In the vast ocean that is the cruise industry (pun intended), it’s hard to come up with something unique and exciting. But UK-based Tradewind Voyages has accepted the challenge, bringing something brand new in with the tide. Enter the world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship – Golden Horizon.
A doppelganger for the 1913 ship, France II, the charm and heritage of the old sailing vessel has been adopted onboard, echoed not only physically but atmospherically too. There isn’t a formal dinner in sight here, relaxed and casual is the way forward, making it far more about the sailing experience and the escapades along the way rather than strait-laced traditions and impressing fellow passengers. With a “fuelled by nature” philosophy, Golden Horizon navigates by the sun, using the winds and currents to sail to both firm-favourite-lands and undiscovered destinations. Making it one of the most sustainable cruise ships out there. Because it relies so heavily on an affinity with the ocean, it only makes sense that each cabin and suite onboard has a sea view; ending a journey through deliciously rich interiors reminiscent of elegant riviera hotels with either a balcony or gaping portholes.
Cultural immersion is high on Tradewind’s list of priorities, so the adventurously-inclined get to head on a voyage that doesn’t have to be as far flung as the Galapagos or Antarctica. The genuine personas of each port of call are introduced by resident destination speakers, alongside local shows and performers who give a taste of a place before setting foot on land. Guests are then let loose to explore anywhere from the 16th century cathedrals and castles of Spain’s southern coast, to the colourful characters of the Caribbean islands. But there’s a lot going on back on deck too; getting stuck into boat life is highly encouraged – helping raise the sails and navigate over the waves – while guest speakers cover topics like maritime history and astrology, and the resident dive master gives lessons both in the dive pool and open water.