The sail away on a cruise is always a special moment. But, setting off on a voyage on a tall cruise ship with the sails rippling in the warm breeze against a backdrop of blue skies and crystal waters evokes a sense of romance and adventure at sea.

While reminiscent of historical sailing vessels, today’s tall cruise ships and yachts are designed with modern facilities and luxury interiors to suit today’s cruiser.

Golden Horizon

Heralded as the ‘world’s largest square-rigged sailing vessel’, Golden Horizon embarks on her inaugural season in 2021. Tradewind Voyages partnered with the Croation Brodosplit shipyard to bring her to life.  She has been built as a near replica to French sailing ship France II, which originally set sail in 1913.

Her five masts and 35 sails are impressive to say the least, and the ethos of Golden Horizon is to offer sustainable voyages and follow the wind. She has the aim of sailing without engines for 70% of the season. Interiors are awash with historical touches and nods to nautical heritage with the main dining room featuring sweeping curved wrought-iron balconies and a central skylight.  Each of the 140 cabins and public venues feature wood-panelling and marble interiors as well as maritime artwork throughout.

Golden Horizon will sail domestic cruises around the UK before offering voyages to the Norwegian Fjords and Denmark.

Sea Cloud Spirit

When she launches this autumn, Sea Cloud Spirit promises to offer cruise travellers an elegant interior blended with a classical yacht-style feel, largely in part to her exterior – 44,100 sq ft of billowing sails – which take the crew almost an hour to hoist by hand.

Her maiden voyage has been long-awaited 10-year journey. However, with Hamburg based Partner Ship Design overseeing the interiors, she was on her way to finally becoming the three-mast, full-rigged ship ready for luxury cruise travellers. Sea Cloud Sprit will feature a passenger lift connecting the various decks, something that is rare on smaller cruising vessels.

Le Ponant

Ponant built Le Ponant in 1991 as a gracious, sleekly designed three-masted yacht.

One of the most intimate cruise ships on the list with just 16 cabins. In fact, she went through a full refurbishment in 2019 and cabins were reduced down from 32. Le Ponant exudes luxury and ‘private yacht’ features.

French designer and architect Jean-Philippe Nuel put his refined touches to the ship during her refit; the cabins, public spaces and newly-added spa are all designed with modern furniture to compliment the light furnishings.

Rembrandt van Rijn

One glance at the Rembrandt van Rijn and you know you’re in for a real adventure at sea. You can spy her distinctive blue hull and magnificent sails from a distance.

She was originally built as a herring lugger last century. After having sailed under many guises, she was transformed into a three-mast sailing ship in the 1990s. Today she commands the sea for Oceanwide Expeditions following a complete rebuild and refurbishment in 2011. All equipment meets the latest SOLAS regulations.

Rembrandt van Rijn is ideal for those looking to explore remote regions rather than sailing in luxury, and cruise itineraries include the Arctic regions.

The niche cruise ship market is continuing to grow. Find out the latest in marine interiors and innovation at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe.

Written by Kelly Ranson