Luxury Charter Itineraries

A Week in Paradise

A yacht charter story around Antigua  |  By Alexia Howard, age 16 

Calm bays, soft pink sand, turquoise water and an incredible Chef make for a perfect vacation in the Caribbean island of Antigua.

This year for spring break, we were able to go to the beautiful island of Antigua. We had never been before and it was totally worth the long trip from Denver. Antigua is pronounced (An-tee-ga), which we learned from the locals. It is part of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. We arrived to bright sunshine and 80 degree weather and it stayed that way every day. Once aboard the Lady J, the fabulous crew treated my sister and me to the best Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris while my Mom and Dad had Key Lime Coladas. Chef James also had out little spoons of lobster or—as I said—little bites of heaven! The yacht was docked in the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, which was really nice. There was a gym that my parents used and tennis courts that I got to play on. You could also paddle board and kayak in the bay as it was so calm. 


That afternoon we walked around a bit and discovered a nice restaurant overlooking the water. You can also walk 15 minutes to get to a pretty beach. If you walked another direction for 10 minutes, you would end up in another marina but first you walk through an old stone gateway. We learned it was a preserved historical site, which was very cool. Back on the boat, our first dinner was a ceviche starter followed by yummy sea bass stacked on vegetables. I don’t love fish but this was delicious. My parents do love fish and they were raving about it. Of course, my favorite was the chocolate molten cake dessert that had warm chocolate oozing out of it when I cut into it. Delicious!


After a wonderful night’s sleep, we awoke to home-made peanut butter and chocolate muffins, a favorite of mine. A one-hour smooth trip took us to a secluded bay where we were able to get out the kayaks and paddle boards. The water was so clear and turquoise blue. Next adventure... we hopped on the jet skis to explore the various bays. My Mom and I like to go slow and see the sites while my Dad and sister like to see how fast they can go. The crew also got out a new toy called the catapult or blob. Basically you sit on one end while someone else jumps on the other end so you go flying into the water. The biggest challenge is getting on to it. But we had so much fun trying as our parents sat on the trampoline laughing at us.


Another awesome meal we had was a Greek themed lunch. Chef James made a Greek salad, grilled octopus, feta with herbs, homemade pita bread, homemade hummus, and tzatziki. It was so good. He makes all of his own bread every day and it is all wonderful. For dinner one night he made sushi and sashimi with seaweed salad and soba noodles that we all loved. It was better than any sushi restaurant we go to at home. The next day, we got to go to another beach and bay. The sand is like powdered sugar so we played paddle ball on the beach and took long walks. One of my favorite things is going on the wing. It is an inflatable toy that you lay on and then are whipped around by someone driving the tender. Jared, the first mate, loved to drive us over big waves but we held on most of the time!


My favorite day was the last day. We went to another bay but had our own private beach. The crew set up a volleyball net and we had a beach barbecue. It was so fun playing volleyball and then being able to walk right to lunch complete with grilled lobster, scallops, and ribs, plus grilled vegetables that everyone devoured. They even dragged the water trampoline to the beach so we could lay out there after lunch.


We were also able to snorkel, which was amazing. We saw so many different colored fish. That night we even ended our trip with our tradition on Friday, pizza and a movie. However, we didn’t have to order in as Chef James made us 4 different kinds of homemade pizza. I wish we could bring him home with us! I would definitely recommend Antigua. It is a beautiful island with soft sand beaches, clear blue water, and fun places to use all of the toys on the Lady J.


There are also lots of hikes around the island plus zip lining and horseback riding. We were having so much fun doing all of the activities on and off the boat we didn’t do any of those but for those interested the island offers a lot of different things to do. Bon Voyage!

St. Lucia, Island of Riches

Reprinted with permission from Boat International, Nov 2017.

St Lucia’s rainforest-cloaked hills and plunging coastline hide endless treasures for those in the know. Cécile Gauert rediscovers the island’s chartering charms on board Lady J.

