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Yachts can reach locations bigger ships can't. (©Sergii Gulenok/Unsplash

Discover Exotic Locales on a Once-in-a-Lifetime Yacht Vacation

By Scott Rouch on 03/20/17, updated 03/21/17
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In today's world, there are limitless options to help make bucket list destinations a reality. One way is to take a sea-based approach.

Yacht charters companies can help fulfill those dreams, whether it be skippering a yacht in an exotic location with family and friends, to being pampered while watching a magnificent sunset on the open water or making an expedition. And while cruise ships are a viable way to go, they can't always enter waters that smaller ships can and lack the same ambiance. 

Selecting a location and experience boils down to individual preferences.

"Everyone looks for something different in their vacations," said Candice Clough, Dream Yacht Charter's North American sales manager. "The Caribbean and Mediterranean are our most popular destinations." 

So, if you want to sail the bluest of waters to explore an uninhabited island in the British Virgin Isles or hike to a 14th-century castle off the coast of Spain, the sea and adventure await.

Greece Route, The Yacht Week

Fun in the Sun

The Yacht Week—started in 2006—and is a weeklong floating party staged along predetermined routes in eight locations. It is designed for those 20 and older and the basic tenet is that crews should be a 50-50 split between males and females. While Dream Yacht Charter's clientele skews between 30-to-50-year olds, The Yacht Week's demographic ranges between 25-35 years old with singles and couples; no families. 

Choose from Athens, Greece; Croatia (two routes); Montenegro (Adriatic); Mallorca, Spain; Sicily, Italy; British Virgin Islands (Caribbean); and Phuket, Thailand and decide whether you want to rent your own yacht—a captain and hostess/chef are extra—or join others by booking a cabin. Those sailing themselves will have to provide an up-to-date sailing license—hire a skipper and take the helm with an experienced sailor by your side.

Then it's off, hopping from one destination to another each day, taking time for swimming, exploring and mingling with other crews at raft parties. At night, hit the hottest bars and clubs while tasting the freshest food, or stay onboard and party with friends old and new.  By the end of a fun week, some have created lifelong bonds.

"Our customers really become part of a community and also frequently organize events by themselves in their hometowns in-between yacht weeks to stay in touch," said Sophie Karg, public relations and sponsorship manager.

From the end of June to the beginning of July in Athens, Greece, split the cost of a boat with seven others and the base price for the week per-person is less than $900, while a low-end hotel in Athens runs more than $1,100. 

Do it Yourself

Dream Yacht Charter began in the Seychelles with six yachts in 2001 and now has a fleet of 800 boats in 40 locations with seven offices across the world. It offers three types of charters: bareboat, by the cabin and with crew.

With available destinations ranging from Annapolis, Maryland, to Australia, bareboat is their most popular option. 

"People who charter boats usually have a background in sailing," Clough said. "They want to take their family and friends out for the week."

Price range varies according to location and type of yacht and cost can split among passengers. For example, a 10-passenger bareboat to the British Virgin Islands from March 25 to April 1 costs $5,650 without optional extras. Included as an optional extra is the ability to have a professional captain join the crew along with a hostess/chef. The British Virgin Isles are among the company's preferred destinations.

"BVI is where people want to go," Clough said. "There are unique sailing places only a small boat can get into and ashore there’s beach bars and restaurants and natural wonders. People on the West Coast are more likely to go to Tahiti." 

Snorkeling or scuba diving in Tahiti is one of the popular activities, promising an up-close look at marine life and colorful coral.

In Greece, the marina in Alimos, Greece, 25 miles from Athens International Airport, is a jumping off point for Dream Yacht Charter,—in addition to The Yacht Week—as they offer cruises to several different islands in the Aegean Sea.  

For an intimate cruise, chartered cabins accommodate up to six couples with their own bedroom and bathroom and everything taken care of. For those wanting the ultimate in luxury—and privacy—crewed charters are for private parties, again with everything taken care of.

The Enigma in Neko Harbor, Antarctica

Expedition Time

From the South Pole to Australia to Antarctica, EYOS Expeditions has the fleet and expertise to guide explorers to bucket list destinations.

"Antarctica is where a large part of our customers are interested in and then that leads to going to the Arctic," said Ben Lyons, EYOS Expeditions' chief executive officer. "In the Pacific, it's Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea has got some incredible diving, but the biggest appeal is culture. We’ll go ashore to experience some real culture."  

EYOS Expeditions is willing to work with its customers. Want photographs of the highest quality? World-renowned photographers can join the cruise, offering advice and providing those sought after shots. Need a helicopter to reach that unclimbable mountain peak for a majestic sunrise? Done.

The cheapest yacht begins at $135,000 for the week plus 35 percent for expenses.

"It’s not much more than a top suite on a cruise ship but instead of 200 people it’s 12," Lyons said.