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Lazy K

Star Clipper - Experienced Input Requested

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My sister and I, both in our early 70,s and still relatively active, are considering booking one of the September 2015 sailings on the Star Clipper between Venice and Athens that includes ports in Croatia. We have both cruised before but never on a ship of this type.

 

Can anybody who has taken this cruise please enlighten us as to the following:

 

1. How rough is the sea in this area, generally? Would you say it is more like the Inside Passage in Alaska or more like the North Atlantic (hopefully not!)?

 

2. Knowing that this type of vessel has no stabilization system, was there a lot of sea sickness aboard?

 

3. My sister is a vegetarian. Were there sufficient vegetarian choices on the buffets and at dinner?

 

4. Realizing that this is a sail powered vessel, how closely did it run to estimated schedules?

 

5. What was the general demographic aboard? Were there kids?

 

6. Does the Star Clipper sail at night or anchor?

 

Thank you in advance for any insights you can share.

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An attempt to respond to some of your questions! We have been on all three of the Clippers including the Star Clipper and the Royal Clipper in the Med. (next holiday booked on the RC for February in the Caribbean) The chances are that you will have light winds but stronger ones are, as ever, a possibility. In some sea / wind conditions the Star Clipper is more stable than a conventional cruise ship of similar size as some of the sails can be set to steady the ship. The Star Clipper basically sails overnight so you have the next day in the next port of call. If the wind is light / adverse then the ship resorts to engine power to keep up to schedule. Unlikely to be children on board at that time - if there are then maybe only one or two. In our experience of having (one or two) children on board they have been very well behaved. (Can tell you a very nice story about one if you are interested)

 

Don't worry about being in your "seventies" - there is likely to be a broad spread of age groups - we have met honeymooners in their twenties and, very memorably, in the Med, a couple from America with the wife just approaching her 101 st birthday and her husband being 97. Wonderful. One of the things that is often said about being on the Clippers is that "you meet some very interesting people". That has certainly been our experience. May I make a suggestion - go for it!

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No Problem with the Food. Lots of salads and veggies. At dinner you may have salad, salad, salad if you wish. Also lots of noodles and mediterranean stuff.

go for it!

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We did it in the opposite direction, Sept 2012. The prevailing strong winds in the Adriatic are from the NW in Sept. So for us it was on occasion a bit rough as we had to beat into it. Never saw anyone sick, sailed overnight, but some did remain in cabins for breakfast! Going the other way with the wind behind you it should be wonderful, Clippers are made to sail downwind. It will feel much smoother!

 

In the Aegian, the last 2 days, the NW winds can kick up a nasty sea and then it may be rougher. They will reduce sail and motor if its strong.

 

We loved it, but found it a rougher trip overall than a cruise on the Royal in the Caribbean, and we are sailors.

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Thank you very kindly for answering my questions with all the very good and encouraging information regarding this cruise. You have all been most helpful.

 

The information regarding the prevailing winds in September may cause us to consider starting in Athens rather than Venice.

 

The food sounds perfect and, even though my travel agent is not too enthusiastic about our plans, I think we are going to take the advice several of you have offered and just... go for it.

 

Thank you all again for your excellent input.

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Ional,

 

I have just re-read your post and I think I have myself backwards. If the prevailing winds are from the NW, and Clippers are made to sail downwind, the smoother direction would be with a start in Venice. Do I have that right? As you may have guessed, I have a lot to learn about sailing.

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On the Star Clipper in the Med. there were three generations of a family from the western area of America. The child / grandchild I will call J. (name actually remembered) J. was 14 years old and the only child on board. Within 24 hours of boarding the Captain arranged for J. to have a personally conducted tour of the engine room! On to the main story now:-

 

On the Clippers they have a raffle of the sea chart for the voyage (I have yet to win one) (the proceeds of the raffle go to an emergency fund for the crew). The raffle is drawn on the Captain's Dinner Night. Prior to that dinner the Captain arranged with J. that J. would draw the raffle, which he did. The Captain announced the winning raffle ticket number and the gentleman who won the raffle came up and collected the chart from the Captain. Question: - what did the gentleman who had just won the sea chart do with it. Answer:- he gave it to J. Very generous of him. J. may have had the best holiday of his life at the age of 14!

