MIAMI (Nov. 16, 2007) -- Star Flyer made history for Star Clippers yesterday as the first ship in the fleet to transit the Panama Canal. En route to its new homeport in Tahiti, the tall ship first will undergo a three-week drydock in Panama to make the vessel ready for French Polynesia.
With the line's three vessels sailing in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Far East (by way of the Suez Canal), there had never before been a need for Star Clippers' ships to transit the Panama Canal. Star Flyer's move to year-round cruising in Tahiti enabled Star Clippers to take advantage of the opportunity to sail a ship through the lakes and locks of the man-made engineering marvel.
"Our guests tend to be on the more adventurous side, and we're always thrilled when we can offer them an exhilarating experience such as transiting the Panama Canal," said Jack Chatham, vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "Because Star Flyer will sail in Tahiti year-round, who knows when we'll go through the canal again, possibly making this a true once-in-a-lifetime experience for the guests on board."
During the 11-night cruise, which departed Bridgetown, Barbados, Nov. 4, guests had the opportunity to explore ports in Venezuela, Curaçao and Colombia before disembarking in Panama City.
Following the drydock, Star Flyer will make its way to Papeete, Tahiti, without guests to allow the crew to fully prepare the ship for its new home. The first official cruise in Tahiti is set to depart Dec. 30, and then the ship will begin sailing three distinct products in the region -- seven-, 10- and 11-night round-trip Papeete cruises.
During Star Flyer's seven-night itinerary, the ship visits Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay, Moorea, with an overnight in Papeete before disembarkation.
The 10- and 11-night cruises take Star Flyer to the Society and Tuamotus Islands, with special cruising in the Rangiroa Lagoon. The ship calls at Fakarava, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha'a, Huahine and Moorea.
Star Clippers, ranked one of the Top 10 Small-Ship Cruises by "Travel+Leisure," combines the luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the golden age of tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships.
The four- and five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits.