WOW - what a brilliant day today has been. Firstly the weather has been stunning, virtually not a cloud in the sky - secondly Royal Clipper is in Iles Des Saintes - a small group of islands south of Guadeloupe. This really is the Caribbean of yesteryear -untouched by commercialism, small and picture-postcard perfect. The main town (if you can call it that) consists of a main road, with clapperboard buildings and brightly coloured shops on either side, locals sitting lazily in the sun, a relaxed, chilled atmosphere and just the sort of place the Caribbean really is -a far cry from the large commercial ports of call that the mega liners call into - disgorging thousands of pax into the local area. The Royal Clipper only holds 228 guests so wherever the ship goes the local area is never overwhelmed with tourists and crew.
Back on the tender ride to the ship and it was time for a bite to eat before we took another tender to the beach.
Here there was a strip of sand bordered by tropical trees and not much else - there were no other people on the beach other than Royal Clipper guests so we had the place to ourselves. The onboard Sports team had set up an area where we could collect snorkelling gear, or you could take out a catamaran or kayak too I you wanted - all complimentary of course, The water sports team also offer water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and sailing. You can also enjoy scuba diving - and if you have not tried it before Star Clippers offer a Padi scuba diving course, and if you stay onboard for two weeks, they also offer a Padi open watercourse for beginners. For more experienced divers, the ship offers scuba diving trips for certified divers whenever possible.
We opted for snorkelling and were soon swimming in the warm Caribbean sea, spotting all sorts of brightly coloured fish, corals and other aquatic life. The ships resident marine biologist was swimming near us and she pointed out different fish and names of coral that we had not spotted. There was time for a spot of sunbathing before we bordered the tender to make our way back to the ship. What are relaxing afternoon - simply perfect!
Back on board we grabbed a drink then boarded the tender for a sunset "photo cruise" around the ship. As we departed, the Royal Clipper pulled up the anchor and unfurled all the sails as we cruised around her in the ships tender. Cameras were clicking away as we circled Royal Clipper and were at sea for a good hour as the sun set in the distance - what a perfect end to a perfect day - I took over 200 snaps so at least one or two of them should be good! You can see some of them here - Royal Clipper photos - not all 200 mind! After our photo tender trip there were afternoon snacks served onboard - beef tacos - of which we had a few, it would be rude not too and we had not eaten for a few hours! They were really yummy too!
In the evening it was Captains farewell dinner, and after he made his speech in the dining room we were all given a glass of bubbles to toast the Captain . He told us that there were 29 different nationalities onboard! That's pretty impressive for a small ship. Even though it was Captains night, hardly any gentlemen wore jackets, as the dress code is very relaxed - or casual elegance as they like to say - this is in keeping with the whole Star Clipper experience really and fits well. I couldn't decide between the lobster tail or the chateaubriand, so guess what - I had both! I have to say the lobster was one of the best I have ever tasted and is my dish of the cruise so far! Once the plates were cleared, the lights were dimmed and all the waiters paraded around with flaming baked Alaska's, dancing in the aisles and jigging about - all to rapturous applause from the guests!
After dessert, it was up to the Tropical Bar for Guest and Crew Talent Show - only that there were no guests with any talent apparently as it was just the crew! We had singers, dancers, comedy and even a magician, including our Captain singing and playing a guitar - it was another fun night onboard and I think every guest was up there to watch the show!
Drink prices onboard are all priced in Euros, for example
So pretty reasonable. Soft drinks, bottled water are all additional, however there is a tea/coffee station and water fountain set up for self-service.