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Royal Clipper Transatlantic Crossing Nov 17


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Not seen much written on RC and/or RC lately so I will try a brief report - it may be a bit scrappy as I am writing aboard my small sailboat at anchor in Deshaies, Guadeloupe!

Background - we like to travel by sea in a cruise ship to the Caribbbean each winter to join our little boat waiting there, in preference to flying and have thus far been with Star Clipper 3 times, Wind Star 3 times and now RC (plus a couple of times in large unmentionable vessels!)

We joined RC in Lisbon. She had been in dry dock for bottom painting and other overhaul/repair work for 3 weeks in Lisbon until the day before we joined. A hectic period for the ship and all was not quite ready so we waited for some time (and got a bit annoyed!) in the building ashore not knowing fully the cause of the delay - but had a few good guesses, confirmed when we smelt fresh paint etc when on board! Dinner on the first night was very slow presumably as the team battled with problems in th galley post work!

Our trip took us to two Moroccan ports and some (not us) went on lengthy tours to Marrakech or similar. We took local taxi rides and had to go through amusing (?) negotiations on price with the drivers, always discovering later that locals paid a fraction of our ‘good deal’ price. At least we got preferential no line(queues) service. Once you have seen one souk ( sp?) we feel you have seen them all ...However the experience of seeing fresh fruit and veg, all manner of herbs fresh chickens - dispatched while you wait, should not be missed!

Then on to Tenerife. There we just walked around the fine city although arriving mid day, with many places shut during siesta until 4pm-ish is always annoying.

Thereafter it was the voyage to Barbados. For the first 5 days there was very little wind which was odd (in my experience, after 24 crossings in various vessels ranging from 34 ft to 90000 tons) as the trade winds should have set in. When the (lighter but better) wind zone was entered we sailed a little by day time but only at around 6 knots - not good when a passage speed of about 11 knots was neeeded overall!

Then mid way things changed. An urgent need for assistance was passed on by MRCC Martinique which had us motoring at max speed (about 14 knots) chasing up a 30 meter 3 masted schooner with young folk aboard to then take onboard a girl with severe, life threatening appendicitis. After 2 days we caught up with the vessel transferred the girl and her doctor and sped off towards a RV close to Martinique for a helo transfer of the patient. All this was safely done and the girl operated on and she recovered.

This left us in RC with 12 hours to sail to Barbados which we did - so not much sailing on this trip by necessity!

How did we amuse ourselves. Well the €300 credit for early booking helped at the bar! With passable house wine at €16 a bottle and even cheaper by the glass, we stayed happy! Monica the Cruise Director is marvelous - she has a wonderful manner and is welcoming and understanding to all guests with a very good attitude. We were able to arrange sea chanty singing on a daily basis which kept up to 40 of us amused before lunch and gave us a slot in the talent show. It proved a good way of meeting more people and making friends. This was something arranged for us on Star Clipper crossings but which we set up with great help from the Serbian musician Alexandro this time.

There was also a pirates evening - prior warning enabled us to get some kit from a $ store in Tenerife. Plus other minor games and competions were run by the sports team. Anyway as ever with books, plenty of folk to talk to and regular good meals the time flew!

The food. Nicely presented, good choices except sometimes all our favorites appeared at the same time!

Generally the staff attitude at all levels was amazing. Very friendly and helpful with all working as a team. This applied everywhere and a great compliment to the management.

Our cabin 103 was miniature. Good bathroom but minimal storage space for clothes etc. Not enough space to unpack and restore - we lived out of our bags! We have more space in our small boat and of all our crossings this was the cabin with least space. Small improvements could easily be made by adding stylish shelving and some hooks with out spoiling the look/ambiance. On paper the cabin was of adequate area but this included a kind of acces passage from the door which was entirely wasted space but was obviously included in the so called measured area. So, beware the cabins 103 and 104 and no doubt 101 and 102. Ok perhaps for singles. Beds were ok though!

Well we look forward to seeing RC in the Caribbean and if you read this and then go aboard, wave back to a couple in small yacht who will be waving madly and inexplicably to RC.

And we have booked for Star Flyer for next year so we must enjoy it!!

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Good to hear you are safely in the Caribbean again. Nice account of your voyage, only been on RC once, get the impression she doesnt sail as well as the SC and SF!

Very chilly here in NF, Devon. If we weren't booked on the flyer out of Phuket in 4 weeks we would be green with envy! Happy Christmas!

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Ional - sorry to hear it is chilly in NF! Here in Ile De Saintes, Guadeloupe it is very warm and quite empty. Locals report a reduction in visitors, they think, following severe hurricane damage nearby.

Yesterday we crossed paths with RC - motoring once more - but were able exchange friendly greetings over the VHF with Vivek, the personable 3rd officer who we had got to know. Our suspicion is that RC does little sailing and is very slow when she does. The few sails that generally appear are for appearance not effect! But the atmosphere is good.

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Thank you for the report. We did this same crossing a few years back and we did get to sail quite a bit. Every now and then we did have the iron jenny on--gotta make those port times. Have been on all 3 ships multiple times, and they all sail--just depends on the itinerary and winds. Looking forward to Lisbon---Cannes next time.

 

Safi, Morocco was nasty, but we did the trip to Rabat and that was very good.

 

S/V Sante`

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PS

 

Our first trip on this line was the Star Clipper in the Caribbean in 2005. Our Captain had to "remind" the passengers that they had signed up for a sailing trip, "and by God, we were going to sail". Apparently some did not like how much we were heeled over at times. One morning, sitting at the bar with a Bloody Mary, we were heeled over so much, that the Captain called the bartender and asked him if any bottles were breaking yet. Ha ha. From our bar stools, we could only see the water, no sky. Great fun! Have been on several trips where the omelet cart tipped over, and also some fellow passengers in the dining room. ;p

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  • 3 weeks later...
-snip-

Our cabin 103 was miniature. Good bathroom but minimal storage space for clothes etc. Not enough space to unpack and restore - we lived out of our bags! We have more space in our small boat and of all our crossings this was the cabin with least space. Small improvements could easily be made by adding stylish shelving and some hooks with out spoiling the look/ambiance. On paper the cabin was of adequate area but this included a kind of access passage from the door which was entirely wasted space but was obviously included in the so called measured area. So, beware the cabins 103 and 104 and no doubt 101 and 102. Ok perhaps for singles. Beds were ok though!

 

Oh dear - just checked and we are booked into cabin 102 for our first ever clipper cruise, out of Barbados on March 3rd. Not a worry, we also tend to live out of our bags anyway and hope to spend as much time as possible OUT of the cabin.

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