Latest Posts

Star Flyer Leeward Island Adventure

A soft sea breeze, spectacular sunset, champagne and good company – just the end of another unforgettable day on board Star Flyer, on what has to be the perfect sailing adventure.

We marvelled at the Eastern Mediterranean last time Star Clipper style, and now embarked on a new journey to skim the perfect pirate shores of the beautiful Leeward Islands.  A collection of verdant lush peaks rising out of the deep, guarded by pods of dolphin and roaming whales, St Barts, St Maarten, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Dominica and Nevis are some of the Caribbean’s most precious jewels and all ports visited on our joyful journey on Star Clipper’s sister ship, Star Flyer.

If you’re yet to be acquainted, Star Flyer is one of three most majestic true clipper ships from Star Clippers.   Star Flyer is Star Clipper’s twin, and Royal Clipper its larger and grander cousin.    Think towering masts, billowing sails – and in simplistic terms, maybe even Pirates of the Caribbean (in an altogether far less dangerous way!)

Elegant & Majestic True Clipper Ship

Whilst the ships may look at first glance like something from a swashbuckling maritime period film, they are modern cruise ships in every way, where the traditions of the past are happily married to the comforts and amenities of the present day.

Created for luxury-appreciating passengers who also love the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships, Star Flyer is 115 metres long and carries just 166 guests in pampered comfort. Life aboard is blissfully relaxed, much like travelling on a private yacht.

This elegant ship offers spacious accommodation and expansive teak decks with ample space and two swimming pools. In fact, you’ll find Star Flyer and her siblings offer more outdoor space per passenger than most conventional cruise ships.

Arriving at the port of Philipsburg, St Maarten, and seeing Star Flyer again really is something special.  Supremely elegant and majestic, she’s a beautiful sight to behold.   Following a smooth embarkation, and warm greeting by the fantastic crew, it was time to explore.

After marvelling at the deck and noting all the perfect places to sunbathe, dolphin watch, and enjoy a cocktail or three at the deck bar, we stepped inside.  The decor of Star Flyer is reminiscent of the grand age of sail. Antique prints and paintings of famous sailing ships please your eye, while teak and gleaming mahogany rails are richly remindful of Star Clippers’ proud nautical heritage.


Walking past the inside bar area and cosy lounge with a mini-grand piano, you descend to the delightful light and airy dining room where you take all your meals.  All Star Clippers’ ships feature open-seating dining.  Here you can choose to dine as a couple or share a table with others – something most people do, and we are so pleased we did as actually we made the acquaintance of two wonderful couples who really made our time on board extra special.  We enjoyed onshore excursions with them and evening drinks and kept in touch.   They then actually booked this same Leeward Islands trip on Star Flyer as us and it was such fun to enjoy this new adventure with them.   In fact, the vast proportion of Star Clippers’ clientele book time and time again… many co-ordinating trips with friends they met on board.  It’s one of the key things that make sailing adventures on Star Clipper ships so incredibly special.

Meals are excellent and it’s quite astonishing how the chef and teams produce such a wonderful array of tasty dishes day after day.   They really do make dining aboard a delightful culinary adventure with an international menu of foods from the corners of the Earth.    From waking up, you can help yourself to a coffee and continental breakfast with Parisian croissants or sweet Danish pastries. Or you can savour a full breakfast with fresh tropical fruit and crisp bacon, grilled sausage and omelettes cooked to order in the dining room. At lunch, a marvellous buffet of seafood, salads and grilled favourites awaits your pleasure, and sometimes you can indulge in an outdoor barbecue on shore.  And, in the evening, the pretty dining room becomes the setting for the chef’s finest culinary presentations, designed to please the eye and the palate, complemented by a selection of fine wines.   The service is excellent – friendly and gracious, and most nights there is a different theme, so you don’t get bored of the same food night after night.    

Each teatime, most guests head on deck to the indoor-outdoor Tropical Bar for cocktails and canapes and a range of tasty snacks, and to enjoy the musical entertainment and catch up on the day’s events.     This bar is the place to head after dinner too, for more music, dancing and fun entertainment enjoyed by all.


Cabin wise, there’s a good choice of categories, and all are cleverly designed to maximise every inch of space, and far more comfortable than you might expect on a ship such as this. Some categories even have a whirlpool bath and cabin doors opening right out on to the deck.  All have their own bathroom with shower, flat screen TV and most other mod cons you could wish for.

Star Clipper

To do

Star Clippers offers a wide range of exciting itineraries to choose from.   Ours was to explore the beautiful Leeward Islands. The Caribbean has long been synonymous with words such as paradise, bliss and heaven-on-earth, and there is a very good reason for this. Each region and island has its own character and appeal – but all are blessed with soft golden or exotic dark volcanic sands, clean turquoise seas and lush green lands – plus a warm climate all year round.

Star Clippers always offers a super choice of excursions and activities across all its routes – and this one was no exception.  Guests could choose from everything from zip-lining, to snorkelling, incredible nature safaris, kayaking, snorkelling with stingrays, rainforest canopy tours, river tubing adventures, waterfall hikes and more.  These all proved incredibly popular and every day guests were off and out and about.   You can  of course just stay on board and sunbathe, make use of the two pools, read and relax, or combine this with a leisurely tender ride to the nearest harbour for a spot of lunch and a harbourside walk.   Tenders run to and from the ship frequently each day whilst it is at anchor so you can come and go as you please.    

