Tradewind Voyages's Golden Horizon

Tradewind Voyages


Tradewind Voyages is scheduled to begin sailing in May 2021.  Be sure to check the line’s website for up-to-date news.

With the launch of Golden Horizon in May of 2021, Tradewind Voyages introduces tall ship sailing with a philosophy of authenticity — to journey the way the old ships of maritime trade once did, following the monsoons and currents, powered by the wind, and calling at ports along traditional trading routes of yore.

It was built as a near replica of 1913’s France II, the world’s largest square-rigged vessel.

Tradewind Voyages's Golden Horizon

The Golden Horizon. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages

(Originally the ship was designed, planned and executed by Star Clippers, to be called Flying Clipper, but it became caught up in a dispute between the line and the shipyard, Brodosplit in Croatia, and was not delivered to Star Clippers in the end.)

The ship will power most of its journey using 6,300 sq. m. of sails when possible, with the goal of using its propulsion engines a mere 30% of each season. To that end, the company has a built-in sustainability model.

The ship will launch with a series of itineraries from the UK, sailing the northern European coast, after which she will sail through the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal and the Middle East, following the coast to India and on to Southeast Asia ending in Australia. When the winds change direction, Golden Horizon will follow the same journey back to her starting point.

Tradewind Voyages has mentioned plans to expand the fleet in the future.


Golden Horizon (built 2021 & 272 passengers) — coastal Europe, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia & Australia

Passenger Profile

Sailing buffs and lovers of old ships and tall ships, who appreciate the journey as much as the destination, are the typical passengers.

Tradewind Voyage ships wheel

The pretty ship’s wheel. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages

Golden Horizon is geared to couples, singles and friend groups in their 30s and 40s on up, predominantly from North America, UK, and Europe, and other places too.


$$ — Expensive

Included Features
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks are included at meal time
  • Complimentary water sports from the ship’s marina

Voyages from the UK begin mainly from Harwich, with two Glasgow embarkations, for 7- to 21-night exploring northern European coastlines.

The Maritime Silk Route cruises ply the coastal waters of France, Spain and Portugal into the Mediterranean, visiting ports in southern Spain and Italy to Croatia, then through the Suez Canal to Middle Eastern shores, India, Ceylon, Southeast Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Christmas Island turtle

Stunning sea life of Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, south of Java, Indonesia. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages

A circumnavigation of Australia includes the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays, Yarra Valley and coastal scenery.

The journey back to the UK traverses Southeast Asia and across the Indian Ocean stopping at the Maldives and Sri Lanka to eastern African ports including Zanzibar.

Nosy Iranja the beautiful little island of Madagascar

Nosy Iranja, a beautiful little island belonging to Madagascar. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages

Sample itinerary

The Bay of Bengal and The Malacca Straits is a 15-nights itinerary from Sri Lanka, where passengers will go wildlife spotting at the Yala and Bundala National Parks before embarking, and then cross the Andaman Sea to Thailand’s Phuket and Phi Phi Islands, sailing onward into the Strait of Malacca to Port Klang to finish in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

When to Go?

The summer months are spent in northern Europe.

Come autumn, Golden Horizon heads to the Mediterranean and sails through the Indian Ocean, Andaman Sea and through Southeast Asia.

Winter months are spent in Australia. In the spring, voyages back track to begin the summer season in northern Europe.

Sustainability Initiatives

The ship sails without using propulsion engines for around 70% of each season.

Activities & Entertainment

Onboard activities include wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, upper-deck games, movies under the stars and quizzes. Yoga and Pilates classes are held on the Sun Deck. There’s also a small gym and spa.

There are water sports from the marine platform. A resident destination speaker and visiting local speakers will present on areas of history and culture, maritime history and astronomy.

Optional shore excursions visit cultural attractions and natural sights.

In the evenings there’s a resident pianist and jazz duo in the piano bar who are sometimes joined by local dance and musical talents along the journey.


Seating is open in the main two-story dining room with its dramatic 19th-century maritime flair. Menus comprise dishes representing the local flavours of the region.

Tradewind Golden Horizon's restaurant

Golden Horizon’s two-level restaurant. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages


Golden Horizon

A 272-passenger tall ship, Golden Horizon may be a copy of a vintage ocean vessel, but the facilities are modern. Decor throughout is distinctly nautical. The dining room is grand two-level affair, where dishes are prepared with local flavours and a focus on fresh, sustainable and healthy ingredients.

There are two outside bars, which also serve light meals, and also a piano bar with resident pianist and a cozy premium beverage bar. In the late afternoons, snacks are provided by a trolley service.

For down time there’s a spa with sauna, hammam, snow room and Jacuzzi, salon, sun deck, gym and library.

Golden Horizon's library

Golden Horizon’s library. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages


The lowest category cabins have two portholes for views and accommodate two guests. Some of these rooms also accommodate solo passengers. Deluxe balcony cabins can sleep three adult guests — cabins in this category and higher have 24-hour room service and a free minibar.

All cabins have slippers, bathrobes, hairdryer, shampoo and conditioner.

Tradewind's Twin cabin with portholes

Twin cabin with portholes. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages

Tradewind cabin

Deluxe balcony cabins can sleep 3. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages

Tradewind Cabin bathroom

Cabin bathroom. * Photo: Tradewind Voyages

Along the Same Lines

The tall ships of Star Clippers and Sea Cloud Cruises offer a similar experience.


Tradewind Voyages, UK-based


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small-ship cruising restarts for Ponant

Small-ship Cruising Restarts

by Anne Kalosh.

SeaDream Yacht Club did embark on the first of 21 Norway-Denmark voyages June 20 as planned, and river cruises are trickling back in Europe. But small-ship cruising restarts in the United States were delayed due to the COVID-19 spike there.

France is expected to allow ocean sailings to begin in the coming days, and Ponant, for one, hopes to be operating nearly all of its ships on coastal cruises in France, in Iceland and the Arctic this summer. Meanwhile, across the globe, Paul Gauguin Cruises’ Tahiti and French Polynesia voyages are imminent.

Americans have the chance to travel to French Polynesia provided, like everyone else under the requirements, they pass a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the flight.

But while the European Union and Schengen countries are beginning to gradually open their borders to travelers from a number of nations this month, Americans are not on the list for now since the U.S. has failed to control COVID-19.

Other non-E.U. countries have similar restrictions. When it comes to Norway, a member of the E.U.’s European Economic Area, the voyages operated by SeaDream are currently open to residents of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Faroe Islands. SeaDream said it looks forward to welcoming travelers from the European Economic Area and Schengen Area starting July 15, provided the countries meet contagion criteria.


SeaDream’s cruises are Norway-intensive, but also visit Skagen in Denmark to satisfy cabotage requirements for foreign-flag ships (SeaDream I and II are registered in the Bahamas). Plus, Skagen is a terrific destination with its charming fishing village atmosphere, sandy beaches and fascinating history as an artists’ colony.

Yet, illustrating the complications of travel in the COVID-19 era, on the first trip, SeaDream passengers were not allowed off the ship there. That’s because Denmark enforced a rule that Norwegians needed to book at least a six-night stay in the country. That rule has just been dropped. However, in another Danish regulation, Swedes from most areas need to present evidence of testing negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours.

small-ship cruising restarts

SeaDream I in Norway. * Photo: SeaDream Yacht Club


France is expected to allow the resumption of ocean cruises this month, though at significantly reduced capacity. That puts CroisiEurope and Ponant in good positions, since they operate small ships anyway.

CroisiEurope’s new La Belle des Océans (the former Silver Discoverer) carries 128 passengers, and its Belle de l’Adriatique 197 passengers. Ponant’s new Explorers series ships, like Le Dumont d’Urville, have capacity for 184, while its earlier expedition vessels, such as Le Boréal, carry up to 264 passengers.

As QuirkyCruise previously reported, Ponant aims to deploy six of its ships on five different French coastal itineraries, including one to Corsica, a route also planned by CroisiEurope for La Belle des Océans.

RELATED: Ponant’s Le Jacques Cartier Caps Explorer Series.  by Anne Kalosh  

small-ship cruising restarts in France

Ponant’s Le Bougainville is scheduled to cruise from Bordeaux. * Photo: Philip Plisson:Ponant

Iceland, Svalbard, Russian Arctic

As Seatrade Cruise News has just reported, Ponant hopes to go further afield this summer, too. Le Bellot, its newest Explorer ship, delivered in March, would circle Iceland on weeklong cruises. Iceland is opening to tourism and courting the return of expedition vessels. Foreign-flag expedition ships are allowed to sail in national waters continuously for up to four months in a 12-month period without violating cabotage.