I have just touched the top of St Lucia’s vertiginous Petit Piton and I did not even break a sweat. There is more than one way to get up close to this iconic rock: the hard way, with hiking shoes and ropes; or the easy way. Fortunately, the captain of Lady J, on charter in the Caribbean, has arranged for his guests to try the latter. 


After a fast, dry ride on Lady J’s 31ft Intrepid tender to the pretty Sugar Beach, my companions and I, giddy from our first night aboard the 141ft Palmer Johnson, pile into a van for the journey up the winding road that leads to the Tet Paul Nature Trail. Rufina, a native of the nearby village, guides us along the path, a young mother hen to a flock of tootling tourists. She rattles off the names of plants along the way: “This is the guigui tree, or porcupine tree. It is very spiky. Be careful as you are passing by.” Birds seem to chirp in response to her clear laugh. 

My attention veers from pineapples, sweet potatoes, bananas and jagged trees to the green hills that drop off into a purple horizon. Eventually, we walk far enough that the trail overlooks St Lucia’s famous landmark. “This is the only spot on the island where you can see the Pitons this far apart,” Rufina says. She asks if we want I a photo and demonstrates how to create the illusion that her finger is touching the summit of the 2,424ft Petit Piton. I follow suit—no sweat at all. Through some foliage, I spot Lady J, bobbing gently in the shade of the mountain. The yacht’s captain, Allan Rayner, later tells me what he likes about St Lucia: “When you go on hikes you meet the locals and they explain everything to you. They are super friendly and happy just to chat.” 


Early the next morning I spin away on an exercise bike the crew has set up on the yacht’s sundeck, watching wispy clouds wreathe the emerald slopes. We share the anchorage in front of Sugar Beach, the Viceroy beach resort that was formerly the Jalousie Plantation, with only one other yacht. St Lucia, for all its beauty, numerous diving spots and two very good marinas, is not a magnet for superyachts, although the government is trying to change that by promoting the fairly liberal regulations relating to private and charter yachts. But it does take a bit more dedication to visit here than other traditional charter destinations. Getting to this island requires cruising through some deep water, and winter winds can make passages rough. The famous breezes, great for regattas, are not always ideal for serene passages on superyachts. Our original charter plan followed Captain Rayner’s favorite itinerary, from St Lucia to Tobago Cay and the Grenadines, but the forecast forced him to reconsider and stick to a lovely stretch of St Lucia’s coast. 

"I think St Lucia attracts your most adventurous type, people who are into diving, hiking, and want to see the more rugged sort of Caribbean."

While other Caribbean islands including St Barths have carved a reputation as the place to see and be seen—any captain who’s tried to get a slip in Gustavia over the Christmas and New Year period knows this pain—St Lucia is more discreet. But that is part of the island’s charm and probably why it is such a sought-after getaway spot for honeymooners, celebrities and charter guests who are looking for a different experience. “I think St Lucia attracts your most adventurous type,” says Rayner, “people who are into diving, hiking, and want to see the more rugged sort of Caribbean. The same goes for the Tobago Cays and the Grenadines. St Lucia is secluded. You do your own thing on the boat. And it’s just incredible anchorages.”


St Lucia is the third largest of the five major Windward Islands and, at 238 square miles, it really is quite small. The longest distance as the crow flies from north to south is 27 miles, and from east to west is 14 miles. A few roads snake around big hills covered with thick jungle. It shares natural and topographical similarities with Martinique, the island 25 miles to the north, but St Lucia is far less developed, particularly when it comes to its infrastructure. Thankfully, it was not affected by hurricane Irma and Maria.

Its topography may be why the fierce Caribs fared better here than on other islands. But it did not prevent St Lucia from getting caught in the tug of war of imperialism, a history embedded in the culture. The official language is English, which Derek Walcott, the late poet, playwright and the island’s Nobel laureate, used masterfully, but a colorful patois is also widely spoken, and French names pepper the map. The island’s beauty and natural volcanic treasures were also said to have attracted to St Lucia the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, Empress Josephine, whose father had an estate here.


