Just like big ship cruising, small ship cruising isn't a one size fits all category.
You've got river cruises, adventure, expedition, and today I'm sharing information about a fourth category - Yacht style.
What are your first thoughts when you hear "yacht style"? For me, I always had this image of beautiful yachts anchored off the Amalfi Coast (like above) . This is a real image. However, yacht style is quite varied, and includes so much more (and destinations).
Yacht style cruises are very much like sailing your own super yacht, and can be like your own personal getaway with friends than a traditional cruise. Read on to see why this type of cruising is so special.
Photo above courtesy of Scenic Eclipse
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.
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.
Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises
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, a group of friends and family, to host a wedding or anniversary or possibly your business. Yacht charters can be a small as 10 guests where you hire the skipper and chef (often a husband and wife team). 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.
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.
You can also charter one of what I call traditional yachts - 125 or fewer passengers. These are perfect for small weddings, anniversaries, larger family gatherings or for your business.
Small Luxury and Mega Yachts
Under 125 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.
Photos courtesy of: Top left Sea Dream Cruise, top right Ponant, bottom left Emerald Azzurra, bottom right Paul Gauguin Cruises.
You can see that even within this category there are a number of options. All exceptional experiences, and so much more than a traditional cruise. If you are looking for an experience of a lifetime you should try it! But warning, once tried, you may never go back.
Specializing in small ship cruising, I make it easy for you to find the perfect cruise. Call 602.540.7338 or connect here get the process started.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder