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Sailing the South Pacific

I have always had this dream of sailing on a multiple masted sailing ship in the South Pacific area. The old Crosby Stills and Nash song “Southern Cross” kind of summing it up. Ideally crossing the Equator would be nice but the whole relaxing and seeing various islands and such has always fascinated me.
Usually when I travel it is at a bit faster pace then is common on this forum, but a relaxing trip sitting on the deck of a sailing ship with the sails catching the waves just sounds amazing.

As such I was wondering if anyone here has every done something like this?

With the recent passing of my traveling companion (my father,) the passing of a number of relatives and my own health issues I have started considering a so called bucket list (even though I am in my early 50s) and this was the first thing I thought of. Of course I have other things including more trips to see more of Europe. But this has always been the dream.

The reality is I would probably get sea sick... but we can dream

Posted by
44 posts

Hi Douglas!
Don't wait to start chipping away at the bucket list - it's a wonderful, beautiful world out there. And take care of yourself so you can have many years of travel.

We took a masted ship on a cruise through the Caribbean and are booked on an 18-day cruise through the Tahitian Islands in January 2022. Obviously, we enjoyed the Caribbean trip enough to do it again. There are only a couple of lines that have masted ships, so just do a search on the internet and you'll find them. They have various trips all over the world - Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, etc.

Are you prone to seasickness? You can try non-prescription remedies like ginger chunks or dramamine. Your doctor can prescribe a patch that you put on your skin that works very well. I've only been seasick once on a passage from Antarctica to South Georgia Islands (on a regular ship) on a very rough sea (think plates sliding off our dinner table rough). For that trip I used the patch and it worked just fine. The dining room was quite empty that evening :-)

Good luck!

Posted by
9883 posts

sails catching the waves

Sounds like a stormy day to me. Not sure I would want to be sitting on the deck.

Keep on dreaming and traveling

Posted by
3942 posts

If you've never done an ocean cruise, you will want to research the daylights out of tall ship sailing before committing yourself. Especially if you don't know if you're susceptible to sea sickness. These are small ships with very few of the amenities of even the smaller regular cruise ships, and don't have the tonnage or stabilizers to mitigate the motion of the ocean like the big girls have. Plus, they're slow and expensive- which is fine if you've got the time and the budget for it. I'd recommend a short trial first, maybe in the Caribbean, to see if its something you like. Star Clippers and Windjammer are 2 of the best known tall ship lines.

PS: sails catching the breeze is a good thing. Catching the waves- generally something you want to avoid.

Posted by
126 posts

FYI - there are sailing ships and ships with sails. Specifically google Star Clippers for true sailing ships and Windstar for cruise ships with sails. The Star Clipper ships set as many as 42 sails operated from the deck with winches pulling traditional lines and sheets. If you are in a lounge chair on deck you may be asked to move so they can trim the sails (or you may be asked to assist). The Windstar ships set 4 to 10 sails with masts set on top of a traditional cruise ship design and operated entirely mechanically. Quite a different experience. There are a few other option with smaller ships or single ship operators.

Star Clippers no longer operates out of Tahiti. Operating costs got out of hand there. We were fortunate to do 18 days there before they left. A magical experience. Follow your dreams while you can.

Posted by
126 posts

I agree generally with CJean. A trial run in the Caribbean on Star Clipper is highly recommended. The Carib is generally pretty calm but, as said, there are no stabilizers. You will feel the ship movement and healing under sail. Bonine works well for most people and should be started well before sailing to be effective. Scopoline patches are highly effective but have serious side effects for some people.

I do take issue with CJean on the amenities and costs. Cabins are fairly small but quite nice with ample storage space. The is air conditioning, marble bath and shower. Food is European style - buffet breakfast and lunch. Dinner menu usually has 4-5 entree choices. Wine selection is good and economical compared to major cruise lines. Not as cheap as Carnival but less than Azamara.

Dig around on the web - especially for reviews and details. Again, follow your dreams!

Posted by
6688 posts

I knew a guy that lived on his sailboat in Norfolk, VA. He took his sailboat through the Panama Canal all the way to Australia and back.

We did a transpacific cruise with Royal Caribbean from Sydney to Seattle in 2018, stopping in several ports, including two in Fuji and three days in two Hawaiian Islands. Great trip

Posted by
214 posts

I'm so sorry about the loss of your father. I'm coming up on 30 years when I lost mine, and we'd just come back from a trip to visit his mother at home in Germany, and such good memories of that trip, and others we took when I was growing up.

While we didn't do an island sailing, hubby and I did spend our honeymoon on Bora Bora and Moorea (before there was internet/google), and it was so amazing. We took a sunset catamaran 'cruise', and that's where I put together the Southern Cross, and since then just love to listen to that song and remember a wonderful trip.

Posted by
4350 posts

Back in the late 70s, early 80s in Canada one would go to a local performance thestre to watch a big screen documentary on adventure skiing or sailing. My ex wanted to sail the Pacific and eventually around the world. I would be dragged along and after one memorable film where their daily bread dough was kneaded by playing catch across deck, and knowing what my female contribution to the endeavor would be, I told him I would sail with him down the west coast and then meet him in Tahiti. He found out her ways to keep sailing closer to home, but it is I who crossed the Equator in a 17 person sail boat in the Galapagos Islands (he did his Equator crossing in Naval battleships).
I do love the feel of a heeling deck and creak of ropes and canvas.
Star Clipper has 3 ships and some have single cabins. If you sign up for their emails, you can catch their No Single Supplement sales.
Even if just for a week in the Caribbean it would be worth giving it a try of barefoot sailing. They don't pull into cruise ship docks in towns, but harbors for swimming and snorkeling or a beach fish fry.
It's special and achievable.

Posted by
4350 posts

Also check out Island Windjammer cruise options. Again, signing up for emails gets you the sale options.

Posted by
126 posts

I should have mentioned this before but has detailed professional reviews as well as individual reviews for virtually every cruise ship in existence. This is an excellent resource and can give you a good feel for what you are looking at. You do not need to register or sign up to view their site. Signup required only if you want to post reviews or forum comments.

At the top of their home page click on "more" and then on ships and select from the drop down menu. The cruise critic staff reviews are quite detailed and address dining, cabins, fellow cruisers, etc. Individual reviews are also available and sometimes insightful.

Posted by
659 posts

I hadn’t thought of trying a sailing trip I someplace closer to home. that is a good idea.

I really don’t expect to get sea sick. I never have problems with motion sickness and I grew up on boats but I have only done a few day trips out into the ocean. So truly who knows.
A hobie cat is not a multi mast sailing ship…

Posted by
1823 posts

In the 90s we did a Windjammer Cruise in the Caribbean and a Star Clipper sail out of Thailand. Both were wonderful. Trying one out of the Caribbean first is a great idea! Take a non-drowsy anti seasickness medication with you and use them if you have a history of suffering from motion sickness. Chewables are available such as Meclazine (Bonine).