Whether it’s cruising Norway’s remote Hjørundfjord or traversing Antarctica’s ice floes, these yachting destinations are a modern explorer’s dream.
Tropical Nirvana on Seaxplorer’s ‘La Datcha’
For her maiden charter in the Seychelles, La Datcha’s itinerary includes diving pristine reefs in marine sanctuaries, picnicking on empty beaches and exploring tropical forests. With helicopters, Jet Skis, a submersible and a dive center on board, the new 252-foot expedition yacht is designed for adventure. But La Datcha doesn’t skimp on luxury, either, with eight modern staterooms (including two masters), Jacuzzis and an onboard spa. For the holidays, the yacht will be moving to Madagascar, home to some of the world’s most unusual flora and fauna. Weekly rates start at about $872,000, though the explorer can cruise autonomously for 40 days, making it possible to survey the world’s most remote waters for over a month.
Into the Deep on a Two-Person Sub
EYOS Expeditions is looking for four “mission specialists” for its Ultimate Challenge Expedition. The adventure will happen aboard research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop, from which guests take the 35,550-foot plunge into the remote Mariana Trench aboard a two-person sub, encountering an otherworldly environment that only a dozen people have seen, including, most recently, NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan. The experience is not about opulence, but if exploration, science, camaraderie and being in the history books sound enticing, it is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. $750,000 for a diver and guest.
Escape, Close to Home
The Bahamian Out Islands are unmatched for the diversity of beaches, marine life and tranquility, plus charter guests enter by private jet. Y.CO’s itinerary for Benetti’s 207-foot 11.11 includes a seven-day tour of a dozen secluded tropical gems, such as Highbourne Cay, a private island with deserted beaches, and uninhabited Hawksbill Cay, where guests can snorkel with stingrays. In between comes kayaking, treasure hunting and floating on gin-clear water. Post-exploration: fresh seafood, Singapore Slings and a professional masseuse. With her Art Deco interior, sky lounge and full spa, 11.11 is the most civilized way to see the Bahamas. Weekly charters start around $756,000
Skiing virgin powder in the Sunnmøre Alps in March may not sound like a typical winter charter, but there’s nothing conventional about HMS Gåssten. Just refitted, this 78-foot cruiser travels into the heart of Norway’s remote Hjørundfjord, offering backcountry trips beneath stunning summits, or working the groomed slopes of the Stranda Ski Resort. The yacht also explores the fjords in December, delivering dramatic Nordic vistas by day and, at night, dishing out hygge, or the sense of warm, cozy contentment that comes with being nestled in sheepskin blankets beneath psychedelic Northern Lights. Rates start from around $38,700 for six days.
This is the big one. Ultimate Antarctica, by Cookson Adventures and White Desert, is a 24-day luxury expedition that visits some of the last outposts of that icy wonderland—by land and sea. Starting at $2,965,000 for up to 12 guests, the trip begins in a Gulfstream 550 that flies from Cape Town to a lavish interior base camp where travelers can climb ice walls, hike glaciers and ride snowmobiles, plus enjoy creations from the private chef. Flights by ski-plane to a massive Emperor-penguin colony and the Geographic South Pole make for lifetime memories. Next comes a mid-trip visit to Patagonia, followed by a cruise on the 254-foot Legend, which explores Antarctica’s coast. Guests can kayak alongside seals and whales, visit research outposts and dive thousands of feet in a submersible into the clear waters.