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Sail Date: February 2019
A trip on Star Clippers was on our bucket list but this just did not meet our expectations. Sailing on a clipper ship requires compromises. This is not a 90,000 ton behemoth and you have to accept the space limitations that are to be ... Read More
A trip on Star Clippers was on our bucket list but this just did not meet our expectations. Sailing on a clipper ship requires compromises. This is not a 90,000 ton behemoth and you have to accept the space limitations that are to be expected on a 164 passenger 360 foot Barquentine. The cabins are tiny, the dining room feels cramped. There are not many public rooms. Shaded deck space is at a premium. If the sailing experience is poor, those compromises become sacrifices. The captain did say that the winds had not been favourable and that they had to motor 60% of the time but apart from engine noise I really could not feel much of a difference between sail and power. It mostly felt like a slow cruise ship. No heeling, no real ship's motion as you ride the waves. They made a big deal of raising the sails while playing Vangelis's Conquest of Paradise on the ship's speakers. But without wind, it's just some washing hanging out to dry and the whole shtick gets tiresome very fast. It felt like they'd put up the sails and sit there until it was time to turn on the engines to make it to the next port on schedule. Our first impression of the ship was very positive. Teak decks, 4 elegant masts and plenty of brightwork but taking a closer look, there is a lot of rust covered in white paint. There were missing and broken lights. Various parts of the hull has been painted at different times with slightly different shades of white paint. It looked splotchy. The cabin showed signs of hard use with damage to the ceiling and the whole space looking tired. The single porthole was tiny and had paint on the glass from a sloppy paint job. The noise from the engine was loud enough to wake us in the night and there was a distinct smell of diesel fuel in the cabin when the engine was running. There was no temperature control for the air conditioning that I could find, just a lever to control the amount of air that blows into the cabin. The flat screen TV sits in a corner of the room near the ceiling and is partially blocked by a post. The bathroom was not bad but the shower area was very small and the water that came out of the tap was rusty. It actually discoloured the white face cloths that we used. They provided a bottle of water on the first day but you have to purchase additional water for the rest of the cruise. Given what came out of the taps, you'd have thought that a daily litre of water would be provided. The dining room mostly consists of banquettes for 6 and tables for 8 with not much room between the seats. By 8:00 PM, when all of the passengers are seated, the noise is deafening and the room is very warm. One of our fellow passengers was on the ship the previous week with fewer passengers and said it was much more comfortable. The food quality is variable. Some is very good but I found a lot of the fish dishes were overdone and their vegetarian options uninteresting. They were more successful with their meat dishes. Nice lamb, good pepper steak. Their desserts were quite good but there was never a sugar-free option available. Service was a bit slap-dash with orders occasionally getting confused and presented to the wrong guest. Entertainment consisted of a pianist making an appearance during the cocktail hour and in the evening as well as the occasional enrichment lectures and a crew talent show. You don't take a Star Clipper cruise for their production values or for the casino. There were a couple of shore excursions to port cities which were fine but the stops at various beaches were a bit of a fiasco. With one exception, the beaches were crowded and dirty with difficult access through the surf. Not exactly a south-east Asia tropical paradise. My favourite part of the cruise and the best entertainment was the walk around the deck after dinner looking at the full moon over the Strait of Malacca. Given the high cost, the mediocre facilities and the lack of any real "sailing" experience, I can't see trying this again. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I choose this cruise because the vessel is small , she sails , and has an appealing destination : Thailand. My rating : I give one star for the very good looking of the ship on pictures and a second star for the food. What we did ... Read More
I choose this cruise because the vessel is small , she sails , and has an appealing destination : Thailand. My rating : I give one star for the very good looking of the ship on pictures and a second star for the food. What we did not like : I. General lack of comfort : * starting from the early beginning in the welcome room in Phuket, * the boat tender access is complicated and skimpy , dangerous. * the gangplank (not levelled and dangerous), * the deck in complete disorder, * the bar is very uncomfortable, lack of shade on the deck not enough sun cheap plastic sunchairs . * no pump in the pool , water dirty at the end of the day , dangerous. * uncomfort on the beach stops , boy scout type BBQ II. General lack of friendliness reaching the lack of politeness from the Cruise director and the bar staff but not only, no welcome in the dining room, the staff seems frustated . III. Lack of interest of the stops , it seems that our 1500 chinese friends had the same interest for the Koh Lantha and the so called "wild beaches" than us. IV. Account management practices unusual . The major criticism is the arrogance of the cruise director : a good ambiance would have attenuated the defaults. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
