Speak about making a trendy entrance. With sails billowing within the buffeting breeze, our tall ship Star Clipper sashays like a supermodel on its method to the glitzy Riviera playground of Monte Carlo.
As we sweep into the marina, I’m mesmerised by Monaco’s mountainous backdrop hovering above the Monte Carlo skyline of uber-modern house blocks and statuesque Belle Epoque buildings.
But as I watch a clutch of futuristic gin palaces gliding previous within the marina, I can’t assist feeling superior. They’re mere pretenders when in comparison with the genuine type of our elegant barquentine.
Sara Macefield boards the tall ship Star Clipper (above) – an ‘elegant barquentine’ – in Monaco for a cruise of the Mediterranean
Above is Monte Carlo on line casino. Within the metropolis’s harbour, Sara spies ‘a clutch of futuristic gin palaces gliding previous within the marina’
As Star Clipper units sail, Sara is ‘mesmerised by Monaco’s mountainous backdrop hovering above the Monte Carlo skyline (pictured) of uber-modern house blocks and statuesque Belle Epoque buildings’
Star Clipper is as far faraway from a conventional cruise expertise as you may get; reliving crusing’s golden age with ropes snaking throughout teak decks and stretching into rigging resembling a colossal cat’s cradle, or just coiled up like large cobras.
Every departure is an expertise to behold as crew members swarm between masts, nimbly heaving ropes round winches that whine and groan with the trouble of unfurling huge sails to the stirring notes of Vangelis’s Conquest of Paradise, which performs on each sailaway.
Early mornings are one other spotlight throughout this Mediterranean sojourn alongside the French Riviera to Corsica after I’m usually the one one treading the freshly-hosed decks. That is prime time for dolphin and porpoise-spotting and my husband, Geoff, strikes fortunate when a pod of porpoises seems, diving and twisting with abandon within the ship’s prow wave.
‘Every departure is an expertise to behold as crew members swarm between masts, nimbly heaving ropes round winches that whine and groan with the trouble of unfurling huge sails,’ says Sara
I’m dismayed to overlook such marine acrobatics, however am engaged alone voyage of discovery. With yoga courses hosted by an enthralling teacher, I attempt her pre‑breakfast classes on deck. I’m the one newbie and do my finest to grasp the seemingly unattainable positions. However the heat of the solar, irresistible lapping of waves and delicate flapping of sails make this essentially the most evocative of experiences.
Sadly, our twin teenage daughters don’t share this enthusiasm for early rising. However as soon as they’re (lastly) up, they relish ship life, with Holly and I climbing the rope ladder up the mast to the crow’s nest 65ft up, and Dani perfecting selfie poses across the deck in between chilling by one of many two small swimming pools.
Admittedly, this isn’t a cruise suited to the very younger, the aged (most of our fellow company are of their 60s) or anybody with mobility points as a consequence of steep stairways and deck areas cluttered with ropes and pulleys. But kids aged from eight upwards, and ideally teenagers, will relish the sensation of journey even when capricious coastal breezes imply sails are swapped for engine energy.
One of many ship’s cabins. Regardless of having fun with the surroundings alongside the best way, Sara describes the tall ship because the ‘actual showstopper’ of her voyage
Wooden and brass interiors prolong by the general public areas of the tall ship
Sara reveals that due to the ship’s petite dimension, it might moor within the centre of small, atmospheric ports off-limits to bigger ships. Pictured above is the ship’s library
Mendacity within the bowsprit nets on the prow, simply above the waves, turns into one in all our favorite pastimes, and one night we’re rewarded with excellent views of a shoal of large yellow-fin tuna coursing by the inky depths beneath us.
Star Clipper — one in all three tall ships belonging to family-owned and Monaco-based boutique line Star Clippers, established by Swedish entrepreneur Mikael Krafft — holds round 170 company, although our crusing is lower than half full, with a mixture of primarily British, Australian and American passengers plus a smattering of Germans and French.
Such a comfy worldwide combine contributes to the house-party atmosphere and relaxed vibe that’s centred across the Tropical Bar, the ship’s de facto social hub the place social gathering nights enliven evenings.
Ship life is comfy in a wise nautical means, with wooden and brass interiors extending by the general public areas and into our cabin with its small porthole and bijou ensuite.
In keeping with Sara, the eating room, pictured above, is ‘mild and ethereal’ and meal instances are a ‘deal with’
Pictured is the Tropical Bar, which Sara reveals is the ‘ship’s de facto social hub the place social gathering nights enliven evenings’
Star Clipper is one in all three tall ships belonging to family-owned and Monaco-based boutique line Star Clippers
The eating room is mild and ethereal and meal instances are a deal with with scrumptious buffet lunches, typically Italian or Asian-themed, and substantial five-course dinners the place we feast on steak, lobster and contemporary fish.
Better of all, the sq. rigger’s petite dimension means we will moor within the centre of small, atmospheric ports off-limits to bigger ships, making it simple to discover below our personal steam.
Corsica meets our necessities for rustic allure and rugged surroundings overlaid with Gallic influences and the enduring spirit of Napoleon, whose household hailed from right here. Within the capital, Ajaccio, its streets lined with stylish boutiques and cafes, we go to the Bonaparte household dwelling.
Sara enjoys ‘superb views’ in historic Portoferraio (pictured) on the island of Elba, the place Napoleon was exiled in 1814
Above is the medieval Corsican city of Bonifacio, one in all Sara’s favorite stops on the voyage. She says that its ‘sensible marina and chi chi eating places are a becoming foil to the winding streets of the previous city and its Ninth-century citadel’
One other cease takes us to Portoferraio in Elba, the place Napoleon was exiled in 1814, splitting his time between two residences (now museums), earlier than giving his British overseers the slip and fleeing after lower than a yr.
Such a mixture of historical past and superb views make this one in all our favorite stops, together with the medieval Corsican city of Bonifacio, whose sensible marina and chi chi eating places are a becoming foil to the winding streets of the previous city and its Ninth-century citadel.
But, beguiling as these ports are, they’ll’t compete with Star Clipper, which proves to be the true showstopper of this voyage.
Star Clippers (starclippers.co.uk) gives a seven-night crusing from Cannes to Civitavecchia (Rome), together with calls at Monaco, a number of factors in Corsica and Elba, departing Could 13, 2023. From £2,039pp, together with flights.