In recent years the global pandemic influenced many trends within the yachting industry, the recent popularity of expedition yachts being one of them.
Owners and guests who are seeking the ultimate isolated getaway are discovering that modern expedition yachts can not only deliver when it comes to reaching the farthest corners of the globe, but they also don’t cut corners when it comes to luxury.
Guests with a taste for high-octane sport rather than Italian Gelato, or owners who are more passionate about wildlife conservation over St Tropez sunsets, may find expedition yachts more appealing. Whether it’s heli-skiing, para-gliding over sand dunes or Orca spotting off the bow, guest experiences alongside an explorer vessel are like no other.
What exactly constitutes an expedition yacht?
Range, autonomy and reliability.
Although a rugged exterior is a popular aesthetic in new build yachts, there are some main features that constitute an explorer worthy vessel. Speaking to Superyachttimes in 2016, Victor Caminada of Damen stated that: “There isn’t much contention among the real experts. It’s not how far you can go, it’s how long”.
Features of an expedition yacht include but are not limited to;
- A range capable of 5000 nautical miles minimum
- An Ice Class hull
- Adequate storage spaces for long trips
- Carefully considered crew areas
- Larger fuel tanks
- Larger garages for extra toy space
Other features may vary, but the main considerations are that the vessel is likely to travel for many days at sea without port call, and extra storage is necessary for longer, more remote trips.
Lets take a look at some of the most impressive expedition yachts in the world…
Built by Ulstein Verft AS and delivered in 2020, Olivia O is 88.5 metres in length. Her unique looking ‘X-bow’ was reportedly inspired by ancient Viking Ships, and reduces drag whilst increasing stability, ensuring high performance in rougher waters. Powered by twin electric Rolls-Royce Marine engines, she comfortably cruises at 14 knots and reaches a maximum speed of 15 knots.
As well as her technical design features, her interior delivers typical superyacht luxury with a spa, beauty salon, gym and swimming pool.
At the time of launching in 2003, Octopus was the largest expedition yacht ever built. Built by German shipyard Lürssen, Octopus is 126.2 metres in length and has become an icon amongst her kind. A true explorer, Octopus is able to withstand long periods of time at sea with a range of 12,500 nautical miles.
Octopus is famous for carrying an impressive array of equipment onboard, featuring a float in tender bag, two helicopters, and a Pagoo submarine which caters for up to 8 guests and 2 crew members. Octopus also comes equipped with a fully equipped dive centre, what more could adventurous guests want?
Her interior also impresses, featuring a gym, cinema, library, bar, a basketball court and even a glass bottom observation lounge in the tank deck of the vessel.
Rumoured to be owned by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Andromeda was built in 2016 by Kleven Maritime AS in Norway. With a length of 107.4 metres, she is rugged yet luxurious with amenities such as a day spa, swimming pool and a garage that features an array of various tenders.
With a range of 8,500 nautical miles, 3 Caterpillar engines and an Ice Class hull, Andromeda was built for expedition style cruising, epitomising luxury and adventure. She is also reportedly able to carry up to 470,000 litres of fuel as well as 309,000 litres of water.
Built in Italy by Admiral and delivered in 2018, Planet Nine has a range of 6000 nautical miles and a top speed of 16 kn. Comfortably accommodating up to 16 guests and 26 crew members, her length is 73.2 metres. A true explorer, she boasts a steel hull and aluminium superstructure, as well as a large helipad and dedicated tender bay on the main deck aft, featuring two 32ft Rupert Marine twin diesel tenders and room for several other toys.
Aside from her highly capable exterior, Planet Nine certainly doesn’t compromise on interior luxury and style. Her interior was designed by London-based design house ‘Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi‘, guest spaces deliver typical superyacht luxury, including a panoramic observation lounge with forward views on the upper deck. Amongst her amenities are a full spa and beach club.
The multi-award winning 75m ‘Cloudbreak‘ was built by the German shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen and features interior styling by Christian Liaigre.
A steel-hulled vessel with an aluminium superstructure, she provides greater on-board space and is more stable while at anchor due to its full displacement hull. At cruising speed, she has a range of 7,500 nautical miles and her twin Caterpillar engines allow her to cruise at 12 knots and reach 15 knots at maximum speed.
Guest amenities and toys include a luxury spa, stunning fireplace, deck jacuzzi and onboard gym, as well as a helipad and atmospheric underwater lighting. She is a regular visitor of far-flung locations.
Damen launched La Datcha in 2020 with exterior styling by Azure Naval Architects and interiors by Vasiliy Shprits.
Featuring an Ice Class, IMO Polar Code compliant hull, submersibles, snowmobiles, sauna and steam bath, massage room and a fully equipped gym, La Datcha provides the ultimate comfort in remote locations. Among La Datcha’s other cutting-edge features are her bow observation lounge, a Helideck, and a hangar for her two commercially certified and operated Helidecks.
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