Whilst on board, when the sea is very calm and weather good, the crew often open up the opportunity to climb the mast.  Not for those fearful of heights but on our trip many tried this – including one brave gent who celebrated his 80th birthday with a bold climb to the top!     Also each day there’s a fascinating maritime talk to enjoy and generally other activities such as yoga to make the most of.

Our Leeward Islands Journey

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

The smallest island in the world shared by two countries, St. Martin/St. Maarten is a mecca for mega yachts, and just as big on shopping. Whether you go Dutch in Philipsburg or prefer Marigot’s chic French style there’s something for everyone.  It is quite busy though so if it’s peace and quiet you desire, one of the other islands is probably a good option for you.

Charlestown, Nevis

For a welcome slower pace and very pretty scenery, Nevis never fails to charm.  The island is dotted with old sugar plantations, some of them now turned into quaint inns, many with interesting histories. Dominated by the perilously steep cliffs of Mt. Scenery, this small Dutch island didn’t even have a road around it until 1951.  It’s known for excellent diving and snorkelling.  The Four Seasons resort here is a must, enjoying an enviable position on a spectacular golden sand beach.

Iles des Saintes

This was such a treat, as our Star Flyer home joined her big sister Royal Clipper at sea just South of Iles des Saintes on her journey from the Windward Islands.   We had a thrilling race and all passengers were up on deck to see if Royal could beat us and to also take photos of this most majestic beauty gliding by.

Cabrits, Dominica

Dominica (not to be mistaken with the Dominican Republic) is a firm favourite of ours.  It’s incredibly pretty with towering mountains covered in wild tropical forest, dropping to a plethora of beautiful beaches, quaint small towns, plantations and secret coves.  There’s plenty to see and do here – including gliding through a steamy orchid-festooned rainforest on a fascinating boat ride or hiking to the breath-taking Trafalgar Falls and a bubbling lake.   We spent the day at Secret Bay – a stunning, small, super-luxe resort nestled in the hillsides around a pretty cove, with amazing bay views.

Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes

We anchored off shore between this very pretty group of  tiny islands lying just off Guadeloupe. Star Flyer guests enjoyed tender trips out to the nearby superb beaches, snorkelling, diving and other watersports on offer.

Deshaies, Guadeloupe

Such a spectacular island, Guadeloupe looks like a butterfly from the air. Its giant wings are actually two islands, separated by the Rivière Salée, a natural salt water channel. Basse Terre, the southern or leeward part of Guadeloupe, is lush and rugged, dominated by La Soufrière – a stream of boiling water which gushes from the top of the 4,800-ft. mountain, reminding you that this volcano is not dormant, but very much alive.   

Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

History rich, this large island is famous for its historic dockyards, marinas, old inns and convivial crowds of sun-tanned yacht crews, and is known as the epicentre of the Caribbean yachting world.  Today, every faded pink brick and weather-worn bollard of Nelson’s Dockyard evokes the presence of the greatest naval commander in history – but there are also wonderful beaches, pretty scenery and lively towns to explore.   We spent the day at the excellent Royalton Antigua luxury resort which is in an enviable location next to a truly stunning golden sand beach.   The resort even has Maldives-esque over water villas with private pools, and guests can enjoy a private cabana with own pool close to the beach and super cocktails and food on tap.

Gustavia, St Barts

World famous as the Winter destination of choice for every A-Lister and billionaire, St Barts is a mecca for the mega-rich and it’s easy to see why.   Compact, very pretty with elegant small towns such as the capital Gustavia, it’s blessed with excellent hotels, duty-free shopping in exquisite boutiques, beautiful beaches, excellent dining and more.  The harbour was full of many of the world’s most expensive superyachts whilst we visited – quite the spectacle!

Philipsburg, St Maarten

We returned to St Maarten, very sad to be leaving our ship and its wonderful crew and all the new friends we made from across the world.   But.. we hope to be back on board soon.

So much more than just a cruise

If the thought of being on one of those huge cruise ships with thousands of others leaves you rather cold, a Star Clipper sailing adventure is the perfect alternative.  It couldn’t be more different – in all the absolute best ways.

As I wrote before, there are holidays you enjoy, and then those you remember for years to come.  You know, those extra special ones where the stars aligned and everything was just right – the weather, the people, the ambiance, and the food?      For this very reason, guests on Star Clipper ships return time and time again, as they know they will always leave with memories to cherish, friendships renewed, and new connections made.   

Fact Box

7 nights Star Flyer Leeward Islands voyage from 25th November 2023 – From circa £2,085 per person 2 sharing depending on chosen route for a Class 2 cabin.  Flights/ transfers not included.


Reservations: 0845 200 6145


By Lisa Curtiss


Latest News

Contact Us: All Editorial Enquiries to: Lisa Curtiss Editor in Chief Advertising Enquiries to: Sid Raghava

Copyright © 2023 Kensington & Chelsea Review

To Top