Giant cruise ships are not the only option for those looking to book a vacation at sea. From cabin charters on catamarans to small 100 guest yachts, here are some of my favorite companies that offer unique island hopping experiences.
Dream Yacht Charter – dreamyachtcharter.com
I love the diverse destinations and charter types Dream Yacht Charter offers. Escape to Thailand, explore Greece or visit the myriad island nations of the Caribbean with seasoned skippers and crews. You’ll see a side of wherever you choose, only small sailboats and yachts can take you.
For couples looking for an affordable way to go sailing check out their By the Cabin Charters.
Sail Croatia – sail-croatia.com
Sail Croatia was one of my favorite boating vacations. It was the perfect way to end a two-week trip to Croatia and helped us get from Split to Dubrovnik with daily stops exploring the islands off the Dalmatian coast.
I opted for their Elegance trip which skews a bit older (over 40). They also have other options and ships that cater to younger groups and more moderate budgets.
Sail Croatia Trip Types
Navigator: aimed at 18 – 39 year-olds who are looking for a party cruise experience. Island hop your way along the Croatian coastline on board some of the liveliest boats on the Adriatic Sea. For 7 incredible days, you’ll swim in secluded bays, explore historic towns, watch incredible sunsets, and party until dawn at some of the most famous nightlife spots in Europe. Choose the ship type that suits your budget and travel style, and get ready to experience the best week of your life. Rates are between $509 and $900 USD for 7 days.rips
Explorer: for those looking for a blend of sightseeing, relaxing and socialising on a small ship cruise. Best suited for couples, young professionals and ‘young at heart’ travelers, these cruises depart from Dubrovnik and Split, island hopping along the Dalmatian Coast for 7 incredible days. Explorer Cruises are designed to have more of an emphasis on sightseeing than a Navigator cruise, whilst still offering socialising options in the evenings. Each ship within the Explorer fleet features a private ensuite bathroom, air-conditioned rooms and spacious sun decks, dining saloons and socialising areas. Rates are between $939 and $1,209 for 7 days.
Elegance: Discover an authentic experience as you cruise Croatia on a luxury small ship. Take in all Croatia has to offer as you immerse yourself in the natural, cultural and historical sights of this breathtaking country on a 7-day Elegance Cruise. Cruises depart from Split or Dubrovnik, taking in the most incredible and exciting destinations the Dalmatian coast has to offer. Rates between $1,379 to $2,389.
G Adventures – gadventures.com
When you don’t have your own private yacht waiting to spirit you away to distant shores consider checking out G Adventures as they have plenty of them. (And a couple of catamarans, too.) Climb aboard and explore the Greek Islands, the Turquoise Coast, the Adriatic, the Andaman Sea, and other exotic places with a small group of fellow adventurers and a skipper who knows your destination’s every isolated cove, pristine beach, and secluded coastal village.
I’ve booked three times with them; Thailand, Greece, and the British Virgin Islands, and had an excellent experience each time. They offer both monohull and catamaran boats. If you’re sensitive to seasickness I recommend their catamarans.
The rooms are smaller compared to motor yachts and bathrooms are shared with other guests. At times it often feels like you’re camping but being able to eat out on the deck and watch the sunset makes up for the limited space.
Sea Dream Yacht Club – seadream.com
Words cannot describe how much I loved my Sea Dream Yacht Club vacation. I booked their trip around the British Virgin Islands for one of my birthdays and was blown away by the service, the staff, the boat, the amenities, and the islands we visited. If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or you just want a relaxing, luxury-filled experience with only a few fellow travelers this is the voyage for you.
The Sea Dream Yacht Club has two boats in its fleet. They can accommodate up to 112 guests. On our trip, the ship was at half capacity so the staff to guest ratio was great. All guest rooms have an ocean view and the SeaDream experience is inclusive.
SeaDream I and SeaDream II itineraries are designed to call upon the most intimate ports, harbors, and yachting playgrounds that larger ships cannot reach.
From May through October, SeaDream I and SeaDream II sail the Mediterranean Sea. From November through April, the twin, mega-yachts visit the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Trace the pristine coastline of the British Virgin Islands. Discover more secluded beaches, tranquil lagoons, and private coves than you imagined possible.
Visit some of the most famous ports in the French and Italian Riviera, Greek Isles, the Spanish Mediterranean coast, and to less crowded yet beautiful ports in the region.
Intrepid Travel – intrepidtravel.com
Intrepid Travel offers various “Adventure Sailing’ vacations on a variety of vessels from small monohull to large motor yachts. Some of their sailing trips are very similar to itineraries offered by G Adventures. They have ships that explore the polar regions, the Galapagos islands, and cruise the rivers of Europe.
I enjoyed their Nice to Marseilles trip, which was expertly skippered and showed me another side of South France I had not experienced on visits by land. They stress the importance of having local guides to give you access to off-the-beaten-path locations and delivery on that promise.
Travelers can lend a helping hand with navigating, tacking and steering, or (if that sounds like hard work) simply stretch out on the deck with a good book and enjoy the scenery.
Hopefully, these recommendations give you some ideas for an upcoming vacation on one of the seven seas.
Check out my post on my favorite things to pack for beach and sailing vacations!