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Ron Cottle

Age: 51

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Star Clipper

Ship: Star Clipper

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

My wife and I had a wonderful experience aboard the Star Clipper. A small sail ship has its advantages over a larger cruise ship because the crew and passengers aboard are much fewer in numbers, which gives you the opportunity to meet people and develop friendships.

The staff was great and made sure that your time aboard was as pleasant as possible. Every crewmember from the cabin stewards to the deck officers was pleasant and helpful. Drinks aboard are expensive so be mindful of your bar tab. The ship doesn’t have a problem with you bringing aboard your own drinks as long as you limit consumption to your cabin. Coffee, tea and water are always available.

The food aboard got better as the week went along. Overall I would have to give the food a rating of 3 out of 5. Starting the week we would have to rate the food a 1 and a 4 by the end of the week. We decided to have dinner one night off the ship at Pisces restaurant while in Soper's Hole, Tortola. The meal was outstanding, definitely a 5 out of 5 rating. You have to look for it and don’t be concerned when you first see it. It is small but the food is great. So when you get tired of the food on the Star Clipper, give yourself a treat and visit Pisces–it is well worth the time and money.

Activities aboard are limited because of the nature of the ship. This is a tall ship meaning a lot of lines and masts limiting the common area. No shows, no casinos, no bands or discos. Everyone gathers in the Tropical Bar area after dinner for the entertainment and to mingle with the other guests. The crew goes out of its way to entertain you in the evening. The talent show, fashion show and crab races are the headliners during the week. A one-man music band is there for your dancing enjoyment. Water activities were good. The sports team had snorkeling gear, kayaks, and a small sailboat available all at no charge. Earlier in the week they had mentioned water-skiing but for whatever reason that never materialized.

The average age of the passengers did surprise us. We were hoping for a younger crowd, however the average age was probably mid-60s. That being said, there were groups in their 20s-40s. This is probably not the best cruise for young children as there are no activities specifically designed for kids. On our cruise the passengers were mainly from the US, Canada, G.B., Germany and France. It seemed as though it was a fairly even split.

The cabin we had was Cat 2. We both thought the space was adequate for a ship of this size and structure. Be prepared for the shower because it is small and everything in the bathroom will get wet. The beds were comfortable, adequate storage space was available. There is a TV and DVD player in each cabin. TV channels were limited to CNN and HBO Plus. There is a DVD library available on board as well.

Make sure to lie out on the nets under the bowsprit. The experience is great and relaxing. It is also the only way to get an upper body workout. You will have to figure it out. Aerobic exercise was provided at 8:00 am each morning. This is vacation though and most are not up by 8:00. It would be nice if they added a later class.

The embarkation and disembarkation process was very smooth. We arrived to the ship at 11:00 am, 5 hours prior to the official boarding time of 4:00 pm. They took our bags anyway giving us the day to explore. The ports of call were very good. The worst in our minds was Anquilla and the best was St. Barts. I personally thought they good remove Anquilla from the list. There were two over night stays, one at Virgin Gorda and the other at Soper’s Hole. While the Soper’s Hole stop was good, we thought overnight stays at Jost Van Dyke and St. Barts would have provided better nightlife. The Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda was dead at night and very expensive.

The views at Virgin Gorda were just absolutely incredible with lots of photo ops. Go to the Baths on Virgin Gorda but do so via taxi not the excursion. The excursion will cost you $40 each while the taxi will cost about $20 total. Same trip is offered via taxi with the same views.

There is nothing on Norman Island except a restaurant and bar. The beach is small and not very great. Opt for the snorkeling excursion is offered. The seas were too rough on our cruise canceling the trip. If your excursion is cancelled you might just want to stay aboard. The food is already paid for and the beer prices are about the same. You can lie out on deck and dip into your stash.

Go to the beach at White Bay when you are at Jost Van Dyke. It is a strenuous walk from where the tender drops you off but worth it if you are up for it. Otherwise there are taxis available. The beaches are outstanding. The ship provided a BBQ on the beach at Great Harbor later in the afternoon. I would recommend the chicken kabobs. Make sure to stop by Foxy’s for drink before heading back to the ship. Looking at Great Harbor, Foxy’s is all the way to the right of the bay.

On St. Kitts take a taxi tour and go along with as many people as you can as the cost per person will be much cheaper. For the golfers, there is a large Marriot resort on one section of the island that has a golf course. Golf is expensive there however. Some on our cruise had negotiated a cheaper rate before going there so you may want to try that if you are interested in golf on the links.

St Barts is a very expensive island with good food, views, beaches, and shops. We rented a jeep and drove around the island exploring. Since we have now done that we will find a good beach the next time.

Lastly, do not opt for the transfer from the ship to the airport. It will cost you 15 euros each while a taxi for two will cost $15.

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