A chaotic check in on Saturday morning as Easy Jet’s luggage carousel broke down. Then on to Nice, the flight was ok, a 737-700 with plenty of legroom.
On arrival we were met by our transfer rep and taken over to Cannes. This is when we got our first glimpse of the Star Clipper, and what a stunning ship.
After checking in we were transferred to the ship via tender, which was the ships own lifeboats.
After welcome cocktails and snacks we were shown to our cabins. Our’s was on Commodore Deck number 105. It was port side and fairly near the front. I thought that maybe we were too near to the front, however, once under way my first doubts were soon dismissed. The cabins were quite well equipped with TV, hairdryer, ice bucket and a good choice of toiletries. The bathrooms however, were very small with a sink, loo and shower.
We were able to see all available grades whilst on board. The owner’s suite was right at the stern of the ship, with a double bed, mini bar, small seating area and Jacuzzi bath.
Category 1’s were very similar to the owner’s suite but were slightly smaller. They also had a slight disadvantage as they were on the main deck, so if you were staying in one of these you would hear people walking past on their way to the restaurant and bar.
Category 2’s were the same square footage as category 1’s but appeared smaller due to the layout.
Category 3 & 4. These are the same, except for the position on the ship. Category 3 is Commodore deck bough and Category 4 are Commodore deck stern.
Category 5. These are very similar to 3’s and 4’s except for the beds, which are risen approximately 1 meter off of the floor. There are 2 at the bough, 4 at the stern and 2 inside cabins.
Category 6’s were inside cabins on commodore deck there are only 6 inside cabins in total aboard the ship.
Dinner in the dining room was a large affair with a choice of 6 courses. The dress code for this was relaxed but it was asked that no shorts or t-shirts were worn. When dining most evenings we opted to sit at the same tables, but this is not compulsory. One can sit anywhere and anytime between 7.30 and 10.00.
Breakfast and lunch were also served in the restaurant, continental breakfasts from 6 – 7 served in the piano bar, then full breakfast in the restaurant. The choice was immense, fruit, cereal, pastries, ham, cheese, cooked breakfast and the chef was always in there cooking omelettes to order. Lunch, there was 2 options available here, either a snack buffet served on deck or a full buffet in the dining room, Every day was a theme, such as Mediterranean, Italian, Mariners etc, and there was also a grand barbeque on deck on the last day.
The entertainment on board was very limited but I felt that this was just right for the style of the ship. The crew nearly always does it; they are a very talented bunch. Sometimes they bring on local folk groups as well. I only heard 1 local group in Bonafacio, and didn't think very much of them...
Facilities on board consisted of the restaurant, a piano bar, tropical bar and 2 swimming pools, both of which are salt water and this is changed daily. When the ship is docked there is also quite a few water sports to choose from, water skiing, sailing, banana boat, snorkelling wind surfing and scuba diving. There is a chance to become PADI qualified whilst on board also (Which I did). Finally there is the library, this has a large selection of books and is fully air-conditioned.
The décor on the ship is very much Olde Worlde. The decks are made of teak, all the way through. The library is styled with quite a dark wood, almost masculine. The restaurant is very light and fully air conditioned, however, it can get very warm in there when all the guests are dining at the same time. The cabins are half dark wood and half painted, and could maybe be slightly lighter.
In the evenings Sail away occurs. This is a very majestic affair, while the sails are being raised there is classical music playing, and you are immediately transported back about 150 years to the days when sailing ships ruled the ocean. There are 11 miles of rope used on the sails and they are all raised manually, the experience has to be seen to be believed!
There is an access all areas policy on board. Except due to health reasons one cannot enter the galley. One can also steer the ship on the bridge.
The crew were all really friendly and always had a smile. Towards the end of the week, most of them knew our names and would stop and have a chat. Some would also join us in the evenings for dancing on deck.
Overall, I loved the Star Clipper and will defiantly travel on her again. This style of cruising is not for everybody, but those who have an interest in sailing would love it.
I didn’t meet anyone on board who had any cause to complain.
Sunday.... Porquerolles Hyreres Islands France. This was a beach stop, there is a small town, but nothing very much was open so I didn't bother going to visit. The island itself is beautiful, no traffic as its a nature reserve.
Monday.... Day at Sea
Tuesday...Costa Smeralda, Sardinia. I didn't bother with this town as its entierly man made, built about 15 years ago and extremely expensive.
Wednesday...Bonifacio, Corsica. This was awesome. As you sail towards it, you think that the ship is going to hit the cliff, but then you see the opening in the cliff face, as the ship sails through there are high cliffs on both sides. All of a sudden it all opens out into the most stunning marina. There are a lot of shops along the front, most have been built into the cliff face, and you can see the original rocks in the walls.
The most stunning part was at sailaway, the ship literally turned 180 degrees in the marina.... It attracted an awful lot of interest......
Thursday.... Calvi, Corsica, This town was a really pretty site, I didn't do any tours at all so can't comment on too much of it, but the shops are all in little "Back streets", which are very quaint.
Friday... St Tropez... This speaks for its self, I personally thought it was far too overated and too expensive... The marina was gorgeous, but other than that it did nothing for me.....
Saturday... Back to Cannes and home....
Fred Olsen / Star Clippers