Like Norway, Iceland is not an E.U. member but is integrated through the European Economic Area and Schengen. It’s letting in some nationalities, but not Americans.

Ponant’s Le Boréal is to operate a series of cruises between Reykjavik, Iceland, and Spitsbergen (as earlier reported, Svalbard is opening to expedition sailings with reduced capacity and numerous other precautions). That is to be followed by a Northeast Passage transit and a Russian Arctic voyage.

According to Seatrade, the bulk of Ponant’s bookings are from French, Belgian and Swiss travelers.

small-ship cruising restarts for Ponant

Le Dumont D’Urville will operate from Le Havre this summer. * Photo: Fred Michel for Ponant

European waterways

Besides the resumption of European river sailings by several brands, including CroisiEurope and A-Rosa, European Waterways is reportedly going to get underway this month. Cruise Critic said the barge operator will ramp up with cruises on more than half of its fleet in July with sailings in France, Italy and Ireland. These will be followed by Scotland and England cruises resuming in August.

According to Cruise Critic, European Waterways will be the first river line to welcome Britons.

French Polynesia

Across the globe, Paul Gauguin Cruises is gearing up for Tahiti and French Polynesia voyages starting this month.

French Polynesia is reopening to international tourism on July 15 and Air Tahiti Nui, part of the cruise line’s regular air program, is resuming commercial flights between Los Angeles and Papeete, Tahiti.

Paul Gauguin will sail seven-night “Tahiti & the Society Islands” voyages departing July 11 and July 18 for the local French Polynesian market. These operate round-trip Papeete, with calls at Huahine and Motu Mahana (the line’s private islet off the coast of Taha’a), Bora Bora (two days, with private beach access) and Moorea (two days).

Paul Gauguin Cruises will welcome all travelers on its 10-night “Society Islands & Tuamotus” voyage departing July 29 from Papeete. This includes the same destinations as the seven-night itinerary and adds Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

Then, in August, the line resumes its previously scheduled seven- to 14-night Tahiti, French Polynesia and South Pacific cruises.

small-ship cruising restarts for Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin will soon be sailing to Moorea again, pictured here. Photo: Paul Gauguin Cruises

U.S. rivers and coasts

If Americans are not widely welcomed abroad yet, they may be able to sail domestically this summer, though the COVID-19 spike stateside has been dashing opportunities so far.

Both American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Co. (AQSC) had hoped to be operating now.

American Cruise Lines aspired to become the first domestic operator back on the rivers with American Song‘s June 20 departure on the Columbia and Snake rivers. But Portland, one of its turnaround cities, didn’t make it out of Phase One reopening.

American’s plans are unclear.

And AQSC’s American Empress, which turns around across the river from Portland, in Vancouver, Washington, had been scheduled to resume July 6.

AQSC delayed the vessel’s Pacific Northwest program through Aug. 2 and postponed American Duchess’s July 20 start on the Mississippi through Aug. 16. A new date for American Empress wasn’t given; American Duchess is now scheduled to resume with the Aug. 17-23 Lower Mississippi voyage from New Orleans to Memphis.

As previously announced, American Countess and American Queen service is suspended through Aug. 8.

RELATED:  Cruising Restarts in Travel Bubbles on Small Ships.  by Anne Kalosh.

small-ship cruising restarts include American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines wanted to be the first to resume service stateside but American Song’s June 20 restart was not to be. * Photo: American Cruise Lines

AQSC-Uniworld offer

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting twist: AQSC is offering special pricing to Uniworld Boutique River Cruises travelers impacted by Uniworld’s suspension of summer cruises.

The two companies called AQSC’s itineraries a perfect match for Uniworld’s culturally minded customers who are looking to take a river cruise closer to home this summer.

“We trust AQSC to take excellent care of our guests while we prepare to resume operations in the near future and look forward to sharing a special opportunity for guests of AQSC to expand their love of river cruising abroad in 2021,” Uniworld President and CEO Ellen Bettridge said.

Uniworld will reciprocate with a special offer for AQSC customers to sail in Europe, Russia, China, Vietnam/Cambodia, India, Egypt or Peru in 2021.

