Top 10 luxury yacht charters for privacy, exclusivity and wide open space
A fully-crewed luxury yacht provides a home on the high seas for travellers seeking the ultimate in exclusivity. Erica Bush selects the best craft to book for clients who want to sail off into the sunset.
From hidden inlets in Greece fringed with sandy beaches and seafood tavernas to the iridescent waters of the Maldives that thrive with marine life, some parts of the world were made to be explored by boat.
Yacht charters have long been a popular choice for affluent travellers, but the holiday model has proved particularly successful of late: in the wake of Covid-19, the desire for privacy, exclusivity and wide open space has never been more apparent. From being the captain of your own itinerary and travelling to wherever the sails take you, to exploring otherwise unreachable coves and satisfying your adventurous spirit, a luxury yacht charter puts your client in control. Here’s Aspire’s pick of the best.
Prana by Atzaro, Indonesia
Ancient craftsmanship meets contemporary luxury on Prana by Atzaro, the renowned Indonesian superyacht from hospitality brand Atzaro Group. Loved by the Hollywood jet set (the Kardashians famously chartered it in 2019), Prana sails the pristine waters of Komodo National Park, The Spice Islands and Raja Ampat year-round. Hand-built in the style of a traditional Indonesian Phinisi, the 55-metre vessel was crafted entirely of ironwood and teak according to traditional methods. It sleeps 18 people across nine sumptuous suites - think tonal fabrics and plush linens - and has every modern luxury a seafarer might need: a yoga deck which doubles as an open-air cinema, a wellness room and a toy box filled with sea kayaks, wakeboards, water-skis and paddle boards.
Book it: Prana By Atzaro offers four nights in the Komodo islands from $15,000 per night.
The only Relais & Chateaux vessels in the Galapagos, EcoVentura’s two 20-passenger yachts, Theory and Origin, are all about the destination. Both have been custom-designed to minimise their environmental impact, featuring reverse osmosis desalination units to produce fresh water and quieter, cleaner Zodiacs. Inside, ten unassumingly chic staterooms offer panoramic views of the passing sea while fresh, Ecuadorian produce reigns supreme in the vessel’s gleaming teak dining room. Each yacht features a crew of 13, including a full-time concierge and two expert naturalist guides.
Book it: EcoVentura offers a seven-night itinerary onboard Origin or Theory from £6,000 per person.
Four Seasons Explorer, Maldives
Sail from the colourful garden island of Four Seasons Kuda Huraa to sister resort Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru aboard the brand’s liveaboard catamaran. The vessel operates a selection of leisurely three, four or seven-night itineraries between the two properties, pausing for dives with whale sharks and manta rays along the way. The three-deck catamaran accommodates 22 guests across 10 staterooms and one Explorer’s Suite – all of which are air-conditioned and feature refrigerated bars, flat-screen televisions and en-suite bathrooms with separate bathtubs and showers.
Book it: Hummingbird Travel offers a four-night Southward Cruise on Four Seasons Explorer from £5,616 per person.
Star of the Sea, The Grenadines
Bequia Beach Hotel, the charming bolthole on the petite Caribbean island of Bequia, has its own private yacht for guests to charter for the day or week. Star of the Sea sleeps up to 12 guests across six en-suite cabins and cruises the Grenadines’ most famous isles, including Mustique, Canouan and Tobago Cays. The 35-metre Italian-built Benetti might be more old school in style – all mahogany-panelled interiors and brightly-coloured furniture – but there are modern touches too, like a sunny rooftop Jacuzzi and an ample array of water toys, including paddle boards, waterskis and an eight-person tender.
Book it: Elegant Resorts offers seven nights on board Star of the Sea fully crewed from £4,150 per person (based on 12 people sharing), including flights.
