Caribbean Luxury Catamaran Cruise with Snorkeling, Fine Dining, and Nightlife
In the 16th century, when five different countries were vying for control of the Virgin Islands, the area became a notorious hotbed for real-life pirates of the Caribbean. According to legend, Black Sam Bellamy, Sir Francis Drake, and even Blackbeard spent time among the isles' sandy cays and sheltered inlets. While little evidence of the buccaneers remains today, there are still plenty of sails on the horizon—the British Virgin Islands have become a worldwide yachting destination, thanks to balmy temperatures and steady breezes.
Drake Academy leads luxury sailing expeditions through the archipelago's 60 or so islands, grouping ships together to form a flotilla. The fleet's expert captains, all former army officers, take care of everything, leaving you to enjoy the included meals and tropical cocktails. During a three- or six-day cruise, you'll snorkel among coral reefs, pass striking rock formations, and pull into postcard-worthy coves for beachfront dining and partying. For a sample itinerary and more information, click here.
After landing on Beef Island (airfare not included), you'll be greeted by a shuttle that will whisk you off to board your yacht for the journey. These 4-10 person luxury catamarans include common models such as the Lagoon 500, the Catana 47 Premier, and the Salina 48 Evolution Premier, each of which boasts streamlined seating. The snug cabins usually hold two berths each, but many passengers prefer to sleep on deck, under the stars.
Itineraries vary considerably, especially on shorter cruises, but the crew tries to allow for scuba-diving excursions whenever possible (extra fee required). You might drop anchor alongside famous landmarks such as Anegada, a "drowned island" of conch shells ringed by the 18-mile Horseshoe Reef, or the Baths of Virgin Gorda, a series of charming grottos framed by enormous boulders. There's often spare time for swimming in seaside pools, shopping in local markets, or renting a Hobie Cat to try your own hand at sailing.
After all, one of the great pleasures of a yachting expedition is learning how to hold your own on a ship's deck. At any time, Drake Academy's crew can teach aspiring sailors how to decipher a star chart or tie boating knots in their shipmates' shoelaces.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.