Proper Sailing in the Med
THE REASON After many cruises we decided to try a bucket list job. We chose to sail on the Royal Clipper and after much research picked a cruise that took in both the Cannes and the Voiles de St Tropez regattas. We flew from UK to Nice then private transfer to Cannes, stayed at the Hotel Splendid overnight and joined the Royal Clipper in the afternoon. She was anchored in the bay so we were given a welcome drink and embarked in a ships tender. We were welcomed aboard by Captain Sergey and the hotel manager Peter Burkhard. After booking in and being taken to our cabin by our ever smiling steward we explored the ship. THE SHIP Royal Clipper is the largest fully rigged cruse sailing ship in the world. A magnificent sight at anchor and beautiful under sail. The furnishings are classy, think dark wood panelling red leather and velvet, paintings and prints of past sailing vessels with brass fittings and lamps. The cabins tend to be smaller than most large cruise liners but one has to remember it is a sailing ship and is only about four and a half thousand tons. The bathrooms are quite roomy and clad in marble.. The public rooms are spacious and the decks have plenty of room. DINING The food was excellent and well served in the elegant dinning room which is large enough to accommodate all passengers at one sitting. The ships senior officers often join your table and made for interesting company. We found the wine and drinks were reasonably priced and well presented. There is an open seating policy so sit where you like with whom you like. The Captain did say at his welcome talk that we were to relax and not talk about Brexit or Trump, needless to say most dinner conversation included both!! The guests on board were a very cosmopolitan group but that's what makes things interesting and we met some very pleasant people. THE CRUISE We called in at Lerici to visit Piza , Portoferraio( Elba) , Ajacccio( Corsica), Alghero (Sardinia) and St Tropez (France) we had one night of gale force winds and high seas that caused a change of itinerary, personally I found it exciting but some passengers were a little worried and the lasting swell it produced caused the captain to cancel the beach landing in St Tropez but we went ashore and visited the town instead. As the regatta was in full swing there was plenty to see with some of the yachts we were to see racing later moored up in the harbour being prepared. We took some tours from the ship, the guides were excellent and very knowledgeable, we also made our own way at some locations. There were plenty of things to do if you stayed on board, there were demonstrations of knot tying ,napkin folding, gymnastics, water sports from the drop down marina platform at the stern of the ship offering sailing canoeing ,swimming and snorkelling. bridge tour ,engine room tour, mast climbing , talent show ( crew and guests ) There was also an open bridge policy so one could visit the bridge more or less any time to see what was going on. The last afternoon we set sail to follow the regatta fleet out to sea and watch the racing, the ship gave grandstand views and it was nice to see the spectator boats and helicopters came in close to photograph us as well as the yachts. CONCLUION This was a brilliant cruise. A happy helpful crew and interesting itinerary. For those who forgot they were on a sailing ship there were reminders ,high thresholds on doors leading to open decks, heavy swing doors, difficult carrying a cup of coffee through, no lifts. However the thrill of being driven by wind on this magnificent ship more than makes up for the little moans. The sail away was just that, sails set to the music of Vangelis, sails floodlit at night by ever changing coloured lights, pure theatre. One nice touch was one evening when we returned to our cabin, next to the pillow chocs. , was a book about clipper ships from the President and owner of Star Clippers , as he was also on this cruise we were able to thank him personally. We returned to Cannes, had a day exploring ,were picked up by our driver returned to Nice and home. A cruise we will never forget.
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