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Three top Western Mediterranean destinations you’ve probably never heard of…

 

Three top Western Mediterranean destinations you’ve probably never heard of…

12th April 2018

One of the main benefits of embarking on traditional tall ship sailing with Star Clippers is the ability to reach a range of destinations that would be considered inaccessible to larger vessels. Travelling in elegant style that is reflective of a bygone era of travel, you can appreciate a gentler pace of transportation while soaking up the sun with a cocktail on the top deck.

With temperatures beginning to warm up across Europe, many ships including those of the Star Clippers fleet will begin operating sailings within the gorgeous sun-kissed region of the Mediterranean. There are many smaller ports to be discovered on board a Star Clippers sailing and, this week, we take a look at three of the ports you are unlikely to have ever heard of before.

Porquerolles | Iles D’Hyeres | France

Porquerolles

Situated off the southern coast of France is a small crescent-shaped island that is known as Porquerolles. Its shape makes it a perfect destination to visit for a spot of beach relaxation, with fine golden sands combining with glistening turquoise waters to create the perfect environment in which to soak up the sun.

Those looking to venture away from the beaches will be greeted with a series of beautiful hiking trails that lead to a series of towering cliffs. Combined with secluded creeks and a fine collection of ancient and unique plant species, this island offers a sense of tranquillity that is far from the hustle and bustle of metropolis.

Porto Ercole | Italy

Port Ercole

The Italian region of Tuscany offers plenty of reasons to visit, with many beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, charming settlements and warm weather available throughout most of the year. One of the areas you are less likely to have heard of, however, is the city of Porto Ercole, which holds a historic settlement encased within ancient walls. One of the most significant landmarks to visit is the Palace of Rulers, which overlooks the picturesque Piazetta Santa Barbara and the harbour. Built in 16th century renaissance style, the building once housed the rulers of Spain.

Mali Losinj | Croatia

Mali Losinj

Croatia has developed into one of the most popular nations of the Mediterranean in recent years and, with its fine collection of historical architecture and golden beaches, it is easy to see why. One of the most overlooked places to visit is Mali Losinj – a large island off the northern coast. Mediterranean houses surrounded by lush green hills make for a charming visit, while the expansive beach – 30km in length - stretches far into the horizon and offers the perfect place to relax.


The Mediterranean season with Star Clippers is due to start on the 23rd April 2018 with a five-night sailing to destinations throughout Spain and Morocco. Alternatively, you can enjoy the delights of Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Venice on board a Eastern Mediterranean sailing, which are due to commence on the 14th July 2018.

For more information or to book your next sailing, contact our friendly sales team via the freephone number above or chat to an advisor online.

Exhilarating Monaco Grand Prix Sailings

 

Exhilarating Monaco Grand Prix Sailings

5th April 2018

Ask any racing fan and they will tell you there are few events more exhilarating in the calendar than the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. The annual event sees some of the finest racers in the world take to track which, unlike most other courses, runs through the iconic city streets. Drivers push cars to their limits as they wind along the city streets, through the tunnel and along the harbour in their bid to be crowned champion.

During the event, many of the world’s rich and famous will park their yachts in Monaco’s glistening harbour and the elegant vessels of the Star Clippers fleet will be nestled among them. Unlike larger cruise ships, the traditional tall ships offer authentic sailing experiences and passengers will be able to reach destinations that are generally considered to be inaccessible to larger vessels.

There will be three Western Mediterranean sailings available in 2018 that will enable you to experience the exhilaration of the Monaco Grand Prix, with each departing in May. This week, Star Clippers takes a closer look at each of these unique itineraries and the different experiences you will be able to enjoy.

Ligurian Sea & Monaco Historic Grand Prix
Royal Clipper | 12th May 2018 | 7 Nights

Monaco Grand Prix

The five-masted Royal Clipper is one of the most spectacular vessels to sail the seas and this unique sailing offers a chance to experience her comforts for yourself. Departing out of the iconic French city of Cannes, you will head straight to Monaco for an event with a difference. Unlike the Grand Prix final, the Historic Grand Prix offers a chance to watch vintage cars roam the streets and relive the classical days of racing. After this unique event, you will head to the western coast of Italy, stopping in Lerici before heading to Portoferraio on the island of Elba. There will then be opportunities to explore the islands of Corsica and Sardinia before returning to Cannes.

Balearic Islands & French Riviera (Monaco GP trials)
Star Flyer | 19th May 2018 | 7 Nights

Monaco Grand Prix

Barcelona is one of the most iconic cities in Spain, with a plethora of fascinating cultural landmarks, golden beaches and plenty to see and do. This is also where you will embark aboard the Star Flyer before heading on a journey to the Balearic Islands and the southern coast of France. There will be opportunities to relax in Mallorca and Menorca before travelling onto the French town of Cassis. This will be followed by enjoying the chance to enjoy a sense of the racing fever as drivers test their vehicles in the Monaco Grand Prix trials. This will be followed by calls into the iconic French coastal destinations of St. Tropez and Cannes.

Monaco Grand Prix Final
Star Flyer | 26th May 2018 | 7 Nights

Monaco Grand Prix

Undoubtedly the most popular of these three sailings; this seven-night departure out of Cannes offers the unbelievable opportunity to admire the events of the Monaco Grand Prix Final. After departure, you will head straight to event, where you will be sure to gain an ideal vantage point ahead of the spectacular race. Many spectators will be hoping Lewis Hamilton, who last won the race in 2016, will be able to regain his crown. Following the race, you will be able to enjoy calls into Portofino and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. You will also have unique opportunities to visit more remote island destinations including Porquerolles and Sanary-sur-Mer.


