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Cruising Into Winter Bliss: Luxury and Adventure Insights from Captains

Cruising Into Winter Bliss: Luxury and Adventure Insights from Captains

As the winter sun graces the Caribbean and the Bahamas, yacht charter provides the perfect platform to discover these cruising areas’ stunning landscapes and inviting waters. Guided by the seasoned expertise of your Captain and crew, the onboard experience is taken to new heights as they curate an unforgettable journey immersed in local culture, exploring off-the-beaten path areas, and unveiling the sun-kissed splendor of the islands. We spoke to three distinguished Captains from KOJU, HOSPITALITY, and LOON who share below their insights into the art of preparing and delivering an unparalleled winter charter experience in these tropical paradises.



Captain Battaglia of 121’5” (37m) KOJU unveils the behind-the-scenes choreography that makes KOJU a standout in the world of charter boats. "One thing we deliver is a consistent platform of high-quality service with great food," he remarks, emphasizing the unwavering commitment to excellence that defines the KOJU charter experience. For him, it's more than just reaching a destination; it's about curating an ambiance where the journey itself becomes a noteworthy chapter in the guest's memory.

With a philosophy rooted in service that is felt but not seen, Captain Battaglia draws on his Forbes training, likening the role to that of a referee in a match. "The best referees go unnoticed," he explains, "You don't distract from the conversation; you're here but not here too much." This focus on interpreting the client's needs dynamically shapes the onboard experience, ensuring a seamless blend of attentive service without overshadowing the natural flow of the guest experience.

We create our own unique experience


Above all, “we create our own unique experience, and that's why we continue to get booked the way we do,” he shares. Whether that’s dancing on tables on a Sunday at Nikki Beach or cruising to a secluded beach, there is much to enjoy in and around the yacht. The culinary journey, itself,  aboard KOJU is elevated by her Chef, whose expertise extends beyond the ordinary. Captain Battaglia notes with pride that often, guests prefer the onboard culinary delights to even the most renowned establishments. Under the hull too, he muses, “we always encounter turtles, and dolphins are consistently a big hit that end up making their way to the end of the charter video." 

Whether in the summer or winter, the KOJU experience is usually dominated by water sports. Keeping up to date with the latest trends and technology, the Captain shares that season after season he pays particular attention to updating the toys with their new versions, underlining the dedication to keeping equipment in prime condition. 



"For several years, 164’ (54m) HOSPITALITY has created a substantial name for herself," notes Captain Gavin Hurn, reflecting on the yacht's success as a standout yacht in the Bahamas. “We have a unique setup that we actually run with officially eight cabins,” he adds. “Seven of them are for guest sleeping, but then the eighth cabin is actually our gym and spa so it allows us to run as a 50 meter yacht with a spa with massages, manicures, and more which I think really sets us above and beyond between a lot of other boats that don't have the space to be able to offer that.” Recently, the yacht has also introduced a dive instructor allowing the yacht to run a dive program. 

As far as strategic positioning of the yacht, Captain Hurn highlights the advantage of the Bahamas. "The Bahamas and parts of the Southern Caribbean still are very special,” he says. He highlights the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago as well as the ABC islands as unspoiled gems where not a huge amount of yachts are present. In the southern Bahamas, he adds, “you get the full, untouched white sands; that miracle of just waking up in a beautiful spot where it's tricky to get to but the boat's anchored and the guests are able to just go off the back of the boat and snorkel to discover an abundance of fish that swim through you instead of swimming away from you.” 



As the sun dips below the horizon, casting hues of orange and pink across the Caribbean seas, 221’ (67.5m) LOON, under the watchful eye of Captain Paul Clarke, transforms into a vessel of boundless adventure. For LOON, “the Caribbean is all about diving, fishing, kiting, surfing.”

In contrast to the Mediterranean's emphasis on fine dining and nightlife, the Caribbean season aboard LOON is an immersive exploration of the sea. "It’s more about scuba diving, surfing, that time in the water, enjoying with the family," Captain Clarke explains. From encounters with dolphins and whales to the unique thrill of catching and preparing fresh seafood on board, LOON presents a Caribbean charter that is both dynamic and deeply connected to nature. 

In the winter season, “the sun goes down at 5.30 so diners are usually earlier. It’s more about on board activities at night whether it’s a games night, a themed night, karaoke, pool parties.” LOON's charm lies in its versatility—a vessel ready to offer a seahorse-filled dive or a memorable fishing expedition, providing guests with experiences that transcend the ordinary and define what a Caribbean charter can be. The guests can be part of the catch, “fishing for oahu, mahi mahi, grabbing a few lobsters and handing them to the Chef… a few hours later, it’s on the plate and that is not something that really happens in the Mediterranean,” says Captain Clarke.  

The Bahamas, in particular, hold a special place in Captain Clarke’s heart. “There are so many great places. Conception Island, Long Island, Rum Cay, a bunch of off the beaten path areas. If the weather cooperates, we can run out to them. With LOON being 221’ we can run it through the night and have these spectacular bays to ourselves by the time guests wake up in the morning.” 


As the winter progresses, the wonders of the Caribbean and the Bahamas beckon, promising sunsets painted in hues of orange and pink, secluded bays under the night sky, and unforgettable moments beneath the warm embrace of tropical waters. Each yacht in IYC’s fleet delights with its unique charm and caters to diverse preferences. Get in touch with your IYC Broker and let us tailor a charter experience that transcends the ordinary, creating memories to last a lifetime. 

*Header photo courtesy of Captain Paul Clarke


Captain Hurn shares, emphasizing the importance of bringing Caribbean culture directly to the guests. “Our talented masseuse is Bahamian, we source our local fish from our local contacts and try to incorporate some themes on board per guest requests from the steel band to unique elements of the Caribbean culture we can bring on board instead of the guests going to it.” 

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