Cast off – Into the Big Blue

Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, Indonesia, Tanzania

Explore the wildest, most beautiful corners of the earth aboard your own luxurious vessel. For groups and families, setting sail across the ocean means the ultimate freedom for your intrepid tribe. Go where other tourists aren’t and have all-natural experiences, surrounded by friends, loved ones and the big blue.

These four boat trips are perfect for big-group gatherings.

1. Off-the-Radar Raja Ampat

Hard to get to but unbelievably rewarding, Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia, is the stuff of dreams. A turquoise blue-and-green-ribboned ocean curves around hundreds of forest-topped islands; a remote wilderness to be explored on your privately chartered 51-metre Indonesian teak boat, Dunia Baru. Below, astonishingly clear water reveals over 75% of the world’s coral species and more than 1,500 types of tropical fish.

The spacious boat sleeps up to 16 people and with 20 staff, you’ll be extremely well looked after as you spread out on the spacious cushioned-strewn deck or return from a diving trip, leaving you time to bond over the day’s sightings of manta rays, sharks and turtles. ‘Getting-away-from-it-all’ may be a hackneyed phrase, but here it rings true.


Insider Tip: ‘My advice? Go for longer! I’ve travelled extensively but was blown away by Raja Ampat. It’s an incredible marine wilderness. Adding on days means a slower pace to soak it in. You won’t regret it.’
Steph, Personal Travel Designer


2. Go wild in the Galapagos

The Galapagos is on many a family’s bucket list, with good reason. Take your whole brood to meet the extraordinary creatures of the primeval Galapagos aboard a privately chartered vessel, such as the historic M/Y Grace. Built in the 1920s, she saved hundreds in Dunkirk before taking Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer on their honeymoon.

With room for 16 in nine cabins, there’s plenty of space for an extended group and having the yacht to yourself means life aboard is exactly how you want it. Naturalists will introduce you to Darwin’s wonderland, engaging young and old with birdwatching lessons and nature bingo. Of course, the magic happens in the otherworldly outdoors, where the Galapagos will widen eyes. Walk with blue-footed boobies, snorkel with marine iguanas or swim alongside white-tipped sharks.


Insider Tip: If you’re a group of differing ages travelling together then make use of the MY Grace’s roomy communal spaces, so everyone has downtime. While youngsters head out for a zodiac, iguana-spotting expedition, older members can have a quiet sunbathe on the sun deck.
Richard, Personal Travel Designer


3. Islands of the Indian Ocean

The east coast of Africa offers a sensational opportunity to island hop between some of the Indian Ocean’s most dazzling islands on a luxury yacht. Even better, this can be done before or after a thrilling safari in Kenya, Tanzania or even Southern Africa, making this a truly fabulous family holiday which combines the Big Five followed by sailing in paradise.

Your only problem will be deciding on an itinerary. Do you want to sail around the many islands of the Seychelles, drift through the Swahili-laced charm of Mafia, Zanzibar and Pemba, or go somewhere more remote? The untouched Bazaruto Archipelago, off the coast
of Mozambique reveals an expanse of white-sand shore lapped by translucent water, perfect for off-board adventures. Wherever you go, you’ll be wowed by the extraordinary.


Insider Tip: ‘You will all want to remember this trip, and certainly brag about it to friends, so make sure you take a good camera, Go Pro or even a drone.’
Ben, Personal Travel Designer


4. Polar Expeditions

Leading you and your group into Antarctica’s untouched world is the Hanse Explorer, a durable boat who is tough enough to break through ice yet its interior by contrast is of extreme comfort with six cabins and seven staterooms.

Setting off from Argentina, your Antarctic adventure takes you via the Drake Passage to view the huge icebergs, mountain scenery and pre-historic glaciers of this polar region. See the huts built by explorers Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton in the 1900’s, land at a King penguin colony, and spot a panoply of wildlife including albatross, leopard seals and sea elephant; and kayak around minke and humpback whales. There’s nowhere Hanse Explorer won’t go – join the journey.


Insider Tip: ‘For something really out there, spend a night in a polar tent, as intrepid explorers would have done. It will be a cold night but a thrilling adventure.’
Richard, Personal Travel Designer

Meet The Experts

Stephanie Carthy
Raised in Australia but has made England home, Stephanie brings extensive first-hand experience across all seven continents.