More Star Flyer by MimiASail Date: / Traveled As: Couple
We had previously sailed with Star Clippers aboard the Royal Clipper in the Caribbean --one of our best cruises. We were intrigued by sailing the small clipper ship in the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas and chose this back-to-back cruise from Venice, allowing us to spend time seeing that port first, and disembarking in Malta, a port not found on a lot of itineraries due to its out of the way location south of Sicily. Ports for this cruise after sailing from Venice included Mali Losinj, Hvar, and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Katakolon (for Olympia), Santorini, Mykonos, Athens (end of first leg), Monemvasia, and Pilos, Greece; Syracuse, Sicily, and disembarkation was in Valletta. We took two private tours during the day in Venice, having arrived the day prior, arriving for embarkation (which began at 4 pm) at the terminal at 4:45 pm and being exhausted already, having arrived via a water taxi with 2 suitcases of 50 lbs.+ each which we dropped off at a different point of the terminal (to be scanned and sent to our stateroom), 2 roll-on carry-ons, and two backpacks, we found quite a few fellow passengers were in line, so we had a fair wait to go through security before boarding which also was compounded by another ship embarking in the same terminal. Upon embarkation via gangway to the Tropical Bar, we were met by the Captain and Hotel Manager with an alcoholic beverage. We elected to complete check-in in the piano bar and take carry-ons to our cabin, then return for snacks being provided at 5-6 pm that night as well as every evening on deck at the Tropical Bar. Muster drill was at 6:30 and was very comprehensive (with life jacket on and detailed instructions), compared to most cruise lines' drills nowadays. Second muster drill was the following morning (without donning life jackets). Sail away party was at 7:30 on Sundeck (top) to views the sails being raised. Dinner was served by waiters most evenings 7:30-10 as previously mentioned, open seating style (come at any time and join others at a table). The "tall ship" Star Flyer was built in 1991, is 360 feet long, and can accommodate just 170 guests. She spends her summers in various parts of Europe and her winters in the Caribbean. Life aboard is blissfully relaxed, much like traveling on a private yacht. You’ll never feel confined on Star Flyer. The ship offers spacious accommodations and expansive teak decks with ample space and not one, but two swimming pools. In fact, you’ll find that the ship offers more outdoor space per passenger than most conventional cruise ships. The décor of Star Flyer and her sister Star Clipper is reminiscent of the grand age of sail. Antique prints and paintings of famous sailing ships please the eye, while teak and gleaming mahogany rails are richly reminiscent of Star Clippers’ proud nautical heritage. All Star Clippers ships feature open-seating dining in an elegantly appointed dining room where formal wear is never required (but country club casual in the evening is the norm), their convivial indoor-outdoor Tropical Bar and Piano Bar, and an Edwardian style library where a Belle Époque fireplace glows with a warmth that reflects the friendliness and enthusiasm of Star Clippers’ hospitable officers and crew. Most days of the cruise were spent in a charming port where one could explore on their own or participate in a ship-sponsored cruise which were limited for this small cruise line, and in some cases were canceled if not enough participants signed up. About half the ports allowed for evening exploration as well, as sail away could occur between 6 pm and midnight. Local entertainment similar to a barbershop quartet was brought on board in Dubrovnik, while most nights the entertainment was provided by the crew (or passengers in a fashion show or talent show) or a movie was shown. Most mornings we continued sailing awhile before arriving into a port and our first morning was no exception. Gymnastics class was available at 8 am (most mornings). Early Bird Breakfast (continental) is available 6:30-10:30 in the Piano Bar with coffee, tea and juices as well. Full buffet breakfast was usually from 8-10 with an egg station, fresh fruits, numerous bread options, and several hot offerings ranging from bacon and sausage & potatoes to crepes, french toast, pancakes, dry cereal, and oatmeal. Yogurt, juices, cold cuts, cheeses and a smoothie were also available daily. Lunch buffet was usually 12-2, but varied slightly depending upon arrival in port. There was always a daily meat at the carving station as well as hot meat options and various potatoes, vegetables, breads, fruits and desserts at all lunch buffets, each of which featured a specific theme. After reboarding our home for another 5 day cruise, we noticed many new faces, but continued our meal time gatherings with friends we made on the first leg of the cruise. Sail away was at 9:30 towards Monemvasia, Greece, arriving at noon the next day. This was a very unique small port with lots of history built on a hillside where there was a recently restored (exterior, with the interior restoration just beginning) Church of Agios Sophia at the top. No roads or vehicles are allowed in the small town, necessitating climbing to the top taking more than 1/2 hour where one traversed a very craggy uneven rock path, but the views were amazing, as was the church. Water sport activities were available for those staying on board. The second fashion show was presented following our sail towards Pilos at 6 pm. Our last port in Greece was Pilos where we anchored at 10 am, another port built on hills with a protected fort. There was a ship-sponsored excursion, but we elected to climb the hills of the town which afforded great views once again. On board options featured walk-a-mile and mast climbing with the sports team. We raised the anchor at 6 pm, sailing towards Syracuse, Sicily. Evening entertainment provided by the passengers was a game show with three teams competing. Our sea day in the Ionian Sea offered another opportunity to view the ship from tenders sailing and the usual events with the sports team plus another bridge visit option. Another talent show after the Captain's Dinner for the second 5-day sailing. Our last day arriving in Sicily at 10 am was bittersweet as usual. I spent an hour of the morning walking around town and later our excursion (one of two offered) took us to some of the same spots, but included others as well. Shuffle board, deck golf, and another engine room tour were available late afternoon prior to our final sail away at 6 pm. Evening movie shown was "Around Cape Horn" again. Thanks to Capt. Yuriy Slastenin and all the staff and crew for wonderful memories sailing the Dalmation Coast, Greece and the Ionian Sea. We arose early Sunday, October 21, so as to view the entrance into the port of Valletta, Malta and have a relaxing breakfast before disembarking at our leisure around 9:30. We then got a taxi to our hotel, followed by a day exploring Valletta.