Ever wondered what it is really like on a Royal Clipper holiday?

Day One

At Dubrovnik airport we were met by our pre booked transfer to be taken to the old town harbour where the ship was docked. Whilst driving along the Croatian coastal roads we spotted the stunning Royal Clipper which made us feel excited as we knew this was our home for the next four nights.

Dubrovnik is a hidden gem in the Adriatic, steeped in history, the city walls surround the cobbled streets and stonewashed staircases of the old town. The bustling atmosphere of this Croatian port offers an array of cafes, bars and restaurants to sit and watch the world go by, which is exactly what we did! After ambling through the maze of streets we made our way to the tender to embark Royal Clipper.

We were surrounded by others who could only experience Royal Clipper through their camera lenses, so we felt a sense of pride to be able to experience this wonderful ship first hand.

Only moments after stepping on board we were handed our welcome cocktails and found ourselves catching up with the crew that had remembered us from the last trip. This friendly welcome sums up life on board and is, i think, why we have so many passengers returning time and time again, its like one big happy family.

We were shown to our category 3 cabins which have a double bed, portholes and marble lined bathrooms. These cabins are middle range of what Star Clippers can offer and are more than adequate in terms of space and decor, very elegantly designed.

As the sun was shining we decided to take advantage of the sun deck so found ourselves some sun loungers perfectly positioned next to one of the three swimming pools – an afternoon of total bliss.

We freshened up in our cabins then met again at the al fresco Tropical Bar for a pre dinner prosecco.

Dinner on board is an a la carte affair with 6 scrumptious choices to devour. I started with shrimps in a light coconut sauce, followed by chicken breast stuffed with spinach and a vegetable medley. I was to tempted to resist dessert so opted for the chocolate flan which was divine. We ordered a bottle of house white wine which at €15 is very well priced, this price includes a gratuity to the bar as well. We were pleasantly surprised to find the house wine was a pinot grigio and will definitely be ordering that again!

We were welcomed to join a lovely American couple at dinner, where we spent the evening exchanging stories and enjoying our first night on board. Dinner is an excellent opportunity to mingle with fellow guests, the open dining policy on board means you can dine with different people every night, have a table for two or if you do meet friends and wish to dine with the same people each evening, the maitre de will accommodate every guests wishes.

We left the dining room to head to the Tropical Bar where the space had started to fill with dancing couples and music in the air – this is the perfect post dinner cocktail retreat!

With midnight approaching all guests hurriedly gathered up on the sun deck, joining all of the crew and officers for sail away.

Picture this…

A classical piece of music by a composer called ‘van gellis’ begins to boom around the deck. A little haunting and quite dramatic the ‘conquest to paradise’ fills the air commanding full attention of everyone on board. As the music plays, the crew begin to pull on the ropes and very very slowly the stunningly lit  sails rise for what seems like miles above our heads. We set sail off in to the open sea with the music playing in the background sipping on champagne and engaging in this totally magical and magnificent moment only to be had on Star Clippers.

This rounded off our day in a incredible way and all that was left to do was retire to our comfortable cabins.

Day Two

Danielle and I met for breakfast at 0930 after a much needed rest. As always with the food on board, we were spoilt for choice. From fresh fruit to a full fry up there is something for everyone. I had a plate full of scrambled eggs, bacon, bread and beans. Not the light breakfast I had in mind!

Today’s destination was Hvar, a place I had wanted to visit for a long time. It was the highlight of the itinerary for me however with the 33 degree heat we decided to wait until the afternoon to explore this beautiful harbor. This gave us the perfect opening in our schedule to try out some water sports.

As part of the Star Clipper experience, we offer a complimentary water-sports programme. This includes; kayaking, snorkeling, water skiing, wake boarding, pequot sailing and swimming. The marina platform lowers from the back of the ship so you can do all of these activities directly from the ship in to the ocean. There is a water sports team on every sailing who are on hand to help…

The sea looked very inviting, a great way to cool down in the heat. We swam over to the lilos floating in front of the platform which are all attached to the ship by a rope so there was no worry of floating too far away. Whilst laying in the sun just a few meters from the ship, the view of the Royal Clipper was incredible and made me feel tiny in comparison to her magnificent form.

The ship was due to leave Hvar at 5pm so we only had a few more hours to go and explore.

Hvar – The St Tropez of Croatia. Millionaires impressive yachts lined the harbor where people sat in sophisticated cocktail bars soaking up the bustling atmosphere. Individual stools selling Croatian jewellery alongside endless supplies of the local lavender meaning the powerful floral scent filled the air of the beautiful old town. The cobbled streets and main square were reminiscent of Dubrovnik with many old churches and Mediterranean restaurants acting as the heart of Hvar.

