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- A Family Sailing Cruise Aboard the Royal Clipper
- 1. You can cruise like your ancestors with the wind at your back
- 2. You can experience good old-fashioned fun on a family sailing cruise
- 3. Eat Up! Delicious dining day and night!
- 4. There are plenty of intriguing destinations to choose from
- 5. You can get to know passengers and crew members from around the world
Mega ships decked out with water parks, movie theaters, game rooms and more offer families unlimited entertainment. It’s no wonder these cruise ships are so popular. But what if you’re looking for an alternative to a big ship cruise? Consider planning a family sailing cruise. Here’s why.
A Family Sailing Cruise Aboard the Royal Clipper
While some folks love to travel on the big cruise ships, I tend to seek out smaller, more intimate vessels for my time on the water. Sailing through Italy aboard the Royal Clipper fit the bill for me. Of course, it’s romantic to set sail on the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean, but this isn’t a cruise just for couples. A windjammer or tall ship cruise provides families with a unique and adventurous sailing experience. The laid-back atmosphere also means a smaller family cruise packing list.
I met grandparents from California who were treating their grandson to a sailing adventure as a high school graduation gift. Other families brought tweens and teens along. Another family from Japan had two younger children (ages four and eight) who won the hearts of all passengers and the crew. Generally, the cruise is recommended for ages 8 and up. But if you have a well-traveled four to seven-year-old, a sailing cruise could work for your family, too. You won’t find a movie theater or water park on board but you’ll find plenty of active fun for the entire family. Here are five reasons to book a family sailing cruise.
1. You can cruise like your ancestors with the wind at your back
No matter which port you sail into, tall ships attract onlookers. The Star Clippers fleet includes three stunning vessels: the Star Clipper, Star Flyer and the Royal Clipper. The largest of the three, the Royal Clipper holds the Guinness World Record as the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Sailing aboard this majestic tall ship transports you back to the days of your ancestors. And while tales of yesteryear might not entertain the kids, the ceremonious hoisting of the sails will.
When the wind is good and it’s time to set sail, everyone gathers on the top deck. It happened on the first night of our cruise. With the dramatic Vangelis’ Conquest of Paradise from the Ridley Scot-directed movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise playing in the background, we toasted our journey with champagne and gasped at the sheer beauty of the 42 sails as they caught the wind propelling us out to sea.
2. You can experience good old-fashioned fun on a family sailing cruise
Who says you need video games to have a good time? On a family sailing cruise, good old-fashioned fun brings unforgettable memories. The Royal Clipper’s marine platform was a hit with everyone on board our cruise. From the platform, we could jump into the refreshing blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and float on rafts tethered to the ship by ropes. Those seeking more active pursuits can go snorkeling, kayaking, water skiing, or master the balancing act of stand-up paddleboarding. Two swimming pools on board also provided ample relief from the blazing summer sun.
Adventure-seekers are welcome to climb up the mast to a viewing platform. The recent high school grad traveling with his grandparents was first in line every afternoon. Lounging in the bow spirit net suspended high above the sea provided thrill-seekers a unique sunbathing experience. I climbed out there once but didn’t stay long—it was slightly terrifying to me!
As with any cruise, a variety of land excursions are offered each day. Passengers can choose to join a sightseeing tour or explore independently. There are also opportunities for biking, hiking and kayaking depending on your destination.
Dancing, singing, a themed pirate night and a talent show are among the evening activities. And of course, sailing through the open waters makes every evening a sunset cruise.
3. Eat Up! Delicious dining day and night!
Let’s face it, food makes any cruise experience more delicious. My days on board the Royal Clipper started much like any other cruise. I was up and off to a breakfast fit for royalty. Made-to-order omelets, assorted cheeses from around the world, fresh-baked bread and assorted fruits were among the delicacies beckoning me each morning. Smaller ships mean fewer passengers and that translates into more personalized service. It didn’t take long for my dining room attendant, Lawton, to know I would want plenty of breakfast tea each morning.
An internationally-themed lunch buffet was offered daily. An assortment of appetizers was served at a daily happy hour in the ship’s Tropical Bar. Decadent three-course dinners each evening with a choice of entrees satisfied everyone’s appetite.
4. There are plenty of intriguing destinations to choose from
Windjammer cruise companies often offer themed cruises. But with Star Clippers the focus centers on the destinations. I sailed in the Western Mediterranean stopping at several ports of call in Italy but there are also sailings in Southeast Asia, the Panama Canal, Ocean Crossings and the Caribbean.
5. You can get to know passengers and crew members from around the world
Not surprisingly, passengers who choose a sailing cruise tend to be more adventurous. One couple I met shared stories of pirate invasions aboard their personal sailboat. Another group reminisced about their time at Woodstock. The teens and tweens on board joined conversations with adults, eagerly taking in stories about things before their time.
Our attentive crew of 106 represented 15 countries. On the final evening of the cruise, the entire crew waved flags from their respective home countries and marched around the dining room singing We Are the World while we all joined in.
If you’re still not sure about a family sailing cruise, consider this: more than 60% of passengers return within a year for a second voyage. I know I’ll return and next time I’ll bring along the rest of the family!