After a year to forget, many of us will be dreaming of a mind-blowing holiday to kick off 2021.
Yacht chartering, by its nature, self-isolating, has been able to bounce back quicker than other parts of the travel industry during the pandemic, according to Chris Cecil Wright, a London-based superyacht broker. "A superyacht is a sanctuary in so many ways, a controlled environment away from crowds, spotlessly clean of course, now also hygienically clean," he says. "The superyacht industry is COVID-prepared and hospital grade products are used and turnaround times between charters have been increased to allow for extensive cleaning." He adds that he has seen many bookings particularly with clients wanting to cruise to places that have been on their 'bucket list' for a while.
And what better way to start a fresh new year than on a glamorous superyacht moored off a stunning, remote island. Here are the top five yachting destinations for a winter holiday, according to Cecil Wright.
St Kitts and Nevis
Rolling landscapes in a thousand shades of green. Shimmering aqua-blue waters lapping upon shores with secret white-sand beaches. The verdant peak of a towering volcano rising majestically above lush rainforests. Massive beds of offshore coral, teeming with fish of every stripe and colour. Caribbean vacations do not get more breath-taking than this, especially with a superyacht to retreat to in opulent luxury. Superyacht buyers should also know that if you buy a berth in Christophe Harbour you are automatically eligible for the citizenship as part of the Citizen by Investment Programme. And when your travels take you away from your homeport, the experienced Christophe Harbour staff will manage your berth until you return.
St Barts is beloved for its boho French spirit and pristine beaches; the Yuletide pilgrimage of large yachts to Gustavia harbour – and the ensuing parties – are a phenomenon with the A-list as well as UHNW’s; but either side of Christmas and New Year the island’s barefoot, laid back vibe returns. St Barts really is the St Tropez for winter and the place to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020 in style. To make an impact for a NYE party, charter a yacht built for a billionaire like Arience.
Every December Antigua & Barbuda plays host to one of the most prestigious charter events in the superyacht industry, showcasing a fleet of the finest superyachts on the charter market.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Nelson’s Dockyard Marina in English Harbour, the Falmouth Harbour and the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, the Antigua Yacht Show attracts scores of visitors from across the globe to bathe in the glorious sun, sea and sands of Antigua whilst taking in the sights of the most sought after yachts on the water.
Antigua is part of the lush island group known as the Leeward Islands, so named for their prevailing winds which blow from the east. This is a spectacular tropical hideaway that attracts a well-heeled crowd with its stunning white sand beaches, turquoise waters and lavish resorts.
For those who prefer the superyacht with a sail, the striking Perini Navi yacht Rosehearty has the kind of water toys usually seen only on large motor yachts including jet skis, a flyboard and a Wally chase boat. Feedback from a recent client was: “I have to say that we are in heaven”.
With over 1,000 islands, the Maldives stretch over 500 miles from north to south. Its stilted over-the-water beach huts are famous, and this myriad of palm-covered clumps of sand offer total relaxation and privacy.
As well as a profusion of high-end resorts there is of course the most stunning underwater world to explore such as swimming with manta rays at Hanifaru. By yacht you can pick and choose the very best spots without a hint of island fever including visiting the UNESCO Biosphere reserve at Baa atoll. This location is very popular with UNHW individuals from Russia as it’s only two hours time difference and the flight is relatively short, at around eight hours.
The 115 islands of the Seychelles are a spectacular winter cruising destination with outstanding beaches, electric-blue waters and manicured resorts offering everything in tropical chic. The Seychelles have a wilder side, too. Many species here are unique to the archipelago, whilst others - giant tortoises, flying foxes, herons and scarlet land crabs are unfazed by the presence of humans.
Onshore activity could include sunset golf at the Four Seasons Resort - the Indian Ocean as your driving range – with special golf balls which release fish food as they biodegrade. Or fine dining - Seychellois cuisine reflects the islands’ Franco-Indo-African heritage with an infusion of Creole and oriental flavours. Le Chateau de Feuilles and Coco Rouge offer more complex fare, and Sundown Restaurant is a beautiful spot for barbecued seafood. The Seychelles is also home to rare species - the only inhabitants of Curieuse are 200 giant tortoises. Meanwhile The National Geographic agrees that many of the finest beaches in the world are to be found here. Many are deserted, with shallow, protected waters perfect for children. Anse Source d’Argent is one of the most photographed beaches in the world with talcum powder sand and smooth granite boulders.