Today, most cruise ships move through the water with the help of fuel-powered engines, while most ships that have sails are small craft used for recreation or racing. Still, it’s possible to cruise on a ship powered by sails that harness the wind (these ships are equipped with engines, too, so there’s no chance of becoming becalmed in the middle of the ocean).
Along with the timeless thrill of skimming over the water under billowing sails, these smaller ships can visit lovely ports that are inaccessible to big, engine-driven ships. Plus, you can feel good about traveling in a more sustainable way. Let’s look at some options for cruising under sails.
Ponant Cruises’ Le Ponant is a three-masted luxury yacht. With just 16 staterooms and suites, sailing on Le Ponant is an intimate and sophisticated experience. Depending on the time of year, this ship sails among the Greek Isles, in the Seychelles, or along the coast of Western Australia.
Windstar Cruises has three yachts with sails: Wind Star, Wind Spirit, and Wind Surf. Wind Star and Wind Spirit each have four masts and can accommodate up to 148 passengers. In winter, Wind Star sails in Central America – including Panama Canal transits – then repositions to the Mediterranean for the rest of the year. Wind Spirit sails in the South Pacific, calling on Tahiti, Bora Bora, and their neighbors in the Society Islands and Tuamotu Islands. With five impressive masts, Wind Surf, which can carry up to 346 passengers, spends the winter in the Caribbean and sails the Mediterranean for the rest of the year.
In addition to sails, Windstar’s masted yachts are equipped with the cruise line’s unique water sports platform. Located at the rear of each ship, the platform opens up and lowers down to the water line. Passengers can borrow a variety of equipment – paddleboards, kayaks, snorkels, floatation devices, and more – to make a splash and enjoy playing in the water beneath the white sails.
As interest in sustainable cruising continues to grow, we expect cruise lines to develop more options for cruising with sails. Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, to keep you informed about new ships that can capture the wind.
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