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