These sailings are three of the most popular on the Star Clippers calendar and are always well received with passengers. It is worth booking early to avoid any sense of disappointment. For more information about the full range of western Mediterranean sailings available, contact our friendly sales team via the freephone number above or chat to an advisor online.

Mamma Mia - Visit the stunning film locations with Star Clippers

 

Mamma Mia - Visit the stunning film locations with Star Clippers

29th March 2018

Classic hits from ABBA, stunning Greek island destinations and a star-studded cast consisting of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters collectively make Mamma Mia undoubtedly one of the best films of all time. The film opens with independent hotelier, Donna – played by Meryl Streep – preparing her daughter’s wedding with the help of two friends. Little does she know, however, that the bride-to-be has a plan of her own in place. She invites three men from her mother’s past to the wedding in a bid to discover her real father and the hope that he will escort her down the aisle on her big day.

The Greek islands of Skopelos and Skiathos feature heavily throughout the film, with carefully chosen locations creating the desired romantic effect. Now, you can visit these destinations for yourself on board a romantic Star Clippers sailing through the Eastern Mediterranean. The aptly named ‘Mamma Mia’ itinerary, which departs out of Piraeus (Athens) on the 8th June 2019, will see passengers travel to a range of Greek island destinations aboard the Star Flyer including the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos. This week, we take a look at some of the filming locations you may be able to visit during this fantastic cruise itinerary.

Skiathos

Skiathos Island

Skiathos is a charming island, offering plenty of golden beaches that are ideal for either relaxing or a spot of swimming. With more than 60 beaches to choose from, you may be spoilt for choice with the options available. One place you may want to head to is the old harbour, near Bourtzi, which played a part in Mamma Mia. This is where Sam’s race with Harry took place, with the two characters running to reach the boat that would take them to the neighbouring island of Kalokairi. Skiathos is also home to the clock tower where Sophia posts the wedding invitations.

Skopelos

Skopelos Island

Several locations on the island of Skopelos featured throughout Mamma Mia including some of the key scenes. Kastani Beach offers a fine place to relax, with turquoise waters and soft golden sands combining to offer the perfect place to relax. This is where Tanya sing ‘Does your Mother Know’, as well as also being the location where Sophie and Sky sing both ‘Lay all your Love on Me’ and ‘I Have a Dream’.

Elsewhere, you can discover Nisi Glisteri, which is the clifftop where ‘Our Last Summer’ was performed. You can also visit the Agios Ioannis Prodomos Monastery – one of the island’s most beautiful landmarks and the location in which the wedding scene was filmed. A short 105-step climb from the Agios Ioannis Beach will take you to the small chapel, where you can also enjoy mesmerising views out to sea.


In addition to these two islands, this enlightening sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean will take you to a range of beautiful destinations. These include the Greek capital of Athens, the sleepy Turkish beach town of Dikili, the town of Myrina on the Greek island of Limnos, and the Greek island of Poros. There will also be a great opportunity to soak up the sun on the top deck of the Star Flyer and enjoy a traditional form of travel.

For more information about the full range of sailings throughout the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South East Asia with Star Clippers, contact our friendly team via the freephone number above or chat to an advisor online.

The Tallest Clipper Ships to Sail the Seas

 

The Tallest Clipper Ships to Sail the Seas

22nd March 2018

Today, the maritime industry – be in pleasure or freight – is made up of many vessels boasting the latest technology, assisting vessels on their journey from one destination to the next. While these lines continue to develop new ways to power their ships, Star Clippers remains adamant in sticking in the past, offering an historical insight into a bygone era of transportation.

Travel back in time to the 18th century and these clipper ships you see today were in abundance around the world, transporting valuable cargo including tea, gold and spices. No two clipper ships were ever built exactly the same, with structure styles changing and developing throughout time. While the Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper are all clipper ships, they are better known by other names. The Star Clipper and Star Flyer are actually four-masted barquentines, while the Royal Clipper is five-masted full rigger.

What other types of clipper ships are there?

Brig

Consisting of two masts – both carrying square sails – this smaller-sized ship would be generally used to carry freighting cargoes over large bodies of water. The main benefits of a brig were that it could be easily manoeuvred in restricted spaces, which enabled them to dock in smaller harbours without the need for tugs.

Brigantine

Much like a brig, but with square sails on the foremast and gaff sails on the second mast. It required a much smaller crew than a brig due to gaff sail (triangular in shape) on the second mast being easier to handle than square sails. Square sails also made brigantines much more adapted than traditional schooners for sailing in following winds.

Schooner

Schooners commonly consisted of two masts, but would sometimes be built with three or even more – as many as seven, in exceptional cases. Much like a brigantine, they were easier to handle and only needed a smaller crew. Their sails made them much easier to navigate through waters with varying wind directions.

Clipper Ship

The clipper ship became famous during the California gold rush – and speed was certainly at the forefront of the design. Their three masts – all equipped with square sails – made them ideal for fast ocean passages. This, in addition to a protruding stern and a length that was at least five times the width, made clippers a perfect option for trading and transporting valuable cargo.

Barquentine

Barquentine vessels comprised of three or four masts, with square sails fitted to the foremasts and gaff sails fitted to the others. They were often used to sail through waters with varying winds and were much similar to a barque, only barquentines featured a much smaller rig.

Full-Rigged Ship

A full-rigged ship would comprise of at least three masts, with five masts in exceptional cases. These ships were fully-rigged, but did undergo a number of transformations as time progressed to reduce the number of crew members required on board. Rather than being made of wood; hulls, masts and yards were made of steel to make sailing much more simplified. It was also easier to adjust the sails on full-rigged ships and they were perfectly suited to sailing in following winds, thus making them ideal for intercontinental voyages.

Four-Masted Barque

As the name suggests, these ships always comprised of four sails, with the fourth mast (also known as a jigger-mast) carrying a gaff sail and the others being equipped with square sails. These were the most commonly-used vessels in trans-oceanic trade, carrying vast amounts of cargo. Later innovations in hull, rigging and equipment – including steam-powered winches – made it possible to reduce the crew on board.

Five-Masted Full Rigger

These were the most impressive of all the clipper ships and were very impressive. In 1902, Preussen graced the seas as the largest sailing ship ever to be built and served the purpose of serving the nitrate trade from Chile to Germany. They were built with five masts and square sails on each of them – providing a total sail area of 6,800 square metres. The Royal Clipper was inspired by Preussen and, upon completion in 2000, became the largest clipper ship ever built.


Star Clippers have done their utmost to maintain tradition and offer a glimpse into a bygone era or sailing aboard their traditional vessels. Rather than being built for trade, however, these ships have been specifically constructed with pleasure in mind and, today, you can dock in a range of fabulous destinations throughout the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South-East Asia.

For more information about the full range of sailings available, contact our friendly team via the freephone number above or chat to an advisor online today.

Experience a taster of tall ship sailing in Mediterranean

 

Experience a taster of tall ship sailing in Mediterranean

15th March 2018

With the snow thawing across the UK and daylight extending well into the afternoon, there is no clearer indication that summer is just around the corner. With this in mind, there is also no better time to start considering a summer escape and Star Clippers has plenty of options available. While many of these options enable you to float across the sea across a number of weeks, there are also a number of shorter itineraries available.

The Western Mediterranean season starts on the 23rd April 2018 with a five-night sailing aboard the magnificent five-masted Royal Clipper. This is a perfect option for anyone considering a tall ship holiday, without committing to a longer cruise. Star Clippers takes a closer look at this short sailing and the ports you will be able to visit along the way.

Lisbon

Lisbon

The Portuguese capital is the starting point of your cruise and this magnificently charming city offers plenty to see and do. If you’re looking for a quick tour, it is definitely worth taking a ride in one of the traditional cable cars. While many of the lines have been modernised in recent years, Tram Line 28 is one of the three authentic lines remaining and is well worth experiencing during your visit. This route will take you through the Old Town on a journey through a number of interesting sites including monuments, churches and gardens.

Portimao

Portimao

Portimao is one of the largest cities in the gorgeous Portuguese region of the Algarve, which has long been known for its warm climate and blissful beaches. Praia da Rocha is one of the most highly-prized beaches in the Algarve and is located close to the city of Portimao. Alternatively, if you wish to wander the city streets, you will find a number of excellent shopping opportunities, with clothes, jewellery and ornamental items available.

Tangier

Pungent aromas, dazzling vistas and a warm climate are combined in the Moroccan city of Tangier to offer you an authentic North African experience. A walk along the promenade beside the warm and inviting beach will offer a chance to see many of the city’s renowned buildings including the Kasbah and Kasbah Museum, the Tomb of Ibn Battouta (a famous 14th-century traveller), and the American Legation.

Gibraltar (overnight)

Gibraltar

Guarding the entrance to the Mediterranean, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar sits in a historically strategic position. Known for its towering rock, which is home to a number of native Barbary macaques, the small nation, bordered by Spain to the north, offers a taste of home away from home. On a clear day, a climb to the top offers a chance to see across the Mediterranean towards Morocco, while more adventurous visitors may be intrigued by the labyrinth of tunnels that are hidden inside.

Motril

Heading eastward along the Spanish coast, the Andalusian city of Motril awaits your arrival. Ideally situated at the foot of the Sierra Lujar Mountains, the city is home to two gorgeous beaches including the busy Playa Poniente and the quieter Playa Granada – both offer an ideal place to soak up the Mediterranean sun.

Malaga

Malaga

Malaga is one of the more well-known cities of the Mediterranean, highly renowned for its relaxing golden beaches. While these provide an ideal place to relax and soak up the sun, it is also worth pointing out the cultural and historical references present within the city. The fortress palace of Alcazaba and the Castillo de Gibralfaro are both fine examples of Moorish influence, while an excursion to the nearby city of Granada offers a chance to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace.


This is one of the many taster cruises available in the Western Mediterranean throughout 2018 with Star Clippers. As the weather continues to get warmer, Star Clippers will also operate sailings within the Eastern Mediterranean, offering opportunities to visit the Greek Islands and the Balkan nations.

For more information, contact our friendly Star Clippers team via the freeephone number above or chat to an advisor online.

The Significance of the Spice Islands

 

The Significance of the Spice Islands

8th March 2018

South-East Asia is filled with gorgeous paradise islands and some of the most isolated and pristine beaches anywhere in the world. A cruise within this region, visiting destinations throughout either Thailand or Indonesia, offers one of the best places to soak up the sun and relax. Sailing aboard one of the three traditional tall sailing ships of the Star Clippers fleet also adds a unique level of authenticity to your voyage.

Spices

Travel back up to 500 years, however, and these waters will have been teeming with tall ships – all searching for new lands and precious cargo. Word travelled fast that these islands did indeed hold a range of valuable treasures. Unlike the gold of California or the tea of China, these islands were known for their spices including mace, nutmeg, cloves and pepper.

One destination in particular was targeted by explorers from Europe – the Malaysian island of Malacca. Throughout the Middle Ages, this island was highly contested by various nations, with the Portuguese staking their claim followed by the Dutch and the British. Many ships came to a fateful end prior to completing their voyage, but those that were successful returned to Venice, which was one of the leading trading centres in the world at the time.

The first Portuguese voyages began as early as the 1520’s, with British and Dutch voyages commencing 80 years later. A total of three vessels were sent during the first British voyage, although only one of these successfully completed the journey. Indeed, getting to Malacca was no easy feat when you consider this was at a time before the Panama and Suez Canals, and vessels were nowhere near as robustly built as they are today. Vessels were required to go around the treacherous Cape Horn of Argentina and head west or, more commonly, head eastward around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

Malacca Malaysia

Over time, the arrival of western visitors started to have a noticeable impact on the architecture and culture within the city. Dutch and Portuguese influence is noticeable across a number of government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications. In the nearby city of Georgetown, the British influence is much more noticeable, while both of these settlements are also home to an array of ornate palaces and spectacular private mansions.

As you wander the streets of Malacca, the impact of the spice trade still remains evident today. Wonderful aromas fill the air and will act as your guide to a number of authentic street food stalls, where you can sample some of the very finest cuisine Malaysia has to offer.


You can experience the Malaysian island of Malacca for yourself on selected South-East Asia sailings aboard the traditionally-designed Star Clipper. Alternatively, Star Clippers can also offer a range of traditional tall ship sailings in regions including the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

For more information, contact our friendly team via the freephone number above or chat to an advisor online.

Escape the Winter Blues with a Short Getaway

 

Escape the Winter Blues with a Short Getaway

1st March 2018

Days of continuous snow and sub-zero conditions have caused turmoil across the British Isles this week, with many people being advised to stay in their homes and wrap up warm. During these severe conditions, you would be forgiven for dreaming about sunnier climes and relaxing golden beaches. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available that can help you to escape the effects of both the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma.

The three Star Clippers ships of the fleet can take you to a range of stunning destinations throughout the Caribbean and South East Asia. These sailings will be operated throughout the course of March and offer fabulous options for a winter escape. This week, we take a look at some of the best winter warmer sailings available with Star Clippers.

Phuket – Singapore | Seven Nights
24th March 2018 | Star Clipper

Singapore

South East Asia is one of the more recent additions to the list of regions you can visit on board a Star Clippers sailing. Sailing along the coast of Thailand, these itineraries offer a fantastic alternative to the Caribbean, with many hidden island paradises to visit that are generally considered to be inaccessible to larger vessels.

From March through until May, the majority of these sailings will take passengers in a northbound or southbound direction – with new places to discover depending on the itinerary. This itinerary is slightly different, however, in that it provides an opportunity for passengers to experience the majestic metropolis of Singapore – famed for its urban landscapes, delicious food and spectacular gardens. Departing out of Phuket, you will travel to the Thai destinations of Ko Similan, Phang Nga Bay, Ko Hong and Ko Adang. You will also have a chance to dock in the Malay ports of Penang and Malacca before arriving in Singapore.

Treasure Islands | Seven Nights
24th March 2018 | Star Flyer

Virgin Gorda

As the name suggests, this itinerary will take you to a beautiful range of hidden gems throughout the Caribbean. Departing out of Philipsburg, on the colourful Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten, this seven-night sailing will take you on a journey towards Anguilla and the pristine beaches of the British Virgin Islands.

The first of these destinations is Gorda Sound, on Virgin Gorda, where you will discover a range of unique water grottos that were formed by ancient lava flows. Huge boulders have created a number of warm natural pools, which are ideal for relaxing and soaking up the sun. The next destination on the itinerary is Norman Island, where visitors can a uniquely laid-back atmosphere. Alternatively, you can learn about the history of the island at the 17th century Dutch Fort Recovery.

The last of the British Virgin Islands you will get to visit is Jost Van Dyke, which was once a hideout for a pirate of the same name. It’s easy to see why he chose this island as well, with some of the most highly-prized beaches in the British Virgin Islands and plenty to enjoy a glass or two of rum.


Star Clippers has plenty of options available throughout the year, with opportunities to travel to untouched destinations throughout the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Cuba and Far East Asia. Across each of these regions, you can enjoy tall ship sailing aboard traditional-style ships.

For more information about the full range of sailings available or to make a book, contact our friendly Star Clippers sales team via the freephone number above or chat to an advisor online.

Mediterranean Highlights in 2018

 

Mediterranean Highlights in 2018

22nd February 2018

On 23rd April 2018, having just completed an epic journey across the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean, the magnificent five-masted Royal Clipper will operate her first Mediterranean sailing for the year. Once again, you will be able to feel the wind fill the sails as you travel to a range of charming locations throughout the Mediterranean. With new destinations added every year, no two sailings can be considered the same, with plenty of new experiences to enjoy.

Whether you are looking to delve into the ancient history of Italy, admire the spectacle of the Monaco Grand Prix, or venture into the gems of Croatia and Montenegro; Star Clippers can offer a range of itineraries that will whet your appetite in 2018. We take a closer look at three of the best options to consider for a holiday aboard a traditional tall ship in the Mediterranean.

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix

When it comes to the Mediterranean, there are few places more glamorous than Monaco. Its position by the sea, the glistening harbour, historical architecture and dazzling casinos will transport you to a lifestyle of elegance and sophistication. However, if you happen to visit during the time of the Monaco Grand Prix, your experience will be elevated to a whole new level of exhilaration.

