Reimagining the festive season with Christmas and New Year on a yacht charter
For many, the festive season means cosying up at home by the fire, with a table overflowing with decadent food while the snow falls gently outside. But what is the alternative if you don’t like the cold or dread the idea of cooking for the whole family? Forget about all that wrapping paper and give the gift of a luxury yacht charter vacation to your family instead.
Here we bring you all the ideas, information and advice for the perfect sunshine Christmas or New Year getaway on board your very own luxury charter yacht.
The perfect Christmas and New Year destinations
The winter charter season has traditionally centred around the Caribbean Sea with island groups including the Bahamas, Leeward Islands and the Virgin Islands. But destinations further afield, in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean are becoming increasingly popular and have an amazing choice of charter yachts perfect for cruising in the winter months.
The Bahamas is one of the most popular destinations for superyacht charters at Christmas and New Year, and it’s easy to see why. The bustling islands offer no shortage of vibrant culture, fine dining and nightlife to enjoy, while secluded anchorages and pristine white beaches offer a picture postcard tropical paradise. The Exumas are an archipelago of over 365 cays and islands, all with their own charm and offering unique experiences such as swimming with pigs at Big Major Cay.
Stunning turquoise waters, picturesque beaches, and a festive holiday atmosphere all make the island of St Maarten ideal for winter charters. The endless activities on board or ashore make St Maarten best appreciated from the water and guarantee your festive celebrations won’t disappoint.
If you are looking for something different, then the Seychelles are home to a growing collection of the most luxurious and exclusive superyachts in the world, making a Christmas or New Year celebration here a stylish occasion. Wildlife and nightlife are both on offer depending on the island, with more developed, such as Mahe including vibrant evening entertainment and smaller islands giving a tranquil, undiscovered feel and a chance to spot Green Sea Turtles, Seychelles Black Parrots and the rare Coco de Mer palms.
If you crave a slice of Christmas heaven along with your Christmas cake, then why not consider Fiji, a beautiful haven nestled in the South Pacific which will awaken the senses and rejuvenate the body and soul in time for the new year.
A festive atmosphere
Most would agree that the best part of the festive season is being with your family and friends and a Christmas charter allows for long, lazy days away from the stresses of planning your own menu and making sure everyone – young and old – are having a good time. Superyachts usually sleep up to 12 guests so there is enough luxury accommodation for extended family groups and a variety of facilities allowing you to spread out or come together to celebrate. Kids can kick back with a movie, while the adults enjoy a leisurely al fresco lunch in the sun, or you can all spend the day swimming in the ocean, playing on the water toys and indulging in a jacuzzi or spa treatment.
It is wise to choose a yacht which offers flexible cabin arrangements such as family-friendly set ups with twin cabins adjoining the master for families with young children. If you are travelling with a group of friends, convertible twin/double cabins are ideal and offer adaptable accommodation.
When the sun goes down, the crew will create beautiful table settings, switch on the underwater lights and keep the drinks flowing. The main guest spaces on board offer fabulous indoor-outdoor living, with bar areas and spacious on deck dining settings, perfect for dinner under the stars. Some yachts even have convertible dancefloors and beach clubs that can be transformed into a nightclub after dinner.
Crew members will plan fun activities, games and special Christmas surprises to keep the kids entertained …. that’s if the ocean, water toys and sandy beaches are not enough! Bear in mind that the crew are there for your safety and comfort, but you remain responsible for your children, and they must be always supervised by a responsible adult.
Food and drink
When it comes to dining on a superyacht charter, the guest is very much in control. Whatever cuisine or specific dish you desire, there will be a talented chef on board who can bring it to life. Christmas is no exception and if you communicate your wishes early, the chef and crew can ensure they have all the necessary ingredients on board to create your perfect Christmas feast. You needn’t stick to tradition either, if you’d prefer a barbeque, a Mediterranean banquet or even sushi, anything is possible. Ingredients used for all the meals will usually be local, fresh, and organic, plus the planning and shopping are done for you.
Before departing guests pay an Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) to cover additional costs incurred throughout the vacation which includes the food and drinks on board. The APA is usually around 25-35% of your charter fee and you will be reimbursed with any unused funds but will have to pay more if you exceed this amount. Drinks, kid’s meals and snacks, plus any dietary requirements can also be catered for and will be communicated to the crew and chef via a preference sheet which guests will complete in advance.
Not only will the cuisine be designed to your tastes, but the crew will offer impeccable service, whether you prefer something discrete or want to invite them to join in the fun, they are there to ensure your time on board is memorable. They will likely be local and so can recommend onshore activities and experiences let you know the best restaurants in the area and arrange reservations.
Welcoming in the New Year
New year is a time for spectacular celebrations and many waterfront locations put on amazing firework displays, perfect for viewing from the vantage point of a luxury charter yacht. Sydney Harbour for example puts on one of the best displays in the world with an early 9pm display for families and the main event at the stroke of midnight when fireworks explode from iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and floating barges positioned in the harbour.
The captain can secure a prime anchorage before sunset, so guests can unwind in the jacuzzi on board, dine al fresco and sip champagne before the extravaganza begins.
In the Bahamas, the Bajans are known for their party spirit and New Year’s Eve is a particular favourite, with the Staniel Cay Yacht Club in the Exumas hosting a popular NYE masquerade party with a regatta the following day. Also on New Year’s Day, Nassau hosts the traditional Junkanoo Parade on Bay Street, with dancers wearing elaborate costumes playing drums and bells to celebrate Bahamian art and culture.
However, with your nearest and dearest on board, you may prefer to chill out and savour a leisurely al fresco dinner on board with a few glasses of champagne followed by your own New Year traditions.
As the sun sets, casting its warm glow across the deck, you can be sure that Christmas and New Year on board a superyacht will create festive memories that will last for a lifetime.