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Beach Hunter

Star Clipper out of St Martin Report

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After spending a week on St Martin, we took the Star Clipper out of St Martin for a week of sailing. We must have been under sail for 90-95 percent of the time. The Captain made it clear that this was a sailing adventure with stops at Caribbean islands an added benefit. If you like sailing a tall ship, this is a trip for you. We enjoyed the trip, and got to see some new islands, such as Dominica and Isle les Saintes. We would have like to have more time on the islands though. We usually anchored or docked around 11:00 and had to be back on board by 4:30.

 

I only got sick the first morning, but that was only because the rest of the mornings I got up at 6:00 every morning and rushed up on deck to get the sea breezes and watch the horizon. My guess is that from 10-20 people were sea sick the first morning. The first night was also the roughest night at sea as well. But the ship got to rocking and rolling most morning around 3-4 AM. After a week at sea, the computer screen is moving as I type this, even though I am in my basement. This was our first trip on a sailing ship, but there were a lot of repeat sailors, many who had made over 5-6 previous trips and 32 of the 129 passengers were continuing on for the second week to the BVI area. The repeat passengers told us that this was the roughest sailing on a Star Clipper ship that they had been on. Why we had to sail all night in rough seas to go from St Martin to St Barts is beyond me.

 

The food and food service were good, but not great. All seating was open seating, with breakfast and lunch buffet style. It was a nice way to meet people. For dinner we got 2-3 choices, normally with a fish, meat and vegetarian item. Because of the open seating, you never got the same wait staff. However, it is a small boat, so you got to know most of them. We actually like the lunch buffets better than the dinner meals.

 

The room was okay for a small cruise ship. Ours was actually slightly bigger than most due to its location near the bow, but that gave us more motion being near the bow. The cabin steward took good care of us, but we seldom saw him, which is how they like to operate. It is a cashless cruise, but you need dollars or euros on the islands. The room has a safe, which held everything we needed stored.

 

The excursions were okay, but somewhat rushed because of the limited time we had on the islands. The main problem we had was that we did not find out what was happening on each island until right before we anchored. That did not give us much time to plan what we were going to do that day if we had not decided on an excursion. For example we purchased an kayak excursion on Antiqua and later found out that the cruise ship was offering a free luncheon barbeque at a beach that we would have missed. As it turned out, the excursion got moved from 11:00 to 1:00 which allowed us to do both. However, this rushed the excursion operator who complained about it the entire kayak excursion.

 

The pools were very small, but my wife got to use one a few days. I got to climb the mast one day. That was great. Another day, they let those that wanted to get a picture of the ship under sail to take a tender out and get pictures which should be beautiful. On another morning we met up with the Royal Clipper and sailed with her for a few hours, with both ships under full sail. At least we were under full sail until we hit a small storm that really heeled the ship over. It got really exciting for a while there. One of the sails ended up getting torn at that time.

 

We even got to see the green flash at sunset two nights, although most people missed it hurrying to get on the tender in Dominica. I could see the sun was going down quickly, I just cannot understand why hardly anyone else paid attention to the sunset.

 

Captain Uli gave a few talks about the ship and sailing. You can easily tell that he loves tall ships and enjoys sailing. Gregor Williams from St Lucia also gave talks and walks on Caribbean history that were informative but not too well attended. Part of the problem was timing.

 

Entertainment was from a band called Vitamine and a keyboard player named Shaba. Both were very good, but they tended to play a the same time and the band made the key board hard to hear at time. The band also played outside the room where Gregor talked making it difficult to hear him at time.

 

Beach Hunter

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How was the maintenance of the ship......clean paint, carpets? I hope she is not resembling a windjammer boat in need of some tender loving care.......

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Capt. Tom.....not to worry, the ship is well maintained....crew is constantly painting, polishing, varnishing. My wife and I did a b-2-b in March, and, we were very impressed with the experience. At that time, they were replacing carpeting in sections. Their schedule was to do it weekly, on Sundays, the turnover day; they did two stairwells on our turnover day.

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Thanks aaaanthony!

I am really looking forward to the trip in December plus the precruise stay in St. Maarten.

I have found that I really like smaller vessels since I do not need all the extra choices in lounges etc.

I just hope I don't roll/ fall out of my bed if we hit rough seas at night...my bed will be 4 feet off the floor.......could be very interesting to say the least.

If this trip is an enjoyable as I think it will be, I might try another sailing ship (windsurf) next year..even if she is actually a cruise ship with sails for looks only.

By the way...did they have any beach bar-b-q's during your trip.....?

In the meantime I am in a count down mode for my cruise on the Paul Gauguin in September.........Papeete here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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