Midcoast, Maine — With the addition of creative new specialty cruises, growth in the fleet and a special parade to celebrate Acadia National Park’s Centennial, the Maine Windjammer Association (MWA) has lots of new offerings for visitors in 2016.
This year, brand-new specialty cruises include bluegrass and beer aboard Ladona, a sail and kayaking cruise aboard Lewis R. French and a wellness cruise aboard Victory Chimesthat includes massage therapists, art therapists and yoga instructors.
2016 also welcomes a new member to the MWA fleet: the 82-foot schooner Ladona. Launched in 1922 as a private yacht, she spent her early years cruising the eastern seaboard and, in 1923, winning her class in the Bermuda Cup. Other adventures included a stint as a US Navy submarine patrol, a fishing dragger, a sail-training vessel, and now a Maine windjammer. After a nearly two-year restoration, Ladona will provide guests with the opportunity to experience vintage cruising once again.
For visitors looking to experience that once-in-a-century sailing opportunity, the MWA is hosting a parade through Somes Sound on August 2nd as part of the Acadia Centennial Celebration. Guests can sign up to sail for the week, or just show up in the Park and enjoy spectacular views of the windjammers as they sail in company through the Northeast’s only fjard with its towering 600-foot cliffs.
“Every trip is different and every trip is a wellness cruise where you slow down, reconnect to nature and enjoy your fellow travelers,” says Captain Linda Lee of Schooner Heritage.
Captains know that some guests want to indulge their passions or dive deeper into their hobbies which is why they’ve created specialty cruises that include activities like wine tasting, photography, knitting, lighthouse tours, full moon cruises, and live music cruises. Children will enjoy pirate adventures while older kids may enjoy sharing a weekend away with Dad.
With nine windjammers sailing from mid-May to October, there are 227 trips to choose from, ranging from in length from 1-8 days. Average prices range from $188-$250 per day, everything included, depending on the length of trip, ship and season.
There are specialty themed cruises all season long and the various vessels have their own specialty, plus there are festivals and events throughout the season (favorite are the tie-ups, when all the vessels come together).
But my absolute favorite experience is the annual Great Schooner Race, hailed as the largest annual gathering of historic landmark sailing vessels and one of the oldest races of its type in the United States – this year, the 40th, takes place on July 8. It is a spectacular event, and utterly thrilling to be aboard one of the 20 schooners. The race is usually a part of the cruise, so you don’t miss out on the other experiences that are hallmarks of a Maine Windjammer sailing.
The Maine Windjammer Association represents the largest fleet of traditional sailing vessels in North America. From May to October, the windjammers offer three- to six-day sailing adventures to vacationers seeking an authentic sailing experience that includes great scenery, wildlife, delicious meals and plenty of time to go ashore and explore.
For more information about the historic vessels of the Maine Windjammer Association, visit www.sailmainecoast.com.
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