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FredT

Royal vs Flier

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OK.... After a lifetime of "big ship" cruises my wife and I are looking at a couple itineraries on Star Clippers.

 

What has me a bit concerned is that my wife is "slightly" prone to sea sickness, so before we book the Andaman Sea (20 hr plane flight) or a two week Med cruise, we are looking at a simple (close by) Caribbean trip to "try" things out.

 

Well, as they say, "all the plans of mice and men..." Neither the Flyer or the Star are available in Jan-March. (Cuba, then a charter) So...... the backup plan is a one week Royal itinerary.

 

No problem, but my question is this: Is the "experience' on the Royal vastly different from the smaller ships? By "experience" I mean how the ship rides, handles, the cabins, food, ambiance, etc etc.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

FredT

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There are definitely no "vast" differences between the experience on the Royal and on the smaller ships. Cabins are quite similar, food is similar, overall interior design is essentially the same, etc. Crews move between the ships as their contracts change so you see some of the same people if you take multiple cruises. All ships operate within the same company policies and procedures. There is a general feeling that the smaller ships are a bit more "intimate" in that with fewer passengers you get to know people quicker.

 

With respect to seasickness - if you take the Royal out of Barbados you will likely experience rougher seas than anywhere in the Med (baring a storm). Barbados is not in the Carib, it is out in the Atlantic and the first and last night run to and from the shelter of the Caribbean Sea is often rough. The rest of the cruise is noticeably calmer. Please note, however, that these ships do not have stabilizers and always have more movement that the large cruise ships you are used to. That said, over the counter meds taken well before sailing is effective for me. I use Meclizine. It is a 24 hour pill and has no discernable side effects for me (opinions vary :))

 

I think your strategy of a trial cruise is wise. Our first Star Clipper cruise was on the Royal out of Barbados. We have now taken 8. We also have around 12 cruises on regular cruise ships. The Star Clippers are a different sort of experience. We find it restful and relaxing. Not everyone does. A test is wise.

 

Good luck and enjoy :D

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After six cruises with the smaller ships and one with Royal Clipper (as well as more than 70 'regular' cruises with many companies) I will sign what robbie 21 wrote.

 

Our first Star Clippers cruises have been on the smaller ones and we asked fellow passengers who had both experiences at this time, which ship(s) they would prefer. The answer was very wise and after we took the cruise on Royal Clipper, we agreed. It is very simple. Who has cruised first on the smaller ships will prefer them, who has cruised on Royal Clipper first will prefer this ship.

 

The smaller ones are quite more sailing ships, as the sails have to be set mostly manually (supported by electric winches, installed on the open decks), while sails on Royal Clipper are all to be set by just 'pressing a button'. But therefore, there is significantly more usable open deck space per passenger on board of the Royal Clipper. And, if somebody needs or wants that, Royal Clipper has a sauna. One more plus of the Royal Clipper is the bathing platform at the rear end. If someone needs a balcony cabin, Royal Clipper is the only choice.

 

For us, the smaller ships have more intimity with less passengers. We do not need a balcony on this ships, as a part of the concept is interacting with other passengers. We even do not need a sauna - never visited it during our cruise with the Royal Clipper. So we still prefer the smaller ships but will even cruise again with Royal Clipper, depending on the itineraries the ships will go (and the pricing, of course). Both are unique experiences, far away and much more intensive than a cruise on a huge motor driven cruise ship. We even still do 'regular' cruises, but the sailing cruises are definitely the highlights of cruising for us.

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Thank you (both of you) Based on a lot of things, (Including both these posts) we just booked a Grenadines trip on the Royal. We're excited about this as it is the first radical departure from mainstream cruising we have taken in 33 years together.

 

A further point of interest will be our stop in Grenada. Our only other visit was on a Cunard lines ship on our honeymoon. And THAT did not go so well as we spent the afternoon up at Fort Frederick arguing with a bunch of Cubans with AK 47's. (Thought my wife was NEVER going to leave the states again after that!)

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Thank you (both of you) Based on a lot of things, (Including both these posts) we just booked a Grenadines trip on the Royal. We're excited about this as it is the first radical departure from mainstream cruising we have taken in 33 years together.

 

A further point of interest will be our stop in Grenada. Our only other visit was on a Cunard lines ship on our honeymoon. And THAT did not go so well as we spent the afternoon up at Fort Frederick arguing with a bunch of Cubans with AK 47's. (Thought my wife was NEVER going to leave the states again after that!)

 

"...Arguing with a bunch of Cubans with AK 47's????".....more please!!!!!!!!

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Thank you (both of you) Based on a lot of things, (Including both these posts) we just booked a Grenadines trip on the Royal. We're excited about this as it is the first radical departure from mainstream cruising we have taken in 33 years together.

 

A further point of interest will be our stop in Grenada. Our only other visit was on a Cunard lines ship on our honeymoon. And THAT did not go so well as we spent the afternoon up at Fort Frederick arguing with a bunch of Cubans with AK 47's. (Thought my wife was NEVER going to leave the states again after that!)

 

As I understand, your experience is from decades ago. ;-)

 

Today (and since a long, long time) Grenada is a save and quiet place - just one very beautiful island in the caribbean sea. There is a lot of nature, and people are very friendly. Geenada is also known as the 'spice of the caribbean', and about half of the world's production of nutmeg is coming from this little island.

