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Klapka

Royal Clipper Disaster

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The current Royal Clipper voyage (3 Aug) started disastrously

 

Due to sail from Cannes, every passenger arrived to discover that the ship had gone to Savona, Italy.

 

We understand that a dispute concerning the Flying Clipper construction has led to the French authorities threatening to seize our vessel if it enters French waters.

 

Thus our itinerary has been changed: several destinations dropped in Corsica and we will end in Monaco rather than Cannes.

 

So, instead of a relaxed boarding at 4pm, we found ourselves being bussed to Savona, 3 hrs away.  There, we found that the ship was still at sea.   We finally got to our cabin at 8 pm (luggage a bit later).  Many passengers arrived later.

 

Pretty fed up, we went to dinner.  This was interrupted by a lifeboat drill at 10pm.  Plates of half eaten dishes were left as we stood around, fuming and sweating.

 

We now have to rearrange our departure arrangements.  Today, we hear a few words of regret that we had been inconvenienced, but it is pretty clear that the comfort of passengers is low in the priorities of Star Clippers.

 

We hope that the company’s financial arrangements do not lead to any further changes before the end of our week.  Obviously, this line is not going to appear in our future travel plans!

 

 

 

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Sorry to hear of this very unsettling / upsetting start to your holiday and the forced changes to your itinerary.

 

This news hasn't yet reached the usual 'cruise news' websites so please post again if you have any updates or further information.

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Internet too slow for much more at this time.  

 

The loss of of all our Corsican ports is a big blow.  Today we are in Golfo Aranci in Sardinia all day, where there are no excursions and the place offers very little worth seeing.  And it is V hot!

 

Judging by the comments my cruise agent has received from the line, I can

expect no redress for this.

 

I will post more when I am home.

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I have now the time to add more facts to my earlier posting.  

 

We selected this cruise because the itinerary was just seven days and offered a number of ports that we had not visited before.  After Cannes, this cruise was to take us to ports in Italy, Elba, Sardinia, Corsica (where the ship would make four stops) and Monaco, most of which we had not previously visited. There would be eight stops in all before returning to Cannes for disembarkation.

 

Further, travel from UK would be relatively easy: short flights to and from Nice with 40 minute transfers to and from Cannes port.  Attractive cruise package; straight forward journeys to start and finish.  Lovely.

 

In reality, the ship was not in port when we arrived in Cannes at 2.00pm on 3 August.  We were given a brief explanation that we would be need to take a 3 hour bus journey to Savona in Italy and that we were to find that the itinerary had been changed.  There had been no advance notice of these changes and, when I enquired later, I found that our cruise agent had had no warning either.

 

Four ports were retained from the scheduled itinerary: Lerici, Elba, Monaco and Alghero.  These were excellent destination. In each case, there were excursions available and the locations were in themselves interesting to visit.  It was easy to see why a cruise planner would select these and we were very happy to visit them.

 

Instead of four ports in Corsica, we were taken to two new ports in Sardinia.  These fell very short of the mark.  Although the first offered an excursion, the second did not.  Neither were interesting places to visit, the second being particularly poor.  It appeared that these destinations had been selected merely for their geographical location rather than for their tourist appeal.

 

The port of Savona was a very unsatisfactory substitute for the port of Cannes both as a location and scenically.

 

Taken as a whole, the new itinerary was substantially less attractive than the itinerary that we had booked and paid for.  Each and every change had a negative impact: the only parts that were enjoyable were those that were unaltered.

 

The embarkation day was really uncomfortable.  After the shock at the port of Cannes, we took a three hour bus trip to Savona, Italy (passing Nice Airport en route).  The ship arrived an hour or so after we did, but we were lucky to be one of the first few aboard at 8.00 pm - others were much later.  Our meal was interrupted by the lengthy safety drill.  We finished our dinner at about 11.00 pm.

 

Disembarkation was a muddle.  The initial version of the new itinerary planned to disembark us in Monaco.  This was not going to matter too much as the journey time from this port to Nice airport is about the same as from Cannes.  So, of all the changes we were to sustain, this one would matter the least.

 

However, after I had rearranged our taxi pick up to Monaco, Star Clippers changed the plan again. We would now be disembarked back in our old friend Savona!  Two and a hour hours away from Nice.