Small ship cruising to resume soon

American Empress is now not expected to begin sailing in the Pacific Northwest until August. * Photo: American Queen Steamboat Co.


Seattle-based U.S.-flag operator UnCruise Adventures aims to carry travelers in Alaska starting Aug. 1.

“These initial departures represent a re-framing of what adventure travelers are increasingly looking for: small groups, inclusion and human connection,” UnCruise Adventures CEO Capt. Dan Blanchard said.

UnCruise crafted a seven-night “Glacier Bay National Park Adventure Cruise,” round-trip Juneau. It’s focused on wilderness and nature activities like hiking, kayaking, birding and whale-watching, Apart from Juneau, there are no port calls.

Social distancing since 1996

“How we structure our recovery efforts with new health safety standards, establish partnerships and operate with a small footprint will continue to define our industry and the pristine environments we visit for decades to come,” Blanchard said.

“The market is showing a growing interest in off-the-beaten-path destinations and that is what we do best. We’ve been social distancing since 1996.”

RELATED: A QuirkyCruise Q&A with Dan Blanchard, CEO of UnCruise Adventures.

UnCruise to resume small ship cruising soon

UnCruise expects to begin Alaska sailings in August. Here, Capt. Dan Blanchard, the CEO. * Photo: UnCruise Adventures

Bonus Quirky news:
Whatever happened to Flying Clipper?

Whatever happened to Star Clippers’ new build, Flying Clipper, a near replica of 1913’s France II, the world’s largest square-rigged vessel? It was caught up in a dispute between the line and the shipyard, Brodosplit in Croatia.

According to Seatrade Cruise News, the five-masted vessel is being chartered by Brodosplit, the owner, to the U.K.-based start-up Tradewind Voyages. Renamed Golden Horizon, it’s going to sail from the U.K. to Northern Europe from May to August 2021 before branching out to the Mediterranean, Asia and beyond.

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Quark Expeditions' Ultramarine new ship for 2020

New Ships of 2020

By Anne Kalosh.

For small-ship lovers, a bevy of oceangoing new builds are set to enter service this year. Of the 23 vessels joining the global ocean cruise fleet, a hefty 11 are small enough to be QuirkyCruise size (carrying up to 300 passengers).

In addition to these 11 will be many new river vessels and a few new coastal ships — so plenty of choices for travelers seeking the latest and greatest but not the biggest!

New Ships of 2020: Ritz-Carlton

One of the year’s most-anticipated ships is the first to be associated with a luxury hotel brand. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection was due to introduce the luxurious, 298-passenger Evrima early this year. However, it has been delayed to mid-June because of issues at the shipyard, Spain’s Hijos de J. Barreras.

Designed as a yacht inside and out, Evrima promises to be a beauty when completed, with its cascade of open decks aft, a marina and spacious suites and lounges. Dining experiences will include Southeast Asian small plates, an alfresco seafood bar/steak grill, a marina spot and a restaurant by three-star Michelin chef Sven Elverfeld of Aqua at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg.

Evrima is one of 2020's new builds

Evrima has a cascade of open decks aft, ending in a marina. * Rendering: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Evirmas' indoor-outdoor Marina Lounge

Evirma’s indoor-outdoor Marina Lounge. * Rendering: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Pool deck on Evirma, one of the new ships for 2020

Evrima’s main pool deck, aft. * Rendering: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

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New Ships of 2020: Expedition Ships

The expedition cruising boom continues, with nine new ships that are Quirky-sized coming in 2020. Among them are the first blue-water expedition newbuilds for several owners: Lindblad ExpeditionsNational Geographic Endurance, Crystal Expedition CruisesCrystal Endeavor, Quark Expeditions Ultramarine and Silversea Cruises’ Silver Origin for the Galápagos.

RELATED: Lindblad goes carbon neutral.

Named in honor of Ernest Shackleton, Endurance sports the patented X-BOW design with its distinctive inverted bow, for better seakeeping. Expanded fuel and water tanks allow for long-range operations, while a Polar Class 5 rating enables exploration in icy areas.

The 126-passenger ship has Scandinavian-style interiors and lots of glass for great views. Each of the 13 extra-large balcony suites is named for a polar explorer.

