Dreaming of your next cruise? You can sail the Maine coast as early as this weekend
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
For North American cruise fans itching to get back on the water, this is what they call “a start.”
Two small sailing vessels in Maine that do multi-night trips for vacationers are about to resume operations.
The nine-cabin Schooner Ladona will be the first to set sail, on Saturday. The 12-cabin Schooner Stephen Taber will follow a few days later, on July 23.
For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter
Both vessels sail out of Rockland, Maine, and are part of the Maine Windjammer Association. The association is a collection of eight small sailing vessels that offer overnights trips.
“We’ve had some huge hurdles to overcome in order to leave the dock this week,” the Schooner Ladona’s captain, J.R. Braugh, said in a statement sent to TPG. “We’re glad that we’re going to be able to offer guests the ideal summer vacation in Maine – sailing aboard a beautifully restored wind-driven schooner taking in Maine scenery.”
The Schooner Ladona and Schooner Stephen Taber normally operate in the summer starting around Memorial Day but have not been running this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Six of the eight Maine Windjammer Association vessels have canceled all departures for the year.
The restart of windjammer trips in Maine comes as the number of new coronavirus cases in the state drops close to zero. The state recorded just 12 new cases on Wednesday.
Maine implemented relatively strict lockdown measures early in the coronavirus pandemic that have resulted in one of the lowest case counts in the country. It has been recording few new cases even as states such as Florida and Texas top 10,000 new cases a day.
The first Schooner Ladona trip will begin Friday with an overnight on the vessel before it begins sailing on Saturday. The trip will be three nights in length.
The trips offered by Maine Windjammer Association vessels aren’t like traditional cruises. There are no set ports or harbors for overnight stays. The vessels set off on itineraries that are entirely dictated by the wind, weather and whims of the passengers on board.
A spokesperson for the Maine Windjammer Association said Schooner Ladona probably would leave the dock in Rockland on Saturday around 10 a.m., and then head for a harbor or islands. The course will be decided that morning or while underway.
Typically, the vessels will sail for six or seven hours a day and then drop anchor in a harbor for hors d’oeuvres and a wine tasting, or maybe some playtime on the paddleboards that the vessels carry or a row to a nearby island on a dinghy.
The eight vessels of the Maine Windjammer Association comprise the largest fleet of working small windjammers in America.
The startup of the Maine windjammer season this year was put off after Gov. Janet Mills ordered 14-day quarantines for arriving tourists. But the governor has relaxed the policy in recent weeks as new coronavirus case counts have dwindled.
As part of relaxing tourist policies, the state on July 1 said overnight windjammer cruises could restart. The Maine Windjammer Association says its members have worked with the state’s Department of Marine Resources to create guidance for a safe sailing environment. The vessels will adhere to the same guidelines put in place for lodging and restaurants in Maine.
“We’ve taken it one step further than the already stringent protocols, and are asking every guest who comes sailing with us to attest to a negative COVID-19 test,” Noah Barnes, the captain of Schooner Stephen Taber, said in a statement sent to TPG. “This is one way we can safeguard the guests and crew on board this summer.”
Taber said stringent sanitization and cleaning, social distancing and safety protocols will be in place for all sailings.
Because of their small size, the Maine sailings ships are exempt from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current no-sail order for passenger-carrying vessels in U.S. waters. The no-sail order was first issued in March as coronavirus pandemic cases were growing worldwide. It applies to passenger vessels of any type that carry more than 250 people, including crew.
Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak:
- When will cruising resume? A line-by-line guide
- Why you shouldn’t expect bargain-basement cruise deals anytime soon
- How to cancel or postpone a cruise due to coronavirus
- Expecting a refund for a canceled cruise? Here’s how long it will take
- Some of the year’s hottest new ships could be delayed
- Stream these 13 movies, television shows to get your cruise ship fix
Feature image by Joan Fischer courtesy of Maine Windjammer Association
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees