Embarking on a sailing trip in a private yacht doesn’t mean the group has to be large. Small groups of around 8-14 friends or family members, can take their pick from some of the best private yacht charters, to sail on Southeast Asian waters in utmost comfort. By Manas Sen Gupta
The vessels range from traditionally designed phinisi yachts to ultra-advanced superyachts. Of course, some are speedy while others are not. So, charterers have a choice regarding how, and whether quickly or leisurely, patrons wish to experience their charter trip.
Picking the best luxury yacht charter ideal for small groups for a Southeast Asian trip
Whichever boat one picks, the highest levels of comfort, pleasure and adventure are guaranteed. Each of these yachts is equipped with the most advanced toys such as jet skis and diving gear for its guests. They offer outstanding amenities such as a jacuzzi and lounges, helping everyone on board unwind in various ways. Add to it, the dreamy cabins and delightful cuisines.
The vessels can take guests to white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, rich green tropical islands, secret dive sites and underwater marine life that underlines the beauty of top Southeast Asian destinations.
Any of these yachts can be booked via their official operators or yacht charter services such as Burgess, Northrop and Johnson, Y.co, Bluewater Yachting and IYC. Listed below are some luxury yachts for you to choose from.
Prana by Atzaró
It is the largest and most luxurious Indonesian phinisi yacht in the world. It is perfect as a private yacht for small group charters.
The 55-metre-long luxury liveaboard has nine spacious suites, each with its own private en-suite bathroom, across four decks. It houses a living space of 900 square metres too. The many amenities on board include a spa, open-air theatre, rooftop yoga deck and daybeds on the decks for relaxation, as the waves roll by.
The vessel is available for sailing around the year to top Indonesian island destinations such as Raja Ampat, Maluku Islands (Spice Islands) and most importantly Komodo National Park, where one can see the endangered Komodo dragons.
Guests can dive in the turquoise waters housing coral reefs, walk along the beaches, trek through the biodiversity-rich islands, and enjoy water rides on kayaks, wakeboards or waterboards. Prana has a capacity for 18 guests, and a 20-member crew taking care of all the needs.
One of the best private yacht charters for small groups available through Burgess, PAPA is a 55-metre-long motor yacht.
PAPA is a relatively new vessel, built in 2019 by Amels Holland in The Netherlands. It has five cabins, equipped with the highest levels of comfort for up to 10 guests. The master suite has its own lounge, office and private balcony.
It has an outdoor cinema on the sun deck and a jacuzzi fit for eight, a sky lounge and the main saloon complete with side balconies.
Dining on PAPA is a luxurious experience in itself. A Teppanyaki bar finds space on the huge sun deck, while the bridge deck has an alfresco dining area, easily accommodating all 10 guests.
The yacht excels in its decor, with a clean colour palette underlining tranquillity and enhancing the sense of space. While the exteriors are done by the illustrious design firm Tim Heywood, the interiors have the signature style of superyacht designer Laura Sessa.
Of course, the vessel comes with its array of toys including SEABOBs and stand-up paddleboards — perfect for the most fun-filled experience at Phuket, when the vessel is booked for a Thailand yacht charter.
The luxurious Northern Sun can be the best bet to explore the stunning Southeast Asian destinations. The 50.9-metre-long yacht can easily take 12 guests to Myanmar, Malaysia’s Langkawi and Similan Islands, Thailand’s Phang Nga and India’s the Andaman Islands, owing to its outstanding range of 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 km). This means guests can get to see everything from exotic tropical islands to volcanoes.
The vessel was originally built in 1976 by the Narasaki shipyard in Japan. It served as an ice-class marine research vessel for years. It was rebuilt in 2007 and refitted in 2020, bringing it to modern-day standards. The Asian-influenced interiors are defined by an art collection featuring 19th-century paintings of ships in Asian waters and models of vessels such as SS Shinyo Maru.
