In sev­enth heaven

A week-long cruise from Is­tan­bul to Athens on a stately sail­ing ship

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Afloat -

sports team. Day four takes us to Skiathos, where a mid­night de­par­ture al­lows the op­por­tu­nity to dine ashore and sam­ple restau­rants.

Cruise di­rec­tor Anna — who briefs pas­sen­gers on des­ti­na­tions and tours in English, French and Ger­man — hints that the bet­ter restau­rants are around the bay, past the yacht club, and it’s there that we find Me­dousa and en­joy the best fried cala­mari I’ve tasted — mi­nus­cule crea­tures not much big­ger than my thumb, sweet and crisp and ten­der.

Sit­ting by the wa­ter’s edge, in late sum­mer twi­light, is a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence. But life on board has its mo­ments of plea­sure, too. I en­joy the calm and quiet of early morn­ing on deck, when the out­lines of the sleep­ing is­lands are soft and hazy and mys­te­ri­ous. From the pool I watch the mea­sured jog­ging of the few pas­sen­gers keen enough to start the day with 8am gym­nas­tics led by Jay.

At this hour I have the pool to my­self and, al­though it’s only three strokes end to end, af­ter mul­ti­ple laps I feel ex­er­cised enough to face the sub­stan­tial break­fast buf­fet.

Star Clip­per rep­re­sents a life­long dream for owner Mikael Krafft. Launched in 1992, it car­ries a max­i­mum of 170 pas­sen­gers on cruises in the Mediter­ranean and Caribbean, and on ocean cross­ings be­tween the two. Its de­sign echoes the stately clip­per ships of ear­lier cen­turies, but its ameni­ties are com­fort­ably mod­ern. And the menus of three-star con­sul­tant chef Jean-Marie Meulien are not only varied enough to sat­isfy the most fas­tid­i­ous palate but pos­i­tively healthy.

Come day seven and we ar­rive at Pi­raeus in the early morn­ing. As much as I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing the Acrop­o­lis again, I’m re­luc­tant to face the chal­lenges of life on land — per­haps, like so many other con­verts, I’ll soon be sign­ing up for another cruise.

The ma­jes­tic Star Clip­per car­ries a max­i­mum of 170 pas­sen­gers; gourmet din­ing and clas­si­cally el­e­gant cab­ins make for a lux­u­ri­ous voy­age

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