What Is Tall Ship Cruising?

26th April 2019

Anyone who is unfamiliar with Star Clippers as a brand may not have encountered the term tall ship cruising before. Even experienced cruisers who have spent their time sailing on board standard cruise vessels may be unsure how the style of holiday that Star Clippers offers is different from what they would usually choose. But, don’t worry, we’re here to tell you exactly what you can expect.

The Basics

Ropes and Cleats

Tall refers to the fact that our cruises take place on board traditional sailing vessels with masts that stretch towards the sky and traditional rigging. Known as Clipper ships, they glide beautifully through the oceans and hark back to an era when sailing was all about speed and exploration. Making the most of wind power at every opportunity, our fleet impresses with sprawling sails that are unfurled and hoisted by the crew.

Nods to a resplendent past can be seen across the decks – not least in the authentic teak decks themselves. There’s nautical-themed décor in most of the public spaces, whilst the ropes and cleats leave you in no doubt that this is not your typical cruise.


Tall Sailing Ship

It is thought that the term ‘tall ship’ was first used in the mid to late 19th century. Joseph Conrad and Henry David Thoreau, two celebrated mariners of their day, are both quoted with using the phrase around this time, making it very likely to have been part of general sailing parlance.

There are many different types of tall ships, each of which is identified by the number of masts and type of rigging that it boasts. Both Star Flyer and Star Clipper are Barquentines, whereas Royal Clipper is what’s known as a fully-rigged tall ship. Other types include brigs, barques and schooners.

A Clipper, another type of tall ship from which Star Clippers takes its name, is a vessel originally built for its speed and were at their peak during the 1840s. The need for faster delivery along trade routes to China and the desire to propel the Gold Rush in California led to them becoming very important. However, the arrival of the Suez Canal, a shortcut between Asia/Africa and Europe, signalled the start of the decline.

What Can You Expect?

Camaraderie During Tug Of War

Many of the aspects of cruising that you know and love will be present during a Star Clippers tall ship cruise. Onboard activities such as water sports and educational lectures will keep you busy, whilst well-devised shore excursions give you many options to explore further afield. Your days will revolve around delicious meals that help you sample the flavours of the local region, but international favourites are never too far away.

One difference you will notice is the intimacy and camaraderie felt on these sailings. With a small capacity of, at most, 227, it’s easy to get to know your fellow passengers and the crew. This paves the way for a relaxed atmosphere that you don’t always experience on a modern cruise ship – something that will only enhance your holiday.

If you would like to know more about our tall ship cruises, call the team on 0845 200 6145. You can also talk with one of our advisors via our online chat.

Our Latest Brochures


Reservations Centre

UK and Eire passengers please contact Fred. Olsen Travel, the General Sales Agent for Star Clippers or any ABTA Travel Agent.

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday - 9:00am to 6.00pm
Saturday - 9:00am to 4:00pm
Sunday - Closed