Northern Sun has a range of saloons for guests to relax and unwind — a spacious and airy main saloon on the main deck; an entertainment saloon with a games table and piano, and an aft saloon, overlooking the aft deck, which features the open-air dining area. It also has a library and a private top deck with a jacuzzi.
The yacht has all kinds of toys for water sports lovers. But the most unique one is an inflatable water slide two decks high. After the adventures, a wide range of delectable Asian dishes including Indian Halibut with pickled cucumber, young palm and spiced green rice, is served for dinner.
Kudanil sails in Indonesian waters between West Nusa Tenggara province of the Lesser Sunda Islands and Papua province in New Guinea. As such, it navigates some of the most beautiful tropical Southeast Asian island destinations including Komodo National Park, Maluku Islands, Wakatobi National Park, Banda Island and Raja Ampat.
Kudanil is one of the best private yacht charters to reach the remotest corners within the Indonesian archipelago with ease.
Trips can be tailored in advance, but the yacht usually follows an east-to-west journey to avoid rainy weather. Guests can see the best landscapes between the famous pink beach of Komodo Island and the rainforest-covered mountains of Papua. From kayaks to snorkelling gear, Kudanil has various charter toys for guests to make memories of the turquoise waters anywhere on the stretch.
It is 50 metres long and was originally built in 1978 as a Safety Standby Vessel. Kudanil was refitted for charter use in 2018 and is now known as an exceptionally reliable ocean-going expedition yacht.
The vessel sleeps 16 guests in its eight suites — each of the same size, having an en-suite bathroom and private terrace. All suites have TV entertainment systems and adjustable air-conditioning.
The yacht has a spa, indoor restaurant, outdoor restaurant, sun deck, bar, sky saloon and a library lounge spread across its decks. But, the most cherished Instagram-perfect 360-degree view of the outstanding landscape, can be experienced from the jacuzzi on Monkey Island — a term for the topmost accessible platform of a ship.
This Indonesian phinisi yacht is an excellent private yacht for small group charters to explore the Indonesian archipelago as well as the Philippines.
Dunia Baru was launched in 2014 and can host 14 guests in its seven luxurious cabins. The master cabin has a private bridge deck with a double sun or daybed. The other six cabins are also airy and spacious, with custom mood lighting.
At a time eight people can dine at the dining table in the lounge on the port side. There is a saloon with comfy sofas on the starboard side. The vessel has underwater LED lights to attract marine life to the boat, forming a connection with the sea creatures.
Built using the finest Indonesian wood, the yacht is equipped with all modern-day amenities needed for easy and comfortable navigation.
It looks like a magnificent jewel on the waters when the sails are up, making Dunia Baru perfect to draw more Instagram likes’.
If cruising in South East Asia in style is on the mind, why not charter a superyacht? Ocean Emerald is a 41-metre-long vessel, whose sleek, futuristic design is probably the first striking thing its guests would note.
It has five spacious suites spread across four decks, all connected by a spiral glass staircase. While there are floor-to-ceiling windows in most of the rooms, the master suite has two private balconies for uninterrupted views of the sea.
Ocean Emerald has a sun deck with a bar, storable gym equipment, retractable hardtop Bimini, and a home cinema screen among other amenities for pleasure and entertainment. The food is world-class, including the best cuisines from South East Asia and Europe. The dishes are made using locally sourced ingredients or imported from around the world.
There is an array of toys, including a four-seater Sea-Doo Jet Boat, paddle board and snorkelling sets, for those who love riding the waves or diving among corals.
The destinations covered by Ocean Emerald include Pattaya, Phuket, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar and China’s Hainan. This means that everything from the remotest islands of South East Asia to the most vibrant of coastal destinations can be explored in a tailored cruise as per the charterer’s desire.
The 88.5-metre-long superyacht is one of the largest crewed luxury yachts that sail the Southeast Asian waters. Served by a 28-member crew, it easily accommodates 12 guests in its six ultra-luxurious cabins spread across five decks. The master suite has its own office space, en-suite bathroom, and a private sun deck with its own jacuzzi. The other five, too, are designed to redefine luxury, with comfy furnishings and walk-in wardrobes.
