In recent years, the yacht charter market has seen a significant shift in the popularity of expedition yachts, reflecting the growing appeal of self-sufficient adventure in far-flung corners of the world.
Luckily, the new demand is well catered for. An ever-expanding fleet of expedition yachts is available for charter, featuring a variety of both custom-made models and refurbished commercial fishing vessels. Common to all, however, is rugged, powerful exteriors that stand in striking contrast to the slim, elegant profiles of traditional motor yachts. Yet, the interiors of these robust vessels still boast all the opulence and sophistication of their counterparts.
Read our seven benefits of an expedition yacht to find out why these remarkable vessels are changing the trajectory of the yachting charter world.
As expedition yachts are designed to spend longer periods of time at sea, the comfort of the guests on board is naturally of the utmost importance. This has led to wider beams and deeper drafts becoming commonplace on expedition yachts, increasing the room available for guest cabins and outdoor activity.
Look to examples such as the voluminous superyacht SuRi (lengthened by 11 metres in 2012) and 70m/229ft charter yacht SHERAKHAN - boasting accommodation for up to 26 guests (including a master suite with a private terrace) and two-level atrium-style dining room - for evidence of the added space an expedition charter yacht can offer.
2. Comfort and Safety
Built with strength and reliability in mind, expedition yachts are engineered to offer the best in comfort and safety. Deep displacement hulls create more stability on board for guests, regardless of any adverse weather conditions, and strengthened hulls are able to navigate through sea ice. Coupled with luxurious furnishings, this creates the ultimate atmosphere for relaxed and contented cruising.
Lurssen’s 76m/248ft charter yacht 'Northern Star' is a fine example of a yacht designed to handle rough waters, whilst also boasting a highly-acclaimed interior. A strongly raked bow and high forward parapet allows her to cope with big seas, whilst indoor she offers a comfortable, country manor-inspired setting perfect for unwinding.
3. Extra Equipment and Toys
Another advantage of having an increased hull volume is being able to house specialised equipment such as larger, hard-sided tenders for fishing excursions, helipads and accompanying helicopters, extensive dive equipment and compressors, and small submarines catering for underwater exploration of up depths of up to 1700 metres. As with other yachts, they can also accommodate an extensive range of water toys for the enjoyment of charter guests.
Most notably, the 74m/241ft superyacht NAIA features a five-person VAS submarine and science laboratory as well as a fully certified helipad and observation lounge. The 77m/254ft charter yacht LEGEND additionally has helicopter facilities on board, as well as two snow mobiles, perfect for heli-skiing and exploring the landscapes of Greenland and Iceland.
4. Fuel Efficiency
As expedition yachts are crafted for long distance cruising, they also offer noteworthy fuel efficiency thanks to their smaller engines. Specialised propellers and stabilisers can also contribute to lowering the all-important fuel costs of a yacht charter.
A fine example of an expedition yacht that has put ‘better efficiency’ at the top of its agenda is the 73m/240ft charter yacht ‘Grace E’. Winner of the ‘Environmental Protection Award’ at the 2015 ShowBoats Design Awards, she features a rare diesel-electric propulsion system to cut down on fuel consumption, in addition to a range of other green features.
5. Long Range
As expedition yachts are engineered to enable long range cruising, this holds another number of unique perks. As fuel goes further, the yacht can cruise for even more miles before having to refuel again - ideal for cruising in areas where no refuelling points are available. An expedition yacht's large tanks also means charterers can stock up on duty-free fuel more readily.
An ex-fisheries patrol vessel , the extensively refitted 71m/234ft charter yacht ‘Enigma XK’ is one of the most effective vessels for cruising at long distances, boasting a range of 12,000 nautical miles from her 22,0000 litre fuel tanks.
6. Reduced Maintenance and Increased Use
As well as being extremely robust, the traditional steel hulls of expedition yachts are also easily repairable in the rare case it should be damaged. Coupled with lightweight aluminium superstructures as on superyacht NAIA (pictured above), maintenance is needed less often, leaving your crew with more time to look after guests on a yacht charter vacation.
7. Can take you to anywhere in the world
Forget the busy ports of the Mediterranean. One of the most exciting reasons to opt for an expedition yacht is the range of remote destinations that opens up to you. From the Fjords of Norway and the glaciers of Antarctica to the secluded islands of the Pacific, fuel efficient expedition yachts are equipped with the range and reliability to safely transport you to any region of the world in absolute comfort, style and luxury.
The 59m/193ft expedition yacht Blue de Nimes is one of the few charters available in Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and a perfect example of a charter yacht that can take you on an awe-inspiring journey to see remote natural wonders such as glaciers, mountains, ice-fields and thermal pools.