Cruises have never been more popular. But as holidaymakers crave customisation, they’re turning to superyachts to tailor exclusive voyages at sea. Here, yachting expert Cameron Bray highlights some superyacht hotspots and the best craft for your cruise.
This article appeared in volume 27 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.
Monte-Carlo, Nice, Cannes and St Tropez are iconic seaside meccas in their own right and, wrapped together, they’re the birthplace of superyachting. The region calls to mind the signature 1960s’ image of Brigitte Bardot nonchalantly draped across a Riva tender off St Tropez beach. A charter cruise of the Côte d’Azur grants access to the boutiques of Monaco, the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo, the fragrant flower markets of Nice, the Promenade de la Croisette of Cannes, St Tropez’s signature beachfront restaurants and bars, and so much more. Celebrity sightings over seafood dinners aren’t unusual; the area is a magnet for Hollywood luminaries, royalty, dot-com billionaires and rock icons. You may, for instance, spot Beyoncé and Jay-Z – frequent superyachters on the Riviera and in the Mediterranean – on the 82-metre Alfa Nero, which costs more than $1 million per week to charter.
High-end: Alfa Nero
Mid-range: Da Vinci
Economical: Take 5
Arguably one of the most romantic destinations on the planet, French Polynesia, which encompasses Tahiti, Bora Bora, the Society Islands and the Marquesas Islands, may put you in a clothing-optional cruise mindset. Bora Bora, with its renowned overwater bungalows, French boutiques and relaxed island life, is a must-visit, but be sure to island-hop your way to the surrounding Society Islands and Marquesas for hidden island treasures far from the madding crowd. Anchor in the serene turquoise waters of a South Pacific atoll, and see no other yachts – or civilisation, for that matter – in any direction. It’s just you and your nearest and dearest. Dive with manta rays, swim with reef sharks, hike mountain trails and immerse yourself in this blissful French Polynesian island culture.
High-end: Party Girl
Economical: Miss Kulani
Greece is a land of passion, romance, beauty, history – and many magnificent islands. With hundreds of them colourfully dotting the waters between the Greece and Turkish coasts, including Mykonos, Ios, Santorini, Paros and Naxos, there’s no better way to see the Grecian gems on offer than on a luxury yacht charter. Channel your inner philosopher and sail into age-old civilisations on a handcrafted gulet, a traditional, Turkish-designed timber yacht featuring modern-day luxuries. With their spaciousness both on below deck, you’ll cruise these azure waters in comfort. While you’re here, savour the Mediterranean diet, visit ancient ruins and settle in for spectacular sunsets.
Economical: Angelo II
With its rugged cliffs, towns draped in pastels, lemon trees perched on mountainside terraces and architecture dating back centuries, the magic of Italy’s Amalfi Coast is timeless. Go where the mood takes you, and stop off at some of the signature ports that make this slice of Mediterranean coastline a favourite of the jet set. Discover Capri’s famous Blue Grotto sea cave, step back in time on the streets of Amalfi and anchor off Positano to dine in one of the quaint beachfront restaurants that you can access only by water. In Positano, you can even swim ashore and dine in your swimwear; the dress code, like the atmosphere, is relaxed. Ashore, meander the backstreets, sip espresso with the locals and pick up a pair of handmade leather loafers from local artisans.
Economical: Take 5
When you charter a superyacht in the Whitsundays, your crew can meet and greet you at Hamilton Island airport. A short buggy ride whisks you to the marina to board your floating holiday home, and within minutes, you’re cruising the crystalline waters off the Queensland coast. For an extra shot of romance and drama, opt for a helicopter at Hamilton Island airport and land on Whitehaven Beach, one of the country’s most striking shorelines. With its pure white sand stretching seven kilometres and a stunning fusion of colours where the tide shifts the sand, it’s an idyllic departure point for an indulgent voyage. Your seafaring getaway will take you to decadent day spas and island resorts, private anchorages and incredible dive locations.
Mid-range: Flying Fish
If you’re truly looking to get away from it all, this Indian Ocean island archipelago, comprising 115 divers’ islands, is the ideal escape for you. This far-flung corner of the world boasts an abundance of untamed natural beauty; with its intense, exotic hues and lush hills rising from aqua seas, it’s paradise defined. You’ll find plenty of things to do both on land (think golfing, trying your luck at the casinos, hiking and sunbathing) and at sea. Your Seychelles superyacht holiday will introduce you to breathtaking rare wonders both on and under the water, from world-class snorkelling and diving experiences on vibrant coral reefs to sparkling lagoons and tiny islands that make you feel like you’re the last people on Earth.
Options for superyachts vary, depending on which vessels are travelling in the region.
Crusing the Croatian Coast offers charter guests everything from beautiful beaches and luxury shopping excursions to rich history and world-class dining experiences. Plus, there’s the added benefit that this stretch along the Adriatic Sea is much less crowded during the summer months than its popular Mediterranean counterparts. When you’re not sipping champagne aboard your superyacht, walk the narrow streets of antiquity, home to now-fallen empires. Despite Croatia’s tumultuous past, this picturesque area has found its way onto the yachting radar and promises a melting pot of culture and memories to last a lifetime.
High-end: Victoria Del Mar
Economical: The Malta
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