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Star Clippers cruises review

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Tall-ship voyages to tropical islands and sunny seaside cities.

If mega cruise lines make you cringe, but you’re an avid sailor and love the idea of traveling from place to place on the ocean waves, Star Clippers may be perfect for you. Still, not everyone will enjoy the unstructured atmosphere.

3 ships

Number of ships

No

Price matches

Details

Target demographic Families, Adults, Honeymooners
Number of ships 3 ships
Contact options Phone, Email
Payment options
Deposit required No deposit required
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink No free alcohol
Room service No free room service

Expert review

Amy Stoltenberg

Review by


Amy Stoltenberg writes about lifestyle and money for Finder, researching the best options for shopping, banking, insurance and authentic travel experiences. After studying writing and fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked designing apparel at a corporate behemoth before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop’s closed, she can be found wandering the streets looking for happy hour and hole-in-the-wall eateries.

Expert review

Star Clipper cruises are best for adventurous folks who have an appreciation for traditional tall ship sailing — without the desire to rough it or actually hoist the masts. You’ll feel like a sailor but can shirk all responsibility. Spend your days lounging around the deck or exploring lesser-known ports.

These aren’t luxury cruises. Expect “wet” landings where you’ll descend a ladder and wade through water.

Accommodations are comfortable but a bit tired. There’s no butler service or organized activities on board, and days spent at sea are unstructured and laid-back.

Instead of large theatrical productions at night, you can enjoy small groups of local performers hired by Star Clipper at each port.

The focus here is on the outdoors. Star Clipper ships are equipped for water sports — which makes sense considering it mostly sails through warm-weather locations. Soak in the sun on a deck chair or splash in one of its small pools.

If you’re expecting the organized fun of a resort-style cruise ship, this isn’t for you. But if you’re hoping to relax and unwind amid the company of international travelers on a spirited voyage, a Star Clipper cruise could rank among your most memorable vacations ever.

Compare Star Clipper’s cruise ships

Star Clipper’s vessels are traditional, tall sailing ships — think Pirates of the Caribbean-style masts. But compared to most cruise ships, these are small and intimate voyages with no more than 227 passengers on board. Decor is classy and nautical, and most cabins have a porthole view.

Keep in mind these are real sailing vessels. The engine is only used to pick up the pace or when the weather demands it. And the bridge is open to passengers who’d like to converse with the captain.

Where do Star Clipper cruises depart from?

Star Clipper cruises depart from ports around the world — though it doesn’t offer any itineraries that begin in the US or Canada. Here’s where it starts:

Amsterdam, Athens, Bali Denpasar, Barbados, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dover, Dubai, Dubrovnik, Fort Lauderdale, Guam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Keelung, Lima, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Mahe Island, Miami, Mumbai, New Orleans, New York City, Palma De Mallorca, Papeete, Puerta Caldera, Quebec, Rome, San Diego, San Juan, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Venice, Yokohama

Star Clipper cruise destinations

When it comes to destinations, Star Clipper tends to favor warm weather and tropical locales. If you’re lusting after sunny skies and salty sea, one of these destinations might catch your eye:

Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Hawaii, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Mexico, Middle East, Northern Europe, Pacific, South Pacific, Transatlantic, Western Europe.

How much does a Star Clipper cruise cost?

Fares vary, depending on the itinerary you choose and the stateroom you book. Here’s a sample of three different fares:

CruiseRoutePrice
Windward Islands — 8 nightsFrom Bridgetown, Barbados round trip, with seven Caribbean port stops along the way$6,915 — but you can book it for just $3,230 at the Advanced Purchase Rate
Spain & Morocco — 5 nightsFrom Lisbon, Portugal to Malaga, Spain, with four Western Mediteranean port stops along the way$4,860 — but you can book it for just $2,130 at the Advanced Purchase Rate
Southern Cyclades — 7 nightsFrom Piraeus, Greece round trip, with five Eastern Mediteranean port stops along the way$6,640 — but you can book it for just $2,740 at the Advanced Purchase Rate

Prices obtained February 2020. Based on per-person double-occupancy rate for the cheapest stateroom option. Port charges included.

Even if the price looks hefty up front, keep in mind that you can usually save up to 65% off by booking far enough in advance and snagging the advanced purchase rate.

What’s included on Star Clipper cruises?

Your Star Clipper fare covers your cabin, meals and onboard entertainment. You’ll pay extra for shore excursions, alcoholic drinks and gratuities.

    How much are gratuities on Star Clipper cruises?

    If you’re happy with the service, Star Clipper recommends tipping about €8, or $8.65 per passenger, per day. However, gratuities are purely at your discretion and aren’t automatically charged to your shipboard account.

    Why you should (or shouldn’t) cruise with Star Clipper

    Weigh the benefits and drawbacks before splurging for fare:

    Pros

    • Complimentary water sports like kayaking and windsurfing
    • Intimate onboard atmosphere
    • Open bridge so passengers can chat with the captain
    • Meals — especially seafood — are outstanding, according to online reviews
    • Swimming pool on deck

    Cons

    • Ships can feel outdated, according to online reviews
    • Fare is pricier up front.
    • Excursions aren’t included, which is atypical for this price range.
    • Fewer onboard entertainment options than larger cruise lines

    If you’re still on the fence about Star Clipper, compare it to SeaDream Yacht Club and Windstar Cruises.

    Frequently asked questions

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