Have you ever wanted to feel like a pirate and sail from one little harbour to the other? Do you hate big cruise ships and the obligatory time slots for dinner at the same small table that goes along with it? Then I suggest you look into sailing with this company. At the moment they have three vessels and a fourth one is in the making. Are you afraid to get seasick? Then I would recommend their biggest tall ship the “Royal Clipper” on which you feel the sea’s movement way less than the other two. I myself have been on all three of them multiple times and never got seasick on one of them. If ever I got sick a little that’s to be blamed on having one too many of the delicious cocktails they serve you at the Tropical Bar.
In this post I would like to take you on one of my journeys from last summer. One that started in Rome and then headed all the way to Cannes.
And my biggest tip is already at the very beginning. If you ever start a cruise, any cruise from Rome make sure to book a transfer to the harbour from Civitavechia in advance and make sure it goes all the way into the terminal. Otherwise you and all of your luggage may walk across the entire harbour in the blistering sun. Now, if you are set on visiting Rome first don’t take a taxi from the city of Rome to Civitavechia. Taxi’s don’t have a fixed price for this and it happened to us and we got completely conned and had to pay up 250 euros instead of the normal 140 euros. When we refused to do this the guy started calling “his mates” on the phone so be very careful.
But once you are on board, the fun can begin! You will receive a nice welcome drink and have the opportunity to try out a relaxing neck massage with the lovely ladies from the Spa Team.
One of the things I do always notice when I am on board is that I don’t really fit into the age category. But not to worry. Every single time I was able to find likeminded people and a couple of times I was even so lucky to make friends for life.
As you sail away, go up and have a look on deck to actually witness all the hard work and labour that goes into steering a vessel like this. You can have a glass of champagne, sit down and relax and watch the land behind you fade away.
Our first stop in this trip was Porto Vecchio in Corsica.This little harbour itself doesn’t have that much to offer. After a steep climb up you will find the little town which contains mostly souvenir shops. So you’re pretty much done here after 1 hour. My advice here is to rent out a scooter and go from there. It’s something we always enjoy doing when on holiday and you get to see so much more. Bonifacio is only 15 km away.
Up next was Alghero, a lovely town in Sardinia where you literally feel catapulted to the medieval times. The entire city is built up like a fortress and all over town you will find the same pink flowers. It’s the perfect place to grab a nice pizza and just wander around cause there is no way you can get lost here. Climb up to the fortress itself for an amazing view and to see a real life catapult.
Next stop on our schedule was Calvi in Haute Corse. This has to be one of my favorite places that I visited over the entire summer. Even that the town is buzzing with tourists it’s so much fun to stroll around. We first started our day with a nice coffee in the harbour followed by hours of exploring. And if you think this town is already impressive just wait until you walk up completely to the medieval citadel. Not only does this spot have the best view in town it also holds so many little streets with houses that look like they came straight out of a fairytale. Sit down for a glass of rosé and a typical Corsican meal in one of the many restaurants with a view over the entire bay.
For the next destination I had been on the edge of my seat for weeks in advance: Portofino, Italy. I was a little scared that since we were there during high season it would be super crowded but luckily none of that was the case. The place was of course buzzing with people but not so many that the only thing you want to do is leave. Walking through this picturesque place you can spot one fabulous store next to the other one: Dior, Balenciaga, YSL, Céline, you name it they have it. If you don’t want to break the bank I wouldn’t advise you to drink a cocktail on one of the terraces here since they charge you a “small” 20 euro per drink. Even that the town itself is gorgeous the best viewpoint you get is by doing some more climbing. You have two options once you get of the tender boat. You can go left or right. On the left part you will find a very steep climb so please, don’t wear heels for this trip. But once you reach the top you can find an old fully restored mansion. All you need to do is walk through and you will have a view over the entire bay of Portofino. If you turn to the right the road also goes uphill but it’s way less tricky. Just follow the red carpet up and after a few turns you end up in another bay which holds some spectacular villas. If you are here for a couple of days and not like me only have a couple of hours to spend I would definitely recommend you to take the ferry to either Isla Marghuerita or even better, to Cinque Terre.
After a few days of going out we decided to skip the next stop which I honestly don’t even remember the name off. But for me it didn’t seem that interesting so we decided to stay on board and relax. Well it’s what you may call relaxing… cause in the afternoon we were able to go mast climbing. There hasn’t been one trip with Star Clippers that I didn’t join in in this activity. Unfortunately we’re not allowed to go up completely but still once you’re up there you have a view over the entire ship! Even if you have fear of heights you should definitely try it. I already succeeded at bringing two people up who have a terrible fear of heights and both of them enjoyed it so much and we’re so happy they did it in the end. Just inform the sports team attendant and they can guide you up there if you feel too scared to go at it alone.
One thing you will never be on a Star Clippers cruise is hungry. If you’re an early riser and you love to watch the sunrise on deck you can opt for the early breakfast which you may find in the Piano Bar. If you are longing for more than a croissant in the morning, no worries, they’ve got you covered. In the dining room you will find a lavish breakfast buffet where you can indulge in all sorts of fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, pancakes, oatmeal… You name it, they have it. The same goes for lunch, everyday it’s dedicated to another country and once per cruise they even host a lunch on deck. If you got hungry from going on a trip there is also a 5 o’clock snack in the Tropical Bar. Every evening you have 6 different choices for dinner and if you still don’t like any of them you may always order a steak or the pasta of the day. After dinner it’s time for dancing and depending on Cruise Director you can enjoy a fun evening activity that’s entertaining for young and old. And if after all of this you are still hungry, no worries, there is also a midnight snack!
One thing you should do is go up on deck in the night, lay on a sun bed and watch the stars. The best place for this is by far the Aft Deck.
Now, enough laying around and eating until they could roll us around the ship. Time for the next destination: St.-Tropez! If you need to save money, leave your credit card on board! I mean it! Cause even without spending your hard earned money you will have fun just by strolling around. You literally find everything here: little local boutiques, high end fashion stores, vintage shops, art galleries. And of course the harbour is the perfect place to sit down with a glass of whine and do some people gazing as they are walking by or onto their big ass yacht.
Our last stop and also our final destination was Cannes. The first time I visited this place, about 10 years ago, I really didn’t like it. But this time around I absolutely loved it! Especially the old historical town. And okay, I won’t lie, I loved to do some window shopping as well and was in complete awe of all those gorgeous and luxurious hotels.
If you really want to go out in style you can choose to take a helicopter to the airport instead of a taxi.I didn’t do it but it’s not that much more expensive since the taxi fare was around 90 euros and the helicopter ride costs 140 euros.