National Geographic Endurance's X-bow

National Geographic Endurance has an inverted X-BOW design for better seakeeping. * Rendering: Lindblad Expeditions

National Geographic Endurance large suite

Each of the 13 extra-large balcony suites is named for a polar explorer. * Rendering: Lindblad Expeditions

The all-suite Crystal Endeavor will emulate luxury brand Crystal’s hallmarks, including butler service, the Palm Court and specialty restaurants Prego for Italian fare and Umi Uma for sushi and dishes from master chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Additionally, the two-story Solarium pool deck will house the Asian-inspired Silk Kitchen & Bar during the evenings.

Below the Crystal Endeavour is “rolled out” of the covered building dock December 21. 

The 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor has a Polar Class 6 rating and will carry two helicopters and a pair of seven-person submarines.

Crystal Endeavor is one of the new ships for 2020

Crystal Endeavor will sail to the world’s far reaches, including the polar areas. * Rendering: Crystal Expedition Cruises

One of 2020 news builds is Crystal Endeavor

Crystal Endeavor’s versatile Solarium transforms into a dinner venue by night. * Rendering: Crystal Expedition Cruises

Ultramarine is designed for polar operations, Quark’s specialty. It will have an exceptional 70-day operational range and equipment for heli-hiking and heli-skiing, along with kayaks, paddle boards and Zodiacs. The 200-passenger Ultramarine will come with six suites for solo travelers.

Quark Expeditions' Ultramarine new ship for 2020

Ultramarine is Quark Expeditions’ first owned new build. * Rendering: Quark Expeditions

Silver Origin is purpose-built for the Galápagos, with an Explorer Lounge for expedition briefings and Basecamp, an elegant space with a large, interactive digital wall that connects with the Zodiac embarkation area.

This 100-passenger ship has lavish all-suite accommodations, some with sea-view bathtubs and showers, a new feature for Silversea. (Peek-a-boo, boobies!)

new ship Silver Origin

Silver Origin is built for the Galápagos. * Rendering: Silversea Cruises

New Ships of 2020: Continuing Series

French line Ponant continues its Explorers series with Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier, distinguished by their sleek, superyacht profiles and a marina platform with three positions, for use as a sun deck, as a launch pad for water sports and as the Zodiac embarkation point.

Each 184-passenger ship also contains the distinctive underwater lounge Blue Eye.

RELATED: Ponant & Backroads adventure in New Zealand

Ponant's new ships for 2020

Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier will sport Ponant’s distinctive Blue Eye underwater lounge. * Photo @L.Patricot

Portugal’s Mystic Cruises adds its second 200-passenger new build, World Voyager, which has features like an Observation Lounge topped by a glass dome for stargazing and a lighted glass well that looks down into the sea. Heated seats on the bow add a Mercedes-like touch and comfort for travelers spending extended time outdoors in the cold to view wildlife.

World Voyager is a new ship in 2020 for Mystic Cruises

World Voyager is second in a series of a planned 10 ships. * Rendering: Mystic Cruises

World Voyager is a new ship for 2020

World Voyager has an Observation Lounge with a glass dome to the sky and a glass well looking down into the sea. * Photo: Mystic Cruises

SunStone Ships continues building in China with expedition ship Ocean Victory. It will be chartered by Denmark’s Albatros Expeditions for the Antarctica season and by Victory Cruise Lines for Alaska as this U.S. brand branches into expedition sailings for the first time.

Ocean Victory has capacity for 186 passengers. It uses the X-BOW design and is built to Polar Class 6 standard.

Ocean Victory is a new ship in 2020 for Victory Cruise Lines

Ocean Victory’s lounges include a spacious library. * Rendering: Victory Cruise Lines

The new ship Ocean Victory

Ocean Victory’s elegant dining room. * Rendering: Victory Cruise Lines

Australia’s Coral Expeditions follows up 2019’s Coral Adventurer with a near twin, Coral Geographer. The 120-passenger ship will provide four more bridge deck suites (six total) featuring bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and an infinity bathtub with sky views.

Though Coral Geographer is scheduled for delivery in late 2020, it actually begins sailing the Indian Ocean in early 2021.

the new ship Coral Geographer

Coral Geographer will debut with sailings to remote islands of the Indian Ocean. * Rendering: Coral Expeditions

The new ship Coral Geographer is a stunner

Coral Geographer has six of these roomy bridge deck balcony suites. * Rendering: Coral Expeditions

New Ships of 2020: Classic Sailing Vessel

One of the year’s more unusual small ships is a classic sailing yacht. The three-masted Sea Cloud Spirit of Sea Cloud Cruises will turn heads with its 4,100 square meters/44,100 square feet of sails.

