NEW YORK -- The cruise industry's growing fleet of large-scale
vessels has somewhat obscured the tremendous diversity among its
Indeed, cruising's small-ship segment features several vessel
types, a broad variety of itinerary options and onboard
accommodations ranging from rudimentary to lavish. Sailing cruise
ships constitute an increasingly popular segment of the
The largest of these vessels, which combine the rigging, masts
and nostalgic feeling of wind-powered sailing with contemporary
accommodations -and motorized propulsion to deal with wind
variances -- is Star Clipper's flagship, the 228-passenger Royal
The five-masted, fully rigged ship, promoted as "the biggest
true sail vessel in the world," entered weekly service in the
Mediterranean during the summer of 2000.
Although built to resemble turn-of-the-century clipper ships,
the 5,000-ton Royal Clipper, like its smaller fleetmates Star
Clipper and Star Flyer, offers elegant accommodations including
rosewood veneer furnishings, Victorian-style brass lamps and
full-length mirrors. Other amenities include television, hair dryer
and satellite telephone.
Royal Clipper's fall/winter Caribbean schedule commences Nov. 3
with alternating southern Caribbean itineraries departing roundtrip
from Barbados through April 20, 2003.
One route includes calls at Martinique, Iles des Saintes,
Antigua, St. Kitts, Dominica and St. Lucia. The alternate route
visits Martinique, St. Lucia, Bequia, Tobago Cays, Grenada and St.
Cruise-only rates range from $1,345 to $3,695 per person. For
details, call (800) 442-0551.
Another upscale sailing vessel, Peter Deilmann Cruises'
48-passenger Lili Marleen, begins year-round cruises in Ecuador's
Galapagos Islands on Dec. 6.
The ship will offer 10- and 14-day cruise/land tour packages.
The 10-day package includes seven nights aboard the Lili Marleen;
all excursions; three nights in Quito, Ecuador, and entrance fees
for Galapagos National Park.
Cruise-only rates start at $3,348 per person. Call (800)
The 14-day package includes seven days aboard ship and two
nights in Quito, plus five nights in Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu,
The land extension includes accommodations in hotels in
Guayaquil, Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu. It also features roundtrip
train transportation to Machu Picchu, guided sightseeing in Cuzco
and Machu Picchu and airport transfers.
The Lili Marleen's staterooms feature burled wood finishes;
pastel upholstery and carpeting, and tiled bathrooms with brass
fittings. The ship has a diesel engine to propel it when winds are
light. Call (800) 348-8287.
Small-ship operator Clipper Cruise Line will deploy its four
vessels -- the 138-passenger Yorktown Clipper, 100-passenger
Nantucket Clipper, 122-passenger Clipper Adventurer and
128-passenger Clipper Odyssey -- on a variety of voyages from
Antarctica to the Far East, the South Pacific, the southeastern
coast of the U.S. and Northern California.
The Nantucket Clipper will spend the fall and winter exploring
Belize and Honduras with a series of eight-day voyages between
Belize City and Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
The ship's shallow draft enables it to sail into coves and
islands that are inaccessible to larger ships. Per person rates
range from $2,895 to $4,415. Call (800) 325-0100.
Seattle-based Cruise West is offering four Central America
itineraries aboard the 100-passenger Temptress Explorer.
Among the four itineraries is a seven-day cruise from San Jose,
Costa Rica, to Colon, Panama. The sailing features a Panama Canal
transit and shore excursions in Manuel Antonio National Park,
Corcovado National Park and Golfo Dulce, all in Costa Rica.
Cruise West is offering 26 cruises in this series from November
to April. Cruise-only rates rates start at $2,245 per person.
Another seven-night cruise visits Belize, Honduras and
Guatemala. Departing from Belize, the itinerary calls at Roatan
Island in Honduras, Belize's San Pedro Town, plus Quirigua Ruins
and the town of Livingston on Guatemala's Rio Dulce. Offered in the
spring of 2002 and 2003, the voyage starts at $2,095 per
Temptress Explorer is among the category's simpler vessels,
comfortable but far from elegant. The ship offers open-seating
dining and air-conditioned accommodations.
Trained naturalists escort small groups of passengers on shore
excursions, and on some beaches, the crew sets up a barbecue and a
bar for private beach parties.