You’re having breakfast on the teak veranda of your suite aboard the Silver Whisper, Silversea’s newest six-star floating hotel. The port of Nice slowly comes into view as you mentally prepare for your round at Royal Mougins Golf Club, one of the finest courses in Europe.
The previous day, you teed off at one of Spain’s best, the heather-lined PGA Golf de Catalunya, before embarking on a seven-day Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona. And tomorrow, after a five-course meal in Le Champagne, an onboard oenophile’s delight, followed by some gambling in the ship’s casino as you cruise the French Riviera, you’ll play Le Fregate Golf Club, with its stunning views of the Mediterranean.
If Pebble Beach is “the most felicitous meeting of land and sea in creation,” as Robert Louis Stevenson reportedly once said, these floating country clubs may just be the most luxurious. And they combine the best of both kinds of golf vacations. Like road trips, you can play a variety of courses from day to day. At the same time, you can benefit from the convenience, amenities and luxury of a resort stay—everything you need, including port-to-course transportation, is included.
While the Mediterranean is certainly one of the most desirable destinations, there are plenty of itineraries available to seafaring golfers. Silversea, which offers large-ship amenities aboard intimate vessels, drops anchor at 45 courses in 25 countries aboard 15 cruises throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico.
The 10-day “Caribbean Kaleidoscope” voyage, which departs in late October from F.t Lauderdale, Florida, boasts Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic and White Witch in Jamaica, among others, on its itinerary.
Peter Deilmann Cruises offers a 20-day golf cruise from Phuket, Thailand, to Hong Kong aboard the six-deck, 513-passenger MS Deutschland, which gives the feel of a grand European hotel and has two putting greens and a driving range topside. Courses of call include Raffles Country Club in Singapore and China’s Mission Hills, the world’s largest golf resort with 10 courses.
If the open ocean makes you queasy, consider a Deilmann cruise up the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Danube or Elbe rivers in one its 100-passenger, luxuriously cozy boats with one crewmember for every 2.5 passengers.
One operator, Kalos Golf, is devoted entirely to the swinging set. Its 11-day Riviera cruise sets sail along the legendary coast from France to Italy—and we do mean sail. The Sea Cloud, the largest private sailing ship ever built, has a fascinating history. After making his money the old-fashioned way—earning it, of course—E.F. Hutton built the 360-foot, four-masted barque for his bride, cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, in 1931. Guests these days feel no less important thanks to a passenger limit and the wonderful attention to detail aboard the elegant 32-cabin cruise ship extraordinaire.
For its two week-long New Zealand cruises, Kalos employs the Orion, a boutique liner with 53 staterooms and an intoxicating mixture of grandeur and intimacy. Among the stops are two of the finest courses anywhere: Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers.
Back aboard the Silver Whisper following a round at Saint Cyprien high in the Pyrenees, a hot lava rock massage in the spa is the perfect treatment for working out the kinks. If that doesn’t work, you can always book a lesson with the ship’s resident instructor, Glenn Collins, while the ship is at sea the next day.Following a cabaret performance in the ship’s Show Lounge and a visit to the Champagne Room for some fine grappa and cigars, your final rounds are on two of Italy’s best, Cosmopolitan Country Club and Le Querce Golf Course. You’re apt to shout, Bellissimo!
As the sun sets over the horizon on the last evening of the cruise, you can enjoy a drink on the Observation Lounge atop the 10-deck liner before your final gourmet meal, recalling your every shot—the perfect end to one of the most luxurious, memorable golf vacations of your life.