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The Amalfi Coast on Board Star Clipper

Friday 15th Jul 2022

Cruise Review by Emmy from Blue Water Holidays, July 2022

I have been very lucky in my time at Blue Water Holidays to have taken some wonderful trips, but when I received this invitation, it really did feel like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had been asked to spend three nights onboard the Star Clipper sailing the Amalfi coast in Italy stopping at Amalfi, Sorrento and Ponza! I couldn’t believe my luck, what a destination for my first time onboard Star Clippers.

Star Clipper Amalfi from the Tender Ponza

It was an experience in itself taking the winding mountain roads from Naples down to Amalfi. It is undoubtably one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken, although slightly hair-raising at times! The spectacular sea views and stunning coastline were something straight from a postcard. As we turned the corner, we had one of life’s WOW moments. The Star Clipper had come into view on the horizon in all her magnificence. She is an absolute show stopper; we were in one of the most beautiful areas of the world but you can’t help stare at the Star Clipper. She was so much grander than I could ever have imagined, and any photos I’d seen before hadn’t done her the justice she deserved.

Star Clipper

Once aboard the ship the WOW moments didn’t stop. The Star Clipper is a fully operational sailing ship, however it is perfectly designed for passenger comfort. From the dining room to your cabin, it is adorned with traditional mahogany hardwood and brass tones, the perfect blend of understated elegance with nods to its sailing heritage at every corner. One of my favourite areas of the ship was the tropical bar. It was often the meeting area for fellow passengers whether it be for pre-dinner drinks or the evening entertainment. You would find me each evening sampling the cocktail of the day which was incredibly well priced at only 5 euros! It really surprised me what fantastic value for money the drinks were onboard. In the evening there was traditional good old-fashioned entertainment that couldn’t help but make you smile. There were no airs and graces and everyone got involved.

Another area of the ship that was particularly impressive was the dining room. Two grand stair cases led down to a distinguished dining room which had a timeless elegance about it. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and your evening meal would be served by the waiters. There was plenty of choice on the menu and the food was outstanding. A particular favourite dish of mine was the Chateaubriand – fillet of angus beef served with truffle sauce; it tasted exceptional. That evening, the lights in the restaurant were dimmed and the famous tradition of flaming baked Alaska were presented by the staff. It was wonderful! Something which I have never experienced before whilst cruising is that each afternoon in the piano bar, they presented the dishes you could try that evening. It was a great idea and everyone loved it.

The Dining Room

No matter where you choose to spend your time onboard, every single staff member was so hospitable and couldn’t do enough for you. It felt like they were one big Star Clippers family and whilst you were onboard you were an honorary member, with a mutual camaraderie between the staff and your fellow passengers. The seafarers invited you to get involved with every element of the sailing, whether that be helping with the ropes, captaining the ship or climbing the rigging if you wanted to (I did, and it was much higher than I expected!). However, if you preferred to just relax on the sundeck with a cocktail in hand, that was fine too. The atmosphere onboard was so relaxed and informal that you felt at home, this is the benefit of small ship cruising.

Going Ashore

The Star Clipper carries just 170 guests and due to her small size can easily visit ports other ships can’t reach. We visited the beautiful island of Ponza which was lined with whitewashed and pastel buildings and a beautiful little harbour. It really felt like Italy’s best kept secret. We also visited a more famous port of call - Sorrento. The town was perched high above the sea, nestled into the mountains with views of the Mediterranean. The cobbled streets were perfect for meandering around, stopping at little boutiques. The region is famous for its lemons so it would have been rude not to try a Sorrento lemon spritz to cool us off in the summer heat. From here you could take an excursion to the glamourous island of Capri which was very popular. Amalfi was definitely a highlight of the itinerary but I actually enjoyed Amalfi more from the ship. We were moored off the shore, which provided panoramic views of the coastline. Deemed an outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape by UNESCO, I can really understand why Star Clippers visit here. The cliffs plunge into the turquoise sea with roman architecture nestled into the rocks. It really is lovely to sit onboard and soak in such a wonderful itinerary.

Lemons in Sorrento Our Group with Sorrento in the Background Sunset Standing by the Bowsprit at Sunset

Once you got back onboard from spending time ashore, you often wanted to cool down from the midday sun. The sundeck was the perfect place to do this. There are plenty of places to relax on a sun lounger, read a book and have a dip in one of two pools. The sundeck was also the place to be when it came to the sail away. There is something extremely special about sailaway on Star Clippers and it becomes a momentous occasion onboard. Every single passenger gathers together whilst the crew put up the sails with Vangelis, Conquest of Paradise playing. This is when you see the true sailing nature of the Star Clipper, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A truly memorable moment.

Closing Thoughts

My absolute highlight of the trip was the last evening. Before dinner we headed up to the sun deck with a glass of fizz at dusk. The view absolutely took my breath away, the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen! Orange tones were lighting up the sky, the sea was glistening and it was so calm and tranquil as we glided effortlessly through the sea. I climbed onto the nets at the front for a photo opportunity and I felt so unbelievably lucky and blessed to be in that moment.

It was difficult to know what to expect as Star Clippers are so unique but it absolutely exceeded what I could have imagined in every single way. It really has a fine balance of adventure, tradition and magnificence. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this experience to anyone. It was truly magical and memories were made that will last a lifetime. Thank you to Star Clippers and Blue Water Holidays for the opportunity.

Find out more in the Blue Water Holidays guide to Star Clippers Cruises in the Western Mediterranean

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