YACHTS The pip­ing-hot spots, from the Whit­sun­days to the Croa­t­ian Coast, for a cus­tomised voy­age

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.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Contents -

FRENCH RIVIERA

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. CHAR­TER OP­TIONS High-end: Alfa Nero Mid-range: Da Vinci Eco­nom­i­cal: Take 5

FRENCH POLY­NE­SIA

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. CHAR­TER OP­TIONS High-end: Party Girl Mid-range: Spirit Eco­nom­i­cal: Miss Ku­lani

GREEK IS­LANDS

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. CHAR­TER OP­TIONS High-end: Oceanos Mid-range: Duke Eco­nom­i­cal: An­gelo II

ITAL­IAN RIVIERA

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. CHAR­TER OP­TIONS High-end: Suerte Mid-range: Ver­tige Eco­nom­i­cal: Take 5

WHIT­SUN­DAYS

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. CHAR­TER OP­TIONS High-end: Sa­hana Mid-range: Fly­ing Fish Eco­nom­i­cal: Alani

SEY­CHELLES

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. CHAR­TER OP­TIONS Op­tions for superyachts vary, de­pend­ing on which ves­sels are trav­el­ling in the re­gion.

CROA­T­IAN COAST

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. CHAR­TER OP­TIONS High-end: Victoria Del Mar Mid-range: Rev­elry Eco­nom­i­cal: The Malta

Duke is a 31-me­tre Az­imut 103S open, ac­com­mat­ing up to 10 in four cab­ins with a crew of six.

Spirit ac­com­mo­dates 10 guests in five deluxe state­rooms and comes com­plete with stand-up pad­dle­board­ing, fish­ing, scuba and kitesurf­ing equip­ment.

The 36-me­tre Sa­hana lets you ex­plore the beauty of the Whit­sun­day Is­lands and the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Forty-me­tre Sun­seeker Take 5 will take you away from all your wor­ries, with room for 12 guests and a mul­ti­func­tional beach club.

Cameron Bray is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Aus­tralia, of Northrop & John­son, which ar­ranges lux­ury yacht char­ters across the globe. northropand­john­son.com.au

Victoria Del Mar is 50 me­tres of min­i­mal­ist yacht­ing style with a spec­tac­u­lar art col­lec­tion and out­door cin­ema, sleep­ing 12 in seven state­rooms.

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