The world’s newest cruise ship doesn’t need motors to get around (though it has them just in case)

Sep 14, 2021

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This might just be the most eco-friendly new cruise ship of the year.

Luxury line Sea Cloud Cruises is unveiling a new, 136-passenger vessel that can operate entirely on wind power, though it also has been built with motors and propellers (just in case).

Dubbed Sea Cloud Spirit, the three-masted sailing ship was officially named earlier last week in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, by Gabriela Toran, the wife of the ship’s designer. It’s operating with paying passengers for the first time on Tuesday as it sails from Rome on a 10-night voyage to the Western Mediterranean.

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Sea Cloud Spirit is the first new ship for Germany-based Sea Cloud Cruises — a line that specializes in sailing ships — in more than two decades.

The line is calling it a modern interpretation of the brand’s original vessel, the 64-passenger Sea Cloud. Originally built in 1931, the still-operating, four-masted Sea Cloud is one of the cruising world’s most famous vessels. Commissioned by Wall Street tycoon E. F. Hutton, Sea Cloud for years was the personal yacht of his wife and Postum cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, who outfitted it with resplendent marble, mahogany and gold trim.

Sea Cloud was converted into a cruise vessel in the 1970s.

The 136-passenger Sea Cloud Spirit, as it looks without its sails unfurled. (Photo courtesy of Sea Cloud Cruises)

As is the style for Sea Cloud Cruises sailings, Sea Cloud Spirit’s sails will be unfurled by hand and set in the traditional way by a large team of deck crew who climb high into the ship’s rigging. It’s a throwback to the golden age of sailing ship travel in the 1900s that is a sight to behold.

The tallest of the vessel’s three masts is 187 feet tall. The ship has more than 44,000 square feet of sails.

Sea Cloud Cruises is known for using the wind as much as possible to operate its vessels, which also include the 20-year-old, 94-passenger Sea Cloud II. But all of its vessels also have motors as a backup. Sea Cloud Spirit has been built with two diesel-electric drives.

Like Sea Cloud Cruises’ two other ships, Sea Cloud Spirit is being marketed as a luxury vessel. The 452.7-foot-long ship has an upscale “fine dining” restaurant, a casual bistro, a lounge, a sun deck, a fitness center with a sea view and a spa, among main features.

It also has 25 cabins with balconies — a rarity for sailing ships.

After initial sailings this fall along the Italian coast between Tuscany and Sicily, the vessel will reposition to the Canary Islands in November through April of 2022.

After another summer in Europe, it’ll make its Caribbean debut in late 2022, spending the subsequent winter in the region.

Based in Hamburg, Germany, Sea Cloud Cruises draws a large number of German travelers but also some North Americans, including U.S. travelers. It operates dual-language sailings with both German and English spoken.

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Featured image courtesy of Sea Cloud Cruises.

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