The Royal Clipper and Star Flyer tall ships can take you directly to the heart of the action, nestling in among the many other luxurious yachts that are docked within the beautiful marina. There are three especially themed departures available in 2018 that will enable you to admire the spectacle of the Monaco Grand Prix. The first of these departs out of Cannes on the 12th May 2018 and will take passengers to the Historic Grand Prix, where spectators can watch vehicles from years gone by. The second departure, sailing out of Barcelona on the 19th May 2018, offers a chance to watch the trials; while the third and final departure will take you out of Cannes to the Grand Prix race.

Amalfi Coast and Sicily

Amalfi Coast

When thinking of the Mediterranean, some of the initial destinations that spring to mind may include the impressive cities of Rome, Barcelona and Athens. It is easy to overlook some of the smaller and more hidden gems – many of which have been made accessible thanks to the smaller size of the Star Clippers tall ships. One of the finest examples of this is on Italy’s spectacularly colourful Amalfi Coast.

There are several departures available throughout the summer season, taking passengers out of Rome directly to this spectacular region. Sorrento, encapsulated by a wall that rises out of the sea, is one of the names you may recognise and the town is widely known for its beautiful architecture. Another highly renowned area is Amalfi, known for its historical medieval glory that is personified by the grand Duomo of St Andrew. A visit to Amalfi also offers an opportunity to visit Positano, which is widely regarded to be one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean.

Croatia and Montenegro

Kotor

Travelling further eastward beyond Italy and the Amalfi Coast will take you to the Adriatic – a region that is known for its spectacular architecture. Star Clippers will be operating a series of sailings within this region throughout the course of 2018, taking passengers to a range of amazing destinations. When it comes to architecture, there really is no better place to start than in the city of Venice, which shows signs of the many different eras that have had an influence on the area throughout history. The threading canals offer the perfect way to admire everything Venice has to offer including the iconic Doge’s Palace and the Bell Tower of St Mark.

There will also be chances to venture into the historic cities of the Balkans – with particularly mention for the walled-city of Dubrovnik. A stroll along the top of the wall that encapsulates this city offers a glimpse into the many features that make up this historic settlement, as well as fantastic panoramic views out to sea. It is also worth referencing the Montenegrin city of Kotor – a stunning historic settlement situated within mountainous surroundings that are similar what you may see in the Norwegian fjords.


The beauty of embarking on a tall ship sailing with Star Clippers is the ability to visit a range of smaller destinations that are inaccessible to larger vessels. You will enjoy a true sense of adventure that is synonymous of the type of adventures that explorers embarked on while attempting to discover the modern world.

For more information or to make a booking, contact our friendly sales team via the freephone number above or chat to an advisor online.

The World’s Most Romantic `Love Boats’…

 

The World’s Most Romantic `Love Boats’…

15th February 2018

Star Clipper

The graceful tall ships in the Star Clippers’ fleet provide an exceptionally romantic setting for lovers, for a honeymoon, marriage blessing, anniversary or other romantic voyage. Sailing in and out of the world’s most beautiful destinations in an atmosphere of casual elegance, a cruise on one of the three Star Clippers ships is akin to having a fully staffed private yacht. Lay arm in arm on a deck-top sunbed, lie side by side in the bowsprit net with the waves skimming below, or spot dolphins together at dawn from the decks of a magnificent tall ship in full-sail. Make footprints on white sand beaches, snorkel the clear Caribbean waters and drop anchor in small bays and harbours.

Here are the top romantic moments on board a Star Clippers’ tall ship:-

Star-gazing on a sun-warmed deck

Every spring and autumn, Star Clippers’ three ships reposition between their summer and winter cruising areas on long, leisurely voyages across the Atlantic. There’s no better place for escaping the world, sailing across the ocean, lying together hand in hand on sun loungers or gazing up at the millions of stars scattered across an inky-black sky.

A 16 night Barbados to Lisbon crossing sailing aboard Royal Clipper, departing 7th April 2018 costs from £1590pp including all meals on board and port charges.

Make footprints on a Robinson Crusoe island

During summer 2018 the 4-masted Star Clipper will voyage under thousands of feet of billowing sails sailing between lush, culturally unique and exotic port calls and drop anchor close to coconut-white coves that typify Indonesia’s thousands of islands, mirroring a Robinson Crusoe adventure. Make footprints on virgin white sand beaches when the ship calls into tiny jungle-and-sand islands, haloed by crystal clear turquoise sea.

A 7 night eastbound Indonesia sailing on board Star Clipper, departing 19th May 2018, costs from £1495pp including all meals on board and port charges.

Desert island kisses

The deserted islands of the white sand-fringed Tobago Cays in the Grenadines are strictly off limits to larger ships but easily accessible for a graceful clipper. Coconut palms arch over white, sandy beaches, lapped by the turquoise sea, the ideal setting for gathering shells together, or slip away to an even more deserted beach to be alone on this idyllic desert island setting.

Grenadine Islands sailing aboard Royal Clipper on the 19th January 2019 cruise only including port charges from £1640pp

Loving it in Venice

The world’s most beautiful port to sail into or away from is Venice. Stand arm in arm on the decks as the ship glides slowly along the Giudecca Canal, lined with majestic old palaces and churches. Wander hand in hand along the silent canals of the old city, find a shady square for an al fresco lunch a deux, take a gondola ride to see the city from the water while being serenaded by a gondolier.

A 10 night Greece, Montenegro & Croatia sailing on board Star Flyer, departing 25th July 2018 costs from £2315pp including all meals on board and port charges.

