If the idea of sailing on an old clipper ship sounds exciting, this is the line for you. Star Clippers’ three 170- to 227-passenger tall ships were painstakingly designed to look as close as possible to full-rigged 19th-century clipper ships, complete with four or five masts, teak decking, and polished brass details. When the captain raises the sails (which he does as often as possible, though there are engines too), the ships under sail are a sight to behold.
As traditional as the ships look, they’ve got all the 21st-century amenities you’ll want, from comfortable cabins with TVs and DVD players to a restaurant serving tasty continental fare and lots of deck space for sunbathing and swimming.
What We Love
Watersports: When the ships are anchored in some beautiful place, the crew places a set of stairs over the side so you can swim next to the ship or try waterskiing, kayaking, or windsurfing.
Casual: No need to pack jackets or fancy clothes. Just don a sundress or shirt and linen pants to walk the few steps from your cabin to the Tropical Bar or dining room.
Best Known For
Amazing Itineraries: These small ships can get off the beaten path, with calls at wonderful, uncrowded ports you may never have heard of, such as Amorgos in the Greek Isles and Phang Nga Bay off the coast of Thailand.
Tall Ships: For some passengers, the itinerary is incidental; they’re there for the towering masts, sails, and rigging. On every cruise, when at anchor, passengers pile into tender boats to photograph the ships from all angles.
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Who It's Best For
Couples Age 30+: Though there are usually a handful of singles on any given cruise, mostly it’s couples looking to relax and get some sun.
Families with Older Children: There are no video arcades or ping-pong tables, but kids age 10 and up will enjoy climbing the masts (in a harness of course) and swimming in the two small pools. In port, they can paddleboard, snorkel, and kayak from the anchored ship or from a local beach, where the crew sets up the watersports equipment.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
If Seas Are Rough, You’ll Feel It: These are small sailing ships, so if the wind really picks up, it’s a Dramamine fest. Crossing the Aegean between Athens and Kusadasi, for example, can be a problem.
Informality Extends to Service: Sometimes it feels like the young Swedes on the watersports team, who also pitch in with after-dinner entertainment, think they’re doing you a favor.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.