THE TEN BEST SAILING CRUISES
Whether you spend a couple of hours or a couple of weeks on the high seas, you will never forget the thrill of sailing.
1) Tall Ships of the Provinces of Nova Scotia and Labrador, Canada
You will be brought into contact with castern Canada's maritime heritage through the exhilarating movement of the wind through the ship's sails on voyages that can last up to a week. On some ships you can sign on as a trainee crew member. Along the way, the ships dock in secluded harbours where you can go kayaking, pick wild blueberries, or hike in the surrounding wilderness.
Planning; From June to September, the boats are on the water. They are available for four- and seven-day periods, depending on availability. www.canadiansalingexpeditions.com
2) Caribbean Windjammer Cruise.
When you're on a Caribbean cruise, you can feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the teakwood deck beneath your feet. These boats are spacious enough to provide a comfortable journey. Nonetheless, it is small enough to fit into secluded coves. If relaxation and watersports are the order of the day on board, adventure awaits on land, with most boats arranging 4x4 jungle tours and other land-based activities for their passengers.
Planning; From November to June, cruises are available. wwwwindjammer.com
3) Pirate Cruise on Grand Cayman Island
An authentic replica 17th-century Spanish galleon serves as the setting for this Caribbean cruise for children of all ages, which includes cannon firing, planks to walk on, and sword fighting.
Planning; Cruises are available from November to June. www.jolyrogercayman.com
4) The Star Clipper will take you to French Polynesia
Many people fantasise about sailing between tropical islands in their spare time. This trip, which departs from Tahiti and takes seven days, includes stops on the islands of Huahine, Bora Bora, Moorea, and other Polynesian destinations. The boats combine all of the benefits of a modern cruise ship with the history of a sailing ship to create a unique experience.
Planning; Fly to Tahiti from Australia with Cruise Match (www.cruisematch.com.au).
5) Junk cruise on the Andaman Sea in Thailand
A luxury trip to the Andaman Sea marine park and its 3,500 islands, where you can see rare seabirds, romantic beaches, and world-renowned limestone stalactites is available; however, you will have to share showers and toilets with other passengers.
Planning; From October to April, cruises are available in both directions. For more information, visit www.discoverythailand.net.
|A View from Sailing|
6) Ha Long Bay National Park in Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, also known as the Bay of the Descending Dragon, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northeastern Vietnam that is dotted with more than 3000 precipitous, strangely sculpted limestone islands and out crops, as well as small floating villages and deserted sandy beaches. The water is particularly calm and clear during the spring and early summer months. The best way to discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site is by taking a junk cruise.
Planning; From November to April, you can go on a cruise. www.footprintsvietnam.com
7) Islands of the Seychelles
Explore the unspoiled sands of the Seychelles, which are known for their clear waters and unpolluted coral reefs, by chartering a yacht. A skipper, as well as a crew, can be hired to do the heavy lifting for you, although intrepid, experienced sailors can take the boats out on their own. Depending on the wind, the typical itinerary around the islands lasts seven to eight days on average.
Planning; Boats can be rented from Victoria on Mahe or Baie Sainte Anne on Praslin, depending on where you are. www.indianocean-adventure.com
8) Dhow cruise along the Straits of Hormuz in Oman
The Musandam Peninsula, located at Oman's northernmost tip, juts into the Straits of Hormuz, which serves as the country's entrance to the Persian Gulf. Several mountains rise straight up from the sea, forming inlets reminiscent of Norwegian fjords, which are dotted with villages that can only be accessed by boat. Swim and dive off the boat in waters that are rich in marine life as you travel along this spectacular coastline in a dhow, a traditional narrow wooden boat, and enjoy the scenery.
Planning; The cruises are available from October to April. www.msaoman.com
9) The island of Lamu in Kenya
Lamu is a tropical island off the coast of Kenya, just south of the equator, and is home to a number of wildlife species. The island's historic buildings bear witness to the island's importance as a trading and exploration port for African, Arab, and European traders and explorers throughout history. The surrounding archipelago, with its isolated villages and ancient ruins, can be explored on a number of different dhow cruises. Try a three-hour trip to Manda Island or a Full Moon cruise, which includes a lobster dinner, for an unforgettable experience. It is possible to cook and eat your catch on some fishing trips.
Planning; The cruises are available from December to April. www.peponi-lamu.com
10) A cruise around the Greek island of Évia
With a maximum distance of only 130 feet (40 metres) separating it from the mainland in some places, Evia is Greece's second-largest island. Wide beaches and steep cliffs line the rugged coastline, which eventually gives way to mountains dotted with villages and monasteries. The island of Evia's coast is best explored by cage (wooden fishing boat), which allows you to enjoy the remote coves and beaches, as well as the private island of Petali, while also exploring the main island itself. Travel with a group of six to cight friends; a leader and crew are provided as part of the boat rental fee.
Planning; From May to October, the weather is pleasant, though the late summer can be windy. www.exodus.co.uk