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Royal Clipper Review: A Beautiful Star Clippers Cruise Ship

She’s tall and a real beauty. Meet the Royal Clipper!

Modeled after the greatest German clipper ship, the historic 1902 Preussen, the 439-foot, 227-passenger Royal Clipper is one of the largest true sailing ships in the world.

She’s operated by Star Clippers; our most recent cruise with them was a Caribbean cruise on the Star Flyer.

Flaunting 56,000 square feet of sails – 42 sails in all – the Royal Clipper is under sail whenever possible (not engine power).

The "Royal Clipper" is one of the largest true sailing ships in the world.

You may also want to read: See what it’s like to sail on the Alila Purnama, a deluxe Indonesian phinisi, around Komodo (and see Komodo dragons too!)

Royal Clipper review

The Royal Clipper recently came in at #2 for “Best Small Cruise Ship” in USA Today‘s “10 Best” Awards for 2021.

The Royal Clipper under full sail

Several years ago, we sailed on the Royal Clipper through the Grenadine Islands in the Caribbean.

Rummaging through old pics, we found these Royal Clipper photos – taken on our trusty film camera!

Pool on the Royal Clipper ship

The Royal Clipper has two smaller and older sister ships, Star Clipper and Star Flyer.

For Mikael Krafft, the 70-something Swedish entrepreneur who owns Star Clippers, these ships are the product of a lifelong dream to recreate and build real clipper ships that sail the world. (The word “clipper” comes from the phrase “to go at a good clip”.)

Indeed, the Star Clipper and Star Flyer are the first clipper ships since 1911 to be certified as passenger sailing vessels by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.

Climbing the mast of the Royal Clipper cruise ship

Star Clippers cruises

We love this line – their intimate sailing ships are among the “greenest” in the world.

And we can’t wait to sail at a good clip with them again!

Royal Clipper ship facts

  • Tonnage: 5,000
  • Length: 439 feet
  • Beam: 54 feet
  • Draft: 18.5 feet
  • Masts: 5 masts
  • Sail area: 54,000 square feet
  • Number of sails: 42
  • Mast height: 177 feet
  • Crew: 106
  • Passenger capacity: 227

See the Star Clippers website for more information on the Royal Clipper.

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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Royal Clipper review

Photo credits: © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except lead image, courtesy Star Clippers)


About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

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