Sailing on Star Clippers Royal Clipper, we happened upon an entirely different style of travel: sailing. We just thought we knew what cruise travel was all about until we came on board the ship with sails on a trip through the Caribbean’s Windward Islands. Quite frankly, our island-hopping itinerary was much more than we anticipated but followed a tried and true formula that took us away from ‘the real world’, allowing a quality travel experience like no other. Along the way we answered questions from readers with posts specific to common concerns. Today we take a look at other elements of the Star Clippers sailing style; parts not covered in other writings about our amazing adventure.
Motion In The Ocean
One of the big questions that came up along the way is best put by Roger from Tulsa, Oklahoma who asks “So, a ship at sea with sails; lots of movement? Only hearty souls need apply?”
Pretty much, Roger. When we were at sea, y0u knew it without looking outside to be sure. Commonly recommended to ‘avoid touching hand rails when walking up and down stairs to avoid norovirus’, there was no choice here: hang on for dear life or die trying…at times. On our itinerary the time of concern was leaving and coming back in to Barbados where the seas were the most rough and the most movement was felt. Still, it was kind of fun ‘walking like drunks’ without drinking.
I asked hotel manager Steve Adamson about that, wondering “Do you have a lot of passenger injuries?”. Surprisingly few actually because “passengers know what to expect” when booking a Star Clippers ship. Most have sailing experience or are past guests (more than 50% are) and have handled the motion in the ocean successfully before.
The Nautical Aspect
Riding on a ship with sails that actually propel the vessel is quite a different experience than sailing a big ocean ship. on the first sailaway, grand seagoing music was played while the sails were set for us to journey off into the night. After our first sailaway, Rob R from Kansas City asked “I wonder if they do that every time they set the sails. If so, it might get old fast”. It didn’t get old, it got better.
Throughout the journey, passengers learn more about ships with sails, what it takes to make them work and what a big part of the experience that movement of the ship is. By the time the last sailaway rolled around we had gained a great appreciation for what our crew did to make that happen, if not a glimpse into what those on the early sailing ships of yesteryear might have felt. That last sailaway was a bit emotional for many on board.
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow
“Ok, you were on a ship with sails, appear to have liked it. Would you do it again?” asked Sally B from Atlanta. Absolutely Sally. This is not a three times a year experience to be sure, but at least once in every cruise traveler’s lifetime they should do this. Beware: Post-cruise depression is alive and well in those who have done this and look back in the direction from which they came upon disembarking, hoping for one last glimpse of “our ship”.
I hope we can sail on a Star Clippers ship again some day. The experience is so remarkable that passengers are left wanting to share it with others who will appreciate it.