Exotic Adventures: Expedition Yachts Push the Boundaries of What Is Possible

Expedition yachts have changed the way we ‘yacht’, opening up a world of astonishing possibilities far from the traditional yachting centres.

By Jo Morgan • 14 March 2022

Discover new destinations on a superyacht

Whether it’s taking the polar plunge in Antarctica, diving for WWII shipwrecks in a remote South Pacific lagoon, or tracing Darwin’s footsteps among giant tortoises in the Galapagos, an expedition charter yacht provides once-in-a-lifetime experiences in the remote corners of our planet, as well as providing a little bit of something special when chartering in the yachting hotspots

What is an expedition yacht?

MY Silentworld

An expedition yacht, also known as an explorer yacht, is one that has the capacity to explore the remote corners of our world, with a long cruising range and considerable self-sufficiency to allow for long voyages. Because these vessels need to offer superb guest experiences in places with little yachting infrastructure, they often come with an astonishing range of facilities to keep guests entertained and pampered, such as onboard spas, gyms, libraries, observation decks, and dive rooms. ‘Winter gardens’ are also a new yacht design trend for cold-climate cruising, opening up phenomenal year-round cruising in cold places — heliskiing the mountains of Patagonia perhaps, or a yacht-ski holiday under Norway’s Northern lights?

Explorer yachts are generally high-volume vessels, offering palatial accommodations and a range of communal spaces so charter guests can both come together and find their own space on long journeys. 

The larger yachts carry an extraordinary range of yacht toys, such as sailboats, helicopters, waterslides and submarines to complement the traditional water toy fleet of jetskis, seabobs and dive gear. 

These types of yachts also tend to come with specialist crew to elevate the guest experience, such as masseuses, fitness specialists, fishing experts, and water sport instructors. In remote regions such as Antarctica, the yacht will often retain the services of expedition companies so that charter guests and owners have the very best experience possible.

There are three types of expedition yachts for charter:

  1. Purpose-built expedition yachts: a megayacht that is built expressly with the purpose of long-range cruising off the beaten track. 
  2. Explorer yacht conversions: a commercial vessel that has been converted into a superyacht for long-range cruising. Built in steel and sometimes featuring ice-class hulls, these high-volume vessels are built for the toughest conditions, and are spectacularly converted into world-travelling superyachts with palatial accommodations and large watertoy fleets.
  3. Superyachts with long ranges. Superyachts are extraordinary machines that are built to cross oceans, and the very same megayachts you see anchored off Cannes are also often perfect for cruising the remote South Pacific, provided they have the fuel range to do so. 

The Rising Popularity of Explorer Yachts

MY Sherakhan

The popularity of explorer yachts has risen sharply in the past 10 years, and the demand for expedition yacht charters has no end in sight. This shift is driven by a few factors. Younger charterers and yacht owners are increasingly seeking action and adventure in exotic lands, while experienced charterers are also seeking exciting new horizons. 

There’s also the drive to explore parts of the world few have seen — to be the first among friends to go in a submarine in the Maldives, or to swim with whale sharks in Indonesia. Increasingly, there’s the sense of seeing these remote corners of our world before they change forever — to watch a traditional ceremony in a Papua New Guinean hill village, or camp overnight on an iceberg in Antarctica. There’s also something grand and romantic about remote cruising, summoning up the long voyages of yesteryear. Fine dining with views of icebergs or volcanoes, before retiring to palatial staterooms, yacht powering on through the night. 

In addition, some of these explorer yachts, such as Sherakhan, also hold larger passenger licences, making them an ideal choice for corporate charters, big family charters, or special events such as yacht weddings. 

It’s easy to see why expedition yachts are having their time in the sun.

Where to Charter an Explorer Yacht (Answer: Absolutely Anywhere!)

The explorer yacht fleet is now spread across the globe, and you can charter an expedition yacht almost anywhere, whether Antarctica, French Polynesia, New Zealand, or the Indian Ocean. Explore South East Asia aboard Silentworld the remote Australian Kimberley on True North, or drop anchor off Bora Bora on Dream. The possibilities for exploration are endless.

Yet for all their remote cruising capabilities, explorer yachts are also superb choices for cruising in the yachting hotspots of Cannes or St Barts. Because they have so many onboard features for guests to enjoy themselves off the beaten track, explorer yachts make for fantastic charter vessels wherever they are. You’ll often see an explorer yacht follow up a season in Antarctica with a season in the Med for that reason. They are true ‘go-anywhere’ yachts, and look just as home off the cliffs of Monaco as they do floating through the jewelled islands of Raja Ampat. 

Bluewater Yacht Charter Specialist Anthony Huck shares that it has become more common for clients to stretch the usual 2 week holiday into months. “Onboard luxury yachts, clients generally find state of the art technology and communication systems that allow them to keep one eye on their business while having the other eye on a glacier, an orca or other exotic sights”.

Explorer yacht charters allow guests to push the boundaries of their world and experience the natural world in kaleidoscopic colour. Browse our explorer charter yacht fleet and let your imagination go wild.