Star Flyer isn’t just any ship. Like the other vessels in the Star Clippers fleet, she is a nearly 400-foot-long, tall-masted ship that replicates the graceful, white-sailed European barques of old.
Via Air Tahiti Nui, French Polynesia’s gracious, eager-to-please airline, my husband Richard and I fly direct from JFK to Papeete on the main island of Tahiti.
Our hearts leap at our first glimpse of Star Flyer moored in Tahiti. She is the essence of maritime glamour, her curvy white hull swaying gently, her elegant rigging strung with lights that glitter in the starry Polynesian dusk.
We travel up the gangplank and join a passenger orientation, surreptitiously checking out our 150-or-so shipmates for the next eleven days and eight islands. They look like us: American and Western European, mainly couples, mostly baby boomers. A few singles and a few well-behaved kids.
Our Indonesian steward, Riyanto, leads us down one deck to our cabin. Containing a double bed, a couple of small tables, lots of closet space, a full-length mirror, and a compact but complete bathroom, it is trim and attractive. The round porthole is a window on Tahiti.
Star Flyer passengers dress for dinner, and I see why. The dining room is lovely, its gleaming wood booths and tables accented by polished brass and nautical blue linens. Tonight’s dinner is a buffet.
Afterwards, everyone ascends to the main deck to watch the crew unfurl the sails. Star Flyer skims off into the Pacific, and a cheer goes up. This is going to be good.