Star Clipper: A Glorious Week on the Med
The Star Clipper Offers the Adventure of a Sailing Trip with Luxury
Last week in Civitavecchia, the Port of Rome, we boarded the 362-foot-long Star Clipper and set out on a weeklong adventure with about 104 other passengers and 75 crew. Our first port of call was Portaferraro, on the Island of Elba, a place I remember visiting on another life during one of my frequent trips with Cindy. I even landed on the same beach where we had lunch a decade and a half ago in 2007. It was called Mariana Marina, and it offered a pebbly beach next to a set of distinctive rocks that I never forgot.
It’s become one of my life’s joys to revisit places that I love. I remember being a young man starting out in travel writing in the early 00s and thinking I could only take a hosted visit to a place one time. And I had to keep finding new places because it was one and done. But I realized shortly after that tourism boards like to welcome writers back. At any rate, it was a delight to be back in Elba and on that same beach with different people.
This trip has been a real zinger. Perhaps it was because I got a chance to show Mary some countries where she had never been before, and combined with my love of small ship cruising, it all just felt great the whole week. The ports we visited include the dramatic Bonifacio, Corsica, where the entrance to the harbor is lined with striated rocks with a limestone fortress and walls along the top. Calvi, and Ajaccio in Corsica were also intriguing ports of call with so much history in a small place.
The Star Clipper ships number three–the Royal Clipper, the Star Clipper, and the Star Flyer, each with comfortable staterooms, plenty of room to enjoy nightly activities (like the super fun talent show and pirate night!), and each able to sail and motor depending on the wind. I had a fun time interviewing our Captain, Yuriy Slastenin for the podcast about what it’s like to be a ship captain and how he got there from Ukraine.
I can’t ever remember seeing so many dramatic scenes from a ship, these islands are truly some of the world’s most magnificent. Corsica is especially magical with its famous maquis, the bushes that grow along the roadsides that give off a magic scent. I can see coming back here and renting a place, but strictly off duty, not for a press trip but for a vacation. We are doing that right now, in a rented Airbnb high on a hill above the small town of Cassis, in Provence.
We have no itinerary here and nothing we have to do. So the priority is to do just what we want, figure out how to cook some meals, and find our way to the local stores to sustain us. This is truly what I love to do!