Star Flyer Greek Isles

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#1
Seattle, WA
28 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Can anyone comment on the Star Flyer 7-day Greek isles cruise? Was it a smoky environment? Were the cabins quiet (except for near the engine room or dining hall)? Were there shore excursions every day?
#2
Chattanooga, TN, USA
87 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Our first Star Clippers cruise was a Greek Isle's cruise. It was a fabulous trip and has led to many more sailings.
Smoking is only allowed in certain designated areas so we have never had that be a problem.
Excursions are limited when compared to "big ship" cruises. But there are always things to do and a few very good options are always available.
We have not ever had any noise problems in our staterooms and we have been on all there ships in the fleet.
On our Greek trip the weather picked up the last couple of days and the captain decided to change our last port of call. That was a delightful surprise. That stop ended up being a highlight of the trip. A delightful little port village where we snorkeled, shopped a bit and just sat on the promenade, by the water, in town with a drink and enjoyed the day.
Ports are generally made mid to late morning so as to allow a little sailing each morning thereby making each day a more relaxed experience. Sailing into Santorini was really an exceptional experience.
It is not a big ship experience. The staterooms are small but comfortable. There is no casino and no stage show. The ship will move as one might expect from a sailing vessel. But we have found the crew and the other passengers to always be a delight and we have loved every minute we have had aboard.
Hope that helps.
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Holland America (57), Star Clippers (42), Windstar (14),
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#3
Seattle, WA
28 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Thanks for your detailed account of your experience. When did you go? I am concerned, being from Seattle, that the cruise, especially the shore excursions onto land, will be "grueling" in terms of the heat of a Grecian summer? Were the villages "baked" in sunlight, or was there a good breeze from the sea? Actually, I'd prefer to spend as much time on the water enjoying the sun, sea, and sky--perhaps I already said this--as possible. I've never done a cruise before. The hardest part may be taking the plane from Seattle to Athens, finding the hotel (to stay at for a day or two), and getting to the port.

Did you the "dress code" fairly casual? I understand that at dinner, walking shorts (and T-shirts) are frowned on.

Other than that, everything else sounds really good. I was always my dream in my twenties to join the Coast Guard. And then I studied classical art in grad school...
#4
Chattanooga, TN, USA
87 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
We went in August and it was indeed hot. My wife is from Washington state, actually, and I am from Texas so the heat did affect her more than me. Rhodes was the killer as it was the farthest south on or trip. We did a longer excursion with a fortress "trek". Our clothes were soaked through and we drank gallons of water. It was well worth it and I would not classify it as bad as grueling. We did in fact we "go through" all our clothes in a matter of a couple days and had to do laundry aboard (that was a first for us.) A minimal cost but well worth it.
Santorini was hot as well. My wife just stayed aboard as she didn't want to be disappointed by all the tourist traps in Santorini. She didn't want to spoil the wonderful views from a distance when we sailed in that morning. I ventured in and took a donkey up the hill but hiked back down. I was indeed sweaty and very smelly. When I returned, I found her aboard in a deck chair sunning and reading. She instantly said "you stink - what is that smell?" to which I gleefully replied "sweaty donkey" then went and took a shower.
We flew into Athens from Atlanta via Paris. We had researched and hired a private driver to pick us up at the airport and take us to the Corinth ruins for a day trip/tour. That was a fabulous idea and worth every penny. At the end of the tour, he took us to the ship for embarkation. The timing worked out perfectly. On the return we stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel. The views of the Acropolis from there are exceptional and with a bit of a walk you can get to the Acropolis or get a cab.
Finally, yes, no shorts at dinner and no t-shirts. For breakfast and dinner those are fine. For dinner, khakis/golf slacks and a collared shirt are the norm for men. Some sport coats are worn but not that many. For women, casual dresses, nice capris, linen slacks and tops are the norm.
Sailing while laying in the widow's net is our favorite way to pass the day. The views are unfettered, the water is splashing against the bow below and the breeze keeps you cool. Can't wait for our next trip in November.
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142 Days at Sea and Counting
Holland America (57), Star Clippers (42), Windstar (14),
Crystal (10), Viking River (7), NCL (7), Carnival (5)
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Star Clipper - Thailand - November 2017
#5
Seattle, WA
28 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
I don't do well in hot weather (above 80 degrees F.), so August may be more than I will be able to tolerate, especially once on land and wandering around in the heat of day.

Does everyone get off shore at the different ports, or do some people just stay on (relax, eat lunch, read, doze...)?

