Updated: Oct 10
Work-life balance = workation? Ok, I'm joking kind-of; travel is work. You may have heard travel agents speak about FAM (Familiarization) trips. For us, fam trips are the best way to learn about the products we're selling, the locations we're promoting, and anticipate challenges you may face as a traveler. Contrary to popular belief FAM trips are not always free which gives us the liberty to be honest and fully invested in the experience.
ClubMed graciously invited 12 travel agents and their guest to experience ClubMed 2.
About ClubMed 2
All-Inclusive sailboat, super yacht, cruise ship owned and operated by Club Med as part of its Exclusive Collection.
Popular sailing destinations - 2024
Iberian Peninsula / Portugal
Canary Islands & Moroccan coasts
Cabins: 184 sea view cabins (10 suites)
Cruise Theme Experiences:
Restaurants: 2 (1 buffet-style, 1 Fine dining)
Pools: 2 saltwater
Spa: Yes and a Sauna
Bars: 3 (premium alcohol at an extra cost)
Watersports: wakeboard, waterski, kayak, windsurfing, paddling, and diving
Itinerary - 3 Nights
First Night - Departure 10pm - Nice, France, our FAM group boarded the ship approximately at 3pm. Check-in process included going through security, tagging our bags, and verifying our passports. We were welcomed with a small reception as we waited for our rooms to become available, which ended up being a short 30 minute wait. Its important to note that this was a normal sailing with two small FAM groups on board. Immediate observation for this mini-cruise the mix of passengers included: 0% children, 8% 21 - 41, 80% 42- 62, 12% 63-83 years of age. Approx. 6pm we ran through our safety drill which was delivered in French only and with the floaters on. What happened next is almost a blur. We had dinner about 8pm, limited menu but fantastic and then we partied. What I remember next is the ceremony and champagne as we sailed off....
Day/Night Two - Arrival 8am - Portovenere, Italy, for some silly and odd reason I woke up this morning singing The Love Boat theme song. I do not remember any particular episode, my last episode was at the age of 8, however for whatever reason, I felt like it was appropriate lol. It wasn't until about 11am when coffee and food began calling for me and I answered. Let me first say, I had little expectations on service. I do not associate the French with world class service however, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of service. I do believe being American added to this experience. It's my impression Americans are rare and few aboard this itinerary. We toured the port from 2 -5pm, returning to the ship for cocktails and dinner. Cocktail hour and after dinner were both productions that left you fully satisfied. I thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the Top 40 80's & 90's music.
Day/Night Three - Arrival 8am - St Tropez, France, it's so unfortunate for me. I woke up this morning desiring room service but I did not because I had work to do. Following breakfast we toured the rest of the ship. Touring the ship always bring a new level of appreciation for what I am experiencing. At first glance the ship is underwhelming but once I got past the the "dated" look AND found the elevators (don't judge), I was sold on the experience. I was on a yacht anchored in St. Tropez eating fresh fruit, drinking an expresso or was it an Irish coffee, and dipping a pastry. A yacht! Before exploring the port, as a group we took a small boat tour around St. Tropez. Now, I say this with great sadness, unless you care about the rich & famous or seeing the most expensive homes along the coast, it's not worth the trip. I would have had a better time reading the information in a magazine, but that's me. By the way, if you want to know more about St. Tropez and Portovenere, you'll need to catch another blog post. This was a later stop however I made it back to the ship about 6pm because as I meant to mention before, the cocktail hour is a whole vibe. I ate, then ate, then slept (at the table).
Day Four - Debarkation was another fantastic and seamless experience. We were asked to have our bags ready by 8am for pick-up, out of our room by 10am, and off of the ship by 11am. For cruisers this timeline may seem normal however the urgency and feel is much more relaxed when you have a max of 386 people to herd through and with. I personally loved this part of embarkation and debarkation. Additionally, security agreed to hold our luggage until 4pm which allowed us to enjoy Nice, France (blog post coming soon).
I believe this ship is ideal for any traveler who is looking to explore the world by ship and visit the more quaint, off the beaten path ports. The main advantage of sailing on a smaller vessel is the ability to explore smaller towns and ports.
Due to the size, I also recommend this ship for groups, companies, or organizations who are interested in exploring their first buy-out for a conference or retreat. Intrigued, then Contact Us!
Since most of our group travelers are coming from the United States, for this particular sailing, I recommend adding it to your overall trip to Europe, even better, attach it to your trip to Nice, France.
Overall, ClubMed 2 was a wonderful experience which we are looking forward to repeating, hopefully via Cuba. We do hope to see some upgrades or additions to the ship as it will only enhance the experience and comfort for those sailing for longer than three nights. We also give it 4 stars instead of 5 due to the price point and although alcohol is included, for this offering to be part of the Exclusive Collection there was an expectation for some "premium" brands to be included.