Small ship cruising under sail in the Mediterranean will see you slip silently from the port for the deep blue of the sea in a tall ship.
Small ship cruising in the Mediterranean under sail on a tall ship
There’s something unbelievably majestic about a tall ship cruising silently from the port for the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea. No motor noise fills the air, just the low whoosh of ropes pulling through winches as the captain directs his crew.
Following in the footsteps of ancient mariners, I cruised the rugged Mediterranean coastlines from Athens to Malta with Star Clipper’s Star Flyer, exploring small ports in southern Greece and Sicily to finish in Malta. It’s a world where century-old towns tumble down cliffs into picturesque harbours filled with yachts at anchor. Sailing on a tall ship with Star Clipper, the choice will be learning how to raise the sails or relaxing in the bowsprit net suspended over the startling blue sea. It starts with an exploration of ancient Athens and finishes as I trace my heritage through the islands of Malta to a small street in Gozo, where my grandfather was born.
It’s a journey that lives strong in my memories, and I would recommend this sailing experience. I found the rooms comfortable, the food of a high standard, and the ship well maintained. Shore excursions into the small towns where the ship docked gave great insights into the local way of life. I walked along causeways, climbed up to ancient forts, strolled city streets lined with ancient buildings and relaxed in town piazzas.
Cruising the Mediterranean on a tall ship
I travelled on the Sicily and Greece Star Flyer route which leaves from Athens giving travellers the chance to explore this fascinating city before departure. Ancient Athens was the birthplace of democracy and the epicentre of western civilisation. Modern Athens is filled with the remnants of this civilisation which makes fascinating viewing. The city is still dominated by 5th-century BC landmarks, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel topped with ancient buildings like the collonaded Parthenon temple. There is just so much to see here.
The first port is Monemvasia, a preserved Byzantine fortified port on the Greek coastline. Once 60,000 strong, it is now home to just a few hundred. It looks like a massive rock from the sea, and it’s not until you land and walk the pathway to the castle entrance that the town inside the rocky ruins is revealed.
Still, in Greece, the next stop is Pilos a historically significant town with a castle amongst pine-covered hills. On to Syracuse in Sicily which was once the largest city in the world. There are plenty of medieval lanes, old-style cafes and a baroque piazza to explore. After a day at sea, the ship docks at Valletta, the capital of Malta. Valletta is a walled city established in the 1500s by the Roman Catholic order of the Knights of St John.
Sailing on Star Flyer
Star Flyer is a four-masted barquentine built as a cruise ship and operated by Star Clippers Ltd of Sweden. This luxury vessel is a sister ship to Star Clipper. This type of cruising offers an active holiday rather than an abundance of food, tempting buffets and relaxing lazy days. There are just three guest decks on this vessel that is considerably smaller than conventional cruise vessels, but there are no elevators and, Star Clippers but it’s easy to get your steps walking up and down the steps past the restaurant, cabins, library, bars and along the open-air teak decks.
One of the voyage highlights was a day on the water when the ship was sailing through the Ligurean Sea. The sea was so amazingly calm, just like a pond, and the day slightly overcast. The crew took those who wanted to see Star Flyer on the water out in one of the tenders. I took some amazing images of the ship and then the onboard crew climbed out along the bow mast and waved at us for the perfect Instagram shot. It was magic!
Down below on a tall ship
My cabin 109 was an outside stateroom on the Commodore Deck which meant we had a porthole just above water level. It had a fixed double bed close to the wall, so there was only entry from one side and end. Next time I would choose a room which offered access from both sides of the bed on the Clipper Deck, avoiding rooms that open directly into the dining room. There’s a reasonable amount of storage available, a compact marble ensuite, air conditioning, a hairdryer, private safe, television, DVD player, and telephone. Star Flyer’s electrical output is 110 volts.
Star Clippers have a wide selection of Star Flyer Western Mediterranean cruises available. Destinations include Spain, Morocco, Canary Islands, Croatia, and Cannes.
If your itinerary includes a stop in Malta, here’s a great place to stay in Valletta.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled as a guest of Star Clipper