From expedition cruising in Antarctica to drifting down Asia’s many waterways, or staying on a houseboat on the Zambezi, getting out on the water really does give you a totally unique perspective on a new destination. Here are a few of our favourite boats around the world…
M/V Sea Spirit, Antarctica
Experience the hauntingly beautiful polar scenery and amazing wildlife of Antarctica on a deluxe M/V Sea Spirit Antarctic cruise. You will never forget the diamond-bright glaciers, creaking icebergs and deep fjords on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The voyage embarks from Argentina, taking you on an epic journey to the extraordinary ice-covered landscape of the Antarctic. The ideal vessel for this environment, the M/V Sea Spirit has excellent manoeuvrability for navigating the narrow fjords and waterways of the region. Itineraries are flexible to accommodate adverse weather and spontaneous wildlife sightings, and there is a fleet of Zodiac boats for daily excursions and fast ship-to-shore transfers. Along with many sea birds, you can expect to see colonies of penguins and pods of whales and seals, all surviving Antarctica’s harsh conditions. There are various Antarctic activities to keep you busy, including sea kayaking and even camping, and the expedition is further enriched by guest speakers and expert guides. With just 114 guests, the atmosphere on board is friendly and sociable and the elegant and comfortable cabins are perfect to return to after a day of excursions.
Aqua Mekong, Vietnam and Cambodia
Journey deep into the heart of the Mekong Delta with a luxurious voyage on the exclusive Aqua Mekong. Cruising between Vietnam and Cambodia, you will enjoy a level of stylish sophistication to rival any luxury boutique hotel, while watching life unfold along the riverbank. With expert guides to help you learn about local life and onshore visits to colourful markets and Buddhist temples, this is a wonderful way to explore this captivating part of Southeast Asia. You also have the opportunity to explore by bicycle and kayak, bringing you even closer to rural communities and little-known gems. The Aqua Mekong has 20 well-appointed cabins crafted from local materials, and all boast a chic and understated style, floor-to-ceiling windows, king-size beds and stylish en-suite bathrooms. For the ultimate indulgence, upgrade to one with a balcony. At the front of the deck you’ll find a relaxing sundeck and plunge pool which both afford glorious views, while the ship also boasts a lounge, bar, gym and spa. A particular highlight is the ship’s cuisine – delicious Vietnamese and Khmer dishes are made from fresh local ingredients and served up in the elegant dining room.
Zambezi Queen, Botswana
Discover Africa’s unique landscape and abundant wildlife from a totally unique perspective with a stay on the Zambezi Queen, a sophisticated houseboat with 14 stylish suites. This floating boutique hotel navigates 25 kilometres of the Chobe River, taking you on a relaxing river safari in one of the world’s most remote locations. Chobe National Park has one of the largest elephant populations on the African continent, as well as large herds of buffalo, leopard, lion, a variety of antelope and many species of bird. Itineraries are flexible, so you can decide whether you want to head out on a tender boat for a guided river-based safari, take a village tour on the Namibian side of the river, try fishing, birdwatching or simply spot game from the comfort of your suite. The tastefully furnished suites all have outer decks, providing uninterrupted views of the Chobe wilderness. While on board, relax in the lounge, enjoy a drink in the bar, or kick back on the sundeck and take a dip in the plunge pool. A contemporary dining room serves up both local and international cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and gourmet-style indulgence.
Aria Amazon, Peru
Explore Peru’s Amazon rainforest from the comfort and luxury of the Aria Amazon, designed to resemble a traditional Amazon boat. The voyage embarks from Iquitos to cruise through the small inlets and river systems that make up the flooded Pacaya Samiria Reserve. The reserve is located on the headwaters of the Amazon basin and is bursting with aquatic life, including the rare and endangered pink Amazon river dolphin, black caiman and giant river otter. The Aria has four launch boats and there are twice-daily guided excursions into the rainforest itself, where experienced guides will introduce you to the best of the region’s flora, fauna and human settlements. Back on board, guests enjoy sumptuous and spacious air-conditioned suite accommodation with floor-to-ceiling windows for amazing Amazon views. With just 16 cabins, the atmosphere is intimate and friendly and shared facilities include a large observation deck, outdoor Jacuzzi and sumptuous spa. The food is excellent and the experience of fine dining overlooking one of Earth’s greatest rivers is not to be missed.
Bhaya Cruises, Vietnam
Soak up the impressive limestone pinnacles of Halong Bay on board a Bhaya Cruise. Bhaya operate four junk-style boats designed along traditional Oriental lines, which range from 15 to 20 cabins in size. All offer plenty of deck space and comfortable seating areas from which to enjoy the wonderful views. There are a range of excursions available including visits to Cat Ba Island for rainforest cycling, as well as trips to see the spectacular caves and floating villages of Halong Bay. Guests also have the opportunity to go sea kayaking among the islands or swimming off one of the sandy beaches that line the bay. On board activities include tai chi, cooking classes and spa treatments. The cabins are tastefully appointed with classic dark wood floors and furnishings, and depending which boat and room category you choose, they range from comfortable to luxurious. Some even boast a private terrace, from which to watch the stunning scenery pass by.
M/Y Sea Star Journey, Galapagos
There is no better way to explore the Galapagos Islands than a trip on the M/Y Sea Star Journey, a stylish four-deck expedition boat that can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests. There is an extensive range of itineraries available and all excursions are accompanied by an expert naturalist guide, who is on hand to enrich the experience. The islands are one of the world’s premier wildlife destinations and you can expect to see giant tortoises, penguin colonies, turtles, sea lions and marine and land iguanas, as well as nearly 30 endemic species of bird, including the iconic blue-footed booby. Land excursions include guided nature walks and there is the opportunity for snorkelling and kayaking with the islands’ playful marine life. Offering chic and contemporary accommodation, the M/Y Sea Star Journey has seven Standard Suites and one Sea Star Suite, which all include a comfortable seating area, en-suite bathroom and panoramic windows to enjoy the ever-changing scenery. The four cabins on the main deck also boast a private balcony. Shared facilities include a relaxed dining room serving local and international cuisine, a sundeck with two Jacuzzis, and a small gym and spa.