It will be a feast for the eyes for all spectators and an absolute must for those who love the extraordinary experience of a voyage by sailing ship. On June 16th, after a hiatus of more than 20 years, the first brand new sailing ship of this scale and traditional  “windjammer” construction, the SY SEA CLOUD SPIRIT, will make its maiden call to the port of Hamburg. The arrival of the 138m long three-masted vessel will be as unique as the entire voyage, which begins on the 10th of June in Portsmouth (England).

Including concert at the Elbphilharmonie, directed by Herbert Blomstedt

SEA CLOUD CRUISES has really risen to the occasion and created an exceptional programme for this trip. According to managing Director Daniel Schäfer, “this voyage offers everything that has made our itineraries unique over the last forty years”.  

A few hours after leaving Portsmouth, the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT will make its first stop to honour the birthplace of competitive ocean racing: Cowes on the Isle of Wight. This is where classic races such as the Admiral’s Cup and the America’s Cup originated and Cowes is still very much seen as the home of sailing (at least by the English). With June being the start of the official racing season, there should be a lot of activity in the always busy Solent as the vessel heads out into the English Channel and then the North Sea.

Warm temperatures and a backdrop of white chalk cliffs make the Isle of Wight a dream journey in the English Channel

The voyage itself will be a classic. The lounge will be transformed into a concert hall on several occasions during the trip. Pianists Arash Rokni and Cunmo Yin, two of the outstanding artists from the Steinway Prizewinner Concerts Network, will join the ship as guest performers, in collaboration with the famous Hamburg piano makers Steinway & Sons.

The enjoyment of classical music will be a common thread throughout the journey. Thanks to the cooperation between the NDR Orchestra and SEA CLOUD CRUISES, guests on this maiden voyage to Hamburg will be able to enjoy a concert in the Great Hall of the iconic Elbphilharmonie, or “Elphi” as it is affectionately known. The NDR Orchestra will play works from Mozart and Bruckner, under the baton of its conductor Herbert Blomstedt. Even five years after the “Elphi” opened its doors for the first time, concert tickets are still very difficult to obtain, making this a very special treat for guests of the SEA CLUD SPIRIT.

Herbert Blomstedt © Martin U.K. Lengemann
Cunmo Yin
Arash Rokni

The maritime aspect of the voyage will, however, not be overshadowed by the musical treats on board and ashore. On the contrary, not only will there be ample opportunity to experience the vessel under sail, but the itinerary also includes various shore excursions. The port city of Antwerp, and its neighbours Ostende and Bruges are fascinating and historic destinations. As those familiar with SEA CLOUD CRUISES will know, the company prides itself on providing stimulating and informative shore excursions in addition to the excitement of a true sailing experience. Guests are guaranteed an awe inspiring and delightful voyage.

 UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe-Stadt Brügge
Antwerpen (Copyright: Port of Antwerp/Peter Knoop)

The undoubted highlight of the voyage will begin after a day sailing on the North Sea. During the afternoon of the 16th of June, the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT will take on a river pilot off Cuxhaven and begin the journey up the Elbe, where she will be greeted by some of the world’s largest freight vessels as they too travel up and down the famous river. The ship will pass the beautiful backdrop of Blankenese, where Sea Captains of old made their homes along the steep bank of the Elbe. Next comes the Airbus factory, the floating museum at Övelgönne and then the skyline of Hamburg and arguably one of the most beautiful harbour entrances itself opens up, with the Michel, the famous Landmark church spire on the port side. As the vessel closes in on its final berth in the shadow of the Elphi, she will be accompanied by a fire-fighting vessel and also no doubt by myriad small boats, all eager to welcome the new arrival to Hamburg. Guests on board will be able to enjoy this unique and truly fantastic spectacle on deck with a glass of champagne in hand.

Passing by the Hamburg suburb of Blankenese during a grand entrance to the harbour on the Elbe

And you can be sure of one thing. Thousands of eyes will be watching the arrival from the shoreline. Not only tourists but those living in the city like nothing more than “watching ships go by”; especially something as unique as the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT. The ship is certainly a one off. Not only is she the newest tall ship in the world, but she is the modern interpretation of the original SEA CLOUD, built in 1931 in Kiel, a ship with which SEA CLOUD CRUISES has been setting the standard for luxury sea voyages for the last 40 years. As with the SEA CLOUD and its sister, the SEA CLOUD II, which came into service in 2001, the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT exudes the atmosphere of a private yacht.

All three sister ships operate under the motto of “gentle tourism” and have been specifically designed to cater for small groups of passengers. The SEA CLOUD SPIRIT, built at the Vigo yard in Spain, offers space for a maximum of 136 guests.

After the maiden Hamburg visit, the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT will embark on several exciting trips in the Baltic Sea, between Kiel in Germany and Helsinki in Finnland. In addition to these, there will be a Steinway musical journey to the cultural capitals of the Baltic region and two short trips to the famous North Sea island of Sylt.

The ship will depart Hamburg on the 22nd of August, and make its way back to the Mediterranean. This voyage will also have a unique flavour – literally: star chef Daniel Schimkowitsch, culinary expert Dr. Wolfgang Lechner and champagne sommelier Nils Lackner will be on board to provide culinary inspiration on the sail to Bilbao.

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