by Terri Paajanen
Feel the cool ocean breezes, as the wind fills the sails of a tall ship. The crew adjusts the rigging as you sway to the gentle rocking of the ship through the cool mahogany beneath your feet. This is just part of the allure of a cruise aboard an authentic clipper ship.
Whether you are considering an Antarctic expedition, voyages through the Southern Pacific Ocean, or a Transatlantic crossing, there are traditional sailing ship adventure tours around the world to choose from. Most tours offer as-you-go training, so you can book these cruises without necessarily having prior sailing experience.
Unlike a modern-day luxury cruise, you will the accommodations to be much more intimate, with community sleeping quarters. True to the period, these sailing ships have fewer sleeping berths and a distinctly bunkhouse atmosphere. Even so, they can be quite comfortable. During down time, you will find plenty of camaraderie in the mess hall. Cruises will offer 3 meals a day, and may also have other amenities like a library, lounge or bar.
While on board you’ll have the opportunity to learn how these tall ships operate. In fact, on many of the expeditions you will actually be part of the crew and get to sail the vessel. You can learn steering, standing watch, navigation, sail handling as well as basic seamanship from a professional crew. Now, isn’t that more fun than sitting on a beach chair for a week?
When selecting a sailing vessel, it is important to ensure that it complies with the international safety codes for worldwide deep-sea sailing. Ask about medical support while on board and if there is a designated infirmary. Remember that access to off-ship medical assistance will be difficult so make sure you’re in good health prior to departure. A full physical exam is recommended.
Pricing for sailing ship cruises vary depending on the duration of the trip, the size of the ship you travel aboard and your intended destination. For a basic cruise, expect to pay around $1200 USD and prices can increase to between $5000 and $6000 USD for multi-week round-trip cruises.
During the day, you can experience the rigors and adventures of the high seas. In the evenings, the salty sea air and the rise and fall of the waves will lull you to sleep. Meals and off-time will provide you an opportunity to socialize with the other guests and to meet the crew. This is an opportunity to experience a truly original adventure vacation on the high seas.