Sailing the seas in luxurious surroundings

Famed for their tall masts and billowing sails, Sea Cloud Cruises’ windjammers have been custom-designed and built to offer a unique cruise experience for guests

Sailing the seas in luxurious surroundings
Each cabin onboard the vessels has customised dimensions, design, adjustments and shape

Sailing on one of Sea Cloud Cruises’ three hand-sailed windjammer vessels is a special experience for any guest. Whether they are travelling on our new Sea Cloud Spirit (delivered in May 2021) or our established ships Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II, our guests can enjoy a unique cruise on a comfortable vessel while being closer to the sea, marine wildlife and other natural elements than they would be on any other passenger ship.   

Unlike conventional cruise ships which are propelled by motorised engines and have a large and uniform rectangular body with a hydrodynamically optimised bow and stern, each windjammer must be individually shaped. Our vessels have a sloped and slender hull to minimise water resistance and ensure stability, while the bow and stern are higher than the middle ship, so the entire deck runs in a gentle curve. The shape and space creates limitations and challenges, which has extensive implications for how we design and construct the entire ship – from technical equipment to interior furnishings. Everything must be precisely planned and adapted to fit, and the effect of this is best exemplified in the guest accommodation areas.  

Although it won’t be visible to a guest’s naked eye, each cabin onboard our vessels has customised dimensions, design, adjustments and shape. Consequently, we must plan and build them all individually, rather than producing a series of identical pre-assembled cabins as we would if we were constructing a standard large cruise vessel. Consequently, all the connections for electricity, water, TV and air conditioning have to be calculated and installed individually, and every piece of fitted furniture must be customed designed.   

Meticulous planning is also required to enable us to provide guests with the extraordinary experience of being close to the water. On large cruise ships, the cabin balconies tend to be at least 20 metres above the waterline, so the doors and the railings can be constructed in a conventional way, like those in high-rise buildings. However, the balconies on our new Sea Cloud Spirit are around three metres above the waterline. Both the access route to the balconies and their railings have been designed in compliance with strict regulations to ensure safety and avoid water damage in the unlikely event of a strong heel and seas. Sailing ships naturally have a slight leeward heel and move gently to the rhythm of the sea, so engineers also ensured that every item is firmly and permanently secured to prevent them slipping.  

Another unique factor we must consider when planning corridors, cabins, public areas and outdoor decks onboard a windjammer is the position of the masts, rigging and the sails. Our crew members set and hoist the sails by hand, so they must have space to move around the passenger deck and operate the sheets and halyards unhindered. This traditional process is fascinating for guests to watch, but it also requires us to be prudent with the location of seating areas, deck chairs and sunshades. We’re particularly proud of the deck we’ve created onboard Sea Cloud Spirit – it’s functional for the crew and it rivals the guest decks on much larger cruise ships. 

Certainly, there are conventional cruise ships with interiors that reach a similar standard to those in the Sea Cloud Cruises fleet, but none of them are as individually and elaborately planned, designed and built as ours. When our flagship Sea Cloud first began operating 90 years ago as the largest private yacht in the world and then as a floating diplomatic palace for leaders worldwide, she featured bespoke furnishings and interiors. We’re proud to have preserved this legacy and share it with our guests onboard Sea Cloud II and our new Sea Cloud Spirit too. 

Captain Adam Pazdzioch is nautical and technical director for Sea Cloud Cruises.

This article was first published in the 2021 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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By Adam Pazdzioch
16 June 2021

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