Ten of the best yachts you can charter this summer
The Caribbean remains the most popular cruising grounds for many of the world's finest charter superyachts, both motor and sail, but there is also demand for top-class yachts in remote areas.
French Polynesian islands like Tahiti or Bora-Bora, unexplored cruising grounds in Indonesia and Myanmar, and the mesmerising culture and cuisine of Thailand all beckon those who want to see remote outposts, without giving up the luxuries of the good life.
These top 10 superyachts are either new to charter or have gone through extensive refits in the last year. They promise a week — or several — of good food, adventure, and the finest onboard living a superyacht can provide.
Launched earlier this year, the 70-metre Joy promises to be one of the most sought-after charter yachts in both winter and summer seasons. The new Feadship is a remarkable design, with a signature exterior by Bannenberg & Rowell that is defined by long decks, with concave lines and many yards of glass.
The light-touch elegance of the interior by Studio Indigo is certainly aided by the extensive side windows, bathing the saloon and staterooms in natural light. The designers also created "winter gardens," or large glass enclosures, on the exterior that can be air conditioned or heated, depending on the weather.
The elevator connecting three of its five decks provides access to the eight staterooms (Joy sleeps 12), while the unusually large gym, spa room, and onboard masseuse focus on guests' wellbeing.
At night, the beach club will double as a disco. The navy of small boats and water toys accompanying Joy include an 8.2-metre Novurania chase boat, two Williams jet tenders, an 8-metre inflatable slide, inflatable kayaks, wakeboards, snorkelling and dive gear, and fishing equipment.
The crew of 17 was specially chosen based on experience and professionalism for this special charter yacht. Joy's cruising grounds will depend on the guests. Charter agent Burgess says that the first winter booking will likely determine its location. Joy can head west to the Caribbean or east into the Indian Ocean, from the Maldives all the way to Thailand. (burgessyachts.com)
Length: 70 metres Beam: 11.5 metres Staterooms: 8 (6 doubles, 2 twins) Guests: 12 Weekly Rates: from $US700,000 (about $A977,000)
Vantage and Ad-Vantage
Want to explore French Polynesia — Tahiti, Bora-Bora, or the remote Tuamotu Archipelago, an untouched fishing and diving mecca?
Look no further than Vantage, built in 2010 by Palmer Johnson, but it's fresh from an extensive refit earlier this year. The 45-metre sport yacht not only explores the most pristine bucket-list destinations in style, but guests are welcome to bring extra luggage.
That's because Vantage will be trailed by Ad-Vantage, its 55-metre Damen shadow boat. The shadow boat allows for an almost-unheard-of flotilla of tenders and water toys that won't clutter up the mothership.
The tenders include a 12.1-metre VanDutch motor yacht for cruising the local islands and a 10.4-metre Jupiter centre-console boat for diving and fishing in remote waters. The other onboard vessels include a Hobie Cat sailboat, a bunch of kayaks and water toys, and an optional three-person submersible.
The mini-sub is capable of carrying guests 915 metres beneath the sea in true Jules Verne style. Vantage has five staterooms for 10 guests, but with Ad-Vantage's extra accommodations, 16 guests can make the trip of a lifetime into the heart of Polynesia. (oceanindependence.com)
Length: 45 metres Beam: 8.2 metres Guests: 16 Crew: 9 Weekly Rates: from $US192,500 (about $A268,600)
Looking for the adventure of a lifetime? Legend will certainly get you there and back again.
The enormous 77-metre expedition yacht from Icon Yachts has a 11,265-kilometre range and completed an equally mammoth refit last summer. The result: It is now officially the toughest charter vessel on the water, but with luxuries that make daytime adventurers look forward to their evening comforts.
With a Class 1 ice-breaking hull and equipment like snowmobiles onboard, Legend was designed to navigate the extreme waters of the Arctic and Antarctic — in extreme comfort. Icon Yachts, which did the four-year refit project in Holland, built in a full gym, Balinese spa with sauna, a movie theatre, and an enormous Jacuzzi.
The Dutch yard also lengthened the swim platform by 4.2 metres and added a swimming pool. In addition, Legend has a full commercial helipad, not just the touch-n-go on most other yachts, as well as a three-person submarine.
The yacht will be heading to Antarctica for the winter season, along with up to 26 very fortunate guests in 13 staterooms. Beyond its normal 19-person crew, Legend can carry 10 expedition crew (doctor, ice-pilot, expedition leaders, and naturalists, among others). The expedition yacht's very long range means it can cross the Atlantic and come back again on a single load of fuel. (camperandnicholsons.com)
Length: 77 metres Beam: 13.7 metres Guests: 26 Crew: 19–29 Weekly Rates: from $US500,000 (about $A697,700)
La Dea II
La Dea II, currently based in Phuket, Thailand, provides a luxurious platform to explore that South-East Asian country, or to venture farther afield to Myanmar or Malaysia. The 49-metre Trinity, refitted in 2015, is doing a circumnavigation this year before returning to the Mediterranean for the 2017 summer charter season.
La Dea II has all the features one would expect from a yacht of her calibre, including a full-beam master suite, panoramic sky lounge, and plenty of water toys.
Visiting the tropical islands of Thailand, enjoying the rich, vibrant cuisine of Phuket, or cruising rarely visited coasts of Myanmar or Malaysia are cultural odysseys by day, while kicking back in the jacuzzi under a sky full of stars or snorkelling in a cove filled with reef fish will complete the Asian adventure.
La Dea II's five staterooms cater to 12 guests, while its crew of nine provides the pampering needed for a successful charter. The water toys include two Sea-Doos Rs2s, two kayaks, two paddleboards, 2 bicycles, and even a floating island. (iyc.com)
Length: 49 metres Beam: 8.3 metres Top Speed: 23 knots Guests: 12 Crew: 9 Weekly Rates: from $US215,000 (about $A298,800)
Sailing yachts are not for every charterer, but one can't go wrong with a classic Perini Navi like Antara. The 46-metre sailing yacht has Perini's traditional, graceful lines, while offering the luxuries of a modern superyacht.
It was built in 1991 but underwent an extensive refit earlier this year. An extended flybridge includes a large jacuzzi, along with shaded and sunning areas, and the aft swim platform offers instant access to the Caribbean waters where she will be sailing.
The interior is welcoming and rich, defined by the warm maple floors and walls. Antara has a new Kaleidescape AV system, along with high-speed broadband Internet access for constant connectivity.
The 10 guests are served by a master suite, along with one double and two twins with pullman berths, all en-suite. There is a crew of eight. If you've ever wanted to sail on a classic Perini in beautiful cruising grounds, Antara would be the perfect charter choice. (fraseryachts.com)
Length: 46 metres Beam: 9.1 metres Guests: 10 Crew: 8 Weekly Rates: from $US125,000 (about $A173,700)
The finest yacht charters are not solely about the yacht or destination. Cuisine is the third major factor that contributes to a truly unforgettable charter.
Inception, a beautiful 50-metre Heesen that cruises the Caribbean in winter, has one of the finest chefs in the superyacht fleet. Scott Dickson, who has honed his craft aboard three other superyachts, woos and wows guests with cuisine that includes French, Italian, Japanese, and Mediterranean.
Dickson won the coveted chef's award last year at the Antigua Charter Show in December. His "Christmas fish celebration" appetisers included salmon Ballantine, butter-poached lobster salad, and oyster passion-fruit jelly, followed by slow-roasted fillet of beef, foie gras, and braised oxtail.
The feast fit for royalty ended with vanilla crème brûlée and local fruits. Like the best charter chefs, Dickson makes sure to get to the local markets early for the freshest produce and locally caught seafood.
Beyond exceptional cuisine, Inception has six staterooms, including a full-beam VIP suite with its own balcony. An enormous sun platform on the foredeck, combined with two jacuzzis on different aft decks, allows guests to spread out in privacy.
For a yacht of its size, Inception also has an impressive flotilla of water toys that includes four WaveRunners, a 11.3-metre centre console, a 7.6-metre tender, Sea-Bobs, kayaks, and fishing equipment. (edmiston.com)
Length: 50 metres Beam: 9.4 metres Guests: 12 Crew: 10 Weekly Rates: from $US250,000 (about $A347,400)
When Perini Navi launched Maltese Falcon in 2006, the yacht broke the mould for superyacht sailing vessels. Perini Navi did an extensive refit last year of what has become an icon, so the "Falcon" is now available in all her glory for the Caribbean season.
The yacht's revolutionary Dynarig sails set it apart in the sailing world — and make for a beautiful display at night from a distance — but guests can also enjoy the luxurious features built into the exterior and interior.
The 88-metre yacht has an upper-deck jacuzzi, which serves as the ultimate front-row seating area for the largest cinema screen on any yacht. The refit also created a new spa area (which includes an onboard masseuse) and expanded the gym.
