The atmosphere onboard Star Clipper feels more like a private yacht than a cruise ship. Credit: Riviera Travel

Tall surprises: this isn’t your typical cruise

Author: Daniel Edward

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Riviera Travel sail two magnificent tall ships, offering a totally different cruise experience, full of the romance and elegance of Europe’s great maritime tradition

When you think of Riviera Travel, images of a relaxing river cruise may come to mind – and you can certainly sail the Danube with Riviera Travel – but there’s something else. Something more unusual. Step onboard one of the clippers which Riviera Travel leases for a heart-fluttering ocean sailing – emphasis on the sailing part here – around Europe’s fabled shores.

Royal Clipper and Star Clipper are modern ships that take all the glory of a bygone era and transform it into a luxurious voyage unlike anything else out there. This isn’t a standard Mediterranean cruise. This is a bona fide seafaring adventure.

Locals will marvel at your ship as you ease quietly into port. Passengers on other ships will lean over their balconies to get a better view of your clipper as she passes. Couples will sit in another ship’s buffet, their stomachs slightly pained with envy, discussing when they can book your cruise instead.

Clippers were out exploring the seas and charting the oceans long before pleasure cruises entered the scene, and Riviera Travel’s tall ship ocean cruises offer a modern marriage of the two, with their customary levels of personalised service and attention to match, of course.

Find your ideal cruise with Riviera Travel

Search for the best cruises with Riviera Travel

New itinerary launches: sail tall to the Greek islands
Star Clipper has just announced a brand new Ephesus and Greek islands itinerary, starting in Athens. The 11-day sailing includes seven-nights aboard the luxury sailing ship after three days in Athens.

Following a few days staying in five-star hotels and exploring Ancient Greece’s major landmarks in Athens, it’s time to set sail for some island hopping. And instantly you’ll be mesmerised by the vibrancy of the sky against the pure white walls of the islands’ buildings. This is your classic Mamma Mia island vibe.

Explore the winding streets of Mykonos’ Old Town – purportedly designed to confuse pirates, but now lined with cafes, shops and tavernas – and fill your camera with some of the most strikingly beautiful images you’ll ever take.

It’s then time to sail off into the sunset for a journey back in time to another great ancient power: Turkey. You’ll dock in the port of Kusadasi, which provides excellent access to the ancient city of Ephesus – the Romans’ former capital in Asia.

The remainder of the sailing returns to Greece, with stops in Rhodes, Kos, Amorgos, Poros and Sounion. All these gorgeous Greek islands are dripping with history and for archaeology buffs, they really are a dream come true. And thanks to Riviera Travel’s impressive excursions programme, you’ll be able to engage with the fascinating history of these destinations in a relaxed and enriching way.

And once you’ve had your fill of ancient history and big dig discoveries, then we all know that these islands are also home to some of the most dreamy beaches on the planet, so a dip in the sea followed by coffee and gyros in a local beachfront taverna sounds like a plan to me.

Witness ancient sites such as the Unesco-listed Acropolis with Riviera Travel. Credit: Getty

Beautiful ships that transport you through time
While the clippers are modern boats, they are designed as inspired reconstructions of historic vessels, from sailing’s golden era.

Star Clipper, for example, is a reimagining of a 19th century ship called Barquentine and, when all 16 cream-coloured sails are billowing in the wind, she is quite the sight. The ship has 81 cabins, with a capacity of 166 guests. She sails with 74 crew members, so the guest to crew ratio is very high, ensuring an excellent personalised service.

Royal Clipper
is the younger (and bigger) sister, carrying 222 guests and 106 crew members. This five-masted ship is a picture of elegance on the water, with her smart blue and white livery. Inside, the cabins are traditional, with panelled walls, dark-wood furniture and attractive nautical artwork.

Mykonos is Greece's most glamorous island. Credit: Getty
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