The trip just fell short on everything. Started badly by having a toilet blockage in the public bathroom having to be fixed through our cabin. Because we couldn't dress for dinner I asked for another cabin (there were plenty that were ... Read More
The trip just fell short on everything. Started badly by having a toilet blockage in the public bathroom having to be fixed through our cabin. Because we couldn't dress for dinner I asked for another cabin (there were plenty that were empty). The cabin they offered was supposedly an upgrade because it was upstairs, but it was significantly smaller and noisier and had less storage space. We moved back the next morning. The food was bland and lacked imagination. In comparison, the Wind Star had a port-inspired dish on the menu each night, offered fresh made menu items at all three meals, plus the buffets at breakfast and lunch, and the option for room service whenever you desired, and there was free soda and water in your cabin at all times. Star Clipper's breakfast and lunch buffets were truly disappointing; buttered noodles should not ever be a dish on a cruise, yet Star Clipper offered it at three buffet lunches. There was the option for fresh eggs at breakfast, and I was told by another passenger that you could also order toast. You must pay for all drinks on the Star Clipper, soda and bottled water included. Lastly, on the food, the service on the Star Clipper couldn't hold a candle to Wind Star. Some, not all, of the staff were often unkempt and unfriendly, and seemed put out by any request. All they wanted to do was what they must, fill glasses, clear plates, etc. On the Wind Star the staff was professional, courteous, and seemed to genuinely enjoy making your experience the best it could be. We got the opportunity to see one of the Star Clipper's "luxury" cabins when we befriended another couple, and I'd have to say aside from the bathtub, it was no bigger or nicer than our standard cabin on the Wind Star. Certainly not worth the price. Our Star Clipper cabin was significantly smaller and older looking than the Wind Star. Also the old TV had no reception and could only be used for DVDs, which you could borrow from the Purser's Office, two at a time. We spent much more time watching movies than on any other cruise, as there is no real entertainment to speak of. Whereas the Wind Star had cultural dance troops and the like, the Star Clipper had a fashion show, where if you had bought any of their apparel, you could walk the "runway" in hopes of getting other passengers to buy stuff. Robert, the piano player was nice enough, but didn't add much to the experience. The piano player on the Wind Star was not particularly nice, but did his job very well, engaging the passengers and playing a wide variety of tunes. Oh, and on the last day they wouldn't give me my passport because they said I hadn't returned a DVD, when in reality the "Sports team" had taken it without signing it out, so they just accused the last passenger who had borrowed it. You sign them out, but don't sign them in, so if they say you haven't returned it, they hold your passport, which made me late for my prescheduled tour that morning. As for the excursions, make sure you know what you are signing up for because a lot of people were disappointed with how they handled the Barcelona tour. The tour ended at the airport, whether you were staying in the city for a couple of days or even continuing on the Star Clipper, you got left at the airport. I've never had that experience before and it was less than clear. Also, there was one couple that wanted to cancel their tour and were told they could not even though they stood before the cruise director with another couple who wanted to take that very tour, but were told it was sold out. All they had to do was switch credit card numbers, but instead both couples were left unsatisfied. In general, I found the cruise director, Anna, unfriendly, unhelpful and unapproachable outside her regular passenger interaction. Many passengers on the ship were happy repeat customers, which left my husband and I confused. What we learned was they were often sailors themselves who were looking for a "real" sailing experience. It is true that the Wind Star used their engine more (usually during sleeping hours) but in all fairness they also sailed farther and all the ports were significant, culturally or historically. I felt like the Star Clipper simply chose ports they could get to under sail. The other thing though was that none of these happy repeat customers had been on a Wind Star cruise and therefore had nothing really to compare. We were sure to encourage all to try Wind Star; I really believe they will all be more than happy with the decision! Read Less
Star Clipper Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 2.5 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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