 

If you habe any specific questions about Grenada please let me know by next wednesday, as I will meet by chance some people from there on thursday next week.

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"...Arguing with a bunch of Cubans with AK 47's????".....more please!!!!!!!!

 

My wife and I were on the Cunard Countess. At Grenada we chose to "go on our own" and grabbed a local cabbie to see the island. After about an hour he dropped us up at the fort, and said he had to get gas and would be right back (We had not paid him so we were NOT concerned) Off he went, and off we went, only to be confronted by a "civilian" brandishing an AK47.

 

He asked who we were and we replied we were off the ship. At that point he excitedly yelled to the fort "Captain, Captain they're AMERICANS!!!!" (He had no idea that I had been born in Puerto Rico and spoke fluent spanish) Needless to say I played the dumb (non spanish speaking) tourist, and we spent the next 20 minutes taking pictures of everything BUT the fort while six Cuban soldiers argued about "what to do about us"...

 

At that point our cabbie pulled back up, and we "happily" waved goodbye and strolled (quickly) to the cab. When we asked the cabbie "***?" he replied "Oh dont worry about them, they're EVERYWHERE on the island." Three months later we invaded........

 

Oh yeah, as a postscript. Our next stop was Barbados, where the ships crew went on strike... End of cruise!

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FredT, what date is your Grenadines trip?

We did the windward islands on Royal clipper in 2013 ,over Christmas and now we have booked the Grenadines in January for a week,followed by a beach stay in the Grenadines.

Love the Grenada tale!

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As has been indicated it can sometimes be a bit choppy on the first night out of Barbados and, particularly, on the last night back.

 

The first night, however, may be the best sail of your holiday with the trade winds astern and all sails up. Suggest that on your first night you go in to dinner at 7.30 and be out by about 9.45. Make your way up to the open part of the bridge for sailaway. The sails are being raised as the ship leaves the port. Listen as well as watch. On your last night back it is most likely that only the fore and aft sails will be raised (square sails cannot be used when the wind is ahead of the beam) and the ship will be "leaning" over. If that is the case, and you have a double bed, you can sleep "across" the bed with your head at the higher (windward) end - a much more comfortable night!! If you would like one or two thoughts for the stops on the Grenadines itinerary please let me know.

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FredT, what date is your Grenadines trip?

We did the windward islands on Royal clipper in 2013 ,over Christmas and now we have booked the Grenadines in January for a week,followed by a beach stay in the Grenadines.

Love the Grenada tale!

 

February 4... (Preceded by a week in Barbados)

 

 

And Jobake: Thanks for the tidbits on the first night. It's stuff like this that makes this board so damn valuable.

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My wife and I were on the Cunard Countess. At Grenada we chose to "go on our own" and grabbed a local cabbie to see the island. After about an hour he dropped us up at the fort, and said he had to get gas and would be right back (We had not paid him so we were NOT concerned) Off he went, and off we went, only to be confronted by a "civilian" brandishing an AK47.

 

He asked who we were and we replied we were off the ship. At that point he excitedly yelled to the fort "Captain, Captain they're AMERICANS!!!!" (He had no idea that I had been born in Puerto Rico and spoke fluent spanish) Needless to say I played the dumb (non spanish speaking) tourist, and we spent the next 20 minutes taking pictures of everything BUT the fort while six Cuban soldiers argued about "what to do about us"...

 

At that point our cabbie pulled back up, and we "happily" waved goodbye and strolled (quickly) to the cab. When we asked the cabbie "***?" he replied "Oh dont worry about them, they're EVERYWHERE on the island." Three months later we invaded........

 

Oh yeah, as a postscript. Our next stop was Barbados, where the ships crew went on strike... End of cruise!

 

 

LOL!! That seems so surreal and a little scary, but what a great vacation story and memory!

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janecambridge - the beach barbecue is open to all and is not a paid trip (but, as on board, you have to pay for your alcoholic drinks which they take ashore for the barbecue - Starclippers drinks prices are reasonable). At the spot where they usually have the beach barbecue there is some quite good snorkelling in relatively shallow water. If you are interested take your snorkelling gear with you - check for any currents before you go in. You can also walk to the other side of the (unhabited) island where they usually have the barbecue - only a couple of minutes. Over there many yachts at anchor and a nice beach. You can snorkel there too but in the central area of the beach (probably currents around the end areas) and, even more so than on the barbecue side, check for currents before going in.

 

We will just miss you as we are embarking (for the Windwards) on the 28th January following an 8 night stay in Barbados.

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Thank you Jobake.We have snorkelled around Tobago Cays quite a few times as we stayed on an island nearby(Palm).We have also enjoyed bbqs on the beach,but we have always had to pay for the boatrip there with 2 crew...The areas they have taken us have been a bit rough,so nice to hear there is shallower waters we can use.

Shame we will all be missing each other!

I am so pleased we can have another trip aboard Royal clipper..We used to watch her go by from Palm and say " ooooh maybe one day".

How lucky we are.....:)

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I'm just going to chime in here and say if your wife is prone to sea sickness she needs to be prepared. I am not prone to sea sickness but there was a storm leaving Venice and many pax including myself became seasick. It was not pretty.

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They usually announce if it will be rough and I recall that tablets were available. Or bring your own.

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