>> Sailing while laying in the widow's net is our favorite way to pass the day. The views are unfettered, the water is splashing against the bow below and the breeze keeps you cool.


From the itinerary posted, it seems that the ship only sails at night, or at least beginning in the late afternoon, after 5, so lying around on a deck chair or in the widow's net wouldn't that be a way to see the sunset (or sunrise/early morning/morning) or the evening into night.


Once docked at port, I wonder if it would be boring to stay on board. Maybe not (?).


Any clarification would be most appreciated!


By the way, is the water from the tap potable or does one drink only bottled water on ship (as well once in a port)?
#6
Seattle, WA
28 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Also, Fodor's "Greek Islands" says that in August one "must be prepared to fight the crowds" (Greek and foreign tourists both). Did you find that to be true, or did the Star Clipper stop in mostly smaller ports without crowds? At least one wouldn't be descending upon a village port with 600-1,800 other tourists, though.
#7
Chattanooga, TN, USA
87 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Let's see. Yes, the tap water is potable. Some folks still prefer bottled water. Also, there is a water fountain in the Tropical Bar (outside covered bar) that has a spigot to fill your own water bottle. We usually fill our two travel water bottles before heading ashore.
The crowds were not bad when we went in August. Probably due to the heat in part.
You can stay aboard when the ship makes port. It depends on what you can do to entertain yourself. If you are good with some sun, a lounge chair and a book or Ipod, well then you won't be bored at all.
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142 Days at Sea and Counting
Holland America (57), Star Clippers (42), Windstar (14),
Crystal (10), Viking River (7), NCL (7), Carnival (5)
---------------------------------------------------------------
Star Clipper - Thailand - November 2017
#8
489 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
We spent three weeks aboard Star Clipper and enjoyed their three Grecian/Turkish itineraries back in 2015. Because we wanted discrete itineraries for our back-to-back-to-back voyage, Star Clippers scheduling required a mid-July through week one of August time frame. We had concerns regarding both heat and crowds.


To a large degree - for us - those concerns proved to be non-issues. Some of the ports - think Mykonos, Rhodos, Santorini - had tourists and vacationers aplenty but never to the point that we couldn’t go where we wanted or were unable to get a table at a desired cafe or restaurant. Regarding the other islands on our itineraries, crowds were simply not an issue. Islands such as Skiathos, Hydra, Skopelous, and Limnos had vacationers but there were no large cruise ships with thousands of passengers descending upon the port city. Several of the port towns we visited were small, picturesque harbor towns.


The weather was warm but not unbearably so - we vacation in Mexico quite often, Cozumel - we’re divers - so that may have been a factor in that regard. We also arrived in Athens three days prior to our departure date for a pre-cruise experience and that may have helped with acclimatization. I don’t mean to minimize the heat but it does help to know one’s tolerance. One hint - wear a hat. The heat may be tolerable but the sun has no mercy.


This was not our first Star Clipper experience - previously we were aboard Royal Clipper out of Civitivecchia bound for Venice and we’ve had many sailings aboard both her and Star Clipper in the Caribbean. I say all that because we knew what to expect in terms of dining, berthing, excursions and whatnot and that is important aboard a smaller, more intimate ship - especially for three weeks. I will say this as well - because the ship is smaller, you will see your fellow passengers a lot!


Your fellow passengers on European itineraries will be more international than a traditional American cruise ship. Expect to hear conversations in French, Dutch, German, Italian, or English with an British, Australian, or New Zealand accent. Most are well-traveled and active. Many are in their late-50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. A few are older and a few, younger. Most seem to be adventurous types who want to see and experience.


Breakfast and lunch are casual, buffet affairs - dress is shorts, tees, sandals but no one will think you odd if you take your dress up a notch. Dinner is off-menu and the attire is more like “country club casual”. Jackets on men may appear at the Captain’s Dinner. Food is good with a decent variety - understand, the food won’t wow fanatical foodies but we haven’t been disappointed. The wine list is very serviceable without a price gouge.


Entertainment is not of a large cruise ship variety - no large floor shows and such. Folks migrate to the Tropical Bar for after dinner cocktails and conversation. Music for dancing and enjoyment is supplied by the ship’s musician/DJ at the Bar. Smokers are confined to one side of the ship - be advised that you will smell cigarette smoke even if you are on the non-smoking side. There will be several small organized “shows” after dinner as well - Talent Show, Fashion Show, etc. - where your participation is encouraged but not required. Most people turn in fairly early but there are usually a few that stay late on the bar stools. I must say that the ship itself provides most of the entertainment - going topside at night while under sail is an experience unlike others and is rarely available these days. Getting up early for a sunrise while approaching a small island under sail is a life experience that few have.