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Start in Venice! NW winds will be behind you all the way to the 'Corner' at the SW of Greece. All yachts sail best with the wind abaft (behind) the beam, ie mid point along the ship. By the last few days you will have your sea-legs!

 

However, maybe there will be no wind at all........ or, the opposite. We motored into Kotor fiord in a full gale from the south, and pouring rain, it was a thunderstorm. It was the only wet day, never saw the tops of the mountains! Remember in September the weather in the Med can be on the change.

 

However almost all of us were out on deck, in waterproofs, standing watching the Captain steer us in to calm water, even with no sails up we were well heeled over. It was dramatic, but memorable!

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Ional,

 

You sound like you may have done a bit of sailing. Thank you very much for the clarification. I think I have it now.

 

I live in Alaska, USA, and weather is ever changeable and unpredictable here too. Your experience coming in to Kotar sounds rather exciting.

 

This adventure is sounding better and better. Thanks again for the input.

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Lazy K,

We have been on 7 SC cruises. Did the Venice to Athens cruise in September a few years back--it was smooth sailing! They do have a timetable to meet, so if the winds are minimal, they will have to fire up the "iron ginny" to get you to port on time. Plenty of vegetarian food.

Enjoy!

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Hi All,

 

Well, based on all your good information and encouragement we decided to go for it; however, sadly, when our TA called to make the reservation for us she discovered that the ship is totally sold out for the date (end of September 2015), and the itinerary (Venice to Athens), that we wanted. We are currently in regrouping mode trying to see if we can B to B something rather than traveling 30 hours (I live in Alaska.), for a similar 7 day itinerary that does not do Greece. Best laid plans.....

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Sorry to hear about the non availability. Things may well change from time to time so you may wish to consider (as a final effort for the trip you had in mind) telephoning the Star Clippers office in Miami - (800) 442 - 0551 -to see if, in fact, things have changed since your TA contacted them and there is now some availability for the trip you were looking at.

 

As an alternative you may wish to consider the Royal Clipper from Venice to Rome departing on the 10th October. Very interesting 10 night itinerary for that one including three stops in Croatia. Also if you have not been to Venice / Rome before maybe a few days there before / after your Royal Clipper adventure.

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JOBAKE,

 

You must be a mind reader! The itinerary you suggest is the one I have inquired about this morning. It appears that there is both a 10 day and a 14 day itinerary running together on the Royal on October 10. Either one will work for us. We are hoping there will be some availability.

 

Thanks for the suggestion.

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Sorry to report that ALL the alternate dates and itineraries we tried are sold out. I think we have decided to do something else next fall and book the itinerary we want on the Clipper just as soon as the fall sailings for 2016 are open. We were both really excited about this adventure but really wanted to see Venice and Croatia.

 

Thank you all for your assistance. Maybe we will see you aboard in 2016.

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SUCCESS!!!

 

We lucked out and snagged a cancellation on the Royal Clipper October 10 sailing from Venice to Rome today! We are totally psyched!!!

 

Now the planning begins. Does anybody have any hotel recommendations for Venice and/or Rome? We want to spend a couple of days in each city.

Edited by Lazy K

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Great!

 

One or two thoughts to get you started on embarkation day. Embarkation usually commences at 4.00 p.m. Compulsory life boat drill might be at around 6.00 p.m. Dinner usually commences at 7.30 p.m. Suggest you go in to dinner promptly at 7.30 p.m. and leave the dining room by about 9.45 p.m. and make your way up to the open part of the bridge for sailaway at, usually, 10.00 p.m. (the RC will initially probably motor out of Venice because of the various turns in the channel). When you get up to the open part of the bridge position yourselves on the port side and, as the RC goes out past St Marks Square, with Vangelis playing, look closely towards the shore and ask yourselves "what are all those pinpricks of light" - you (by which I mean yourselves and the RC) are the stars of the show.

