Romantic Island Hopping Yacht Cruise in Seychelles!

If you do not like the idea of a large cruise as those provided by MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines and many others and have always dream of a Private Yacht Experience, we have just the solution for you! A romantic & family friendly (9 Cabin) Yacht, Island hopping cruise…

Experience the adventure of exploring the Islands around Seychelles in the most convenient, cost-effective and stress free way as possible.  It is the perfect island-hopping getaway; one that combines the romance of sail with the charm of the world’s ultimate tropical islands…

Seychelles Island Hopping Cruise 13

Suggested Itinerary:
  • Day 1 & 2:  Depart Cape Town or Johannesburg to Mahé Island, Seychelles.  Meet & Greet and Airport Transfer to (3 Star) Coral Strand Hotel for 2 nights. The hotel/resort is situated on the North West coast of Mahé Island, 20 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from Victoria Harbour. It’s located along a beautiful 5 km long Beau Vallon Beach and the hotel has very recently been refurbished… We recommend the Standard Ocean View Rooms. Dinner & Breakfast will be included. Body board, windsurfing, hobby catamaran and snorkeling can be enjoyed at no cost.
  • Day 3: You will be transferred to Victoria Harbour to embark a 40m yacht (consisting of 9 guest cabins). Sail up and around the scenic coastline of Mahé’s northern peninsula, past the beautiful bay of Beau Vallon, and along the dramatic backdrop of the north-western coast of the island, with its opposing granite boulders, lush vegetation and striking blue water. In the evening, introduce yourself to Creole cuisine with a welcome barbecue on-board the vessel.
  • Day 4:   Sail to the beautiful Baie Ternay Marine Park and Nature Reserve on the western coast of Mahé, where calm, crystal-clear waters provide for excellent snorkeling and diving during the day. An afternoon sail back to Beau Vallon Bay positions the vessel in one of the island’s best places to watch the countless shades of pink and orange of a Seychelles sunset.
  • Day 5:  After an early morning sail from Mahé, the vessel makes its way toward Curieuse for a visit of this virtually uninhabited island. Experience the island’s vast mangrove forests and its giant tortoise farm, along with the historic ruins of this former leper colony. After a barbecue lunch on the island, enjoy an array of water sports or simply relax and enjoy the island’s beautiful beach and turquoise waters.
  • Day 6:  Enjoy a morning sail to Anse Possession on the island of Praslin, to disembark for a visit to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vallée de Mai nature reserve. This ancient forest is home to the infamous double coconut, the coco de mer, as well as the Black Parrot, unique to the island of Praslin. Explore the valley’s eerie pathways beneath its canopy of massive palms, before returning on-board for afternoon opportunities to dive or snorkel.
  • Day 7:  A morning sail brings the vessel to La Digue, a sleepy island community where ox-carts and bicycles still remain the most common mode of transportation throughout the island. La Digue is home to the endemic Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, and is perhaps most famous for its massive granite boulder formations at Anse Source d’Argent, which is thought to be the most photographed beach on earth. Explore the entire island by bicycle, stopping by Union Estate, a sprawling network of traditional island activities, including a copra mill, vanilla plantation, and shipyard.
  • Day 8:  In the morning, sail back towards Praslin for a visit to the tiny, picturesque granite outcrop of St. Pierre. St. Pierre is an excellent site for snorkeling and diving, with the nooks and crannies of its granite boulders teeming with marine life. In the afternoon sail to Anse Lazio, one of the most beautiful beaches in Praslin, and arguably, all of Seychelles – a perfect place for swimming, snorkeling and other water sports.
  • Day 9:  Sail towards Cousin island off the coast of Praslin, for a morning visit of this strictly protected nature reserve, famed for its sea bird colonies and also as a sanctuary for Seychelles’ rare endemic land birds and other native species. In the afternoon the vessel begins its sail towards Mahé, anchoring overnight in the Ste Anne Marine National Park with its cluster of lush granite islands.
  • Day 10:  Disembark at Port Victoria/ Mahé Island. You will be transferred back to Coral Strand Hotel to overnight for 1 night
  • Day 11:  Airport Transfers back to Mahé/ Seychelles International Airport. Depart Mahé to Cape Town or Johannesburg. Arrival back on the same day.

Seychelles Island Hopping Cruise 3

Thumbs up! Why?:
  1. The reason why this itinerary includes a 2+1 night stay at Coral Strand Hotel (prior & post your cruise) is to incorporate the best airfare on the shortest route. Airfare influences the overall package price in a huge way!
  2. Hotel guests @ Coral Strand enjoy a 10% discount on motorized water sport equipment like water skiing, banana boat and Jet Ski.
  3. The Yacht has 9 Cabins. When they do have 100% occupancy they can accommodate max 22 adults/ children.  But on average they’ll have between 8 -14 or less guests on the cruise at a time… To make it viable for my cruise supplier, they only do 7 day cruises…
  4. The cruise is very much a ‘family-style’ cruise – as in the guests and crew are, after a day or two, functioning as one big family (except the guests don’t have to do any of the chores). For example, when they have kids on-board the deckhands will usually be able to take them out on the small dinghy for some traditional hand-line fishing which they really enjoy. Their crews are rather large for the size of the boat – 9 in total which answer any questions of personal attention! … There’s always crew around to attend to guests, whether that means a watchful eye on deck for when guests are snorkeling/kayaking and so on, or stewardesses serving tea/drinks, the captain explaining a bit about navigation/ sailing etc…
  5. Island hopping is the most convenient, cost-effective and stress free way as possible. Despite its reputation as a beach holiday destination, Seychelles is a very unique and diverse place – the most ancient/ only granitic islands in the world – so to visit Seychelles and only experience one or two islands is borderline criminal!  It’s not like the Maldives where the only differentiating factor between islands is the hotel concept. On the contrary, each Seychelles Island has its own character and charm, and by boat you can see much more of the islands…
  6. A private yacht experience!  There are a lot of advantages to travelling on smaller vessels – they are able to access places that are difficult to get to otherwise, and diving/ snorkeling/ swimming/ kayaking/ bottom-line fishing can be enjoyed very easily from the vessel by virtue of the fact that they are so close to the water, unlike a cruise ship.
  7. While our suppliers’ boats offer some benefits of a private yacht, one area in which they offer a much more refined service than most yachts-for-hire is in the cuisine department.  They get rave reviews about their food – it’s not that its super haut-de-gamme but as the cruises is quite active, the guests enjoy hearty, tasty meals that are authentic and true to the destination. It’s not that it’s a huge buffet like a cruise ship but guests are usually surprised by the variety. They do buffet breakfasts and lunch, whereas dinners are sometimes buffet and other times with starter/ main/ dessert.
  8. The vast majority of the crew on our supplier’s boats are Seychellois and this is something guests appreciate very much – it allows them to speak directly with local people and get perspectives of the life here. It also is quite a bonding experience for most of the guests – the chemistry between the crew and guest’s results in a very special atmosphere on-board… Many people meet new friends that they stay in touch with after the cruise.
  9. Safety:  Over 15 years our supplier have a sterling record as far as safety is concerned – their captains are drilled about risk avoidance and there are various practices that are engraved in the crew responsibilities – one of which is that they must have eyes on guests at all times – this includes when snorkeling/ diving and other water sports – either from the dinghy or the mother vessel.
  10. Reliability:  Technical faults can occur at anytime in a hotel, restaurant, etc, but admittedly boats tend to have more things that can go wrong and they can be more difficult to fix while at sea. But our supplier company has a very large shore crew, with their own in-house engineers, mechanics, welders, cooling technician and electrician that are not boat based – instead they are on shore most of the time working with the boats while they are in port. Good maintenance prevents most problems, but things can still happen and even in these cases, because they have their own technicians at their disposal, it allows them to react quickly to any problems – and it also helps that the islands offer good accessibility so they can get people on the boat in short order.
  11. South Africans DO NOT need any VISA’s when visiting Seychelles.

Seychelles Island Hopping Cruise 9

Price: From around R32 900 – R45 000 pp sharing (depending on the season you would like to go) inclusive off:

A: Transport

  • Return Flights from Cape Town or Johannesburg to Mahé (Seychelles)
  • Airport Taxes
  • Return Transfers: Seychelles Airport ↔ Hotel
  • Return Transfers: Hotel ↔  Victoria Port

B:  Hotel

  • 2 + 1 Nights accommodation at the 3* Coral Strand Hotel
  • Breakfast & Dinner at Coral Strand Hotel
  • Non-motorised water sport equipment; body board, windsurfing, hobby catamaran and snorkeling are inclusive.

C: Cruise

  • On board 7 nights accommodation for entire cruise in air-conditioned cabins with en-suite bathrooms
  • Full board meals prepared by a dedicated chef (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/cake and dinner)
  • Complimentary table water and tea/coffee with meals
  • Friendly service from a crew of 9 including the captain, engineer, deckhands, stewardesses, chef and dive instructor
  • Snorkeling equipment, bottom-line fishing tackle and use of onboard kayaks
  • Excursions and island visits as per the itinerary
  • The conservation fee will include landing and entrance fees for all the island visits and nature reserves (including a guided tour of Vallee de Mai with bus transfers) as well as various national marine parks, as per the itinerary.

Seychelles Island Hopping Cruise 8

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?

Seychelles is just a few degrees below the equator so they have summer-like conditions all year-round.   There are only some minor differences in the weather/ climate. The seasons are defined by two opposing trade winds (referred to as monsoons – but please note, it’s not a monsoon in the ‘downpour for weeks on end’ sense like in India).

