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budaman

Royal Clipper/Grenadines

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Well, we couldn't resist the 50% off offer that Star Clippers has put out there, so we have inked up on the Nov. 14th sailing out of Barbados!

 

Any info from past guests on must do's, don't do's, port times etc. would be greatly appreciated. Hope to see some of you onboard.

 

Mike

 

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Hi Mike,

My wife and I are going on RC on 11/14 too. I'm doing the same - collecting info about Barbados and Grenedines. We are former Windjammers and this is our first cruise since Windjammer went out of business.

Rich

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Our first experience with Star Clippers was last August aboard the Star Flyer in French Polynesia. It spoiled us and I don't think we will be able to go back to mainline cruising unless it was a free trip. Shame about Windjammer going under, I think we would have enjoyed the atmosphere aboard their ships.

 

We're flying in the 13th on AA & staying at the Hilton. Will stay there a night when we return also.

 

Haven't been able to get much hard info about the cruise, except that everyone seems to really enjoy it. We're looking forward to a relaxed week, so specifics aren't that important...it's been a hectic year. I do know we want to get in a few dives and maybe the zipline in St.Lucia....anything else will have to just jump out & grab us!

 

Mike

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. . . Any info from past guests on must do's, don't do's, port times etc. would be greatly appreciated. Hope to see some of you onboard. . . and

 

Our first experience with Star Clippers was last August aboard the Star Flyer in French Polynesia. It spoiled us and I don't think we will be able to go back to mainline cruising unless it was a free trip. Shame about Windjammer going under, I think we would have enjoyed the atmosphere aboard their ships.

 

We're flying in the 13th on AA & staying at the Hilton. Will stay there a night when we return also.

 

Haven't been able to get much hard info about the cruise, except that everyone seems to really enjoy it. We're looking forward to a relaxed week, so specifics aren't that important...it's been a hectic year. I do know we want to get in a few dives and maybe the zipline in St.Lucia....anything else will have to just jump out & grab us!

 

Mike

 

Hi Mike …

 

I see from your signature block that you are an experienced “big ship” cruiser and have one Star Clippers cruise under your belt too. Marilyn and I really enjoyed our time aboard Royal Clipper and will sail with them again in the future. I found the lack of hard cruise information to be rather disconcerting prior to the cruise. I finally gave up and decided to “go with the flow”.

 

Barbados - We stayed in Barbados two nights prior and two nights after our cruise. We had a great time but taxi drivers did leave a bad taste by the time we left. Things to know/keep in mind:

 

The BDS$ (Barbadian Dollar) is valued at roughly 50 cents US. Prices are communicated in “dollars” but you are often left to guess if they are BDS$ or USD$.

 

Taxi rates between common tourist destinations are regulated. It is helpful if you know how much it is supposed to cost before you get in the taxi and make sure you know/understand that the price quoted is BDS$ or USD$. Here is a link to the published taxi rates- http://www.barbados.org/tours/barbadostaxis.htm

 

Royal Clipper – We were on the “Windward Islands” itinerary so I can’t give you the hard information you are looking for concerning your ports. Like all cruise ships, we received a ship’s newsletter every evening with schedule information for the next day. This was our first opportunity to know what port arrival/departure times would be.

 

With the exception of Martinique, all ports that we stopped at were well away from the established “cruise ship” ports. This, combined with no information about arrival/departure times, made it pretty much impossible to book excursions independently. It really wasn’t an issue as soon as that reality sank in and we took a hard look at the ship’s excursions.

 

The only common concern/complaint voiced among fellow passengers was about the lack of information for any given port. A typical day would have the ship drop anchor, the Sports Team would stake out a beach location and then tender service would start between the ship and both the beach location and a dock at the local marina. That’s it … nothing more … you’re on your own. No information about facilities at the beach (bathrooms & beverage/food service) or information about what you might find when you get off the tender at the marina dock. If you want to know anything about your stop in Grenada (St. Georges) or any of your stops, then it’s up to you to do the research before you get on the ship.

 

Fellow passengers will be a good mix of US, Canadian and Europeans. Dinner seating will often be based on the passengers’ ability to carry on a conversation. They have a very limited number of tables-for-two. Staff was great, ship was in good repair and the food was plentiful.

 

Enjoy!

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Thanks Paul & Marilyn!

 

I guess they don't really put out much info because of the nature of a sailing ship....you're much more apt to run into delays and changes in itinerary. We encountered that on our Tahiti trip, but the ports we had arranged things pretty much went as planned......little info makes it difficult to schedule on your own, and I'm sure they would probably take more flak from people when things changed if they did publish a port schedule.

 

The only thing we really wanted to try was the River Tubing in Grenada....seems to have gotten a thumbs up from people.

 

I guess we'll just have to do a little diving, lay around the beach, eat a little, drink a little.......tough life, but someone has to do it:D

 

We enjoyed meeting all the different nationalities on the Star Flyer cruise...makes dinner quite an experience. I wish we were more fluent in different languages as most of the passengers from Europe are, but it makes it like a 2 hr charade game and quite entertaining.

 

Mike

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Sounds like fun...I wish we could join you!

 

Maybe, if our Christmas In Hawaii is a No-Go we might consider doing another SC trip. We just loved the Star Flyer. I enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. :)

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A few more Texans wouldn't hurt......give the Germans a run for the party money;)

 

I kept doing online searches and actually found a port schedule with times on an Italian travel site and it was for the 14th sailing.

 

Sat. 14th Depart Barbados 10 PM

Sun 15th Grenadines.................Arrive:Noon.......Depart: 5 PM

Mon 16th Grenada....................Arrive:Noon.......Depart:11:45 PM

Tue 17th Tobago Cays..............Arrive:9:30 AM...Depart: 4 PM

Wed 18th St. Vincent................Arrive:8:00 AM...Depart: 12:30 PM

Wed 18th Bequia.....................Arrive:2:00 PM....Depart: 7 PM

Thur 19th Martinique................Arrive:2:00 PM....Depart: 10PM

Fri 20th Marigot Bay S.L........Arrive:7:30 AM....Depart: Noon

Fri 20th Soufriere Bay S.L......Arrive:1:30 PM....Depart: 5 PM

Sat 21st Barbados.................Arrive:6 AM Dang, it's over:(

 

That week went fast!

 

Looks like there is quite a bit of time on each of the islands to do some exploring on our own.

 

Mike

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Sassy...which island are you going to, or are you doing a cruise? Love the islands....we went 4 years straight starting in 2001, going to a different island each year. In the end, we prefered the Big Island overall.

 

Mike

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Sassy...which island are you going to, or are you doing a cruise? Love the islands....we went 4 years straight starting in 2001, going to a different island each year. In the end, we prefered the Big Island overall.

 

Mike

Supposedly we are going to Maui... but my in-laws are doing the planning and I haven't heard of anything concrete. I'm not usually a Wait-Until-The-Last-Minute kind of person...I usually have my trips booked a year in advance :eek:

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Hi There;

We did back to back leeward and windward cruises out of Barbados last winter. The ship is very comfortable. The cabins are wonderful, the food is great and you will get to a great group of out of the way islands. The ship is run in a wonderfully efficient manner and you definately feel safe.

 

We had trouble getting local beers, and all of the announcements in three languages was a bit tiresome. There are a lot of local excursions organized by Star Clipper but they are very expensive. You are better off to get a local taxi or walk into the local towns. Yes the crew do a good job of getting you to snorkel sites, but you have to be on your toes to sign up for the events.

 

The company does not do much of a job to relate to the islands (virtually no island crew, or buying local supplies) (imagine eating a bananna that has travelled from Ecuador to Europe and then back to Barbados while sitting at an island whose banana economy is in deep trouble).

Anyway it is so great to be on those islands that Star Clipper seems to be the best option at the moment, now that Windjammer has imploded, unless you can afford to charter a catamaran.

All in all we will do it again,

You will have a great time. cheers vincent

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Is alcohol on the Clipper included?

Couldn't find any info about that.

How is the food ;-)

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Maybe rubbing alcohol;) The only free drink we feceived on the Flyer was the champagne they passed out at boarding. One thing you do need to pay attention to is the price of the drink of the day.....they are priced in Euros, not US dollars.

 

Mike

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Early to ask you now but please could some of you on the November sailing post your advice back here? I am on the same itinerary in February and would love your tips and tricks, especially on what you actually did or wished you had done in the various ports. We know this will be relaxed and we'll spend more time in the water/on the beach than on a traditional cruise, but if there are shore excursions or activities not to miss it would be good to know about them (and how to arrange them!)

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Will do.....at this point, we have no idea what we are going to do for sure. Two things we would like to get in are diving the Sculpture Garden in Grenada and the zipline in St. Lucia. We've looked over the ships shore excursion brochure, and the zipline is the only offering that jumped out and said 'I gotta do that'

 

Mike

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When in Bequai,,, I have 3 favorite things to do (doubt they are ship sponsored tours, all very easy to do on your own): 1) Walk from the dock at the main town (Pt Elizabeth? I forget the town name, but only town I think,,,) and turn to the left, and you go down a little street that is full of miniature ship model makers, like lovely wooden models of sailing ships,, 2) go the other way down the main street (turn right from the dock), and walk a ways on the left side of the street is a lovely bookstore that has wonderful items in addition to books (have gotten lovely scrimshaw knife there by famous local scrimshaw artist, Sam McDowell, and wonderful whale carving), and then,, as you will be thirsty by then,, from the main dock, get a taxi ride over the hill,, down to a funkly little hotel that has a swing up bar, it is oceanside, it could be an old sugar mill building, old round stone, with swing chairs that swing towards the bar (watch your knees, bar is stone I think) - and drink a Mrs Brown's Sugar - from the Cotton House on Mustique?? It is made with fresh lime juice muddled with brown sugar, then topped with crushed ice and nice dark rum,,, wonderful! Arrange for the taxi to take you back or go hitch a ride in the back of a pick up truck back over the hill!

 

Tobago Cays - deep sigh,,, buy a carved fish or turtle from Douglas on the "primary" island (guess that is the one with Tshirts hanging on the trees),, and snorkle on the reef,, if there is a problem getting a dinghy ride from the ship,, hail one of the locals from Union island who come by in their cherry red wooden boats,, Cleef or Wendell or any others, and afterwards visit the bar (the Last Bar? Top of the World Bar?) that is a card table on top of a hill and have a cold beer from the cooler!!! and enjoy for me! :D

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Thanks Mike & GHR! Mike, I've read through your review so many times, I think I could recite it word for word:)

 

Great insight on Bequai & TC's, GHR. I was definately going to visit both model shops, as one of my hobbies is building wooden ship models. We were thinking of doing the bike ride there, but noticed in the new excursion catalog it has been dropped. Your route seems similar to taking the trip to the east side of Cozumel & the funky little hangouts...one of my favorite things to do. Will probably try to get a dive in at TC & maybe head up to the card bar & toast you!

 

Mike

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