before the sunset on Lerici.

Day 3

Following our late arrival back to the ship last night after a fabulous trip to Pisa, we were up early again this morning – some of us feeling brave enough to climb the masts. Bathed in sunshine, we were treated to a stunning view of Portoferraio.

Portoferraio

After a lovely buffet breakfast packed with fresh pastries, fruit, cereals and cooked options, we all disembarked ready to explore everything Portoferraio had to offer. We were docked in the port, so the town was only a short five-minute walk away. What a gem it was!

A beautiful harbour with yachts of all sizes dotted around, so we decided to take a stroll along the seafront. We were feeling energetic, so off we went up the many winding streets and steps up to the fortress - a massive architectural complex built back in 1548 to protect the harbour and town from the threat of pirates. Today the fortress offers walks, where visitors can enjoy fabulous views at all angles.

On one side of the fortress, you can follow a path that overlooks the sheer cliffs looking out to sea and the beaches below. These cliffs proved to be a good defence against pirates and attackers. For anyone looking for more culture, there is a fascinating museum to explore which houses many archaeological finds from the region.

Portoferraio

It was lunchtime by the time we’d finished exploring, so we decided to enjoy a traditional Italian pizza in a local pizzeria – there are plenty to choose from and prices generally start from around 8 Euros. A great meal was had by all and it was back to the ship for Zumba to help burn those calories! With the fabulous food on board, it was hard not to eat lots!

Into the Tropical Bar we went to learn some moves from Debbi, who had everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves. This was followed by a mile-long walk around the deck. Another highlight this afternoon was the “Behind The Scenes” talk by Anita, the Hotel Manager, where we learnt about life on board the ship. This was really fascinating and she provided us with lots of interesting information from how the food comes on board to how many bottles of wine are consumed each week. By this time, we were ready for afternoon tea on board – we just couldn’t resist the selection of sandwiches and cakes!

Sail-away was stunning this evening with the backdrop of Portoferraio shining in the early evening sun. Who could turn down a glass of prosecco to sip whilst listening to the beautiful sounds of Vangelis, watching the sails go up and admiring the coastline in the distance?

Dinner tonight was the usual feast of five courses. You really are spoilt for choice on board and I eventually opted for the steak tonight. There is always a pasta dish and a steak option, should you not be able to find a main that you like - but there is always plenty of choice available. The evening was rounded off with a nice cocktail in the Tropical Bar and a dance on the dancefloor, before climbing into bed ready for our next port of call…

Continue to Part 2