Where to go for that perfect charter getaway? It’s an all-important question and one that deserves just as much thought as deciding which yacht to book. And within each cruising area there are a multitude of itinerary options. How do you decide what is appropriate and what is feasible? Are you planning too ambitious a trip, with too much time underway? How can you balance the needs of young children (water toys and plenty of time at anchor) with teenagers (nightlife and trendy shops) and culture vultures (history, art and museums)?
This is where the knowledge and experience of a quality charter team is invaluable. Experts from Burgess Charter supply the inside track on their personal recommendations and favourite destinations.
“If you want unspoilt nature, unashamed luxury, and you’re happy to explore beyond the traditional cruising waters, the islands of the Indian Ocean are hard to beat,” says Neil Hornsby.
"For me, the islands of the Indian Ocean come closest to my idea of paradise. Chartering here is completely stress-free, and there’s something for everyone. There is plenty of space for adrenaline-inducing activities, from diving to big-game fishing and wakeboarding. And if you just want to laze in the tropical sunshine, don’t forget you are staying in your own floating palace, with every conceivable luxury at your fingertips.
"There are over 125 islands to explore in the Seychelles alone, ranging from barely touched coral atolls, fringed with perfect sands, to Mahé, the largest and most geared up for tourism. They combined majestic mountains, lush jungle and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with fantastic diving and snorkelling on hundreds of glistening reefs.
"Then there are the Amirantes, a chain of some 28 islands and islets: the perfect place to make the most of your yacht’s ‘toys’ for fishing, water-skiing and snorkelling. More secluded coves and idyllic white sand beaches can be found in the Farquhar islands.
"My personal must-see island is Aldabra, a remote uninhabited coral atoll, where human visitors are far outnumbered by 16,000 giant tortoises. The lagoon is filled with bright tropical fish at high tide and robber crabs when the tide is out, and there are green turtles and rare hawksbill turtles here too.
"Alternatively, for fine sandy beaches and spectacular coral garden, I’d recommend the Maldives. Although only six of the 26 islands in the group are open to tourism, there are more anchorages, reefs and dive sites here than you could hope to visit in a two or three week charter. My tip would be to extend your stay for a few days pampering at Soneva Fushi Resort, north of Malé Atoll: a glorious Robinson Crusoe style hideaway. Whatever our clients are looking for in yacht charter, the Indian Ocean offers endless cruising opportunities in a totally pristine environment."
For more details, visit YWC’s Indian Ocean page.
“If I had years, I wouldn’t get tired of the wealth of history, dramatic scenery and great sailing offered by the Aegean Coastline”, says Amanda Armstrong. "The southern coast of Turkey offers a marvellous combination of small picturesque towns, quiet beautiful bays and rich archaeological sites that give the place a timeless quality I love. Depending on what your interests are, when planning a cruising itinerary, I might suggest exploring the many inlets in the Gulf of Fethiye, or venturing up the Dalyan River past the dramatic Lycian rock tombs to the site of Ancient Caunos and the hot sulphur mud baths upstream. Other highlights include the ruined city of Ancient Knidos, the imposing Castle of St Peter in Bodrum with its museum of underwater archaeology and snorkelling amongst the ruins off the spectacular island of Kekova.
"Göçek is a good starting point for a Turkish Coast cruise, while boarding in Duadasi enables a convenient visit to magnificent Ephesus and is ideal for combining Turkey with island hopping through the nearby Dodecanese Islands of Greece, such as Samos, Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos and Kos.
"If you are looking for a purely Greek experience, it is best to start in Athens to take in (amongst others) the fabled islands of Hydra, Mykonos, Paros, Ios and Santorini. I’d also recommend the Ionian islands in July and August, as they offer good shelter from the prevailing Aegean winds. Start in Corfu, with its endless sandy beaches in the south and quiet, unspoilt villages in the north. Don’t miss the islands of Paxos and Anti-Paxos, which both have lovely harbours to moor in on calm evenings, and visit Ithaca, Cephalonia and Zakinthos for a range of culture, beaches and villages, with really good seafront tavernas.
For an ideal itinerary, I’d suggest a cruise of at least ten days in order to get an abundant taste of this unique part of the world."
“When you charter a superyacht you can easily combine both French and Italian Riviera in one itinerary,” says Gaye Joyeau-Bourgeois. "The Côte d’Azur has always been wonderful cruising territory. Short hops between ports make it easy to put together a relaxing itinerary, and as you head east to the Italian coastline, the only longer crossing is overnight from Monaco or San Remo to Portofino. On the other hand, every port is packed in high season, so we have to be on our toes to book berths for our clients.
"A lot of the time, we’re helping our clients make the most of what’s available ashore – whether that’s tickets for a concert at the Salle d’Etoiles in Monaco, or the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival; a round of golf at a members only club; an afternoon of pampering at one of the world’s best spas; or a drive on the F3 circuit at St Luc near St Tropez. You’d be amazed at what we can organise, with the help of our yacht captains and crews!
"I like to ask what kind of experience a charter party is looking for, so that I can let them in on a few local secrets – like the Provençal food market of Forville in Cannes, or the flower and antique markets on the Cours Saleya in Nice. We can tell you where to get the best view of summer’s sailing regattas, where you can try paragliding or learn to scuba dive – and we can also provide multilingual guides.
For authentic simplicity, try the unspoilt Porqueroles Islands (cycling and beautiful, unspoilt beaches) with their Marine Reserve, or the Unesco world heritage site of the Cinque Terre’s five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza (delicious local wine) and Monterosso.
"Of course, it could be that all you want to do is to bask in the sun, anchored off one of the Caps or the beach clubs in St Tropez. We can book you a table at any of the great restaurants all along the coast: from the Oasis in Cannes, to Le Moulin de Mougins; from Alain Ducasse’s celebrated Louis XV at the Hotel de Paris to La Terrazza of Portofino’s Hotel Splendido … all you have to do is ask!"
For more details, visit YWC’s Mediterranean page.
“The Caribbean is my choice every time for a yachting vacation: hundreds of islands and thousands of beaches just begging to be explored …” says Tom Collins.
"The Virgin islands are one of my favourite island groups. There are about 18 mountainous islands all within about a few miles of one another, so you can cruise in calm waters with an abundance of beautiful anchorages to choose from along the way. Sunbathe in privacy, or enjoy the shade of the awning on the sundeck.
"At the Baths in Virgin Gorda, the view is picture postcards perfect with giant granite boulders surrounded by brilliant white sand and gin clear water. Meanwhile, your chef will be preparing a sumptuous lunch to be served on the aft deck. What resort can compete? You can spend a great afternoon playing on and in the water, followed by an evening at Foxy’s in Jost Van Dyke, dancing on the sand to live local bands.
"The Caribbean is such a versatile and varied cruising ground. St Martin and Anguilla are also close by the Virgin Islands. When my clients are heading for Anguilla I recommend Johnno’s in Road Bay – it’s right on the beach with live jazz on Sunday afternoons and often a local reggae band on Saturday night. Chic and trendy St Barths is also a ‘must visit’ when cruising the Northern Leeward Isles.
Many first-time Caribbean charterers are surprised by the diversity they find. Guadeloupe and Martinique mix French and Creole. Dominica offers spectacular rainforests. The Pitons of St Lucia are right out of the South Pacific. The Grenadines are mountainous one minute, and the next they are no more than low, reef-enclosed sand cays with nothing but a few palm trees. Whether you live in a cold winter climate or not, the Caribbean is calling."
For more details, visit YWC’s Caribbean page.