Of the 69 ocean-view cabins, 25 have their own balconies. An elevator will connect the five decks. A fine dining restaurant and a casual dining experience on the lido deck are planned. Sea Cloud Spirit will have a wellness/spa venue, too.

RELATED: Sea Cloud II Cruise to the Canary Islands & Morocco 

Sea Cloud Spirit

Sea Cloud Spirit — a classic yacht style and tons of sails. * Rendering: Sea Cloud Cruises

Sea Cloud Spirit rendering

Shaded deck space on sailing ship Sea Cloud Spirit. * Rendering: SeaCloud Cruises

Fellow sailing ship specialist Star Clippers had been set to introduce Flying Clipper, a replica of the largest square-rigged tall ship ever built, in 2019. The vessel was completed and ready for handing over, according to Croatia’s Brodosplit yard. However, a dispute with Star Clippers drags on in arbitration, leaving Flying Clipper in limbo.

RELATED: Star Clippers in Thailand, This Cruise Rocks

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Star Clippers Adding New Ports

Star Clippers Adding New Ports

By Anne Kalosh.

Tall ship fleet Star Clippers will explore unusual new destinations in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia on departures beginning in April 2020.

In the Mediterranean, new ports for the 227-passenger Royal Clipper include Stintino (Sardinia), Propriano (Corsica), and Vis, Korcula and Zadar (Croatia).

Brand-new Itineraries in Southeast Asia

Star Clippers will make its first visit to Cambodia and varied port calls on the Thai, Malay and Indonesian archipelagos.

The 170-passenger Star Clipper will stop at Cambodia during a newly launched 11-night round-trip from Ko Samui, Thailand. Cambodian ports include the island of Koh Rong, a wildlife paradise with dense forests and white sandy beaches, and Sihanoukville, a trendy coastal city known for uninterrupted beaches and fresh seafood. An optional, overnight excursion will be available for passengers wishing to visit the incredible ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.

Many other new port calls in Southeast Asia will see Star Clipper dropping anchor alongside pristine beaches and idyllic islands throughout Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Star Clippers Adding New Ports

The twin Star Clipper & Star Flyer. * Photo: Star Clippers

Corsica & Sardinian Ports Added to the Med Mix

The flagship Royal Clipper will again be sailing in the Western Mediterranean during summer 2020, with cruises departing from Venice, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Cannes, calling at an array of new ports. The seven-night “Corsica, Sardinia & the Riviera” sailing, round-trip Cannes, will visit the charming town of Propriana, Corsica, with its vibrant harbor and luxury shopping, and Stintino, a small, traditional village with some of the best beaches in Sardinia.

Star Clippers Adding New Ports

Royal Clipper will explore new ports in the Western Mediterranean. * Photo: Star Clippers

In Croatia, the seven-night “Croatia & Montenegro” sailing from Venice will visit Zadar, where travelers can explore Roman ruins and Venetian architecture before experiencing the famed Sea Organ, which captures the movement of the waves and transforms it into music. Also on the list is Korcula, with its red tile roofed Old Town and surrounding cypress and pine forest.

For those wishing to take a deeper dive into Croatia, the 11-night “Italy, Montenegro & Croatia” cruise will now call at Vis island, known for its many stunning beaches as well as fascinating history. Vis was founded in 397 B.C. as a base for the Greek colonization of the Adriatic.

“Due to our ships’ relatively shallow drafts, we are able to drop anchor in ports and harbors inaccessible to large cruise ships, enabling us to continually vary our itineraries,” Star Clippers Owner and President Mikael Krafft said. He predicted the new destinations will sell out first.

The line’s newest vessel, Flying Clipper, is set to debut in summer 2019. It’s a replica of 1911’s France II, the largest square-rigged tall ship ever built.


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Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

By Anne Kalosh.

Small-ship fans are in luck. 2019’s crop of oceangoing new builds offers a huge selection, ranging from a sail-powered tall ship and a luxurious yacht to expedition vessels of varied designs and features.

Of the 25 oceangoing ships sailing into service for the global cruise industry this year, an astonishing 13 are small enough to be Quirky Cruise size (carrying up to 300 passengers).

