Below Deck: I Spent Two Hours on a Luxury Superyacht and That Was It
I don’t belong to superyachts.
Sure, I cruise around Waitematā Harbor on keelboats in action-packed races, but luxury superyachts? It’s hard enough to afford a healthy charter in Auckland, let alone charter a night on a superyacht.
But it’s a life I can at least pretend to enjoy thanks to the magic of social media and a travel writer’s press trip.
When an invitation landed in my inbox to attend a mini yoga class on Boutique Superyachts’ beautifully refurbished Sea Breeze III, my rubber arm instantly twisted.
* Paradise found: The best places to bask in the Pacific
* Cruise on Celebrity Beyond, the new billion dollar luxury ship
* Matangi Private Island, Fiji: The Tropical Treehouse Island You Must Visit
But having watched too many episodes of reality TV Under the bridge, I wondered if it would be a bit stuffy, and if I would have to endure an afternoon with a group of influencers posing in their brand new clothes. Would there be an uber rich snooty atmosphere? A drunken quarrel? A salacious scandal among cabin crew? More importantly, what was I going to wear?
An email arrived the day before departure giving the meeting time and location along with important details such as dress code.
“You might like to wear stretchy clothes for yoga class and don’t forget to bring a sweater in case it gets cold.” Perfect.
On top of that, the boat was also a shoeless yacht, and instead we were given fluffy slippers to wear on deck. It sounded more and more like my dream scenario – a luxurious setting in the comfort of my sportswear.
Boutique Superyachts is reinventing the luxury superyacht scene, moving away from the party boat feel and towards wellness, offering bespoke excursions, day trips, overnight stays and winter wellness retreats of three days.
Retreats include yoga, massage therapists, personal chefs and wellness experts who are there to guide you into a state of ultimate relaxation, with all your needs taken care of by the specialists.
Stepping on the five-level, 105-foot yacht was luxury, but hardly the pretentious surroundings shown on reality TV. Sea Breeze III can accommodate six people with five crew members, so it is designed to be a small and intimate setting. With just five guests on this media preview, we were able to experience a realistic example of what would be on offer for those paying between $10,000 and $20,000 for a three-night wellness retreat.
Owner Charlotte Devereux was warm and welcoming, laid back and personable – quite the opposite of a stereotypical arrogant luxury yacht owner that I know for sure many middle class New Zealanders imagine.
Previously owned by Graeme Hart, the boat was originally named Ulysses and was built in 1976 – but Devereux and her husband Simon Greenwood have transformed the yacht into a more contemporary and sustainable space, while retaining a mid-century feel. century and regency in decor.
The geometrically designed carpet in the master cabin is made from recycled fishing net, the lighting and art have been carefully selected and the exceptional furniture has been recycled to give a more boutique look and breathe new life into the rooms original. It is a cozy space indoors, as well as several spacious outdoor areas and large terrace areas to enjoy the fresh air.
As is the case on most boats, the crew quarters are much more spongy and cramped than the guest rooms, which had the elegance and grace of a bygone era and lovely touches of color in bed linen.
As we set sail, we headed upstairs for a mini yoga session on deck, balancing ourselves against the gentle rocking of the boat on a calm harbour. Already the working day felt like a distant memory and the rays of the setting sun streaming through the boat helped transport us away from city life.
Kombucha is offered for non-drinkers, but there were also plenty of bubbles to pop at the end of our yoga, as well as healthy snacks like spring rolls and homemade crackers and dips. There’s no judgment here and I like to think that having a yoga mat in one hand and bubbles in the other is a picture of perfect balance. There’s also a hot tub that looks like a dreamy way to spend an evening under the stars.
Cozy up in the forward corner on the upper level, wrapped in cozy blankets with fluffy slippers, I feel at home and relaxed on the superyacht. It’s not contrived or overly pretentious at all and I can’t help but envision how I might fit this kind of life into my future – if not the yacht, at least the relaxed state of mind.
I may not belong to superyachts, but I would really like to belong to this one.
A three-day, three-night retreat will set you back $12,220 each for a couple in the master suite, $9,000 for a single bed in a double en-suite – or stock up on pigs and take the whole boat out for $68,000 for you plus five other guests and five crew members to look after you.
Or, you can do what we did and opt for a “micro-retreat” package, starting at $495 per person, more affordable for your wallet, for a three-hour cruise for six people, including food, drinks and yoga.