The Maltese Falcon also has a spacious saloon and formal dining area for 12 guests. The master suite has a private balcony in front. Beyond the unique design, the interior is defined by its thoughtful furniture, modern art, and delicate woodwork. Both inside and out, the Falcon is truly a graceful yacht.
After a great day's sail, guests can also enjoy the water toys, which include four jet-skis, scuba equipment, and an inflatable slide attached to the upper deck. The yacht also has three large tenders, two small sailboats, two WaveRunners, two windsurfers, and even an anti-jellyfish sea pool for floating in the ocean. (burgessyachts.com)
Length: 88 metres Beam: 12.8 metres Guests: 12 Crew: 17 Weekly Rates: from $US400,000 (about $A555,900)
The phrase "barefoot luxury" might sound like an oxymoron, unless you spend a week aboard Illusion V seeing the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean.
The 58-metre Benetti, launched in 2014, is a study in simple elegance, from the climate-controlled winter garden on the skybridge with full glass panels that can be opened to the elements or closed for formal dining, to the interior by Green and Mingarelli that combines walnut, onyx, Lalique crystal, parchment, and silks in a refined way.
Full-height windows in the saloon provide stunning views of the surrounding waters, while the master suite with study is one of the largest in its class. Illusion V also has an unusually sizable, full-beam VIP suite, and four other large staterooms to accommodate 12 guests.
The yacht has a gym, cinema room, wine cellar, and humidor. The exterior is designed for outdoor living, with a sundeck that boasts a large jacuzzi, bar, lounges, and sunpads. The water toys include scuba, water slide, flyboard, and a Jetovator — in other words, the latest and greatest toys for every age. Illusion V has a crew of 13. (camperandnicholsons.com)
Length: 58 metres Beam: 10.7 metres Guests: 12 Crew: 13 Weekly Rates: from $US350,000 (about $A486,400)
At 65 metres long, Lamima is on the larger end of wooden sailing yachts. The Indonesian phinisi ketch design may look like it first set sail a century ago, but Lamima was launched in 2014, with the most modern superyacht features.
Noted yacht designer Marcelo Penna, who conceived Lamima, wanted to combine the best of old-world sailing with contemporary yacht design, with no compromise on comfort. The fusion includes a bright interior with a voluminous saloon and seven large guest staterooms. Asian influences in the furniture, fittings, and artwork are apparent. Like the unusual style, Lamima's cruising grounds in Indonesia are some of the most unspoiled in the world.
Guests can kayak secluded coves in the Raja Ampat archipelago, sit on virgin beaches, chase dragons (or be chased by) in the Komodo archipelago, and snorkel or scuba (the yacht is a certified PADI training centre) in the most pristine waters in the region.
The boat is also perfect for alfresco dining and often features fresh vegetables or fish from local waters, while the onboard therapist can extract modern-day stress through massage and other spa treatments. The 20-person crew includes a tour guide, who has worked with National Geographic, to provide access to Indonesia's most remote areas. (camperandnicholsons.com)
Length: 65 metres Beam: 11.3 metres Guests: 14 Crew: 20 Weekly Rates: from $US175,000 (about $A243,200)
The best indicator of a successful charter yacht is the number of guests who return. Lady Britt, the 63 metre Feadship, is almost fully booked with repeat clients.
This yacht was designed for charter and seems to have it all, from a two-starred Michelin chef (who keeps his 52-flavour ice cream fridge fully stocked), to a qualified Elemis beautician, and an authentic Finnish sauna.
Then there are the outdoor and indoor cinemas (with a library of 1500 movies), wellness spa, and an air-conditioned gym on the sundeck, which offers the best view from any treadmill.
Lady Britt's interior design by London-based Redman Whiteley Dixon is subtle but quite elegant. The master suite on the main deck offers privacy, while the six large lower-deck suites are large and spacious. Two of the suites convert into a full-beam VIP suite that is as large as the master.
An elevator transports guests between decks. The yacht also has a large beach club at the transom, with a full battery of water toys, including a 19.8-metre-long water slide. Aware of the yacht's reputation as a world-class charter yacht, Lady Britt's 16-person crew is hyper-vigilant about attending to guests' every whim and desire. (edmiston.com)
Length: 63 metres Beam: 11.3 metres Guests: 12 Crew: 16 Weekly Rates: from $US445,000 (about $A618,500)