Tag Archives: guadeloupe

Final Ports: Star Clipper

This week the WIT blog is following our agent Nancy as she sails around the Caribbean on the Star Clipper on an educational trip to check out the ships and the stops! Today’s the last day of our sailing tour, so we’re taking a look at the final ports on her journey. Nancy will be back in the office on Monday, to give her a call if you want to hear firsthand how it went!Past_Pax_cocktail_Party_RC

Îles de Saintes, Guadeloupe

These eight tiny islands lie seven miles south of Guadeloupe. Though under most tourists’ radar, the Îles de Saintes offer all the delights of the Caribbean—from gorgeous beaches, crystal-clear water, and delicious food with French influence. Visit Terre-de-Haut, the main town that houses most of the restaurants and hotels in Les Saintes. Shopping covers French and island goods: bamboo hats, local handicrafts, madras cotton crafts, African dresses, etc. While you’re there, try to mingle with some of the native creole population, known for their hospitality—and enjoy their unique patois of English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and African. Photographers should head to Le Bourg, the incredibly picturesque harbor, and to La Chameau, the highest point on the island with its 360 spectacular view of Terre-de-Haut and the seven other islands.

Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda

The Star Clipper will dock at Saint John, the only city on the island. Visitors typically walk through Heritage Quay up to the town, where they can enjoy duty-free shopping and tasty restaurants. Antigua food is tropical with many African influences, with dishes such as saltfish, grated sweet potato, coconut and cornmeal. Try a cup of delicious “fever grass” (lemongrass) bush tea. Scuba diving is fair, with many reefs just off the eastern coastline. If you have time, you can hire dinghies or catamarans to explore the plethora of coves and natural harbors around the island. There are more than 60 registered shipwrecks on and around Palaster Reef in the nearby isle of Barbuda. Other sightseeing includes Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, the public market, steel-pan bands at Shirley Heights, Betty’s Hope Sugar Estate, and St. Peter’s Church in Parham. Traveling with kids? Go bird-watching near the lagoon at Darkwood Beach or try some delicious tamarind or sea-grapes.

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Gustavia, St. Barts

Gustavia is the capital of Saint Barthelemy (or St. Barts as it’s been Anglicized). In the past decade, French immigrants have doubled the population and tourism has flourished. There are now many high-end boutiques and luxury hotels available in the town. For an excursion, you can hike up to Fort Karl and Fort Gustav, or check out the Gendarmerie at Fort Oscar. Grand Galet Beach can be reached on foot from town and is a prime location for shell seekers. If you’re into surfing, hit the waves at Pointe Milou, on the north coast.

Did you know?

–         Guadeloupe produces two-thirds of bananas eaten in France.

–         Les Saintes is the only region in the world where two species of iguana occupy the same area.

–         Many of the streets outside of Saint John, Antigua, don’t have names. The mail is delivered door-to-door by carriers who know exactly who lives where.

–         Volleyball is the most popular sport on St. Barts, with hundreds of tournaments annually that draw crowds of 500 or more.

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Star Clipper: Disembarkation Day

As we in the office know, Nancy loves cruises and is excited to contrast her smaller ship experience against her vast repertoire of large cruise lines. She has anticipated that Disembarkation Day in particular will be truly different:

 “The Star Clipper experience is all about relaxation and rejuvenation, not sticking to a script. This will sound weird but I’m especially excited about my last night onboard! Why? I can enjoy dinner, socializing with my new friends, and savoring the wonderful week I’ve had and NOT race to meet the deadline to have my luggage outside my cabin! Nor do I have weave between masses of bags littering the hallways. Cruising on Star Clipper really means that the vacation fun doesn’t shrink on the last night; it rolls through breakfast.”

blue-sidelogoInterested in sailing with Star Clipper? Willamette Intl Travel regularly books these boats and would love to tell you more! Call us at 503.224.0180 or info@wittravel.com. For a firsthand review, ask to speak with Linda, or by next week, Nancy!

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Filed under Antigua and Barbuda, Caribbean, Guadeloupe, Our Travel Agents, St. Barthelemy, Star Clipper, Travel by Ship, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?

Onward and Upward on the Star Clipper

This week the WIT blog is following our agent Nancy as she sails around the Caribbean on the Star Clipper! On Monday, Nancy had a chance to view one of the other world-class ships, Royal Clipper, docked at Dominica during her stop there—and we can’t wait for her report. Today, let’s take a look at the first ports on her journey, together with some fun facts of the Royal Clipper!

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Philipsburg

For more information the port of Philipsburg, St. Maarten, check out our blog post on it!

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The port of Nevis is known for its lush verdant forests and its peaceful atmosphere. The island tends to be quieter and less touristy than her sister St. Kitts. The main city of Charlestown has charming Victorian-style cottages and the famous Eva Wilkin Art Gallery. For some adventure, head out of town to Nevis’s Peak or to the cloud forest to glimpse some vervet monkeys and tropical flowers.

Dominica

Dominica is an island famed for its mountains, volcanic peaks, natural parks, and spectacular flora and fauna. If you want to go exploring, hike up some of the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail that runs through lush rainforest. Snorkelers should head to Champagne, where the underwater volcanic vents spew out continuous streams of bubbles. It’s on Dominica that Nancy will get a chance to board the Royal Clipper—the largest clipper in the three-ship fleet!

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Royal Clipper — Fun Facts

  • Royal Clipper is the first fully rigged square-rigger with five masts constructed in over one hundred years. She was modeled after the Preussen (1902) & she approximates Preussen in all major measurements.
  • Forty-two sails are used to propel the ship. The sails are made of Dacron & tailored especially for the ship by Doyle Ploch Sailmakers of Clearwater, Fla.
  • All sail stitching is especially resistant to weakening caused by tropical sunshine, and a computer designed all but one sail. So much Dacron was needed (the biggest sail order ever placed for a single ship) that the supply in the United States was exhausted and some Dacron had to be imported from Europe.
  • A sail maker is a permanent part of the ship’s crew, with a special sewing machine always is available.
  • The Royal Clipper does not use computers for sail handling. All sails are raised, lowered and positioned from the security of the deck by skilled sailors who use power winches and hand-controlled horizontal and vertical power furling.

Yesterday we received an onboard telegram report from Nancy on both ships:

Just a quick update from the Star Clipper.  Easy boarding in St.Maarten.  She sails typically from 6pm to late the next morning.  There is a lot of movement when we are under sail.  You KNOW you are on a sailing ship. Rob [Nancy’s husband] helped hoist a sail on our first evening out. One must be able to navigates lots of stairs every day to enjoy Star Clipper.  Even the gang way has over 15 steps; it angles down the side of the ship. The cruise director does a couple daily talks on various subjects:  Christoper Columbus, maritime history, navigation…..each daily schedule delivered to the cabin also has an article:  today’s is on the history of seasickness.  Did you know that even fish get seasick?

Yesterday we met the Royal Clipper.  We both raised our sails and then approached Dominica together.  Quite exciting!  I’m so glad we got to tour her.  She is very different from the Star Clipper, and not just in size.  She feels more spacious.  And she has 14 deluxe suites with verandah, which are very popular.  Not to mention a spa with a hamman, treatment rooms, massage, and some fitness equipment!

Interested in sailing with Star Clipper? Willamette Intl Travel regularly books these boats and would love to tell you more! Call us at 503.224.0180 or info@wittravel.com. For a firsthand review, ask to speak with Linda.

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Filed under Caribbean, Cruises, Dominica, Our Travel Agents, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Star Clipper, Travel by Ship, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?