Star Clippers announced that its tall ship in Asia will relocate to the Caribbean for the 2010 winter season due to increased piracy in the Far East.
Following its summer sailings in the Eastern Mediterranean, Star Clipper will reposition to St. Maarten in November for seven-night roundtrip cruises. The company has deployed a ship to the Far East during the winter for more than a decade. The Far East itineraries, featuring Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, have been well received, but owner Mikael Krafft said geopolitical conditions, not related directly to the destinations themselves, dictated this decision.
“Ensuring the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority, and that is what we have considered in taking this difficult decision,” Krafft said. “Due to the rise of piracy in the Strait of Malacca, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and the increasing boldness of the pirates, we believe it is not prudent to transit those areas between our cruising grounds in the Mediterranean and the Far East. The future stability of the region is too unpredictable at this time. It is our sincere hope that the piracy situation can be alleviated, and when that happens, we plan to return to Thailand and Malaysia.”
Next winter, the Star Clipper instead will sail alternating Caribbean itineraries from St. Maarten to ports where large cruise ships typically don’t call. The Leeward Islands itinerary will call at Nevis, Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua and St. Barts. The Treasure Islands route will call at Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Tortola, Jost van Dyke, St. Kitts and St. Barts.
“This region of the Caribbean has proven very successful with our guests in the past, providing an interesting mix of the colonial heritage of the British, French and Dutch,” Krafft said. “And St. Maarten has excellent airlift from both the United States and our markets in Europe. Plus, having two ships in the Caribbean provides an opportunity for Royal Clipper and Star Clipper to easily rendezvous off Dominica for tall-ship racing, which is an amazing thrill and was always much appreciated by our guests.”
The Star Clipper will sail two Panama Canal cruises in early 2011 season. “Star Clippers’ Panama Canal cruises have always been very popular, with the spring 2010 Star Flyer sailing selling out in record time,” Krafft said. Prices will be published and reservations will open for the next winter Caribbean season later this month. For more information, call 800-442-0551 or visit www.starclippers.com.