From heli-skiing in North Kamchatka to scuba diving in the Red Sea, anything is possible with an explorer yacht. Equipped with ice-breaking hulls, trans-oceanic cruising ranges and toy boxes fit for adrenaline-pumping activities, explorer yachts are designed to travel to the farthest corners of the globe and offer guests the adventure of a lifetime. BOAT takes a look at the best explorer yachts available to charter right now, starting with the legendary 126.2 metre Octopus...
Stats: 126.2 metres, Lürssen, 2003, 12 guests, 42 crew
Expedition capabilities: With an ice-class hull and cruising range of 12,500 nautical miles, the iconic Octopus is more than capable of reaching the earth’s most remote corners. She’s got just the right kit for off-the-grid adventures too, offering two helipads, an ROV, Triton submarines, a fully-equipped dive centre, seven tenders and even her own marina.
Home comforts: With an interior volume of 9,932 GT there’s more than enough space on this superyacht for luxury amenities. Highlights include a private cinema, a wellness centre complete with a spa, gym and treatment rooms, a swimming pool and an aquarium.
Location: Central America and the Caribbean.
Octopus is managed by Camper & Nicholsons with charters starting from $2,200,000 per week.
Stats: 77 metres, Damen Yachting, 2020, 12 guests, 25 crew
Expedition capabilities: Built for an owner who wanted to cruise the far reaches of his Russian homeland, La Datcha is well-equipped to conquer the world's wildest waters with her ice-class hull, 6,000 nautical mile cruising range and 40-day autonomy capabilities. She’s also well-stocked with expedition equipment including a three-person submersible, snow scooters, two B3 Eurocopter Helicopters, a pair of expedition RIBS and a fully certified dive centre.
Home comforts: After a day underwater or heliskiing on the pistes, unwind in the wellness centre complete with a Turkish Hammam, sauna, massage room and invigorating ice fountain shower.
Location: Kamchatka Peninsula, Far East Russia.
La Datcha is managed by Imperial with charters starting from €840,000 per week.
Stats: 68.2 metres, Royal Niestern Sander, 2012/2020, 12 guests, 17 crew
Expedition capabilities: Formerly an ice-breaking tug, the Viking-inspired Ragnar was rebuilt by Icon Yachts and relaunched as a luxury explorer in 2020. A cruising range of 6,000 nautical miles and ice-class capabilities mean that she’s more than capable of tackling the icy Norwegian fjords. An impressive toy box ensures that guests can make the most of their time on board; Ragnar comes equipped with a certified helideck that can handle an Airbus EC145 helicopter, a BigBo amphibious ATV, heli-skiing equipment stored in a specialised ski room and a three-person submersible, among the regular fleet of toys and boards.
Home comforts: Cosy interiors finished in rich wood panelling with warming fireplaces in the cabin offer a welcome retreat after a day’s exploration, with guests able to unwind in the jacuzzi or enjoy a treatment in the spa, which boasts a massage room, sauna, steam room and foot spa.
Location: Tromsø, Norway.
Ragnar is managed by Burgess with charters starting from €525,000 per week.
Stats: 91.5 metres, Oceanco, 2014, 22 guests, 31 crew
Expedition capabilities: Favoured by celebrities like makeup mogul Kylie Jenner, Tranquility may spend much of her time cruising around the Med, but she’s actually a fully-fledged explorer with plenty of expedition-ready amenities on offer. She boasts a 5,000 nautical mile cruising range, is built to Ice Class and PYC compliance and is equipped with a foredeck helipad for arrivals and departures far from the shore.
Home comforts: Lavish interiors by Winch Design provide an elegant space to unwind, particularly in the upper saloon which hosts a spectacular perspex-cased piano. Alongside a vast 20 square metre swimming pool, Tranquility’s impressive spa centre offers a gym, sauna, hammam, experiential showers, plunge pool and massage room for beauty and wellness treatments.
Location: Caribbean or Northern/Southern Europe
Stats: 24 metres, Rena Umut Kocali, 2008, 6 guests, 6 crew
Expedition capabilities: Owned by a family of divers, U-Boat Navigator was designed to offer out-of-this-world experiences below the surface of the sea. She may be smaller in size but she boasts an impressive toy box and a robust, Lloyd’s Class steel hull that can manage charters to locations further afield. Highlights include two custom-designed Triton submersibles with a depth capability of 1,000 metres as well a professional dive centre with scuba gear for six guests including a decompression chamber, wet diving bell and hydraulic crane. Each charter party will also receive a professionally shot and edited film of their adventures at sea with U-Boat Navigator.
Home comforts: After a day below the surface, guests can spend some time soaking up the sunshine with al fresco meals cooked on the BBQ or head to the sauna to relax.
