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Ellen Brandenburg

Age: 66

Occupation:retired

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Star Clipper

Ship: Star Clipper

Sailing Date: 2011-03-3

Itinerary: Leeward Island Caribbean

My husband and I and another couple chose this cruise because we love to sail and liked the idea of a smaller ship. (In fact, we would never go on a huge cruise ship, preferring the ambiance of a smaller vessel.) We were not sure what to expect but we were thoroughly pleased with most aspects of our trip. This is important: the first morning on board I realized I had left some critical medical supplies in the hotel at our port of embarkation., St. Martin. The crew went WAY out of their way to help me get them! it just so happened a crew member was flying to our next port, Nevis, so arrangements were made for the ship's agent to pick up my supplies, get them to the crew member, and deliver them to me on the boat. It was a fortunate circumstance that the crew member was joining the boat in Nevis because otherwise my cruise would have been a disaster. The point is, the captain and the crew were sensitive to my needs and came through for me.

We thought the food was great. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style and dinner was served at the table. It was not thoroughly gourmet but it was darn good. There was something to please the tastes of folks from different countries, and folks with different dietary needs. The serving staff was totally professional, anticipating every need. Also, the prices for wine and other drinks were reasonable.

Some people have commented on the small size of the staterooms. Well, I was surprised at how large ours was -- and we were in a category III room! It had a queen-size bed, dressing table, a seat, and plenty of storage space. This is a sailboat, after all. Our room had all the necessary amenities and was finished with beautiful woodwork, brass fixtures, fresh looking bedding, and it was spotlessly clean. Again, the staff visited at least twice a day to make sure everything was in order and to turn down the bed (and put chocolates on the pillow.)

The ship didn't have a lot of on board activities but I was still so busy I hardly had time to read my book. It's all very informal.

As for excursions, it would be a good idea to do your homework ahead of time and plan your shore time accordingly. There are always plenty of taxi/tour guides available if you're not interested in what the ship offers. I found the ship more interesting than the islands!

In summary, this is a good option for folks who shy away from huge boat cruises and are looking for the relative intimacy of a smaller group. The ship is very professionally run, and above all, it is beautiful in and of itself. It is not for people who have difficulty walking or climbing stairs; it is not as stable as a big cruise ship. If you choose a Star Clipper Cruise you will encounter many people who are repeat customers -- some on their third or fourth cruise. It's an addictive experience!

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