They include the highly anticipated Azora, the first vessel of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, with all-balcony suites, a specialty restaurant by a three-star Michelin chef and a wide range of warm-weather destinations.

Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s Azora. * Photo: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Sailing specialist Star Clippers Flying Clipper, meanwhile, is a replica of the largest square-rigged tall ship ever built.

The rest of the Quirky-sized new builds are expedition ships.

Of those, French line Ponant continues its impressive 184-passenger series with Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville, chic and sleek and with a unique feature: Blue Eye, an underwater, multi-sensory lounge. There, hydrophones pipe in the sounds of the sea and “body listening” sofas softly vibrate.

Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

A diver swims up to the Blue Eye lounge, a unique feature of Ponant’s new builds. * Photo: L.Patricot:Ponant

German operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Hanseatic Nature and Hanseatic Inspiration will have terraced observation decks, a marina platform that drops down for paddleboarding and snorkeling, and electric-powered Zodiacs. A pair of glass-bottom balconies extend over the side of each ship.

Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

Hanseatic Nature is one of two new expedition ships this year for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. * Photo: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Scenic Eclipse will be the first of two planned “six-star discovery yachts” from Australia-based tour operator Scenic. All veranda suites, 10 dining options, two helicopters and a six-person submarine are some of the features of the sleek new build.

The Scenic Eclipse nearing completion in the shipyard. * Photo: Scenic

Australia’s Coral Expeditions will introduce the 120-passenger Coral Adventurer to the world in April 2019 in Singapore, before heading off towards Australia for her first cruise, an 18-night “In the Trail of Tasman” voyage. It will then expand the company’s itineraries in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Representing Coral Expeditions’ 34 years of experience building and operating expedition ships, Coral Adventurer will boast the latest advances in marine and environmental technology. For instance, its lightweight dual Xplorer expedition tenders, a trademark feature of all Coral Expeditions vessels, will allow fast trips to shore and deeper exploration into rivers and beaches.

The soon-to-debut Coral Adventurer. * Photo: Coral Expeditions

Another Australian company, Aurora Expeditions, will introduce Greg Mortimer, with its novel X-BOW (pronounced “crossbow”) design. This inverted bow cuts through the waves more efficiently and gives a smoother ride in rough seas.

Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer has a novel X-BOW design. * Rendering: SunStone Ships

Celebrity Flora is designed specifically for the Galápagos Islands, where it will sail year-round. With huge suites, a star-gazing platform and four top-deck cabanas for glamping, this Celebrity Cruises ship will bring new style to one of the world’s most fascinating destinations.

Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

Celebrity Flora for the Galapagos Islands. * Photo: Celebrity Cruises

Magellan Explorer will be positioned on the White Continent for Antarctica21’s fly and cruise program, where travelers fly from Puntarenas, Chile, to join the ship, avoiding the often stormy Drake Passage. After their cruise, they fly back to Puntarenas.

Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019

Magellan Explorer is specially built for long stints in Antarctica. * Rendering: Antarctica21

Polar specialist Oceanwide Expeditions is debuting its first new build, Hondius, designed for Antarctica and the Arctic.

Portugal’s Mystic Cruises is building World Explorer, which will be chartered seasonally to another polar veteran, Quark Expeditions, for austral summers in Antarctica and sail for Germany’s Nicko Cruises or Mystic itself the rest of the year.

Better late than never!

Flying Clipper, World Explorer and Scenic Eclipse had been scheduled to debut in 2018, but all were delayed. That’s not unusual when it comes to a particularly novel design or a shipyard new to the game.

Star Clippers’ Flying Clipper, for example, a replica of 1911’s France II, will be rigged with 35 sails spanning a total area of 6,350 square meters/68,351 square feet. It’s slated to debut in early summer 2019.

World Explorer is the first of what’s envisioned as a series of 10 new builds for Mystic Cruises, whose parent company is a seasoned Douro River operator now branching into ocean cruising.

And, having built up river fleets under the Scenic and Emerald Waterways brands, Scenic is dipping into ocean cruising with Scenic Eclipse, whose delay is related to financial troubles at the shipyard, Uljanik in Croatia.

➢➢ Read about the 25 new expedition ships in the pipeline (under 300 passengers) over the next three years — 2019-2022 — including more details of the ships highlighted in this post.


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