The world’s largest and newest square sailing ship, Golden Horizon, is heading for Asia next year, driven from Europe by the trade winds that will take it across the Bay of Bengal to the Malacca Straits and Indonesia.
Currently awaiting completion in a shipyard in Croatia, Golden Horizon is a near replica of the 1913-built ocean vessel France II.
UK-based Tradewind Voyages, the company bringing the ship to Asia, says the journey of Golden Horizon will follow the Maritime Silk Route, visiting ports in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, before sailing through the Suez Canal to the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
A circumnavigation of Australia will begin in December 2021.
The ship will power most of its journey using 6,300 sqm of sails, with voyages planned based on prevailing winds and currents around the world. Propulsion engines are available, but only 30% will be used each sailing season.
Tradewind Voyages says the ship will appeal to “active adults who want to travel the world in a new way”. Families will not be excluded but the ship will not be a child-friendly product.
Golden Horizon will sail three Asian journeys: Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur) to Jakarta, for 10 nights through the Malacca Straits in November 2021; Jakarta to Bali over eight nights, on 30 November 2021; and Bali to Cairns in Tropical North Queensland, over 15 nights from 7 December with a lead-in price of A$6,995 (US$4,997).
The ship is being marketed by Australia’s Gold Coast-based small ship specialist Cruise Traveller, whose managing director, Craig Bowen, fell in love with small ships during a voyage to Antarctica in 2004.
“It really opened my eyes to all the great things about remote and exotic destinations,” he said.
“When I returned from Antarctica, I resolved to totally specialise in small-ship travel and Cruise Traveller has not strayed from that objective ever since.”
Cruise Traveller now represents more than 50 small ship operators after the company started with just two brands in 2003.
“Back then, no travel company was specialising in boutique, luxury ships,” said Bowen. “But we knew this sector held appeal and we were right, with the small-ship industry now 20 times the size it was in 2003, and a plethora of smaller ships now cruising the seven seas with many more on order.”
Antarctica remains one of Bowen’s favourite small ship destinations, along with the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
“Both are remote, and both are beautiful in their own way,” he added.