More of the well-heeled are taking to the high seas for their getaways.
September, the busiest month in the European yacht show calendar, saw the successful conclusion of the Cannes Yachting Festival with a record number of attendees. At the 30th edition of the Monaco Yacht Show, the world’s largest collection of 80 super and mega yachts, and 32 world- first launches were showcased. In Asia, charters and sales of superyachts and domestic yachts are booming. While the pandemic has hit the cruise industry hard, luxury cruiseliners are now going all out to woo passengers with new ships and exceptional itineraries.
Here’s the latest round-up of the cruise scene:
Gathy designs residential superyacht
Fans of the award-winning architectural and interior design doyen Jean-Michel Gathy can set their sights next on owning a unit on M/Y NJORD – a residential superyacht that he is designing for Ocean Residences Development. Though slated for completion only in 2025, strong demand for the 117 residences is already seen in the form of enquiries from UHNWIs around the world. At a length of 293m, M/Y NJORD’s luxury residences are available in 21 configurations with two to six bedrooms ranging from approximately 120 sq m to 800 sq m. The M/Y NJORD is also the world’s only residential yacht to offer 14 duplex and two spectacular triplex residences with private elevators. Her many splendid amenities and facilities include a professional-standard oceanographic research laboratory.
Better digital technology has enhanced safety, efficiency and communications on superyachts. However, this increased interconnectivity of onboard and shore-based systems has increased the occurrence of system failures and opportunities for cyber attackers to hack into a yacht’s network. To address this risk, specialist insurer Beazley has launched cyber insurance for luxury yachts to protect them from physical damage, loss of access, threatened and actual ransom of the ship resulting from these breaches. Beazley’s Cyber Defence for Superyachts also provides inbuilt risk prevention and immediate response services via a 24-hour hotline in case of a cyber breach. Beazley will first conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to identify and mitigate potential gaps in security that could leave new policyholders susceptible.
Zhupanova River and Franz Josef Land in Russia, the Ross Sea and Mount Erebus in Antarctica, Shiretoko National Park in Japan, and the mountain- backed colonial town of Paraty in Brazil… All remote and fascinating, but now accessible on the new Crystal Endeavor. It is Crystal Expedition Cruises’ first- ever made-in-Germany Polar Class Six (PC6) – a 164.5m-long ship that offers 100 suites with private verandas for up to 200 guests. It features 27 world-spanning itineraries ranging from 10 to 28 nights, taking guests on epic and deeply immersive adventures in uninhabited lands teeming with wildlife, and cultural and historical hotspots. Check them out on the freshly released 2023/24 calendar.
Over the moon
Ever since Silversea Cruises took delivery of its new ultra-luxury cruise ship Silver Moon in end-2020, fans of bespoke voyages have been waiting with bated breath to set sail on it. At 213m long and able to accommodate 596 passengers on board, it maintains a small-ship intimacy and all-suite accommodation that are the brand’s hallmarks. Silver Moon also features the all-new S.A.L.T. programme – an immersive culinary concept that treats guests to destination-based gastronomic experiences, such as lab-based cooking lessons and daily-changing menus on the boat, and curated shore excursions to dive deep into local culture, such as a cheese-making demo in Mykonos. Departures from Singapore include long cruises to Hong Kong, while the exotic itineraries are those scheduled for the Mediterranean and South America legs.
Everyone loves the Princess
2021 has a been a great year for Princess Yachts in Asia. Blue Lagoon Yachting, the maker’s largest and oldest distributor in Asia, brokered the sales of nine Princess Yachts. These are one X95, four Y85s, two new-styled F62s, one F55 and one F45. Popular among the Asian clientele, the Princess Y85 with a round dining table in the saloon, an integrated Asian- European galley and bar feature, was designed in collaboration with naval architects Olesinski and Italian styling house Pininfarina. “Our Asian owners particularly enjoy eating and socialising on board, often with a family across many generations, says Vrit Yongsakul, group managing director of Boat Lagoon Yachting, who adds that the round dining table is great for family and business gatherings. The brokerage is also seeing good demand for pre-owned yachts by Princess. A Princess 78 Motor Yacht and a Princess V39 were among the pre-owned boats that it has sold.
Bucket-list travel on the Sylvia Earle
Marine conservationists and lovers of the seas and the creatures that inhabit them who dream of going to destinations like Antarctica or the Arctic would rejoice at this news. It is possible to travel to these fragile environments with minimal impact. Aurora Expeditions, a leader in expedition travel since over 30 years ago, has worked with Dr Sylvia Earle, a legendary marine biologist, oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer, to build such an expedition vessel. Scheduled for its maiden voyage in Alaska in the second quarter of 2022, the Sylvia Earle will boast one of the lowest-polluting marine engines in the world. Its low energy consumption, high fuel efficiency and a streamlined design will mean an 80 per cent reduction in emissions compared to vessels with Tier 1 engines.
Earn miles as you cruise
If you are a frequent flyer whose wings have been clipped by the pandemic, fret not. You can continue to earn miles – if you are a KrisFlyer member. KrisFlyer is collaborating with Dream Cruises to enhance the experience of being a member. Since mid-September, KrisFlyer members can earn KrisFlyer miles on Dream Cruises’ packages. KrisFlyer has also chartered World Dream on Nov 17 for members who may also choose to redeem their miles to join this cruise. A number of Singapore Airlines-themed activities ranging from photo ops with the iconic SIA cabin crew and grooming workshops by SIA trainers are just some of the activities planned. Singapore Airlines First Class meals would also be available on board.
Crystal returns to the Danube
The undisputed leader in European river cruise operations celebrated its return to the continent’s fabled crystalline rivers with a seven-night Danube itinerary in August on the Crystal Ravel. Starting from Vilshofen, the river ship called on Germany, Austria and Hungary, with shipboard overnights in Vienna and Budapest, and also traversed along the Unesco-listed Wachau Valley. During the earlier 18-month pause in operations, Crystal River Cruises’ staff retrained, and implemented stringent measures to provide guests with a safe yet enjoyable experience in the company’s spacious all-suite vessels. To allow ample social distancing at a comfortable level, bookings for each vessel have been capped at half. For 2021, the cruiseliner offers voyages exploring the historic cities, cultural treasures and Unesco World Heritage sites of the Rhine, Moselle and Danube rivers, with some showcasing the fairy-tale beauty of the Mosel Wine Region.
(Main and featured image: Silver Moon)
This story first appeared in the Cruise & Yacht Special of Prestige Singapore, October issue.