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Cruise the elegant Star Clipper Sailing Ship with Riviera Travel

22/08/2023 by .
Star Clipper Sailing Ship

Michael Edwards takes to the high seas with Riviera Travel aboard the Star Clipper to the French Riviera and Corsica.

One parrot. Check.

One eyepatch. Check.

One cutlass. Check.

Alongside packing for the Pirates’ Party, guests can also prepare for the White Party, where a light show plays across the Star Clipper’s sails and also an elegant Captain’s Dinner. Though smart casual – no flip-flops and shorts – is acceptable for all these events.

Fortunately, there are kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkels on board for the beach stops. No need to pack those. In fact, Riviera guests on the four-masted Star Clipper have very little to worry about. Riviera books flights, organises transfers and has two guardian angels on board, in the Riviera uniformed shape of Karen and Sarah to ensure that it’s all plain sailing. Moreover, for this Riviera Cruise the Star Clipper is a single-language cruise and that language is English.

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Nor do passengers on the Star Clipper have to worry about scurvy or running out of “victuals” as Long John Silver may have said. Breakfast on board is a colourful fiesta of bakery, cereals, eggs to order, fresh fruit and traditional English breakfast options. Waiters in blue and white striped sailors’ tops ensure that coffee or teacups are promptly refilled.

Star Clipper Sailing Ship

Lunch is a similar buffet extravaganza usually served in the Clipper Dining Room. Though one lunchtime, there is a spectacular deck-top buffet served in the limestone-cliff-cradled Bonifacio harbour. Probably one of the most beautiful spots that you will ever lunch.

Similarly, the evening al carte dinner has a plethora of options, including lobster and steak for the grand Captain’s dinner. Though, young Jim Hawkins would have thought that the ship was under attack if he had seen the waiters’ procession of flaming Baked Alaskas. And who knows what he would have thought of a palate-cleansing pink grapefruit and Campari sorbet?

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But the first chapter of Riviera’s epic journey from Nice to Rome, from hedonistic Côte d’Azur to spiritual Vatican, is land based. Riviera take us from the airport to our central hotel. Time for a march along the Promenade des Anglais with its blue-and-white striped sun umbrellas. For an eponymous salade niçoise. For a meander through the lanes of Vieux Nice. For the perfumed aromas of the flower market.

Rluctantly leaving Nice we drive past the foothills of the Alpes-Maritimes to stroll around the sights of Cannes, to photograph the famous Film Festival red carpet and to marvel at plump Provence produce in the market.

We board a tender for a marine time-warp to the harmonious hull and fine lines of The Star Clipper. Mikael Krafft’s nostalgic rope, sailcloth and timber paean to the lost age of sail. The Clipperman, as Krafft, is known has rekindled the romance of sail.  Though Poseidon remains as fickle as ever. As sea breezes barely ripple the ship’s flag, we leave port powered by the thrum of the back-up engine.

Star Clipper Sailing Ship

Cabins have smoothly lacquered mahogany dressed in warm brass fittings leading the eye to portholes with ocean views. But there are contemporary comforts too: air-conditioning, television, DVD player and en-suite bathroom with shower. And even Lord Nelson didn’t have splash pools fore and aft.

We drop anchor by a St Tropez beach for a morning of swimming and water sports. An afternoon tour of St Tropez, a global brand name for jet-set suntans, reveals that the collection of sun-bleached terracotta houses are home to a mere 3,400 people. Though one of them is 89-year-old Brigitte Bardot. St Tropez bay, with 800 of the world’s most expensive mooring berths, is a billionaires’ playground. Helicopters flit above a marina filled with yachts even more mega than those moored at Cannes and Nice.


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From one of France’s richest Departments, we sail south-east to its poorest: the mountainous island of Corsica. Over the next four days we dock at Ile de Russe, Ajaccio, Bonifacio and Bastia plus an idyllic snorkelling stop on the voyage to Bastia but more of that in The Insider Guide to Corsica.

Over the voyage’s seven days, passengers slip into their own routines. Perhaps an early bird breakfast after watching the sun rise.

Taking a book out of the ship’s library. Calling into the Tropical Bar for an afternoon snack, then a drink as the sun dips below the yardarm. After dinner it’s back to the Tropical Bar for a musical quiz, dancing, music and perhaps a talent show.


Onto Elba, an island whose history changed when Napoleon was exiled on the island for three hundred days. Suddenly Elba, with its Tuscan heritage became a stop on the Grand Tour for young aristocrats and their chaperones. Our tour paused to gasp at Porto Azzuro, a town clustering around an azure marina that fully deserves its nickname of Little Portofino.

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The estate of Tentuta la Chiusa is a slice of Tuscany in miniature. Vines and an olive tree-lined drive lead down past the farmhouse to a sandy strand of beach and the sea. Pink oleanders fringe the vineyards to keep insects away.

Wine-tasting, accompanied by cheese, olives, jam, bread and extra virgin oil is followed by almond biscotti and “drunk cake”. A local speciality created from the sweet red wine, almonds and grapes.

Driving from Civitavecchio, our guide reminds us that in the age of the Roman Empire, 13 miles inland, Rome had a commercial and a military port on the River Tiber. She also reminded us that, in those days, for honoured Christians, beheading was a privilege. Lesser mortals were fed to the lions in stadia such as the Coliseum, a grand venue that could hold 70,000 at a time when Rome’s population numbered a million.

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Once again, included in this epic journey, Riviera Travel have a coach tour of Rome’s great sights organised: ancient baths, Circus Maximus where chariots raced, the Coliseum and architecture from ancient to fascist. Then we walk to see the Pathenon, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Novana. Meanwhile well-organised guests have organised their own tour of the Vatican, rejoining the group for a final night at a Rome hotel.

In the harbours of the Mediterranean, the Star Clipper that hosts a mere 160 passengers, is often moored between gargantuan cruise ships. But it is the nostalgic charm of the elegant Star Clipper that always draws the camera lenses.

Tell Me More About Riviera’s Sail Cruise on the Star Clipper

Riviera Travel, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1SP

E:   T: 01283 688 386

On 12th July 2024, The Star Flyer will offer 10 night French Riviera and Corsica Cruise starting from £2,799 pp.

Riviera will fly guests to Rome before departing for Portoferraio, Bonifacio, Alghero, Ajaccio, Calvi, St Tropez, Cannes and finally Nice.

The price includes flights, transfers, full breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and a la carte dinner whilst onboard, breakfast with hotel stays and an expert tour manager.




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