YACHTING has long been the preserve of the super-rich.
Days are spent lounging on deck as staff move around discretely cooking, cleaning and doting on guests’ every need.
But nowadays a luxury yacht trip need not break the bank.
I recently returned from my first ever voyage, sailing with Dream Yacht Charter on a lavish Lagoon 620 cata-maran, complete with skipper and chef, around Mallorca’s southern coast.
Much like a cruise, we shared our boat — and holiday — with passengers from all over the world. Although this was really nothing like a cruise.
Our vessel slept just 12, which made for a much more intimate vibe, embarking on an adventure together and enjoying dinner chats around an al-fresco table overlooking the water.
Jumping aboard, I was greeted by a kitchen table overflowing with fresh fruit, fish and other goodies for the week.
Wine was in abundance too — rich reds and crisp whites were poured as often as we desired.
The yacht was modern and sparkly. Cosy en-suite cabins had large windows looking on to the waves, and a sleek lounge with kitchen and huge corner sofa offered respite from the sun.
If you are a sun-worshipper though, the deck will delight you. There is often a welcome breeze as you lounge on a sweeping sunbathing net that hangs just above the water.
With a peaceful deck, quality grub and serene sea views, a week enjoying the boat alone would have been enough.
But it is the beach and island-hopping that make yachting so fun. Departing from Mallorcan capital Palma, we stopped at quaint fishing villages, secluded beaches and sheltered bays, while on board, fresh Mediterranean lunches and wine-fuelled dinners were prepared for us.
Falcons and ospreys
Docked by the tiny island of Cabrera, just over six miles off the south-eastern coast of Mallorca, we got to explore the local national park, famed for its marine and bird life.
Snorkelling mask on, I marvelled at the colourful fish darting beneath me, flashes of orange and red shooting through the clear water.
Falcons and ospreys flew overhead and Balearic shearwaters — an endangered species of seabird — swooped down to nip at fish with their long beaks.
From the yacht the island’s hillsides looked almost untouched. In fact, they mostly are — although the Spanish military once trained here and the king owns a private beach.
Kayaking and paddleboarding are a must — the best ways to explore this haven and soak up the sights.
Back on the boat, though, life was not all about lazing around, eating and drinking.
Early-morning swims were a joy, as I took the plunge wherever we were docked — be it a sheltered bay, the fishing village of Cala Figuera or the splendid cove of Cala Portals Vells.
As evening descended over Cabrera, I took a guided hike across the island, clambering over rocks that overlooked a scenic bay before reaching a 17th-century castle that looks proudly out toward the Mallorcan mainland.
At night, we feasted again, while bobbing gently on the night sea. Away from the lights on land, we enjoyed clear views of the stars.
It seems to me that on a trip like this, the journey is far more important than the destination.
The hours relaxing on deck with a book while in splendid isolation on the open sea is unlike anything else.
For luxury yachting at an affordable price, Dream Yacht Charters has a fleet of 1,200 boats to choose from, at 50 destinations around the world.
But for me, the calm Mediterranean around Mallorca was the perfect introduction to yacht life.
SEVEN nights’ all-inclusive Dream Yacht Charter’s Palma Dream Premium cruise is from £1,085pp, based on two adults sharing a cabin.
Flights and transfers not included.
Cruises depart Palma on Saturdays between May and October 2022. Discounts of up to ten per cent are offered for bookings up to 90 days in advance.
See dreamyachtcharter.co.uk or call 02380 455 527.
British Airways has flights from London Gatwick to Palma from £71 return.
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