Star Clippers Puts the Wind in Your Sails

In Activities by Susan Barnes

She sits alone just out of reach, glittering under the moonlight, mysterious and intriguing. To approach her, you must be escorted and presented – there’s no surprising her.

When I first saw Star Clippers’ Star Flyer floating in the harbor, I couldn’t wait to board and start exploring her gleaming wooden decks.

Hosting just 170 guests max per sailing – with 72 staff to dote upon the guests’ every whim – sailing aboard a tall ship is a casual intimate experience that can’t be found on the larger cruise ships navigating the world’s oceans. As guests, we were invited to treat it as if it was our own private sailing ship, and with every inch accessible to us. Don’t think I didn’t take my turn at the helm!

One of the highlights of sailing on a smaller ship is the chance to really get to know your fellow passengers, and even the crew. Meals are very casual – as is the dress – with one seating at dinner and unassigned seating. Dining aboard the Star Flyer is exquisite. Breakfasts and lunches are served buffet-style, and dinner is an elegantly-presented feast for the senses. All menus are created by a Michelin-star chef, and offer meat, fish and vegetarian options. A sommelier can help with wine selections, and cocktails are always flowing at the bar.

Daily excursions are just about the only chance to work off the calories from the day before; if you choose something a bit more active. When it comes to excursions, another benefit of sailing on a tall ship is that group sizes are quite small – typically a maximum of 30 instead of, say, 200, as found on larger cruise line excursions. Sign up is on a first come, first served basis, and is done once onboard instead of ahead of time. The fun-loving crew filled the sailing days with activities, from exercise classes to knot tying classes to opportunities to climb up into the crow’s nest. Instead of lavish after-dinner shows, nighttime entertainment onboard is a bit more casual, from bringing on local bands for a performance, to a guest and crew talent show.

When to Go

In 2014, Star Clippers’ three tall ships – the Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer – are sailing the Caribbean, Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Northern Africa, the Panama Canal and ocean crossings.