After a very comfortable sleep we woke very early (jetlagged!) So opted for an early breakfast. We were seated by the pool and guided to the extensive breakfast buffet. Omelettes and eggs were made to order, an array of cheeses, hams and pastries were also available as well as bacon, sausage, tomatoes, beans, cereals... The list is endless! Fresh coffee, tea and juices were served and the early caribbean sunshine shone as we tucked in to our first delightful meal of the day.
At 845, aqua aerobics commenced in the spa pool area. A gruelling workout but needed after the breakfast! It was a well attended class with about 10 ladies choosing to join in. There is a daily programme at the Tamarind with various activities for guests to choose from, however, if you're anything like me you will find the best positioned sun lounger and set up camp there for the day!!
After 3 chapters of my book, a couple of naps and a dip in the sea it was time for lunch. Chicken ceaser salad served by the pool at the Tamarind was very reasonably priced, around 15 USD and was delicious! An afternoon of more relaxation followed... Although Tamarind is a B & B property, the friendly staff bring round fresh fruit refreshments, cold flannels and ice lollies throughout the day which are always very well received.
This evening I had planned to go to The House to see the recent refurbishments. The House is an adults only exclusive haven, a home away from home, situated next door to Tamarind and Daphne's restaurant. With only 34 suites, this boutique property is ideal for romantic retreats. The bedrooms are all beautiful in design and layout and the ambassador service is a great concept, this is my favourite Elegant Hotels property.
We were treated to a mouthwatering watermelon martini on the decking of The House before dinner at Daphne's. Daphne's is also owned by Elegant Hotels and is one of the most awarded Italian restaurants on the island. The setting is picture perfect, right out on the beach and was clearly very popular among couples. The beef tenderloin was divine, served with a mushroom and truffle sauce, asparagus and mozzerella croquette potatoes, washed down with a bubbly prosseco. Three of us had 3 courses, a bottle of prosecco and a bottle of pinto grigio to a total cost of 300 USD which although might seem high, the setting, the service and the quality of food make for an unforgettable night and I would urge anyone staying in Barabdos to treat themselves to a night at this stunning establishment.
Our first full day in the sun, a lovely evening and delicious meal was the perfect way to kick start the holiday and we are all now completely relaxed and ready for tomorrow...
Posted: 25/04/2013 16:13:03
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If you want a really special airport experience, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is the way to start your Bajan experience in style. Bucks Fizz, Full english breakfast and the option to have spa treatments, anything ranging from a manicure to a luxurious massage... If you've booked 'Upper class' with Virgin Atlantic you can automatically enter this exclusive area. However if you've booked your holiday through Virgin Holidays/Ponders Travel in economy or Premium Economy I believe you can pay a little extra to have lounge passes, a very worthwhile 'extra' I would say.
We flew in Premium Economy which was a real treat. The large and comfortable leather seats give lots of leg room and the glass of champagne before take off is a nice touch. Our meal was chosen from a menu and consisted of a starter of King prawns in a citrus dressing, a main course of thai green vegetable curry and rice and a scrumptious cheese cake for desert. Drinks were offered regularly but could be ordered whenever you fancied one. I managed to watch 3 movies on the in flight entertainment system and even fit in a couple of hours sleep before the 'high tea' was served before landing. There was certainly no shortage of food and drink and we definitely started as we meant to go on.
On arrival to Barbados airport, the familiar hit of heat surrounded us as we stepped down from the Virgin Atlantic Jumbo we had flown in. This is a feeling that I really love about holidays, it never gets old and every time brings a wide smile to my face.
After a swift journey through customs we collected our luggage and were met by a friendly driver holding a sign with our names on it, we were then transferred to our hotel, The Tamarind. The journey only takes about 30 minutes from the airport and it's so interesting taking in all the local surroundings; corn sellers on the side of the roads, the infamous reggae buses the quirky and colourful shacks and beautiful bright flowers were just some of the sights we were able to take in of this stunning island.
