Tuesday, 13 August 2019


Unforgettable sailing experiences, yes – classic cruises, no. SEA CLOUD CRUISES has been developing a niche market since it was first founded in 1979.

Based on the number of 350 cruise ships worldwide, the relevant suppliers of sailing cruises today cover a total market share of only around 2 percent.

But this market is extremely interesting. After the initial distribution model focused primarily on chartering the SEA CLOUD, with self-marketing, the initially very small portion of trips by SEA CLOUD CRUISES quickly grew. At the end of the 1990s, after careful planning the SEA CLOUD II was commissioned, and was put into service in 2001. Since then, SEA CLOUD CRUISES has been consistently expanding its tour operator business (i.e. self-marketing of cruises). In the past few years, the optimal ratio has turned out to be to operate both ships as charter services for the half the time, and as part of the tour operator business for the other half. The plan for the SEA CLOUD SPIRT is similar – not only has the demand for the newly built ship been confirmed during the ten-year ‘break’, but has in fact noticeably increased in both the charter and the tour operator segment.

Both ships have been running at full capacity for several years. The current passenger capacity on board the SEA CLOUD (64 beds) and the SEA CLOUD II (94 beds) in the tour operator segment, based on an average of 20 trips per ship per year, stands at max. 3160 guests. With the addition of the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT (136 beds), passenger capacity increases to just 5880 guests per year.

The average age of passengers is currently 59, although much more significant for the characterisation of the target group are the following criteria:

- many customers have been or currently are boat owners

- many guests own medium-sized businesses, for example

- customers are generally both down-to-earth and individual

- high affinity with sustainability criteria such as quality, authenticity and value

- pronounced interest in art, culture and cuisine

Accordingly, the programme is characterised by a combination of sailing experiences and stimulating on-shore excursions. The proportion of repeat customers stands at 50 percent and confirms this concept. In view of the limited capacity, it is only by commissioning a newly built ship that it will be possible to satisfy the growing interest in cruises that meet the criteria of sustainability and gentle tourism.

The ships may be destined for far-off climes, but the results can be seen ‘at home’ in northern Germany. At the Hamburg headquarters, 35 people are employed with the marketing and technical and commercial management of the ships. With the addition of the SEA CLOUD SPIRIT, SEA CLOUD CRUISES is expanding to more than 40 employees.                                                      


Since 1979, SEA CLOUD CRUISES has been one of the world’s top names in cruises. The 88-year-old four-masted barque SEA CLOUD and its younger sister SEA CLOUD II regularly appear with five stars each in the Berlitz Cruise Guide’s list of the top five boutique ships. SEA CLOUD CRUISES is a founding member of the hotel association FEINE PRIVATHOTELS.