Sea Cloud Cruises offers a ‘paired down’ luxury cruise experience aboard a two-ship fleet of the most beautiful clipper sailing cruise ships in the world.
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Sea Cloud Cruises is unique for two main reasons, first because it’s a German cruise line that doesn’t target German passengers, and second because it is one of just three cruise lines that operates a fleet of sailing cruise ships.
The line is popular with sophisticated North American as well as German passengers, and visits smaller ports in Europe and the Caribbean that are off the tourist grid.
The Hamburg-based luxury cruise line was founded back in 1978 when it bought the historic sailing ship Sea Cloud (the world’s oldest ocean-going passenger ship) and fully restored her.
Sea Cloud was the line’s only ship for several decades, until Sea Cloud II was ordered in 2001.
Built to closely resemble Sea Cloud, but with a slightly higher passenger capacity (90 compared to Sea Cloud’s 64), Sea Cloud II is arguably the finest traditionally-rigged passenger ship in the world.
The Sea Cloud cruise experience
Sea Cloud Cruises is about as boutique as they come, even more so than Sea Dream Yacht Club. Like Sea Dream, the cruise line relies primarily on word-of-mouth for future bookings, while enjoying a strong repeat cruise clientele.
These cruisers are prepared to put up with ad-hoc changes to itineraries as Sea Cloud also relies heavily on private charters.
With just 32 cabins aboard Sea Cloud, each is unique and reflects the history of the ship. The cheapest cabin category for instance, are the former officers’ cabins forward below the bridge.
The doors to these cabins lead directly out onto the promenade deck.
Sea Cloud II on the other hand was purpose-built for cruising and her cabin layouts are more traditional, but with each designed to be almost identical to the décor and feel of Sea Cloud.
Similarly, public rooms are larger and she has more amenities (a spa, gym and library for instance), but from the interior design of all cabins and common areas it would be difficult to say which ship came first.
The Sea Cloud cruise experience is exclusive and decadent, with the finest in cuisine and personal service in some of the most attractive vessels at sea.
There is no scheduled entertainment or daily activities, time is spent getting to know fellow passengers, or watching the crew adjust the masts, shrouds and yardarms that support the sails.
There is complimentary wine with lunch and dinner, and the evening meal is often served on deck in fine weather. Both ships have a lounge that doubles as a bar at night and an after-dinner drink can be enjoyed to the sounds of a live pianist.
Sea Cloud destinations and cruise itineraries
Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II both cruise the Caribbean from Antigua or Barbados during the winter, offering one-week itineraries to some of the lesser known islands such as Jost Van Dyke or Isle des Saintes, Guadeloupe.
Because most of Sea Cloud’s passengers come for the sailing experience, the ships usually spend half days in port, with ample time under sail during the afternoon and evening.
During the summer months, both ships undertake a trans-Atlantic voyage to homeport in Europe.
Sea Cloud stays in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, with itineraries calling at smaller, less well-known ports such as Korcula, Croatia or Olbia, Sardinia.
Sea Cloud II on the other hand explores much of the Med and the west coast of Spain and Portugal. She also occasionally cruises around the British Isles.
Types of passengers on a Sea Cloud cruise
As one would expect, this more traditional, low-key ocean-going experience appeals to a very particular type of passenger.
Most are professionals with the money to afford a cruise at this luxury price point, many of them owning yachts of their own, while most are also retired.
The average passenger age is in the mid- to high-50s, and because there are no children’s facilities or activities on-board, most cruises are devoid of children.
Passengers are an international mix, with around half usually made up of North Americans.
Cruise ships in the Sea Cloud fleet:
Sea Cloud I
Sea Cloud II
Categories: Cruise Line Focus