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Sailor without a boat

Royal Clipper Transatlantic 10/28/10

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Well, we did it! My wife and I just booked on the westbound transatlantic this fall. We've never sailed on Star Clippers before, but we used to sail our own boat, and can't wait to experience the Royal. If there's anyone out there booked on the same trip, we'd love to hear from you, and if anyone has any tips or suggestions for our trip we'd love to hear those too!:D

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Hi Harriet, Thanks for your reply. We actually saw your slide shows before we booked, it helped make the decision! They are really good! One question I have is that I've seen conflicting reports on activities such as climbing the mast and helping with the sails. How often are these offered, and is there enough time for everyone to participate? Also, on your cruise did they do the thing where they let you go out on a small boat and photograph the ship under sail? Thanks, John

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They offered mast climbing either 4 or 5 times during the 16 days - I can't remember exactly. Everyone who wanted to participate seemed to be able to do so - my husband climbed every single time it was offered. The chance to participate in manuevers and help hoist sails, etc. only came once. It was quite a big production - I chose to photograph it rather than participate. Would have been nice had they done it twice.... then I could have photographed once, and participated the other time. There was at least one - maybe more - additional opportunity for passengers to steer the ship.

 

There were several classes related to running the ship that were held daily, except when we were in port. I took the navigation class, and I thought it was great. We were in the bridge with one of the officers for an hour and really learned a lot about navigation and the ship in general. A group doing celestal navigation with sextants met daily as well. There were several knot tying classes, and other related classes as well. Daily there was also a dolphin and whale watching time. And a number of other planned activities.

 

Unfortunately, there was not the opportunity to go out in the tender and photograph the ship. I believe they do not do that in the middle of the ocean, but only closer to shore, and although they planned to do it on the last day, the conditions were not ok to do it before we arrived in Barbados.

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Hi,

We will be with you, sailing from Lisbon. It will be our 5th Star Clipper trip, second on the Royal. Sometimes the "sailing" activities are organized, and other times if you are around, they let you help. My husband, "Capt Ed", spent a lot of time near the bridge and got to do a lot of stuff--even when it was not organized as an activity. The crew is very friendly. :D

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Hi Kim,

Well, glad to meet a future shipmate! It sounds like "Capt Ed" has the right idea. I suppose that's where I'll wind-up spending a fair amount of time as well. My wife and I are very excited about this cruise, it sounds like it will be great! It's been about 5 or 6 years since we sold our boat, and I've only been sailing a few times since, I really miss it at times.

I've seen a few posts complaining about smoky conditions in the tropical bar when the side curtains are down, did you experience this? Was it just in port or while underway as well? I would think that while underway there would still be enough airflow through there to keep it well ventilated, my wife doesn't do so well with smoky rooms.

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Hi,

Smoking was never a big issue--we don't like smoke either. We have moved a few times when the smoke headed our way, but it didn't happen often. In fact, most of the times we took our drinks up top anyway because it is a better view. You basically have free roam of the ship.

We still have a sailboat, S/V Sante`, here on the gulf coast. :p

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We are on the Panhandle, next to Ft Walton Beach. Destin is in the news when hurricanes are headed our way. The weather channel guys hang out there during storms and scare everyone to death. :eek:

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They will all be new places except for Barbados. We did the Royal out of there 2 years ago. We liked it, so we are staying 3 nights again at the end of the voyage.

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We sailed on the Royal several years ago, on a charter that was an older demographic than the usual cruise. We were offered all of the stuff except a chance to handle the lines, but most of that is mechanized. One afternoon I went to the wheelhouse and got a one-on-one lesson on trimming sails to the prevailing wind and destination. Sailing is so much more difficult than running my small fishing bay boat!:eek: A new appreciation to the sailors!

 

The Royal remains one of the 2 most memorable cruises I have taken out of 10/+-. Hope I can sail with Clipper again.

Edited by Taxguy77

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That sounds nice, we are going into Lisbon a day early to try and do some sightseeing there.

 

Well worth it - we loved Lisbon and would have loved to be there longer (we were just there a day early as well).

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Everything is paid up--not too long now. Trying to get smart on the ports--like Morocco. :p

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Hi,

I'm booked on the October 28th Royal Clipper Transatlantic cruise. I've sailed with the Star Clippers 3 times, but just in the Caribbean. I'm not single, but I will be doing this cruise alone. Crossing the Atlantic on a sailing ship is just something I've wanted to do for years. I'm going to Lisbon one day early. Anyone have suggestions for a hotel? Thanks for any info, Deb

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Hi Kim and Deb,

 

We're really starting to get excited, any idea when we'll be getting our documents? I have been looking at the ports as well, Casablanca seems like the only things are the mosque and dining. Thinking about an excursion into the desert in Essouria (possibly on camels). We are going to Lisbon a day early as well and are staying at the hotel reccomended by the cruise line, the Phenix? I think.

Trying to get together with a friend of a friend locally who did this trip a couple of years ago, hopefully they'll give us some good tips!

Cheers!

