Sea Cloud Caribbean Cruises
The Caribbean Sea has historically been one of the great sailing geographies of the world. Since Columbus first opened it up to the European world, sailing ships of all builds and riggings have worked the trade winds to sail among the islands and carry bounty back to Europe. Great naval battles were fought over the spattered islands of the West Indies, with each Caribbean island changing dominion numerous times as the pawns of the great European naval powers of France, England, Spain, Holland, and Portugal. Sugar was the oil of the 17th century, and the Caribbean fed the European addiction to sugar like the Middle East feeds the world oil today. Fruit, spice, tobacco, and rubber plantations were developed on the islands, all bound for Europe. All under sail.
The 20th century saw the rise of recreational sailing, and the Caribbean with its hundreds of islands and islets of rich and rhythmic culture became the center for western recreational sailing. The steady and predictable 15 – 20 knot trade winds allowed the amateur sailor to chart a confident course to the next island, which was only a few miles away. Sheltered anchorages allowed sailors to refresh themselves in crystal clear waters, and relax on palm-lined beaches. The Caribbean was a sailor’s paradise.
But the 1980s brought the rise of the large cruise ships, and Caribbean adventure cruises were booming by the 1990s. The incessant growth of the number and size of cruise ships, as well as the now-ubiquitous all-inclusive package-tour and resort hotels, has irreparably changed many of the islands, as cheap cruises to the Caribbean bring thousands of tourists a day to towns that have populations only a fraction of the cruise ship capacity. This has given rise to a resentful class distinction, often along racial lines, that fosters an uneasy tension in the cruise ports that try to give thousands of people a day the dream of being alone on a white sandy beach or under a shady palm tree sipping a tropical drink.
Fortunately cruises to the Caribbean do not have to be aboard large cruise ships, and fortunately there are plenty of small islands that the cruise ships do not reach, and that retain the now-forgotten charm that the Caribbean sailor knows so well. When the legendary sailing yacht Sea Cloud cruises to the Caribbean, with the full glory of its 30 sails on four masts, it charts its course to sail the trade winds as the historical clipper ships did. When Sea Cloud cruises to the Caribbean, it plans its landfalls to smaller yacht harbors that have not been poisoned by the influx of mass tourism and giant cruise ships. A place where sailors still exchange stories of the wind, the sea and the marine life over a cold beer under the shade of a palm thatched cabana bar.
The Sea Cloud, perhaps the most beautiful tall adventure cruise ship on the water today, offers a balance of true square-rig sailing on the trade-winds, with historic and natural landfalls at Caribbean treasures like the rain forest of Dominica’s Fort Cabrits, Saint Lucia’s iconic twin Piton peaks, Fort Napoleon with its ramparts and tropical gardens on the tiny Iles Les Saintes, and the old pirate lair and maritime recluse of Bequia. Swimming, snorkeling, sandy beaches and tropical sunsets complete the scene for this 60-passenger windjammer that is a legendary destination unto itself.
Caribbean adventure cruises do not have to be a cheap mob of overheated tourists descending on desperate ports that try to pawn the same touristic wares as yesterday’s island. When the legendary tall ship Sea Cloud cruises to the Caribbean, you can return to the glory days of sailing, with forts and cannons, square-riggers, pirates, and yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, and see that there are still islands where the refreshing and genuinely friendly Caribbean smile welcomes you with a sincere thanks just for weighing anchor and stopping by.
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