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October 3, 2012updated Feb 08, 2013

Escape for Winter in One of Asia’s Luxury Yachts

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

CalistoVertigoBig FIshHong Kong, China – Reported by Nick Walton for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

As the mercury starts to fall, affluent cruisers head for the warm waters of tropical Asia, where a fine selection of luxury yachts make wintertime cruising a breeze.

For a slice of history with comfort at sea, charter the 138-foot Calisto. The yacht was originally commissioned for the US Navy but served with the British as a YMS-1 Class minesweeper. Now owned by Eric Merlin, founder of travel company Exotissimo, Calisto is perfectly placed to cruise the dramatic islands of southern Thailand, the acclaimed diving spots of the Similans and even the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar, an increasingly popular cruising ground of over 4,000 islands. With seven beautifully restored cabins—including a master stateroom decked out in rich mahogany, Egyptian linens and Molton Brown amenities—Calisto boasts an elegant, Old World ambience after years of entertaining Europe’s social elite. She caters to 12 guests and nine crew with a professionally equipped kitchen, spacious living areas and modern technology. Charter rates start at US$50,000 a week.

Cruising the Andaman Sea in winter 2012/2013, Vertigo , named “Sailing Yacht of the Year 2012,” is currently the largest sailing yacht built in the southern hemisphere, stylishly accommodating 12 guests. Rumored to be owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, this is the first time this vessel has been available for charter. Opulent interiors by French designer Christian Liaigre offer an “urban at sea” persona, including a natural palette of walnut, cream and chocolate. Built in New Zealand by Alloy Yachts International, this 220-foot superyacht features spacious, minimalist cabins, elegant outdoor and indoor entertainment spaces and a large Jacuzzi on the aft deck from which to watch the day’s end. The active will enjoy scuba equipment and an Avon Jet Rib boat, while a limo tender and two Nautica tenders make exploring deserted beaches and busy cities a cinch. Vertigo charters from about US$279,167 a week.

The multi-award-winning Big Fish is the first in a new generation of expeditionary superyachts that can circumnavigate the globe in style. Built in 2011, this 147-foot beauty accommodating ten guests in lavish staterooms is as comfortable anchored off Bora Bora or Monte-Carlo as she is in Antarctica and the Amazon. Interiors are earthy and welcoming thanks to the use of natural timber tones, energy-saving LED lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows that ensure plenty of natural light. Innovations include double-height atriums with LED screen walls and fold-down aft “beaches” that offer an unprecedented 45-foot swimming platform. Big Fish also comes with big toys, including a 26-foot tender, scuba equipment (plus two onboard scuba instructors), two RS Feva sailboats and a jet ski. Alternatively, take a dip in the aft sundeck Jacuzzi or stargaze from the innovative crow’s nest. Charter rates start at US$245,000 a week.

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