Plan ahead to avoid the cold, dark days of winter and instead take your family and friends on the trip of a lifetime to soak up the sunshine beside turquoise blue shores on a tropical luxury yacht charter this Christmas and New Year.
What better way to see out the final days of 2022 than from your sundeck Jacuzzi, taken care of by a professional and experienced crew while your Captain takes you to the next destination on your itinerary? Spend your free time however you desire; shopping and dining in luxurious locations one day, before hiking, water-skiing and snorkelling away from the rest of the world the next.
There are plenty of vessels to suit your style, including catamarans large and small, traditionally-styled motor yachts, opulent art deco interiors or minimalist masterpieces replete with entertainment options for a week or more. Each cruising ground is just as unique and alluring, and here are three of the festive favourites to leave behind the winter blues, satisfy your senses and gift an experience like no other to yourself and your group.
Caribbean & Bahamas
The balance between pristine nature and all the conveniences and indulgences of civilisation makes the Caribbean and Bahamas islands a popular annual winter destination, particularly for Christmas and New Year.
The Bahamas has the benefit of being close to the US mainland, where Florida’s international airport and nearby marinas ensure that charter groups can easily begin and end their cruise. Grand Bahama and New Providence are the most tourist-developed islands and have plenty of attractions and options for some last-minute gift shopping, while the more natural and authentic Bahamian islands are known as the ‘Out Islands’. The Abacos are known amongst yachting enthusiasts for great beaches and fishing spots, plus the Fowl Cays National Park for snorkelling and Scuba diving in a biologically rich reserve.
The Exumas are another fantastic choice for charter guests of all ages, with myriad white sand beaches, a clear and shallow blue sea and unique attractions including Pig Beach and Thunderball Grotto. Farther south, the Bight of Acklins is a shallow lagoon where children can dive for sand dollars and play on the water toys. This tranquil location is ideal for relaxing to nature’s soundscape, and then dining on the shores at sunset. Wildlife lovers should consider a trip to the Inagua Islands for the numerous unusual and colourful birds plus quiet beachside anchorages to spend the day as you please.
The US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands are two of the most visited destinations in the Caribbean, and it’s easy to fill a week-long charter with these locations. St. Croix in the USVIs caters to varied interests, with fine dining, shopping and nightlife in town, museums and historic sites mostly to the western side of the island, coastal hiking trails, and a botanical garden and zip lines within the island interior. St. Thomas and St. John take life at a slower pace while catering to the outdoor lifestyle with plenty of hiking trails and snorkelling spots. Lastly, the reef at Buck Island is an unmissable opportunity to swim near colourful coral and see black-tipped reef sharks, nurse sharks, eagle rays, barracuda and so much more. Be sure to arrive early at this popular site.
The BVIs have their own must-see attractions, and for divers, the wreck of the RMS RHONE near Salt Island should be a priority. It is considered one of the best dive sites in the region, with plenty of artefacts to scope out along with the octopus and the giant green moray that call the mid-section home. The Baths on Virgin Gorda make for a stunning and unusual setting for your social media snaps, and the bars on Jost Van Dyke attract the yachting community for New Year fireworks and celebrations. Other popular Caribbean destinations include Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Saint Barth’s, Saint Lucia and Antigua & Barbuda for their festivals, regattas and cultural attractions.
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More than a thousand islands make up the various atolls in the Maldives charter grounds, and less than 300 are inhabited, so it’s easy to let your cares slip away as you find a remote beach and follow the natural rhythm of each day. The Ari Atoll is great for fishing, the Male Atoll for windsurfing and the Addu Atoll far to the south has an amazing dive site in the wreck of the BRITISH LOYALTY close to Villingili. Head to Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll for the manta rays, however, the rich biodiversity of this region is waiting to reward your curiosity wherever you roam.
Australia & the South Pacific
Go Down Under to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for a sunshine-filled summer for Christmas and New Year. Australia has myriad unique landscapes and seascapes: If you’ve already visited the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays Islands, then it’s time to experience the outdoor lifestyle in Tasmania or cruise around to Western Australia for Ningaloo Reef and the vibrant, powerful scenery of the Kimberley region. Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sydney should not be overlooked either: These cosmopolitan destinations offer up a vibrant nightlife, plenty of indulgences, and cultural attractions that give each urban centre an ambience all of its own.
A luxury yacht charter is a golden opportunity to explore some of the smaller, more scattered islands in the South Pacific with a tender garage full of water toys to go with you wherever you travel. Vanuatu has some incredible Scuba diving sites for wrecks and volcanic underwater scenery, and the Cook Islands and French Polynesia are a place for quality time with loved ones in breath-taking natural surroundings.
Make cherished memories in magnificent destinations with an itinerary personalised to your interests, and a stellar crew to provide first-class service as you say goodbye to 2022 and welcome in the New Year.
Trina Howes is a Director of CharterWorld America. CharterWorld is a luxury private yacht charter company that creates outstanding vacations with excellent yachts at amazing prices – worldwide.
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