If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’d like to go to Maine…someday,” don’t wait another season before checking out a Maine Windjammer Cruise. The most northern state on the Eastern Seaboard, Maine offers panoramic views of “spruce-clad” islands, majestic wildlife, and picturesque lighthouses – things that can often best be enjoyed not by land, but by sea. And what better way to navigate the crisp waters of the Atlantic then by a historic sailing ship, dating back to the late 19th century? These schooners, authentic vessels used as cargo ships at the turn of the century, have been recently restored to acquaint modern-day tourists with “the romance of sailing on a tall ship,” the same way it was done over a hundred years ago – by wind and sail.
Maine Windjammer Cruises has been owned and run by Captain Ray Williamson since 1986, carrying on the tradition of a company that began fifty years earlier. Though not the only outfitter providing cruises up north, they are the “first and oldest fleet of historic vessels offering sailing vacations in America,” according to the company’s website. Two of their schooners, the Grace Bailey and the Mercantile, have even been recognized as national landmarks.
While accommodations on board are “rustic by cruise ship standards,” a schooner cruise can provide something few other vacations can – a renewed appreciation for simplicity and serenity. Passengers are welcome to assist the crew with daily routines, such as raising the sails, washing dishes, and sometimes steering, but they are also just as welcome to quietly relax, read, sketch, or whatever other leisure activity suits them. The daily schedules are blissfully uncertain, ultimately determined by the tides and the wind – the day’s destination is always a surprise. The landscape is ever-changing, and diligent watching of the ocean’s surface can reward a patient passenger with a whale, porpoise, or seal sighting. Whether you go for a two-day cruise or a longer one, the aim of Maine Windjammer Cruises is the same: To provide “a glimpse of the past, a refreshing escape from the pressures of our modern world.”
To learn more about Maine Windjammer Cruises, visit their website: www.mainewindjammercruises.com