Sailing aboard a tall ship allows you to discover a completely different experience than that of a conventional cruise. If you like the idea of a hands-on approach to cruising on an authentic sailing ship, then this is most definitely the adventure for you.
The sailing experience
A voyage aboard a tall ship is an unforgettable journey with the atmosphere mirroring that of a private yacht. With the help of the friendly crew, you will experience what it’s like to be a professional sailor as you get the chance to help out with the ropes and sails. What’s more, if you are feeling adventurous you can even have a go at climbing the main mast for a truly exhilarating experience.
As you step aboard these unique vessels you will notice that the tall ships boast a special charm likened to that of days gone by, yet still offering all the modern amenities that you could need. You can enjoy an intimate and personalised service as you will be joined by a maximum of 300 guests so you can be rest assured that you will be sufficiently pampered during your cruise. Expect a laid back life of luxury on board your yacht as there are no set schedules to keep to and you can spend your days doing as much or as little as you like. You will get to know your friendly captain in no time as he shows you all the ropes including sailing manoeuvres, rigging the ship and answering any questions that you might have.
Comfortably appointed suites
The spacious accommodation varies from yacht to yacht, but for example on the Wind Star yachts you can expect queen-sized beds, flat screen televisions, sound docks, iPods, a fully stocked minibar, Wi-Fi, fresh fruit, robe and slippers, L’Occitane bath amenities, tea services, a comfortable lounge and sofa area and a room decorated with beautiful fresh flowers.
Star Clippers have not overlooked their accommodation either, with elegantly decorated rooms, marble lined bathrooms, queen-sized beds, a daily replenished mini-bar and all the modern amenities you could need during your stay. If you are staying on the Deluxe suite on the Royal Clipper then you can look forward to a beautifully decorated suite with added little luxuries including a private veranda offering spectacular ocean views, a therapeutic whirlpool bath and 24-hour room service. This really is luxury sailing at its finest.
Dining is a true delight on-board and most definitely a highpoint of the cruise. If you are sailing on the Star Clippers fleet you can expect an open seating arrangement and look forward to gourmet cuisine in a laidback, relaxed setting. There is no dress code to adhere to and the focus solely lies on appreciating the food and company that you keep. You can generally expect gourmet, course-by-course cuisine in the evenings and casual buffet and full service dining for breakfast and lunch. What’s more, when the yacht drops her anchor you can enjoy a barbecue dinner on the shore of your very own paradise island. Whilst dining aboard the Windstar fleet you can expect a Californian experience with an open seating arrangement and a whole host of mouth-watering menus to choose from, or you can dine in the café which serves buffets for breakfast and lunch. Dining truly is a casual yet elegant experience aboard these adventurous ships.
There’s an activity for everyone
As well as fully immersing yourself in the journey of a lifetime, the on-board activities add further to the yachting experience. Windstar offer complimentary water-skiing, snorkelling and kayaking – all from the ships’ Water Sports Platform – without the need to go ashore. Once you are ashore, Windstar offers an array of activities as well. You can go horse riding along the mountains of the Mediterranean, take a canoe along Croatia’s beautiful rivers, soar through the rainforests of Costa Rica on a zip line adventure, or simply find a quiet spot on a Caribbean beach and lose yourself in a good book. Back on board the ‘Windspa’ is certainly a favourite with guests choosing to be pampered till their heart’s content with a whole range of treatments and products, or you can work up a sweat in the fully equipped fitness room, it’s your yachting holiday, your way.
The Star Clippers have a whole wealth of outside deck space with plenty of room for sunbathing or if you’d prefer, you can go for a leisurely swim in either one of their two swimming pools. Inside the boat guests can be often found in the library reading a book or playing a spot of chess with their new found friends. The Captain Nemo Underwater Spa is the perfect little hideaway featuring underwater views through the submarine portholes, so you can treat yourself to a massage, whilst enjoying a whole wealth of marine life swimming by. As the evening draws near you most certainly won’t be bored on a Star Clippers yacht. You can take part in an array of entertaining games including the ever so popular crab racing game which has evolved from Star Clippers sailing heritage, or you could relax in the lounge and listen to the beautiful sounds of the grand piano. There really is something for every taste here on the Star Clippers. What’s more, when you reach the port of call, local performers are welcomed on board to entertain you so you can get a true taste of the local music, culture and arts.
The exotic destinations…
These majestic yachts are able to sail into ports that the larger mainstream ships cannot reach, so expect to explore some of the world’s most untouched islands, hidden harbours and secluded coves. Perhaps you want to explore the lush rain forests of Costa Rica and visit the sun-drenched islands of the Caribbean? It’s all possible. The Eastern Mediterranean is a favourite with many as you can explore the grand bazaars of Istanbul, visit the holy land of Jerusalem, discover the ancient history of the Greek isles, or explore Egypt with some amazing sights to be seen. Taking a glide along the European coast is quite simply breath-taking with cities such as Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Venice and Nice all on offer. Alternatively you might enjoy sailing the Baltics with breath-taking landscapes of the Norwegian fjords and Denmark’s medieval castles and Viking burial grounds. With so many incredible itineraries on offer, the only hard decision you have to make is which one do you choose.
By Ian Lewis