Cruise line: Star Clippers Cruises,
A year ago today I handed in my thesis at Kingston University and headed straight to Gatwick to fly to Barbados. Yes, I know a bit old to be completing a degree but hey, you’re only old once!
In Barbados I relaxed at the Sugar Cane Club for a couple of days before joining the Royal Clipper at Bridgetown for seven nights crusing the Windward Isles. You could tell this was a special ship by all the Bahans stopping to gaze at her - the normal cruise ships didn’t get a look in! A glass of champagne and a cool towel welcomed you on board and a steward showed me to my cabin - which was useful as he opened a door to the corridor that looked like it was part of the wall!
The cabin (outside with porthole - no balconies on a sailing ship) was beautifully appointed with teak panelling and marble bathroom. Although slightly on the small side compared to the large cruise ships, it was supremely comfortable with really ingenious cupboards and liitle nooks for storage. A welcome tray of fruit and cold drinks was appreciated.
After settling in, it was up on deck for my first ’sailaway’. Music by Vangelis (1492 - Conquest of Paradise), the ship’s theme tune, played as the crew hoisted the sails and the ship sailed away into the sunset. Absolutely magical and an experience I will never forget. Cocktails and champagne as the night darkened and then down to dress for dinner.
No getting ’dressed up’ on Star Clippers thankfully as too hot. On this voyage we stopped at Grenada, Tobago Cays, St Vincent, Bequia, Martinique, St Lucia and back to Bridgetown. My favourite stop was Bequia because it was small, friendly and seemed relatively untouched by big ship visitors. All landings were by tender as obviously the islands are too small to have cruise ports. All went smoothly and no hold-ups although we did get a bit wet a couple of times (because of rain - not capsizing!). Well, it is the Caribbean!
Excursions were good but low key, completely in ambience with the holiday. However for the adventurous you could go zip lining amongst the rain forest trees on St Lucia. I preferred the beach! You could also use various water sport equipment from the Clipper at certain beach stops. Entertainment was low key with interesting people at dinner (open seating), followed by drinks and music at the bar on deck if you wished or relaxing in the salon. Local bands from the islands came on sometimes (depending on itinerary). Crab racing was the highlight of the week and boy, did people get excited!!! All too soon we were back at Barbados where thankfully I had booked another couple of nights back at the hotel before flying home. After a trip like that I would have hated to go straight to an airport to sit cramped for 10 hours.
An absolutely brilliant trip that I can’t wait to experience again. Pros: too many to mention. All of it! Cons: the only thing I would think to change would be maybe overnight in 1 or 2 islands so that we could sail through the day but of course that would extend the time, and cost, of the trip. So, definitely no complaints here.Overall rating: 5
|Date||29 April 2011|
|Comment||Great review – I want to go!|