Lisa Robinson, the manager of our Colchester travel agents, got the chance to tour the Caribbean on board the Royal Clipper. This seven-night cruise and stay holiday was full of exciting adventure and so here are a few of the highlights…
Operator/Host: Star Clippers
(Hotel names/Ship name): The Cove Suites – Antigua, Royal Clipper, Colony Club – Barbados
Airline: British Airways / LIAT Airways
Duration: 7 Nights
We were lucky to be upgraded in both directions to World Traveller Plus, BA’s premium economy seats and I was really impressed with the comfortable seats and the extra leg room. The service and food were good and the flight was on time.
We had a few hours wait in Barbados before our onward connection to Antigua and the onward flight was delayed. During this time, it was very difficult to find out from LIAT what was happening and so I would always recommend direct flights if possible.
Our first night was at The Cove Suites, which is part of The Blue Waters Resort. We were each given a room in one of the four villas that have a number of three bedroom penthouses. Each room had its own en-suite bathroom, a shared lounge and kitchen and large balcony with sea views. The villas were beautiful 5-star luxury and ideal for groups or families.
Each building shares a private pool and offers easy access to the beach. The hotel is sold on an all-inclusive basis and we were able to sample the great food and the odd cocktail or two. The property also offers a wide choice of room types throughout the hotel grounds. It really is a beautiful hotel, with the only downside being that the beach was fairly small.
Our next four nights were aboard the Royal Clipper, which set sail from Antigua and paid visits to St Kitts, Iles des Saintes, Martinique and Barbados. My first impression, when I caught sight of the ship, was ‘wow’; it is such an amazing ship to see, even when in dock. We were each allocated a category three, double cabin for sole use. These were a good size, with a double bed, plenty of storage space and a reasonable sized bathroom with a shower. The cabins are more than adequate for the time you spend in them.
As the ship is small it was very easy to get to know the layout quickly. When the weather is good, the Tropical Bar is a great meeting place. It’s a great area to have a drink before dinner, meet friends or just enjoy a nice drink as the sun sets. Afternoon tea is also served on deck in the bar.
The food on board is great with a wide choice too. Breakfast and lunch is buffet service, with the option of both hot and cold choices, and dinner is waiter service; leaving you free to dine when and with whom you wish. The dress code is casual during the day and casual elegance in the evening, so the feeling is always very relaxed. Life on board is great fun and can be as relaxed or active as you wish. There are plenty of water sport activities available and the sports team are always on hand to help. The ‘sail away’ is such a spectacular sight you really have to experience it to understand why the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Our final stay was in Barbados, where we had two nights at the Colony Club Hotel, which is part of the Elegant Hotel group and situated on the west coast of the island. We were booked into luxury pool-side or sea-view rooms, which had recently been refurbished to a very high standard. The hotel has a total of 96 rooms on three floors, but there are no lifts which could be a problem for some.
The hotel gardens are well kept and the lagoon pools are very inviting. There are a few restaurant choices which were of a very high standard and, although the food is a premium price, it was well worth the money. I loved this hotel; it’s a great choice for couples. You are in walking distance of local bars, restaurants and shops too.
Barbados, West Coast
We also visited other hotels in Barbados that are part of the Elegant chain. We went to the House hotel for cocktails and the Tamarind Hotel for dinner. Additionally, we had a visit and site inspection at Crystal Cove and Turtle Beach.
The one excursion that we took part in was a catamaran trip in Barbados, with the chance to snorkel and swim with turtles.
Sailing on the Royal Clipper and the ‘sail away’ experience.
There were a few little things that the group thought could be improved upon for the Royal Clipper. Really it was the little extra touches such as cold towels or water when you returned to the ship. It would also be nice if there were bottles of water in the cabins, and one thing I had a big problem with was trying to open the heavy swing doors to get on deck. Many a time they would swing back and hit you.
I would 100% recommend this trip to the right passengers. I believe the cruise is more suited to keen sailors or passengers that sail themselves. The destination is amazing though and I think it would be fully appreciated by many different travellers.
Must see? The ‘sail away’ on board Royal Clipper
Must do? Catamaran trip in Barbados
Must try? Climb the Royal Clipper mast, if you’re brave enough (I wasn’t)
A trip around the Caribbean is one of the most popular types of cruise and makes the perfect holiday for those who enjoy life on the ocean waves.
We can help you plan your cruise holiday from start to finish; meaning that you get to make the most of your limited time away. Speak to one of our passionate advisers at one of our seven travel shops in East Anglia or complete a contact form online and we will get back to you.