Luxury yachts used to be exclusive holiday vessels of billionaires. But as more cruise lines are launching their own, cruisers can take their pick from the line up for their next luxury holiday.
Big lines like Celebrity Cruises and Scenic have both launched their luxury expedition yachts this year, and Crystal is due to follow with the Endeavor. The boutique lines are also debuting new ships. Aqua Expeditions just began sailing transformed naval vessel Aqua Blu this month.
Luxury hotelier Ritz Carlton has also chimed in with three ships, Evrima the first of the three is launching in June 2020. SeaDream Yacht Club has also recently announced that they are adding a new build SeaDream Innovation to their fleet, set to launch in 2021.
These luxury yachts are singular in design and finished with luxury interiors that could rival the fanciest hotels. Japanese line guntû is also starting to attract international cruisers aboard their floating ryokan concept ship that easily sets them apart from the rest.
The expedition vessels are also equipped with the latest technologies to maximise the adventure and exploration that guests can do at the destinations.
We seek out the five latest luxury yachts you can take your next holiday in.
The ship is created to be a floating traditional Japanese inn (ryokan). There are only 19 cabins on board and the ship is finished with plenty of wood textures, along with simple and clean lines. They have four cabin options the Terrace Suite, the Terrace Suite with open-air bath, Grand Suite and The guntû Suite.
The ship cruises one to three night itineraries on the Seto Inland Sea to explore the Setouchi region of Japan. Guests fly in to Hiroshima airport. It anchors at places like Miyajima, Kaminoseki, Omishima on its westward route and on the eastward route, it visits Kitagishima, Shodohima and Tomonoura.
The ship shares the name of a little local blue crab that make a delicious broth, affectionately named guntû by the locals. Guntû departs from and returns to Bella Vista Marina in Onomichi, Hiroshima which is an hour drive from Hiroshima Airport. Prices start at $3387.75 (250,000 yen) per person per night for the Terrace Suite.
Guests will also be able to enjoy uniquely Japanese experiences on board. From relaxing on the traditional Japanese style of veranda (Engawa) dressed in a yukata. You can also experience a tea ceremony at the lounge and sample Japanese cuisine made with ingredients from the Setouchi region. Guests can also enjoy a soak in the bath and watch the passing scenery. Visit their website here.
The long awaited ship sets a new standard in luxury expedition cruising. It finally made its debut in August, showing off its sleek and modern interiors, all the luxury amenities you can think of and exploration tools like their submarine and two helicopters, which carry six guests each.
The 228-passenger ship has an almost 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio, butler service and most notably an entire team of Discovery guides. They will be leading all expedition activities which include kayaking, snorkelling and Zodiac rides. All of which are launched from the Discovery Centre, or the mud room, which also has direct access to the water platform at the back of the vessel.
On board, guests can choose from 10 dining options including Asian-fusion, Japanese, French, Italian and more. There is also a state-of-the-art theatre for entertainment and lectures; indoor and outdoor plunge pools. When guests return from their expeditions the large spa complete with treatment rooms, therapists, saunas, steam rooms, experience showers, thermal lounges awaits.
Itineraries up to 2022 are available for booking. Currently the sailings on the Scenic Eclipse start at $9,037 for a nine-day Boston to Nassau sailing departing September 27, 2021.
Le Champlain, Ponant
The Le Champlain is the second ship of the line’s new series of luxury adventure ship. Her older sister, the Le Laperouse is completing her homeport in Australia this year before moving to New Zealand for early 2020.
Get a taste of French luxury on this 92-cabin ship which features plenty of French white and bright and airy cabins. The ship only features one panoramic restaurant which is able to accommodate all guests in one sitting and an outdoor grill. This makes space for a hydraulic launch deck and theatre for the expedition program of the sailing. The theatre is used for lectures and adventure briefings. Many of their expeditions are also offered in partnership with National Geographic, whose expedition team members are able to share knowledge of the natural features of the destinations you visit.
The star of the ship is the Blue Eye ‘multisensory underwater space’. The space is like a blue womb and it is fitted with seats that vibrate and microphones can detect whale song from 5 km away. The windows on either side of the lounge also allow guests to view passing sea life.
Touring the Galapagos Islands is already on the bucket list of some. Celebrity Cruises’ latest purpose built ship for the Galapagos might just let you tick two items off your list in one trip. The 100-passenger ship boasts expansive Penthouse Suite whose balconies form the eye catching tiered profile of the ship.
Experience rooftop glamping on the top deck of this luxury yacht where guests can sleep under the stars. Ecuadorian designer Adriana Hoyos furnished the ship is furnished with a natural colour palette that matches the terrain of the region. The neutral tones are peppered with pops of colour, giving the ship a modern and energetic feel to it.
Ritz Carlton Yacht
The first yacht by the renowned hotelier is meant to be reminiscent of the luxury hotelier’s Residences in Sunny Isles, Miami Beach and Los Angeles.
Getting all the details of the Evrima right is definitely taking more time than expected and the launch is delayed by four months to June 2020. She will be the first of a trio of ships.
Guests can expect everything from all-balcony suites floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, double-vanity bathrooms and king beds with luxury linens. The ship also has a watersports platform along with multiple dining venues.
Aqua Blu, Aqua Expeditions
The line’s newest adventure yacht Aqua Blu begins her first sailings this month is a former British naval exploration vessel, HMS Beagle and she will be exploring the East Indonesian Archipelago, in the heart of the Coral Triangle on seven to 12-night itineraries.
In addition to its exotic itineraries, the line also offers menus created in partnership with Australian chef Benjamin Cross who has been based in Bali for many years. His menus feature flavours from Asia to the Middle East and uses local sourced Indonesian ingredients and spices.
The line is also currently building a stunning ship Aqua Nera to sail the Amazon River in August 2020. This ship exudes a different kind of elegance to Aqua Blu with plenty of dark wood in the furnishings.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.