U.S. Captain Takes Over Command on Sea Cloud

A U.S. Captain will be leading the Sea Cloud, Sea Cloud Cruises has announced in a press release.

Windjammer Captain John Svendsen is commanding the four-masted vessel, re-launching cruising in the Mediterranean. After voyages through the Greek archipelago in August and September, the ship will head to its traditional home waters of the Caribbean for the winter season.

50-year-old Svendsen is a captain with decades of experience working on ships around the world, according to the press release. After his nautical training, he worked as a captain and chief of marine organization for The Nature Conservancy. When he got hold of the book The Arts of the Sailor, his interest in traditional sailing ships began, Sea Cloud said.

Svendsen signed on as a volunteer at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and then worked as an employee on the preservation of ships, working with the replica of the British frigate the HMS Surprise, famous from the motion picture Master and Commander, and the bark Star of India, built in 1863. For further experience, Svendsen then joined the bark Eagle and became friends with the ship’s captain, Red Shannon. Shannon shared his knowledge about tall ships and suggested that he sail as 1st officer and captain of the Elissa, the state ship of Texas, and then later Sea Cloud.

Before joining the Sea Cloud as a chief mate, Svendsen sailed around the world with the Norwegian ship Sørlandet for four years and contributed to the establishment of the A+World Academy for future international leaders.

Svendsen, despite his storybook career, also experienced the challenges of sailing on historic ships. He was chief mate on the Bounty, which was originally built for the motion picture The Mutiny on the Bounty.

Svendsen brings his knowledge and experiences to his work with Sea Cloud Cruises, first as a 1st officer and now as captain of the Sea Cloud. Ships with a long history like the Sea Cloud are very special to him, the cruise line said.

“To feel the history of a ship, to experience the sea in such a special place, and to contribute to keeping maritime traditions alive, these are the forces that drive me,” he explains.

The Sea Cloud was built in 1931 at the Germania shipyard in Kiel, Germany, for the American entrepreneur and then-owner of General Food, Marjorie Merriweather Post. For more than 40 years, the luxurious ship has sailed the world’s oceans for Hamburg-based Sea Cloud Cruises, with international guests that include Americans.

John Svendsen noted: “the Sea Cloud has a history that has inspired generations to leave their homes behind and go to sea. Even after several years as 1st Officer and now as Captain, the unique ship, which is largely preserved in its original state, continues to impress me. Every time I can see guests make a special memory onboard, I continue to be inspired.”

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