Last year my family and I sailed on the 4-masted Star Clipper’s Star Flyer cruising through the Baltic Sea. You can read my previous post here. We had such a great time that we decided to do it again this year on The Royal Clipper, a 5-masted ship. This time we tackled the Mediterranean Sea- departing out of Rome and traveling to Sicily, the tip of Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Venice (you can see the full itinerary below). My second time on a Star Clipper’s cruise was equally wonderful and I came back with even more of an appreciation of how unique tall ship cruising is. There is something quite extraordinary about these clippers, from the level of service by the near 100 staff members that work and call it home for 6 months (sometimes a year non-stop), to the camaraderie between the several hundred passengers that are on board. The peaceful, yet dramatic approach in and out of ports cannot be matched by a larger cruise line.
Approaching Montenegro by boat is a favorite memory.
We sailed along calm, crystal-blue waters with quaint towns on both sides consisting of the quintessential rust colored roofs with a pop of bright purple bougainvillea. As we approached what many describe as the Mediterranean’s only fjord, the view became breathtaking and one of the most beautiful travel moments that I’ve ever experienced (photos don’t seem to do justice). We entered the Bay of Kotor through a narrow strait and were soon surrounded by mountains on all sides. The captain began very slowly turning the boat, so that we could get an uninterrupted view from every angle. As we were slowly turning in the midst of this beautiful bay, the captain began blaring the horn on the boat 3 times- an old sailor’s tradition. He did this twice and shortly after we began hearing the echoes of the local churches ringing their bells in response. It was one of those moments (which only travel can do), where it puts everything in perspective.
Departing each port is also an experience unto itself.
Everyone gathers on the top deck near the bridge, where the Captain is navigating the ship, with camera and oftentimes a drink in hand. Some 42 sails are raised and as we start sailing out of port, Conquest of Paradise is played over the loudspeakers on deck. This is a song that is majestic and powerful and evokes a sense of setting sail into the unknown. With all sails up, the sun setting on the horizon, and a blanket of sea ahead we embark on the next phase of our great journey. -Lindsay, July 2014
June 19-21 Rome, Italy
June 22 Palmarola & Ponza, Italy
June 23 Sorrento, Italy
June 24 Catania, Italy (Sicily)
June 25 At sea
June 26 Corfu, Greece
June 27 Kotor, Montenegro
June 28 Dubrovnik, Croatia
June 29 Hvar, Croatia
June 30 Rovinj, Croatia
July 1 Piran, Slovenia
July 2-4 Venice, Italy