John:D

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Hi,

I'm booked on the October 28th Royal Clipper Transatlantic cruise. I've sailed with the Star Clippers 3 times, but just in the Caribbean. I'm not single, but I will be doing this cruise alone. Crossing the Atlantic on a sailing ship is just something I've wanted to do for years. I'm going to Lisbon one day early. Anyone have suggestions for a hotel? Thanks for any info, Deb

We stayed at the Hotel Olissippo Castelo in Lisbon. It is up the hill a short walk from the tram and close to the Castle. Because it is not in the center of town, you get a very very nice hotel for not too much money! Our room was huge - great for re-organizing everying in preparation for our cruise!

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Hi DocH2O,

Thanks for the Lisbon hotel suggestion. I was wondering if the hotel staff spoke English? I'm hoping to arrange a city tour, since this will be my first trip to Lisbon.

 

Kim,

I think you mentioned in a message that you had booked your Lisbon hotel. Would you mind sharing where you are staying?

Thanks!

Deb

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"Thanks for the Lisbon hotel suggestion. I was wondering if the hotel staff spoke English?"

 

Yes, there was always someone at the front desk who spoke English. The staff was courteous and helpful, although we didn't book anything through them.

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Hi!

We are staying at the Zuzabed and Breakfast for three nights. It has great reviews on Trip Advisor and Luis has been been a charm to work with. We stay in these type of places to get a real local feel for the area.:cool:

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Hi Kim,

I still haven't booked a hotel. Since I'll be alone and have never been to Lisbon, I was thinking of maybe just going with one of the big hotel chains. I'd like to arrange a Lisbon tour and thought it might be easier and the chances of the desk staff knowing English might be better. The Sofitel looked good, until I read a review that said it was fine, except the tours were "very weak". So I don't know if my logic is good or not!

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Just got them today. I'm looking over the shore excursions. Wondering if it's best to book through the ship or make independent arrangements...

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Hi fellow cruisers,

Got the documents last week. Went online to pick airline seats--some were saved from my original requests, some not. Read the shore trip info--now I need to read the other info I accumulated to see if we will do it on our own or do ship's tours. Also preordered wine to be in our room --in US dollars, not Euros, and no bar tip. Need to keep checking the weather in Lisbon to see what to wear--the rest of the trip--not a problem. Need decent shoes for Lisbon's cobblestone and the Morrocan adventure.:D

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Ok, all is right with the world, the cruise documents came yesterday!

 

Now I've got another question: After looking at the itinerary and the excursions, something doesn't make sense. It looks like we are only in Safi for half a day in the am, yet the excursion to Marrakesh takes 12 1/2 hours. This doesn't seem possible, any thoughts?

Also, I thought the ship would offer currency exchange for the individual countries, but the booklet doesn't say so.:D

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Documents in hand--good for you!

Maybe the Safi trip picks them up to go to their destination and then delivers them to Essaouira (which I haven't seen on the itinerary before). We have seen that example on some past cruises.

I don't recall the SC offering too much in the way of currency exchange--maybe too many nationalties to take care of.

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Guess I have seen Essaouria on the ports of call. I guess I forgot about it because I have not done my Morrocco research yet. That's for next week!:rolleyes:

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Essaouria was on our itinerary last fall sailing from Lisbon to Barbados on the Royal Clipper. I figured from the itinerary that the bus would take us from Safi to Marrakeesh, and then Marrakeesh to Essaouria to meet the ship which would have sailed while we were gone.... but when we got to the ship in Lisbon, Essaouria was off the itinerary, and we just took the bus to Marrakeesh from Safi, and then back to Safi. We never went to Essaouria. There were considerable security concerns in Safi - we had a police escort half way to Marrakeesh - which may have been the reason Essaouria wasn't visited at all. My husband's brother, who lives in France, has vacationed in Essaouria and says it is wonderful, so I was a bit disappointed.

 

If you take the trip to Marrakeesh, by the way, skip the pharmacy if you can. The rest of it is great.

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Interesting. I had some friends on a Celebrity ship two years ago, and the ship cancelled all the Morrocco stops due to security issues.

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"The Marrakesh excursion takes you to a pharmacy?:D"

 

Indeed. The first 5-10 minutes were interesting, but then the hard sell to buy herbs and spices and purchase massages from the staff went on and on and on.:eek:

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We went thru Boat US who now automatically transfers us to the Star Clipper reservation system. The "The Star Clippers Gift Order Form- Bon Voyage Gifts" has always been part of the paperwork. We have not done this before, we always order wine at dinner and will continue to do so--but we figured for this long of a trip it might be good to have some in our room. Only a few prices are good, but we don't have that many stops on the TA so wanted to stock up a bit.:rolleyes: Also, the wine is prepaid with US dollars, not the Euro -which is way not in our favor now--and there is no bar tip added. Ask your travel agent about this. If you do it within 7 days of sailing there is an extra processsing fee!

Edited by cluso
grammar

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DocH2O,

Researching Morocco now. Did you do the Casablaca or Rabat tour--or talked to anyone that did? Rabat seems to be a nicer city--and apparently you can do only one city due to the timing. I've seen a lot of comments about Casablanca being pretty nasty without much to see.

Thanks for any input.

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