Among Nirvana’s most unique amenities are a 3D cinema, a sun deck plunge pool, a jacuzzi on the bridge deck, a spa room, a sauna and a gym. There is no dearth of relaxation or entertainment options on the vessel. The swimming pool on the main deck converts to a dance floor. The saloon, too, doubles as a disco.
For fun-filled activities on the water, the superyacht stores the best of toys and diving equipment, such as tenders, sea bobs, jet skis and kitesurf boards. And not just adults, children, too, can have fun with child-friendly adventure toys and protective nettings across the decks.
Nirvana is one of the best private luxury yacht charters for exploring the Indian Ocean region, especially during the winter cruising season.
A magnificent luxury yacht, Akiko has a sleek geometrical design. Measuring 34.2 metres, the vessel was built in 2007 by Alloy Yachts and refitted in 2016. It has the capacity to accommodate 11 guests.
Apart from the impressive array of toys, Akiko also has fishing and spearfishing equipment. For unlimited entertainment, the vessel is equipped with an Apple TV on Chromecast and iTunes movie bank with a storage capacity of approximately 500 movies. It has a satellite television system from Foxtel.
One of the highlights of the yacht is its Australian Aboriginal artworks collection, reflecting the rich Pacific heritage shared by several Southeast Asian countries as well as the Melanesian islands.
Akiko is currently undergoing an extensive refit, which would not only make it more seaworthy but also more luxurious for guests. It is normally available for charter for destinations in South East Asia and South Pacific besides Australia and New Zealand.
Princess Iolanthe is an ideal luxury yacht for rental for group trips in South East Asia.
The stylish motor boat has three decks complete with the finest amenities and comforts that its 10 guests would need on a Southeast Asian cruise.
The 45.7-metre-long vessel has a massive sun deck and bridge deck. There are dining areas on all three decks. The saloons are connected to their aft decks with retracting circular glass doors.
A wet bar jacuzzi seating is located on the sun deck of Princess Iolanthe, with a lounging area. There is also a wet bar on the bridge deck with a seating area. The main lounge has a cinema area. Four of the five cabins are located below the deck area, each with an en-suite bath or shower.
As for toys, the vessel has everything from wave runners to dive gears for the ultimate thrill on the waters.
Not a huge luxury yacht, Mia Kai is 29.5 metres in length. But, it is one of the best private yacht charters for small groups, designed specifically for reaching hidden beaches, dazzling coral reefs and underwater limestone peaks of Thailand.
There are four cabins for eight guests, of which two are full-beam master staterooms. While the master suite has vertical windows on the port and starboard sides, the VIP stateroom has a high ceiling with enough natural light streaming through.
Built in 2007, the yacht underwent a refit in 2016, which enhanced its interior design with natural décor. It has a spacious saloon and a bow-side lounging area. The sun deck has an al fresco dining area, jacuzzi and a bar.
The toys it carries include a kneeboard, inflatable T-dock and stand-up paddleboard, among jet skis and snorkelling equipment.
Other than Thailand, the vessel can be booked for Langkawi and Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago.
(Main Image Courtesy: Y.co; Featured Image Courtesy: Northrop & Johnson)
(This article first appeared on prestigeonline.com/hk)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: The cost of booking private luxury yacht charters depends on factors including number of guests, destination, duration and season — summer or winter.
Answer: Superyacht charters can be relatively costlier than normal yachts, but this depends on the amenities, destination and design of the vessel. For instance, the superyacht 'Ocean Emerald' can be booked for an estimated price of THB 450,000 (HKD 101,760) per day. However, the 2019 vessel PAPA, which is not a superyacht, costs a maximum of USD 350,000 (HKD 2,747,430) per week, or around HKD 392,490 per day — higher than Ocean Emerald.
Answer: Yacht charters are usually all inclusive. But it is best to enquire with the yacht charter operator about the cost breakdown, and any other expenditures that might be incurred during the voyage.