We were welcomed with warm smiles on arrival to the Tamarind, and a glass of rum punch of course! The Caribbean style decor sweeps through the lobby which leads out on to Paynes Bay, one of Barbados's most awarded west coast beaches, first impressions are everything and Tamarind does not disappoint. We were shown to our Pool view Junior Suite which is impressive in size and gorgeous in decor. The generous sized balcony looks over the pool as promised and also offers a partial sea view (room number 206) which I would reccomend as we could still see the dazzling blue sea over the pool. If you would prefer a direct sea view there are plenty of other suites to choose from.
Our first walk on the beach was amazing as the sun was starting to set but the air was still so warm, around 27 degrees, so a dip in the sea was a must... After an hour lazing between the pool and the bar (and a few more cocktails) we made our way back to our room to dress for dinner.
Tonight we dined at the 246 restaurant at Tamarind which offered a varied and interesting a la carte menu in an al fresco setting. The food was impressively presented and just as impressive in taste - yummy! After such a long day we opted for an early night after dinner and retired to the comfortable beds in our beautiful Junior Suites...
Posted: 24/04/2013 15:42:35
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Following the success of the Star Clippers debut Art Afloat cruise in 2011 we are thrilled to be able to offer you additional art themed sailings for 2012.
Richard Nichols on one of the three exclusive 'art afloat' holidays offering you a choice of the stunning sun drenched Greek Islands, Mystical Morocco or the Tropical Breezes of the Caribbean Windward Isles. With an accomplished artist on-board to help you build your creative talent and techniques, these special sailings will be an enchanting experience to behold.
So select the sailing that suits you and we look forward to seeing you on- board with some stunning scenery included!
- 5th May 2012- Northern Cyclades for 7 nights on board Star Clipper
- 6th October 2012 - Spain and Morocco for 7 nights on board Star Flyer
- 7th December 2012 - The Windward Islands for 7 nights on board Royal Clipper.
Your daily art tuition and workshops with Richard Nichols are included in the price along with return flights, all shared transfers (non UK) and 7 nights full board cruise including port taxes and water sports.
Don't forget we are also including an amazing selection of art materials inside a special lightweight backpack that converts into a handy seat for location work.
So you will have everything you need, all that's left is to simply pick up the phone and call Star Clipper holidays on 01954 232802.
Posted: 13/03/2012 14:28:27
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They say that the River Douro is Europe's hidden gem and we at Ponders agree, having recommended this cruise and actively been on it ourselves a number of times, we feel that it is something everyone should experience at least once.
With people looking to get more for their money when booking a holiday we think we have come up trumps! Not only are we able to offer you something completely different from your standard beach holiday but included in the amazing price is (take a deep breath and que the list..) return flights, transfers, 7 night river cruise full board, luggage transfers from quay side to cabin, full off shore excursion programme (selected dates), coffee and tea after dinner, welcome and farewell cocktail, Captains Dinner, participation in the on board events programme and last but not least a Portuguese folklore concert on board. Phew if thats not value for money what is?
So how do you fancy meandering along the River Douro with stunning scenery and encountering unspoilt rural villages and towns and even visiting the historic cities of Salamanca and Porto. Sound like something you would like to know more about or just want to book. Well we are happy to answer any queries you may have and we can even offer you a pre/post cruise and stay option from Liverpool.
With our experience on the Douro we are able to offer you some top tips that we have found have enhanced our journey when we visited.
With the Douro Cruiser only accommodating 130 passenger you will need to be quick as we are selling out fast due to our EXCLUSIVE price from £999pp.
Valentines Day Alert.
For all of those wanting to book something romantic for a partner this Valentines have you seen our Venice 4 night Sailing on board Star Clipper. Look in our special offers section for more details, but it certainly exceeds flowers and chocolates and is something you can both look forward too. DONT FORGET book by the 10th of Feb and you will recieve an M&S Champagne hamper in time for Valentines day. So no need to visit the shops either!!
Posted: 01/02/2012 16:58:00
Star Clipper Admin
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Just imagine my excitement when I was asked if I would like to go on a trip to the Caribbean, starting in Barbados and then to join the amazing Star Clipper Ship - Royal Clipper. The trip was to introduce me to the delightful Island of Barbados and the cruise visited St Kitts, Iles des Saintes and Martinique. I truly couldn’t have wished for more.