The Library is a quiet place for reading or resting - it is air-conditioned and the wi-fi is pretty fast there. The Library is also where one finds the sign-up sheets for shore excursions. The Main Lounge is a fairly large area good for relaxation, reading, puzzle-working and such. Wi-fi is good here as well - understand that “good” does not mean blazing FIOS speed. Another bar is located topside and is open for business during the day. Loungers are available but shade is at a premium. The swimming pools are very small and not very deep but can be used to cool off. One can relax out on the bowsprit netting - possibly one of the few opportunities one has for something like this. Mast-climbing is available on certain days as is helping with line-handling. Captain’s Story Time is an opportunity to hear of the experiences of the Clippers’ Skipper.


We are of a mixed bag with regards to shore excursions - we rarely use ship’s shore excursions on large cruise ships (Holland-America is our “big ship line”) but we are more apt to use the Star Clipper excursions. Also, sometimes a visit to a waterside cafe for some local food and wine is a shore excursion enough for us! Sign-ups for the excursions are aboard ship and usually have a required minimum/maximum participation rate. Costs for the excursions, as for all other shipboard expenses, are in Euro and are added to your shipboard account.


Laundry service is excellent - we have never had an issue with our laundry. Massages are available aboard. Star Clipper and Star Flyer have no fitness center. Royal Clipper has a small fitness center located outside the spa.


I’m sure I’ve missed many facets of the Star Clipper experience but hopefully you will gain some insight that may help with your decision. I’m including the itineraries of our voyage that includes shore excursion we chose. I understand that some or all of the Turkish ports may have been dropped or altered due to circumstances in that part of the world. That is truly a shame for our experiences in Turkey were integral to the success of our voyage.



Southern Cyclades - Athens to Athens



Sat 7/18 Piraeus, Greece - Embark Terminal A; Depart 2145
Sun 7/19 At sea
Mon 7/20 Rhodes, Greece - DIY Port
Tue 7/21 Bodrum, Turkey - DIY Port
Wed 7/22 Dalyan River, Turkey - SHOREX/Ancient Caunous & Dalyan River
3' 30"/90€/Boat ride to Caunos & Lycian tombs and Caunos for ruins/Beach stop
Thu 7/23 Santorini, Greece - SHOREX/Flavors of Santorini
4' 30"/100€/Bus to Akrotiri & Oia - also boat and funicular included
Fri 7/24 Hydra, Greece - DIY Port
Sat 7/25 Piraeus, Greece - Arrive 0700/Terminal A/Remain Onboard or Tour


*****
Delightful Dervishes - Athens to Istanbul


Sat 7/25 Piraeus, Greece - Embark Terminal A; Depart 2145
Sun 7/26 Mykonos, Greece - DIY Port
Mon 7/27 Kos, Greece - DIY Port
Tue 7/28 Patmos, Greece - DIY Port
Wed 7/29 Camlimani (AM beach stop) & Kusadasi, Turkey - SHOREX/Ephesus & Terraced Houses
4'/120€/Bus to ruins and tour
Thu 7/30 Dikili, Turkey - SHOREX/Pergamon
4'/114€/Bus to site, cable car, ruins and trip to Asklepeion - 3' on-site
Fri 7/31 Canakkale, Turkey - SHOREX/Gallipoli Peninsula
2'45"/120€/Bus to ferry across Dardanelles - 1' 30" on-site
Sat 8/1 Istanbul, Turkey - Arrive 0700/Port of Istanbul, Karakoy - SHOREX/Highlights of Istanbul
4'/90€/Bus to Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia. Tour ends in city center.

******
Yachtsman's Paradise - Istanbul to Athens



Sat 8/1 Istanbul, Turkey - Embark Port of Istanbul, Karakoy; Depart 2200
Sun 8/2 Canakkale, Turkey - DIY Port
Mon 8/3 Myrina, Limnos - Greece - DIY Port
Tue 8/4 Mt. Athos (Sail-By) & Ouranopolis, Greece
Wed 8/5 Skiathos, Greece - SHOREX/Around Siathos on Mountain Bikes
4'/76€/Mountain Bike tour to island center and North Coast & return
Thu 8/6 Skopelous, Greece - DIY Port
Fri 8/7 Porous, Greece - SHOREX/Epidaurus
3' 30"/88€/Bus to Epidaurus - Shrine to Aesculapius, baths & theater
Sat 8/8 Piraeus, Greece - Arrive 0700/Terminal A/Disembark

#9
Seattle, WA
28 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
That's exceptionally generous of you to write down thoughts and recount in such detail your experience. I have been quite caught up in trying to make a decision, as flying to Athens from Seattle (and the reverse) is not so easy, and I'm quite sensitive to temperature, although I suppose there must be a breeze coming off the sea even when the ship is docked at port.

