11 Exotic Luxury Charter Hot Spots

From Raja Ampat and the Marquesas to Mexico and Antarctica, destinations of a lifetime await luxury charter clients.

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Big Fish
Y.CO markets this 147-foot "go-anywhere " Aquos at a weekly base rate of $245,000. One of the fun features aboard Big Fish is her video wall, which spans several decks like a tower of screens. All 10 guests can contribute their photos throughout the week, and the crew puts together a show that always generates applause.
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Lamima
This 213-foot phinisi-style yacht is with Camper & Nicholsons at a base rate of about $152,000. Lamima — marketed as the world's largest wooden sailing yacht — was purpose-built for charter in the Raja Ampat and Komodo regions of Indonesia. She has a PADI dive center plus masseuses and yoga teachers.
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Askari
For charter with Fraser Yachts Worldwide, her weekly base rate is $75,000 for 10 guests. The 108-foot Sermons Askari is one of the few crewed charter yachts that calls the South Pacific home year-round. She's built for adventure, with a range of 10,000-plus nautical miles.
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Ms B Haven
Part of the B&B charter fleet, this 98-foot Knight & Carver has a weekly base rate of $39,000. Ms B Haven is based in Panama, where she's available for tandem charters with the 66-foot B&D sport-fisherman Cherin III (additional rates may apply). Itineraries can include the San Blas or Las Perlas Islands.
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Sea Stream
CharterWorld advertises this 76-foot Ferretti at a lowest weekly base rate of about $31,500. Sea Stream not only is the fastest luxury yacht for charter in the Seychelles (top speed 33 knots), but she also is outfitted for big-game fishing. Her four-stateroom layout is great for couples on charter with children.
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Silolona
The 164-foot Silolona is a Phinisi-style sailing yacht that has, for years, been considered one of the most luxurious private charter options in Indonesia. She rotates seasons between Raja Ampat and Komodo, and she is available for tandem charters with her sistership, the 131-foot Si Datu Bua.
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Forever
The 60-foot Sunreef powercatamaran Forever is among just a handful of crewed charter yachts available on the west coast of Mexico. She offers a sleek, contemporary interior decor along with all the large guest spaces that make catamarans a popular charter option in other parts of the world, including the Virgin Islands.
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Legend
At 253 feet long, the just-renovated expedition yacht Legend is sure to be one of the most talked-about new entries on the global yacht charter scene. She is expected to alternate seasons between Antarctica and Greenland, bringing with her all kinds of fun options such as submarines and helicopter tours.
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Rose of Jericho
The 84-foot JFA sailing catamaran Rose of Jericho is in the middle of a circumnavigation, offering charter clients itineraries in all kinds of exotic destinations. Most recently, she has been in various South Pacific island groups such as the Marquesas, where few crewed yachts ever venture.
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Vertigo
At 220 feet long and built for an experienced yacht owner, the Alloy Vertigo is one of the most impressive sailing yachts available for charter worldwide. She is cruising this winter to Antarctica, where she will have just a few weeks' worth of bookings available for lucky clients who want to enjoy the stunning scenery aboard a top-notch luxury yacht.
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VvS1
The 112-foot Alloy VvS1 is named for a spectacular cut of diamond, and she shines brightly in the South Pacific charter market, where she is among the best-outfitted yachts for water sports of all kinds. Her owner is a keen scuba diver and adventure-seeker, and her crew are ready to help charter clients make memories both above and below the water.
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Was my mouth hanging open? I fear it was. And my neck was tilted as far back as my spine would allow. Never again will I snicker at tourists gaping at New York City skyscrapers — not after the way I stood gobsmacked on Railay Beach, a cradle of white sand between spectacular limestone cliffs in Thailand so protected by nature that the only way in is by boat.

I couldn’t drop my jaw at Melissa’s Garden, but only because I had to keep my air supply between my lips. I was snorkeling in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, above fish-filled coral more alive than anything I’ve seen in the Caribbean, South Pacific or Indian Ocean.

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The phinisi-style yacht Silolona bases in Raja Ampat and Komodo, in Indonesia. For some charterers, these are bucket-list destinations.Publicity Photo

These pure-nature experiences aren’t possible where big boats regularly churn the waters, and they’re the reason behind all the chatter about Southeast Asia’s potential as the next great winter charter destination. Thailand is trying to lead the way: Currently, officials there were enacting laws to ease the tax, immigration and other challenges that foreign-flagged yachts have long faced when trying to charter legally. The first charter permits for yachts about 100 feet and larger were expected to be issued for the upcoming season.