They were places I had never been before and the Royal Clipper has long been on my list since I fell in love with the Star Clipper.
Our trip started (as many of our Star Clipper Caribbean Holidays do) when we flew from Gatwick to Barbados with British Airways, everything ran smoothly and I got the chance to catch up on the latest films whilst relaxing with a glass of wine and a meal.
I love that feeling when you get off a plane and the heat hits you, all of a sudden that long flight was all worthwhile. Our transfers throughout the trip were all on time and with very informative drivers who were brilliant at telling us all about sights we passed on route to our hotel. It wasn’t long before I reached my first port of call, The Colony Club, Barbados. The welcome was very warm and the Rum cocktail was the first of many I had the pleasure of tasting during my trip. This is a lovely hotel, great food and as always in Barbados the staff are friendly and do everything they can to make your stay perfect. The hotel has a wide range of rooms, lovely large decking to relax on and a private beach, a beach as you can imagine, pure white sand and crystal blue sea! Perfection.
I enjoyed the fact that although we were heading for an exciting cruise, the opportunity to spend the night in a fabulous hotel in a super location really was the icing on the cake.
The following day we flew to Antigua where we joined the Magnificent Royal Clipper, she was everything I thought she would be and a whole lot more. As usual I found the moment the ship sails out of the port so emotional, it is such a moving experience, glass of champagne, Vangelis playing throughout the top deck whilst the 5 sails are being raised by the crew, the captain and his team also on deck at the ships wheel, along with the sound of the wind blowing through the sails, this is definitely a cruise to do if you want to experience something different. During the next 4 days on the cruise we visited St Kitts, Iles des Saintes and Martinique. In St Kitts we had a half day island tour in an open bus with a great local tour guide, he was colourful, informative and lots of fun, he even had his own Rum selection for our refreshments during the morning, this is well worth doing. We saw volcanos, lush countryside, stopped at a local market and watched children playing at school. In the afternoon I sampled the white sand and aqua sea and as I had imagined it was all to my liking.
Whilst on board the Royal Clipper – each night on-board there was something different for guests to enjoy, Pirate Night, Talent Show, Captains night and so much more.
During the day you could enjoy one of two swimming pools, laze in the sun on a comfy deck chair or why not experience the difference of sun bathing in the nets? The ship has a gym, massage room and sauna so you are able to enjoy all these facilities too. Don’t forget all your water sports are included, and you get taken on the ships zodiacs to the most stunning beaches to enjoy all the water sports each and every day.
On the second day of our cruise we arrived in Iles des Saintes, I had a little wander around in the port and then spent the afternoon on the beach trying out the water sports that the Royal Clipper sports team had to offer, I’ve decided me and canoeing are not a very good mix.
The town of Martinique does not have too much to offer so I would definitely suggest taking one of the ships organised excursions which will ensure you make more of this destination.
Before I knew it it was our last night on-board the cruise, one of my favourites as the whole team of staff sing traditional songs in the restaurant, a good chance to get some photographs for the album. We disembarked in Barbados and headed off for what was my highlight of the trip, 5 hours on a Catamaran with a Bajan lunch and an all-inclusive bar and my first chance ever to try and snorkel. And snorkel I did and to make it more amazing I did it with the Turtles, it was fantastic and something I would encourage you to all do at least once in your life.
Our cruise ended in Barbados, but we did not have to fly home as we were lucky enough to spend our final night at the Tamarind Hotel, again a lovely hotel, large beach with lots of water sports and an adults only pool for all those couples who want to enjoy some chill time. If you are wanting something special Daphne’s Restaurant is next door, the ideal place to have an intimate meal for 2 on the beach or a luxury meal for a group of friends whilst sitting on the decking.
Well before you know it we are having our last few hours on the beach and trying to put off the inevitable, leaving for the airport. Once again all our transfers and flights were faultless and I was pleased that we had pre booked them all and did not have the hassle of having to sort anything out locally.
So as you have read, all in all this was a fantastic trip and if I can pass in any first-hand experience to help you make you mind up then please let me know.
Posted: 15/01/2012 21:02:51
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