It's either the Star Flyer or Azamara in October. Difficult to decide. I would October would be much more pleasant, and having a gym aboard is also another plus. I'm not sure if there are deck chairs, or if the decks are designed there only for people with verandas. The anonymity of being in a group of almost 700 is rather nice, too, as opposed to the 160+ at the Star Clipper.

Two very different experiences...
#10
Clovis, CA USA
154 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
We will be leaving on the May 6th sailing coming up next week! Glad to see a few actual reviews on this sailing. Our itinerary is a bit different, but similar to a few. We will visit:
Kusadasi, Turkey
Patmos
Amorgos
Mykonos
Monemvasia
We're thinking (at this point) that we will do the excursion to Ephesus in Kusadasi, and Delos in Mykonos. This will be our first Star Clipper cruise and we're all pretty excited about it! We'll be spending a few days in Athens to tour around a bit. "We" are a couple from Clovis, CA and our friends, a couple from Katy, TX (all low 60'ish).

I will report back on how much we loved it!!
#11
Long Island, NY
6,537 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Not only are there excursions every day, but most ports the sports crew will bring you by dinghy to a beach


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#12
Lincolnshire, UK
544 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Originally posted by denny1700
It's either the Star Flyer or Azamara in October. Difficult to decide. I would October would be much more pleasant, and having a gym aboard is also another plus. I'm not sure if there are deck chairs, or if the decks are designed there only for people with verandas. The anonymity of being in a group of almost 700 is rather nice, too, as opposed to the 160+ at the Star Clipper.

Two very different experiences...
Agreed, they are indeed different experiences. We've had 3 cruises on Azamara and 1 on Royal Clipper, Venice roundtrip. All were enjoyable, but Clipper is more of an experience as well. Assuming the Azamara October cruise is in southern Europe, the weather could be very changeable.

I'm not sure which ship you're referring to by the comment "I'm not sure if there are deck chairs, or if the decks are designed there only for people with verandas" or what exactly you mean?
#13
Pennsylvania
413 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by denny1700
That's exceptionally generous of you to write down thoughts and recount in such detail your experience. I have been quite caught up in trying to make a decision, as flying to Athens from Seattle (and the reverse) is not so easy, and I'm quite sensitive to temperature, although I suppose there must be a breeze coming off the sea even when the ship is docked at port.

It's either the Star Flyer or Azamara in October. Difficult to decide. I would October would be much more pleasant, and having a gym aboard is also another plus. I'm not sure if there are deck chairs, or if the decks are designed there only for people with verandas. The anonymity of being in a group of almost 700 is rather nice, too, as opposed to the 160+ at the Star Clipper.

Two very different experiences...
Excuse me if I chime in here - My husband and I have sailed the Royal Clipper January 2015 in the Caribbean and are scheduled for a 15-day Venice to Malta this October 7, 2017 on Star Flyer. We have seen most Caribbean islands multiple times and this had been our first in the Grenadines area which is now our favorite part of the Caribbean. The main thing I want to reinforce is that it is a very different actual sailing experience as opposed to the Azamara cruise. We enjoy the more casual ambiance with the sailing ship, plus the ports visited are smaller and more unusual; hence our choice on Star Flyer. We have traveled multiple times in this general Adriatic/Med area but wanted to do it on a sailing vessel to reach smaller, less visited ports, especially Greek ports. We have sailed both Azamara ships in the Caribbean prior to their classification as club cruises. The amenities and overall experience is as mentioned very different, though we love the former Renaissance ships now sailing under several cruise line flags. We also chose October as we are hoping there will be fewer European passengers and that possibly the ship will not sail full as it is much smaller than the Royal which had 179 on our sailing. I have tried to set up one of these roll calls in March for our Star Flyer, but no response thus far so it will probably not have many Americans aboard. For those that can give us more info on Star Flyer and/or ports, please feel free to post here or the link at Star Clippers Star Flyer 07 October - 22 October 2017. Personally, I am looking forward to sailing on the upcoming new Star Clippers vessel to begin sailing December 2017.
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