 

The poor old cruise director worked really hard to deal with the new unsatisfactory plan.  However, he clearly had no authority to sweeten the bitter pill beyond a single free glass of house wine one evening.  I concede that the free bus from Savona to Nice saved me a few euros, but this could not make up for the exhaustion of the first and last days and all the other changes.

 

The attitude of Start Clippers to date has been lamentable.  The information concerning these changes included a very brief note from Michael Kraft.  It contained not a hint of an apology.  Instead, we were told that the contract dispute concerning Flying Clipper had reached such a pitch that it was no longer safe for the company to sail in French waters.

 

My cruise agent has received a comment from the company which says, in effect, “since you sailed with us after hearing of these changes you have waived your rights”.

 

The apparent lack of concern of Star Clippers management is as annoying as the changes they imposed on us.  

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This is very disconcerting.  We should be hearing a lot more feedback if none of their vessels can call in France.  That is a pretty big deal especially during the busy summer Med season.  I do hope they get things worked out with FLYING CLIPPER.  It looks like a wonderful boat and I was looking forward to sailing on her.  So odd the entire boat got built and even fully fitted out (to Star Clippers specifications) and then they refuse to take delivery.  Surely they had their own staff at the shipyard during the entire building and fitting out process.  That is normal procedure.  

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I see that I did not actually quote the exact wording in the letter from Kraft.  He said "we can not entirely exclude that they (presumably Brodosplit) will try to arrest Royal Clipper in a French port or hinder its passage in some way".

 

Like something out of an adventure story from my youth!

 

I have submitted a complaint to the company.  Perhaps the response will contain more details of the issue - and whether it is likely to be resolved soon.  If so, I will add some comments here.

 

 

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Thought I should give a last update.

 

I was pleased to accept a settlement offer from the company which was made quickly and graciously, restoring my faith in the fairness of the cruise industry as a whole.

 

In commenting upon the matter, I was told that the lawyers are trying to settle the dispute concerning Flying Clipper but that in the meantime the threat of arrest only applies to France, South Africa and Croatia.  Make of that what you can.

 

This thread has been pretty much all me and I promise that this is the last one!  Cross my heart etc etc ...

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Posted (edited)

Don't fret klapka!   Believe it or not, this thread has definitely caught my interest.   The fact that the company has resolved your issues in a "fair and timely" regard has also made me a lot more comfortable with SC in the future when something (inevitably ) goes wrong.  It has also given us one more tidbit of information on what is going on with the Flying Clipper........

Edited by FredT

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Wow Klapka, that was quite an adventure.  Certainly not the cruise you had signed up for.

Thank you for telling us about it.

Hope your next cruise is better.

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Very happy to hear it, both for you and for Star Clippers.  I've sailed on all three (current) ships numerous times and am looking forward to the Flying Clipper.

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So, we were to board Royal Clipper in Cannes on August 10th.  We received no advance warning of the change in embarkation location nor to the ports of call.  We were concerned when we arrived in Cannes, by private car from Nice, to not see any masts in the bay off the pier.  We had seen the Royal Clipper off Monte Carlo on the 9th during our own day trip up there from Nice.  We had no idea they were disembarking there.

 

It was only upon finding the Star Clippers agents in Cannes at the pier that we were told about all of the changes.  We along with many other passengers felt that we had wasted time and money on an hour drive from Nice to Cannes just to turn around and drive 3 hours back to Savona. There was little to nothing said aboard about the underlying problems other than we were going to be skipping French ports in order to avoid the minor chance that the ship would be seized.  There were many back to back sailings guests who were not happy about repeating the ports they had just visited.

 

So I wonder what is happening this week as the ship was to make several ports in Croatia on its way to Venice...

 

Upon our return home I emailed my long time travel agent to see if she had heard anything.  Her response was no and that I should write a letter and send it to her to pass along to Star Clippers.  Based on klapka's most recent update, I will be sending a letter to my travel agent to pass along as she suggested.

 

There were so many first timers on this cruise I hope they do not get a bad taste in their mouths after this. 

 

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5 hours ago, habenicd said:

 

 

There were so many first timers on this cruise I hope they do not get a bad taste in their mouths after this. 

 

 

 

It would absolutely leave a bad taste in my mouth.  Mainly because the company is being so secretive and not forthcoming or transparent.  Also they should be making every attempt to contact guests well before their cruise to advise of any itinerary change (especially the embarkation port!).  This is not difficult to do in the age of email, which Star Clippers would obviously have for every passenger sailing as well as a contact phone number.  