Location: Atlantic Ocean.
U-Boat Navigator is managed for charter by Fraser with a weekly charter rate starting from €70,000.
Stats: 85.3 metres Silver Yachts, 2019, 12 guests, 20 crew
Expedition capabilities: Technically classed as a “sports activity vessel” (SAV), the SOLAS-compliant explorer Bold can carry several toys perfect for expeditions. The helipad can host an AW109S Grand helicopter while the other 400 square metres of deck space accommodates a 15 metre tender and crane. A cruising range of 5,000 nautical miles and provisions storage for up to five months means that Bold can certainly handle going off the grid – and she also has scuba diving equipment for enjoying those remote destinations to their fullest.
Home comforts: Ideal for exploring warmer climes, Bold features vast outdoor entertaining areas complete with a bar and teppanyaki grill, an outdoor cinema, eight-person hot tub, al fresco dining, a lounge surrounding a firepit for cocktail hour and plenty of toys for engaging in a range of watersports.
Bold is managed by Hill Robinson with charters starting from €875,000 per week.
Stats: 87.6 metres, Schichau Unterweser, 1969, 12 guests and 28 crew
Expedition capabilities: Formerly a robust tug boat, Arctic's name suits her perfectly given she has a 10,000 nautical mile cruising range and ice-breaking capabilities suitable for high latitudes. She also offers a complete dive centre with an instructor on board who can provide tuition for beginners in the heated swimming pool. Following a recent refit, the luxury explorer is now available to charter for the first time.
Home comforts: A range of amenities are spread across six sizeable decks. This includes a sensory cinema, a disco, a fully equipped gym, a private owner’s deck with a 90 square metre cabin, library, games room and outdoor seating, plus a pool and Monkey Island viewing area.
Location: French Polynesia.
Stats: 73.2 metres, Admiral - The Italian Sea Group, 2018, 16 guests and 26 crew
Expedition capabilities: Planet Nine’s meticulous owner ensured that she was built to cruise the waters of Greenland or Antarctica and everywhere in between with ease. This is realised in the specially-designed ice-classed hull, constructed with thick hull plates, strong frames and bulkheads, and careful protection for her seawater intakes, to protect from cold temperatures and deal with sea ice up to 15 centimetres thick. Planet Nine also boasts an impressive 10,000 nautical mile cruising range that allows her to cross from Australia to Argentina and on to the Caribbean without stopping for fuel. A heli-hangar and landing pad that allows two choppers to be hosted on board at one time, plus gear for diving, heliskiing and mountain biking mean that Planet Nine is ready to roam to any destination.
Home comforts: If you’re not exploring the great outdoors, enjoy 180 degree-views from the forward observation lounge, take a dip in the sun deck Jacuzzi, or relax in the spacious cinema. The dedicated owners' deck also comes complete with its own private lounge, terrace and study.
Location: Indian Ocean and Red Sea.
Stats: 38.2 metres, Rosetti, 2021, 12 guests, 7 crew
Expedition capabilities: Described as a “pocket explorer,” Emocean may look like a compact superyacht but Rosetti’s first flagship is indeed expedition capable thanks to her 5,000 nautical mile cruising range, robust steel hull and efficient 60l/hr fuel consumption. “The owner wanted an explorer yacht in terms of functionality, but not style,” explained Naval Architect Sergio Cutolo.
Home comforts: Emocean has luxurious superyacht interiors with a unique difference: her eco-conscious, vegan design means that there's no leather or fur in sight, with everything from the interior rugs to the sofa fabrics made using recycled ocean plastic or biodegradable products. A spacious 350 square metres of deck space offers an infinity pool, cocktail bar, sunpads and an alfresco dining area in the sun, plus there’s a formal dining room accompanied by a 150-bottle crystal wine cellar below deck alongside a skylounge with a home cinema set up and a drinks bar.
Stats: 48.01 metres, Fassmer, 2006, 12 guests, 18 crew
Expedition capabilities: With a history of cruising to the furthest corners of the earth, Hanse Explorer has all the requirements of a hardy expedition yacht. Her steel hull boasts the highest level of commercial ice classification, plus she also has a cruising range of 8,000 nautical miles and six-week autonomy capabilities. Her toybox is also well equipped for expedition with two Zodiac tenders on board, scuba diving equipment, and cold weather gear for polar expeditions.
Home comforts: Following her recent refit, Hanse Explorer is now equipped for both warm and cold climes; the refurbished top deck boasts an al fresco cocktail lounge, Bali beds for sleeping under the stars or sunbathing, plus a hot tub for unwinding while taking in the views.
Hanse Explorer is available for charter with EYOS Expeditions, starting from €175,000 per week.