This 10-night voyage is dedicated to the exploration of two fiercely independent islands–Sardinia and Corsica. These islands share many historic elements through millennia of empires and civilizations, but still maintain their identities and independent attitudes from their governing nations of Italy and France respectively. The platform for our exploration is the incomparable and legendary square-rig sailing yacht Sea Cloud. Plenty of time is built in to enjoy the sailing action of Sea Cloud under sail and all the other comforts of this historic vessel and its congenial crew, as well as the expert Lindblad-National Geographic staff. The voyage departs and returns to Naples, Italy, allowing the time and space for ample sailing around these spectacular and intriguing islands.
• Each cruise of the Mediterranean aboard Sea Cloud is crafted to offer the authentic experience of sailing a true square-rigger among must-see and seldom-seen locales.
• Flexibility is the hallmark of a National Geographic expedition, and our daily itineraries will often adjust to take advantage of wind or exploration opportunities.
Fly overnight and arrive in Naples. Board the legendary Sea Cloud and cast off from the Naples’ active harbor. We’ll pass by the rugged coast of the island of Capri at sunset as we enter the Tyrrhenian Sea. (Day 2: D)
Join the expedition leader for a play-by-play description of the crew in the rigging and the action of the setting of square sails, stay sails, and jibs as Sea Cloud shows her full glory. Bask in the comfort and intrigue of this legendary and historic square rigger--enjoy delicious meals, complimentary drinks, and talks by the expedition staff as we sail toward Sardinia. (B,L,D)
We dock in Sardinia’s capital of Cagliari on the south end of the island, dominated by its hilltop medieval Castello. In the morning we drive inland to the archeological centerpiece of Su Nuraxi in Barumini, which is the most well-preserved of the Bronze Age nuraghe, or stone fortresses, that characterize both Sardinia and Corsica from the enigmatic civilizations that inhabited these islands over 3,000 years ago. Su Nuraxi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest and most well preserved of them all, and the morning will serve as an introduction to the history, culture, and landscape of Sardinia.
Return to Sea Cloud for lunch, and in the afternoon visit the impressive Roman Amphitheater in Cagliari, which is carved into the sloping limestone hill at the edge of the city. Continue to the outstanding National Archaeological Museum in the medieval Castello before taking a walking tour of the old town. (B,L,D)
We set sail again for the full morning, then enter the large western bay of Oristano to dock for the afternoon. Visit the Archaeological Park of Santa Christina and Nuraghe Losa before enjoying some local food and entertainment. Dinner is served onboard Sea Cloud as we sail to our next destination. (B,L,D)
Anchor this morning off the northwest medieval city of Alghero, which reveals its historic Catalan influence and is still sometimes referred to as “Barceloneta.” The attractive old town is a joy to explore on foot, as are the protective sea walls. Local guides will give us a walking orientation to the old town to start the day. Next, travel to nearby Leda' d'Ittiri estate for a wine tasting and tour. In the afternoon we’ll take a local boat out to the dramatic Capo Caccia peninsula to visit the colorful and expansive cave of Neptune’s Grotto. Return to Sea Cloud and sail by the dramatic cliffs of Capo Caccia in the golden sunset light on our way toward Corsica. (B,L,D)
Dawn's light finds us holding off the layered cliff of Bonifacio, with its signature perch overlooking the Bonifacio Straits. Sea Cloud enters this small and spectacular narrow harbor to dock for the day. We begin with a walking orientation to the Citadel and the town of Bonifacio on its cliffside perch, with the rest of the morning devoted to enjoying one of the most beautiful towns of the Mediterranean.
In the afternoon we’ll offer an option to drive inland to some of the menhir standing stone alignments of the Sarténe region of Corsica, or to experience the characteristic Corsican maquis herbal scrubland with its stunning fragrances. (B,L,D)
The rock formations of Les Calanques des Piana are some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the Mediterranean. Calanques are karst limestone rock ravines that have been shaped by wind and water erosion, and the Calanques of Piana in Corsica are deservedly designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our morning is devoted to this landscape and the delightful town of Piana, set in the midst of this disorienting labyrinth of rock formations.
If weather conditions are good, we will access Les Calanques from the sea and, if not, then from the city of Ajaccio. In either instance, the scenery and the accompanying fragrance of the maquis and the pure, clean air are one of the unforgettable highlights of Corsica. (B,L,D)
The gorgeous crescent bay, with its narrow white sand beach and the prominent Genoese citadel have made the northwest Corsican town of Calvi a renowned summer resort destination for the last century. In the shoulder seasons it is a very pleasant town in a lovely setting to explore on foot, starting at the hilltop citadel with its ethnographic museum and medieval shops and alleys, and working your way back down to the Port de Plaisance waterfront and the beach. Sea Cloud anchors at Calvi for the morning, then we set sail for an afternoon of sailing north around Cap Corse. (B,L,D)
With hopes for an overnight sail, we keep the morning free to continue sailing on the northeast side of Corsica toward the port of Bastia, where we dock for the afternoon. Bastia is a very active working port and the principal gateway to Corsica from France. It is a rugged city made up of the upper Terra Nova citadel and the lower working district of Terra Vecchio with its lively food and fish markets.
We will offer the option of driving from Bastia to explore the wild nature of Cap Corse, which is the protruding mountainous peninsula of north Corsica, before returning for the late afternoon and evening in Bastia. (B,L,D)
We spend the final full day on Sea Cloud, hopefully enjoying the ship under full sail, reflecting on our visits to the unique and extraordinary islands of Sardinia and Corsica, and sorting our photos for the evening’s “guest slide show” of favorite photos contributed by all of our shipmates. (B,L,D)
We return this morning to the port of Napoli for your flights home. (B)
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
Vessel Type: Tall Ship (Sailing)
Length: 109 metres
Passenger Capacity: 64
Built / refurbished: 1931 / 2011
Sea Cloud is a ship with a soul, imbued by the original owners, Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband E.F. Hutton in the 1930’s. The ship has played host to royalty, known service in wartime, and sailed the world over. She is a vessel of incomparable grace that harks back to the golden age of ship travel. Once you’ve been on Sea Cloud under full sail, you’ll begin your own love affair.
Welcome aboard a legend
Sea Cloud accommodates 58 guests in 28 outside cabins including two original owner’s suites that still feature original marble baths and fireplaces. At 360 feet she is an expansive ship with extensive public spaces on the top deck, where we luxuriate in deck chairs and watch the crew of 18 go aloft in the web of riggings to hand-set her 30 sails. Her dining room is hung with marine oil paintings of the period and accommodates all guests at once for a single seating. We’ll gather in the lounge each evening for Recap. Life aboard is a uniquely pleasing mix of elegance and informality—a return to the golden age of sailing in shorts and deck shoes. You’ll find all shipboard services impeccable.
Discover the romance of tall ship sailing
Experience something many people don’t know exists in the 21st century—the romance of life under square sails. Discover the thrill of standing on deck as Sea Cloud gently glides through the water, her crew aloft in the riggings, running out and reefing sails. Settle in to your favorite areas on the top deck and bask in the incomparable experience of traveling aboard the finest tall ship to ever sail the seas. Lose yourself in an adventure that, in this day and age, is almost unimaginable.
Please note deck and suite plans are indicative only and may vary slightly.