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Star Clippers offers something unique, both in terms of the places their ships visit and of course the ships themselves.
For a cruise holiday like no other, the three ships are small compared to their cruise counterparts, but are nonetheless three of the largest and tallest sailing vessels in the world. It is the natural choice for the ultimate sea-going experience, a world away from any other cruise on the market. Star Clipper has forged a reputation as one of the world's leading speciality cruise lines, successfully combining an authentic sailing experience with first class service and amenities. Bringing the finest traditions of a bygone age, the fleet is new and purpose built, with the first ship the Star Flyer entering service in 1991, the Star Clipper a year later and the Royal Clipper in 2000.
The advantages of being on a small ship – all three vessels are either 3,025 tonnes or 5,000 tonnes - is the choice of destinations.
Star Clippers ships offer Atlantic islands cruises, Caribbean cruises, Mediterranean cruises and Transatlantic cruises , as well as cruises around northern Europe, the Panama Canal and the West coast of America and Mexico - often stopping in places big ships can't.
The largest and latest addition to the fleet is the Royal Clipper - the first five-masted ship built in a century. Up until October 2013 it sails the calm waters of the Mediterraneanon voyages lasting between seven and ten days. Itineraries vary between a seven night cruise starting in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, and then stopping at Portimao, Morocco, Spain and the islands of Ibiza and Majorca before heading to its final destination Barcelona. Longer cruises on the same ship include voyages to Spain, Monaco, the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Croatia and Slovenia.
In October and November the ship makes a transatlantic voyage between Rome and Barbados. Afterwards, until April 2014, the ship will cruise the Caribbean on voyages around the Grenadines and the Windward Islands on nine day cruises.
The two smaller ships, the Star Clipper and the Star Flyeralso spend the summer touring the sights and cities of the Mediterranean. Itineraries include the Greek Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, and the Balearic Islands - most lasting for eight days and seven nights. As with their big sister, the two ships cross the Atlantic twice in November on a westbound voyage before spending the next few months cruising the Caribbean - visiting the Cayman Islands, the Leeward Islands, Cuba, the Panama Canal, and the British Virgin Islands.
The Star clipper and the Star Flyer are sister ships built in 1999 and 2000. There are 85 cabins - 79 of which have an ocean view. Compared to their cruise ship counterparts, clipper cabins range from small to very reasonable in size. Bathrooms are compact but deluxe cabins have a small bathtub. Cabins on the lower decks towards the stern may be affected by some engine noise.
A maximum of 180 passengers and 70 crew creates a ratio of one crew member for every 2.4 passengers.
The larger ship, the Royal Yacht, has 114 cabins and 14 of them have balconies. There are 94 cabins with an ocean view. Suites are luxurious and spacious and bathrooms have whirlpool bathtubs. Cabins sizes range from small to very reasonable but are well-equipped and modern - all having a private bathroom.
The Star Clipper and the Star Flyer have two small swimming pools. The majority of activities on offer are on the sea, with a wide variety of watersports on offer. Equipment includes a ski boat, scuba and snorkelling gear, and zodiacs. The Royal Yacht has three small swimming pools, spacious decks and an aft marine platform with free watersports including zodiacs, a banana boat, a dinghy, snorkelling and swimming. There is also a gym with health spa on board. None of the ships is considered unsuitable for children or wheelchair users.
Each ship has one dining room and the scale of each inevitably leads to a more limited menu choice but the food, served in a mix of buffet and a la carte formats, is creative and of very good quality. On the Clipper and Flyer there us an attractive open seating dining room with a ‘no tie’ dress code. On the Royal Yacht, the dining room is on connecting levels beneath an atrium. Breakfast and lunch are served in a buffet style and dinner is full service.
No other cruise line can offer the experience provided by Star Clippers for an authentic sea voyage. Passengers may compromise a few of the creature comforts offered by the giant counterparts of other cruise lines, but for the romance and excitement of sail power, nothing else comes close.