If you want a Princess yacht charter that revolves around watersports, there are certain natural assets that tend to help. For swimming, skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding and snorkelling, you tend to want warm, shallow waters with good visibility, moderate gradients and plenty of shelter from nearby islands. If sailing and windsurfing is more your thing, you tend to need much more exposed locations that put you on the brunt of long, reliable winds. But for a really active charter holiday, where you want to use your on board toys and tenders to the utmost, a combination of these two contrasting traits in a single destination can be a huge bonus. With that in mind, there’s little doubt that Croatia should sit toward the top of any serious watersports shortlist. With its warm, sunny Adriatic coastline, comprising more than 1,200 islands and a virtually inexhaustible supply of secluded bays, private anchorages and sheltered cruising grounds, it’s a brilliant place to get in, on and under the water. But if you want to pin down a more specific location for an easy all-action watersports Princess yacht charter, the following five destinations are a great place to look…
The Isle of Elba, Italy
If you want a slice of the Caribbean-style charter fun closer to home, the Isle of Elba is the perfect solution. Positioned between the west coast of Italy and the northern tip of Corsica, it might be best known as the place of Napoleon’s exile but with a brilliant mix of exposed and sheltered coasts, of sandy bays, precipitous headlands and protected rural landscapes, the watersports options here are first class. The warm clear waters are full of wildlife, which makes them great for both fishing and diving. The summers are long and hot and there are plenty of deserted beaches and private coves for anchoring up and nudging ashore in a tender for a beach barbecue and a sheltered swim. There are some great sea kayaking routes too, with lots of natural grottos to explore and plenty of bays and inlets to tuck yourself away from the elements. And while there are some excellent spots for sailing and surfing, the fact that Elba is part of the Tyrrhenian Sea’s Tuscan Archipelago National Park means that, wherever you go, this place feels wonderfully wild and unspoiled.
Port d’Alcudia, north Mallorca
While much of northern Mallorca features narrow shingle beaches sandwiched between waves and rock, Alcudia offers plenty of white, sandy bays with easy gradients and warm shallow waters. Playa del Muro is a case in point. At nearly four miles long, this clean sandy beach provides a whole range of established watersports operators, providing everything from windsurfing to parasailing. It also provides all the toilets, showers and lifeguards you could want. And if you want to investigate the other side of Alcudia, Puerto Pollensa Beach, tucked away in a sheltered horseshoe bay, is equally well equipped for watersports. Once you’re done with the day’s sport, you have choices. Alcudia’s status as Mallorca’s premier holiday resort means there are varied and plentiful bar and restaurant options among the Old Town’s ramparts. And if you want something a bit quieter and more laid back, the pretty little town of Puerto Pollensa is a fantastic place to relax with a beer and boast about your latest wakeboard trick before heading back to your Princess Yacht Charter.
Positioned just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, the 700 islands that make up the Bahamas encompass everything from glamorous tourist hubs to untouched outcrops of reef. And although the region is deservedly renowned for hotspots like the ultra-slick casino on Paradise Island and the vibrant party scene of cocktail-soaked Nassau, it’s equally well known for the scope and quality of its watersports scene. You can sample some big game fishing at a vertigo-inducing oceanic trench. You can dive the subsurface caves at the Lucayan National Park. You can swim with sharks off New Providence. Or you can keep it low-octane and stick to snorkelling and kayaking, thanks to the shallow seas, warm water and superb beaches that characterise this resolutely laid-back region of the northern Bahamas.
North-east Sardinia, Italy
The yacht charter playgrounds of northeast Sardinia feel tailor-made for watersports. For instance, at the southern end of the Costa Smeralda, tucked away in the Cugnana Gulf, Porto Rotondo and Portisco Beach offer white, sandy shorelines with soft, sheltered waters. The beach resort at nearby Cala di Volpe is equally good. It sits in an idyllic bay, made famous by the iconic 007 scene involving Bond’s amphibious Lotus – and in addition to its own natural strengths as a watersports venue, it also puts you right up close to the pretty pastel-coloured village of Porto Cervo, which provides all the coves, beaches and bays you could want. From here, you can also snorkel the beautiful beaches of Cala Spalmatore on Maddalena Island, the pink coral beaches of Budelli Island or the magnificent La Pelosa Beach.
The Caribbean is a brilliant place for sailing. The Bahamas, the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands and the US and British Virgin Islands all provide some supremely prestigious superyacht regattas – and they also have some wonderful opportunities for kayaking, reef diving, deep-sea sport fishing and wildlife watching. For many, the gentle waters of St Kitts are a particular favourite. But if you want a Caribbean hideaway that feels perfectly equipped for the full range of watersports, Bonaire is probably it.
Lying just off west Venezuela and forming part of the Dutch ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), Bonaire enjoys ‘National Marine Park’ status for its entire perimeter. With pristine reefs, abundant wildlife and penetrating water clarity, it’s great for diving and the ever-reliable Trade Winds make it equally good for sailing, windsurfing and kite surfing. But you can also snorkel the quiet waters of Klein Bonaire or go diving at the wildlife-rich Bonaire National Marine Park. You can take a kayak out among the mangroves beyond Lac Bay or swim any number of protected local reefs alongside turtles and dolphins. And when you’re done on the water, the region’s unhurried beachfront bars present the perfect way to relax and unwind.