National Geographic charters the magnificent Sea Cloud 100 days a year. We sailed coastal Turkey and The Aegean up to Athens in May, 2014. Everything about this trip was amazing. The boat is an astonishment and the experience of being ... Read More
National Geographic charters the magnificent Sea Cloud 100 days a year. We sailed coastal Turkey and The Aegean up to Athens in May, 2014. Everything about this trip was amazing. The boat is an astonishment and the experience of being under sail on a 4 masted square rigger is something very special. With only 58 people on board, you get to know everyone and there's a casual friendliness that no other cruise experience could provide. You feel as though you're a guest on a private yacht since that's what The Sea Cloud was built to be in 1931 for Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton.
We got to live like E.F. Hutton lived on his private yacht because we had his suite. Yes, it was expensive but well worth it. With it's paneled walls, coffered ceiling, huge marble bathroom and walk in closet, this was no normal cabin on a cruise ship! It was huge, grand and furnished with antiques. We got it on a cancellation when trying to book the trip because we made them put us on a waiting list. I'm sure this cabin was booked early since the best ones always are but when they asked if we wanted it I said yes, even though it was twice the price of a standard cabin. Do it if you can.
This was our first National Geo trip, our second will be this coming winter to Antarctica, and they are so impressive. They alter the itinerary based on wind, since the object is to be under sail, and to avoid being anywhere when a big cruise ship is there. Because of those decisions on their part, we had Santorini, Delos and Amorgos all to ourselves and we got in 70 hours of sailing...meaning no motor...in the 8 days. The spectacle of the setting and taking down of the sails by 18 able bodied sailors is something to watch. The food is amazing, served either in the gorgeous dining room or, better yet, out on The Lido Deck. We had the enormous treat of being in one of the 2 owner's suites and it was wonderful. With an underwater archaeologist and photographer on board and fabulous Greek and Turkish guides who knew EVERYTHING about the history and architecture we were seeing, we learned so much and loved every minute of it. I so recommend this amazing experience on a one of a kind vessel. Read Less