While at the Travel Convention in Malta, I was asked at short notice by Kelly Brooks and Danielle Dudley from Star Clippers if I wanted to visit Star Clipper, as she was in Valletta harbour today on her re-positioning cruise, and accepted gratefully. Star Clipper is one of those ships you really need to see first hand, to have any chance of understanding the true nature of the experience offered, and I have wanted to visit her for a long time.
There was a genuine air of excitement on the coach as we drove to Valletta, and a cheer went up around the coach when we caught our first glance of Star Clipper. She looked ‘at home’ against the back drop of Valletta’s Grand Harbour.
After a few photos from the quayside we were all onboard, with a welcome drink, and the Captain came to welcome us onboard. We then set off on a whistle stop tour of the ship. It really did have an air of a working sailing ship, with ropes everywhere, meaning that it wouldn’t be ideal for anyone with mobility problems. There are also a lot of fire doors throughout the ship meaning that wheelchairs would be unable to get around.
We were shown all the outer deck areas, and the rope nets at the bow, which you can lie on while the ship is at sea. As it is a working ship, the sails are all raised and lowered by hand, and passengers may join in and help if they wish to. They can also climb up to the Crow’s Nest if they want.
The cabins aren’t as spacious as the big cruise liners, but they are more than adequate for your needs. There are various grades right up to the Owner’s Suite, which was quite impressive. Entertainment also isn’t the same as on the larger cruise ships, but that isn’t why people choose Star Clippers. Everything is more relaxed, with entertainment provided by the crew on a smaller scale. I was told that many passengers like to take their quilt up on deck and sleep under the stars at least once during the voyage.
We had lunch in the restaurant which, like breakfast, was a self service buffet. The variety and quality of the food was excellent. The evening meal is always waiter service though.
All too soon it was time to leave the Star Clipper, and return to the Convention, but it was well worth taking the time to visit her. It was easy to see why some many people fall for the charms of Star Clipper, as well as the other ships in the fleet, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper. While it may not suit some traditional cruisers, it can appeal to many other customers.
23 Oct 2010 05:04 PM