Can anyone compare Star Clippers & Windstar?

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Kansas City, MO
1,961 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
After 30+ Caribbean cruises on big ships, it's time for something different, a sailing ship. How do the cruise lines compare? For winter 2005, Windstar has some specials that make it much cheaper than Star Clippers. But Star Clippers is offering free airfare to the ship. Which would you take if you had a choice?
Thanks for the feedback,
Susie in KC
6 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I just joined - I would have answered earlier. Clipper ships sail. Windstar are a joke. Windstar are huge and shiny - Clipper are large, beautiful, true sailing ships but not scary. Great cabins - quite large. Great food. Great crew. You will know the reason for loving to sail with Clipper. Windstar uses motor and "sails" are set by computer and barely do a thing. I would do Clipper again 400 times. I have cruised 20 times and Clipper (Royal Clipper ex Barbados - the only one worth using) is absolutely the best trip ever. Do it. Pack light. Live.
Durango CO USA
465 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Where did you find that they include airfare???
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120 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
I've been on both Star Clippers and Windstar. Star Clippers has much better sailing (as a previous poster noted, the "sailing" on Windstar is done by computer.

The "hotel" on Windstar is better--better food, bigger cabins, and also better guides for the port events.

Given my choice, Star Clippers every time. There's no substitute for the fabulous sailing.
BC - Canada
1,009 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Interesting to hear the comparison, I haven't heard anything good about Winstar, but how would Star Clipper compre to Windjammer? Is it apples and oranges or are they similar - I've been looking at Windjammer for hubby's birthday present because he doesn't want to dress up and wants casual, lots of ports and something new to see/learn every day - any recommendations anyone?

Ontario, Canada
214 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
We've been on the Royal Clipper, and it was absolutely wonderful... very laid back and casual. Sailing is so peaceful and quiet! There is nothing like standing in the starlight under the sails! Except for the dining room, I never wore shoes. The food is extremely good... healthy and definitely quality over quantity. We compared it to Windjammer with our TA and she told us that Windjammer is much more "rustic". Smaller cabins, most upper and lower berths... not quite as "spoiled", and it was a younger much more active crowd. The islands they visit are very similar.
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Carnival Holiday-Western Caribbean
Carnival Fascination-Southern Caribbean
HAL Maasdam 2000-Panama Canal
Norwegian Sea 2001-Bahamas
HAL Westerdam 2001-Eastern Caribbean
Royal Clipper 2002-Grenadines
Celebrity Xpediton 2004-Galapagos
Sea Dream I 2005-Yachtman's Paradise
Fairfax, VA
56 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
We just returned from an eleven day cruise on the Wind Spirit (Our fifth on Wind Star ships). We were on the Royal Clipper in February of 2002. And we saw the Royal Clipper at Iles des Saintes on January 3.

Both are great. The food and service are better on the Wind Star ships, but the Royal Clipper is more casual. In my opinion, the Wind Star ships have a lot more class.

True, the Royal Clipper sails more, but don't be fooled; she has a big engine that will be used to meet the schedule. On one day at sea, the Wind Spirit sailed for 10 hours and hit speeds as high as 11 knots.

I have no desire to sail on the Royal Clipper again, but will certainly be back on Wind Star. Actually, I prefer Seabourn over either.

Have fun!!
Melbourne, Australia
303 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Billteer, I agree with your comment regarding Seabourn. We have cruised on Seabourn, Star Clippers and Windstar and thouroughly enjoyed all of them but for pure indulgence, fine food and attention to detail its hard to go past good old Seabourn yet they still manage not to feel too stuffy. Having said that it really is a very personal choice. If I were choosing between Windstar and Star Clippers, I would probably choose Windstar simply because they have the edge when it comes to food quality and cabin size but for me the determing factor would be the intinerary. I agree with the original posts that if you want an authentic sailing experience then Star Clipper would be the prefered option but bear in mind that if you are prone to motion sickness then the sense of motion is more pronounced on the Star Clipper ships.
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,526 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Windstar ships are motor sailers...not sailing ships. The sails are really more a novelty. They are small cruise ships and they really look the part when moored in the same port as the Clipper ships.
Star clipper moves alot less........a smoother ride.
Star Clipper bath rooms are nicer and you have a dining room and a Veranda restaurant

