What is the difference between “cruising” and “yacht style cruising”?
First is ship size. Yacht style ships are intimate and cater to 2 to 340 guests. A far cry from the large and mega ships with thousands of guests. The primary differentiators, though, and most alluring, are the experiences these ships offer. Here are the main ones.
Smaller ports of call and city center access
Experience the “slower life”. Yachts have access to smaller and unique ports of call, unexpected hideaways, away from the overcrowded big ship ports, and wilderness areas that big ships can’t navigate into. Imagine yourself in smaller cities (like Bordeaux), charming towns, hidden harbors or anchoring in private bays, docking closer to city center in the bigger cities and viewing spectacular scenery seen by few travelers, like sailing through the Corinth Canal.
Highly personalized service
Crew to passenger ratios are generally 1:1 or very close. Crew members get to know your name, your likes and dislikes, food and beverage preferences, etc, very quickly. Their goal is to deliver exceptional service, well beyond your expectations, the entire time you are with them. Can I dare say you will simply be spoiled?
Five-star dining is a big part of the yachting experience. Be treated to epicurean delights and wine pairings prepared by expert chefs and sommeliers. Meals are prepared to your preference – no mass preparation like you find on the bigger ships.
No getting lost in the hallways and decks! The ships may be smaller, but actually offer plenty of space per guest where you can get to know and interact with the other guests.
Smaller ships lend themselves perfectly to those who love to play in the water. Many yachts have watersport marinas and access to a number of toys, from snorkeling equipment and water skiing to kayaks, sail boats and jet skis.
The different types of yacht vessels
While experiences are similar on yacht style cruises, the type of vessel can be quite different. The best one for you is really based on your style and needs. Here are the main types.
Private Yacht Charters
A private yacht charter is perfect for when you want to travel with your own family or group of friends. At the time of this writing we are in a pandemic, and chartering your own yacht allows you to travel in your own little ”bubble”. The yachts are small – max 10 guests, and can be sailing or motorized ships. You always stay within sight of land, generally don’t sail more than a few hours each day, and never overnight. Like floating villas, these yachts have all the creature comfort amenities you need.
Within this category you have options as well – self captain, hire a skipper or even better, hire a captain and chef for a fully inclusive experience. I highly recommend hiring a captain as they know the areas and will help you discover the hidden gems. Best thing is the itinerary is 100% customized to what you are looking for and can be modified mid trip. Beach focused? Culinary focused? Water sports focused? Birthday or anniversary? No problem.
A top destination are the British Virgin Islands, but no need to stop there. Charters are available in 26 areas around the world, including Tahiti, Croatia, Greece, the Seychelles and Thailand.
Small Luxury and Mega Yachts
Under 112 guests, small luxury yachts are like a boutique hotel. Truly intimate vessels with a variety of added amenities, they range from ultra-lux experiences with butler service and multiple high end dining options to elegant yet informal country club experiences.
Mega yachts are similar – still intimate vessels, just a bit larger with the ability to carry more guests, up to around 340. Mega yachts may be pure cruising yachts or motorized masted sailing ships.
A big difference between the yacht types are the cabin and accessibility options. Be sure to discuss with your travel advisor.
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Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder