Arriving in Barbados it was wonderful to see the beautiful Royal Clipper moored in between two vast cruise ships. One couldn’t help but feel slightly smug that we would be sailing across the ocean with just 106 other passengers for company and a crew, who very quickly knew all of us by name. Perhaps not for everyone, but certainly the discerning traveller would choose the real sailing option every time rather than just be one of thousands herded around.
This particular trip was non-stop to Lisbon, which took 17 days. In that time we all got to know each other really well and the laughter, particularly during dinner, was quite something. Many on board had their own boats of varying size but all wanted to experience the true adventure of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. for ten days the sun shone, flying fish skimmed the seas and occasionally a whale joined us.
There was time to sit and relax, sunbathe, have a drink, use the gym, spa or lean on the rails and chat with others. Many nationalities and faiths were together with never a cross word heard – if only life on dry land could mirror the wonderful atmosphere on The Royal Clipper the world would be a happier and safer place for us all.
All meals in the amazing dinning room are open-seating and the officers came and joined different tables every night. This made for fascinating conversations and whichever table we were on were usually last to leave.
There was always something to do if you wanted to from learning about navigation, raising the sails, night-time star gazing and the history of tall ships to quietly reading in the library or best of all, lying in the nets either side of bowsprit watching the dolphins playing underneath.
Our arrival in Lisbon was the end of an extraordinary journey but fun to see the river banks lined with spectators watching ‘our’ ship glide past. We have been on many cruises but have never been hugged and kissed by so many new friends and officers – in my mind that says it all.
Next trip already booked!!