Inside Tip: "When heading to the Far East or Indonesia, bring school supplies for the local children. They are much appreciated, and you usually then get a great private tour of the village." — Diana Brody, Charter Broker, Camper & Nicholsons International

“Regular charterers are looking for new destinations after chartering in the ­Caribbean and Mediterranean for so many years,” says Lies Sol, charter manager with Northrop & Johnson in Phuket, Thailand. “Destinations like Mergui in Myanmar and Raja Ampat in Indonesia have seen a huge increase in demand. With unspoiled nature becoming scarce around the world, out-of-the-way destinations offer something exciting and adventurous.”

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Your captain and crew are water-savvy, but you should meet the Moken people of the Andaman Sea along the west coast of Thailand and Myanmar. They sleep and cook in handmade boats, and hunt for food at depths of 60 feet. They spend so much time in the water that many of these people have better vision in the ocean than above it.Publicity Photo

The big question is: If they build a charter infrastructure, will clients come? For sure, a growing number of Americans and Europeans are seeking new experiences, but the ­thrill-seeking crowd is still a small percentage of the charter market. At the same time, sales brokers are trying to crack the Asian market, where they see potential for charter to entice a lucrative class of Chinese nationals into buying their first super­yachts. Leading companies are thus planting flags across Southeast Asia, but sometimes more to establish brand ­recognition for the future than to capitalize on existing business. Burgess Yachts just added a charter broker who speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, in Singapore, where Fraser Yachts Worldwide and Ocean Independence also have offices. Edmiston has a sales broker in Shanghai, China, while Northrop & Johnson is in Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. New Zealand-based 37 South moved a staffer from Auckland to Asia in mid-2015.

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Singapore is home to Asia’s oldest yacht club…and a long list of its newest millionaires. It’s projected that one in every 20 Singapore residents will be millionaires by 2017. According to WealthInsight, it is the world’s fastest growing wealth management hub.Publicity Photo

Burgess Yachts calls its positioning “a slow burn, long-term strategy,” says marketing director Alev Karagulle. One reason is that, until Thailand’s changes come through, most nations in Southeast Asia will have no mechanism for legal charter by foreign-flagged yachts.

A handful of yachts in various fleets have quietly been offering “friend of the owner charters,” but they can result in fines and jail time for yacht owners caught operating commercially — a fear that keeps many from sending their boats to Southeast Asia altogether. Owners are also waiting to see if charter clients truly want to go the distance. While some clients say they want new adventures, many balk at the time required. From New York City to Raja Ampat, the trip can include five back-to-back flights, far more than leaving New York at dawn and being on the yacht off Antigua for lunch.

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Inside Tip: “If you have sensitive feet, pack water shoes. They’re helpful for exploring shallow water and then walking onto shore.” — Daphne D’Offay, Charter Broker, Ocean IndependencePublicity Photo

“Clients are cash rich but time poor and lead very busy lives,” Karagulle says. “Long travel distances are not attractive to them. They may book a long-distance charter every once in awhile, but few clients do so regularly.”

Inside Tip: "At the beginning of the charter, don’t think about what your crew gratuity will be. At the end of the charter, you may decide they’ve blown you away and you want to give more." — Angela Connery, Charter Broker, Angela Connery Yacht Charters

Sol, looking on from Thailand and broader Southeast Asia, is far more bullish: “I hope to see a sharp increase in visiting charter yachts and bookings,” she says, based on the new Thailand permits.

Only one thing’s for sure: Clients will be the force driving the speed of development on Southeast Asia’s waters. Call a broker today if you want to enjoy the territory as I did, while it’s still pristine.

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The Wonders of Thailand

Most yachts available for charter in Thailand base on the east side of Phuket, where marina owners have been making investments in recent years to lure more super­yachts. From the international airport or most Phuket hotels, you can be aboard the yacht within about a half-hour. Some stops that are possible on a charter itinerary include Phang Nga Bay, which is partly protected as a national park; Ko Lanta, with great beaches and diving; and the Racha Islands, which are renowned for their top-notch snorkeling.