Taking to the seas in a private yacht is rightly considered by many to be the ultimate way to holiday. This is especially true if, like me, Duran Duran's Rio video appeals to you. The dream is to spend the day lazily anchored in the cool blue waters away from the mainland and then take to the shore for an evening of partying and living the high life. Arriving anywhere in a yacht oozes exclusivity and screams jet set lifestyle.
A private yacht charter means that you don't have to restrict yourself to one destination and one type of holiday. If one day you feel like getting away from it all you can sail until you find a secluded beach or hidden cove or sail into a marina in one of the world's more exclusive resorts and see how the glitterati spend their days. You can put as much or as little effort into your holiday as you require.
The benefits of going bareboat
A bareboat charter is when you hire nothing more than the yacht you are going to sail in. It doesn't come with a crew or any provisions but just the vessel itself. If you're a seasoned sailor, a bareboat charter will be the only way to travel, as you'll have free reign on every bit of your itinerary, from the captaining to the cooking. Of course, you can hire your own crew and you'll most likely have to do this, or bring along some seafaring friends, as it could be a bit much to take on all alone. But once you're at sea, the world is your oyster and you'll experience the thrill and freedom of the open seas. This has to be one of the best ways to experience everything a private cruise ship has to offer.
Cabin crew included
If you're not really the seafaring type (and can't tell your stem from your stern), you'll probably want someone to do the sailing for you whilst you spend the day catching rays or, if you're feeling a little more active, catching fish.
If you choose to charter a yacht in this way, that doesn't mean that you'll have any less control over your cruise as you'll still be responsible for everything from the next destination to tonight's dinner. The main difference is that you'll have a professional crew doing the hard work so you don't have to. Re-enacting Duran Duran's Rio video is one thing but re-enacting Simon LeBon's foray into the Admiral's Cup is quite another!
Choosing the right cruise for you
Whether you choose to travel with or without a hired crew, to get the best out of your cruise it's vital that you plan everything down to the last detail. That's not to say that you can't do things off the cuff, but you need to make sure you're prepared for every eventuality. Even the calmest of waters and most ideal conditions can change in an instant.
Also make sure you choose the right destination. The best thing is that this can be anywhere in the world, from the Baltic to the Bahamas.
Matthew Rowlands is a well-travelled writer from the north of England who writes regularly on his yacht charter experiences abroad for a wide range of travel websites and blogs.