The northwest monsoon runs from December-January, and then there’s a dry monsoon coming out of the southeast, which is a bit stronger but much more consistent as far as wind direction.   This runs from the end of May to the beginning of September. The southeast trade wind period is the ‘winter’ season in which high temps rarely exceed 28 degrees, whereas in the other times of year it can go up to 32-33.

The periods in between the monsoons – October/ November and March/ April – are characterised by very little wind, making it the best time for diving as sea conditions are at their calmest and underwater visibility at its best, but obviously it’s not so great for sailing.

Some of our suppliers’ captains prefer the southeast monsoon because they always know where the calm anchorages are going to be, whereas at other times the wind can be more variable. So even though the open sea can be choppy in July, they’re not really exposed to bad sea conditions most of the time; the exception being on the crossing between Mahé and Praslin (about 3 hours and by far the longest piece of ‘transit’ our supplier makes on the cruise). Most other legs are about an hour or so, and in much more sheltered locations…

Monthly Data and 14 year Averages taken at Seychelles International Airport (sea level)

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

YEAR

RAINFALL (mm)

392

300

180

192

101

51

63

110

125

221

230

306

2271

SUNSHINE hrs per day

5.1

6.2

6.8

7.6

8.4

7.9

7.4

7.5

7.6

7.1

6.7

5.2

6.9

MEAN MAX TEMP (Deg. C)

29.8

30.3

30.0

31.3

30.5

29.3

28.3

28.4

29.0

29.5

30.0

29.8

29.8

MEAN MIN TEMP (Deg. C)

24.1

24.7

24.8

25.0

25.5

24.8

24.1

24.0

24.3

24.3

24.0

23.8

24.4

HUMIDITY (Average %)

82

80

79

80

79

79

80

79

79

80

80

82

80

 Seychelles Island Hopping Cruise 1

 

WITH ALL THE GOOD STUFF POINTED OUT, WHAT IS THE “NOT SO GOOD STUFF” THAT ONE HAS TO KNOW BEFORE MAKING A DECISION?
  1. Choosing a smaller vessel, compared to a large cruise ship, also has some disadvantages and this mainly has to do with the fact that the vessel’s infrastructure cannot be isolated so far away from the facilities/ areas of the guests. As an example, there might be times where you can get a whiff of diesel fumes on the back deck if the wind is swirling. There are indeed some noises on-board that you’re not going to hear in a hotel room, e.g. the anchor winch or the hum of the generator. There’s not much that can be done about this and it’s part of being on a yacht. It really is a give and take as far as the size of the vessel you’re on.
  2. The sailing aspect of the cruise:  All of our suppliers’ vessels have engine propulsion and they do need to use them to get between islands, unless the wind is properly suited to their destination/ movements. They try to sail on pure wind power if it’s possible and at certain times of the year there are legs of the trip in which this can be done fairly often, but to be honest the cruise is more about the island visits and as such you won’t find their captains battling the wind and changing tack repeatedly in order to do a couple knots toward the next destination – otherwise there’d be no time to visit/ allow guests to enjoy the actual islands! Plus, in order to provide the requisite facilities for the service/ amenities they provide on-board (multiple fridges;  freezers;  stove/ oven;  laundry, etc), the boats do sit pretty heavy and are not what you’d call ‘performance’ sailing vessels, so they really do require optimal wind conditions if they are going to sail without motor, unless they sacrifice some elements of the itinerary.
  3. Our supplier does not really cater for sailing enthusiasts who have an America’s Cup experience in mind and this cruise are also not meant for really hardcore divers who are expecting a Red Sea type diving trip with 5 dives a day. They like to say it’s more of a leisurely island discovery cruise, with diving available along the way. So it’s not the focus of the cruise and they typically do no more than 2 dives per day for the divers…
  4. Between the large crew, the cuisine and the overall atmosphere/ makeup of the trip, our supplier like to say that they offer a floating hotel-type of service, but there are some limitations – for instance for water conservation their policy is to replace bath towels only once in the middle of the week so as to reduce water consumption of the laundry machine, but they do replace towels on request – sometimes guests are not aware of this and don’t bother asking the captain or crew, though the captain does mention this in the first briefing, and there is a sign in each cabin detailing this policy.  There is also currently no internet available on board.
  5. On-board bar prices: There’s no getting around that drinks are expensive… Due to the location of the destination, almost everything is imported, and being 1000 miles from anywhere, and with a Seychelles population of only 80,000 , does not lend itself well as far as economies of scale and global shipping…
Would we recommend this Yacht Adventure?

Definitely YES!  But it is important to have realistic expectations and this is why we have listed all the up’s and down’s. The cruise has a 95% customer rating (from previous guests) and many testify of an amazing LifeChanging Holiday! …

Seychelles Island Hopping Cruise 5b

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