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March 9, 2015

Sailing the Abaco Islands, Bahamas

With year round consistent temperatures, refreshing Atlantic breezes, and hundreds of miles of white sandy beaches, the Bahamas is a unique paradise on earth. The Abaco’s are an idyllic sailing paradise. The wind is generally plentiful, but the windward cays protect from Atlantic swells and ensure that you are always sailing on the lee side; in calm, warm, turquoise waters. Across the island chain there are numerous unspoiled beaches to visit, and even a few lively bars and restaurants.

Hope Town

Hope Town, Abaco

In February 2015, our broker Daniel Barber had the opportunity to experience this Bahamas paradise first hand, whilst chartering a Fountain Pajot Helia 44 catamaran from Cruise Abaco. This “owners version” private yacht features 3 large double cabins (all en-suite) with the master cabin taking over the entire starboard hull and includes a dressing room, office area, sofa and TV, and extensive en-suite.

Daniel, Laura, and Alex at anchor at Great Guana Cay

Daniel, Laura, and Alex at anchor at Great Guana Cay

Commissioned in 2013, the yacht is incredibly well equipped, with every toy aboard that a private owner would spec; including state-of-the-art entertainments systems, electric winches, northern lights generator, 3 A/C units, and powerful RIB (on electric davits). With a draft of less than 4ft, and beam of over 24ft, this catamaran is the perfect way to combine family cruising with uncompromising luxury on the water.

Fountaine-Pajot, Helia 44

Fountaine-Pajot, Helia 44

Cruise Abaco are a fantastic company to charter with. They are a small friendly bunch, offering an intimate and tailor made service – yet they still have sufficient infrastructure to offer the support and coverage of larger fleet operators. Their fleet is based in Boat Harbour Marina in Marsh Harbour, which is great place to start your charter from. There is a large supermarket on the doorstep, and the marina has a fantastic bar, restaurant and swimming pool – getting you into the holiday mood the moment you arrive.

Cruise Abaco, Marsh Harbour

Cruise Abaco, Marsh Harbour

The Abaco islands remain an unspoilt idyllic retreat, many of which are only accessible by private boat. These islands form a string of pearls that include a variety of natural harbours and secluded beaches that span many miles of clear turquoise water. The Abacos are the perfect setting for total relaxation, with distinct personalities and natural wonders.

Paddle boarding at Little Harbour

Paddle boarding at Little Harbour

The highlights of the itinerary must include Little Harbour in the south. This remote natural harbour really is in the middle of nowhere, and offers a true retreat in a peaceful and beautiful setting. Directly opposite Marsh Harbour, Hope Town is a great place for some shore side exploring – there is a good variety of shops, restaurants, and bars to frequent; and the Atlantic side offers some truly fantastic beaches to stroll. To the north, Treasure Cay has probably the best beach in the region, along with another great marina to spend the night. And finally, don’t miss the reef snorkelling at Fowl Cay. The weather and tide needs to be right, but your efforts will be rewarded by some of the best underwater life in the world!

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So, don’t put off your dream plans any longer – get in touch with Daniel today to discuss your own dream sailing holiday in Bahamas!

By Daniel Barber. A 10 minute video diary of this charter is available here.


November 26, 2014

Sailing Yacht Charter vs. Motor Yacht Charter

Simply put, some people are motor yacht charter people, while others are sailing yacht charter people, and rarely is someone both. In fact, an amicable rivalry exists between these two factions. Although there are plenty of distinct differences between the two, many crew have worked on both types of yachts and furthermore, the yacht industry has begun to see a hybrid yacht culture emerge.

It is no longer uncommon for sailing yachts to be designed to motor yacht specifications. Meanwhile, certain modern motor yacht owners are beginning to embrace the informality of sailing yachts, blurring the distinction further still.

In light of this, AquaCruise are asking what really is the difference between motor and sailing yachts, and why should you choose one over the other?