We found ourselves aimlessly strolling around the harbor and stumbled across the hotel Adriana which sign posted a ‘roof top bar’ on its 4th floor. With the thought of the views this bar would have over Hvar harbor, we had no hesitation in going up to the 4th floor. It was breathtaking, we had sight of the yachts, small and large and to our left the old fort of Hvar. With cocktails on order, we really were in heaven.

We were back on board on the last tender where we would shortly be setting sail in daylight. Once again we joined the officers on the sun deck to experience sail away in a very different way. Sail away always gives me a warm feeling but it’s a very different experience in day light, just as magical as a midnight sail away but in another way.

Tonight was Captains night followed by the talent show, this is what I had been looking forward to all day. After a refreshing shower we met again in The Tropical Bar before dinner. On this special night we were joined by 2 new faces, a young female travel agent and a gentleman in his 80’s. I am always having the same debate with myself every dinner time, deciding what out of all the amazing food to eat. Tonight I had scallops, beef Rossini, and of course baked Alaska, the tradition on most conventional cruise ships.

Captain Sergey had the attention of the whole room when giving his speech, raising a glass with the complimentary champagne for this occasion –  applause filled the air. It was a fantastic dinner and not many people wanted the night to end there so headed up to the Tropical Bar for the talent show.

It was lovely to see the passengers getting involved in the show as well as the staff. They gave us some great performances of singing, clarinet playing and dancing. The waiters from Goa gave a traditional Goan dance, the bartenders formed a band and played and sang ‘hotel California’ encouraging guests to sing along. We even had the Captain playing the guitar and singing Russian folklore music, now I’m not sure you’d see that on many other cruise ships. By 1130 the talent show had finished but the night was just getting started as the dance floor filled and the music played entertaining guests for a few more hours. The ambiance tonight was wonderful, everyone was enjoying themselves in the friendly and lively atmosphere on board.

Day Three

I had never been lucky enough to have a cabin tour on the Royal Clipper before so we arranged this after breakfast. Firstly we were shown to the Owners Suite, of which there are two on Royal Clipper. I had thought I would like the Deluxe Suites the most but I must say as the most expensive cabin on board the opulence and grandeur is expected but still I was totally impresed. The entrance leads you to the Suite by a small staircase with deep red carpet and brass railings. The beautiful artwork of fellow sailing ships adorn the walls of the elegant living area which is suprisingly spacious. The bedroom is large in size and nautical in decor, with a marble lined whirlpool bathroom attached in en suite style. A second wetroom can be found off of the living area which also boasts a second raised double bed. A stunning stateroom worthy of the ‘owners’ title.

We were then shown to a category 6 inside cabin, also on the Clipper Deck but the cheapest cabin on the ship. Very comfortable and similar in decor to the other outside cabins. The final cabin we saw was a Deluxe Suite. Only on Royal do we have the Deluxe Suites, and the charming thing about these cabins is the private balcony that no other category of cabin has.

We made our way to the main dining room for aanother fantastic meal time. Todays lunch selection of desserts where all too tasty and i ended up having 2!

After lunch we were joined up on deck by most of the passengers as we sailed into Rovinj. It was easy to see the stunning church and clock tower in a prime position ontop of the hill, great picture moment as we had the perfect view of this from the ship.  The familiar cobbled streets we were now used to in Croatia led us on our upward way to the church. We passed endless jewellry and art shops, there is plenty of shopping opportunites in Rovinj with one off pieces made in Croatia making for the perfect souvenier.

As we neared the church we caught a sight of the Royal Clipper sails beneith us. We took a moment to take in the mesmerising view. In every port of call it is amazing to look out to sea and see the Royal Clipper however, its just as moving everytime as there are a crowd of people also looking out to sea in awe.

We continued to the top where the exterior of the church of St Euphimia came closer. We had reached the highest point in Rovinj and it was certainly worth the steap walk up, the views were incredible. We silently entered the church taking our time to look around its grand interior.

Once back onboard we had a few hours before dinner giving me time for some more deck lounging in the sun whilst Danielle enjoyed her full body massage in Captain Nemos Spa.

I needed a cold shower before dinner after another hot day. I met with Danielle up on deck in time for sail away. As the music played and the sails raised in to the sky we glided so slowly and gracefully past the old town and hilltops of Rovinj. To make this moment even more perfect we were close enough to the land to witness a bride, a vision of beauty in a clean white dress, embracing her new husband as we set sail at dusk. Hundreds of people lined the harour to wave the Royal Clipper off on her journey.

We dined again with Stephanie and Sven from the previous evening and had another lovely evening in the company of one another. An exciting event and reason to celebrate was the news of the future King of England being born. We invited Stephanie and Sven to join us in celebrating by ordereing some champagne in Tropical Bar. We wanted to share this news with the whole ship so Monja, our cruise director made the Royal announcement which was a very special moment. We had many passengers from all over the world excited by the news. Once again we had music from the onboard musician, the ship was filled with music and passengers danced the night away beneath the sails and the stars…

 

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