Cleared for xxxx Arrival meaning

Last night I did a flight where ATC told me “Cleared for (xxxx) arrival”, so I flew the arrival while keeping my altitude because ATC did not tell me to descend further. I was wondering if I should descend because I felt waaay too high. Finally ATC told me very late to descend but i was about 2 thousand ft too high when coming in for approach, so I went around. ATC responded saying, “Yes, because you did not follow arrival procedure”. My question is, when ATC says “cleared for xxxx arrival”, does it mean you can descend without clearance?
I hope someone can clarify this for me because after landing I was very confused :slight_smile:

I think it depends on where in the World you’re flying. I Europe you’ll usually get an altitude, while in the States, you’re expected to adhere to the altitude restriction on the arrival (STAR).
Next, you’re flying the plane - not ATC, so if not cleared to descend then ask atc a little before top of descend for a new altitude. Allways ask atc for clarification if in doubt.

Ah, thanks. This flight was in Turkey btw.
I also thought I should have just asked to clarify.
Thanks for your help!!

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In the States, “Cleared via the ___ arrival,” only means to fly the lateral portion of the procedure along with any published speed restrictions. Only if ATC states “Descend via the ___ arrival,” do you then comply with published altitude restrictions. As Torben says, though, your results may vary in other parts of the world.

Same for Europe. Phraseology is a bit more concise, but the same sense. “CLEARED ___ ARRIVAL/TRANSITION”, “DESCEND VIA STAR/TRANSITON ___ (level)”

As far as I know only approach clearances automatically include the vertical part.