Champagne and volcanic fireworks

Sip champagne on the upper decks of a magnificent tall ship while watching one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena, the frequent volcanic eruptions of Italy’s `Stromboli’, during a late evening sail-past. Stromboli sends a shower of fire and molten debris up into the air approximately every ten minutes and has been in continuous eruption for 2,000 years.

An 11 night Greece, Montenegro & Croatia sailing on board Star Flyer, departing 14th July 2018, costs from £2540pp including all meals on board and port charges.

Live La Dolce Vita

Wander through the narrow streets of Portofino, a former fishing village on Italy’s north west coast and now one of the most fashionable and romantic towns on the Italian Riviera. Cool down with a limoncello granita in a pretty café on the waterfront, or climb a wooded trail together to reach San Giorgio church overlooking the town for breath-taking views.

A 7-night Corsica & French Riviera sailing on board Star Flyer, departing 2nd June 2018 costs from £1620pp including all meals on board and port charges.

His & Hers massage in Thailand

Sail through the sparkling waters of Thailand and Malaysia, passing spectacular archipelagos, dropping anchor by pristine white sand beaches and exotic destinations such as Phuket, Penang and Singapore, where massages and relaxing pedicures / manicures are a way of life. Take a couples massage together, make footprints in the sand, cuddle up in the ship’s bowsprit net, or climb the rigging together for a hand-in-hand view of the deck and surrounding ocean.

A 7-night Southern Thailand sailing on board Star Clipper, departing 10th November 2018 costs from £1495pp including all meals on board and port charges.

Alison's Experiences in Thailand and Malaysia - Part Two

 

Alison's Experiences in Thailand and Malaysia - Part Two

25th January 2018

Waking up on Tuesday morning was an absolute treat. Crystal-blue waters and powdery sands were the order of today at Ko Adang. Another ‘wet landing’ - don’t be put off by these – there are always plenty of the water sports team to help you off the tender and carry your bags/shoes for you to the shore. Today was the infamous Star Clippers beach BBQ – I’ve never experienced one of these, so I was very excited and I wasn’t disappointed.

Everything was set up under the canopy of the trees. Alberto had his bar open and the food was plentiful, with beautiful fresh salads, pasta dishes, fresh fruit and all sorts of BBQ offerings including fish, chicken, burgers, corn on the cob and much more – a real treat.

After the excitement of the BBQ and a little chilling time, it was time to get back onboard ready for Alberto’s masterclass in cocktail making. My own favourite was the Clipper Delight – a tropical mixture of Vodka, Midori, Cointreau & lemon juice - never quite the same now we’re back home and it’s wet and grey outside!

Tonight’s entertainment was ‘The Quiz with the Drum’, which really brought out everyone’s competitive edge and Peter the Cruise Director was a brilliant host. Having got the first few questions correct and gaining a few chips in the process, I was soon taken over by some very knowledgeable guests who raced ahead.

Wednesday brought us to an even more spectacular beach than the last – it just got better and better. Ko Rok Nok was a beach that we had exclusively to ourselves to enjoy watersports or simply relax. The watersports team were once again all on hand to show the best snorkelling spots. After a couple of hours in the morning, we headed back on board the ship for lunch. Lunch each day was different and often themed, with a lovely collection of fresh salads, cold cuts, cheese, homemade breads, soup and a range of hot dishes to suit every palate. There was also fabulous desserts and fresh fruit to finish with – you’ll never be hungry on a Star Clippers cruise.

It was an early sail away today, so we decided to get as close to the bridge as possible. Being able to stand just behind the captain was incredible and really gave the feeling that you were helping sail the ship. Well, we did help… Sort of anyway. Out we were up on deck helping hoist the sales up, pulling the ropes - which is actually a lot harder than it looks but so rewarding to watch them unfold.

Star Clipper Pulling Rope

Tonight was Captain’s Dinner, which saw some of the ladies get dressed up, while others remained casually dressed. Yet another sumptuous meal was served, where I was torn between the beef fillet and the lobster thermidor. I plumped for the lobster, as it’s not something I would eat often and it was cooked to perfection.

After dinner, it was time for the crew to show us their hidden talents. The two standouts were Alberto - our head bartender – singing, and Captain Sergey playing his guitar. The crew work hard looking after everyone, so it’s nice to see them relaxing and enjoying themselves with the guests on board. After a bit of a dance at the end of the evening, it was off to bed to see what Thursday was going to bring.

Opening the curtains on Thursday morning was breath-taking. We were sailing through the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay! I’ve visited this area of Thailand many times but only ever seen it from a packed speedboat on an excursion, so this was a real treat. The weather was superb and perfect conditions for the photo tenders that took off around the cliffs getting some fabulous shots of Star Clipper in the background.

Star Clipper Phang Nga Bay

Some of us had an early lunch because the excursion to James Bond Island was running today. This is the island that featured in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ and is one of the most popular excursions in this region of Thailand. I chose to stay on board and read under the masts, watching the many long tail boats whizzing around the bay.

Prior to dinner, we did a virtual tour – behind the scenes of the hotel department with Steve the Hotel Manager. This proved to be most interesting, as we found out more about the catering schedule on board the ship. Here are some fun facts that you may not know.

On an average seven-night sailing on Star Clipper, guests get through:

  • 1,200 eggs
  • 100kg bananas
  • 336 small bottles of water
  • 40 bottles of gin
  • 240 toilet rolls

Off we went to dinner, knowing we were contributing to these figures. A fine feast was had by all including sea bass, steak, chicken, lasagne and some delicious desserts.

This evening’s entertainment was a local Thai folklore show, with traditional dancers and a spot of guest participation. The colours of the costumes were striking and it was good to learn about the cultural dances of Thailand.

Friday’s stop was the Similan Islands – well known for fabulous diving and snorkelling. As we got closer to the main island, we were told we couldn’t gain access because the Thai Royal family were in residence, so this meant no access to tourists (only in Thailand could this happen!). The wonderful thing about being on a small ship is that we could divert to another island, so we got a bonus really. There was more sailing time for us to watch the beautiful scenery go by and an afternoon of snorkelling. However, we chose to stay on board and listen to the breeze lapping at the sails.

Sadly, tonight was our last night, so we all headed up on deck for one last time. The bartenders had set up their own champagne bar on deck (just E7.50) a glass. Once again we were just behind the captain for our final sail away of the week as the sun set just behind us - a beautiful farewell sight.

Star Clipper Thailand

We were all very subdued over dinner. All of the crew stood on the stairs and sang to everyone in the restaurant, which was one lovely final touch. It was time to pack up and leave our cases outside our doors for a seamless disembarkation back in Patong. The next day, after breakfast, we transferred back to the Seaview Hotel.

We had one final afternoon and night in Patong at the Swissotel. The hotel had a lovely pool area where we had some lunch and I then went off for a Thai massage and a pedicure – all of which came to a total of about £15 for both! From the hotel, we could easily walk into Patong, so we chose a nice restaurant displaying all of their fresh fish on ice outside for our final dinner together. At £10 a head for drinks and a meal, we knew we couldn’t go wrong. We were being picked up at 2am for the transfer back to the airport, so we all had an early night and managed to get some sleep.

Everything ran like clockwork and soon we were back at Phuket ready to make the journey back to Birmingham via Istanbul. We’d had a truly fabulous trip and, as always, I was sad to leave Thailand. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people and it certainly lives up to its nickname – ‘The Land of Smiles’.

Thailand, farewell… Until the next time x

BACK TO PART ONE

Alison's Experiences in Thailand and Malaysia - Part One

 

Alison's Experiences in Thailand and Malaysia - Part One

18th January 2018

Thailand has been my go-to holiday destination every year for the last 20 plus years, but I’ve always opted for a hotel-stay of some description. This, however, was a trip with a difference - my first experience on one of our smaller yachts, the Star Clipper.

In December 2017, I was lucky enough to take a small group of travel agents away with me on a work trip. Upon arrival at Birmingham Airport, we were told at check-in that we’d all been upgraded to Business Class on Turkish Airlines – what a way to start a trip! This gave us access to the lounge at Birmingham Airport and also the incredible lounge at Istanbul Airport, which is simply huge! You can enjoy every kind of drink and snack imaginable and there is also a wide range of entertainment areas for the kids.

Business Class was an absolute treat, we had the large reclining seats from Birmingham to Istanbul followed by a flatbed from Istanbul to Bangkok and we even had our own chef on board. The food was amazing, the service was good and we all arrived reasonably well rested.

We had a quick overnight stop in Bangkok, where we decided to get into a couple of taxis for a drive around. Taxis are generally cheap but beware, the traffic is dreadful at all hours of the day, so if you’re anywhere near the sky train it is suggested to plump for that option instead. We were staying at the Anantara, which is a little way out of the main tourist areas but very easy to get around. There are many temples to visit, but a ride along the river or a crazy journey in a tuk-tuk is an absolute must, as they both offer a cheap and fun way of getting around.

Our first meal together in Bangkok was at a very famous restaurant, Cabbages & Condoms, they serve good, well-priced food in a lovely courtyard setting. The restaurant has been going for years and makes it into many guidebooks for its unusual statues and artwork which are – you guessed it - all made out of condoms… But there is nothing seedy about it. Patpong, on the other hand, is very colourful, with streets that are lined with late-night market stalls ready to embrace bargain hunters as well as a number of bars to sit in and people watch. Bangkok is very safe and a really fun city – it is certainly worth a couple of nights here.

The next morning we were up early for our Air Asia flight down to Phuket. It was going to make such a change to see the beautiful Thai and Malaysian coastlines from a sailing ship rather than doing a land-based holiday and doing the odd boat trip.

As we travelled down into Patong Bay in our taxi, we caught our first glimpse of our home for the next week. The excitement started to build. Star Clipper - one of our smaller four-masted yachts – was looking majestic on the horizon.

Star Clipper Thailand

Check-in was incredibly easy at the Seaview Hotel in Patong. We left our bags, checked ourselves in and went to explore Patong. About a 10-minute walk is all that is required before you arrive at the centre of Patong, where you will discover a crazy district full of shops, bars, restaurants and everything you could possibly want. Alternatively, you can just chill at the hotel and they’ll provide you with towels, or you can go and have your first massage of the trip – a real must when you’re in Thailand!

We boarded the ship at around 4pm and were met by the smiling staff who greeted us with a wonderful cocktail. After a wander around and a spot of unpacking, we were back up on deck for the all-important lifeboat drill. By this time, we’d worked up quite an appetite so it was time for a welcome drink in the bar together and it was great to see Alberto - the head bartender who I had previously met on Royal Clipper. That’s just one of the many great things about sailing on a smaller ship - you get to see familiar faces and make new friends very easily.

Star Clipper Thailand

After a glass of prosecco each (only £3.50), we headed down for our first feast, all served by friendly smiling waiters in the main dining room that seats all passengers. There was a wide choice on offer, with meat, fish, vegetarian options, and - if nothing suited - there was always steak and chips, and a pasta dish on offer each night. Tonight, I went for the mushroom soup followed by the salmon, which was cooked in a lemon butter sauce – delicious! One of the highlights for me each night was the beautiful homemade bread and speciality butter served with it – definitely not to be missed!

Sail away tonight was at 10pm, so we headed up on deck for our first sight of Star Clipper being all lit up. As the haunting music of Vangelis, Conquest of Paradise, filled the air, the sails were raised for the first time. It’s a truly magical experience watching all of the sails go up and every time you see something slightly different. We were then entertained by Jerby, who was truly talented on the piano and electric keyboard and had everyone up dancing in the Tropical Bar until the early hours. By this time, new friends and memories had been made.

Two of the most amazing things about embarking on a cruise is only having to unpack once and being able to wake up somewhere new every day. Our first breakfast was a delight, there was plenty on offer – cereals, breads, pastries, bacon, sausage, eggs and a fresh omelette station. Captain Sergey welcomed us all on board the following morning after breakfast and introduced us all to the crew that was there to look after us for the week. We could see the beautiful scenery passing by on either side as we headed to our first port of call, Ko Butang.

Ko Butang was quite a small beach, but perfect to try out some water sports. For those that were interested in diving, we had a ‘Dive Master’ on board, who took people out and provided necessary training. For those of us that preferred to be on top of the water, there was kayaking, water skiing, wakeboarding, sailing and snorkelling on offer and complimentary for all guests. There was a local Thai guy selling drinks on the beach, so we didn’t need to worry about keeping refreshed.

After a chilled afternoon, we headed back in time for afternoon tea and what a treat this was! Some days we had sandwiches, other days we had hot snacks, both of which would be served with lots of homemade biscuits or cakes and fresh fruit. We would then wash it all down with a nice cup of tea (tea and coffee are available every day free of charge).

Tonight’s entertainment was the fashion show. While there isn’t a shopping mall on board, all of the three ships have their own ‘Sloop Shop’ selling Star Clippers tastefully branded goods. These range from shorts to dresses and jackets to hats – with something for everyone and these were all modelled by the staff for us all to see. Afterwards, it was disco time with Jerby who, once again, had everyone up dancing. For those that wanted a quieter evening, there is always the Piano Bar or the Library - two nice areas of the ship where you can enjoy a quieter atmosphere or play board games.

A lot of us also chose to sit up on deck in the evening under the sails and watch the stars. It’s so dark on the sea at night, which makes it a perfect place for star-gazing.

Our next port of call was Penang in Malaysia - not the prettiest of ports, but there are lots of excursions available including the Penang Grand Island Tour, Jungle Trekking, a Malay Cooking Class, and the Orangutan Island trip. We chose the Orangutan trip which took us to Bukit Merah - home to about 25 Orangutans. Here, the orphans are nurtured and rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. These lovely intelligent creatures can be seen swinging from the trees and being fed on their feeding platforms.

Once back on board, we had the chance to play some deck golf. For those brave souls, there was also a wonderful opportunity to climb the mast up to the crow’s nest. This is a must for anyone that has a good head for heights and a truly one-off experience. Another evening sail away was followed by a fabulous evening meal, where I had a beautiful pork dish. Dinner was followed by a talk from Captain Sergey about his adventures navigating these beautiful tall ships through foreign waters.

CONTINUE TO PART 2

Indonesia’s Pink Beach

 

Indonesia’s Pink Beach

1st February 2018

It’s been a couple of years since Indonesia was added to the list of regions you can visit on board a traditional tall ship sailing with Star Clippers. Sailing aboard the Star Clipper on a roundtrip out of Bali, the smaller size of the ship provides a unique opportunity to visit a range of isolated paradise islands that are generally inaccessible to larger vessels. There are two itineraries available – eastbound and westbound respectively out of Bali – as well as a number of sailings that also incorporate the luxurious metropolis of Singapore.

Komodo Dragon

There are many sights to see and landmarks to explore on board all three of these itineraries, but perhaps one of the most interesting islands of all is the one that inhabited by large reptiles. Komodo Island is, as the name suggests, home to the world’s only natural habitat for komodo dragons and you can embark on a walking tour that will enable you to admire these creatures up close. A national park was established on the island to protect these creatures in 1980 and it later became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1986. It is worth pointing out that the komodo dragons are also the main occupants of the island, with 2,500 of these reptiles living here alongside only 2,000 people.

Although this is the main draw, there is much more to see and do on this unique island. A short journey along the coast will unveil a dazzling pink colour reflected in the sands – part of a natural landmark that you will only see in six other places on earth. Pantai Merah – or Pink Beach – gets its distinctive colour from microscopic marine creatures known as Foraminifera.

These single-celled, microscopic organisms live in shells consisting of a red-coloured calcium carbonate. When these creatures die, their shells drop to the ocean floor and are collectively washed to the shore. The dye of the shells mixes with the seawater which, in-turn, mixes with the sand to give the beach its distinctive shade of pink.

Pink Beach Indonesia

The colour of the beach offers a contrast to the calm turquoise waters, which are more than ideal for water-based activities – so much so, in fact, that this is widely considered to be the best area for snorkelling on the island. The pink beach indicates an abundance of coral life activity and you would not be mistaken, with pygmy seahorses, blue-ringed octopus, various species of rays and many more creatures awaiting your discovery. If you decide to instead relax on the beach, though, you will be rewarded with views of the gorgeous scenery and surrounding lush-green hills. Alternatively, a guided hike up one of these hills will provide you with fantastic views of the island and offers a great vantage point from which to admire the komodo dragons.


If this blog has inspired you to embark on a tall ship sailing with Star Clippers, why not get in touch? You can contact our friendly sales team via the Freephone number above or chat to an advisor instantly online.

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