Star Clippers are true sailing ships....and they move in swells like a true sailing ship. We had a passenger in a wheel chair and part time walker.....he managed so don't let the movement scare you.
Clipper is much more relaxed and less dressy...even though Windstar is far from formal.

Food...I think Windstar would come outr on top, but not by much.

Winstar...laid back, Clipper...more fun.

At no time would I consider pulling Seabourn into this comparison.......thats another class of cruising and a totally different experience and cost. Seabourn should be compared to Silver Seas, Radisson and maybe the Europa....which I hope to sail on in 2006.

As for not the word. If you want small creature comforts, wearing a bathing suit to dinner and having a simple beach pary...try them. Small old sailing ships with basic ammenities.....plan to rough it. Nothing wrong with it......but not in the same category.
Melbourne, Australia
303 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Capt Tom agree whole heartedly with your comments, look forward to crossing paths with you one day as it seems we follow similar paths ;-)
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,526 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
I met a wonderful couple from Melbourn when I sailed the Paul Gauguin last September.......they were great people!!!!!! like all the aussies I have met.
I am looking into Blue Lagoon Crises and may ask them idf they are interested.......Have you heard anything about the cruises in Fiji.....if they are full of aussies....I gotta go there.....
I loved Sydney and Port to get to your town eventually.
Western Colorado
3,481 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
Originally posted by PattyCruise
Where did you find that they include airfare???
Sign up for their e-mails. That is how we found out about them. You can also call them and find out about it.
Melbourne, Australia
303 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
No first hand experience of the Blue Lagoon Cruises but don't think they are in the same league as Paul Gauguin. Fiji is very nice, people very friendly but lacks some of the sophistication you get in Tahiti (not that that worries us). Best of all Fiji is only 4 hour flight for us so very doable for a short break. While attracting many nationalities, Aussies and Kiwis are definitely the dominant tourist group as you would expect.

You must definitely check out Melbourne too when you get the opportunity too, totally different feel to Sydney but a great place to live and visit ;-)
BC - Canada
1,009 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
My thanks to everyone who has commented and esp. to Capt. Tom who has provided responses on other similar threads as well. I am now looking at the Royal Clipper, back to back - motion has never been an issue for us and it does sound more our style. Any recommendations on cabin choices for those who have sailed on her?

143 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Let me start by saying I have never sailed any ships other than WJ's, nor would I ever choose too. The experience is hard to describe in's a feeling like none other. The WJ's are very intimate the largest ship I believe holds 130 passengers, the smallest 64. When waiting to take the launch ashore there is essentially no wait. The feeling of being herded on and off like cattle is non existent. Barefoot is the foot attire each and everyday except to go ashore. I never wear shoes on board. Most of the crew are West Indian who will share stories, history and in some cases will even introduce you to family if you visit the island they call home. Food is wholesome and good. Nothing gourmet. I have never had a meal I was disappointed in.
Casual is always the atmosphere. Accomodations are very basic, but always clean and comfortable. Lets be for real here, how much time do you spend in the cabin ???? I sleep, do my daily rituals and store my stuff that's all. The rest of my time is spent top deck meeting new passengers, learning about sailing, stars, culture, or off by myself reading, people watching, and most of all relaxing.
If you lack a sense of adventure, require all the comforts of home, need to dress for dinner in something more than a t-shirt and shorts, gourmet food, and someone to provide entertainment, then a WJ is not for you.
Have fun no matter what you choose. You will probably x paths with a WJ ship in your travels, when you do you will know it.