October 19, 2013


Sea Cloud's sailing cruise(Stanley Stewart, 10/16/13, Financial Times)

Sea Cloud is a cruise ship from another era, a windjammer that takes just 60 passengers in the kind of glamorous style that went out of fashion with debutante balls and the foxtrot. She cruises the Mediterranean in summer and the Caribbean in winter, much of it under sail. But next year, she also undertakes a new itinerary wholly under sail, whose ports of call between the Greek port of Piraeus and Istanbul will be determined entirely by the winds. In an age of cruising behemoths, with all the personality and style of a multistorey car park, and with passenger lists numbering in the thousands, antique Sea Cloud offers the cruise world something new - a ship with character, with a history, and with the revolutionary idea that a sailing cruise can put us in touch with the great days of sail and of voyages borne on the winds. [,...]

Now restored to her original state, Sea Cloud is a time warp. Strolling her promenade deck, I kept expecting to run into Peter Ustinov bumbling about as Hercule Poirot. Her interior passageways and original cabins have the air of an Edwardian country house. My cabin had a walk-in wardrobe, a canopy over the bed, and a bathtub with gold-plated taps.

I found it difficult to go to bed at night. After the other passengers had disappeared into their cabins, I stretched out on the aft deck, watching constellations turn round the mast, the lights of a distant shore, the dark waters of the Aegean on our voyage between Piraeus and Venice. At this hour I could listen undisturbed to the historic sounds of a sailing ship - the creak of the rigging, the sigh of the wind in the sails, the sibilant murmur of the waves along her hull. I stayed late enough to watch the new moon sink, changing colour from white to a deep red as it slipped behind a dark island.

At dinner one evening, over the champagne and foie gras, one of the other passengers confessed that this was her sixth voyage. "Sea Cloud is a love story," she said. "We are all a little in love with her."

Posted by at October 19, 2013 7:13 PM

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