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Royal Clipper Review

4.0 / 5.0
108 reviews
See all photos
Editor Rating
Very Good
Jayne Clark

Royal Clipper is an ideal ship for people who aren't big on cruising, but adore sailing. Billed as the world's largest full-rigged sailing ship (it's got a Guinness World Records certificate to prove it), this five-masted beauty is a throwback to another era. Built in 2000, it's modeled on the Preussen, the largest and fastest deepwater sailing ship of its day. The freight-carrier set sail in 1902, but suffered an early demise eight years later, after a collision with a steamship left it broken on the cliffs of Dover.

No sailing ship of those dimensions was ever again constructed until Star Clippers owner Mikael Krafft commissioned it as the third ship in his fleet, joining the Star Flyer (1991) and Star Clipper (1992).

In an industry racing for the next onboard gimmick -- from robot bartenders to ice skating rinks -- Royal Clipper simply races across the sea. This 442-foot ship is proudly lacking in bells and whistles. But you don't have to know the difference between a flying-jib and a topmast staysail to appreciate its majesty.

Standout experiences await, from lounging in the bowsprit net suspended high above a roiling sea, to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding off the marina platform at the rear of the ship.

Come time to sail away, the hoisting of the sails is cause for ceremony. The action is accompanied by the epic strains of Vangelis' "Conquest of Paradise" from the movie "1492." Passengers never tire of the sight, streaming out onto the expansive deck to watch the action whenever it occurs.

If you need glitzy production numbers, bingo tournaments and multiple restaurant options to be happy at sea, seek out a bigger ship. If the notion of feeling the gentle rock-a-bye motion of the ocean is in itself enough to lure you to sea, this is the ship for you.


A classic clipper ship whose sails aren't just for show; it's powered by wind, when possible


Minimal entertainment venues and planned activities

Bottom Line

A good choice for adults seeking the ambiance of an old-fashioned sailing ship


Passengers: 227
Crew: 106
Passenger to Crew: 2.14:1
Launched: 2000
Shore Excursions: 676

Fellow Passengers

Passengers are primarily a mix of North Americans and Europeans (mainly German, French and British as evidenced by the triple translation on most written materials). There was a wide age range -- from 30-year-old honeymooners to longtime retirees -- on our cruise. The demographic generally skews 50s and above, and many are current or former sailors with a real appreciation for sailing ships. The vessel also attracts a good number of repeat cruisers. On this cruise, more than a few were taking back-to-back sailings. One particularly ardent fan was on his seventh back-to-back cruise on the Royal Clipper in as many years.

This is an adult vessel; there are no diversions designed for children, and teens would need to make their own fun. As for grownups, if you require 24/7 programming and standard big-ship amenities like a casino and theater, you'd be happier on a more conventional cruise.

And take note that because there are no elevators on this four-deck ship, it's not a great fit for those with significant mobility issues.

Star Clippers Royal Clipper Dress Code

Attire is shorts-and-T-shirts casual by day. Evenings are casual, as well -- there's no need to pack formalwear. But swimsuits, shorts and flip-flops aren't welcome in the dining room. Men are expected to wear pants (as opposed to shorts) to dinner; women wear slacks or casual dresses. Bathing suits should be worn only on deck.

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More about Star Clippers Royal Clipper

Where does Star Clippers Royal Clipper sail from?

Star Clippers Royal Clipper departs from Barbados, Lisbon, Rome, Civitavecchia, Cannes, and Las Palmas

How much does it cost to go on Star Clippers Royal Clipper?

Cruises on Star Clippers Royal Clipper start from $910 per person.
Star Clippers Royal Clipper Cruiser Reviews

Enjoyed it

We decided to give the Royal Clipper a try. For us, this turned out to be a good experience.Read More

2-5 Cruises

Age 60s

Poorly planned (no planning at all) shore excursions

So the “sail always” were nice especially because this is a full rigged clipper ship, rigging took quite awhile and the amount of canvass was impressive.Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 70s

Wonderful, Intimate, Small Ship Experience

The Royal Clipper is hand’s down a fun and dramatic ship to sail on.Read More

2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

Fantastic ship—unique experience

The Royal Clipper is like no other cruise ship—you sail on her for the experience of being on the world’s largest active sailing ship. Where you go is almost incidental.Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

Star Clippers Fleet
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