Bahamas: Big Adventure Aboard the Liberty Clipper

So as experienced travelers we’ve been blessed to do and see and experience so many wonderful things our world has to offer. We could try to list them, but our brains would give out before we got halfway through. And that’s so freaking cool.

But out of all of our fantastic adventures, only rarely do we come across the kind of experience that is so good – so impressive – that we can hardly talk about it to anyone because we’ll just excitedly go on and on like blathering idiots. And our experience aboard the tall ship Liberty Clipper is absolutely one of them. So be forewarned: we’ll try to keep this short and to the point, but no guarantees. Here goes…

So. If you’re ever considering sailing on the Clipper, it’s very, very important we think that in order to fully enjoy and appreciate it you first have to realize what an experience on the Clipper is not. Follow us here:

Sailing the BahamasMost importantly, you should know that it’s not a cruise. At least, not in the traditional sense. Obviously you can tell by looking that the ship is quite different from the modern, towering, luxurious ships that come to mind when you think “cruise.” And if you take a trip on the Clipper expecting it to be anything at all like one of those traditional cruises you’ve got a big, big, big surprise coming. The cabins are very small (but comfy), the amenities are wonderfully basic, there’s no pool, no spa, no nightclub, no shopping and absolutely (and blissfully) no air of pretension.  There’s no grand dining hall, just the wooden benches and tables that make up the galley below deck. And the food is by no means haute international cuisine. But it’s delicious, plentiful and prepared lovingly by the ship’s cook (love you Jan!). Think of “comfort food” at sea and you’re in the right vein. So, yeah. The experience on board the Clipper is much more intimate, much more organic and much more “down to earth” than you’d find on a big cruise ship. It perfectly fit our low-maintenance, laid-back personalities, and we absolutely loved it.

Sailing the BahamasThere’s no set itinerary. Again, unlike a traditional cruise with rigidly scheduled ports of call, your itinerary on the Clipper is free-flowing and liable to change by the day. The course you take is entirely at the discretion of the captain and highly dependent on the weather conditions. When we first stepped on board we literally had no idea where we’d be going, and that’s actually how we woke up most mornings. Our Captain, Chris, asked all of us where we’d like to go and was absolutely open to our ideas, but there was never a guarantee we’d be able to go to a certain place. That was all fine by us—we felt it just added to the mystery and the adventure of the experience. Sailing the beautiful open waters and islands of the Bahamas with no particular destination in mind? And no set schedule to follow? Giddyup. But again, if you step on board thinking you’re guaranteed to visit one place or another, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Sailing the BahamasSpeaking of ports of call, you will more than likely make a stop or two at some small Bahamian town on a stretch of island somewhere, again depending on the conditions. We stopped and spent the night at a little place called Governor’s Harbor and just loved it. It had a great little bar, a collection of colorful shops and homes, locals selling fresh lobsters on the seawalk, and one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever lay eyes on. But – and keeping with the theme here – it’s wonderfully basic. No fancy shops, fancy restaurants or high-rise resorts (at least not yet). Just a genuine, low-key Bahamian kind of place. And we’d guess the same would be true of most any of the places you’d visit on your journey.

Okay. So you’re getting the picture. Now with all that said, here’s what we think was hands down the best thing about our experience: the crew.

Crew of the Schooner Liberty ClipperSadly in the video you don’t really get a sense of how awesome the crew really is. Clearly they work their butts off, they’re dedicated to the experience and they are absolutely there for you at any time if you need anything. You’d find the same on most any “cruise” we suppose. But the difference here is, we’ve been on a bundle of big cruises and never left a single one of them feeling a personal connection with the crew. And on the Clipper it goes beyond that. By the end of the journey you genuinely feel like part of a big crazy family. When you go out snorkeling for example, it doesn’t feel as though the crew is “taking you out” snorkeling. It simply feels like you’re going out on an adventure with your pals. Same if you want to hang out at the beach. Or hunt lion fish. Or go aloft. Or just hang out on the deck and chill and play guitar after the sun goes down. And even now when we think back on the experience we immediately think of the crew and how cool everybody was. So thanks guys. Y’all were awesome. In fact we’re hoping to upload a separate video with some “crew highlights” but it’s tough trying to decide what all should be seen “publicly.” 🙂

Beyond the crew, we loved the adventure of it all. We know we keep using that word again and again, but dammit we just can’t stop.  Watching the crew work together as a unit as they hoisted the sails (and actually helping them out), followed by the feeling of the wind catching the sails and the Clipper flying across the waves… well, that alone was very cool for us, especially since we’d never been sailing before. Then you have the ability to go snorkeling, to swim with stingrays, to take the zodiac over to the beach and chill, to walk among rusting shipwrecks, to explore the ruins of a deserted resort, and so much more. Like we said, there’s just no way we could have fit it all into the video.

Suffice it to say it was sincerely one of those experiences we’ll always remember vividly. And we’d highly, highly recommend everyone do this. At least once in your life. Put any excuses aside and just. Do. It. You’ll have yourself one hell of a time, again provided that you go into the trip with the right attitude and expectations. Us? We’d easily rank this as one of the coolest things we’ve ever done.

Thanks to everybody on the Clipper, passengers and crew. And thanks especially to the awesome folks at Adventure Life who gave us the opportunity. Let’s go on another adventure!

Cheers y’all! And safe travels!

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14 Comments

  1. errrrrrrr

    How wonderfully cool!!! So glad you got to experience this……….wow!

  2. jackie Bowman

    I was in the Clipper March 2012. My 69th birthday.Thank you fir encapsulating a phenomonal experience

  3. Dido to your experience. My husband and I made this trip for New Years 2013. We want to do the trip again with our friends.

    • Nikki Green

      Isn’t it the absolute best? We’d love to go again with friends sometime. There’s just nothing like it! Thanks for the comment Theresa 🙂

  4. This is truly the most fun you can have without being arrested!

  5. I experienced a similar “best vacation adventure of my life”–in 1999 aboard the Windjammer Tall Ship the Polynesia! Your page helps me relive that best week of my life! I’m ready to do this again! Your Blog has me yearning to sail again on another “best vacation of my life”.

    • Thanks Peggy! Glad we could help you re-live those memories. We’ve got some pretty fantastic memories ourselves. 🙂 Cheers!

  6. Thinking of doing the Virgin Islands or Bahamas cruise. Never cruised before, we don’t like the 5000 passenger ships! These cruises sound amazing! Any safety concerns?

    • Dusty Green

      The smaller cruises ARE amazing. You have to go at least once (though we’d guess that if you do it once you’ll be hooked). As far as safety concerns, there were none outstanding that we can remember on either cruise that gave us a moment’s pause. The captains/crew are very experienced and very professional and they made certain that the cruises were safe and enjoyable. But if you have specific concerns it’s a great idea to contact the tour company ahead of time and chat with them about what’s on your mind. They’ll no doubt work with you to allay any fears you might have. Cheers! Now get out there and enjoy! 🙂

  7. My husband and I booked a week on the Liberty Clipper for the end of February and we can’t wait! I just ran across your post now and it’s the exact kind of thing a traveler wants to read about a trip they’ve already paid for 🙂 Thanks for the incredible detail.

    • Awesome! We hope you guys have a ball! And we’re sure you will. Let us know!! And thanks SO much for the kind words. We really try hard to show folks what the experience is like. Glad you found it helpful! Safe travels. Cheers!

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