Sailing Yachts:

More often than not, the primary reason most people purchase sailing yachts is for the romanticism that accompanies it. Think the excitement of the race against the unadulterated force of the elements, the salty taste of the sea breeze as the wind blows through your hair and the satisfaction of a meal and a glass of wine after a day’s adventures on the sea. But just like motor yachts have their fair share of experienced seafarers aboard, so too is sailing not simply an art for weathered captains. In fact, sailing yachts also tend to be slower than motor yachts, they are more eco-friendly and can offer a more stable and pleasant yachting experience than motor yachts thanks to the stabilising effect of the keel and rig. Indeed, sailing is at once both a challenging sport and a graceful art of living. It is this diversity that draws so much of sailing yachts’ popularity.

Many are also attracted to sailing yachts over motor yachts due to the favourable prices. Sailing yachts consume less fuel, which not only allows you to enjoy longer cruises at sea but also makes sailing yachts a more economic and greener yacht hire option. Furthermore, a sailing yacht will generally require less maintenance than a motor yacht since its design often places more emphasis on functionality and maintenance.

Motor Yachts:

Although the popularity of sailing yachts is increasing, multi-deck motor yachts dominate the world’s fleet of superyachts at 90%.

The advantages of motor yachts are clear. Motor yachts are naturally faster and more powerful, so if you’re looking to cover long distances in less time, then a motor yacht might be more appropriate. Not only is the motor yacht fast across the water but also its shallow draft design allows you to explore almost any coastline and archipelago, no matter how narrow it is.

Motor yachts are versatile in other ways however. Their larger deck space means more recreational living areas and therefore a more creative interior design and naturally more on board facilities.

Motor yachts also have some less evident benefits. Being as it is powered by motor, it is easier to operate thus saving expenditure on skilled yacht crew. In general, motor yachts are easier to recruit crew for. Furthermore, motor yachts can usually sport larger dishes and don’t suffer from the ‘mast shadow’ that can interfere with reception on sailing yachts, providing stronger communication with nearby ports and marinas over greater areas.

Choosing whether you want a sailing yacht charter or a motor yacht charter is as important as choosing the right crew and the right destination. Please contact AquaCruise experts for further information on how to reserve the right yacht for you.


October 28, 2014

Avoid the Winter Blues with a Yacht Charter in the BVI

In the glorious French Riviera the ports are now nearly vacant, the beaches are eerily quiet and the restaurant owners are cleaning up after a busy summer. 

virgin gorda in bvi

Some 8,000 km away however, the sun still beats down, as indeed it has all year round, green shoots sprout and fish dance among the coral. The location is the Caribbean, and more precisely, the British Virgin Islands. Often overlooked for other more traditional destinations of the region, the BVI are a hidden gem, the unspoilt ‘off-the-beaten-track’ Caribbean.

Besides the obvious 30°C weather, AquaCruise has compiled five reasons why you should escape winter and head for the sun on a private yacht rental in the British Virgin Islands:

Scenery
More than sixty islands constitute the British Virgin Islands, most of which can only be accessed by boat and all of which have their own character to be discovered. A luxury yacht charter allows you to explore them all at your own leisure based on your personal preferences. There are islands that have tropical jungles abundant with exotic wildlife, there are others with great looming mountains and some with enormous curving bays and golden beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Relaxation
Stress is as foreign to these shores as any tourist. That could perhaps be because some of the islands are uninhabited. Sandy Split for example promises a real-to-life experience of being stranded on a desert island. Cast your anchor off shore and swim through the crystal clear water before setting foot on the miniature island where you can relax alone with friends and family. For a change of pace, visit Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour for an excellent shopping experience in a quaint town plenty with gourmet lobster and seafood restaurants, artisan boutiques and markets full of local produce.

Culture
Experience the Caribbean way of life on your yacht charter of the BVI where the people are as warm as the weather. Unwind like the locals in a hammock under the shade of swaying palm trees. Interesting cultural day trips include a visit to the RMS Rhone wreck. Excellent diving conditions allow for a surreal tour of the boat whose home has been the Caribbean seabed since 1867. Nearby, The Baths are also an excellent crowd pleasing attraction. An awe-inspiring natural sculpture of giant boulders lie one atop another. Below them, a network of azure shallow sea pools and blue streams flow whilst shafts of sunlight burst through to illuminate the current.

Festivity
Soak in the Caribbean atmosphere at some of the many bars and restaurants of Jost Van Dyke Island. There, people enjoy the delights of Soggy Dollar bar and its famous ‘painkiller’ cocktail while traditional rum is poured out in equally generous portions. The water is warm enough to swim in after the sun goes down and so the beaches are always lively with people enjoying the wondrous surroundings and the live music that fills the air.

Activity
The sea offers a feast of snorkelling locations to choose from. Just north of Norman Island at a crest of rock called The Indians – so called because the jutting rocks resemble an Indian headdress – there are coral reefs to be explored and exotic fish to swim with. Back on land, a host of National Parks and rainforests await. Each park is interspersed with waterfalls, nature trails and botanical gardens.

A yacht charter is the best way to explore all the beauties of the magnificent British Virgin Islands. A group holiday can be surprisingly economical. Contact AquaCruise today to discover the best sailing and motor yacht charter options for the perfect relaxing week or two in paradise.

Photo courtesy of mega yacht and lifestyle photographer Mark O’Connell.


September 22, 2014

September’s Sensational Yacht Shows in the French Riviera

September is always a strange month on the Cote d’Azur. The weather is still glorious and the sea particularly warm, but there is a feeling that summer is almost over and that winter is not far away.

boats at the cannes yacht show

So, to beat any premature winter blues which might be lurking around in your head, there are two fantastic local yacht shows which take place this month. The Cannes Yachting Festival kicked off the season when it opened at three sites in Cannes on Tuesday September 9th. Meanwhile, the much-anticipated Monaco Yacht Show – seen as one of the most important events in the world for the yacht charter industry – launches this week, on Wednesday September 24th.

There is no better medicine for a blast of post- holiday blues than to plan your next luxury yacht hire and both events give ample opportunity to take a look at some of the new mega yachts available for charter as well as discover new destinations, the latest ‘toys’ and lots more.

The 36th Cannes Yachting Festival was the first of the seasons post-summer yachting exhibitions. More than 550 boats were showcased in three central Cannes locations – the Vieux Port, Port Pierre Canto and the Palais des Festivals – making the event the largest leading in-water boat exhibition in Europe.

Of the hundreds of boats on show during the six day event, more than one third were making their debut on the international yachting scene. Many of these boats were for sale, while others will be available for the first time ever for a French Riviera yacht charter next season.

The Cannes Yachting Festival is unique in the fact that it even allowed potential buyers to trial the boats on the open sea before parting with any money.

If you haven’t found what you are looking for at Cannes, then why not head to Monaco this week for what is being billed as the best ever yacht show held in the Principality?

The show, taking place in and around Port Hercules from September 24th to 27th 2014, will showcase 115 of the world’s most stunning superyachts available for charter or for sale.

This is an increase of 15 yachts compared to previous years, with additional berths having been added to cope with an unprecedented interest in the event from both superyacht brokers and potential buyers.

For more information on the Cannes Yachting Festival go here. For the Monaco Yacht Show follow this link.


August 6, 2014

Important Questions to Consider Before Booking a Yacht Charter

At AquaCruise, leading providers of Mediterranean yacht charters, we know how important it is that you embark on the right vessel in exactly the right area to make your holiday a once in a lifetime experience.

If you are booking a mega yacht charter for the first time, it can appear to be a slightly daunting task. Here are ten important questions that you can ask yourself before you get in touch with us to discuss your ideal yacht charter holiday. We suggest you run through the list so you know exactly what you are after.

a yacht charter cruising the Mediterranean

1. Where would you like to go on yacht charter? Do you fancy cruising the azure blue waters of the French Riviera or Corsica on a Mediterranean yachter charter, or are you after something a bit off the beaten track, such as the beautifully rugged coast of Croatia?

2. When is your ideal time to go? If you are looking for that dream two week holiday during the school summer holidays, the Mediterranean is the ideal destination. If you would like to charter a yacht in December, the Caribbean is your best bet.

