Royal Clipper Caribbean Cruise Blog Day 1 and 2
We flew with BA to Barbados, as we had 1 night pre-cruise before we embarked the Royal Clipper, part of Star Clippers Cruises, and our first night in the Caribbean was spent at The Colony Club. We arrived at nightfall and the hotel looked wonderfully romantic all lit up, with flaming torches leading the way down to the beach area. The general manager, Gloria, hosted us with a private dining experience and the food was excellent, along with the wine. After dinner we went and sat by the beach in this moonlit paradise; the soft sea breezes gently cooling us down; the sound of the waves lapping the shore, all whilst spotting crabs on the sand whilst we enjoyed some Bajan hospitality of rum punches. We were staying in Junior Suites with pool views and these rooms were huge! I would thoroughly recommend spending a few days here prior to embarking a ship, just to relax and chill out. Our group consists of seven travel professionals and our host from Star Clippers UK.
The next day we had a hotel inspection of the rest of the property and then there was free time for a quick swim in The Colony Clubs lovely pool - plus time to have a morning rum punch at the swim-up bar before our transfer to the airport, OK so it was 10am but somewhere in the world it was cocktail-o-clock! The Colony Club is part of a group of hotels in the Elegant Hotels chain, and they have five on the island, including the rather amazing "The House". Guests staying at any of them can use the facilities of the others, and are linked by a frequent water taxi service along the west coast of the island.
After a short flight in a LIAT plane we arrived at Antigua- albeit a bit later than planned due to some bad weather. Luckily we were in contact with the ship so they delayed the sailing for us. We were joining the cruise a few days in to the itinerary and staying on for just four nights. For guests the cruise starts in Barbados for seven nights.
Once we had cleared immigration and customs, which seemed to take forever, (it was defiantly Caribbean time!) we found our transfer and were quickly whisked off to St Johns to join the ship. As we arrived at the dock the sight of the 5-masted Royal Clipper tall ship was stunning. Next to it was a German cruise ship, AidaLuna, which looked like an apartment block next to our elegant lady. The sails were not deployed but the sight of the huge masts towering into the sky was a majestic sight indeed. We all felt rather proud and special to be embarking on this windjammer, and waved to the German guests of the other ship as she left port.
Once we had checked in we all made our way to our cabins. Now I have to point out that Royal Clipper is a true sailing ship - she is NOT a cruise ship and I think that needs to be made very clear from the outset - this is a sailing experience. The cabins we had been allocated were Category 3's, on deck 1, mid-ships. Plenty of storage space with drawers and enough hangers in the built-in wardrobes, a compact bathroom with shower and shower curtain, TV and DVD player mounted on the wall in their own cabinet, and space under the beds for the suitcase. The walls are decorated in rich dark woods, almost mahogany in colour with brass accents and the whole room certainly has a nautical feel to it. It's not the most spacious of rooms but as I said, it's a sailing boat and not a mega-cruise ship.
It was then back up on deck to watch us sail away. They usually try to sail with all the sails deployed, however on this occasion we were just anchoring outside of St Johns in Antigua so the captain decided to use the engines. After sail away it was time for a quick shower and change and time for dinner.
The dining room spans three decks and looks very impressive in the heart of the ship. I had the Beef Carpaccio, a green salad, Tomato soup and the Sea Bream as my main - all food was good and tasty and welcome after a long day of travelling.
After the meal it was back up on deck as a steel band had been shipped in to entertain us. All the favourites were played and we were soon up dancing with the other guests. It was our first night onboard so we are all excited to be there and actually closed the bar at just gone 1am!