Travel: Irresistible winter cruising destinations

Written by Jessamie Rattray

As much of the world settles into a cold and dreary winter season, some golden sunspots remain, providing a sweet release from the frosty greyness elsewhere. A winter superyacht cruise is one of the most luxurious ways to break up the winter months.

From cooling off in the waters of one of Antigua’s 365 beaches, to soaking up the warmth of Indonesia’s 365 days of summer, get inspired by these winter cruising destinations which each offer its own secrets to a glorious winter superyacht cruise.

The BahamasThe Bahamas marketingPhoto: @seefromtheskyThe Bahamas is a world-renowned cruising spot with a well-earned reputation for its winter cruising possibilities. While easy access from the U.S. makes the Bahamas a superyachting favourite for those based in one of the 50 states, this destination has risen in global popularity to achieve its voguish status, attracting a large number of the global fleet in winter months.

Over the years, superyachting has become deeply ingrained into the fabric of the country. This can be attributed to major infrastructural developments within recent decades that cater to yachts and their guests, from marine facilities and yacht clubs to luxury resorts and shopping streets. These investments, combined with the island country’s natural compatibility with superyachting, make it one of the most adored winter yachting destinations in the Western Hemisphere.Gene Machine in the BahamasThe country’s impeccable archipelagic landscape is seemingly designed with cruising in mind, comprising over 700 tropical islands to be explored. With a year-round climate and consistently clear and calm waters, it is no wonder that the Bahamas welcomes so many superyachts each year.On the west coast of the Bahamas is the Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest barrier reef, and living organism, in the world. At 305 kilometres long, the reef buzzes with bountiful sea life, with over 164 species of coral and fish calling it home. Unsurprisingly, snorkelling in this colourful part of the world is a delight.Exuma Pig on Pig Beach, the BahamasPhoto: Forest SimonAcross the Bahamas, white-sand beaches sprawl and become mesmerising cyan shores. The natural beauty of the Bahamas, combined with its archipelagic formation, makes the country an idyllic destination for watersports, fishing, and swimming. For a unique experience, a visit to Pig Beach allows guests to swim with adorable Exuma pigs, which, aside from a small selection of other wildlife, are the island’s sole inhabitants.

St BartsSt Barthélemy resortPhoto: Jay SolomonThe Caribbean island of St Barts is a jewel in the French West Indies renowned for its luxurious feel. In fact, luxury oozes into each and every area of a superyacht cruise of St Barts, from its exclusive resorts, to dazzling restaurants, glimmering bars and large and lavish villas. All peppered on a canvas of rich, jungle-green forests with views of a deep blue ocean, a distinct energy is created in St Barts that leaves many returning year after year.Eclipse yacht anchored in Saint BarthelemyPhoto: Gossuin Brothers St Barts’ attractions don’t stop there. The country’s duty-free status ensures guilt-free spending at the many designer stores and boutiques on the island. In addition to this, guests can relax knowing they are holidaying on the safest of all the Caribbean islands.

On shore, guests can expect an elegant beach club at every turn, overlooking the island’s pristine waters which lap onto world-famous white sand beaches. St Barts and its shores provide the perfect playground for water sports, from spending sunny afternoons Jet Skiing and paddle boarding, to discovering the magic of a deep-sea diving session.

AntiguaAntiguaPhoto: Rick JamisonPalm trees, perfect scenery and pirate legends, Antigua is an iconic winter cruising destination. A relaxing beach day is only a few steps away in Antigua, the island country that boasts 365 beaches dotted along its 54 miles of coastline, offering a beach for every day of the year.

Of Antigua’s main settlements, her capital city, St John’s, is most alive with people and passion. Eclectic restaurants and vibrant nightlife fill the streets of rainbow frontages. But Antigua’s main enticements lie in her natural gifts.Marina Bay, AntiguaPhoto: Bogdan PascaThe island’s fringing coral reefs remain marvellously intact, protecting large sections of the east, north and south coasts of Antigua. Antigua’s waters are bubbling with ocean life, with reefs home to abundant underwater creatures, from schools of fish and vivid coral to larger and more unusual under-sea creatures such as sting-rays. Snorkelling and diving are  leading activities in the region, with many visitors exploring the underwater world for sea life and shipwrecks.GO motor yacht by Turquoise Yachts in AntiguaPhoto: Merijn de Waard / SuperYacht TimesThe Cades Bay Marine Park is famed as one of Antigua’s best spots for observing the coral reef and its many inhabitants. Those more fascinated by deep-water shipwrecks have many to scout, with over 100 recorded shipwrecks around Antigua’s shores. The Wreck of the Andes sank in 1905, and today lies in Deep Bay, often visited by snorkellers and divers keen to take a look.

IndonesiaIndonesiaPhoto: Fajruddin MudzakkirOnce lying off the beaten path, the Indonesia of today is rapidly gaining traction as a superyachting hotspot. With a year-round summer, this archipelagic paradise is ready-made for a winter superyacht cruise packed with adventure and exploration.

Indonesia’s vast islands and inlets offer a new adventure at every turn. The country’s rich cultural identity is observable in the many awe-inspiring ancient temples and palaces, with Ubud Palace in Bali being a favourite among visitors. Here, guests can experience tranquil palace gardens and mystical ponds overflowing with lily pads, and watch traditional Balinese dance displays regularly hosted in the area.Traditional dancing in IndonesiaPhoto: Eyestetix StudioGeographically, Indonesia has many natural advantages which add to its allure. Situated at the heart of the coral triangle, Indonesia is a place of breathtaking marine diversity. As the point where the Indian and Pacific Oceans connect and converge, this area of ocean is one of the most ecologically diverse on the planet.Coral reefs, IndonesiaPhoto: Benjamin L. JonesIndonesia’s marine biodiversity makes it the perfect place for snorkelling and diving, with Raja Ampat offering spectacular views of the polychromatic coral reefs below.IndonesiaPhoto: Jeremy BishopFor surf enthusiasts, or those wanting to give it a try, Indonesia is one of the world’s first-class surfing destinations. Prime spots are located all around the country’s archipelagos, with Sumbawa and Lombok being the surfing havens of many. The iconic Lakey Peak is situated in the village of Hu'u, South East Sumbawa, and is famed as an epic place to ride the waves.

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