3. What type of yacht do you dream of sailing – a motor yacht or a more traditional sailing boat? Both are available for hire through AquaCruise, in numerous destinations.

4. Once you have decided what sort of boat you desire, the next question to answer is how big should the yacht be? Are you looking for a yacht large enough for family, friends, and hangers-on, or a smaller vessel for an intimate group? This question is also important in helping you decide how many cabins you require the craft to have.

5. Does the yacht have to be suitable for children/the elderly/ the disabled? Do you require the yacht to be child-friendly with a hydraulic platform to help everyone board easily, whether they are in a pushchair, wheelchair or unsteady on their feet?

6. Are you hoping to bring a much-loved family pet on board your charter?

7. Do you want a crew of some kind, and if so, of what kind? Yacht charters can be equipped with a minimal crew of two to a full crew of up to 30-plus.

8. What is your budget? It is important to set yourself a budget before you start planning the trip, to know more or less what you are willing to pay.

9. What extra costs are there? While on the subject of money, remember, that on the majority of yacht charters it is customary to pay tips. As a general guide, it is typical to tip around ten percent of the cost of the charter to the captain, who then distributes this to the crew. It is therefore important to factor this cost into your budget.

10. Finally, what yacht toys would you like to have with your vessel? For example, are you interested in cruising through the water on a sea bob or a jet ski during your holiday, or would you prefer a more leisurely pastime such as snorkelling?

Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to contact one of the AquaCruise brokers who will help you find the perfect charter to fulfil all of your requirements. We can also run through some of the more specific aspects of a yacht charter including how the contract works, where to find insurance and how payment is made.


July 15, 2014

Five Fantastic Beaches to Discover in Sardinia

Undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations for luxury yacht charter at this time of year is the island of Sardinia, situated in the Mediterranean Sea just below Corsica, from which many of our yacht charters begin.

luxury yacht charter cruising through the water in Sardinia

And whilst this island is Italian, it is actually closer to the African continent in terms of distance, which perhaps goes some way to explain its scorching temperatures and mile upon mile of beautiful white beaches more akin to the Seychelles than the Mediterranean.
With more than 2,000 kilometres of coastline, the island offers those who are sailing in Sardinia endless opportunities to find a pristine beach away from the madding crowds.

However to ensure you really discover the best of the best, why not take a look at our list of top 5 favourite beaches on this delightful island?

1. Spiaggia Rena Bianca is a particularly picturesque beach on the northern tip of Sardinia, near the town of Santa Teresa di Gallura. The beaches here are renowned for the transparent turquoise water and the plethora of underwater life which makes for perfect conditions for those looking to do some snorkeling or scuba diving.

2. One of our favourite beaches for those sailing in northern Sardinia is La Pelosa Beach, characterized by shallow turquoise waters and whiter than white sand. The area is again hugely popular with those who like to scuba dive and can be busy in the height of summer, but once you get a glimpse of the breathtaking scenery, it’s easy to see why. This beach is a short sail away from the renowned Porto Cervo and Cala di Volpe in the north-east of the island.

3. Another on the list which should not be missed when on a yacht charter in Sardinia is Spiaggia Rias, or Pink Beach in the La Maddalena Archipelago, a group of seven islands in the Strait of Bonifacio, between the equally stunning island of Corsica and north-eastern Sardinia. The Pink beach is situated on the island of Budellli and takes its name from the very distinct pink coral colour of the sand which is among the most beautiful sights you can see on any Mediterranean yacht charter. However, visitors to the island will have to be content with admiring the beautiful beach from afar as tourists are not permitted there due to the fact that sand kept disappearing from the shore.

4. Whilst many of our yacht charters stay in the north of the country, in the south, Punta Molentis was recently named as one of the best secret beaches in the world. Situated near the charming village of Villasimius on the south easterly tip of the island, the beach is surrounded by cliffs and its sheltered waters. The beach also has the advantage of being located not too far away from the city of Cagliari.