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SUCCESS!!!

 

We lucked out and snagged a cancellation on the Royal Clipper October 10 sailing from Venice to Rome today! We are totally psyched!!!

 

Now the planning begins. Does anybody have any hotel recommendations for Venice and/or Rome? We want to spend a couple of days in each city.

 

GREAT!

 

The Dorsoduro District (one of six districts as I recall) is a great area to stay in Venice and not as touristy as some. There are lots of accommodations--check out Trip Advisor. Have fun researching! :p

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Thanks so much for the tips, JOBAKE. I have printed your message and tucked it into my file. This adventure is sounding better and better!!!

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Lazy K,

 

We did the Venice to Rome cruise on the Royal a few years ago in June. It was a lovely trip. We especially enjoyed the Croatia ports and Kotor. You will love the Royal Clipper. Because of the small number of passengers your waiters will quickly get to know you and your preferences and will be able to suggest veggie options and even get the chef to give you modifications of the daily offerings. They are very accommodating.

 

If you have the time suggest you consider doing what we did. Fly into Rome and do an overland train trip to Venice for the cruise. We started by booking the cruise and then after research and considering the time spent flying from Seattle we kept adding things until we had another 10 days in Italy.

 

We spent 4 days in Rome, 3 in Florence and 3 in Venice. Train travel was no problem at all. When we got to the port of Rome we went straight to the airport and home. Note that both the port and the airport are not very handy to Rome and, come to think of it, neither is Venice.

 

final suggestion - the Rick Steves guidebooks for Rome and Venice are the best around. His hotel recommendations are always interesting and reliable places. Cross check them on tripadvisor and Venere dot com.

 

Enjoy,

 

Robbie

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Hi robbie21,

 

Thank you for your helpful input. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the cruise and especially Croatia. We are especially looking forward to visiting there.

 

Now that the holidays are over, getting the logistic details in place around the cruise is our next project. Neither of us had thought about flying to Rome and taking the train. We are going to look into that. I love the trains in Europe.

 

Thanks also for the Rick Steves' book suggestions. I am currently working from one called Mediterranean Cruise Ports. I have two books and a map on order for each of Rome and Venice. They are due here next week.

 

I have been looking at RS hotels and cross checking on tripadvisor but was not familiar with Venere. Thank you for that information.

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Lazy K,

 

Researching a trip is about half the fun. Learning about a place or a country and trying to separate the "must sees" from the "nice to sees" is challenging and fun. You learn so much that your appreciation when you get there is really enhanced. If you can possibly do it spend a couple of days in Florence (assuming you have not been there before). After Rome it has the best art in Italy and it is spectacularly pretty.

 

Glad to hear you have the Rick Steves books on order. He started his business with tours of Italy back in the 80's and knows it like the back of his hand. His hotel recommendations tend to be smaller, family run but often less luxurious that we Americans are used to. They are always clean and well run and inevitably have easy access to the major sights. Please note his advise on making advance reservations at places like the Borghese Gallery. Also, his museum walks and city walks are far better than anything else I have found. He has lots of travel info and background on his web site ricksteves dot com all of it is free.

 

Enjoy your planning and your trip,

 

Robbie

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Thank you for all the good tips, Robbie 21. I just bought an iPod to download the RS museum and city walks. They come highly recommended by a friend in Greece as well. We like to do a lot of things on our own in ports so these should work well for us. I have also made a list of sights that we can but tickets in advance for. I have been to Rome before and the advance purchase of tickets for several attractions was really a good plan.

 

We still have lots of research to do, and I agree that it is part of the fun of travel as well as adding greatly to the experience.

 

We are going to have a hard time waiting for October. We are really looking forward to this trip.

