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Star Clippers: Royal Clipper

  • Star Clippers
  • Star Clippers
  • Star Clippers
  • Star Clippers
  • Star Clippers
  • Star Clippers
  • Star Clippers

Royal Clipper Review

Royal Clipper spends the winter season sailing weekly from Bridgetown, Barbados on itineraries that include the Grenadines and Windward Islands of the Caribbean. After repositioning to Europe in the spring, she sails a variety of summer voyages ranging from Spain to

Croatia in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Royal Clipper is the first five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship built since 1902. As the largest true sailing clipper ship in the world today, she carries 42 sails with a total area of 56,000 square feet.

Unusual for a sailing ship, a three-deck atrium graces the heart of the vessel.

Her interior is decorated in Edwardian-era style with abundant gleaming wood, brass fixtures, and nautical touches. Light filters into the piano bar, three-deck-high atrium, and dining room through the glass bottom and portholes of the main swimming pool located overhead.

The rarely used Observation Lounge is forward of the Deluxe suites and affords great sea views. It is also the location of the computer station for all Internet access.

In 1991, Star Clippers unveiled a new tall-ship alternative to sophisticated travelers whose desires include having an adventure at sea but not on board a conventional cruise ship. Star Clippers vessels are four- and five-masted sailing beauties—the world's largest barkentine and full-rigged sailing ships. Filled with modern, high-tech equipment as well as the amenities of private yachts, the ships rely on sail power while at sea unless conditions require the assistance of the engines. Minimal heeling, usually less than 6%, is achieved through judicious control of the sails.

A boyhood dream became a cruise-line reality when Swedish entrepreneur Mikael Krafft launched his fleet of authentic recreations of classic 19th-century clipper ships. The day officially begins when the captain holds an informative daily briefing on deck with a bit of storytelling tossed in.

The lack of rigid scheduling is one of Star Clippers' most appealing attractions. The bridge is always open, and passengers are welcome to peer over the captain's shoulder as he plots the ship's course. Crew members are happy to demonstrate how to splice a line, reef a sail, or tie a proper knot.

As attractive as the ships' interiors are, the focal point of Star Clippers cruises is the outdoors. Plan to spend a lot of time on deck soaking in the sun, sea, and sky. It doesn't get any better than that. Consider also that each ship has at least two swimming pools. Granted, they are tiny, but they are a refreshing feature uncommon on true sailing ships and all but the most lavish yachts.

Although the Star Clippers ships are motorized, their engines are shut down whenever crews unfurl the sails (36,000 square feet on Star Clipper and Star Flyer, and 56,000 square feet on Royal Clipper) to capture the wind. On a typical cruise, the ships rely exclusively on sail power any time favorable conditions prevail.

As the haunting strains of Vangelis's symphony "1492: Conquest of Paradise" are piped over the PA system and the first of the sails is unfurled, the only thing you'll hear on deck is the sound of the music and the calls of the line handlers until every sail is in place. While the feeling of the wind powering large ships through the water is spine-tingling, you will miss the wondrous sight of your ship under sail unless the captain can schedule a photo opportunity utilizing one of the tenders. It's one of the most memorable sights you'll see if this opportunity avails itself. However, when necessary, the ships will cruise under motor power to meet the requirements of their itineraries.

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What You Should Know


  • The feeling of the wind moving this large vessel through the water is spine-tingling
  • You won’t miss the glorious sight of Royal Clipper underway when the captain schedules a photo op via the tenders
  • The library is a cozy place to read and offers a good selection of books


  • In Category 3 cabins near the bow, you'll notice a definite slant to the floor
  • You may also feel a bit more motion forward than aft, and be aware that creaking sounds are common on sailing ships
  • Tall passengers will find it difficult to use the treadmills in the low-ceilinged gym
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 106
  • Entered Service 2000
  • Gross Tons 5,000
  • Length 439 feet
  • Number of Cabins 114
  • Passenger Capacity 227
  • Width 54 feet

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