There has never been a more comprehensive selection of destinations to discover on a luxury yacht charter – and even the onboard amenities on board motor yachts and sailing yachts are being tailored to lavish party throwers, adventure lovers or holistic lifestylers with a highly-qualified crew to expand available activities throughout the trip.
Even though the Caribbean and Bahamas charter grounds still reign supreme for quality established infrastructure, parties, events, and of course that all-important combination of sun, sand and glassy seas, a break from routine will be rewarded with brand new sights and experiences. Here is just a sample of how you and your loved ones could be spending the festive season and the start of 2019.
The Northern Hemisphere – Head east or embrace the cold
Beyond the late summer months when the brilliant foliage has dropped from all the trees, this northwestern destination in the USA charter grounds becomes a paradise for winter sports fans who want to head into the nearby mountains and immerse themselves in a historic destination decked out in festive decorations.
Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing at the Acadia National Park are easily accessible from the coast, with an abundance of shopping and spa wellness facilities for plenty of indulgences. In the evenings, get warm and cosy in the salon and watch the sun sink behind one of the many lighthouses along the coast, then watch a film together undisturbed.
Ever fancied dog-sledging? For those undaunted by the cold, Greenland and Svalbard luxury yacht charters will take you into untouched wildernesses for days filled with winter sports both on land and in the water: Kayak among ice floes, cruise past the Ilulissat Icefjord and ease tired muscles in natural hot springs found dotted throughout the landscapes.
Greenland only receives a few hours of daylight during the winter months, however, that means that it is even longer for the Northern Lights to dance across the sky, and the snow glitters beautifully under the light of a full moon.
Northern Europe & Russia
Few destinations can compare with the traditional snow covered holidays from childhood storybooks, however, a Northern Europe and Russia luxury yacht charter will have you immersed in the fantasy. Belgium alone will delight with its famous chocolates and hedonistic cafes, while the Diamond District in Antwerp is a superlative place to pick up some last-minute gifts.
Cruise through the Norwegian Fjords to witness the powerful waterfalls surrounded by snow-covered cliffs, and savour the sights from your warm lounge or even the sundeck Jacuzzi as distant coastal villages light up under clear starry skies.
End your luxury yacht charter in St. Petersburg and fill your days with extraordinary art galleries, spectacular theatrical performances, and shopping opportunities that will please physically active and quietly reflective group members alike.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix running from the 23rd-25th November is a prime time to visit the Middle East and savour the incredible facilities at the Yas Marina, where you can literally watch from your superyacht as the race cars zoom by on the track in front of you.
Water sports abound among the nearby islands, and this family-friendly destination has numerous beaches, adventure parks and activities that will leave little ones ready for bed by the end of the day. Add Dubai and Muscat in Oman to your itinerary, or cruise overnight to the Maldives or Seychelles to wake up in a tropical island paradise.
India, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Indonesia all have their own unique architecture, history and living culture to engage with and these enchanting destinations are becoming increasingly popular with wellness charters: Learn yoga, take lessons from a personal fitness instructor and benefit from a nutritionist aboard some luxury yachts, while spa massage facilities and health courses are plentiful on land and common aboard superyachts 30m/98ft and larger.
On some of the beautiful islands among the protected Mergui Archipelago, tigers leave paw prints in the sands, while under the sea there is one incredible reef after another teeming with exotic fish. The Andaman Islands have long been praised for their incredible sandy beaches, while on the mainland Phuket is an attractive destination for party-lovers who want to see in 2019 in style.
Egypt, Tunisia and the Canary Islands are popular destinations around Africa for a superyacht charter due to their impressive history and carefully preserved culture, exotic cuisine and variety of activities on offer. The proximity to Mediterranean destinations such as Malta, Greece, Italy and Spain also enhances its appeal for cruisers wishing to pack in as many places as possible on a whirlwind tour.
Visitors will find impressive beaches and nightlife in Senegal, diverse eco-tourism options in the Senegal and nature parks and protected archipelagos in Guinea-Bissau.
Those looking to cross the equator have the extensive coastlines of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique to explore as well as the opportunity to go on a safari and sea lions, cheetahs, giraffes and many other animals of the plains.
Southern Hemisphere – A second sensational summer
The Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays will always be an attractive prospect on a luxury yacht charter, but more groups are heading to the bright lights of Sydney to spend New Year’s Eve and the fireworks displays over the bays are truly magnificent. Hyams Beach in New South Wales has the whitest sand anywhere in the world – perfect for a ‘White Christmas’ or a romantic getaway – and the aptly named Rainbow Beach, also in Queensland, is popular with paragliders as well as water sports enthusiasts.
As an alternative in the north head to Lizard Island for the luscious scenery and white sand beaches secreted away in coves.
New Zealand ranges dramatically from moody colours and excellent fishing grounds around the Fiordland National Park in the south to the brilliant warm beaches of the Nelson Tasman region and the incredible scuba dive sites among the Poor Knights Islands up past Auckland. As a country with a strong outdoor culture, there is plenty to see and do, and your onboard water toys will be put to good use.
Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands present one luxury escape opportunity after another where you can choose to immerse yourself in local culture and learn new recipes, watch cultural displays and view art galleries or disappear entirely for time spent with close family and friends. Water toys and onboard amenities will see plenty of use at the destinations, and you can sunbathe and soak in your sundeck Jacuzzi with a cocktail in hand as you cruise to your next destination.
French Polynesia is an isolated region becoming popular with eco-tourism charterers looking to buy high-quality pearls direct from the farms that harvest them, spending the rest of their days savouring the tranquil environments for yoga and meditation or keeping fit with a spectacular array of water toys.
The volcanically active Galapagos Islands are home to the famous Galapagos tortoise, blue-footed boobies and lava lizards that make trekking through the forests and along the coastline such a rewarding experience. Snorkel in the clear blue waters and spend your evenings dining alfresco, marvelling at the sunset and the crystal clarity of the stars.
From the popular Scuba dive sites of Isla de la Roqueta and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico down to the ancient Incan ruins in Ecuador and Peru, a South & Central America luxury yacht charter is one day of adventure after another. Join the festivals in Brazil, take part in a religious service over the holidays in one of the lavish Cathedrals and end it all with a private candlelit dinner on a remote beach with old friends and family before parting ways until the next holiday.
Antarctica & Patagonia
Expedition yachts have a massive advantage for yacht charter groups looking to go farther and experience what few ever will, such as the breath-taking blue-white Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and photographers and artists will be equally enthralled by the region’s wildlife. A mix of traditional settlements and spa wellness centres can be found along the coast Argentinian coast, while Antarctica is more than wilderness and wildlife: Old whaling stations and the story of the ill-fated Endurance expedition with Sir Ernest Shackleton can become a part of your experience with an expert guide on board.