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Returned last week from Caribbean week on Star Clipper. Have done 16 cruises never felt hungry before & first time writing to owner with complaint.In answer to your specific questions.1 seas vary weather changes nothing you can do about that-2 depends on seas/weather. 3 DO NOT go if a vegetarian because I am & disgusted with offerings or lack of!Told by hotel manager "this is not a speciality restaurant" all soups made with meat stock ,all starters contained meat/fish even salads.You will be offered sorbet(frozen water) & some tiny egg/cheese main course small enough to sit in the palm of your hand with no vegetable sides & dont bother asking for a jacket potato because the answer is NO.I spoke to the 'chef' who had no idea what to offer a vegetarian so I suggested tofu if he had which is what I got for lunch & dinner every meal, once got white rice & beans, baby portion. Lentils which looked as if poured directly out of a tin-alone on plate again no vegetables. Strange as the meat eaters had all sorts with their mains. The Captains Dinner I was offered sorbet, yellowing lettuce & tiny mushroom quiche. Up at 6am for fresh bread from the coffee shop before Breakfast at 7.30 or 8am is good fresh fruit, cheese eggs again! cereals & breads. Not only boring eating breakfast 3 times a day but insulting & lazy catering staff.Afternoon snack also meat based.4 mostly on time but anchor in bays & have to tender into ports so short days, as leave early afternoons. 5 Older fit boating crowd didnt see any children. 6 overnighters anchored in bay or travelling. Commardore deck Very noisey from engines,bilges,propelers,vents like travelling in a washing machine-ear plugs hardly make a difference.Also have to climb steps into some beds. I tried to sleep outside on deck as only quiet place but staff not keen. Drink a lot to sleep seems to be the answer for some. Very expensive- very uncomfortable -never again. Hope this helps-the sailing bit was interesting & Peter the cruise director worked hard & published daily info & gave talks.

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Kewgardens,

 

So sorry you did not enjoy your cruise. My sister and I are on the Royal in Europe in the fall. Everyone who has replied to my query, until now, seems to have really enjoyed their Clipper cruise experience. We are really looking forward to our adventure!

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Done several voyages in the Caribbean aboard both the Royal Clipper and the Star Clipper - also did a voyage aboard the Royal out of Rome for Venice. Never had anything but a wonderful time. Spending three weeks aboard the Star in July bouncing around Greece and Turkey - expect to have another great adventure.

 

Sorry that your cruise didn't meet your expectations.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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We have done several trips on the Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and the Star Flyer in the Caribbean and the Med. Food selection always quite extensive and good quality. Overall I estimate that we have travelled with more than 2,000 fellow passengers and the extent of the adverse comments about the food posted on the 28th January is a "first". Depending on the location of your cabin there can be a bit more engine noise on the Star Clipper than on the Royal Clipper. I understand that the Royal Clipper, when built, came in ahead of spec. for noise - i.e. it is quieter than expected. It may be that the Cruise Director Peter referred to is Peter K. - he is a legend among many Clipper passengers including for his knowledge. On my stats. it looks as if a Clipper holiday for one in a thousand passengers is the wrong choice. Sorry it did not work for K - we have seen quite a few of the other types of tears - joy and positive emotion!

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Sorry to hear Kew Gardens unhappy, though nearly all his complaints are about the food. We love the Clippers but they are working sailing ships, not motor boats or cruise liners, that's why we love them! Food for us carnivores excellent, and plentiful. Early pastries then breakfast, a full cooked lunch, afternoon snacks at 5pm, dinner and midnight snacks if anyone can still do up their trousers! Fruit always available and tea and coffee in the piano bar.

 

The kitchen is tiny, nothing like a normal familys kitchen, let alone a cruise ships facilities. they feed up to 170 people plus 70 crew each sitting. If you are a vegetarian who eats fish you will be fine. Otherwise, yes it will be boring, that's why most of us are not vegetarian. They cannot prepare special food for one or two people, they do not have the space.

 

Noise is missing further forward, and on higher decks. Its a small ship, it sails, its noisy! If you pay for a cat 1,2 or 3 cabin you will be fine, no steps. They are just in the cheaper, noisier cat 5 and 6.

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