US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)  UK: 020 8133 3450  AUS: (07) 3102 4685  Everywhere Else: +1 530-562-9232

Goldring Travel Blog – Making Waves

Cruise & Travel News, Reviews, Opinions, Deals & More

Sea Cloud Cruises – Goldring Travel Checks out Sea Cloud Spirit in Costa Rica & Panama

Sea Cloud Cruises offers a truly unique experience with three impressive sailing yachts. And the ships, especially the original Sea Cloud, have always been of great interest to me. To me, all three of Sea Cloud Cruises’ ships are just nautically sexy, so when given the opportunity to experience a Sea Cloud cruise; I jumped on it! (I won’t be sailing on the original Sea Cloud, but their newest ship, Sea Cloud Spirit because it fits in my busy schedule.)

Sea Cloud Spirit
Sea Cloud Spirit

Before I discuss the sailing – which is along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and Panama, transiting the Panama Canal, then into the Caribbean’s San Blas Archipelago, and eventually docking in Colon, Panama – some background!

The original Sea Cloud has quite a history; a soap opera in fact! This 360-foot sailing yacht, with her highest mast reaching 184 feet into the sky, was, at the time, the world’s largest private sailing yacht.  She was built in 1931 by E.F. Hutton and his wife, Marjorie Merriweather Post and quickly became the yacht to be seen and seen on. After their divorce, Sea Cloud became a floating diplomatic palace in Leningrad for Merriweather Post’s new husband.  As tensions in Europe rose, in 1938 she was repositioned to Istanbul. 

During World War II, she had her masts, figurehead, and bowsprit removed, her hull was painted grey, and she was chartered to work as a submarine hunter for the United States Navy; then renamed IX-99. After the war, it took until 1949 for her rigging to be rebuilt and her return to luxury service. But now older and rising costs required Sea Cloud to be sold in the 1950s. 

She was purchased by the Dominican dictator, Trujillo. After he lost power and death, his son failed in his attempt to sail her to France, she was eventually sold and laid up in Colon, Panama for eight years. in 1978 a German captain became involved, and a German consortium established Sea Cloud Cruises. They patched Sea Cloud up sufficiently to sail to Germany and, finally, in 2011 Sea Cloud reemerged as a luxury sailing yacht carrying only 64 guests. 

In 2001, Sea Cloud II, a 384-foot yacht with a 188-foot mast, carrying 94 guests, was launched.  A decade later, in 2021, Sea Cloud Spirit – the ship I will be sailing – was launched. She carries 136 guests.

So why is Sea Cloud Cruises nautically sexy to me?  I have always had a fondness for sailing. It started back when I was not even 10 years old at summer camp learning how to sail on Lake Dunmore in Vermont.  When I lived in Miami, Florida I had a friend that bought a 44-foot Hunter sailboat and spent quite a few evenings and weekends sailing around Biscayne Bay.  Eventually, though not by design, I wound up representing an individual who wanted to build a 190-foot motorsailing yacht (at the time it was the largest private one in the world…overtaking nonother than Sea Cloud!). The naval architect for that project owned a beautiful Cheoy Lee sailboat and we had some adventures on it, sailing around the Bahamas and bringing her back to northern Florida. 

MSY Islander (formerly The Other Woman)
MSY Islander (formerly The Other Woman)

I eventually moved to Brisbane, Australia to complete that yacht’s build (and litigate against the Australian Government…and won!).  After returning to the United States, I was fortunate enough to sail on one of the America’s Cup yachts at an American Superyacht Forum event.  Years later, I was hired again to refit her – spending many weeks in Savona and Genoa, Italy, and arranging to import her into the United States.

Oh, there were other superyachts that I have worked with, but oh the sails!

Goldring Travel doesn’t just write about cruises, expeditions, and land journeys, we also curate and reserve them for our clients; making sure each client is with the right company, on the right ship, and on the right itinerary for each client! If you’re not already a client, allow our expertise and service make your journey exceptional! Email us!

Sea Cloud Spirit

Sea Cloud Spirit

OK, so what about this sailing? (I am not calling it a cruise or a journey!)

Sea Cloud is a bit formal for a sailing experience, but not too formal. (No shorts at dinner even when dining on deck, for example) and there may be some lectures or piano recitals, but no real focus on ship-type entertainment. That said, there will be two special guests on this sailing: One is a well-known chef from Florida and the other is a naturalist. 

Sea Cloud Spirit has a Marina along with snorkel equipment, paddleboards, and other watersports equipment, as well as four zodiacs. A Wellness & Spa with a Finnish sauna, steam bath, beauty salon, and two treatment rooms is also onboard; as is a Fitness Center.

Sea Cloud Spirit's Lido
Sea Cloud Spirit’s Lido
Sea Cloud Spirit's Beautiful Lounge
Sea Cloud Spirit’s Beautiful Lounge

I will discuss those and the other public areas, inside and on deck, once I am aboard.

Actually, I have not yet been told what accommodation I will have. The ship has staterooms with portholes, windows, or balconies; each one with decor complimenting Sea Cloud’s heritage.

Junior Suite with Balcony

Junior Suite with Balcony
Deluxe Lido Stateroom
Deluxe Lido Stateroom

The pre-sailing feel I get is that you can be as active or laid-back as you desire both on the ship and when on land. Speaking of being on land, the Shore Excursion program is quite diverse, and – I love this – Sea Cloud advises the maximum number of guests for each excursion, and considering there are only 136 guests, maxing out most more active excursions at 15 guests sounds great. (It is interesting that shore excursions must be prebooked at least ten days prior to sailing.)

Me, being more of a “nature guy” I will be visiting Palo Verde National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Crocodile Bay Lagoon plus a visit to Coiba National Park and Pearl Islands for Morning at the Beach and a ship’s visit to the Guna people living in the San Blas Archipelago, Panama. But if you want more laid-back experiences, such as a day at El Mangrove Hotel or visiting a family’s garden and “sloth farm”, Sea Cloud makes them available as well. 

And then there are the sea days, referred to as “Day Beneath Full Sails”, of which we will have two plus the transiting of the Panama Canal. On these days, the crew manually hoists and trims the 28 sails while you find your own private (if you like) space on deck or pretend you are helping out with the sheets and other lines…safely and not too far up the netting! 

So how am I getting there? Why would it be easy? With an impending snowstorm, I had to change my flights so I am flying out of Reno on the first flight to San Francisco at 8:00 a.m. With my red-eye flight onto Houston not until midnight, I booked a dayroom at a nearby hotel. With a hopefully sufficient 3.5-hour layover in Houston for my flight to San Jose, Costa Rica, things should be OK.

Once in San Jose, I have arranged a private transfer for the 1.5-hour drive that will take me to the ship, docked in Puntarenas. Sea Cloud does offer a group transfer, but it would have required me to hang around the airport for two hours.

Next up: Let’s get onboard and hoist the sails!

Interested in a Luxury Journey by Cruise, Expedition, or Land?

Contact Goldring Travel For Truly Expert Advice!

Email: eric@goldringtravel.com 

US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY or (530) 562-9232

UK: 020 8133 3450

AUS: (07) 3102 4685

WhatsApp: +1 732-693-8797

Facebook: Goldring Travel

Play Video
Waves We’ve Made

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,505 other followers



Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp