Trending winter cruising grounds
It’s virtually impossible to tire of the beaches on Antigua, the shopping on St. Barts and the snorkeling in the Tobago Cays, but every now and then, it’s nice to enjoy a new scene. This winter, the Caribbean winds of change are blowing toward St. Kitts and St. Lucia, giving clients more options than ever in the world’s premier winter charter region.
St. Kitts has a new marina and bar on its southeast end, where Phase One of the Christophe Harbour development is now open. Construction will continue to bring the waterfront shopping and dining village to life, and the Salt Plage bar is already welcoming guests aboard tenders as large as 15m (50’). The man behind the project owns a Perini Navi sailing yacht and is keen to see St. Kitts become just as much of a must-visit Caribbean destination as St. Barts, Antigua and Saint Maarten, which are just a few hours’ cruise away and can be part of the same week’s charter itinerary.
“We’ll be different—everybody’s different,” the developer says. “Compared to St. Barts, we’ll probably be a little more family-friendly. It’s similar to St. Barts acre-wise in terms of what can be developed, but the role model is more the European type of village.”
In the Southern Caribbean, St. Lucia is seeing increased demand from American travellers (up nearly 10% since 2014), which is why United Airlines is adding an additional weekly flight to the island from its hub in Newark, just outside Manhattan, as well as a first-ever route direct to St. Lucia from Chicago, starting in December. That’s great news for anyone who wants to meet their charter yacht for lunch at anchor in the shade of the Pitons, a World Heritage Site where nature towers high above, creating a memorable backdrop for photos.
Of course, charter options exist beyond the Caribbean as well, including in Southeast Asia, where more yachts continue to venture each year. Thailand recently began issuing new charter permits for yachts about 30m (100’) and larger, and yachts such as the 41.5m (136’) Calisto will be available in the Andaman Sea, to Thailand’s west. Calisto is ideal for the region as a go-anywhere yacht, converted from her original use as a World War II minesweeper. Her captain has more than 20 years of experience cruising in the region—and is excited to show charter clients his favorite scuba spots.
Also in Southeast Asia is Lamima, which, at 65.2m (213’), is the world’s largest wooden sailing yacht. She is available for charter in Thailand and Myanmar this winter before returning to the Raja Ampat and Komodo regions of Indonesia, where she will combine her traditional influences and contemporary amenities, all within geographic settings that are absolutely stunning.
Charter Broker Cristabel Nye recently cruised aboard Lamima in Raja Ampat: “When I was lucky enough to visit Raja Ampat earlier this year, my senses were truly blown away both above and below the water. I felt privileged to witness the beautiful white sandy beaches, the blue sky and rarely seen multicoloured Bird of Paradise. The diving was equally as impressive (having completed my PADI on board Lamima). I was in awe of the majestic giant manta rays swooping down to their feeding stations whilst the playful little parrot-fish looked on. This was all made possible by the expert crew who know that stretch of water like the back of their hands.”
Yet another winter charter trend is venturing even further afield, to destinations like the Indian Ocean, where the 64.5m (211’) Silver Angel and the 61.8m (203'4) RoMa will be chartering amid the windswept islands of the Maldives and Seychelles, and Costa Rica, where the 42m (138’) Penny Mae is offering itineraries along the lush, green coastline.
“For those looking for a new adventure then there are a few great options to be found in Central and South America such as Panama and Costa Rica” says Charter Broker Barbara Dawson. “The best winter cruising is always out of the peak Christmas-New Year period,” says Charter Broker Sussie Kidd. “A tropical sojourn to the Seychelles, Maldives or further afield to Thailand or Burma is the ultimate for shaking off the winter chills and experiencing exotic cultures in the ultimate travelling environment of your personal charter yacht.”
Whether you choose to venture further afield to explore the lesser-chartered waters of more exotic and remote cruising grounds or to simply experience the sun-baked shores of the traditional winter cruising grounds of the Caribbean and the Bahamas this coming season, contact your nearest Camper & Nicholsons broker who will be able to steer you in the right direction.
“The best winter cruising is always out of the peak Christmas-New Year period,” says Charter Broker Sussie Kidd. “A tropical sojourn to the Seychelles, Maldives or further afield to Thailand or Burma is the ultimate for shaking off the winter chills and experiencing exotic cultures in the ultimate travelling environment of your personal charter yacht.”