Alongside its adventure credentials and rich history, wellness is also very much at the heart of tourism here and the island is dotted with resorts and spas offering treatments that incorporate local products. A tempting “sweet surrender” chocolate wrap is on the menu at laidback Ti Kaye Resort & Spa, which clings to the steep hill above Anse Cochon. More treats are on offer at Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, which Lady J often calls home when in St Lucia. One of the Caribbean’s prettiest bays, its water turns from jade to gold as the sun descends at the end of the afternoon, and the humming of motorboats is soon replaced with the sound of tree frogs and music ricocheting across the water from a casual bar named Doolittle’s. The Auriga Spa at Capella offers an enticing honey and nutmeg exfoliation treatment and traditional rub techniques, exclusive to St Lucia and involving bamboo sticks.

I decide to continue my exploration in wellbeing with a tasting of some of St Lucia’s molasses-based rums aged in Bourbon barrels at Capella resort’s rum cave. I have no trouble any evening falling asleep between recently refurbished Lady J’s silky sheets (made from the finest long staple combed 100 per cent Egyptian cotton). Fortunately, it’s only a short walk to the dock from this rum haven. 


If you don’t plan on being tucked up in one of five cabins by 10pm, head to the north-west end of the island, which is especially lively at the end of the week. Fish Fry Jump Up Fridays expunge the stresses of the working week with free-flowing Piton beer or spiced rum, served with fried fish or chicken, and music getting louder as the night advances. It is particularly lively in Castries near Rodney Bay, home to the island’s original superyacht marina, now part of the IGY marina network.

"We are treated to lunch at Jade Mountain, overlooking the Pitons. I sip green gazpacho and take in the view."

Our program in St Lucia blends great onshore and onboard experiences. We are treated to lunch at Jade Mountain, Nick Troubetzkoy’s spectacular resort overlooking the Pitons. I sip green gazpacho and take in the view, one of St Lucia’s best. Next stop is the resort’s chocolate lab, where we are shown how to transform chocolate from the nearby Emerald Estate into fudge bars.


The chef on Lady J also uses the local chocolate to create sweets, truffles and other sinful treats. He sends these from the galley after each meal, no matter how elaborate and even after a seven course wine pairing menu. My favorite among the delicious offerings this evening is the pairing of a Chilean pinot noir with forest mushroom and truffle risotto. Each meal is a surprise, with fresh edible flowers, purple cotton candy, homemade goat’s cheese with seawater, and sweet or savory profiteroles, which the chef teaches us how to make in his galley.

No amount of jet skiing, swimming or paddleboarding – we did not have time to try any of the rainforest’s numerous zip lines – can offset these delightful culinary adventures. But who cares? The nightly note on my bedside table reads: “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.”


Lady J’s incursions into the picturesque bays of St Lucia’s west coast prove equally full of surprises. The crew organizes a barbecue lunch on a small beach near the fishing village of Canaries, a place that is just as colorful as the birds of that name. The long table set on a narrow stretch of sand affords views of strewn driftwood, as if cast by an artist’s hand, against a backdrop of clear waves and deeper blues further out. A couple of villagers engage the crew in some banter for a while, but then leave us to enjoy a feast on their beach.


We cruise just a few miles along the coast, from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay and back, but it feels like we’ve traveled quite far and ventured way off the beaten path. St Lucia is still a pristine experience, a taste of the authentic Caribbean, a delicious blend of nature and laid-back luxury. I’d recommend that you go now while it still is a bit of a secret. Just make sure you don’t tell anyone else. 

An Out Island Odyssey in the Southern Bahamas

The Southern Bahamas are one of the most remote destinations in this area, not often explored, and considered off the beaten track for adventurers worldwide, but also one of the most beautiful cruising grounds for charter yachts. Scattered like pearls in the ocean to the southeast of Nassau, these islands have some of the prettiest and most pristine scenery in the country. For those seeking a little more than a land-based vacation, night-life and shopping, Motoryacht Lady J offers a fabulous, brand-new 7-day itinerary.