5. Last in the list is a little further away, but Arutas beach in the Oristano region of west Sardinia is certainly worth checking out if you can make it over to the area. It is made up of small grains of what looks like colourful rice. Of course, it is not rice, but small segments of quartz in different shades from pink, green and white. The overall effect with the crystal clear see is quite spectacular.

Photo of Cala di Volpe is courtesy of expert superyacht photographer Mark OConnell.


June 19, 2014

Five Incredible Yacht Toys for a Mediterranean Yacht Charter

We all love spending time in the water, not least of all under the heat of the Mediterranean sun on a long summer day. So for our clients heading on a yacht charter in the Mediterranean this summer, we thought we would help you out with your research and show you which crazy water toys are available to buy or rent.

Mediterranean Yacht Charters Floating on the Beautiful Turquoise Water

Take a look at the following list, and if one of the amazing inventions takes your fancy, why not ask you’re your charter broker if one can be found for your yacht charter this year.

1. WOKART: This incredible machine is similar to being on a go kart on water and is the first patented designer watercraft in the world with a mid-mounted outboard engine. It’s fast, agile and loads of fun for all the family on a mega yacht charter. http://wokart.com/

2. JETSURF: A powered surfboard designed by Formula 1 and Moto Grand Prix engineers, this is now an international sport and having one of these on board will be hugely popular with the dare devils amongst you. The Jetsurf allows you to reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and the boards are fantastic on the calm Mediterranean waters.

3. JETLEV FLYER: If you fancy soaring across the water at more than 20 mph more than 30 metres in the air, this water toy is for you. Looking somewhat like an invention from a James Bond film, the Jetlev Flyer uses a water repulsion marine engine to propel you into the air for the ultimate holiday snap. http://www.jetlev-flyer.com/

4. SEABOB: This water diving scooter is a cross between a jet ski and a body board which uses an electric impeller jet motor to whizz you across the surface of the water at various speeds. The Seabob allows you to glide along the surface or dive under the water depending on whatever crazy action you fancy. http://www.seabob.com/en/

5. WAKEBOARDING: Ending with a classic, the wakeboard remains a highly popular yacht toy on many of our charters. Always one for those with a need for speed, the wakeboard is a real test of your skill and balance, especially when you reach speeds of over 20 miles per hour.

You can discover which toys come with our yachts by clicking on ‘Equipment and Toys’ under each individual yacht on the AquaCruise website. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information about the toys and equipment on board any of our yacht charters.


May 21, 2014

Choosing Between a Yacht Rental in France and Italy

It is fair to say that when heading off on luxury yacht charter in the Mediterranean, many visitors opt for turning starboard along the French Riviera missing out on the Italian coastline altogether.

Yet those who do venture in the other direction, choosing to experience a yacht charter in Italy over the more conventional French counterpart, are always blown away by what they discover in this beautiful part of the world.

Yacht rentals in front of the beautiful South France landscape

The French Riviera and the Italian Amalfi Coast rank as two of the most stunning superyacht destinations in the world, but despite being neighbours there are a number of subtle differences between the two.

At AquaCruise, one of Europe’s leading yacht rental experts, we offer bespoke yacht charters in both directions and have noted below four differences which might help those unable to choose between the two decide on their favourite.

1.THINGS TO DO: If you are a fan of art, the French Rivera has the highest density of museums of this type in the world, with famous painters from Matisse to Renoir having settled in the region. The Amalfi Coast offers more energetic pastimes such as discovering schools of fish whilst snorkelling, or waterskiing in calm waters off Ischia.

2. The LANDSCAPE on the Amalfi Coast is on the whole less developed than the countryside on the Cote d’Azur. Take Stromboli for example, where there is an active volcano which still erupts today. Here, and in other places such as Amalfi itself, you will find entire villages clinging to the dramatically rugged coastline lapped by an azure blue sea. Over on the French Riviera, the coastline is spectacular, but much more built up with world renowned destinations such as St Tropez, Antibes and Cannes.

3. EVENTS: As one of the world’s busiest coastlines, there is plenty to do and numerous events to attend in the French Riviera, including the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. The Amalfi Coast tends to have a lower key nightlife, although we are sure that places such as Capri would dispute this and it does remain one of the places to be seen during the Mediterranean summer season.

