The best boat adventures to book now
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Green, green Galápagos
Santiago Dunn is an old Galápagos hand; the Ecuadorian founder-CEO of luxury expedition cruisers Ecoventura – whose two 10-cabin yachts, MV Origin and MV Theory, are the only Relais & Chateaux members in the archipelago – has been operating here since 1991 (and doing so with green creds from the Rainforest Alliance since 2000, years before such practices became de rigueur).
In January, Ecoventura launched a third 20-passenger yacht, MV Evolve. She’s as well appointed as the other two (think fitness centre, sun deck with Jacuzzi, floor-to-ceiling views from the suites), with the same sustainable operating features that reduce its fossil-fuel consumption by 30 per cent from standard levels, the same 10-to-one guest-to-guide ratio – the lowest in the Galápagos – and plying the same seven-day routes as Origin and Theory. Ecoventura also has a new partner for all its Galápagos cruises in the form of global travel outfitters Abercrombie & Kent, which makes the booking and the before-and-after stays in the gorgeous mainland capital city of Quito that much easier. abercrombiekent.co.uk, from $9,450 per person
A solar spectacle in Western Oz
On 20 April, an event known as the Ningaloo Eclipse will be visible across parts of the southern hemisphere – a hybrid solar eclipse of a length and clarity that won’t occur again, it’s predicted, until the year 2172. The path of totality will move across the Indian Ocean and Timor Sea, and it takes its name from the spectacular reef in Western Australia in whose environs the viewing will be especially good.
Designed for cruising the tropical waters of this coast is the 10-guest superyacht M/Y Paradise, which the luxury-expedition experts at EYOS are making available for exclusive charter from Broome for the week surrounding the event. They can lay on helicopter excursions to rock-art sites, waterfalls and Australia’s largest inshore reef. Just make sure to be on deck at 11.27am on the 20th for the full spectacle. eyos-expeditions.com, A$210,000 (about £120,600) for seven nights all-inclusive
All aboard Indonesia’s newest rebel
The 17,000-plus islands of Indonesia continue to be one of the most sought-after destinations in sea-bound adventure, so no surprise that the number of boats operating here, from megayachts to wood-hulled phinisi, continues to surge. Since being set up in 2017 by Erik Barreto, Rascal Voyages has been one of the most popular options for Brits; his 30m, five-cabin, 21st-century version of the traditional Sulawesi-built sailboat offers craft cocktails and yoga on the flat rooftop deck.
Demand is such that Barreto has had a second phinisi built, using the same crew of some 40 boatbuilders: Rebel has Rascal’s above-deck ensuite cabins, multiple gathering spaces for sundowners and dining, white-on-blue design scheme and breezy service. There are some extra bells and whistles, including an outdoor cinema that can be assembled up top, as well as a nice array of water toys, including kayaks and wakeboards (and, of course, a dive master on board). rascalvoyages.com, from $12,000 a night for 10 people all-inclusive
Belmond brings the bubbly
Belmond knows its way around a sexy train; witness the rise and rise of the Venice-Simplon Orient-Express, which this year inaugurated a series of new routes across Europe, including a wintertime journey through the Alps. But they also do an impressive trade in luxe river cruises in France, from the Camargue to Burgundy and Champagne.
In May, a new boat will join the fleet, offering unique perks thanks to Belmond’s relationship with Ruinart (the two are LVMH stablemates). Guests aboard the three-cabin Coquelicot can immerse themselves in the house’s history on private tours of its Taissy vineyard, an experience exclusive to them. The Maison Ruinart chef will also come aboard for a private tasting lunch. The boat itself is long and lovely, with wood-clad cabins and an alfresco dining deck – an ideal buyout for families or oenophile friends. belmond.com, from €82,000 for six nights all-inclusive