Take to the seas with these six luxury getaways.
There was a time when water-centric travel meant a monstrous cruise ship, thousands of fellow passengers and an inevitably cookie-cutter experience. Perhaps attributed to the tranquility offered by the sea at a time of increased world chaos and perpetual connectivity, or the fact that social media has expanded our travel horizons beyond the typical beach vacation or city jaunt, there have never been more options for water-focused adventure.
The Yacht Life
It’s easier than ever to live the yacht life. Globally, there’s been an emergence of boat sharing companies like Boatsetter, a Florida-based startup that offers a peer-to-peer rental platform for boats (think: the Airbnb of boats) – including luxurious yachts. The global yacht charter market, valued at $8.5-billion USD in 2015, is set to increase more than seven percent compound annual growth rate through 2020, surpassing $18-billion USD in revenues, according to Future Market Insights. Boarding yachts owned by the famous is now also an option. Richard Branson will charter his yacht, or you can tap into your inner Kennedy and rent “Christina O” – a yacht formerly frequented by Jackie Onassis.
The Redefined Cruise Experience
Monaco-based Silversea redefines the cruise ship experience with its smaller, ultra-luxury cruise ships and five-star perks to please the pricy palates of its refined clientele. The all-inclusive cruise line features top-of-the-line ships with spacious, ocean-view suites, a butler service and elevated, foodie-approved culinary offerings. Guests enjoy chilled champagne in their suites upon arrival, on-demand Ars Italica caviar and a menu filled with foie gras, truffle, steak and lobster. Wine lovers will appreciate the 50 to 70 labels found on the largest complimentary wine list at sea.
Sleep with the Fishes
At the shiny new Muraka at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, guests are invited to enjoy a deep experience, as they get up close and personal with creatures of the sea. The world’s first underwater villa – which opened in late 2018 – is located more than 16 feet below sea level and offers its guests panoramic views above and under the sea. Perks include a gym with an on-call personal trainer, butler service, a personal chef, an upper level infinity pool and two jet skis. Those seeking submersion beyond that offered in the suite can also enjoy a meal at Ithaa, the resort’s underwater restaurant.
Norway’s Under restaurant made headlines in March when it opened as Europe’s first and the world’s largest underwater restaurant — and it has since become one of the world’s most sought-after reservations. Located in Lindesnes near Norway’s southernmost point, the intimate new spot provides a memorable dining experience with a side of stunning sea views courtesy of a massive glass wall, as guests wine and dine five metres below sea level. Offering as good of a reason as any to book a trip to “The Land of the Midnight Sun,” the restaurant resembles a rock formation that is half submerged in water and features an 18-course set tasting menu filled with local and seasonal ingredients, with no shortage of seafood (naturally).
If sailing into the sunset is what floats your boat, chartering a luxury sailboat is a memorable way to explore Croatia’s stunning scenery – especially because it offers more routes than any other European country. Sail Croatia features a range of sailing yachts to call home for a week of exploration of the Adriatic Sea. All of the sailing yachts are complete with an optional experienced skipper and range from relatively economical to all-frills-attached luxurious. For those in the market for the latter, the 55-foot Be Luxe Bavaria Cruiser 57 luxury sailing yacht is a good option. The sleek vessel comfortably sleeps six (but can accommodate eight), with an additional two crew members in a separate skippers cabin. Talking points of this beauty of a boat include multiple living areas, an on-board barbeque, a fully equipped kitchen, and a luxurious teak deck.
Enter the Dragon
For a magical family vacation worth writing home about, set sail on the Dunia Baru – a breathtaking traditional Indonesian yacht – as you discover the wonder that waits in Komodo Provincial Park. An eight-day trip curated by luxury travel agent Black Tomato includes everything from gourmet meals and luxury accommodations, to snorkelling, jet skiing, white sand beaches, bonfires and memory-ingraining sunsets. No trip to Komodo is complete without a search for the famous Komodo dragon – an experience your kids will remember more than they would the Kids’ Club at a typical all-inclusive resort.