With six star lines such as SeaDream Yacht Club, Windstar Cruises and Paul Gaugin all offering vessels with retractable sports marinas, no matter which cruise you book, you’ll certainly be guaranteed the opportunity to indulge in some water-based fun during your luxury cruise. These are the kind of lines which like to evoke a ‘yacht club ambience’ , operating smaller vessels; often luxury yachts, which on sea days, roll out the marina and give passengers the chance to try their hand at piloting all manner of ocean-going craft. Here’s a guide to what’s available.
As you may have guessed, this ‘boat’ is so-named because it’s shaped like a banana (and it’s yellow). Probably the least interactive marina experience you can participate in, it involves you and a number of other passengers being towed by a powered boat, usually at high speed. All you have to do is hold on.
Usually rowboats, but sometimes having an outboard motor, these small and easy to operate vessels allow you to potter around the ocean under your own steam.
Similar to a canoe, a Kayak is a narrow, one-man vessel controlled with a single paddle, which allows you to travel through the water pretty quickly. Knowing that many cruisers may not be proficient with this type of craft, cruise lines usually utilise the flat-bottomed variety, which are easier to control and less likely to tip.
Offering a truly exhilarating ride, this personal, high-powered watercraft is essentially like a motorbike on the water and a popular choice with thrill-seeking holidaymakers. The term ‘Jet Ski’ is actually a brand name invented by Kawasaki, the company which manufactured the first commercially successful personal watercraft in 1972.
The Laser class sailboat is a small one-man dinghy equipped with a sail. This is the type of vessel in which you can fulfil your watersporting fantasies and sail in the wake of the likes of Ben Ainslie, as it first became an Olympic-class boat at the 1996 Olympics.
Everyone’s familiar with the image of a windsurfer, bravely riding the crest of a wave and carving his or her way through the ocean. Windsurfing is undertaken on what is essentially a surfboard equipped with a moveable sail, and though you’ll be grateful your cruise line hasn’t laid down anchor for the day in a seriously choppy ocean, there’ll be enough surf in some locations to try your hands (and feet) at this popular water sport.
Again, you’ll almost certainly be familiar with the notion of waterskiing, which offers a truly breathtaking cruise experience. However, it should be advised that it’s an activity best attempted by only the most fit and able-bodied cruiser.
By Simon Brotherton