Sailing the Western Mediterranean on board Royal Clipper
Part 2

22nd June 2017

Day 4

Palombaggia Beach, Corsica – following a busy couple of days sightseeing, this was our first beach stop. Royal Clipper dropped anchor and offered regular tender services to and from the beach, which is a short five-minute ride away. Ashore, we had the choice of a beach bar offering loungers and umbrellas for a small fee. However, there was plenty of sand to just drop a towel onto and make the most of the morning sun.

The sports team brought an array of water sports equipment over for the more energetic ones amongst us including kayaks and wakeboards – all complimentary for Star clippers guests. One of the highlights of the morning was watching a group of riders on horseback frolicking in the sea with the stunning Royal Clipper in the background. Before long, it was back on board ready for our afternoon visit.

Bonifacio, Corsica – after a light lunch, we were all up on deck to watch us sail into another beautiful port of call – Bonifacio, at the Southern tip of Corsica. The town and citadel stand majestically on top of cliffs, which overlook the Mediterranean Sea. We dropped anchor and, after a 10 minute tender ride along the coastline, we arrived via a gap in the rocks - where a stunning marina packed with yachts, chic bars and restaurants is ready to greet you.

The old town is a labyrinth of narrow streets and medieval townhouses – all of which are five or six stories high and enclosed within the ancient walls of the citadel. The town is the oldest in Corsica and steeped in history, with plenty of reminders that Napoleon spent time with his relatives down here.

It takes around 10 minutes to walk up to the top, but visitors are rewarded with stunning views across the cliffs and limestone rocks out over the sea. The walk to the top was definitely the highlight of the day and the Royal Clipper anchored off the coast just added to the beautiful views. There are plenty of bars along route to stop for an ice cream or refreshment, as well as a number of little shops selling trinkets and gifts.

Rope tying, Royal Clipper

Tonight was a late departure at 11pm, so we were back on board late in the afternoon to try our hand at some rope tying, up on deck, which was followed by delicious afternoon snacks. As we went to dinner, we were met by all the crew (and a lot of the other passengers) dressed as pirates – tonight was pirate night, although no walking the plank was expected!

After dinner, everyone was up in the Tropical Bar showing off their pirate wear whilst the Cruise Director had some of the audience up playing games. A great night was had by all and our bartenders kept us entertained with their fabulous cocktail making skills. By now, they all knew what our favourite tipple was and our names – such personalised service. After a few drinks, we all headed off to bed so we’d be up and fresh for our next day of visits…

Day 5

One of the most exciting parts of any cruise is waking up in a new port of call each day and we had another great day ahead. Opening the curtains revealed another beach stop, this one was Porticcio Beach. Once again, we were just a short five-minute tender away from the shores of Corsica. The beach was lined with plenty of bars and coffee shops and even a small supermarket just in case you needed any supplies.

Out came the water sports activities again - it was a bit windy this morning, which made wakeboarding a bit more of challenge but plenty of guests were giving it a go. It was nice just to relax and people watch - it was a busy beach with lots of small sailing boats heading off from the shore and there was plenty of free sand to drop your towel onto and while away a couple of hours.

We were back on board for lunchtime ready to sail over to Ajaccio. What a treat we had ahead of us! The weather was perfect, just the right amount of wind and the sun was shining. The captain announced that the tender would be doing a sail around the ship whilst we were under full sail. What an incredible sight, with all of the sails up and the crew lined up along the bow, it made for a unique and simply unforgettable photo opportunity - one which had everyone very excited and certainly a sight that none of us will ever forget.

Over we went to Ajaccio under natural sail and arrived on the quay-side a couple of hours later in the bustling marina. Ajaccio is Corsica’s capital and is steeped in history, with it being the birthplace of Napoleon. Not surprisingly, there are lots of sites to see including Napoleon’s ancestral home – now a museum - and his famous monument.

Napoleon Statue

One of the easiest ways to spot everything is the small tourist train that takes you around the narrow streets to all the key sights in the old town with a supporting commentary. This drops you back near the marina where there are a host of shops, bars and cafes to choose from for an afternoon stroll or nice cold beer.

For some of us, it was our last evening on board so we went up on deck for our final sail-away. This time, we chose our positions well and stood just behind the bridge so we had a bird’s eye view of the captain steering us out of the harbour – another memorable moment.

Day 6

Waking up in Monaco is certainly something special.

The cloud from the hills gradually disappears to reveal the palace, which stands strong amongst the mixture of glamorous yachts and buildings. After gawping at the view, our tender boat was ready to take us straight to the action amongst the fabulous speedboats. We were fortunate enough to be able to experience the mesmerising Monaco Grand Prix race.

From the Royal Clipper itself, you could feel the roar of the F1 Cars racing round and round the track. This became intensified and, once we disembarked the tender, we followed the roar through the cobbled streets, up and down the outdoor escalators and round to the main street where all the action was. On the sides of the roads, Formula 1 memorabilia was aplenty from caps, earmuffs, pens, t-shirts – you name it!

When reaching the source of the roar, we peered through the fences to catch a glimpse of the action up close! As we had not bought tickets for the event, we walked up to the Palace to get the best view of the track (this is a great spot to watch and listen to the race, with plenty of shops/restaurants also close by). We then walked down the hill back to our tender boat at the Port of Fontvieille, where we rubbed shoulders amongst the stars and admire the yachts. Each vessel has to be less than 30 metres high and the port only has berths for 160 vessels, which makes it that little more special and it’s not as crowded.

From this port, you can catch a speedboat taxi to get to the other port.

This port is a part of the Circuit de Monaco for the Formula 1 and well worth a glimpse as you can walk alongside the Sky News reporters and huge yachts ready for the buzzing after parties! Hopping on a speedboat just to take in all of the action is also great fun and a must do!

After a ‘bite-sized’ sailing around the French Riviera, I certainly have the Star Clipper buzz!

The sheer elegance and relaxed atmosphere on board is something everyone needs to experience. The stunning selection of ports – many of which you would not necessarily think of visiting - are actually the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

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