4. FOOD: Italy is famous for its excellent homemade cuisine, with Naples staking its claim as the home of pizza, whereas food in the South of France can tend to be more sophisticated. This is of course a very broad statement, with holidaymakers to both destinations now being able to find whatever they fancy, but it is clear that with over 3,500 restaurants to choose from, the stretch of coastline between St Tropez and the Italian border offers some of the most exclusive dining opportunities in the world.


April 18, 2014

The Best Place to Watch the Monaco F1: a Luxury Charter Yacht

There are just six weeks to go until arguably the most popular race on the Formula 1 Circuit takes place in the heart of Monaco and in view of some of our most luxurious yachts for charter.

There will be four days of racing, beginning on the 22nd May, but the main event, the electrifying Monaco Grand Prix will be held in the heart of the picturesque principality, nestled between France and the Mediterranean Sea, on May 25th.

Port Hercules - the perfect place to charter a yacht

For many Formula 1 fans the Monaco Grand Prix is the most exciting to watch as it is played out on the narrow roads which wind round the world’s second smallest country. The circuit also takes drivers tantalizingly close to the port of Monaco, where many of our available yachts for charter are berthed at this busy time of year.

Over the next month Monaco will be transformed into a daring race track with stands currently being erected for thousands of spectators who come to Monaco annually to watch the race live. Meanwhile, tens of millions more will be preparing to catch the start of the race on television sets across the globe.

Yet undoubtedly the best place from which to watch the 260 kilometre long race is from the deck of a luxury yacht in the glamorous Port Hercules, where you would be in the shadow of the majestic Rock where the Prince’s Palace grandly sits.

With a glass of champagne in hand and ear muffs firmly in place (though perhaps not so necessary this season), it is a once in a lifetime experience to witness the drivers tear around the track a total of 78 times from the teak deck and supreme comfort of a superyacht.

To find out more about the Monaco Grand Prix click here, or to view the luxury yacht you could charter for this unique experience, follow this link.


March 14, 2014

Why Investing in a Corporate Yacht Charter Makes Perfect Sense

As tens of hundreds of people flood into Cannes this week to attend MIPIM, the world’s most important luxury real estate exhibition, hotel reservations will be at their highest for 2014. The upmarket seaside resort is spoiled choice in terms of hotels and rental accommodation with something for every budget, taste and style.

Yet not everyone will have chosen to stay in a luxury suite or rented villa, having decided instead to take advantage of Cannes’ coastal location on the Cote d’Azur….and instead charter a private yacht! The Palais des Festivals where MIPIM is held is just a stone’s throw from the port; where the majority of yacht charters are berthed, and renting a crewed vessel for an event such as this is a welcome alternative.

The big advantage of a yacht at MIPIM is for receptions. A yacht moored directly opposite the Palais de Festival is an ideal base to invite clients back to for a private meeting that is really going to make an impression. The dock is only yards from the Palais, and guests will immediately be greeted by uniformed yacht crew with a glass of golden Champagne on a silver try, with selections of canapés; and invited up to the sundeck. You can’t get a much better platform to attempt to close a multi-million pound property deal!

MIPIM corporate yacht charter

These are the top 5 reasons why a corporate yacht charter makes sense for these events, including the F1 Monaco Grand Prix or the Cannes Film Festival:

1. The cost of hiring a luxury yacht charter is highly competitive and not too dissimilar (per head) to what you might expect to pay for putting staff up in a hotel of a comparable standard.
2. All our boats available for corporate yacht charter are furnished to the highest standards and have a full crew on hand to tend to your every wish. They are also highly private, secure and discrete.
3. Luxury yacht charters are often deceptively large, with the upper decks providing the perfect venue for  entertaining or boat parties during an event.
4. All of our yachts are hired with a professional crew on board, including first rate chefs and experienced stewardesses. The level of service and catering is akin to any first class hotel.
5. A corporate yacht charter can be just the ticket to incentivise staff, with a short cruise used at the end of the business event to repay your employees for their excellent work!