Alexa J, Maldives
Designed for just one couple or family, Alexa J is as exclusive as they come. The 38-metre yacht centres around one main en-suite cabin with a walk-in wardrobe, while on the lower deck, a study can double as a second bedroom for kids. Add in a living room, two lounge areas and two open-air dining decks – all stylishly designed in muted tones with billowing curtains and rattan furniture – and it’s clear to see how this vessel earned its moniker as the floating penthouse. Alexa J comes with a six-member crew including a chef, spa therapist and scuba diving instructor and can be chartered for seven, 14 or 21-day itineraries in the Maldives, combined with stays at sister properties Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani.
Book it: Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights on board Alexa J in the Maldives from £60,150 total based on two sharing.
Blue Deer, Italy
A 74ft catamaran from the owners of San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the Dolomites, Blue Deer spends its summers sailing around the islands off Italy’s coast and its winters in the Caribbean. The Sunreef-built vessel, which can sleep 10 guests across four en-suite cabins, is bold in design: swathes of rich blue, dark granite and dazzling white are peppered by emblems of deer and mountains in a nod to the brand’s heritage. A large saloon features panoramic windows and a u-shaped sofa, while outside, seating, sun pads and shade are spread across two levels. When it comes to playtime, there are inflatable kayaks, fishing gear and snorkels aplenty.
Book it: Blue Deer offers a seven-night charter from €37.000 plus VAT.
The Moorings 5800, Seychelles
Dreamt up by boat builders Robertson and Caine, this high-spec catamaran hops between the tortoise-nested beaches and shimmering coves of the Seychelles’ central islands: Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. The 5800 Legacy Edition features five double-berth guest en-suites, with capacity for up to 10 guests; a fly bridge furnished with a wet bar and grill, and a host of solar-powered modern conveniences, such as flat-screen televisions and WiFi. Best of all, the catamaran comes with its own captain and chef, who can arrange everything from bespoke gourmet meals to island excursions tailored to your client’s interests.
Book it: Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights in the Seychelles on a crewed yacht charter from £21,500, based on two sharing.
With its red sails and dark wood, Silolona could be mistaken for a pirate ship from afar. Get closer and you’ll realise this authentic Phinisi yacht is as luxurious as they come. Based in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park from May to September, and sailing the West Papua province from October to April, Silolona was inspired by the cargo ships that historically traded along the region’s spice routes. The yacht features five suites furnished with traditional textiles and Indonesian artefacts, as well as a teak lounge, inside and outside dining areas and its own Padi dive centre. Silolona’s 17-strong crew, which includes an expedition leader, chef and dive instructor, can cater for up to 10 guests, with a keen focus on cultural excursions.
Book it: Full charter of Silolona starts from $17,000 per day plus VAT.
Aurous Superyacht, Greece
With five en-suite, air-conditioned cabins, interior and exterior dining for up to 10 people and a helm station offering sweeping views of the Ionian Sea, Aurous is one of the coolest ways to explore Greece’s treasure trove of coves and coastlines. Dubbed a luxury floating villa, the catamaran features an additional forward sundeck including trampoline netting – perfect for cooling off while sailing. Ideal for active clients, Aurous features a speedboat, waterskis, wakeboards and paddle boards, as well as a skipper and a private chef. Based out of Corfu, guests can choose to cruise north to Mathraki and Ereikoussa or south to Paxos and Anti Paxos.
Book it: Fleewinter offers seven nights on Aurous from £1,550 per person based on eight people sharing (excluding flights, transfers and tips).
Soneva in Aqua, Maldives
Maldivian hotel brand Soneva branched into the luxury yacht world in 2015 with a sleek 23-metre vessel designed for four adults and two children. Imagine indulgent interiors of natural wood, rich brown leather and organic cotton; sun-bleached decks dotted with daybeds and an inviting outdoor Jacuzzi from which to sip champagne. The yacht’s crew includes a chef, a barefoot butler and a wellness therapist – and there’s an expert astronomer and dive master on request too. The yacht’s piece de resistance? A sunken, glass-bottomed spa bathtub in the master bedroom offering a glimpse into the kaleidoscopic marine life below.
Book it: Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights in the Maldives on a crewed yacht charter from £27,651, based on up to four sharing.