Sea Cloud Cruises' venerable flagship, the 64-passenger windjammer Sea Cloud, has been sailing since 1931 and is well-known to aficionados of traditional tall ships. Sea Cloud and its younger, bigger sister, Sea Cloud II, will be joined next year by Sea Cloud Spirit, a three-masted, fully rigged sailing ship that will accommodate up to 136 passengers in considerable comfort and style.
Sea Cloud Spirit has about 1254 square metres of sail area, but because sailing is not possible all the time – and power is needed to keep drinks chilled and food fresh – the newly built ship is equipped with two diesel-electric drive engines.
Sea Cloud Cruises' CEO Daniel Schaefer says it was a natural choice to operate all its ships with low-sulphur marine diesel from the outset.
"We offer a sustainable experience that works in harmony with nature and the people whose countries we visit."
The ships cruise mostly in warm-weather destinations such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean, including Cuba Sea Cloud Spirit's sailing schedule is due to be finalised at the end of 2019. See landmarktravel.com.au
Sea Cloud is one of a handful of companies operating luxury cruises under sail. Star Clippers is another – its fleet comprises the five-masted 227-passenger Royal Clipper and nearly identical four-masted, 170-passenger Star Clipper and Star Flyer. The three ships are classics of their types and passengers are encouraged to help hoist sails and climb the rigging to the crow's nests. See starclippers.com
Hurtigruten's 2021-2022 preview brochure includes two different ways to explore the rugged Norwegian coastline: the classic coastal voyage that visits 34 ports, and new expedition cruises that call at nine new destinations and are led by expert expedition teams. Hurtigruten has a 126-year history of sailing in Norway and is the only cruise line to offer the "Northern Lights promise" – a guarantee that if guests don't see the lights on particular winter voyages, they'll be offered an additional voyage free of charge. See hurtigruten.com.au
Cruise Traveller's new 11-night Portugal Perfection fly/stay/cruise package combines return flights from five Australian cities, a seven-night Douro river cruise on Riviera Travel's Douro Elegance and four nights' pre-cruise accommodation in Lisbon and Porto. Highlights of the cruise include visits to vineyards and port cellars, dinner at a typical Portuguese farmhouse, a flamenco show, and a day in the historic Spanish city of Salamanca. Departing April 26, August 2 and October 4, 2020; from $7495, plus free drinks package for bookings made by December 31, 2019. See cruisetraveller.com.au
Viking has opened bookings for a selection of ocean cruises between September 2021 and May 2022, including Viking Orion's return to its seasonal Sydney and Auckland ports between December 2021 and March 2022. According to Viking ANZ's Jane Moggridge, booking well in advance has benefits such as "an incredible choice of itineraries, departure dates and the ability to take first pick of staterooms and suites on these fabulous Australia, Asia, Europe and South America itineraries". An Australian favourite, the 23-day North Pacific Passage (Tokyo to Vancouver), starts from $11,695. See vikingcruises.com.au
What is the expected lifespan of a new ocean cruise ship – five, 10, 20 or 30 years? Last week's answer: Holland America Line
Add a dash of summer colour to your wardrobe with the gorgeous Curved Multi Bag ($135), from Catherine Manuell Design's latest collection of travel accessories. It comes with an optional shoulder strap and has a zip pocket and phone sleeves inside. See catherinemanuelldesign.com
ROBIN SHAND, BONDI JUNCTION, NSW
NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN
St Petersburg to Moscow with Volga Dream. This was a journey through Russian history and culture, passing through villages and towns that inspired the great works of Russian literature – Svirstroy, Kizhi, Goritsy, Yaroslavl and Uglich. In Uglich, for example, we visited Alekseevsky monastery, the Church of St Dmitry on the Blood and enjoyed a choral concert at the Church of St John. In Yaroslavl, we attended a reception at the Governor's House, where costumed dancers recalled the grandeur that was once Imperial Russia.
Amsterdam to Basel on MS Amadeus Silver III. This is an eight-day cruise led by one of my favourite Renaissance Tours tour leaders, ABC Classic FM presenter Christopher Lawrence. In 2020 it's Beethoven's 250th anniversary so there will be a series of private music concerts and operatic performances on board. This is my idea of heaven.
Sea Cloud II – a tall ship that offers first-class service, first-class food and a wonderful small group on board, allowing the chance to interact and get to know everyone over the duration of the cruise.
One that includes Paris. I love the city and I can revisit places in France I've been to many times that hold many special memories.
Nice. It's a spectacularly beautiful port. I love wandering around, eating and shopping, and meeting up with friends there.
BEST CRUISE TIP
I always pack a tube of superglue – it has saved me on many occasions over the years for many different reasons.