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Klapka, I was just told it was France and South Africa.  How did you hear it was Croatia as well?  I am planning on a Croatian cruise on the Royal next summer and am now a little worried. 

 

Thanks😀

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The dispute is between Star Clippers and the Croatian dockyard that built Flying Clipper - hence the concern that was expressed about Croatia.

 

I would hope that this will all be resolved long before your trip next year. It would be good to get some up-to-date news from the company.

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OK, thanks.  If you officially heard it was Croatia and have something in writing I would like to know so I can consider cancelling my cruise.  The Star Flyer is set to be in Croatia beginning the end of August (so in a few days) and next month so I am wondering if the ship will receive a threat of arrest and there will be an itinerary change?  Will be interesting to monitor.  

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The references to France, South Africa and Croatia that I quoted in one of my posts came from the communication I received from Star Clippers agents in U.K. when they offered to settle my claim.

 

It was explained that the warnings had been received from their lawyers on the eve of the cruise and that, in respect of Croatia, it was a “possibility”.

 

From this, I would deduce that they will by now have reviewed this advice carefully and had time to warn passengers of any future changes due to this “seizure” concern.

 

I guess all those sailing later in the year will find itineraries unchanged or, if there are changes, those alterations will be properly handled and warned of well in advance.

 

Good luck, guys

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Good Day All! 

I was a First Timer on the Aug 10 Cruise out of Cannes (aka Savona). We arrived in Paris on a non-stop from Oakland August 6-7 and were in touch with Star Clippers in Miami on the 5th as were never receive our boarding passes. Those were immediately sent via email with our luggage tags and there was NO mention of an Itinerary change. We had an Air France flight we arranged to Nice, a car pickup at NCE thru Sixt, and an AirBnb in Villefranche Sur Mer for 3 nights. This trip, followed by 3 nights in Trastevere Roma, was a birthday gift from my sweetheart. 

So for us, the date-timeframe of the trip was more important than the ports themselves. 

However - as we drove around In circles in Cannes (not fun - traffic sucks and I’m from the SF Bay Area And we KNOW  terrible traffic) looking for the 5 masts were a bit unnerved. Air plan to drop our bags off early didn’t work so we dropped off the car and hired a taxi that took us right to the “bus-stop” where we were told of the changes and given a paper with the new itinerary. 

Its all an adventure and we were ready. 

They efficiently handled the luggage and the bus transfer. We were Bus 2. The trip followed the same path we drove the year before when we drove our rental car from Villefranche Sur Mer to Riquewihr through Genoa and Switzerland. 

We boarded very quickly and had our bags delivered to our cabin (316) within the hour. 

So no Corsica - ok disappointed a bit. But we had added Santo Stefano and Lerici added. And instead of one port in Sardinia we had 2. Stopping along the CinqueTerre was a pleasant surprise but I heard complaint some wanted only one port instead of 3. Not me! 

I can understand the “veterans” being dissatisfied with the changes - particularly those that booked “back-to-back”. 

However, our big adventure was the ride from Isola d Alba to Alghero! Rough seas hit us at 2am and continued to the port. We were rockin’ and rollin’ - and I sail on the SF Bay in the summer - but we all survived. 

The crew and all the team members were the best service I have had on any cruise - ok the food was not Michelin * quality but was well prepared and served. Wines choices were excellent (and I was in the business in Ca for many years) and well priced

We did excursions in Lerici, Elba, Alghero, and Porto Cervo.  We enjoyed all of them including the 2 wineries. Two ports had no excursions - Santa Margarita and Santo Stefano. -  we enjoyed walking, shopping, viewing, photos,  breezes (it was hot) and great meals. 

i am ready for another SC cruise - probably Caribbean- but I want to make sure all the issues are resolved with France because I don’t want to be “diverted” from St Bart’s, Martinique or other French islands. So I will hold back my next booking until that is resolved. And I can’t think of a better cruise than the Dalmatian Coast - and that won’t work out too well without Croatia! 

I am a “new” fan of Star Clippers. Thank you very much! 

Michael and Davina

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Glad you had a great time!  For me the issue is not so much the itinerary change, but the fact they are not forthcoming about it.  These are obviously not last minute changes and Star Clippers is well aware it will be happening.  Notifying passengers is an easy task.  

 

It's almost like they don't want to notify in advance to avoid cancelations.  Rather shady.  I just don't think it's an ethical way to do business.  

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