Star Clippers' Royal Clipper is a popular floating resort. The waters are crowded with sea-worthy vessels, so to make planning easier, we've done all the prep work for a cruise vacation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on cruise ships, here is a tip sheet offering all the key information one could ever need to know about the Royal Clipper.
Mediterranean and Caribbean DestinationsThe Royal Clipper operates on a seasonal schedule, spending the winter months in the Caribbean and the summer months in the Mediterranean, according to Forbes. Caribbean destinations include Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts and St. Barts. Western Mediterranean ports of call include cities in Italy, France, Corsica and Monaco. Caribbean and Mediterranean tours take between seven and 11 days, with four-week transatlantic journeys available between seasons.
Unique Classic DesignThe ship's design is its most prominent and important selling feature, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper. The Royal Clipper bills itself as the world's largest true sailing ship, and the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes it as the largest square-rigged ship in service. The hull was modified from an existing vessel, and the ship's design is based on the Preussen, a famous German sailing ship from the turn of the century.
Traditional Sailing, Modern FlairThe major special feature of this ship is certainly its design and unusual source of propulsion. Because of its small size relative to other cruise ships, the Royal Clipper cannot provide many of the amenities typically available. Instead, it offers the pleasures of traditional sail travel -- the awesome sight of the sails being raised and filled on leaving port, the option of climbing the rigging at times and the feeling of being propelled by the wind. There is an underwater observation station below decks, a spa and exercise area and a variety of water sports available at a deployable marina platform when the vessel is in port.
AccommodationsCabins aboard the Royal Clipper are small in comparison to those of most cruise ships, which makes sense given the nature of the vessel, according to Fodor's. All cabins have a safe for valuables and personal belongings, a hair dryer, minimal furniture and a television. Storage space is limited. There are three varieties of suites, all of which feature sitting areas, minibars and whirlpools. Deluxe suites feature verandas.
CostRates aboard this ship vary depending upon the number of occupants per cabin and the cabin category, as detailed on the cruise line's website. Rates for single rooms can average between $2,000 and $3,000 for standard seven- to 11-day Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises, with suites and deluxe suites exceeding $4,000. Tickets must be booked through an agent, and discounts for early booking are available. Infants and pregnant women in their third trimester are not recommended for travel aboard the Royal Clipper.
Eco Kayak ExcursionsOne of the most consistently praised excursions from Royal Clipper is the Eco Kayak Adventure, which launches from the Caribbean port of Antigua. Participants can paddle out to Bird Island and enjoy the sights and sounds of Antigua's beautiful natural resources.
Dining OptionsThere is a single, three-level dining room aboard the ship, according to Fodor's. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style, with dinner served a la carte with open seating. Early bird breakfast is available at the Piano Bar, and lunch is often available at the Tropical Bar above deck.
Maiden VoyageThe Royal Clipper made her maiden voyage in 2000 on a transatlantic journey, according to the Globe and Mail. The ship's hull was originally used for a more conventional vessel but was retrofitted as a cruise ship by Star Clippers and given its current character and decor.
Safety RecordOur research revealed no notable news stories or safety concerns regarding the Royal Clipper. WATCH: This charming fan-made video demonstrates what it's like to ascend the masts of the Royal Clipper.
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